Large portions of the work found in the "Church vs Ekklesia" webpages, and some of the material in the sections on the Book of Hebrews that start with the "episunagoge" study on the "Not Forsaking" page of the Truth Makes Free Website are gleaned from the book The Great Eclipse.
HERE ARE SOME EXTRACTS OF EMAILS TO US FROM ROBERT RANDALL:
Writing The Great Eclipse was begun in about 1992, and it is that sort of book that grows and changes with every edition as the author himself learns more. It has been the fate of The Great Eclipse that each new edition contains such updated information beyond the earlier edition as to essentially render the previous work obsolete.
"The first edition, 1994, was physically no more than an "essay" so to speak. It was just twenty-five 8" x 11" pages of text, stapled at one corner, and the author photocopied and distributed it on a "one on one" basis to individual requestors. It's first title was "Counterfeit Christianity." As it grew in volume it underwent a few title changes, "The Babylonish Church," and "Mystery of Iniquity," etc. Fresh understandings were coming fast to the author through those years, which while wonderful because earlier religious misconceptions were being swept away, it also brought frustration, because the new realizations made earlier copies of the book obsolete.
"It would be nice if we were all like Gabriel who stands in the Presence of God, and has known only light and truth throughout his entire existence. But the author of The Great Eclipse did not come up by such a path as that. He was himself the victim/partaker of forms of Christianity created by the traditions of men. He believed wholeheartedly that what he was being taught in the "churches" he frequented was God's truth, and, he served within those traditions and systems with a committed zeal. Coming out of religious traditions can be like having scales fall from your eyes so that you may finally see. Sometimes it is like layer after layer of preconceived notions and religious concepts are being removed, and the light becomes brighter with the taking away of each veil. Essentially, the book The Great Eclipse has mirrored the author's own grasp of God's truths, as each realization became more and more clear through the years.
"In its first state (with the title Counterfeit Christianity) the book was hardly more than the author parroting a belief that was in fact quite common and widespread in the 1950s and 1960s, and which the author himself was taught, and embraced in his youth. Fundamentalists in the 1950s and 1960s were "sounding the alarm" and saying that Satan was using "The Ecumenical Movement" to deceive the world. They believed that all of the advances toward Christian freedom that had been made since Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, were now being eroded away by "ecumenism." They feared that ecumenists were leading the Protestant denominations "back to Rome." The primary tool of the devil in that work was said to be the World Council of Churches. A close "second runner up" culprit was the National Council of Churches. Fundamentalists were prophesying that very soon the WCC and NCC were going to pull all the big churches together, weld together the Eastern Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic Church, and weld together the Anglicans and the Lutherans, and all of the other big denominations, and make of it one big "Super Church." Most who were raising these "alarms" believed in the Futurist Dispensationalist eschatology that asserted that in the near future there will be a "One World Government" and a "One World Religion. Most of them portrayed the "One World Government" as being presided over by the Antichrist of Scripture (who they cast as a dictator), and the "One World Religion" being under a future Pope of Rome. This pope, they felt, would be the "False Prophet" depicted in Revelation, who will cause the world to worship "The Beast," or, the Antichrist, that said dictator.
"In the 1960s the author of The Great Eclipse was just a boy. When exposed to the warnings that the "False Church" or the "One World Religion" was rapidly forming, and might "any day now" take over, he did not know these were widespread commmon views known by millions of Christians. He thought this knowledge was light that was held by only a tiny few (which was indeed how the teachers of it presented it) and he felt that word urgently needed to be gotten out about it. That was the "beginning" of the book's long development (or perhaps we could say, its "evolution").
"Another element that went into the mix was The Two Babylons by Alexander Hyslop. The author of The Great Eclipse had been exposed to teachings from Hislop's book almost from childhood. That book of course teaches that Roman Catholic religion arose from Pagan sources, and is a false religious system. The combination of "Two Babylons" with the alarm over the ecumenism of the WCC leading Christians "back to Rome," was enough to scare any young Christian into action.
