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History and Purpose of the Pulpit [book]

Excerpt from the book Predators in Our Pulpits

“And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose.” – Nehemiah 8:4

Did you notice the words “pulpit” and “purpose” in this verse? A reading of this passage reveals that they are mentioned together in this context relating to the issue of corporate worship. Peering into this passage will help us to discover and return to God’s original “purpose” for the “pulpit.” During the gathering together of His people to worship Him, this is vital in order to ensure that we are walking in His truth and escaping apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3). The “pulpit” simply represents a platform of communication and understanding the divine “purpose” for it is critically important, as it will prevent us from “being led away with the error of the wicked” who, in our day, use the pulpit for a purpose foreign to the divine intent (2 Peter 3:17).

Nehemiah 8 contains the only mention of a “pulpit” in God’s Word. Examining the setting where the original pulpit appears is crucial to understanding the divine intention for its use. The purpose for which it was established has not changed. God’s “purpose” when His people gather is, in part, seen just four verses down. Nehemiah 8:8 says: “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”

Nehemiah 8:8 sets forth the pattern for the gathering of the people of God. It is to worship the LORD Himself and no other and in doing such, we read His Word and no one else’s. Replacing His Word with anything else is worshiping at the altar of another god. In order to become intimately familiar with this truth and these words of our LORD that we are looking into, let’s read these words again: “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8).

The elders of God’s people Israel stood up and read God’s Holy Word to the people. They simply spoke the divinely inspired Precepts which we now have today in the complete Old and New Testaments. Would to God that men who lead today would know and understand the divine truth in this Nehemiah 8 passage of Holy Scripture!

See what others are saying about the book Predators in Our Pulpits and order your copy here.

Nehemiah 8 is a very important Bible text. Today, we must follow the divine pattern set forth here or we will greatly “err”; which many have done “not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). The Scriptures provide the only divinely ordained instructions for worship and ministry. Anyone not following them has greatly erred. According to Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:11, Nehemiah and all of the Old Testament Scriptures were written “for OUR learning” and “for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

Nehemiah 8:4 says: “And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose.” That day when God’s people gathered, the “purpose” was for His Word to be read to them from that wooden “pulpit.” The divinely ordained “purpose” for the “pulpit” and for which they built this structure is given in this very text: “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8).

This author is aware he has re-quoted these words more than once, and that is intentional. Reader and friend, are you hearing these words? This is the only time the word “pulpit” is found in the Bible and we must understand the divinely-ordained purpose for it. Knowing this simple truth will do wonders to help our discernment.

The wooden pulpit in Nehemiah’s day was for the people to gather and hear the very words of God; and for the leaders to speak them so they could understand the Word and will of God for their lives as a people.

In its most basic definition, a “pulpit” is merely a venue or central place of communication. It is simply a medium where a message is transmitted and conveyed to a person or people. As we see in this Nehemiah 8 setting, the pulpit was a place to stand and read or declare the written Word of God and nothing else. Notice that the elders stood and “read in the book in the law of God distinctly.”

Parash is the Hebrew word for “distinctly” and is defined this way: to separate, literal (to disperse) or figurative (to specify); also (by implication) to wound: scatter, declare, distinctly, shew, sting.

Does this definition sound like “rightly dividing the word of truth”? (See 2 Timothy 2:15.) Notice the words separate, disperse, wound, and sting. The words of God separate or sanctify the saints as they are dispersed into the hearts of God’s people (John 15:3; 17:17). Also, the Word of God many times first wounds us, stinging our consciences to convict and bring us to repentance (Deuteronomy 32:39).

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). The dilemma today is not the piece of wood our leaders stand behind, or the various mediums of communication we have today, but rather what they are communicating as they use these vehicles to transmit information. In God’s eyes the audiences are equally as guilty as the wolves they migrate to and support (Hosea 4:9; 2 John 7-11).  We were long ago forewarned of an hour when men who claimed to know the LORD and had a “form of godliness,” would “turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 3:4; 4:4).

And how does this happen? “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed” (Isaiah 9:16).

The fact that so many people who call themselves Christians sit in front of deceptive wolves and listen to foolish, shallow, empty, non-convicting, psycho-babble and stories (“fables”) today, is an indictment of a whole generation of lost souls who do not fear the LORD and are biblically illiterate (Colossians 2:8). These two soul damning flaws go hand in hand—refusing to know God’s Word and not fearing God (Deuteronomy 4:9-10).

The great apostle Paul warned God’s people: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

Today, in this late hour of great apostasy, the essential Word of God has been replaced with notions, philosophies, pop psychology, traditions, and the doctrines of sinful men.

When men in leadership do not bow down to the Most High in their daily lives, it will show up in the pulpits. When men don’t uphold Christ in their personal lives, but instead have control of their own lives, the same will transpire in their “ministry.” They will be in control, not the LORD. This is one reason that the daily cross Jesus commanded is essential to following Christ and leading others in the biblically prescribed pattern of worship.

See what others are saying about the book Predators in Our Pulpits and order your copy here.

God surely has ordained the preaching of His Word, and yet very few do so in this late hour. Satan’s desire is to control the pulpit and what is spoken from it, so he has targeted and attacked the seminaries and the personal lives of those who lead. If he can ensnare leaders in sin (living in the flesh), he can thwart the flow of God’s Word to the people. The enemy’s goal is to replace the life-giving Word of God with “another gospel,” which is no gospel at all (2 Corinthians 11:2-4). Those human emissaries he has enlisted, who wear sheep’s cloaks, are “accursed” for participating in this rebellion against the LORD (Galatians 1:6-9).

The Pulpit

What most people hear and trust from the pulpits of today is going to pull them into the pit of eternal hell.

The word and concept of “pulpit” is found in the Bible, but it is so very grossly misused in our day. We see so very few who stand behind a pulpit who are truly and simply preaching the pure Word of God which was what the elders in Israel were doing when we see the word “pulpit” in Nehemiah 8. Let’s read a larger portion of this revealing passage:

And all the people gathered themselves together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.Nehemiah 8:1

The Ezra Example

Ezra and the elders of Israel read God’s written Word and helped the people understand God’s Word and nothing else. They offered nothing else but God’s Word. Do we get it? These God-fearing men had no personal agenda. They weren’t raising money or building a local business called a church. They had no message of their own but were mere conduits to communicate God’s Message which is God’s Word. Where O where are the Ezras of today?

How important is God’s Word?

God’s Word is our protection: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

God’s Word is our life: “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).

The importance of the words of God being heard and ingested by the people of God both individually and corporately, cannot possibly be over emphasized. To His people, the LORD says:

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. – Deuteronomy 4:9-10

He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. – Proverbs 4:4

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. – Proverbs 4:20-22

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? – Proverbs 22:17-21

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.– Colossians 3:16

Nehemiah 8:1-8:

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.

2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation, both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law .

 4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithia, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:

6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

 7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.

8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

In verse one above, we see that “all the people gathered themselves together as one man … and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.” Wow! These people wanted, desired, and were calling out for God’s Word! These people of the LORD did not want fables, stories, psychology, commentary, or poems. No, they desired the sincere or pure Word of God (1 Peter 2:2). They were ready to “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

Notice in verse two of Nehemiah 8 where the Bible says that “Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation.” Would to God that leaders today brought only “the law” (or written Word) before the people and eliminated all else from their lives and ministries!

See what others are saying about the book Predators in Our Pulpits and order your copy here.

In verse three the Bible says, “the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.” We must stop here and ask ourselves just what it is that we desire and want to hear? The answer to this question will plainly reveal just where our hearts are—our current spiritual state. We are told that in the last days that “some shall depart from the faith.”

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. – 1 Timothy 4:1-2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. – 2 Timothy 4:24

The people of God in Nehemiah’s day wanted God’s Word and there is a remnant today that desires the same. When Jesus preached to “many of his disciples,” “many … went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Why? John 6:60 says: “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” Only twelve remained, while “many” of His “disciples” departed or apostatized. As has been prophesied, many in this last generation before Jesus returns, have “itching ears” and do not “endure sound doctrine” because of “their own lusts” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). So, they “heap” up or set up before themselves “teachers” who do not preach God’s Word which they do not want.

Pulpits in the Dark Ages

“But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. … So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate” (Revelation 2:6, 15). What is Jesus really trying to communicate here? After all, the Son of God tells us here that He hates the “deeds” and the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans.” Wow! We’d better look into this.

Let’s begin by breaking down the Greek word from which we get the English word “Nicolaitans.” In the Greek, nico means to conquer and laitans means the laity or people. So, “Nicolaitans” means to conquer the people.

You see, the Bible teaches us that if we believe a lie, we are brought under bondage to the person who told us that lie. While speaking specifically of “false teachers” and “false prophets,” the Bible says: “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is over come (by using a lie), of the same is he brought in bondage (2  Peter 2:19).

Pulpits became the place of evil men who used their religious myths, lies, and doctrines of demons to control and beguile the masses. The remnant of God’s elect went outside the walls of the visible church and stayed alive in Christ!

During the dark ages (after Christ was born, died, was raised again, and His Church was launched), evil men brought in a perverted version of Christianity, yoking souls to their hellish doctrines and organizations (Mark 23; Mark 7:6-10).

A “pulpit” is merely a platform for communicating and teaching others. So, what is truly important has little to do with a physical, wooden pulpit, building, or anything physical in this fleeting world. We have no record of the earliest disciples of Jesus constructing any building or using a wooden pulpit. The pulpit resurfaced when the evil leadership of Rome began and took over the visible religious visage of a false “Christianity,” amalgamating it with paganism. It was from those pulpits in those majestic and expensive physical buildings that the Nicolaitan leadership Jesus hates began to wage their war against the Almighty, bringing men into bondage as they deceived them into thinking they had the exclusive rights to access the LORD (Revelation 2:6, 15).

