Idolatry

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When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV),

America is on life support for a boatload of reasons, in my view, the most threatening to its continued existence is its idolatry. According to the prophet Ezekiel, this seductive form of evil is what did the city of Sodom in (Ezek.16:49). In one way it is manifest as good, old materialism. In another way it appears as the modern-day “cult of celebrity”. Yes, idolatry has even spread its fancy facade over many a Christian Church.

Large sanctuary, theater seating for thousands, a house packed with enthusiastic people, a jumbo tron screen, contemporary music pulsating from the speakers plus a rock star pastor with a dynamite message; it all equals Mega-Church. It doesn’t get any better than that–not as far as the American dream church is concerned. Ever wonder how the Apostle Paul would have fared as a preacher with a TV ministry? How would he have reacted after sitting in on a star-studded service? Or what if Jesus took in a Sunday Spectacular, would he be impressed by the size of the offering?

I ask these questions because someone must. Idolatry that the typical American Christian practices in their worship is rooted in a purposeful ignorance of the prophetic. Maintaining the fancy facade is more important than accurately interpreting Scripture’s future events. The false views of Amillennialism and Pre-tribulation Rapturism (PTR) dominate the contemporary church landscape, simply because both positions cater to the idolator, rather than condemning the practice. Do we need tio be reminded that idolatry is an abomination to God?

False prophets seldom stray from their standard message: “Peace and Safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Their “Don’t rock the boat” attitude encourages the faithful to invest in the new Porsche or fine-tune the golf game as long as the tithes and offerings keep coming. The not-so-subtle message is that God wants his people to be rich so the new multi-million dollar “Welcome Center” can be paid off ahead of schedule.

What about completing the Great Commission instead? The absence of sound Bible-teaching on prophecy eliminates a sense of urgency to get off our padded pew and take the Gospel to the world.

If we flew into Houston, Atlanta or Dallas for a visit at an internationally-recognized church, what Scripture would be heard over the state-of-the-art sound system? Would the prophet’s warning below from the Book of James light up the giant screen?

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh with fire. You have hoarded wealth for the last days… You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. (James 5:1-3, 5 NIV)

Look for God’s prophetic word to soon expose the false prophet and fracture the fancy facade of a fake church.

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This past week, a popular player was cut by the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles. After eight solid years as a wide receiver and team leader, Jason Avant’s services are no longer required. When interviewed, he said that he knew what was coming and he was prepared. There’s no doubt that this Christian role model will find another team. For him, the writing was on the wall. Jason (#81) read the signs.

Avant is still a good player. He will find another team. However, fools on the wrong side of prophecy will be condemned. The wise anticipate the brazen acts of their countrymen that invite judgment.

There’s an example of seeing the writing on the wall in Daniel 5. There we find God judging Babylon. The reality was that the Lord, speaking through his prophet Jeremiah, foretold the fall.

Flee from Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be like male goats leading the flock. For I am going to stir up and bring against Babylon a company of great nations from the land of the north; and they shall array themselves against her; from there she shall be taken…  Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured it, and now at the end, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has gnawed at its bones. ‘Therefore,’ thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, ‘I am going to punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria.’ ” (Jer. 50:8-9, 17-18 NRSV).

When it comes to prophecy, does God make mistakes? The wicked go through life as if the Lord had said nothing. Oblivious to the enemy at his gates, King Belshazzar held a great feast to the gods. Under the influence of spirits, the ruler made a grave error. He ordered the vessels of gold that had been plundered from the temple be used for toasting idols.

Then came the wrecking ball. Immediately afterward, mysterious fingers appeared to write on the wall. In his fright, the king’s knees buckled. He called for the enchanters, diviners and wise men, but none of them knew what the writing meant.

Eventually, the prophet Daniel was brought before the court. He knew what God had written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.

Mene- God numbered the days of the Kingdom of Babylon and brought it to an end.

Tekel- Belshazzar was weighed on the scales of God’s justice and found lacking.

Parsin- The kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persian.

That night Belshazzar was slain. Darius the Mede received his kingdom. The final act of idolatry, defiling what God made holy, invited the destroyer.

Belshazzar was God’s instrument to internally destroy a once glorious empire. It was according to prophecy.

Today, America stands on the rim of the abyss. We were warned on September 11, 2001. While some turned to Jesus in fear, it was temporary. Every form of evil and idolatry continues to rise unabated. Humanism is the religion of our culture. Everyone is doing what he/she thinks is best. So God has ordained for the Obama administration to do for the U.S.A. what Belshazzar did for Babylon, bring us to ruin from within. Meanwhile, enemies from the north are poised to strike at God’s command. One final act of defiance is all it will take. (It could come when America turns its back on Israel.) The writing is on the wall! -EJ

 

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