“And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.” (1 Samuel 28:5-7)
Growing up, I attended churches…yes, plural, churches. Not merely churches, denominations. Pentecostal (occasionally Church of God/Church of Christ), Catholic and Baptist. Today, I recognize for a child this may have been a detriment because it caused confusion. Which one was right? The Pentecostal’s scared me with their yelling out in “tongues” and falling to the floor in convulsions. The Catholics were bored. Baptists however were love and joy; they picked me up on a bus when I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to attend church. All of this before age 11. As I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord, I now view such a varied religious upbringing as a gift, one which enables me to feel comfortable in nearly any house of worship. However, it also has opened me up to a greater understanding of how Jezebel, the harlot, seduces “the church.”
I enjoy going to church, as should any Christian right with the Lord, because it is a way to connect with God outside of myself, and fellowship with a community of Believers as Christ intended. My preference is to be part of a non-denominational church assembly because many don’t participate in the man made traditions that comes with “religion.” This brings me a point: does God care what I prefer? Did God create an atmospheric “church” where I would fit in or feel comfortable? According to the original model for the body of Christ to adhere to, no. (For examples of this please read the book of Acts if you aren’t familiar with the formation of the early church body.)
The reason for the body, the church of Christ, gathering, was to praise the Lord. To bring glory to His name. To edify one another by giving spiritual support and guidance one to another. To make sure each was not backsliding in their faith walk. When not gathered in a home church (because that’s the original model, not a building dedicated as a church) their goal was to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus, and be his hands and feet. This included healing the sick, providing for the poor and caring for the widows and orphans in JESUS’ name. It was pretty basic and nowhere did anyone’s comfort come into account. In fact, consider how many were persecuted in the first 300 years by carrying forth the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20):
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
It was, and is, a simple yet complex statement and command. How then has the world turned it on its ear? It began with a culture that was already in sin, despite Jesus’ purpose in dying for the sin of the world. You see, only the ones who understood the point of Jesus, that he was absolutely the Messiah of the Old Testament, were able to carry forth purely for the cause of Christ. This spirit of religion apparently didn’t die with Jesus, or Jezebel. In 1 Samuel 10, the Jews grew tired of God. (How is this possible? Selfish, ungrateful, pious people do that when they don’t get their way…that’s how!) They demanded a king, so a king they received. Saul, was anointed (not chosen, anointed) by God to be their king. This was the beginning of people lifting man up to where only God should be. God already knew the outcome – Saul was a horrible king! As Saul reigned His people regretted they sought God to make them comfortable!
You may be wondering what Jezebel has to do with Saul? There came a time when Saul stopped trusting God to lead him. He was in sin, and his biggest sin was pride. Saul opened up the door to Jezebel during his reign over Israel by consulting with a medium, out of fear for his life. (1 Samuel 28:7-25) Witchcraft entered the people via this consultation because the Lord left the side of Saul. So, Saul, was now ensnared by Jezebel. During this time, Saul became the influencer of a young innocent boy, who was the actual chosen King of Israel. A boy named David. David’s purity was compromised by Saul’s sinfulness, as he was jealous of David and all he represented. Why? The boy had the spirit of the Lord upon him – he possessed a true anointing and Jezebel in Saul, wanted David dead so he could not lead God’s children to their promises from God.
Many do not understand why it is often stated that David was a man after God’s own heart, despite his many, many misgivings. It is because of his anointing. David’s heart had always been for the Lord and being right in his eyes. God knew what had happened to David, how he’d been pursued and nearly murdered by Saul (Jezebel); do not forget, we serve a forgiving and understanding God. However, the biggest difference between David and Saul: a repentant heart. Saul’s heart was dead to the Lord. David’s heart still beat for Him. David’s issue was spiritual conflict brought on by Jezebel attaching herself to him via Saul (…and the next thing the Holy Spirit said to me is: Lineage. Jesus’ lineage. It’s not ironic that the son of man, biologically was David’s seed and that He died on a cross for the sin of the World…but that’s an entirely different study!)
Fast forward to the years after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Witchcraft was still part of the world and I’m now going to expose a couple important areas of the Bible where Jezebel probably got her foot in the door to the early church. (Keep in mind, nothing in the Word of God was haphazardly thrown in!) How many times have you read the story of Simon the Sorcerer, the original wolf in sheep’s clothing? (Acts 8:9-25) Or, a false prophet, a Jew, named Bar-jesus (aka Elymas)? (Acts 13:6-12) Simon especially was able to “bewitch” people before and probably after the apostles came across him in Samaria, ironically, where Jesus himself worked a miracle with the conversion of the woman by the well!
From a historical standpoint it seems much of actual “church” has been bleak and rebellious! Paul constantly rebuked the individual churches for falling into alignment with Jezebel, not Jesus. How then does this affiliate with today’s church? Find out in the next post: Self vs Spirit.