A while ago, I had prayed for a woman. She had so much fear because as a little girl she had been told by an adult leader in a church that she had committed the unpardonable sin and would not be able to go to heaven. What is even sadder though is both of my boys, unsuccessfully, had been taught about the unpardonable sin. Thankfully this was after sharing my revelation of God’s great grace with both of them. My youngest got in such a heated discussion with his “Christian studies teacher” that he had to be pulled out of the classroom. For him he saw a God that would forgive everything and the way this teacher was explaining this scripture, in Mark 3:29-30, did not fit into how he saw and knew God. So, today I want to bring clarity, hope, freedom and truth to this scripture that has, because of the way it has been taught for many years, hurt so many people.
Let me copy two different translations of this verse below one from the New King James Version (NKJV) and one from the Message. My favorite is from the Message; yet many times this is taught from the NKJV.
“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30 NKJV)
“Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” He gave this warning because they were accusing him of being in league with Evil.” (Mark 3:28-30 MSG)
What is even more interesting is the title in the NKJV which states this section is about THE UNPARDONABLE SIN. Wow, and it looks just like that…..so this must be what it is about…..and it is….but not what we have been taught for years. (Yes, I said all that with a huge grin…because of the goodness of God).
I have written before about the importance of reading scripture in context, looking at the time period, who wrote it and whom it was written to. It is just as important here. At this time Jesus was healing and teaching around Galilee. There were many people from other areas there with Him. He had chosen His twelve disciples when all of a sudden scribes are proclaiming Jesus to have the prince of demons, Beelzebub, within Him. Jesus teaches them in parable regarding how can a house divided against itself stand? He then goes on to say in Mark 3:28 how ALL of the sins and blasphemes will be forgiven the sons of men. It isn’t just a few sins but ALL; which means in Greek the totality of. No sins left unforgiven. It will all be accomplished, finished. But then all of a sudden it sounds like Jesus is now retracting what He just said in the next sentences. But He isn’t.
I looked up each word in the Greek in all three verses. Specifically verses 28 and 29. Here is the summation of what I looked up (to do your own research you can view the bible hub pages here: http://biblehub.com/text/mark/3-29.htm and http://biblehub.com/text/mark/3-30.htm):
Whoever refuses to acknowledge the good that has come from the union (remember Jesus is talking about Himself and the healing He has been performing by casting out unclean spirits) of the Holy Spirit, negates possession of forgiveness in this age, is legally bound or obligated eternally (both now and outside time) to sin’s results because they have concluded I possess a spirit which is adulterated(“a wrong mix’/tainted by sin). (Mark 3:29-30)
He is making it clear there is one condition that the son of man (yep, that is you and me) must make to have ALL your sins forgiven. The scribes had just concluded that the sinless lamb was full of sin. So for them, unless they change their minds (yep that is repentance) and realize that Jesus is the Sinless One whom will take on all of the son of men’s sins, they are negating the ONLY way to possess forgiveness from God.
Jesus was already telling how and Who forgiveness would happen through. How the one condition of faith in Who He is makes all the difference for the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. It is simply the same simple message of faith, forgiveness and a Spotless Lamb that must be seen as spotless not just as a “good man”, a “prophet” or a fake. He was, is and will be the only real Spotless Lamb, born without sin, remained without sin for our good.
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:
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
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
Gossip…that word you have probably heard taught in the church; if you have been in the church for any length of time or maybe you have been harshly accused of gossiping. I have actually never heard a sermon on gossip, maybe your experience is different, instead I would be accused of gossiping when it seemed convenient to someone. So never understanding what gossip is or isn't has had me confused so many times I just stopped talking. Being called a gossip, for me, is like being called a liar or a cheater and I don't like that. Plus I didn't want to hurt people. What I have found though is the word "GOSSIP" is used by many in the church to silence the TRUTH from being told. This is when, as believers, we begin walking on dangerous ground.
"Truth"…something Pilate himself was looking for. Something, as believers, we are to walk in, search for and be able to discern. Something I see many in the church not looking for; because they are afraid to be called a GOSSIP.
Today the Lord wants to bring clarity as He shared with me this statement:
Gossip is Slander
Simple, yet I believe so many in the church do not have a grasp on what gossip actually means in scripture in the Greek. This in turn lends to bad teaching that has led to people unwilling to search out the truth, ask questions, and live a life from the inside out, unafraid.
As believers, we are to walk in the light as Christ walked in the light (1 John 1:7). This is simply done by faith in Jesus Christ, trusting Him that He was enough of a sacrifice for the whole world. This leads to living from the inside out because we know He did what we could never do for ourselves and He is our righteousness. This trust leads us to lay in a place without fear of condemnation, punishment or separation from our Father in Heaven. We know Him to be Father not judge. From this place we can be honest, truthful and sincere because we have no fear of our Father in Heaven turning away from us. Now, truthfully, have you seen a church like this? Let alone maybe a person like this? They are few and far between because the church teaches performance, fear, and condemnation as the way, the truth and the light rather than Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Light. See the latter is the Good News that Jesus wants told.
Once I realized the love of God, even after I accept His free gift, is not EVER based upon my performance I am able to live open, honest, and in the light with God and with people. The people part is difficult only because there are so many still afraid to live in the same manner because too many Christians still believe after they accept the free gift there are requirements to stay in "right standing with God". This is the FURTHEST from the truth.
The belief you must perform
to stay in "right standing with God"
is in direct opposition
to the TRUTH of the Good News
In actuality it is the opposite of the TRUTH of the Good News. AND what is even more interesting, this is similar to the meaning of GOSSIP–the opposite of truth regarding a person. Here let's take a look:
According to the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) version the word gossip is used five times in the New Testament. It would be found in the following scriptures (in bold are the meanings of each word in Greek):
From these definitions I looked up a couple of words: calumniate and Prating. I am a stickler when defining a word not to use the word in the definition because it doesn't illuminate the word at all. So here is the definition to both words from dictionary.com:
CULUMNY: noun, plural calumnies.
1.a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something:
The speech was considered a calumny of the administration.
2.the act of uttering calumnies; slander; defamation.
PRATING: intransitive verb 1:to talk long and idly
As you read through the definitions a few things becomes clear. First, there is a huge difference between how we define gossip today and the five Greek words used within the scriptures above. It is quite clear from above the Bible is defining someone who knowingly, maliciously and on purpose decides to malign, lie, and make empty charges against someone both openly and quietly; their whispering launches secret attacks to destroy another person's character; they choose to hurt, and destroy and to condemn a person's character; and they desire to sever a relationship by doing all of this. As you can see from above, this is a tactic of the enemy; hence the Greek word "diablos". The Greek word above translated as "Gossip" is someone who is a false accuser or an empty accuser (full of air just bubbling over) that does not want to bring unity but disunity, not life but death and not healing but destruction. Let's look at the original meaning of the word "gossip" in English from Merriam-Webster dictionary:
History for GOSSIP:
At first the word gossip, from Old English godsibb, meant “godparent.” Later it came to mean “close friend” as well. Close friends, of course, share secrets. Gossip has come to mean anyone, friend or not, who shares the secrets of others.
The word GOSSIP is NOT
found once in the KJV
So, interestingly enough, if you look up the word "GOSSIP" in the King James Version (Old English) you will not find one scripture with the word "gossip". There are zero results. We need to understand the meaning of the original Greek words translated as "gossip" if we are to judge the universe (1 Corinthians 6:2) and understand what was truly being talked about in the five scriptures referenced above. In the first letter to the believers in Corinth Paul is referencing a problem that came up between two believers and one took the other to court and he is asking,
"Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? If you are going to judge the universe, are you incompetent to judge these minor matters?"….Can it be that there isn’t one person among you wise enough to be able to settle a dispute between brothers?"(1 Corinthians 6:2-5).
One of the many things we need to understand, as believers, is that we have the Holy Spirit within us and we should be able to discern the truth from a lie. But we must hear both sides of the story to be able to do so and then wait upon Holy Spirit to help us. Is one side gossip??? The real meaning of gossip??? Is it a fabrication to bring down an individual, and why would this individual need to be brought down? Is there something the enemy is trying to hide? Paul and the apostles ran into this time and again as they brought the Good News and the enemy did not want the Good News to be believed. So people would rise up and gossip (the real meaning) about the apostles in hopes the apostles would not be listened to.
As believers, we also must understand we need to be open, honest and truthful with what we experience. We should be able to talk about circumstances that are unhealthy and tell our side of the story without the fear of being called a "gossip". For far too long the church has covered up great harms done to others by calling the truth GOSSIP and that is an unhealthy trait. For it covers actions in darkness instead of bringing things to light to be dealt with in a loving, healthy way (Matthew 18). I believe this truly happens because we are too busy trying to perform holiness, as we think we should, instead of simply knowing we are holy because of what Christ did for us on the Cross.
No longer be afraid to speak the truth when asked, search out the truth when something doesn't sit right with you and judge the matters before you. For one day we shall judge the universe.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”Ephesians 6:12 NASB
How many times have you used this scripture to remind yourself of what is truly going on behind the scenes? I have used it many times; yet I don’t think I truly had a definite core value regarding it. Remember I have talked about core values, how they line up with your actions and how your actions don’t always line up with your words; you can read more in these articles: Simon of Cyrene and Core values and Grace. I believe we have all had AHA! moments with God. This is when we see God clearer and where true repentance happens in that moment; when we see things the way God sees them.
I had started this blog stating I would share openly what is happening with me, an open life journal. There are times this is fun and at times it isn’t. Yet, I choose to live from the inside out in honesty. Why a public forum???….maybe it will help someone else.
I had been talking to my husband, Bryan, over a month ago. There had been a situation that had happened and I was angry at the injustice in it and the history that I have seen and heard about regarding these same people. I looked at Bryan and I said, “I hate them, no don’t look at me like that, I hate them!” Now my husband and I have been married for nineteen years and thankfully he knows when to let me just say what is in my heart and let the Lord deal with me, haha!! I went on, “My mom told me not to say I hate someone, I can say I dislike them but not hate. But Bryan, I hate them.” Later as scripture flooded my heart like: hate in the heart is just like murder and you aren’t walking in the light because you hate it would have been easy to be overcome by self hatred and failure like I had in the past. But see I know the trick of the enemy, he loves to use scripture to always tell me I can’t measure up. So, I agree with him in the truth that I can’t live up to the law, ever. But I know Someone who has….and that is Jesus!! In that moment I am so thankful, grateful for all that Jesus did for me and the whole world and in that thankfulness something always happens for me but first I had to be open and honest with what was going on inside of me. If we start at the wrong starting point with God and see Him as a judge of our actions and not realizing all of God’s wraith has been taken on His own Son then we are fearful and can’t approach God with what is going on inside….and we begin to pretend that all is well (saying no, no I am in control of my emotions I don’t feel that way) and all we are doing is painting the outside as good and not dealing with the inside and we know God is more interested with our inside. We must acknowledge the truth of what is going on inside of us. Jesus took the law all the way to our hearts, trying to show us we can not ever perform this, but He could fulfill the law for us.
So, what do I do with this??? This very real feeling of hate in my heart?? These were real things that someone has done, is doing and may continue to do until God gets ahold of them. I think it was about a week later when God spoke to my heart and this is what He said:
Darlene, you don’t hate the person you hate their actions. It is the action not the person you hate. This is what it means when Paul was explaining to the Ephesians that the fight is not against flesh and blood but the powers and principalities of darkness. It is okay to hate wicked “acts” but you really don’t hate the person because the person has been made in My image and you walk in Me, in the Light, it isn’t who you are. What you are railing against are the powers and principalities of darkness.
