Set the trumpet to your lips! One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant and rebelled against my law. To me they cry, "My God, we -- Israel -- know you." Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him. They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction. - Hosea 8: 1-4 (ESV)
Christians have gone and lost their minds this election season. Do not get me wrong, they usually do, but this time it is simply over the top. For decades now, Christians have sold themselves and God out to the Republican Party in this country. It did not matter who the candidate was, they were anointed as "God's choice" to defeat the godless Democrat, whoever they were. In 2000 it was a man who thought Jesus was a philosopher. In 2004 we were against the man with the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Silver Star and allowed him and his service to be unmercifully maligned while we waved the flag and double downed on George W. Bush. The same Bush who would admit in an outgoing interview that he believes all religions serve the same god. Lucy teed the football up for us again in 2008 as we sided with a man who as part of the Keating Five, cost this country 160 billion dollars in the Savings and Loan crisis. To top that off, he chose as his running mate someone so uniquely unqualified for the job that it should have demanded that we do not cast our vote for their ticket. But cast it we did. In 2012, we pretended that the choice of God was a member of a satanic cult! That's right; Mitt Romney the Mormon was also no ordinary Mormon. He was a direct descendent of one of the 12 founding apostles of Mormonism and tithed 25% of his enormous wealth to the Mormon Church. The Billy Graham organization even removed Mormonism from their list of cults six months before the election. Even God must have been shaking His head at what we would be willing to compromise for our own petty politics while pretending it is all for Him. A war mongering fake Christian, Sarah Palin, and a Mormon. That sounds like the start of a really bad joke but we have saved the punch line for this year -- Donald Trump.
Let me first state that this is not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Usually what we have seen so far this election season is that whenever someone has the temerity to point out how unbelievably unqualified Donald Trump is the response is focused on Hillary. That is not only nonsense but it is intellectually vacuous. If you hate Hillary that is fine but it does not make Donald Trump one iota more palatable as President of the United States. It certainly does not make him "God's choice." That is really more to this point. No one pretends that Hillary Clinton is God's choice. No one tries to find biblical defenses of why Christians should vote for Hillary Clinton. Yet that is what we constantly see on the other side. I saw recently a blog from a respected evangelical suggesting that Trump was the moral choice. You have got to be kidding me. This is a man who in one campaign has already attacked Mexicans as rapists, mocked a woman's ovulation, mocked a reporter with a disability, questioned the integrity of a judge who was born in Indiana because of his Mexican heritage, and creates disparaging nicknames for anyone who stands in his path. Lying Ted, crooked Hillary, Pocahontas, little Marco, little Mike, low energy Jeb, crazy Megyn, loser John McCain, Crazy Bernie, and goofy Elizabeth Warren to name but a few. There is nothing moral about Donald Trump. Just this week he attacked a Gold Star Mother who lost her only son in war. Yet the compromised Christo-republicans have excuses for everything he says and does.
Let me also say that they very well may have reasoned in their own mind that this is somehow justified. The anti-Hillary sentiment is very strong. Yet what gets lost in the lesser of two evils argument is that one still must defend and support evil. You cannot make a cogent Scriptural argument for supporting evil. The Bible makes it very plain that accursed is he who calls evil good. I think the lesser of two evils is a secular perspective that we confuse as a Christian mandate. The truth is we have absolutely zero Christian responsibility to vote for the next king of Sodom. Those Christians that think otherwise have been influenced by some very popular heresies. One is known as the New Apostolic Reformation and the other is the known as the Seven Mountains Mandate. These are not new false teachings. They are just modern versions of an old heresy known as Dominionism. This is the belief that we need to prepare this world for the second coming of Jesus Christ by influencing and in fact taking over, the culture. That Jesus cannot actually come back until we do. Some of the seven mountains for example are government, media, and entertainment. This is why you see so many in the Christian world giddy with the recent spate of pseudo-Christian movies. They think this means they are advancing on that mountain. Never mind that the movies are generally contrary to the Bible. From the government standpoint, the dream has always been to get a president who shares our faith but that is simply a pipe dream in the pagan nation of America. No matter how much we pretend this was once a Christian nation, anyone with a rudimentary understanding of history knows this to be inaccurate.
The cold hard reality today beloved is that this country and world are akin to the Titanic and we have already struck the iceberg. If you have read the books or seen the movie, you know the ship is going down. It does not matter who the captain is. It does not matter how we rearrange the deck chairs. The only thing that matters is pointing people to the lifeboats while there is still time. While Christians squabble over two candidates that are both at odds with our faith the Gospel is not preached and is in fact damaged. I have seen Christian after Christian tweet and repost absolute lies in support of Trump or in tearing down Clinton. Why in the world would anyone listen to you regarding the truth about Jesus if they see you care so little about the truth when it comes to politics? As believers we should never be found on the wrong side of the truth. Never.
