Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Prophetic Insights For The Last Days -- Remembering Jonah: How America's Pastors Have Run From Confronting Evil

In The Classroom Of James Hartline
March 20, 2007

- Prophetic Insights For The Last Days -

Remembering Jonah:
How America's Pastors Have Run From Confronting Evil
Caused The American Church To Be Thrown
Into The Coming Catastrophic Storm
Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying,
"Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it; for its wickedness
has come up before me." But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish
from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found
a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thererof, and went down to it,
to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah 1:1-3

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty
tempest in the sea, so that the ship was likely to be broken. Then the mariners
were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth wares that were
in the ship into the sea, to lighten it.
Jonah 1:4-5a

But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship;
and he lay, and was fast asleep.
Jonah 1:5b

Over the last several years I have had dozens of prophetic dreams from the Lord where He has shown me great disasters occurring in various locations in the United States. In many of these dreams, I have learned of dark spiritual forces that operate in the unseen world. There is a spiritual realm where demonic beings plot and plan to harm humanity by accessing spiritual breaches created by corrupt human beings. In fact, God is very clear about the existence of such places and our relationship to them. Remember, in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, the apostle documents such places:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12

If God is so concerned with our earthly affairs and the decisions we are making, then shouldn't we also be as concerned? It has never been the will of God that we allow evil to prevail. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil: "But when people keep up sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil." 1 John 3:8. It is not God's will either, that we end up being controlled or destroyed by evil governmental or political leaders. Considering that millions of Christian leaders in America pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," how have we ended up with so many anti-christian bureaucrats controlling this nation?

God describes the Christian Church with many dynamic definitions and concepts. We are the Body of Christ. We are the Bride of Christ. We are the Warriors for Christ upon this earth. We are heaven's ambassadors. We are also His flock. As His flock, we are assigned shepherds. The assignments of the shepherds, also known as pastors, are wide and varied. Most importantly, the pastors are the guardians of the flocks of Christ. If there are wolves or evil agendas coming against the church, it is the responsibility of the pastors to stand up and confront these evil threats. The Bible describes false shepherds as those who see evil coming and they retreat, leaving their vulnerable flocks to be devoured by the wolves:

"He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep,
sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees,
and the wolf snatches them and scatters them."
John 10:12

There is overwhelming evidence that the American Church is being devoured by wolves. The Reverend Ted Haggard is the perfect example of a pastor, engulfed in perversion, who allowed his flock to be devoured by a world looking to destroy the effectiveness of those representing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Who is responsible for addressing the corruptive political forces that are demoralizing this nation? Who does God appoint as His representatives with the responsibility of standing up against those who are driving God's purposes from the public square? I think the Bible gives us some very clear and effective answers to these questions. Let us take a journey back in time to visit the story of the Prophet Jonah and we will find a most interesting comparison to God's dealings with the ancient City of Nineveh and our own distressing political situations in America.

We need to look no further then the Biblical account of Jonah to find an example which perfectly describes the current display by America's pastors and their epidemic apathy towards the sin in this nation. Like Jonah, American pastors have been given a prophetic assignment. They have accepted and professed God as the Lord Most High. With that assignment comes marching orders. God told Jonah: "Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it; for its wickedness has come up before me." God has not changed, nor have His commands. Like Jonah of old, pastors today have been commanded by God to go speak out against the wickedness in their respective communities.

One of the clearest examples of the gross apathy of today's pastoral leaders towards our many cultural problems was seen in 2004 during the battle to save the Mt. Soledad Cross. The ACLU and their anti-christian attorney had been seeking to tear this cross down for nearly two decades. Mission Valley Christian Fellowship, a large homeless church in San Diego, California, held a rally the night before the November 1, 2004 election to save the cross that sits atop this famous veteran's war memorial. Despite sending out thousands of invitations to the 1,700 pastors in San Diego, only four pastors showed up for the rally (http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/11/afa/122004f.asp).

Recently, I personally sent out thousands of requests to local Christians to stand with me at a board meeting of the San Diego Unified School District in the hopes of stopping a local elementary school from marching young minors in the annual pornographic gay pride parade (www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54538). Dozens of local pastors were among the recipients of my request. It was a heartbreaking time when no local pastors showed up at the meeting to speak up for protecting the kids. I think there is no greater sign in America that we are in the Laodicean Church period. I really don't know how San Diego pastors sleep at night as they collect their big paychecks while they do nothing about the sexualization of children in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade and Festival.

- Coping With Pastoral Abandonment -

When I was a little boy, I was one of the most perplexing students that my teachers had ever come across. So perplexing, in fact, that my parents were repeatedly called in for parent-teacher conferences. My brother, who preceded me by one year, was a straight-A student. Additionally, he was rewarded with those same A's for conduct and citizenship. My sister who was a year younger than me, did just as well as my brother. This is why my teachers had such a hard time figuring me out. Oh, I got the good grades, just like my siblings, but my conduct and citizenship received the annual "F" because I was always fighting or getting in trouble. My parents always told my teachers that they had no idea why my behavior was so different from that of my brother and sister. Eventually, the truth came out, and school leaders learned that my mom had been abusing and beating me everyday, which inturn triggered my outbursts at school.

Eventually, juvenile authorities in Carson City, Nevada placed me in a group children's home to get me away from my abusive mother. During my stay at the children's home I began to runaway and steal. This led to my placement in the Nevada Youth Training Center. While there, my family simply moved to another state. They never said they were abandoning me. They just left and moved away. In my greatest hour of need, those who should have cared about my young and troubled life simply abandoned me. I learned at a very young age to readily identify abandonment.

My memories of having a family that abandoned me in my most dire moment has given me an easily identifiable example of today's church leaders who are abandoning our grievously troubled culture. In epidemic fashion, our pastors have left far too few Christians to take on the evil people who are destroying our nation. These pastors will not make waves. They will not engage the moral conflicts being ignited by radical pro-homosexual and pro-abortion activists. America is drowning in a cesspool of immorality and the thousands of well-paid pastors in America will not throw us any life preservers. I know this abandonment well. God experienced abandonment as well, when He commanded Jonah to go and speak out against the wickedness of Nineveh. Jonah simply moved away from God's assignment and basically told God, "Love the title, but not the trouble. See you later."

Today's pastors are well aware of the great wickedness that has swept across America like a violent and evil wind storm. These pastors have accepted payment from their churches to be spokesmen for the cause of Christ. Pastors have nice homes, nice cars, vacations, paid medical bills, all the result of accepting paid positions with their respective churches. God says, "Okay, now that you have been paid, go speak to the wicked culture what My word says." Instead of following the Lord's commandment to go and make public stands for righteousness, the pastors in America simply refuse to say anything. They won't go to their respective city councils. They won't go to their local school boards. They won't go to the street corner, nor to the train or bus stations. No, these pastors are far too busy to be bothered with that. What was Jonah's response to the Lord's commandment to go and speak out in Nineveh against that city's great wickedness?

But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord,
and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish:
so he paid the fare thererof, and went down to it,
to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah 1:1-3

There is no doubt that we Christians are suffering because the pastors will not speak out against the moral rot that is destroying our nation. We are being broken because the pastors in this nation are too busy to go to their respective city and government officials and speak out against the immorality that is destroying our nation. We Christians are being beaten down while our pastors have their nice cars, their nice homes and their lovely vacations. Our nation is burning under the tyranny of a vocal and aggressive anti-christian army. It is easy for these pastors to speak of such dire matters in the comfort of their congregations where there is no opposition. Such opposition would not be tolerated in most churches. In fact, in most congregations if you demand that your pastor go and speak out at the local city council, he would probably instruct you to leave the church. Recently, I was actually threatened by one San Diego ministry leader because I was exposing the financial corruption at one large East San Diego County Church.

