I believe Solomon represents the spirit and nature of the modern, last-day Laodicean church. And this church — here in America and throughout the world — is headed for the same ruin Solomon faced!
Scripture tells us:
"And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly...." (2 Chronicles 1:1).
The church of Jesus Christ today has been strengthened and blessed mightily by God. Provision has been made for endeavors of all kinds. Consider the big, beautiful edifices being built in the land. One large Pentecostal church was built recently at a cost of $28 million. There are other church complexes worth $40-50 million.
Consider also the church's great financial blessings. Millions are spent on televangelism, books, records and tapes, missions, institutions, colleges and parachurch ministries of all kinds. Think of all the huge conventions, the well-attended seminars, the religious pomp and ceremony attending megachurch services and programs.
When all these works began, each one had something of God's anointing. Indeed, most started out with the same blessings that God poured out upon Solomon. Think about it: Solomon was well-organized. He was much more educated than his father, David. And he did everything bigger and better than any previous generation ever could have conceived. Solomon's organizational skills were so great — his pomp and ceremony so gorgeous and breathtaking — that when the Queen of Sheba watched him merely ascend into the temple, she nearly fainted at the sight.
Yet the driving force behind Solomon was wisdom and knowledge. This was his heart-cry to God:
"Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?" (verse 10).
Isn't this a wonderful prayer? It sounds so good, and God was pleased he did not ask for selfish gain. Yet there's a problem: It's totally man-centered! This very talented, self-confident king was saying, in essence, "Just give me the tools, God, and I'll get the job done. Give me the wisdom and knowledge, and I'll set everything in order among this people. I'll accomplish it all!"
Solomon's prayer was not the prayer of his father, David, a man who was after God's own heart. No, Solomon's prayer was that of a new generation — an educated people with new ideas and skills. And his cry was, "I need wisdom and knowledge!"
We Have Become the Church of the Floppy Disk!
The driving force behind the modern-day, Laodicean church is wisdom and knowledge. What great rivers of information flow through this last-day church: computers with countless megabytes, computerized Bibles, computerized commentaries, software programs on philosophy, counseling, fund-raising, child care. All you have to do is insert a little disk in your computer, press a button, and the answers pop up right in front of you.
I am not against computers or software programs. Our own ministry would not function as well without them. But I am amused by all the young ministers who spend much of their time punching keyboards and utilizing fax machines to spit out reams of information, ideas, net-working and strategies. They preach a computerized gospel — yet so few people are ever saved or delivered through them.
There is an insatiable thirst today for information, wisdom and knowledge like never before. Never has there been so many seminars and massive teaching conventions. Huge screens are needed just to show who the teacher is on the distant stage. And afterward people flock to sale tables to buy hundreds of dollars' worth of tapes.
The emphasis is on more tools, more information, more wisdom. The thinking is, "If we just have enough knowledge in these subjects — enough books, enough seminars, enough teaching — we'll get the job done. Just give us the tools, God, and we'll evangelize the world!"
Recently I heard the leader of a youth organization say, "If I had $100 million, I could win the world!" He was traveling across the country trying to raise that amount. He was saying, in essence, "If we just have enough money, knowledge, networking and strategy, we can evangelize the entire world for God!"
Beloved, we will never accomplish anything for God by wisdom alone, no matter how important and necessary it is. His Word says:
"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21)
All the true treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus Christ.
"In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).
Yet Solomon's gospel was different. It was said of Solomon:
"And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings 4:32-33).
This was Solomon's gospel — three thousand short sermonettes of practical knowledge and wisdom! He created new songs, wonderful stories, great applications of truth on human nature and behavior. You can read many of his words of wisdom throughout the book of Proverbs. He offered practical instruction on marriage and child-rearing. He gave clear directions on how to cope, how to behave, how to be blessed. And everyone loved his preaching. It was so concise, so to the point.
But, beloved, unless the spirit of God anoints the preaching or teaching, it remains dead. It becomes dead-letter unless the Spirit ignites it!
In the end, Solomon delivered an absolutely powerless message — because he had no power to practice what he preached! He gave himself to strange women. He raised wicked children, including a devil who succeeded him on the throne. Indeed, Solomon ended up a decrepit, anguished idolater, living out his days in a sensuous cesspool of immorality. And his entire generation became harlot- chasing reprobates — in spite of all his wisdom, teaching and three thousand proverbs!
Now, don't think for a minute that the modern, "sinner-friendly," Laodicean church does not have good, insightful, thoughtful preaching. The sermons of this last-day church are concise, homiletically correct, centered on how to cope with the problems of life. They are mostly fifteen-minute messages, illustrated with clear points and packed with lots of truth.
Yet so much of it is not producing life! Divorce is still rampant, even among the shepherds. Fornication and infidelity are commonplace. Teenagers smoke, drink and sleep around. People's lives are not being changed. Why? It is because knowledge in itself is unable to save or change anybody — including those who preach it!
A church's services may be well-organized, with excellent, new, contemporary music. The choir may sing a thousand new songs. The pastor may condemn sin and point out the right way clearly. But without the Holy Ghost, it all becomes a letter that kills!
Solomon had a head full of wisdom and a mouth full of songs. He could preach and teach with incredible skill. He had a well-organized operation, with talented leaders. Everything about his church appeared to be decent and in order. But everything Solomon did ended up in Ecclesiastes, in the phrase, "All is vanity and despair!"
The Solomon church has all the answers. It looks great on the outside. But it is absolutely lifeless! And it ends up in vanity, idolatry, sensuality, emptiness and despair.
Compare the Church of Solomon With David's Church of Zion!
The driving force behind David's church was total dependence on the Holy Spirit. Here is what distinguished David:
"Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward..." (1 Samuel 16:13).
When David was on his deathbed, he said to his son Solomon, in so many words: "I want to tell you why God has blessed me. I want you to know the secret of my ministry — why the kingdom is at peace and why God has been with me everywhere I've gone." Listen to David's last words to his son: "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue" (2 Samuel 23:2).
David was saying, "I didn't trust in my knowledge and wisdom. I didn't trust in any part of my flesh. I was a weak man — but I depended on the Holy Ghost! Every word I spoke was under His unction and anointing. His words filled my mouth!"
Thirty-five years ago, when we opened the ministry doors at 416 Clinton Avenue to drug addicts and alcoholics here in New York City, our motto was, "The Holy Ghost is in charge here!" You see, it wasn't "how to cope" preaching that saved gang members like Nicky Cruz and Israel. They didn't fall on their knees because we preached concise, pithy sermons. They weren't convicted by pointed illustrations and nature stories. No — these former drug addicts testified to their friends, "I once was on the street, like you. But look at me now! The Spirit of God changed me!"
It was the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost that brought Nicky and Israel to their knees before God. The Spirit came down — and those hardened criminals fell on their faces and cried out to God for mercy!
Solomon spoke of trees, hyssop, beasts, creeping things, fish. But David spoke of intimacy with the Lord, of brokenness and contriteness. He spoke of "the rock" which is Christ. And David was convicted and changed by his own preaching. He so valued the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life, he asked the Lord never to take His Spirit from him. David knew he was nothing without the Holy Ghost!
In Solomon's church, however, a preacher merely gathers truthful, biblical information and creates a sermon out of it. Then he throws it out to the congregation and tells himself, "It's the Word — it has to have impact. It has to cause growth and change in my hearers, because it's God's powerful Word."
Not so! You can throw out as much Word as you please — sermon upon sermon, teaching upon teaching, wisdom and knowledge in abundance. But if it isn't anointed by the Holy Ghost, it is a dead word! If a preacher doesn't spend time on his face before God, he won't have the fire of God in his soul. And there will be no unction of the Holy Ghost in his word, no matter how wise and knowledgeable they sound. They simply won't produce life!
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
"...we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth... But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (verses 13-14).
