Friday, June 5, 2009

Solomon - and the Second Coming of Jesus

All through the Solomon Studies we have discussed almost every doctrine that is in the Bible through the life and experiences of King Solomon. In this study we will see what there is in the life and teaching of Solomon that would prepare us for the Second Coming of Jesus.

In all of the writings of Solomon there is not much that can be construed to address the idea of the Second Coming of Jesus. We do know that in Song of Solomon that the desire of Solomon would be to come to his wife to comfort her and to love her. We know that in the Bible the church is referred to as a woman. II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Jeremiah 6:2. So one could infer that as much as Solomon wanted to get to his wife, so Jesus wants to return from heaven and take His wife unto himself.

As we review Solomon’s teachings there is little to convey that Solomon taught much on the subject of the first coming of our Lord and Saviour, and even less about the second coming of Jesus. But we do know that Solomon was a very studied man, and that his knowledge of the things of the world was great as well as his study of the things of God.

We know that God gave Deuteronomy 17:14-20 to Israel to instruct the kings that would come as a result of their rebellion against God and their desire for a king. Part of this instruction was to write out a copy of the law in a book and to study it. He also had access to the teachings of his fathers, through Abraham, Moses, and David. We also know that Shem was still alive down to the time of Isaac, through the genealogies, and we do not know what kinds of teachings from that mighty man of God were preserved or what stories he told of his times with his father Noah.
But we do know that the writings of Enoch were preserved through time and that these writings were commented to in the writings of Jude. Jude states in the 14th and 15th verses that "…Enoch, also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

So we do know that Solomon had some awareness of the second coming of Jesus and we do know that Solomon taught of a judgment to come in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 where he says "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret things, whether it be good or whether it be evil."

So we know that there were these foundation thoughts of the Second Coming during the time of Solomon. Isaiah in Isaiah 24 would build upon these thoughts:19-22 "The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited."

These thoughts are followed by Isaiah 25:8-9 " He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us; this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."

A final set of thoughts from Isaiah 26:19-21 "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." So it appears that Isaiah understood some things about the Second Coming of Jesus, and the resurrection of the dead, as well as the destruction of the earth during that cataclysmic event.

Of course Paul picks up on the ideas of Enoch, Solomon, and Isaiah and amplifies them again. Paul declares "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thessalonians 4:13-18 As we can see the principles established by Enoch, Solomon, and Isaiah are amplified and expanded in this text.

I Corinthians 15:51-55 focuses more on the victory over death, which Isaiah had so clearly stated. Paul says; "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory?"

So Solomon, although not speaking expressly to the second coming, which apparently was not his job, he none the less shared some ideas, and was aware of some ideas, about the second coming of Jesus. As we have seen, God has placed ideas all through His Holy Word about His precious truths. He wants us to know and to be prepared for His special activities. He wants us to have a solid experience with Him so that when He does come we will be ready. Whether we die or not is not a problem to God for He will resurrect His righteous people, including Solomon, Isaiah, and Paul. He will come and He will call for His people, and they will come out of the death sleep, recognize His voice, and when they are resurrected, they will arise to meet Him in the air and ever be with Him.

So let us learn the lessons well from Solomon. Let us not turn away from God through the errors of Solomon. Let us learn the lessons about the judgment, and about the Second Coming of Jesus and be ready for Him when He does come. Amen, come Lord Jesus.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Solomon- and the Remnant Church Symbolized by Jeroboam

As we studied in an earlier chapter, Solomon and the Revelation 13, the kingdom of Solomon was very much like the Papacy of the Middle Ages. Ellen White defines the Papacy in the following ways:

"When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sough the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of heresy." The Great Controversy 443

As we have also previously studied, Solomon was very much like the beast of Revelation 13. One of the things that the beast did was to persecute the saints. "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." Revelation 13:7 This was very similar to that which the Little Horn was accused of in Daniel 7:21 "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them." This is again repeated in Daniel 8:10 "And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them."

King Solomon, also practiced this attack against the saints, in his persecution of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. In I Kings 11:26-40 God tells the story of how Jeroboam was a hand picked supervisor by Solomon to manage the activities of the house of Joseph – the father of Ephraim and Manasseh. Apparently Jeroboam was doing a good job for Solomon. One day as Jeroboam was walking outside of Jerusalem, Ahijah the prophet met with Jeroboam and informed him that God had sent a message to him. The message was the God would rend the kingdom from Solomon’s son and give it to Jeroboam. Ahijah took his new garment and tore it into 12 pieces and gave 10 of the pieces to Jeroboam. Ahijah promised to keep two tribes for Solomon – Judah and Benjamin.

Ahijah informed Jeroboam that the reason that God was going to take the kingdom from Solomon was because Solomon had forsaken God and worshipped Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and Milcom, imaginary gods of the surrounding kingdoms of the Zidonians, Moabites, and Ammonites. Therefore God was going to address this situation because Israel, and especially Solomon, was not walking in ways that were acceptable to God, nor were they keeping God’s statutes and judgments. Thus God would attempt to correct this by raising up Jeroboam to lead His people in the right way.

