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R Myers

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« on: April 03, 2001, 07:14:00 AM »
Woes on the Pharisees



     It was the last day of Christ's teaching in the temple. Of the vast throngs that were gathered at Jerusalem, the attention of all had been attracted to Him; the people had crowded the temple courts, watching the contest that had been in progress, and they eagerly caught every word that fell from His lips. Never before had such a scene been witnessed. There stood the young Galilean, bearing no earthly honor or royal badge. Surrounding Him were priests in their rich apparel, rulers with robes and badges significant of their exalted station, and scribes with scrolls in their hands, to which they made frequent reference. Jesus stood calmly before them, with the dignity of a king. As one invested with the authority of heaven, He looked unflinchingly upon His adversaries, who had rejected and despised His teachings, and who thirsted for His life. They had assailed Him in great numbers, but their schemes to ensnare and condemn Him had been in vain. Challenge after challenge He had met, presenting the pure, bright truth in contrast to the darkness and errors of the priests and Pharisees. He had set before these leaders their real condition, and the retribution sure to follow persistence in their evil deeds. The warning had been faithfully given. Yet another work remained for Christ to do. Another purpose was still to be accomplished.
     The interest of the people in Christ and His work had steadily increased. They were charmed with His teaching, but they were also greatly perplexed. They had respected the priests and rabbis for their intelligence and apparent piety. In all religious matters they had ever yielded implicit obedience to their authority. Yet they now saw these men trying to cast discredit upon Jesus, a teacher whose virtue and knowledge shone forth the brighter from every assault. They looked upon the lowering countenances of the priests and elders, and there saw discomfiture and confusion. They marveled that the rulers would not believe on Jesus, when His teachings were so plain and simple. They themselves knew not what course to take. With eager anxiety they watched the movements of those whose counsel they had always followed.
     In the parables which Christ had spoken, it was His purpose both to warn the rulers and to instruct the people who were willing to be taught. But there was need to speak yet more plainly. Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed.
     "The scribes and the Pharisees," He said, "sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." The scribes and Pharisees claimed to be invested with divine authority similar to that of Moses. They assumed to take his place as expounders of the law and judges of the people. As such they claimed from the people the utmost deference and obedience. Jesus bade His hearers do that which the rabbis taught according to the law, but not to follow their example. They themselves did not practice their own teaching.
     And they taught much that was contrary to the Scriptures. Jesus said, "They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." The Pharisees enjoined a multitude of regulations, having their foundation in tradition, and unreasonably restricting personal liberty. And certain portions of the law they so explained as to impose upon the people observances which they themselves secretly ignored, and from which, when it served their purpose, they actually claimed exemption.   
     To make a show of their piety was their constant aim. Nothing was held too sacred to serve this end. To Moses God had said concerning His commandments, "Thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes." Deuteronomy 6:8. These words have a deep meaning. As the word of God is meditated upon and practiced, the whole man will be ennobled. In righteous and merciful dealing, the hands will reveal, as a signet, the principles of God's law. They will be kept clean from bribes, and from all that is corrupt and deceptive. They will be active in works of love and compassion. The eyes, directed toward a noble purpose, will be clear and true. The expressive countenance, the speaking eye, will testify to the blameless character of him who loves and honors the word of God. But by the Jews of Christ's day all this was undiscerned. The command given to Moses was construed into a direction that the precepts of Scripture should be worn upon the person. They were accordingly written upon strips of parchment, and bound in a conspicuous manner about the head and wrists. But this did not cause the law of God to take a firmer hold of the mind and heart. These parchments were worn merely as badges, to attract attention. They were thought to give the wearers an air of devotion which would command the reverence of the people. Jesus struck a blow at this vain pretense:
     "But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called master: for One is your Master, even Christ." In such plain words the Saviour revealed the selfish ambition that was ever reaching for place and power, displaying a mock humility, while the heart was filled with avarice and envy. When persons were invited to a feast, the guests were seated according to their rank, and those who were given the most honorable place received the first attention and special favors. The Pharisees were ever scheming to secure these honors. This practice Jesus rebuked. 
     He also reproved the vanity shown in coveting the title of rabbi, or master. Such a title, He declared, belonged not to men, but to Christ. Priests, scribes, and rulers, expounders and administrators of the law, were all brethren, children of one Father. Jesus impressed upon the people that they were to give no man a title of honor indicating his control of their conscience or their faith. 
     If Christ were on earth today, surrounded by those who bear the title of "Reverend" or "Right Reverend," would He not repeat His saying, "Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ"? The Scripture declares of God, "Holy and reverend is His name." Psalm 111:9. To what human being is such a title befitting? How little does man reveal of the wisdom and righteousness it indicates! How many of those who assume this title are misrepresenting the name and character of God! Alas, how often have worldly ambition, despotism, and the basest sins been hidden under the broidered garments of a high and holy office! The Saviour continued: 
     "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." Again and again Christ had taught that true greatness is measured by moral worth. In the estimation of heaven, greatness of character consists in living for the welfare of our fellow men, in doing works of love and mercy. Christ the King of glory was a servant to fallen man. 
     "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," said Jesus; "for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." By perverting the Scriptures, the priests and lawyers blinded the minds of those who would otherwise have received a knowledge of Christ's kingdom, and that inward, divine life which is essential to true holiness.
     "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation." The Pharisees had great influence with the people, and of this they took advantage to serve their own interests. They gained the confidence of pious widows, and then represented it as a duty for them to devote their property to religious purposes. Having secured control of their money, the wily schemers used it for their own benefit. To cover their dishonesty, they offered long prayers in public, and made a great show of piety. This hypocrisy Christ declared would bring them the greater damnation. The same rebuke falls upon many in our day who make a high profession of piety. Their lives are stained by selfishness and avarice, yet they throw over it all a garment of seeming purity, and thus for a time deceive their fellow men. But they cannot deceive God. He reads every purpose of the heart, and will judge every man according to his deeds.
     Christ unsparingly condemned abuses, but He was careful not to lessen obligation. He rebuked the selfishness that extorted and misapplied the widow's gifts. At the same time He commended the widow who brought her offering for God's treasury. Man's abuse of the gift could not turn God's blessing from the giver. 
     Jesus was in the court where were the treasure chests, and He watched those who came to deposit their gifts. Many of the rich brought large sums, which they presented with great ostentation. Jesus looked upon them sadly, but made no comment on their liberal offerings. Presently His countenance lighted as He saw a poor widow approach hesitatingly, as though fearful of being observed. As the rich and haughty swept by, to deposit their offerings, she shrank back as if hardly daring to venture farther. And yet she longed to do something, little though it might be, for the cause she loved. She looked at the gift in her hand. It was very small in comparison with the gifts of those around her, yet it was her all. Watching her opportunity, she hurriedly threw in her two mites, and turned to hasten away. But in doing this she caught the eye of Jesus, which was fastened earnestly upon her.
     The Saviour called His disciples to Him, and bade them mark the widow's poverty. Then His words of commendation fell upon her ear: "Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all." Tears of joy filled her eyes as she felt that her act was understood and appreciated. Many would have advised her to keep her pittance for her own use; given into the hands of the well-fed priests, it would be lost sight of among the many costly gifts brought to the treasury. But Jesus understood her motive. She believed the service of the temple to be of God's appointment, and she was anxious to do her utmost to sustain it. She did what she could, and her act was to be a monument to her memory through all time, and her joy in eternity. Her heart went with her gift; its value was estimated, not by the worth of the coin, but by the love to God and the interest in His work that had prompted the deed.
     Jesus said of the poor widow, She "hath cast in more than they all." The rich had bestowed from their abundance, many of them to be seen and honored by men. Their large donations had deprived them of no comfort, or even luxury; they had required no sacrifice, and could not be compared in value with the widow's mite.
     It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift. The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour's commendation. 