"Compounding matters, in his youth, all of the author's Christian mentors, leaders, Bible teachers, etc., in conformity to Futurist Dispensationalist eschatology, were declaring that the "Mark of the Beast" was just around the corner, that the "666 Beast system" was going to take over any day now, and start putting the "mark" on people's foreheads or hands, and no one would be able to buy food unless they had the mark. In the 1960s a large fold-out tract was printed up and mass distributed across the U.S. It made the claim that there were already, at that time, warehouses full of countless thousands of machines that were going to replace all of the world's "cash registers" at the grocery stores. These machines were going to read the mark of the beast on your body, connect you to your "government number" which might be your Social Security number, and you would thereby be permitted to get food. The writer of the tract claimed he had been inside the warehouses and personally had examined the new machines. The tract claimed that the whole system was ready to go the minute they got the green light. The Great Eclipse author's own pastor distributed these tracts, and preached that the Beast System was about to hit. This author himself took stacks of these tracts directly from the church, and handed out to people while "witnessing." The reader may also remember the old Christian claim from the 1960s that the biggest computer on planet earth was located in Brussels, Belgium, and was fondly named the "Beast of Brussels" by insiders in the leadership of the European Common Market. Supposedly it filled an eleven story building in Brussels. This claim asserted that the gigantic Super Computer was tied in to the United Nations and to the databases of Interpol, the International Police, and that it was being hooked up to the Social Security Administration in the U. S. They said it was poised to pull in everything, from your taxes and banking info, and your driver's license info from the Department of Motor Vehicles, to your Medicare and hospital records. That was the "Beast of Brussels" claim being circulated in the 1960s. The tracts about the "Beast of Brussels" asserted that the technology was almost in place for the "One World Government" to be able to track every human being on the face of the earth. At the same time, claims were abounding that Henry Kissinger was the Antichrist, or perhaps Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, etc., etc., etc. Those old enough to remember might even recall the late 1950s when American Fundamentalists were saying that Billy Graham might be the Antichrist!
"With the exception of the "Billy Graham" notion, the author of The Great Eclipse, though just a boy, was caught up in all of that trumpet-blowing and alarm-sounding. And, believing that our only hope was to have a genuine walk with Jesus, and to be in the True Christian Faith, or sound doctrine, it eventually led to his compiling materials that would someday grow into the body of work we are now discussing. He was convinced that Christians need to be warned against embracing the "False Church" or the "One World Religion" that all of these sources were insisting was about to take over.
What was the "key" to not being swept up in the "false Christianity" that was coming?
SOUND DOCTRINE. TRUTH VS ERROR. WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY TEACHES, VS MAN-MADE RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS.
"We've all now left behind us the hysteria about Henry Kissinger and Juan Carlos, and the Beast of Brussels, and there is not much "alarm" these days over the ecumenical advances of the WCC. Today's new crop of believers are instead being told it's the Internet and the World Wide Web and erosion of privacy (such as by the NSA) that we need to fear. Today it is not warehouses full of new cash registers, it's the microchip they implant in pets (or employees). Today it's not a monster "World Computer" in Belgium occupying eleven stories of a building, tapped into Social Security, it's your cell phone and your iPad in league with Facebook and satellites in space that are being geared up to "get you." Both Kissinger and Billy Graham are off the hook now, because they are old. So is Gorbachev. And Saddam is dead. Whatever shall we do?
"This may sound like merely a confession that the author himself was once caught up in Christian hysteria and sensationalism, and that he has now repudiated that and moved on. That would be a correct assessment, as far as it goes. But, not only were those sensationalist infatuations and knee-jerk ways shed, but perhaps more importantly, so were the very church systems that had given birth to them, fostered them and fed them. He parted company with the systems, the man-made way of "doing Christianity" that had perpetuated myriad wrong ways of thinking.
"However, one valuable thing made it through that long "Christian" gauntlet; the realization that there is MUCH severely wrong in "Christendom," there are indeed "false Christianities" out there, and, we STILL must ascertain TRUTH and SOUND DOCTRINE by "what says the Lord" in His Word, the Scriptures, and that, by the Holy Spirit leading and teaching.
