HOW NEW RELIGIONS
There are thousands of churches, sects, cults and conflicting religions in the world today. More are being formed all of the time. In I Kings 12:25-32 Jeroboam the king of Israel started a new religion. He did it because he thought it necessary to keep his people under his political dominion. How he did this is the very same pattern people are using today to form new religions. We need to be getting back to the original church that Jesus built rather than building new religions. It led this nation into bondage for Jeroboam to build a new religion.
1. New religions are devised in people’s hearts. Jeroboam began to say to himself that if these people went to Jerusalem to worship that he would soon lose them back to the nation of Judah. If he was to keep them divided he had to devise a system of worship that would keep them in the land. The way that seems right to man ends in death (Proverbs 14:12). Do not fall prey to some religion that has been devised in a man’s heart.
2. Jeroboam changed the worship. He made golden calves to worship instead of worshipping God. The first and second commandments he broke. He tried to convince the people that they were still worshipping the true God only they were doing it by worshipping before these golden calves. God had given them a pattern of worship and placed his approval on the people when they did it as he commanded. To violate the pattern of God is to violate God. We have a pattern in the New Testament concerning the name, the plan to be saved, the items of worship and even told to do all things decently and in order. We should realize that any other type of worship than that spelled out in the New Testament is fraudulent. We should be careful to do all things by the pattern of God.
3. Jeroboam changed the place of worship. They now had altars and Dan and Bethel and he told them that it was too far to go to Jerusalem to worship. Today the worship is to be in spirit and in truth and in Jesus Christ. Christ’s body is one body with many members (I Corinthians 12:20). All spiritual blessings are in him (Ephesians 1:3). Just any place of worship is not according to the pattern of the Lord. We cannot substitute bodies that please us and still expect our worship to be pleasing to God. We should accept Jesus Christ as head of the church which is His body and where the fullness of his blessings is found (Ephesians 1:22, 23).
4. Jeroboam established a different priesthood. “And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi (I Kings 12:31). God had ordained the Levitical tribe as being the ones to be priests and specifically the house of Aaron. In the Christian age all Christians are priests (I Peter 2:9). For there to be clergy and laity is unknown to the New Testament. He says we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:27-29). To make a separate priesthood as many have done in religion is as much a violation of the wishes of God as it was for Jeroboam to change the priesthood under the Mosaic Law.
5. Jeroboam changed the day of atonement. The law commanded that it be on the 10th day of the 7th month but he made it on the 15th day of the 8th month. In our day people change the way of being atoned. They say if a person will only believe he will be atoned by the blood of Jesus. The Lord told us that believers must be baptized into the death of Christ where he shed his blood (Romans 6:3). Many today tell us that baptism is not essential to salvation but Paul pointed out, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4). So in our day people change the way of atonement and are just as guilty as was Jeroboam of old.
The result of Jeroboam’s devising was a new religion, a division of the people of God. They were worshipping a different object than God, at a different place than Jerusalem, and in a different way than commanded by God. They soon were carried into Assyrian captivity because of their disobedience (2 Kings 17). They needed to go back to the Bible ways which they persisted not to do. Once this new religion was started only when they were taken out of the land did it cease. It is very important that we go back to the Bible for what to do to be saved, how to establish congregations of His church, and in how to worship.
By Unknown author only identified as CD
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