In our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land we visited Tel Dan, an ancient city in the northeast corner of Israel. It was originally called Leshem and Laish. After the Philistines forced the tribe of Dan from central Israel, they relocated to this area and renamed it Tel Dan. Along with the city of Bethel it was here where Jeroboam placed and worshiped the golden calf.
Where the alter would have stood at Tel Dan.
This account is found in the 12th chapter of 1Kings: “Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their sovereign, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah,” verses 25-27.
Jeroboam compromised out of fear– he was afraid of losing the people, his position, and in the end his life. He realized that if the people went back to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh that they would also return to Rehoboam. For Jeroboam this wasn’t something he could bear. So how did he prevent it from happening?
Beginning with verse 28: “Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy mighty ones, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi,” vv. 28-31.
Jeroboam did the unthinkable; he made two idols for Israel to worship. To prevent the people from going back to Rehoboam, Jeroboam compromised Yahweh’s worship.
Amazingly, we still find this being done today. For 2,000 years the Church has compromised worship for self-preservation, numbers, and other self-seeking interests. As shown through history, it’s very hard for mankind to remove self from the equation and to simply follow Yahweh as He commands.
Even believers are susceptible to such compromise. This is why we must always be on guard against false doctrine and the traditions of man. When we do it Yahweh’s way, sacrifices will be made. While some are willing and able to do this, the reality is that most are not.
Beyond the idols Jeroboam also made priests of the lowest of the people. As for the qualifications of ministers, the Bible says that they must meet a high standard. In 1Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6, the Apostle Paul says that a bishop or elder must be blameless. James in his epistle also states that ministers will receive the heavier condemnation or judgment.
Where the King’s throne sat at the city entrance. (2 Kings 23:8)
Consequently, one of the worst things we can do is to compromise leadership, as did Jeroboam. This compromise will negatively impact the body of Messiah. As goes the leadership, so goes the assembly. For this reason we must ensure that our worship and those who minister before us meet the standards of our Father’s Word.
Continuing on, we find that Jeroboam made one more fatal mistake. “And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense,” verses 32-33.
In addition to setting up idols and making priests of those unqualified, he also changed Yahweh’s worship. Instead of observing the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month, he moved it to the eighth month. The people worshiped on a day that Yahweh never appointed. In other words, instead of doing it Yahweh’s way, they did it man’s way.
The sad reality is, we find many cases of apostasy in today’s worship, including: Sunday worship, man’s holidays (e.g. Easter, Halloween, Christmas), Trinity, Rapture, and the list goes on. The Bible shows that Yahshua and His Apostles observed the true seventh-day Sab-bath along with the annual Feast days, as appointed and as established by Yahweh. Like Jeroboam, the Church com-promised the truth from the beginning, and for 2,000 years since.
This is why we at YRM strive to strip away the traditions of man and to simply worship Yahweh according to His Word. We all have a choice; we can follow the example of Jeroboam and compromise our Father’s worship or we can worship Him as He commands.
What many don’t realize is that Jeroboam’s compromise began with Solomon’s negligence, as seen in 1Kings 11:4-9: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other mighty ones: and his heart was not perfect with Yahweh his Elohim, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the elohim of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and went not fully after Yahweh, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their mighty ones. And Yahweh was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from Yahweh Elohim of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.”
When Solomon took the throne he was humbled and sincerely desired to follow Yahweh. He prayed to Yahweh for wisdom. Because his motives were noble and pure, Yahweh blessed him with incredible wisdom along with great wealth and abundance.
The Bible says that Solomon was the wisest man and that his wisdom exceeded even those in the east and Egypt. Besides the Messiah, Solomon was likely the wisest man in the Bible.
Even though he possessed incredible wisdom in the end he still forsook Yahweh. When he was old his wives turned his heart away from Yahweh and to other mighty ones.
The Bible says that he allowed and promoted the worship of Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Molech, and other pagan gods.
Through Solomon we find that wisdom alone is not sufficient; we must also have a heart of obedience. As believers we should realize that we’re also susceptible to this type of influence and deception.
What was the result of Solomon’s apostasy? “And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other mighty ones: but he kept not that which Yahweh commanded. Wherefore Yahweh said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen” (1Kings 11:10-13).
Because of Solomon’s sin Yahweh would tear apart the kingdom of Israel during the reign of his son, Rehoboam. Because of Yahweh’s love for David he could have one tribe, i.e., Judah. Rehoboam actually received two tribes, i.e., Judah and Benjamin, along with a portion of the Levites.
We pay a penalty when we deviate from our Father’s Word. In the case of Solomon, his sin impacted not only him but also an entire nation. Sin can do the same to families and to an assembly or body of believers. When we choose not to follow Yahweh’s righteous standards we will suffer the consequences.
This is why it’s important that min-isters follow the standards established by Yahweh. Nothing will cause more problems than when the requirements of leadership are lowered.
This is also true for parents. If a father or mother doesn’t have right virtue and character, this deficiency will negatively impact families and likely future gener-ations.
The Sons of Aaron Rebel
The Bible provides us another case of compromise in the tenth chapter of Leviticus: “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Yahweh, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from Yahweh, and devoured them, and they died before Yahweh. When Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that Yahweh spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace,” verses 1-3.
Instead of worshiping the way Yahweh commanded, Nadab and Abihu took it upon themselves to change worship. For that Yahweh consumed them with fire. Consider this: these were the sons of the High Priest. If anybody would have been faithful to Yahweh’s Word, logic would say that it would have been these two men. But that wasn’t the case.
Moses told Aaron after Yahweh killed his sons that Yahweh would be sanctified by them that came near. In other words, those who minister before our Heavenly Father must be especially careful to follow Him.
In truth, this principle applies to all positions of leadership. Consider again the impact of Solomon and Jeroboam – because of their negligence the entire nation suffered. This is one reason why the Torah commanded that the king write a copy of the Law. Not even the king of Israel was above Yahweh’s divine commandments. So whether it’s a civil or religious position, both must hold to the Word of Almighty Yahweh and be a person of virtue and character.
The simple truth is this: when more is given, more is expected! This is why James states that a minister will receive the greater condemnation.
Making a Separation
The Apostle Paul in 2Corinthians 6:14-16 shows that as believers we must make a distinction in worship: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Messiah with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of Elohim with idols? for ye are the temple of the living Elohim….”
Here Paul conveys the great contrast between believers in the Messiah and the world. He states emphatically that we are to make a distinction in worship. When we follow Yahweh closely, the separation will come automatically.
One of the most frequently asked questions of the Ministry is: Can we worship in the common titles in lieu of the actual names of the Father and Son? While it’s our desire to promote fellowship within the body, we cannot support worship outside the Truth that is diluted with compromise. The fact is, both the titles “Lord” and “God” have questionable etymological roots. More importantly, the Bible mandates that the Names of Yahweh and Yahshua are key to proper worship.
Those baptized into Yahshua’s Name represent Yahweh’s temple. The Old Testament allows no room for compromise regarding worship in the temple (or tabernacle). Since believers now represent His temple, this same policy applies to us today. As Yahshua’s disciples, we must make a distinction between the holy and the common.
The Church has gone astray in a myriad of ways, solidifying error into tradition. Tradition often proves hardest for believers to deal with. It’s difficult to go against the majority, but if we desire to follow our Heavenly Father without compromise, there is no other choice. Either we do it His way or we do it man’s way; it’s not possible to please both. If we try, we will not succeed with either.
One Man Against 400
Elijah or EliYah (meaning, “My El is Yah”) was a prophet who knew the cost of worshiping Yahweh. In 1Kings 18:20 we find him all alone against 400 prophets of Baal: “So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if Yahweh be Elohim, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word,” verses 20-21.
Before we consider what Elijah says here, it’s important that we understand the events which led up to this point. Prior to this passage, Elijah prayed to Yahweh that it would not rain upon the land. This was in response to the sin of King Ahab and Jezebel. Yahweh answered his prayer and three years of drought followed. Through the prophet Obadiah Elijah then calls a meeting with King Ahab. He asked that the king, along with the prophets of Baal, meet him at Mount Carmel. Elijah’s plan was to show the power and supremacy of Almighty Yahweh.
In verse 21 the stage was set. All of Israel was gathered at Mount Carmel including King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. The test for supremacy was simple: take a bull as a burnt offering, place it upon wood, and see which mighty one world consume the burnt offering.
First up was the 400 prophets of Baal; they danced, chanted, and cut their own flesh in their futile attempt to call down the power of their mighty one. Needless to say, nothing happened except that they made a mockery of themselves and the one they worshiped.
Next up was the prophet Elijah. Before praying, he asked that four barrels of water be poured on the sacrifice and wood. This man wanted to show beyond a shadow of doubt who reigned supreme. After this was done he prayed to Yahweh and at that very that moment the fire of the Almighty came down from heaven and consumed both the water and burnt offering. Seeing this the people of Israel fell upon their faces and said, “Yahweh, he is the Elohim.” Then they killed the 400 prophets of Baal.
Let’s now return to verse 21. In this passage Elijah asks the people how long they will flip-flop between two opinions? How long will you continue to compromise worship?
As the people of Israel had to choose, we too must choose whether we’re going to worship Yahweh as He commands or to compromise His Word. We know from this story that the people of Israel chose Yahweh, but only after Elijah gave a demonstration that they would not soon forget.
Understand that this question is just as relevant to us as it was then. Whom do we serve today? Are we faithfully following our Father in heaven or are we allowing ourselves to compromise His truth?
The Cost of Total Commitment
Another man fully devoted to his Father in heaven was Joshua, the son of Nun. In Joshua 24:15 we find just how resolute Joshua was. It reads, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve Yahweh, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the mighty ones which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the mighty ones of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.”
We find here Joshua’s resolute devotion to His Father in heaven. Regardless of what the people of Israel chose, we see that this man was going to stay the course. Joshua is one of the best examples of personal commitment in all of Scripture. No matter who or what, nothing was going to distract this faithful servant from his focus and service to his Father Yahweh.
What about us, is our Father in heaven the first focus in our lives? Are we going to follow Him no matter what? At the beginning of this passage, Joshua said to the people, choose you this day whom you will serve.
Even though the truth is not a democracy, we see that we still have a choice. We can choose to serve Him or to reject Him. We can worship as He commands or we can compromise and follow man, as Israel did with Jeroboam.
Are we going to demonstrate the character of Joshua by fully committing to Yahweh or are we going to compromise? Our Heavenly Father is calling out a select people; He wants the cream of the crop. If we’re found worthy, it’s going to be because we followed Him without compromise and deviation. This is the only path that will ensure His blessings and the prize of everlasting life in His Kingdom.
For more info on our Trip to Israel please check out this video: https://youtu.be/FPxIXBdQmJ0