"As veil after veil has come off, over the years, the author has begun to realize by the Spirit of God and by His Word, that the "problems" in "Christianity" are not far away on some foreign shore. Nor are they "over there" in the occasional odd "cult" or "heresy" we can easily pick out as being "way off." God has caused the light from the lamp to shine in, much "closer to home." Paul said to the elders at Ephesus, "of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:29, 30). "OF YOUR OWN SELVES" they will come! He also said (in the same reference) "grievous wolves" shall enter in among you." "Among YOU"! We are always more comfortable imagining that the "bad guys," the deceivers, the wolves, are not "in here," they are "over there." It's never the people we ourselves are trekking along with, it's those weirdos in that OTHER bunch over there. We each want to think that surely any "false Christianity" is far away from ME! We instinctively think WE have it RIGHT, and only "OTHERS" are in the dark!
"The book THE GREAT ECLIPSE aims to make clear that false religion may have crept up MUCH closer to your campfire than you ever dared imagine. It may be right under your elbow, nudging you in the ribs`, even affecting your own Christian walk and worship.
""NAY!" you protest, "I am a washed in the blood, born again, sound doctrine loving, Gospel-preachin', Bible-thumpin' evangelical, on-fire Jesus man! No WAY do I have the taint of wrong religion on me!"
"Don't assume such purity too hastily. God says "Come OUT of her, My people." Whose people? God's got "people" in there. People cannot "come out" of something they are not in.
"In the beginnings of writing the book The Great Eclipse when it had titles like "Counterfeit Christianity" and such, the author thought basically that "blood washed" fundamentalists and evangelicals were "in the clear," that is, "over here" on this side of the line as it were, and that the "Babylon" system was yonder, "over there." But step by step the Holy Spirit has taught, and shown, that the Babylon system has got her hooks deep inside of the fundamentalist and evangelical church systems and their ways of doing things. Jesus said to His own, "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees" (Mt. 16:6, 11, 12, Mk. 8:15, Lk. 12:1). In Matthew 16:12 it is plainly stated that He meant the DOCTRINE of the Pharisees. In Lk 12:1 the "hypocrisy" factor is added. "He began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Christ had many open disputes with the Pharisees, in which he flat out took them to task over doctrine, actual things they were teaching (foremostly, for putting the religious traditions of men in place of the Word of God). Yet he also repeatedly upbraided them as "hypocrites!" The "doctrine" and the "hypocrisy" are merely the left side and the right side of the same animal. They go together. The leaven of hypocrisy can open you to accepting the doctrines and traditions of men. And the cycle is self-perpetuating, for the traditions of men will work to preserve the ways of hypocrisy. But Jesus said to his own, "BEWARE!" concerning this. It was IMPORTANT. But did they beware?
"In Mark 8: 17-21, Jesus said to His own disciples ABOUT the leaven of the Pharisees, "Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not?" And He concluded, by saying, "How is it that ye do not understand?"
"He ended on that note!
""YE DO NOT UNDERSTAND!"
"Those were his last words on it! 'YE DO NOT UNDERSTAND!'
"Listen to the tone: "Having eyes, see ye not? and HAVING EARS, HEAR YE NOT?"
"Now hear Christ in the Book of Revelation, years later, speaking to the seven ekklesias in Asia: "HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR!" Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22.
"Seven times he says it!
"He says also to one, "I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the DOCTRINE of Balaam" (Rev 2:14), and to another, "I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to TEACH" (doctrine) (Rev 2:20).
"The DOCTRINE of the Pharisees and the HYPOCRISY of the Pharisees is a complex. The one feeds the other and they are found together. We all recognize false aeseticism and Gnostic and Catholic heresy when we read in Timothy about "forbidding to marry." But notice how "DOCTRINE" and "HYPOCRISY" are together in those verses: "The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the LATTER TIMES some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and DOCTRINES of devils; Speaking lies in HYPOCRISY; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the TRUTH" (1 Tim 4:1-3). Yes, these things, DOCTRINE & HYPOCRISY, are warned against in "the LATTER TIMES," yet future from when Paul was writing. But they were also warned against Phariseeism by Christ himself, and he said, "YE DO NOT UNDERSTAND!" And in Revelation we find ekklesias that were founded by Apostles and taught and nourished by them, still infested with the leaven of wrong doctrine, and Christ is still saying, "HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR!"
