Nov-Dec, Year of Our Lord, 1996
He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
The Embassy of Heaven Church stands on the brink of destruction if the State of Oregon has its way. We were sent a notice dated November 15, 1996, from the Marion County Property Manager, Elyn M. Lyon, stating, "the following tax lots were deeded to Marion County . . . and this property now belongs to Marion County. You are hereby given notice to remove yourself, your family and all your personal possessions from the property within 30 days from the date of this notice."
The eviction proceedings are the latest in a series of foreclosure actions against the Church by the County. Their pretense for seizing the Church property is for nonpayment of property taxes. This is peculiar because churches are not required to pay property taxes.
The County is openly admitting that the property is being used for Church purposes, but they say we have not filed the correct paperwork. They claim we must meet certain "eligibility" requirements before being removed from the tax rolls.
We responded, "The church secures the exemption by notifying the assessor and he has a duty to remove the property from the tax rolls! If the church is required to meet eligibility requirements, then certain religions will be established and others will be taxed. The assessor would be involved in taxing the free exercise of religion."
We have been trying to obtain answers from the County on why this Church must pay property taxes, while others do not. We have asked over and over again what law authorizes the assessor to tax property used for church purposes at advalorem. The County has conveniently ignored our question.
We are putting everything on the line for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. It is better that we lose all, if that be His will, than to bow down and kiss the feet of tyrants. By compromising, we may keep the shell of the ministry, but lose the lifeblood, which is Jesus Christ.
Marion County is moving hard and fast against us. If they succeed in evicting the Embassy of Heaven Church from the property that was claimed for Jesus Christ and His purpose, the ministry, as we know it, will cease to exist. The system of motor vehicle records, marriage certificates, baptisms, and passports will fall into the hands of unbelievers. The computers will be confiscated. There will be no one at the other end of the phone to be a third witness to your citizenship in Heaven. When you go through customs at the borders, there will be no one here to verify your passport. When you are stopped on the highways and byways for preaching the Gospel, we cannot confirm that you are called to His ministry.
Marriage counseling will end. No one will be able to be baptized in the headwaters of Mill Creek in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. For those who want to be married under the authority of Jesus Christ, rather than the state, we will no longer be here for you. The equipment necessary to publish books and make audio tapes will be gone. Documents for citizens of Heaven will no longer be produced here.
If we lose everything, we will be witnesses to the State's lack of tolerance of real Christians in the Western World. This may be our last newsletter. We ask for prayer. We ask God for a miracle. While circumstances may look grim, what is impossible with men, is possible with God. We pray Marion County leaves its procedures, paperwork and everything it represents behind and somehow gets to know our living God. For the way of man is unto death, but the way of God, through His Son Jesus Christ, is everlasting life.
Yes, they are coming against Christ and his beloved ones. But our spirit must still be one of love. We are called to save lives, not destroy them. We are not to hold these things against them. Let God do the avenging. In the final hour, God will keep His Saints in Heaven and cast the wicked into Hell fire. The newspapers say that the County will have to seek an order to evict us after December 15, 1996. We do not know whether this order will merely be a rubber stamp, or whether we will have opportunity to object to the proceedings.
CHURCH IN WORLD,
NOT OF WORLD
Our plans are to occupy until He comes. We are going to obey God rather than men. We will make no effort to move the Church's possessions from this facility. We will continue our daily work and walk with God. If they succeed in removing us from the land, we assume their next step is to pack up all the Church's records, equipment and furnishings and put them in storage. We have no intentions of taking anything with us. Nor do we have any plans to move the ministry elsewhere. We will literally be put on the street, with just the shirts on our back, to start over again.
To most men, Embassy of Heaven has been foolishness. They do not understand the things of God. They love men and their traditions. There are many who urge us to seek out a lawyer, but scripture says the lawyers have rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him (Luke 7:30). They have lost sight of how to love their neighbor as themselves, or to love their neighbor as Jesus Christ has loved us.
The County has asked us to voluntarily leave one month from November 15, 1996. We have set December 15 as a day of prayer and fasting.
Why is Marion County taxing Church property that is being used for Church purposes?
