Modern Day Pharisees

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As we studied the word Wednesday, we looked at Paul, a former Pharisee addressing the church at Rome. Verses 1 through 5 of chapter 2 warn of the dangers of casting judgment and reminds those present to consider themselves first before declaring ones worth or eternal destination.
Paul’s life as a Pharisee came into play, in that He once was one. He was an interpreter and an enforcer of the law. His life was to be held to the strict observance of the law, presenting himself as a blameless follower of Gods’ word! Though important to the Kingdom, the group became corrupted, bending the law, abusing the law, interpreter the law for their benefit, and or ignoring aspects of the law for comfort and convenience while holding people to the stick observance.

Their title, Pharisee, eventually took a negative connotation,
and they were seen more as hypocrisy than righteous.

police-badge.jpgAs our conversation ensued, I asked myself: “Are our Police Officers following this same trend?”

Not that all officers are bad!

Paul himself was righteous and devote as a Pharisee. He was a true keeper of truth and one that fought to preserve what was right in God’s sight. Yet in still, he was paired with those who were abuser of the honor of holding the position, leaving a position of honor a title that eventually became synonymous with being a hypocrite.

As clergy, Pastors and Priest have faced this same challenge. The actions of a few abusers have affected the view towards the whole causing the carrying out of ones’ duties very challenging and in many cases, the product less productive and positive.  As a card carrying member, one finds themselves caught between addressing the truth of ones failing ignoring and dismissing the actions of a peer.  While we are called not to cast judgment, we are able to make judgments.  In this, one can align what should be with what appears to have happened without sentencing a person.  A Biblical perspective can be shared without condemnation and without disowning.  Because of our silence, we have all been placed in the same pot, and have suffered as it has reached its boiling point!
Jesus was clearly bothered by the Pharisees. There enforcement of the law, coupled with their taking privileged became a source of tension while He carried out His mission. They saw Him representing change, and shedding true light upon the law which was not being used to protect and serve the people, but was being used to strangle and place badgeofshameshackles upon the feet of those who were God’s children. The Pharisees, as Jesus helped us to discover, knew the letter of the law, and had taken the few laws and created an entire system of laws to promulgate prosperity and purpose. In their administering of the law, they lacked the Spirit of the laws intent, because their relationship to the law was not based upon helping the people, but protecting their own personal interest.
Whenever you are more concerned about the law and loose sight of the purpose of the law you will find yourself in trouble.  The law was for the people, not for the Pharisees.  The law was not to protect the Pharisees, it was to protect the people!  They were not created to create jobs, but rather to keep the people safe, giving them rules to abide by that would keep harmony.  The administration is there for those who break the law, so that justice can be carried out, and order restored.

Being unjust while carrying out justice does not restore order,
it causes further unrest.

The Pharisees had allowed a position of honor to become a badge of shame. They were abusive and arrogant, and the community interacted with them out of fear, not respect and admiration.  This seems to be the problem at hand today.

It’s not the whole or the majority,
but its the few who took the oath
with their fingers and toes crossed.

So what must be done?
Jesus made a whip! He raised His voice and raised His hands. He would not stand to see the Kingdom suffer at the hands of corruption and the name of the Lord made to be a laughing stock. He reached out to the community, and became a beacon of light speaking up for those who had been treated unjustly. He also took the risk. His life was on the line. He traveled from place to place, strategically of course, speaking out and sharing the light in the midst of darkness.
JesusWhipSomeAss-425x509We too must make a whip!
We must make laws and remove people from office and positions that are abusive. We must confront those few that are abusive and making shame of the temple and causing unrest and stress in God’s Kingdom. We must raise our voice and stop swallowing the whistle. We must address wrong and ignorance by raising our voice to speak up for those who are powerless or being treated unjustly. We must raise our hands to vote and too must take the position of the law makers who are foolishly causing further tension and calamity by not being people of integrity. We must come together, both Jew and Gentile, Black and White, Protestant and Atheist (yes I said it), Christian and Muslim (Yep, I said it) and must take a stand for what is right!

