When Ministers do not implicitly trust God, but give into the fear that a negative public opinion will affect their church and ministry or bring shame to the name of Christ, then they demonstrate two things. The first is their lack of trust in God and the second is their ignorance of the Scriptural truth about Christ, his people and the church, which is, that they will be reviled. When Ministers and individuals take their eyes off God, whatever their eyes rest on takes the place of God and whatever takes the place of God is an idol, and idolatry has no place in a Christian's life.
Many years ago, the words Pentecostal and Charismatic were unknown by most people and from time to time certain ministers belonging to non-Pentecostal/charismatic churches 'got the blessing' and thereafter incurred the wrath of their religious denominations.
In the early '70's, the aging founder of one branch of a long time Pentecostal denomination, invited a 'rejected' Baptist minister to become the principle pastor of his church, and not long after, that former Baptist Minister invited a young 'rejected' Presbyterian minister to come on board.
Very quickly they built up a huge following and the original church building capable of sitting 300 people, was insufficient to meet the needs of the Sunday Services. After quite some time of holding meetings in a large auditorium, The Baptist Minister and his Presbyterian assistant 'split' from their new found denomination and set up their own church.
Two publicly expressed opinions for the split involved either that the original founder of that Pentecostal branch church had sacked the Baptist minister or that the Baptist Minister wanted control of the church and when he couldn't get it, he left. The facts of the matter were a little different. It seems that contrary to usual practice, the church building was not owned by the 'church entity' run by the church board, but was the personal property of the founding minister.
When church attendance reached the 1000 people per week level, the church board wanted to sell the church and land and build a larger more modern building. The founding pastor refused. When in due course it became obvious that the founder was not going to change his position, and as relations between the two sides became more and more strained, the Baptist and Presbyterian ministers moved on and 95% of the congregation went with them.
A few years later, these two ministers parted ways as well. The public announcement was that the younger wished to be free to pursue a ministry as an 'Evangelist'. The truth behind the story was that the younger felt that the elder was falling into the same trap as their previous boss. The church needed to build further and spread wider. So they went their different ways.
A year later the younger minister started up his own denomination and very quickly built the church up to 3000 members.
I personally knew all of these ministers, and their church dispute created problems for a family member's wedding plans.
Each man in and of himself, was a man who wanted to serve God, and did his best to fulfill his vision of what God required. But each man also had a fundamental flaw. You see each man believed that in order to protect the name, witness and reputation of Christ and that of their particular church, that 'the truth' could not be made public.
The flaw in their characters was their inability to follow their own conscience (or leading of the Spirit) and trust God to take care of the outcome. Rather than making a public statement of facts and reasons for their decisions, and parting in an open and honest way, their actions enabled gossip and bad feelings to flourish.
When we know the two sides of a story, we can make up our own minds about what should and should not have happened, but when we are left with gossip, ill feeling, innuendo and confusion; we are unable to make clear choices.
When ministry conceals the truth, it cannot be for the reason that they are protecting God's image or reputation. The reputation they are protecting is their own.
The Second Book of Samuel Chapter Twelve tells the story of the Prophet Nathan who tricks King David into passing judgment on an offender in a contrived story. David was incensed when he heard the story. Verse Five records that "David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die" and in verse seven it is recorded that "Nathan said to David, Thou art the man."
King David's initial reaction and judgment was righteous, but only because he did not recognize that the details equally applied to his own behavior in stealing Bathsheba and having her husband killed.
It is a far easier thing to pass judgment on others than to see in ourselves the same faults. It is far easier for ministers of the church to tell the congregation the perfect way in which to live, than to constantly live in that perfection themselves. As ministers are often heard to quote from the scriptures..
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
"For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad."Luke 8:17
In relation to the story of the three ministers mentioned above, if each man made his decision in good conscience, then it does not matter whether or not those decisions turned out to have been right. The one thing that should have always remained constant in their lives was to trust that God was in control and that He would look after the best interests of his people.
Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? .. for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
When Ministers do not implicitly trust God, but give into the fear that a negative public opinion will affect their church and ministry or bring shame to the name of Christ, then they demonstrate two things. The first is their lack of trust in God and the second is their ignorance of the Scriptural truth about Christ, his people and the church, which is, that they will be reviled.
When Ministers and individuals take their eyes off God, whatever their eyes rest on takes the place of God and whatever takes the place of God is an idol, and idolatry has no place in a Christian's life.
M. Wallace Johnson
Idols in Ministry No 6: The Devil
By M. Wallace Johnson
Published at Magic City Morning Star News May 20, 2012
There are many good God fearing Christians in the world who have without realizing it, taken their eyes off God, and focused them squarely on the Devil and while they may never consider it to be so, they have in reality raised him to a greater height, a greater prominence and with greater power than God himself.
You yourself have possibly heard these people on television or in pulpits or in the street, talking up a storm, allegedly about Christ and Salvation, but whose main theme is the Devil.
I have heard Christians talking about him as if he were able to overturn the will of God, able to snatch some poor innocent Christian's life out of God's hand and control.
I knew an eighteen year old girl once who was stricken with cancer and her church congregation was stirred up by the ministers to fight the enemy and win back the girl's health, and there are abundant Scriptural references to justify belief in healing and deliverance from evil. What there is not in Scripture however, is teaching that the Devil himself is personally involved in each individual's life, or that he has ability to thwart God's will.
In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John it is recorded:
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (Verses 35-40)
From these verses we can see that no matter what we may perceive with our eyes, the will of God will not be defeated. When someone dies, it is not because the Devil has defeated God's will. 1 Corinthians 15: 26 states that the last enemy of Christ is death itself.
On the subject of death and resurrection 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 verses 12-22 says:
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
The proof of Christian faith is not in someone being healed of an illness, even of a terminal one, but that Christ Himself rose from the dead. If some seriously ill person for whom we pray is not healed, but dies, it is not a victory for the Devil, for they are not lost to God but are in his keeping, and will be raised up.
1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Should we not pray for healing?
In Second Samuel Chapter 12 we have the story of King David being chastised for his affair with Bathsheba and conspiring to have her husband killed. Bathsheba was pregnant with David's son. Scripture says that the Lord struck the child with an illness because of David's sin. The child itself was not responsible for its illness and nor was the Devil.
We read that King David prayed and fasted for seven days in the hope that God would not take the child's life. When David was given to know that the child had died, he ceased his prayer and fasting.
Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. (Verses 20-23)
We must remember that Christ has the victory - not the Devil. We must be aware that praying for the graciousness of God to spare a life is Biblical. And furthermore, we must remember that when a believer dies, they have passed out of this mortal realm into the spiritual realm. But no matter whether they live or die, their lives are in the Hand of God and nothing can overpower God and rob him of his victory.
In this article up to this point, God and Christ are mentioned a total of 34 times and 'the Devil' only 7 times, and he is only mentioned at all because he is the subject of the article.
We as Christians must put our focus on Christ and the Father in Heaven - not on the deceiver who would usurp Christ's place in our hearts.
Illness, death, lies and deceit, natural and man-made disasters and all manner of accidents, sorrow and tragedy will continue until the end, but through it all, it is Christ who should remain the focus of our eyes, hearts and thinking, for He is risen from the dead and has won the victory which no man or spiritual force can steal.
Christ, not the Devil should be the focus of our thoughts, words and actions.
Philippians 1:21 - For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Romans 14:7-9 - For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
M. Wallace Johnson
Idols in Ministry No 7: Secret Wisdom
By M. Wallace Johnson
Magic City May 27, 2012
This article is in some respects akin to the 'Idols in Ministry No 4' article on Doctrine in that it deals with Theological Doctrines, but in this article I specifically want to discuss the issue of 'Gnosticism', particularly as it applies to the 'Second Coming of Christ' and end time events.
Gnostics were "people who knew", and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and future status was essentially different from that of those who, for whatever reason, did not know. (See End Notes)
The world abounds with both secular and religious persons predicting the date for the end of the world, and when they do so as Christians, quoting the Bible, they do grave harm.
These 'soothsayers' for want of a better expression spend their time searching for 'Secret Wisdom' within the Scriptures, and they do so in direct contradiction to the statement of Christ in the Gospel of Mark Chapter 13 that no one not even Jesus himself, knows the day or hour of the end.
If one wants to waste their time trying to discern the year of the coming of the Lord, then that is their right, but when such people use their 'special revelation' to persuade people to believe in Christ, they are not only acting in a way not prescribed in Scripture, but ultimately setting their adherents up for disappointment and shattered faith.
One can only speculate upon the reason, the driving force behind their search but it cannot be that they are merely seeking to convert souls to Christ. Matthew Chapter 28 (verses 19-20) instructs the disciples to go out into the world and teach them of Salvation and to Baptize them - Not to preach 'Repent - the end is nigh'.
The Gospel of John Chapter three states quite clearly that the world stands condemned before God but that those who believe in Jesus shall receive everlasting life. In the Book of Romans Chapter Ten we are told that if you confess the Lordship of Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead then you will be saved. And it goes on to call upon Disciples of Christ to go out to preach the good news to those who have not heard of Christ.
Perhaps there are some people who think that they are searching out the mysteries of God so that they can prophetically warn the non-believers of the imminent return of Christ and persuade them to repent and be saved, but where in the Scriptures does it say that the Salvation of Christ is given to those who are afraid of 'hellfire and damnation'.