Look at what happened when Jonah ran from the Lord and His order to go to Nineveh:

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty
tempest in the sea, so that the ship was likely to be broken. Then the mariners
were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth wares that were
in the ship into the sea, to lighten it.
Jonah 1:4-5a

We know that we are never going to return to the self-confident days of pre-911. Nothing will ever be the same again. We are in the last days and these are dark days. Yet, by the complacent attitudes of most Christians, you would never think that we are in such dire straits. From one end of this nation to the other, coast to coast, state by state, radical homosexual activists are engaged in a relentless war to seize the minds of this nation's children. The response of most pastors to this national nightmare: they have banned any mention from their pulpits of the issue of homosexuality or the gay agenda's war against our children. This year, nearly two million babies will be butchered in the wombs of American women. The response of most pastors: they have banned from the pulpit any mention of abortion or Planned Parenthood's vile corporate agenda. On issue after issue, the pastors in this nation have waved a putrid white flag that offers up no resistance to the forces of evil that have made America the world's largest exporter of perversion, pornography and child abuse. Recently, a group of pastors did find the time, however, to speak out against global warming (www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w070312&s=plumer031507).

In one dream that I had about five years ago, I saw a terrible storm strike the place where I was speaking. Everything was destroyed. Outside of the destroyed building I was standing and encouraging a steady stream of men who were coming out of the rubble. Not to belabor all of the details of this dream, I will say that I know that this dream represents a terrible thing that is coming upon the church. I know some of us will survive the catastrophe. But it will be a time of great hardship. We must take heed from the story of Jonah and how God dealt with this prophet's refusal to follow through with his assignment:

"Now the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.
And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights."
Jonah 1:17

None of us have wanted our churches to go through distress. We all want prosperity and expanded ministries, great Christian schools and preaching halls. But the pastors have given God no choice. They will not comply with God's simple demands to go out and speak to the ungodliness that is destroying our nation. So, like Jonah, we are about to see the great humiliation of the American Church. We will suffer. We will be swallowed up in the belly of a great beast. It is not want any of us have wanted. None of us want to suffer needless pain. But the pastors will not listen. And thus, we all are going to suffer for it.

What Do We Do Now?

The Bible says that when Jonah got fed up with being in the belly of that tortuous fish, he finally humbled himself and cried out to God:

Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly,
and said, "I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord,
and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I and thou heardest my voice."
Jonah 1:1-2

Eventually, Jonah obeyed and went to Nineveh. As a result of Jonah's fine preaching, Nineveh humbled itself and mass repentence for its great sins occurred. The sins of Nineveh were horrific. Mass killers, abortion, sexual immorality, rampant crime and child abuse were all public practices of the Assyrian culture. Nineveh was Assyria's capitol. Imagine combining the evil of Jeffrey Dahmer with the Taliban, NAMBLA's pedophilia and San Francisco's homosexual agenda, and you would have a semblance of Nineveh's cultural profile. Despite the hopeless carnality that controlled the minds of Nineveh's citizens, the annointing that God had placed upon Jonah was strong enough to bring the entire city to repentance. This is exactly what God is asking of the pastors in America. God wants the pastors of America to rise up and make a public and united call to this nation to repent.

Will the pastors of America heed the demands of God? We can only pray they do. But should the pastors continue to refuse, then we must prepare for the hard times to come. We who know the will of God for this nation must move ever closer to God. We must hear from the Lord in this dark hour. When the storm comes we must be prepared to suffer. We must also believe that God will humble these pastors, and in the midst of the suffering, they will come to God and finally agree to stand in the public square and cry out against America's great evil leaders and their sins. Remember Jonah. Remember Jonah. Remember Jonah.

Thank You For Spending Time In The Classroom Of James Hartline
James Hartline, Director of The Hillcrest Mission

The Journal of James Hartline


No comments: