Dr. Henry Waiters: The beginning of the apostasy in the church, part 1
Apostasy is described as a “falling away” or the deliberate rejection of revealed truth. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity (2 Tim. 4:3, 4).
To better understand where we are, we must begin at the beginning, when there was no assembly, worship, or church. Let us begin with the reordering of the earth in 4004 B.C.
“ Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” (Gen. 2:1-3); “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord.” (Exo. 35:2, 2, 8)
In 1491 B.C., 2,315 years after creation, Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. They wandered in the wilderness 40 years, with no building or tent to assemble in, until the day Moses was in the mountain receiving the Law from God: “ And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, tell them to make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” (Exo. 25:2, 2, 8).
God gave Moses instructions for making this tent and everything associated with it. He also reminded Moses, that while doing this work, “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying verily, my Sabbaths ye shall also keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Six days may work be done, but on the seventh is a Sabbath of rest, Holy to the Lord. It is a sign between me and Israel forever.” (Exo. 31:12, 13, 15, 17).
In 1490 B.C. “ …Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the lord filled the tabernacle.” (Lev. 19:30; 26:2)
After the completion of this tabernacle, tent, sanctuary by Moses, and sanctified by God himself, He says to Moses twice: “ Ye shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.” ( Lev. 19:30; 26:2)
After wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, Joshua, the successor to Moses, led Israel to their homeland, where they settled and thrived. Saul was their first king, David their second and Solomon, David’s son, the third king. God relied heavily on his chosen people to be his representatives in the earth.
In 1012 B.C., Solomon begins to build the temple that will replace the tabernacle: “And it came to pass in the 480th year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, that he began to build the house of the Lord.” (1 Kings 6:1)
“Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah.” (2 Chro. 3:2)
When Jesus came and began his ministry, he and the disciples never worshiped in the temple, Jesus would visit it occasionally to teach a lesson, or to cleanse it. The disciples’ visit was during the hour of prayer. They worshiped in the synagogues:
“And when Jesus was departed thence. he went into their synagogue.” (Matt. 12:9)
“And he entered again into the synagogue.” (Mark 3:1
“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up for to read.” (Luke 4:16)
“These things said Jesus in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.” (John 6:59)
Jesus, being Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8, Mark 2:28) entered the synagogue each Sabbath to worship where there was no instrument or musical dance to admire or distract, also no offering of sacrifice, for he was the sufficient and final sacrifice soon to be offered. Until his ascension, he worshiped in the synagogue on the 7th day Sabbath, for there was no other day.
After his ascension, some disciples thought it appropriate to honor him by assembling on the first day (Sunday), the day that he showed himself after his resurrection. Some did and some did not.
To be continued.
Dr. Waiters can be reached at 704-636-3369.