A Time for Everything
1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--
2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
The Scripture is very clear that there is a time for everything. This passage in Ecclesiastes 3 is often quoted at funerals, weddings, and special events that are usually connected to rights of passage or significant life events. But it is not often I hear a sermon on the topic, “A Time to Kill”, “A Time for War”, or “A Time to Tear Down.” Now I am not, in this little blog, endorsing murder or war, so please don’t get me wrong. I am, however, appealing for the balance that the Scripture so obviously points out in all of life’s scenarios. Whether I like it or not, there is a time for war and killing and tearing down. Even if I don’t like these statements, I still must accept them for what they are – observations on the full nature of life.
With that being said I would like to concentrate on the aspect of tearing down. I am not an expert on war or killing; but I have had a lot more experience in tearing down, so I feel a bit more qualified to write on the subject.
As I read the Word of the Lord regarding this topic, I see that the Lord also addresses this quite a bit when it comes to the history of Israel.
Law of Possessing the Land
50Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, 51“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places;
Laws of the Sanctuary
1“These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the Elohim of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. 2“You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3“You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their ◙ Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. 4“You shall not act like this toward the LORD your Elohim.
2 Chronicles 34
Josiah Succeeds Amon in Judah
“1Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2He did right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. 3For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the Elohim of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images. 4They tore down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars that were high above them he chopped down; also the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images he broke in pieces and ground to powder and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5Then he burned the bones of the priests on their altars and purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins, 7he also tore down the altars and beat the Asherim and the carved images into powder, and chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.”
Look at how far the Lord goes to purge the nation of idolatry. He not only calls for the complete destruction of the pagan places and artifacts Josiah by the instruction of the Lord fully defiles every pagan influence by sprinkling the powder of the ground down images on the graves of those who sacrificed to them. This meant they were defiled by death and could not be redeemed by anyone. Then Josiah burns the bones of the priests who served these pagan gods on the very alters the used.
There is no shortage on verses in context that make it clear that the Lord wanted the Jews to tear down any vestige to pagan worship in the land. There was to be no compromise, no salvaging, just tear them down. The Lord knew that the Children of Israel would be tempted by the Canaanites, so He instructed them to completely tear down and abolish any connection to pagan worship in the land. This is why in Deut. 12 He said to them:
28“Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your Elohim.
29“When the LORD your Elohim cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ 31“You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your Elohim, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
32“Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.
The Children of Israel were not even allowed to redeem the gold from the pagan altars.
If they weren’t allowed to use the gold from the pagan alters, what makes us think that today that we can redeem pagan customs for use in worshiping the Lord?
25“The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your Elohim. 26“You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned.
The reason why he Lord was so strict in this matter was because He knew that one degree off course would lead to a monstrous change in direction down the road. Just one degree on a map is enough to put you in the totally wrong place as the journey progresses. The Lord gave the Children of Israel very specific instructions on how they should walk and what to avoid along the journey and there was no room for subjective feelings along the way. We might think that something is right based on our life’s experiences, but it makes no difference what we feel if it goes against the Word. We live in a very limited plain of existence. The Lord lives independent of time, space, and matter. He knew and knows what is to take place along the journey. He knows how to keep us on track.
When He told the Israelites to tear down any vestige of paganism He did so because he knew that this would knock them off course. He knew that divergence from His Word would come back to bite them later. He gave them a choice.
15“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16in that I command you today to love the LORD your Elohim, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your Elohim may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17“But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20by loving the LORD your Elohim, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
In our lives as well, if we want to have spiritual growth, there are going to be seasons of tearing down. In the body of believers there must always be a continuous process where we look for the practices that have crept into the community, things of the world that just don’t belong among those who call upon the name of the Lord. If we don’t I promise you, before you know it, we will be so far off course that we will not even be able to tell where the original path or destination is.
Yeshua said in Matt 7:
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
The way has always been narrow, yet, with our 38,000 denominations of “Christianity” there always seems to be a way to find some justification for accepting everyone’s divergent opinion. If the way is narrow there can only be one way to serve the Lord, and it must be His way, the way it was from the beginning.
6“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
7“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’
Rav Shaul (Paul) said in 2 Corinthians 6:
14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Messiah with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16Or what agreement has the temple of the Lord with idols? For we are the temple of the living Elohim; just as YHVH said,
“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.
17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
“And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 “And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.
In this passage Rav Shaul is echoing the sentiment from Lev 26:12, Ez 11:20, Is 52 :11 and Hos 1:10.
These were all promises made to Israel; but in this Corinthian passage, Shaul seems to be applying the promise to these Gentile citizens of Rome. So no one can say that these statements were intended for the Jews only. No one can say that there is a different standard for the Gentile believers. They too must tear down any association with the pagan world. They too must not touch the unclean thing.
14‘If an alien sojourns with you, or one who may be among you throughout your generations, and he wishes to make an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD, just as you do so he shall do. 15‘As for the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the LORD. 16‘There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.’”
If the Scriptures make it clear that this behavior was forbidden for Israel, and if the Gentile believers are now the adopted seed of Abraham, then what in the world makes them exempt from tearing down all pagan influences in their walk? Why should their walk be any different than the natural born children? If Gentile believers want the blessings they must also accept the responsibility that goes with it.
If one makes the attempt to build a building he must make sure that the corner stone is perfectly square. The rest of the building will be set against the corner stone. If the corner stone is not square and the building is still built against it, then you can be sure that the rest of the building will not be stable. It must be torn down; the foundation is faulty. There is no difference when it comes to our theology. It must be built on a firm foundation. The Lord set that standard right from the beginning, and there must be no deviation at all – not even just one degree.
