Yesterday, I promised that I would share some further perspectives arising from David’s sin of conducting a census in 1 Chronicles 21 and the parallel scripture in 2 Samuel 24, which have direct relevance to our own situation as we navigate our way through this COVID-19 crisis. However, Holy Spirit has intercepted with some other insights He would have me to share first. Trust me, it will lead us right back to our discourse on what transpired with David and the Israelites, just not today 🙂
I keep on repeating that now, more than ever, true believers of Christ must be as the Sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what the people of God ought to do (1 Chron. 12:32). I believe Holy Spirit would have me to share today two critical facts that we must hold onto and accept. These will be keys to understanding how we will come through this perilous time.
So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell. (1 Chron. 21:14, emphasis mine)
Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, So a curse without cause shall not alight. (Prov. 26:2)
The first fact we must understand and acknowledge is that God sends plagues. We see further support for this fact in the following scripture.
‘I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting, That there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.’ (Isa. 45:5-7, emphasis mine)
The second fact we must understand is that God does not send a plague without cause.
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: (Psa. 2:1-5)
With regards to COVID-19, God has spoken to the nations in His wrath and distressed them in His deep displeasure in response to their opposition to God’s commands and their refusal to submit to His Lordship. Some have been affected more than others, to this point.
So, where does the church come into all of this? God has placed the church in the earth to disciple the nations (Mt. 28:19). We have been mandated by God to teach the nations to observe all things that God has commanded us. The fact that the majority of nations continue to live in unrighteousness is an indictment against the Body of Christ globally. We have failed thus far to make the kind of impact we should in the earth. WHY??
As the corona virus came into Jamaica, I asked the Father God, “what is happening?” He said this is His judgment being unleashed against the nations. He reminded Me of a word He gave me several years ago, that the state of the nations was a reflection of the state of the church. He would therefore be starting with judgment of the church. This is in line with His Word that judgment must first begin in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). This is also in keeping with the scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 regarding the link between church and nation.
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (emphasis mine)
I questioned Father God further, “What are the specific sins for which the church is being judged?” He led me to Revelation chapters 1-3. It is time for the Body of Christ to do some serious introspection and to acknowledge and take responsibility for their sins, repent and come back to the fear of the Lord. I encourage you to read through these three chapters. I will just summarize here the things that God revealed He had against the six churches.
- Left their first love;
- Feared persecution;
- Held to the doctrine of Balaam;
- Held to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans;
- Allowed the false prophetess, Jezebel, to teach and seduce God’s servants into sexual immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols;
- Deceived that it is alive while it is in fact dead;
- Lukewarm; lacking passion regarding the things of God mainly because they were comfortable with regards to material things. This led them to feel they were wealthy but instead Jesus said they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.
I did some research into the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.
The Doctrine of Balaam
Balaam’s name is mentioned in 2 Peter 2:15 and Jude 1:11. Both cases involved warnings about the conduct and message of false teachers. You will recall, Balaam tried unsuccessfully to prophesy against the Israelites in Numbers 22. He was a prophet from Mesopotamia, who was willing to use his God-given talents for illicit purposes. Even though he knew Balak was God’s enemy, he tried to sell his prophetic gifts to help him. When that didn’t work, Balaam advised Balak that the most effective way to weaken Israel was to seduce them using Moabite and Midianite women to tempt the Israelites into sexual relationships and into pagan rituals. God’s judgment came upon the Israelites who participated (Numbers 25:1-9). According to 2 Peter 2:15, Balaam’s “way” is a choice to “love the wages of unrighteousness”. According to Jude 1:11, Balaam’s “error” is that of accommodating pagan beliefs out of greed. In Jude 1:4, we see reference to the sin of those “who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In essence then, the doctrine of Balaam is the attitude that one can be fully cooperative with the world and still serve God. However, we are instructed in Romans 12:2 not to be conformed to this world. We are further told that love of the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). However, there are some churches that teach compromise, wanting Christians to forget that they are called to be separate and holy (1 Peter 1:2). The doctrine of Balaam makes believers indistinct from unbelievers (Matthew 5:13). The doctrine of Balaam is a belief that “a little sin” doesn’t hurt (Galatians 5:9), especially if there is some financial or personal benefit to be gained (1 Timothy 6:5). A person following the doctrine of Balaam will enable sinful behaviours for personal gain (popularity, money, sexual gratification) or even participate in them (Romans 1:32).
The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans
Jesus was proud of the church of Ephesus for their “hatred” of the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also “hated” but charged the church at Pergamos for pursuing these deeds. The name “Nicolaitans” is derived from the Greek word Nikolaos, meaning to conquer or to subdue people. According to the writings of the Early Church leaders, this Nicolaitan doctrine was one of compromise. It implied that total separation between Christianity and the practice of occult paganism was not essential. It is noteworthy that the two churches with whom this doctrine was linked in Revelation were Ephesus and Pergamos where occultism was a major force that warred against the Early Church. Writers note that it would have been very easy for young or weak believers to slip in and out of paganism as most of their families and friends were still pagans. It seems that this doctrine deemed it all right to have one foot in both worlds and believers did not need to be strict about separation from the world in order to be a Christian. It led to a weak version of Christianity that was without power and without conviction. These are the deeds that Jesus “hated”.
Both doctrines speak to compromising Christianity with world beliefs and false religions. Compromise with the world always results in a weakened and powerless form of Christianity. Hence, the reason for the Body of Christ not having the kind of impact it should be having in discipling the nations.
There was hope even in the midst of all that God had against the churches. There was a remnant in Laodicea. This church was called the faithful church in my New King James Version of the bible. What were the characteristics of this church?
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. ……………………you have kept My command to persevere. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Rev. 3:8-11, emphasis mine)
I believe there is a remnant alive and well in Jamaica.
If we accept that God has allowed the corona virus to be unleashed and we begin to understand the reasons for His judgment, starting with the church and then the nations, the next question we need to ask ourselves is, “What does God require of you and me in this hour?” Join me tomorrow as we explore the answer to this question.