FOOD SACRIFICED TO IDOLS
FOOD SACRIFICED TO IDOLS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Lord Jesus rebuked the church in Pergamos because there were members of the assembly who held the teaching of Balaam, including eating food sacrificed to idols. Many people of today partake of "food" sacrificed to idols. Not all of these idols are commonly referred to as sin, but each of them is often a source of gratification for demons.
Table of Contents
Violence Entertainment Partying Profanity Alcohol, drugs, tobacco Acquiring money The love of luxury The thirst for knowledge The desire for power and prestige Gluttony Witchcraft Improved communication techniques Pursuing excellence in music and other art forms The love of excitement and thrills The worship of one’s children Lust and perversions Excessive interest in health and physique, exhibitionism, narcissism Feminism, cross-dressing
FOOD SACRIFICED TO IDOLS
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (Revelation 2:4)
"Things sacrificed unto idols"!
During the days of the Apostles the heathen temples contained public cafeterias where one could eat food that had been offered to the demon gods.
As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. (I Corinthians 8:4)
For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; (I Corinthians 8:10)
We have been in India and have seen the idols placed along the river banks. We know very little about the idols of India. We are much more familiar with the idols of Western civilization. So we will discuss the various idols of the Western world.
To eat something is to incorporate it into one’s personality so that it becomes part of him. The following areas of personality and behavior are part of the personality and behavior of numerous people of Western culture. Yet they often are harmful and actually are, in many instances, part of the demon world.
The believers have been commanded to use their time wisely because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). To participate in the areas of behavior we are discussing is often a waste of the believer’s time—time that should be spent in seeking and serving the Lord.
This list of idols is not intended to be in order of importance.
Violence. Violence is one of the chief gods of our day. A great portion of television programming is devoted to the present fighting among nations, murder, robbery, and rape in the large cities, and television dramas with violence as their theme. Murder and fighting are before us constantly.
Stress is placed upon carrying a gun for self-defense, or learning different forms of fighting so that the individual can protect himself. Some Christian people train their sons in various forms of self-defense. It may be better for the child to teach him to trust in the Lord than how to injure an opponent. Why should we teach our children to be violent when this is not the way of the Lord?
In the United States, as well as in some other countries, the violent man is glorified. He is the masculine hero who carries a machine gun in each hand or is expert in karate. He is not God’s hero.
God’s Hero is the Lord Jesus Christ. Of all men who have lived on the earth the Lord Jesus was the strongest in character, the most courageous. We should imitate Him in every aspect of His Person, not the reckless, wild, lustful adamic man of violence.
Whoever admires and seeks to imitate the violent adamic man is eating food offered to idols. The demons are gratified when human beings injure and kill each other.
Those who live by violence shall die by violence.
God’s saints are not violent people and they do not admire or practice violence.
Entertainment. It used to be that people would go to some form of entertainment once a month, or sometimes once a week. Now people are entertained by the television several hours a day. This is neither wholesome nor godly.
We do not need this much entertainment! The believer will never make a success of the Christian discipleship until he spends time each day in prayer, in waiting on the Lord, in meditating in the Scriptures. Religious devotion of this kind leaves little time for watching the antics of Satan and his demons.
Time spent in front of the television set is not only unprofitable, it is harmful—destructive of spiritual development. We have been commanded to not be conformed to the present world. The television set conforms us to the present world. We have been exhorted to make good use of our time. Watching television is not time occupied with building the Kingdom of God.
The five demon gods, lust, violence, drunkenness and revelry, covetousness, and witchcraft compose the great bulk of television programming. Those who occupy a portion of each day with television watching are partaking of these five gods and shall suffer accordingly.
The Christian family should never permit their children to watch the secular television. The programming is of Satan. There are alternatives to television, such as indoor games, outdoor games, reading, puzzles, filmstrips, and video cassettes. There are a multitude of religious filmstrips and video cassettes that are useful for acquainting children with Christian values.
No doubt there soon will be on the market a number of interactive computer programs that enhance Christian teaching.
To sit the child in front of the secular television programs is to fill him or her with Satan’s values. Is this what we want?
If we deliver our children to Satan in this manner they will turn against us when they are older and hand us over to the authorities for being religious fanatics. The day of persecution is at hand!
To watch the secular television programs, even the news, can be to partake of food offered to demons if we do not continue to be diligent in prayer. We know the news is biased in favor of non-Christian values and we must keep this in the forefront of our mind.
If we want to know what really is going on in the world we need to spend an hour in prayer each day.
Partying. To party is to abandon one’s self to "fun." It is normal for children to have fun and play games. Children grow and learn about life and their surroundings while they are playing games.
The adamic believer, even though an adult in age, is still a child in that every once in a while he must have "fun." He must let his spiritual guard down, throw caution to the winds, and "enjoy himself." This is an excellent time for the enemy of his soul to cause him to say or do something harmful to the Kingdom of God.
