The Biblical Reason for Elijah's Drought--Part 2
May 30, 2009
Deut. 11:16, 17 says,
" (16) Beware, lest your hearts be deceived and you turn away and serve other gods and worship them. (17) Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain, and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you."
The counterpart to this warning is the blessing that God promises when we recognize His Kingship and are in compliance with His laws. Deut. 28:12 says,
"The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow."
America used to be the greatest creditor nation. A seismic change has occurred in the past few decades, and we are now the greatest debtor nation in world history. This has occurred simultaneously with the shift from our government recognizing God to a government that has become "secular." Anyone familiar with the situation can see that the law is being fulfilled before our eyes. Yes, "secular" economics does have a spiritual cause. And this is happening precisely because God has not yet put away His law.
Solomon confirmed this as well in his prayer to dedicate the temple, saying in 1 Kings 8:35, 36,
" (35) When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against Thee, and they pray toward this place and confess Thy name and turn from their sin when Thou dost afflict them, (36) then hear Thou in heaven and forgive the sin of Thy servants and of Thy people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Thy land, which Thou hast given Thy people for an inheritance."
In the Old Covenant context, this was a physical rain on their real estate, because that was the Old Covenant inheritance. But the New Covenant gives us a greater inheritance--our own "land" (bodies) made of the dust of the ground. It is the glorified body, which is glorified by the divine presence. Even as Solomon's temple was glorified by the presence of God on the 8th day of Tabernacles, so also are we the temples of God today, and we look for the fulness of the Spirit to be poured out upon us, so that His Spirit may indwell human flesh.
That is the real "rain" that we seek, as the antidote to the "famine" of hearing the word of the Lord. According to the law (and confirmed by Solomon), the key is repentance. But we need to understand how to repent. It will not be of much help merely to stand in church and weep and pray for God's blessings. Nor will it even make much difference if Christians repent on behalf of the unbelievers for committing abortion and allowing gay marriages. The unbelievers are not the problem, even though they are often the scapegoat of the church. Solomon said in 2 Chron. 7:14, "IF MY PEOPLE . . . will humble themselves and pray and turn."
The problem has its roots in the story of King Saul, who is a type of the Church under Pentecost, as I have so often explained. That problem is expressed in 1 Samuel 8:7,
"And the Lord said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them."
These are not unbelievers rejecting God as King. These are believers. They would have bristled at the suggestion that they were rejecting God as King. No, in their minds they simply wanted an earthly king in addition to God. In other words, they wanted a vice-regent, or a vicar of Christ. As in the days of Moses, they wanted a man to get the revelation from God so that he could tell them what to do.
They did not want to hear God for themselves. They did not want a personal and direct relationship with God. They wanted a God who was one step removed from them, one that would be approached only by a saint who was worthy to do so.
This is the origin of the spirit of denominationalism. God took it personally because He read their hearts perfectly. He knew that the people had covertly rejected Him, whether they knew it or not.
Once we come to see that Saul was the primary Old Testament type of the Church under Pentecost, we can identify this as the root problem of Pentecost. We see its development in Church history, where the definition of "Church" changed from the body of Christ to the religious organization/hierarchy. When the people were taught that their relationship with God depended upon their relationship to the organization, the whole Church came to reject the Kingship of Jesus Christ. And they would have denied this as vigorously as the people in Samuel's day.
Pentecost is a leavened feast by definition (Lev. 23:17). The story of Saul shows us how this leaven took form.
This tells us the root problem that requires repentance, not by unbelievers, but by the believers. I do not doubt the sincerity of these believers, nor do I doubt their salvation or their experience with Christ. I appreciate the fact that they are justified by faith. I appreciate the fact that many are filled with the Spirit. I appreciate the fact that many are led by the Spirit in their daily lives. Yet the Church has come under a Babylonian captivity--and not without cause. One cannot blame the Babylonians for the condition in the world today, not when God sent the Babylonians to judge and correct us.
Saul had another problem, which we find in the Church today. Saul considered David to be his enemy and rival for the throne. Saul had been anointed by Samuel himself, and he thought that this gave him a license to do whatever he pleased and make up his own laws ("traditions of men"). But the Spirit of God left him and rested upon David after a time, even though Saul was legitimately anointed and called by God as king.
Saul made the mistake of assuming that his original anointing meant that God would never reverse that decision. So he persecuted David. But David represents the overcomers who are called to rule after the death of Saul--that is, after the Pentecostal Age. The Saul types in the Church have persecuted the Davids among them for a long time. Anyone who is out from under their authority is called a rebel, and they are accused of being "cultish."
There are, of course, "cults" out there, but if you study them, you will find that they are just competing with Saul for the throne. They set forth their own leaders and demand that their followers obey them. Such are not part of the Davidic company; they are only other Saul-type rivals for the throne who want men to be ruled by a different earthly king.
Such "cults," after they reach a million members, are called "denominations." When they reach a hundred million members, we call them "religions." Their upgraded status does not mean they are part of the Davidic company. They are simply rivals from the house of Saul, each claiming the throne that rightfully belongs only to Jesus Christ.
In order for the Church to repent, it must know what to repent of. To know this, it is helpful to understand the feast days and to know the distinction between Pentecost and Tabernacles. It is even more helpful to know that Saul was a Pentecostal, and David was a Tabernacles king. These stories make it clear what the root problem is, and why we are suffering from a famine of hearing the Word.
I believe that this drought is soon going to be broken. But regardless of timing, we have a job to do, and we should know how to be led by the Spirit.
This is the final part of a series titled "The Biblical Reason for Elijah's Drought." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones