Editors note: this series of articles also appear in both the Sentinel Echo newspaper, Friday edition, weekly, London, KY and the Saturday edition of the Corbin Times-Tribune. They are a part of the teaching/evangelism efforts of the Mill Street church of Christ, 415 N. Mill St., London, KY.
Is your preacher a false teacher?
The Bible “character profiles” a false teacher...Jeroboam
A false teacher behaves as did Jeroboam. He follows the same
progression in departing from the pattern that God has authorized. As
we bring this study of Jeroboam to a close, let us notice again the
characteristics of Jeroboam that resulted in changes in the worship of
the nation of Israel. These characteristics are unique to all false teachers!
They are the criteria whereby we can identify false teachers today!
Notice in regard to a false teacher:
He surrounds himself with ungodly people: 2 Chron. 13:7- “ And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial , and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.”
He has hidden motives: 1 Kings 12:26-27- And Jeroboam said in
his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at
Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto
their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill
me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
He makes decisions to accomplish his own motives which
ALWAYS necessitate a change from the standard or pattern that
God had revealed in the Bible. These changes are ALWAYS issues
of convenience, so as to attract large numbers:
1 Kings 12:28 –
“…the king took counsel , and made two calves of gold, and said unto
them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem’…
Lev. 23:34 and Num. 29:12 show that the feast was the Feast of
Then the false teacher takes confidence in these large numbers,
feeling invincible because of his large following:
2 Chron. 13:8 –
“And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of
the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with
your golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods.”
Tabernacles, also commanded by Moses and the month of observance was to be the 7th month; Jeroboam “...ordained
a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month,
like unto the feast that is in Judah...”.
The tribe of Levi was chosen from the twelve tribes to be priests and offer the animal sacrifices for the rest of the nation back at Mt. Sinai. The story is found in Ex. 32:26-29, and occurred when the sons of Levi showed zeal for God in the matter of the golden calf that Aaron had made while Moses was upon the Mount. Read also in Numbers 3:9, 11-13, 40-41, 45; and 8:14-19 to see that ONLY those from the tribe of Levi were authorized to be priests.
The changes made by the false teacher are similar to what is authorized by God, but there are differences –
1 Kings 12:32: “ And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.”
2 Chronicles 11:14-15 - For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD: And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made...
2 Chron. 13:9 - Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands?
Jeroboam changed the place of worship, the month and day of worship, and he made changes within the priesthood. How important were the place and time of worship, and the proper priests?Notice from 1 Kings 12:30, “And this thing became a sin...”. Why were these changes in worship sinful? Because God had commanded thru Moses years earlier on Mt. Sinai how to worship Him; when to worship as well as who were to be priests!
God had given warning against changing His commandments. Moses warned in Deut. 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
He again warned in Deut. 12:32, "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
Joshua warned in Josh. 1:7, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.”
Solomon warned in Prov. 30:6, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
The apostle John also warned in Rev. 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
God has always told man how to worship Him in the Bible. Any worship which varies from God’s commandments, cause that worship to be sheer idolatry and dishonor God!