Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Catholicism in II Chronicles 18

Background: The Davidic Kingdom has divided...

There is a King in Judah (from the lineage of David) named Jehoshaphat--a good guy and a King of Israel, Ahab--not such a good guy. At the moment they are allies because of marriage.

Ahab (king of northern Israel) asks the Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) to campaign with him against Ramoth-gilead and Jehoshaphat goes up and meets with Israel's King but first wants to make sure it's God's will.

"Please inquire first for the word of the LORD." 5 Then the king of Israel assembled the prophets, four hundred men, and said to them, "Shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain ?" And they said, "Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king." 6 But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not yet aprophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?" 7 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, for he neverprophesies good concerning me but always evil. He is Micaiah, son of Imla." 

Here's some more interesting background: Jeroboam, the original leader that split the kingdom after Solomon died. (Rehoboam, son of Solomon taking the territories of Judah and Benjamin--including Jerusalem and the temple.) Jeroboam, King of Israel (the Samaritan territory) threw out ALL the Levities and priests and set up his own temple and sacrifices and priesthood. So the northern Kingdom didn't have any of the authentic priests, holy fire, sacrifices, the temple, etc. They were worshipping falsely even if they were claiming to worship God!

So, now note what was going on in the text above. The king of Judah, with the legitimate priesthood and sacrifices and prophets, wanted to know if the northern Kingdom had ANY legitimate prophets of Yahweh left as he recognized the four hundred prophets were bogus. However, note the response of the King of Israel. He actually says "There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord." Hummm... is he coming right out and admitting there is only one true prophet or is the "yet" significant. Does the King mean to imply that ALL of the prophets are claiming to speak for Yahweh but one extra--one additional can be heard but always gives bad prophecies?

Well, if we read on we will find out that these northern prophets are using the name of Yahweh. 

"...all the prophets were prophesying before them. 10 Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made horns of iron for himself and said, "Thus says the LORD, 'With these you shall gore the Arameans until they are consumed.' " 11 All the prophets were prophesying thus, saying, "Go up to Ramoth-gilead and succeed, for the LORD will give it into the hand of the king."

Please note that these are illegitimate prophets (not ones appointed by God who have gone wrong) but actually self-appointed or appointed by an unauthorized leader who are claiming to be prophets of Yahweh. Not only are the prophesies going to be false, but they came out of false shepherds who were never a part of those appointed by God.

God's chosen prophet, Micaiah, is dragged before the two Kings and asked about the battle. And after cajoling the prophets says this:

"I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, Like sheep which have no shepherd; And the LORD said, 'These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.' " 

Now it's really going to get interesting... and so Catholic: 

Micaiah said, "Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left. 19 "The LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead ?' And one said this while another said that. 20 "Then a spirit came forward andstood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' And the LORD said to him, 'How?' 21 "He said, 'I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He said, 'You are to entice him and prevail also. Go and do so.' 22 "Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put adeceiving spirit in the mouth of these your prophets, for the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you." 

What's so Catholic about that? 

God sent someone else to do His bidding. He asked for volunteers... and then let them decide how to do it. 

Catholics believe that angels and saints in heaven are called upon to do the will of God. God also gives them the opportunity, with His permission, to be creative in how they do it. When Catholics ask the saints in heaven to help them, they are doing nothing more than we see here in scripture. They are performing the works of God at His request.

As prophesied, King Ahab of Israel died in battle. 

So, here--in the whole context of this story--not just what we posted here (you'll have to read all of it to get this --as well as it's counterpart in I Kings 22) we find several things. 

There are God-appointed priests and prophets. Any self-appointed or appointed by any other group or leader are not genuinely of God and cannot speak for Him.

There are New Testament prophets. How do we know they are of God? There are two clues given here. One, they are not appointed by the true church/people of God. Two, they give false prophecies. Not all who give true prophecies are necessarily from God. Some false prophets have given true prophecies. You have to have both things--be appointed by God's people and prophesy 100% correctly.

Just the fact that these prophets claimed to be speaking for Yahweh doesn't mean they were. There was a complete false system of worship set up in the Northern Kingdom that mimicked the true worship of God's people in Jerusalem. 

They may have been truly sincere. They may have been really nice people. But their worship was false. 

Now I am sounding like a Seventh-day Adventist. Which makes the irony of this quite funny! 

I'm not saying these people are not in heaven. I am just simply pointing out a very interesting and very Catholic story in the Old Testament.