1Kings 13:1 Behold, There Came a Man of God Out of Judah 1/26/2014
#1. The Deceived and the Deceiver (1King 12:28, Ex 32:4, 1King 13:2,9,11,22, Matt 10:5)
#2. Death and Burial of the Man of God (1Kings 13:24-25, 29, 31, Rev 5:5)
#3. The Church in the End Time (1King 13:9, Rev 2:4)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of First Kings, 1King 13:1 (2X). We have here a strange story which is wedged in between the sin of Jeroboam, of making two golden calves, and the death of the son of Jeroboam, who is actually the only one of the house of Jeroboam who was saved. This story in 1Kings 13 begs for a spiritual interpretation, for by itself it ads no redeeming value to either the history of the nation of Judah, nor to the nation of Israel. This story in 1Kings 13 stands on its own. Here we must apply the words of Rom 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” We find that God in this chapter, 1Kings 13, tells us a parable about the church in the last days. And since we are living in the end times, we are interested to hear these warnings which are directed to us in the church today.
Š A Prophet Disobeys (1Kings 13:1-32, Rom 15:4)
1Ki 13:1-32 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him. And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him. And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass. And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him. And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother! And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones: For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.
Since this is a story about a man of God out of Judah, the title of the sermon today is, “Behold, there came a man of God out of Judah” (2X). And notice that the man has no name. When that occurs in the Bible it usually means that there are many who likewise will step in this role of the man out of Judah. Hard headed man does not learn from the Bible, and even those who have been trained in the Word of God have often not understood that the Bible is a spiritual Book. So let us now analyze this history of the deceived and the deceiver.
#1. The Deceived and the Deceiver (Rom 2:28-29, Ex 32:4, 1King 13:2,9,11,22, Matt 10:5)
Our first impression of the two prophets in this story is this: Poor man of God out of Judah; he was lied to, and so he was killed, but it was not his fault; the other man lied to him. What a wicked man out of Bethel; deliberately he lied because he did not believe the Word of God from the man out of Judah. Who does this man out of Judah represent? Judah is the land of the Jews. And since this parable portrays a period in the New Testament time we need to ask: Who does God consider to be Jews in the New Testament time? We read in Rom 2:28-29,
Rom 2:28 “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh, 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
And so, the land of the Jews is the church where the true Gospel is proclaimed, and where truly saved people congregate. If we consider ourselves to be in the church where the true Gospel is preached then this man of God out of Judah represents anyone of us. And where does God send us after we have heard the true Gospel? He sends us to the heathen and to idolaters who have never heard the true Gospel, and He gives them warnings through the message that we bring. This is the task that God has given to everyone in the church, lock, stock, and barrel. Are there unsaved people in the church who are also missionaries. Every church has a mixture of saved and unsaved people. Even the congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ had one rotten apple: Judas Iscariot. We do not have a more perfect group of people than the Lord Jesus had. And so, it is understandable that this man of God was disobedient, and that he would die in his sin because he was deceived.
Jeroboam was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel. The king made two calves of gold, and he set up one in Bethel, and one in Dan. Bethel was very close to the southern border of Israel, and Dan was in the most northern part of Israel. And when the king presented the golden calves to the people he said in 1King 12:28 (2X), “Behold thy gods (plural), O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” It is remarkable that these are the exact same words that Aaron spoke near Mount Horeb when he had made one golden calf in Ex 32:4; and he also said, “These be thy gods (plural), O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” God shows us these words to demonstrate that the Israelites also did not pay attention to God’s words, the Bible.
All the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel were wicked, not one excepted. And thus Bethel was also in the territory of wicked king Jeroboam. “Bethel” means “House of God”, and there the king set up one of the golden calves and an altar to offer sacrifices and to burn incense. Such blasphemy! Then the man of God out of Judah pronounced the curse of God on this place, in verse 2, “O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.” Why did God mention Josiah?” Josiah was the last good king before the nation of Judah was destroyed, and the destruction of the nation of Judah was a type or a figure of the final destruction of the church in the last days. This act of King Josiah occurred about 300 years after the man of God came from Judah and uttered this curse over the altar in Bethel. All that time the blasphemy of this false gospel was ruling in the house of God, Bethel, which was in the land of Israel. This tells us that the demise of the church will take a long time, or has already taken a long time, to prepare the church for judgment.
