The church was an apostolic community which was preparing for, and was to give way to, the kingdom of God. Unlike the church and the temple and tabernacle before it, the kingdom of God would endure forever. Yes, there are still churches today but God does not work through them; He works through His kingdom. His kingdom permeates the world, including churches, which is why it sometimes appears that He still works in churches. Nonetheless, it is apparent that no church is governed by Him because in due time they all show corruption.
Jesus and the apostles warned that at the end of the apostolic age there would be a great apostasy. That would be the last sign before Jesus’ coming. Indeed the apostasy came. Jesus returned – as God, not as man – and true believers heard the shout of the archangel in their hearts. They walked with Him in humility. The rest of the churchgoers chose leaders for themselves – or in many cases, leaders imposed themselves on the churchgoers – and thus the institution of the church was formed. It is that institution that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a desolate house, though as long as they preach Jesus, there are some who come to believe.
We live in the age of the kingdom of God. It is Jesus the King whom we serve. He has no need of separate congregations for He walks with all His people in the midst of the earth. We who speak in the name of Christ should be proclaiming this kingdom – not church. Church is as antiquated a form of worship as is Jerusalem’s ancient temple.