Prophetic Polarities: Hot, Cold, and Lukewarm
n recent times, the Spirit of the LORD has impressed upon me how the phenomena of prophetic expectation can play into the process of Spiritual deception. Integrating that factor into the concept of the two Scriptural Polarities of Hot and Cold – plus the deadly lukewarm hybrid -- has recently opened up another vista of understanding. Perhaps the classic example of this is how the anticipation of the Messiah, erroneously pictured as a conquering king who would raise Jerusalem to its former glory, contributed to the Jewish religious brain-trust’s conclusion that Jesus was not the one who would deliver Israel from the tyranny of Rome.
As the prophecies describing the work of the LORD’s anointed one were fulfilled in JESUS OF NAZARETH, those who were not receptive to the celestial Spiritual current flowing from on high, claimed that the Carpenter could not be the long promised one, because they perceived that He had not fulfilled the Word of the LORD, concerning the Holy One of Israel:
“Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come,and he prophesieth of the times that are far off” (Ezekiel 12:27).
Thus spoke the LORD through the prophet Ezekiel. In this mysterious set of divinely inspired utterances, God declared that a time was coming when “the house of Israel” would not see the arrival of the Saviour as imminent, so His response was, that was the time when He was going to bring it about.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to this temple, even the messenger of the covenant…” (Malachi 3:1).
Back in Ezekiel, after noting that Israel saw the fulfillment of God’s redemptive promise to be exceedingly distant, He cautioned Israel through the prophet that the fulfillment of His promise was at hand:
“Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 12:28).
It is instructive for us to examine the supernatural architecture of just what the prophet Ezekiel has recorded here, and how it was fulfilled at the time of the arrival of the Saviour. In this regard, we should realize that those who rejectedJesus Christ did not reject the prophet’s statements concerning the emergence of the long anticipated Messiah, they simply claimed that the fulfillment was still yet to come.
If we examine the principle of opposites, we can see that a precise reversal of the word of the prophets, in which the seers of the LORD declared that God willsend a redeemer, would be to say that God will not send a redeemer. In the case of the perceived rejection of Jesus by the Jews, the nation did not say that God will not send them a Saviour (as He repeatedly promised), they believed that He had not yet kept His promise, as the consensus reached by the Jewish body was that Jesus was not the Messiah.
Thus, the rejection of the LORD’s anointed was a mingling of the promise of Life, with its opposite polarity, the idea that God would not send a Saviour to redeem Israel – and the middle ground was the conclusion that Jesus was notthe fulfillment of the Messianic hope – even as the Jews cling, to this very day, to the notion that God will yet send a redeemer.
If we re-examine this rudimentary outline, the promise of Life, given by the LORD through the law and the prophets, was related to truth, joy, eternal righteousness, resurrection, and everlasting Life. Predictably, employing the superlative language of the prophets, Spiritual refreshment and renewal were frequently allegorized, by utilizing the imagery of water, which would quench a person’s thirst in a supernatural way:
“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1).
This “fountain” was a colourful way of describing the “living waters” which the LORD vowed would be delivered by the Saviour of Israel.
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).
If we categorize any factions which flatly deny (or ignore) the LORD and His Word – everything from atheists, to those who just scoff at God - we see the most basic definition of Death. Since God is Life, those who are completely apart from God may be symbolically associated with Death.
However, those who are aware of God (and His recorded Word), continually evaluate their circumstances, as well as their physical and Spiritual environment. Following the pontification stage, such will eventually decide on a course of action. A classic example of this is found in the serpent’s incursion into the Garden of Eden.
In the first round of the battle between good and evil, the setting was the Dialectical exchange between the first woman and the serpent. Here we see a straightforward example of strict opposites:
“And the Lord God commanded…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the serpent said unto the woman,Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:4).
To die, or its opposite, to “not die,” is the Spiritual equivalent of day and night, light and dark, yea and nay, life and death, hot and cold, and a host of additional Prophetic Polarities.
After his blasphemous statement regarding the Word of the LORD, the serpent softened his tone, and moved to what could be termed the middle ground, thus providing a more seductive lure, as the Dialectic continued:
“….your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).
He might as well have said, once your eyes are “opened,” you’ll be like gods, because then you’ll be able to evaluate your environment and circumstances, and decide things for yourself.
Incidentally, since the LORD Himself made a statement not completely dissimilar to the ye shall be gods assertion, we should recognize the serpent’s version was not 100% false, but was dangerously leavened with diabolically slanted information. Indeed, because of this statement, most believers are nervous when they read what Christ said about the subject, but we are not to pick and choose which aspects of His doctrine appeal to us.
“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (John 10:34).
The Saviour was, of course, citing from the Psalms – and He was obviously making an analogy as the Jewish priests were justifying their rejection of Him, so there is considerable complexity in His words -- but that’s beside the point. The fact is, the statement twisted by the tempter in the Garden was not black and white, but grey.
This example is but one of many which leads us back to the principle ofProphetic Polarities. In fact, it is crucial that we recognize that when the Old Covenant people of the LORD rejected Jesus, they did not reject the Word of the LORD, which said He would send them a Saviour. Indeed, the widespread expectation that God had not forgotten Israel was evidenced by the common man’s universal recognition the redeemer was prophesied to be associated with the lineage of their great king David:
“And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the [prophesied] son of David?” (Matthew 12:23)
On another occasion, Jesus read from the words of the prophet Isaiah, in a text which plainly provides details of the marvelous deeds the promised Messiah was to perform:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:18, 21).
It was at this point the Jews reacted with rage, evaluating the statements they just heard, and they decided to kill Jesus.
“And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong” (Luke 4:28, 29).
Here we see the outline of the Prophetic Polarities we’ve been addressing, and it’s actually quite illuminating to realize the way this wicked power functions. In previous efforts, we’ve examined the two-fold, divided nature of evil, and it is present in the example just cited. For the sake of simplicity, it’s useful to identify the two evil Spiritual factions with the proper names Death and Hell.
Far from a simple figure of speech, those who have studied prophecy for some time are already aware the Scriptures actually use these terms as names, in more than one example. The classic case is the Pale Horse of Revelation, where the rider is actually stated to have the name of Death:
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him” (Revelation 6:8).
We note how the Word of God even capitalizes the names, which is a grammatical requirement for a proper noun, so it is beyond dispute that these twin phenomena exist.
Obviously, neither of these entities (or attributes of what I call the Double Minded Devil) are serving the LORD – who is singularly equated in Scripture with every positive term imaginable. He is the way, the truth, and the life – and the fruits of His Spirit are righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17), and much more.
“In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death” (Proverbs 12:28).
Now we have Life, Death, and the middle ground, where we consider our choices, accumulate the available information, and choose our course of action. This is where Hell exists, and this sinful state is invariably the gateway toDeath.
If we apply this architecture to the example of Christ standing in the synagogue, and reading from Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy, we will see Life, and Death and Hell.
Jesus is obviously the Life, and so is the Word of God being read. Israel (the multitude in the synagogue), while clinging to the promise of life in the Scripture, considered their options and, in their sinful state (“knowing good and evil” – Genesis 3:5), failed to choose the Life standing in front of them. They evaluated their environment, and decided that Jesus was not the fulfillment of the promise of God to deliver a redeemer.
This manifests the role of the Spirit of “Hell” seen in the False Prophet, who “causes” those who dwell on the earth to choose to follow the first beast – the “Antichrist” – which is the Spirit of Death. In this way, huge numbers of men and women (the “multitudes in the valley of decision” – Joel 3:14), who believe they are following the ways of the LORD, but are actually in sync with theSpirit of Hell residing in the “False Prophet,” are moved to be joined with theSpirit of Death.
“…when they heard these things [they] were filled with wrath [Hell], And rose up…that they might [kill Him]” (Luke 4:28, 29)
It’s imperative that we recognize the multitude did not abandon the promise that God would redeem Israel; they failed to recognize that He fulfilled His promise -- through Jesus of Nazareth – even as they continued to assert that God will yet keep His promise to save Israel.
Now fast forward to our time. One group, usually referred to as preaching “replacement theology,” says that God is finished with Israel, because He has replaced Israel with the “Church.” This is Death, for it says that God has not, and will not, redeem Israel. Another group, usually associated with the Rapture Cult, says that God will yet save Israel, because Jesus did not fulfill all that was written of Him (Acts 13:29, 30). This is Hell, and it embodies the identical position of the Jews who who rejected Jesus.
The third group, who are truly alive in Christ, recognizes that God has already redeemed Israel, for the “all Israel [that] shall be saved” (Romans 11:26), encompasses the redeemed in Christ -- past, present, and future. To put it another way, He kept His promise, and Death and Hell have no place or power here.
Which of these three describes you?
– James Lloyd