Calling the Sons of Zadok
America is suffering under a vacuum of leadership. This is not just in government but also in virtually every major center of influence, including the church. In Isaiah chapters three through five, we are told that capricious, immature leaders are the beginning of the judgment of God for the nation that turns from God and falls to the ultimate depravity of calling good evil and evil good, and for dishonoring the honorable while honoring the dishonorable. That is an accurate description of America. It will take more than an election to get us out of the mire we’re in. We must have revival. We must have another Great Awakening or we will not survive much longer as a Republic.
This is not to imply that the elections are not important. America and the rest of Western civilization have been led to the edge of a most dangerous precipice. Even Tony Blair, the recent Prime Minister of Great Britain who is from the liberal Labor Party, warned recently that Europe could not long survive if they did not forsake the entitlement mentality. The whole world is about to crash on the rocks of financial bankruptcy, but financial problems are just a root of something worse. The West has lost its spiritual and moral underpinnings without which we cannot survive as a free people.
A financial change of direction could buy us more time, but without a change of heart, we will end up at the same place very quickly. America has fallen into virtually every trap that the Founding Fathers warned would doom the Republic. These warnings were specific and clear and the results of going the direction we have gone were accurately foreseen. These warnings have been repeated often from Congress and the Oval Office, but nothing has been done to change the course. Leadership requires more than knowledge of what needs to be done—it requires the courage, resolve, and endurance to take the helm and steer the ship out of danger.
Again, our problems are not just economic problems—they are character problems. The economy is just a reflection of the sickness of heart we now have. We do need to evaluate what is being done and what the consequences will be if we do not change our course, but we also need to evaluate why we have been doing them.
The whole world is entering “the valley of decision.” What is going to be our decision? If we follow the crowd, we may feel more secure for a time, but we also may be putting ourselves in far more jeopardy. The same crowd that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem by crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” were just five days later crying, “Crucify Him!” The discernment of the crowd in such matters has seldom been good. We each must have in our own core a moral compass that we will navigate by regardless of whether others are going that way or not.
The Sons of Zadok
In Ezekiel 44, the Lord said that the sons of Zadok would be the ones honored with coming near to Him and ministering to Him personally. Zadok was the high priest during David’s reign. When all of Israel went astray and followed after Absalom, Zadok picked up the ark and followed David even though it seemed that this would be certain doom. Zadok did not do what was politically expedient, but he did what was right. He knew that the Lord had anointed David as king and that He had not anointed Absalom. David was still the king, even though “all Israel” did not see it that way. The crowd paid a dear price, but Zadok’s reward would last forever. To this day, his sons are those whom are closest to the Lord.
Who are the sons of Zadok? When the Pharisees told Jesus that they had Abraham as their father, the Lord replied to them, “If you are the sons of Abraham, do the deeds of Abraham” (see John 8:39). Likewise, the sons of Zadok are the ones who do the deeds of Zadok. Do we have the faith in God and the substance of character to go the way we think is right even if everyone else goes the other direction? That was the resolve of Zadok, and we are in desperate need of that kind of leadership right now.
There is a great danger with a vacuum of leadership because it always has been the greatest opportunity for tyranny. Americans have lost more of their freedoms in the last three years than possibly in the last two centuries. Recent Obama Administration orders have been described as a frontal attack on the Catholic Church, but they are much more than that. They are a very basic and bold attack on the entire church in America, as well as religious liberty in America. If the church in America continues to sleep through what is being done to it, then it will very soon wake up dead.
Where are the voices like John the Baptist who would challenge Herod? This is the time for courage and unyielding resolve. If we are afraid, we will be killed like John the Baptist. We must remember that there are worse things than dying. It will be far worse to stand on that great Judgment Day as a watchman who did not sound the alarm or as a shepherd who did not protect those entrusted to them.
In Revelation 21:8, we see that the “cowardly” are the first ones thrown into the lake of fire. The cowards precede the unbelievers, the sorcerers, and even the murderers to this doom of “the second death.” It will be much better to suffer now, even imprisonment or death, than to suffer then. There is no place for cowardice in the true faith. The Lord made it clear that those who sought to save their lives would lose them, but those who would lose their lives for His sake would find them (see Matthew 16:25). This is our time. This is our watch. Will we show the courage that is demanded of the true servants of the King?