     Among the poor there are many who long to show their gratitude to God for His grace and truth. They greatly desire to share with their more prosperous brethren in sustaining His service. These souls should not be repulsed. Let them lay up their mites in the bank of heaven. If given from a heart filled with love for God, these seeming trifles become consecrated gifts, priceless offerings, which God smiles upon and blesses. 
     When Jesus said of the widow, She "hath cast in more than they all," His words were true, not only of the motive, but of the results of her gift. The "two mites which make a farthing" have brought to God's treasury an amount of money far greater than the contributions of those rich Jews. The influence of that little gift has been like a stream, small in its beginning, but widening and deepening as it flowed down through the ages. In a thousand ways it has contributed to the relief of the poor and the spread of the gospel. Her example of self-sacrifice has acted and reacted upon thousands of hearts in every land and in every age. It has appealed to both the rich and the poor, and their offerings have swelled the value of her gift. God's blessing upon the widow's mite has made it the source of great results. So with every gift bestowed and every act performed with a sincere desire for God's glory. It is linked with the purposes of Omnipotence. Its results for good no man can measure. 
     The Saviour continued His denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees: "Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? and, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?" The priests interpreted God's requirements according to their own false and narrow standard. They presumed to make nice distinctions as to the comparative guilt of various sins, passing over some lightly, and treating others of perhaps less consequence as unpardonable. For a money consideration they excused persons from their vows. And for large sums of money they sometimes passed over aggravated crimes. At the same time these priests and rulers would in other cases pronounce severe judgment for trivial offenses. 
     "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." In these words Christ again condemns the abuse of sacred obligation. The obligation itself He does not set aside. The tithing system was ordained by God, and it had been observed from the earliest times. Abraham, the father of the faithful, paid tithes of all that he possessed. The Jewish rulers recognized the obligation of tithing, and this was right; but they did not leave the people to carry out their own convictions of duty. Arbitrary rules were laid down for every case. The requirements had become so complicated that it was impossible for them to be fulfilled. None knew when their obligations were met. As God gave it, the system was just and reasonable; but the priests and rabbis had made it a wearisome burden.
     All that God commands is of consequence. Christ recognized the payment of tithes as a duty; but He showed that this could not excuse the neglect of other duties. The Pharisees were very exact in tithing garden herbs, such as mint, anise, and rue; this cost them little, and it gave them a reputation for exactness and sanctity. At the same time their useless restrictions oppressed the people and destroyed respect for the sacred system of God's own appointing. They occupied men's minds with trifling distinctions, and turned their attention from essential truths. The weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and truth, were neglected. "These," Christ said, "ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." 
     Other laws had been perverted by the rabbis in like manner. In the directions given through Moses it was forbidden to eat any unclean thing. The use of swine's flesh, and the flesh of certain other animals, was prohibited, as likely to fill the blood with impurities, and to shorten life. But the Pharisees did not leave these restrictions as God had given them. They went to unwarranted extremes. Among other things the people were required to strain all the water used, lest it should contain the smallest insect, which might be classed with the unclean animals. Jesus, contrasting these trivial exactions with the magnitude of their actual sins, said to the Pharisees, "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." 
     "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." As the whited and beautifully decorated tomb concealed the putrefying remains within, so the outward holiness of the priests and rulers concealed iniquity. Jesus continued: 
     "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets." To show their esteem for the dead prophets, the Jews were very zealous in beautifying their tombs; but they did not profit by their teachings, nor give heed to their reproofs. 
     In the days of Christ a superstitious regard was cherished for the resting places of the dead, and vast sums of money were lavished upon their decoration. In the sight of God this was idolatry. In their undue regard for the dead, men showed that they did not love God supremely, nor their neighbor as themselves. The same idolatry is carried to great lengths today. Many are guilty of neglecting the widow and the fatherless, the sick and the poor, in order to build expensive monuments for the dead. Time, money, and labor are freely spent for this purpose, while duties to the living--duties which Christ has plainly enjoined--are left undone. 
     The Pharisees built the tombs of the prophets, and adorned their sepulchers, and said one to another, If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have united with them in shedding the blood of God's servants. At the same time they were planning to take the life of His Son. This should be a lesson to us. It should open our eyes to the power of Satan to deceive the mind that turns from the light of truth. Many follow in the track of the Pharisees. They revere those who have died for their faith. They wonder at the blindness of the Jews in rejecting Christ. Had we lived in His day, they declare, we would gladly have received His teaching; we would never have been partakers in the guilt of those who rejected the Saviour. But when obedience to God requires self-denial and humiliation, these very persons stifle their convictions, and refuse obedience. Thus they manifest the same spirit as did the Pharisees whom Christ condemned.
     Little did the Jews realize the terrible responsibility involved in rejecting Christ. From the time when the first innocent blood was shed, when righteous Abel fell by the hand of Cain, the same history had been repeated, with increasing guilt. In every age prophets had lifted up their voices against the sins of kings, rulers, and people, speaking the words which God gave them, and obeying His will at the peril of their lives. From generation to generation there had been heaping up a terrible punishment for the rejecters of light and truth. This the enemies of Christ were now drawing down upon their own heads. The sin of the priests and rulers was greater than that of any preceding generation. By their rejection of the Saviour, they were making themselves responsible for the blood of all the righteous men slain from Abel to Christ. They were about to fill to overflowing their cup of iniquity. And soon it was to be poured upon their heads in retributive justice. Of this, Jesus warned them: 
     "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." 
     The scribes and Pharisees who listened to Jesus knew that His words were true. They knew how the prophet Zacharias had been slain. While the words of warning from God were upon his lips, a satanic fury seized the apostate king, and at his command the prophet was put to death. His blood had imprinted itself upon the very stones of the temple court, and could not be erased; it remained to bear testimony against apostate Israel. As long as the temple should stand, there would be the stain of that righteous blood, crying to God to be avenged. As Jesus referred to these fearful sins, a thrill of horror ran through the multitude.
     Looking forward, Jesus declared that the impenitence of the Jews and their intolerance of God's servants would be the same in the future as it had been in the past: 
     "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city." Prophets and wise men, full of faith and the Holy Ghost,--Stephen, James, and many others,--would be condemned and slain. With hand uplifted to heaven, and a divine light enshrouding His person, Christ spoke as a judge to those before Him. His voice, that had so often been heard in gentleness and entreaty, was now heard in rebuke and condemnation. The listeners shuddered. Never was the impression made by His words and His look to be effaced. 
     Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession. 
     Divine pity marked the countenance of the Son of God as He cast one lingering look upon the temple and then upon His hearers. In a voice choked by deep anguish of heart and bitter tears He exclaimed, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" This is the separation struggle. In the lamentation of Christ the very heart of God is pouring itself forth. It is the mysterious farewell of the long-suffering love of the Deity. 
     Pharisees and Sadducees were alike silenced. Jesus summoned His disciples, and prepared to leave the temple, not as one defeated and forced from the presence of his adversaries, but as one whose work was accomplished. He retired a victor from the contest. 
     The gems of truth that fell from Christ's lips on that eventful day were treasured in many hearts. For them new thoughts started into life, new aspirations were awakened, and a new history began. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, these persons came to the front, and fulfilled their divine commission with a wisdom and zeal corresponding to the greatness of the work. They bore a message that appealed to the hearts of men, weakening the old superstitions that had long dwarfed the lives of thousands. Before their testimony human theories and philosophies became as idle fables. Mighty were the results flowing from the words of the Saviour to that wondering, awestruck crowd in the temple at Jerusalem. 
     But Israel as a nation had divorced herself from God. The natural branches of the olive tree were broken off. Looking for the last time upon the interior of the temple, Jesus said with mournful pathos, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Hitherto He had called the temple His Father's house; but now, as the Son of God should pass out from those walls, God's presence would be withdrawn forever from the temple built to His glory. Henceforth its ceremonies would be meaningless, its services a mockery.   

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"It was the last day of Christ's teaching in the temple. Of the vast throngs that were gathered at Jerusalem, the attention of all had been attracted to Him; the people had crowded the temple courts, watching the contest that had been in progress, and they eagerly caught every word that fell from His lips. Never before had such a scene been witnessed. There stood the young Galilean, bearing no earthly honor or royal badge. Surrounding Him were priests in their rich apparel, rulers with robes and badges significant of their exalted station, and scribes with scrolls in their hands, to which they made frequent reference. Jesus stood calmly before them, with the dignity of a king. As one invested with the authority of heaven, He looked unflinchingly upon His adversaries, who had rejected and despised His teachings, and who thirsted for His life. They had assailed Him in great numbers, but their schemes to ensnare and condemn Him had been in vain. Challenge after challenge He had met, presenting the pure, bright truth in contrast to the darkness and errors of the priests and Pharisees. He had set before these leaders their real condition, and the retribution sure to follow persistence in their evil deeds. The warning had been faithfully given. Yet another work remained for Christ to do. Another purpose was still to be accomplished."

"In the parables which Christ had spoken, it was His purpose both to warn the rulers and to instruct the people who were willing to be taught. But there was need to speak yet more plainly. Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed."

Joan Rügemer

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2001, 10:01:00 AM »
Desire of Ages
Chapter 67
Woes on the Pharisees

The demeanor of Jesus in his calm dignity, bearing an investment of authority hardly to be found among the religious leaders I know personally, let alone those of His day, is flashing out to me more and more as I am going into these closing chapters of Desire of Ages. His manly godly courage to stand and face his adversaries without cringing off to a place of safety, makes me really warm in trust and respect for Him. Time and again when he was pitted in cockfights against the false teachings of the religious leaders He always came away unchanged in His righteous glow. One always sense that this One is right in his way and sayings. His pure ways of mannerisms and reasoning made onlookers, as well as myself, convinced that nothing of wrong could be found in Him.

Why this constant attacking of this innocent Man ? There is more to this conflict than meets the eye. Pride was at the foundation, speaking from an human observation. The Devil was behind it all in a general overall tactic, speaking from an spiritual observation. What I am looking out for is to see how the Pharisees of my religious church world are doing me in like the Pharisees of the Jewish days did the common people in. The resistance is in me not to submit to man-made opinion or rules of behaviour for getting me bound under a false yoke of piety. Thanks to the efforts of Jesus in His day I am aware how that could bind me up into an awful mess of compulsive false worship patterns. A lot of church mannerisms of expectation of behavour comes indeed from centuries of cultural development which produced regulations of conduct that burden many consciences even though they often serve 'not' bible principles.

With all the hundred fifty odd years of teaching against the evils of Phariseeism by SOP, I get amazed at seeing examples of such time and again among us. Perhaps a check-list would help as to how to identify if one self is a Pharisee....
Pharisees are :
1. Doing works to be seen of others for the sake of praise and impressions of piety.
2. Loving the hobnobbing with leaders of the 'organisation' for the pride of boasting to others of the connections one has.
3. Striving to be a guru master while displaying mock humility when aiming for places of power in upper administration postitions.
4. Pushing oneself up front in honorable places of higher rank to receive attention and special favors.
5. Misusing talent of intelligence for higher academical titles for the goal of getting people to kowtow in a menial way when making one's appearances.
6. Letting avarice in heart sway one in decision about church policy.
7. Misusing the gifts, donations or signing over of inheritance from widows or have-nots is to be found among some Pharisees and have goaded the onlookers to outrage when getting wind that such church leaders have done this.

One thing we must note here: "Man's abuse of the gift could not turn God's blessing from the giver." The act of giving just a wee bit from one who is hard-up to the work of our SDA church catches the eye of our Jesus and he understands with much appreciation for the spirit it was given in. We must not loose sight that the upkeep of churches, mission, help for the poor, ministers salaries are dependant on tithes and offerings. The love to God from a cheerful heart is estimated greatly in value in the sight of God when we give without grudging. "It is the motive that gives character to our acts," "The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight." Jesus taught by word and deed that "our greatness of character consists in living for the welfare of our fellow men, in doing works of love and mercy."