God promised Jeroboam that He would not take the kingdom out of Solomon’s hands but out of his son’s hands because He had promised David to watch over Solomon and would keep him as king for David’s sake. It is marvelous to see how important covenant promises are to God, regarding His relationship promises.

When Solomon heard what the prophet of the Lord had said and done with Jeroboam, Solomon tried to kill the rival to his kingdom, Jeroboam. Apparently Solomon had some worries about his kingdom and his behaviors that Ahijah fanned into flame. Solomon was following in the same footsteps of King Saul and was jealous of any who had a true relationship with God.

When Ahijah was talking to Jeroboam, he informed Jeroboam that "…I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that they soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in My ways, and do that it is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as David My servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever." I Kings 11:37-39 Jeroboam was granted the kingdom, under conditions of obedience to God’s ways and will. If he would proceed by faith, and trust in the unchangeableness of God’s promises he could have reigned in a positive manner. If he would walk by faith God would support and protect him.

When Solomon heard of the promises to Jeroboam "Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon." I Kings 11:40. Thus Solomon manifested the ways of the Papacy – anyone who preached, or believed, outside of the ways of the Papacy was subject to a death sentence.
Solomon eventually dies and God’s prophecy for Jeroboam was fulfilled. Jeroboam is chosen by the northern tribes to lead them after seceding from Solomon’s son Rehoboam in I Kings 12:1-20. Jeroboam has all of the potential and if he stays steady with God, God will confirm the kingdom and assist Jeroboam in maintaining the kingdom.

Thus we see, literally, that God would address the defects of the kingdom of Solomon, and his successor Rehoboam. This is a type of the Remnant church. God’s church has steadily continued over these long years and has stayed steady to the Word of God. Many of the people in the Remnant church have turned away from God, but God, and His people, have remained on the field of battle steadily accomplishing the purposes of God. As long as God’s people maintain a faith relationship with God, and obey Him He will bless and keep them. Every church, and every individual, must testify as to whether they will trust and obey God or find a way to care for their fears by themselves.

But sad to say Jeroboam’s reign was not what God desired of His chosen man. Jeroboam ended up becoming just like Solomon. Jeroboam consulted with is fear, rather than with his faith, and introduced idol worship as a way of keeping Israel from going to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple that God had built through Solomon. God’s prophetic voice spoke through Ellen White in Prophets and Kings 99-100. She says the following:

"…Jeroboam, the former servant of Solomon, was in a position to bring about wise reforms in both civil and religious affairs. Under the rulership of Solomon he had shown aptitude and sound judgment; and the knowledge he had gained during years of faithful service fitted him to rule with discretion. But Jeroboam failed to make God his trust.

Jeroboam’s greatest fear was that at some future time the hearts of his subjects might be won over by the ruler occupying the throne of David. He reasoned that if the ten tribes should be permitted to visit often the ancient seat of the Jewish monarchy, where the services of the temple were still conducted as in the years of Solomon’s reign, many might feel inclined to renew their allegiance to the government centering at Jerusalem. Taking counsel with his advisers, Jeroboam determined by one bold stroke to, lessen, so far as possible, the probability of a revolt from the rule. He would bring this about by creating within the borders of his newly formed kingdom two centers of worship, one at Bethel and the other at Dan. In these places the ten tribes should be invited to assemble, instead of at Jerusalem, to worship God." Prophets and Kings 99-100

To keep the people from returning to worship at Jerusalem, Jeroboam introduced the worship of the golden calves that Israel had worshipped in the wilderness when coming out of Egypt. I Kings 12:26-33 Jeroboam turned from a trusting relationship with God and decided to take matters into his own hands. He introduced false worship as a way of controlling the people lest they turn against him. This is one of the basic principles of the Papacy but not of the Remnant.

The Remnant peoples are what Jeroboam was originally intended by God to be. They are to show aptitude and sound judgment; they are to bring about wise reforms in both civil and religious affairs, like Jeroboam was intended to do. And most importantly, they are to make God their trust.

God describes the Remnant in the following terms "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus." "Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 God’s Remnant people have the following criteria applied to them:

They keep the commandments of God. All of them including the Sabbath.

They have the testimony of Jesus. They have and believe in the Spirit of Prophecy (Rev 19:10) and they have the testimony of Jesus that there is nothing in them that responds to the call of Satan. John 14:30 They can also testify that they obey the Father’s will. John 8:29

They have the patience of the saints. They have been through trial and they have learned patience.

They keep the faith of Jesus. Jesus had an unshakable faith in His Father’s care and He would not be turned away from Him. God’s Remnant has the same kind of faith that Jesus has.

Jeroboam had been called by God through the prophetic messenger Ahijah. He had the opportunity to rest his life and future on the care of God. He could have been a wonderful ruler and had all of the opportunity to do so. God promised to be with him if he would obey His commandments and to have faith in God. Jeroboam eventually was found to be unfaithful to God, to God’s commandments, and to the faith of Jesus. Jeroboam also turned against the prophetic message of Ahijah. Thus Jeroboam, by his free choice, turned away from God and lost his opportunity to be a type of the Remnant of God.

