Saturday, June 24, 2006

Babylon the Great


In approximately 600 B.C. ten of the tribes of Israel known as the northern kingdom were conquered and carried away by Assyria. This was a direct result of their sin, hedonism, and idol worship. Subsequently, God once more warned the tribes of Judah and Benjamin that they would suffer the same fate if they did not repent. They would not listen to the voice of God and in 597 B.C. the Babylonians came and carried them into captivity.
Now the Jews were an intelligent and industrious people and they made their way in the Babylonian culture. It wasn't long before they became quite comfortable and even prosperous in their new found home. They had become Babylonians. But after seventy years God called men like Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubabbell, and others to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. These men, though, could only find a remnant in Babylon that would go back to Jerusalem and rebuild. God's people had friends, homes, businesses, and roots in Babylon and several generations had been born there. They wanted no part of any Spiritual pilgrimage to rebuild any Temple that they had not even seen in the first place. Happy and prosperous they would stay in the culture they knew and now loved.
Now in Revelation chapters 17 and 18 John refers to Babylon the Great and describes this great city as a false religious system as well as a greedy, hedonistic culture. It doesn't take a doctorate in Biblical studies to see that we are living in the fulfillment of what John prophesied on that Lord's day. We now live in the most convoluted and idolatrous religious system in history, and its Siamese twin is the wealth seeking and hedonistic culture. Together they have not only taken control of the world, but modeled themselves after Biblical examples in order to complete the deception. Even self proclaimed Christian political leaders like Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and the current President Bush have deceived people into believing that spreading democracy and capitalism is the answer for the world's problems.
God is calling a remnant to rebuild the Temple today. What is the Temple?

Rev.21:22 - And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
Ps.27:4 - One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple.

The temple. The tabernacle. The house of the Lord. In the Old Testament the Lord dwelt in a temple made by Moses. In the New Testament the Lord dwells in believers who are the temple of the Lord. But look at Revelation 21, there is no temple within the Holy City because the Lord and the Lamb ARE the temple. Think about that statement, the temple IS the Lord and the Lamb. What does that teach us?
Look out, now, this is the fine china of God's Word and it must be meditated on to be consumed and understood. Paul reminds us that our lives are "hid with Christ in God" and Paul also teaches us that we have "Christ in us, the hope of glory". Now let's combine these two truths. In this world Christ is in us and in heaven we will be in Christ. Of course we are in Christ positionally now, but upon arrival in the City of God we are literally in the temple - Christ. This is an awesome thought. I cannot fully surround it with my earthly mind, and rightly so. We get the image that in heaven we will be gathered at the throne of Almighty God and the Risen Christ Himself and this is eternally true. But go a little further. We will not be worshipping in a heavenly temple as we worship at His feet, no, somehow, someway, in a majestic mystery, we will be worshipping the Lord who IS the temple. Explain it? Forget about it. We would have more success explaining physics to a dog than for us to completely understand that which God has already told us we see through a "glass darkly".
But look at Psalm 27 and notice it says to "behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple". To enquire or pray in His temple is to pray in the Spirit or pray in Him. He is the temple and He is gloriously beautiful. Beyond words. Beyond imagery. Hold on or we may get lost. How do you explain to a man born blind what the color blue looks like? You cannot even explain what color is. Now the Lord is not just beautiful to the eye, He is beautifully crowned with grace, truth, holiness, and every perfect attribute that IS Him. Those divine attributes adorn Him, uh, visually. And not just with earthly eyes, no, with perfect heavenly eyes that surpass just the light gathering phenomenon of the fleshly retina. Will we hear AND see what He says? Will we see AND hear His attributes? What am I trying to say? I am saying that our Glorious Savior, the Majestic Lord of the Universe, is, in fact, more beautiful and glorious than we can ever hope to imagine this side of our new bodies of grace created specifically to worship Him in all His Splendor! We will experience senses far beyond what we have in this three dimensional realm. Never needing a break from praise, never being distracted by our flesh, never growing weary of worship, sometimes bowing, sometimes shouting, sometimes singing, but all times fully concentrating with all our beings on the wonder of our Alpha and Omega.
So if God in all His majestic persons IS the Temple, then our calling to rebuild the Temple today has nothing to do with brick and mortar, no, it is indeed a calling to rebuild the revelation of the Person of God Himself in the church. It is a call of the Spirit to pick up stakes, leave this Babylonian culture and religious system, and preach the full counsel of Almighty God and lift His true Godhead high and glorious. None of this "sneak up on sinners" preaching that presents Christ as an appendage to a well rounded American lifestyle. To rebuild God's truth about everything which is "Yea and Amen" in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, a return and careful adherence to the written Word of God is paramount. And a deep, searching movement of prayer within the Body of Christ, beseeching His mighty power through our repentance, must be in concert with the preaching of the August Word of God.
Can you hear the Spirit of Ezra calling again to God's people, "Let us rebuild the Temple by His Sovereign Word". Can you hear the Spirit of Nehemiah exhorting us, "It will be a battle, but not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord!". The Spiritual walls are broken down upon the carnal wisdom of pretending preachers, and the modern church gates are burned with fire, the strange fire of false teaching. But there is offered to us the opportunity of a God glorifying revival that will usher in a new reformation that separates us not from the apostate Roman Church this time, but from the apostate evangelical church. Can you feel the freedom that comes from preaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

May Jesus Christ be high and lifted up upon the everlasting throne of His own Word!


JT333 said...

Yahweh Adoni...
We humbly bow before Your heavenly throne because You are worthy of all honor and glory and praise. Forgive us for diminishing Your glory on earth by our own proud, self-centered perceptions. Forgive us for exchanging the revelation of Your Son in Your Living Word for the finite god of our own imaginations.

Thank you for Rick's insight that inspires a higher view of our Holy God. Revive and renew our hearts so that we may be instruments You use to rebuild the temple where Your elect will be absorbed into the very Glory of Your Son... Hidden in Christ...Praying in His exalted Name through the power of Your Abiding Holy Spirit...

Lynn said...

Dear Rick,
This was a direct hit to the heart. I join jt333 in thanking God for the insight He has given you to share. I have been blessed and inspired by the perspective and understanding the Holy Spirit has given you. (Thank you Heavenly Father.)

Cherie c. said...

I think this is more than I can understand at this moment. I know from God's Word and from being taught that there won't even be any sun in the New Jerusalem because of the presence of God and His Glory, but I think I am missing on the 'in Christ" part. Christ in us and us in Christ? I have an inkling of what this means, but I also thought we would be in our own bodies, etc. And what about before this? Tribulation, the Rapture, judgments on the earth?

I was going really good there and now I seem to have hit a brick wall.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.