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19 thoughts on “Modern Day Pharisees

  1. Trell carson

    Modern-day pharisees, i believe the church thinks this only applies to the preachers, but from my experiences i have seen it come from the church body. The people at times believe because you are new to the faith your sins are greater than. As i look from the outside in, it doesn’t have to always be put in words alot of times the pharisees traits are seen by action. For instance dirty looks are given because of how a person is dressed and instead of embracing them with conversation of love, the pharisee say i will pray for them but “OVER HERE”. Us as a people have to stop yelling from our own mountain top and come to the valley with the people to truly allow the light that is with in us to be shown…..I’m guilty of this as well, when i first became saved i only wanted to share the gospel with my black people and god had to show me how even tho i may not agree with others and how they have treated my people but that we all need a SAVIOR…really enjoyed your point on the pharisees not all being bad but because they allowed some to.abuse the title, now that reflection of who.they were supposed to be is tarnished. It is equivalent to police today. IAM UNABLE TO TRUST,TALK OR CARE OF THERE OPINION, because the establishment of police has ONLY LET ME DOWN FOR 30 YEARS and seemly never tried to repair the damage that has been done!!!

    • I agree with you on so many levels. I guess I’m the one foolish guy that still holds out hope. I guess its the long suffering that God has had with me, or the forgiveness that has been afforded to me. Or the many opportunities I have been given to repent and to turn from my wicked ways that makes me believe that I am obligated to do the same for others. It takes years to change, and will on top of that take years to rebuild trust, but I do believe it is possible. And as we discussed Wed, church folks can be the worst folks 😦 ! It’s sad to say, but we have run off many with our foolishness and lack of maturity and a dulled Christ focus! I encourage you to remain hopeful.

  2. Acts 23:6
    Paul said:
    “I AM a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee”.

    As I see it, there are only 3 options.
    .1) Paul was still a Pharisee near the end of his recorded ministry.
    .2) Luke accurately recorded Paul lying.
    .3) Luke made a mistake in his written record of Paul’s comments.

    I vote for option #1. How about you?

    BOSS PAUL THE PHARISEE
    [sing it to the tune of “Rapture” by Blondie]

    I’m Boss Paul, the Pharisee
    My hypocrisy’s plain for the world to see
    I travel the land and travel the sea
    to make a convert who is just like ME

    “All have sinned” – we know that’s true
    but it never means ME – it only means YOU
    My sins are all theoretical
    “I’m the worst of sinners”- but don’t ask where

    To be more like Jesus is what some strive
    except for me – I’ve already arrived
    I’m the perfect model since the road to Damascus
    What were Paul’s sins? Don’t ask us!

    I justify everything I do
    If I testify about myself it MUST be true
    I’m the only man in all history
    whose testimony doesn’t need two or three

    If I did something it MUST be right
    Don’t use the Scripture to shed any light
    Don’t do as I say, do as I do
    and then you can be a Pharisee too.

    • I do not look at Acts 23:6 as Paul saying that he is still a Pharisee. Paul was the master of identifying with his audience. He would often confess and or give his testimony even before giving words of correction to assure the reader or audience that he was not speaking in judgement. Paul, as Jesus were Jews, and would always have this piece of narrative as a part of their existence, but to say it was all they stood for I believe would not be fair. Paul continued to refer to himself as an Apostle, taking upon this title, much like his new name, to state the change in his heart and his mission.

  3. So your choice is, “Luke accurately recorded Paul lying” – (but it’s OK to lie, if he “did it for evangelism” and was trying to “be all things to all men so that by all possible means he might save some….??? )

    You wrote, QUOTE:
    “Paul continued to refer to himself as an Apostle, taking upon this title,…”

    Yes. But who agreed with Paul regarding his self-appointed “new title”? No one. Never.

    “What is an Apostle?”
    Here is the answer based on the original sources:
    The words and actions of Jesus and the Original Apostles in the text of the New Testament.

