More of God?

B31A20A1-664D-4D12-86F8-FB7EEDD792E2The year is 66 A.D. or maybe 67 A.D.  and Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, finds himself once again arrested by the Roman Empire.  But this time it is much different.  Instead of being under house arrest he finds himself in a dungeon in chains.  To be more specific in Nero’s dungeon.  Not only is Paul there but it is also believed that Peter who walked with Jesus is also there.  At this time Paul is able to write a letter to his fellow brother in Christ, a young man he raised up in the faith of their mutual Lord and Savior. This young man, Timothy, receives a letter which will be known as 2 Timothy to future generations. Yet, for Timothy this is the last correspondence he has from a man he had walked with and knew so very well.  This is the man Timothy had learned from Who Jesus is.  Paul knows his time is short and soon he will be poured out as a drink offering (4:6).  Paul asks Timothy to come to him yet at the same time realizes that Timothy may not get there in time, so his letter also conveys the concerns he has of the times and of the faith which is so dear to him and that he will die for.

If we put ourselves in the times this letter was thought to be written, we might see this as a transitional time for the believers in Christ.  Most of the other disciples have been killed for their belief.  The Roman Empire is controlled by Nero.  Under his rule the believers in Jesus suffered great persecution.  He is known as a cruel leader.  Both Paul and Peter are killed under his rule leaving only John as the  last of the original apostles.  Many believers began to wonder if Jesus would ever return and some were teaching the resurrection had already happened (2:17).  Paul also warns of others in the future who will have a form of godliness but deny it’s power and always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth (3:5&7).  He reminded Timothy, “ But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (3:14-15).  Paul also reminds Timothy several times to: “Hold fast the pattern of words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1:13); “…be strong in grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2:1-2); and “consider what I say and may the Lord give you understanding in all things” (2:7). Paul wanted to ensure the true gospel—-stayed TRUE and that the message being taught would not go back to the old leaven (law).  He reminds Timothy of the importance of faith in Who Jesus is to secure salvation and righteousness and how this truth needed to be passed on to future generations. I believe Paul was passing the baton on to his disciple Timothy before he died.  What brought me to tears though was the realization that the church today has completely perverted Paul’s words and has done exactly what he didn’t want to happen with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And the really sad part is that they have used his own words to do so.

So many times this book (2:20-26)  has been taught from the perspective of a believers behavior and their need to try to better themselves so they can “get more from God”, or “get to a higher level”.  Christians have lost the Way and forgotten it is Him Who brings us from glory to glory, not us.  And we already have ALL of Him in us, period.  There is no secret way of obedience to “get more Holy Spirit”. The entirety of the Holy Spirit resides in each believer as they Simply Believe.  People that believe there is a way for them to attain more of God by their behavior are simply feasting on the old leaven (1 Cor 5:8). This old leaven causes you to want to hide your mistakes and choices instead of living from the inside out (see: Grace Enables You to…. for more info).  When feasting on the old leaven you fear God and man because you don’t understand that God has already forgiven you because of His Son.  The truth is you are fully forgiven which causes you to not fear because you know, no matter what you have or haven’t done, you are beloved and fully accepted by the Holy Trinity.  

In our humanity we always want or desire to make ourselves righteous. It is just such a source of pride in humanity.  I understand this because for years this is the way I had lived.  This is where God truly wants humility.  It seems so difficult not only for unbelievers but for believers in Jesus to understand this.  We need to acknowledge the facts:

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES RIGHTEOUS OR MORE RIGHTEOUS.

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES PURE OR MORE PURE.

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES HOLY OR MORE HOLY.

WE CAN NEVER GET MORE OF GOD BY OUR BEHAVIOR OR LESS OF GOD BY OUR BEHAVIOR.

According to Paul, we can only freely receive these things from Father God who made the way through His Only Son, Jesus Christ.  It is a FREE GIFT.  I submit to you the containers Paul speaks about In chapter 2:20-26 was to help Timothy realize that there are different vessels in the house of God and to make sure Timothy sees this clearly, understands this and makes sure the true gospel gets passed on to trustworthy people.  Paul talks about these containers in 1 Corinthians also.  In verse 8 of chapter 5 Paul mentions something that we must look at to understand what he was saying to Timothy: 

“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

The old leaven is the law.  The leaven of malice and wickedness is the world and the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth is the New Covenant.

See Paul was warning Timothy that these different containers would all be present in the “Church” and to look for the honorable containers to entrust the message to.  Giving credence to those that taught the truth just as he has done.

When I better understood the history, I could better understand the wording of the letter. I began to see that this letter is not so much about what I have to do to attain more from the Lord; but much more about believing what God, through His Son Jesus, has already done for me.  I believe this letter is just reinforcing to Timothy what Paul has always taught: Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb has already done it all for us…all we have to do is Simply Believe (Faith).

I encourage you whenever you go to read the Word of God to start at the right starting point…which is:

God Loves me

Jesus died for all of my sins

I am fully forgiven

I am righteous in Jesus

I am a new creation in Jesus

I have a free will choice to choose to believe Who God and Jesus is

The Holy Spirit (all of God) lives in me when I choose to believe

God never leaves me nor forsakes me

If we look at 2 Timothy with these eyes, we can see it is all about faith, grace and understand we can not in and of ourselves make ourselves a clean container but that through focusing on Jesus, through our belief in Who He is and ALL that He has accomplished on the Cross we are the clean or an honorable container. As believers we need to stop trying to put a new garment on an old one…it doesn’t fit-the New Covenant message of Grace is not a patch for the Old Covenant of Law— just put on the whole new garment of Grace given freely and completely to you by Jesus.  Through all scripture—ALL—-you can see the truth of Jesus.

It is time for Jesus,
not man,
to be high and lifted up
and He will draw
all men unto Himself.

So now go and read 2 Timothy with new, fresh eyes and let’s stand and make a change back to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  We no longer want the old leaven of the law, nor the feast of malice or wickedness (the world).  What we want is the New covenant, unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  Truth that Jesus took all your sins, it is finished, you are whole (even if you don’t look it or act like it, remember glory to glory) and you are obedient right where you are at.  A good friend said something so profound and I want to share it here.  She said, “I gave 100% of what I had at that time.”  This is how I see believers going from glory to glory now.  I can’t yet give what I don’t understand I have just yet.  But I am fully reliant on the Giver and the Giver knows my heart.

New Wine

What Is a Prophet to Do

Silence never solves a problem…

IMG_1592I have never told this story publicly……because I was told not to.  Why am I telling this story now…..because Prophets need to be a little better understood amongst “leadership” within the church-the abuse (to control and manipulate) needs to stop, prophetic words need to be understood within the church, and why you should never agree to not talk about something that has happened to you.

It is Saturday, May 21, 2008 and that morning I received a vision from the Lord of myself on a tiny wooden boat and heard, “And the tiny boat was tossed.”  The sea was dark and rumbling, but I was at peace with light shining down on me.  I felt as though a storm was approaching but I will have peace…..It is now July 26th of the same year and I had received a directive and a word from the Lord that week.  Our church was to begin a building campaign in the next few months and I was praying for this as directed by the pastors.  The Lord told me three things at this time with a great amount of love:

  1. The money will not come in.
  2. The building will be built in 7 years.
  3. I will be the prophet to call it in.

After He told me those three things He requested I proclaim in the earth realm that the money wouldn’t come in.  It took much but after He told me the last two things, I did as He requested.

I was to share with the pastors that the money wouldn’t come in.  I was able to do soIMG_1602 with the female pastor that Saturday night.  I thought it was received well and that they would take it to the Lord.  My husband, Bryan, had gone to a movie and I had driven home with our young sons.  I received a phone call from the female pastor, frantically saying they needed to come over to our house right away.  I told her Bryan was not home; but they still came.  This is when things got ugly and horrible.  First they were asking what they have done wrong, what sin they needed to repent of and I told them there wasn’t anything the Lord had said about that.  I had felt the word had come from a place of love and protection.  But it was like they didn’t hear what I was saying and continued trying to ask me what sin the church had committed.  Then, I was accused of cursing the church and was Jezebel.  I was told I must apologize to the pastoral team and what was then a pastoral prayer team members.  The prayer team members did not even know what I was apologizing for just that I was to apologize.  I was told by the pastoral team that we (the pastoral team, my husband and I) were never to talk about this with anyone.  Later I had found out the pastoral team did not hesitate to talk about it with people and these people also shared some things with other people. So much for promises and keeping it to ourselves.  I was in full fledge fear because 1) I was accused of cursing the church and 2) What if I did have Jezebel inside me?????.

God never intended us to submit
to spiritual leaders who are cruel,
hurtful or can not humble themselves
They are considered untrustworthy

I had many situations that came up during this time that would be termed as spiritual abuse.  Shunning, hurtful words and actions by the pastoral staff, I was actually told they were surprised I showed up for events at the church, my own children were told to pray against me as I was the one “cursing” the church and I choose to stay, I took all the abuse and did what was asked of me; because I doubted God’s word to me and thought I had sinned horribly— so I deserved all of the harsh treatment; because at this point my viewpoint of God was off.  I had learned in the church that they are the “authority over you” and “we are to submit to the authority over us”.  Never realizing what the Greek actually meant in Hebrews 13, more explanation will be in another post. In a nutshell though– I truly believe that God never intended us to submit to spiritual authority that is hurtful, cruel and are unable to humble themselves to say they are sorry.  They fully expect and require people “under them” to apologize for anything they deem needs an apology. People like this are not God’s leadership.

It is now three and a half years later and the money did not come in for the building campaign.  Soon after the pledges were taken the economy nose dived and many people lost houses and jobs.  The people could not make their monetary commitments they had written in August of 2008.  No one on the pastoral team ever said a word about the word being accurate.

I knew the next three and a half years would be different and began praying for the building and the needed money to fund this venture.    Remember I never said a word about the last 2/3 of the word.  I had kept them to myself and my husband at the Lord’s directive.  Sunday, June 1, 2014 the same female pastor met with me in between services because she had to share something with me she had said.  We went into a back room and she had asked me, “Do you remember when you had to give that “hard word” back at (the name of the place we were worshipping at back six years ago).”  I replied yes and she continued, “The Lord God Himself made you give the word because as a prophet, that was the only way to birth through me the prayer necessary to bring the building.”  She never knew that she just confirmed the third promise the Lord gave me.  And the second promise was that the building would be up that seventh year and it is.

I never did receive an apology, we were wrong, or you were right.  Many leaders in the church are afraid of admitting they are wrong or saying sorry because of a crazy misconception that this will somehow lessen their leadership when instead it actually would increase it.  It is wrong to think saying you are sorry in some way will cause them to lose their authority over you.  I have talked a bit about this in Because of Christ, Believers in Him Are Seated in Heavenly Places.  This kind of control is not of God, it is directly trying to control the prophetic gifting in the most hurtful and damaging way.  Most of this occurred because the blind were leading the blind.  I say that as Jesus said it about the Pharisees because like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time this pastoral staff’s viewpoints of God were and are still off.  They do not see God as a loving Father but one that will turn away from you if you sin and you must grovel to have Him even be able to look at you and love you again.  This doesn’t line up with the New Testament Covenant.  I believe so much hurt has occurred in the church because of this incorrect view of God and it is time for this to change.

There has been a large movement saying that prophetic words should only be “good” not “negative” and this is unbalanced thinking.  Mainly because we have defined “good” by man’s way of thinking not God’s.  Prophetic words should bring life, hope, warning and DIRECTION.  Here are the biblical examples that helped me hold it together waiting to see if this “word” would come true and prove I wasn’t crazy, Jezebel, cursing the church etc….

“One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.” Acts‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.‘” When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!”” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭21:10-14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

One was a corporate word and the other was a personal word.  Both were warnings that would help give direction to the individual and to the large group of people.  It was to let them know what would surely come; so they could make a plan, to decide, to have wisdom.  This is were I see the church lacking because of the fear of a word that doesn’t fit into their “box of love”….while this surely fits into “God’s box of love”.  It is time for the church to understand God’s love.

Agreeing “never talk about something again”, for the moment, looks good to the offender; yet it is not healthy.  It is unhealthy to not be able to talk, process and walk all the emotions out in a safe place.  When I was told never to talk about this situation it actually made things worse for me, not better.  I needed to process out loud with people that had wisdom and loved me.  What I have realized is that hiding something away doesn’t make it just disappear it makes it fester.  And festering is toxic for our bodies.  Do not agree to never talk about something again…talking is one of the ways God created for us to stay healthy, helpful, loving and bond as human beings.

This very thing that occurred, as one friend pointed out, helped create who I am today.  This very story becomes the tapestry of my life which helps forge what God desires in and through me.  I am sure it would have still happened without this occurring yet I might not have understood so many things such as: the Grace of God, being assured of Whose I am and who I am, not doubting God can truly turn ALL things around for our good, His amazing peace in spite of our circumstances, no longer wanting to please man, confident in the fact He loves me no matter what, my children understand spiritual abuse and can spot it a mile away, they are also confident in their stance with God, and I will never prostitute myself in the prophetic again.

Silence has never solved a problem

I am sure there are many of you with similar stories; actually I know of too many stories already that have occurred with these same pastors over multiple states.  It breaks my heart that anyone would have to go through something like this.  I also know these aren’t the only pastors that lead this way, as they have been taught to lead this way.  If you want to share your story to heal and move forward please feel free to share below or on my Facebook page: Hisbelovedgrace4ever. I have set my comment settings so you can be anonymous when commenting below if you would rather. I am here to pray, read your story and will try to respond to your comments. With love, freedom and His beautiful grace, Darlene

For the rest of my story that got me where I am today you can read Ummmm…Is That An Elephant in the Room?!?!? and People Don’t Like Letting the Elephant Out, Questions Answered

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…

I had made a meme…A Little of What… .  This had been part of something the Lord had been telling me:  "You are the pearl, be the pearl. You are the treasure, be the treasure. You are the coin, be the coin."  One of the things I would have believed or interpreted from this statement in the past, because my view of God was off, is this:

"Darlene, shape up because you aren't behaving like you are one of My children."

Yet, this isn't what God was saying to me at all.  What He is saying is:

  • You are pure; because My Son made you pure.IMG_1590
  • You are priceless; because you are you created by Me.
  • I will keep running after you; because you are so very beloved by Me.

When you believe you are pure, priceless and beloved by a Father in heaven it changes you.  You can't help but be changed.  Your whole mind shifts from a place of fear to a place faith.  When we start to understand the fullness of what Christ did for us on the Cross: how fully forgiven we are, how beautiful and priceless we are, how greatly loved we are this in and of itself changes our perspective of ourselves and others.  This alone is huge.  Yet then God gives His gift the Holy Spirit, Himself to live within us.  The closest we can get to Him this side of Heaven and that is amazing love.

Whose you are
and
Who you are

It isn't about your or my behavior when He says, "Be the pearl".  It is all about seeing yourself as or believing you are the pearl, treasure and coin. This is called: "faith in what He did for you".  That is the Kingdom of Heaven….be the pearl.

Matthew 13:44-45, Luke 15:8-10

A Little of What…

The Lord has been speaking to me….

The Bottom Line

Have you ever been in a meeting, a conversation or a church service where you just wanted to shout…can you just get to the bottom line?  I have,  thankfully I have never shouted the statement outloud……thank God for Holy Spirit self-control.  Yet Jesus talked about foundations many times and this bottom line, I believe, is foundational as everything else is built upon it in the New Covenant Kingdom.

When I began to blog in a very open and intimate way beginning with: It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law, there were many people who literally either loved or hated what I wrote.  What I find interesting is the all out hatred for the true grace or the true gospel.  I think the simplicity of the gospel frightens many because maybe their “status quo” in the church would be disrupted.  This same feeling is what I believe the Pharisees and Sadducees feared when Jesus came on the scene and why they hated Him so very much.

Jesus disrupted the “status quo” in their church/synagogue and they were willing to kill Him for that.

It really is not so different now.  Yet, I also know history will be kind to those that stood for the true gospel during a time on the history line where the church needed change.  There have been many who have also stood through the history of the New Covenant Church that brought about change and this is no different except…well it involves me, my family and many friends.  With any change it takes time and standing for what is true.

So, I began this writing adventure with a true statement and is seen as a common thread or the bottom line of every single post.  This is what I tell people all the time when talking with them because it is truly the encapsulation of the gospel.  It is so simple that even fishermen or I can understand it.  It is simply:

Knowing Whose you are and who you are in Jesus Christ.

It isn’t a bunch of steps, rules you have to follow, or a checklist of things you must do.image   We need to remember Jesus always said His yoke and burden is easy and light (Matthew 11:30). If you do not feel this way then I challenge you to truly look at whether or not you are living under the law in areas of your life.  The Holy Spirit will help you with this….just ask.

My life in Christ is so simple…it is like when I was a child (Matthew 18:1-6).  I simply believe in Who Jesus is- this automatically grafts me into the family line of Christ with all His benefits.  I know the truth- Jesus died for all my sin, all my shame, all my sickness and disease for ALL time.  When Jesus said it was finished-He really meant it.  Understanding my righteousness, the Holy Spirit and my eternal life are gifts I receive from my Father through His Son.  I haven’t done anything to deserve these gifts and I can not do anything to un-deserve them (except deny Jesus for Who He is and walk away (Peshah)–read Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) for more understanding) -yet rest assured He is chasing after those with determination).  My heart beats with the desire for ALL people to know this truth, to live a life full of Christ and live in the full freedom He died to give us.  A place where you can breathe the air of heaven all the time.  Come join me in such a place.

This basic truth is the solid ground of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 7:13-14 and John 14:6)

It Is Not This Way Among You…

One of my favorite stories in American History is about George Washington, after he was elected President.  There were men that wanted aplomb and a lavish entry for President Washington.  It became quite clear to George that they wanted to make him like a “king” instead of a person like everyone else that is trying the best he can with a government that was designed by the people, for the people.  George made it very clear he was not interested in looking “kingly” by saying, “I didn¹t fight George III to become George I.” George fully understood they had just fought a war not to have a king; why would we want to go back to what we fought so hard to leave?  When I had read that story years ago, it had reminded me of the Israelites wanting their own King just like all the neighboring people. Samuel warned them, told them they would not be happy with this choice and tried to convince them their King was better than any human king.  Yet, still they wanted to be just like everyone else…so they got Saul.  Humanity always is looking for a king in their life….I believe it is because God put the desire in us….we just need to look for it in the right place not at humanity but at God.

As humans, we tend to do what the Israelites did.  We tend to look at the story of Saul and David through the wrong starting point or the wrong perception. Maybe it is because this is what we have been taught for years in regards to this story.  Here is how I have learned what this story about David and Saul means maybe it is the same for you:

  • David did the honorable thing by not killing Saul so Christians should always treat their leaders with honor even if the leaders are not treating them with honor.
  • David never talked badly about Saul so we as Christians should never talk badly about leaders.
  • God took care of Saul and his wickedness so Christians need to just sit back and let God take care of the problems with leadership.
  • David then got promoted because of his good behavior so Christians you need to behave and then you will be promoted too.

These have tended to be the underlying theme in almost any message I have heard over the years about this story. Today though I would like to share a fresh perspective I believe came from the Lord to help me see Him and His Kingdom in His way (repentance).

