Speaking Evil

What does it mean to speak evil of someone? Jesus spoke some heavy things about the religious leaders in Matthew 23. He said they were “hypocrites,” “whitewashed tombs” full of dead men’s bones, “son(s) of hell,” “blind guides,” that they loved places of honor, blocked the way into the kingdom refusing to enter themselves, and added to men’s burdens not lifting a finger to help among other things. So was this speaking evil? I don’t think so. What the leaders were doing was evil, and Jesus just called them out for it.

The modern meaning of speaking evil is somewhat different. Mostly it means saying something someone doesn’t like. As long as we speak in generalities, it’s acceptable to the people of the world. If we name names however, make it personal, then they don’t like it and we are probably going to be accused of speaking evil. Not that we are, just that we are accused. For instance I can say that some leaders block entrance into the kingdom. But if I say that, oh, Joel Osteen blocks entrance into the kingdom yet refuses to enter himself, then people get upset.

I get people mad at me because I’m somewhere in between. What I will say is if a person doesn’t follow the Word then he’s a wolf or whitewashed tomb or some of those other things that the Messiah said. I don’t make it personal by calling names. But I do make it personal by saying something like, “If people observe Easter and/or don’t observe Passover, then they are false teachers (hypocrites, tombs, blind guides, etc.). They are not Scriptural.” That way I’m not naming names, but I am holding up the leader’s work to the light of Scripture.

It’s amazing the number of people that get upset when you merely point out that they are not following Scripture. A lot of times the rebuttal is that following the whole of the Word (including Passover for instance) is “just a matter of opinion.” I’ll be told I “can’t throw stones” because I’m not without sin. This is not true (the stones part, not the sin part). The “can’t throw stones if sinful” doctrine is a false one so it’s not a surprise that evil people use it as a defense. The “opinions” defense is also wrong because the Word is clear. Speaking God’s Word is not evil. Intentional or not, it is the insistence on steering people away from God’s living oracles that is evil.

Speaking the Word, or pointing out how people are not following it, is not evil. People doing wrong (against the Word) are evil. People who tell me I’m not supposed to follow God’s Word are evil. Like a lot of words in modern times meanings have been reversed. Good has become evil, and evil has become good in the thinking of evil people.

Temple Not Destroyed Part Two

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. (Haggai 1:9–10, ESV)

 

One of the side effects of claiming that “the old Mosaic economy of sacred priests, sacred buildings, sacred rituals, and sacred objects has been forever destroyed by the cross of Jesus Christ” (as Frank Viola says in the book pagan Christianity) is that we ignore His house while “each of us busies himself with his own house.” We should be embarrassed that we have no Temple. We make money offerings at huge stadiums built for stupid sporting events having some slight benefit for the body but nothing for the soul. Mega-churches haul in millions of dollars and spend them on campuses and monuments to pride like huge meeting halls or TV ministries. Comfortable theater seating for thousands and huge TV’s for seeing the star or pastor are used for preaching a false gospel of freedom in Christ which then gives license to ignore God’s Word.

 

God’s house in the meantime is dust. We hide behind the claim of not knowing where to build, but we put no resources into finding the site. Many churches are “divesting” themselves of investment in Israel when we should be putting everything we’ve got there. Some cheesy pagan temple for a hateful and unjust moon god stops us in our tracks from tearing the unclean thing down and building God’s house. A temple will be built once again (according to Ezekiel) but shame on us that we put more effort into our own comfortable houses and none into His. Shame on us.

 

There were times when the Temple fell out of use. Other times it didn’t get a lot of respect, and was defiled by idols and idol worship. After a long while of this kind of treatment God’s glory finally departed according to Ezekiel. Yet standing or not, filled with idols or neglected God has never stopped trying to get people into His “house.”

 

The Temple is a picture of the heart of a nation as well as the heart of an individual. As the heart of the nation it reminds us of lost intimacy with Him and how quickly we forget or take for granted all that He is and has. Though the copy was destroyed the picture still stands as an example of heartless lip service and false belief that the mere presence of an object grants protection from lawlessness. As the heart of the individual the copy of God’s abode shows us the glorious possibilities if we embrace His presence and take Him into our hearts as we did (somewhat briefly) with the freshly completed building built by Solomon.

 

From the book Whole Bible Christianity chapter 5 What About the Temple?