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2 Chronicles 7:14 And Revelation 3:20 – How Heal Their Land Still Applies Today

Posted by Job on March 3, 2011

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Thus says 2 Chronicles 7:14. I know that a lot of Christians in America are distressed about a lot of the recent political and legal changes. Further, there is the belief that these changes are merely the result of cultural, social and religious trends that have been in the works for decades, if not longer. Christians see a longstanding effort by forces in government, education, media, activism, culture etc. working to infiltrate, subvert, undermine and destroy many of our longstanding values and institutions, with the result being a nation that has much more confusion and disorder, and is more hostile to those possessing a Christian worldview. The worst part for many is that decades of various organized countermeasures on the part of many Christians, including but not limited to the religious right, have failed, and this despite much effort being invested and many questionable moves – including alliances with nonbelievers and theological compromises – being made. Further, it appears as if the cultural and moral decay affecting the larger society is being reflected within many institutional church bodies themselves.

In light of these facts, one seeking for a solution may come to the conclusion that the answer is not for the church to turn outward to try to directly or overtly influence the larger community. Instead, relying on 2 Chronicles 7:14 and similar, perhaps instead the answer is to turn inward! Increase our prayer, fasting, church attendance, worship, evangelism, Bible reading and other forms of private and public piety. Reduce our sinful thoughts and actions. Purge questionable doctrines and practices from our midst, and separate from those who practice them. The belief is, then, that if we do this, then God will honor the promise given in 2 Chronicles 7:14 through a revival caused by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the result would be an improved spiritual, moral, religious, cultural, social, political etc. climate for the nation. Not a few Christians of great esteem assert that such precisely happened as a result of the “great awakening” revivals in this country, and yearn for a similar outpouring to come save us now.

Now I do not wish to debate the actual effectiveness on the larger society of the awakenings and similar revivals in other countries, other than to point out that there is some evidence that they definitely included some mixtures of bad with the good. Instead, the issue is that there is no scriptural basis for the idea that Christians can improve the larger society with increased fervor and fidelity to the faith. Not only should such a thing not be a goal in the first place – for the sole aim of Christianity is to worship, honor and serve Jesus Christ – but there is not even Biblical evidence to suggest that it has been promised to the church as a happy byproduct. Quite the contrary, various New Testament texts seem to indicate that increased sincerity, devotion and faithfulness to the church causes more rejection and persecution from the world, while compromise, carnality and worldliness causes less.

Realize the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 (and similar that can be found in such places as Deuteronomy) was given only to Old Testament Israel. This promise was only valid in the context that God made with Israel at Sinai. Israel was the only nation to be miraculously created by God Himself, and it was the only political entity that was meant to be governed by God’s special revelation. God Himself set up Israel’s government, religion, economy and a great deal of its culture. God also instituted a system where Israel’s people were accountable to their leaders, and Israel’s leaders (i.e. kings, judges, prophets, priests) were accountable to Him. As a result of this arrangement, blessings came to Israel when they generally (sort of) kept the covenant, and curses came to them when they did not. So, the context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 was that if Israel ever experienced curses due to their lack of faithfulness to the covenant – and these curses negatively effected the culture, economy, morals and security of Israel – that if they returned to the covenant, God would take the curses away, and such things as economic decline, moral decay, diseases, losing wars to enemies etc. would cease. In other words, the land would be healed from the covenant curses and their effects. And as we can see in the Old Testament record, Israel had a cycle of being at peace and prosperity when the people were led by righteous rulers who caused them to have some level of faithfulness to the covenant, and wars/famines/ruin when led by rulers who caused them to break the covenant with idolatry and other sinful practices.

But what was the case for Old Testament Israel does not apply to any nation ever since. Despite notions of “American exceptionalism” or “dominion theology” or other false doctrines, God never created another nation, and He never made another covenant of blessings and curses with another nation. Those who claimed such things were speaking their own words from their own authority, and not the words of God from the Holy Spirit, including the Bible that the Holy Spirit has inspired and preserved. Indeed, false ideas concerning God making new covenant nations with new covenant peoples are responsible for the worst crimes against humanity – and also against God – by Christians in history, including the tendency to see the nation as “the new Israel”, its inhabitants as “the new Jews”, and the native populations as “the new Hittites/Amorites/Ammonites/Edomites” etc. that were to be brutally subjugated and/or ethnically cleansed.

