PROPHETIC PARALLELS – Christ’s Church “Then”. . .and Christ’s Church Now Ch.1

By Terry S. Ross

prophetic parallels - greenChapter 1 – “Thy King Cometh . . .”

“ . . . thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19: 44).

How many times have you heard it said or have said yourself: “We shouldn’t criticize?” I can remember when there used to be what was called “constructive criticism.” We are so far removed from those days of honest correction that we no longer use such terminology. Why? I believe it is because when someone in the church today says we shouldn’t criticize, they mean we should keep from speaking anything that’s “negative,” especially if it’s directed at the “leadership” of the “church.” Almost always on the heels of this comment you will hear someone say that Jesus never condemned anybody. And once again this comment is calculated to place a grim opinion on anyone who would proceed to prove that the church is out of step with what Jesus would have done. Maybe you have been in your Bible study class and have tried to make a critical point on the lesson to uphold the principles of truth. Then someone says (on cue), “Jesus never condemned anyone.” You could then almost hear the minds of all the members of the class slam shut and you would not be heard for the rest of the session. Your influence has just been killed.

But to make such statements, in reality, shows the prejudice of the comment and exposes the ignorance of the one who makes it. If Jesus never condemned anyone, then why did the “church” crucify Him! It doesn’t take a genius to realize that saying Jesus never condemned anyone shows that the one saying this doesn’t know the Bible.

Most ministers are “nice folks.” But if you are observant, you may see that a growing number of them soon reveal in different ways that their primary interest is pleasing the denominational headquarters with “numbers,” toeing the “party line,” and, for the most part, preaching what they believe the people want to hear. If you dare to disagree on any points of doctrine, they will quickly put you in your place because “you don’t know the Greek,” or they’ll give you some other kind of “intellectual” snow job, such as, “you have to understand proper hermeneutical procedures to be able to interpret what’s written in the Bible.”

If you have a red- letter edition Bible, read through the four Gospels and pay attention to the red lettering. I guarantee you will find in a big way that Jesus was, in fact, condemning the leadership of the church headquarters of His day. To deny this obvious fact is to deny the simplest historical accounts of the New Testament. Jesus called the apostate leaders of His day, sons of “the devil” (John 8: 44), “hypocrites” (Matthew 6: 2, 15: 7, 23: 13 and numerous other places), and “whited sepulchers” (Matthew 23: 27). He certainly agreed with John the Baptist, His cousin, who called the leaders a “generation of snakes” in Matthew 3: 7. As a matter of fact, Jesus spoke of John as the greatest prophet that ever lived (Matthew 11: 11). We could cite many more situations when Jesus did things that if He had come for the first time in our day, would shock today’s Christians, such as overthrowing the money tables in the courts of the “church.” This should demonstrate that most people either don’t know what Jesus is like or that they really don’t want to “be just like Jesus,” as they claim they want to be. They want the God of mercy but reject the God of Justice. Words are indeed so cheap.

In the end, those who are part of God’s true church in reality will be just like Jesus; and like the disciples 2,000 years ago will find out that being just like Jesus means much more than most will be willing to become. Spiritual Israel is about to find out what ancient Israel found out; not just with a head knowledge but through actual living experiential knowledge. This life or death issue as in days of old, is being brought to the forefront one last time, by the same Jesus so many now say they want to be like.

At the time of Christ’s arrival the “church” had a misconception of His first coming and of who He was. And where did they get this misconception? From their leaders, of course.

Many among Christ’s hearers were dwellers at Jerusalem. They were not ignorant of the plots of the rulers against Him, but felt themselves drawn to Him by an irresistible power. They were convicted that He was the Son of God. But Satan was ready to suggest doubt; and to this end the way was prepared by their erroneous ideas of the Messiah and His coming. It was generally believed that Christ would be born at Bethlehem, but after a time He would disappear, and at His second appearance none would know where He came from. There were many who held that the Messiah would have no natural relationship to humanity. And because the popular conception of the glory of the Messiah was not met by Jesus of Nazareth, many gave heed to the suggestion, “Howbeit we know this man whence he is; but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is” (John 7: 27).

