I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me… Isa 45:5
January 10, 2021
Confronting the Problem
The American media recently announced that the nation was being attacked on several fronts and they went on to name the culprits: Coronavirus, Economy, racial conflict, political upheaval. After announcing these problems, they concluded the report outlining what is being done on each front. Most of us that listened were comforted in each solution or resolution that came about. We believed the reports that the politicians would eventually take care of the problems. Many Americans believe that it will all be well as soon as the new president and administration are in place.
America has seen days when the experts came together and took care of the nation’s common problems and we all went back to our place of rest. America has had the good fortune of leaders who rose up with the foresight to move the nation forward. How many times though can you patch a garment before you have to do some serious repair work or replace it? When we are talking about correcting something built on a divine foundation, it becomes a whole different matter. What if the damage needing repair is our world? There are some things that we just do not have the tools to repair.
Who Is In Charge?
Our modern world seems to forget that this universe and the nation of America started from a spiritual move activated by God. The bible clearly tells us that God spoke this world into existence. The founders of the nation of America told us about how divine providence was involved in the forming of this nation and how they put their trust in God for the nation’s wellbeing and guidance as they declared the nation to be “One Nation Under God.” They made some major mistakes, but the founders started out with reverence for God and asking for His guidance. More than 200 years down the road, our leaders and citizens now expect to have the wherewithal to fix the problems we have racked up all by ourselves. For every major problem we put a patch on, we should be thankful to be able to go a little bit further. Perhaps someone prayed, someone sacrificed, or maybe it was because people came together and in that unity received an answer. God has promised to help us if we seek Him. Perhaps we did that, but did we really acknowledge and thank God for that answer or did we applaud ourselves for ingenuity.
Our nation cannot continue to ignore the need for spiritual guidance from God and expect to have continued success. The whole bible witnesses this fact. God is long suffering but He is also a God of judgment. He has given us an allotted time in which to acknowledge Him and do what is right. Like any good parent, children are expected by their parents to grow up within a specific time, mature and become responsible; but what if we have never grown to maturity or are still disobedient, spoiled children expecting their own way? We have all marveled and grimaced at Donald Trump being called a baby president. What a misnomer! No one with that much power should be acting as a baby nor appeased in bad behavior. We all know how ridiculous that is. What about how foolish the most powerful nation in the world is looking to the rest of the world when the nation cannot handle even the simplest matters that every other nation in the civilized world has handled. How is it that Americans could not agree to wear a simple face mask to stay alive from a deadly disease? How is it that the “One Nation Under God” could not all agree on what is a lie and what is the truth. How is it that the most powerful nation has been laughed at by less prominent nations? Forsaking God has its consequences.
Difficult times tend to bring us to a point of consideration or reckoning, where self-examination is warranted. Those options depend on someone actually knowing the truth and bringing others into consideration. Normally we expect our spiritual leaders to guide us into repentance. Our problem is that long before the crisis of this hour, many of our spiritual leaders had already compromised the standards of truth. They had been led astray by religious entrepreneurs to seek their highest wealth by marketing religion through promoting business systems rather than within spiritual relationship with God. Ministers have sought to be more like everyone else in secular life rather than live set aside for the Lord’s use. They remained in the church role but considered ministry to be similar to other secular jobs. They contended for wealth and a worldly reputation like other occupations rather than entering behind the veil to commune with God. They forgot that the preacher’s employer is a spiritual employer with unlimited power and higher standards than carnal man. As they brought down God’s standard, the standard for every other occupation was brought down as well until truth seemed fallen in the streets. The watchmen on the wall were asleep. The nation has reached the repercussions of a generation who sought worldly gold rather than intimacy with God. They had the wrong response to the question: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (Mar 8:36)?”
While the secular world tries to patch up the damage again, God is now requiring more than a patch this time. There comes a time of reckoning when we have to deal with the real problem. The real problem is the nation’s disobedience to God and having broken the agreement to obey His Law to love God and neighbor. Secular professionals cannot deal with this problem because its root is spiritual disobedience and their solutions would merely kick the can further down the road. God withdraws His protection when a people unite to do evil. Solution will require the true church to recognize their error and acknowledge the failure to obey God. That presents a problem because the nation’s citizens and leaders are promoting carnal rather than spiritual solutions. The leaders who led the nation astray used a mixture of religion and politics as their snare like the prophets of Baal did (1Ki 18:19) and they are quickly claiming no fault. God always leave a faithful remnant to plead the people’s cause though. He is requiring a heart change and a patch is not going to work this time. Even the secular world recognizes how desperate the times are and want real answers. We will not be able to smooth over these problems. Only the truth can deliver us from the snares and influent of past lies .
Can the church get back on track? Some churches have assumed the position of silence in the midst of world shaking problems. Their sermons still relate to worldly interest rather than the distress of end time troubles. Carnal leaders expect to ride out the storm and resume normality at its conclusion. Normality…how was that working for us before? Church leaders have the responsibility of watching and preparing believers until the Lord comes. Most churchgoers are accustomed to being led by the words of the pastor and are unprepared to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Today’s tumultuous times prove the need of hearing God for yourself. Pastors have enjoyed a platform where they have been the sole leadership authority and developing member maturity has been at their discretion. This leadership error (Eph 4:11) needs to be called out to believers who have a right to grow to maturity. So let’s look at the real problem and we have to go to God for that. God has already spoken to this problem in the moment and in prophecy. Let’s just see what God has said:
Eze 34:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
Jer 2:7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. Jer 2:8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. Jer 2:9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I plead.