    .1) Gospel of Mark – time lag between being appointed and being sent
    “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him…” [Mark 3:13-14]

    Three chapters later,
    “Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” [Mark 6:6-7]

    .2) Gospel of Luke – time lag between being appointed and being sent
    “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon…..” [Luke 6:12-14]

    Again three chapters later,
    “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” [Luke 9:1-2]

    .3) Gospel of Matthew – which is organized by theme, not necessarily in chronological order.
    “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon…” [Matthew 10:1]

    Without any clear time reference, continuing on the theme of the Apostles, Matthew does record “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions…” [Matthew 10:5] Matthew never said that the Apostles were “sent out” immediately after being appointed. If we didn’t also have the clear records in Mark and Luke, it would be a fairly logical assumption that Jesus sent them out right away, but it would still be just an assumption. In this case, that assumption would clearly be wrong. The Twelve Apostles were absolutely NOT sent out right away after being appointed Apostles, according to Mark chapters 3 through 6, and Luke chapters 6 through 9.

    So being an Apostle of Jesus involves being sent by Jesus, yes. But that isn’t the only meaning, or even the first and primary meaning. The first thing was “that they might be with Him” personally, together, for His entire earthly ministry, from the time of John the Baptist until Jesus rose to heaven. Jesus poured his life into the 12 Apostles for 3 ½ years very personally training them to be the leaders of the church, and Jesus chose Peter as first among equals.

    The NIV translation inserts the heading “Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas” for the passage Luke wrote in Acts 1:12-26]. The NIV headings were not part of the original text, and sometimes they can be misleading, but in this case I believe the heading is right on.

    Jesus and the Original Apostles knew what an Apostle is better than anyone else in the world. Why is this a strange idea? Why do so many people frequently attack and tear down and dismiss the Original Apostles, particularly Peter, as if they were all incompetent, stupid, and wrong in so many ways, and they didn’t even know what an “Apostle” was? The answer to that question is, they have been listening to the voice of Paul, rather than the voices of Jesus and the Original Apostles.

    As we consider the question “what is an Apostle”, we should carefully listen to the words of the leader that Jesus personally appointed as first among the Apostles, and trained personally for 3 ½ years, Peter.

    “It is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” [Acts 1:21-22]

    Neither Paul, nor James, nor Luke were with Jesus and the Apostles the whole time, so they were not qualified to be a “witness with the Apostles of Jesus’ resurrection”, which is what it means to be an Apostle. Matthias was qualified, appointed, and later recognized as part of The Twelve. No one except Judas ever lost his apostleship.

    Responding to a question from Peter,
    “Jesus said to them:
    …you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19:28]

    We cannot prove that Judas was present at that time, and we cannot prove that Matthias was absent at that time when Jesus spoke those words. Even if Judas was physically present, as we all realize now, he was not a true follower of Jesus. And even if Matthias was physically absent at that particular occasion, Jesus is still establishing the basic qualification for having one of the twelve thrones as being “you who have followed me,” not someone who will follow Jesus in the future, like Paul, James, Luke or anyone else in the world.

    At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His Apostles:
    “You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred on one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Luke 22:28-30]

    Was Judas present when Jesus spoke those words? Even if someone wants to be argumentative and say we can’t prove that Judas wasn’t there at the time, we certainly can’t prove that Judas WAS there. Judas obviously didn’t stand by Jesus in his trial, as the whole world knows. But that was the requirement Jesus gave to “sit on thrones:” “You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” “You”, speaking to His 11 Apostles who had been walking with Him faithfully for 3 ½ years. Not others in the future who will follow the risen Jesus Christ. Notice that at the Last Supper, when Judas lost his throne and Matthias was definitely absent, Jesus chose to speak of “thrones” rather than “twelve thrones” as he had previously.

    The Apostle John recorded about the New Jerusalem,
    “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” [Revelation 21:14]

    The Apostles are 12 faithful eyewitnesses who walked with Jesus during His entire earthly ministry, and Matthias is the 12th. That’s the short version of my definition of “what is an Apostle.”

    • Paul was accepted by the 11 Disciples and the 1 appointed disciple. He was one of the main vehicles that both carried the Gospel and also defended the faith, both teaching and preaching to those lost and putting structure to the growing churches. It for this that we know Paul was accepted as an Apostle.

      My statement was not that Paul was lying, but that Paul was identifying with the Sanhedrin Court. He used his past and his pedigree to give him a level playing field to teach from. As a Pharisee, he would be able to reach them far greater than one who had never been in their position.