Christians today remind me of the disciples during the days of Christ's ministry here on earth. The Jewish people were occupied and under the thumb of Roman oppression. Christians today feel as if they are persecuted similarly. They feel marginalized by the new Rome, the old Sodom, America. God is no longer in the classrooms. Prayer is now out of school. The Ten Commandments are no longer outside the courts. The baby Jesus is no longer in the town square manger. Pick your outrage du jour. The disciples wanted so badly to believe that Jesus was going to deliver them from this oppression. Just as much as Christians today so want to believe that Donald Trump will deliver them. Just like they hoped McCain would. Or George W. Bush. We have been played for suckers for decades and yet when Lucy tees that ball up we start running to kick it again. We think maybe this time she won't pull the ball away at the last second. George W. Bush had complete control of both houses of Congress for four years and never once brought up any of the social wedge issues he used to convince Christians to vote for him. Not once. Yet faith is our specialty isn't it? That faith is supposed to be in the promises of Scripture however; not the political promises of man. Yet what was the response of Jesus to the temporal concerns of His apostles? Complete and total indifference. Jesus did not come to deliver the Jews from the temporal judgment of Rome. He came to free them from the eternal judgment of sin. Likewise, He is presently just as indifferent about the temporal crosses we feel we are bearing. He is still concerned with one thing and one thing only. His Gospel. Why? Because it is the only lifeboat off this ship and far too many people are not being directed to it. So let us reason together beloved within the only plumb line of truth we have -- the Bible. In the Old Testament there was a minor prophet named Hosea. He was a contemporary of Isaiah, who would be more widely known. Hosea prophesied during a time of growing prosperity in both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Worldly prosperity however is not always a sign of blessing from the Lord. Just like today one can gaze across the Christian landscape and think they are seeing the blessings of God because there are mega-churches packed to the rafters. Without the Gospel they are only white washed tombs. Things we think are blessings may in fact be His judgment upon us. Let's go through the key verses and see what God wants to tell us today. Remember beloved that God gives us the Scriptures so that we might be instructed through their endurance and encouragement. That we might have hope in a hopeless world (Romans 15:4). The key verses begin:
Set the trumpet to your lips! One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant and rebelled against my law.
One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord beloved. As it was in the days of Hosea, so it is today. A vulture only appears when its prey is in a weakened and dying state. It picks off the decaying flesh from a rotting corpse. God does not just provide us with the imagery but the reason as well. They have transgressed His covenant and rebelled against His law. While the body of Christ has had a distorted obsession with a covenant America never had with God it ignores the constant violations and offenses of the church. Just this past week we saw one of the largest churches in America sing a boy-band song from the 1990's about being sexually aroused. This was during a church service beloved. Multiple churches across this land have abandoned the Bible this summer to preach on relevant life points from popular secular movies. We saw sermons on the new Star Wars movie, the BFG, and The Secret Lives of Pets, just to name a few. Rebelled against the law? That can describe entire denominations of the church today. One of the most popular preachers today is Joseph Prince and he openly preaches that Christians do not need to concern themselves with the Ten Commandments at all. Even those churches that are not blatantly antinomian like Prince, by decree are essentially so in what they choose to not preach about. The purpose driven, seeker friendly paradigm insists that churches stay away from any serious discussion of sin, law and the need to repent. You know, the Gospel. It was just last year when now dismissed mega church heretic Perry Noble actually spent a sermon rewriting the Ten Commandments to make them more palatable for congregants. Joel Osteen has said repeatedly that doctrine is not his calling. Then you come to this election and we see Christians fawning over one of the most immoral men ever to run for president and claiming it is a God thing. It is open public knowledge that the claims of salvation for Donald Trump are from Paula White, one of the most renowned prosperity heretics on the planet! Her involvement alone as an advisor to Trump should disqualify him from the minds of every discerning Christian. Hosea continues:
To me they cry, "My God, we -- Israel -- know you." Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him.
