Reverend Waller's Sermon did an Injustice to Jezebel Yesterday

I had all intentions of leaving Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church for good last year.  I love the messages of Reverend Waller.  He is a teacher/preacher of the first magnitude.  His sermons and the inspiration for them are spellbinding.  I just got tired of the message that once your storm is over that you will find milk and honeys at the end.  Many people who are enjoying career and life success can appreciate this message.  It has been a struggle for awhile to get back to where I was when I sat on a podium with Dr. Waller at a MED Week event back in 2008.  I have been attending the Church of the Redeemer recently and have one new member class to complete before I join this branch of Christians.

Reverend Waller preached from the Book of Revelations yesterday on the topic of the Church.  In the 2nd Chapter, 18th verse, it states:

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.  By her teachings she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.  I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.

The sermon also touched on becoming a better you.  It is my understanding that the Book of Revelations was written by the Apostle John late in his life.  He was one of the few disciples of Jesus Christ to live a long life.  Most of the others were martyred because at the time, the Roman empire did not take lightly to worshipping any other gods but theirs.

Image result for jezebel

I had a few questions after the sermon and this is one of the reasons why I love being challenged by a sermon.  The first one was who is Jezebel?  She was referenced in a Lauryn Hill song when she referenced 'That was the sin that did Jezebel in.' What sin was that?   Jezebel was a Phoenician princess who lived in the 9th Century B.C.E.  Her marriage to Ahab was intended to strengthen the kingdoms of Israel and Phoenicia.  Phoenicia was the most prosperous country in the Middle East at the time.  Many gods were worshipped in Phoenicia at the time.  Imagine a country where a seafaring people were also totally dependent on the whims of nature.  Thus one of the gods that they worshipped was Baal.

The Israelites worshipped Yahwheh at the time.  Jezebel was a proponent of the god Baal who is also referred to as Lord in some ancient texts.  Baal appears some 90 times in the Hebrew scriptures.  He is sometimes referred to as a storm and fertility god.  In fact there is an existing town called Baalbeck that was named after this deity.  To some current Christians, I hope that what I am writing is not considered sacrilegious.  The tension existing between the Israelites and the Phoenicians at the time culminated in intrigue and murder to the first degree.  I was not able to find out where Jezebel encouraged her people to fornicate.  All religions at the time made sacrifices to their gods.  Burnt offerings are mentioned numerous times in the Bible.  Even today, incense is burned in the Catholic church during funerals.

Another question I have is who does the writer of the Book of Revelations have something against?  Some scholars believe that nothing can be known about the author except that he was a Christian prophet.  He was writing about events 900 years after the fact.  Who was it that he had something against?  Jezebel had to be respected before she was murdered because her family was powerful enough to create a marriage intended to solidify two powerful countries at the time.  I went back through the text and could not find out the source of the writer's enmity.  Associating Jezebel with fornication was a stretch because there were many proponents of Baal.  She imported over 800 Ball prophets and ordered the murder of several Yawheh prophets.  This action led to her eventual murder by Jehu.  she was thrown from a window and her body eaten by wild dogs. 

Many people read the Book of Revelations and try to interpret the signs for a return of Christ.  The Jews were looking for his return while they were being plundered by the Roman empire.  The Siege of Masada left the forebearers of Christians depressed by the anticipated return of the warrior Christ.
The message yesterday by Doctor Waller should have been interspersed with more historical context about the life of Jezebel and its relation to the religious struggle for dominance in an era where there was no television, Ipads or tablets.  Those in power created and maintained the messaging.  I am glad that I attended the service though.  I am still studying the context of the beginning of the Christian church.

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