Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Jezebel and Idolatry
Jezebel and Idolatry
Writing about Jezebel may seem an odd way to begin a book on godly womanhood. In Jezebel is seen the antithesis of everything that Yahweh finds praiseworthy in a woman. Yahweh has chosen to teach us much through contrasts. He sets before His daughters the lives of the godly, as well as the ungodly. Sarah’s life and attitude is set forth as an example of a godly woman.
I Peter 3:5-6
For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
Yahweh has similarly provided the details of the life and attitudes of Jezebel in the Scriptures that all might understand what is odious and detestable to Him. Among women, there is no name so reviled and full of divine reproach as Jezebel. In this chapter I want to set forth before you Jezebel’s relationship to idolatry, which Yahweh hates. In subsequent chapters we will look at other matters of great importance as the life of Jezebel is further reviewed.
The Scriptures reveal that one reason Jezebel received divine reproach, resulting in severe judgment, is that she embraced and promoted idolatry. Before you determine that you could not, or are not doing the same thing, I encourage you to consider carefully that which follows.
In the book of Revelation we find Christ pronouncing judgment upon the spirit of Jezebel that has infected the church.
“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.”
The book of Revelation is a book of parables. Truth is communicated through types, symbols, and signs. Christ is not speaking of an individual by the name of Jezebel that attended a certain church. The reference to Jezebel is to be understood spiritually. There was a spirit tolerated among the church that bore great similarity to the woman named Jezebel in the Old Testament. At this time, I would specifically focus upon Jezebel’s promotion of idolatry and its practices.
Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. As you might guess by Ethbaal’s name, the people of Sidon were Baal worshipers. The first of the ten commandments condemns the worship of Baal, or any other false deity.
“I am Yahweh your God... You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God...”
Jezebel was a citizen of an idolatrous nation. She was also an ardent promoter of this idolatry. When Ahab, the king of Israel, took Jezebel to be his wife, she immediately induced the king to embrace the worship of false deities.
I Kings 16:31-33
[Ahab] married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him. So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he built in Samaria. Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus Ahab did more to provoke Yahweh God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
I Kings 21:25-26
Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of Yahweh, because Jezebel his wife incited him. He acted very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom Yahweh cast out before the sons of Israel.
Alongside Baal, the Sidonians worshiped Asherah. Asherah was a fertility goddess. The following historical information is provided that you might be able to discern the continuation of the Jezebel spirit in the church today, and thereby separate yourself from all that Yahweh detests.
Jezebel induced her husband Ahab, king of the ten northern tribes of Israel, to embrace the worship of Baal and Asherah. As Ahab embraced this idolatry, the citizens under his rule followed. The vast majority of the nation entered into idolatry, but Yahweh reserved a remnant unto Himself.
Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, "Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
The passage just cited is written in the New Testament, yet it is referring to events in the Old Testament. The apostle Paul is revealing that the same spirit that was at work among the natural people of Israel in the days of the kings is still at work today in the church age. In a parallel truth, Yahweh is still at work to reserve a remnant unto Himself who have separated themselves from the rampant idolatry embraced by His people. In the days of Ahab and Jezebel, only seven thousand men could be found among the entire populace who had not embraced Baal and Asherah. Similarly, there is a remnant among the body of Christ today who have separated themselves from idols.
I John 5:21
Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
Jezebel spread idolatry throughout the land of Israel. The spirit of Jezebel continues to spread idolatry among the body of Christ. Alexander Hislop in the book The Two Babylons does an excellent job of tracing the proliferation of idolatrous practices among the nations back to ancient Babylon (Babel), which Nimrod founded.
The beginning of [Nimrod’s] kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
At Babel, “The Mystery Religions” originated. When God came down and visited Babel and confused the people’s languages, they spread throughout all the earth taking the idolatry introduced at Babel with them. Because their languages were now different, various names came to be associated with Baal and Asherah, which in their first origins were Nimrod and his wife (and mother) Semiramis.