Revelation 14:1-5 testifies that God will have a Remnant people who will learn the lessons of Solomon, and of Rehoboam. They will have the Father’s name in their forehead; they will have His character in their thoughts and in their actions. They will harp with their harps but praising God in Truth. Psalms 71:22. They will sing a new song of their experience in these last troublesome days. They did not follow in the footsteps of Solomon and did not submit to the ecumenical movement and get into any adulterous relationships with the false doctrines of false churches. This Remnant are those people who are so focused on Jesus that they follow, and imitate the example of Jesus, wherever He goes. And in their experience they have no guile in their mouths, they will teach truth in word, and act, and fruit.

God will have a Remnant that will stand for Him and they will bring honor and glory to Him for they are the final testimony of what God can do to the willing heart. Today we can decide to be a part of this wonderful group of people. Choose ye this day Whom you will serve.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Solomon and 1844

The history of Israel has been interesting in many areas but one of the most difficult points is Israel’s constant seeking to be like the world. They chose to stay in Egypt for over 200+ year, chose to have a king like all of the other nations, and then incorporated the world’s lifestyle into their religious practices over and over again. When Solomon was reigning he took the spiritual practice issue to whole new levels.

Shortly after the reign of Solomon came to a conclusion, Solomon’s son assisted in the division between Judah and Israel and the development of two "nations". This lack of unity in the two nations set up inter-tribal fighting and a general distrust between the two groups. This finally led to the conquering of Samaria by Assyria in II Kings 17. Judah lasted another 100 years before they to were conquered by Babylon in II Chronicles 36

Israel stayed in Babylon captivity for 70 years as a result of their rebellion against God. Jeremiah 25:12; Daniel 9:1-2. While in Babylon God raised up three prophets – Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. During this time God used these prophets to set out the outline of when Israel was to return and to establish the principles of God’s kingdoms. Not only that but God used Daniel to establish a time line of how Israel would be re-established and even more importantly set out the prophecy of when Messiah would come to Israel. This prophecy is in Daniel 8:14 and reveals the 2300 day/year prophecy. The first 490 years of this 2300 day/year prophecy tells us when the Messiah would come and get anointed by the Holy Spirit, when Messiah would be crucified, and when he probationary period of time for Israel would be completed.

During the time of Daniel God used him to influence many mighty leaders in the Babylonian Empire. God used Daniel, and his three friends, to spread the gospel throughout the world by the influence of interpreting of dreams. In addition God used Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah standing up to Nebuchadnezzar. When they came out of the furnace unscathed, the influence of the gospel had an effect that we can but dimly imagine. When Daniel watched over Nebuchadnezzar, while he was insane, he effectively ruled over the then greatest nation in the world, and the gospel continued to be taught through God’s people. Also, while this was all going on Daniel must have had contact with Cyrus and Cyrus was so impressed with Daniel, and all of the spiritual events that took place around Daniel, that when the Medes and Persians overthrew Babylon, Daniel was spared.

When Cyrus took over the kingdom of Babylon he was instructed regarding the prophecies of Isaiah 44:26-45:13, probably by Daniel. Cyrus recognized a Divine Hand working in his personal life. Cyrus gave the decree that Israel could return to Canaan and rebuild the city and the temple. All through the influence of Scripture, and mighty people of God, like Daniel.

The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi all tell the story of how God worked to help Israel get re-established, rebuild the temple, rebuild the city of Jerusalem and allow them to get focused on getting done what needed to get done in Israel. It also allowed them to completed the building of the temple in 515 BC. In accordance with the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-25 the 70 weeks portion of the 2300 day prophecy was started when Artaxerxes sent out his letter allowing the Jews to continue building the city of Jerusalem and to enhance the temple service. This letter was issued in 457 BC.

Through the support of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi Israel continued to build the temple and through the ministry of Ezra and Nehemiah completed reforms to get the people to reject the errors that Solomon had made so acceptable. For Israel was incorporating the same intermarriage issues that Solomon had done. See Ezra 9 and Nehemiah 13. When these issues had been settled then Israel could proceed toward the time of the Messiah.

In approximately 5-4 BC Jesus was born in Bethlehem which would allow Jesus to be about 30 years old in 27 AD. When He heard the call of John the Baptist He came to be baptized by the prophet and when He came up out of the Jordan river, the Holy Spirit fell on Him in the shape of a dove and the Father Himself stated "This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:13-17 and Luke 3:1-23. Thus Jesus of Nazareth became the Anointed One – The Messiah – The Christ.

Daniel 9:27 states that Messiah would confirm the covenant with many for one last week – 7 years- and in the middle of that last week of the 70 weeks would be cut off – He would die. Through His death in 31AD, He would cause the sacrifices and the oblations to cease. All of these things were accomplished by the death of Jesus and through His life and death, His resurrection, and His ministry in heaven, Jesus would fulfill the list of issues of Daniel 9:24.

