The Artificial Shields by Dr. Mickey Carter
“And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.” (I Kings 14:21-26)
You find in the tenth chapter there were 300 of these shields made of beaten gold, three pounds of gold per shield. When this king of Egypt comes up, he takes these. “And king Rehoboam made in their stead brazen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house. And it was so, when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.” (I Kings 14:27-28) Notice the golden shields were taken, so King Rehoboam made some artificial shields out of brass. I want to speak to you about artificial shields.
The setting here is God’s judgment on sin in the nation of Judah. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, is on the throne. The real shields were taken and substitutes were made out of brass, certainly much cheaper than gold, just a thin brass veneer. These shields were turned over to the guards and the guards went on parade with them. When the king went out, they went out with the shields, just like before, but the difference was they were brass. They were fake — artificial — counterfeit, where the original shields had been of beaten gold. Something is symbolized here for all of us.
We live in an artificial age. The food we eat has a lot of artificial color in it. You say, “Sugar will kill you.” No, you’ll die quicker with the artificial stuff. That’s the way it is. Everything is artificial. A preacher friend was in one of these big restaurants. After you’ve eaten, they try to sell the dessert to you, make another profit off of you. They roll a cart up to the table with all these beautiful desserts on it. He reached out and said, “Okay, I’ll take the strawberry shortcake.” The waitress said, “No, no, this is the artificial stuff, what it looks like. We’ll go back and get you the real thing.”
It’s artificial. A lot of artificial stuff at Christmas time. I’m not much on Christmas trees, but if I’m going to be around one, I like to smell it. People buy fake, artificial ones and spray them with a pine scent. Come on. The thing is artificial!
Everywhere you look something is artificial. Go down to buy building supplies and you better watch it. “Boy, I got some real wood.” Don’t let it get wet. You’ll find out it’s sawdust glued together. Some of you ladies got some real hard-wood furniture, didn’t you? You’d better keep it out of the rain. You’ll find out it’s got a mixed up bottom in it somewhere where they glued it together. It’s everywhere you look.
Automobiles, that thing looks nice and sleek, but when it gets in a wreck you find out it wasn’t metal to start with, just plastic with a little fiberglass smeared over it here and there. We’re in an artificial age. Clothes used to be made out of something that had to die. Did you ever think about the connection? To give us a robe of righteousness, somebody had to die. You know that an animal had to die to give real clothes or a plant had to die, but now we’ve got synthetic fibers. Everything is artificial.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of good, too. There are folks walking around with an artificial knee or hip. I think about the fella with a boat load of folks out fishing. This lady slipped and fell overboard. The fella reached over and tried to save her. He grabbed her arm, and the artificial arm came off. He grabbed her by the hair of the head to pull her in, and the wig came off. He grabbed a leg that popped up, and it was artificial. He hollered, “If you don’t show me some of the real you, I’ll never be able to save you.” We’re missing a lot of real you today. We’ve got everything artificial everywhere we turn.
You ladies are into it a little more than us men. You like house decorations and stuff. In my home there are pictures of people on the wall that I don’t even know. You’ve got ladies with big, old hats on. I’ve never seen them before. There are little girls holding a doll. I don’t know who she is. A little boy and girl in a swing together, decorations on the wall. I don’t think they were real people, but I don’t know. It sort of bothers me with all those eyes looking on me. You know what I’m talking about ladies. A lot of decorations and art, I guess it’s okay, but you’re wasting a lot of good wall space where you could have a stuffed fish or a deer head that really amounts to something on the wall.
Truthfully, don’t we know that we live in an artificial day? Artificial substitution for the real thing is the theme of our age. There are some sayings. You hear somebody say today, “Man, that’s pure gold.” That means there is some that’s not pure, it’s artificial. “All wool, a yard long,” I heard that growing up some. That means it’s not messed up. It’s not synthetic. That’s the real McCoy.
Man is good at putting veneer over something, faking it up. He’s good about making it artificial. We fellas that tinker with cars a little bit, we get so sick and tired of these artificial parts. You take something off. Maybe it’s not hurt until you take it off and then all the little plastic clips break off everywhere and you’ve got real problems because it’s all artificial everywhere you look. Our day is one of substitution for the real thing.
These shields symbolize our end-time society today. Over in II Timothy 3:1 it says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” It describes in verse seven, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” We are in the learning age, but they’re missing the truth. They’ve had something artificial slipped in for the genuine. The shield is no longer gold. It’s brass. It’s a pretense. It’s just a replacement for the real thing.
