Tuesday, October 05, 2010

'Where is the Weeping Between the Porch & the Altar?"

Joel 2:17 “Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, "Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"

The Book of the Prophet Joel is a three-fold vision that should serve as a prophetic insight into what is facing the modern church. This three-fold vision can be divided into these revelatory observations:

  1. That which they were presently facing - in this case an actual plague of locust that had come in and devoured the land

  2. That which was soon to come - the invasion of the land by the armies of Judah’s enemies.

  3. That which was conditionally promised - an outpouring of the Spirit of God as a result of the repentance

Not unlike in the days of the Prophet Joel, the church of today is in much the same condition as Judah was in that day. Judah had allowed the idolatrous worship of Baal, the people were walking in lawlessness and the priest had ceased to teach the law and were no longer serving God with a pure heart.

Out of this rebellion came a plague: A plague of locust that literally devoured the land and ushered in a severe drought! Neither man not beast escaped the consequences of this Nation’s rebellion.

Walk into many a modern church and the pre-plague conditions are visibly in place:

Dry-eyed preaching and pop-culture based sermon series have effectively inoculated the Body of Christ from any true move of God. A genuine move of God simply would not fit within the finely tuned and orchestrated presentation being billed as worship services!

Intercession has been abandoned for Entertainment
Perseverance has been discarded for Performance
Consecration has been forsaken for Comfort
Revelation has been vacated for Relevance

and as a result the fields have become barren and a drought of the Spirit of God has come upon the land.

“The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off
from the House of the Lord; the priests,
the Lord’s ministers mourn.”
Joel 1:9

This spiritual plague of locust has made waste of the House of the Lord. Compromise and disdain for the truth has eaten away at the very fabric of what God has built His church upon: What this has done is cut off the spiritual meat offering and drink offering.

The Meaning of the Meat Offering

The term meat here can be misleading in that the offering didn't actually contained any meat in it. This offering was a type and shadow of (a) The Cross of Christ (b) Our identification with His suffering

The Meat Offering was actually composed of four primary ingredients:

  1. Fine Flour - representing Perfection (or Holiness)

  2. Oil - representing the Holy Spirit

  3. Frankincense - representing the Priesthood of Jesus

  4. Salt - representing Purification & Preservation

When the devourer is allowed into the Church, the first casualties are typically the contents of the meat offering!

Listen to the messages being preached in the most popular places. See how many messages are preached on holiness; See if the Holy Spirit is given free reign to move; See if it is Jesus being exalted or if everything is man-centered, man-focused, and man-pleasing! Then check the lives and testimony of those flocking to such places and you’ll see the lack of salt!

Their lives will be a bastion of compromise and lukewarmness and they will have abandoned their responsibility to be salt and light to the lost and dying world!

The Cross of Calvary was designed to produce this work in our lives, The absence of the Meat Offering is typically revealed in the absence of genuine preaching on the Cross!

With the dereliction of fundamental preaching on the command to “be crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20) there will invariably be the elimination of any message that might mention that ‘those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12)

Comedic monologues, sports stories, movie and television references, and multi-media presentations will take the place of the Holy unction!

There was no leaven (sin or compromise) and no honey (self righteous, good works) to be added to the meat offering. The Cross had to be enough! (1 Cor 2:2)

The Meat Offering is Cut Off!

As a result of the meat offering being cut off from the House of the Lord, the drink offering will also be made of none effect.

The Meaning of the Drink Offering

There are (5) historical references concerning the drink offering found in the Word of God: 1 Chr 29:21; 2 Kings 16:13-15; 2 Chr 29:35; and Ezra 7:17 and they all serve as shadows concerning the coming Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus where he alone is worshipped!

This is very significant because - once the meat offering is cut off (the message of the Cross) then there is no legitimate worship of God (regardless of the professionalism or apparent sincerity).

The drink offering was a strong wine without mixture. It was not diluted or otherwise tempered by any other thing.