  4. Paul was never “accepted” by anyone as an “apostle.” Jesus and the 11 Apostles Jesus appointed were completely unanimous in agreeing that there are only 12 Apostles, and Matthias is the Twelfth. There are no more, and there never will be any more. All true believers are “beloved brothers” or “chosen vessels / chosen instruments”. That does not mean “apostle.”

    Paul was never appointed an apostle or accepted as “an apostle” by anyone except himself, and he did not have Apostolic authority or “rights”. Paul made it up. I’ve already typed out most of the relevant verses above. All you have is “Paul said so” – and that isn’t enough.

    To top it all off, Paul himself waffled and resorted to an argument for “relative truth” regarding his claim to “Apostleship” when faced with people in Corinth who knew what “an Apostle” really was, and that Paul was not.
    Please see 1 Corinthians 9:2
    ……it may not be true for others, but IT”S TRUE FOR YOU…..

    • I am sorry that you have such a problem with Paul. The other Apostles and the early church were fine with his leadership. You have a right to believe what you choose, but His letters were included in the New Testament because they were consistent with the message of Christ and with the teachings of the other Apostles. His teachings were even used to correct the other Apostles (Peter) when they were wrong.

  5. And I’m sorry that, like me, you have been trained to follow Paul rather than follow Jesus of the Gospels.

    I’m sorry that you have such a problem with Jesus and the 11 Apostles that Jesus personally appointed and trained for over 3 years. I typed out their opinions above for you on the subject of “Apostles.”

    You wrote QUOTE: “The other Apostles and the early church were fine with his leadership.”

    The rhetorical term for your statement here is “begging the question.” Who appointed Paul an apostle, when? No one. Never. Paul was alone in his claim about himself, and he disagreed with Jesus and the Apostles Jesus appointed on that subject. I understand why you don’t provide any Scripture as backup – because there isn’t any, except “Paul said so.”

    Not everything is equally important – so how about looking at what is MOST important?

    Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one, (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)
    Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses.

    Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

    • Paul did not go against the teachings of Jesus. Paul did however serve an important role in setting up the church, and shuring up the foundation of the faith. He was also very instrumental in taking the Gospel to the world. He carried out the mission given to the Apostles and also to the Disciples that would come to take His message and to live and love as He loved. I do agree with you! Jesus is the mark which we are to press for. He is the mark that all the Apostles directed us towards. It is His teachings that we live by and His example that we follow.

  6. Well, I’m glad we agree in theory that It is JESUS’ “teachings that we live by and His example that we follow.”

    Yet, we have our Bibles – we have to compare Jesus’ teachings with Paul’s teachings, and where “Paul goes against the teaching of Jesus” – and he DOES – we must have the courage to say “Paul was wrong.” I know, that is “taboo”.

    500 years ago, it was taboo for Galileo to say that the earth is not the center of the universe – rather the earth revolves around the sun. The church hierarchy at that time was convinced that the Bible clearly taught Galileo was wrong – and he spent the last 10 years of his life under house arrest for “suspicion of heresy”……

    So here is a choice between Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s teaching about literally which one is the Most Important Commandment. (there are other differences too…..)

    Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one.
    Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses.

    Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

    Jesus’ answers are in (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)

    Paul’s answers are in Galatians 5:14 and Romans 13:8-10 (and 1 Corinthians 13 indirectly.)

    • I get the point that you are making. But I don’t see this as going against the teachings of Jesus. Point is, no one worships or prays to Paul. People study the writing of Paul a an Apostle of the faith. One who studied and walked with those who were eye witnesses, who verified him and his teachings. He is not God. Nor is he the Messiah. Even he refers to himself as a sinner, and a slave to Christ and presents himself as just another servant. He like our Lord, lived his life to point people towards the mark of Christ, and said it only wise to follow him as he followed the example of Christ. I encourage you to continue studying the teachings of Jesus, as will I. It is not necessary to study Pauls teachings to enter the Kingdom of heaven or to be right with God. Continue your pursuit and stay on the path of righteousness. I will do the same.

  7. PastorJdo3,
    You wrote QUOTE: …. “I don’t see this as going against the teachings of Jesus….”

    Well,
    which one of these two commandments is most important one – the one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

    Many self-professed “Bible-believing Evangelicals” won’t listen to the words of Jesus, because they are brainwashed through reciting their “mantra” – “all scripture is God-breathed.”

    This “Evangelical Mantra” has been accepted by the collective subconscious mind of “The Evangelical Church” without thought, question, reflection, or even 2 witnesses from the Scripture itself. It’s based on a misinterpretation, out of context, of one verse in one letter written by one man, Paul the Pharisee, who was unfamiliar with the personal ministry and teaching of Jesus.

    But, “Once an idea has been accepted by your subconscious, it remains there and it governs your behavior until it is replaced or changed.” [ as a pastor named Bishop Dale C. Bronner observed in one of his sermons]

    (Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary.) Mantra (noun) (Hinduism.) A sacred formula believed to embody the divinity invoked and to possess magical power, used in prayer and incantation.

    When cult members repeat their mantra, it makes them deaf to the voice of God, unable to hear God. Instead, it puts their focus on their one “special man” above all others – his personality, words and teachings, character, life example, feelings, experience, intentions, mind, will, emotions, etc. Their cult leader is their hero – he is always right, could never be wrong about anything specific, and he must be obeyed in all things and never questioned. He will give himself a special title, write at least one special book, and claim special authority, with no need for a second witness to back him up.
    Here are 3 examples.

    .1) Fuhrer. The title of Adolf Hitler as the leader of the German Nazis, author of “Mein Kamph”. Mantra: “Heil Hitler.”

    .2) The self-appointed Prophet Muhammad, author of The Koran. Mantra: …..”and Muhammad is his prophet.”

    .3) Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed Apostle to the Gentiles, whose 13 letters comprise one third of what, today, we call the “New Testament.” (The first, original “New Testament” was composed by the second century heretic Marcion, and he coined the term “New Testament.” His new “book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. There were no other “New Testament” books, and the Hebrew Scriptures were the “Old Testament” which was irrelevant, according to the heretic Marcion.) Mantra: “All Scripture is God-breathed….”

    I got my Masters Degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. I was attracted to the school because they put Paul’s mantra of “All Scripture is God-breathed” above everything else, and I wanted to heed Paul’s command and “Preach the Word” like Paul….

    This mantra is a misinterpretation out of context of 2 Timothy 3:16. It ignores the previous verse, 2 Timothy 3:15, which clearly indicates that Paul was NOT referring to his own letters when he wrote the words “All Scripture.”

    Paul was probably making reference to some of the Hebrew Scriptures, quite likely including the Law and the Prophets. We cannot be completely certain exactly which “Scriptures” Paul meant in “All Scripture”, and what Paul meant by “God-breathed.” Why can’t we be certain?

    Because we must establish a matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses, especially something as important as “What is the Word of God.” No one else in the pages of the Bible besides Paul ever said anything like “All Scripture is God-breathed”. And Paul only said it here, one time, in the middle of a personal letter.

    The Apostle Peter made reference to “Prophecy of Scripture,” not “All Scripture,” and no it’s not the same thing at all. Jesus never said anything like that. And no one, not even Paul, ever said that all Scripture was equal.

    I remember the general approach to the Bible at Dallas being that “every word in the 66 Books is the Word of God”….. and we should interpret it based on “the intended meaning of the author in the historical grammatical context.”

    That is the basic idea of the heavy-duty seminary language we were being trained in. It sounds so right, so intelligent, so professional, so “godly”….. but it is fundamentally flawed.

    When we look at Paul’s teachings and testimony about himself, (in his letters that make up 1/3 of the New Testament,) we should NOT immediately ask ourselves; “what did Paul say, what did Paul mean, and how does this apply to my life?” The fundamental question is NOT “what was in the mind of Paul?”

    Before any of that, the FIRST question to ask is; “does Paul agree with Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?”