As I pondered this story with the Lord, I felt He asked me a question.  That question was what might have happened if David had instead killed Saul in those two opportunities (1 Samuel 24 and 26).   The possibility that came to my mind was that maybe Jonathon wouldn’t have died at the hands of the Philistines. Now, I don’t know that for sure but I know God doesn’t ask a question just to ask…for me it is usually to get me asking Him questions…or He follows up with scripture for me.  He wanted me to take the timeline of Saul’s life (1 Samuel), why the people wanted a king (1 Samuel 10:17-19), Samuel’s warning to the people (1 Samuel 8:10-22), the point that David had already been anointed as the next king (1 Samuel 16:12-23)(he was righteous because of his faith in God (Psalm 32) and David fully understood where his authority came from–remember Goliath (1 Samuel 17:31-58)), David was never stripped by God from his kingship even though he made multiple mistakes and did not always act ‘honorably’, Saul killed himself and the Philistines killed his sons then beheaded Saul and fastened all their bodies to a rock (1 Samuel 31:1-13).  Next, He took me to the story of the sons of Zebedee. Remember when their mother came and asked Jesus for her sons to sit on His right and left (a place of honor) and Jesus said it was not His to give. Jesus used this very moment to teach and to help change His disciples thinking (repentance) about how leadership looks in the Kingdom of God. Here is what He said:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20:20-25, emphasis mine)

As I read this verse, I sensed Holy Spirit telling me the way this story of David and Saul has been taught is well….wrong.  The natural tendency for humanity is to want power, to lord it over people and for people to want to be led by a human rather than God Himself.  What really happens when this story is taught this way leads to a “Saul” or “Gentile thinking” leadership trying to be taught as the way the Kingdom works and this then causes a people who are reliant on leadership/pastors rather than the Holy Spirit who is now living in and through them.  Yet as Jesus said….It is NOT that way among you.  When we continue to use this story to speak of leaders as “kings/queens” (like Saul) and how laity (David) is to act towards them is well–detrimental to both the leaders Christ put in place and the people. I believe this story is used by pastors and teachers to “keep their sheep in line”, and makes people reliant on humans rather than a Father in Heaven who gave them a Holy Spirit because God truly desires direct communication with His Beloved. Jesus made this very clear when He said:

“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.” Matthew 23:8-10 MSG.

Jesus was making it so very clear that the playing field was level in the Kingdom of Heaven.  The people should not make it difficult for the leaders to serve, by not putting them on a pedestal and expecting the leaders to be Holy Spirit for them. Yet, what I have seen happen far too many times is leadership isn’t serving but lording it over the people and using the story of David and Saul to rally their ability to act in such a way. This then leads the people to be reliant on the leaders instead of God.  This can also in turn cause the enablement of pastors and leaders to spiritually abuse people, all in the name of God. The so-called “silence of David” is continually used to perpetuate another great crime against God’s Beloved Body (both leaders and people). The way this story has been taught for soimage many years have caused a great disservice to both leader and people.

It is time for the church to take a fresh look at a wonderful story with a fresh starting point that comes from the God’s Kingdom, not man’s.

Maybe what we need to teach with this Old Testament story is how God had opened up choices to David and even though he didn’t take those choices God was still with David because David believed (faith) and how secular government or a pastor/leader will never be able to be a substitute for the great, good and noble Heavenly King.  We need to remember in the New Covenant all people who believe in Who Jesus is receives the Holy Spirit.  Jesus truly leveled the playing field when He went and embraced the Cross for the whole world.

To see more of what I wrote on this subject read, Because of Christ Believers in Him are Seated in Heavenly Places

Jezebel (Part 2)

In Jezebel, I went into detail about teaching and misleading the people of God to commit sexual immorality and what that means biblically. Now I want to take a look at eating things sacrificed to idols and what that means literally and figuratively as the word “eat” here in Revelation 2:20 can mean both.

To start with, historically, there was a woman there in Thyatira who proclaimed she spoke oracles and decided to begin to say she was speaking for God (called herself a prophetess- Revelation 2:20.). There was a temple of fortune tellers that a woman did preside over. As I read the history, of the area, this temple was supposedly one where people could hear from Apollos himself. What is more interesting is that this same temple was known as Jewish, Chaldean and/or Persian. Here is a direct quote:

“If the sibyl Sambatha was really a Jewess, lending her aid…and not discountenanced by the authorities of the Judeo-Christian church at Thyatira, both the censure and its qualification become easy of explanation.” (Dr. William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1872)

Sibylline Oracles:
“The prophetic utterances of women called sibyls in ancient Greece and Rome, believed to have been inspired by the god Apollo; collections of these utterances played an important part in the religious history of ancient Rome…They are now believed to have been composed by Jews, and later by Christians, both groups imitating earlier pagan oracles in their attempts to win converts…” (Universal Standard Encyclopedia)

She was not a believer in Jesus Christ. Yet, that doesn’t mean she didn’t pretend to be as I have already described in Jezebel. This is the first clue in why John,in Revelation, revealed this as a Jezebel. She acted quite like the queen in 1 and 2 Kings by leading God’s people astray why pretending to be a follower by marrying the king of Judah at the time. Please note the bolded statement above “attempts to win converts“. This is a concerning statement because thus began the adding to the simple grace, new covenant message that I talked about in my last blog. I also want to point out the following bit of information below:

“When a woman is used symbolically in Scripture, she represents a religious entity. This might be either positive or negative. On the positive side, there is Israel as the Wife of Jehovah and the Church as the bride of Messiah. On the negative side, there is the woman with the leaven (Mtt. Mat. 13:33), the Great Harlot of Rev. Rev. 17:1+, and here, the woman Jezebel.”—Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 58.

Here we find that symbolically Jezebel can mean a religious entity trying to amalgamate (to mix or merge to make a combination; unite; combine; to unite two things to make it one) with the simple grace new covenant message and make it a message of works of law.  Let me explain further.

When we look at the words “eat food sacrificed to idols” we need to look at it without the glasses of “The Corrupt Church” or “The Worldly Church”. These are titles that were added later and were NEVER a part of the original text and can color the way we read something. They are NOT helpful. I want to look at the word tolerate, permit, allow, remit again from verse 20 in chapter 2. Here it is in Greek:

863 aphíēmi (from 575 /apó, “away from” and hiēmi, “send”) – properly, send away; release (discharge).

This is the same verb that is used in Matthew 18 the famous chapter on FORGIVENESS. Yes, Jesus Christ was saying to this church…I have this against you, because you have released,  allowed, permitted,  sent away or FORGIVEN what this woman, Jezebel, is teaching and is misleading My people about committing sexual immorality, which I wrote about in my last post, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. It wasn’t that this church was slack in their “morals” or they were “corrupt” but that they forgave, remitted, permitted without confronting a very real problem within their church (body) community. This brought real harm to especially new believers in Jesus.

Now I want to make it clear that as Paul states in 1 Corinthians:

“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:4-10‬ ‭NASB‬

Food, whether sacrificed to idols or not does NOT COMMEND(3936 parístēmi (from 3844 /pará, “from close-beside” and 2476 /hístēmi, “to stand”) – properly, stand close beside, i.e. ready to present (exhibit).) us to God. It in no way brings us close to God. Nothing, no other act, no other work of ours will EVER bring us close to God. The one and only thing that EVER brings us close to God is our simple faith in our loving Savior Jesus Christ. No act of ours except our belief in Who Jesus Christ is will ever out do what Christ did for us. This is the sneakiness of what the enemy wants us to believe is that there is something more we have to do that will commend us to God. The truth of the matter is that Christ died for us, once and for all. The war is FINISHED. Jesus Christ won for us. All we have to do is believe and we are commended to God and the seal of that truth is the Holy Spirit who comes and lives in us. The very word used in 1 Corinthians 8:8 is part of the word Holy Spirit- para!

Once again Jezebel was trying to put extra tasks on the people of God saying if you do this or that it will get you closer to God when the truth is He lives in you when you receive Christ’s free gift.

Now God gave her time to repent (to turn, believe, see things His way).  To see Him in the new covenant of grace that He died to give. He also gave the church community time to deal with this very real problem. He was letting the whole church, His whole body, see that He searches the minds and hearts of all. Because the Body of Christ was not responding and calling out what was known to be “false teaching” and this was causing the little ones to stumble He, Himself, would cast (present singular tense used here -so that means this particular individual only)  “her”  into a sickbed (a couch, bed, portable bed or mat, a couch for reclining at meals, possibly also a bier.) rendering her incapable of continuing with her false teaching (Remember to see this as God’s loving kindness to her and others). In this lifetime the people that will follow in her footsteps (her children) will have tribulation (2347 thlípsis – properly, pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, “without options”),2347 /thlípsis (“compression, tribulation”) carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” (“hemmed in”)) as they are truly intentionally trying to deceive His people. When people reject the Christ and what He has done this is a true sin-peshah (see Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) for more info on sin, iniquity and transgression). As people intentionally turn away from God they do feel hemmed in, no way of escape, troubled etc—definition of tribulation. This is His loving kindness bringing them to repentance. It is truly a way to bring them to the understanding of how much they need Christ. We need to remember His ways are higher than ours.

Yet, with the church in Thyatira, Jesus states–as many of you who do not have this doctrine I will put no other burden upon you. The church was NOT CORRUPT. They had simply allowed, forgave or remitted someone to teach that things other than Jesus Christ and what He did on the Cross could make you closer, more righteous, and/or holier to God. They did not hold to the doctrine of Satan—the wilfull addition to the Gospel of Grace by adding extra burdens to the Followers of Christ other than the simple understanding that we are ONLY made RIGHTEOUS in Jesus Christ.

imageWe must see this teaching as “the things of Satan” because it is in direct opposition to what Jesus Himself taught. The first is sexual immorality: as I described as pretending to be a follower of Christ and purposefully leading people away from the truth (see my last post) and of what Jesus Christ did for the whole world and that all we need to do is believe in Who He is (see What Does God Really Want From You? for more info). The second is: eating food sacrificed to idols,magic H would mean this food now holds special powers which is in direct opposition to the establishment of the New Covenant by Jeus Himself at the Last Supper where He clearly used food, wine and bread, to signify His Body and Blood that would bring ALL we would ever need. This is why this would be termed “the things of Satan” because the enemy always tries to counterfeit the real.

I hope this clarifies for you, as it has for me, what Jezebel in Revelation 2 means.

Jezebel

Yes, I have read many books about this “spirit” and if anyone was honest while reading regarding the “signs of Jezebel” we could admit we have done some of the signs of being Jezebel. It is like when we look at the signs of certain diseases and think, “Oh no, I probably have _____________ disease”. I think the term Jezebel has been very misused in the church body. Let’s dive into this and look a little closer. Why would Jesus mention a woman’s name from the Old Testament to describe what was happening at one of the churches in the letter John penned, “Revelation”? What exactly is being said here?

Let’s start with the first time Jezebel is talked about. Jezebel was a queen back in the Old Testament in 1 King 16-21 and 2 Kings 3-9. She had led the Israelites into idolatry and sexual immorality. She ended up dying because a eunuch threw her out a window, horses hooves trampled her, then the dogs ate her flesh. Wow..yuck! So you can see why being called Jezebel could have frightening consequences. Thankfully now though we live in the New Covenant!!! Jezebel is then mentioned once in the New Testament in Revelation 2, to the Church of Thyatira that was penned by John. Here it is here:

“’I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them-I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:19-29 NASB (emphasis mine)

  • érgon (from ergō, “to work, accomplish”) – a work or worker who accomplishes something. 2041 /érgon (“work”) is a deed (action) that carries out (completes) an inner desire (intension, purpose).

One of the most challenging scriptures for me has been the following:

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”” Matthew‬ ‭12:30-37 NASB (emphasis mine)

But it is important to look at this in its entirety and start with the right starting point. Jesus was here talking pre-Cross. He was making it known in the last part of this that our words flow from our heart, He sees our heart, our words will be judged and we are held accountable for those words. Yet, in the last sentence that I had bolded we are justified by our words not our deeds, our deeds flow out of our belief (faith) in Jesus because our faith in Christ supplies us with the Holy Spirit in us.

We need to know that our faith always proceeds our deeds because the Holy Spirit in us produces our deeds; not the other way around.

It is the fact, we are justified by the words: Jesus is my Savior. Even here, pre-Cross, Jesus is pointing to the fact we will be justified by our words of faith! We also need to start with the knowledge or understanding that I can never live up to what is expected. Jesus only can and has for us. Okay now that we have that cleared up let’s dig in. Jesus was making a clear teaching that what is in the heart does come out. Because we have the Holy Spirit in us, as Christians, we bear good fruit naturally. Do we get this perfect, no! Do we go from glory to glory, yes! Are we forgiven, always! What is interesting is Jesus is calling the Pharisses and Sauducess, the religious leaders of the time, a brood of vipers and evil without any good thing coming from their mouths. Pretty tight!! What we need to see here is that these religious leaders have spent their lives studying God’s word and leading people. They knowingly choose to lead people astray, or away from God, to serve their own purpose by stating that the miracle Jesus just performed with the work (deed) of the Holy Spirit was from Satan work (deed). They fully knew that at the base of things God is “life” and Satan is “death”. They desired so badly to call Jesus a fraud, they fully knowing called something that was a Holy Spirit work (deed) a work (deed) of Satan. We know they had full understanding because Jesus saw their heart and called them a brood of vipers who could not speak good. I want to address when someone speaks against or blasphemes the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven them in this age or the age to come. I believe we live in the age to come. We need to remember it is specific to people who know it is a work of the Holy Spirit and say for their benefit it is a work of Satan. Many people have had this used against them by the very Phaarisees and Sauducees of our age believing they can not be forgiven, scaring people and misusing this term. Please stop! This is very specific and should not be used lightly. We need to understand that it was so specific to the point of Jesus saying those that are with Him are with Him and those that aren’t scatter. Truly, I believe the individuals this would apply to know what they are doing and Jesus knows their heart. There are many clues into the specificity of His statement regarding speaking against the Holy Spirit.

