Britain is a witness to the world of a nation that has departed from the presence of the Lord. Britain, in abandoning her God has surrendered her moral, spiritual and intellectual standards that were the norm when we acknowledged Him as our Lord and King. Common sense has been tossed overboard by the fiery prongs of Hell replacing it with Political Correctness. The intelligentsia and some of the common people too, have experienced the seeping contamination of Hell’s sludge, and have come under the hypnotic spell causing fumes. Stamped on the heart of the nation’s soul is the footprint of satanic activity and meddling.
Our incompetence at handling the flood and storm situations is evidence of the loss of reason and is an embarrassment to the ordinary citizens that have not yet been contaminated by the PC sewage-spitting monster. For those living in the disaster areas there are tears of despair, but no cries of repentance or calling on the name of the Lord.
If God gives over a nation to its lusts –and that is what He has done with Britain – that is judgment—“so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” (Mark 4:12) These are words that Jesus spoke. We only think of judgment as fire and brimstone falling down from the skies. God giving a nation over to its lusts is as fire and brimstone falling on the hearts of that nation. We are well along the road on our fall from being a great and wealthy nation to being the size of a man. Our wealth, position among the great nations, and prosperity will never return. That is a brief encounter with the natural. Let us now move on to the Church.
Last week I wrote about God TV and the consecration service in Plymouth where Rory and Wendy Alec spoke, along with Benny Hinn and others. I watched their consecration show on the God Channel, and then I watched it again on the following night. It was something of an ordeal. The name of God was used a lot, but in a worrying manner, with the hosts and their guest telling us what God is going to do. But this article is not a critique on God TV, Benny Hinn or any of the other preachers concerned. It is an attempt to voice what I sense God is saying in this situation. It is for the Church to test that.
While God TV are busy broadcasting their requests for money (which they are airing repeatedly) communities around Plymouth have been devastated by the recent storms. Many people are at their wits end not knowing where to turn or what to do. Looters are on standby in the various flooded areas waiting to take advantage of the situation and the vulnerable. The storms Britain is being bashed about with are never referred to.
It has been said by others that Benny Hinn is a man that divides the Church. That same observation could be made about God TV and all the preachers involved. But that does not mean it, or they, are not of God. In almost every ministry and church there are those who are for the leader and those who are against the leader. What we need is God’s heart on this matter.
After writing last week’s article I have become even more concerned. A lot of people are going to be disappointed and hurt through the God Channel intervention in Plymouth. The hopes of God’s people have been lifted high, but their hopes, if tested against Scripture, are in vain. I have had contact with some Christians in this town for many years. I know their hearts are for God and I know how they long for a revival of the things of God. In such circumstances we can make mistakes. Abraham and Sarah knew that God promised new life, but they couldn’t wait for it to come from His hand and tried to help God out. Satan knows what God has said to the Christians in Plymouth and he gets in and twists it all around… “Did God say…?” Like the looters in the storms lashing Britain, Satan awaits his opportunity to strike, and will use deceivers to bring in his deceptions. Are we stronger than Adam and Eve? Are we more faithful than Abraham and Sarah? Having said this, Plymouth might be on the forefront of God’s activity in cleansing and bringing new life to His Church, just not in the way they are expecting. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
I was interested some years ago when Rory and Wendy spoke about opening up in Israel. They wanted to see people in Israel and to interview them and so forth. I contacted a Jewish friend of mine who has a business in Jerusalem as well as in other parts of Israel suggesting he contact Rory and Wendy. He did so, but all he got from them was request after request for money. They didn’t show the slightest interest in him or the work he is involved in, and he has never seen them or met them. It appeared as though people are fodder to them. Not cannon fodder exactly, but a means to an end. People are the means by which they raise their money. Even if they are one of the poorest Christian TV organisations (which they make a big point of) they are still consuming loads of cash, which leaves genuine works of God strapped for cash. They are building their panelled homes – ‘houses for God’ – or whatever description they come up with, while God’s actual work and workers are left without. How much longer O Lord will you allow these atrocities to go on? These people are relentless in what they are doing, and suffer an insatiable lust for money. There is no sign of them turning back. Along with so many other spiritual capabilities, we have lost our perception of what it means to defy the Living God. These God TV men and women are defying the Living God and leading His people astray in the things of God!
Like so much that is going on in our world, we have grown used to deceptive and false words in the Church and godless living; all such things just pass over us: “The vicar is having an affair! Oh well, he is only human, these things happen. See you in church on Sunday” If you don’t like the God TV and the shows they put on, you don’t have to watch it. It is not that simple though. God will not be mocked, and we are dealing with the things of God here; eternal things. The world is in the Church and we have grown comfortable and are at ease with that.
I have heard the flowery spiritual language of God TV. I have heard the promises being made in God’s name, and I can see that people are wrapped up in it. That is precisely why I believe the Lord is going to step in. If God’s people were not caught up in this and recognised it for the deception it is, He would not need to act.
My thought on this matter, is that God has spoken to Rory and Wendy, to Benny and other preachers involved with them. He has done this in various ways and through various circumstances during the years, warning them that they should stop their false teaching, and stop the deception and manipulation of the people of God. They have ignored the voice of the Lord and have hardened themselves against His voice; and so God, if I have a correct understanding of Scripture, is going to bring truth in place of error, and His judgment will fall on the trio and those involved that do not repent. The pattern found in Scripture seems to suggest this.
The Church (at large) has become so accustomed to false teaching, lacking genuine love for God and His Word and has become complacent. It is because of this complacency that God is taking it upon Himself to act. If it was left to us we would just let it go on and on and not intervene and the Church would be destroyed from within. Jesus will build His Church (congregation) and He will keep those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him. As for those perpetrators that distort the Character of God and His loving word to man, the Bible; God will treat them the way they treat Him!
The continuous Emphasis upon Altars
The rise and fall of King Saul
Steve Munsey is another preacher/co-presenter that appeared on the God TV consecration programmes in Plymouth. In the segment I saw of his preaching, he began by telling people to send $204. “Run to your phones now!” “Go to your phones, send $204”. This was repeated over and over. Then it went up to $2004 and so forth. Munsey used examples from King Saul’s life (what an extraordinary choice of character!) to back up his quest for cash. He went on to say “what happened to Saul will happen to you!” He did not know what he was saying, or else he knew that people overlook the discrepancies and only hear what “great things God is going to do.” A few days later I watched another segment from that which I had recorded; it was still Steve Munsey. His talk was on Elijah this time and the example of the poor widow and her son. To demonstrate the scene he poured flour all over a table. It was all simply a lead into the Gimme Gospel which he preached with great vigour and sickening determination.
You sometimes hear the name Saul explained in terms of “ask” meaning “asked of Yahweh”. But the gentilic adjective šā’ûlî (Numbers16:13) may indicate “the one asking importunately,” or perhaps “the one asking insistently,” “the beggar”.
Saul committed the sin of presumption in 1 Samuel 13; a sin that is evident in the lives and attitudes of the God TV presenters and their co-preachers. Saul went on to make a further wrong decision causing his men to go without food in the hope of furthering his cause and battle. The men were called to fast when they should have been fed and strong for the fight ahead. The men were so hungry they went on to disobey the Law of Moses and slaughtered the livestock, eating the meat with raw blood in it (Leviticus 17:10-14). Saul put the blame squarely at the feet of his men – like any good (or not-so-good) leader would, eventually whittling the blame down to one man—his son Jonathan. He built an altar and told the men to kill and eat properly. Saul was permitted to build an altar as long as a Levite performed the sacrifices.
Saul took it upon himself to offer sacrifice in Samuel’s absence before the battle of Michmash (1 Samuel 13:8-14). Saul breached the hērem by sparing Agag and some choice booty taken from the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:2f., 8f). Achan had perished for a similar deed (Josh 7:10-26). Saul and his house were deposed, although he held the kingship until his death (15:22-31) Samuel sternly pronounced sentence and refused to have any more to do with Saul. Saul was rejected by God, and though it was some years later, he died a violent death. We note again the altar and the sacrifice, and booty.
Saul lost his head near the beginning of his service to the Lord, and he finally lost his head when it was set in the temple of Dagon (1 Chronicles 10:10). “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness; he was unfaithful to the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance, and did not seek guidance from the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 10:13f.)
Hardening one’s heart against the voice of the Lord leads to destruction. In the Hebrew Scriptures we have the example of Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus. Pharaoh hardened his heart on a number of different occasions leading to God hardening his heart. Pharaoh was destroyed along with his army (of supporters). In the Christian Scriptures we find in the Book of Romans how “Israel has been hardened in part…” (Romans 11:25)
‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17)
‘The Lord will judge His people’ (Hebrews 10:30; Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14)
The picture here is of the household of Israel. We have the history of God’s dealings with Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Hebrew Scriptures was the Bible of Peter. If God judged Israel—and He did on more than one occasion, will He not judge His Church? Don’t confuse judgment as being unloving as some do. It is not Judgment verses love. God judged Israel because He loves Israel. God cleanses (judges) His Church because He loves His Church, and because of His Name’s sake. It is not all about us!
We will understand more by studying Ezekiel 9:6; Zechariah 13:7-9; Malachi 3:1-5.
The same principle applies to the world. God loved the world and gave His Son. Those who believe on Him will be saved. Those who reject Him or ignore Him will perish. His judgments are to turn the hearts of the people to Himself. If His judgments are ignored there is only destruction ahead. We have lost the urgency in these matters in this “Do I care” world.
God’s judgment came upon the Church a number of years ago when He allowed false teaching to come in. It is not that God has and is judging the world, but leaving the Church to run in whichever direction it chooses. God has allowed the false teachers to express what is really in their hearts; and He has allowed their teachings to take root in the hearts of their followers. That is judgment. Is this period of judgement about to change? Are those that God has been using to bring judgment about to be judged? Is the Holy Spirit going to move and remove those who claim to hear from the Spirit but are in fact acting out their deceptions? The problem with Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts was to do with deception and was a situation where money was involved. They lied to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit removed them. One after the other, they both died; reminding us of Hophni and Phinehas who died on the same day as one another.
The situation with Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli was to do with the sacrifice and the altar (1 Samuel 2:12ff). The sacrifice and the altar is what is constantly emphasised by Rory, Wendy and Benny. The Sacrifice they refer to is the money that people donate. The sons of Eli were treating the offering with contempt. The offerings going into God TV in the name of the Lord are to build their empire. The confidence of Hophni and Phinehas came from the wickedness in their hearts and their contempt for God. They were fattening themselves on the choice parts (1 Samuel 1:29). Are we seeing something of a reflection of this kind of confidence in the ministry in question?
Rory, Wendy and Benny are fond of telling people that if they sow a seed (give money to them), like a father sowing a seed, the blessing will go down through the family. God is saying to the wicked priests among His people: “Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart…” (1 Samuel 2:33). God TV are always speaking about Biblical principles. Here is a Biblical principle for them: DON’T MESS WITH GOD! Even though Hophni and Phinehas had no regard for God they followed the Ark around – and met their deaths.
Will it be that the Holy Spirit will turn up at one of their broadcasts and take them by surprise? Will the world witness God’s judgment on the deceivers as they watch their TV screens?
Plymouth—A deception too far
God used nations in His judgment of Israel; but when those nations overstepped the mark God turned His judgment against them. God has and is judging the Church by allowing false teachers and deceivers into the fold. These are not taking captives off to a physical Babylon but to a spiritual Babylon. They are taking people captive to their false teaching which they plant in hearts and minds.
It appears that we are about to witness a change in God’s strategy and that He is going to turn His attention and judge the false teachers and deceivers of God’s people. It is a cleansing process, a refining, it’s a purifying. The judgment we are considering from 1Peter 4 is a disciplinary judgment designed to purify the lives of God’s people. The word ‘at’ is literally ‘from’. The meaning is that the Church is the starting place of the judgment, and from there the judgment goes out to the unsaved. The Church has and is suffering from judgement in false teaching, in persecution, in rejection by society. Peter asks a question in verse 17: “…if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the Gospel of God?” Verse 18 another question: “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
We could also consider 2 Peter 2:1 here: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who brought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.”
Here is a list that someone else drew up of what these false teachers will do:
- Lie, being purveyors of “deceptive words” (v3)
- Exploit “by covetousness” and deceit (v3)
- Condone immorality, “enticing unstable souls” (v14)
- Create personality cults using “great swelling words of emptiness” (v18)
- Deliver people into bondage while promising “liberty” (v19)
- Scoff at the truth and deny Christ’s promised return, “saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’” (v19)
I have not heard God TV deny Jesus’ return, but they manipulate and misuse Scripture. This particular verse makes me think that this will not be the end of deception and false teachers by any means; I said last week, they will always be among us. There are others that will rise up. Judgments will continue until He comes again. We are yet to witness the scoffing mentioned here in any significant way. But most of the list is evident in the ministry of God TV. Unstable souls are victims of their sales talk and are easy prey when it comes to the Gimme Gospel.
There is one more very important lesson from Scripture that I would like to bring out before finishing this article, and it concerns Christian leaders, particularly those in Plymouth at this time, but also those leaders around the world that support God TV. Hophni and Phinehas could not have behaved in the manner they did without the support of the other priests. Those priests that stood by and allowed these “sons of Belial” or “worthless men” to carry out their evil practices were also guilty before the Lord. They allowed the misuse of the offerings of the Lord, allowing the two brothers to use them to satisfy their own lusts. Eli failed in his duty to execute his sons for their capitally punishable offenses. In 1Samuel 2:29, we are told that Eli honoured his sons above God. The Lord had been warning Eli over and over again, but Eli ignored all of God’s words. Something very interesting was to happen—an unnamed prophet brought God’s message of judgment which was later confirmed by Samuel. The message was to do with everything we see in many churches today and in a very public way among those involved with God TV. The Scripture dealing with this can be found in 1 Samuel 2:27-36. God’s fulfilment of Eli’s death sentence would be swift and certain (4:11, 18; 22:17-20; 1 Kings 2:26-27). From this point of view, should the Church expect God to move swiftly concerning God TV?
David Wilkerson once said: “Many people come to Christ with a great, initial burst of faith. Yet over time their zeal wears thin, and they begin to neglect the Lord. They ‘lightly esteem’ His commands and turn back to their old, sinful ways. Yet they still believe God's presence remains with them. But that is a lie, a delusion. The Bible makes it clear that if you forsake Him, He will forsake you!”
The house of Eli, like the house of Saul later, would be judged by God (I Samuel 13:13-14)
Eli's cousins were in the Lord’s service in Shiloh and later at Nob. Both of these groups were also involved in disobedience to God and experienced God's judgment. The house of Eli and Ithamar were cut off completely. Eli's two sons were killed in battle (1 Samuel 4). The Philistines came to Shiloh after the death of Eli, and murdered the priests, all of whom were descendants of Ithamar serving under Eli. Psalm 78:60, 64 speaks of this massacre: “So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men. . . Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.”
Saul carried out a slaughter in his frenzy after David had been given the shewbread by the priest Ahimelech, Eli’s great-grandson, in Nob (I Samuel 21, 22). Doeg the Edomite killed 85 of the priests, then went to Nob and killed everything that breathed. Only one escaped, Abiathar, who went with David. But when David had grown old this same Abiathar and his son Ahimelech supported Adonijah who wanted to be king. Solomon had other ideas and thrust Abiathar out (1Kings 2:27) – “So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, so he would fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spoke concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.” (1 Samuel 2:32)
The priesthood of Shiloh was an unfaithful priesthood. It would seem quite remarkable if only Eli's sons were involved in wickedness. The other priests were involved in the same corruption and they were unwilling to condemn the two priests. The priesthood of Ithamar was permitting the priests to do with Israel's sacrifices as they pleased. The curse of God upon Eli, therefore, was also on his father's house, the house of Ithamar, and involved the entire house being cut off from the position of high priest and priest in Israel.
As a member of the impotent UK Church that is more concerned about offending man than it is about offending God, I have to say that if it were not for the intervention of God in times such as this, there would be no hope for the Church let alone the world.
I write this in fear and trembling. We are dealing with the Living God. Let us never forget that. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:31)
God will raise up neʹemān (faithful) in contrast to what this ministry has been displaying and living, a faithful leadership, a faithful team of people and God will establish the Work.
'Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever'" (1 Samuel 2:35)
I am speaking of the principle found in this verse that God will raise up faithful men and women to serve Him; and He will keep a faithful remnant. Historically of course this verse referred to Zadok, and Solomon; with the ultimate fulfilment being the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessings and shalom,