By Mike Wade
Published March 31, 2008
THE OLD TESTAMENT SPANS SOME 4000 YEARS. Of its 39 books, ten cover a period of only 120 years.1 This time period is often referred to as the Golden Age of Israel. Divided into successive 40-year reigns by three kings, the era has always been an irresistible source for comparison and contrast. But the lives and times of Saul, David, and Solomon speak more directly to us today than they have to any other generation.
As the Church prepares to enter her own “Golden Age,” she is well instructed to look back on this epoch for instruction that will be both fundamental and necessary for the days ahead. The power of God will become most evident in those who are not satisfied with any of the “camps” and pine for the “new thing” that God is preparing, even if the process is to be a long and painful one.
The reigns of Saul and David can be likened to past moves of God which have gone on in the Church. “Solomon’s reign” in the Church is yet to come and will be so glorious that every stream and movement of Christianity will be raised up to see the glory of God. No group will see itself as independent of the others or more favored by the Lord.
In looking to these three kings to find direction for today, the most important thing to keep in mind is that Saul, David and Solomon are not two-dimensional Bible characters. Neither are they Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3. Each is an extremely fluid model, in which God had different purposes for each and a different calling to accomplish His mission. Each had different strengths and weaknesses; not to mention severe failures. But God is calling each one of us today to have the zeal of David and the wisdom of Solomon.
The amazing thing about Solomon was his ability to serve the purposes of God in his generation: a virtue elsewhere attributed to David (Acts 13:36). Why did God give Solomon such incredible wisdom? It was not simply because he was David’s heir; nor was it so people would honor him. It was because of Solomon’s humble and sacrificial prayer that he might govern properly. The riches and honor that came to Solomon were given to him by God because he did not request them when God told Solomon he could have anything he asked for (1 Kings 3:11,12).
When Solomon ascended the throne of his father he became commander-in-chief of a fierce war machine. David had established an army that simply could not be defeated. In the same way, we owe the saints of past moves of God our gratitude for gaining ground we often take for granted. Using David’s armies, Solomon had the opportunity to build an empire like that of Rome. He could have used his newfound wisdom to build a kingdom like that of Greece, having ushered in something of a Jewish Renaissance.
“Not satisfied with the idle life of an Eastern monarch, he set the example of, and gave encouragement to, study and literature – the range of his inquiries extending not only to philosophy and poetry, but also to natural sciences in all its branches.“2
But neither of the two types of empires would do. And the combination would certainly have produced a spiritual city much more like the old Babylon than the new Jerusalem
It is no small thing to turn one’s attention away from building an empire to building a temple, even if it was only a temporary change. From our perspective, the choice should be an obvious one. But would we do the same if the choice was offered? Solomon’s story is presented to us today so that the choice can be just as easy. As God raises us up to be a prophet to the nations, anoints us to deliver the afflicted, and financially prospers us, will we use these resources to build an empire, or will we use them to build the Temple of the living God – the New Jerusalem?
God revealed to Solomon that He would give him great wealth and honor because he sought first the kingdom of God – His wisdom and grace. It was only fitting that wealth and honor be used as a testimony of the Lord’s supremacy over every other nation and religion. So it will be in our day. Just as an entire nation came to pay homage to Solomon and his God through the lips of the Queen of Sheba, so tremendous advances will be made by the Gospel in the years ahead.
During the Golden Age, the Church will no longer be at war with many of its present enemies; rather she will be feared by them. Some will fear her simply because of her overwhelming spiritual authority. Others will more properly fear her because she is the representation of God’s truth on earth. Sheba paid homage to the God of Israel out of reverence. Edom did so because it knew of military superiority. Every nation, tongue and people will be able to recognize the Church in all her glory and receive God as their God, or lay low to fight another day.
In another vein, Solomon’s heart-aching compromises sadden the soul. Yet they provide instruction we must heed. In the coming Golden Age there will be unholy alliances with New Age forces. The anointing upon the Church will be so powerful that spiritual reality will be evident to all kinds of mystical organizations. The principle to learn here is this: Solomon built the temple largely with materials from nations other than Israel. Just as God sent Joseph into Israel and Daniel into Babylon, so He will send His sons into all kinds of other groups to draw out precious stones that will be masoned in right along with the rest of us. For many this will be a stumbling block, but don’t be surprised to see sovereign moves of God among the mainline denominations and even among questionable sects.
Of course, we shouldn’t make alliances God has clearly forbidden. The way to tell the good from the bad will be to simply look at the fruit. Who is being influenced by whom? The world may have left its mark on Joseph and Daniel, but it was only in culture and not in conscience. The effects of these men on Egypt and Babylon, on the other hand, are legendary.
If it is the era of Solomon – “The Golden Age” – that we are entering into, we need to embrace Solomon’s strengths and reject his weaknesses – as well as those of David and Saul. As surely as God lives, the whole earth will be full of His glory. The way to prepare for that is not to be lounging around in an elegant palace waiting for David to die. It is to be serving God’s sheep, surrounded by green pastures and quiet waters, fighting off the bears and lions, dreaming of the day when we will be called to accomplish all of the purposes of God in our generation.
1 The reigns of Saul, David and Solomon: see 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiaties, Song of Songs.
2 Alfred Edersheim, Bible History of the Old Testament, (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan) vol. 5, p.69,70.
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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