Commentary on Ezekiel 34 – The shepherds of this chapter were not the religious leaders of the people, but rulers who sought in their government not the good of the people but their own selfish ends. But the statements made by the prophet may be rightly applied to rapacious priests who care more for the fleece (animal fur skin) than for the flock. Pastors are required to lead the flock of God not for filthy lucre (money) but as examples for the sheep, 1Pe 5:2-3. It is their duty, also, to strengthen the spiritually diseased, heal the sick, bind up the broken in heart, and seek the lost. – F. B. Meyers
Bearing in mind that the bible is written for all times and that the 34th chapter of Ezekiel is not dated for a specific time, the prophecy is spoken against rulers who are both religious and political who abuse the people for their own worldly gain. Where rulers abuse the people, God will judge them on their performance and service to His people. God promises both here and in the New Testament example of Mat 21:41, 43: “They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
The decree of God for the unfaithfulness of His servants who reject His rule is for removal from office and replacement by someone who will obey His authority and care for the people. Our nation is struggling with this issue today but Jesus’ handling was clear. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees when He came to the Jerusalem.
Mat 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves . . . 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
History tells us that the temple was destroyed by the Titus of the Romans, so the Pharisees and Sadducees did indeed get tossed out of their positions and the New Testament church was established by the apostles with no need of Pharisees’ service. If they did not convert and accept Christ, there was no place for them in the faith. Even though there is prophesy of building a third temple, the Jewish leadership has been without a temple ever since then.
Fast forward to the modern church today and we are seeing chaos. Some people may remember that a few years ago, Congress tried to get an accounting of the finances of the mega churches. Some of the major charismatic televangelists like Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn and others were contacted by congress to reveal their financial records. Some churches complied but many charismatic leaders resisted the demand for an accounting of personal use of donated church funds and verification of tax status. Their resistance prevented the correction of the church abuse of funds for the minister’s exorbitant personal affairs and such use has greatly excelled since those days without accountability. This brings to mind the story in scripture of the master’s calling for an accounting of his servants’ use of his funds and his dealing with them according to their use of his funds (Mt. 25:24). Since this government inquiry, the charismatic and mega churches have changed their efforts to involvement in political appointments, legislation, judges and particularly the 2016 election of President Donald Trump. They resisted government’s oversight of their lawlessness and have taken oversight of government by advising, support and promoting the president and politicians. Now even though this may seem proper, we need to examine their motion, which was their intent to keep using church funds for personal use without any oversight. When church and government are both corrupt, neither represent righteousness and God must intervene. This is the time for the people to wake up and throw off false leadership before God brings judgment on the whole system. The leadership error is the epitome of the Ezekiel 34 accusation. The religious, business and government leaders conspired together to reduce the tax burden on the rich while they oppressed the people. During the Corona 19 pandemic that has hit the nations of the world, it impacted the United States to a greater degree because of mismanagement and disregard by the nation’s president. When the unemployed workers of America reached millions and relief checks were dispensed by the government to help the needy, first in line were the rich and mega church pastors who had also benefitted from the generous tax break. This was the kind of collusion and abuse that God prophesied in Ezekiel 34 that the rulers would levy upon the people. While the lawlessness of the president, false evangelism and a renegade congress have cracked the Christian foundation; chaos has ensued because there is no common ground on which to stand or use as a standard for agreement. God has exposed this corruption to open the eyes of the innocent of His people and call them to deal with sin and sinners who corrupt the nation.
We saw how God dealt with the corruption of pastors or prophets, kings, princes and temple leaders but the New Testament gives us different set of commandments. The believers are called to be awake and part of the kingdom that hears from God and use spiritual gifts and talents to guide the church, community and nation in righteousness. Today every believer is held responsible for his or her personal ministry to Christ and His kingdom and will have to answer for what they have done for Christ. Some churches have false teaching or may be set up incorrectly but Jesus said: ”My sheep hear my voice and a stranger they will not follow.” We see Apostle Paul in scripture with had the mind of Christ to both correct and direct the churches he raised up. As their elder leader, he had authority to teach, lead, and correct their behavior. Jesus, our Lord, had already given the sheep warning of false leaders.
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees
Lk 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Lk 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
In the scriptures above we see the Lord warning His disciples to not be deceived by the Pharisees’ false teaching and preaching because they are hypocrites. Jesus further explained that these religious leaders teach the scriptures but do not obey the scriptures. The bible authority is timeless and written for instruction to those that live today. So the Lord’s warnings are for us as well. We should be aware of the doctrine being taught by religious leaders who preach and teach but do not obey the word they teach to others. Jesus did not set up religious leaders as religious monarchs but as servant leaders. The concept of servant leaders is not readily accepted in our nation where preachers, pastors, evangelists are superstars who first competed with Hollywood for name recognition and now Hollywood comes to them and receive accolades. The humility of Jesus was our example to follow.
Just as Jesus was needed to correct the church at Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit is moving to bring correction today. The church and its moral laws are the foundation of our moral society and corruption of the church results in corruption of our society. Correction of our society and nation requires the uprooting of corrupt leaders in our church and government. They cannot function without the support of individual citizens and Jesus has called upon and empowered the believer to pray and assist in cleansing the church and saving our world. Where God has given the individual believer His Holy Spirit, He will direct them in their part of the work. Spirit filled believers are called in Rom 8:14 the sons of God. The believer represents Christ in the earth and has a responsibility to work to bring forth the kingdom of God. It is done in righteousness by the spirit and not by hostile takeover. While God is by the Holy Spirit cleansing His house and the land every spirit filled child of God needs to seek his role in possessing the kingdom. This is a new day. The truth shall stand but “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up (Mt. 15:13). This is the time that Jesus empowered each believer and the united church body to stand up for Jesus and His rule in the earth. There will be a Part II to this article in the coming days, you will want to check in for a more revealing version of 2020.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luk 10:19