You should never go to church without praying, "God, give me Holy-Ghost ears to hear. Help me to hear, understand and apply Your Word to my life!" You must have Holy-Ghost hearing ears as much as a pastor has to have a Holy-Ghost speaking tongue!
Let Me Show You How You Can Tell a Holy-Ghost David Church From a Laodicean Solomon Church!
In a Holy-Ghost church you will always hear a gut-wrenching cry of repentance. In fact, you cannot be a Holy-Ghost person until you "cry out from your guts" yourself. And that is something Solomon never did!
We never read of Solomon crying out his guts before God. Instead, at the dedication of the temple, he stood with kingly robes on his back and prayed a gracious, majestic, high-sounding prayer. It was all sincere, precise and orderly. But it wasn't a gut-cry — and it didn't penetrate his own heart!
In his prayer, Solomon admonished the congregation:
"Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day" (I Kings 8:61).
Solomon knew the statutes of which he spoke. Among them were these warnings in Deuteronomy to every king of Israel:
- "But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses."
- "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away."
- "Neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold" (Deuteronomy 17:16-17).
These were very clear, direct statutes. Yet no sooner had Solomon become king than he violated all three!
- "And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt..." (1 Kings 10:28).
- "But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites.... Solomon clave unto these in love" (11:1-2).
- "And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones..." (10:27). "And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom" (2 Chronicles 9:22).
Solomon's prayer to walk perfectly before God had no effect on his own life — because he had no conviction of sin in his heart:
"And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father" (1 Kings 11:6).
Where there is no Holy Ghost-anointed preaching, there is no conviction for sin — no fully going after the Lord!
Solomon sinned without remorse even while he preached against sin. He could read in the Scriptures that he was not to go down to Egypt to buy horses — and then immediately he would begin negotiating to buy a thousand new horses and chariots! He could hear a prophet preach that the king was not to multiply wives to himself — and yet immediately he would go out to inspect a harem for prospective wives.
Solomon showed no evidence of sorrow, no sign of repentance. He could openly indulge in all this gross sin and immorality, and yet go back to his chamber and write another proverb.
Yet compare Solomon's indifference toward sin to David's total sorrow and brokenness for having sinned against God. David's church was not perfect; in fact, it was a Corinthian church. David committed adultery. He killed an innocent man. He walked for a season in horrible deception. Yet after David sinned, he uttered this rending cry from his innermost being:
"Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight... Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me" (Psalm 51:1-4,11).
David later sinned again by numbering the people of Israel, which he had been commanded not to do. He had just defeated all the giants and the remnant of Gath. He had driven out the Assyrians, and the entire land was at peace. In that moment David enjoyed great blessing and victory. And yet he was deceived by the devil!
David was so blinded by his sin no amount of reasoning could change him. Joab, who had seen David's deception warned him, "Why do you insist on going through with this sin?" But David persisted, saying, "I want to know how many fighting men I have!"
Beloved, this is a sobering thought that a righteous, God-fearing servant could be deceived by sin! David lived under the deception for almost ten months. Yet, this time, no prophet had to come to him to expose his sin. It was the Holy Ghost who convicted him!
Soon after the count had begun, David lost heart; he didn't even finish counting. He was now gray-haired and old, and he had become sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us:
"And David's heart smote him..." (2 Samuel 24:10).
The Hebrew here suggests: "Oh God, I am wounded in my heart for what I've done against You!"
That is the mark of the Holy-Ghost David church: a heartrending cry! Of course, there are people in this church who fail and who live in deception. But like David, they have become so sensitive to the work and moving of the Holy Spirit, they don't always need a prophet to tell them they've sinned. They repent even before a prophet comes to them — because they feel wounded by their sin!
In Solomon's church, deception is never dealt with. Eventually, it leads to blindness and ruin. But in David's church, there is a cry of godly sorrow, a cry for deliverance — a wounded, grieving heart for having sinned against God!
David said of his sin:
"The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; in my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter his ears.... He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me" (2 Samuel 22:6-7; 16-17).
Here Is the Tragic End of The Gospel According to Solomon!
After all that Solomon wrote and sang about, he concluded his life with these tragic words:
"...all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night.... There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour...." (Ecclesiastes 2:23-24).
Solomon was saying philosophically, "You're going to have sleepless nights. And you won't be able to do anything about the despair. You won't be able to change your feeling that everything is vanity. So the best thing you can do is to grab all the gusto you can and to squeeze everything you can out of life. Just enjoy yourself!"
That is how Solomon died. And that is the gospel of this present-day, Solomon age! Everything ends in Ecclesiastes, in emptiness and despair. Many people end up wondering, "What is life all about? Where am I headed? Who am I?"
Yet David's gospel says,
"I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. I laid me down and slept..." (Psalm 3:4-5).
If you've got the Holy Ghost, you will know God's voice and He will know yours. And you'll be able to sleep soundly!
Now consider this prophecy from the New Testament:
"After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up" (Acts 15:16).
God is going to bring the Solomon church to ruin — and He is going to resurrect David's church from out of those ruins! This remnant church will have a godly sorrow for sin. It will cry out in anguish and repentance. And it will be wholly dependent upon the Holy Spirit!
Two years before the PTL ministry fell, the Spirit of God came upon me and instructed me to write a long letter to Jim Bakker. I wrote, "In two years, by March 15, PTL will be dead." I described a vision of emptiness — of weeds growing tall and bats nesting in the buildings.
Jim read the letter and called me, asking, "What must I do?" I told him first to get rid of all the homosexuals in his ministry. Yet, not long after that conversation, Jim appeared on television mocking every word I said. Two years later, to the very day, the Lord's word about PTL happened — just as He had told me.
Right now I sense in my spirit that in less than five years, there will be no more so-called gospel television networks. They will all fall into bankruptcy and absolute ruin!
To hear the Solomon gospel that's preached on much of Christian TV today, you'd think Jesus is going to return to the earth in Beverly Hills driving a Rolls Royce. This image of Christianity is the most abominable thing I've ever seen or heard. And God says He has to bring it to ruin — because He's going to build His David house upon those ruins!
The only thing left will be some local television programs with true men of God preaching the gospel. And all the phony smiles, the ungodly fund-rasing circuses, the pop theology, the preaching of prosperity are going to come down.
Most of the so-called spiritual revivals today are mere cardboard structures. They're all going to burn in the chaotic days ahead. What Christian will be laughing when our cities are in flames? Who will be giddy and foolish when the economy collapses?
The Bible says of the Jews in the last days:
"And...in that day...I will pour upon the house of David... the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:9-10).
Right now there are Jews mourning and weeping for their Messiah at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. And not long ago some 10,000 Lubavitcher Jews held a march in Brooklyn, crying, "This is the year of our Messiah!" Their hands were upraised, tears rolled down their faces and they wept and cried out for their Messiah.
When I think of the 25 million babies aborted in this country and all the lost people who are going to hell, I don't understand why multitudes of Christians are laughing. Why are millions of Jews weeping and millions of hellbound, disillusioned sinners crying themselves to sleep while charismatics are laughing? When the revival comes, the joy will be because of repentance and because of the ingathering of the last harvest of lost souls.
"I...will build again the tabernacle of David..." (Acts 15:16).
God is going to build His church of the last days on the ruins. That means He must ruin the evil taking place in His church and bring down all abominations. And on those ruins He will raise up a holy, repentant church that utters gut-wrenching cries of repentance.
I thank God for the David church He is building right now out of heaps of ruin. Indeed, many who read this message have come from ruined backgrounds. Dear saint, if that describes you, then rest assured — God is using you to build His David church!
If you've got an overwhelming sin problem, don't go to some book or tape that's supposedly full of wisdom and knowledge. Instead, get on your face and have it out with God! Be a Holy-Ghost David Christian and cry out to the Lord with all your heart. He is building His church on your very cries. Hallelujah!