We live in an age of mega-mergers — a fraternization frenzy at every level. Across the globe, large corporations have been swallowing each other up like fish, becoming ever larger and far-reaching. In geo-political circles, the forces of globalism and globalization are driving world-wide union. We see countries entering into various alliances as they join and expand organizations such as NATO, the World Trade Organization and many other associations too numerous to mention. They are all mergers of convenience and opportunity, driven by motives of power, peace and prosperity. Not a single appeal is made to the statues of the God of the Bible.
Even more worrisome mergers are underway — namely, the increased combining and mixing of church and state, Christianity and paganism (ecumenicism), and the bringing together of Mammon and the Kingdom of God by various church groups. All of the merger activity mentioned — all driven by a quest for influence and prosperity — has geared up to hyper-speed in our time. The price? Compromise, rampant deceit, increasing economic danger, and the abandonment of the Truth.
What will be the outcome for the world? Will a remnant of a faithful Church be preserved? The Bible tells of a similar era — that of Omri, King of Israel and his dynasty. Of all the kings of Israel, he was the exemplar of tolerance and geo-political fraternizing. It is illuminating to study the practices of this man and his descendant kings, Ahab, Ahaziah and Joram. Omri’s dynasty provides key lessons that speak to our endtime world. It points to an endtime globalism … as well as the fate of the remnant.
The Omri Dynasty
King Omri was the most influential king of the northern kingdom of Israel. It would be difficult to discern this from the Bible alone without careful study. As only 13 verses (1 Kings 16:16-28) recount the history of this man, it would be easy to overlook his significance. Unusually, no direct mention is even made of his reign in the books of Chronicles, apart from referring to his son, Ahab, and grandsons Ahaziah and Joram. The only Biblical indication we get of the repute of his legacy is found in Micah 6:16. Though Omri was only king over Israel for approximately 12 years, his reputation and systems endured for generations. In fact, so much so, that Israel for many years after his reign was known as “mat bit-Humri” (The House of Omri) by the Assyrians and the Edomites. His son Ahab carried on his practices and “did evil” in the sight of the Lord as did his sons Ahaziah and then Joram. (1 Kings 16:25, 33, 1 Kings22:25, 52, 2 Kings 3:2)
The Prophet Micah prophesied against the worship centres of Israel and Judah —Samariaand Jerusalem, respectively. Specifically, he accused them saying, “You have observed the statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house, and you have followed their traditions.” (Micah 6:16) Micah disapproved of three things: Omri’s statutes, Ahab’s practices, and their traditions. Other Bible translations refer to 1. statutes (KJV, NIV and most others); 2. works (KJV, NASB), and; 3. devices (NASB) or counsels (AMP). Just what were these statutes, practices and traditions?
Scripture provides some indication of the policies of the Omri Dynasty, especially as we study the reign of Ahab. But first a brief history about Omri. He became King of Israel following the murder of King Elah by Zimri, a fellow army captain who had usurped the throne. Omri, backed by popular public opinion, overthrew Zimri, ending his reign after only seven days. After he consolidated his position as undisputed king, he reigned 12 years.
Scripture has more to say about Ahab and his sons. We can learn the ways of the House of Omri by observing what they did. Actually, we will learn that Ahab’s practices and devices would nominate him today has one of the most masterful of global statesmen.
The Techniques of the House of Omri
The Bible reveals much of Ahab’s’ reign, the most powerful of Omri’s descendants. He was a master politician and crafty in foreign affairs. He knew how to swing the consensus of public opinion in his favor. He influenced, cajoled and manipulated the elders of his inner council, false prophets and other foreign rulers to his ends. He knew how to play his opponents. The account of how he dealt with Ben-Haddad, the Syrian king, is a masterpiece of cunning foreign affairs.
He entered a strategic alliance with Ethbaal, King of Tyre, by marrying his daughter, Jezebel. By the standards of today’s global politicians, this was a brilliant maneuver. In effect, he joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to secure a favorable trade status with this rich, world trading empire of the Phoenicians. The spiritual and religious implications were not regarded, however. Materialism was of primary importance; economic security his aim.
Here we see that material prosperity was linked with issues of human rights and morality. These issues played second fiddle to the uppermost goals of prosperity and indulgence. After finally defeating Ben-Haddad, this Syrian king won clemency from Ahab by allowing Israel to set-up shop in the marketplaces of Damascus. Again, we see a materialistic mind-set ruling his policies. Through an unnamed prophet, God rebuked Ahab for allowing Ben-Haddad to live.
Apparently, indulgence was another practice of Ahab. He built a beautiful palace inlaid with ivory (1 Kings 22:39) and loved the good life, so much so that he even allowed Naboth’s vineyard to be expropriated just so that he could have a private garden.