Why did God command the man from Judah not to eat bread or drink water in the land of Israel? It is because the land of Israel was now the territory of Satan. Bread is usually pointing to Christ, who is the Bread of Life. But the bread in the land of Israel has been poisoned, for it is no longer pointing to the true Christ, but to a counterfeit christ. Pure water generally is pointing to the true Gospel, the gift from God. But the water in the land of Israel has been poisoned, for it is no longer the water of the true Gospel; it is the water of a counterfeit gospel, “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” That is why God forbad the man of God to eat bread or drink water in the land of Israel. And why did God tell the man from Judah to return a different way than the way he came? When the Lord Jesus told His disciples in Matt 10:5, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles”, He did not refer to the road to the cities of the Gentiles, but the way, or the lifestyle, of the Gentiles, for Jesus Himself went many times to the cities of the Gentiles. Likewise, in 1King 13:9, the man of God was commanded to bring the message from God to Bethel, and for this he had to mingle with the people of Israel; he had to go in the way of the idolaters of Bethel. But going home he had to cut the ties with the people of Israel, which is symbolized by taking a different way than the way he came. The man of God had every good intention to obey God’s command.
But then we see the death of the man of God, initiated by the lies of a false prophet. What kind of a man was this false prophet? Verse 11 says, “Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel.” The fact that he dwelt in Bethel and was not repulsed by the action of Jeroboam, placing a golden calf in Bethel, tells us that he was of the same persuasion as the Israelites in the wilderness who danced around the golden calf that Aaron has made. We have no idea why they would be delighted in seeing a golden calf, and even went to worship it, but the majority of Israel did so. The king did not do this out of his own evil mind, for we read in 1King 12:28 that the king took counsel before he made the two golden calves. In other words, he consulted with the wise men of Israel, and with the elders of Israel, and they jointly came to the conclusion that the two golden calves were the ideal alternatives to the worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem. You might say, “How is that possible? What craziness has gotten into these people?” But God wrote this in the Bible, and thus it was true. When you are blind, you are really blind, and you cannot see where and when you have strayed away from the true God. This was the spiritual condition of the old prophet in Bethel. He was convinced that the god of Israel was more powerful than the God of Judah. And so, to prove the point he went after the man of God out of Judah, and persuaded him to eat and drink in his house in Bethel. But then Almighty God intervened. And God revealed to the old prophet His judgment on the man of God out of Judah. God did not judge the old man for lying, but God judged the man who claimed that he was a follower of the true God. What was God’s judgment? God said in verse 22, “Thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.” How could the old man convince the man of God that he spoke the truth? He was a false prophet. But God is able to make an evil false prophet like Balaam speak the truth, and God is able to make even the donkey of Balaam speak the truth. And so, God does not have a problem making this old prophet speak the truth. But when Almighty God revealed His will to this old man, he knew that he had to declare God’s judgment on the man of God out of Judah.
Can we see what was going on? Can we see the principles God declares to us today?
Š Violation of Two Principles (Jer 17:5,9, Matt 19:6, Gen 9:6, 1Cor 3:17, Jer 27:6, Matt 24:36,42, 25:13, Mark 13:32, 2Pet 3:10, Rev 3:3, Deut 29:29, 1King 13:18, Rev 22:18-19, 14:10-11, Gen 3:16, Prov 28:9)
The first principle is this: You cannot cancel a command from God, unless God has specifically stated that this command is no longer valid. Once God has said it, no one should even try to develop clever reasoning by which this command is declared no longer valid. This is closely related to my sermon of two weeks ago, where I quoted from Jer17:5, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” Do not trust the clever reasoning of man whereby he has eliminated a command from God, because you should not trust man who has a deceitful heart. God says in Jer 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Man is desperately wicked; man will try to lead us astray like the serpent in the Garden of Eden led the woman astray. Let us look at a few examples: #1. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder (Matt 19:6). Today this is absolutely unacceptable to the people of the world. Therefore they have devised all kinds of human reasoning to eliminate this command of God. But God has never rescinded this rule. You cannot cancel a command from God. #2. God said in Gen 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” God established capital punishment for murder, and in the Bible God has never rescinded this command. Therefore all the efforts by men to eliminate capital punishment is nothing else than rebellion against God. Modern man tries to be more humane than God; let them join the humane society instead of the humanist society. You cannot cancel a command from God. #3. How could the man of God out of Judah have known that the old prophet was lying? Well, who did he trust? Did he remember the lie of the devil in the Garden of Eden? Did He not remember that God said, “In the day you eat of this tree you shall surely die”, and the devil said, “You shall