Firstly, Jesus did really exist as a physically tangible person here on earth, He did physically ascend to heaven and He will physically appear at the second coming. This is in stark contrast to what the OAC believe today.
Catechism of the Old Apostolic Church of Africa…Part 2; Question 27 (pages 62-63):
“Has Christ already come, or do we still expect him?” (Sic)
“Ans. (a) Because the world expects that Christ will come on a natural cloud, they still look forward to his coming. From Matt. 16 v. 28, it is however clear, that Christ must already have come…”
“Ans. (b) From 2 Tim. 4 v. 7-8 it is clear that Christ must already have come during Apostle Paul’s life on earth…”
“Ans. (c) For us Christ has come, and we see Him, because it is revealed to us through the Holy Spirit and is our life…”
Catechism of the Old Apostolic Church of Africa…Part 2; Question 31 (page 65):
“On which clouds will Christ appear?”
“Ans. We must not confuse these clouds with natural clouds... It is the cloud of witnesses… It is the same cloud under which the flock of God was led out of Egypt…”
|OAC members believe their church is Christ|
The OAC Sealing document under the heading ‘THE REBIRTH: SECONDLY BY THE BLOOD’ states: “...through the sacrificing of his blood today for me through his anointed officers who labored, sacrificed themselves for me by doing so were my transgressions blotted out I was reconciled onto God...”
The OAC Sealing document under the heading ‘THE REBIRTH: THIRDLY BY THE SPIRIT’ states: “...I am not the apostle but merely a servant of the Apostle (Hebrews 3 declares (“Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our Profession Christ Jesus) which is the entire church...”
Luke 24:50-51 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
Acts 1:9-11 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
These people that saw Him ascend to heaven were His own disciples and apostles as recorded in the epistles. This contradicts OAC reasoning and logic.
I remember how, as an active member in the OAC we would often mock Christians’ belief that they were still waiting for Jesus to return on a cloud because we (OAC) believed the OAC is Jesus. I remember one “apostle” service how the “apostle” joked that other churches would rather believe that God is up there somewhere because they don’t want Him so uncomfortably close. But that was ignorance on our part, we only read what we wanted to in the Bible, we never read the whole Bible.
2 Peter 3:3-7 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Members from the OAC will be quick to point out that the Bible is a “spiritual” book and needs to be understood “spiritually”. The OAC definition for “spiritual” is reading single verses out of context and ignoring everything else in between. As we saw in Modules 1 and 2 (earth, light, water and kingdom), one word is interpreted and defined by using flawed logic and then trying to make that one single definition for that specific word apply throughout the Bible. Two examples are “earth” being defined as the “understanding of man” and “water” being defined as the “spoken word” (gnosis) uttered from the mouth of a mere mortal. The OAC belief is that the secret to understanding the Bible is that the Bible must be interpreted as one big parable (Gnosticism). To the point that Jesus is also a parable that spoke parables to His parables! The concept of spiritual interpretation is discussed further in Spiritual vs Natural, Doctrine too vast and Bread breaking.
If the Bible is “spiritual” according to the OAC definition, then other books by definition must be “natural” according to the OAC definition. The OAC definition of “natural” or “carnal” is any interpretation which could be understood literally.
With regards to Jesus’ existence as a physical person, there are also non-Biblical references to Him. That means that Jesus is not some kind of a parable, “HE is for REAL”, quite literally!
Non-Biblical Greco-Roman and Jewish references provide little more than an outline of Jesus’ life. They are too brief and cursory to be of value in reconstructing a ‘life of Jesus’. The Greco-Roman texts mentioning Jesus are of mixed value to the historian. Some of them are too brief to offer anything we did not already know, while others were written too late to be considered reliable, independent resources. Nevertheless, several of them are significant for the way they complement the picture gained from other sources (Thallos, Mara bar Serapion, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Lucian of Samasota, Celsus, Josephus, the Talmud [baraitha Sanhedrin 43a-b]).
From these non-Christian texts we can glean the following:
- The name ‘Jesus’
- The place and time-frame of his public ministry during Pontius Pilate’s governorship in AD 26-36
- The name of his mother, Mary
- The ambiguous nature of his birth
- The name of one of his brothers, James
- His fame as a teacher
- His fame as a miracle-worker/sorcerer
- The attribution to Him of the title ‘Messiah/Christ’
- His kingly status in the eyes of some
- The time and manner of His execution, crucifixion around the Passover festival
- The involvement of both the Roman and Jewish leadership in His death
- The coincidence of an eclipse at the time of His crucifixion
- The report of Jesus’ appearances to His followers after His death, if the second reconstruction of Josephus’ comments is accepted
- The flourishing of a movement that worshipped Jesus after His death
Obviously, nothing can be gained about what Jesus stood for, what He expected from His followers or what drove Him to the path of martyrdom in these non-Biblical sources. For these details we have to turn to the most important direct source of information about Jesus – the writings of the New Testament.
This same Jesus IS the Christ (Messiah):
John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
This same Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
This same Jesus was still a FLESH and BONES person after He was crucified and resurrected:
Luke 24:39-40 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
John 20:24-29 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Acts 1:2-3 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
At this point OAC members will be quick to point out that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God by quoting 1 Corinthians 15:50 out of context. By this they will try to imply that Jesus could not have physically ascended into heaven. That specific verse is not referring to the physical body of Jesus and needs to be read in context. By reading that verse with the subsequent verses (1 Corinthians 15:51-54) the context becomes very clear. At the last trumpet the dead shall be raised incorruptible and the mortal must put on immortality (Isaiah 25:8-9, Luke 20:34-38, Romans 6:7-12, Romans 8:9-11, 2 Corinthians 4:10-12, Hebrews 2:13-15, Revelation 20:12-15, Revelation 21:1-4). Jesus however is neither mortal nor corruptible because He had no sin (1 Peter 2:22-24, 1 John 3:5).
The days of the Son of man will be as visible as the lightning and as loud as the sound of trumpets. There’s nothing invisible or inaudible about the days of the Son of man. This is in stark contrast to what the OAC believe today.
Catechism of the Old Apostolic Church of Africa…Part 2; Question 4 (page 49):
“How will the Kingdom of God come?”
“Ans. The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they (the world) say, Lo here: or Lo there: for behold, the kingdom of God is within you (the disciples). Luke 17 v. 21.)…”
This question implies that Jesus has already returned and no further explanation is given to the quoted verse or the subsequent verses. Compare the context as a single verse above to what’s written in the Bible with the subsequent verses:
Luke 17:20-30 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Notice that the Pharisees asked WHEN the kingdom of God should come and Jesus answered that it doesn’t come with observation. In other words it will be too sudden for them (the Pharisees), just like it was for the people in the days of Noah’s flood and the city of Sodom. Those people didn’t see what hit them till it was too late.
Jesus was in their presence when the Pharisees questioned Him, but they were too blind to see Him as the Son of God. They were unaware of how close the kingdom of God had come to them. See also Matthew 12:28 and Luke 10:8-11. In a spiritual sense the Kingdom of God is in us because it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).
Matthew 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
False apostles and false prophets cannot forge or counterfeit the coming of the Son of man, the only way they can try is by attempting to deceive people with false interpretations. Jesus warns us not to follow them because they will say “Lo here” and then try convincing people that they (false prophets and false churches) are Christ.
Matthew 24:23-28 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Only by the Holy Ghost can someone say that Jesus is the Lord. It is that simple, there is no other Jesus. If anyone preaches any other gospel, let him be accursed (1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Galatians 1:6-10).