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Posts Tagged ‘pharisees’

There is a series of online videos out from Lionandlamb ministries, stating that the Pharisees in Jesus’ Day were all members of a secret society which today is called Cabala. While at first glance this seems to be a convincing argument (and the author of the videos states it with an effort to make it come across as fact, rather than a theory), and it does seem to make sense in the light of such dreaded Scriptures as John 8:44, where Jesus tells them openly, “Ye are of your father, the devil…,” or many others where He blasts the Pharisees, about which many theologians argue that Jesus couldn’t have possibly said or meant that…

After all, He was talking to Jews, and the Jews are God’s people, right?

While I don’t doubt that members of occult secret societies may had infiltrated the governing body of Jewish religious establishment of those days, just as they have allegedly (and obviously) infiltrated today’s established religion, I see a few problems with that theory.

First of all, we have members of the Sanhedrin, Pharisees, who believed in Jesus, even if they had to do so secretly¸ like Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night in John 3, or Gamaliel, who defended the disciples before the Sanhedrin in Acts. Certainly they weren’t Satanists.

Secondly, labeling the Pharisees as members of a secret satanic society creates a comfortable gap between them and us. After all, we don’t belong to a satanic society, so we’ve got nothing to do with those satanic people who were responsible for Jesus’ death. No, we’re the good ones, and they were the bad ones.

I’m afraid that won’t do.

In my own personal experience, today’s established religionists are a lot more like the Pharisees than they would like to believe.

Let’s have a look from the Pharisees’ point of view in the days of the apostles: here was this strange, new, dangerous sect emerging, with scary new doctrines that threatened to overthrow all their good old traditions, and the way they had believed and practiced religion for so long.

How many people attending church do you know who would react differently to that kind of threat, nowadays, than the Pharisees did to Jesus and the Early Christians?

It’s easy to say, “Well, they were of the Devil and belonged to a satanic sect,” now, 2000 years after it happened and there’s no proof whatsoever to back up that theory.

It’s a lot harder to say, “Hmmm, looks like the Pharisees had a definite problem with self-righteousness, and they were quite stuck in their old religious rut, they thought they knew better than God as to who and what kind of people He would use.” Because that sounds a lot more familiar and closer to home, doesn’t it?

The theory also takes any guilt from the general Jewish population of that day, by creating a separation between them and their “satanic” rulers. But you can’t tell me that it was just a few members of a secret society yelling “Crucify Him!” and “Free Barabbas!” before Pilate (see also Mt.27:25).

Many people seem to forget that God has made a new Covenant with man, a covenant of the spirit, not of flesh, and that “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly” (carnally, physically), “but he who is one inwardly…in the spirit” (Romans 2:28, 29).

“By their fruits ye shall know them.”

Maybe a whole lot more people than we think are going to turn out to have believed the wrong things, no matter how convinced they may be that they are in the right, just like the Pharisees were, and maybe a whole lot more of us will turn out to have sided with the wrong guys, opposing and oppressing those who look a lot more like little David with his slingshot confronting Goliath than the guys we’re siding with.

Not all Palestinians are terrorists, nor are all Muslims terrorists. In fact, there used to be more Christians among the Palestinian population than among the rest of the population of Israel, and there probably still are, except that we never hear much of their side of the story these days. Not much of anything gets through that wall the Israelis have built in order to keep out the undesired elements.

I really wonder how God would look on all these things.

And from the way I know Him, I think many of us are in for some huge surprises.

The truth, ladies & gentlemen, is and has always been terribly unpopular in a world run by the father of lies, even – or should I say, especially – in the circles of established religion.

Sin is a lot closer to home than many of us have the guts to admit to ourselves.

It doesn’t take a secret satanic society to oppose the true Messiah and His strange new sect.

All it takes is some damn clever lies of the Devil, and from what I can tell, those are more abundant than they ever were.