During the next 3.5 years Jesus would send out the disciples to the Jews only to be sure that Israel would have every chance to surrender to Jesus and accept Him as the One and Only True Messiah. Instead of accepting Jesus the Jews, as a nation, rejected the messages given to them by the disciples. In 34AD they chose to stone the prophet Stephen and through this act they effectively sealed off their ability to repent and they were confirmed in rebellion and the probationary time granted through the 490 years was closed. The door was shut for their access to God as a nation. So the 70 weeks prophecy ran from 457BC to 34 AD a total of 70 weeks x 7 – 490 years. This prophecy covers all of the highlights of the coming and ministry of Messiah.

But the 2300 days/years, of which the first 490 years was allocated to the probationary time of Israel, was not finished. This prophecy indicated that there was 1810 more years left to this prophecy. 34AD plus 1810 brings us to the year 1844. During this time the gospel went out to the world and influenced people. During this time Satan did everything he could do to cover and darken the gospel and he developed the period called the Dark Ages. In this time the message of the gospel was twisted and distorted in every way possible to keep it from having its proper influence on the minds of the people. Yet God raised up mighty men of God to preserve the Word of God and to establish a Reformation to allow the gospel to be presented in it’s purity to prepare the people of God for the events of 1844.

We must remember that Daniel 8:13-14 was written in the context of the little horn attacking the truth, the sanctuary, the daily, and the people of God. The question is asked "How long shall be the vision concerning the daily, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary (God’s building and doctrines) and the host (God’s people) to be trodden under foot? And He (Jesus the Wonderful Numberer see margin) said unto me (Daniel) Unto two thousand and three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (and restored)." So we have to understand that 2300 days is either literally 6.4 years or it is a day for a year, just like the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24. Most scholars perceive the truth that the 70 weeks could not literally extend from the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem (457 BC) to Messiah for 70 weeks is only 1.3 years. So the only way it can make sense is to understand the prophetic principle of a day equals a year. With this understanding in mind the 70 weeks or 490 prophetic years fits perfectly, as we have displayed above.

Now the great question is the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 are literal or are they prophetic years? If they are literal then there still has to be established a starting point and an ending point. The only starting point is given in Daniel 9:25 the decree to restore and build Jerusalem and to proceed to Messiah the Prince. If the first section were a day for a year then the last section would have to abide by the same principle. So we will cover the last 1810 days for years after 34 AD. Again this brings us to the year 1844.

The greatest event happening in 1844 was the culmination of the Millerite Movement, a renewal of Bible study and prayer, and a desire to see the Second Coming of Jesus. When October 22, 1844 came and went the Millerites experienced a disappointment almost as intense as that of the Disciples when Jesus died on the cross. The Disciples hopes had been dashed when Jesus died, but when He subsequently explained the fact that He must die to fulfill Scripture and that He must go back to heaven to minister for the Disciples then they regained their vision and they had renewed hope. See Luke 24.

This same event happened to the Millerites. When they came to October 22, 1844, the date for the Day of Atonement (See Leviticus 23 and Daniel 8:14 – the "cleansing of the Sanctuary") they expected to see Jesus come in the clouds of heaven. When He did not come they were disappointed. The next day when meditating as to what went wrong, the Millerites discovered that there was a different "coming". The found in Daniel 7:13 that Jesus, instead of coming to the earth, came to the Ancient of Days in the beginning of the Judgment scenes of Daniel 7:9-14. This coming is also referred to in Malachi 3:1-2, and Matthew 22:11-14; and Matthew 25:5-7 When the Millerites understood that there was a judgment scene, similar to that of the Day of Atonement of Leviticus 23, their hearts were overjoyed. They had briefly lost site of Jesus, and then found Him again in Scripture.

After due study they found that in Revelation 10:1-11; and Revelation 14:1-12 they had been granted another mission, and another task; to prophecy again about Bible time, and to proclaim the three angels messages. In these messages is the task to present the everlasting gospel, the time of the judgment had come, to teach about the true worship of the Creator through the Sabbath day of the Ten Commandments, to proclaim the fact that Babylon has fallen, to educate against accepting the mark of the beast, to refuse the wine of Babylon and all of its errors, and to uplift the commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus.