Five hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Zechariah foretold the coming of the King to Israel. The hope of the new kingdom was again springing up. So for five hundred years God had brought to view the reality that the Messiah was on His way. But do you know what happened before He arrived? The educational system of God’s people became polluted. Hundreds of years before when Israel had chosen a king it was because they wished to be like other nations. This humanistic approach and attitude had proven to be a constant plague throughout their history. Now at the most crucial point in their existence this plague of placing the opinions of man above the word of God was about to be their utter downfall. We often address our real concerns about the “peer pressure” our youth are influenced by and how it is destroying them. One thing that would give our young people strength to endure and overcome evil peer pressure is for us to gain the victory ourselves as adults. Sadly, as in ancient times, the vast majority of God’s professed people are still placing the opinions of man above that of God’s word.

By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, the church leaders were of the opinion that they knew more than He did! Remember, they asked Him what authority He had to preach (Matthew 21: 23; Mark 11: 28; Luke 20: 2). They made the charge that He had no authority because He had not attended any of their schools and they had not given Him any authority. These same apostate leaders later made the same charges against the disciples (Acts 4: 7).

While they were thus wavering between doubt and faith, Jesus took up their thoughts and answered them, “Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not (John 7: 28).” They claimed a knowledge of what the origin of Christ should be, but they were in utter ignorance of it. If they had lived in accordance with the will of God, they would have known His Son when He came.

So you see, God’s “chosen people” had disregarded the manner in which He had said He would come. They could not rightly discern spiritual things because they had not live d in accordance with the will of God. When Christ arrived on the scene, the “church” had been polluted with the leading of faulty teachers who had become self- serving. Their priorities had turned from living according to the standards and principles of heaven to the policies and approbation of man.

Because we are studying “prophetic parallels,” this might be a good place to establish some ground rules. Now I’m going to make the claim in this study that we will discover nothing has changed between the days of Christ and those of our own. What happened 2,000 years ago is happening today— history is repeating itself. I’m making the claim that Jesus has graciously brought this insight to the forefront now because it’s time to do so. In keeping with this, let’s pause to discuss the “players” in this drama.

If we had lived 2,000 years ago and had only the knowledge that the Jews possessed then, the identity of the “church” would have been obvious to us. Most of us would have recognized that the “church” was the Sanhedrin. We would have said that Jerusalem was “church headquarters” and the priests, scribes, and Pharisees— those in the Sanhedrin— were the church leaders of our day— conference men. Now we realize that not all denominations or congregations have a conference structure but to simplify things, the term “conference” or “conference men” will mean official leadership. The term modern Israel is used in a spiritual sense and applies to all claiming Christianity.

It should also be recognized that the subject matter of PROPHETIC PARALLELS deals with principles which are eternal and consistent. Claims of apostasy will therefore be strongly and clearly stated but housed in general language. The claim that the conference leaders are in apostasy is very true but the reader should not assume that ALL official leaders are in apostasy. Not all the leaders in ancient Israel were in apostasy, but the majority were. Christ came to break the chains of bondage that their apostate pastors had placed upon the laity. Only those who found salvation were those who came to understand that it is what God says that matters most, not what man thinks or feels.

PROPHETIC PARALLELS repeats this exact work at the door of His second coming. The pursuit, discovery and acceptance of truth, no matter how painful or startling, will determine the destiny of each soul. Time ran out for the ancient conference who claimed to be “the church.” The claim of being “the church” is being heard again and only those who discover who and what God’s REAL church is and with total conviction and commitment will become a part of it, can or will be saved in the end. Taking on Christ’s name “Christian” means far more than most have ever imagined. And although salvation is free, by grace alone, and although we could never earn it, it will cost us everything we have. By far and away, as in ancient times, the majority of common people today have placed the most precious gift of eternal life in the hands of apostate leadership. The work of Christ showed that those who continued this practice would go to ruin with them. God is still the same today, yesterday and always. It is not He who will change to accommodate the apostasy that’s rampant in modern Israel. The change, if any, must come from within you and me. We have a very short time in which to unlearn the error and learn the vital, saving truths which Christ brings to this last generation in a dying world.