not surely die.” Whom did the woman trust? She trusted the one who sounded most comforting, for the devil said, “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”, but the devil was deceitful and desperately wicked, and so man also became deceitful and desperately wicked. And here in 1Kings 13 the old man said, “An angel spoke to me that you may eat and drink in my home.” It sounded most comforting to the man out of Judah, for he was tired and hungry and thirsty. But he violated the principle: “You cannot cancel a command from God.” And if you take the risk of trusting in man’s words rather than trusting what God said, then be ready to endure the curse that comes with it. For if you trust in man who is deceitful and desperately wicked, and do not trust God who is holy and righteous, you have shown yourself that you are deceived by the devil. Let us apply this principle to deceitful events occurring in our days, which are the last days of the church. #4. God’s warning about the church is stated in 1Cor 3:17, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” God never rescinded this warning. For example, in Rev 2 and 3 God addressed the seven churches of Asia Minor as His church, even though five of these churches were in some state of apostacy. As long as there are some faithful saints in these churches they are still called His church. Therefore, do not defile the temple of God. These days there is a movement that the faithful saints should abandon their church, because the church has gone apostate. And God said in Jer 27:6, “And now have I given all these lands into the hand of the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.” It is true that Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon is a picture of Antichrist, or of Satan, but we must realize that Satan is God’s busiest servant. Satan is not another god out there, for there is only one God, and Satan must obey God in all that he does. But realize now that this command from Jer 27:6 is not something new. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and put themselves under the yoke of Satan, God gave the whole world into the hand of Satan, and the beasts of the field has God also given him to serve him. But that did not mean that people had to abandon their places to worship God. But the call for abandoning their church came in the 20th century, and the result was that many thousands of people have listened and have left their churches. They wasted God’s warning of 1Cor 13:17, and have put their trust totally in what was convenient to them. But they violated the principle: “You cannot cancel a command from God.” Moreover, #5, God said eight times in the Bible (Matt 24:36,42, 25:13, Mark 13:32,33,35, 2Pet 3:10, Rev 3:3) that no man knows the day or the hour when Christ comes again as the Judge of the living and the dead. And thus God has not revealed when Christ shall come again, and we are commanded not to pry into this matter. We are hereby reminded of God’s command in Deut 29:29, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” But through some clever reasoning people have concluded that we can ignore all these statements and believe the lie. But they violated the principle: “You cannot cancel a command from God.” God did not give an explicit statement that He rescinded that command, and thus we should leave this problem alone.
What is the second principle that has been violated in this chapter of 1Kings 13? Please turn to the last page in your Bibles, to Rev 22:18-19 (2X). The second violation is found in 1King 13:18, where the old prophet stated, “He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water.” What is the second principle? “You shall not add to the words of God” for that creates confusion, and God does not lie. In fact, this principle has been repeated several times in the Bible. These two principles are so important that God has repeated these two principles on the last page of the Bible, just before He closed His verbal revelation to mankind.
Re 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Re 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Rev 22:18 warns every man who has heard the words from the Bible, that if any man claims that he has an additional revelation from God, he is lying, for God shall not give any more revelations after He has dictated the last page of this Book, the Bible. What is the penalty for violating this principle? God says in Rev 14:10-11, “he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.” Now look at the next verse, Rev 22:19 tells us that no one may take away from the words of the Bible. That is exactly what the man of God out of Judah has done. He has lent an ear to the words of the old prophet out of Bethel, and thereby cancelled the command from God that he had received earlier in the day. That is exactly what the woman in the Garden of Eden has done. She has lent an ear to the words of the devil that came out of the mouth of the serpent. And even though she was fascinated with the miraculous phenomenon of a talking serpent, by listening to him and believing what he said, she opened up the penalty of Hell for herself and for all her children. That is why God said when He cursed the woman in Gen 3:16, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and I will greatly multiply thy conception.” She will have many children, many descendants, but they are not a joy, for most of them will not want to hear the words of the Lord and they will die unsaved. And so it is today. We meet many people, and many people have come in this church, but they have left and have not returned, for we preach the whole counsel of God, and this is an offense to most people. Since they are repulsed by the preaching of God’s words, God says to them in Prov 28:9, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” 1Kings 13:24.
#2. Death and Burial of the Man of God (1Kings 13:24-25, 29, 31, Rev 5:5)
1Ki 13:24-2 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
Clearly this was an act of God, for the lion did not tear the donkey, neither was the donkey afraid. Clearly the wrath of God rested on the man of God out of Judah, and not on the donkey. Who does the lion represent? God tells us several times in the Bible that the Lord Jesus Christ is pictured as the lion out of the tribe of Judah. We read in Rev 5:5,
Re 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
And what we are shown then is not a lion but a lamb. Christ is both the Lion of the tribe of Judah, for He is a descendant of Judah, and Christ is also the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world. It is Christ, not Satan, who has killed the man of God out of Judah, for Christ has been appointed the Judge of the living and the dead. Why has Christ not brought judgment on the old prophet out of Bethel, for he lied and caused the man of God to be killed for his error? The old prophet never claimed to belong to the flock of Christ. In God’s sight the old prophet was like all the other heathen in the world. The heathen are abominable in God’s sight, but that is to be expected of them. But if those who claim to belong to the flock of Christ, if those who claim to be followers of Christ become homosexuals, if those who claim to rest on the grace of God and then depart from the true faith and worship the idols in their heart, then this causes God to be very angry. God says in Heb 10:38, “But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” God does not bring the end of the world if the heathen commit idolatry, for that is expected of the heathen. But if the church harbors false gospels and commits idolatry in the church, then God’s wrath is very great. The Roman church has gone astray for many years, but they have been outside the true Gospel for at least 600 years. They are part of the heathen, for God has not corrected them. But when the Christian churches depart from the faith, like the man of God out of Judah, then God’s wrath is very great on them. But now we see another aspect of the old prophet out of Bethel. He has now heard the voice of the true God, and he is converted from his evil ways. He went to find the body of the man of God out of Judah. 1Ki 13:29,
1Ki 13:29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.
Why did he mourn? He mourned, because he had been the cause of this man’s death, and now he wants to give him a decent burial. He mourned because he now felt that this was a brother in Christ who had died so that the old man could become saved. And then he said in verse 31,
1Ki 13:31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:
Why did the old prophet make this statement? He wants to be totally identified with the man of God out of Judah. He wanted to pour his gratitude on the dead man and he wanted to let God know that he would no longer be a deceiving prophet, for He declared in verse 32, 1King 13:32,
1Ki 13:32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.
What is God telling us in this portion of this historical parable? God is pointing us to Ezekiel 18.
Š The Righteous and the Wicked (Acts 5:31, Ezek 18:20-32, Rom 10:17)
Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Ezekiel, Ezek 18:20 (2X). We have here a passage which urges people to repent. Initially it seems as if God waits for man’s decisions before God decides who then should be saved. It appears as if this is a passage that supports the Arminian view of salvation, until we find in other parts of the Bible that repentance is a gift from God. For example, we read in Acts 5:31, “Him (Christ) hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” To give repentance to Israel clearly tells us that repentance is a gift from God. Now we read in Ezek 18:20-32,
Eze 18:20-32 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? Saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say: The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”
You can see clearly how this passage applies to the historical parable of 1Kings 13. Ezek 18:21-23 addresses the state of the old prophet in Bethel. He was a wicked man, but all the evidence in 1Kings 13 shows that he turned from his wicked ways. And look at the mercy of God, “All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him.” Is this not an astounding mercy of God? But now we realize also that salvation is all by grace. God’s mercy was not on the old prophet because he repented, for repentance is also a gift from God. Instead God’s mercy was on the old prophet in the first place, and that is why he repented. We must always give God the glory, for all the glory of the NH&NE will be given him freely, even though he did not deserve it at all.
Ezek 18:24-26 addresses the state of the man of God who came out of Judah. Here was a righteous man who first obeyed the command of God and declared the prophecy concerning the altar in Bethel, entirely according to the command of God. But then he was enticed to commit sin: The old man lied to him, and he did not check it out but believed the lie, and went back to Bethel to eat and drink, and God’s wrath fell upon him and he died. God specifically said in verse 26, “And committeth iniquity, and dieth in them (which means he bodily dies in that sin); for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die (which means he shall spiritually die the second death).” What did occur to the man of God? He was killed by God as soon as he was outside the city of Bethel.
