Adversaries of the Apocalyptic Address

Micah, Chapter 3

And I said, “Hear now, heads of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel. Is it not for you to know justice? You who hate good and love evil, Who tear off their skin from them And their flesh from their bones, And who eat the flesh of my people, Strip off their skin from them, Break their bones, And chop them up as for the pot And as meat in a kettle.” Then they will cry out to the LORD, But He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time, Because they have practiced evil deeds. Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets Who lead my people astray; When they have something to bite with their teeth, They cry, “Peace,” But against him who puts nothing in their mouths, They declare holy war. Therefore it will be night for you—without vision, And darkness for you—without divination. The sun will go down on the prophets, And the day will become dark over them. The seers will be ashamed And the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths Because there is no answer from God. On the other hand I am filled with power— With the Spirit of the LORD— And with justice and courage To make known to Jacob his rebellious act, Even to Israel his sin. Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel, Who abhor justice And twist everything that is straight, Who build Zion with bloodshed And Jerusalem with violent injustice. Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, Her priests instruct for a price, And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, “Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.” Therefore, on account of you, Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.

“Hear now, heads of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel.” It all starts with bad leadership and false prophets. Which brings us to the Corona Virus, because corona means crown in Spanish and because people are crying out for leadership over the Corona​virus–crown is synonymous with leadership and crown can be slang for “head,” “chief” or “prince.” SARS, Ebola and the bird flu were all devestating to many people as will be the Coronavirus. Yet panic will be worse than the virus itself. Watch out for anyone, including modern-day prophets seeking to make a profit, over this virus which will wreak some havoc but ultimately fizzle from its frenzy. It’s sad, many will become sick and many will die but the world we continue to spin. I love paying for my own website blog, asking nothing from readers but only to read the Bible and to consider the context, ascertain the author’s aspiration to his audience, jive with the genre, explore examples and divide rightly the word of truth. The reason is because I can write the truth without fear of repercussions. You cannot fire me because you don’t pay me. Put this sentiment on the back burner for now but we will come back to it. First, we have to consider the context which has very little to do with the Coronavirus and me working for free–but it’s in there–kind of. Not my lack of pay or the sickness but contributing factors, drawn out of the context. Keep this in mind as we continue.

“And I said, ‘Hear now, heads of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel. Is it not for you to know justice?'” If they already haven’t, prophecy pundits will make a connection between the Coronavirus and the last days because corona means crowns and it is a pestilence in their minds and blah, blah, blah. Corona viruses have been around for hundreds of years and are called Corona because the germs look like crowns under a microscope–it is not rocket science,  it’s molecular biology. I am done with the Coronavirus; the rest is up to the reader because I can’t tell you what will happen with the Coronavirus other than the panic will do more harm than the virus. People will try to make money over it and sadly, some will die, maybe even me but a car crash or the flu are more likely. But that’s not a prophecy, that’s life in a fallen world. Now that this is out of the way, we will consider the continuing context of Micah.

Have I mentioned leadership and that I write for free? Actually, I pay to write. This doesn’t mean that what I write is right but that I cannot be bought. I cannot be fired either but I can be sued for slander, according to the world’s standards. But according to the standards set forth by Paul in his first recorded letter to the Corinthians, I can’t be sued because I am writing about alleged brothers. Therefore, beware of the Joel Osteens and the John Hagees who resemble the prophets and priests in Micah three. Up until this point I have been reluctant to name names, but since God is coming in the next few days and those who have died as a result of the Coronavirus didn’t speak faith, I figure why not let it all hang out. They cannot sue me because I proclaim Christ as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, who created all things, who came to us as fully God and fully man, part of the triune God, born of a virgin, died on the cross, was buried and rose again on the third day, ascended to heaven and will return. I ask for no money but they make millions. If they sue me, I am absolutely correct about them. Look at the context.