"There was "leaven" in the early church. And that leaven GREW, for that is what "a little leaven" does. Paul said to the Corinthians, "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" (1 Cor 5:6). He likewise said to the Galatians, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal 5:9), and the topic at hand was circumcision, and the Judaizing element: "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." "Ye did run well; who did hinder you?" That was also the story in the Book of Revelation. They had a good start. They did run well. But "something" happened.
"That "leaven" that both Christ and Paul decried, got into the "lump" of dough that was the early church. And that "leaven" is the same "leaven" operating in the Pharisees. Mind you, the Pharisees were not the "genesis" of it. They were not the original source. It was the "leaven of the Pharisees" simply by virtue of the fact that they were infested, saturated with it, and it was characteristic of their system. As soon as the next religious bunch is infested with it, it is THEIR leaven. In Luther's day, when the papacy was rife with that leaven, it could just as rightly be called "the leaven of the papists" as "the leaven of the Pharisees," for it only refers to who is a vehicle of it. You can get away from the Pharisees geographically, and leave them behind. You can break with Rome. But the "leaven" that worked within those people can yet be alive and well in you, or in your "church."
"It arose in the "lump" of the early "church" at Rome, and it grew, and it became Roman Catholicism.
"But it is too easy to think of the epidemic as restricted to a distinct institution, as if the religious diseases are contained within it, and can't get out the doors. Wrong. It grew up from the leaven that went un-purged. And the same leaven can work precisely the same way in ANY pack of Christians, and produce the same kind of sickness.
"'Beware ye of the LEAVEN OF the Pharisees.'
"As surely as it wrought in the Pharisees a system of wrong religion, and as surely as it wrought in the "Catholics" a system of wrong religion, it has lived on, un-purged, and has wrought the same effect in Protestant systems. And the problem is not so-called "denominationalism." It matters not if a bunch of Christians call themselves "non-denominational" or "independent" or even if they are loudly outspoken against "papists" or "Rome." They can still be letting that old "leaven" work its work in their camp. I tell you that a little "independent non-denominational, anti-catholic, Bible-thumpin bunch of Baptists" can still have that leaven working in their camp. A "pastor" over a little flock of 25 people can be a "pope" spiritually. And a board of directors or a team of elders can be just as "papist" or "Pharisaic" in spirit as the Holy See or College of Cardinals at Vatican City. Any Christian sister can spiritually turn into a "Mother Superior" or a "Jezebel," and any brother can be a spiritual Loyola or a Torquemada.
"'Beware ye of the LEAVEN OF the Pharisees!'
"But to return to discussion of The Great Eclipse; what we mean to explain is that the book grew and developed as light from God grew greater.
"The author came by the grace of God to realize that the TRUE EKKLESIA has been ECLIPSED by a False Church system. Christ himself founded the Ekklesia. They were the elect whom he purchased with his own blood. The Apostles were co-laborers with Christ, in first establishing his Ekklesia.
"But there was an "eclipse" coming. "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also OF YOUR OWN SELVES shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears" (Acts 20:29). That is the eclipse. The Apostle John said that already in his day there were "many antichrists." Where did they get their start? He says "They went out from US!" (1 Jn. 2:18, 19). From who? From where? From "US" he says! This is the same as Paul saying "OF YOUR OWN SELVES shall men arise." That was the beginning of the great eclipse. At Rome it culminated in the Roman Catholic Church, and, more particularly, the Papacy. It became a system, or a "way of doing Christianity" that completely usurped, took the place of, that is, "ECLIPSED," the Genuine Ekklesia of Christ.