One of the interesting qualities of the Bible is to present truth in a compare and contrast manner. God brackets the messages of Revelation 10 and 14 around Revelation 13. Revelation 13 is the chapter that displays all of the anti-typical messages of Solomon’s fall from grace. Revelation 13, we have read in an earlier article, is fulfillment on a world wide level all of the errors that Solomon had displayed in the later years of his reign in Israel, including the definition of 666, the dependency on the power of man, the ecumenical movement, and the incorporation of false forms of worship. All of these things the messages of the three angels is to correct. All who read and understand will be "…wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3

This is the message of Solomon and 1844. Solomon initiated many errors that led to much chaos and confusion in the kingdom of God. Yet God in His infinite wisdom used this chaos and confusion to reveal the principles of the kingdom of Satan and used it to teach His children what to recognize and how to avoid error, and practice truth. This is now our task to learn these things, see the truths for our time, and share them faithfully to God’s people. May you go forward and "be established in the Present Truth". II Peter 1:12

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Solomon and Spiritual Abominations

In our last study we discussed the issue of homosexuality and how Solomon had opened the door for this abomination by marrying many non-converted wives and then allowing his wives to influence him, as king, to allow their religious practices to be conducted in Israel. In this study we used Leviticus 18 to be the central point of discussion because Leviticus 18 describes a variety of sexual practices that the Canaanites participated in on a regular basis, and which they had incorporated into their religious practices.

In this study I want to briefly discuss several more issues that Solomon allowed to come into Israel. First of all Solomon made the decision to allow these religious practices to occur in Israel, even though God had clearly forbidden these ordinances to happen in His kingdom. To enhance these religious practices Solomon actively built altars and temples on the Mount of Olives so that his wives could practice their religious activities outside of Jerusalem. Thus Solomon not only countenanced these practices, but also actively aided them to occur, and then participated in them himself. We know this because his heart was turned away from the true God of Israel to the false and non-existing gods of his wives. This happened just as God predicted it would do. Deuteronomy 17:17; Exodus 34:10-17

In opening the door to these religious practices Solomon gave permission for all of the various abominable practices that the heathen practiced. Leviticus 18 has a variety of these evil practices. One of the major practices was to conduct various forms of incest – sexual contact between close family members. Leviticus 18:6-18. This included sexual contact with parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law. No intimate contact with the near of kin. Apparently this was normal practice in the heathen cultures of Canaan, the very places, that many of Solomon’s wives came from.

Another abominable practice was sexual contact with a woman while she is experiencing her monthly cycle. Leviticus 18:19. God did not want to disrupt this part of the cycle and wanted to have it completed before regular sexual contact. Leviticus 20:18

God also forbade sexual contact with ones neighbor’s wife, and we would have to assume that with your neighbor’s husband as well. God has strictly forbade any sexual contact outside of the marriage relationship, and especially forbade adultery as part of the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:14,17. This was a manifestation of loving your neighbor, to honor the marriage relationship and to encourage fidelity between husband and wife rather than to undermine it. Adultery is also forbidden in the New Testament as well. See Romans 2:22; 13:9; James 2:11. On the other hand apparently adulterous behavior was approved of behavior in the Canaanite lands. Solomon allowed this to happen in Israel and thus was willing to undermine the commandments of God to satisfy his wives.

Another abomination was that of bestiality. God forbade sexual contact between humans and animals but Canaanite religions rejected the counsel of God to allow the indulgence of the flesh. Leviticus 18:23. God calls this behavior "confusion".

In the list of abominations in Leviticus 18 God specifically forbids the practice of worshipping Molech. Solomon specifically allowed this worship to take place on the Mount of Olives. Among all of the evil qualities of worshipping Molech was the ordinance of allowing your children to pass through the fire. Leviticus 18:21; II Kings 16:1-4; Psalms 106:36-39. To pass your child through the fire was to ask the god a question and then expose the child to some form of fire and if they did not get burned then that was a yes to the question, and if they did get burned then that was no. Thus the people sacrificed their children to false God, and many children died as a result of this worship service. To pass your children through the fire was to offer human sacrifice. This was one of the many abominations that Solomon participated in.

Solomon, through neglect or plan, attempted to conduct a form of syncretism – an attempt to combine, or amalgamate, two opposing worship systems. Solomon had been strictly warned against such a practice but apparently he felt that he was wise enough to attempt to join what God had said could not be joined. God has no working relationship with Baal, or any false god for several reasons. First of all, God recognizes that there is not other god out there to interact with. There is only One God – Jehovah. All other gods are figments of man’s imagination, with a lot of help from Satan. Therefore it is impossible to syncretise a true religion with a false religion. Secondly, God bases all of His interactions on the point of truth. God does not lie, nor does He mislead in any way. All of His ways are truth therefore to try to mingle truth and error is not possible from God’s point of view. God only wants truth and nothing but the truth. Thirdly, God wants the best for His people. Therefore to introduce error is to cause harm to His children. God does not condone harm, nor does He condone error. Thus all of God’s recommendations are to be a blessing to His people, and thus when they share with others, the blessings of truth that God wants to share are to be a blessing to all of the world.

All of these things Solomon distorted by introducing error into the kingdom. God wanted truth, and Satan wanted to introduce error and all of the chaos and confusion, that error brings. Solomon allowed these things to come into Israel, and thus countenanced this error then, and set the precedents of creating error today – the fruit of his decision making.