We are hosting a Prophetic Conference on February 23 – 25 at Heritage. These are always encouraging as we witness growing prophetic gifts that the Lord has given to His people in these times. Even so, there is much more to the prophetic ministry than prophetic gifts and experiences. The one the Lord called the greatest ever born of woman, John the Baptist, rarely had prophetic experiences, but he was a preacher of righteousness and justice with an uncompromising resolve. His message of repentance compelled the entire nation to come out and listen to him. Repentance has to be preached to prepare the way for the Lord. It is the most important message that we can preach in this hour.
Both righteousness and wickedness are what God defines, not what political correctness says they are. Not long ago, America was a nation that possibly aligned itself with God’s definition of righteousness and justice possibly more than any other nation. Because of this, we received what God promised to any nation that walked in His ways. Now we are starting to suffer the consequences that He warned would come upon the nation that departed from His ways, and this began with a vacuum of leadership.
The answer is not to pursue leadership, but to pursue the repentance that will lead us back to God’s favor, and then He will raise up righteous leaders. In II Chronicles 7:14 we are promised, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin an heal their land.” Here we see that the Lord requires four things to heal a land:
3) Seeking His face
4) Repentance from wickedness
These are required of the Lord’s people, not the heathen. It seems that a new humility is coming upon much of the church, which is encouraging. We also have had some of the greatest prayer movements in history raised up in recent times. Multitudes of Christians, especially youth, are now seeking an intimate relationship with the Lord. These are all very encouraging signs. However, there has been little or no repentance from wickedness. In- depth studies reveal that even the most devout Christian groups have fallen to such a level of unrighteousness and the sins that the Lord called “wickedness” that Christians are no longer distinguishable from non- Christians in basic morality and integrity. This is an appalling and biblically terrifying state for the church in America. It has happened on our watch.
The Opposite of Zadok
Eli, the high priest who raised the prophet Samuel, is a striking contrast to Zadok. Eli had been a faithful priest in the house of the Lord his whole life. He loved the Lord so much that when he received the news that the ark of God had been captured by the Philistines, he fell over and died. Yet he was given one of the worst rebukes from the Lord in Scripture. Why?
The first word from the Lord that Samuel received was condemnation for Eli because he had let his sons fall into wickedness and bring a curse upon themselves, and Eli had not rebuked them. In this message, Eli was told that sacrifices and offerings forever could not atone for this sin. Eli admitted that this was the word of the Lord, but still made no changes. Eli was not told that his sins could not be forgiven, but that all of his good works, even if done forever, could not atone for his irresponsibility of not bringing the necessary correction to those who had been entrusted to his care.
This being translated for us today would be that all of the good works and charity in the world will not atone for the failure of letting those entrusted to us fall into the iniquity and wickedness that will be their doom. Are we the “sons of Zadok” or the “sons of Eli?”
The warning of Galatians 5:19-21 is very clear:
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Make no mistake—“those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” It does not say those who have done these things, but those who “practice” them. If we have given our lives to Christ and we continue to live according to the flesh as described here, the message is just as clear in the other primary books of the New Testament, such as the Book of Romans, that we will perish.
In II Timothy 4, the Apostle Paul warned about the time when a great deception would come upon believers because they would “only want to have their ears tickled” or could only hear positive things. Much of the body of Christ in America has fallen to that state now since they will automatically reject anything they consider to be negative. As both the Lord and His apostles warned, such are heading for a terrible end.
An abundance of teachers and teachings today can make people feel better about themselves, even though their eternal lives are in jeopardy. Such teachings have so watered down the clear teachings of Scripture that they can make people feel comfortable in your sin, but they are deceiving you. Even the most devout can stumble at times; however, they will not rationalize their sin but rather repent. To repent means to both feel remorse and to turn from the sin.
Doctrines are now being promoted that since the New Covenant was established, the Lord no longer judges. The New Testament makes it clear that He not only continues to bring judgment upon sin, but that His judgment begins with His own household (see I Peter 4:17). The New Testament is also clear about the judgment that will come upon those who so dilute His Word as to become stumbling blocks to His people.
I have been stretched far beyond my own reasoning as I have beheld the mercy and grace of God for sinners. That He would love us so much to go to the cross as He did will be a marvel for all of eternity. That we can behold His patience in our own times because He does not want any to perish is a marvel. Even so, as the New Testament also makes clear, there is a limit to His patience, and we are foolish to presume upon it.
We are told Romans 11:22, we must “behold then the kindness and the severity of God.” Those who can only see His kindness without seeing His severity do not see Him as He is. Those who only see His severity without seeing His kindness do not see Him as He is. He is both kind and severe, and those who see Him as He is see both.