Historical accounts, and religious traditions that have been preserved to this day, reveal a sordid tale of sexual immorality and idolatrous practices originating in Babel. That this is so should not be surprising. Nimrod was a descendant of Ham, one of the three sons of Noah. Ham and his descendants were cursed by Noah because Ham uncovered the nakedness of his father.
Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said,"Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brothers."
It was a disgraceful thing for a son to see the nakedness of his father. Rather, than covering his father, Ham went and broadcast his father’s nakedness to others, demonstrating great dishonor. Ham had a son named Cush. According to tradition, Cush married a woman named Semiramis from whom was born Nimrod. When Cush died, Nimrod took his mother to be his wife. Thus, like his grandfather before him, Nimrod dishonored his father by uncovering his nakedness.
"You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, that is, the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother; you are not to uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife; it is your father's nakedness.”
Nimrod founded Babel, the beginning of his kingdom, and it was there that the mystery religions were birthed. Nimrod was figured as the sun, and Semiramis as the moon. Together, they became the deities of the people. History reveals that ancient kings often perpetuated the myth that they were divine. In Egypt, the Pharoah was worshiped as god, and in Babel Nimrod was Baal (meaning “Lord”) and Semiramis was figured as the goddess of fertility, the mother of all.
As the people of Babel scattered across the face of the earth, they took their idolatrous practices with them. The names changed, for the languages had been confused by God, but their rites and practices continued. Semiramis became known by many names. In the Bible she is called Asherah, Ashtoreth and Astarte, as well as the moon goddess. Nimrod, as Baal, also became known by a great many names.
Nimrod was eventually slain. After Nimrod died, Semiramis became pregnant. Nimrod had been dead a sufficient time that the child could not be his, and Semiramis had no other husband. To continue the mythos of her divinity, Semiramis claimed that she had become pregnant by the rays of the sun god (Nimrod ascended). The child born was named Tammuz. He too is mentioned in Scriptures as one of the false deities whose worship was introduced to Israel, provoking the wrath of Yahweh.
Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of Yahweh’s house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz. He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man? Yet you will see still greater abominations than these."
Weeping for Tammuz continues to this day among those who call themselves Christians. The forty days of Lent that lead up to Easter are a continuation of this idolatrous practice. The days of Lent are considered days of mourning. They are observed with fasting, and also putting ashes on the head. Tammuz, like his father before him (he was claimed to be Nimrod reborn) was a great hunter. One day while hunting, a wild boar gashed him across his thigh and Tammuz bled to death from the injury.
Ancient Statue of Tammuz Dying - Note Gash on Thigh
Christmas and Easter are both traceable back to ancient Babylon. This worship of the fertility goddess, and her son, who is figured as her husband reborn, is found throughout the nations of the earth.
Images of Semiramis and Tammuz Among the Nations
(From top left, and continuing clockwise are pictured Semiramis and Tammuz from Babylon; Devka and her son Krishna from India; Isi and the infant Iswara from India; the many breasted goddess Diana from Ephesus; the Roman Catholic Mary and infant Jesus; and the Egyptian goddess Isis and her son Horus)
What all of these images hold in common is an elevation of the woman to a place of worship; to a position that is ultimately higher than the man. The man is always pictured as a child, subordinate to her. Even as there is a holy trinity in the Bible consisting of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Satan has offered a counterfeit trinity. Its original members were named Nimrod, Semiramis, and Tammuz.
Because Tammuz was slain by a boar, a boar was traditionally slaughtered on high holy days associated with the worship of this Babylonian trinity. The tradition continues to this day as ham is eaten at both Christmas and Easter.
No one should mistake the eating of swine’s flesh for a symbol of the birth, or of the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Swine were declared unclean in the Law of Moses. The Messiah is figured as the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world. On Passover, Yahweh instructed His people to eat lamb, but the church today celebrates Easter by eating ham. (It seems somehow prophetic that all these things began by Ham uncovering the nakedness of his father.)
