For me, Ezekiel was always the single most difficult book of the Old Testament (arguably of all Scripture) to understand, but in more recent years I believe the Lord in His grace has been giving more Christians more insight into the Book of Ezekiel. Remember, in both Corinthians and in Hebrews, we have a distinction between “milk” and “meat.”
“Milk” is baby food and is right for young believers and “meat” is for older believers, and we are told in Hebrews if we continue to give people “milk” there is not going to be calcification of the bones and baby is not going to grow properly (Heb.5:12-14). This has happened to many churches and many movements; they just continue to teach “milk” and never go to “meat.” It is dangerous to give babies meat, but it is also dangerous to give growing people milk because they are not going to grow if that is their primary diet.
The New Testament is mainly milk. There are heavier books in it such as Hebrews, and there is deeper veiled content midrashically in the Gospels (particularly John). There are elements of meat in the New Testament, but it is primarily milk. The Old Testament, although there are drops of milk in it, is primarily meat. Always remember, “The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.” Of course, the Plymouth Brethren have been saying that for generations, but not until a German academic said it in Latin did it become academically acceptable.
Say there was a medical nurse in the hospital, she liked nursing, but she became interested in medical science, so she decided to quit her job as a nurse and go to medical school to become a medical doctor. When she was a nurse, all she had to learn was how to tourniquet a wound and stop the bleeding; when she began to study medicine she had to understand protein synthesis and how blood clotting works. She did not have to know this when she was a nurse; it is more complicated as a physician. Nurses and paramedics save people’s lives, but when someone really wants to get into it, they have to go into biochemistry and physiology and the deeper things like that.
Or think of a policeman who decides to quit his job and go to law school. There he is studying the same subjects, but much more deeply. He has to learn the rules of evidence; he has to learn Latin; he has to learn things he did not need to know as a cop that he will need to know as a lawyer.
Thank God for the New Testament, but the fact of the matter is that about 70% of Scripture is the Old Testament. However, there is an exception. The big exception is the Book of Revelation.
The Link Between the Old Testament & Revelation
From a literary perspective, the Book of Revelation can be considered to be Old Testament literature. It is the most Hebraic—most Jewish of the New Testament books, even more so than John’s Gospel, even more than Matthew. It draws on Old Testament themes and motifs more than any other book in the New Testament. From a literary perspective it is like Old Testament literature. In fact, if we were to read the Old Testament in the Greek Septuagint, we would see how incredible are the parallelisms to the Book of Revelation.
The literary link between the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are the apocryphal books, particularly 1 & 2 Enoch. Those books are not a basis for doctrine, but they are biblically important history and literature. One would have to understand the literary transition to get the theology right, and it would be important to read 1 & 2 Enoch. It gets very, very complicated.
There is another reason. In the Last Days God turns His grace from the Gentile nations back toward Israel and the Jews. The times of the Gentiles comes to an end. Jesus warned of this in Luke 21; Paul warned of this in Romans 11. God will turn His grace back toward Israel at the end of the age, and that is another reason why we see the Book of Revelation being like an Old Testament book in its content. But there is a further reason.
We need to be careful not to take the truths of Dispensationalism too far. It is a basic truth, but some people take it way too far. Nonetheless, understand that right now we are in the covenant of grace; a time comes when grace comes to an end. God’s Spirit will no longer strive with man (Gen. 6:3). When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin (Jn. 16:8); when grace comes to an end, the Holy Spirit will no longer convict people of sin. God will revert to dealing with mankind the way He did in the Old Testament. It is the God of wrath. Those same judgments seen in the Book of Exodus are recapitulated in the Book of Revelation and replay the curses of Egypt on the Jews. He goes back to dealing with the nations the way He did in the Old Testament. The era of grace comes to an end. This will really take off with “the day of the Lord.” Once the faithful Church is removed between the sixth and seventh seal, the day of the Lord is inaugurated, and then it is basically an Old Testament scenario. There is a tribulational temple in Revelation 11, and God turns His redemptive focus back toward the salvation of Israel in very, very terrible circumstances—the worst hour of their history.
The Book of Revelation is theologically different from the rest of the New Testament. It has as much in common with the Old Testament as it does with the New. It was not even authored in the same time period, but authored at the end of the first century after the rest of the New Testament had already been written. It was a further revelation beyond the earthly ministry of Jesus. Everything that had been provided, up that point, were the Apostles explaining the Old Testament and the teachings of John the Baptist and Jesus. Everything the Apostles wrote in the Epistles and Gospels were things Jesus taught while He was here or that were developed from the Old Testament based on the teachings of Jesus. In Revelation, Jesus actually gives an additional, final revelation to John on Patmos.
There are many books that are important in understanding Revelation, most obviously Daniel. Another is quite obviously Zechariah, another as already mentioned is Exodus, but not least of all, and in some aspects most important of all, is the Book of Ezekiel. We do not study Ezekiel just for the sake of understanding Ezekiel, but for the sake of understanding the future. The key to understanding the future is properly understanding the past. As we get closer to the return of Jesus, we should be aiming for the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation to become clearer and clearer and clearer.
Again, we can learn to be a paramedic or learn to be a nurse, but that is at most advanced first-aid. But if we are going to study medical science, that is quite another thing. Or if there is an electrician who decides to become an electrical engineer, he is going to have to go back and study electro-physics and equations for four years. One has to go back and get the background. When we go back to Ezekiel to get this background, understand why we are doing it: it is to understand the future; it is to understand what is going to happen.
The Same Then As Now
In Ezekiel’s day, the Babylonian Captivity was well underway. The prophecies of Joel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Micah had been vindicated and the false prophets had been indicted. Nonetheless, the people still continued in their sin and their rejection of the truth and in their persecution of the true prophets and acceptance of the false ones. In the Last Days, it is the same thing. Expect people to continue to listen to proven false prophets.
It does not matter how many false prophecies Rick Joyner or Cindy Jacobs make, they are still going to follow those people the same as they did in the days of Ezekiel. It is the same motifs recycled: the Temple, the false prophets, and the Babylon motif (“Fallen, fallen is Babylon”) all come from the time of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah around the events of 585-586 BC. To understand the future we have to understand the past. Ezekiel is a type or shadow of Jesus eschatologically. He is called “son of man” same as Christ, a picture of Jesus coming again.
In Ezekiel 23 we are presented with “Oholah” and “Oholibah.” “Oholah”—“tent” or “tabernacle; “Oholibah”—“My tent/tabernacle is within her.” Ezekiel laments the fact that the two southern tribes Judah and Benjamin, along with the Levites and refugees who came south from the ten tribes of Israel during the revivals of Asa and so forth, had become just as corrupt as the ten northern tribes. Judah had become as corrupt as Israel. The same thing happens in the Last Days.
Thirty or forty years ago, when Christians used terms like “the harlot church” or “Babylon” or something similar, it was colloquially understood in Christian nomenclature that one was talking about the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, liberal Protestantism, the World Council of Churches, or a cult like the Jehovah’s Witnesses—that was “Babylon” or “the harlot church.” What is happening now is the same thing that happened in the days of Ezekiel. Today we have mainstream evangelical denominations that are just as much a part of the harlot church. The kind of stuff we see on TBN and such, or coming from the ecumenical movement, these are just as corrupt as the harlot church. What does the term “evangelical” mean anymore? It certainly does not mean what it does in Scripture—“evangelion.” It no longer means what it did, now that all kinds of people claim to be “evangelical.”
But that has always been the case in Europe. In Continental Europe, the term “evangelical” simply meant “Lutheran” as opposed to “Reformed”—as opposed to Calvinist. It did not necessarily mean “born again.” Now America is becoming the same as Europe. What does “evangelical” mean? It is just a term that does not really mean anything anymore. Judah became as bad as Israel. Now mainstream evangelical denominations have become as bad as the World Council of Churches, the papacy and so forth.
It Gets Worse
This is the background of Ezekiel 23 where he invokes the background of the motif of the harlot bride borrowed from Amos and Hosea, and also picked up in the New Testament in James 4. Israel becomes an unfaithful bride of Yahweh as the Church becomes an unfaithful bride of Christ in the apostate church. Ezekiel takes this motif of comparing the immorality to idolatry, equating idolatry with adultery: Oholibah—“My tabernacle is in her.” Because the holy ark and the Temple were in Jerusalem, the Jews thought they were special. They had the Lord and they had the truth, but once they become apostate—morally corrupt and looking to Babylon, it was not just bad, but Ezekiel said, “You are worse than your sister Oholah” (Eze. 23:11).
We all know what the Roman Catholic Church is, but at least officially they denounce things like abortion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage. We know that among their clergy this stuff goes on, and even worse things like pedophilia, and they cover it up. We know what they do in practice is different than what they preach, but at least officially they do not sanction these things.
Recently in England, at the Anglican Synod in London, one hundred twenty Anglican pastors—vicars, put their signatures to a document demanding the right to perform same-sex marriages. Remember, America was evangelized by Britain, the mother country spiritually as well as politically. The Church of England (also called the Anglicans or Episcopalians), the United Reformed Church, the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church are all ordaining homosexuals and lesbians, but even the Roman Catholic Church would not officially do that. What they do and what they teach are two different things, but if we were to look at a Roman Catholic book of theology, we would not find a single Roman Catholic scholar or theologian who would deny the historicity of the virgin birth or a literal resurrection. Not one. But we have no shortage at Yale Divinity School, or Princeton Divinity School, or Harvard, or so-called Protestants denying these truths. Protestantism has become worse than Catholicism, worse than what it set out to reform. It is more morally depraved and spiritually bankrupt than what it came from. So, too, Oholibah became worse than Oholah; Judah became worse than Israel.
Look at the money preachers, what they do, and their complete lack of ethics. There are unsaved people who would not prey on the poor and uneducated and elderly the way those money preachers do on TV. There are unsaved people who have more ethics than those predators of Satan.
This is what took place in the last days of Judah, and that is what happens in the Last Days, full stop. It is what happens in the last days of the Church, and it is what happens in the last days of the Jews before the Messiah comes. This is the background of “Ezekiel”—“the strength of God.”
The Beginning of the End
And the word of the LORD came to me in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth of the month, saying, (Ezekiel 24:1)
I do not speculate on dates of the return of Jesus, but this is a superscription—it tells us the timeframe in which these events took place when this prophecy came true. I only mention this in passing, but that date by the Hebrew calendar and how far it was into the Captivity may be an indication about the time when the Antichrist will be revealed.“
…the word of the LORD came…” Jesus is the Word. In Greek He is the “Logos,” in Hebrew He is the “D’var.” False prophets will always give us a word which is not prophecy but clairvoyance. “The word came”—Jesus came. It was an Old Testament revelation of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Unlike in the New Testament, of course, in the Old Covenant the Holy Spirit was only for certain people at certain times: high priests, prophets, kings, judges and patriarchs. The message came from an encounter with the Lord. If a message does not come from an encounter with the Lord, it is a false message; they are putting the focus on the message instead of on the Lord. The focus should be on the Lord, not the message. False prophets will always give someone a word; true prophets will always point them to the Word. There is nothing the Lord has to reveal to any of us, predictively or otherwise, that will not be doctrinally based on what is already revealed in Scripture, and the focus will always be on the Lord Himself, not on the message. Once that happens, then the message is real and we can act on it.
The King of Babylon
“Son of man…”
(Again, this is an eschatological type of Christ. When we see “son of man,” it is pointing to the Last Days in some way.)
“… write the name of the day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. (Ezekiel 24:2)
Nebuchadnezzar was worshiped in the Book of Daniel as God. Whenever we see a human being other than Jesus deified and worshiped, be it the pagan emperors of Rome or in this case the king of Babylon, it is a shadow or picture of the Antichrist. As Jesus was God and became a man who was worshipped, the Antichrist will be Satan, as it were, in an incarnated form, seeking worship. That the king of Babylon is directly associated with Satan is further confirmed by other Scripture.
that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say,
“How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased!The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked,The scepter of rulers
(As we see in Daniel, when Jesus comes back, He will put an end to human government.)
Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes,Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution.The whole earth is at rest and is quiet;They break forth into shouts of joy. Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying,‘Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.’
Remember, the trees of the field will clap their hands (Is. 55:12); we shall be trees of righteousness (Ps. 1). These cypress trees and cedars that Hiram sent down from Lebanon were used in the main construction of the Temple. The Church is described seven times in the New Testament as the temple, and these “Gentile” trees which came from Hiram when the Gentiles were at peace with the Jews under David and Solomon are figures of believers. When Jesus opened the eyes of the blind man, the man saw men as trees walking (Mk. 8:24). A good tree cannot bear bad fruit (Mt. 7:18). The trees are going to be happy when Satan is judged.
“Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come;It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth;It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones.They will all respond and say to you, ‘Even you have been made weak as we,You have become like us.Your pomp and the music of your harps Have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath youAnd worms are your covering.’
God has a sense of humor which is sardonic and satirical; He mocks His enemies. On the cross, Jesus, the King of kings, was mocked. The way Jesus was mocked on the cross is the way Satan is going to be belittled and ridiculed for all eternity. Part of the judgment of Satan is that he is going to be perpetually mocked, ridiculed and belittled for all eternity (Is. 14:16). His first sin was pride and that is where judgment is going to fall on him in large part.
Your pomp and the music of your harps Have been brought down to Sheol;
(This very closely parallels Daniel 2 when they had to worship the image.)
“How you have fallen from heaven,O star of the morning, son of the dawn!You have been cut down to the earth,You who have weakened the nations!
Notice how Satan tries to counterfeit Jesus. Whereas Jesus is “the bright and morning star,” (Rev. 22:16) what is Satan called here? “Star of the morning” and “son of the dawn.” Jesus rose at dawn. Antichrist will attempt to counterfeit Christ and he will put on a resounding imitation.When we understand Luciferian theosophy, their argument becomes (and this is even incorporated into elements of Freemasonry) that they see God and Satan as the same. Because we are imago dei, beings made in God’s image and likeness, and because there is good and evil in us, they think there must be good and evil in God. They reason, “How can we have light without dark? How can we have good without evil? God requires evil so there can be good. God requires dark so there can be light.” But there is no darkness within Him we are told (1 Jn. 1:5). These are the convoluted theories to which Luciferians ascribe. And looking at it from a human perspective, it appears to make sense. Satan manifests himself as an angel of light (2 Co. 11:14), and we see that here very clearly. It is almost the same in Hebrew as what Jesus would be called.
“But you said in your heart,‘I will ascend to heaven;I will raise my throne above the stars of God,And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;I will make myself like the Most High.’ (Is. 14:9-14)
Satan as the Antichrist
Who is that? Who wants to be God? It is obviously speaking about Satan who is called “the king of Babylon” is Isaiah 14:4, but it also says “the recesses of the north”—which can also be read as the “sides” of the north. It is the same as Psalm 48:
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,In the city of our God, His holy mountain.Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth,Is Mount Zion in the far north,The city of the great King. (Ps. 48:1-2)
This is talking about the temple. Antichrist in his human form will take his seat in the temple of God (2 Th. 2:4). He wants to be worshiped both by Israel and the Church. He will take his seat within Christendom and he will apparently take his seat in Jerusalem in the rebuilt tribulational temple according to 2 Thessalonians and Revelation 11. This is the king of Babylon.
“Son of man, write the name of the day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. (Eze. 24:2)
That may be the day by the year of the lunar calendar that the Antichrist sets up the “shiqutz ha meshomem”—the abomination of desolation. (I am not being dogmatic about this, I am only saying it is a possibility that has to be weighed into account as something that could possibly be.)Ezekiel is talking about Satan, but he is talking about Satan coming in a human form; he is talking about Antichrist. What happened then is a picture of what is going to happen. The Babylonians desecrated the first temple as the Romans did the second temple on the same day of the year—T’sha B’Av.
The Parable of the Boiling Pot
“Speak a parable to the rebellious house and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,“Put on the pot, put it on and also pour water in it; Put in it the pieces, Every good piece, the thigh and the shoulder; Fill it with choice bones.Take the choicest of the flock, And also pile wood under the pot. Make it boil vigorously. Also seethe its bones in it.”‘ Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe to the bloody city, To the pot in which there is rust And whose rust has not gone out of it! Take out of it piece after piece, Without making a choice. For her blood is in her midst; She placed it on the bare rock; She did not pour it on the groundTo cover it with dust. That it may cause wrath to come up to take vengeance, I have put her blood on the bare rock, That it may not be covered.” (Eze. 24:3-8)
Remember, the life is in the blood (Gen. 9:4). The Jews were not to consume the blood or get into the ritual consumption of blood (Lev. 17:14). This in part, of course, has a New Testament meaning for the Roman Catholic abomination of the Mass where they claim wine is transubstantiated into blood and they drink the blood in a vampire ritual. The Apostles condemned the consumption of blood in Acts 15. It is a complete vampire religion. It is cannibalism and is utterly condemned by both the Old and New Testaments, what Paul calls “the cup of demons” (1 Co. 10:21). If it was the real blood of Jesus, no one should be drinking it because the Apostles said not to drink the blood (Acts 15:28-29), but they get into these blood-sipping rituals. It is also making an allusion to the human sacrificing of their children, sacrificing the blood of their children which was a big thing. Well, it is also a big thing today. In supposedly what is an evangelical country, we have aborted 50 million babies. A country that is supposedly the most founded on New Testament principles is just as guilty of the same thing being spoken about by Ezekiel.
The Physical Nature of the Pot
God says, “boil the pot.”Today we have a mixture of ceramic and diamonds, and before that we had Teflon®, invented by the American space program. In the ancient world they did not have this; what they had were two other metals: “barzel”—“iron” and “nachosheth”—“copper” or “bronze.” (The Nehushtan—the bronze serpent in Numbers 21 which Moses raised in the wilderness, has the same root.) In the same way that we would coat a pot or skillet with Teflon®, they would use bronze. That is as far as metallurgy went in those days; they did not have alloys much as this was just after the Bronze Age. Long before the advent of microbiology, God knew that microbes have a capacity to induce corrosion by oxidation. If we go back to high school or the first year of college, we learned that if we react iron with heat we are going to get iron oxide gas which will be noxious. If a welder does not wear protective equipment, he is an ultra-high candidate for emphysema. It is dangerous to breathe iron oxide gas; it is lethal. By not cleaning the pots correctly, microbial film would build up and begin to oxidize the metal. In chemistry, when something is being oxidized, something else is being reduced.This is true even with us. By breathing we are destroying tissue—it will kill us, but by not breathing it will kill us quicker. Because of sin, bio-entropy has set in and oxidation will kill us. We eat, but to convert carbon to energy our body requires energy in Krebs Cycle—this requires oxygen. Eating will kill us, but not eating will kill us quicker. We are under a curse because of sin.They would not clean the pots correctly, allowing the grime to build up and build up and build up, and it began to oxidize the iron. The iron would then rust, and then when boiling water was poured into it, the rust particles would go into the boiling water. But then they would boil meat in it, so the particles permeated the muscle tissue of the animal.
The Condition of the Pot
‘Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD,“Woe to the bloody city!I also will make the pile great.Heap on the wood, kindle the fire,Boil the flesh well And mix in the spices,And let the bones be burned.Then set it empty on its coals So that it may be hot And its bronze may glow And its filthiness may be melted in it, Its rust consumed. She has wearied Me with toil, Yet her great rust has not gone from her; Let her rust be in the fire! “In your filthiness is lewdness.
(Again, using the sexual illustration.)
Because I would have cleansed you,Yet you are not clean,You will not be cleansed from your filthiness againUntil I have spent My wrath on you. (Eze. 24:9-13)
They got to the point where the pot was so filthy it began to corrode, but then something happens: God commands to make it corrode even faster. The rust is already coming off, but even so put boiling water into it; turn it up as hot as you can get it to make even more rust go into it. God gives it over to its filth. “You want it to be an unclean vessel? I will make it an unclean vessel!” Make it worse by turning up the heat on the vessel—make sure the copper is glowing, then place it empty on the coals and make it really hot! Get the best meat; go down to the kosher butcher and get the best stuff and throw it in.
The Contrast to Elisha’s Pot
In the days of Elisha there was the toxic stew, there was poison in the pot (2 Ki. 4:38-41). Elisha was able to throw grain into the poison stew. He was able to put grain into the poison pot and the grain was able to absorb the toxins. Right doctrine will clean up false doctrine. Grain can be put into the poison stew—right doctrine will correct wrong doctrine.In Pentecostalism, the Azusa Street Revival went off the rails at a very, very early point, but another generation of Pentecostals came around and began bringing in right doctrine and straightening it out, from which we got the Assemblies of God and such. (Not the way they are now, but the way they were at one time.) People began putting grain into the poison stew. Unfortunately this never happened in the Charismatic Movement; there was very little right doctrine put into it and that is why it has never brought a revival. The poison can be cleaned up with the grain; the toxins can be removed from the stew with the grain. But now it is a situation where it is not the content of the pot that is poisoned, it is the pot itself. We have a remedy for the poison in the pot, but there is no remedy for a corroded pot.
One example is the Assemblies of God in which people tried in recent history to set things right. There were people like Opal Redding, Larry Thomas and even David Wilkerson who were trying to warn the Assemblies of God 25-30 years ago that there was poison in the pot and that they needed to get right doctrine in there. We are way past that today. Since the Pensacola garbage, the pot is poisoned; now it is unsalvageable. No amount of good is going to remedy it. God says, “Put in the choice meat, the best meat you can get, but it is still going to come out poisoned.” There is no amount of “good” that can be put into an utterly backslidden movement or denomination or church that is going to change it. On the contrary, they come under the judgment of God. When they chronically refuse to repent, God turns up the heat and makes it worse; He makes them even moredepraved.
Today it is not just liberal Protestants compromising on same-sex marriage, we have Tony Campolo and others compromising on the homosexual issue; now we have Evangelicals doing it! This is but one example. Abortion will be next. “What about the good things?” No amount of good is going to change it anymore. No amount of good is going to save the Assemblies of God. This is but one example.
My fear is that when Chuck Smith is not around anymore, Calvary Chapel is going to go the same way. We do not see it so much because Chuck is here, but there are Calvary Chapels going away from the original teachings of Chuck Smith and company and it is getting weird already. It is like what John Wesley said to the Methodists: “If this is what they are doing when I’m alive, what are they going to do when I’m dead?” They are going the same way. They have divorced and remarried men in the ministry and all sorts of stuff. It gets to the point where God says, “Turn up the heat!” There is nothing we are going to be able to do because it becomes unsalvageable; no amount of good is going to change it anymore. In Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance cannot be saved.
But it is not only like that, but God makes it like that; He gives it over to it. According to 2 Thessalonians, He makes it more like that (2 Th. 2:11-12). He says, “Go ahead; try to put good stuff into it and see what comes out.” It does not matter how good the meat is, even if it is the best of the best, it is coming out contaminated.