This is obvious as illustrated by verses in Scripture already mentioned and by statements from the disciples themselves such as “Don’t you know, Jesus, You just offended the pastors?” (see Matthew 15: 12). And you may also want to note Jesus’ corresponding response which was, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15: 13).

If we would have been like most who were not diligently heeding the warning “studying to shew thyself approved” (2 Timothy 2: 15), and if we had been part of the popular thought of that day 2,000 years ago, we would have definitely believed that the conference corporate structure (the temple) in Jerusalem was “the church” and that “the true leaders” were found at headquarters, the Sanhedrin. This was the claim of those ancient leaders and the same is true of modern leadership as well.

In His day, how would Christ and His disciples have been identified? They would have been recognized by most of us as self- supporting, independent ministers. They would not have been recognized as having authority to give their messages by the “mainstream church” because they were not affiliated with a recognized denomination officially. They hadn’t received any credentials from the conference headquarters and so they had no “authority” to preach.

The surprising fact is that it was only those who began to look for truth for themselves who discovered that the church leaders of their day were wrong. Most of those who held onto the self- promoted idea that the church (headquartered in Jerusalem) was the final authority, died in the slaughter of 70 A. D. when Jerusalem was destroyed. Not only were they removed that day from the face of earth but also from the Lamb’s Book of Life! They had rejected the message that their Messiah had indeed come in the person of the humble Carpenter from Nazareth.

Do we realize, brothers and sisters, that if it hadn’t been for the self-supporting, independent ministers, the message of Christ’s coming would not have been preached?

And what was it that originally put in action the downfall of the conference corporate structure in ancient times? It was the choosing of a king— a human leader. The Scriptures plainly teach that this was never God’s plan. Let’s read about it in I Samuel 8: 5- 8:

“And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.”

“Modern day Israel,” present- day Christians, have followed in the same footsteps and are in the same trouble. The reason God didn’t desire for Israel to have a king is a good one. Having one man at the head is not God’s plan, because nearly every time this has been the case, the “king” ends up protecting his kingdom, not God’s kingdom.

Now back to Jesus with His disciples. It is the day of His “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem that final week before His crucifixion. This day, which seemed to the disciples the crowning day of their lives, would have been shadowed with gloomy clouds had they known that this scene of rejoicing was but a prelude to the suffering and death of their Master. Although He had repeatedly told them of His certain sacrifice, yet in the glad triumph of the present they forgot His sorrowful words, and looked forward to His prosperous reign on David’s throne.

The church was looking to years of prosperity but sudden destruction came. You see, Jesus had tried to warn them, but their minds were so full of preconceived ideas placed there by the corrupt priesthood that His words fell on deaf ears. Christ has renewed His warnings to His professed people by way of the Bible, however, for the most part, in our day as in the past, His words are falling on deaf ears. In a time when “the church” is crying peace and safety, in a time when “the church” is looking forward to years of prosperity, sudden destruction is about to fall.

Many Pharisees witnessed Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and, burning with envy and malice they sought to turn the current of popular feeling. With all their authority they tried to silence the people, but their appeals and threats only increased the enthusiasm. They feared that this multitude, in the strength of their numbers, would make Jesus king. They declared that such demonstrations were unlawful, and would not be permitted by the authorities. “Malice” is defined as “hatred or intense hatred.” Why did the “pastors” hate Jesus, the very One who they were claiming to worship? These same pastors feared that the multitude would make JESUS their king. Why would a pastor fear that the laity would make Jesus their king?

I’ll tell you why, and the reason hasn’t changed over the last 2,000 years! The Jewish “pastors” feared that if the people made Jesus their king, they would have found out the truth about who they really were and what their style of pastoring was really all about. They feared that their own authority would be nullified and they would be without a job! They would lose control of the money and lose all their authority.