In 1948 a fella by the name of George Orwell wrote what it would be like in 1984. Orwell’s 1984 talked about double speech. He talked about Big Brother having a camera on you all the time. Well he missed it by a little bit, but it was really coming in by ‘84. Now we’re past 2000 and we’ve got cameras on us and don’t even know about it. We’ve got everything going and now with the terrorism we’re moving into Big Brother society everywhere we look. The double speech, politically correct speaking, is what’s being accepted today to avoid or substitute for the truth. It takes the place just like these brazen shields took the place of the gold ones.
Today we’re supposed to avoid profiling. I’ve got news for you. If I get on the plane, I’m going to do some profiling. I’ll tell you something else. Sleeping on the plane is not going to be as easy as it used to be. Common sense dictates some things to us, but you see, it’s not politically correct. That fella who got on the plane with the hot tennis shoes, somebody said, “Don’t profile him.” Great day! He looked like Bin Laden’s brother. They ought to have been watching him. Get off this politically correct junk and get back to the truth. We’ve substituted brazen shields for the gold shields of God. Suddenly man has lost his common sense.
An artificial spirit is being accepted in American life, an artificial philosophy. That is a brazen shield. It’s the spirit of antichrist, anti-God that is prevailing in our country today. Burbank, California passed a law in one of the lower courts that people coming before the city council to lead in prayer, preachers they had invited, could not end their prayer “in Jesus’ name.” That’s an antichrist spirit. If you’ll follow all the other so-called “saviors or gods” then you’re antichrist, because He said that He was the only One.
Some school has taken down the picture of George Washington because it might offend somebody. When I went to school, we called him the “Father of our country.” We honored him as the first President and great general. I believe with all my heart, God had His hand on George Washington for America to get the beginning that it had, and here we are concerned that he might offend somebody? Take his picture down? What in the world has happened to America? We moved in the brazen shields to take the place of the real gold, and we’re seeing the results of it. Young people are growing up with not a clue of what’s right and wrong. Then we’re shocked when they do wrong.
Remember John Walker, who went over there to Afghanistan to fight against his own country? I’m against what he’s done. I think he ought to be dealt with over it, but there is a sense in which he’s a victim of a bunch of parents and teachers that never did point him to the truth to start with. We’ve got a whole pile of parents not doing the job God gave them. These bus workers go out from Landmark and knock on doors. We hear parents say, “I’ll let my kid decide.” How old is he? “Well, he’s six.” I hope you make him decide to brush his teeth and do a few other things hygiene wise around the house. You are going to make him go to school. You’re going to make him do some things that are right and safe.
Parents, you are charged in this Bible to raise up those children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You better not do like those parents of John Walker bragged. “We just told him when he was a teenager to find his own way, choose his own god, choose his own religion.” No wonder the young man doesn’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. Whoever worked the hardest to be the influence and teaching in his life is who won him over. He wasn’t taught by the parents God gave him. It’s a ridiculous situation we’ve come to in this society, too much like Rehoboam’s kingdom. Rehoboam’s kingdom went off the gold standard. America went off the gold standard a long time ago. You, folks, don’t even know what I’m talking about. That money is supposed to be backed by gold, that plastic in your pocket. Some of you don’t use much else. Somebody sent me a credit card through the mail this week. I got my scissors out and cut it in half. You say, “Why?” Because I might be tempted to go out and buy something with it that I don’t need. We went off the gold standard a long time ago.
We’ve got fakes in everything you want to look at everywhere. The brazen shield has taken place of the gold. Not only is it true in our society, it’s true in our churches. We live in Revelation chapter three, the Laodicean church age, last church age, luke-warm, the one that makes God sick on His stomach. It’s amazing to me that they are fulfilling Revelation chapter three and don’t even know they’re doing it. Isn’t that amazing? My church is just as luke-warm as that one, into heresy, and I don’t even recognize it. Too much Hollywood stage performance in the house of God today. That performance doesn’t care how folks live outside the doors. Oprah and Dolly can get up and sing, “This little light of mine,” and nobody gets disturbed that Oprah can take a trip to Europe with an unmarried boyfriend or that Dolly was in the little whorehouse movie in Texas.
