When the Israelites saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain where he was receiving the Ten Commandments, they gathered about Aaron saying, “Make us a god who will go before us for we do not know what has become of Moses.” Aaron took their gold and made from it a calf for them to worship saying, “This is the god who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
Similarly, in the last days of the apostles, believers grew weary of believing in the Lord’s return. They turned to their leaders, also weak in faith, who received offerings and built the man-made church we see today.
That is, as Aaron made a golden calf for the Israelites, so the generation of leaders after the apostles established a permanent man-made church. The apostles had said that the Lord would soon be coming in His kingdom and therefore had no reason to give instructions about how the church was to operate from generation to generation. In fact, not only did they make no provision for the management of the church through successive generations (that would have been to doubt the Lord’s return), they specifically said that apostasy would mar the church in its very last days. Thus the vulnerability to the error of Aaron.
Jesus intended the church to be a temporary structure which anticipated the kingdom of God. There is indeed a permanent church – yea, an eternal one! Its rolls, however, are invisible to the human eye for it consists of all those whose hearts truly belong to the Great Shepherd. This is the kingdom of heaven and it quietly rules in the earth today.
In every generation there are those who worship the golden calf, and there are those who worship the living God. Let us be among those who seek first the kingdom of the living God and His righteousness, casting aside every idol.