I mentioned previously, that Easter NEVER falls on the same day as Passover. The Roman Catholic Church made certain of this. The date of Easter is based upon the phase of the moon, and the position of the sun. It falls on a SUNday, the day the Roman Emperors set aside for the worship of the sun. Baal is figured as the sun god, and Tammuz is supposedly Nimrod reborn. Those who worshiped the sun, and the deities associated with it, made certain that their high days of worship fell on the day of the week devoted to the sun. Yahweh warned the Israelites against worshiping the heavenly bodies, or associating them with deities to be honored.
"And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them...”
The date of Christmas, like Easter is determined by the position of the sun, being observed at the winter solstice as the sun passes through the shortest day of the year (the day of least sunlight) and begins to ascend once more to rule the heavens. The Bible does not state specifically when Christ was born, but many Bible scholars have concluded that it was most likely during the time of the fall feast established by Yahweh, which is commonly called the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot. I find much merit in this view. What is certain is that the early church did not hold any celebration during the winter solstice, but the pagan worshipers throughout the Roman Empire had been doing so for centuries. (Some might argue that the Jews celebrated Hanukkah around the time of the winter solstice, but neither Christ, nor the apostles gave commandment to the church to observe this date; Neither is Hanukkah among the feast days (moedim) established by Yahweh in the Old Testament.)
The Emperor Constantine was a sun worshiper. At the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., he presided over a gathering of hundreds of bishops from the Roman church. This council established dictates by which the church should operate. The council codified the practice of SUNday worship, and forbade worship on the Jewish Sabbath. It also established formulas for determining when Easter should be observed, forbidding the use of any Jewish influence in the matter. Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church adopted idolatrous practices and beliefs while rejecting the appointed times (moedim) that Yahweh had delivered through the hands of His holy prophets. Referring to the date of Easter celebrations, the Council of Nicaea stated:
"At the council we also considered the issue of our holiest day, Easter, and it was determined by common consent that everyone, everywhere should celebrate it on one and the same day. For what can be more appropriate, or what more solemn, than that this feast from which we have received the hope of immortality, should be kept by all without variation, using the same order and a clear arrangement? And in the first place, it seemed very unworthy for us to keep this most sacred feast following the custom of the Jews, a people who have soiled their hands in a most terrible outrage, and have thus polluted their souls, and are now deservedly blind. Since we have cast aside their way of calculating the date of the festival, we can ensure that future generations can celebrate this observance at the more accurate time which we have kept from the first day of the passion until the present time...."
[Emperor Constantine I - Following the Council of Nicaea]
With these words, the Roman Catholic Church rejected the Biblical observance of Passover, the date on which Christ was crucified, and adopted the pagan observance of Easter. Thus the holy was replaced by the profane, and the body of Christ was induced to eat foods sacrificed to idols.
“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.
Remember, the words of Revelation are spiritual words. Even though there is a very real sense in which the people of God eat physical foods in honor of false deities through imbibing Christmas and Easter ham, Easter eggs, hot crossed buns, and various associated treats, it is the spiritual substance of these words that is most important. Eating things sacrificed to idols is a spiritual reference to the church feeding on doctrines of demons.
Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
Observe in these words how the phrases “various and strange doctrines” and “foods which have not profited” are used in parallel to one another. The church feeds itself on doctrines. The Jezebel spirit teaches and leads the bond-servants of Christ astray so that they eat things sacrificed to idols. The church observes dates and practices that formerly were associated with the worship of Baal and Asherah.
The mystery religions teach that Semiramis was immaculately conceived, being lowered from the heavens to the earth in a giant egg. This egg came to rest in the waters of the Euphrates river. Eggs are symbols of fertility, and as Semiramis was a fertility goddess the symbol of the egg became thoroughly associated with her worship. Those who knew Semiramis under the name of Ishtar spoke of Ishtar’s egg, from which we get our current Easter egg.
Mystic Egg of Astarte
Sacred Egg of Heliopolis
Heliopolis is a city of Egypt. Its name means “City of the Sun.” Semiramis was known there by the name Isis. Semiramis was a moon goddess, and therefore we see an image of the moon atop her sacred egg. A vast amount of additional information could be provided to further establish the association of Christmas and Easter with the worship of Baal and Asherah. To do so is beyond the scope of this book. One need only ask themselves where did all of these symbols, and practices arise?
Why do we not find in the Scriptures any mention of Christ’s disciples, or the early church observing Christmas celebrations? Why do we not find the apostles teaching along with the traditions of the church the giving of gifts on December 25th, or bringing decorated trees into the home? Why is there no admonition in the New Testament to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ with Easter Eggs, bunny rabbits, baskets of straw and flowers, SUNrise services, or ornamental bonnets? It is because all of these things find their source in the worship of Baal and Asherah, which the church has now almost universally adopted. Nevertheless, Yahweh has reserved unto Himself a remnant who will not bow the knee to Baal.
My purposes in sharing these things are several. First, I would have you to see the pervasiveness of the Jezebel spirit. Second, I would have you understand its attraction. Third, I would have you see how it enters the church, and how its influence is spread.
The most commonly identified characteristic of the Jezebel spirit today is observed in a woman who will not submit to man, who seeks rather to usurp authority over man. This is truly a characteristic of the Jezebel spirit, but if I were to ask most Christians how widespread this spirit is in the church a great many would say it is rare. They might point to a few extreme examples, such as women seeking to be ordained as ministers. Few actually realize how pervasive the Jezebel spirit is.
By looking at the promotion of idolatry, and specifically those practices associated with Baal and Asherah, it is possible to discern more accurately the influence of this spirit. If I were to ask you how many churches celebrate Christmas and Easter, it becomes obvious that the influence of the Jezebel spirit is much greater than most have understood. Rare is the voice today that will declare the uncleanness of these practices. Can you imagine the response in most congregations today if the minister would preach from the pulpit the truth of these things? Jezebel’s influence has slain, or forced into hiding, the true prophets of Yahweh. As was the condition of Israel in the days of king Ahab and his wicked queen, so too is the condition of the church today. The majority have bowed to Baal.
Such success in leading the people of God into idolatry was achievable because it appealed to the desires of the natural man. Is there not in the celebration of Christmas and Easter that which is very attractive to the soul? Do not even the lost members of society, those with no profession of faith in Christ, enjoy these celebrations?
Christmastime has become a period when the world goes mad with a lust for consumer goods. It is a time when the love of the world, and the things in it, reaches its highest peak of the year. Merchants count on an orgy of consumer spending at Christmastime to achieve profitability. They can count on people everywhere spending inordinate amounts of money on every imaginable product. The church under the influence of Jezebel drives this process, for they have claimed Christmas to be a Christian holiday. Even as Jezebel induced Israel to adopt the idols of Sidon, she has led the church to adopt the idols of this fallen world system. The saints of God are feeding on the doctrines of demons.
Let me interject at this time, a definition of idolatry. You do not have to bow before a statue, or make a sacrifice to a false deity, or pray to a god other than Yahweh to be an idolater. Idolatry is an issue of the heart. It is setting anything next to God that commands your devotion, love, or actions. The spirit that abounds at Christmas is a spirit of covetousness. The apostle Paul declares that the covetous man (or woman) is an idolater.
For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
The pervasiveness of this idolatry is undeniably extensive. Covetousness is the driving force behind the prosperity gospel that has replaced the preaching of the disciple’s cross in this hour. The Jezebel spirit extends as far as those churches that have embraced Christmas and Easter, the rites and symbols of Baal and Asherah.
Consider now the great attraction of these things. I know of a few men who have become convicted of the error of mixing the holy and the profane, of merging the worship of Yahweh and His Christ with that of Babylonian mystery religions. When they have suggested to their wives and children that they must put away these things, some have encountered a firestorm of protest. Some men have backed down immediately. They feared their wives and children more than they feared God.
What if the man had said to his wife or children that they were no longer going to practice some Christian discipline that had formerly been their custom? Would there be a great protest, even threats of divorce? It seems unlikely. The rites introduced by Jezebel, however, appeal to the flesh. They satisfy the lusts of men and women. Those who act to cast these things down must be prepared for resistance.
I have considered at length the testimony the Scriptures provide of Solomon’s life. Here was a man who loved God, and who was greatly loved by Yahweh. Solomon also loved many women. Many of Solomon’s wives were foreign women who were brought up in the worship of other gods. These women were accustomed to their annual celebrations, feast days, and rituals. They urged Solomon to let them continue to observe those things they had loved since childhood. What harm could it do to decorate a tree at the winter solstice, and give gifts to others? What was the real harm in painting and decorating eggs during the spring equinox, or letting them dress up in special festive clothes and hats? What was wrong with baking cakes for the queen of heaven, or setting out offerings of food and drink for their deities? (This is where the practice of leaving out cookies and milk for Santa originated.) With such arguments the heart and mind of Solomon was won. He wanted to please his wives, and he brought the worship of the Baal, Asherah, and other deities to Jerusalem.
I Kings 11:4-8
For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to Yahweh his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and did not follow Yahweh fully, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
Sisters in Christ, what is your influence upon your husbands and fathers? Would you encourage them to follow the idolatrous practices that have infiltrated the church as Solomon’s wives urged him? Is there in you a heart of covetousness? Would you be content to abstain from Christmas and Easter celebrations when all around you are partaking of them? The Jezebel spirit does not always appear as an enemy. It can be very attractive. It will dress itself in whatever adornment that is most appealing in order to allure you. The Jezebel spirit appeals to the lusts within your own heart.Are you willing to stand out from the crowd, and to walk alone? The seven thousand in Israel who were faithful to Yahweh had a very lonely walk. Few will surrender to be led of Christ out of Babylon that they might arrive at Zion.
“Return, O faithless sons,” declares Yahweh; “For I am a master to you, and I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”
Observe a hidden mystery in these words. Jeremiah was speaking to a people who had fallen far into idolatry. Baal was worshiped widely. Baal is a Hebrew word that means “lord,” or “master.” The people of Israel worshiped a lord after the fashion they had adopted from the nations around them, but they were not worshiping the one, true Lord in holiness according to His commandments. If you read the above passage in the original Hebrew you will see that it states, “Return, O faithless sons... for I am a Baal to you.”
There is more than one way to understand this statement. The people of Judah and Jerusalem had transformed the worship of Yahweh into the worship of Baal. They still claimed to worship Yahweh, but they did so according to practices adopted from Baal worship. The Jews went up to the Temple of Yahweh to worship, but they had built an altar for Baal alongside the altar of Yahweh. Their worship was actually Baal worship, but it took place in the house built for Yahweh. Do you see a parallel in the church today?
In external acts, have you adopted the rites and practices that originated with the worship of Baal and Asherah? Are you emotionally bound to the celebrations of Christmas and Easter? Internally, do you have idols in your heart? Do you covet the world and its goods? Are you under the influence of the spirit of Jezebel? Yahweh declares:
II Corinthians 6:15-18
What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty."
During the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, Yahweh sent a prophet named Elijah to the people. He demanded of them, “How long will you halt between two opinions. Choose you this day whom you will serve. If Baal is god, serve him. If Yahweh is God, then serve Him.” Jezebel promotes mixture. She does not mind if you worship more than one god, but Yahweh does. He will have no other gods before Him, that is to say, He will have no other gods in His presence.
The spirit of Jezebel seeks to seduce every daughter of Christ. She is very successful, for few recognize her when she comes. She is a face painter. She will alter her appearance to make that which is detestable to God appear acceptable.
Few are those Christians who have even discerned the error of celebrating the resurrection of Christ on a day that bears the name of a pagan fertility goddess (Easter). Few have recognized the corruption of mixing Easter eggs, bunny rabbits, and Easter ham with the celebration of Christ’s Passover. How then will they see Jezebel in their own hearts?
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