Tag: old testament

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 4

Dead externalism in religious practice and mechanical routine in religious thought has caused the downfall of most groups in religion. This is the reason for the new influx of the ?music programs? and ?Pop worship services? in today?s denominational scene. People tend to think of ceremonies as effective in themselves and come to identify the Word of God with those ceremonies. The prophets, realizing that this erroneous viewpoint had already led the people into dead externalism, desired to do nothing which would foster this thinking, such as an undue use of the name Law. Accordingly, they proclaimed the message contained in the Law, without often employing the name, Law. In keeping with this explanation is the fact that the prophets did speak repeatedly against dead externalism in the sanctuary services. Isaiah 1:11-14; Amos 5:21-24 This answers as to why the prophets were not the same as the priest and Levites who taught the Law as a ?lesson? instead of the vibrant exclamation of God?s demands. When the worship services become more of a stage performance and not a vibrant exclamation of faith in Jesus Christ– something is dead somewhere and there is NO place for the Spirit of God to enter these proceedings!!
It is true that though prophets are recognized in the Law, they were not legally prescribed (noted as a necessity) as were the priests. The reason may be found in the point just made, that prophets excited the spirit of urgency in keeping the Law while the priests taught what the Law demanded. They got the heart and soul into the thought of obeying God. Reformers, after all, are needed because of an abnormal situation. The Jewish tabernacle service had wandered away from the proper course and it needed to be brought back to it again. They needed to be reformed to what they once were or at least to what they should have been. The Law was laid down for the ideal and in that ideal state the people could be expected to follow its teachings, but when as was set forth by the priests, the worshippers had tired of its presentation. So then, prophets were a development of sort of an ?emergency squad? and this kept them always at odds with those who never intended to obey God in the first place. It is in keeping with this fact that the recognition given prophets in Deuteronomy 18 does not refer to them in this role of reformers, but only as recipients of divine revelation to answer the questions of the worshipper. Their worship had not been ?in Spirit? and had grown tiring.
God told Jeremiah ?I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among My people, that thou mayest know and try their way.? Jeremiah 6:27 Jeremiah was to be as strong as a tower and a fortress evaluating their hearts, making judgments to determine if they were pleasing to God. The crier would of course follow the Law but the listener had to be made to see if he was acting in a way that was pleasing to his Maker. What would be the state of affairs if men were not in check and that often? Would just a reading of a text do that job? Would a ritual get to the hearts and minds of the worshipper causing them to evaluate their standing with the Holy One of Israel?
Again, the prophet served as a ?watchman? among their own, pointing out the proper conduct and warned of judgment and punishment that might have been overlooked. ?Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth and give them warning from Me.? Ezekiel 3:17 God intended the prophet to sound the clarion call so man would not ?die in their sins? It was vital in God?s sight to give this warning call in the face of danger; if He gave the warning and the people did not heed, when they plunged into their death, it would be at their own hands!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 3

A final example to illustrate the need of illustrations is when Jeremiah saw two baskets of figs before the temple of the Lord, Jeremiah 24:1-10.? The one basket had ?very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe,? and the other had very bad figs, ?which could not be eaten, they were so bad.?? The good figs are described as those that were ?first ripe;? figs that were the first harvested (at the end of June) were a prized fruit.? This God pointed out in Jeremiah concerned the captivity again, but this time in a different sense.? The difference concerned the precise time when Jeremiah saw the figs.? The time was just after Jehoiachin had been taken captive and Zedekiah had been put in his place.? (It is to be remembered that none but a descendant of David was to set on the throne?Zedekiah was not of Judah).?

???? God said the good basket of figs represented those who had just been taken away.? God would set His eyes on these for good in their captivity and bring them again to their own land in due time.? He would build them and not pull them down; He would plant them and not pluck them up.? In contrast, those taken away would suffer hardship would become a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places where God would drive them, vs.9.? It was a greater blessing to have been taken captive than to have been left in the deserted land.

???? There is a problem that some have voiced and not understood concerning legalism and spiritualism in the Lord?s Church.? The rise in the past 20-40 years of charismatic movements within the Church of Christ should have concerned some of our brethren to a study of just what was causing such a crescendo of emotionalism coming many times in the Colleges where future preachers were being trained!!? In the 17th century the dead worship of Episcopalians gave rise to the extreme emotionalism of the Wesleys, John and Charles, who were Episcopalian priest writhing in the pulpit trying to put a little ?life? in the preaching. ?The results were that they started the Methodist Church.? The latest ?Boston Movement? among the Lord?s people is caused by the same problem?spiritless preaching!!? We must concern ourselves with great emphasis on the teaching of the Word but not to omit the spirit and thrill that must accompany that delivery.? As has been mentioned, the prophets URGED the people to conform their lives to the Law with heart-stirring examples.? The writing prophets have much for us to hear.? Amos cries, ?Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, ?Bring and let us drink.?? Amos 4:1?? Isaiah proclaims ?Woe, unto them that decree unrighteous decrees?to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!? Isaiah 10:1-2?? ?Come, and let us return to the Lord? Hosea 6:1?? Micah pleads, ?Hear ye now what the Lord saith?? Micah 6:1? They went after the HEART with the truth embedded in the message.

???? The prophets plead the cause of the Lord.? Samuel?s came early in life, when he was called upon to tell Eli God?s judgment upon his wayward household (1 Samuel 3:1-18).? His persistent reforming efforts with the people were crowned with success in a clear decision for God on their part at Mizpeh (1 Samuel 7:1-14).? The ?man of God? urged reform to Jereboam (1 Kings 13:1-10), Hanani did the same with Asa.? 2 Chronicles 16:7-9? ?In preaching, the prophets had no ?dead externalism? or acted like robots, they got to the ?heart? in the matter!!. Isaiah 1:11-14; Amos 5:21-24, they allowed the Spirit in the message!!? Truth and Power, delivered, uncovers man?s sins and demands repentance!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 2

Exploring the purpose of the prophets

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The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers?

Exploring the purpose of the Old Testment prophets

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