Do you want to know something? They were right! This experience is paralleled in our own day in many churches.

This is the reason the standards over the years have been lowered time and time again. I don’t have to tell those of you with the gray hair all of this. You realize that in many cases, the church you are in is vastly different than the one you took your baptismal vows in years ago. The sermons are much different too. The pastors of today are paying more attention to being “politically correct” with the immoral populace than to the challenging, inspired word of God. They are preaching smooth things to itching ears because it’s popular and brings more people to church.

But be not deceived! More people in church doesn’t mean more people in heaven. It does mean more of that evil peer pressure we mentioned before which continues to lower the standards even further.

For several years now we have witnessed what the conferences have labeled “revival.” But a revival of what? For several years we have actively researched and kept a close eye on the Christian community. I tell you that we are not witnessing Christian revival but the erosion of the true spirit of what the reformation brought.

Many of you are distressed deeply on a spiritual level as you have witnessed a departure from historic, sacred worship in your church. What is being labeled “revival” is really heresy as worship services are being lowered to the level of just above the ambiance of the nightclub scene. I came out of the world from that culture and in the past ten years, I have watched the sacred pulpits of many churches change into platforms of performers –from the “nightclub” lighting right down to the “Christian rock” music (which is anything but Christian).

Our station on the walls of Zion has revealed to us that the line of demarcation between the world and Christianity has been blurred to such an alarming degree that open warfare has broken loose within the community of believers. This actually gives us a reason to have faith in the word of God that states His plan will be accomplished regardless of hindrances or apostasies.

But the last great struggle between Christ and Satan has indeed commenced! It shows itself in recent events such as entire mainline fundamental denominations being split on issues such as ordaining homosexuals to the ministry along with numerous other issues. The enemy is within the gate and we must not only recognize this truth but know what Christ wants us to do about it!

In the midst of a scene of rejoicing, where all were paying Jesus homage, Israel’s King was in mourning but not in anticipation of His own suffering. Jesus had some very real and deadly enemies but His was always the spirit of unselfish love. His sorrow was for a lost people. It broke His heart to know that God’s chosen people, His church, the very church which He Himself had raised up, had rejected Him. His tears were shed not for himself— they were for the people who claimed to be “the church” but who were sadly blinded by their own pride and stubbornness.

The thought of His own agony did not intimidate that noble, self- sacrificing soul. It was the sight of Jerusalem that pierced the heart of Jesus— Jerusalem (the church headquarters) —that had rejected the Son of God and scorned His love, that refused to be convinced by His mighty miracles and was about to take His life. He saw what she was in her guilt of rejecting her Redeemer, and what she might have been had she accepted Him who alone could heal her wound.

The record of more than a thousand years of Christ’s guardian care and tender love, such as a father bears his only child, was there. In that temple the prophets had uttered their solemn warnings. There had the burning censers waved, while incense, mingled with the prayers of the worshipers, had ascended to God. There the blood of beasts had flowed, pointing to the blood of Christ that would be shed. There Jehovah had manifested His glory above the mercy seat. There the priests had officiated and the pomp of symbol and ceremony had gone on for ages. But all this must have an end.

Christ does not easily give up on people nor does He cast them aside. What happens is THEY leave HIM. For centuries He had labored and cared for this church He had started, but it all had to come to an end. You might say “Well yes, the sacrifices of lambs and animals did have to come to an end,” and you would be right; but go back and read all of the above paragraph. It says that the “church” in Christ’s day had to come to an end. Why? Because they had rejected Him and become so corrupt that they had placed themselves above God. They made of no effect the law of God by teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. The apostasy had closed their minds so tightly that they were now literally telling God (Christ) that He had no authority to speak unless they gave it!

Although the church had been raised by Christ, the people of the church no longer represented the work and purpose for their original existence and it had to stop. God no longer accepted their apostasy and He no longer recognized them as His church. Are there any parallels today? If the circumstances of our day are the same, will not the results be the same as they were in the days of our spiritual forefathers? To the honest, truth- seeking Christian, the answer is clear.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23: 37)

Here the Saviour paused, and left unsaid what might have been the condition of Jerusalem had she accepted the help that God desired to give her. The glorious destiny that might have blessed Jerusalem had she accepted her Redeemer rose before the Son of God.