30‘Go, say to them, “Return to your tents.” 31‘But as for you, stand here by Me, that I may speak to you all the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I give them to possess.’ 32“So you shall observe to do just as the LORD your Elohim has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33“You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your Elohim has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess.’”
We do not have the liberty to say that as long as our hearts are sincere then the Lord understands if we do things that are not according to His standard. The only right we have is to seek His will and do it as we become aware of it. If we find as a result of our study that we are not in His will, then we must tear down anything that threatens our pursuit of His will, even if we have done it for years.
22But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
Predominantly the “Church” has said for centuries that the Lord blesses their offerings of praise through their celebrations and what they call their New Testament standard of freedom. They seem to think that in their standard that they have been set free to ignore all that the Lord set in motion in the Tenach (First Testament). I would like to ask this one question, with that 38,000 plus denominations of “Christianity” How is that standard working for you?
I have a major problem looking at all of the dysfunction and disunity in the body and accepting this as the Lord’s perfect plan. I am advocating for tearing down all practices that take us away from the cornerstone. If one feels the need to argue this point then they had better be prepared to give a Biblical reason why.
Let me give you an example of a Biblical standard that has been changed or compromised to allow a deviation from the straight and narrow.
Laws of Religious Festivals
1The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD’S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:
3‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.
4‘These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.
In Lev 23 we see that the Lord tells us of His appointed times and season. The first festival appointed for us is the Shabbat (Sabbath). In many places the Children of Israel were rebuked for violating this ordained weekly festival. The Shabbat was given by the Lord as a declaration that in six days He created the heavens and the earth. Because we refused to celebrate as He prescribed, we see that all manner of false doctrines have arisen. One of the most predominant is the theory of evolution. By refusing to acknowledge this day and teach it to our children, we have inadvertently contributed to this falsehood. Just one little thing like changing His Shabbat day from the 7th day of the week to Sunday the first day of the week has allowed all manner of foolish teachings to arise. Once you leave truth, the falsehood will spread like gangrene. It is often subtle but it is always insidious. It makes no difference what our intention is. If the Lord gives us a specific way in which He wants things done, then to stray from that path will eventually cause a course change, even if your intention was to arrive at the appointed destination. If we don’t continually check our bearings and make corrections on the journey, we will never make it to the appointed destination. When we become lazy, complacent, or arrogant and don’t follow the proper bearings, we will not make it to the final destination. We don’t know what is best. The Lord does and we have all that we need by way of instructions to arrive. We must be willing to tear down anything that keeps us off the path or obstructs our progress.
Another issue that has arisen because we refuse to follow His detailed instructions is the denial of the resurrection. Once we decided to change the appointed days for what was thought to be a better way, we made the resurrection impossible to defend. Most people in the “Church” celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection as an event that happened on a Friday afternoon till Sunday morning. This not what the Scriptures say. The resurrection is meticulously interwoven in the Passover and it’s prophetic declarations, not the pagan hollow day of Ishtar celebrating the fertility goddess of Rome.
40for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
How in the world do we get three days and three nights from a Friday death and burial to Sunday morning resurrection? This was the declaration of Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 at the council of Nicaea. He changed the very nature of this Holy day and set a date according to the pagan traditions of man and not the Lord’s appointed time.
And I quote.
“We also send you the good news of the settlement concerning the holy pasch, namely that in answer to your prayers this question also has been resolved. All the brethren in the East who have hitherto followed the Jewish practice will henceforth observe the custom of the Romans and of yourselves and of all of us who from ancient times have kept Easter together with you.”
“Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way. A course at once legitimate and honorable lies open to our most holy religion. Beloved brethren, let us with one consent adopt this course, and withdraw ourselves from all participation in their baseness. For their boast is absurd indeed, that it is not in our power without instruction from them to observe these things. . . .
In brief, that I may express my meaning in as few words as possible, it has been determined by the common judgment of all, that the most holy feast of Easter should be kept on one and the same day [Sunday]. For on the one hand a discrepancy of opinion on so sacred a question is unbecoming, and on the other it is surely best to act on a decision which is free from strange folly and error. . . .”
For the sake of clarification, the day that Constantine declared that Easter (“Resurection”) should be celebrated was the first Sunday after the full moon of the spring equinox. Who gave him the authority to change one of the Lord’s appointed times?
“On 3 March 321, Constantine decreed that Sunday (dies Solis) will be observed as the Roman day of rest. On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.”
Nowhere in the Scriptures can you find defense for a Sunday morning resurrection, or a substitute of the Shabbat for a Sunday. This topic I have dealt with in detail in one of my other blogs. This arose because the pagan traditions of men were synchrotized into the Biblical narrative. No matter how hard we try, no matter what our “good” intention is, the true prophetic Gospel message suffers because of our substitution for the man made. The only thing that can be done at this point is to tear down and start all over according to the Lord’s instructions. Only then will the message make sense.
12“Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. 13“But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their ◙ Asherim 14—for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous Elohim— 15otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, 16and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods. 17“You shall make for yourself no molten gods.
If we take the days that were dedicated to pagan deities, sprinkle holy water on them and declare them now to be “Christianized”, “redeemed”, “sanctified”, aren’t we making a covenant with paganism?
1“When the LORD your Elohim brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, 2and when the LORD your Elohim delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3“Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4“For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. 5“But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their ◙ Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. 6“For you are a holy people to the LORD your Elohim; the LORD your Elohim has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
If, as it says in Eph chapter 2 …
1”And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4But Elohim, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together ◙ with Messiah”
…then no matter who you are – Jew or Gentile – if you are a follower of Messiah, then you are commanded to stop walking according to the course of this world, no matter what you think or feel.