Christians often do not understand the difference between fun and joy. Fun is a somewhat frantic exercise of the fleshly nature. Fun is possible only as long as the person’s circumstances are pleasing. One does not have fun while sick or in prison.
Joy, on the other hand, is a fruit of the Spirit of God. Joy is a deeply settled peace and sense of well-being. The saint has deep joy that flourishes in good times and bad, when at liberty or in prison, when in good health or sick, when prospects are good or dreadful. The further we walk with the Lord the stronger and more consistent our joy becomes.
The Lord said that He gives us of His joy.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. (John 15:11)
Can you imagine the Lord saying, "that my fun might remain in you"? Do you believe the Lord Jesus had much fun while He was on the earth? Therefore we see there is an important difference between fun and joy. Fun is of the flesh. Joy is of the Lord.
The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit of God.
Christians who love to "party," who believe that unless they are having fun they are not experiencing life as they should, are still of the first man, Adam. God in His love will soon chasten them severely so that Adam will be crucified and the new creation, the joyful creation, will come forth.
When we think of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand in a straitjacket, in solitary confinement thirty feet below ground in a Communist prison in Bucharest, gagged to muffle his insane howlings, in a cell so cold his pet spider froze to death, we find it difficult to sympathize with Christian adults or young people who did not have fun during their Saturday-night party (Richard Wurmbrand, With God in Solitary Confinement, Living Sacrifice Book Company, P.O. Box 2273, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1993).
Another problem is that Christian people do not understand the difference between a party and Christian fellowship. It is a simple matter to tell the difference. If it is easy and compatible with what is going on to pray, to speak of the Lord, to prophesy, to build up one another in the faith, then one is having fellowship. These behaviors are out of place at a party. One is much more likely to hear jesting and gossip than words that build us up in the faith.
The demons are a merry group and love to dance and sing, as we can notice on the friezes on the temples in India. They love parties because they then can infiltrate the fleshly antics of unguarded believers.
To love parties is to love food sacrificed to idols.
Profanity. Profanity is very common in our day. The Puritan and other Christian influences have in time past prevented widespread use of profanity and obscenities in the newspapers and in television programming. There is now a rapidly increasing appearance of filthy language—especially in the Hollywood presentations.
A Christian would never employ profanity or obscene language if he could see the demon that was in his mouth. The demon world speaks constantly in profanities, obscenities—every unclean form of speech available. And in every language!
When people are filled with rage or fear they often take the Lord’s name in vain or spew out obscenities. The demons find gratification in such behavior for it is they themselves, dwelling in the mouth and controlling it, who are speaking.
No Christian ever at any time is to speak profanely or in an obscene manner. To do so is to eat at the table of demons.
Alcohol, drugs, tobacco. The world is a place of pain and dread. God has given to us His Holy Spirit to encourage and strengthen us so we can make our way through the world without succumbing to worry or discouragement.
People drink alcohol in order to escape momentarily from the pain and dread of life—and no doubt for other reasons. The Christian believer should never drink alcohol because it conflicts with the ministries, gifts, and movements of the Holy Spirit. We have been in a home group meeting where people had partaken of a little wine with their meal. The interference with the Holy Spirit was obvious.
We are aware that in many countries the use of wine and beer does not have the same stigma among Christians as is true of the United States.
The Nazirite vow, such as that resting on Samson (Judges 13:5), suggests that separation to God includes abstinence from alcohol. The Israelites could enjoy all the fruit of the vine, but not the Nazarite. He was separated to God for God’s special purposes.
Every Christian who desires to live the victorious life should regard himself or herself as a "Nazirite." The conquering Christian does not look for fleshly activities he can practice and yet remain a Christian. Rather, he is continually seeking to discover what he can do to improve his relationship to the Lord.
The Christian is a soldier, a spiritual warrior. His adversary, the devil, never rests. The Christian must keep all of his faculties finely honed, perpetually ready to counter the devices of Satan. The conquering Christian does not consider what other believers may do but is intent on serving the Lord to the utmost of his ability.
It is claimed that alcohol destroys brain cells. The Christian never, never does anything that would defile his or her body because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Drunkenness, the impairment of the faculties through the use of alcohol, is one of the most common manifestations of demonic gratification in the world of today. It is food offered to idols.
Drugs also are food offered to idols. Like alcohol, people use drugs to gain some relief from the pain and dread of life on the earth. Drugs have been used historically in many—perhaps all—countries. The use of drugs is a major social concern of our day.
People employ drugs to gain entrance to the spirit realm, the realm of demons. Materialism does not satisfy the human personality and so the "scientific," "educated," "sophisticated" citizens of the large nations are turning to the occult for satisfaction. Drugs are one way of moving from the material to the spirit world.
There is evidence that drugs do permanent injury to the brain. Some authorities have stated that schizophrenia, for example, may result from drug use. It is obvious that the individual is disabled mentally, at least temporarily.
It is difficult to picture the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, smoking a pipe, cigar, or cigarette. Regardless of one’s culture, the Lord Jesus is never seen with a pipe, cigar, or cigarette.
The victorious, obedient saint seeks always to be like his Lord. He is not, as we said previously, attempting to determine what he can do and still be a "Christian." He is not seeing how close he can walk to the Lake of Fire without toppling in.
People smoke or chew tobacco because they are not content with their body and their circumstances. They must add to their personality in order to be approved, to quiet their nerves, or for some other reason.
Can you imagine the Lord Jesus chewing tobacco?
The scientific research that has been conducted relative to cigarette smoking has proved beyond all doubt that smoking produces a number of serious, debilitating ailments. Also, pipe smoking has been associated with cancer of the mouth.
The Scripture informs us that God will destroy the person who deliberately injures his or her own body with alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (I Corinthians 3:16,17)
Alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes defile the temple of God. They are foods offered to idols. The demons derive satisfaction when they can prevail on a human being to partake of them.
Acquiring money. The Scriptures reveal clearly, from Balaam to Ananias and Sapphira, that the love of money is the root of all evil.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Timothy 6:10)
The numerous sins and excesses of the several "civilized" nations of our day have their root in the love of money. Most of the crime is caused by the desire to acquire money. The professions, from school-teaching to law to medicine, are often not pursued with the idea of helping people but to get more money from them.
Money is the God of Western civilization. The citizens of the large nations could not conceive of a world without money. Everything that is done is carried through in terms of money, with very little exception.
Wars are fought because of money. Much of the world is naked and starving because those with a surplus love money. The governments govern unjustly because of the love of money. People look to money to bring them love, joy, and peace when these treasures can come only from God.
No person can serve God and money. We are forced to choose between the two. We can gain our security, pleasure, and achievement through the use of money or through prayer and obedience to God. This is one of the basic decisions we make in life.
The pursuit of more money than is needed for our welfare and the welfare of those for whom we are responsible is a food offered to idols. The wise believer will ask God to remove this demon-God from him. He will be infinitely happier as soon as he is totally delivered from the love and worship of money.
The love of luxury. A person’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses, the Lord informed us. Yet, in the large nations of Western civilization, an abundance of material comforts is considered not only to be desirable but to be essential to the proper care and comfort of the believer.
In fact, we are being told lately that material prosperity is the sign of God’s blessing.
However, the Scripture testifies that the Gospel has been given to the poor.
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? (James 2:5)
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9)
We are not encouraging a spirit of poverty. If the Lord makes it possible for a brother or sister to improve his or her economic position, this is a blessing. But every material possession we obtain makes it that much more difficult to attend on the Lord. Only we can decide whether we govern our possessions or our possessions govern us.
It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God.
The quickest, surest way to kill one’s spiritual life is to become occupied with material goods. The Christians of the Western nations, for the most part, are spiritually feeble. This is because they are glutted with material prosperity. They have traded the riches of Christ for the plastic trinkets of the world system.
Antichrist will make certain that the citizens of the world will have an abundance of things, knowing through his satanic wisdom that material luxury will kill the Life of God in people.
To claim that we must be surrounded by "nice things" is to reveal we are partaking of food offered to idols.
The thirst for knowledge. We of the Western world have great knowledge—or so we think! Knowledge produces pride. Pride of knowledge prevents the working of the miracles of God in our midst.
The pursuit of secular knowledge is highly valued in Western culture. Yet, God is not impressed with this value nor does He encourage it. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake is worthless. The important things of the Kingdom are love, joy, peace, obedience to God, patience, and faithfulness. When we cultivate these we are pleasing to the Lord. Knowledge is important only when it is essential to our role and responsibilities.
God has made man upright but he has sought out many inventions. To fear God and to keep His commandments is all that is required of us. There is no end to the making of books. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. When we are abiding in Him He will furnish us with all we need to know in order to please God.
The Western emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge for knowledge’s sake is a food offered to idols. He who would bless his children will place a greater value on their knowledge of the Lord than their knowledge of the facts of the universe. If they will fear God and keep His commandments they will fulfill their whole duty in life.
The advent of the personal computer is making it possible for children and young people to acquire vast amounts of knowledge. In the present hour this input of knowledge is not being balanced with a corresponding emphasis on biblical values. Because of this the next generation of people will bring down the wrath of God on their countries because of their shameful behavior.
The desire for power and prestige. The desire for power and prestige is the primary motivation of many believers, both male and female. It is truly a satanic impulse. Why should we seek to govern or be more important than our brothers and sisters in the Lord?
We can notice in the governments of the world the lying, stealing, and other sins that occur as people seek to dominate other people, to be the most powerful, the most important person. This is true also among Christians, particularly in a denominational setting. There are believers who are excellent in political maneuvering. They strive until they obtain an important office in the denomination.
Many such officers and administrators are hard-working and do an excellent job of keeping an organization running smoothly. The problem is not that some people are administrators, it is the love of power and prestige. Instead of the job being a joyful serving of the Lord and other people the role of the administrator becomes associated with maneuvering for position in order to be important and to dominate one’s associates.
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: (Matthew 20:25-27)
For a brother to seek to be superior to, or more important than, or to dominate another brother in the Lord is not of the Kingdom of God. It is food offered to an idol, a demon-God.
All that is required of each one of us is to find his appointed role in the Kingdom, to perform it faithfully, and to be content.
Gluttony. Gluttony is the eating of more food than is needed for good health.
It is desirable to have a healthy appetite. In Western civilization the appetite of people often far surpasses their bodily hunger.
Because of the abundance of food many of the citizens are overweight. Being overweight causes a number of health problems. Overeating may have its root in psychological causes and it is not a simple matter for some believers to restrict their intake of food until normal weight is attained.
We do not wish to burden a believer who is eating too much because of insecurity, lack of self-control, or some other psychological problem. They themselves wish they could cease eating so much. They would regain normal weight if they could.
It would be well for an obese believer to consult with a physician to see if medical assistance is needed before starting on a dietary program.
In some instances it may be sufficient to make a strong determination to cease eating so much, and then to pray and ask the Lord’s help in cutting down on our intake of food, particularly food that is high in calories. In no case should we indulge in excessive eating if we can avoid doing so. Gluttony is a food offered to an idol.
Fascination with athletic events. Some of the Western nations are heavily involved in amateur and professional athletics. Much time is spent thinking and talking about the feats of various teams and individuals.
While games and physical exercise are beneficial for people, the massive amounts of money and time devoted to sports in the Western world is idolatrous. The Bible commands us to redeem the time, that is, to use our time and energy wisely in terms of the enormous needs of the nations of the earth to learn of the Kingdom of God and of the provisions God has made for our salvation.
The Apostle Paul informs us that the soldier of Christ does not entangle himself with the affairs of this present life. For the Christian to spend his precious hours talking and speculating about athletic events may make him a candidate for a stern rebuke from the Lord and possible placement in outer darkness.
Can you imagine the Lord Jesus talking about who won what football or soccer game? The Lord Jesus was about His Father’s business from the age of twelve. We too are to be about our Father’s business, not engaging in the idolatrous worship of athletic events.
The Christian who is preoccupied with sports should ask the Lord if our exhortation applies in his or her case. Fascination with athletics can be a food offered to idols. Let the victorious saint flee from it!
Witchcraft. Those of us who are older would never have believed that we would see the day in which Satan is worshiped openly in the United States of America. But that time is here now.
The last two hundred years or so have seen an increased emphasis on materialism and behavioral psychology. The rejection of duality, stressing that the individual has no invisible soul but consists only of what the individual practices in his body, is characteristic of materialistic thinking. So is the concept that the human being is born a blank slate and becomes whatever his circumstances write on the slate.
Materialism is a cold bedfellow. Human beings do have a soul and spirit and they are part material and part spiritual. People desire to experience the supernatural, the spirit world. They hunger for the touch of the metaphysical. Because the Christian churches have not been close enough to the Lord to provide supernatural experiences for their congregations, the people are turning toward other sources in order to satisfy their hunger for experiences outside the material world.
Spiritual experiences outside Christ are demonic. People become involved with demons and bound by horrible fallen angels. God becomes jealous when people worship the fallen spirits, and it often is very difficult to get back to the Lord once we have engaged in any form of witchcraft or metaphysical practices.
When we attempt to manipulate the spirit realm by "faith," imaging, "positive thinking," speaking creative words, or any other metaphysical device, we are entering a dangerous area of the spirit realm. If the reader has ignorantly participated in one or more of these faith-prosperity schemes we urge him or her to turn to the Lord Jesus immediately and ask His forgiveness and His help in casting out any spiritual bondage that may have been acquired.
Please keep in mind that there are only two forces in the spirit realm: God and Satan. There is no third neutral force. All that is not of God is of Satan. All that is not of Satan is of God. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is the Door to that which is of God. We are to turn our attention toward Jesus, not toward our faith, imaging, will, positive words, or any other soulish effort to control the spirit realm. To use soul force to accomplish our goals is to come under the government of Satan.
Attempts to manipulate the material environment by projecting our soul, whether or not such attempts are performed in the name of the Lord Jesus, are food offered to idols.
Improved communication techniques. Never in the history of man have there been the communication devices that are present today. Computerized information technology is developing at a geometric rate. No doubt in ten years the present computers, fax machines, modems, networks, will appear as the horse and buggy does today.
We expect that before too long most people on the earth will be able to communicate by sound and sight with each other by means of an instrument worn on the wrist like a watch.
Improved communication services have no merit in themselves. If they are employed to communicate God’s holy Word, then they are beneficial. If they are employed to communicate evil behaviors, then they are satanic.
To pursue ever more sophisticated communication ability is not virtuous of itself and believers need to understand this. Communication is not a God to be worshiped. It is to be used in God’s service. The believer is not to become occupied with communication devices that are not used in God’s service unless he is employed by a communications company or something of this nature. Communicating with other people is not to be a fascinating hobby.
