“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 Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
The initial questions that come to my mind after reading this are these:
1. Who are the “them” that we are to separate from?
2. What is the “unclean thing” that we are not to touch?
Who are the “them” that we are to separate from?
When everything is boiled down in the world there remains only two classes of people: believers and unbelievers. In other words, as Paul states, “all are not Israel that are of Israel” and not all are Christians who profess Christ, or prominently display a picture of a fish on their car bumper.
Being unequally yoked goes further than marrying an unbeliever, or becoming a business partner with an infidel, which is common enough. Unbelievers are “unclean” and should be avoided except when absolutely necessary. The plain message of Scripture, both O.T. and N.T. is to have little to do with them. Any association with the world is to touch “The unclean thing.” So, how is this seen in the Church today? Virtually any and all relationships are acceptable. I was getting my hair cut the other day from my “Christian” barber and our conversation landed on children and schooling and I volunteered that all of my nine grandchildren are home-schooled. My barber added that that was a good thing, but that they should be, at about eleven or twelve, put into public school so that they could learn to socialize properly. I responded that that would be the worst possible thing their parents could do. Did he really believe that the world had something of value to teach my grandchildren? Yes, he did, and this coming from a “Christian.”
The world to him was not an “unclean thing,” but rather necessary for our full development. This man, in my estimation is an “unbeliever.” He does not believe the Scripture rule of separation, and is skeptical of the value of this verse as applied to this present age; he is faithless and deluded and probably lost. My only association with this person would be to fulfill my mission to deliver the Gospel, and that is all. He exhibited no signs of being a Christian except that he said he was a Christian and went to a building he called his church. This man is the run of the mill Christian, and has a form of godliness, but denies the power that makes a person Godly, i.e. faith and trust that God is who He said He is, and will do what He said He would do, no skepticism allowed.
Today the rule of not being “unequally yoked” should mean, to most serious Christians, that they be not joined in communion with most of those who simply say they are Christians and pack out the pews of the places they call “Church.” The serious Christian has only one recourse when the local church has become the local brothel or den of thieves, and that is to separate from them and “touch not the unclean thing.”
But, let’s not stop now while we’re having so much fun, let’s go deeper still. Let’s touch that nerve that will win you enemies faster than talking bad about their mother, their golden calf, the T.V. I told the Post Master of the post office in the little town where I live that I didn’t watch or own a television anymore. She responded that she had heard of rare cases of individuals who didn’t watch T.V., but that she had never, in her whole life, met one. When I told her that I didn’t listen to the radio either, not even Rush Limbaugh, she began wondering if I wasn’t part of some strange cult. I reassured her that I was simply a Christian trying to stay untarnished by the world around me.
At that time I never realized the extent of the hold that Hollywood had on people. The yoke that Christians have with Hollywood and its celebrity priest can be honestly called a shackle of tempered steel, welded shut, with the key thrown away. The influence that Hollywood carries on Christian lives is the worst kind of bondage, introducing all sorts of filthiness and uncleanness under the guise that it is just entertainment, and that if you don’t want to watch it all you have to do is turn it off. Next to religion, T.V. is the drug of choice for nearly all “Christians.” Is television an unclean thing? Without a doubt it is evil to the core, lock, stock, and barrel. I feel that if Christians could destroy all their T.V.’s it would go very far in reversing the curse that has engulfed our nation. I also feel that the likelihood of that happening would be equal to our ability to successfully land a man on the surface of the sun. “Can a man carry fire in his bosom and not get burnt?” The fire of Hell burns in Hollywood and in our Christian homes.
What is the “unclean thing” that we are not to touch?