We have the opportunity of learning from Solomon’s errors. If we want to know what happens when someone attempts to unite Christianity with Paganism, all we have to do is look at the kingdom of Solomon and study all of the chaos and confusion that happened in the kingdoms after his death. We will study these things in more detail in future articles. Our job is to "see" the impact of Solomon’s decision making and learn not to do those things that he did. We can make a difference if we will turn away from any attempt to mingle Christianity and Error. God says it will not work, Solomon showed the foolishness of attempting to do these things. It is abomination. May we learn to trust in the ways of God.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Solomon and Homosexuality

In I Kings 11:1-2 we find the following comments from God: "But King Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the Children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love."

This counsel to stay away from intimate interaction with these heathen nations was given to Israel by God in Exodus 34:10-17 and reads as follows:

"10And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.

11Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

12Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:

13But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:

14For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

15Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;

16And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.

17Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

All of the above data was available to Solomon and should have been incorporated into his view of life. But Solomon, as we have discussed earlier, had slowly but surely cast off the Bible as His source of instruction and guidance. He apparently was living in the security that he could trust his own wisdom and need not consult with God to guide his footsteps. Proverbs 16:9; Psalms 73:2-3

After making the decision to have strange wives, Solomon began to reap the harvest of his decisions. As a result of marrying these wives in rebellion against he counsel of God, they turned his heart, and they enticed him to worship their gods in harmony with their religious traditions. As a result of this decision many strange errors came into Israel. One of those errors was the sin of homosexuality – sexual contact with persons of the same sex.

We know that homosexuality was one of the many activities of the Canaanites from the book of Leviticus 18:1-5, 22, 24-30:

"1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.

3After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.

4Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.

5Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.

22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

24Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:

25And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

26Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:

27(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)

28That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.

29For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

30Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.

We will be visiting this list in Leviticus 18 for several different studies to discuss various abominations of the lands for which Solomon chose to take his wives. But for this study I want to discuss just one issue that is the abomination of a man being sexually active with a man or a woman being sexually active with a woman. Leviticus 18 clearly states that one of the activities, which God calls an abomination, was that of homosexual contact.

When Solomon opened the doors to participate in his wives worship activities then one of the things that came with it was to introduce homosexuality to the nation of Israel and thus to communicate this abomination to the rest of the world. We know this because the world was coming to Solomon for instruction on how to do things the way that God would have them to live. His worship activities would be part of that instructional process.

We know that homosexuality was started and developed in Israel because the Bible tells us it happened. I Kings 14:22-24 "And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations, which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel" This happened during the time of Rehoboam Solomon’s son.

A Sodomite is one who practices Sodomy. Sodomy is defined in the dictionary as the homosexual proclivities of the men of Sodom; carnal copulation with a member of the same sex or with an animal; or non-coital copulation with a member of the opposite sex. In some studies a Sodomite is one who is a male temple prostitute. One who is an active sexual partner, for males, and possibly females, in a religious service. But however one wants to define a Sodomite God pronounces it as an abomination especially in the context of any sexual conduct outside of the marriage arena, and certainly in light of what we have read in Leviticus 18:22 – "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.

Solomon should not have married his wives, and he should not have allowed his wives religious practices to contaminate the land. God wants purity of character to be seen in all human conduct and especially including sexual behaviors. But Solomon, once he had let his hold go on God, was not manly enough to stand up to his wives but was a pawn in their religious activities.

Some think that the prohibition against homosexuality is simply an antiquated Old Testament error. But all through Scripture God is very consistent in his rejection of homosexuality as a behavior. Whenever any of the kings of Israel were in a state of righteousness one of the things that happened was that any signs of Sodomy/Homosexuality were removed. See Deuteronomy 23:17-18; Judges 19-20; I Kings 15:11-12; I Kings 22:44-45; II Kings 23:7.

In the New Testament one of the consistent themes of Paul is his condemnation of sexual activity outside of the marital relationship and especially that of man with man or woman with woman. Romans 1:24-27. Paul even goes to far as to copy the Old Testament provision that homosexuality was worthy of death, along with all of the other sins listed in Romans 1:29-32. Paul was not isolating homosexuality from all of the other sins but was directly including homosexuality as something worthy of death. Paul repeats this concept in I Corinthians 6:9 by incorporating effeminate behavior and abusing of themselves with mankind.

John the Revelator states that any abomination – mankind having sexual contact with mankind, will have its part in the lake of fire. Revelation 21:8. He then repeats this when talking about dogs – male homosexual or male sexual prostitute Deuteronomy 23:17-18 – can not enter into the New Jerusalem. John includes this sin in a list of other sins; again, to God all sin is worthy of death. Revelation 22:14-15

In conclusion, when Solomon allowed his wives to bring in their religions, many grave errors came with this religious expression including the error of homosexuality. This is a part of the process of Solomon’s rebellion, and this error is also seen in the many errors of Babylon, the end time abomination that is the Anti-type of Solomon’s rebellion. I pray that each one who reads this study, if they have a problem with homosexuality will take it to Jesus to receive the help that only He can give.

Solomon and His Fall From Grace

One of the great theological debates in Christianity is can someone fall from grace. We discussed this in some detail in a previous article on Solomon and Once Saved Always Saved. In this article I want to delineate the issues that contributed to his fall.