So, as tempting as it may be, the promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not applicable to the church, which is not old covenant Israel and is not governed by the terms, either the blessings or the curses, of that covenant. For that matter, neither is Israel, with their Sinai covenant long abrogated, with the ark that signified the covenant lost to history at the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 AD. Instead, the church is governed by the new covenant with better promises, the same covenant whose coming was prophesied by Jeremiah, who also declared the ending of the old conditional covenant due to Israel’s persistent failure to live up to its conditions.

So, one might ask, why is it in the Bible? How does it relate to us, other for historical purposes? What makes it useful to us today as Christians? An answer to this question can be found in Revelation 3:14-21, which deals with the church at Laodicea. And the context is mighty similar.  2 Chronicles 7:14 dealt with a situation where Israel had become unfaithful to God through broad abject failure to attain even a semblance of attempting to keep the Sinai covenant and therefore is in need of repentance and returning to faithfulness. Similarly, the Laodicean church is one that was veering into apostasy. Jesus Christ described their spiritual state as “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” and is threatening to “spue thee out of my mouth.”

So, what to do about this situation, when a Christian individual or a Christian assembly – be it a household or a church – reaches this desperate state of affairs with such dire consequences? That is when 2 Chronicles 7:14 is applicable! That is when the Christian assembly, the people called by the Name of Jesus Christ, should humble themselves, and pray, and seek the face of Jesus Christ, and turn from their wicked ways. When that happens, then will Jesus Christ hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. What is this land in question, if it is not a political entity like Israel? Well, in this covenant, God dwells in the hearts of His church. The bodies of Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells the Christian. Jesus Christ indwells the Holy Spirit. And God the Father indwells Jesus Christ. God in us, and God with us! So, the land, then, is US.

If a Christian backslides, or merely falls into spiritual coldness, or lapses into sin, if such a Christian returns to Jesus Christ in true repentance, Jesus Christ will heal that Christian’s heart. We know this not only from the promise given to the Laodicean church, but also from 1 John 1:9, which tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Further, we know from 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” and 1 John 1:10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” that all of us become Laodiceans at some point.

One can also apply the doctrine of corporate solidarity, which essentially is that Christians are not lone wolves or islands but instead part of one universal body joined together into one unit, one bride, by the Holy Spirit, to extend this promise beyond merely individual Christians. Instead, an entire family or household, an entire church, or a large group of Christians drawing from and encompassing any number of churches can apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 and return to the Lord in repentance, with the result being God’s healing and new covenant blessings being poured out upon all who come together in the Name of Jesus Christ on one accord and humbly ask for restoration and healing by God’s mercy and grace.</span

We know this because it was what Jesus Christ told the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:18-19. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Just as stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14, Jesus Christ urges and instructs His wayward covenant people to repent and be restored, and in this letter Jesus Christ is not speaking to an individual Christian, but through John to a corporate assembly, an entire church. The entire church is on the verge of apostasy, and Jesus Christ is letting them know that they can come back and be restored as a church, perhaps through a combination of individual prayer with intercession on the part of others who may be haughty or blinded. This allows the same “national” application of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to be applied in a broader or corporate sense to the church.

Consider Revelation 3:20. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Now this is often erroneously applied to evangelism, of Jesus Christ making the offer of salvation to sinners and awaiting their response. However, this is not consistent with what Jesus Christ says about evangelism and conversion in every other place, which is His elect hearing the call of His voice and coming to HIM. Saving grace is irresistible, so a mere man does not have the option of leaving the sovereign God, his Creator and the sustainer of his very existence, outside knocking at the door as if Jesus Christ is some jilted lover (or door to door salesman)!

