My father, M.W. Spickard, and I, at a Gospel Meeting near Springfield, MO, circa 1991.
My father preached once more after this occasion, the following week.
I spoke also in these meetings.
In these particular meetings, my father was dealing with elements among a people that he had been ministering to for over fifty years. Most of them had passed off the scene. However, what was left was some folks who thought that they would usurp my father’s longtime work, and garner what authority that was left for themselves, and for their own ends.
The Bible records several of such instances.
Cain killed Abel for this reason. He was jealous of Abel. You see, Abel was accepted by God. Abel had brought a sacrifice that God approved by pattern as shown by the account in Genesis 3:21. Cain had brought a sacrifice too, but it was not acceptable to God.
First of all, Cain’s offering was from his own efforts from tilling the ground, or works, hence, it was not by faith. Secondly, as shown by the pattern, there was no blood shed by Cain as there was by the offering of Abel. Abel had a sacrifice that involved the shedding of blood as this is what pre-dated the sacrifice of Christ in a type, which type and understanding from it, shows great faith in God and His outcome (Hebrews 11:4).
Cain had no such faith. Cain believed in his capability; not God’s ability.
Interestingly, Cain was not angry with God.
Cain was pathologically wroth with Abel.
Cain took out his rage, anger, rejection, jealousy, envy, and inferiority complex… not upon God… but upon Abel.
The Lord explained things to Cain, but this failed to pacify Cain.
Cain then confronted Abel, but Abel was not able to appease Cain. Cain got himself so worked up, that he vented his passions and hatreds, and killed Abel.
Pretty much everyone is familiar with this story from this point. Cain received a “mark,” and was banished to the Land of Nod, which in his lifetime, he and his posterity had no dealings with the family of Seth, who was appointed to replace Abel. This posterity of Seth, are called in the Bible, the “sons of God.” Cain’s seed was termed, the “daughters of men.” The Land of Nod, in the Hebrew language, signifies “to wander.” Hence, we can derive from this that Nod was somewhat of a barren land, or desert locale, as God had cursed the earth under the feet of Cain. In addition, to be a fugitive or vagabond also denotes “someone on the run,” or a nomad.
Another example of this type of rebellion toward God and His ways, is the story of Korah.
Korah was a cousin, it appears, of Moses. Both were Levites, or from the Tribe of Levi, among the children of Israel.
Korah became jealous of Moses. He wanted the bishopric, or constituted authority, that God had vested in Moses.
Korah led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Korah challenged the authority that Moses had in leading the “congregation of Israel.” Korah declared that Moses was excessive in his leadership and rule, “taking too much upon himself,” and “lifting themselves up as superior to the congregation of the Lord.”
Well, constituted authority, will do that to those it is vested in, or will appear to do so, to gainsayers.
Korah was not alone. He gathered together “250 princes of the assembly, who were elders well regarded in the congregation, men of reputation.” Korah started the murmuring and complaining. He charged that Moses had lied to the people. Moses was not going to take the children of Israel to a Promised Land, but he was going make himself an absolute dictator instead. Moreover, if the people complained, Moses would kill them in the Wilderness. Korah stated that the land of milk and honey,…well, was back in Egypt!
Rabbinic sources give some background information about Korah. Some of it is based on legend. It appears that Korah was a man of immense wealth, as depicted by the cinema feature, The Ten Commandments, whose person was played by Edward G. Robinson, a famous character actor.
Well, money and riches can certainly give you a big head. It can give a person impetus to challenge others as money is perceived as power. More on this later.
The end to this story is that Korah and his household, was swallowed up by the earth in an earthquake of sorts. The earth opened up beneath them, swallowed them whole, and then closed up again.
That was it, for Korah.
The two hundred and fifty though were reserved for another type of judgment. The Bible says that God sent out a fire and consumed ALL the 250 princes that were part of the rebellion of Korah.
You would think that after seeing a couple of supernatural judgments like these that, the host of Israel, siding with Korah, which seemed much more than initially thought in numbers, would “get with the program,” and separate from any association with Korah.
They were infected with the same rebellion. They were very angry. They led the congregation of Israel to meet with Moses and Aaron. They accused Moses and his brother, Aaron, of “killing the people,” that is Korah, and the 250,… “of the Lord.”
Well, the Angel of God’s face, who represented Yahweh, was so angry, he demanded that Moses and Aaron move to the side, so that He could destroy all of them.
Moses acted quickly. He knew what to do. He knew what was going to happen. Men, with constituted authority in them from God, usually do. Moses immediately commanded that Aaron take a censer of fire from the altar of the Lord, and go among the People, to make an atonement for them.
Meanwhile, a plague had begun.
It turned out that Aaron stood between those dying of the plague and those spared from the plague. It was a good thing to be on the Lord’s side that day!
The plague was stayed, but thousands more died. Altogether, there was nearly 15,000 people that died, “in the incident of Korah.”
Jude referred to this incident in his short letter in the New Testament.
Jude was a brother of Jesus, the Messiah.
In this reference, Jude stated that Korah had “gone in the way of Cain.”
It’s a small world, isn’t it?
Jude made this declaration when there came up active opposition that threatened “the faith once delivered to the Saints.” This opposition would also “go in the way of Cain” in persecuting the leaders of the genuine Christian fellowship.
Peter referred to the same very active opposition in his second letter with much the same language.
The Apostle Paul, also had already strenuously predicted this active opposition in his earlier preaching in Ephesus, and again, in his farewell prophecy to the Church there. This is recorded in Acts 20:28-31. This very rebellion, Paul stated, would start in Ephesus among the fellowship there. Paul called them, “grievous wolves… speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples unto them.”
Sounds like the “gainsaying” of Korah. Sounds like the “way of Cain.”
Jude, Peter, and Paul were referring to a soon coming period in which the leadership of the Christian Church, which was predominantly Jewish who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, or Messianic Judaism, would undergo profound changes.
With the impetus of the destruction of the Jewish Polity at Jerusalem in C.E. 70, which saw a dispersion of Messianic Jewish believers spread out over the Roman Empire who had obeyed the command of Jesus and left Jerusalem before its destruction, the Jewish leadership that was left, now witnessed the Early Church go from Messianic Jewish influence to a Gentile metaphysical, or Gnostic element, almost overnight…
John the Apostle survived the end of the Jewish Polity and journeyed to Ephesus where he took up residence there. He played a role in trying to delay this opposition. However, the opposition cleverly used his authority to promote their own. His chief protégé, even named himself, after John.
John the Apostle dictating his Memoirs to what he thought was a harmless Amanuensis (secretary). Not so. This amanuensis took over John’s Memoirs loosely as his own, changed his name and called himself John also, and took on the authority of a Presbyter, or Elder, who was an Intimate of the Apostles. He identifies himself as John the Elder, not John the Apostle, in the Johannine Letters. The Elder took this standing to take over the Church of Ephesus just as Paul had predicted less than a generation earlier…His group included several others, who styled themselves, The Elders of Ephesus, who began a subtle influence, and control, of all Christian fellowships of Asia Minor, and eventually, Rome.
Then John the Apostle died. This other John took his bishopric, or constituted authority, as his own. This man nearly got away with it. But now, we know better. He was a Korah.
To this day, only a few Bible scholars admit this. Yet, this is based on historical record of the Patristic period of the early Church. The whole Protestant and Evangelical Church pretty much don’t know and don’t acknowledge that there were “two” John’s.
Indeed, there are some parts of the New Testament that are accepted as canonical that are contributions from this individual and group. Church history tells us that this group, who challenged the authority of the Apostles and their apostolic teaching record, termed themselves, “The Elders.”
Korah had his 250. This impostor had his… “Elders.”
Some things just don’t change much.
It’s a small world, isn’t it?
Hence, this Gentile leadership took over, as Japhethic Gentiles are prone to do. They distanced themselves from the Jewish elements in the Christian fellowship, to secure their control of the fellowship. This was outlined by Jesus himself, in his Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, as sort of a companion prophetic utterance of what would happen.
I have grown wheat experimentally to verify this Parable. I used a “double-digging” technique, which is a proven practice to produce high yields, but is labor intensive. I had practically no weeds, with fantastic wheat growth, higher than my head. I then planted wheat in another plot, just barely plowing below the surface. The wheat in this plot was stunted, and the weeds took over as shown in this graphic. Now, imagine, if someone intentionally planted weeds in your wheat. There would be hardly any yellow growth of wheat. This is exactly what has happened, as Christ predicted, to much of his “church”!…
Yep, the Tares took over.
They went the “way of Cain.” They did the “gainsaying of Korah.” They took authority that was not meant for them. God never constituted his authority in them. They are false disciples and false leaders.
This outfit and influence of “the Elders” formed the basis of the Universal, or Catholic Church, based out of Rome. Later, this also included those elements who split from the Catholic Church, but were only “reformed” factions of the same power structure.
We still have this today.
Yet, the Bible says that this will change.
The Wheat will come back. The Tares will be rooted out.
There will be constituted authority placed by God into the proper individuals who God will call, sanctify, and place His Name and Word in.
Meanwhile, back to my father.
That day, my father faced a rebellion. It was from a man who had been able to gain a good deal of wealth, just like Korah. This man had gainsayed my father and said nearly the exact things that Korah charged Moses with: taking too much unto himself, and making himself a supreme leader. But in this meeting, the man who challenged my father would not show up: he sent his wife instead.
She was very capable however. Just like Korah’s wife in the Rabbinical record, she had agitated her husband to rebel. There is always a sort of a Jezebel who is around, it seems.
My father was pretty old. He was 91 years old. This woman, who was younger, challenged him from the floor. It was then that he declared what the whole issue was about:
This ended about as well as it could. The opposition was defeated and ended up in ignominy. But it was a pyrrhic victory. My father never addressed this group again. The plague of unbelief got them.
But like the instances in the Bible, it was all about the authority that God has placed into the earth.
In nearly every issue today, God’s constituted authority is under attack.
God said that marriage was between a man and a woman. The constituted authority of this is being persecuted and challenged. Now in many climes, marriage is now lawful for two men, or for two women.
God’s authority may be challenged, but it is not defeated. Moses showed us that. God knows how to confound folks before they get their reckoning.
God said that the husband, or the man, was the authority in his home. This constituted authority is being challenged today by wives and children influenced by rebellion against God and his established order in the home in these particular times.
They too, who are in rebellion of this placed authority, are confounded. It is too bad as this is one of the primary reasons for divorce in post-modern society. Jesus himself declared that a “house divided will not stand.”
Jesus also said that a man might have to give up “houses, family, parents, wife (or wives), children, or lands, for the sake of my name or authority.”
My father had to give up nearly all of these.
I am doing or have done the same. This is not very easy…
It is a price you pay to be part of having God’s or Christ’s name, or authority, in you.
Abel paid for it. Moses had to pay.
The Early Church paid for it. My father paid for it.
However, I am still making payments…
Has Christ put his name, or authority, in you?
Do you speak for him?
If so, then you have a degree of constituted authority.
If so, then you will have persecutions and challenges.
If so, you have to make decisions and pay a price.
But, this one thing is sure,… you have God behind you… even when everyone else has gone or abandoned you as they did Paul (2 Timothy 4:16).
Constituted authority…. Get with God on it. Then don’t do anything without it.
Thanks for reading.
Copyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2015. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.