We know that Solomon fell from grace because God had warned Solomon not to do a variety of evil things, and especially not to marry wives of other nations for "…surely they will turn away your heart after their gods." I Kings 11:2; Deuteronomy 17:17; Exodus 34:16; II Corinthians 6:14-17. Scriptures states clearly "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father." I Kings 11:4. Then we see the reaction of God to Solomon’s condition. "And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice." I Kings 11:9

So we can clearly see that one can fall from grace in this example of Solomon. We also know that one can fall from grace because the Apostle Paul clearly states that we can in Galatians 5:4. The great question is whether disobeying God on one point is the major issue or, as in Solomon’s case was his "turning" a result of many small issues leading to the clear and visible issue? This is the purpose of this article to show that Solomon’s fall from grace was a culmination of many issues, as conversion is the culmination of many little issues as well.

As we have noted before David did not treat Solomon well and did not allow many experiences of suffering to get to Solomon. He was the first surviving son of his relationship with Bathsheeba and thus tended to be on the pampered end of the spectrum of the royal children. In addition David had a tendency to not discipline his children as we saw in the cases of Adonijah and Absalom, Solomon’s older brothers. So this lack of discipline was an issue in Solomon’s experience that would contribute to his decision making over time.

Another issue for Solomon was that he grew up in a household that was dominated by polygamy, and all of the evils that come with this household arrangement. In Genesis 21:9 Sarah saw Ishmael mocking Isaac and she told this to Abraham and told him that the bondwoman and her son must be cast out. Genesis 21:10 This was a very painful and grievous test for Abraham but he was willing to obey God, even in the painful issues, and he did what God, and Sarah, asked him to do. Genesis 21:11-21. David would have saved much suffering if he had obeyed God’s original plan of one man and one wife. David could have role modeled God’s plan for Solomon but it was not to be. Thus Solomon subconsciously learned about polygamy as a normal rather than an abnormal way of life.

As we discussed in an earlier article Solomon did not appear to have any prophetic input into his reign. He appeared to think that his wisdom alone would be enough to guide him through the difficulties of life. Oddly enough it was Solomon himself who spoke in Proverbs 11:14 that in a multitude of counselors there is safety. In future Scripture the same truth is restated "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." I Corinthians 10:12

We have no record of Solomon spending daily time reading the book that he had been commanded to have written and to read all of the days of his life. Deuteronomy 17:18-20. Again, this would have been a barrier to self-exaltation and the idea that wisdom makes one wiser than the origin of wisdom – God.

When Solomon began to build the Temple of God, he sought after a talented builder. He did not take into account what God had done for Israel in the time of Moses. God raised up talented men and endowed them with the necessary spiritual gifts to build the Sanctuary in the time of Moses. God would have done the same thing for Solomon if He had been asked. It appears that Solomon chose to go to the world to find this talented person rather than to God. This kind of thinking was a sign of the decision making that would put Solomon at risk of falling. The choice of Hiram, and the appeal to Hiram of Tyre for support, both indicates a lack of awareness of the dangers of becoming unequally yoked with non-believers. The choice of Hiram set in motion many evils in his kingdom.

A similar issue for Solomon was the "affinity" with Pharaoh and the marriage of Pharaoh’s daughter. Both of these events set Solomon’s mind that it is safe to relate to idolatrous nations and enter into emotionally vulnerable relationships. Again, this behavior was a violation of what God had instructed, a perception that one is wise enough to handle these things alone, and a slow turning away from the things of God for the things of the world.

As a result of Solomon’s affinity with Pharaoh he made a decision to purchase horses and chariots in direct contradiction to the instruction that God had granted Solomon in Deuteronomy 17:16. By doing these things Solomon showed contempt to the Word of God and it opened his thinking to the thinking of the world. He turned to have the idea that the weapons of the nations were better than the promises and protection of God. In addition, to support the purchase of horses, and all of the riders, and the barns, and feeding of the horses was a financial drain on the kingdom. It also taught the people that Solomon leaned on the arm of flesh rather than the arm of God.

Solomon was also instructed not greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. Deuteronomy 17:17. God knew that when man has an abundance of money then his awareness of his need for God decreases. As we have discussed in earlier articles Solomon accrued gold at the rate of 666 talents of gold in a year. I Kings 10:14. He made gold some common in Israel that silver was considered like brass or wood – a cheap and common substance. This attitude set up the idea of extravagance and waste in the land as well as in Solomon’s own mind. He left the simple things of life and indulged in the vanity of money and pomp and circumstance. It appears that Solomon did not study how to use money and resources in a manner that reflected the virtues of frugality and simplicity. Solomon also did not study how to use these monies to take care of the poor that God has promised would always be with us, nor did Solomon use these monies to spread the gospel to the world. Solomon used the money for buildings and to maintain the splendor of his court.