The Old Testament laws were given as types and shadows for us today of the vast degree to which one must go to stay pure, and the vast degree to which the world will corrupt a pure soul, and the consequences that must inevitably follow. The Israeli people are our example of how it works, of both the blessings of being pure, and the curse of compromise. But, somehow we on, this side of the Cross, have concluded that all has changed. We, the American Christian Church, have been, aptly and generously instructed that by quoting, like some sort of mantra, “you are in the world but not of it” you can handily justify every situation in which you find yourself tempted to impurity. It is like having a “get out of jail free card” for worldly Christians. This verse is quite possibly the most well known and quoted Bible passage in the Laodicean Church of America. This verse is used far and wide to rationalize everything worldly, and it is used by both leaders and laymen to the same degree. This verse has become the antidote to “touch not the unclean thing.”
How is it that the Church has effectively overridden the express mandate to NOT be unequally yoked, and to touch not the unclean thing? Jesus reminded the Pharisees that their faulty understanding of Scripture did not void out the true meaning. Their law instructed them to take care of their parents. Jesus said in Mark 7:10-13 that Moses said, ‘
Honor your father and your mother;’ and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban” — ‘ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Likewise, the Laodicean Church of America says, “whatever you can justify by covering it with the phrase “in the world but not of it” will effectively eliminate any guilt association that might be caused by having to live in the world.
The Laws of Moses appear to be difficult and meaningless to us who live under the shadow of the Cross and not under the shadow of the Law. Nonetheless, there is much meaning in the law for us today. The Law showed the seriousness and result of doing the things the way the world did things. The Jews were a separated people and their life, and the way they lived it, were distinguishable from everything around them, not so much by their inclusion of things, but by their exclusion and separateness. God’s ways were not to be looked at as something that was added to what they already had or knew, but that God’s ways were the right ways, and the only right ways. Therefore, the prescribed life of the Jew was to exclude anything that was contrary to the way of God, and that was the rule, and that is our rule.
Yoking ourselves to the world was illustrated in the O.T. by the prohibition of ploughing with an ox and an ass, or to have sown differing kind of seeds together, or sewing wool and cotton together. What an absurdity to think that we can blatantly mix darkness and light, good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, God and the Devil. What communion do we have with the world in any of its vast corruptions, even when it has a sticker saying “Christian” spread across its bumper.
We are the Temple of the Living God and the danger is immense that by thinking lightly, that we are in the world, we can touch the unclean thing without consequences. Today our unbelief is flagrant and the consequences paralyzing. The unclean thing is no less than the dunghill of this present world and its inhabitants. We are commanded to “come out from among them” and to keep a very safe distance, “to be separate,” as one would avoid a society of lepers, or the plague, for fear of being infected or defiled in the presence of the God we say we cherish. How close can one get to a trash fire and not come away smelling like smoke? We must not defile ourselves, and we must not mingle, bind, or unite, with those who do. Do we thus repay the Lord, O foolish and unwise?
A Defiled People Hag 2:12-14
“‘If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?” Then the priests answered and said, “No.” And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?” So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.” Then Haggai answered and said, “So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,” says the Lord , “and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.’”
These verses speak loudly to a nation caught in its sin, and it speaks loudly to America. Where did the mentality come from that says, that if we put a Christian in the midst of the world we can make it holy; that by a Christian presence we can spread holiness? Where did the mentality come from that says that a Christian can maintain their purity when simultaneously mingling with impurity? Who said that we could keep an open relationship with the world and come away unscathed? It is a lie, it cannot be done. Haggai here declares the same; it cannot be done. The pure person cannot by being with impurity and mixing with them impart his purity to them. But, to the contrary, if a holy person touches an unclean thing the holy person becomes unclean. To say it plainly: corruption and sin are more easily transferred to the righteous than righteousness transferred to the unrighteous. So the rule seems to be plain enough. Don’t think that an evil person living in the midst of goodness will commend that goodness to the evil person. The Spirit has declared that it is not so, but this is exactly what we see, routinely, in the institutional Church. We advertise, we promote, we poll neighborhoods, we beg and we plead that the world would please come and be a part of us, and they have, and we have become corrupt and unclean, deluded, because we now see as the world sees, and we see that the world’s ways and means have great promise for the Church. We have become an unclean thing and we don’t know how to repent, so the Lord will come to us in our darkest hour, and we will see our nakedness and be ashamed.
As we watch the world tumble and turn, and the organized church slip into apostasy, words start taking on new value, meaning, and understanding, both for the worldly Christian and for those enlightened souls who recognize the fulfillment of end time prophecy. We have witnessed, in our generation, the grand sermons of talented preachers, with their endless chatter, flowing like a fermented mash, to inebriated crowds, bellying up to the bar for a round of worldly religion, and seen them stumble home, and still manage to confess, in the face of their sin, their creedal and national allegiance, then fall for the umpteenth time while convinced, by their pastor, that they can live in the world and not be of it. They are not only in the world, they are awash in it; it covers them; they have become to the “world,” just, the “religious world,” no different than those outside, just more cocksure that’s all.
This is the “Church” in America. We have become the poster child of the Laodicean Church and we don’t even know it. We have fallen, and can’t get up, nor do we want to! Amos’ prophecy of a famine that would not be of food or water, but of the Word of God, describes the complacency and self-assurance the Laodicean Church has found feeding on corn husk and wallowing in mire. The Church of Laodicea can not even conceive what is meant by “touch not the unclean thing.” Surely, to the Church in America this only means: don’t get caught stealing, or only get religious tattoos. Don’t say the g-d word; don’t lust after women openly while church members are with you; it’s O.K. to get married for the second and third time, because God knows you need sex, and having ill feelings toward the homeless is acceptable, (because they’re probably all drug addicts, and losers anyway)’ don’t watch XXX rated movies, but the filth during halftime is O.K., and the list goes on, and on, and on.
The Laodicean Church really has no qualms about doing any of the things listed above, that all the rest of the Church members are also doing, including the leaders, which is the same as the world is doing, only the world doesn’t have their “get out of jail free” card to play.
Being part of the status quo is comforting to them, and if one of their own happens to color outside the lines of satisfactory behavior, and go beyond the veil of their “cure all” verses, it’s alright, there is an endless supply of forgiveness potion on hand.
What in Heaven could the Lord have meant by “touch not the unclean thing” if everything we see in the organized Church, seemingly, meets His approval? I can assure you that the real meaning has much more to do with how we love Jesus (i.e. obedience) than it has with practicing acceptable Laodicean religion, whose highest goal is self satisfaction, pleasing men, and appearing righteous and holy, while “looking good”: cars, clothes, hair, teeth, education, electronic gadgets, position, endorsements, acquaintances, neighborhood, nationality, race, etc, etc, etc.
There is a special feature of this age and it is, religious skepticism. There are many who are openly skeptic, and call themselves “Christian” and celebrate their inconsistency. It amazes me that the very thing in which we are called to exercise “faith” they wholeheartedly reject because it doesn’t make sense to them or fit their lifestyle. There are the ignorant Christian skeptics, who can not put a definition to their dilemma, or even know they have a dilemma, but are no less unbelievers than their brothers the liberal “open skeptics.” This thing which should be the cause of anxiety–which denies a Christianity of “revelation” and obedience–becomes to them a form of godliness which disallows the power of true Godliness. Their skepticism and unbelief come all nicely clothed in the cloth of being “in the world but not of it,” how convenient.
“…having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Tim 3:5
Isn’t today’s institutional Church the epitome of these words spoken by Paul to Timothy? And, what is his conclusion?,
“and from such turn away!”
But we don’t turn away, we embrace, and are encouraged to embrace the more, and to tolerate, regardless of the filthiness. In every aspect of Church life touching the unclean, is promoted, and even advertised as being good. We have adopted all their ways: business practices, music, dress, education, even their means of reaching God.
We live in a country whose “believers” believe it has no reason to repent. Doesn’t the command to “repent” assume guilt? We are a guilty nation and so thoroughly infected that “guilt” has no meaning and consequently there is no need to repent.
Time is short and there is much work to be done, and few there be that do it.
“. . .Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. . . .”