Nowhere do we read that 'he who fears going to hell will be saved' or that 'he who knows when Christ will return shall be saved'. First Corinthians Chapter One states that 'we preach Christ crucified' - a concept that is a stumblingblock to Jews who sought signs and foolishness to Greeks who sought wisdom.
Since our primary purpose is to worship HIM, and to spread the 'Gospel' or 'good news' of salvation, those whose focus is on the second coming of Christ are those whose focus is not on fulfilling the real commission given to each believer.
The Bible is a big book covering a long period of history and it has something to say to each generation of believers that lived at those times, and prophetically speaks to us 'at the end of the age'.
Our commission is not to scare the wits out of simple souls, and nor is it to enter into academic arguments with the intellectually superior. Our commission is to spread the good news of the Work, the Grace, and the Salvation freely provided us through the love of God. (Ephesians 2)
People who constantly preach on or teach the 'End Times' (Armageddon - the rapture - the millennial reign of Christ), particularly those doing so in a prophetic way having allegedly calculated the timing of the events, are acting in direct contradiction to the will of God.
They have shifted their focus from 'The Savior' who was and is, to 'The Judge' who is yet to be. As such they are focused on an idol. We are not to worship at the footstool of the avenging judge, but at the footstool of the Gracious Savior.
Christ our Savior is the focus of our salvation and our commission - not 'Christ the Judge'.
Those who give themselves over to 'secret wisdom' by which they will be saved or which lifts them up higher than others around them are worshipping an idol.
Gnostics were "people who knew", and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and future status was essentially different from that of those who, for whatever reason, did not know. A more complete and historical definition of Gnosticism would be: A collective name for a large number of greatly-varying and pantheistic-idealistic sects, which flourished from some time before the Christian Era down to the fifth century, and which, while borrowing the phraseology and some of the tenets of the chief religions of the day, and especially of Christianity, held matter to be a deterioration of spirit, and the whole universe a depravation of the Deity, and taught the ultimate end of all being to be the overcoming of the grossness of matter and the return to the Parent-Spirit, which return they held to be inaugurated and facilitated by the appearance of some God-sent Savior.
When will the world end?
Mark 13:32-37 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Which Christ do we Preach?
1 Corinthians 1:18-27 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty
What must we do to be saved?
John 3:14-21 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Romans 10:9-11 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:14,15 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Will my faith save me?
Ephesians Chapter 2: 4-9 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
M. Wallace Johnson
Idols in Ministry No 8: The Bible
By M. Wallace Johnson
Magic City June 3, 2012
Can the Bible be an idol? One might not think so, but an idol can be anything.
Christians must and do rely on the Bible for instruction and guidance for as Saint Paul said in writing to Timothy:
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (Second Timothy Chapter 3:15-17)
The Bible is our source of instruction, but can it become an 'idol'? The answer is simple, 'Yes! When it takes the place of God in our hearts, minds and vision'.
The Bible was God inspired, is profitable for us to read, keeps us on the straight and narrow and helps to bring us to Godly perfection (maturity)
However the Bible is not God, and nor is it Jesus Christ who is called 'The Word of God'. Jesus' promise to his disciples - the ones who grew up on Scripture - was that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort and teach them.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (Gospel of John Chapter 16:12 - 15)
When people cease to be guided by the Spirit of God, relying solely on the written word, it is not only possible for them to 'use' or perhaps 'misuse' the Scriptures for their own advantage, but by becoming dependent on the written word, their 'justification and righteousness' is found in whatever it is that they find to quote.
Galatians Chapter 2 verse 21 says: "if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain". By this is meant that righteousness does not come by fulfilling (God appointed) ritual and obeying (God appointed) religious laws, but that it comes through the faith of Christ working in us.
Let me make that a little clearer for you. At several points in the Old Testament, God warns that many people have invested their energies in 'fulfilling' the laws of Judaism of which there were 613, but that it did not result in a righteous relationship with God.
When people put the Bible on a pedestal, firstly they are acting just like the Muslims who scream 'blasphemy' when some Christian defames or defaces the Koran. Secondly, they are acting like the Jews against whom the prophet Isaiah spoke.
But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:13)
These people may have been 'doers' of the law, but they did not really know the purpose of the law. It was not written on their hearts. On the other hand, Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans provides a beautiful insight into the purpose of the law, when he talks about the relationship of the law to those who have never known the law. Romans 2:13 - 15:
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another)
Relying on the Bible, without a sensitive relationship with God (i.e. without having the law written on the heart) can lead a person into all manner of belief and behavior which is contrary to the Spirit of Christ. Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. The rest of that Chapter talks about the character that one should have as their minds are renewed in Christ.
In the old testament there were numerous obligations placed upon the Jews but the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 58 demonstrates that the people didn't really understand 'the meaning' of their obligations and beliefs. The prophet Amos whose ministry occurred at approximately the same time as Isaiah's made the same observations.
Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. (Amos 5:18-23)
These were a people who had the written word but didn't really understand it. In fact, the book of Isaiah starts with the statement that he was sent to preach to a people who would 'hear the word of God' but not understand it. If such was possible back then, how much more so now?
Perhaps you might be thinking now that I do not advocate studying the Bible. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it is made quite clear in both the Old Testament and the New, that the 'written word of God' serves no purpose, unless the 'Living Word of God' is in the heart. Romans 14:23 reminds us that what does not originate in real faith, is actually sinful.
Whilst many people might be able to locate all sins listed in the Bible and honestly say: 'Of these I am not guilty', nevertheless they still stand guilty if they do not at the same time have within them the nature and character of Christ.
One need not be spiteful to have a heart that has no love; One may not need to speak offensive words, to have an unkind attitude; One need not be impolite to have a heart that is not gracious and one need not turn away from helping people, to be uncharitable.
We seldom have the opportunity to do other than judge people by their words and behavior, but the true test of the mettle of a man is found in his inner heart - in the secret places of the mind.
When we listen to people quoting Scripture - chapter and verse - at the drop of the hat, we can be forgiven for thinking that such people 'know God'. The reality might just be that they 'just know the Scriptures' - the written word of God - as opposed to the 'Living Word of God'.
If we could sum up the sin of the Jewish leadership at the time of Christ, it might be this, that while they knew all that God had inspired to be written, their neither understood it nor allowed it to change their characters into a reflection of the Nature of God.
Our task is not to 'idolize' the Bible and know it from beginning to end, but rather to know Christ and allow his Spirit to lead us through the inspired written word of God so as to be instructed, corrected and matured into the image of Christ.
An Overview of the Prophet Amos during the reign of King Uzziah, prior to Assyrian incursions into Syria, Israel and Judah. The prophecies take place about 30 years prior to the destruction of the Northern Kingdom Israel and the exile of its people, and less than 200 years before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took the Southern Kingdom of Judah into exile in Babylon and destroyed King Solomon's Temple. Amos Chapter 1 verse one says that the prophet Amos was a herdsman from a place called Tekoa and relates that the things which he saw concerning Israel and Judah occurred in the latter years of the reign of King Uzziah of Judah (2 years before the earthquake of 759 BC) during the final few years of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel - perhaps no more than 6 years.
Hosea's message: The people having chosen kings to lead them, put their faith in the kings rather than God and as the Kings and leaders failed to listen to the voice of God, the people became further and further removed from God. The end result in Israel was the fulfilled promise of the destruction of Samaria. Hosea 1:4-7 states that God will no longer show mercy on the Northern Kingdom but will cause it to cease to exist. This was accomplished in 722 BC when the capital city Samaria was taken by the King of Assyria during the reign of King Hoshea and the people were sent into exile. Mercy is however granted to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
At the height of the reigns of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam II of Israel, Israel enjoyed peace and prosperity due mainly to the weak political and military state of affairs in Syria and Assyria. One can only assume that the relative peace, security and prosperity led to a decrease in dependence on religious faith and following the Law of God. Hence we have 4 prophets arise to chastise the people and warn them of impending disaster. (Isaiah, Amos, Micah and Hosea).
The message in the books of Isaiah, Amos, Hosea and Micah are almost identical. Secular and religious leaders and those with the power that comes from wealth neither paid attention to doing what was right in the eyes of God nor treated the common man with decency and dignity. When leadership fails to set the right example for society, that society crumbles, and since these societies - Israel and Judah - were the chosen of God - 'a light of the Gentiles' - the people of God through whom the world would come to know God, that society could not be allowed to degenerate to the level of the common pagan world. Chastisement leading to repentance was a necessity and the time was drawing near.
Faith without works is as equally as dead as works without faith and it is an easy thing to inadvertently shift the focus of our lives away from 'Christ', to a focus of 'being' the faithful servant and doing 'the work of God' and in the process, to become a poor facsimile of what we once were. We must give comfort and give good counsel, but we must remember to trust and rely on the 'Real Counselor' - the Holy Spirit to continue to do his work in any one individual's life. If they reject us, it matters not! We are not masters. We merely serve the master. When our Religion and its ritualism replaces our relationship with God and by default, with our fellow man, we have made our religion a 'false religion', and our ritual practices become idolatry.
God's ways may not be our ways but his judgments tend to be accurate! God sees past all that you do and say. He sees the 'real' you. Only God can truly know whose identity is Holey, Whole or Holy. Jeremiah's job description required saying a lot of things that just didn't sit too well with the 'powers that be', both religious and secular. Moses was a rash man with a temper that made him careless. For decades his life just didn't go the way he had planned it and by the time he was content enough with his life and ready for a peaceful retirement, it was thrown into turmoil again by a pesky deity who for some reason considered him the best person for the job of 'leader'.
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.