We know from our Lord that at His Second Coming conditions on earth will be as it was during the time of Noah.
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).
Many theories exist as to what the above verse actually means, but I do not want to discuss the meaning of this verse here. Aside from the days of Noah, there is a time in Israel’s history, recorded in the Bible that is very much like the world is right now.
In fact it is not farfetched to say that Israel too is like that right now. The world is also like this period right now and worst of all the Laodicean Church is like this period right now.
The book of Judges is that period of time between the leadership of Joshua and Caleb and Kings Saul and David. It was a time that may be described as the lowest point in Israel’s history when there was no central authority. The entire book is characterized by the oft repeated refrain “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
This was not in any way a good thing. It was in fact a period in Israel’s history where the most sordid of events were recorded and there was disorder and confusion throughout the land.
More than that, Israel was dominated by various pagan peoples including the Canaanites, Midianites and the Philistines.
Confusion reigned in the land, in the home and in the ministry of the Levitical Priesthood.
This is exactly what one could expect if “…every man did that which wasright in his own eyes.” It is the same today where aberrant ministries do whatever they can think of to entice a disinterested world into some form of church setting. Seeker friendly marketing tactics, mysticism, signs, wonders and miracles seem to do the trick for a world that is ignorant of the Bible and the things of God. There is a famine of God’s Word in the land.
Jeremiah knew what he was talking about when he said “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Man is not capable of running his own life without input from God. The fast approaching Millennium will prove this once and for all.
- There will be no more devil to tempt you.
- There will be no demons to torment and entice you.
- There will be no more sickness.
- There will be no more poverty.
- There will be no more hunger.
- There will be no longer a present danger.
- There will no longer be fear.
- There will no longer be wicked people around you to entice you.
- Jesus Christ Himself will rule from Jerusalem.
- There will be a worldwide set of rules for everyone to follow.
- There will no longer be any danger from animals or insects.
Yet in spite of the above facts, man still goes off the rails at the end of the thousand year period.
“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10).
The only time we can do as we please is when we are in His will and walking in the spirit.
“If it pleases you to please the Lord, then you can do as you please.”
I would like to draw your attention to one story in Judges17 going on to chapter 19 about a man named Micah. It must be said that this is not about the prophet Micah, this is another man. The first thing about Micah is that we notice that he is a very religious man. (Micah means “One who is like Jehovah.”)
We start off with Micah stealing 1,100 (eleven hundred) shekels of silver from his mother.
(The number 11 occurs several times in Judges; eleven is the number of confusion.) His mother promptly places a curse on whoever stole the money so Micah confesses. It was the fear of the curse, not the fear of the Lord that motivated Micah to confess his crime and restore the money.
As a reward for such “honesty,” from her son, his mother sought to neutralize her curse by blessing him.
Then in verse 3 we read: “And when he had restored the eleven hundredshekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.”
Verse 4 says, “Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.”
In gratitude for the return of her money, Micah’s mother dedicated part of the silver to the Lord and made an idol out of it. Micah’s mother paid a silversmith 200 silver shekels. Not a cheap idol. This woman actually thought that the Lord would be impressed if she made an idol to Him.
To do this was in direct disobedience to the command in Exodus 20:4,“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:”
Her thinking reflects the influence that the Canaanites had over Israel during this time. The phrase “a graven image and a molten image” suggests two objects of false worship, an image carved out of stone or wood, and a cast idol made out of melted metal poured into a mold. Whatever these idols were they were clearly distinct objects as seen in Judges 18:18.Micah broke seven of the Ten Commandments and it did not appear to bother him because of his spiritual condition.
- First, Micah coveted his mother’s silver. (According to Col. 3:5, covetousness is idolatry.)
- He then stole the silver.
- Micah dishonoured his mother by stealing from her.
- He then lied about the whole enterprise until the curse scared him into confessing.
Thus he broke the fifth, eighth, ninth, and tenth commandments; and he broke the first and second commandments by having a shrine of false gods in his home. According to Proverbs 30:8–9, when he stole the silver, he broke the third commandment and took the name of the Lord in vain.
Breaking seven of the Ten Commandments without leaving your own home is quite an achievement! His spiritual condition was so warped that he did not even think that he was doing wrong. In the church today there are many Micah’s who abuse the Word of God and do it with such conviction and “authority” that many are they that accept and believe the lie of their doctrine.
The Canaanite influence was pagan and spiritually devastating to Israel. They became superstitious and steeped in mysticism .Not unlike what we have in the Laodicean Church of today. Many ministries are stealing from the flock they are supposed to care for spiritually.
They themselves do not know the Scriptures and teach false pagan ideas that are accepted as biblical by a laity that in turn is grossly ignorant because they do not read or study the Word of God for themselves. The graven images and idols in the Laodicean Church are many.
Verse 5 tells us… “And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.”