Although personal computers and the Internet are in their infancy, already there are a large number of software manufacturers who will provide you with explicit erotica so you can sit a home and wallow in the lusts of the flesh.
The development of communication technology represents, as someone said, "improved means to unimproved ends." Let us remember that to engage in communication technology as such, apart from our daily necessities, is a food offered to idols.
The Internet is making it possible for us to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations. Although we have been on the Internet just a few years we already have been visited on our site by over seventy countries, and the list is growing. This is in answer to a prayer uttered more than twenty-five years ago that God would enable us to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom wherever people breathe the air. We are well on our way, thank God forever, to doing just that. This prayer was spoken before personal computers were available.
Our primary communication is to be directed toward the Lord.
Pursuing excellence in music and other art forms. The author of this booklet has had fairly extensive training as a pianist. He is aware of how easily the pursuit of excellence in the performance of music can become an idol. There is little value in the development of artistic excellence unless the Lord should guide the individual into such an enterprise.
If a person were to perfect his performance of Beethoven on the piano so that he performed the sonatas far better than any other pianist of history, he would have accomplished little. He would perform before audiences of people who would be entertained, and then go out and live lives that are not pleasing to the Lord. The virtuoso has spent numerous backbreaking hours mastering Beethoven, only to die and find he has wasted the time on earth allotted to him. He or she has succeeded only in scattering the things of Christ.
The Lord Jesus commanded us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. When we do not do this we are wasting our time on the earth.
The pursuit of musical or artistic excellence for its own sake is a food offered to idols.
The love of excitement and thrills. The people of the large nations of Western civilization seek after excitement and thrills. The lust for greater and greater thrills has led the moving picture directors to produce films about violence, gruesome death, monsters of the spirit world, and other forms of shock and horror. Each film strives to stimulate more shock and horror than the previous.
Often we hear believers refer to a church service or program as being "exciting." People want their church activities to be exciting. Young people seek thrills of one sort or another. After our basic needs of food and shelter have been provided we look for something to relieve the boredom.
Oswald Chambers in one of his books mentions that boredom is a major foe of the Christian believer. This is the truth. Christian character is formed in the patient, plodding, day-to-day obedience to the words of the Apostles. We must always live as though God is using us in a tremendous manner even when decades pass without our being called on (as far as we know) to do anything of significance.
We must always keep praying, keep looking to the Lord, always ready to obey His slightest summons. It is easy to serve the Lord when we are marching in the grand parade of revival. The true Christian saint is at his best during the long periods of time when it seems nothing is happening.
The adamic nature insists on excitement and thrills. The new nature being created in us finds contentment in the little blessings given each day. The faithful servant puts one foot in front of the other until the Lord calls him home. If he is used in some obvious, spectacular manner he holds steady before the Lord. During the seasons when nothing eventful takes place he holds steady before the Lord. He is consistent, dependable, and possesses integrity of character. He stands as a rock in his place round about the camp.
There are many pastors who "keep the people coming" by always having some exciting new program. The faithful pastor is more concerned for the spiritual growth of his flock than he is with keeping them coming to church. He makes certain in prayer that each event he brings to the assembly results in the building up of Christ in the believers.
To lust for excitement and thrills is to eat food offered to demons.
The worship of one’s children. The most marvelous inheritance one can have is children. In some instances people, serving the demons of self-interest, are murdering their own children while still in the womb. In a few countries of the world the children are starving to death. In other countries children are shot in the street because they are orphans and therefore excess baggage. Sometimes children are sold into prostitution.
Truly, ours is a demon-filled world!
In the Western, "Christian," democratic, "free" nations, there sometimes occurs the worship of children. The children govern the household. Mothers are in an unhealthy relationship with their children, doting on them, giving them their every desire, refusing to correct them with vigor. Sometimes the mother views her little boy as a miniature husband and attempts to share her concerns with him. She would be pleased if her actual husband left and lived someplace else.
There is a proper role for the father, for the mother, and for the children in a wholesome family environment. The father should be the head. The mother should guide the home and rear the children with the father’s loving interest and assistance. The children are to be raised in the Presence of the Lord with much emphasis on God’s kindness, His love, and His Word.
At the proper time of development the child should be taught to respect legitimate authority and to fear to disobey the instructions given to him or her, with God being the highest authority. Each of these roles and relationships must be wrought in Christ. They all must be conducted in Christ.
When the relationship is linked from person to person, husband to wife, wife to husband, mother to child, and is not founded in Christ, it will not endure. The relationship becomes idolatrous.
Every relationship must be "on the altar." This means that God can end that relationship at any time without our losing one speck of our love for God or our trust in God. We are to hold all things and people lightly, for the world is passing away.
If the child becomes so elevated in the household that he cannot be corrected he will become a little tyrant, always demanding that his wishes be granted immediately. Children soon learn whether they can assert their self-will or whether they must defer to the will of those who are over them in the Lord—their parents and their teachers. They also learn when they successfully can set one adult against another.
Mothers in the wealthy nations are heard to say, "My child must have the best," meaning every luxury and every advantage. This is a food offered to an idol. The truth is, the child must be filled as much as possible with the Word and worship of God. The knowledge of the Lord is the best gift any parent can give his child, along with a due respect for authority. If the child loves, fears, and obeys God, then the parent has given his or her child "the best."
Lust and perversions. The Western, "Christian" nations are filled with every form of sexual lust and perversion. They claim to be the "free" nations of the world. The truth is, they are the slaves of the most hideous monsters one can imagine.
All of the ancient sins are on the increase, from homosexuality to the offering of human sacrifice in satanic rituals. Pornography is widespread. The use of children as objects of lust is common in the democratic nations. In the public schools of America an attempt is being made to convince children that moral perversions are normal and we must accept every individual with open arms no matter how morally filthy his behavior becomes.
We are but a short distance from legalized man-boy relationships, legalized incest, and legalized relationships with animals. These abominations do not differ in kind from what is taking place, only in the degree of public acceptance. Americans are using the Bill of Rights of their Constitution to force open the floodgates of moral filth. America in the present hour is overrun with demons, and she is not alone among the Western nations.
How long will God permit His earth to be overrun with demons? We cannot say. History warns us that it will not be long before Divine judgment overtakes us.
Satan and his forces in the spirit realm somehow obtain gratification from the practice of lust and perversions. To engage in such abominations is to eat food offered to idols.
Excessive interest in health and physique, exhibitionism, narcissism. Excessive interest in health and physique is another instance of a normal, desirable trait expanded until it becomes a demonic bondage. The human body is a scientific marvel, an instrument that only God could design and develop. It is well adapted to serve as a vehicle for our spirit and soul.
With all of this we must keep in mind that the physical body is the vehicle designed by the Lord to teach us humble dependence on God. Although we are sons of God we have been made lower than the angels. We are seeking to exist and to learn the ways of the Lord while imprisoned in this foolish, animal form. As the Lord said, "The flesh profits nothing."
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. If we obey the Lord the day will come when our body is redeemed from death and filled with the Spirit of God. Then it will be an integral part of the new Jerusalem. Meanwhile it is passing away with its appetites and lusts.
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. (I Corinthians 6:13)
Our body is dead because of sin, but if we follow the Lord He will raise it up at His coming. We do not owe it to our dead, sinful body to become a slave to its appetites and lusts. If we keep subjecting our body to the discipline of the Holy Spirit we will enter eternal life. If we do not we will slay our own resurrection, the resurrection that is unto life in the Presence of the Lord.
We are wise when we take care of our body properly, paying attention to diet, exercise, and a reasonable balance between work and relaxation. If we do not we soon will be living in weakness and pain because of our lack of moderation and self-control.
There are instances when people—even believers—give undue attention to their health and their bodily form. The body becomes their idol. Far too much attention is spent on body building or vitamins and health foods. One’s physical appearance and health become first in important rather than the serving of the Lord.
It may be true that exhibitionism and narcissism are related to the overemphasis on physique and health. Narcissism is the excessive admiration of oneself. Exhibitionism is the desire to display oneself (sometimes indecently) in such a manner as to attract attention. It is an unclean fascination with one’s form and a desire to show one’s form to others.
Excessive interest in health and physique, narcissism, and exhibitionism, are food offered to idols.
Feminism, cross-dressing. Feminism, the desire of women to fulfill the role of men in various areas of life, is a strong factor in democratic nations. In some countries of the world women are treated like cattle. In others they are judges and leaders of government. It is never righteous to treat a woman like an animal one owns. Also, it is not ordinarily desirable for women to rule over men.
Why does Satan put in women the desire to be men, and in men the desire to be women? Is Satan merely acting spitefully toward God?
It is our point of view that the current attempts to warp the roles of the male and female is Satan’s attempt to prevent the birth of children. Paul says that the woman will be saved in childbearing. No person can enter the Kingdom of God until he or she has first been born of a woman. Thus the woman has an extremely important role in the Kingdom—that of giving birth to its members.
Satan is determined to prevent the bringing forth of children and their upbringing in the knowledge of the Lord. This is especially true of today because in the present hour God is bringing forth people who will be of first rank in His Kingdom. There is a Joshua generation at hand! Many who are last in time are destined to be first in the Kingdom of God.
Homosexuality, lesbianism, abortion, sexual perversion, molestation, feminism—all prevent or tend to inhibit either the bringing forth of children or their upbringing in the knowledge of the Lord.
Cross-dressing, men wearing women’s clothing and women wearing men’s clothing, the feminine man and the masculine woman, are Satan’s efforts to change the Divinely defined roles of men and women. What is the net result? It is the prevention of the bringing forth and training up of children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
How blessed is the home where the father is a godly man governing the home in the Presence of the Lord, and the mother is a godly woman loving and nurturing the children according to God’s Word. Children thus raised are of eternal value in the Kingdom of God.
Our generation has become so corrupt there are few such homes it appears. Our day is, as Paul says, "the present distress" (I Corinthians 7:26). Knowing the present life is soon to pass away, let us pray night and day that the Lord will save our families into His eternal Kingdom.
The evening of the Day of the Lord is coming to a close. The glorious day of eternity is at hand, the era without end in which every day will be more wonderful, more filled with joy than the previous.
The idols, the demon gods, soon will be no more. Let us therefore have nothing to do with them. Let us rather look continually to our Lord Jesus who through His own Virtue and wisdom will enable us to overcome the idols and to enter His Presence with the fullness of joy.
When we recognize that we are partaking of that which is offered to the demon-gods, what are we to do?
God has given us a helpful example in the story of Achan, the troubler of Israel.
But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel. (Joshua 7:1)
When we practice the behaviors that gratify the demon-gods, the idols, we are committing a "trespass in the accursed thing."
Whenever we partake of that which is cursed of the Lord we cause Israel to be defeated in battle. We defeat not only ourselves but all who are associated with us. We have given place to Satan.
And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. (Joshua 7:5)
Sometimes the first indication we have that there is a problem in our Christian life is that we begin to lose our peace and are experiencing defeat. Something seems to be out of harmony in our fellowship with the Lord. It is not always obvious to us where the fault lies. All we know is we are not at our best spiritually and are growing uncomfortable with our circumstances.
We are not to hang back in condemnation and depression. We are to go to the Lord and find out what the problem is. In some instances the feeling of defeat is an attack of the enemy and we are to resist it vigorously in faith, commanding it to leave. On other occasions it is an indication that something we are doing is not pleasing to the Lord.
And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. (Joshua 7:10,11)
The "food sacrificed to idols" in this instance was covetousness. Covetousness is idolatry. The love of money is the root of all evil.
When we discover what the problem is we are to turn to the Lord in a fierce renewal of our vows of holiness and consecration.
Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you. (Joshua 7:13)
If we turn to the Lord, He will show us where deliverance is needed.
In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the Lord taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the Lord shall take shall come by households; and the household which the Lord shall take shall come man by man. (Joshua 7:14)
We must prepare ourselves to have all of our imaginations, motives, words, and deeds brought before the Lord for His examination. The thought of such an exposure of our personality may frighten us but it has to be done. Satan loves the darkness. It is his environment. The saint runs to the light so that all of his personality and behavior may be examined by the Lord.
And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel. (Joshua 7:15)
We have to be ready to accept the baptism with fire. God does not deal gently with sin.
Deliverance from sin is not possible until first we make an iron determination that we want to be purged from the uncleanness.
Ours is a day in which there is much talk about deliverance. This is good. There are deliverance ministries that help and encourage the saints. We ourselves have been practicing deliverance, particularly moral deliverance for many years. We have found that the key factor in both moral and physical deliverance is the will of the believer.
The believer cannot deliver himself or herself either morally or physically by any amount of will power. On the other hand, if there is not an iron determination to be delivered there can be no permanent healing. Both physical and moral deliverance are lost if the individual does not resolutely, with all the will power and integrity he or she can summon, desire to be delivered and to stay delivered.
There may be perceived benefits in remaining bound, both physically and spiritually. Sometimes people continue to wallow in their disabilities because it forces healthy people to attend to them. Until the believer has rejected all of these and has determined he wants no part of bondage, either physically or morally, there will be no lasting release.
There is no manner in which we can heal ourselves physically by our will power. We have to combine our desire for healing with waiting on the Lord until He grants the healing. Just because someone is sick does not indicate that he or she lacks faith or desires to be sick.
As far as moral deliverance is concerned there are many practices we can just stop doing. We do not have to wait for lightning to strike us before we are delivered. In numerous instances if we will resist the devil he will flee from us. We are to stop sinning! As we call upon the Lord He will help us do just that.
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (I Corinthians 15:34)
We must "awake to righteousness." We must be diligent in the matter of deliverance from moral sin. We have to "rise up early" and make certain every trace of the enemy has been removed from us.
So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken: (Joshua 7:16)
One of the most important aspects of moral deliverance is a clear, well-defined statement of the bondage. It does little good to ask the Lord to remove all sin from us. We have to specify exactly what the Holy Spirit has revealed to us, precisely what has come to our attention.
It is better that we discuss our problems as sin. Many of the "foods offered to idols" can be referred to as a psychological problem. Often such an attitude is helpful in encouraging the individual to work through his or her problem without excessive condemnation or spiritualizing. However, it is well to keep in mind that evil practices have demonic counterparts. When we denounce them as sin the Divine judgment comes to our assistance.
The authority of the atoning blood of Christ and the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit forgive our behavior and bind and remove the spiritual agencies that are intensifying our psychological problems.
