Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sword Of The Lord (Dreams & Visions Part 2)

In this post, my goal is to briefly summarize what the Lord is speaking to me, to His body, regarding some specifics within the aforementioned dream. As I stated, I was on church staff for several years, at two separate churches, as a youth pastor. I saw first-hand the inner workings of the structured church and experienced much that the church “laity” never even knew existed. After coming out of organized religion and now looking in, years later, it is literally astounding how so many things stand out as starkly contrasting the Word of God. However, I don’t really want this to be about my opinions or personal views on the matter, although they are rooted in God’s Word. I’d rather use the Word alone, for it alone is inerrant.

If you read about the dream, you read that, as I awoke from it, the Lord spoke to me the reference “Ezekiel 21:7”. It states, “And it will come about when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ that you will say, ‘Because of the news that is coming; and every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it comes and it will happen’ declares the Lord God.” After reading over this passage several times and doing some quick word studies on some key words within, I was again reminded that I am here to declare the return of the King. Verse 6 says to “groan with breaking heart and bitter grief” and to “groan in their sight”. What I’ve found is that many Believers just simply don’t get it. The modern day church is just idly standing by, fingers in ears and hands over eyes, going about weekly rituals and repetitions. So when I, when you, the true followers of Jesus Christ stand and groan in their sight, with broken hearts over what is to come, they don’t even understand – either out of ignorance or foolishness. Hence the “Why do you groan?” And to be clear, this is not about judgment upon “the evil and sinful world”, but against “His people… the officials of Israel.” (21:12)

Joel 1:13 references this also, saying “Gird yourselves with sackcloth and weep O priests; Wail O ministers of the altar! Come, spend the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God, for there is no grain or wine to offer at the temple of your God.” There are examples all over the place that reference priests and ministers that will be weakened and found shameful (as in Ez. 7:17&18). Why is this? Why would God’s wrath be poured out upon His people, His ministers, His officials? As in the days of Jesus, the temples have been turned into marketplaces, full of man’s wares and unacceptable offerings. He is not pleased with man’s approaching Him on man’s terms and His wrath is coming (Ez. 21:17). Is this harsh? You’d better believe it is, but as verse 7 states, “it is coming”, therefore we must address it and find our place in it.

For the sake of avoiding this becoming several thousand words, I’ll simply attempt to hit several key points from here on. In the dream, the elder/deacon types seemingly despised the light. As I explained regarding the last room in the dream, whenever I would turn the lights on, they would turn them off. As in the previous rooms ,they did not want me to be a part of what they were ruling over. In Ezekiel 8:12, the Lord says, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’” I don’t think I need to point out the obvious similarities. Ezekiel goes on to say that the Lord “took him to the gate of the Lord’s house… where women were weeping for Tammuz”. Tammuz was a fertility God and historically, followers believed that when Tammuz “died”, winter came and when he “returned”, Spring arrived. He was praised in the Spring season for bringing new life to the land. Likewise, today we see Christians looking to other “saviors” to bring them life, newness, provision and purpose. Their love for Jesus, the Messiah, the Saviour, the one and only Bridegroom, has been replaced with lustful eyes for another. Impregnation, in the spirit, has followed and that has given birth to abominations in the eyes of the Lord. This is not acceptable and He will not allow it for much longer.

Lastly, In Ezekiel 8:16, The Lord brought Ezekiel “into the inner court of the Lord’s house…. between the porch and the altar” where “twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of the Lord… were bowing low to the ground worshipping the sun.” In verses 17 and 18, the Lord goes on to say “Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they have committed here, that they have filled the land with violence and provoked Me repeatedly, thumbing their noses at Me? Therefore, I will respond in fury. My eye will have no pity nor shall I spare them. And though they cry for mercy with a loud voice, I shall not listen to them.” The house of Judah always refers to praise. People of God, even our praises have become an abomination to the Lord! Whether it’s color-coordinated praise teams in front of 14-piece rock bands or beautifully robed choirs with hymnals in hand behind the orchestra pit, it has become all about us and is an abomination to the Lord. We must assess who we are truly following and why we’re even calling ourselves Christians. This is a tough truth, I know – but we must face it. WE CAN NO LONGER APPROACH GOD ON OUR TERMS, WITH OUR OPINIONS, VIEWPOINTS, LIKES AND DISLIKES - HE ALONE IS ALMIGHTY GOD AND HE ALONE DEFINES WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE!

So why write about all of this? Well, my friend, we will be front and center when all of this is unveiled. It is my charge to you that you make sure now that your worship, your beliefs, your interests, your everything is rooted in what God deems acceptable and pleasing in His sight, not yours. As Ezekiel clearly states, man’s ways, especially man-made religiosities will be cut down with the sword of the Lord – nothing will be spared, nothing. He desires that none should perish but He is just and He will not tolerate His people whoring themselves to any other. I know that is about as blunt as it can get, but it is the absolute truth. God’s Word is final, His voice alone will I heed and declare. Will you heed the voice of the Lord spoken to Ezekiel?

I encourage you, as Isaiah did, to “seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near”, for it will not always be so. Lord, show us mercy, compassion and patience - we need You alone, not the ways of men.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joel, your dream brought tears to my eyes because I realized a few things about myself and where some of my shame, inferiority derives from - many, many years of "turning off the lights" in my life by unrealized church members. Many of these people do not even know how they interact with others. They either feel that it is their duty/right thing to do or they don't even know it is wrong. It breaks my heart for some reason to have that picture of those men telling you to get busy... start doing something... they didn't even care about your life, your soul. I believe the Father HATES the fact that men lord themselves over others. Thanks for being a vessel to open my eyes to a few things. k.