Last week a pastor in our city sent me a message telling me about a dream he had in which he was being choked by a demon. He could barely utter the name Jesus and when He did the spirit loosed it’s hold on his throat. The Lord spoke to him in the dream and said the spirit was the “anti-spirit of Josiah”.
Josiah has long been one of my favorites in the Bible. His reforms and revival in the scripture were powerful, lasting the entirety of His reign. His zeal for the righteousness of God was unmatched. Scripture says that there was only one other king like Him in Judah, David. After re-reading the biblical story I felt the Lord impressing me to preach a message on Josiah’s reform. It was a pretty intense word. You can listen to the message online here.
Here is the summary of my notes from the message. I believe that we are going to see a reform in the body of Christ like what happened in the days of Josiah. There are seven facets of Josiah’s reform that are pertinent to what is coming to the church nationwide.
Josiah became king in 641 BC at eight years old He reigned 31 years. We find Josiah’s story in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chron 34-35.
He was preceded by Manasseh and his son, Amon. Manasseh reigned 55 years and was the most wicked king in Judah’s history. Manasseh desecrated the temple an made altars to other God’s throughout Judah. He built a Asherah pole and altars to Baal and placed them in the temple of the Lord. He led Israel to worship the false gods of the nations that God had removed before the nation of Israel.
As a result, Josiah’s reign began with the nation incredibly backslidden and worshiping false gods. In Josiah’s 8th year he began to seek the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In his 12th year he began a reformation to purge Jerusalem of idolatry. In His 18th year he accelerated his reform and began a project to repair the damages to the temple.
To give you a picture of where the nation was spiritually, the king did not even know about the book of the law. It had been lost and retrieved during the temple renovation by Hilkiah the High Priest.
When they read the book of the Law that explained the ordinances of worship to the Lord, Josiah was pierced in his heart and tore his clothes in weeping and repentance. Josiah then sent messengers to Huldah, a prophetess, to get the word of the Lord, because he realized the nation had departed from God and deserved God’s judgment and wrath.
Huldah Prophesied 2 important points:
1) God is going to bring destruction on Jerusalem according to all that is written in the book of the Law, because the people have forsaken God and worshiped other gods.
2) Josiah will receive mercy from the Lord because his heart was tender and he tore his clothes and wept before God. The Lord has heard his prayer and will not bring the calamity in his day.
Josiah immediately gathered the elders of Judah and they gathered the people to the house of the Lord. Josiah then made a covenant with the Lord to serve the Lord all the days of His life and then accelerated his reform.
In multiple waves Josiah made a thorough cleansing of the nation. Each of the facets of his reform are pertinent to our day and I believe speak of the way in which the Lord is going to release reformation in the church in this hour. In order, this is what he did:
1) He cleansed the house of the Lord from all worship of Baal and Asherah and burned articles made for Baal worship outside of Jerusalem – God is going to cleanse the church from every hint of idol worship. Baal & Asherah worship equals abortion & sexual immorality, i.e. Spirit of Jezebel. Is there toleration of Jezebel among us? God is calling us out of our agreement with these sins.
2) He removed all the idolatrous priests from Jerusalem who led the people to worship Baal. – God is going to remove every leader who has given himself to idolatry. Leaders must be free from the toleration of Jezebel. It doesn’t mean He won’t restore them, It means He will have a pure priesthood. (Zech 3, Mal 3:3)
3) He got rid of the temple prostitutes who had rooms in the house of the Lord and who engaged in all kinds of sexual immorality, including homosexuality – God is going to release massive deliverance in the area of sexual immorality. The world will know the place to get free from sexual bondage is the church.
4) He went throughout all the land of Israel and got rid of all the altars, high places and articles of worship to all the false Gods. He completely destroyed the altars and Asherah poles and desecrated all those places of worship. – The move of the Spirit of God is going to sweep throughout the nation far beyond the four walls of the church.
5) He got rid of all the idolatrous priests who were worshiping at the high places in the northern Kingdom. – God is going to do a sweeping work throughout the land to bring reformation throughout society.
6) He called the people to worship God according to the scriptures. They celebrated the Passover that year in a way it had never been since the days of the judges. – There is a coming return to the worship of God in spirit and truth. We are going to move away from program centered, event centered ministry to Christ centered worship in Spirit and Truth. Authenticity is coming to the church in a fresh way.
7) He got rid of all those who consulted mediums and spiritists and had secret idols. – God is going to get rid of the mixture among His people. The gray areas are going away. God is going to purge his people of private sins.
I believe there is a revival coming upon us as in the days of Josiah. I believe we will see a great reformation in the church and the world. God is changing the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation. It’s important to note that God is not putting His finger on our sin in order to bring us into shame. He is calling us to run out of the prison of sin and into liberty and love. The goodness of God leads us to repentance.
I want to encourage you to rid yourself of any toleration of sexual immorality in your life. Have no agreement with the “anti-spirit of Josiah.” The church without mixture will receive an outpouring of the Spirit without measure. Oh God, search me and try me and see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).