County Officials Who are Involved in Taking What Belongs to God:
Marion County Assessor
Franklin Bldg - 495 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301-3670
(503) 588-5144 Office
(503) 588-7985 FAX
County Legal Counsel
Michael J. Hansen
530 Center Street NE, Suite 312
Salem, Oregon 97301-3670
(503) 588-5220 Office
(503) 373-4367 FAX
Marion County Property Manager
Elyn M. Lyon
Senator Bldg, 220 High Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97301-3670
(503) 588-5047 Office
(503) 588-5495 FAX
Marion County Public Affairs
100 High Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
Marion County Sheriff
PO Box 710
Salem, Oregon 97308-0710
The following thought was given to us by a local preacher who visited during this present trial.
Why look ye for Heaven in the future, when Heaven is now. Heaven is My Presence. In My Presence is love, joy, peace, patience, mercy, goodness and gentleness. Why leave My Presence? My Presence is the stabilizing force in trial, testing, and trouble. It is My Presence. Come into My Presence. Do not leave My Presence. Heaven is now. (Anonymous)
In thy presence is fulness of joy.
Associated Press - Reprinted from the Everett Herald, Everett, Washington, November 8, 1996
SUBLIMITY, ORE. - Instead of paying $16,000 in back property taxes, the Embassy of Heaven is asking Marion County why it's trying to tax God's land.
Wednesday was the group's last chance to pay the taxes and penalties on its 34 acres near rural Sublimity. Now the county plans to give a 30-day eviction notice, perhaps as early as next week, spokeswoman Carol Fischer said.
"Since 1987, the Church property has been claimed for Jesus Christ and is within the Kingdom of Heaven," Pastor Paul Revere wrote in a letter to county commissioner Randy Franke.
"As God's property, it is excluded from the taxation process by its very nature."
Revere, who lives there with his wife, two daughters and one staff member, had said he will have to be carried off the land. The group believes its members and the land are not subject to many state laws. They fashion their own license plates, driving licenses and passports.
In 1990, the county denied the Embassy of Heaven's application for tax-exempt status as a church because it failed to gain federal tax-exempt status and was not incorporated as a church, and the land was not in the church's name, county assessor Doug Ebner said.
The church has about 300 members across the country and 1,000 people who receive a bimonthly newsletter, Revere said.
For the record, the Assessor is in error. Embassy of Heaven filed a lawful Statement of Purpose, rather than filing an application. We have never been asked for a federal tax-exempt status, nor is it required. Neither does the law require the church to be incorporated or be recognized by the State. Finally, the land is deeded to Embassy of Heaven.
The County wants us to come under the State of Oregon. They want us to incorporate and become a State Christian Church. They want us to acknowledge that the State is lord over the Church. Then they can tell us what to preach from the pulpit.
But we are not called by the State, neither are we going to yoke to the State or the County.
We will remain in Jesus Christ.
|Gary||Welcome to the weekly edition of America Today Radio. This is brother Gary, your host, and I've got some very interesting interviews for you to hear today. This has to do with the issue of state versus the church. And it has to do with the issue of incorporated church. And I think you are going to find these interviews very interesting.|
|Song||If only we could hear America pray. Once she was the home of the free and brave, fast again becoming the home of the slave. What would it take to revive her again, get on her knees and confess her sins. . . .|
|Gary||OK, this is brother Gary, your host here on America Today Radio. Sometimes you find things in the oddest way and you come across some gems in the strangest circumstances. Just yesterday, I was going through the newspaper looking through it as if I wasn't going to find anything special. And I came across an Associated Press article about a church out in Oregon. The church is called the Embassy of Heaven. And the article spoke about how the local government out in Marion County, Oregon, was coming against the Embassy of Heaven and trying to take, or was actually in the process of taking, their property because of the lack of payment of their property tax.|
|I thought, "This is just another case of that U.N.-ited States mentality, trying to come against a church for property tax." So I felt this should be on the air. There are so many churches that do not understand that the government is trying to set up the stage to come against them also.|
