Bob Logan collects church names. Here is an excerpt from his blog.
“Harmony Baptist Church in East Texas is a name that doesn’t sound so bad. The funny thing is that it is only a half-mile away from Harmony Baptist Church #2. I guess they are not so harmonious after all. Battle Ground Baptist Church…aren’t they all? Waterproof Baptist Church in Louisiana begs the question: does the baptism count if you’re water repellant? Country Club Christian Church is in Kansas City, but you’re actually likely to find some of these in every city. This may be the fastest growing model of church in America. James Bond United Community Church in Toronto is of course “shaken, not stirred.” Ha!
My husband and I like to go for long drives. We sail through small towns with the sunroof out looking over farmland, cattle, cafés and unique stores. Last week as we were driving through a small town we began to count church buildings.
We lost count.
One place really had my attention. It was two church buildings, with two different denominations sitting on the same property. They even shared the same parking lot, and a space was separating the buildings of maybe 10 feet? Craziness. I wondered if on Sunday mornings they greet each other as they go into different structures to worship the same Father. I pondered why many churches have so many empty seats, but they can’t join up and have fellowship with the people next door, and here in KY, it is indeed a hop and a skip to the next building.
I think it’s because someone changed the rules. What do you think?
There was a king in the Bible who changed the rules, and I’d like to showcase what he changed. This king, named Ahaz, went to Damascus and saw an altar there (pagan). He sent a sketch to Uriah, the priest, with detailed plans on construction. So this priest builds the whole shebang before the King of Judah returns.
(2nd Kings 16:12-13) “When the king came from Damascus, the king saw the altar; then the king approached the altar and went up to it, and burned his burnt offering and his meal offering, and poured his drink offering and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings on the altar.”
Now let’s look at verse 14, “The bronze altar, which was before the LORD, he brought from the front of the house, from between his altar and the house of the LORD, and he put it on the north side of his altar” (NASB).
The altar where the blood was splashed. The very place for the redemption of sin.
Hashem commanded that the brazen, bronze altar, be placed right inside the courtyard. When you entered THE GATE to the tabernacle–boom, there it was! But, not anymore.
The Hebrew root word for altar means to slay. The Latin word is “high.” An altar is a high place for sacrifice. This bronze altar was raised higher than all the surrounding furniture. Yeshua was high and lifted up on the cross. Now king Ahaz has moved him to the back. Consequently now when you walked in your eyes rested on the new altar–the pagan way of doing things. The bronze altar was the altar of repentance. Repentance has been moved to the back of the church, and one man has been moved to the front of the church, king Ahaz.
But what does Ahaz say? “But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance.” And Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz had ordered.” (2nd KINGS 16:16 NIV).
HE WAS CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO ALTARS.
This is when we mix Babylon with Torah. We have a mixed-up way of worship. We have a mingled, corrupt way, instead of a Holy set apart way.
It gets worse.
(2nd Kings 16:17-18) “King Ahaz cut off the side panels and removed the basins from the movable stands. He removed the sea from the bronze bulls that supported it and set it on a stone base. He took away the Sabbath canopy that had been built at the temple and removed the royal entryway outside the temple of the Lord, in deference to the king of Assyria.” NIV.
The Sabbath canopy was set up for the priest to read the book of the law (Torah) on the Sabbath. They read the book and studied it for hours, and now one man reads very little. Where is the Elders? Teachers? The Prophet? We now have a Greco Roman way of doing things. We call it Christianity.
“On the panels set in frames were lions, oxen, and angels. These were also on the frames. Above and below the lions and the cattle were engraved designs” (1 Kings 7:29 GWT).
THE SEA HE REMOVED WAS FOR WASHING.
“It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held three thousand baths” (2nd Chronicles 4:5 NIV).
“The king took the various articles from the Temple of God and broke them into pieces. He shut the doors of the LORD’s Temple so that no one could worship there, and he set up altars to pagan gods in every corner of Jerusalem” (2nd Chronicles 28:24 NLT).
Why would he gather the vessels and cut them in pieces? Because he sold them and melted the gold, and made money! He shut the doors of the house of the Father, and he built altars on every corner of Jerusalem for the priest to sacrifice on and not in the temple. It was easier.
It seems we have a place on every corner here too. Instead of just having churches named after the area, like the New Testament church…the church of Ephesus, the church of Corinth and so on…we now have churches named after men. The very word “church’ is corrupt.
Taken from an assembly, ‘church’ is about gathering together as a body, a community, not building our own kingdoms.
Ahaz‘s name means ‘possessor or one who had.’
He had it all but lost it all. Now for the good news. King Ahaz has a son, and he is holy–righteous. His name is Hezekiah, and his name means “God is my strength.” The Father will raise up a people who are strong in the Word and know their Father personally. They will move to the back and place His Son in the front. They, like Hezekiah, will tear down all the false worship that is left of the church of Ahaz. They will return to the ancient paths. They will replace the day of the sun with the Sabbath. They will replace Easter and Christmas with His Holy Feast days. They will no longer believe the lies of their fathers.
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; Ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jeremiah 23:1 – 5 KJB).
photo by Tekoa