Modern-day Pharisees are not hard to find. In reality they abound more today than at any other time in the history of the ekklesia of God, better known to most as the "church" or the "body" of Jesus Christ. What is most heartrending is the fact that they do not recognize themselves. To suggest that their belief system is thoroughly "antichrist" would cause a swift and vehement denial to burst from their lips. In their eyes their beliefs are "Bible based" and their faith pleasing to God.
We must ask the question: How does the word Pharisee apply to countless people in this day? What is so antichristian about their beliefs? What kind of deception has crept in to cause professing Christians to so oppose the Lord Jesus whom they love and serve?
This article will expose some of the most insidious aspects of the falling away of which Paul wrote in his second letter to the Thessalonians. The Greek word for the translated "falling away" is apostasia and is defined "defection from truth (properly the state)." Apostasy is now fully evidenced; it is all around us, but tragically those who are apostate do not realize it. The nature of the deception that has drawn them away from true faith in Christ would appear to be good rather than deceptive. But this is where the passage from Isaiah is applicable. "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).
There is no easy way to gradually work our way into explaining the insidious aspects that must be addressed here. It is necessary that we straightforwardly present truth that will set many free--if they will hear what the Spirit has to say through this message the Lord has made so plain.
Over the past month, every day, the Lord has brought to my attention parts of this message. I knew a few weeks ago that He had a message that must be written, but at that time I didn't know what the topic would be. For 30 days now, each and every day He has opened up more and more truth. At first I began to see a little bit of what He was revealing, and now the message is clear. Up to now all the notes have been kept in a document, waiting for Him to say that it is time to begin writing.
And now . . .
What is a Pharisee?
The Greek word for Pharisee is "Pharisaios" and is defined as "exclusively religious." The Pharisees of Jesus' day were entrenched in the Law and used it to accuse Jesus of wrong doing. But He always had strong words of rebuke for them. They not only followed the Law very religiously but expected everyone else to adhere to it as well--even after their Messiah had come to free them from the constraints of the Law. They preferred adherence to the Law in the strength of self.
And so it is that now we have modern-day Pharisees who prefer to adhere to New Testament "law" through the strength of self. They have failed to understand that death to self is required of all who would follow Jesus, the living Word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be which has come to be. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4 EMTV
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He that follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 EMTV.
Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone)
The Protestant Reformation was basically a rebellion against Roman Catholicism, to show that the truths of Scripture did not agree with "Romish" doctrine. The following is from Wikipedia:
"The Five solas" describe what these Protestant leaders believed:
- Sola Scriptura. This means "The Bible only". The Protestants believed that they should only read the Bible to find out what God wants them to believe. They did this instead of listening to the Pope or the Priests in the Catholic church.
- Solus Christus. This means "Jesus Christ only". The Protestants believed that the only way to heaven is by Jesus dying on the cross. They did this so they did not have to pray to Mary or Saints or Angels.
- Sola Gratia. This means "Grace only". This talks about going to heaven. It means that God lets people into heaven who do not deserve it. It also means that no one deserves to go to heaven.
- Sola Fide. This means "Faith only". Protestants believed that people must trust Jesus. They have to trust that Jesus lets people into heaven. Only people who trust Jesus can get to heaven.
- Soli Deo Gloria. This means "Only worship God. He is wonderful". It also means that God is the only one people should worship. People should not worship the Catholic Pope or Priests. People should not trust the Catholic church to get to heaven. People should only worship God.
The words "Sola Scriptura", "Solus Christus", "Sola Gratia", "Sola Fide" and "Soli Deo Gloria" are not English words. They are words written in Latin.
There is a movement today based on "Reformed Theology" and taken from the time of the Protestant Reformation. The understanding today has strayed to a more legalistic stance than what the Reformers established centuries ago. The Sola Scruptura now practiced has become antichrist in its use. Rather than hearing the voice of the Spirit of truth, the knowledge of good and evil is in full operation. And we know how anti-God that is, when used by mortal man.
James Parnell (1636-1655) had this to say:
And though they call the scripture their rule and guide, yet they receive not power from it to enable them to walk according to it; but are altogether erring from it, in anything that crosses self; but as many as receive the Light, receive power to follow it, and come out of the corrupt sinful nature, which they live in who know not the Light, (John 1:12), and here the Light is above the scripture.Young James Parnell wrote the above at the age of 18 years. He was persecuted by the religious of his day, thrown in a cell in a castle and died there at age nineteen.
And though they say, the scripture is the judge and trier of spirits, yet in the same it witnesses against them, to be liars, and bears witness of Christ to be the judge, and trier, and searcher of the heart, and discerner of the thoughts, (Hebrews 4:12, Romans 1:16, 1 Peter 4:5), and that whatsoever makes manifest is Light, (Ephesians 5:13), therefore that which manifests false spirits is the Light, and not the letter, which Light manifested and discovered false spirits before the scripture was written. And also, though they say, the scripture is the judge and trier of spirits, yet by the scripture they cannot discern or judge of spirits; else, what makes all this difference in judgment amongst them who profess to try spirits by the scripture, and profess it to be their rule, and ground their judgments upon it, yet are so confused in the same, and never a one knows which is the Truth, when the Way is but one? . . .
. . . And they are found the ministers of antichrist, who would cast Christ out of his throne, and take the scripture out of its place to exalt above him, applying to it that authority which alone belongs unto him, for their own by secret self-ends; so that in that, they apply such authority to the scripture, by doing so, they rob Christ of authority, and undervalue him, as the Pharisees did, who thought in the scriptures to find eternal life, but would not come to Christ that they might have life; in whose steps you and your teachers are now found, professing Christ in words, but in Life denying him, and therefore must be judged and condemned by him, as they were.
There is power for the Christian life only through the indwelling Christ; it is His life that must be lived through us, if we are to be righteous in His sight. "But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) Never in a million years can we be pleasing in God's sight through the efforts of self. Never in a million years can we, by religiously adhering to the printed word, add anything to what Christ has done and still does in us by His Spirit. For ". . . without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto God . . ." (Hebrews 11:6a).
A man by the name of Isaac Penington (1616-1679) spoke these words:
The true sanctification consists in the growth of the seed, and its spreading, like a leaven, over the heart, and over the whole man. By faith Christ is formed in the heart; the hidden man in the mystery is formed there; and as this seed, this leaven, this man grows, so he makes the man holy in whom he grows. The seed of life, the kingdom of heaven, is an holy thing; and as it grows and spreads, it purgeth out the old leaven, and makes the lump new; but now, in Christians that have grown up in the apostasy, this seed is not known, this leaven is not so much as discerned; but their holiness consists in a conformity to rules of scripture, received into the old heart and understanding.
There is a favorite scripture verse used by those who strongly abide by the present-day Sola Scriptura. It is "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16 ASV) What they overlook is the verse before that: "And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings [Old Testament] which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15 ASV) When Timothy was a baby the New Testament had not all been written and compiled into its present form. This next passage is very descriptive and applicable: "But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned [Greek: 'sincere']: from which things some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling [Greek: 'babble']; desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm. (1 Timothy 1:5-7).
To put our trust in a "bible," and our interpretation of it, is to turn our back on the only one who gives Life. And that is Christ, the living Word. We become guilty of placing our idol before Almighty God and Jesus Christ His Son, thereby rejecting the Spirit of Grace.
A young man who has a wonderful testimony[1.] of God's work in his life wrote on Facebook: "Most people who call themselves Christians do not mind when the Holy Spirit is slandered, but will fight ferociously when their god, the bible, is threatened." ~Austin La Turno
Being led by the Spirit
There is a very humble man in New Zealand who prefers to be known only by his first name--Kevin[2.]. With regards to using the scripture alone, he said . . .
I believe many divisions in the body are caused by arguments over knowledge of the bible. This was a stumbling block for the teachers of the law in the OT, and has caused many of the denominational splits we see today. I don't believe Christ calls us to walk this way, for His spirit will not divide His body, and His spirit will give us the wisdom and love to grow together as He intended us to.
If all we had to do was go out and read out the truths of the bible to the unsaved, we would be walking in revival now.
The written word is not the word of God, it is a record of what has been spoken or revealed to mankind from the Word of God.
I believe we are not to elevate the written word above the leading of the Spiritual Word, who is Christ, but we are to use the written word to keep us from going into error while discerning the leading of the Spiritual Word, Christ.
Knowledge of the written word spoken without the Spiritual Word's Authority will not prevail against the powers of darkness. It is Christ, the Spiritual Word of God, in us, that gives our spoken word its authority.
~ His servant Kevin
There seems to be a lot of fear--fear of not 'getting it right' and not perfectly following the teachings of the New Testament. Fear of getting into error also grips many who are caught in such bondage. The very scripture they uphold as the ultimate authority--even above Christ the living Word--also tells us, in Jesus' own words: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28). Looking for error will never keep us from it; only Christ in us can keep us IN HIM--the only safe Haven.
Then we have Paul's words: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:14).
Here is another quote from Kevin regarding his being led by the Spirit: "He revealed Himself to me. I believed Him, repented, He led me to the ocean for cleansing away of my old life, I received His spirit, and started walking with Him. All of this happened between Him and me. No preacher, no church, no bible, and I walked like this for years with Christ, learning His ways, and allowing Him to transform my mind and attitudes, all mostly by direct revelation and dreams, before He led me into religion, to learn about what uses His name, but doesn't walk in His ways." (Emphasis added).
Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing to God. (Hebrews 11:6)
Many adherents to Sola Scriptura say that the bible as we know it today is a "closed canon" and that God does not speak to His people in the present day, nor has He spoken anything beyond what is written in their "Holy Bible." (Note: Part Two will follow this one and will address the antichristian beliefs regarding the much-revered "Authorized" King James bible).
Are we to put our trust in the printed words, and our ability to interpret and obey them? Or are we to put our trust in the God and Author of the printed words? Is He not able to lead His sheep that know His voice, as He promised? Let us examine some of the verses where God spoke of how He would lead His people.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be hidden any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it; when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:20-21).
And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; in paths that they know not will I lead them: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things will I do, and I will not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16).
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make strong thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:11).
Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me in the land of uprightness. (Psalm 143:10).
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee. (Psalm 32:8).
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. (John 16:13).
Saul of Tarsus was persecuting and killing the followers of Christ, believing they were heretical for not following the Law of Moses. While on the road to Damascus a great light shone, causing Saul to fall to the ground, and he heard a voice pleading with him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: but rise, and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." (Acts 9:4b-6).
Did the Lord tell Saul to read the sacred writings to see what he must do? No; that is what he had been doing, according to his interpretation of the Law. Jesus spoke directly to him, telling him where to go and who he would meet with. The rest of the story is in the book of Acts. As we know, Saul's name was changed to Paul, and his letters to various congregations (ekklesia), as well as to Timothy, Titus, etc., make up much of the New Testament.
God still speaks to people today. It is a precious thing to know that voice and to follow the Spirit in obedience. Not one thing He tells us will be against what is written in the inspired writings that we know as "The Bible." Rather, the printed word will serve to confirm what the Spirit says. As witness to that, here are two testimonies of how God alone brought these two men to Himself.
[1.] Austin La Turno's testimony
[2.] Kevin's testimony of how he was converted and directly taught by Christ, without a Bible or a preacher, for eight years.
Please also see this page for a three-part testimony of a man gloriously saved from Islam to the living Christ. In the Muslim world there are young people coming to Christ--without Bibles!
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