Instead, that passage refers to a Christian’s making his calling and election sure by responding to the command of Jesus Christ to repent and return from his wicked ways. When the penitent backslider does so, then Jesus Christ returns and re-establishes the former state of communion with the former backslider and Himself, and the restoration process is consummated. A the mark of a legitimate Christian, one who is legitimately Christ’s sheep according to the decree of God the Father by the workings of God the Spirit, is that He will heed the command of Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:18-19, which results in the fulfillment of the prophecy and promise of Revelation 3:20. The result is Revelation 3:21, which is “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” This means that the Christians who heed this command to confess and repent of their sins – which is necessarily all actual Christians – will inherit eternal life. Such Christians will be changed, receive new incorruptible bodies, and will be glorified, conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, with no more flaws, death, illness, sickness, grief, trials, trouble, temptations or sin. When this happens, 2 Chronicles 7:14 will have reached its final fruition, and the land – the true Christendom, which is the elect in whom the Holy Spirit dwells – will be finally and eternally healed … New Jerusalem.

Stunningly, the greatest comforting promise was given to the church in Revelation 2-3 in the worst condition and received the sternest rebuke. Great is our God, and great is His grace, forgiveness, love and mercy from everlasting to everlasting! Please, partake of this promise today. Repent of your sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

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An Important Distinction Between Israel And The Church

Posted by Job on July 18, 2010

God created Israel separate from the nations with the duty to be a light to the other nations. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit led Israel and were present with Israel, but did not indwell national Israel. Thus, Israel failed. Not only did they not become a light to the other nations, but fell into an apostate state whose abominations and wickedness actually EXCEEDED the evils of the other nations. Thus, only a righteous remnant preserved by God remained.

By contrast, when God created the church, it was not as a set apart nation to be a light to the other nations. Instead, God created the church as a people called out from ALL nations, Israel included, to be a light to the world. Where Israel was God’s national project with global implications, the church is God’s global project with eternal ramifications. And unlike national Israel, the church did not and will not fail. Unlike national Israel, the church was bought and created with God’s own divine Blood, that being sinless Jesus Christ shed on the cross. And unlike national Israel, the church is Jesus Christ’s Body with Jesus Christ Himself as the Head, and the Holy Spirit is not only present with the church, but indwells the church.

So where the failure of Israel was a failure of man – the human leaders and followers of national Israel – the church cannot and will not fail because God Himself indwells it. The old covenant was temporal, conditional and limited to one people (Israel) in one time (prior to that of Jesus Christ) and one place (the land of Canaan). The new covenant is unconditional (cannot be broken), eternal (will last forever) and universal (given to those coming from all nations, tribes and tongues).

Thus, contra covenant theology, Israel was not the church of the Old Testament. Instead, national Israel was a type, seed or foreshadowing of what was to be fulfilled by the church, New Testament spiritual Israel that both includes those natural descendants of Israel who are elect and thus believe, but it also transcends them. Calling Israel the church of the Old Testament distorts the purpose and method of its creation, and it also rejects the fact that the presence of God (the Holy Spirit) was in the tabernacle/temple behind the veil and not indwelling Israel in a corporate sense as it does the church in a corporate sense. At best, the Holy Spirit may have indwelled individual Old Testament saints such as the prophets and King David, and even in that sense the Old Testament saints were not limited to national Israel (consider Jethro/Reuel, Melchizedek, Seth, Abel, Noah, Job, the Queen of Sheba, Nebuchadnezzar etc.)

And also against dispensationalism, the church age is not a parenthetical period between two Israel ages (the Old Testament and the Jewish millennium), with memorial animal sacrifices in a third temple to Jesus Christ to occur in the second Jewish age, and Israel again taking her place as a light to the nations during the millennium. Instead, the purpose of Israel’s lesser light (and in creation, the lesser light rules THE NIGHT, which according to the parables of Jesus Christ is the time of sorrow because the bridegroom is not present) was to point to Jesus Christ, who is the true light to the nations, including Israel, and is the greater light which rules THE DAY. So, what of the Old Testament prophecies of the nations’ bringing gifts to Zion and serving Zion that were to be fulfilled in the millennium, the alleged “unfulfilled promises to Israel that have to be fulfilled in the millennium”? Read “servant songs” of Isaiah. Jesus Christ is the Son of Israel, who took upon Himself the role that Israel rejected, succeeded where Israel failed, obeyed and fulfilled the law of Moses that Israel broke (and dispensationalists claim that Israel should have never accepted to begin with when the truth is that Israel had no free will in the matter to accept or reject; they had no choice for they were chosen unconditionally by God and could not resist or reject His will) and thereby became Israel or Zion within Himself.

