Wikipedia defines “Ivory Tower” as “a 19th Century term used to designate a world or atmosphere where individuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concern of everyday life.” The definition goes on to state that “the phrase usually implies a willful disconnect from the everyday world, useless activities, and outright condescension.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Ivory Tower” as “a secluded place that affords the means of treating practical issues with an impractical, often escapist attitude. Those who reside in an Ivory Tower are marked by a lack of concern with urgent problems.”
The Pharisees who existed in the days of Christ were Ivory Tower residents. They lived in a world that was disconnected from the realities of everyday life. They were absorbed in their particular “brand” of distorted, worldly religion, and therefore were completely out of touch. The people feared them. Jesus rebuked them. Their lives were filled with useless activities and their personalities dripped with outright condescension. In Matthew 23 we see that Christ was severe in His description of these individuals, and He pulled no punches in His portrayal of these “preachers.” Here is a brief summary of His observations:
· They sit in another’s seat of authority.
· They do not practice what they preach.
· They tie heavy loads, hard to bear, on men’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to help them.
· They do all their works to be seen of men.
· They take pleasure in and love the place of honor at feasts, and they love the best seats that are available.
· They love to be greeted with honor in public and have people call them “teacher.”
They close the Kingdom of Heaven to people, but they do not know the way in themselves.
· They swallow up widows’ money and cover the crime with long prayers.
· They travel great distances to proselyte one solitary person, only to make that person two-fold the child of Hell that they themselves are.
· They are blind guides who dishonor the sanctuary, choosing rather to honor the gold of the sanctuary.
· They honor the gifts of men above the sacred altar of God.
· They place emphasis on money while neglecting justice, mercy, and fidelity.
· They are outwardly beautiful and attractive while being inwardly full of extortion, self- indulgence, death, and impurity.
· They seem outwardly just and upright while in reality they are full of lawlessness and iniquity.
· They honor the tombs of the prophets and the righteous while simultaneously being filled to the brim with their fathers’ sins.
· They are serpents and vipers that will not escape the penalties of Hell.
It’s easy to visualize the faces of many of today’s preachers while reading through this list. Celebrity preachers. Money-grubbing preachers. Movie star preachers. Political preachers. Telethon preachers. Ivory Tower preachers.
Like an invading army, these “man appointed” ministers have overtaken the pulpits of many churches throughout America, filling the hearts and minds of God’s people with a perverse love for this world’s kingdom. Ivory Tower preachers are so out of touch with the Father and His Word, so out of communion with the precious Holy Spirit, that they would not recognize the Lord Jesus if He were to sit in the chair next to them.
There is a massive difference between the sacred and the secular. Ezekiel 22:26 says that they have done violence to God’s law and have profaned His holy things. This verse goes on to state that they have made no distinctions between the sacred and the secular, neither have they taught the people the difference between the clean and the unclean.
Today’s modern-day Pharisee is the Ivory Tower preacher. Many of them are ungodly and unfit for ministry. They love and adore the money and prestige that this life can offer them. They focus all of their attention on this world’s kingdom while neglecting the Heavenly Kingdom. Their center of attention is the things that are temporary, rather than the things that are eternal.
That type of minister will never lead a Remnant Church. It is our duty and our obligation to arise in this dark and dangerous hour, and declare the strength and power of God to this final generation.