Posted on 7/9/2012
The past few weeks when I was writing about False Ministries and Reprobate Ministries, I mentioned in passing the personal and financial curses that cam be brought on those who support those ministries. Several of my readers picked up on this and wrote me about it. It turns out that none of their pastors or church leaders had ever bothered to tell them about this prospect. There is probably a very good reason for this, as they would have a "conflict of interest" in even talking about the subject. You will see why when we get further into the subject.
Every time a church or ministry organization has any kind of a shortfall in revenue, the preacher, without fail, returns to the Old Testament (which s/he is normally bane to quote under normal circumstances). They proceed to quote the following verses:
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Mal 3:8-10)
Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. (Hag 1:6)
The second verse is especially good when the organization wants to start a building program. The preachers will spare no effort in making people feel guilty because their present building is not up to the church leaders' standards. It amazes me just how much trouble some people will go to in their quest to expand their own kingdom. It is also amazing how many promises these people will make, promising people that they will get rich if they give them money.
The harsh reality that most church leaders never talk about is that the scriptures quoted above have nothing to do with their pet building project. Haggai was decrying the fact that the Temple in Jerusalem was in a state of disrepair. He was not talking about the local church (or synagogue). In the New Testament, the Christians either met in their homes or attended the local synagogue with the rest of the Jews. The breakaway from Judaism did not happen until the second century when many of the Church Fathers began to turn away from their (for lack of a better term) "roots." Clearly, many church leaders use the Old Testament when it is convenient for what they want to accomplish, and then disdain it any other time when they don't want to follow its laws (e.g. when they want to go out after church for a bacon cheeseburger).
The book of Malachi, which they like to quote in times of financial trouble, has some other statements they would prefer not hearing:
And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. (Malachi 2:1-2, emphasis mine)
The term "priest" can easily be applied to any church leader, especially a pastor or ministry leader. In this case, Malachi is clearly rebuking the priests for failing to glorify God in what they do. It is clear through multiple scriptures that you glorify God by living a godly life, even in private. When these leaders start living to "grow their ministry," they cease to glorify God. If they claim that "God told them to do it" but still have to convince others of their revelation, then it is pretty likely that God told them no such thing. With Haggai, the order to rebuild the Temple came from the King of Persia (Nehemiah 2:4-8) at the request of Nehemiah. It is clear that Nehemiah had the vision for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple, but the LORD took care of the other details, like touching the King of Persia's heart to understand the need and make the necessary financial arrangements.
The situation gets complicated when the word "curse" comes into the picture. In Malachi 2:1-2, the curse is on two different parties:
- the priests who who do not glorify the LORD and,
- the people in the congregation the priest serves.
The curse on the "priest" is not often apparent to most of the people. These organizations go on with their normal activities as usual. It begins to be noticeable when there are sudden financial shortfalls. The church leaders (instead of publicly praying to find out what is wrong like the Israelite leaders did in Joshua 7:6-9) fill those shortfalls by coming up with programs designed to increase revenues. Later on, the leaders may even be discovered to have committed moral or spiritual sins, which may or may not result in their resignation or dismissal. While the organization may appear to operate as usual to most people, the spiritual tag Ichabod will still be on the door and anyone who is spiritually sensitive will know not to go through those doors.
In some cases throughout history and even today, when the blessings of the LORD ceased in a ministry, the leaders began to turn to the occult to bring the blessings to their people. They would name the Name of Jesus, appear to be serving the LORD, and apparent blessings would come forth. People would be healed and even demons would appear to be cast out. They would leave the services feeling blessed and could not wait for the next one to begin. Indeed, the "spiritual junkies" would get their "fix." But in the dark of night, when normal people are asleep, these priests enter the dark places and do their rites to ensure that the next service would be just as good. (Read Ezekiel 8)
That is where the curses would come on the people. When the LORD has forsaken them, like He did with King Saul, they have to turn to various forms of witchcraft to get spiritual assistance. That usually means calling on evil spirits to assist them in their work. In King Saul's case, it meant military disaster and death, not only for him, but for his sons as well. (I Samuel 28:7-25) Even Saul's grandchildren were cursed in their legs. (II Samuel 4:4, 9:1-7) Antiquity says that Jonathan's son Mephibosheth became King David's Torah teacher.
For most people, the results are not so drastic. It takes a while for most people to notice. Suddenly, when people who go forward for prayer and ministry, they do not get an impartation from the LORD, but instead, they get curses and evil spirits. Once the evil spirits get "ground" in people's lives, it is not long until they wreak havoc. The promises the "priests" make to the people suddenly happen in reverse. Suddenly, once successful people begin to have problems. Other people start to have financial and work problems. Divorces are a common result in these cases. Many times, evil spirits working in the organization often cause people to select their spouses badly, making for bad marriages. Also, we see additional instances of people who were previously healthy, suddenly start to get sick and even die before their time. There are other conditions which can happen in such cases, but these are the main ones.
I should pass along one piece of warning. When people begin to see these kinds of things happening in an organization, this is not the time to play hero. Tracking down compromised Christian leaders is not work for amateurs. Even if you do find that they have a place where they practice their black arts, you are not going to solve anything by going to that location, busting up their altar and destroying their books. In Acts 19:19, the people willingly burnt their occult books! These things should only be done at the leading of the Holy Spirit. Do this wrongly, and the evil spirits at that location will turn on you and cause considerable harm. If the Holy Spirit does lead you to destroy and burn, He and the Lord's angels will be the ones to protect you. It is clearly better to just leave that organization and find another. Save the hero antics for Dean and Sam Winchester of the TV show Supernatural and the movies. Realize also, that if you are part of one of these ministries, you will have to undergo some kind of recovery period. Part of that recovery period will be casting out the demons that caused you to support that ministry.
In this day and age, Christians need to literally pray before they walk into any church or synagogue. Developing spiritual sensitivity takes time, lots of prayer, and considerable Bible Study. It is important that you learn to study the Bible for yourself and not depend upon what other people say. The Holy Spirit is there to teach you and guide your life:
But the anointing which ye have received of him (the Holy Spirit) abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (I John 2:27, parenthesis mine)
Learning to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit is not an easy task. It takes a lot of time and effort to do it well. You will make a lot of mistakes in the process, but pray the LORD gives you the grace to see you through.