When there is a lack of the knowledge of God and of the law of God, ignorance darkens man’s mind and heart, and begets superstition and fanaticism. Instead of being edified in true knowledge by the pure preaching of the Word of God, the people turn to dumb images as supposed books for the laity. Their priests or ministers, like Arminius, go off to Rome, become thoroughly Pelagianized (Pelagianism, a heresy thrown out Rome’s front door, but allowed to sneak back in through its back door), then return to corrupt the students, the young people, and the churches with Romish free-willist humanism. This error spreads throughout the “protestant” churches. What public religious figure in these churches today professes to being Reformed? One leading figure of prominence, surprisingly, every so often, claims to be a Calvinist. But what body of Calvinists will acknowledge him as one of themselves? For he is a purveyor of a universal love of God to all, based on a universal atonement.
“Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” In forgetting the law of God, they neglected to teach it to their children. Catechetical training was either put off until late in the child’s life, or dropped altogether. Satan and the world take over their instruction. Tiny children know all about “dancing class” but nothing of Sunday School or the Christian school. Parents, brought up in the public school system, belong to church social groups which teach drama and provide movies and dance parties. A sign of the times in front of the church reads, SEE YOU AT THE HOP WEDNESDAY…” not “at the Bible class,” much less “at Prayer Meeting,” but “at the Hop.” Children are familiar with Michael Jackson, but not with Moses and Joshua. Their parents’ music idols were Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. The whole family is drawn into “the New Age” movement; (1) children are unconsciously enticed into it by “the Murfs” of TV, (2) by TV’s Saturday morning cartoons which entertain with angels of light and spirits of darkness in eternal combat, a clever format for instilling ancient heathen Zoroastrianism; (3) the entire family has (a) its false prophet, George Lucas, the Billy Graham of “The Force,” who by the “Star Wars” instructs further in this heathen dualism where Good-and-Evil is the spirit of the age—Good never triumphing over Evil, for the two, at the end of a scenario, merge and become one in the occult scheme of things; and (b) its false prophetess, Shirley MacLaine with her reincarnationistic witchcraft; (4) family programs are offered in holistic Yoga breathing exercises at a Jack LaLanne health spa; and (5) also a great attraction: a glorious vacation for young people at a John Denver New Age counseling workshop (at $200 – $500 in Colorado).
“I will forget thy children.” This the Lord says to “My people” who are an apostate people, v. 12, 17. “I will reject thee.” Here read Matt. 21:41-45; Mk. 12:8-9. Their children, too, would be forgotten and rejected. Read I Sam. 2:28-36; 3:12-14. God has rejected and forgotten those families with their children who have rejected and forgotten Him as they go afar off to be lost in the labyrinths of the modern cults.
Suggested theme and divisions:
Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge
I. The Bad State of Things
II. The Reason For It (and Resultant Judgment)
III. The Worse State of Things
1.C. Priests wicked and avid in iniquity. “They eat up the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.” The problem with this verse clears up the understanding of the word sin, and of the pronoun their before iniquity. The word sin (hattah) may be rendered sin-offering: see Gen. 4:7, and especially Ex. 29:14, 36; 30:10. The meaning then is, these false priests eat up the sin-offerings of my people, so much so that they made merchandise (II Pet. 2:3) of God’s people, and even went so far as to set their heart on their (the people’s) iniquity, being glad that the people did commit so much iniquity, as it meant more sin-offerings they could confiscate.
This is exactly what the sons of Eli were doing. God had provided for the food of the priests out of the sacrifices, the wave-breast and the heave-shoulder (Lev. 7:34), but they became gluttonous belly-priests (Rom. 16:18a). They took their share of breast meat and the shoulder of lamb, but they also went so far as to invent a (new) custom, for their own benefit, that when the people feasted with their families and friends, they sent a servant with a three-pronged meatfork, which must be jabbed into the pot, and whatever that brought up the priest must have (I Sam. 2:13, 14). The people in their devotion to the Lord let this become a tradition (Matt. 15:3). So the priests, bold to step in first before the people had a chance at their own food, did step in before God Himself, putting themselves first, then God, then the people. But not satisfied with this, with their allowance of boiled meat, they demanded raw meat, so that they could have their favorite, i.e., roasts, and if the people would not give it willingly, or did so protestingly, in favor of God and His altar, then they took it by force. Thus they insulted God and abused the people (v. 17). The ministers in their lusts became greedy, sensual, and violent. Still not satisfied, they prostituted the women who came to the tabernacle to worship (v. 22), making God’s house as bad as Baal-peor. So they made Israel to sin, becoming responsible for the people’s sin, as well as their own. As for what was their true calling, see Mal. 2:4-9).
In our day, wherever there is sacerdotalism (priestcraft), this same evil (of Hos. 4:8) continues. In Loraine Boettner’s Roman Catholicism, read how money is handled in the R.C.C. (it’s all in the hands of the priests and bishops, p. 36); how by means of the Mass they obtain money (“High money, high mass; low money, low mass, no money, no mass!” p. 185); how the doctrine of purgatory brings millions of dollars every year to the church as the people seek relief for themselves and others from the imagined sufferings of the fictional purgatory, “The gold mine of the priesthood” (p. 222); then there is the matter of indulgences (short periods of release from punishment), which are granted for imposed penances and especially for gifts of money and property (p. 263, 264). Indulgences still are an enormous source of revenue to the Vatican (p. 265, 266). So also gambling is a source of substantial revenues to the R.C.C. (p. 393). So the eating of the sin-offerings of the people continues with a vengeance, and the clergy sets its heart on their (the laity’s) iniquity. For “the more iniquities committed, the more of a money flow into Catholic coffers.”
The Charismatic movement proclaims what has been dubbed, “The Cut-Rate Grace of the Health and Wealth Gospel.” The evangelists (and evangelettes) of their movement minister by way of satellite TV to millions of people, and it takes millions of dollars to run their operations. “Thousands of followers are attracted to” these evangelists “because of the teaching in which they specialize: healing, prosperity, and ‘positive confession.’ If these ministries decreased or softened their distinctives, they would no longer stand out from the growing throng of independent charismatic ministers and would risk losing much of their devoted following…whose contributions support the ministries’ multimillion-dollar budgets.” There is therefore the temptation and tendency to “preach what one’s supporters want to hear…The message that God wills financial prosperity is the one most attractive to” a large, loyal following in the charismatic ministries. If the modern prophet “wants his ministry to continue expanding, he can hardly downplay that message now. Despite…criticism…he has decided, not surprisingly, to give it more attention in the future.” People “want to hear about health, wealth and miracles, and will pay both attention and contributions to those teachers who entertain and excite them by centering on these subjects. They need to keep the itching ears tickled lest the checks stop coming in and their ministries suffer as a result.” They know “errors had been taught, but felt they had to give the people what they wanted.” When told that this was lying to their audience, “the response was, ‘We don’t call it lying. We feel that it’s a positive influence.’” (The Health and Wealth Gospel, by Bruce Barron, IV Press, 1987, pp. 137, 138, 139, 143). In these sorts of ministries, it is not so much the false prophets eating up the “sin-offerings” of the people as it is the eating up of the sinful offerings of filthy lucre these people make to them in order, as they are taught, that they may eventually find themselves prospering a hundred fold! Oh yes, these false prophets set their greedy hearts on (count on) the covetousness (iniquity) of their constituencies. The more grasping after health and wealth these masses are, the more they can be milked and bilked to enrich their leaders. Hosea’s complaint is still in order.
1. D. Drunkenness and whoredom (11, 14, 18). “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart…I will not punish your daughters when they commit adultery; for they themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots; therefore, the people that doth not understand shall fall…Their drink is sour; they have committed whoredom continually; her rulers with shame do love, ‘Give ye!’” Why is this? Why such an appalling condition of things in the church? What is the cause? Verse 10 states both cause and effect: “because they have left off (ceased) to take heed to the Lord.” That’s the cause! The effect is all the debauchery detailed in the verses referred to above. All this corruption in sin and wickedness has its ultimate culmination in the anti-Christian world-kingdom in its seductiveness as symbolized in the Great Whore.
– To be continued, D.V. –