Deliver Us From Evil, Part 11
May 10, 2019
In our last study on this topic, we began doing a breakdown and pursuit of understanding the various words that are translated in the Old and New Testaments — Hebrew and Greek — that are either translated “witchcraft” or “sorcery” or one of the variants that are part of the whole genre of witchcraft in general.
We wrapped up taking a look at the word pharmakeia, which is one of the primary words translated witchcraft in the New Testament, and specifically translates as: “to enchant with drugs.” I want to move on today with another one of these 64-dollar words from the Greek that are part and parcel of witchcraft or sorcery.
Witchcraft. Manipulation. Control. The control of our thoughts and subsequent behavior by lies repeated again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again, ad nauseam. It’s easier to believe the lies than it is to believe God’s Word! We’ve heard those same lies propagated from the pulpits of churches for centuries.
Preachers and ministers of the Gospel have been permeated with the same witchcraft our society has been filled with, and because they haven’t had a deep, interpersonal, one-on-one love relationship with Jesus Christ, the Truth of His Word and His promises have gotten lost in the shuffle; and they’ve simply repeated the same old drivel coming out of Mammon, the Beast.
Most Christians have been deceived into taking the Mark of the Beast, and are completely oblivious to it. They live and operate by and through the world system, by a system that controls their behavior, their lives, their finances – their thinking! It’s witchcraft, folks! Pure and simple.
Wow! I’ve hardly scratched the surface. Looks like we’re going to be on this topic for awhile. There are a lot of words in Greek and Hebrew that translate out to witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, etc. Every one of them has its own special significance.
We’ve gotten started on this topic of Witchcraft, Sorcery and Fear over the past few weeks, and I want to continue today with a look at a word that occurs in reference to witchcraft and idolatry in the New Testament Greek. I was going to take a different track today, but felt to deal with this word before we go any further because of the way this form of witchcraft or sorcery has taken hold in the body of Christ.
The word, eidololatreia, is generally translated “idolatry,” in the New Testament. It occurs in its various forms 33 times in the Greek text. By itself, it translates literally to: wholly given over to idols; the intense worship of idols; the service of idols.
One of its combination words is: latreia, which generally translates to “service.” The context of this kind of “service” is what I want to get at.
John 16: 2-3: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.”
This Greek word, latreia, has a companion word, leitourgeo, which provides us with the context. Leitourgeo is the verb (or adverb) form, and its noun form is leitourgia. Thus, leitourgeo is the “doing,” and leitourgia is the “doer.” On the surface, these words sound absolutely wonderful.
Leitourgeo translates out: to perform a public function; to perform religious or charitable functions; to minister to a need, to relieve or serve.
Sounds good, right? We often see our representatives in government in this context, and it can be a proper application to use that word this way.
Here’s the problem. The word, leitourgeo is derived from leitourgos: a functionary in the temple; more generally, it is applied to a worshiper and one who is a benefactor. See the catch? Benefactor?
This word derives from the picture of one who has both ability and resources meeting the needs of one who is needy. The benefactor is the superior individual, whereas the “needy” individual is inferior – at least at that moment in time.
There is nothing wrong with being a benefactor in our society today. There is a sense of good, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of well-being that goes with serving the needs of people. The problem comes when we retain that place of being and standing in our efforts to serve God.
Since when are we the benefactors of God? Since when is He needy and wanting? To come to Him in that sense is to come before God in utter arrogance and pride.
We have an English word you no doubt easily recognize from these Greek words: liturgy. We often make reference to the so-called “liturgical churches” and the fact that they have a spelled-out liturgy for those who attend the church services. Liturgy, in today’s usage, literally means: order of service.
Liturgy, my friends, IS a form of witchcraft and idolatry. We spell out – usually on paper, but not necessarily – the songs we are going to sing, the time when we are going to take up an offering, the time when we are going to have some testimonies (if indeed such a thing even happens during the service anymore), announcements, and the topic of the morning (or evening) sermon: i.e., the order of the service, and [almost] the timing of things to a gnat’s hair.
We start at 10:00 AM (or 11:00 AM – or whatever time we so choose) promptly, and by 12:00 noon, folks are looking at their watches to make sure the preacher is going to let them out of church in time to take care of their roast in the oven, or whatever.
We basically say to the Lord, “this is what you get from us today, and that’s it!
Consider yourself fortunate that we’ve done all of this for you. You have need of our service, and we’ve given it to you.
It is the attitude that makes the difference between liturgy and real worship. It is the spirit that makes the difference between whether we are engaging in sorcery, and attempting to manipulate God into doing certain things for us or meet certain needs and whether or not we are engaging in true praise and worship in a spirit of love.
Leitourgeo – liturgy – when applied like this is nothing more and nothing less than witchcraft, sorcery, and idolatry. It takes a humanistic approach, putting man in the driver’s seat as the benefactor of God. It takes away completely the freedom and liberty that exists in the Spirit.
Worship is nonexistent. Praise is nonexistent. We’ve gathered together to sing songs, have a good old time, listen to a (hopefully) inspirational and motivational 20- or 30-minute message that makes us feel good and tickles our insides, and then we head out the door to do our more important things. We’ve “given” God an hour or two of our time (if He’s really fortunate), we’ve done our duty to Him and now it’s time for us to get on with our day and our week.
Wasn’t that really big of us? Didn’t we really bless God by our service (latreia-leitourgeo)?
Uhh Huhh! Right! Sure! Eidololatreia: idolatry. The trick here is that WE are the idols we are worshiping. We’ve become so important to ourselves and so preeminent that our needs and our lives take the greater importance over our worship and true service of or waiting upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve become number One.
Get this. We are stupid enough and arrogant enough to think that we are doing God service. It stinks in the nostrils of God!
There is a rather extraordinary example drawn for us in the picture of Saul. In I Samuel 15, we have a picture of Saul being instructed by Samuel (as the prophet of God) to kill Agag, the king of the Amalekites, to destroy every last man, woman and child, sheep and oxen and beast of burden and to wait for him following the battle to offer up a burnt offering and sacrifice to the Lord.
Saul, in fact, saves Agag alive (it was politically expedient for Saul to keep his foe alive and in chains in order to demonstrate his military might and supremacy), keeps alive the best of the sheep and the oxen, the fatlings and the lambs “for a burnt offering to the Lord.” You’ve got the picture, I’m sure.
It didn’t matter that the Lord had instructed Him to destroy them all because of the evil Amalek had wrought upon Israel when they were fleeing Egypt. It didn’t matter that Saul was instructed to destroy ALL of the livestock and beasts of burden. Saul decides that his choices are of greater importance than God’s.
Saul makes a decision on how he will “serve” the Lord and “offer up” to the Lord sacrifices and burnt offerings of the sheep and oxen kept alive. Thus, he determines his own liturgy for his “order of service” to the Lord.
Samuel shows up on the scene, realizes what has happened and rebukes Saul.
I Samuel 15:22-23: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”
Got it? Saul’s decisions were seen by the Lord as direct rebellion. His choice to save alive the best of the sheep and oxen for his “order of service” was regarded by the Lord as idolatry. Both those choices cost Saul the throne of the kingdom, and – most importantly – his standing with God.
It isn’t any different in today’s society – and especially today’s churches. When we come before the Lord with a planned order of things, a set schedule of how we are going to “serve the Lord” and do this really big thing for Him, He sees our idolatry. Idolatry results in a loss of standing with God. Witchcraft – manipulation and control of people and events – and idolatry – the worship of, or placing greater importance upon anyone or anything than we do of the Lord – costs us our kingship.
Need to rule over sickness and disease? Need to rule over poverty and needs? Need to rule over the prevailing circumstances in your life instead of having them prevail over you?
It ain’t gonna happen, folks, when you decide that you will “serve” the Lord according to your dictates, your priorities, your needs and your wants. You can call it “service” if you want. The Lord calls it witchcraft and idolatry.
The “createds” don’t tell the Creator when, how and where they will respond to Him. “Whosoever wills” don’t come to Jesus Christ as their redeemer and decide the terms and conditions under which they will serve Him, walk with Him, love Him and become heirs and joint-heirs in the Kingdom of God.
Rulership is for those who meet God’s conditions. The mandate for becoming an heir and joint-heir with Jesus Christ is determined by the Testator – NOT the heir.
Want to become an heir of the Kingdom of God? Want access to health, life, wholeness, healing, prosperity, and abundance in Christ? Then stop making up the conditions upon which you think you can have them. Stop with your fake “orders of service.” They count for squat in terms of spiritual value and Kingdom authority.
I know this sounds really strong — and my comments are not intended for those who really are coming before the Lord to minister to Him — on His terms — but rather, those who are stuck in the religious system — that system we’ve talked about in bygone days that came out of the Sadducees and Pharisees. The Sadducees had an ecclesiastical, hierarchical order we refer to as “Power over Man.” The Pharisees had an order we know today as “Democratic” — or rather, “Power to the People.”
No matter how you slice it, whether you see it as power vested in a few, or power vested in the masses, it is still “Power to Man.” NOT Power to God. Whether you know it as “Secular Humanism” or “Religious Humanism,” it still boils down to humanism — man making the decisions for himself and taking God off the Throne of their lives.
I need to take you down a bit of a rabbit trail for a while to show you where this Spirit of Idolatry leads in the body of Christ. Allow me to borrow from something I wrote in the book (soon to be published) titled: Seven Nations, Seven Letters. You’ll recall from earlier discussions that this book deals with the parallel between the seven nations that occupied Canaan — the same ones that God commanded Israel to drive out of the land He was giving to them — and the seven letters in Revelation which essentially become a single letter to the Body of Christ.
Next week we will begin with the Letter to Thyatira, which addresses the idolatry and witchcraft that was manifested in Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab.
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available on video using ZOOM. If you wish to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513. If you miss the live voice-only call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
Email Contact: CapenerMinistries@protonmail.com
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