12 April 2009

Jehu (Part 1) – 4.11.09

If you're familiar with your Bible and know anything about a king in Israel's history by the name of Jehu, you probably recognize him as the man who was used by God to bring down His judgment on the house of Ahab (that, or the fact that "he driveth furiously" – a characteristic it seems many preachers seek to emulate). If you're not familiar with the story, 2 Kings 9-10 make for some interesting reading.

But our thought for today comes from 2 Kings 10. What you might not remember about Jehu was what he did to exterminate Baal worship in Israel. Under the threat of death, he called all the worshippers of Baal to a special service. Then went the sacrifices and offerings got underway and Jehu was sure there were no true servants of the Lord in the house of worship, he sent in 80 guards to kill all who were participating in the festivities. Then they brought out, broke down, and burnt up the images and idols and the house of Baal itself.

But here's what caught my eye as I read this passage. 2 Kings 10:22 And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments.

I looked up that word "vestments." Here's a summary from Wikipedia (which was consistent with other sites I glanced at): Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religions, especially the Latin Rite and other Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutheran Churches. Many other groups also make use of vestments, but this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since - notably during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century.

In the Bible, vestments are associated with the worship of Baal (it's the only time the word shows up). And in today's culture, vestments are associated with the Roman Catholic religion. Imagine that!

Now, in case that's shocking to you, let me explain something about the Roman Catholic Church and its missionary philosophy. It was set up by an emperor by the name of Constantine based on anything but the Bible and its method of "converting" the heathen throughout history has been to adopt the gods and religious practices of those heathen into its worship by giving them "Christian" names.

Just remember that as you hunt for your eggs and sort through your baskets and eat your chocolate bunnies tomorrow. None of that has anything to do with the resurrection of our precious Savior. It has to do with the worship of Ishtar (aka Ashtoreth), the pagan goddess of fertility. And the fact that the Roman Catholic church or any other church calls it "Christian" certainly doesn't make it so.

Happy holy-days!

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