Jesus Christ is able to fulfill the prophecies given to both national Israel because He IS both national and spiritual Israel. Jesus Christ is national Israel because He was born a Jew to Mary and Joseph as a natural son of David of the tribe of Judah, and spiritual Israel because one is part of spiritual Israel only through faith in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is the object, author and finisher of that same faith. So, the “Zion songs” that speak of a restored Israel receiving the worship and gifts of the nations and ruling the nations are actually fulfilled in Jesus Christ who – as Israel’s personification, representative and fulfillment – rules the nations with a rod of iron and receives the worship and praise of all who have faith in, abide in and obediently serve Him in heaven and on earth while ruling the nations with a rod of iron.

Suggesting that national Israel will rule and receive gifts in the place of the only One who is worthy of such rule and praise is to take the position that Jesus Christ was never incarnated, crucified and resurrected. Incidentally, the amillennial beliefs held by many covenant theologians and is being adopted by dominionists, which holds that the church is to subdue and rule the earth just as Israel was to do with Canaan (and in the case of the dominionists, as Adam was subdue and rule the earth), possesses a similar error, giving to man and his institutions the rule – and praise – that belongs only to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will not rule the earth through the church, but instead will rule the earth including the church. And there will be no memorial sacrifices to Jesus Christ, for why do things in memory (as is done to those who are dead and sleep) to that who is alive and present forevermore? Instead of memorial animal sacrifices in a temple, Jesus Christ will receive active worship and praise in spirit and in truth from the hearts of those who believe, those whom the Holy Spirit indwells!

Therefore, knowing the difference between the church and Israel is vital to understanding the past, future and the present for the Christian. By contrast, failing to know these differences leaves one vulnerable to error and deception. So, do not be destroyed for the lack of knowledge! Instead, study to show yourselves approved!

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Individualism Versus Corporate Solidary

Posted by Job on November 21, 2009

The western individualist and self-centered mindset is against Biblical Christianity, which is that of corporate solidarity. Instead of viewing ourselves as individual Christians helping ourselves through the power of Jesus Christ, we should view ourselves as one collective, one body, one group of people, one elect and holy nation serving and helping each other through the power of Jesus Christ. The message of Christianity is not how God empowers us to meet our own needs. Instead, that is more consistent with new age spirituality. Rather, the message of Christianity is how God works through the collective corporate Body of Christ, the bride of Christ, to do God’s will, which includes but is not limited to meeting the needs of Christians.

It appears that in the west, we have created a false, syncretized view of Christianity that conforms to our own economic and political mindsets where each Christian goes to God for himself and his family and expects God to react to each individual family or household, and the benefits of God are limited to that household, plus perhaps any benefit that a local congregation gets from receiving this household’s tithes and offerings. This is not the Biblical model. Instead the Biblical model is that of the church seeing itself as a living organism, a whole unit where each part is just as interconnected with and concerned with each other as itself. For instance, just as a body cannot walk if it has no feet or it cannot feed itself if it has no hands or arms, Christians are negatively impacted if other Christians are suffering under hunger, poverty, oppression, racism, immorality or false doctrines. Instead of harshly judging and closing our hearts and minds for these Christians, we should pray and intercede for them, work to help them, and advocate justice for them.

Christianity is not a group of assorted individuals seeking their destiny and fortune and doing right what is according to their own eyes. That was the condition of the children of Israel in the book of Judges, a time of great apostasy. Instead, Christians are to be one, have love for one another, and be their brother’s keeper!

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What Is The Most Holy Place Part 2

Posted by Job on October 28, 2008

This is a second part to A Challenge To Pastors, Teachers, Preachers, Prophets, And Exegetes: What Is The Most Holy Place That The Anti – Christ Will Defile?

