The reforms that King Hezekiah instituted brought the favor of the Lord upon him and the people he ruled over. It always astounds me that in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, kings like Hezekiah arose when their fathers were ungodly and corrupt. That was the case with Hezekiah, whose father was Ahaz, described in 2 Chronicles 28:2 as having walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, in other words, wholly against the will of God. However, along comes his son, and he does extremely well in God’s eyes; quite interesting how such faith might have developed in the spiritually hostile environment that someone like a King Ahaz would have fostered.
Hezekiah’s reforms were extensive. He had to make the priests consecrate themselves in order to even begin such work. Once they did that, they began in the inner chamber, the Holy of Holies as noted in 2 Chronicles 29:5:
… and [Hezekiah] said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.”
The Holy Place had been desecrated with impurity, or rubbish, as the Hebrew word for filth indicates. The word for filth is Strong’s #5079: niddah. This word even has the connotation of menstrual uncleanness, thus implying a great disgust with how this place of Yahweh had been treated.
As the cleanup of the temple proceeded, we also see this description in 2 Chronicles 29:16:
The priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and they brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the house of the Lord. And the Levites took it and carried it out to the brook Kidron.
This uncleanness is elsewhere spoken of as abomination, that which no one is to touch, i.e. human excrement, menstrual blood, or a dead body. What the text is telling us in these passages is that Yahweh’s house had been made a byword, i.e. something notorious for the reproach that people heaped upon it. It had been used for ungodly, pagan practices with the God of Israel, i.e. Judah in this case, a despised and forgotten entity.
In his zeal for the things of God, Hezekiah even reached out to the people of the Northern Kingdom who had periodically been at odds with Judah. Hezekiah sent letters inviting everyone to Jerusalem to participate in the Passover of the Lord. Look at what the response of some was in 2 Chronicles 30:10:
So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them.
Is it any wonder Israel fell a hundred plus years earlier to foreign invaders given that attitude? Despite this, there were many in Israel who came to worship the Lord. All this resulted in God hearing their prayers and seeing their heartfelt worship toward Him. From this, the land had a revival in which most of the pagan idols, altars, and high places of worship were destroyed. The people’s hearts were also so moved that they gave tithes and offerings in abundance. This wholesale turning to Yahweh resulted in His blessing of them.
Let’s look at a comparative situation we can relate to today. Think about Europe and how secular it has become. It can no longer in any way be deemed a Christian continent. This is evidenced by many accounts of how churches have been turned into Islamic mosques, climbing gyms, or various secular uses. Although technically not in Europe, the Hagia Sophia in Turkey had originally been a grand cathedral known as the Church of the Holy Wisdom or Church of the Divine Wisdom. As Islam rose in prominence there, the structure was initially turned into a museum. More recently it was converted into a mosque. Europe has undergone similar conversions.
Consider God’s perspective on this. Places of worship dedicated to Him have been completely desecrated. Those churches made into mosques are perhaps the worst in God’s eyes. Islam is a pagan religion that denies Jesus Christ as the Son of God, as Savior and Redeemer, and as Lord. It is an abomination to Him. The filth within mosques from God’s point of view is doubtless excessive. Surely, he views them with disgust.
Of course, the people whom Islam traps in the bondage of this false religion are loved by God every bit as much as everyone else. We need to always separate those caught in spiritual chains from the false and blasphemous religion itself.
It’s difficult to visualize this, but can you imagine what would happen if a Godly leader arose and began sweeping Europe clean of all this pagan influence? No, neither can I. What will occur is a strong and charismatic leader will arise who will cause the people to fall further away from God and Christ. This will be the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition who will cause many to sin greatly. They will do as he says and large numbers of people will worship him rather than the One true God.
Rather than cleaning out the places of worship to bring people back to the Lord, this individual – Antichrist – will cause them to follow him into eternal damnation. In Israel, he will desecrate the newly built 3rd temple and bring Great Tribulation upon the Jews and the world.
What a difference a leader can make! He can either make a way for people to turn back to God, or he can lead them into everlasting darkness.
The day is approaching for this man of sin to appear on the world stage. Who he is and how he will gain power, we can only imagine. What we as true Christians must do is to keep our hearts focused on and dedicated to Jesus. He is our only hope, and the one hope for all the world. Those who reject Him will learn the hard way that choices have consequences.