Here are some scriptures that go along with what He told me:
“”The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.” Proverbs 8:13 NASB
“Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalms 97:10 NASB
Now I was able to see things more clearly, literally dividing the person from their actions. Look, I fully understand that I am not perfect because I know the Perfect one climbed on the Cross willingly for me and the whole world. People choose to do evil things to one another but that doesn’t define who they are. Jesus defines who they are, they are still created in God’s image. Does this mean that these actions are okay…no……and I wrote more about this in: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) and Has “Sorry” Lost Its’ Potency (Final Part)
Just because I have forgiven the person for their behavior does not mean that I need to trust them, or be around them. Nor does this mean I should not look at and judge the actions they have made. Note I said judge their actions; I didn’t say judge the person. Lastly, remember forgiveness doesn’t come overnight, it is a process of healing with God and friends. You can read more here: We Stand In the New Covenant.
Now, I feel like I have written on my heart: “Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This is simply Jesus in His fullness….I in Him and Him in me. I do not have to make an effort within myself not to do something….because literally Jesus has changed me from the inside out. This is where I have the privilege to walk everyday, because of Jesus.
If at anytime you are reading scripture from the starting point, ” If I will….then God will….”then you are starting from the viewpoint of the Old Covenant and trying to fulfill the law. I used to do this all the time, but not any more, thank God. When Jesus came, He died on the Cross and He rose again, this changed history and created a New Covenant free gift offered to all people. This covenant is similar to what He did for Abraham, but a million times better, in that it is a covenant of faith where God did and Abraham received because Abraham simply believed in Who God is and this belief was accounted to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS. Today, in the New Covenant, we, as believers, are under GRACE not law. So, when we read scripture it is imperative we start at the right starting point. In the New Covenant we start with: Jesus did it all for all time. Jesus bore all my sin, shame, sickness, disease on the Cross. He fully took my place and the whole worlds place on the Cross. He took the entire bulk of punishment upon His own body for all time and for all people. As believers in Jesus, we have the astounding privilege to be part of His family and fully understand that God, through His Son has done everything for us and all we do is receive. There are no strings attached to this. As a believer in Christ there is absolutely nothing you could ever do to lose it (except deny Who Jesus is; but then He is chasing after you). There is absolutely nothing you have to do; but just believe in Who God is and what Jesus did for you. As it says in 1 John 1:5-10:
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from ALL sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” NASB
Let’s look at this through New Covenant eyes: If we declare that we are sinners, that we truly need a Savior we are immediately walking in the Light with Jesus, we are cleansed from ALL sin. We just need to confess which means: “to acknowledge belief in”. What are we acknowledging belief in? The fact that we were all born into sin because of Adam and we are in need of saving. Once we acknowledge this and believe that Christ died for us to be free from this sin nature, we are forgiven and cleansed from ALL unrighteousness. Which means we are a new creation and fully righteous in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17&21). The New Covenant is that simple. You do not need to perform for God to stay in the Kingdom of Heaven because Jesus already has performed it all. Do you need to keep confessing your “sin” so you can stay in good terms with God???–No, because we have already acknowledged that fact when we had faith or believed in Who Jesus was and Christ’s act with our faith, acknowledgement and acceptance of that free gift is what makes us on good terms with God; because the payment was paid in full by His Son for us. All of our iniquity, transgressions, and sin was nailed to the Cross for ALL time and were are righteous in Christ Jesus. So, I challenge you to read the scripture above with the realization: this was written for non-believers to help them enter into the Truth of Who Jesus is and all that He did for them. Next I also challenge you to read it from the right starting point: God through His Son finished it all for you and has done everything for you…now receive the Holy Spirit and enter into His rest as Hebrews 4:10 says:
“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” NASB.
This is the message of the New Covenant, the message of Grace. The true gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you want to understand more about transgression, iniquity and sin read: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4)
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. 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)
This is the scripture that came to mind the other morning as I woke up and God, my heavenly Father, and I had a conversation. He was reminding me how scared I used to be when someone would preach this scripture or how I used to read it and because my image of God was off I started at the wrong starting point. What I used to imagine was God up there in heaven with a menacing face pointing His big finger at me saying in a condescending voice, “You be Holy as I am Holy!”. Ahhhhhhhhh…I wanted to run and hide under a rock. No wonder people, both believers and non-believers, don’t want to have a conversation with Him. which of course makes the enemy so happy.
So many times I have had or heard teachers, preachers, etc… try and give you the 5 steps to a good prayer life, 10 steps to have relationship with God, 3 steps to “getting it right with God”; instead of simply going for the root of the reason why people don’t want to communicate with Him. Maybe what has been taught for too many years, since the Roman Empire made Christianity the official religion, is WRONG. Hmmmmm……maybe the lack of the true gospel message of the New Covenant is the root of why people don’t want to have conversations with God. Maybe this false teaching needs to be rooted out and the truth declared and then people will long for, desire intimacy with the One Whom loves them so much. The problem is they have painted God out to be that figure I was describing above who we need to cower from rather than run to. And that is exactly NOT who He is.
There seems to be a real difficulty for humanity to combine justice, righteousness and holiness with GRACE, Love and Mercy. Yet, that is God. We hear it over and over again throughout His Word. So how can a Holy and Just God just let you off the hook for what you have done wrong? How can a Holy and Just God even look at you? How can a Holy God ask you to be holy—when you know for sure you can NEVER measure up? The answer is God can’t. He can’t just let you off the hook, He can’t just look at you, and you know you can never be holy in and of your own ability. Although I have tried whole heartedly to be holy. I tried so hard to do everything right, to say the right things all the time….yet I constantly fell short. It was NEVER ENOUGH to live up to the standards God had placed as the law. What I didn’t know for the longest time was that God NEVER expected me to live up to that high mark. He knew I was incapable of doing so. What I did find out later is that in the New Covenant: because of what Jesus Christ had done for us on the Cross, because Jesus became sin for us, because Jesus took our punishment, because Jesus took our sickness and shame upon Himself, and because Jesus FULLY took our place we, who have faith in Who Jesus Christ is, are now let off the proverbial hook: we are fully forgiven and the payment for our sin is marked:”PAID IN FULL”, God desires to look upon His beloved (us) and we are holy. Simply put we are Holy because He is Holy. The Holy One, Jesus, took our place. That which knew no sin became sin for us and now we are holy and righteous. It causes, in me, a great thankfulness that rises up out of myself for what He did for me. It is not forced or manufactured…it simply is there as I mediate on the HUGENESS of what He did for me.
If you are doing what I used to do, trying to self create your own holiness by trying to do everything right, please stop. Look at the scripture:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”” 1 Peter 1:13-16 NASB
It is simple…I shall be holy for God is holy. I fix my hope completely in the grace that has been brought to me as Jesus was revealed for Who He is in my life. So I rest in the hope of grace and trust that He will take me from glory to glory changing me from the inside out. Stubborn children try to do it on their own; yet obedient children trust that what you are doing is for them. They trust and grab ahold of the hand that is bigger than theirs and know that good comes out of all situations.
I am made holy only because of what Christ did for me-that is freeing, makes me feel fully loved, fully cared for and fully safe. This creates the desire to communicate and have relationship with the One who adores you. This presents the right starting point for everyone to want to talk to their Heavenly Father. There is no need for multiple steps…only this: God is for you, wants you and dearly loves you…so much so He gave His only Son to take your place so you could be His for all eternity-holy and righteous. Amazing Love.
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)
“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.
We 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.
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)
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:
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.
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. ❤️