A lot of very good responses were to the effect that the most holy place is the new temple, the believer. That would conform to the teachings of the book of Hebrews. However, are we speaking of individual believers or of a collection of believers as a whole? Some Christian scholars have created works such as Robinson’s “Corporate Personality in Ancient Israel”, Klein’s “The New Chosen People: A Corporate View of Election”, Best’s “One Body in Christ”, Shedd’s “Main in Community” and Malina’s “The New Testament World” (among others) which assert that the temple that God’s spirit now dwells in is the corporate body of Christ. That we are one body of Christ that together constitutes one temple, not little individual temples. (From that viewpoint, which is very spiritual, as opposed to the naturalist concept that the Holy Spirit dwells in a manmade institution i.e. the the Roman Catholic Church, makes the doctrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit easier to grasp. Or at least it does for me.)

Now if this is the case, then does the abomination of desolation refer to the apostasia, the falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

If so, then this is a very difficult thing for me to get my mind around indeed. It is actually easier for me to conceive of the anti-Christ entering a rebuilt Jewish temple! But the best that I can come up with at this time is A) the great apostasy occurs, resulting in a false church of people who are only Christian externally and B) then the anti – Christ comes onto the scene “entering” or taking advantage of such a church i.e. that described in Laodicea in the warnings of Revelation 2 and 3? The ending of the sacrifices then would refer to Christian worship stopping, again even if this worship was only superficial. Is it replaced by the worship of the anti – Christ, or the false religion that the anti – Christ and the false prophet will set up?

Also, it is fair to presume that even during this time a tiny number of believers will yet remain on the earth to represent the church during the great tribulation. The 144,000 perhaps? Now it is interesting, the Philadelphia church Jesus Christ states will be spared the hour of temptation. Rapture adherents seize upon that verse, Revelation 3:10. But they ignore that no such promise is given to the other churches! Quite the contrary, Jesus Christ explicitly stated that the Smyrna church WOULD suffer, and note that the Smyrna and Philadelphia churches were the only ones that Jesus Christ did not criticize. (By contrast, the Laodicea church was the only one that Jesus Christ did not praise!)

However, where Jesus Christ states that the Smyrna church was strong due at least in great part to their POVERTY, the Philadelphia church had only “a little strength” left, only that required to not deny the Name of Jesus Christ. “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” So, how will the Philadelphia church escape tribulation? Rather than rapture (or going to some earthly place of refuge) the answer will likely be martyrdom, death. The Smyrna church will be left to endure the final purging, trying etc. as representatives of the body of Jesus Christ before the mystery is completed, Jesus Christ returns, and the perfection takes place.

Please keep in mind that both the martyred Philadelphia church and the Smyrna church will have to endure their portion during that awful time as part of their duty as representatives of the entire church. It is interesting to note, also, that of all the apostles John was the only one to see a natural death. 1 out of 12, how do you like that ratio, and what does that mean for the church in terms of how many are Smyrnans versus how many are Philadelphians? And as for the number of Laodiceans that will be in the false church that Jesus Christ spits out of His mouth – apostasia or falling away – right before the beast waltzes in … well again I will leave that to speculation.

Please remember: the depiction of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3 is indeed one where its members are preoccupied with gaining wealth and political power and perceiving those things to be godliness in and of itself or evidence thereof. The Laodicean church is worldly, but not in the usual contemporary sense. It is not just a description of Christians that have forsaken sound doctrine and personal holiness. If anything, those less than perfect but not apostate Christians are described by at least 4 of the other 6 churches (and remember with the Philadelphians their sole attribute or for that matter sole characteristic seems to be their lack of flaws, a not insignificant thing to ponder … it is better to humbly merely lack flaws than to be great in this area while having flaws in another area). No, the Laodicean church is one that has intermingled itself with the harlot mystery Babylon the great, and has woven into its doctrines and practices a regard for and love of the power and wealth of the world. These aren’t Christians who simply like money and power (or other things of the flesh) but instead rather Christians that have made the love and pursuit of money and power part of their theology; given it an exalted position in their sanctuaries and pulpits.

Make no mistake, this power does include civil power. Military, economics and culture if you are on the right. Government, social welfare and civil rights if you are on the left. Either way, it is Babylon, and if you bring it into your church then your church is either Laodicean or well on its way there. If that is the case, then the place where the anti – Christ will enter in, declare himself as God and commit the abomination of desolation will not be in any Jewish temple, but rather in your own heart.

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