Sunday August 9 2020

ALTARS

Jeremiah 32:35: “And they built the high places of Baal which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and  their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”

Last week we discussed our propensity for pursuing things of this world rather than things of the Lord. I don’t mean to imply that the above verse reflects our activities here in our church, I start off with it to show the inclination of this world system to follow after such gods. There are altars everywhere. They have been with us since the dawn of time, and even though our worldly landscape is littered with the ruins of such monuments, they are still very much with us. We can visit, either in person or via the internet such ruined altars to Baal, Zeus, Molech and others and this may cause us to be confident that such things no longer exist. This, of course, is far from the truth. They cling to our society as so much gum on our sole. Some of these modern day idols are subtle while most remain remarkably identifiable.  Throughout time altars have always required one thing – a sacrifice. We may think that altars are gone or that they lie in ruins, but no, altars are very much here, just as are their gods and idols.  “Whether or not people call the gods they worship ‘gods’ or the idols they serve ‘idols’ doesn’t change the fact that they’re worshipping gods and serving idols.”  1  There are those among us who would dispute that they are worshipping gods or serving idols, but, whatever one puts first, above everything else, becomes one’s god. 2  And, whatever you serve becomes your idol. The song quoted last day from Johnny Cash 3  said as much. During his final video he regretted that he served the idols of empire building, money, fame, recognition, possessions, career, comfort, and all the rest. Whatever is placed first in our life becomes a false god and a false idol.  It is most challenging to live within a society that promotes so much idol worship. We are bombarded with its theology. Inundated with a wide range of ‘selfies!’ Self-worth, self-endeavours, self-approval, self-rights, self-opinions, self-pride, self-absorption, self-assertion, self-conceit, self-confidence, self-delusion, self-fulfillment, self-indulgence, self-pity, self-reliance, self-seeking, self-sufficient and self-willed.  Whew! But what about, self-control or self-contentment or self-denial or even self-surrender? Paul had much to say about those last four selfies. And he even went on to warn us against, self-deception and self-destruction.

The primary requirement of an altar is a sacrifice.  Every god and every idol has an altar, and every altar requires a sacrifice. 4  When we serve the gods of this world system we must give a sacrifice. It may be the sacrifice of our peace, or our health, our marriage, our time, our family, our integrity, or our general well-being. And the more we serve, the god we serve, the more we must sacrifice! 5

With believers, the situation is quite the opposite is it not? It is not we who sacrifice to God but it is rather He who sacrificed Himself for us! We see this truth throughout Scripture. It was not only the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross but the examples of God’s sacrifice on our behalf are everywhere. Thus, the examples of man setting up altars to sacrifice to the LORD are actually activities of recognition and thanks for the sacrifice made by GOD for us.

There was the great face-off between the priests and followers of Baal and one Spirit directed man of God, Elijah. (1 Kings 18). The altar of the True and Living GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob verses the altars of Baal. And the conflict continues in our day! Following, is an article concerning happenings today regarding the altars of Baal.

 

A replica of an archway of an ancient temple of Baal has been erected in public spaces in major cities around the world, since April of 2016.  Trafalgar Square in London for the three days leading up to the Jewish Passover, in Florence Italy for the political G7 summit, in Dubai for the World Government Summit, at City Hall in New York last year, and just this month on the Capitol Mall in Washington DC.  Next it travels on to Amsterdam, and Syria.  Why?

The Centre for Global Heritage and Development claims that it is merely showing a bit of history to the public.  So why not install it in a museum? Out of thousands of other great artifacts from history, why a piece of a Temple of Baal?  And why does it mysteriously remain only for a few days in each city before being dismantled, as If the historical society does not want too many people to know about it?

The original arch of Palmyra was built by the Romans in the second century as an entrance to a major temple of Baal that had already existed for 3000 years in Syria. This temple had a powerful furnace below a bronze statue with a bull’s head, which represented the god Baal.  Temple priests would place children and babies into its outstretched arms who would then roll into the blazing fire as human sacrifices.  Loud drumbeats would drown out the screams.  Temple prostitutes were used so that men or women who sought help from Baal would perform lewd acts with the prostitutes as a form of “worship.” It was a place of the most heinous atrocities committed against innocent children, against all that is good and just, and against God Himself. Baal is mentioned 94 times in the Bible as a destructive force against the people of God – the lord of the flies, the god of dung, a symbol of Satan himself.

And now a replica of this demonic religion is being honored around the world and praised by historians as part of our “global heritage.”

Many Christians suspect that this historical society is a cover for financial, business and political leaders in the world who are Luciferian – Satan worshippers.  Powerful men and women of influence who indulge in witchcraft and demonic practices to undermine Christian values in this world and to aggressively usher in the age of the antichrist. If you believe in the teachings of the Word of God, you know that the coming age of the antichrist will be a time of great apostasy, of hatred against the people of God, when immorality and degradation of all that is pure will be praised, when all innocence will be defiled.  It will be an age where only those who bow to the antichrist will be in positions of power.