“And I said, ‘Hear now, heads of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel. Is it not for you to know justice? You who hate good and love evil, Who tear off their skin from them And their flesh from their bones, And who eat the flesh of my people, Strip off their skin from them, Break their bones, And chop them up as for the pot And as meat in a kettle.'” Look at the continuing context and see the horrific abuse of leadership. The heads and leaders are not cannibals, who actually eat the people but it is an apocalyptic address to point out that the leaders rob and lie to the people with false promises. I have not mentioned John Hagee before today but have referenced his book, Four Blood Moons: Something is about to change, often because it is the quintessential piece of false prophecy that comes out of the “evangelical” movement. The title alone is enough for us to see that. Joel Osteen has written a book or two himself, making millions, making false promises. But Joel is more conniving than John, ironically both names are those of true prophets, in that he covers himself from criticism well. Because of the way in which he speaks, writes and preaches, he can claim that a person lacked the faith if the promise doesn’t find fruition in a particular person. A parody: “You got to speak favor and not negativity.” “I did.” “You got to believe it, right down in here.” “I do.” “You have to accept your anointing.” “I will.” “Then I believe and declare a season of favor is coming to you.” Three weeks later the man lost his job and crashed his car. “I didn’t say when the season was coming, you got to keep speaking favor–here, buy this book.” This is extremely close to what was happening in Micah’s time; except with Joel Osteen, at least one gets a book and really good music.

As for the fierce firebrand of John Hagee, what more do I need to say than, Four Blood Moons: Something is about to change? The title alone is damning. In Deuteronomy 18 we read, “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” With Four Blood Moons: Something is about to change, about covers him a bit but it’s been years now, and here we are, same as it ever was, slowly progressing towards the goal of advancing the kingdom with certain setbacks in a fallen world being ruled by the true head, Jesus Christ who was given all authority on heaven and earth. Prophets and priests don’t rule us, sorry Roman Catholics, your system is flawed too. Rather we have been given shepherds, some of whom are wolves in sheep’s clothing. That’s in the context, however it is directly applied to the leaders of Israel and Judah. Nevertheless, the ideals are the same.

“Then they will cry out to the LORD, But He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time, Because they have practiced evil deeds. Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets Who lead my people astray; When they have something to bite with their teeth, They cry, “Peace,” But against him who puts nothing in their mouths, They declare holy war. Therefore it will be night for you—without vision, And darkness for you—without divination. The sun will go down on the prophets, And the day will become dark over them. The seers will be ashamed And the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths Because there is no answer from God. On the other hand I am filled with power— With the Spirit of the LORD— And with justice and courage To make known to Jacob his rebellious act, Even to Israel his sin.”

Notice again the apocalyptic address which is clarified in the context; “they have practiced evil deeds. Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets Who lead my people astray; When they have something to bite with their teeth, They cry, ‘Peace,’ But against him who puts nothing in their mouths, They declare holy war.” To those who feed the prophets, something to bite with their teeth, they promise peace. Yet to the poor people, who are unable to provide provisions for the prophet, he calls for calamity. I pay to write to keep myself humble and incorruptible, so that everything I say is not biased towards the one who gives me more. We need to pray for our pastors because they can easily fall into this trap. But more  importantly we have to pray for ourselves, that we won’t be the ones feeding the mouths of our pastors so that they will preach what we want to hear.

A worker is worthy of his wage, Paul makes this clear. Nevertheless, there is a temptation which looms over every pastor which I will call, the Joel Osteen syndrome, or the 2 Timothy syndrome. Why is Joel Osteen so popular that thousands attend his church and millions buy his books? It’s simple, he tells people what they want to hear. That temptation exists everywhere, even if it is to a much lesser degree. Picture a pastor with 4 children in high school, all of whom plan to attend college–do I really need to write anymore? Think of the 10s of thousands of dollars this will require. Is this pastor more likely to point out the sins in his congregation or to preach on the love, grace and forgiveness of God? Notice that preaching on God’s love, grace and forgiveness are essential to the gospel; but sin is also. We have to put aside our pie in the sky attitudes about the perseverance of pastors; they are under an insane amount of pressure. Nevertheless it is easy to spot the good ones because they confront us about our sins rather than promise peace and prosperity to those that pay but holy war to those that cannot. This is the idealistic approach to Micah 3, let’s look at the historical.

The “head” is the Hebrew word transliterated as “Rosh.” The dogmatic dispensationalists argue that this is Russia. Let’s see if that fits into the context. “And I said, “Hear now, Russias of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel. Is it not for you to know justice?'” Ezekiel 38, we are told by the prophecy pundits, reads; “And the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Russia, Moscow, and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” Problem, “Rosh” only sounds like Russia but we have seen it means “head.” A better translation would be, “And the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the head prince of Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” Gog is the head prince and Magog is Meshech and Tubal–a man and his land. Simple but not sensational so that it doesn’t sell. Yet undertanding the word “head” is not the only reason we look to Ezekiel. Ezekiel began to write in the middle of the exile, after Micah’s prophecy had come to pass; even though we find Ezekiel before Micah in the Bible. The Bible is not laid out chronologically but in groupings based on the genre. Historical narrative, poetry, long prophecy, short prophecy; it’s basically that simple. In Ezekiel, which is a long prophecy, we see some of the results from Micah’s prophecy. But again it is long and an apocalyptic address of apocalyptic proportions.

