Exploring Jezebel’s Family Tree: Sister Religion
This family tree of Jezebel keeps getting worse and worse with every branch we uncover. First, there was Baal and Asherah whom we discussed in three parts (Part I, Part II & Part III). (Asherah a.k.a. the Queen of Heaven even has a holiday in our modern times.) Then we discussed her three personalities: Delilah, Herod, and Absalom. Then we started discussing her siblings Perversion and AntiChrist, twin brothers, and in this post, we’ll discuss her final sibling, Religion.
We’ve seen Jezebel’s big sis, Religion, time and time again. And more than likely, you’ve run into this spirit yourself. Perhaps maybe even exhibited it once or twice before? Perry Stone said, “All false religions started under Nimrod and his wife, Semiramis.” Allow me to explain.
Many categorize Christianity or Judaism or whatever one would call the faith of Adam, Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah as a religion. But Christianity is not a religion. Judaism, in its proper dispensation (Moses’ time to Jesus’ death), was also not a religion. It was a set of rules prescribed by God through which man could reach Him. It was meant as a placeholder after Adam failed in the Garden and before Jesus saved us through His death and resurrection. Post-resurrection, Christianity replaced Judaism. (Note, I did NOT say that Christians replace Jews in the eyes of God. To say so would be a dangerous lie--a misunderstanding at best--that is contrary to Scripture.) Christianity, while it still retains the moral structure of Judaism and fulfills the Law, is not a religion, it is a relationship between God and man. God desires us and we, in turn, desire Him.
Christianity is NOT a religion.
Every other religious belief, however, is. New or old, pagan or not, mythology or New Age, Mormonism or Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and every other grouping you can think of is a religion. Here’s a generic definition of religion:
Any man-made attempt to reach g/God--however or whomever you define as g/God.
Some religions like Universal Unitarianism, New Age, witchcraft, are freer in their descriptions and have multiple versions/descriptions. Others such as Mormonism, Islam, and Jehovah’s Witness are more legalistic in nature and thus, restrict their followers to a much smaller space of freedom.
A man-made religion can attempt to reach the God of Scripture like Catholicism and post-Resurrection Judaism. Others may not even go so far as to describe the god they worship such as Unitarianism. And if you’ve dabble in or learned about New Age and or religious Humanism, then the god of choice can very well be you yourself or humanity in general.
But all of this is for naught because the one thing you’re striving for--to reach God--is withheld from you because you’ve partaken of a path not acknowledged or sanctioned by Scripture.
Most of you don’t need help identifying a false religion when you see it. But like Baal, Jezebel, Perversion, and AntiChrist, this spirit specializes in mimicking that which is real. With that in mind, we will largely focus on the Spirit of Religion attacking the Church.
Legalism & Witchcraft
This is the most common expression of the Spirit of Religion in the Church. As Jennifer LeClaire discusses in her awesome book, Satan’s Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft, the Spirit of Religion is often indistinguishable from the Spirit of Jezebel. You could say it is even strikingly similar to the Spirit of Herod in that it is murderous at its core and possesses a form of godliness whilst denying the power thereof. The set of rules which often defines the Spirit of Religion is most often synonymous with legalism.
Merriam-Webster defines legalism as a “strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code.”
It is a form of spiritual abuse and witchcraft which we will discuss only briefly here as we will dedicate an entire post to this next in the series. Derek Prince describes witchcraft as anything that manipulates, dominates, or intimidates. Legalism expresses all of these. Some witchy church phrases you may recognize are:
I’m your pastor, so you have to do everything I tell you to.*
If you [give an offering of __ amount, do aaaall this volunteer work, etc.], then God will bless you.**
If you leave this church, God will curse you.
I am the only prophet in this house. God will not speak through anyone but me.
I am the only minister you should be listening to.***
Serving the church is more important than spending time with your family.****
Giving to the church is more important than spending your money elsewhere.*****
Every life decision you make needs to be run by me.******
*Your pastor is granted a level of authority of you and yes, you as a single individual or married, should be submitted to your pastor. But if your pastor asks you to do something unbiblical, immoral, or that doesn’t sit right with your spirit, you have the right to refuse respectfully.
**Tithing, giving, and serving are all biblical terms, Old and New Testament. However, the pastors/leaders are NEVER given the authority to FORCE God’s people to do something. Even tithing is a choice. And the punishment for not tithing comes from God, not from man. That said, it would not be beneficial or Scriptural to have a non-tither on your leadership/volunteer staff.
***While your pastor should take precedence, this in no way means you can’t or shouldn’t learn/glean from other godly ministers.
****Serving the church sacrificially is a great biblical principle, another form of sowing, but it should NEVER force you to consistently steal time from your family.
*****Tithing is a necessity regardless of your financial situation and sacrificial giving is a biblical principle, yet the Apostle Paul said that that man who doesn’t provide for his own is worse than an unbeliever.
******Your pastor is your advisor, a source of wisdom. But he is not the Holy Spirit. Nor is he your conscious. He shouldn’t control your life in any way. Simply provide wisdom and guidance.
This list could go on, but you won’t get the idea. Another way of labeling legalism is to call it works or a religion of works. And this is what the Bible says about that:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Good works, either forced through your religion or accomplished on your own, will NEVER EVER win your salvation.
Christians do good works because they are saved; not to become saved.
There is a very distinct difference.
Therefore, any person, sect, or religion that promotes the doing of (good) works for the sake of salvation is false, either intentionally or otherwise.
Perhaps your works are less acts of service and rules by which to live. Perhaps they look more like prescribed clothing, hairstyles, foods, etc.; things not found in Scripture or things that are found in Scripture, but are overemphasized or taken out of context. This too is legalism and a Spirit of Religion.
But legalism is control, witchcraft. A means through which to make some(one) appear more spiritual than another, or deeper than another.
Religion seeks to counter and replace everything that is good and lovely about a relationship with God. It seeks to create bondage where there is liberty, control where there is freedom, enslavement where there is personal will, death where there is life.
Ultimately, religion will kill you. Likely (these days), not a spiritual death. Most, save Muslims and some other less popular groups do not offer human sacrifices (anymore). But the end goal of separating your spirit from God’s after you die a mortal death will achieve the greater goal. For to be separated from God is death.
Stay tuned as begin to examine Jezebel’s children next time!