Kings and Prophets
King Ahaz - The Darkness before the Dawn
by I Gordon
 ↩ There is a small example at the mount of transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah were seen with Jesus. Peter was obviously over-awed at the thought of being in the presence of two of the greatest men in Jewish history and indirectly placed Jesus on the same level as Moses and Elijah. God's answer was to speak from Heaven declaring 'This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!' And take notice of the next verse - 'All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, EXCEPT JESUS ALONE.' That is the way it has to be! We so quickly look to other men or other things but Jesus is second to none.
 ↩ John Macarthur writes in his book 'Ashamed of the gospel' (pages 69-70) of the depths to which some large churches in USA have plummeted to 'entertain' their congregations using worldly methods. One of the five largest churches in the USA decided to stage a wrestling match between church employees to 'perk up attendance at Sunday evening services.' Another church installed a half million dollar special effects system that can produce smoke, fire, sparks and laser lights after studying it's effects at Bally's Casino in Las Vegas. The Pastor ended one sermon by ascending to 'heaven' via invisible wires while the orchestra added the musical accompaniment to the smoke, fire, and light show. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought we are called to feed the sheep, not entertain them!
Over one hundred years ago, C.H Spurgeon saw what was coming as preachers moved away from the truth of scripture and resorted to methods of entertaining the crowd. He labelled it the 'down grade'. His comments are even more relevant today. He wrote 'On the 'Down-Grade' the train travels very fast: another station has been passed. What next? And what next?'
 ↩ When trouble strikes some blame the Lord and are pushed further away. I know people like this. It is usually those that have been led to believe that God should be making everything easy for them. How much better is the example of Manasseh, King Ahaz' grandchild. Now here was another wicked man. Read about him in 2 Chron 33. Another bad egg I'm afraid. But, when the Lord allowed him to be taken captive to Babylon, we read in verse 12 that 'in his distress he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.' God then restored Manasseh back to Jerusalem and he lived the rest of his life trying to follow the Lord and undo all the wicked things that he had done in his youth. What's more, this once wicked king is even listed in Jesus' genealogy presented to us in the book of Matthew. What an awesome example of the grace of God! Ahaz could have chosen the right path... in his trouble he could have called on the Lord. But he chose to use it to become more bitter and unfaithful toward the Lord. Oh make sure that when trouble comes you are found to be a Manasseh (or even better a Hezekiah) and not an Ahaz!
 ↩ Pragmatism is the notion that if it works it must be good. If it doesn't work then it must be wrong. In the modern day rush to be a 'contemporary church' pragmatism seems to rule as truth gives way to flash marketing and a watered down gospel to draw a bigger crowd. As mentioned earlier, an interesting book on the subject is 'Ashamed of the gospel' by John Macarthur.
 ↩ We see it within society in a generation that has largely abandoned truth and compiled together a hodgepodge of 'spiritual' beliefs incorporating forms of Christianity with Hindu meditation and New Age spirit guides. To them it doesn't matter if something is right or wrong. Whether it works is all that matters. We see it within the church by incorporating all manner of worldly tricks to get a crowd. Years ago (in 1955 actually) A.W Tozer wrote 'For centuries the church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognising it for what it was...but of late she appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers.' Imagine if A.W Tozer, whose reputation and writings are still highly regarded today, could see what it is like now?
 ↩ Ok, this will be a rather large footnote but don't let that put you off. Before going to be with the Lord, Barry Smith, an evangelist and author of several books, wrote his final book called 'Unlocking the ultimate secret: The mystery of the gospel.' In it, Barry Smith looks at what gospel is being preached by different churches. Now, one part of the book really grabbed me.
Barry writes 'The issue (about what gospel is being preached) is so important that I felt to contact the leadership of each of these churches to find out if they knew their own church's official teaching on salvation. Here is my question:
'You have 5 minutes in a condemned man's cell to prepare him spiritually for eternity which immediately follows his execution. What would you say to him?'
(The following is merely a general statement)
: Infant Baptism with believing parents - Later, confirmation into
Presbyterian : Infant Baptism with believing parents.
Methodist : Infant Baptism with believing parents.
Congregational : Infant Baptism with believing parents.
Roman Catholic : Infant Baptism with believing parents. Also adhere to and practise the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. In this denomination, the priest and church member alike, must believe every church doctrine as it stands. This is called 'dogma'. Any who do not agree should leave the church.
Orthodox : Infant Baptism with believing parents.
Open Brethren : Gospel of the grace of God
Baptist : Gospel of the grace of God.
Assembly of God : Gospel of the grace of God
Independent Pentecostal : Generally speaking, the gospel of the grace of God.
Seventh Day Adventists : Receive Christ and keep the law.
Church of Christ : Some preach repent and be baptised for the remission of sins. Some preach the gospel of the grace of God.
What do I take from all of that? Well, that Ahaz is still closing the temple doors! These churches that preach infant baptism for salvation or a keeping of the law for salvation are shutting the door of salvation and preventing the true worship of God to be performed. Given that the question put to these churches concerned a condemned man with only five minutes to live, answers of infant baptism and the like are criminal! It is craziness! Even if you forget the question altogether, the Bible still doesn't even speak of infant baptism... let alone for salvation!