God is a righteous and just God, and all of His judgments are righteous and just. His judgments are not all negative, but can be positive, affirming the good. They can declare innocence as well as guilt. The biblical teachings on judgment have often been distorted, but the righteous always rejoice at His judgments. We also are told that the whole world will rejoice when He comes to judge the earth even to the point of the “trees will clap their hands” (see Isaiah 55:12).
The Scriptures are also clear that everyone will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. This will be a good thing for the righteous and only bad for the wicked.
Many types of judgment from God are in Scripture, and only one is condemnation and only one is destruction. The rest are discipline from the Lord for those whom He loves. As we read in Hebrews 12, the most frightening thing of all should be if we are still living in sin and getting away with it. This means that we are not His. If we are His sons, He will discipline us.
America has been receiving His judgments because He still loves America, and this is evidence that He has not given up on her. Like an alarm that gets continually louder if we do not wake up, His judgments are getting increasingly severe. Even insurance companies have more discernment than some Christian leaders. What these leaders have called “acts of nature,” they call “acts of God,” and they are.
Many of the things being released upon the world are not directly God’s doing but are the removing of His restraints so that the world begins to reap what it has sown. This is clear in such places as Revelation 7. Even so, His releasing of these things is His judgment, and if we do not recognize it as such, no one will repent to keep even worse things from coming.
If this offends you, then you have a distorted, warped view of Scripture. Such will take what are in fact acts of love and interpret them as acts of condemnation. These are the ones Peter referred to as the untaught and unstable who will distort the Scriptures to their own destruction. The destruction is only necessary if we do not recognize the judgments and repent. God would much rather show mercy, but there is a time when judgment is necessary, and if this does not work, destruction follows. This is why the Lord Jesus lamented over Jerusalem. He would much rather have gathered her under His wings, but she rejected the time of her visitation, and destruction followed.
Let us repent while the judgment is still discipline, before it gets to the point of destruction. We are also told that we can judge ourselves and He will not have to do it (see I Corinthians 11:31). As the Lord Jesus made clear, if we do not humble ourselves and fall on the Rock to be broken, then the Rock will fall on us and grind us into powder. Let’s take the easy way out!
America is in jeopardy. “If you do not change your direction, you will end up where you are headed.” We will not survive much longer going in the direction we are headed. Much of 2012 may look like things are getting better, but when men are saying, “peace and safety,” that is when sudden destruction will come. We cannot look at external conditions to see how we’re doing—we need to look at our own hearts. If we will turn from that which will keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God, turn from our wicked ways, embracing the humility that would also compel us to pray and seek His face, it too will be evident as the rest of Galatians 5 declares:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).
If we, God’s people, will “walk by the Spirit” instead of the flesh, then He will heal our land, and He will use us to do it.
SPECIAL NOTE ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ORDER ON RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
Last week, the Obama administration finalized a radical new rule that uses the health care law to require all health insurance providers to cover abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization as well as contraception, all free of charge. The administration based the rule’s “religious exemption” on a provision drafted by the ACLU, applying the rule even to religious organizations such as Catholic schools, hospitals, universities, and charities that oppose such things as a matter of religious belief.
The weak exemption the administration allowed applies only to religious organizations serving primarily people of the same religion. It is so narrow that Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York City and current head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “even Jesus and His disciples would not qualify for the exemption in that case, because they were committed to serve those of other faiths.”
Because Catholic institutions serve people of all faiths, the adoption by the Obama administration of the ACLU exemption language is an explicit and intentional assault on the Catholic Church in the United States. President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius know full well that they are ordering Catholic institutions to violate their church’s teachings if they want to stay in business. They also know full well that they are explicitly running over the First Amendment protection of religious freedom that every American is supposed to enjoy as a birthright.
President Obama’s message to Catholics is clear: Catholics will not be able to build organizations according to their faith and the teachings of their church as long as they refuse to accept President Obama’s radicalism. President Obama’s order is a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of conscience and an unprecedented assault on Christianity.
Catholics are uniformly opposed to the rule. Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association—an Obamacare supporter—expressed disappointment “that the definition of a religious employer was not broadened.” Even liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne blasted the rule, arguing that “the Church’s leaders had a right to ask for broader relief from a contraception mandate that would require it to act against its own teachings.” Newt Gingrich, www.Newsmax.com