Okay now to try and put this all together. The main reason I used these two scriptures together is to point to the fact that both idolatry and sexual immorality are a way God sees to define whether or not you believe in Him or not. You are either with Him or against Him. Either Christ’s bride or not. There is no in between. So when Jesus is looking down (this is the true definition of “this against you” in Revelation) from His place in Heaven He is seeing a toleration or better definition is to permit, allow or not to hinder an individual that is proclaiming she/he is a believer and yet leading other believers to commit idolatry and sexual immorality. So what exactly is idolatry or sexual immorality? Let’s look at the definitions in Greek:

  • porneúō – commit fornication (sexual immorality); (figuratively) to be unfaithful to Christ, while posing as His true follower. See 4202 (porneia).v
  • sacrificed to idols—εἰδωλόθυτος, εἰδωλόθυτον (εἴδωλον and θύω), a Biblical and ecclesiastical word (Winers Grammar, 26; 100 (94)), sacrificed to idols; τό εἰδωλόθυτον and τά εἰδωλόθυτα denote the flesh left over from the heathen sacrifices; it was either eaten at feasts, or sold (by the poor and the miserly) in the market: Acts 15:29; Acts 21:25; 1 Corinthians 8:1, 4, 7, 10; 1 Corinthians 10:19, 28 (here L text T Tr WH read ἱερόθυτόν, which see); Revelation 2:14, 20. (Cf. Lightfoot on Galatians, p. 308f.)–www.biblehub.com

Now to the text that Paul wrote regarding what would happen when he was taken captive:

“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “”Acts‬ ‭20:29-35‬ ‭NASB‬‬ (emphasis mine)

Paul warned that there would be those that would come in and teach perverse things to draw disciples away. Paul did not commend us to the law but to God and the word of His grace. Paul fought for the grace message, the message of the Cross, the gospel of grace, the New Covenant to be taught unadulterated. Yet, he also knew there would be those that would come in and even those from among them that would teach perverse things. Paul makes it very clear only the word of His Grace can build us up, sanctify us and give us an inheritance.image

So bear with me, but I believe the Nicolatans and Jezebel were up to the same desired outcome–they desire to sneakily turn us away from the simple truth of what Christ fully accomplished at the Cross and in His resurrection. The Nicolatans were just forthright in their position of being anti Christ—-trying to disprove Who He was, what He did and Jezebel was pretending to believe in Jesus all the while knowingly turning away from the truth of the grace gospel by teaching a need for an intermediary (herself) between people and God—this position is for Christ alone- He is the only way to the Father-no one else can take that position. They would be the ones teaching perverse things such as leading us back to the law, performance based religion rather than the truth of the gospel of grace. It is interesting because the word Nicolatans means “conquering the laity”. That is exactly what has been done with the perverse teaching that the law justifies us and not the Christ. Jezebel inserted herself as a go between laity and God a place no one needs to take. There becomes a faithfulness to that person rather than Jesus Christ Himself. Anything that teaches against the fact that Christ died for the whole world’s sin for all time or that we need a go between for the “laity” is perverse teaching. (For more understanding read God Always Leads in Love). When we believe anything other than Christ and what He did for us is the only way to be sanctified, delivered and made righteous then we have been led down the road in perverse teaching. When we believe that we must uphold the law to justify ourselves we have nullified the cross and in so doing we have aligned ourselves with idolatry and sexual immorality. Remember sexual immorality figuratively means being unfaithful to Christ while posing as a believer in Jesus (Old Testament story of Hosea brings to light how God sees sexual immorality with unbelief in Him). When we knowingly teach this, knowing it is not the truth we are contributing to “her deeds” not “Christ’s deeds”. All we have to do is turn and see things His way (repent) make amends with our brothers/sisters and move forward in His grace.

Now let me wrap this up. See Jezebel in 1 and 2 Kings was a woman that pulled the people of Israel into idolatry and sexual immorality.  Elijah was the chosen prophet to help the people see how they had chosen to follow the wrong gods. To show the people the true God. That is when the sacrifice on top of the mountain takes place and Baal is not heard from and God burns up a very wet altar and sacrifice. There may have been sexual immorality; yet what God was truly concerned about was the fact that they had turned their hearts to a false god, that was sexual immorality throughout the Bible. In the same manner today we have had wolves enter in way long ago in the history of the church that have taught we must keep the law, we must create our own righteousness by our deeds (works). This is a perversity to the true gospel of grace and what Christ accomplished on the Cross. This way we are believing in a false god-ourselves to do what only Christ can do for us….make us righteous. This would be exactly where the enemy (Baal or any other false god)would want us to be. To believe that we ourselves can somehow do what Christ did for us by our actions and no longer fully rely on what Christ did for us. The Gospel of the New Testament, what Christ did for us and does through us is simply Grace.

There is so much more to this topic. It is time for old belief systems that are fear based to be torn down and rebuild our belief (faith) on the Rock-Jesus Christ Who was and is and is to come; the Author and Finisher of our faith; the One who took all sin, condemnation and sickness upon His body for the whole world for all time; and furnished us with a free gift that includes: righteousness and being filled with His Holy Spirit. To have all this all we have to do is say: you are my Savior–I believe You are the Son of God. If you have questions please write a comment. If you don’t want the comment published…just let me know. May God’s abounding love, grace and peace wash over you…with greater understanding of Who He is and Who you are in Him. ❤️