Does it not make sense then, that in the prelude to this coming age, influential people would be actively pushing for these things to happen even now? Just look at the rapid changes in our societies and cultures around the world, where what once was right is now condemned as evil, and what was always considered evil or unhealthy is now praised as noble. Where the minds of children are being targeted for perverse sexual indoctrinations, and Christian principles are being denounced with hatred.

For those whose lives are on the altar of God, this arch is nothing more than a stone structure.  But others view this arch as a portal for dark spirits to flood into the cities of this world and take control of minds and hearts, asking Baal to take possession of our lands, our people, and our children. Is Satan responding?  Just look around! These events are all happening under the noses of weak, apathetic Christians who know nothing about the spiritual battle we are in, and who even block those who do.

Meanwhile another powerful replica of a spiritual artifact is making its own world tour – the Ark of the Covenant!  Who among us believes that by faith, our God can take hold of entire cities and nations as the representation of His presence enters each place?  Why are pagans so confident of their evil practices, while Christians are so wishy-washy?  Who is ready to get off the fence and engage in spiritual warfare like never before, starting with their own sins?  Apathy is not an option.  We have reached a time when fighting for God’s Kingdom is do or die.

I will punish Baal in Babylon,
and I will bring forth from his mouth what he has swallowed up;
and the nations will not flow together any more to him.
Indeed, the wall of Babylon will fall.  Jeremiah 51:44
6

Baal arch being set up in Washington, DC Credit: Digital Archaeologty/Twitter/@digiarchaeol

Above is the Arch of Baal being erected and moved about the world, to major cities.

The demonic spirits under-girding these altars are alive and well today.

God did instruct us to erect altars but His guidelines were quite clear and restrictive. Altars were intended to be reminders of the grace and goodness of GOD. They were to be constructed from earth and un-hewn stone only. (Ex. 20:25) No tool was to be used in the making of an altar to the LORD. No other materials or imaginative artistry was to be employed. Anything other than these basic materials, earth and un-hewn stone, would speak of man’s creativity, imaginations from the heart of man. Altars were primarily erected as a remembrance. Altars were erected by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon and others, all as acts of memorials to the grace and goodness and deliverance of GOD. Many unworthy altars were erected but torn down by the devoted. Such unworthy altars were erected by Gideon’s father (Judges 6:25-32,) King Jeroboam (1 Kg. 12:32-33,) King Ahab (1 Kg. 18:25-26,) King Ahaz (2 Chron. 28:1,3,5,) along with others. The people of GOD destroyed and tore down pagan altars when they were discovered. Such tearing down of false altars were accomplished by Gideon, King Asa, Jehoiada, King Hezekiah, and King Josiah.

So, what about us? Do we have altars in our lives? They may not be altars of stone or steel, but as we have seen, any altar, even those in ruin, have a spirit behind them. It is one thing to turn away from an altar, but it is quite another to come against the spiritual authority behind said altar. We can and have to tear down such strongholds to be truly free from their polluting. This is accomplished by the blood and authority of Christ. It begins with our will. We have to choose to come against the altars in our lives. We are not helpless; we are not without resource. If you have identified an altar in your life, pray as follows:

          “LORD I know that I have something that stands between myself        and You. (if you know the ‘something’ call it by name) LORD, I no           longer choose to serve this false god. I choose to turn away from           this altar and all that it represents. I tear down its structure,     stone by stone, brick by brick. In the mighty name of Jesus I come           against the forces of darkness behind this altar. By the authority           in the name of Jesus I cast you from my heart. Each and every   spirit of wickedness, every spirit of perversion, every spirit of control, every spirit of drunkenness, I command you to leave by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the blood of Jesus and go to      the footstool of Jesus. I sweep the shards of this shattered altar      away and where it once stood I sprinkle the ground with the        blood of the Lamb of GOD and wash the place clean with the     pure water of the Holy Spirit. Deliver me from the consequences      that I incurred while serving that altar, as I turn away from it          and instead turn to face You LORD in faith and thanksgiving. In       place of serving and sacrificing false gods I choose this day to     offer You the sacrifice of praise. Thank you for Your deliverance,   in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The LORD asks few things of us – faith and obedience. And obedience is merely a measure of our faith. The gods of this world demand we sacrifice our peace, our time, our families, and our health. The LORD has said in His word, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

 We can come in obedience to the altar of our GOD, as per Romans 12:2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Notice, we are to remain living sacrifices, no blood is spilt other than His!

I leave you with this from Romans 8:34-39.

          “Who is he that condemns? It is Christ, that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor thing present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nor any altar of Baal for those who reside under the wings of the Almighty!

Remember dear brothers and sisters Galatians 6:7-9

“Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, of we faint not.”

Let the world run after the altars of Baal, but we will cling to the altar of our God. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

Father God, Master and Maker of the Universe and all that it contains, we worship You today. You are Sovereign. You are Good. You are Love. How amazing that You, the Almighty God, care about us – compared to You we are such weak, small vessels of clay. Thank You Lord that You delight to show Yourself strong in these unlikely jars of clay such as we are. Thank You that You call us to carry Precious Treasure, the Light of the Gospel, in these frail, human vessels of earth, “that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of {its} power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 AMPC) Hallelujah!

Thank You Lord that You call us to walk in the Light, as Jesus is in the Light. (1 John 1:7) Lord God Almighty, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Your unfolding Word is a lamp to our feet and a Light to our path. (Psalm 119:105, 130)  Without You to guide us and help us, we flounder, not knowing which way to go or what to do next. Thank You Lord that You offer Wisdom to everyone who asks. I love this verse so much Lord:  “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5 NIV) Hallelujah! And thank You Lord, that You are no respecter of persons, You give equally to us all. Thank You Lord for the promise that, as we trust in You with all of our hearts, and do not lean on our own understanding but rather acknowledge You in all of our ways, You will direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:&-8 NKJV) Help us to remember Lord, that even at our best, we are not smart enough to plan our own way.

Thank You Father that You preserve and protect Your children according to Your Word in Psalm 91, giving Your angels charge over us. Thank You for Your Faithfulness!

Lord, we are all concerned about this pandemic and its impact on our lives. We are grieved by the thousands who have died around the world and we are deeply saddened by those who will succumb in the days ahead. Father, we pray for wisdom for our leaders and scientists to find the best way to handle this situation. We pray for wisdom for individuals and ask for an increased desire in people’s hearts to want to live peaceably with their neighbours at this time, more than ever before. O God, we pray for the people around the world who are struggling financially and who are worrying about how to feed their families. Almighty God, make a way for Your people to have their daily need for food to be met, spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. In Jesus’ name. Hallelujah!

And Father, we pray for our doctors, nurses and hospital staff; for our grocery store owners and other food providers who are on the front lines working for all of us to help us have the things we need to survive this crisis in history. Protect each one Lord, and help them to be safe and wise. In Jesus’ name. To God be the glory!

Father, I cannot help but think of those in our midst who have experienced the recent loss of a loved one. Please come Father, You are the God of all comfort,  come to Pat Roloson and her family, to the Henry family, to Ila Franklin and her family, to Betty Johnson and her family, to Wanda and her family, to Darlene and her family, and to Carolyn and her family. Lord You know the ache of each heart, and the pain of each suffered loss – pour out Your Love and peace Lord, as we pray, upon each and every one. We pray for ministering angels to come with songs of comfort and joy throughout the long hours of the day, and throughout the very long hours of the night. Thank You Father for Your Great Love! Hallelujah!

Father, we pray for Melissa’s son Matthew, help him Lord, to find Truth, to find the answers that he is looking for and the answers that he needs but is not looking for. We pray that Melissa Jackson will come to know Jesus as her Lord and Saviour. We pray for Eve Henry to continue to walk with Jesus and learn Your Word and Your Ways. Help her and strengthen her Lord. We pray for continued healing for Linda Burnham, Brittany, Ashton Skye, Roger Jonathan, Lorelei, Gary, Aliece , Laurie and Frank MtPleasant. Lord You know the situation of each one, You know their trouble and their pain, and You have made provision for their healing through the wounds of our Lord Jesus. Lord, You are the Way Maker, the Healer, the Provider, the Miracle Worker, the Sustainer of Life, the Light in the Darkness and the Promise Keeper. Help them Lord to find peace, well-being and wholeness in Jesus. To God be the Glory!

And Father we pray for Samantha, Gidget, Christina Hill-Harris, and Kristina Austin and her sons. Lord, You know the need of each heart and mind. You know the issues that challenge each one of them. We pray Father, for answers and for inner healing that will redeem the time and the suffering, We pray for Light that will shine into the shadows of their days, banishing every ounce of darkness. We pray for complete restoration of all that the devil has stolen from each one,  in Jesus’ name. To God be the Glory!

Father, we pray for Your Love and Protection to cover our missionaries, Amanda, Lorelei, James, Robert, Cirena and Sheila. Keep them safe, guard them and watch over them. Prepare the way for them Lord, to continue in the work You have given them in spite of COVID-19. We have Your promise Lord, from Psalm 91, that no plague or pestilence will come near our dwelling. We pray this promise over our missionaries especially, and over ourselves. Hallelujah!

 

And thank You, Father, for the Word that You have given Bob to share with us today. Help us to have open hearts and minds to receive the Truth that You have for us today. Help us to be faithful Lord as You are Faithful.

We worship You Almighty God. There is none like You.

We offer our praise and prayers in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.

1  Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries day 242

2  Ibid

3  Johnny Cash Hurt album

4  Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries day 242

5  Ibid

6  Arch of Baal

 

 

 

 

 

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