"In the great eclipse "the traditions of men" crossed over like a great shadow and blotted out the light of the Word of God. The sun became black as sackcloth. The moon became blood, as saints of God were slaughtered by so-called "Christians," the "Church," for trying to bring forth the light of God's Word. The moon no longer gave her light. The Scriptures are filled with types, metaphors and analogies that show the great eclipse. But what it is in short, is man-made religion taking over and taking the place of, and blotting out the light of, the Word of God, and the True Ekklesia. Christ's people, his Ekklesia, his Called Out Ones, are meant to be the Light of the World. But the Church System has eclipsed their light. Today, instead of the world seeing the people of Christ and the Light of the Word in them, they see a vast conglomerate religious system they have been taught to call the "Church."
"There is profound truth expressed in our symbolism of an eclipse: In a natural eclipse, the actual sun is not in fact "blacked out." In truth, the sun is untouched by an eclipse. The whole phenomenon has to do with what men SEE from where they stand on the earth. This is true of God's Ekklesia as well. It has never been destroyed. It has not really been "blacked out." As when God told Elijah that He had yet seven thousand in Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal, the Lord has always had His witnesses. The Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. But from where men stand, that is, viewed by the world, the man-made Church System has covered the face of the sun. It is all they see. The True Ekklesia is here, but the Church System has dominated "center stage" of world attention. When the "eclipse" is finally over, it will be made manifest that the True Ekklesia has been here all along.
"In a natural eclipse when the moon crosses the face of the sun and blots it out, it eventually passes, and a faint sliver of light begins to shine out from behind the usurping darkness.
"We believe that the Light is beginning to emerge in our day. The age of darkness is about to pass. "The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth" (1 John 2:8).
"While the book The Great Eclipse does identify and describe and challenge the dark "entity" or system that has put itself in place of the Light of God, the book does so with a positive goal in sight; the passing of that darkness, and the heralding of the emerging Light. Its message is not intended to rail at the darkness, but rather to help light lamps!
"The emergence of the True Ekklesia into view is inseparable from the breaking forth of the Truth of the Word of God on everything that pertains to these things. Therefore the book The Great Eclipse has everything to do with going to the Word of God, opening the Scriptures, searching the Scriptures, and finding out what saith the Lord, of a truth.
"As explained above the book has undergone change and development through the years, as the Lord has mercifully led and taught the author. And each new "state" the book has come into has made obsolete the earlier "editions, versions or printings," such as they were. Right now The Great Eclipse is undergoing yet another re-write. Much light has been coming from God, and as it does the author feels moved always to go back into the book and rewrite whole sections with the best and most recent understanding he has. Right now, so many portions of The Great Eclipse are being re-worked with new light, that the author feels he simply cannot release an earlier edition of it for reading. They are simply inadequate.
"So at present the only public contribution the book is making is whatever quotes and extracts from it the author is using in teaching, in letters, in presentations online, and in web pages and such.
"We ask because of this that no more requests be made for the book itself at this time.
"Several persons have requested to quote large extracts of The Great Eclipse in Websites. Your quotes and treatment of the material in the past have been faithful representations of our message and intent. Your Truth Makes Free site is a case in point, and we have been pleased to see your handling of it. We are entirely undecided at this point whether to perhaps transfer all of The Great Eclipse into WEB format OURSELVES and make it available that way, and thus perhaps only have Web content to keep up, and not have to simultaneously update the book, or, whether to simply make the next edition of The Great Eclipse far enough future that, God willing, it will not be in need of a re-write the very day it rolls off the press as in times past. Perhaps some writers will let their readers have a book that contains things the author no longer believes, simply due to the difficulties in keeping editions "up to the minute." Admittedly yours truly has not mastered the art of "letting go" and letting folks have something that is not his best. It has not escaped my attention that the Web minimizes to a great degree the problem of obsolete hardcopy. And, Internet technologies are advancing daily. Perhaps God intends that to be the primary outlet for these things after all. We shall see."
"Meanwhile, again, our compliments to you on your honest treatment of the materials."
CHURCH VS EKKLESIA