According to Deuteronomy 12:1-14, there is only one place of worship in Israel, and the people were not permitted to have their own private shrines. And furthermore if anybody outside of Aaron’s family served as priests, they were to be killed (Numbers 3:10). Micah’s mother didn’t really deal with her son’s sins; his character certainly didn’t improve by the way she handled the matter. But being a corrupt person herself, she knew no better.
These were not the only idols in Micah’s aberrant shrine, for he had an ephod (possibly as an object of worship; see Judges 8:24-27; or for a priest to wear) and some idols (Teraphim; Genesis 31:17-50). He then installed one of his sons as his priest to conduct worship in this shrine. The Torah is clear that only a priest from the tribe of Levi could be a priest, not just anyone we decide to ordain as we see fit.
The parallel to our modern day Church is obvious. Many “big name” churches have their spouses and children serving in their ministry, not because they are competent or called into the ministry, but because nepotism is rife in the Laodicean Church. If a wife or child is NOT CALLED into the ministry, they should not be there trying to fill hubby or daddy’s shoes no matter how lucrative it may be. It is a terrible shame that money is the main idol of the aberrant Laodicean Church of our time. The main idol of choice in our day is money.
Of course we knew that this would be the case as we read Jesus’ letter to the Laodicean’s…
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, andthat the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:17-20).
The “be zealous” here is applied to the acquisition of money power and fame, and not the “storing up of treasures in Heaven.” Fleecing the Flock is the prime objective of the Laodicean Church. They of course would deny this accusation and justify their actions using misquoted Scriptures or Extra-biblical sources to sustain their errant position. Notice too that Jesus is outside of this Church wanting to come in. The problem is that if Jesus were inside the church. He would insist on them being Bereans. He would want the congregation to submit their will to the will of the Father and walk in truth, living a life that honours the Father, not the self.
He would insist on Bible study and the reading of the Bible in order to understand it and not to “cherry-pick” blessings from it only. He would chastise those who claim to be prophets and teachers who are not. He would remove from leadership those persons of authority who bring shame to the gospel and disrepute the Christendom in general. He would remove those wolves who claim a special relationship with God which sets them above the lower level Christians.
The rich would not be treated any differently to the poor, and those living in sin would be challenged and rebuked to repentance.
Nope, Laodicea cannot have Jesus in the church; it would be too risky and disruptive. Instead they use His precious name like a talisman. This church gives the name of Jesus “honour” and they “worship” Him with worldly methods which they have concocted; they worship and honour Jesus with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. Entertainment supersedes doctrine and sound doctrine.
Many are the strange unbiblical doctrines of the Church in these last days, and there seems to be an endless stream of misguided followers who idolize the wolves in sheep’s clothing. We speak of Islam being a religion of “blind faith,” but so is the religion of so many Christians who accept blindly the teachings and doctrines of obvious frauds. They cannot see the deception because they have no discernment. They have no discernment because they have a seared conscience; they have lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life.
There is a great emptiness in them where discernment ought to be. They are influenced by the
“Canaanites” of our day worshiping God in an unbiblical manner thinking that all is well because their “good motive” is all that counts. Unfortunately Cain’s good motives got him into a lot of trouble with God as did Saul’s good motives. God has not changed; He is the same God that dealt with Cain and Saul.
We read further in verses 8 to 13…
“And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehem-Judah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehem-Judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. And there was a young man out of Bethlehem-Judah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.
And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in. And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.”
Micah now thought he had the favor of God because he no longer needed his son to be a priest for him; now God had given him a genuine Levitical priest to serve as his private chaplain. This was forbidden in the Law… “And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death” (Numbers 3:10).
Micah practiced a false religion and worshiped false gods (with Jehovah thrown in for good measure), and all the while he rested on the false confidence that God was blessing him! The Levite, of course, was perhaps more to blame for having accepted a position he knew was under false pretenses.
These acts of disobedience to God’s Law were typical of the Israelites in the time of Judges.
The Levite was a hireling, as are so many “pastors” in the church today. Their motives are for self-gain and not the protection, nurturing and well being of the church of God. Many are they that are in the pulpit under false pretences. They have a form of godliness, but their motives are for their private gain.
When you have a hireling in the pulpit, it will not end well as this story goes on to prove.
Superstition and mysticism will flow from the pulpit and penetrate into every deceived life that supports a false teacher or false prophet. Micah practiced a false religion and worshiped false gods in direct disobedience to the Torah, and all the while he rested on the false confidence that God was blessing him!
The Laodicean Church is also blessed out of its socks. They think that when good things happen, it is God who is blessing them. Big numbers at church services are not a sign that you are on the right road, especially when you consider Matthew 7:13 -15:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straitis the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
And … 1Timothy 4:1- 2: “Now 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.”
And of course… Matthew 21-23: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Notice that there are “many.”