    Paul contradicted himself, and his teachings and testimony about himself don’t harmonize with the teachings of Jesus (or with Luke’s record of his life.) Let’s not waste our time with endless debates about “what Paul really meant” with his wacky teachings about “baptizing the dead” or “there is neither male nor female.” Paul was wrong. Jesus reminds us from The Law “at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female.” [Matthew 19:4, Genesis 1:27]

    As to the question of “whether the Bible is ALL truly Gods WORDS”…

    The underlying unspoken assumption is that “The Bible” (66 Books) was given to us by God as “one book” and it’s all “equal” in level of authority, priority, and importance. This comes from unconsciously believing Paul’s mantra, the “Evangelical Mantra”, that “All Scripture is God-breathed”, and falsely assuming Paul was referring to every word in the 66 Books of the Bible. Yet even here, not even Paul, not even once, ever said that “All Scripture is EQUAL” in authority, priority, and importance.

    No one in the pages of the Bible ever said or wrote that “all Scripture,” or “the Bible,” is “all truly God’s words”. Jesus never said anything like that, and Jesus did not see it that way. Jesus did not see even the Hebrew Scriptures, what we call the “Old Testament”, as a whole unit or book that was all equal or “all truly God’s words.” Jesus spoke of The Law, or The Law and the Prophets, holding these 2 sections of the Old Testament above the third, least important sections the “Writings.” And Jesus held the Psalms, the first book of the “Writings” section, above the other books in the “Writings” section in importance, since some parts of some Psalms are prophetic.

    Obviously, the New Testament Scriptures were not written when Jesus was walking the earth. But if we want to get closest to The Source, Jesus himself, it makes sense that we should look first to the eyewitness testimony of two of His appointed Apostles who walked with Him faithfully for over 3 years, Matthew & John. (Also to other eyewitness testimony, recorded by Mark and Luke.) This is more accurate, important, and authoritative than personal letters written by Paul the Pharisee, who never knew Jesus personally, had no part in His ministry, and had no eyewitness testimony.

    We should follow the Jesus of the Gospel writers. We should not follow the “jesus” of Paul the Pharisee or Muhammad or any other man, who had their own ideas of who “jesus” was and what He did.

    • I respect your thoughts and opinion. You can not go wrong with studying the Gospel and the Apostles that walked with Jesus. Let us continue living as Jesus lived. The world needs to hear about His life and what He has done for the world.

      • Greetings PastorJDO3
        and Happy Pentecost !
        Here is a new poem you may appreciate, since you are a thinker.

        The message of The 11 (The narrow gate)

        “The eleven disciples went to Galilee”
        “Where Jesus had told them to go”
        They heard His voice and obeyed His will
        Despite uncertainty down below

        Jesus spoke to them at length
        He wasn’t really a Tweeter
        Only 3 of them wrote Scripture
        Matthew John and Peter

        “Feed my sheep” said Jesus, for though
        “Heaven and earth will pass away”
        I have the words of eternal life and
        “My words will never pass away”

        “Enter through the narrow gate”
        The voice of Jesus through the eleven
        Believe in Jesus “through their message”
        And “eat from the tree of life” in heaven

        Jesus commissioned the eleven
        With “everything I have commanded you”
        “Teaching THEM to obey” Jesus
        And “THEM” means me and you !

        “The command given by our Lord and Savior”
        Is not a Pharisee speaking alone
        It came rather “through your apostles”
        Matthew Peter and John

        If a Pharisee boasts proudly
        Those men added nothing to my message
        He doesn’t speak for Jesus
        His words are nothing more than garbage

        Bibliography
        All “quotes” in “quotation marks” are from the writings of the Apostles Matthew John and Peter in the Bible, mostly the “Red Letter” words of Jesus. [Matthew, John, Revelation, 2 Peter – NIV]

      • Interesting work. Spending time understanding what an Apostle is has helped me in studying and understanding God’s Word. As with other prophets, the aim is always to point others towards God an not to develop followers of themseleves. I do believe those that walked with Jesus worked hard to preserve His teachings and were great critiques and quick to point out those that looked to take advantage of the those that believed. Even our Lord, whom was without sin was careful to point others towards the God in Heaven as opposed to basking in the light of His accomplishments. He and both they understood that the purpose of said things were that people might believe and seek God.

      • Dear PastorJDO3
        Well, we are both studying and seeking to understand God’s Word – and obey it, in real daily life.

        God has not changed, and neither has the text of “The Bible”.
        I am one of “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” [Revelation 12:17]
        No I’m not perfect without sin, and No I don’t know everything now. I didn’t know everything 7 years ago either – but I have grown and learned new things about God and His Word in the past 7 years, as is normal for a growing believer.

        “God’s commandments” are found in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, which Jesus came to FULFILL, (not to abolish, as the false apostle Paul the Pharisee taught.)
        “The testimony of Jesus” is the voice of Jesus, (The “Red Letters,”) recorded by the 11 faithful witnesses, the True Apostles that Jesus personally appointed and trained for over 3 years. Only 3 of these men wrote Scripture in the Bible – Matthew, John and Peter.

        (Mark was intimately connected with Peter since the beginning of the Church, and he acted as scribe for Peter and other Apostles who were illiterate at in their younger years. Mark could be understood as “the first core teachings of Peter and the other Apostles”. It is an observation of fact that much of Matthew is simply copied from Mark. Matthew built on Mark’s work, using it as a “backbone,” and filling out more background details, and references to The Law, The Prophets, and Psalms, etc. in a meticulous, more comprehensive way.
        Thus, Matthew was providing a second written witness, confirming the testimony of Jesus.)

        In practical terms, regarding texts of the Bible, that means that the most important words are the words of Jesus recorded by The Apostles Matthew and John (closely followed by Mark) – in my view. No one in the pages of Bible ever said that all Scripture is EQUAL. No one. Nowhere.

        My view is very similar to the traditional Orthodox view of the texts of Scripture for almost 2000 years. (Eastern Orthodox). They elevate the 4 Gospels above all other Scriptures, giving the 2 highest places of honor to the Gospels of Matthew and John – and they have a special high place for Revelation too.

        I can back up my view with plenty of Scripture – here is just one, written by the Apostle Peter- 2 Peter 3:2. Peter doesn’t point to himself, or his own words, or “all Scripture” or “The Bible”, Peter doesn’t claim his own words are “the word of God”, and he doesn’t claim that he doesn’t need a second witness. (And Peter certainly doesn’t point to the words of some other man, a Pharisee at that, -Paul- and say that this other man’s word is “the word of God.”)

        You can read Peter’s advice for yourself- then open your Bible to Matthew, John, Revelation, and Mark, and listen to Jesus for yourself!

      • Thank you for your knowledge and perspective. I understand your views. There are some that have issue with Paul, I do not. When reading his writings, he is very careful at points to say, I Paul say (in some form or fashion) to differentiate a core teaching of Christ and or the Apostles. I also find it key that he taught at the same times as the Apostles, and underwent scrutiny once he claimed to be converted, having to meet with them and gain their approval. We would call this do day an ordination or licensing. His main role was to help establish the church as an organism, while spreading the Gospel to new territories. I think it also important to look at the canonization process. The text were all heavily scrutinized. Having said all this, the words even of Paul, follow me as I follow Christ are important. In this we see him continuing to be a student/disciple/apostle of Christ, living out the teachings, not just teaching the teachings. He didn’t desire to be worshiped, nor did he write to be a part of a cannon of writings. He wrote as I am writing you. One believer to the next. He fought for truth and stood against those who sought to pervert it and or exclude people from the grace and love that had been extended to him.

  8. Amen.
    We cannot go wrong listening to the voice of Jesus through “the Apostles that walked with Jesus,” and “THEIR message” is what we should have unity in.

    Jesus said the same thing in John 17:20-21, but this is rarely understood; “their message” means the message of the 11 true Apostles who were in the room with Jesus at that time, the Last Supper. (“Their message” does not mean “Paul’s message” or “The New Testament” or “All Scripture.”)

    Only 3 of these men wrote Scripture – The Apostles Matthew, John, and Peter.
    Peter did not really quote Jesus directly, but he pointed to the teachings of Jesus through Matthew and John as of first importance in the “New Testament.” Please see 2 Peter 3:2.
    Blessings in Jesus of the Gospels.

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