“You will realize that the godly priests in the Bible raised up altars. But demonic priests also raised up demonic altars,” said Pastor Julius Suubi in the Prayer Conference ‘Holy or Unholy Altars’ on 24th of June at SunwayMas Convention Centre (SMCC).
He (Elijah) replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 King 19:10)
From the passage above, darkness was taking over the whole nation of Israel due to the tearing down of holy altars and slaying of prophets by the children of Israel. And when we read the Bible, we realize that many godly people raised up altars starting from Noah to Abraham, Moses, and Elijah. (Gen 8-9; Gen 12-13; Exo 20; 1 Kings 18) As a priest of their family and the nation, every one of them raise up altars.
“Godly people must raise up godly altars because altars are not going to be raised up automatically,” said Pr Julius.
The demonic priesthood also have their demonic altars, and the Bible speaks about them. Jannes and Jambres, for example, were magicians of the Pharaoh who used their magic to turn their rod into serpents when confronting Moses, suggesting the existence of their altars. (Exo 7:12; 2 Tim 3:8) Jezebel who married king of Israel Ahab also erected many Baal altars in Israel, so much so her Baal prophets need not build a new altar when Elijah called down the revival of fire on Mount Carmel. This is because their altars had already been established and activated the whole time. (1 Kings 18) Goliath also had an active altar. When he saw David, he activated the altar of cursing. (1 Sam 17:43)
“The Lord’s altar is not activated (in Mount Carmel). That’s unfortunate. Many times, the other side know how to maintain and activate their altars because their priests are more serious with their altars than us. Tell Jesus, ‘We are coming out of un-seriousness, in Jesus name,’” said Pastor Julius.
So, who is a priest? A priest is a medium between God and man. A priest is a minister who performs procedures and ceremonies relating to the worship of God on behalf of the community of people. And God chooses a priest from among the people.
“Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen. (Exo 28:1-5)
The verse “Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites” tells us that a priest must be chosen from amongst God’s people. A priest is not to be chosen outside of the Israelites, but amongst the Israelites.
Hence, although Pastor Julius Suubi is called to stand in the gap between God and people, it is the prayers and intercessions of the people of Malaysia that can truly bless this land.
“Because you are in Malaysia, you have more authority than us actually. This (spiritual) land listens to you more than it listens to us because this is the place where God appointed you and assigned you.
“For us, we come here to ignite you and stir you up, to rise up. But at the end of the day, the work of transformation is going to be done by you. That is why Malaysian intercessors, it’s time to rise up!” said Pastor Julius.
Priests of this land need to be awakened and be aware of their spiritual authority over this land, as much as how a mother and a father have spiritual authority over their sons and daughters. And remember, Scripture tells us that all of us are called to be priests of God – not only pastors or leaders in the church.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet 2:9)
“Because God has called us to be priests, we are the people to erect the altars. And through these altars, God is going to expect a spiritual business from us to bring about a changed atmosphere. What kind of lifestyles does God expects good priests to live?” said Pastor Julius.
He added, “God is going to revive and transform this nation but He is going to do it in His own terms, not your terms. Hallelujah! It is His own terms and His own ways. There’s no shortcut to this.”
Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.”
Firstly, a priest must have compassion for people. That is why we are called as shepherds who are required to be compassionate to tend their sheep, instead of a cattleman. Recalling his experience of tending cows versus sheep, Pastor Julius shared that cows had longer memory span and quicker adaptability to a schedule or system. Sheep, on the other hand, have shorter memory and needed to be guided to the pasture and waters. They are more dependent on the shepherd than a cow to a cattleman. That is why Jesus and even leaders in church are called to be shepherds instead of cattlemen.
“A priest must have that compassion. But you can never have that compassion unless you are spending time with God. I can tell you it is basically impossible for a person in Kenya to weep for Malaysia… But when you spend time with God, we began to access into how God feels like for His people and for His nations.
“I prayed for the nation of Kenya and at times, God gave me compassion for things that even look so foolish. I weep for lions like I was weeping for human beings because there was a time, our lions are dying so much.
“And glory to God! I prayed four to five years ago when the lions were diminishing. But last year, the lions in Kenya had multiplied. When we spend time with God, our God is going to give us compassion for the things that are from His heart, the things that don’t make much sense because He cares,” said Pastor Julius.
Secondly, a priest bears the authority of God over the people, which only happens through praying and interceding. Without praying and interceding for our nation, we shall never have authority over the nation.
“And that authority does not come anyhow. When you spend time in intercession, one of the things will happen, God will increase His burdens into our hearts and those burdens will cause us to agonize.
“People who have burdens, even when they pray, their prayer is very different from other people. And out of the burdens, we have authority,” said Pastor Julius.
Thirdly, a priest bears the sin of people and makes atonement for them. When God wants the nation, He looks not at the millions of people but at the people who have a covenantal relationship with Him. And that is you! Many intercessors in Malaysia have been praying and crying out to God for this beloved nation.
“I can tell you, brothers and sisters, the prayers that Malaysia has accumulated so far are not enough to cause a national (spiritual) revival. You know, before a nation enters its national judgment, it takes an accumulation of iniquity.
“And this is the reason why, when we are repenting for the nation, we don’t just say, ‘Lord, forgive our nation in the name of Jesus.’ And then we began to sing, ‘Glory to God! God has forgiven our nation!’
“No, this iniquity has been accumulated over a number of years and it is going to take a certain amount of repentance and a certain amount of prayers, to cancel that iniquity, so that this nation instead of entering into judgment, it enters into revival.
“And I can tell you, there’s a looming judgment that is standing over the nation. And you must be in spiritual slumber to not see. Spiritual slumber covers our eyes, that even when we see things, we think it’s ordinary. I can tell you your spirit is insensitive, the things that happened are not ordinary,” said Pastor Julius, relating to the tragedies that have struck Malaysia recently including the planes missing, flash floods, and recent earthquake.
Pr Julius stressed that instead of getting into a situation of hopelessness, Jesus Christ gave us the responsibility as the priests of the nation to rise up and bear the sins of the land and repent, so that this nation does not enter in to judgment but spiritual revival.
When the storm rose against the boat of Jonah, the four other wicked men on the boat did not cause the storm. But the sleeping priest Jonah caused it. Pr Julius Suubi prayed that the Church would wake up and not let another disaster to wake us up. Let us be ahead of the disasters!
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Note: The feature picture is credited to the SIBKL