This morning in my quiet time, the Lord took me to a passage in Deuteronomy. As I took notes, I was asking God to show me the significance of this passage. His message is announcing the end before he tells of what’s to come. I’ll explain in a bit, but here is the takeaway from the passage:
The Lord is instructing us to rejoice for He choosing a new dwelling for His name. His sons and daughters, his servants, his priests, the aliens, the fatherless, and the widows will dwell there. He reminds us to remember that were once slaves in an Egypt of our lives- our past, our bondage. He calls us to remember what life was like before the Promised Land, so that we carefully follow his instructions in this season of Promise. Deuteronomy 16:11 (paraphrased).
This may sound like there is more to the story of what God is saying, and there is. Keep reading.
The Sins of Israel, Judah, and The Church
The Lord took me to Isaiah chapter 1, where He reviews the sins of Israel and Judah. Now let me stop for a second and say I do not believe in replacement theology. God’s love for and covenant with the jewish people is as strong as it ever was. But there are parallels to be drawn from God’s chosen, Israel, Judah, and the church today. He led me to verse 21-verse 31 and on to chapter 2. Here is what it says:
See how the faithful city has become a harlot! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her– but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them. Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: “Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. I will restore your judges as in days of old, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.“
Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness. But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the Lord will perish. You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen. You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water. The mighty man will become tinder, and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire.
So what is God saying? Well, that’s what I asked him myself. And here is what he spoke to me:
“Once again, I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will shake the Church. Judgment begins in the house of the Lord. Who can stand when my righteousness rolls in to purge the worldliness of the church? Only those whose hearts are fixed on me. My righteous remnant. The few that are left still standing. Even now, I am coming to bring forth a purification of my bride. Many will fall away. Many will tire of the journey and sink in the sand, but my faithful will shine like the morning sun. I am doing a work in all the earth that will astound the hearts of many. I will make my glory known through my righteous so that no man can deny that I am the Lord God. There is no one like me. Watch and be amazed at what I will do. I am going to get my glory.“
Hang On To The Holy Spirit
There’s a lot to unpack here, and I pray that God will give me the ability to do so in a way that makes sense to you. It’s no question that the church has compromised. In fact, the Lord writes 7 letters to the churches in the book of Revelation. He calls out the Compromising Churches, the Dead Church, and the Faithful Church in Revelation 2-3. I strongly encourage you to do a deep dive into these chapters because there are aspects of the individual believers’ walks and collective body of believers’ walks that serve as a warning or a temperature check for your own relationship with Jesus, AND the chapters will help you gauge what type of church group you are affiliating yourself with. It’s time for the bride of Christ to wake up and not be ignorant to what true relationship with Jesus compels us to. It’s not dead things. Or compromising things. He’s calling us to be faithful. Now, back to Isaiah.
Isaiah reviews how the church has become a harlot, full of murderers, polluted with the things of the world, rather than submitting and allowing the transforming work of the Jesus through the cross change the world through The Great Commission. Isaiah says that the rulers of the church as rebels, they are bribed, they seek after gifts, they do not defend or care for the orphans and widows, and the Lord says He will turn his hands against them, to purge away the dregs or the scum from them. God calls it the dross, and it’s a method for purifying precious metal. The Lord says that he is raising up new judges and counselors as he did originally, so that the House of God would be called the City of Righteousness, full of the faithful ones who truly worship and serve the Lord in spirit and in truth.
You might be reading or listening to this and maybe you’re thinking, “The church isn’t full of prostitutes! I don’t see murders happening in the church.” But I’m here to tell you, The Lord is describing the church as a harlot. The bible refers to a harlot as someone who has devoted themself to idol worship or heathen deities. What’s an idol?- Anything that you put higher than the living God. Anything you put in greater importance than your personal walk with Jesus. Are churches today worshipping an experience? Are they worshipping a word rather than The Word? Are they worshipping man-made platforms built within the church? Are they speaking the name of Jesus while living an alternative lifestyle in private? What about their own thought leadership over the blueprint God has given us in His word? Are people going to network? Are they going for free childcare, rather than making Jesus real to their children? Are they going only to find a mate?
Ask God to give you his eyes to see the idols that exist in the church today, and possibly in your own life.
Rebellion and The Mystery of Lawlessness At Work In “The Church“
God’s word says, that the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:7), some translations refer to this as the mystery of rebellion. Speaking in context, Paul is speaking about the unrighteous deception and falling away of many who profess to be believers, but their hearts are far from being fixed on Jesus. Isaiah describes their choice wine as diluted… i.e., a watered-down gospel, the feel good gospel, the ear tickling kind. The kind of gospel that serves them, rather than the true gospel that leads us to repentance and transformation. The one that makes everything about you and relegates Jesus a holy man rather than the second person of the godhead. Rather than becoming like gold refined in the fire of the truth of God, conformed to his image, growing closer in a walk with him, they have become full of dross, polluting the precious deposit placed on the inside of them. The bible warns us in 2nd Timothy 1:14 to guard the good deposit entrusted to us. We are to guard the gospel by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, not mingle it with the things of the world.
The Remnant and The Great Falling Away
The word today says that the remnant, who have fully devoted their hearts to Jesus will stand, while all others fall away. He is empowering us, through his holy spirit, to shine like the morning sun. Have you ever been driving in the morning, only to have the morning sun blind you? It’s so bright and glorious!! But if your eyes aren’t accustomed to the brightness, it can be blinding. Not only will it get your full attention, but it shines light on everything. It can inspire a course correction! God is doing a work that will astound, or stun, the hearts of all. So that there will be no denying that God is real, He’s alive, He’s the only God, and he is going to use his remnant to do it. He said we will be amazed.
The holy spirit expresses a time when some will depart from the faith, devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). When the church will have abandoned its first love (Rev. 2:4-5). It talks about a rebellion that takes place in the church, the lawlessness that we discussed earlier. It’s apostasy- or exchanging the truth for lies.
Hebrews 6: 4 says, “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again, and subjecting him to public disgrace. Jesus laid down his life once, for all. The bible talks about those who fall away are given over to a strong delusion. God says in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, “that they perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. […] God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
God’s words says, “I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father, except through me” (John 14:6). Your good intentions won’t get you into heaven. Slapping God’s name on your agenda won’t get you into heaven. Deciding that “one day” after you’ve done everything you want to do, you’ll give your heart to Jesus. Living your life the same way you did 5 years ago and calling yourself a christian won’t get you into heaven. Repent. There’s still time. Today is the day of salvation. Please don’t wait to make Jesus the Lord of your life and start living for him. Not you.
A New Dwelling For His Name
So, I almost forgot the passage from Deuteronomy (at the top of this post 🙂 ). God is a building HIS CHURCH through his righteous remnant in contrast to the church described in Isaiah. He says, “I will choose a new dwelling for My Name.” He says that his servants, his priests, the fatherless, the widows, and the alien (those without a home) will dwell there!
He’s asking us to praise him ahead of it. He’s calling us to remember our lives in bondage before we were set free. And why not praise him for living life on the other side of the Jordan now!? Hallelujah! Why? So we will never forget what life in bondage looked like- the oppression, the lack, the death, the poverty. Again, why? So we, as servants of the Lord, can shine like the morning sun, and so we can show others The Way. Lives are depending on his working through us. If this resonates with you, I pray you’ll yield to the work he wants to do in and through you right now so that you can be his vessel.