“Preacher, do you have to preach like that?” No, I could be a pussy-footin, nickel nipping, spineless, spaghetti type preacher, but I’m not going to be that kind. See, when you preach the Bible it just makes folks miserable and gets them all disturbed you know. I’ll tell you what. The old preachers used to be barn storming, shingle pulling, window rattling thundering out against sin. If the Book said it, they had the guts to say it, too. We need some more of that. Some of you, though, it’s easier for you to go find one of them than it is to change an old preacher like me. They’re easy to find. In fact they’re just about everywhere. I hate to say it, but you can go find your substitute.
You can get you a brass Bible instead of a gold one. They’re not hard to find. In fact, I read right here in the text where it said why God was punishing Judah, why He let the king of Egypt come down against him. I read in verse 24, “And there were also sodomites in the land:…” That’s what the Bible said. I didn’t write it, but that’s what I’ve read. Now if you’ve got an NIV, it didn’t say sodomites. If you’ve got a New International Version, the Non-Inspired Version, it didn’t say sodomite. It said, “male prostitute.” Big difference. Why in the world would they change it? Because there was a lesbian on the committee that helped get it printed. That’s why. The brass bibles change things. They water it down. They’re going to mess up the fourth man in the fire so you won’t know it was Jesus. They’re going to change Hell into hades. They’re going to soften it up so you can be comfortable with it. That’s the end-time Laodicean church with the brass bibles, messed up miracles. They take the virgin birth out. They have brazen music and pretend it’s God’s to draw a crowd, when its just worldliness. You know what that business results in. It results in a great big membership in the churches that is not regenerated.
An older preacher told me about the big church in his city, with 8500 on Sunday morning. He said, “I talked with the pastor and the staff. They admit that probably over half of that group is not even saved.” That’s sad, folks. Let me tell you something. They can draw a crowd for entertainment’s sake, but there is a difference in being regenerated by the Spirit of God. You say, “Preacher, but what about some of your members?” I think some are in the same boat. “What do you mean?” I mean if they weren’t, I wouldn’t have to pump so hard to get them here. They’d have a little more interest and hunger. There’s some who don’t care about the cause of Christ and don’t have their heart in it. There are a whole lot of folks that can join a church, but they never have joined the Heavenly church up there. There is a big difference in being saved and just being a church member. There is a big difference in being baptized and being saved. There is a big difference in taking the Lord’s supper and being saved. You’d better make sure you’re saved.
I’m going to try to get them there, and then preach the devil out of them. I’m not trying to make them feel comfortable just like they are if they are still lost. End-time church has the brass bibles and the brass song books or bouncing ball on the wall, or brass music. I don’t know about you, but I think God wants us to have something real. I want the real thing. I want to hear somebody sing a song that touches the heart, not just impresses with talent.
I know there are some inventions and things in the world, but when I go to buy an old claw hammer, I buy one with a wooden handle. “Why?” Because the first one I ever saw had a wooden handle in it. It was good enough for grandpa; it is good enough for me. I don’t need the plastic thing. I don’t like aluminum ball bats. When I was a kid we hollered, “Put the wood on it.” You don’t holler that no more.
Substitutes, brass instead of gold, and then we pretend there’s not been a change. I want the real Bible, the One God is using, the gold Bible that God gave us. I want that old AV 1611 that God has used and put His stamp of approval on. I want music that honors God, that’s Holy Spirit inspired. I want prayers that aren’t just for show or pretty words for a man to listen to. I want something that gets through to Heaven.
I want Christians that live like Christians, not just claim they’re Christian. They look like Christians and talk like Christians and smell like Christians and go to the places Christians go. That’s what this Book teaches. It teaches a level of holiness. It teaches, “Ye that name the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.” I didn’t write it. That’s what it says. God wouldn’t tell you to depart from iniquity if you couldn’t. You want to do God’s will? God’s Spirit will help you do God’s will. You want to clean up your life as a Christian? God’s Spirit will help you clean up your life as a Christian. Yes, that’s right. I want the real thing, and I believe God does, too.
These fake shields symbolize, not only our end-time society and our luke-warm church age today, but the end-time artificial Gospel is pictured for us here. Do you know what Paul said in Galatians 1:8? He said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” We’re in the day of substituting brass gospels for the real thing. Sinner, beware. There are a lot of folks out there trying to trick you. I mean beware. They say, “All roads lead to Heaven.” Don’t kid yourself. They don’t. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Jesus said, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Don’t be mixed up. The devil is trying to get you to think every religious way, “Follow Buddha. Follow Muhammad.” Follow them if you want to, but they’re not going to the place that Jesus prepared for us. He’s the Way. He’s the only Way. People have got some funny ideas, some funny counterfeits, some brass counterfeits today. You can name a lot of them. “Just be good. Do your best.” The Bible says that there is none good, none righteous, no not one. “Well, I’ll just be sincere.” You can be sincerely wrong.