Ezek 18:27-29 repeats the address to the old prophet from Bethel. God’s mercy is extended to him, because the Lord Jesus Christ would pay for his sins on the cross of Calvary. Then in verses 30-32 God addresses those who consider themselves righteous, the house of Israel, but God does not agree that they were righteous. God said of them that they should repent, but repentance is a gift from God. God said of them that they should turn, but the Hebrew text says, “turn and be made to turn”, which means that God must turn them. The word “yourselves” is not in the Hebrew text; it is a suggestion by the translators. God says that they must make for themselves a new heart and a new spirit, but it is only God who can give them a new heart and a new spirit. And so, we see that our first impression of the two prophets is completely overturned. The wicked old man from Bethel is actually saved, and the man of God who came out of Judah is the one whose salvation is in question. But let us not be too hard on the young man out of Judah, for while he was eating in Bethel he heard the judgment of God on him. Then he had plenty of time to consider his errors, and he had plenty of time to repent. God did not disclose what He did with that young man. God only disclosed His mercy on the old man from Bethel, for God desired to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ who is called a friend of sinners, and whose mercy is so great that He wiped away all the sins of this old man. He heard the voice from God, and he immediately recognized that this is the true God of all the earth. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
#3. The Church in the End Time (1King 13:9, Rev 2:4)
Please turn again to 1King 13:9 (2X). The story in 1Kings 13 actually touches on HOW the church will be destroyed in the end time, during the Final Tribulation Period. Notice how the apostacy in Israel lasted for over 300 years. And for the greatest length of time the church did not recognize that she was violating the two principles that make up the sharp edge of the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The words of 1King 13:9 apply even now to most of the churches, “Eat no bread, nor drink water in this place, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.” When we enter a church in these last days we are surprised that the Gospel truths summarized during the Reformation are totally lost, and the churches are actually ready to return to Rome. For example, one denomination abandoned the blue Psalter Hymnal, because the Canons of Dort are declared in the back pages, and they discarded these blue Psalter Hymnals by the truckloads. The Canons of Dort declared the truths of the Reformation in five points: #1, Total Depravity, #2, Unconditional Election, #3, Limited or Particular Atonement, #4, Irresistible Grace, and #5, Perseverance of the Saints. This is a faithful list, and which was the cause of a civil war in the Netherlands just to maintain the truth. Can you see that the love of God in those days was a time of great zeal for the Gospel, and this the churches of today have totally lost. Today no country will initiate a civil war to protect our children from a false gospel. In fact, we can say with Rev 2:4, that most churches today have lost their first love for Christ. They have excelled in producing a counterfeit gospel where God is not sovereign, but man is sovereign. These are the Arminian churches. Not Armenian, but Arminian, followers of Jacob Arminius, a Dutch theologian who wanted to make a name for himself, but was totally defeated during the council that was held in the Netherlands where the Canons of Dort were hammered out. What do the Arminian churches believe? It is more correct to say what do they not believe? They do not believe that they are violating Rev 22:19, and they do not believe Rom 9, and Eph 1 and 2, and John 6 and 10, and 17, and they do not believe hundreds of other verses in the Bible. How can that be? They do not believe that Rev 17 and 18 speak of the apostacy of the church in the last days. They do not believe that speaking in tongues is a violation of Rev 22:18. Now look at this parable again in 1Kings 13. The old man from Bethel has repented and is saved by the mercy of God. But the young man out of Judah dies. This leaves us with a prophecy for the churches of today. Are they going to die like the young man out of Judah? Will the churches be so disobedient that God considers them apostate?
When we observe the churches of today we can’t help coming to the conclusion that this is indeed the case. More and more conservative churches are abandoning the pure sovereignty of God. Instead of trusting the grace of God, they are trusting in what they have done for Christ, and they end up trusting their own ceremonial hoopla, such as their water baptism. Just look at what they have concocted for the salvation of the children of believers. And so, we are more and more drawn to seeing that the church dies, like as what happened to “The Man of God out of Judah.”
But let us be fair when we consider our own church. We can only be faithful by the grace of God. So let us pray that God will keep us faithful to the end, and that He will chasten us when we go astray. Let us pray that God will use us mightily in bringing His Gospel of pure grace into all the world, and let us pray that He will give us wisdom in interpreting His Word.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.