And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. (Joshua 7:19)
We give glory to God when we confess our sins clearly and distinctly, usually to God alone. However it often is very helpful to share our concerns with devout Christians who will pray with us without gossiping about what has been confessed to them. It is wise not to cross gender lines when doing this. More than one marriage has been broken up because the husband was caught up in the emotional problems of some other woman and decided to help her out by divorcing his own wife and marrying the distraught person. Except in the case of husband and wife, men should confess their needs to men and women to women.
And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: (Joshua 7:20)
Clear confession is a necessity if we are to obtain moral deliverance. Achan did not blame anyone else as Adam and Eve did. Achan, the "troubler of Israel," declared that he had sinned against the Lord God of Israel by taking items that had been banned by the Lord.
Often the principal idols of our personality are hidden. We need discernment in order to find the seat of Satan.
So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. (Joshua 7:22)
Once clear, specific confession has been made regarding our actions, the things we have done, we then are able to locate the hidden agencies that are influencing our conduct—the messengers of Satan that are finding open doors in our personality.
The problem and its root must be "laid out before the Lord."
And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. (Joshua 7:23)
Sometimes our sins are revealed before our death. In other instances they pass with us into the spirit realm at our death.
Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. (I Timothy 5:24)
It is dreadfully embarrassing to have everyone know of what has been concealed in our personality. Better this than to die with it still hidden! The Apostle Paul commanded Timothy to rebuke sinners publicly so that others would fear to commit the same sin. We certainly need a great deal of forbearance and wisdom before we recite anyone’s sins openly. But there are occasions when this may be best for the individual and the assembly. However, such an action should never be taken without prolonged consideration by the elders of the assembly and every other means of remedy has been exhausted.
After the sin has been confessed we are to take it to the "Valley of Achor." The Valley of Achor is the place of "troubling." All of the foods offered to idols trouble us, preventing God from finding rest in us and we from finding rest in God.
We are to take the sin and all that is associated with it in our mind, our mouth, and our actions, to the place of judgment. If we do not, if we leave one tiny trace of our idolatry, it will grow into a powerful force that will finally cause us to lose our crown. God wants the sin removed from us totally.
Notice that not only Achan, the sinner, was brought to judgment but also his entire family and all their possessions. When we sin we affect not only ourselves but our loved ones as well. If we yield to a spirit of adultery, or lying, or stealing, the spirit of the sin often will enter other members of the family, especially children and they will lie and steal, and commit adultery when they are grown.
And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. (Joshua 7:24)
What takes place in the Valley of Troubling? Israel puts the sin to death and then burns it with the fire of God.
And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. (Joshua 7:25)
Paul commands us to put our sins to death.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)
Matthew informs us that the Lord is ready to baptize us with the fire of Divine judgment, laying the axe to the root of the tree, removing all chaff from the threshing floor of our personality.
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)
Then the Lord’s wrath will be turned away from us.
And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day. (Joshua 7:26)
Now we are ready to proceed to the next victory.
And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: (Joshua 8:1)
We do not receive such comfort and assurance of victory from the Lord until His wrath has been turned away from us.
And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. (Isaiah 12:1)
We turn away the Lord’s anger when we specifically confess our sins as they are revealed to us. We repent of them diligently and put them to death by resolving with steel-like determination never, never, never to do such a thing again!
Then the Lord is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Divine fire of God’s judgment burns the idol, assigning it to the Lake of Fire where those who refuse to turn away from it will be in torment forever. In our mind we are to pile a great heap of stones over the sin, realizing that this particular part of our personality has suffered the eternal judgment of God.
As the process of judgment takes place the Lord comforts us and our fellowship with the Father is continually strengthened.
We never are completely delivered from sin until we come against it with the fierce determination of Israel against Achan. The sin and all the members of its family must be put to death and burned without mercy. Only then are we set free.
Individuals may refer to the various "foods" we are mentioning as harmless, innocent pastimes that the average person pursues whether or not her or she is a believer. They may keep on partaking of the delights of the demons. If they continue to resist godly counsel they will face an angry Christ who demands to know how they spent their allotted days on the earth.
But you and I will flee from such "foolish virgins" because we are seeking the city that has foundations—seeking it with all the strength of our personality, night and day, seven days a week until we die. We shall work the works of God until we pass on to the next world so that our work and our life on earth cease at the same moment. We are serious about serving the Lord and have no time for the hobbies of the multitude of careless Christians in Western civilization who wander about in their lukewarmness, adoring their pets, working on their antique cars, collecting their stamps, vacationing here and vacationing there, and otherwise wasting their time, expecting God to hand them eternal life on a platter.
The days of judgment are at hand for Western civilization. The Jews have had their holocaust and their troubles are not over yet. It is time now for the Gentile holocaust, and Christians will not be removed from the trouble that is coming. If we are wise we will prepare ourselves for the Divine judgment soon to fall by praying and seeking the Presence of the Lord.
Man allowed Satan to enter Paradise. Man, with the necessary assistance of the Lord Jesus Christ, must be the one to drive Satan from Paradise.
The program of judgment and deliverance must continue in our personality and behavior until we no longer partake of any food that is offered to an idol, to a demon-God.