In Ephesians 4:1- we read: "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One G-d and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
In 1 Corinthians 1:13 we read: "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
In 2 John 1: 10 we read: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him G-d speed:"
"There is…One Lord, one faith, one baptism." (Ephesians 4:5)
"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body... and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (1Corinthians 12:13)
"You are the Body of Christ, and members in particular." (1Corinthians 12:27)
"…The Church, which is His body." (Ephesians 1:22-23)
"You are Christ's." (1Corinthians 3:23)
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." (Eph. 4:15-16)
How do the Jews perceive the oneness of G-d?
Shema Yisrael (or Sh'ma Yisrael) (Hebrew: שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל; "Hear, [O] Israel") are the first two words of a section of the Torah that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. The first verse encapsulates the monotheistic essence of Judaism: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our G-d, the Lord is one," found in Deuteronomy 6:4 Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation as a mitzvah (religious commandment). It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words, and parents teach it to their children before they go to sleep at night.
The first, pivotal, words of the Shema are (keep in mind Hebrew is read from right to left): שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד - Shema Yisra'el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Eḥad
Rabbinic Judaism teaches that the Tetragrammaton (י-ה-ו-ה), YHWH, is the ineffable and actual name of G-d, and as such is not read aloud in the Shema but is traditionally replaced with אדני, Adonai ("Lord"). For this reason, the Shema is recited aloud as: Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Eḥad - Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One! The literal word meanings are roughly as follows:
Shema — listen, or hear & do (according to the Targum, accept)
Yisrael — Israel, in the sense of the people or congregation of Israel
Adonai — often translated as "Lord", it is read in place of YHWH
Eloheinu — our G-d, the word "El" or "Eloh" signifying G-d (see also: Elohim), and the plural possessive determiner suffix "-nu" or "-enu" signifying "our"
Eḥad — the Hebrew word for the number 1, which has the dual meaning "one" and "alone", its root is also "unique".
Originally, the Shema consisted only of the one verse: Deuteronomy 6:4 (see Talmud Sukkot 42a and Berachot 13b). The recitation of the Shema in the liturgy, however, consists of three portions: Deut. 6:4-9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37-41. These three portions relate to central issues in Jewish belief. How strong is that belief? The great Talmudic scholar, Rabbi Akiva (second century) loved G-d so much, that he taught Torah despite the Roman law forbidding it. When the Romans found out, they sentenced him to a painful death. They took a large iron comb and began to scrape off his flesh. As he was being tortured, Rabbi Akiva joyously recited the Shema -- "Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One." His bewildered students asked, "Rabbi, how can you praise G-d amidst such torture?" Rabbi Akiva replied: "All my life, I strived to love G-d with all my soul. Now that I have the opportunity to fulfill it, I do so with joy!" With his dying breath, he sanctified G-d's name by crying out the words of Shema. He pronounced the last word of the sentence, "Echad" (one) with his last breath (Talmud Berachot 61b). The Talmud says that when Jacob was about to reveal the end of days to his children, he was concerned that one of them might become a non-believer. His sons reassured him immediately and cried out, "Shema Yisrael."
How did the G-d of the Old Testament deal with those who did not follow the Lord?
Whoever sacrifices to any g-d, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the G-d of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the G-d of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, "You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord." When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your G-d is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your G-d. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your G-d will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)
But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)
Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your G-d is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your G-d and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)
One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the LORD's name. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother's name was Shelomith. She was the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They put the man in custody until the LORD's will in the matter should become clear. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard him to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who blaspheme G-d will suffer the consequences of their guilt and be punished. Anyone who blasphemes the LORD's name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the LORD's name will surely die. (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)
Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles take place. If the prophets then say, 'Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,' do not listen to them. The LORD your G-d is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your G-d and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your G-d, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your G-d, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT)
But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.' You may wonder, 'How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?' If the prophet predicts something in the LORD's name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NLT)
How does the New Testament deal with those who will not follow the Lord? See Revelation Chapters 17 & 18 and the Lake of Fire. Seems a whole lot worse.........
Why are the believers of Jesus Christ divided? We find man-made divisions everywhere. We see them in sports. In politics, in families, at work, at school and even at play. We have male versus female. We have ethnic divisions: black and white. We have age divisions: young and old. Wherever you look, there you will find divisions. In "His" denominational Church, it’s no different. You have Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Reformed, Orthodox and the list goes on. Even the early Church during the time of Paul faced divisions. That is why Paul asked a question which still needs to be asked: “Is Christ divided?” Obviously all of the believers in Jesus Christ are still not hearing and only following Christ!
No one familiar with Jesus teaching or who reads the Bible can escape the conclusion that G-d intends all those who are drawn to Him by faith are to live within His grace in unity with each other and gather themselve only unto Him. Jesus understood that His disciples would have problems with this, and the night before He died, He declared, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” After which Jesus concluded with a prayer of intercession, He pleaded with His Father that “they may be one” even as He and the Father were one. Unity of mind and purpose, living in love and harmony, oneness in Christ, are G-d’s intention for His entire family. Our love for each other identifies us as disciples of Jesus. Our denominational divisions and disagreements identify us as part of the great whore and her harlot daughters. Change the "n" and the "m" around in the word denominations and you have demon / I / nations. The demon uses "I" to divide the nations.
“Is Christ divided?” Paul asks us. We respond quickly, “Of course not!” But a second question comes bearing down on us: “Why then is "His" denominational church so obviously and completely divided?” We are left uncomfortable and ill at ease. There is something here that is not right, and we know it. We are all brothers in the faith of Jesus Christ and members of the one family of G-d. We have all been bought for a price, the price of our Lord and Savior’s very life. Through His life, death, and resurrection, we all have been brought into G-d’s only family. We are obviously not supposed to be divided - why then are we?!
The message which Paul gave to the Corinthians is one of unity, not of division. Under the heading of religion - denominational beLIEvers think there is room for doctrinal variety, as if the one Lord is the author of confusion who allows many diverse understandings to be true all at the same time! That may apply to humanistic philosophy and human ethics, but not so with our Lord. He is a G-d of order. There is only one way - that is G-d’s way. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One G-d and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." We can try to make our own doctrines. We can try to make the Word of G-d say what we want it to say, but in the end such confusion will only destroy us. The Word of G-d doesn’t change. Paul was troubled as he wrote to the church at Corinth. Word had come to him that this fragile church, barely on its feet, was torn by dissension. The people were not getting along together. They were dividing into competing groups, based on which apostle had led them to faith. One group identified with Paul, another Apollos, another Peter, and another, as a smack in everyone’s face, they all claimed they belonged to Christ. Instead of rejoicing in their oneness in Christ, they were splitting off into separate groups, each one uncertain about the integrity of the other. Paul could see that the future of that early congregation of beleivers set within the turbulent environment of bustling Corinth, was threatened. Paul was not just offering them some sound advice, but was calling upon the authority of Christ Himself to set things right. It was immaterial who baptized them; the overriding truth was that they had come into a new kingdom of love and grace, and this determined that they should all live together in peace and harmony and gather together only in the name of Jesus Christ. Today, it is far worse, many rich denominations send forth their own missionary teams to create converts for them - Jesus warned in Matthew 23:15 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are." In Ireland, Irish protesants kill Irish catholics and vice versa. The "chistian" denominations of today all compete with one another to "fill their pews" and many denomination leaders and beLIEvers say all the other believers are going to hell!. What a terrible judgemental curse to put on yourself!
It should seem obvious to us believers that these early Corinthians were hung up on unimportant matters, and that is just the point! Over and over again, the unity of the true Christian Church has been divided by men wanting their own way - who turn minor matters into major divisive issues. Man's “doctrines” are what divides all of His believers - when His believers follow some man's doctrine(s) - they leave Jesus - creating all of the various denominations - who all say that they alone are “following Christ.” “Is Christ divided?” The Apostle Paul teaches about Christian unity under G-d. He appeals to the fact that Christ is not divided. Paul reminds them that he was not crucified for them. Only Jesus was crucified for all of the believers and only Jesus died on the cross to save us all. Only the name of Jesus is able to save us all. It would likewise be absurd and wrong to baptize in the name of any other person than the Lord. In the realm of preaching the Gospel, no division can be tolerated. Preaching the gospel was Paul’s chief calling. In carrying out this ministry he could have fallen into the habit among the Greeks of relying on “words of eloquent wisdom” and rhetorical skills. “Words of eloquent wisdom” refers to human philosophy with its habit of replacing “old” ways of thinking with “new” ways. But, as Paul points out, if this were the practice, then “the cross of Christ [would] be emptied of its power.” Soon no one would listen to the Gospel message or heed the name of G-d. In 2 Timothy 2:15 we read “Study to shew thyself approved unto G-d, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Christ should not be divided because Jesus is “the only way, and the only truth, and the only life. No one comes to the Father except through Him". Those who seek another way have already damned themselves - there is no other way! Jesus Christ is indeed the only Son of G-d, who came to be our Savior. Jesus Christ did indeed die on the cross for us all and was raised from the dead three days later. Today the believers in Jesus Christ are divided and seperated from Him - because all of the various denominations make the Scriptures say what they want them to say. The mark of the beast is very clear in Romans 16:17-18 - "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” You do not need to be too intelligent to realize that man not G-d has caused all these various confusing divsions or denominations that collectively are called the great whore Babylon the mother of many harlot daughters. Jesus was crucified but His body was not broken or divided but, remember those under His cross were gambling for his garment (covering). All those various man-made denominations that have divided the body of Christ have caused great confusion and led many Christian believers astray and into the great whore Babylon. Dear one, Babylon is a female name that simply means "confusion or a mixture." That is why the Lord warns us: "To come out of her my people." Repent and come back to Jesus Christ!
Because the various denominations are not truly fellowshipping much less working together - the health of the believing body is suffering and many souls are being lost. "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." (1Corinthians 11:30). Is Christ divided? We believers are to all gather ourselves together unto Christ - but the denominational pastors are gathering all "their" beLIEvers apart! Pastors, take down your denominational names and give your congregations back to the Lord Jesus Christ and be healed! In the name of Jesus, may the peace of G-d which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds together through faith in our Lord Christ Jesus, Amen and Shalom!