Today we have dumbed down and diluted the truth to such a degree that the crimson blood has been reduced to a pastel pink! Where is the weeping between the porch and the altar?

All of these things are much like the first portion of Joel’s three-fold vision: They are things that we are presently facing in the Body of Christ!

That Which was Soon to Come

“ Blow ye the trumpet in Zion,
and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.”
Joel 2:1

Following the Prophets prophecy of the locust, the second part of the three-fold vision came to him. It was things that would soon come upon Judah: the invasion of the land by the armies of the Assyrians!

In the midst of the plague of locusts (the result of the people entering into idolatry, and the priests refusal to preach the truth) God still gave them space to repent!

“Gird yourselves, and lament ye priests; howl ye ministers of the altar; come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.” Joel 2:12

A Day of Darkness and of Gloominess

The plague of the first vision of the Prophet brought with it the devastation of anything that grew in the fields. This in turn brought about a famine in the land - and a subsequent drought.
These three things are now present in much of the modern Church and are significant for several reasons

Matthew 7:16 reveals that “you will be known by your fruits.” Yet, the modern Christianity is by in large a landscape of desert wasteland (at best) or a man-centered basket of plastic fruit seeking to pass itself off as the real McCoy!

Amos 8:11 declares, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”

  • How many warnings did the Kingdom of Judah receive to repent and return to the place that God had desired?

  • How many warnings has the Body of Christ received to repent from our spiritual harlotry and religiously disguised idolatry and come back to a fidelity in Jesus?

The Day of the Lord is Great and Very Terrible

Just as Judah was overran by the invading armies in the midst of famine and drought - so has the enemy of the Body of Christ made plans to invade our ranks at a time of unparalleled weakness.

Instead of sword-wielding armies, the adversary has brought to our ranks, “philosophy, vain deceit, traditions of men and humanistic thinking” Colossians 2:8

Many have read the verses of Joel chapter 2 and have sang and mistakenly identified them as a “liberating” army sent by God to restore Judah, but these are armies sent by God to reprove Judah!

There are things happening across our Nation right now that many are calling “God’s blessing” or “God’s favor.” They boast of progress and influence - yet the Word of God calls them “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.” Revelation 3:17

As we minister the Gospel on the streets of this Nation, our biggest opposition doesn't come from the drug addicts, the gangs, the pagans or the atheists - it comes from those who claim to belong to Jesus!

Their consciences have been seared because of their hypocrisy (1 Tim 4:2) and they have given themselves over to “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim 4:1) because of their departure from the true faith.

In the last 125 years this has opened the door to a plethora of false religions and false teachings that have used His name, yet forsaken His precepts: Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist, and the Seeker-sensitive movement

Even in what were once considered “orthodox” churches the armies of sin and compromise have run rampant: Homosexuality, pedophilia, adulterous leaders, greed and a false grace message!

Jude 3-4 declares, “Dear friends, I had been eagerly
planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.

Will we sit idly by and allow Christ’s Church to be completely overran by such things?

The Third Vision of the Prophet

God is faithful in that he will not only reveal to us the problems that we face, but will also give us His solution as well.

In Joel 2:1 it says, “Blow the trumpet in Zion and sound an alarm…”. This was in advance of the judgment of the invading armies.

In Joel 2:15-16 it say, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation…”.

We most assuredly serve a gracious and merciful God who leaves room for not only repentance, but also restoration and REVIVAL!

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh…” Joel 2:28

For the Kingdom of Judah, this was a promise to fulfill that which He had covenanted with Abraham; for the Church it is the conditional promise that He will bring an end-times opportunity to see His Glory revealed before His return.

The key to experiencing the fulfillment of Joel’s third vision is to “rend you heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord our God.” (Joel 2:13)

In other words, when His priests (Pastors, leaders, and saints) will cease from “forms of godliness” and “ways that seem right to men” (2 Tim 3:5, Prov 14:12) and will cry out in humility to the Living God - then we can rest assuredly that He will “pour out His spirit upon all flesh.”

No comments: