Solomon built a magnificent temple in and or about 960 -970 BCE. He filled it with riches of golden splendor. For many years the people lived in wealth and peace. They came and worshiped in the temple and the glory of the Lord Adonai appeared there. But Solomon did not obey the Father. He had multiple wives and concubines, who led him astray. These women had Solomon build chapels and place the pagan priest in positions for the many gods they served. In the very midst, just beyond the temple, smoke arose to these heathen gods and the altars built for them. The Bible says that Solomon loved many foreign women. So what happened? First, he permitted these ceremonies, then he tolerated all their religious acts of worship, and lastly, he began to partake with them, until his heart was stone–sound like America? Do we let a little more creep in and a little more until?
In 796 BCE, the country was divided into two kingdoms, the kingdom of Israel in the north and the kingdom of Judah in the south, they both practiced idolatry.
1 Kings chapter 12:26-28, “ Jeroboam said in his heart, ‘Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: if these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me…”Therefore the king took counsel and made two calves of gold, and said to the people, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt” ESV!
He made worship easy. It was a difficult journey before and no doubt costly. Now, it didn’t require as much money or time. They didn’t even have to travel anymore to go to HaShem’s House, and with the golden idols, there were no animals to purchase for sacrifices. “Not only did Jeroboam do this horribly detestable thing, “Jeroboam also built shrines on the high places and set up priests from every class of people who were not Levites” 1 KINGS 12:31 Holman CSB.
Have you seen this happen in the ‘church’ today? Any ole person is given a title of elder or bishop, deacon, or prophet, even if Hashem (God) has not called them to such a position, and even if they do not know His Word? His Torah instructions? Sadly, I know first hand about this. Many times I believe the Father sends people with a tad more light to administer truths at a slower pace so that the person or persons isn’t blinded at one by the power of His Word.
So what does HaShem do when sin begins to cover a nation– His house? He sends prophets to warn the people. One example, in 661 BCE, the prophet Zechariah chastised the nation for their sins; he gave warnings of the dire punishments that would overtake them if they did not repent. Instead of accepting his rebuke, they stoned him to death on Yom Kippur in the temple courtyard. The horror of it all. . . Why didn’t The Father stop his prophet from being slain? That’s the message taught today– we are all blessed and highly favored of the Lord, right? It’s all feel-good messages, peace, love, and joy.
Paul’s life wasn’t like that. So what did HaShem do about the death of Zechariah?
Something astounding happened… For the next 252 years, until the destruction of the temple, God allowed Zechariah’s blood to bubble up over and over again. The people tried to cover it with earth, but it continued to seethe until Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple completely! Below is an article about the destruction…
On the tenth of Tevet, 425 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem.
On the seventh day of Av, the chief of Nebuchadnezzar’s army, Nebuzaradan, began the destruction of Jerusalem. The walls of the city were torn down, and the royal palace and other structures in the city were set on fire.
Our Sages say that when Nebuzaradan entered the Temple he found the blood of Zechariah seething. He asked the Jews what this phenomenon meant, and they attempted to conceal the scandal, but he threatened to comb their flesh with iron combs. So they told him the truth: “There was a prophet among us who chastised us, and we killed him. For many years now his blood has not rested.”
Nebuzaradan said, “I will appease him.” He then killed the members of the Great and Small Sanhedrins, then he killed youths and maidens, and then school-children. Altogether he killed 940,000 people. Still, the blood continued to boil, whereupon Nebuzaradan cried: “Zechariah, Zechariah! I have slain the best of them; do you want all of them destroyed?” At last, the blood sank into the ground (Talmud, Gittin 57b).1
On the ninth day of Av, toward evening, the Holy Temple was set on fire and destroyed. The fire burned for 24 hours.
Yahweh’s house, the place where He said he would come and meet with them there, gone destroyed, and all the articles of gold that he had them make, taken and plundered. Why did all this happen? It was due to Idolatry in the highest form. God explains how they provoked Him to jealousy, in Ezekiel. I want to leave you with a passage from David Wilkerson that I found today while working on this blog.
David Wilkerson said, “How often have you heard Christians say, “God is doing a new thing in his church”? The “new thing” they refer to may be called a revival, an outpouring, a visitation, or a move of God.
Yet very often, this “new thing” of God dies out quickly. And once it has faded, it can’t be found again. In this way, it proves not to be a move of God at all. In fact, Christian sociologists have tracked many of these so-called visitations. They’ve discovered that the average span of such an event is about five years.
In Ezekiel 14, certain elders came to the prophet to inquire of the Lord. They wanted to know, “What is God saying to his people today?” But the Lord told Ezekiel, “These men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?” (Ezekiel 14:3). He was saying, in other words: “They’ve come here as if they’re truly seeking me. But they’re hiding wicked idols in their hearts. Why should I answer them?”
Most Christian teaching today identifies an idol as anything that comes between God’s people and himself. It’s that which draws us away from him. Yet that’s only a partial description of idolatry. After all, the elders who approached Ezekiel weren’t kept away by their idols.
Idolatry has to do with a much deeper heart issue. The truth is, idolatry can run rampant in God’s house but remain totally unseen. That’s what the Lord meant when he said these elders had a “stumbling block of their iniquity before their face” (Ezekiel 14:3). The stumbling block is any doctrine that justifies an idol. And it blinds God’s people to their sin.
That’s exactly what has happened in the church today. The number-one idol among God’s people isn’t adultery, pornography or alcohol. It’s a much more powerful lust. What is this idol? It’s a driving ambition for success. And it even has a doctrine to justify it.
The idolatry of being successful describes many in God’s house today. These people are upright, morally clean, full of good works. But they’ve set up an idol of ambition in their hearts, and they can’t be shaken from it.
Tragically, this was the same driving spirit behind Baal and Molech: to prosper and be successful. And today this spirit has polluted the gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide. It presents itself as a spirit of blessing, but it’s a perversion of the blessing that God intends for his church. And it’s shipwrecking the faith of millions.
This spirit also smacks of postmodernism. One of the tenets of postmodernism is that the community bestows on you your purpose and worth. Simply put, your success and acceptance are measured by the world’s standards. As a result, many Christians measure their self-worth by their career, their possessions, their paycheck.
Now postmodern theology is creeping into the church’s leadership. Pastors and evangelists are buying the lie that their peers determine how successful they are. This is why success in church work has come to mean having massive attendance, large buildings, and a fat budget. And it’s why ministers are compelled to drive themselves and their congregations to achieve these things.
I tell you, this isn’t the church that Jesus Christ is coming back to take as his bride. This postmodern, materialistic, flesh-driven institution has grown old and corrupt. And it’s in the throes of death even now.
Many young pastors all over the world sense this. They’re fed up with the old thing, with its bickering and denominational infighting. They want nothing to do with it. They’ve rejected the drive for bigness and notoriety. Instead, they’re turning back to the centrality of Christ, back to seeking God, back to hungering for truth. And they sense a fresh new work in the air”.
What is the new thing that God is doing in his church?
“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isaiah 42:9)
Sources: World Challenge pulpit series.
(Talmud, Gittin 57b).1