|Now listen pastors, if you're out there and you've got an incorporated church, and you're under the 501(c)(3), you're setting yourself up. I know what I'm talking about. You see, when I started in the ministry back in 1980, or '83, I incorporated a ministry that I had at that time. And I thought that was the right thing to do because I misunderstood the teachings in Romans. I thought that we were to be subject to the government's authority. But I want you to know something, pastors, I became aware that this is not what Romans is talking about. This is not at all what Romans is talking about. If the government that God has called for us to establish is to be rested on the shoulders of His Son, and we are told in Scripture that it will, then this government that we call "government" or the State, cannot possibly be the government God is talking about.|
|I guarantee you, the government that we call, "the government," the State, my friend, pastor, they are looking to come after you and your church. Now I've got some interviews that I want you to listen to very carefully. Let's go right to the interviews:|
|Gary||Ms. Fischer, welcome to the program.|
|Fischer||Thank you very much.|
|Gary||I believe that you have the title of Public Affairs Director.|
|Fischer||That's correct, with Marion County, Oregon.|
|Gary||With Marion County, OK. What I am calling you about Ms. Fischer, is the current situation with the one Mr. Paul Revere. And I believe his Church is known as the Embassy of Heaven.|
|Gary||And we're being told that right now there is a situation on taxes with this organization at this point?|
|Fischer||Well, let me give you the background, and it is not a short story, but I will try to keep it brief for your listeners. Mr. Revere does own property in Marion County. I should say he did, as of today his property was deeded to Marion County. How that happens is by Oregon State law counties are responsible for collecting property taxes that fund local government services. And after one's property is in arrears on taxes for three years, foreclosure begins. That's a two year process, and that two year process ended just yesterday.|
|This morning, paperwork was filed in Marion County that deeded not only that property, but nearly 30 others in Marion County, of people who are approximately 5 to 6 years behind on their property taxes. This is just one of several properties that this takes place on at this point. This happens, unfortunately, every year to a number of people, not only in Marion County, Oregon, but every county in Oregon, and many other counties throughout the United States, because counties are often required by State statute in their individual states to be the tax collector for those various taxing districts.|
|Gary||May I ask you a question on that, Is it standard in Oregon to tax church properties?|
|Fischer||It is not standard in Oregon to tax church properties. However, any church that asks for an exemption, and each church must individually ask for a separate exemption, goes through a series of steps as required by Oregon State law, to achieve that tax exempt status. It starts with getting federal paperwork from the Internal Revenue Service that declares that the organization is indeed a "not for profit" organization. It works from there to include things like by-laws, articles of incorporation. All those pieces must be in place, and then that is filed with an application to the county tax assessor. The property, if the paperwork is found to meet all the standards, is removed from the tax roll. But only if those standards are met.|
|Mr. Revere has applied for that status but he has not filed the necessary federal paperwork for our offices to honor his tax exemption. . . .|
|Gary||OK, pastors, I hope you heard what was said there, "the necessary federal paperwork." In other words, what she is saying is, "Unless the church is under the lordship of government, the State, Marion County won't recognize it." Let's go to the next interview:|
|Gary||On the program, the gentleman that has captured the imagination of a lot of people because of his stand for Christ, and his stand for what he believes to be the right stand when it comes to the church and state. I am talking about Pastor Paul Revere, with the Embassy of Heaven out in Oregon. Brother Paul, are you there with us?|
|Paul||Yes, thank you very much for inviting me.|
|Gary||Well, Paul, brother, it's good to talk to you and I just want to have you share with us some of the situation you are going through. We understand there is an attempt by Marion County in Oregon to take the property of the Church, is that true?|
|Paul||That is correct.|
|Gary||What in the world is going on there?|
|Paul||Well, we would like to know the same thing. We had notified the County in 1987 that the property here is being used for this ministry in its entirety, and we requested that they remove the property from the tax rolls, specifically for this ministry.|
|As far as I am concerned, we have been stonewalled the whole time. Our only position is that the Church is under Jesus Christ, it is not under the State. We believe that the property for that purpose is not subject to assessment or taxation by the County.|
|Gary||So I assume that you are standing more on the fact that you are not "exempt." You are "immune."|
|Paul||That is correct. The Church, by its very nature, is excluded. In fact, let us take a look at the laws that they use, referred to as the "Oregon Revised Statutes." The authority for the assessor to assess and tax, he can only do it on properties that are "within their state." If the property is "within their state" then they can assess and tax and then there are exemptions, grants of privileges for those properties that are within their state.|
|An example of those churches that do fall "within the state" are state corporations, which is the status of most churches. If a church incorporates with a state, the state attorney general is the head officer of their church, instead of Jesus Christ. So they must apply for an exemption.|
|On the other side of it, the Embassy of Heaven Church is not a corporation of the state. It is a corporation of the Kingdom of Heaven. Our position is that we are in the Kingdom of Heaven and not in the state. Therefore, right at the foundations, they do not have the authority to assess and to tax the Embassy of Heaven Church or its holdings.|
|Gary||OK, now I think it is important for all of our listeners to understand, this is not a group of people who have just decided, "Here's a quick way of beating the tax system." Is that correct?|
|Paul||That's correct, we have a neighbor who has come forth and is willing to testify that Embassy of Heaven has been a ministry since 1987. In fact, we personally visited him in '87 and we told him what we were going to do. He is also willing to testify that all of the activities that he has ever seen us do here are Church activities.|
|Gary||And you also are not a group that is sitting out there in Oregon trying to find an excuse to have a battle with the government? You're just standing on your faith, is that right?|
|Paul||That is correct. We are a very peace-loving people and we have been persecuted considerably over the years. This is now the ultimate charge of the state against our Church.|
|Gary||Now for those out there, Pastor, who do not understand why they should care about what happens to this little Church out in Oregon, if you lose this case, what is the ramifications for all the independent churches that are not incorporated out there, who did not stand with you in your time of need?|
|Paul||A lot of people say, "Well, Paul, what are you going to do, how about your family? What about the few people within your congregation?" Yes, it is going to hurt us, but through our weakness it will be the Strength of Jesus Christ. Like you suggested, it is not just we who are at risk here. If the Embassy of Heaven Church cannot be a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and must submit and be recognized by the State, that means that all churches must become State government churches.|
|Gary||OK, that is the interview with both Carol Fischer of the Marion County government and with Pastor Paul Revere of the Embassy of Heaven Church. And I hope you heard Carol Fischer acknowledge that the Embassy of Heaven is a church but that she would not, on behalf of the County, be able to give them recognition as a church until the federal government approved them.|
|Pastors, I want to tell you something, the hour is late. You say, "Why should I care?" Well, as goes that Church will someday go your church if you are an incorporated 501(c)(3) church, and even if you are not. Because here is a pastor who is not, yet they are coming against him.|
|I have a letter here that was sent out by the National Council of Churches. I am going to invite all the listeners to write in and get a copy of this National Council of Churches' letter about being involved in politics, and the warning they gave about not being involved for fear of losing their 501(c)(3) and having the government come against them.|
|Now look, if your pastor may not have been listening to this and you think he needs to hear it, you have him tune into Voice of Freedom on Monday night, the 10:15 edition, and I will be using the same interview on that program. It is important that we get this information out folks, because I will tell you what, unless we begin to understand our relationship with Jesus Christ, unless we put God above us, and government under us, we're in big trouble.|
From Register Guard, Eugene, Oregon, Wednesday, November 6, 1996
Regarding Pastor Paul Revere and his scheduled eviction (Register-Guard, Oct. 30), I don't think the authorities should confiscate his property from him and his family for the $16,000 they claim he owes.
If the man lives as he claims, then he probably doesn't even use the services the taxes pay for (unlike his neighbors, who want him to pay as they do). There's talk of bringing in the FBI, even though the sheriff doesn't foresee a problem with him (more of my tax dollars!).
There is no environmental concern from these people who live off the land, so what is the point? Obey government authority? If the state decides who is a church and who isn't, then there is no separation of church and state. Do we need to create yet another homeless family (more tax dollars, even though this family probably wouldn't use the government programs set up for homeless people)?
We once lived in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Now we are living in the land of the fee and the home of the slave!
