A number of years ago God drew our attention to the devil’s perversion of the nature of the Holy Trinity. It has been so long ago I can’t even remember the process involved, but the logic and language of the three heresies has become a fixture in our Sapphire vocabulary. The original teaching is found in our Spiritual Warfare album.
Ephesians 3 describes God as the father of all mankind. I choose the story of Edom — who was judged by God for lack of brotherly love on a national level — to represent the perversion of the Father. So the Edomite Heresy covers everything that involves the breaking of human community, whether it is physical like abortion and war, or social such as racism and divorce or spiritual such as the religious spirit and witchcraft.
Revelation 19 portrays Jesus as the God/man who has the right to become King of Kings over both the spiritual and political realms. His Kingship has been imitated from time immemorial as mere humans proclaim their supposed deification and elevation to that lofty role. While this has happened in cultures as diverse as ancient Rome, certain First Nations groups and in modern Japan, the epitome will be the religious/political entity called “Babylon” in Revelation. Hence, I choose the term Babylonian Heresy to capture all spiritual/political agendas that pervert the Kingship of Jesus the Christ of Nazareth.
And in Proverbs 8 the Holy Spirit is anthropomorphically presented as Wisdom. By contrast, in Isaiah 19 God mocks the supposed wisdom of the Egyptians as being ludicrously worthless. Scripture often speaks of God’s people being cleansed from the reproach of Egypt, as they became the epitome of twisted theology from God’s point of view. Hence I named the perversion of the work of the Holy Spirit the Egyptian Heresy. This represents every reversal of God’s Natural Law that is put forth as a valid operating principle for life.
Recently God brought the Egyptian Heresy to the forefront in my life. There is one of my niche anointings that has been co-opted by the enemy, so it is working exactly backward of how it has functioned for decades, bringing pain and grief to me and to others in the first three circles of relationships in Sapphire.
As we were circling around this mess, looking for strategy going forward, it suddenly occurred to me that in looking at the three perversions of the nature of the Holy Trinity, I had only defined the brokenness, not the righteous expression of them. That led to a week of pondering, scrolling through myriad Scriptures, looking for a pungent picture for each.
Please realize that the essence of God and the intentionality of the devil in perverting the work of God is nothing new. This is not new insight from me. And the labels I developed years ago for the negative and now for the positive, teach nothing new. They are merely useful handles to remind ourselves of core truths the church fathers have long articulated in more abstract theologically wordy manners. My labels are not inspired nor are they new dogma. They are just convenient!
For the work of God the Father, I have chosen the picture of Ruth. Here we have the themes of gender stereotypes and discrimination, grief in widowhood, barrenness, in-law dynamics, conflicting family values, family loyalty versus individuation, racism, religious discrimination, class warfare, economic barriers, labor law, business ownership, management and labor, sexual harassment in the work place, singleness, courtship, community, celebration, proposing marriage, extended family approval/disapproval, prenuptial agreements, civil law, civil servants, community eldership, fiduciary responsibilities, inheritance, second marriage, birth, tri-generational families, surnames, birthright and generational blessings. In this simple four-chapter book, both brokenness and Father-orchestrated redemption are highlighted starkly.
So opposite the Edomite Heresy we now have the Dynamic of Ruth.
Capturing the Kingship of Christ, incarnated in a single man was challenging. David and Solomon of course are the default, high profile figures, but I opted for Hezekiah instead. On the one hand, he ended awfully. My personal belief is that he was D.I.D. because of having to watch his unspeakably evil father murder his own siblings in sacrifices to Molech. It is hard to find any other explanation for his staggering flip flops in foreign policy, his bold leadership which occasionally became utter paralysis, while accompanied by brilliant execution on domestic policy.
Nonetheless, there are four factors of his story that capture me. First, he took over the Kingdom of Judah at an awful time. King Ahaz had been obsessive compulsive in his idolatry. He was not content to ignore Yahweh; he actually vandalized the Temple before closing down all operations there.
As a result, Judah had been ravaged by sundry foreign powers. In one battle alone 120,000 soldiers had been killed, as well as the crown prince, the chief of staff to the king, and other high government officials. Then the invading army took 200,000 civilians as POWs, plus looting the country. While the civilians were eventually released, the economy of the nation was shredded by the direct cost of losing a war and by the indirect cost of so many working age men being taken out of the workforce.
So Judah was spiritually, politically, economically and socially a wreck when Hezekiah took over as king. Similarly, when Christ begins reigning at the end of the Tribulation, the whole planet will be an astounding disaster zone in every way. I ponder the parallel.
