Prophets, Preachers, and Politicians

Prophets, Preachers, and Politicians
Robert Wurtz II

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (Galatians 5:14-15)


Our passage contains the dreadful consequence of a “party spirit” (politics) operating in the churches of God. Ignoring this passage has brought many Christians, relationships, ministries, and moves of God, to an abrupt and pitiful end over the last 2000 years. It is impossible to overstate how dangerous a “party spirit” or politics are to God’s people. This is why Jesus commanded the disciples not to organize their ministry into a Gentile power structure in Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43, and Luke 22:25-26. Multitudes cry to Heaven “Lord, Lord” and then go right out and disobey these clear verses. Simply put, Jesus warned us not to set up a corporate type hierarchy (pecking order, ranking, chain of command) in the churches. 



Despite this clear command being repeated in all the synoptic Gospels, churches and organizations are typically set up like a corporation. In a corporate hierarchy, we might say that “Pete is about six levels below the CEO;” however, this is not the way churches and Christian organizations are to be established. It is nothing more than Israel crying for a king rather than allowing God to rule over them. As with Israel, so too with the churches, this Gentile, worldly, Egyptian, or whatever adjective we want to employ, “power structure” has grave consequences.  


Moving Up The Ranks?



Any place that you find a ranking system, you have sin being committed. Disobeying God in Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43, and Luke 22:25-26 is no different than any place else. Moreover, ranking systems breed sin and offenses. They can do no other. Why? Because when there is a political element involved, people don’t feel obligated to treat their brother or sister in Christ as they would want to be treated. They generally lose their minds and forget they are supposed to be Christians. 


What happens? Older ministers fear that some young person is “gunning for their job” so they do everything in their power to suppress all potential “threats” to their position. They are not allowed to do anything that may get the people taking a liking to them. Some ministers are afraid to go out-of-town lest when they come back, someone is trying to take their job. Moreover, some younger ministers undermine the people in high position, so they can eventually be “voted in to their job.” They obstruct, refuse to support, point out their shortcomings, etc. ad nauseam. It becomes a very tense “us against them” abomination to God and man. This is worldliness at its finest. Naturally, if you ask them, they all do these things for “spiritual” reasons. The carnal Corinthians thought they were “spiritual” too, because they were moving in the gifts of the Spirit; however, some were fornicating, suing one another, and splitting the church into political parties backing “Paul, Appollos, Cephas and Jesus.”

In the Old Testament, when the people were really off track, God would use the prophets to bring a strong message of correction. Nobody “votes in” a prophet, so God has to raise one up to confront the people. They often employed radical language or tactics to accomplish the job. Similarly, Paul used a morbid statement to the Galatians, But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! What happens? When someone bites, the natural response is to bite back. This process continues until all parties involved are consumed (destroyed). What begins as behavior becoming toddlers — erupts into a savage warfare between people acting like wild animals. The renowned Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, in commenting on these verses, tells the sobering story of two snakes who each swallowed the other by the tail. 


If there is one thing that most parents of toddlers detest — it is biting. The fastest way to receive a spanking when I was a  child was to bite somebody. Emotions would run so high that some parents would say to the victim, “Just bite him back! Show him how it feels.” It would not be unusual for parents to come to blows nearly when they looked at their child’s arm and there was a bite mark. “Why did he bite you?!” The parent asks. “Because I was playing with his toy.” Then the parents get into an argument. One backs their child’s right to territory, and the other wants an apology for biting. In modern times, I suspect parents are more civilized than this, but I’m not holding my breath. 

Toddlers are not the only people who “bite” when they don’t get their way. Adults do it too. This is what Paul said, But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (Galatians 5:15) This is much more serious and destructive than the behavior of toddlers. It is more serious because toddlers are supposed to be selfish; that is to say, they have to be taught to be friendly and loving. Christian adults should know better. It is more destructive because there is so much more at stake. When a toddler bites and is then bitten back, both have bite marks. Each tells how the other bit them. The same holds true with adults. Of course, we are not speaking of literal teeth marks; we are dealing with malicious actions against one another. 

Scorched Earth Tactics

When adults grow up in carnality they don’t fight over toys, they fight over territory. They fight over positions at work or at church. Most of the time the parties fight each other until neither of them have a reputation left. In fact, people will even sabotage one another in hopes they can “get their job.” This is part of what is often called, “office politics.” Whole books have been written about the subject. What happens? Life becomes a perpetual replay of age 2-20. Everything we had to endure from pre-school to High School becomes our daily lot. Boys fist-fighting in the halls; girls quarreling and fussing. I realize the fists are not usually literal in adulthood, but the attitude back of those behaviors is just as real. The stress on daily life for some becomes almost unbearable. 

These things ought not so to be in the churches of God; but unfortunately they are. There is nothing new under the sun. Nepotism is just as rife in many churches as it is in the world. Ministries become dynasties all the way from the corner church to the largest Christian TV Networks. Father and son feuds develop imitating the madness and hate of family based reality shows like Orange County Choppers. Moreover, politics are often exaggerated in churches. Factions develop that split churches and organizations into two or more opposing camps. Again, usually there is a real spiritual reason for doing it, just like there was a real good reason for the toddler to bite the other one. Really? 

The First Politician


Satan was the very first politician. He led a rebellion in Heaven and drew a third of the Stars with him. Then he shows up in the Garden of Eden spouting propaganda to win over the whole human race into his camp. First politician. First liar. Hmmm. See the connection? Satan misrepresented God because he wanted his place on the throne. Nearly all politicians misrepresent their opponent or withhold information about them that would sway the people into liking them. “Make the opponent look bad” is the modus operandi (m.o.). Imagine what happens when a Christian environment becomes “politicized.” Who do you think is behind it all? God wants the churches to be a place of heaven on earth. Satan does too. He comes in to use people to do on earth what he had done in Heaven. He divided it by campaigning for God’s throne. All the while blinding everyone to what he is doing. What happens? He causes so much strife that every action gets interpreted. Motivations get questioned. A spirit of suspicion prevails. 

Most of the time people are just trying to serve God, but sometimes they are not. People know when they are intentionally being divisive. Whereas love puts the best construction on events, politics puts the worst construction on them. Ministers have been known to hire private detectives to bring one another down. It happened in the 80’s and early 90’s in mainstream evangelicalism. The name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles. There is no new thing under the sun. Pride has often destroyed the works of God’s hands. How is God going to handle those who do such things? It’s a sad thing to work in the kingdom for decades only to have those labors destroyed by a bunch of crooked politics. 

Pride and Politics


Pride has been known to completely destroy ministries. Men have turned and fought against the very thing they prayed into existence. In America we have what some have called a “peaceful transfer of power” when new presidents and governors are elected. Harry Truman had the right attitude when it came to leaders leaving their political office. For example, he was asked during the Cuban Missile crisis if he had called the sitting president to offer advice. His answer was compelling, “If the president wants my opinion he will ask for it. And when he does I won’t be telling you about it. If the president wants it known he can tell you.” This is humility talking. This is a man who was able to “let go” and go home. He wanted the nation to prosper, even though he handed the presidency over to a Republican rival. Understand that Truman is considered to be one of the greatest presidents in American history, and yet was not offended by the fact that he may not have been consulted by the sitting president, even in a crisis. Is this the attitude of politics in ministry? Not generally. If you don’t keep everyone feeling important, they are liable to start biting and devouring. Is there any wonder Jesus commanded the churches not to set up in a worldly construct? Politics has no place in the Kingdom of God; it is the outworking of democracy, not kingdom. 

Matthew Henry commented on these verses, “But, says he, if instead of serving one another in love, and therein fulfilling the law of God, you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another. If, instead of acting like men and Christians, they would behave themselves more like brute beasts, in tearing and rending one another, they could expect nothing as the consequence of it, but that they would be consumed one of another; and therefore they had the greatest reason not to indulge themselves in such quarrels and animosities. Note, Mutual strifes among brethren, if persisted in, are likely to prove a common ruin; those that devour one another are in a fair way to be consumed one of another. Christian churches cannot be ruined but by their own hands; but if Christians, who should be helps to one another and a joy one to another, be as brute beasts, biting and devouring each other, what can be expected but that the God of love should deny his grace to them, and the Spirit of love should depart from them, and that the evil spirit, who seeks the destruction of them all, should prevail?”

What’s the use of so much prayer, when politics are destroying our prayers? Why fast? Everything in the kingdom of God is put at risk where politics are involved. How can we have a revival if people are jockeying for the credit and glory for what transpires? I have seen revivals destroyed because of rivalry. What happens? Christians are disillusioned and near to giving up because of the politics that go in behind the scenes. This is where repentance has to begin. Not in the pew; not with the drug addict; not with the sinners around the world. We cannot go forward until men and women lay down their ambitions and all that is involved in them. There must be a humble repentance of the secular approach to ministry that prevails in our times. There must be a wholesale repentance of lovelessness and hate wherever it exists among leaders in the churches of God. 

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (Galatians 5:14-15)

Before Whom I Stand (Coping with a Jezebel Spirit)

Before Whom I Stand
Robert Wurtz II

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. (1 Kings 17:1 KJV)

Elijah was a great prophet of God who lived in a time of gross compromise in Israel. As this verse records, drought was used of God as a wake-up call to the nation. Moreover, God used the prophets as His “prosecuting attorneys” to call the people back to the terms of the Old Covenant. Notice verse 1 of 1 Kings 17:1 where we read that Elijah “stood before the LORD.” That is a way of saying that he ordered his life so as to always be at Jehovah’s (YHWH) service. His priority was serving God. His life was oriented so as to face towards God — with a clear conscience. One of the concepts of the presence of God really just means “eye to eye” or “face to face.” Elijah endeavored to live in such a way that nothing came between him and God. Hence, he “stood before Jehovah.” This attitude made him a mighty vessel in the hand of God. 


The enemy hates “Elijahs.” Consider John the Baptist a “type” of Elijah. Herod’s wife Herodias, tired of hearing John the Baptist rebuke her husband for his sin, plotted to have the man of God beheaded. Sure enough, it happened. John was a type of Elijah and Herodias was a “type” of Jezebel. 




Stirred Up 


But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. (1 Kings 21:25 KJV)

Ahab is one of the most evil men in the Old Testament. What was worse was his wife Jezebel “stirred him up.” Any time a woman stirs up her husband there is bound to be trouble, but Jezebel was worse in that she was a murderous woman. She made a name for herself by killing off Jehovah’s prophets. (1 Kings 18:4) Anytime there is a Jezebel around she will be looking to take out the true men of God and replace them with compromisers who try to straddle both God and the Devil (fence-riders). 

Jezebel is known for being a “usurper.” This means that she exercised authority in Israel that was not her’s to exercise. She did this through her weak husband Ahab, and later her weak sons. She was such a wicked woman that God judged her in a most horrific way. In the end she was thrown from a balcony and trampled under foot by horses until there was nearly nothing left. (2 Kings 9:33-35) In fact, there was only the skull, feet, and palms of her hands left when the undertakers came to bury her. When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel, and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’” (2 Kings 9:36–37 ESV)

Jezebel’s History


It is sometimes said that the nut never falls far from the tree. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon (1 Kings 16:31), formerly a priest of Astarte, and who had made his way to the throne by the murder of his predecessor Pheles. She lived in a time when the northern tribe of Israel was integrating Baal worship into their Jehovah worship (sound like today?). She even had 400 of her own prophets! Well, they were prophets of Baal. These would use either demon inspiration or they would simply “prophesy out of their own heart words that God has not spoken.” This came to a head prior to Babylon when God spoke through Jeremiah, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.” (Jeremiah 23:16, 21 KJV) These are sobering words. 

Exterminator of Prophets

Again, Jezebel tried to exterminate the true prophets of Jehovah (1 Kings 18:13), and inaugurated the worship of Baal the Sun-God. As we mentioned before, her father Ethbaal was a ruthless politician who murdered his competition for position in society. These are standard politics. Any time there is a political element to something there will be ungodly conflict and behavior. This is why Jesus strictly forbade politics in the churches. Men cannot rightly love one another when they are fighting over the same office or title. Sadly, when this happens in the Christian denominations men will slander one another and work against each other to gain political advantage. There can never be unity when preachers double as politicians. Selah. There can never be unity when men jockey for power and titles. 

In the time of Jesus the scribes and pharisees sat in Moses’ seat. They arrogated this role to themselves as they slowly became proficient at teaching the word to people — a job that was reserved for the priests. In modern times men love to set in Jesus’ seat (as it were). They want to arrogate to themselves authority that belongs to the Lord only. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, “Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matthew 23:6–7 NKJV) Notice they love titles. They want to be called by their title. “Rabbi, Rabbi, etc.” Jesus then adds, Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ (Matthew 23:10 NASB) Men want to set in that leader spot that belongs to Jesus, but we can’t allow it. No need for help from a theologian, a kindergartner can understand Matthew 23:10. 

Jezebel, learning the evil craft of back-room politics from her father Ethbaal, murdered to get what she wanted — just like he did. Her ego was so large that she defied anyone to cross her or her husband. When Naboth refused to sell Ahab his land, Jezebel conspired to have the man killed. She mocked Ahab as if to say, “Are you the king or not?” Her attitude was that the leader is king and the king gets what he wants. Consider also that she murdered the dissenting voices around her (the prophets) and sought to set herself up in effect as a prophetess. 

Jezebel in Modern Times

Books have been written to identify so-called “spirits of Jezebel” — some of which end up helping the “discerner” name just about anyone they don’t like as a “Jezebel spirit.” This is why we need the Bible. A careful reading of the Bible reveals that Naboth, Ahab, the prophets, and Elijah were not the only men who had to deal with a “Jezebel.” She makes her appearance in the New Testament as well. Speaking to Thyatira Jesus stated:

Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:20–22 NKJV)

You may wonder how a person could possibly teach and seduce people into fornication within the church. I’ll give you a possible scenario. Say that a young couple within the church are in a relationship. A “Jezebel” (the Devil’s matchmaker), calls one of the pair aside and “gives them a word” or “helps them get some discernment” that leads to a break up of the relationship. Down the road the young lady, who broke up with the young Christian man, starts fornicating with a rich Catholic guy, gets pregnant, and never returns to her church again. What happened? The Jezebel caused the couple to miss God’s will because she/he intruded into the couples’ personal business. The Jezebel, believing they were hearing from God (while actively resisting His dealings), taught and seduced God’s servants to commit sexual immorality. It may never be viewed this way, but this was the outcome of the false advice and influence. They fell in the faith and both backslid. When a Christian marries a non-Christian or any “unequally yoked” situation, they will almost always serve the compromiser or sinners’ god (whatever their god is). Is there any wonder God told them, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

   
Jezebel was a tool in the hand of the Devil in the time of Elijah and she still is today. She used her influence to work against the plan of God in Israel and she uses her influence to thwart God’s plans in the churches. If you look around and see great destruction and discouragement, you probably have a Jezebel or two (or more) working. Elijah became so dispirited by her antics that he went out and hid in a cave. He stopped “standing before the Lord.” This was the Devil’s plan! Satan hates it when people stand before the Lord. He sends his Jezebels out in droves and anyone else he can use to stop men from living in God’s will. 

What can be done? In a figure, the Jezebels of the churches need to be thrown down. Consider closely what Jesus said, Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel…” These people at Thyatira refused to deal with the Jezebel in their church. Perhaps they were too busy pointing fingers and calling each other Jezebel to know who the true Jezebel was? Nevertheless, God intervened. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. Not all sickness is a result of someones sin, but sometimes it is. When people (notice the plural in the word “those”) refuse to listen to God He is liable to cast them all into a sickbed — not so that they would repent, but because they refused to repent. 

We must be aware of these people in the world (and the churches) who are agents of Satan meant to turn us out of the way. At the least they will work to get our attention off of “standing before the Lord” and get us all riled, depressed, or turned to distractions. We have to stay pointed towards God and standing before him. Elijah went from standing before the Lord to running from Jezebel. It can happen. We can’t allow the Devil to tempt us to do it! Ignore the Jezebels if they are not being dealt with. Stay focused on what God is saying to you and on what God wants done through you. We are here to serve Him — not respond to all of Jezebel’s antics. Time proved that God dealt with Jezebel. If Elijah had known her end he probably wouldn’t have ran from her — he would have remained focused “standing before the Lord.” Likewise God is going to deal with the Jezebels of this present world. May we stand before the Lord in the months and years to come.      








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