No Amount of Good Will Help
“Oh, but what about all the people being saved?” Being saved into what? A lunatic asylum? Jesus said to make disciples, not converts (Mt. 28:19). No good is going to come out of it. We can put good into it, but it is not going to come out good. What does Jesus say in Matthew 23? They go to the ends of the earth to make one convert and he becomes twice as much a son of hell as he used to be (Mt. 23:15). He might have been alright when he went in, but he is no good when he comes out.
No amount of good is ever going to change a cult. It does not matter how much good, how much truth, one tries to put into it anymore. Anybody and anything that goes in good is going to come out bad because the pot itself is corroded; the pot itself will poison the meat. It is no longer the contentof the pot that is poisoned, it is the pot, and it reaches a point where God says, “Turn up the heat! I’ll make it ever worse! You didn’t want to clean this stuff up? I told you to clean this stuff up!”
God always warns them. Israel had multiple prophets before Ezekiel. Up north there was Amos and Hosea, down south there was Micah, Isaiah, Joel and Jeremiah—there were many before Ezekiel. God warned them.
I can go back and show warnings which were written in the 1950s, 60s and 70s by people like Martin Lloyd Jones in England, Francis Schaffer in the United States, and A. W. Tozer, all giving warnings in decades previous that would have seemed impossible—unthinkable—at the time when they wrote it, but it happened. Over a hundred years ago, Charles Spurgeon warned what would happen to the Baptist Union in Britain. Over a hundred years ago, J. C. Ryle warned what would happen to the evangelical branch of the Church of England. It is documented. These organizations do not want to sell these men’s books anymore; they are right and they are proven right, the same as Micah was proven right, the same as Isaiah was proven right, the same as Joel was proven right. They were proven right, but the people still chose to follow liars. That is what happened in the last days of Judah and that is what happens again in the Last Days: the situation becomes unredeemable. They go beyond the point of no return and God says, “Turn up the heat!”
That has happened to the Assemblies of God; that has happened to every major denomination in the United Kingdom. And if something does not happen quickly, it is only a matter of time before it happens to Calvary Chapel. Even though there are good people and good pastors in it, the movement as a whole is going away from their heritage and what they were taught.
“I, the LORD, have spoken; it is coming and I will act…
It does not matter if we believe it or not.
Look at what they say today as they psychologize the Church: “That is negative, I don’t receive it.” It is like witnessing to an unsaved person. We can tell them the Gospel, tell them about judgment, and they say, “I don’t believe it.” It does not matter whether they believe it or not; its being true does not depend on whether or not they believe it.
A medical doctor tells someone, “You’ve got to quit smoking.” “I don’t believe it.” “Here is the x-ray showing bilateral plural carcinoma.” “I don’t believe it.” It does not matter whether they believe it or not, it is irrelevant. If an alcoholic is so addicted to booze they get sclerosis, it does not matter whether they believe it or not. They are going to reject the truth because God has given them over to the error.
“…I will not relent, and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you,” declares the Lord GOD.’ ” (Eze. 24:14)
Remember, it is always in accordance with their deeds. If someone wants false prophets, God will send them false prophets.
Until now we have been speaking about what is happening in the evangelical movements and denominations, broadly speaking. I am not saying that there are not, individually, good pastors and good local congregations within those movements. I am not saying there are no independent churches and house churches that are faithful to the Lord. I am not saying we cannot find an individual Assemblies of God church or pastor that are not of God—there are some. I am talking about the movement as a whole, but anything good within them is going to be turned bad unless they get out of it. “Come out of her My people” (Rev. 18:4). What is going to come about in the next ten years if the Lord has not returned? Within Western Evangelicism over the next ten years, is what comes next.
And the word of the LORD came to me…
Jesus comes to him again.
Now understand that if you are heeding what I am saying, you should pour yourself a cup of tea or cup of coffee, and turn on David Frost on the television. You should not be reading this if it is only me talking. If, however, it is by God’s grace the Lord speaking through me according to what is in His Word, I am just the messenger boy—it is the Lord saying this. That is the decision you have to make. You have to ask the Lord to show you whether this is Jacob speaking out of his own hurt or his own resentment or his own cantankerousness, his own motives, choices or whatever, or is this what the Word of God is really teaching us? If, God forbid, I am speaking of myself, woe to me. Teachers will be judged more strictly than the rest (Ja. 3:1). I am not going to be absolved if I am teaching something false. On the other hand, if I am teaching something that is true, you are not going to be absolved if you do not act on it.
The Bride is Going to Die
And the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, behold, I am about to take from you the desire of your eyes with a blow; but you shall not mourn and you shall not weep, and your tears shall not come. “Groan silently; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban and put your shoes on your feet, and do not cover your mustache and do not eat the bread of men.”
(In other words, these were Near Eastern mourning rituals. Today it is called “sitting shiva.” Jews bury the corpse before the next sundown and then mourn for seven days.)
I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. And in the morning I did as I was commanded. The people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things that you are doing mean for us?” (Eze. 24:15-19)e>
Nobody in their right mind wants to be a prophet. Amos said, “I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet” (Amos 7:14). If anyone goes around claiming to be a prophet, the likelihood is they are a false one. Nobody in their right mind wants that lousy job. Who wants to be rejected? They must not only be identified with the people they are speaking to, they must be identified with the Lord and what He is going through.
The Bride of Jehovah was going to die; the Bride of Christ is going to die. Ezekiel had to experience this in his own life and live it out, playing it out in front of society so they would see it. “She is the desire of your eyes, but with a blow I am going to take her. Do not mourn, do not weep—no tears shall come. Groan silently—keep your grief to yourself; let nobody see that you care.” Don’t sit shiva, don’t go to the funeral, don’t mourn, don’t grieve—openly and publicly display yourself as somebody who just doesn’t care. “Your wife is dead!” “So what?”
It is like the guy who paid a scalper a thousand dollars for a ticket to the Super Bowl. He is way at the top where he can barely see the game, and with his binoculars sees an empty seat down on the fifty yard line. So he goes down there and says to the guy sitting next to it, “Is this seat free?” They guy said, “Yes.” So he says, “How can that be?” He says, “My wife has been with me at every Super Bowl for the last thirty years, but she died.” “That’s terrible. Why didn’t you give the ticket to a relative?” And he replied, “They’re all at the funeral.”
He was not only not to care but to let the people see he did not care. “Let them see that, to you, it means nothing whatsoever.”
The people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things that you are doing mean for us?” Then I said to them, “The word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Speak to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am about to profane My sanctuary…
(The Temple is going to be destroyed. The king of Babylon was coming—Antichrist is coming. He is going to take over Christendom as well as what he is going to do in Jerusalem.)
… the pride of your power, the desire of your eyes and the delight of your soul; and your sons and your daughters whom you have left behind will fall by the sword. You will do as I have done; you will not cover your mustache and you will not eat the bread of men. Your turbans will be on your heads and your shoes on your feet.
(They are going to go to Babylon, too.)
You will not mourn and you will not weep, but you will rot away in your iniquities and you will groan to one another. Thus Ezekiel will be a sign to you; according to all that he has done you will do; when it comes, then you will know that I am the Lord GOD.’ ” (Ezekiel 24:19-24)
“Your wife is dead!” “I don’t care.” “Are you going to go to the funeral?” “No.” “Are you going to go to the burial?” “No.” Are you going to go to the memorial service?” “No.” “Are you going to sit shiva?” “No.” The bride is dead.
The Assemblies of God are dead! Who cares? If Jesus Christ does not care anymore, why should we? Protestantism is dead! It is morally dead, it is doctrinally dead—who cares? It is not even worth mourning over. She is such a disgusting bride she is not worth crying over. “Get on with your life. Get on with your daily routine. Pretend as if nothing of any significance happened because nothing of any significance did happen.” It does not matter to God anymore, why should it matter to you? That is going to be the next ten years.
But notice there is another thing beside the bride: “your sons and your daughters.”
A lot of these mega-churches—not all of them, but a lot of them running these youth programs based on the worship of “worship,” not the worship of God, have used entertainment to draw people, so they are going to have to use entertainment to keep people. The world will always have a better rock concert; the world will always put on a better show. Once the thrill is gone, the kids are going to wander away. They will go into the world and whatever. They will slowly rot away.
It Rots to Death
In England, the Muslims open one mosque a week; the Methodists close one church a week. Reports such as The Barna Report show that after Toronto it was massive—a 17% decline in church attendance among Charismatics and Pentecostals. The first mega-church, the flagship mega-church which the others imitated—the Crystal Cathedral—has $56 million in debt and it is closed up. That is the first, the Titanic. The Bismarck has been sunk; now for the others. Who cares?“
Oh, the Crystal Cathedral! It was the emblem of the mega-church! It was the flagship for all these big churches!” Schuller is gone, it is $56 million in debt, the Catholics bought the joint—who cares? Jesus does not care. That heretic Schuller had the Islamic mufti preaching in his church, and said he would not mind if his grandchildren became Muslims! Schuller said Jesus Christ went to the cross to magnify His ego! That church belongs dead! Who cares? It is not coming back.
They always talk about these things coming back, but they rot to death. Notice they do not disappear all at once; they die a long, slow, painful death, experiencing a steady period of decline. They just rot and rot and rot and rot. The iron corrodes, corrodes, corrodes; the rust oxidizes, oxidizes, oxidizes. It just rots away. I am not saying that all of these movements are going to disappear overnight; they are going to rot. And the rot has already set in for many of them. This is only the beginning. This is what we are going to see in the next ten years. Do not even mourn. But then what? What does this mean for us?
A Time for the Word
As for you, son of man, will it not be on the day when I take from them their stronghold, the joy of their pride, the desire of their eyes and their heart’s delight, their sons and their daughters…
(They are going to lose the youth.)
…that on that day he who escapes will come to you with information for your ears? ‘On that day your mouth will be opened to him who escaped, and you will speak and be mute no longer. Thus you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD.’ ” (Eze. 24:25-27)
To understand this, we have to go back Ezekiel 3 where the Lord told Ezekiel, “I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth. You will not be able to warn them anymore until I open your mouth” (Eze. 3:26-27). Until now we have not been able to warn them—it does not work. God has given them over to it and these movements will not listen. The Lord makes our tongue cling to the roof of our mouth, it says in Ezekiel 3, but a time is going to come when He is going to put His Word in our mouth and our tongue will no longer cling to the roof of our mouth. A message is going to be given and then they are going to know a prophet has spoken (Eze. 33:33).
The Near-Term Future for Us
That is the future for them, but what is the future for us? What should we be looking at in the next decade or so if the Lord does not come back? “I will take from the desire of their eyes and their heart’s delight; he who escapes will come to you with information for your ears.” There are going to be people walking through our door in Australia, South Africa, around the United States, in Great Britain—all over the place—who have had enough of the mainstream churches and denominations.
I go all over the world and I see the same thing everywhere: more and more people are meeting together in homes and in small groups, or meeting in American Legion halls or schools—they have just had enough. If they cannot find a decent church, they will go meet in a home. They will find fellowship with others who still believe the Scriptures. They will meet in a home if they have to. Sometimes the home groups grow and they have to go find a hall or something like that, but one thing is for sure—they are a semi-underground church and not part of the mainstream, and they tend to be populated with refugees. “Those who escape will come to you with information.”
There will be those who will walk through the door and say, “I used to go to the Assemblies of God; do you know what has happened over there? Do you know what they are teaching now?” Yes, we know. They are always going to come with information. At some point the epiphany comes and they realize what has been going on and finally get the point. It is about those who escape. What do we do? We are here for those who escape. They are going to come through our door.
There is a problem with this, a problem that I have been going on about for at least fifteen years: such groups can tend to become like refugee camps for people who leave bad churches. I think it is altogether fitting and scriptural to fulfill that function. It is necessary to be here for those people the same way as there was somebody here for us. The danger is we become introspective; it becomes based on what we experienced in some bad church. It becomes like Alcoholics Anonymous who are always talking about their past, bad experience instead of looking to the future. Yes, that is one-half of the equation in that we have to re-evangelize the church and get people out of these loony churches—that is true, but not at the expense of evangelism. It cannot be based solely on “they’re wrong,” it has to be based on, “they got it wrong, we have to get it right.” We should be growing by evangelism as well as picking up refugees. That is the problem such groups are facing: they tend to become self-help centers for people who were burned in bad churches.
But pick up refugees we will. Those who escape are going to come through our door confused, looking for answers. “You mean I’ve been believing error for ten years?” “I’ve been believing and following false doctrine for twenty years?” “I got saved twenty years ago and 90% of all this junk is false?” They do not know what to believe. They have been misled, they have been lied to, very often exploited financially, and they are confused and hurt, but they managed, by God’s grace, to escape. They walked through that door looking for somebody to talk to, looking for somebody who will just listen, looking for somebody who can understand what they are saying and who can be used by the Lord to give them a perspective and a sense of direction.
Those guys in these backslidden movements and denominations are waiting for the king of Babylon. That is their future. They are waiting for the coming of the Antichrist. They may not know it, they may not believe it, but that is what they are waiting for. They are being set up for it. By following these false prophets, they are being set up for the Antichrist. They are waiting for Antichrist; we are waiting for Christ.
They are about the past; we, the remnant though we are, are about the future. They are about error—false doctrine; we are about the truth. They are about a compromised gospel; we are about a straight Gospel. They are about a compromised standard of morality; we are about an uncompromised scriptural standard of morality.
Remember, we are far better off—infinitely better off, being part of something that is growing slowly than being a part of something that is dying quickly. Once she dies, who cares?Who among us has lost a night’s sleep over what has happened to the Crystal Cathedral?
Who among us lost a night’s sleep when Jim and Tammy went down the tubes? Of course not; it is not worth crying over! That is the past, we have to think about the future. Ezekiel 24 is the future—what the next ten or so years are going to be like.