Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19
It’s always in the first few pages.
Every author does it, though I’m sure some are ‘asked’ to do it by their publishers, though they would rather keep it out of their books.
Some people may not be annoyed by it, but for me, it’s one of the most frustrating things about commentaries on the book of Revelation.
”INTERPRETATIONS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION”
That may be one of the biggest misnomer and backhanded comments from the author to other Christians I’ve ever read in a biblical commentary.
Let’s discuss this. Read more
The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does” (Psalm 145:13). The mothers of the nation of Israel, Sarah and Rebekah, both have stories marked by the power of God. They both saw God move in wonderful and amazing ways, in impossible situations. Wouldn’t you think they, of all people, would trust God completely?
Mention magic or wizards, witches or spells, and Christians the world over will freak out.
Blogs will be written. Tweets will be sent. Names will be called, and lines will be drawn in the sand arbitrarily labelling “real Christians” from the fake ones.
Fascinating what a topic can do to brothers and sisters in Christ.
But I don’t want to talk about that right now. I want to get people to stop calling a particulate person a witch. Because the Bible never called her that.
In fact, there is a reason to give her some praise.
“Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land.
”The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa.When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart.He inquired of the Lord, but the Lorddid not answer him by dreams or Urimor prophets.Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”
“There is one in Endor,” they said.
”So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”
”But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”
”Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lordlives, you will not be punished for this.”
”Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”
“Bring up Samuel,” he said.
Did you notice something?
If you have read the Old Testament or the stories of King David, then you might recognize this story. It’s usually gone by this title.
”The Witch of Endor”.
But the Scripture never said ‘witch’.
Yes, that is the NIV translation, but look at the other ones. They don’t say that she was a witch. A medium, sure. A spiritist, perhaps. The King James says that ‘she hath a familiar spirit’, which I’m assuming is Old English for she is familiar with spirits. Like a medium or a spiritist.
But not a witch.
So where did this “that woman was a witch” come from?
It’s the heading that the publishers added, maybe the editors, or translators. But it wasn’t in the Bible.
WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?
Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it has something to do with the North American hatred of witches, the occult, stuff like that. It could be a particular spiritual philosophy or doctrine that a publisher or editor may hold. It could be how believers tend to damn anyone who does what the Bible specifically condemns ‘believers’ for doing, even if they have no connection to the faith of the Bible.
But by calling this woman, a lady that was never graced with a name, as something more terrible than she is, is horrible.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not encouraging spiritists or mediums.
But if the Bible doesn’t call her a witch, I don’t see why we should be giving her labels that shouldn’t be there.
WHY WE SHOULD PRAISE THE MEDIUM OF ENDOR
Consider another portion of the same story. It comes after the medium calls up the spirit of the prophet Samuel. The spirit speaks with Saul, tells him of his impending death and the gross defeat of Israelite army.
“Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and all that night.
“When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do.Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”
“He refused and said, “I will not eat.”
“But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch.
”The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast.Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.”
Saul going to see the medium of Endor was an illegal act. He had outlawed and cast all and any mediums and spiritists out of Israel. His actions had put this woman’s life in peril. She should have been killed for simply being a medium, nevermind the fact that she called up a spirit. And all that was because the King of Israel wanted it.
How did she respond to the man who brought her potential death to her door? How did the medium of Endor respond after all this was done?
She loved her neighbour.
Not that Saul was literally her neighbour, but she acted in perfect harmony with the teachings of Jesus. I’m not saying that her actions as a medium were like Jesus, no. But her sacrificial love, her killing of her own fattened calf, her giving of time and energy to make bread, her serving this king and his servants after they risked her life; that is just like Jesus.
She gave to someone who could have harmed her, caused her pain, even death. That sounds like Jesus.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
Was the medium a perfect example of Christ-like living? Was she someone that the Church should ‘saint’? Should we give her a name to elevate her status from secondary character to someone that matters?
Good questions. I don’t have answers for that, but I can say this.
Calling the medium of Endor a ‘witch’ and casting upon her all the evil and wicked connotations that we might have about such people is unfounded and wrong. A medium she was, but not a witch.
Even though we may not agree with her activities, she was not an example of pure evil. In fact, Scripture records that she did something worth remembering and worth seeing as honourable.
She showed love to King Saul, even though he threatened her life with his actions. What she did was a foreshadowing of Jesus and his great(er) love.
At the risk of sounding like one of those zealots, it is time that we begin to openly draw a distinction between our Lord’s Ecclesia and Constantine’s Church. All of us that are serious about our relationship with our Father and our walk of faith have recited, or at the very least heard it recited, the statement Jesus spoke to Simon Peter: “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. When we read the word “church” in this passage, we immediately begin to visualize a building or a group of buildings–because that is how we’ve come to understand “church” as we know it–and equate that to what Jesus said as written in the quoted passage. Or perhaps we envision a group of people that congregate in a building on Sundays or some other day during the week.
