​Laying the Axe to the Root  

Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Luke 3:7-9
Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.  Jer 51:20-23
And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.  II Kings 23:25

Most Christians read the Old Testament, especially the books of Kings and Chronicles, as the history of the Israelite people.  At best, they will detect foreshadowing of the Person and ministry of Jesus Christ.  Very few Christians, however, read the accounts of the reigns of the kings of Israel as types and shadows of their own lives and their own spiritual walk.  When Peter tells us that we are priests and kings we tend not to make the connection with the kings that ruled Israel over 2000 years ago.  I  believe that we need to understand the reign of these kings, especially Josiah, to understand ourselves and what God wants from us.

In chapter 23 of II Kings we see a man of God on a holy rampage.  He has caught sight of what God expects from His people and the revelation has caused him to tear up, root out, burn up and destroy every trace of idolatry in the land.  The quotation above from Jeremiah, a contemporary of Josiah, contains the prophetic meaning of the actions taken in the natural by King Josiah.  What does all this smashing, trashing, burning, pulling out by the roots have to do with us and why is it re-iterated in the New Testament?  Let’s examine this more closely.

We are born into this world with considerable baggage.  According to Paul, we are born with an adamic inheritance that corrupts every member of our body and distorts our very DNA.  As we grow and develop, we acquire identities based on ethnic, racial and economic factors overlaid on our personality structures.  We tend to identify with and be loyal to our tribe, our nation, our culture.  We are taught to love our country and love our flag.  We get emotional on hearing our national anthem.  We develop political preferences and join parties, movements etc.  Those who get saved acquire the religious programming generated by their denomination.  For many, this religious programming very often complements and reinforces the cultural programming they grew up with.  If you are merely “saved” and not truly born again, your “Christianity” is cultural more than spiritual.  You become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

To be truly born again and to pursue God with a whole heart as Josiah did is to tear down every vestige of your carnal identity in order to take on the identity of Christ.  It is to forsake one’s loyalty to country, nationality, tribe or race.  We are to be neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, free nor slave.  We are to be neither Democrat nor Republican.  We are neither American nor Canadian.  We are citizens of another country.

So many Christians who claim to be born again, spirit-filled Sons of God continue to draw their identities and thoughts from the realm of carnality.  They have allowed themselves to be seduced by political manipulators and compromised by worldly agendas.  In the effort to force their ideas on others and in the effort to get unsaved people to behave as though they were saved, Christians have corrupted themselves in the pursuit of political power.  For many Christians, the end justifies the means.  When that end seems to be frustrated, they see conspiracies on every hand and the “opposition” is demonized.

In truth, Christians have only one enemy.  That enemy is not Democrats, not liberals, not the “deep state”.  That enemy is Satan.  And he is apolitical.  The current obsession with conspiracies is ironic because the true conspiracy is Satan’s (very successful) effort to keep born again Christians out of the second birth and into the carnalities of the first birth.  He wants to keep us from fully walking in our spiritual identity as Christ.  He wants to compromise our witness in the earth by attaching us to hateful, corrupt and very often racist political ideologies.  He wants to divide the Body of Christ along racial and political lines.

Beloved, idolatry of any kind is hated by God and He will uproot it even if He has to take us to the grave so it can be dealt with in the spirit realm.  It’s instructive to note that despite God’s approval of Josiah’s zeal and despite His promise that Josiah would die in peace, Josiah did not die in peace.  Against the warning of God, Josiah got involved in a worldly conflict that he had no business getting involved in.  He took sides in a battle that did not concern him.  He decided to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life.  Josiah declared one side “good” and the other side “evil” and sided with the “good” team.  In so doing, he dug his own grave.

Josiah, like each of us, was called to pull down the idols in his own heart, to cleanse the house of God that had been polluted by paganism and worldliness and to prepare God’s people to become the manifestation of Himself in the earth.