But the bright picture of what Jerusalem might have been fades from the Saviour’s sight. He realizes that she now is under the Roman yoke, bearing the frown of God, doomed to His retributive judgment that will be realized in the tragedy of her destruction in 70 A. D.

Did you read that friend? Are you thinking of “prophetic parallels”? We have far more to be concerned about from within the “church” than from without! The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from those in the “church” itself than those in the world. Unbelievers have a right to expect that those who profess to be true to the Bible and following Jesus will do more than any other class to promote and honor, by their consistent lives, by their godly example and their active influence, the cause which they represent. But how often have the professed advocates of the Gospel proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.

Is there any doubt in your mind that this is speaking about fearing those who claim to be Christians, but who don’t live up to the name? We don’t need to fear the true Christians, only those who don’t live up to the name. But, of course, (and here is where the rub comes in) the only way to really distinguish the true from the false is to “study to shew yourself approved” (2 Timothy 2: 15). It is so sad but so true that most “Christians” give the lowest priority to their highest opportunity— eternal life. Now does that make any sense to you? It doesn’t to me either.

Christ came to save Jerusalem with her children; but pharisaical (pastoral) pride, hypocrisy, jealousy, and malice has prevented Him from accomplishing His purpose. Jesus couldn’t save the headquarters of the church. Why? Because of pride, hypocrisy (teaching the laity one thing and doing another themselves), jealousy (the love of self over the love of other men and God), and malice (hatred). Because of these things Jesus could not accomplish what He otherwise could have.

Do you realize the gravity of what’s being said here? Jesus came to give the people the very message that would have put them in His kingdom, but the leadership of the church actively blocked Him from doing this vital work. If we were to rewrite this in a slightly different way, this is how it might read: Christ came to save the church and all those in the denominational headquarters, but pastoral pride (placing themselves above the laity–“ I’m the Pastor!”), protecting their jobs but not protecting others and the truth, and hatred for anything (sacred or common) that got in their way or threatened their position, prevented many from knowing the truth who otherwise might have been saved.

Jerusalem had been the child of His care, and as a tender father mourns over a wayward son, so Jesus wept over the beloved city. “How can I give thee up? How can I see thee devoted to destruction?” When the fast setting sun passed from sight, Jerusalem’s significance in religious history would be ended.

Jerusalem represented the headquarters of the system of religion that Christ Himself had raised up. Israel, the church then, was indeed the “chosen” people who Christ had entrusted to do a special work. He had also promised they would be His people “forever.” But as with every other promise, these chosen people had either forgotten or ignored the detail that God’s promises were based on obedience to His instructions.

History is repeating itself and we should consider ourselves to be in worse condition today than they. If God has not changed, then this “chosen” generation of Christians who profess to believe in all of the Bible, along with its denominations’ headquarters, will suffer the same end as did their unbelieving forefathers if they are not teaching or living what Christ teaches. But we can count on the constancy of God. Remember: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13: 8).

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1: 17).

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3: 6).

Allow me to ask you this question: Do you believe in “once saved, always saved”? You may say no, but are you sure? If you believe that the church will be saved no matter how corrupt it becomes, then you indeed do believe in “once saved always saved.” Let’s take a familiar story out of the Bible to illustrate the point:

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Sam. 8: 4- 7).

Did you know that one of the major steps the leaders of Israel took which put them on the road to apostasy was to choose a king to rule over them? The Bible has many things to say regarding this subject and kingly power. We’ll address this more later on in the coming chapters.

Praise the Lord, however, for He does not easily cast us aside! Right from the start the Lord has always had a Plan “A” to follow. If we would follow this plan, we would have far fewer concerns than we do presently. Also, right from the start the Lord usually has had a Plan “B” to implement if Plan “A” is not followed by His people. I am so thankful that the Lord loves us with this kind of love, aren’t you?

Plan “B” is never the best plan, but God sometimes allows Himself to be “forced” into Plan “B” because of the hardness of our hearts. Usually whenever we insist on any plan besides Plan “A” we suffer the consequences. But we human beings seem to have to learn things the hard way so instead of just casting us aside, the Lord condescends to Plan “B” in order to save some who will learn from their mistakes and rebellion.

So Israel’s leaders had insisted on having a king rule over them. God had told Samuel that they had rejected Him by making this request, but nonetheless, He implemented Plan “B” rather than casting them aside at this time.

“Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me. And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people” (I Samuel 9: 15- 17).

So the Lord went to Plan “B.” Now, did the Lord handpick Saul? Yes! And was there to be an ordination for this man who was handpicked by God? Yes. Let’s continue.

I Samuel 10: 1 “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?”

So indeed the Lord handpicked Saul and the Lord ordained him, through the prophet Samuel, to the mission of ruling over His people.

I Samuel 10: 6 “And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.”

Brothers and sisters, this has to be one of the most amazing stories in all of the Bible! Here we have a man who is handpicked by God— He is ordained to his mission by the prophet Samuel and now he is given the promise that the Holy Spirit will fill him and he will be changed into another man! How would you like a true prophet to promise you a quick, total conversion? Not maybe, but for sure! Let’s see what happened:

“And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 10: 9- 11).

What a story! I dare say that with few exceptions, you won’t find too many more stories like this one anywhere. So to recap: Saul had been handpicked; he was anointed to the position; he was filled with the Holy Spirit; he prophesied; and he was given a new heart. If this isn’t a total conversion experience from God, I don’t know what is! But sadly this is not all of the story. Here is what happened later:

“Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15: 16- 23).

One last time. Saul was handpicked. He was appointed and anointed. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He prophesied among the other prophets before witnesses who knew him. He was in fact given a new heart. Brother and sister, you just can’t get any more saved than this!

“But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die” (Ezekiel 18: 24).

“Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die . . .” (Ezekiel 3: 20).

It’s quite obvious that a righteous person can choose to turn from his righteousness. Was he truly righteous to begin with? The Bible says he was. The Bible also says that if he turns from his righteousness HE WILL DIE IN HIS SINS. This is pretty clear that a person can be in a right relationship with God, but if he turns away and stays away— in his sins— he will not be in a saved condition (see also Hebrew 6: 4- 6).

But here again, don’t take my word for it. Study this out for yourself. Your own Bible study on this issue as well as any other issues mentioned in this book is very important.

Perhaps many of you thought that you have never believed in “once saved, always saved.” Perhaps many of you DO believe in “once saved, always saved.” In the light of the story we just read, I think many do believe, as far as the church leadership and headquarters is concerned, that these people cannot be lost because God has chosen them. If you believe that, then you don’t believe the story of Saul to be true or inspired! If this is the case, I implore you to please get on your knees and beg God to give you the eyesalve of Revelation 3: 18.

Saul broke his contract of salvation with God. When he rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord rejected him. His course took him into spiritualism and he sought the counsel of a witch over asking God’s counsel. Things have not changed over the centuries, for if we choose not to go to the Lord for wisdom, if we go to worldly humanistic methods and use worldly techniques to solve our problems, then the fate of Saul awaits us.

Just as Samuel told King Saul that God rejected him as ruler of the laity in his day, so Jesus rejected the leadership whose kingly and corrupted power were in the service of another master in His day.

Once again, as startling as it may seem, my claim so far that what has happened in the history of ancient Israel is happening again today is right on target. Saul’s pride and apostasy took him finally into spiritualism. In modern Israel, the witches of Endor are still counseling God’s people— to their demise. The infiltration of New Age thought and tech- nique within Christianity is startling proof that the enemy has and continues to gain, a strong foothold among us. And this foothold is not complacent, remaining in the pews, but to a great degree, is wielding the power and influence of prominent positions within our ranks, and in our pulpits.

Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross

Chapter 2 – “Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . .” ⇒