For the last 406 years, most of the Christian world has been conditioned by the teachings of the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible. For the most part, this translation has served a very important role in shaping the ideals and beliefs of people and nations around the world. For the purposes of this article, I want to address a specific point of conflict with the way the KJV text translated a particular word from its original use. That point is this: “how did the word ‘ecclesia’ get replaced with the word ‘church’”? The answer to this question will no doubt offend some and open the eyes of others. Nonetheless, it is a question that anyone who is serious about their walk of faith should consider.
One of the other agendas of the KJV translators was the change of the word “ecclesia” to the word “church”.
During the creation of the KJV one of the mandates of King James I of England to his team of translators was that they were to ensure that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology (that is, simply put, the doctrinal beliefs, architecture, and adornment) and reflect the Episcopal (Bishop’s oversight) structure of the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy. If this was the only instruction to the translators, it alone would have been enough to call into question the purity of their finished work, or at the very least, it would lead to the inevitable concern about a hidden agenda regarding the final work. But this was not the only coercion. One of the other agendas of the translators was the change of the word “ecclesia” to the word “church”. I’ll deal with “ecclesia” later in this article. For now, let’s focus our attention on the word substituted in the place of “ecclesia”.
“Church” was originally used by Emperor Constantine when he made Christianity the state religion of Rome around 310 A.D. Thus the word “church” became the standard of assembly for the Christian religion, and has continued to be used this way ever since. By the time of the creation of the KJV, the word church presented itself as a satisfactory pawn for King James to perpetuate the superiority of the English monarchy over the Kingdom government of the Body of Christ.
Throughout the KJV translation, the word “church” was substituted for the Latin word “ecclesia”. These two words do not mean the same thing, neither do they derive from a common word; in fact, they convey two significantly different understandings. In short, the translators of the KJV deliberately altered the meaning of critical passages of scripture to divert the reader’s and believer’s understanding as it pertains to who Jesus declared them to be, and what our position in the Kingdom of Heaven truly is.
The word “church” was substituted 112 times for the word “ecclesia”
The word “church” was substituted 112 times for the word “ecclesia”. There are three other translations of the same word into the word “assembly”. One could easily become suspicious as to why these three instances were not also translated “church”. Given that the words do not mean the same thing, why would the translators make such an obvious alteration to the “Holy Scriptures”? The exact answer cannot be definitively concluded, but it is not hard to arrive at a reasonable conjecture of a deliberate agenda to alter our understanding of our Kingdom position relative to the state’s desire to maintain control of the Christian religion.
So what does the word “church” really mean? In the earlier Greek, it was pronounced “kuriakos” or “kuriakon.” The meaning of ” kuriakos ” is understood by its root, ” kuriakos,” which means “lord.” Thus, “kuriakos” (i.e.,”church”) means “pertaining to the lord.” It refers to something that pertains to or belongs to, a lord. (Note the usage of the lowercase letter “L” here…this particular usage refers to someone having power, authority, or influence over someone, and generally refers to someone in the position of a master or ruler in an established monarchy.) The Greek “kuriakos” eventually came to be used in Old English form as “cirice” (kee-ree-ke), then “churche” (kerke), and eventually “church” in its traditional pronunciation. Church from its original Old English meaning referred to a public place of worship.
Paul and Silas was not building churches they were establishing the Ecclesia!
Now let’s look at the word “ecclesia”. Ecclesia [from medieval Latin and Greek, meaning “summoned” or “called out”] means “a regularly convoked assembly”, especially the general assembly of Athenians. It was the name given to the governmental assembly of the city of Athens, duly convoked by proper officers and possessing all political power including even juridical functions. Consider Acts 17:1-7, and in particular verse 7: “Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus”. We can see here that what Paul and Silas were doing was inciting insurrection among all those that would hear and believe their preaching. They were not trying to change Judaism, they were establishing the ecclesia.
The Ecclesia is NOT the “church”. This is something that believers have been told since the days of Constantine, in order to exercise control over us and to keep us from understanding the true identity of our dominion. We, the Ecclesia, are the governing body of our Lord in the Kingdom of Heaven. Now, in this season, Holy Spirit is once again raising up voices to give understanding to the Ecclesia…that we are not “the church” as we have been told. He is revealing to us that we must come out of this Constantinian religious system and begin to embrace our true sonship, our inheritance, and our authority as heirs of righteousness and heirs of promise.
In this season, those who are hungry for the truth of our identity will begin to hear the sound of the call to the Ecclesia. I encourage you to pursue that sound as it will lead you to its source: Holy Spirit! There you will find the truth of who you were created to be. There you will find true worship of your Father in heaven. There you will find your place in the Godhead. Don’t be afraid of what you begin to hear. Holy Spirit will not allow you to be misled or seduced. He will guide you into ALL Truth.