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Last week I came across the astounding video of Southern Baptist missionary Paul Washer’s sermon before a congregation of young  people, and I immediately became a fan. Early that week I had written that I wish I knew one minister of God with the guts, conviction and initiative of someone like conspiracy hunter Alex Jones, and it seemed as though here I had found one.
I was deeply moved by Washer’s conviction during the speech, and wholeheartedly agreed with everything he said about the pitiful condition of Western Christianity, and also loved his television interview one can find on Youtube.

However, there was one thing that kept haunting me in a negative way about his sermons, and that was that he seriously seemed to question people’s Salvation, and his way of mocking the way most of us have learned to win souls, namely by asking them to pray with us to receive Jesus as their Savior.

While it is true that we should make sure we are saved, and that we make our Salvation work out for us in this life with “fear and trembling,” and it may also be true that Jesus never asked anyone, “Would you like to receive Me in your heart?” and that repentance is way more than that, at the same time it also remains true that “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (Acts 2:21), no matter what Paul Washer, Roy Comfort or anyone else may tell us!

It also remains a fact that “Whosoever believeth on the Son hath eternal life” (John 3:36), and that “as many as received Him to them gave He power to become sons (children) of God” (John 1:12) and that He even stands at the doors of the hearts of the lukewarm church and knocks, and “if any man hear My voice, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with Me” (Rev.3:20).

And there is no amount of “godly zeal” that could ever destroy the universal truth of John 3:16, that “God so loved the World (yes, the whole world, including not only lukewarm Western Christians and Jews, but even Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and the whole shebang) that whosoever believeth in Him should have eternal life.”

I have also spent some years on Latin American mission field and have had to cope with the vast difference between the fire and fervor among Christians there and the blatant lack of it in the West. Things quite simply never were the same. It took me years to get over it.

But I don’t find any use whatsoever in raising doubts over anyone being saved or not, or in speculating over the percentage of Christians in the West that are actually saved or not. We should remain focused on getting those saved who pretty much are sure they’re not.

As far as the “sinner’s prayer” is concerned, brother Paul, it definitely did work for Me, when I was 13, although I didn’t immediately turn out to be an overnight wonder, and although I probably couldn’t get you to keep doubting my salvation until the end of our lives.

All I know is that before I was blind, and now I see. Before I was deaf, and now I hear. Before, there was emptiness, and now there is Jesus. And I won’t let anyone’s words, may they be ever so eloquent or “anointed,” take that away from me, and I would seriously issue a warning to anyone attempting to do that to anyone else. Unfortunately it is often those endowed with the greatest amount of truth that will cause the greatest harm to God’s work, as evident in the sad example of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time and the incessant persecution of believers by the established churches for centuries.

In my opinion, “being saved” is not always something plainly evident, since it can take years for that seed of having received Jesus in our hearts to sprout and surface. We will be rewarded according to our works (without which our faith is dead,) but we are never saved by them (Eph.2:8,9, see also 1Cor.3:11-15).

People who go around repeating how they doubt the Salvation of others must either be paranoid that there won’t be enough room in Heaven for everyone, or the prospects of so many less deserving than they winding up in the same place anyhow makes them feel less “special.”

There are hundreds of verses in the Bible about the vastness of God’s mercy, but we don’t seem to grant our lesser brethren that mercy. Perhaps that’s why Jesus told those among us with a tendency toward self-righteousness, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I will have mercy, not sacrifice’” (Mt.9:13)

It also reminds me of the parable of the workers who volunteered to work in the Husband’s vineyard but didn’t go, while those who said they weren’t going to, actually wound up doing the work. You never know who’s going to pick up the plough you left in the field when you got overwhelmed by your frustration and bitterness.

Of course, one factor that probably influences the “No, you’re not saved” attitude of some is the false belief in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. I whole-heartedly agree that most of today’s Christians would not “deserve” just being whisked out of this world before the great purification of the church the Antichrist and the Tribulation are purposely destined by God to bring about.
But that’s not what the Scriptures say anyway, if you care to read them properly.

As far as there not being enough space in Heaven for all of us, though, I’d leave the worryin’ to God on that one.

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