Jesus Himself once lamented why His followers bothered to call Him Lord if they were not going to do as He commanded. We have become quite adept at saying thus sayeth the Lord when He has said nothing of the sort. We have become expert at claiming direct revelation that actually originated in our wickedly deceptive hearts. We take the basest, most vile things we can imagine and wrap a pious bow of out of context Scripture to it and think that somehow we have done the will of God. We cry out in the middle of an apostate church -- "My God -- the church - we know you!" Yet we have spurned what is good beloved. We worship at the altar of political promise and earthly prosperity. We chase idols in our own churches that promise us riches beyond the greedy dreams of avarice. We chase idols in this country that we think will deliver us when only God can. We seek relief from perceived oppression on this earthly coil while Jesus came to deliver the world Satan has so brilliantly convinced us to hate. The enemy is certainly pursuing us beloved. Instead of being wary of his schemes we have fallen for them. Instead of resisting him we have allowed him to speak in our pulpits and convince us that the Bible is really all about us when it is supposed to be about Jesus Christ. We have allowed him to convince us that entertaining the unsaved is the design for the church instead of the edification and growth of the saints. We have allowed him to raise up someone so morally bankrupt as Donald Trump for us to worship. The key verses conclude:
They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction. - Hosea 8: 1-4 (ESV)
The church has aided and abetted in the creation of the would be king that stands before us now and asks for our vote and support. Make no mistake about it. God had nothing to do with the coronation of Prince Donald. His racism and misogyny feed our inner hatred. His bellicose nature feeds the anger in our souls. His wealth feeds our inner greed. Our flesh coronated Prince Donald. With silver and gold have we set up idols for our own destruction. If you think Donald Trump is pro-life then you have not been paying attention. Just today he was quoted as saying the laws should stay as they are. Same goes for every other social wedge issue. If you think he shares our faith then you have not been paying attention to the man who said he has no need to repent and refers to communion as "little crackers." Yes, I understand that he is not Hillary but that is not a reason to pretend that anything of him is even closely related to God. To do so is to speak presumptively for God and to do so without acknowledging the need for repentance in the church is to continue to walk blindly off a cliff we ought to know is rapidly approaching. Here are the some of the thoughts of Matthew Henry on the Book of Hosea:
"They promised themselves plenty, peace, and victory, by worshipping idols, but their expectations came to nothing. What they sow has no stalk, no blade, or, if it have, the bud shall yield no fruit, there was nothing in them. The works of darkness are unfruitful; nay, the end of those things is death. The hopes of sinners will deceive them, and their gains will be snares. In times of danger, especially in the day of judgment, all carnal devices will fail. They take a course by themselves, and like a wild ass by himself, they will be the easier and surer prey for the lion. Man is in nothing more like the wild ass's colt, than in seeking for that succour and that satisfaction in the creature, which are to be had in God only. Though men may sorrow a little, yet if it is not after a godly sort, they will be brought to sorrow everlastingly. It is a great sin to corrupt the worship of God, and will be charged as sin on all who do it, how plausible soever their excuses may seem to be. The Lord had caused his law to be written for them, but they cared not to know, and would not obey it. Man seems by the temples he builds to be mindful of his Maker, yet really he has forgotten him, because he has cast off all his fear; but none ever hardened his heart against God and prospered. So long as men despise the truths and precepts of God's word, and the ordinances of his worship, all the observances and offerings, however costly, of their own devising, will be unto them for sin; for those services only are acceptable to God, which are done according to his word, and through Jesus Christ." -- Matthew Henry Commentary
The church has indeed promised itself plenty, peace and victory through the idolization of this country. They thought it would come with Bush, then McCain, then Romney and now of all people Donald Trump. But like with Bush, McCain and Romney before, Trump will also lead to unfulfilled expectations. Elected or otherwise. The answer is never found in any man or woman but only in Christ Jesus. Beloved the works of darkness are unfruitful. Pretending that there is a shred of righteousness in Donald Trump will not change that fact. It is nothing short of pure folly to be seeking any form of satisfaction in the creature rather than the Creator. It is a great sin to corrupt the worship of God! It does not matter what our excuses might be. Our defenses will be like clay pottery before our Maker. God Himself has cared enough to write His law for our benefit yet we casually toss it aside in our pursuit of carnal wealth and earthly purpose. We build churches. Great edifices to rival the Tower of Babel. We do so to provide the veneer that we care about God and what He wants but our actions reveal that we have truly forgotten Him.
Beloved, only services that are done according to His Word and through Jesus Christ are acceptable to God. I understand that we must live in this world but the Bible says our citizenship is in heaven, not America. That means our first and foremost concern has to be for the things of God in relation to the Gospel, not this world. This does not mean you should or should not vote for any candidate. It means we need to stop calling what is clearly evil, good. It means we have to stop rallying around the lesser evil as if that imputes some righteousness to it. It means we are always found on the right side of the truth and we do not compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ for personal, carnal politics. It means we take a long and serious look at that vulture hanging over the carcass of the church. The trumpet is indeed sounding. The ship is starting to go down. Will we be found arguing over seating arrangements or directing people to the lifeboats?
Reverend Anthony Wade -- August 3, 2016