It's easy to say
"Yes, Lord" in prayer
When things go smoothly
And weather is fair.
But what will you do
When trouble sets in?
The storm clouds reveal
The heart that's within.
Give in to tyrants?
Or will you stand strong?
Are you a quitter
Or will you go on?
Pray that your feet
Are planted in Christ
His faithful love
Will more than suffice.
Brooke Revere, 11-11-96
When people form a social compact, they submit themselves to each other. To establish this relationship, representatives are chosen from among themselves to frame a constitution and to enact laws to carry out their will. These people have a right to alter, reform, or abolish their government as they may think proper. However, these people do not have a right to impose their will upon people who have not chosen to be part of their government. The only property they can govern is their own. They do not have the authority to oversee the property of people outside their government.
Several governments operate concurrently within America. The United States and the several states do not have a monopoly on government. For instance, inside America are several Indian nations. There is also the separate government known as the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ set up this Kingdom government when He walked upon the earth. Christ's government was established by God and not by the people. The people who choose to be part of His government cannot alter, reform, or abolish His government. Any property they may hold, belongs to God.
In 1987, a small group of people received the call of Jesus Christ and formed a ministry known as the Embassy of Heaven. These people and their property were transferred from the State of Oregon to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Embassy of Heaven belongs to God.
Jesus spoke these words, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." The importance of this statement is that Caesar has authority over his own things, but not over the things of God.
Some churches have chosen to give "Caesar" jurisdiction over them by becoming State corporations. Since the State has an interest in these churches, the State can determine whether they meet certain qualifications and exempt them from taxation. A tax exemption is a privilege that the State can revoke at any time.
The Embassy of Heaven is not a State corporation. We are governed solely by the authority of Jesus Christ. The State has no legislative jurisdiction over Jesus Christ. Therefore, it cannot assess or tax Embassy of Heaven Church property. The Embassy property, because it belongs to a separate government, by its very nature, is nontaxable by the State.
When the Embassy of Heaven notified the Assessor of it's new status in 1987, the Assessor lost his authority to assess and tax the Church. It does not matter if Marion County follows all the correct procedures. Employing support from the tax collector, legal counsel, courts, commissioners, or anyone else does not change the truth. The State can only tax that which is theirs. The entire process of assessing, taxing and foreclosing on the Embassy of Heaven Church is fraudulent. To evict God's people from God's property for non-payment of taxes is a crime.
Our Harvest Retreat was held from September 18 - 22, 1996, here at the Embassy. About 50 people from across America gathered to learn about the Kingdom of Heaven and share their experiences of living in the world, but being separate from it.
Many testimonies were shared of God calling individuals and families out of well-paying jobs to begin a ministry for His name's sake.
Ken Zenobi told about how his work as a finance manager put men and women into usury. "I was good at it. I was ruthless and I made a lot of money." But the Lord started to convict him that this work could not be honoring God. One day he brought home a big ugly orange commercial bread mixer. They didn't know what to do with it at the time, but God was starting to put the pieces together. His wife had a dream that they were selling bread at a "wide spot in the road" and eventually that dream became reality.
After a few false starts, Ken quit the financing business for good. Today Ken, his wife and three boys have a breadmaking ministry. They bake healthy breads that they sell from their pickup at the "wide spot in the road" and at the local farmers' market. It can be exhausting work, but as Ken says, "It is a wonderful peace to be tired in Him."
Christian Livingstone testified that he worked with mental patients in the State prison system. Though he considered himself a Christian, God finally started convicting him that his work was incompatible with Christ's teachings. He said, "I am not treating people the way I would like to be treated, and I am overcoming evil with evil."
He finally realized this work was not for him. He had to clean up about five thousand dollars of credit card debt and then he quit his prison job. He now mows lawns and likes the pleasant work. He says, "Forget the social security. Forget the public employees' retirement system. I mustered out of all of that stuff." God is now leading him into his own ministry for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Another highlight of the retreat was the testimony of young adults between 13 and 19 who had been educated at home. They spoke about how they believe they can learn much better out of school. Alicia Williams talked about how her dad (Gregory Williams) has helped her pursue her interests, such as astronomy. She recently set up her telescopes and showed hundreds of touring bicyclists the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.