Second, the first item of business for Hezekiah was to restore right worship. Saul’s first focus was national defense. David’s was to establish a capital city. Solomon’s was to snuff out the internecine politics and establish his personal security. Hezekiah must have had endless emergencies in his face and lobbyists at his door, but he got started on rehabbing the Temple on the first day of the first month of his reign. Impressive priorities for a 25 year old king, reigning over a nation in shambles.
Third, popular support was lacking. There is something that moves me deeply when I read 2 Chronicles 29:12-14. He put out an appeal to the Levites for help and a grand total of 14 responded. Fourteen! Ouch. Nonetheless, those 14 leveraged their influence and gathered enough labor together (in a time of personal crisis) to physically take out the trash from the vandalized Temple in a mere eight days. It took another eight days for the ceremonial cleansing to be done by the priests, but sixteen days into his reign, King Hezekiah presided over the reopening of the Temple.
Fourth, he knew how to leverage progress. The response of the Levites caused some priests to join the movement. The progress in the Temple gave him enough social capital to set up a mobile demolition derby in Jerusalem, tearing down all of his father’s idols. That was enough momentum for him to invite the whole nation as well as Israel’s remnant to come for a Passover celebration.
He was logistically quite unrealistic about that event and they had to bubble gum a lot of facets of the celebration, but in the end it generated enough momentum to do a sweep of all of Judah wiping out the idols, and some of the passion for God carried over into the northern nation.
He understood extending dominion and was not content with merely securing his own boundaries. And Christ also knows that while Jerusalem will be the focal point of spiritual activity, the bare minimum objective for Him will be to extend His dominion over the entire world.
So opposite the Babylonian Heresy we now have the Dynamic of King Hezekiah.
The easiest one for me was the Holy Spirit. It baffles me that there is so little attention given in Christendom to Ezekiel chapter one. There is no other portion of Scripture that portrays God’s honor guard in such intimate detail. In addition to the complexity, we have the precision of the choreography. Think of the cherubim, the wheels within wheels and the flashes of lightening all moving at the speed of light in perfect synchronicity.
Now, extend this to the concept of coming in the opposite spirit. The occasion was Ezekiel’s ordination. He was being summarily extracted from the demure ranks of the priesthood and installed unwillingly into the office of prophet to the nation of Judah in captivity. His congregation was in abject denial. Even though they were in Babylon, as POWs, after losing a war, in precise fulfillment of the prophetic words of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Habakkuk (among many) they redefined chutzpah as they proclaimed that this was not judgment from God and He was not unhappy with them.
This is one of the more dramatic illustrations of the Egyptian Heresy in my rather ample portfolio of such. Their thinking was inside out, upside down, backwards, twisted, convoluted, contradictory, and fifty other pejorative adjectives.
Against that backdrop of generations of Egyptian Heresy thinking on a national level, God put on the consummate display of exquisitely orchestrated synchronization on the playing field of motion. After establishing order in the physical environment through the honor guard of The Almighty, THEN He came and took His seat on the sapphire throne.
No other man in Scripture is recorded as having been ordained by God sitting on His throne, surrounded by His personal honor guard. There are other divine ordinations to be sure, but none from the platform of the throne of The Almighty. This was unprecedented.
And Ezekiel’s assignment was to be utterly unbending. There was to be no political accommodation. In stark contrast to Hezekiah, there was to be no incremental turning of the people. Building a consensus was not in the picture at all.
Ezekiel was to start with the heart of the message, the most uncompromising expression of truth in absolute alignment with the nature of God, and was to hammer the message relentlessly, with total disregard to people’s feelings and opinions.
And he did!
So opposite the twisting of the Egyptian Heresy, I joyously give you the Dynamic of Ezekiel: straight up, straight forward, on message, on target, indomitable, unshakeable, with truth more enduring and defining than the pyramids of Egypt or all of the so called wisdom of Egypt.
We will now proceed to engraft these three phrases into our vocabulary and our practice.
The perversion of God the Father is the Edomite Heresy. The incarnation of the heart of our Father is the Dynamic of Ruth.
The perversion of Jesus Christ is the Babylonian Heresy. The incarnation of the heart of the King is the Dynamic of King Hezekiah.
And the perversion of the Holy Spirit is the Egyptian Heresy. The incarnation of the heart of the Holy Spirit we will now call the Dynamic of Ezekiel.
Copyright April 2013 by Arthur Burk
From my beloved Mercy retreat