The earliest followers of Jesus simply went forth preaching God’s Word (Acts 8:4). They gathered “house to house daily” and at times met in synagogues which were physical buildings already built before the birth of the New Testament church. See Acts 2:42-47.

Do we need the church building and the pulpit? No. But in fact, millions in America are dependent upon a mere man or ministry feeding them instead of learning to feed themselves daily. Yes, servant elders are to feed Christ’s sheep and yet, if the pure Word of God is not coming from a pulpit, why would any true disciple continue to hear those mis-leadings? The pulpit is a mere medium and not an end in itself. All that is spoken from a TV or radio transmission, in a book, from a podium, or on the web or paper is to be weighed and discerned against the written Word.

When Paul preached, the astute, God-fearing, Scripture-intensive believers in Berea judged what he spoke against the Holy Standard—God’s written Word. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Yet today, many who claim to know Jesus have handed over the care of their souls to mere sinful men and are in danger of hell fire. It is a terrifying truth that, in most cases, these deceived souls have no idea they are going to be kindling for the fires of hell.

The Bible says that we are not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). There is no command in the New Testament Scriptures to go to a so-called church building and sit before a pulpit on Sunday mornings. What’s important to the LORD is that His children individually and corporately dwell worshipfully before His holy presence, richly in His Word, in prayer communion with Him and in fellowship with one another as they break bread and pray together (John 4:23-24; Acts 2:42-47; Colossians 3:16-17).

The Book of Acts shows us the church of Jesus Christ before it became fat and short of breath by prosperity. – Leonard Ravenhill

The pulpit or medium of exchange is not what is important but rather the content of the communications that are coming over those airwaves, that wooden podium, that book, that audio message, that TV or radio program.

A communication medium is just that—merely a medium for the exchange of data, namely that of communicating religious beliefs of some sort. So, the title Predators in Our Pulpits in no way limits beguilers and false teachers to those standing behind a physical pulpit on Sunday mornings. As we see in Ezra’s example in Nehemiah 8, the biblical and proper use of the pulpit or place of humbly leading others is to communicate the Holy Scriptures. Whenever some other philosophy replaces God’s Word, there is a predator in that pulpit or medium of informational exchange. Of this late hour the LORD foretold and warned us that there would be “many false prophets,” and of course they abound today using every type media communication medium known to man (Matthew 7:15; 24:5, 11, 24; 1 John 4:1).

The big question is just who is behind that medium of communication. What is coming out from and through that communication? What is coming from that man’s mouth?

Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. – Matthew 12:33-35

Where else can Satan work best than through someone who feigns to represent Jesus Christ while misrepresenting Him? (See 2 Corinthians 11:12-15.) Where can the enemy of all souls be better camouflaged and undetected than using the medium typical of Christian ministries?

Today’s modern church and its philosophies, methods, gimmicks, approach, and processes are completely irreconcilable with Christianity as it is revealed in the New Testament record. The diligent Bible student sees this.

The modern church’s marketing schemes and seductions are designed to farm the community to attract the masses of unregenerate people; getting them into their church building and keeping them coming. So, to do this, they search out and hire (or elevate from within) the slickest, most persuasive wolf in sheep’s clothing (hireling) to be their head or lead marketer. He’s called the pastor and yet, in reality, he is basically a CEO of a religious firm with a marketing program. Marketing to one’s community is much of what is taught and learned in seminary nowadays and in religious seminars and conventions.

The biblical criteria for leadership do not include oratory elegance or skills of eloquence, nor does it consist of charisma and the ability to organize and amass large crowds (Matthew 7:15-20; Luke 6:26; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-16; Jude 3-4). There is no tenet to be a good entertainer—that’s for goat herders, not sheep-feeders.

This great apostasy was foretold by the Holy Spirit and is now upon us at the hands of false leaders who fill pulpits, air waves, cyber-space, and books with their evil leaven (Isaiah 9:16; 56:10-12; Amos 8:11; Matthew 7:15-23; 24:3-5, 11, 24; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 10-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 John 4:1-6, etc.).

Prayer: Father in Heaven, please forgive me for ever alienating the affections of my heart to any mere man or other idol. I here and now repent and turn my heart and life to You alone as my supreme LORD, God, Savior, and friend. I beg You to unite my heart to truly fear Thy holy Name and to serve You in spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ holy Name. Amen.

Capture Points

  • What is to be preached when one or more people gather in Jesus’ Name? Cite and discuss
  • What does “Nicolaitans” mean? (See Revelation 2:6.) Why is this important to know for today?
  • Why did the LORD say the Berean Christians were “more noble”? (See Acts 17:11.)

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Predators in Our Pulpits [book]



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