“For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.” (2 Peter 2:18 NKJV)
While the Lord Jesus delayed coming to Bethany to heal the sick Lazarus, his condition worsened, and eventually, he died. Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, who had sent a distress call to Jesus to come and heal their brother, became frustrated.
Likewise, all the people who had gathered around them waiting to see how Jesus would heal Lazarus were highly disappointed. They all gave up in despair, leaving the remains of Lazarus for the undertakers to attend to.
The undertakers immediately swung into action, wrapping Lazarus’ face with a cloth and binding his hands and feet with grave clothes. Afterward, they buried Lazarus in the cave and laid a stone against its mouth (John 11:44).
How ignorant and mistaken they were!
The Lord Jesus will never fail to come for His own. The Lord will never be late to help His loved ones and manifest His glory in their lives and situations, for He is their present help in trouble (Psa. 46:1).
However, the Lord only shows up at His own set time, when He alone would be glorified. This is why the Lord’s immediate response to the distress call from Martha and Mary was, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4 NKJV).
God is not the author, cause, or source of our troubles. However, God always seeks to work all things together for our good and His glory. Sadly, we are often impatient with God, concerned only about our good and not His glory.
Like Martha and Mary, we often get frustrated and give up in despair when God does not answer our prayers at our set time or in the desired or anticipated ways.
When we give up in despair, we allow the devil to exploit us and our situations for his good and glory.
Many faithful believers who have been praying and laboring for the true revival of today’s ailing Church have become discouraged and frustrated because the much-desired revival has not burst forth at their set time and in the ways they have anticipated.
Like Martha and Mary, they have given up in despair, allowing the spiritual undertakers to take over the affairs of the Church, manipulating, defrauding, and exploiting God’s people.
Who are the Spiritual Undertakers?
Collins English Dictionary defines the word “Undertaker” as “a person whose profession is the preparation of the dead for burial or cremation and the management of funerals.”
In many churches today, many so-called servants of God are spiritual undertakers whose mission is to attend to the remains of dead souls, thereby making much profit from their exploitative services.
It is sad but true that many insincere young men and women are now attracted and driven into church or ministry business today by the much material profit they have seen their “spiritual fathers” glean and reap from dressing, decorating, manipulating, defrauding, and exploiting the spiritually blind, deaf and dead people in this generation.
Driven by lust and greed, these ambitious young ministers break away from their spiritual fathers to operate their independent ministries of preparing, dressing, decorating, manipulating, defrauding, and exploiting the spiritually blind, deaf, and dead souls.
What a lucrative business this has become in our days!
When Lazarus died, many people who had no interest in Lazarus while he was sick now gathered to attend to his remains and prepare him for burial.
Similarly, many “men and women of God” are in the ministry today because many souls in our churches are spiritually sick or dead. They have only drawn near to attend to their remains to make much profit.
They are in the ministry to take advantage of God’s people—to exploit, defraud, abuse, and make merchandise of them.
These spiritual exploiters are the owners of “the caves,” where spiritually blind, deaf, and dead souls are always gathered for services.
They make huge profits from “the grave clothes” they sell to spiritually dead or undiscerning people. But the Lord is coming for His people, and their exploitative ministry will soon end abruptly.
Apostle Peter aptly describes spiritual undertakers as “wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” (2 Pet. 2:17-19 NKJV).
He further writes about them.
2 Peter 2:18-19 – NKJV
18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
It is wisdom for us to examine the ministry or activities of spiritual undertakers who are presently taking undue advantage of the present spiritual condition of the Church to enrich themselves, achieve their selfish dreams, ambitions, and goals, and promote themselves.
This will enable us to discern and recognize them, preventing us from falling into their traps or ignorantly encouraging or supporting them in their exploitative practices.
We shall draw parallels from what the physical undertakers did to Lazarus as soon as he died, though the Lord Jesus was on His way to revive Him.
The Scripture said they wrapped Lazarus’ face with a cloth, bound his hands and feet with graveclothes, buried him in the cave, and laid a stone against its mouth (John 11:44).
Let us examine carefully what they did and their spiritual implications.
First, they wrapped Lazarus’ face with a cloth:
Although Lazarus’ eyes were already closed, being dead, they covered his eyes with a cloth so that if by any means he woke up, he would remain in darkness and not be able to find his way out of the cave (John 11:44).
Similarly, spiritual undertakers in our days have cast veils of religion, human tradition, and philosophy upon the minds of many people in their caves so that they might continue to manipulate, dominate, exploit, and defraud them.
Spiritual undertakers are ministers who constantly feed believers with Mosaic laws, mere fables, enticing words of human wisdom, philosophy, or vain traditions rather than providing them with sound or wholesome words, teaching, or doctrine of Jesus Christ.
Their goal is to keep the people spiritually undiscerning, ignorant, or immature to remain their slavish stooges or captives.
It is sad that many believers today attend church services dutifully but are still entirely ignorant of the gospel truths that they are no longer under the dominion of Sin, Satan, and the Mosaic Law.
Sadly, many born-again believers today are still blind to the truth that Christ has completely and permanently redeemed them from the curse of the law, “having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal. 3:13-14 NKJV).
Spiritual undertakers manipulate and exploit undiscerning believers with their false or heretical teachings, which undermine, belittle, or disregard faith in the person and finished work of Christ as the only means or basis for having a true, loving, and intimate relationship with God and enjoying God’s blessings.
Consequently, the people are exploited and defrauded in their pursuit to give generously to God, serve God faithfully, or do many good works sacrificially as a means of having a loving and intimate relationship with God and earning or receiving God’s love, acceptance, favor, or blessing.
Second, they bound Lazarus’ hands and feet with graveclothes:
Should Lazarus by any means wake up in the cave, he would neither be able to move his feet nor raise his hands; he was left with only one choice – to continue to lie in the cave.
God’s people have received no better treatment from the gain-driven spiritual undertakers of our days. Today, many believers are bound with grave clothes, thereby remaining perpetually in bondage and subjection to wicked undertakers parading themselves as ministers of God.
Spiritual undertakers in “shepherd’s clothing” employ diverse “graveclothes” to bind or keep undiscerning souls in bondage today.
These graveclothes include the improper use of the Old Testament laws, teaching doctrines and traditions of men, imposing religious rites and rules upon believers, using human philosophy, deceits, or enticing words of man’s wisdom, and proclaiming sweet but empty prophecies to God’s people.
This is why the Scripture refers to them as deceivers “whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.” (Tit. 1:11 NKJV).
Beloved, the Scripture warns you to beware of spiritual undertakers.
Colossians 2:8 – NKJV
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
2 Peter 2:3 – NKJV
3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Find out more about the exploitive ministry of spiritual undertakers in the second part of this piece.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for opening my spiritual eyes today to see the ministry of the spiritual undertakers. My Dear Holy Spirit, deliver me today from the manipulation and deception of spiritual undertakers in this generation, in Jesus’ name. Amen.