2 Timothy 4:3- 4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
It is clear that those who follow false teachers, prophets and pastors do so because they want to hear only that which makes them feel good. They are just as much to blame for the apostasy in the church today as are the leaders. They want to serve God “My Way.”
Strangely enough the false church does in fact give honor to God for the blessings they receive; but so did Cain, so did Saul and many others who were walking in total disobedience to the Word of God and just assumed that it was God who was blessing them. They equated material blessings with spiritual acceptance.
Blessings are NOT a measure of someone spirituality.
Read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews and you will see how God often allowed true believers to suffer. Blessings can in fact be a curse from God. Put down those stones and allow me to explain! In the book of Kings the Northern Kingdom of Israel under Ahab and Jezebel flourished materially in spite of their Baal worship.
In fact it was made law that no one could read the Torah, pray to Jehovah or circumcise a baby under pain of death. Judaism was Jezebel’s sworn enemy and she almost wiped it out in the Northern Kingdom. In spite of their sordid religious practices they were flushed with success and blossomed with affluence and influence.
There are reprobate Christian leaders and pastors who are blessed financially beyond that which is considered “decent.” The obscene amount of money they cheat God’s people out of becomes a curse in that they reach a point where they cannot do without the money and trappings that come with it.
The very thing that they thought was a “blessing” is now a snare to them and they remain trapped in a cycle of lies and deceit. They find it difficult to repent because that would mean giving up the comfort of the money and admitting that their doctrine and teachings are false.
Also they would have to admit that they have been stealing from God’s precious children for many years. Pride and arrogance will shun repentance and justify a lifestyle that is dishonouring to God. The cycle that they are in is in fact a downward spiral. It is not going to end well, watch and see.
The “Positive Confession” and “Gimme Gimme” generation of Laodicea probably never read Hebrews 2:10…
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Yes God wants to bless us as His children, but not at the expense of our character. In chapter 18 of Judges we find that certain spies of the tribe of Dan came upon the Levite priest in Micah’s house:
“And he said unto them, ‘Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest’” (Judges 18:4).
When they asked what a Levitical priest was doing in a private home in Ephraim—(a very good question, by the way) he told them the truth: He was hired to do the job! He was a hireling and not a true priest of the living God. The motivating factor in the false priest’s life was the love of money.
As it is today in Laodicea, if someone who claims some close “connection” to God they want a prophecy or some blessing from God.
“And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous” (Judges 18:5).
Upon learning that he was functioning as a priest, they superstitiously sought some word of God’s blessing on their spying mission. In modern terms they said “Give us a word from God and prophecy over us.”Since somebody else was paying the bill, the spies thought it was permissible to get “spiritual counsel” from the “priest.” Being a good charismatic, he told them what they wanted to hear. Later in the passage the hireling priest decides to follow the money and he dumps Micah and steals his god of silver.
“And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.”
It is truly amazing that even in this day there are gods that need to be defended by man.
The God of the Bible does not need our help in defending Himself or preserving His Word.
Yet Allah (to name but one) seems helpless without the rabid bloodshed and wide-eyed fanaticism by Muslims who murder in the name of Allah. The violence is often rained upon non-Muslims, but mostly the rampaging brutality is on other Muslims. Makes you think.
A final analogy from the Book of Judges
At the end of this terrible phase in Israel’s history a king finally arrives to stabilize the nation.
True they wanted Saul who started out well and finished poorly. But God had already been preparing another king for Israel, David. They jumped the gun by wanting Saul so God gave them what they wanted, to their detriment.
Israel is today without a king. The Laodicean Church has discarded “dry doctrine” and sound study of God’s Word. Instead they prefer a brand of Christianity that is seeker-friendly and does not require any great commitment on the part of the congregation (except perhaps for the giving of tithes and offerings.)
There are ministries out there who are “doing their own thing.” Among other aberrant practices they bark like dogs, hiss like snakes and “get drunk in the spirit.” There is no law to govern their human imagination, and everyone does what is right in his own eyes. For them, Relativism is the flavor of the day. Your truth is necessarily my truth, and as a result there is no absolute truth. The world and the Laodicean Church are ripe for a strong but false leader that can use the biblically illiterate Christians who think that they are doing God’s work because they said a quick prayer after a service one Sunday morning. No repentance, just good motives.
This man will charm the Laodicean’s into joining him in a “New Thing of God.” The world too will join the new move of the spirit upon the earth. But it will not be the Holy Spirit, and it won’t be new. It has been around for thousands of years since the Tower of Babel and Nimrod. Soon and very soon one will arise who, like Saul will be tall handsome and the flavour of the century. He will charm Israel like Saul did, but it will end very badly.
God has been planning for the true King of Israel; The King of Kings to arrive on the Mount of Olives to stake His claim to what is rightfully His. The disaster of a seven-year-period, especially the final three and a half years called the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” will end in the Messiah finally being accepted as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.