Our interpretation abilities are not up to arguing about the apocalyptic address in Ezekiel, yet and its long, therefore we will hit a few highlights. “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!’ And as He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me.” Then, the Spirit was a big deal, even hundreds of years later the Sadducees did not believe in the Spirit. Now, everyone claims to be “in the Spirit.” But in Ezekiel’s days of exile, people didn’t speak this way, proving their worldliness and Ezekiel’s truth. The false prophets picked up on the true prophets’ verbiage and would say, “thus says the Lord.” But Ezekiel writes uniquely in the exile about the Spirit. Now, modern-day, false prophets have picked up on what Ezekiel wrote. Conclusion: we can trust Ezekiel.

The Holy Spirit is the first “member” of the triune God mentioned in the Bible. We see him in Exodus, in the books of Samuel and other times in the Old Testament but few, until Ezekiel, claimed to be “under the influence of ” the Spirit, except the true prophets. Ironically, the ones that did so, almost did it as a passing, secondary thought. But Ezekiel claimed to be moved and spoken to by the Spirit. I don’t want to distract from today’s text too much but I find it fascinating that the Spirit has been poured out after Christ’s departure but the dogmatic dispensationalists argue that Jesus has to be physically present to establish his kingdom. God is God, the Spirit is the exact representation of Jesus. Anyway, back to the context clarification.

“Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you, and have not walked in My statutes, nor observed My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’ therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again.” Remember that this is in the middle of the exile. God promised more calamity on them. “Disaster will come upon disaster, and rumor will be added to rumor; then they will seek a vision from a prophet, but the law will be lost from the priest and counsel from the elders. The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with horror, and the hands of the people of the land will tremble. According to their conduct I shall deal with them, and by their judgments I shall judge them. And they will know that I am the LORD.” God has shut up their prophets and taken away the Law from the priests, this is utter exile; except for Ezekiel. This is an all encompassing exile but it begins with the priests, kings, and false prophets. Everyone wants leadership but the only good leader is God. He has spoken through his words recorded in the Bible and therefore we must mine it for all its worth keeping it in context.

Back to the Spirit and back to the silence of the false prophets promised in Micah, fulfilled in Ezekiel. “The seers will be ashamed And the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths Because there is no answer from God. On the other hand I am filled with power— With the Spirit of the LORD— And with justice and courage To make known to Jacob his rebellious act, Even to Israel his sin.” False prophets are easily found out. One, they don’t confront their sin and two, their prophecies don’t come to pass. Four blood moons: something is about to change is incredibly ambiguous. Nevertheless, nothing changed. One cannot write this and claim that they are not prophesying because it is a guarantee not a mere prediction of a possibility. And if one states that one saw this coming change in the Bible, one also proves one’s inability to understand the apocalyptic address. And yet he is still paid to provide Biblical insight; ironic. They should be ashamed of themselves. I am ashamed of myself. I have read the Bible cover to cover twice and each book at least once more, most several times. Yet I am still stuck between two kingdoms and two dominions. I am ashamed, to be sure but at least I am not fed by promising peace and prosperity or a rapture rescue based on blood moons and celestial signs. I see my sin in the sin of Israel and Judah. But I also see the sins of the prophecy pundits and how history repeats itself.

“Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel, Who abhor justice And twist everything that is straight, Who build Zion with bloodshed And Jerusalem with violent injustice. Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, Her priests instruct for a price, And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, ‘Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.’ Therefore, on account of you, Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.”

This applied to and came to pass on Israel and Judah. They were against God’s apocalyptic addresses and they paid the price. Yet we are told by some that peace and prosperity awaits us, for a price. Others promise a rapture rescue, for a price. We buy books and send money for sermons promising peace on earth and or, a rapture rescue. We pay for motion pictures proclaiming a rapture rescue. While I do believe that peace on earth will come, it comes from persecution and getting our hands dirty in ministry. We have a global gospel to preach amongst persecution. We have a life to live and possibly, a death to die, for the sake of the gospel. In that, I see my sin. We are adversarial to the apocalyptic address as were the priests and prophets. But the true gospel will never lead anyone astray. Yet we twist the Scripture and promote prophecy pundits, teaching the precepts of man based upon teachings and traditions of men. Let’s get back to the gospel and stop idolizing the “blessed hope” of a rapture rescue.

 

 

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