Kyla Yoshahara said she was a brat when she attended Christian schools. She had school friends, but did not get along well with her family. Now that she is being homeschooled, she and her brothers and sisters work together and are best friends. They help their parents run the family's landscape business.
One thing we heard over and over in these young people's testimonies was praise for their parents. One young adult said, "I have a lot to learn, but I know my parents have had a big hand in guiding me to God and knowing Him and keeping Him first."
We welcome the following men who were baptized into Jesus Christ here at the Embassy of Heaven. Each of them has left the "old man" behind and are walking in newness of life. We pray that God uses them mightily for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Ambassador: Allison Grayson
Date of incident: 10/22/96
Location: Northern Idaho panhandle
My family and I were traveling down the road when we noticed a county sheriff's car coming in the opposite direction. As we approached, the police car suddenly started to spin around, then lost control on the slick pavement and slid into the ditch. The patrol car tipped over and went bouncing down the ditch upside down with its wheels in the air. Shocked, we pulled to a stop and ran over to help the deputy crawl out of his overturned car. His head was bleeding and he admitted it had been hit hard. My wife wiped off the blood from his forehead and he asked us to contact the volunteer ambulance. Since his car was upside down, his radio antennae would not work, so he did not know if help would be arriving. As we left to summon the ambulance, the officer called me by name and thanked us for our help. Our hope is that the police officer's injuries are only minor.
Last week I had been in court on charges related to Kingdom of Heaven licenses. The prosecutor had said that he was unable to proceed and the case was dismissed.
As only our Lord can arrange, this injured officer was the same deputy who had told me in court that day not to take my car on the road until it was properly licensed and a State licensed driver was behind the wheel.
Here's an example of Allison obeying God rather than men. Because of his obedience to God, Allison was out on the road again in a Heaven vehicle, helping the deputy sheriff who was in need. Shortly after this incident, Allison was thrown in jail. PR
In 1991, we published a story about new regulations which could hurt itinerant evangelists in China. It is estimated that there are about 500,000 of these evangelists in China who have no fixed address, deliberately remain unmarried, and travel constantly to preach the Gospel. New regulations require everyone in China to show proof of identity before purchasing a bus, train, or airplane ticket. Since itinerant evangelism is forbidden in China, it will be difficult or impossible for these evangelists to obtain proper "state" identification. Therefore, they will be blocked from using public transportation.
Today, just five years later, we see the beginning of similar regulations in the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration has published anti-terrorists directives that require airlines to ask for government-issued identification before anyone can board their airplanes. This is hurting many people who do not have identification issued by local, state, or federal government agencies. This particularly hurts God's people who are attempting to come out of the world system.
Several of our ambassadors have been refused passage because the airlines would not recognize our Kingdom of Heaven passports. The Federal Aviation Administration has told us that the airlines are interpreting the new directives too strictly. We have been able to clear up the matter eventually, but sometimes our people have missed their scheduled flight.
We now have a new procedure for those wishing to fly on the commercial airlines. What we are doing is giving the airline an advance notice to avoid delays and misunderstandings.
When scheduling a flight, give first preference to smaller airlines. They are often more willing to accommodate us. Western Pacific, for instance, has been wonderful. Find out the necessary information such as departure and arrival times and prices. When you have chosen your flight, contact the airlines directly or a travel agency to schedule your flight. Inform them that you will be using a Kingdom of Heaven Passport for identification.
Peace to all whom this may concern:
The Embassy of Heaven
of the Kingdom of Heaven
hereby requests that the citizen of Heaven
named herein pass without delay or hindrance
for the purpose of evangelizing
upon the highways in the Kingdom of Heaven
in obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
the only begotten Son of our Heavenly Father.
A day or two later, call the airlines and confirm that you will be using a Kingdom of Heaven passport. They should log this information in their computer. When you arrive at the airport, the clerk will enter your name and the computer will indicate that you will be presenting a Heaven passport. Since your passport matches the information in the computer, the airline agent should be satisfied. From there on, everything should go like clockwork.