My wife and I were coming back from a preacher’s meeting several years ago in North Carolina. A beautiful day, I found a beautiful road that didn’t have much traffic on it. I found out later why. It wasn’t going anywhere. I discovered it before she did and I went several miles trying to figure out how I could get out of it without her knowing. It was the wrong way. I was just as sincere when I got on that road as I could be, but I was sincerely going the wrong way.
There are a whole lot of folks that are sincere and going the wrong way. When you get to the gates of pearl, God’s not going to ask you if you were sincere. Ye must be born again. You go in God’s way or you don’t go at all. He prepared a way at great cost. He gave His only begotten Son, Who shed His blood on the cross of Calvary for our sin. God went through that to make a way, and He’s not going to let you just make your own way. It’s His way or no way.
The sad truth is a lot of folks have got brass shields. They’re missing the gold, and they don’t know it. “Well, Preacher, I think the religious ceremony…” It’s amazing to me how folks think that all they’ve got to do is get in the church and the church is going to Heaven, so if I’m in the church I’ll make it. No, it’s personal. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) Personal, not what Momma is or Daddy. Your daddy can be a deacon or preacher. You’ve still got to be saved just like that old sinner sleeping under the bridge. You’ve got to be saved the same way — through Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “…Ye must be born again.” Who was He speaking to? A religious Jew, who had all the ceremonies and all the rules, all the fastings and all the offerings. Jesus told him it wasn’t enough. “…Ye must be born again.” No matter how many churches you belong to, how many times you’ve been baptized, how many times you’ve taken the Lord’s supper or whatever you call it, you must be born again to go to Heaven. You’re not going to get there any other way.
“Preacher, how do I do it?” When you turn from your way, whatever it is, being good, church membership, your good works, you name them, when you turn and repent from your way and turn to His way, trust Christ and Him alone, what He did when He died for you on the cross of Calvary and shed His blood, you trust Him. You’ll experience the new birth. You’ll become a new creature in Christ. You’ll know it because God’s Spirit will take abode in your heart, and He’ll never let you alone when you become His child.
I’ll be straightforward with you today. If you have no spiritual desire, if you’re in church today because you had to come. You have no interest. You have no love, no care, no desire for the things of God. You ought to check up. You may not be born again. Because the person that’s born again has the Spirit of God that lives inside and says, “Amen” to such singing as we’ve heard today. When they were singing about what I traded in for a mansion in Heaven, the Spirit of God was enjoying that inside of me. How about you? That’s what I’m talking about — something real, not brass, but gold, real on the inside. Jesus said, “…Ye must be born again.” You can fake it down here in front of a lot of people. You can learn the church words and the church songs. You can go with the crowd down here and pass off for one of the crowd, but when you get to Heaven’s gate, you won’t go in with a crowd unless you have Jesus. No crowd to hide in there.
There is a story given in Matthew 22, where the king makes a feast. He invites all to come and some don’t, and when they do the king comes in and finds a guest there without a wedding garment. He said, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” Here is what is behind the story. The wedding garment was free. All you had to do was take it, but he came in with his own clothing. The Scripture says that he was cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. You see, there won’t be any brass robes getting in Heaven’s gate. They’ve got to be the real gold. They’ve got to be the gold of the Lord Jesus Christ, purchased by His shed blood, a royal robe that only He can give you. He does offer that robe of righteousness to you and it’s salvation free. It’s a robe of righteousness that the Lord bought and purchased and paid for. He offers it to every one of you, and it’s the only apparel that’s going to get you in the gate of glory. It’s that robe. No artificial robes are going to pass the inspection. It’s going to have to be the genuine, the blood bought robe of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you have it today? Do you have on such a wedding garment? Do you have the genuine article for the Lord, not the artificial, not the brass, but the gold of His righteousness?
I challenge you today in this artificial age, don’t be duped. Don’t be fooled. Make sure you’ve been born again by trusting God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. We give an invitation authorized by the Word of God. Jesus said, “Whosoever will, Come unto Me, and I’ll not cast him out.” He’ll receive you today. He has a royal robe. It’s the genuine salvation and He offers it to you. Whatever artificial thing you’re wearing today, you need to throw it away and receive the robe of righteousness, the gift of God’s salvation, in receiving Christ and experiencing the new birth. I pray you will.