As a result of his union with Jezebel, massive paganism engulfed Israel. Jezebel introduced the worship of Baal to Israel. As part of the alliance, King Ahab even built a temple to Baal inSamaria for his wife. In time, her lobbying for “freedom of worship” ended up as a massive campaign against God and the persecution of his prophets. She killed off any prophet that she could find.
Apparently, Jezebel’s policies were acceptable to Ahab. No mention is made otherwise. Had he protested, he may have offended his foreign counterparts and perhaps jeopardized the status of his foreign emissaries abroad. His was a policy of tolerance. Any belief or value system was allowed … in fact, was even sanctioned by his regime. Scripture records that Baal worship, Ashtoreth and the gods of the Amorites (1 Kings 22:25) were given rightful footing in the land.
Ahab was intolerant in only one respect: He opposed anyone that confronted him with correction or anyone that burst his bubble of humanistic optimism. Therefore, he hated Elijah and Micaiah, prophets of God. He accused them of pessimism, declaring that they never had anything good to say about him. It didn’t matter that they spoke truth and eternal consequences.
There are many more characteristics of the House of Omri that we could examine. Suffice it to conclude that Omri and his descendants were worldly rulers. Their policies were motivated by peace and prosperity. They pursued these goals in any way they thought best. Spiritual matters, purity of faith, the truth and imperatives of God’s word did not figure in the formation of their policies and statutes.
Reviewing the character of all of his actions (48 of which are recorded in scripture) the list is long. Interpreting Ahab’s practices, we can include: tolerance, indulgence, craftiness, politicization, self-centeredness, expropriation, optimism about the works of man, laissez faire policies, opportunism, ruling by consensus and worldly consultation … and the list could go on. As mentioned, he would be a successful global statesman today in the halls of the United Nations or around the conference tables of NATO or any other number of global policy and transnational organizations.
The House of Omri practiced the exact reverse of all of the godly kings of Judah (though not all proved to be such in this sister nation). The latter group feared God first, generally walking without compromise in the ways of David. Everything else — peace and prosperity, for example — were added unto them as a consequence. These were not the initial motivations of their obedience to God. As scripture counsels, ”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, said virtually the same thing to Ahab, “First seek the counsel of Lord.” (1 Kings 22:15)
The Statutes of Man
Just what was the nature of the statutes of Omri? Consider these facts about him and his descendants:
Omri was the 6th king of Israel. He ruled from Tirzah 6 years and another 6 years from the city of Samaria. He is recorded of doing or performing exactly 6 things. His name is mentioned exactly 12 times (which is a multiple of 6) in the historical accounts of the kings ofIsrael and Judah (1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles — 2 times 6). He reigned for 12 years (2 times 6). His dynasty lasted 48 years (6 times 8).
Six is the number of man as God created him on the sixth day. However, the prevalence of this number with Omri doesn’t stop here. Ahab, his son, whose name means “his father’s brother” did more evil in the sight of the Lord than all the kings of Israel before him — more than 6 kings combined. (1 Kings 16:33) He represents the very epitome of the works of man, as we have reviewed.
Ahab is recorded taking 48 actions (6 times 8), eight times more than his father. Moreover, after Omri’s dynasty ended, the House of Israel continued to walk in his statutes for another 120 years (6 times 20) until Samaria fell to the Assyrians. It just was prior to that time that Micah gave his prophecy that was quoted earlier. (Micah 6:16) Amazingly, the prophecy indicting Omri’s statutes was the 6th of the 7 he spoke.
Could all these sixes and multiples of 6 be a coincidence? Perhaps. However, I take this pattern to be significant as every “jot and tittle” of scripture (Matthew 5:18) is important and to be studied. While I certainly ascribe to the Historical-Grammatical method of the interpretation of Scripture (“p’shat” as the Hebrew scholars call this form), we should not overlook other forms of meaning. So long as the literal plain-sense form of any meaning in the Bible is not overturned, we can also avail ourselves of other communications that the Holy Spirit intended, namely “remez” (hints), “drash” (a form of allegory) and, very carefully, even “sod” (such things as patterns, numbers … etc.)
Returning to Omri’s dynasty, clearly, his statues, the practices of Ahab, and their traditions are those of man. The measures and tests of their policies were “materialism” and “humanism.” Any religion was something to barter with … to tolerate, to accommodate. On the other hand, the God of Jacob was only consulted when there was no other human option available or His pronouncements through his prophets were in alignment with their wants. National prestige, strategic foreign policy, dialogue and arrangements of convenience were the rule of the day. The statutes of God were either bent or discarded.
We shouldn’t be surprised to learn that all of the statutes, practices and traditions of the House of Omri are playing out across the globe today in high form. They are today endorsed as sophisticated doctrines of foreign affairs and the conferences of men. Everything is merging — countries, economies and religions — within and all together. The efficacy of their policies is measured in terms of prosperity, wealth and economic power.
Current Day Picture of Merged Christianity
To illustrate how the merging of religions and foreign policy is occurring in our time, we can take a brief glimpse at what originally occurred in Iraq several years ago. While in the beginning the operations in Iraq were more about retaliating against Islamist terrorists, somewhere along the way it turned into a “religious” campaign, perhaps even an economic one. The mission became one of spreading doctrines of the “spirit of capitalism”, democracy, and Mammonism. Many of these policies and statues are being widely endorsed by church leaders. Most Muslims recognize these measures for what they are — the “values” of the supposed Christian West.
Actually, if anything, in Iraq’s case such “values” were being more imposed rather than proposed, reflecting an attitude not much different that of the Crusaders of the Middle Ages or the Caliphate of Saladin, who’s armies converted nations to Islam at the end of a sword. Specifically, even secular intelligence agencies have recognized the idealism that had been driving the campaigns in Iraq (also Afghanistan). Says Stratfor, an influential, non-partisan commentator upon political and global affairs,
“The essential point is that the invasion of Iraq … should have had no interest — in the internal governance of Iraq. This is the critical point on which the mission became complex […] Over time, this evolved to a new mission: the creation of democracy in Iraq.[…] The idea that the United States would be able to effectively preside over this society, shepherding it to democracy, was difficult to conceive even in the best of circumstances.”1[i]
The example we pose of Iraq is illustrative of what is playing out at the global level in many respects … whether with respect to individuals or nations. Yes, democracy and capitalism can be benevolent systems if the majority of people are moral and God-fearing. Apart from those conditions, they provide no sinecure. Many organizations working with governments are intent upon also introducing ‘”free-market” capitalism and Westernized financial markets toIraq. While these systems can have their good uses, what is troubling is that their imposition is being widely supported by leading Christians as righteous, scripturally-endorsed solutions for the good of these countries.
Systems, like machines, can be used for both good and bad purposes. But, they need no scriptural imperatives. The Church need only preach and spread the gospel of He who alone is the author of all that is good. On this basis, we see that the various supposed representatives of the Church have erred in their increasing fraternity with state, other religions, and materialism. We see that even the evangelical church is in cahoots with the “gospel of Mammon” openly endorsing the imposition of this materialistic religion by force upon other nations.
What they are doing is promoting the “Statutes of Omri.”
Thoughts to Ponder
What was the final result of the statutes of the House of Omri? All 70 of his offspring were put to death. Seventy is the number of a “king’s life” (Isaiah 23:15) and also represents the completeness of a dynasty or legacy. Jacob had 70 members of his household that went to Egypt (Genesis 46:2, Exodus 1:5) and Gideon had 70 sons that were eradicated by Abimelech (Judges 9:56) More examples could be cited. The conclusion is that our present world order of “seventy kings” today will also come to a similar end throughout the last half of the Tribulation and finally at Armageddon by the sword of the mouth of the Lord.
Another result of Omri’s dynasty was that the House of Judah, who at least produced more than a few kings that walked with God, was also infected with its treacheries. Omri’s granddaughter, Athaliah, married Jehoram, king of Judah. He and his son with Athaliah, Ahaziah, were among the few kings of Judah that “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (2 Kings 8:18, 27) She nearly succeeded in cutting off the very line of David that was prophesied to produce the Messiah. She had proceeded to kill the entire royal family of Judah. Had Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, not hid Joash for six years (another “six”, meaning until the threat of the works of man had sufficiently diminished) this Satanic purging of this royal line by the House of Omri would have succeeded. At the time, Joash was the last living member of the direct lineage of David … the line of the royal sceptre (Psalm 60:7, Numbers 24:17).
Ecumenicism only threatens what is absolute. And, it is spreading fast. Church and state, Mammon and the Kingdom of God are all merging … being blurred into one negotiable mass. We can see that all these streams are morphing into a single power structure of the Last Days. Revelation 17 and 18 provides a colorful description of its outcome, describing it as the Great Prostitute, mother of all harlotries and abominations. These chapters show a picture of a reinforcing alliance of religion, political globalism and economy.
We return to our question at the outset. Can a remnant of the true Church be preserved throughout such a time of humanism and repression of Truth? God preserved the royal line of David by causing Jehosheba to hide away Joash. As such, he can be seen as a symbol of the last-day Church. It is persecuted by humanism and materialism — the works of man. Notice that this group is not preserved 7 years, but 6 years. If it were the former, we would be more inclined to see this remnant as being Jewish and going through the Tribulation period. In any case, only a small number survives as the truly observant and obedient Church … the one symbolized by Philadelphia in Revelation 3. Are you part of that number?
The prophet Micah, who alerted us to the wiles and deceptions of the Statutes of Omri has the last word. “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:2) Practicing these statutes instead, may we be found faithful and among the last-day believing remnant.
[i] George Friedman, Strafor, Iraq: New Strategies, May 17, 2004.