It appears that as Solomon continued down the path of riches and glory that he began to think more highly of himself than what was wise for him. It appears that he began to think that he was wise in and of himself, that he had no accountability for this gift of wisdom to God. The natural heart always tends toward vanity and it appears that his vanity was indulged to the highest point. Ecclesisates 2:1-11

As Solomon continue to build buildings and continued to develop display and ornamentation as a way of life, he needed to augment the income for the kingdom and began to turn to taxation of the people. This increased the burden of the people but was tolerable to some extent because of all the building in the land supporting the work of the people. But eventually the people became so tired of this that after the death of Solomon the people stoned Adoram who was in charge of the tribute gathering. I Kings 12:18

This whole business of taxing the people to support the extravagance of the court violated the principle of the cheerful giver. II Corinthians 9:7. God wanted His people to give to the support of the Temple service, out of the desires of their hearts as in the time of Moses. Exodus 35:21-22; 36:1-7; I Chronicles 29:1-14. Thus taxation was violation of the freedom of giving from the heart. Solomon initiated these taxes and thus his heart was growing hard due to errors in is personal theology regarding how God wanted to conduct the business of the state.

Another issue was that after a time, Solomon was willing to take credit for building the Temple of the Lord. This temple eventually began to be called Solomon’s temple rather than the Temple of the Lord, which God had allowed Solomon to build. This subtle shift was another of the many little steps that lead to the major decisions of life.

Finally, Solomon had grown so out of touch that he could violate God’s specific command not to marry many women. Not only did Solomon began to accumulate wives but his wives were not of Israel. We have no record of any of Solomon’s wives being from Israel. All of Solomon’s wives apparently were strange women. We have covered this issue of strange wives before in previous articles. But God had told Solomon not to do this for they would turn his heart, and they would introduce their belief systems into the pure religion of Israel. This they most certainly did. Solomon, in order to pacify his wives, began to build temples and altars to their gods, knowing full well that there is only One God, the God of Israel. Yet with this knowledge, and no protection, from God, Solomon opened the doors of Israel to all of the errors of the false religions of the world.

Thus Solomon’s heart was turned away from God and all of the evils that come with this decision happened in Israel. In the following articles I will discuss many of these errors and how these errors set things in motion that affect us to this very day. May God bless us as we study to find these issues ask God to remove these errors from our hearts and to help us find the truth and hold onto it for dear life. Amen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Solomon and the Great White Throne

In all of Solomon’s building he decided to build a "…porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other." I Kings 7:7.

In this "porch of judgment" Solomon had a special throne built and there was none like it in any kingdom. I Kings 10:20 This throne was made of ivory and was therefore white. It had gold sheets on it to convey wealth and value of character. It had 6 steps to the throne, the throne level being the 7th step. At each end of each step were two golden lions. Verse 19 of I Kings indicates that there were 2 lions at the top of the throne one on each side of the throne. Depending upon how one views the throne one could calculate 12 lions, 2 for each step, and 2 more on the throne level for a total of 14 lions.

At this throne it would appear that Solomon me with his subjects and was able to deliver the judgments necessary to assist with the functioning of the kingdom. Assuming that Solomon was still in right connection with God at this time, this throne would have some deep symbolic qualities to it.

We know that there was not a throne like this in any kingdom on earth. However, there are some similarities between this throne that Solomon had built, and the throne in heaven. In heaven we know that there is a great white throne and that this throne will be brought to earth for the resurrected wicked "went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city…" Revelation 20:9

We know that all of the wicked had been destroyed by the brightness of the coming of Jesus II Thessalonians 2:8 and by the earthquake and hail of the 7th plague. Revelation 16:18-21. We also know that these wicked had remained dead for a thousand years and only when Jesus, and the saints, returned from heaven, and were accompanied by the holy city. When all was prepared the wicked were resurrected, and Satan was loosed to gather the resurrected dead and seek to attack the Holy City. When this occurs then the great and final judgment occurs.

In this Great White Throne Judgment scene the wicked will be judged out of the records that have been kept in the books referred to in Revelation 20:12 and Daniel 7:10. We also know that the wicked will have had their names blotted out of the Book of Life. Revelation 3:5 and Exodus 32:31-33; Revelation 13:8. Jesus will judge the wicked ones for their works done in the flesh. Revelation 20:12-13.

We know that in the throne room scene in heaven, as described in Revelation 4-5, there is a central throne, surrounded by 24 thrones for the 24 elders. In the midst of the throne are 4 "beasts" having 4 faces and 6 wings. One of the faces of the beasts is that of a lion. Revelation 4:6-7. In addition another Lion comes to the throne in the form of the Son of God the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Revelation 5:5

There is another picture in the Throne Room in heaven and that is the individual referred to as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is also presented as the "Lamb as it had been slain". Revelation 5:6. Thus symbolizing that Jesus is both Judge and Sacrifice. In Him is united the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. Matthew 23:23. Jesus is the perfect Judge. John 5:22.

So as Solomon, the Type of Jesus, was the judge in his time sitting on a great white throne, so the Reality, the True Judge, will sit on His great white throne and complete the judgment once and for all.