In Acts 7:38 God calls ancient Israel the “church (congregation) in the wilderness” (desert). The Words “church” and “congregation” are called the ekklesia in Hebrew–God’s called out people. God had called the nation of Israel out of Egypt (sin) to Himself. Just as physical Egypt was Satan’s spiritual death trap for the Israelites during their days of slavery, the Counterfeit Church is his spiritual Egypt for those enslaved to her in today’s world. Just as God called ancient Israel out of sinful Egypt in 1447 B.C, He is calling His people out of the sinful church system today. As was true anciently, in order to join God one must come out of sin, become cleansed of it (symbolized by water baptism) and remain so until His return (Mat. 10:22).
If we go back in time and trace the history of the church from the time of the prophets and the united kingdom of Israel, to the establishment of the New Testament Church under the leadership of the apostles, to the establishment of Catholicism by Simon Magus, then on to the modern Catholic/Protestant religious system currently in place we can determine what the future holds for the Institutional Church. As previously stated, the church and the world that harbors her are spiritually identical in that one reflects the other. As a result both the world and the church are spiritually dead. However, both continue to exist in the physical realm. By the time the Lord returns to earth the church as we know it with its hundreds of denominations, doctrines and customs will be no more. In the Book of Revelation John tells us that in the end times there will be one universal church led by the Second Beast/False Prophet whom I believe will be the reigning pope. See The Ingathering.
By looking back to the past and examining the present condition of professing Christendom, we get an accurate view of the future church/world. Let us do this by examining some of the changes that have taken place in the world/church during the past half century. Note that the laws/beliefs/doctrines that dominate the society involve both the church and the society that harbors her. As we trace the formation of the world in which we now live the reader will notice that when the world (court/legal system, etc.) makes a particular act a legal/constitutional right, the church resists it in the beginning using Scripture to back up her stand. But as pressure from the society mounts she begins to waver. Over time she “sees the light” and bows to social “group-think,” even going so far as to proclaim that the sin God condemns in His Word is actually a virtue. She begins to call good evil and evil good, just as He prophesied in Isaiah 5:20. One will note that He pronounces a “woe” on those who do so. L.J.