8. A theology of relativity of values are being taught falsely by the Pharisees of old or those of today pertaining to sin  issues. God's standards are being manipulated. Condemming judgements are being put on certain wee breeches of judgement while big glaring obvious sins go unscathed by the church board. These church leaders start majoring in trivialities and minoring in the weightier traps of the devil. Also obligations required in right moral practice over thousands of years of God's people like tithes, offerings, not being a liar or dishonest in anyway, start to crumble in substance and are bent out of proportion in an immoral way by the acceptance of false teaching of the Pharisees. Restrictions and prohibitions are within the commands of God but we are not told to go to unwarranted extemes in fulfilling the law.
9. What really was the main thrust of attack of Jesus toward the Pharisees was their hypocrisy. Making a pretense of having a virtuous character, making a pretense of having right morals, making a pretense of believing right doctrine, making a pretense of following the will of God and being obedient to His commandments. Jesus hatred to those purporting to be what they are not caused his 'woe unto's' to be uttered in such a severe tone. People who are shams, living out counterfeits of the realities, pretending in a deceitful way for the sake of manipulating, feigning for the sake of impressing others, making a false show and imitating piety was all what got the righteous indignation of the holy Son of God.

Mind you, Jesus was at all times the perfect gentleman when showing his indignation that cut to the bone but never did he loose control of Himself. His voice used no words of lightness to those whose deeds condemned them and he was called upon in His spirit to rebuke them like a judge of authority. He called the sin by name and in no uncertain terms let the guilty one know his wrong doing. Jesus did not loose his cool out of irritability of temper coming from a spirit of retalitation. In every confrontation of verbal contest our Lord Jesus came out of each struggle the victor.

Galatians 5:15  "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." This, I pray, will be the warning close to heart of those of us getting into hot debates without a holy temper.

~~~
Joan
~~~


Richard Myers

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2001, 06:26:00 AM »
Amen, Sister Joan, except for one statement that I did not understand. "Restrictions and prohibitions are within the commands of God but we are not told to go to unwarranted extremes in fulfilling the law." Could you expand on this a little? What part of the law are we to not do, if it requires going to extremes, even the giving of life itself?

In my opening quote, It was stated Christ must accomplish another purpose. What was that "other" purpose?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Jean Miller

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2002, 08:41:00 AM »
Ten years ago I would not have thought such a study would have such a great impact on us and our spirituality today, but since then I've learned a lot. I'll share a little of what I have learned.

The Pharisees were the conservatives and the Sadduccees were the liberals.  The two groups had great trouble getting along with each other, but they finally managed to unite on one thing--which was to crucify Jesus.  A big lesson right there.  How can we crucify Jesus today?  By not following Him as our Example all the way in all things.  1 Peter 2:21 and 1 John 2:6.  Following Jesus is our only safety.

Ellen White tells us some more lessons.  "The disciples were to encounter many and great temptations to unbelief. To them the prophecies had made it clear beyond all controversy that Jesus was the Messiah. They looked for the religious leaders to receive Him with confidence even greater
than their own. They declared among the people the wonderful works of Christ and their own confidence in His mission, but they were amazed and bitterly disappointed by the unbelief, the deep-seated prejudice, and the enmity to Jesus, displayed by the priests and rabbis." Desire of Ages p. 147.

Have things changed much today?  "The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented to me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ.."  Selected Messages Vol. 1, p. 406. No, unfortunately, we have not learned the lessons of the past.  Nothing has changed.

The disciples were perplexed because the church leaders did not receive Jesus.  Receiving Jesus means to receive everything that Jesus does and teaches. Ellen White tells us things will  not be different at the end of time.  

"There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of  God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of their heart by confession and repentance.  In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it.  Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work. 'Why,' they say, 'should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?'  Because they did not respond to the warnings, the entreaties, of the messages of God, but persistently said, 'I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.'"  Maranatha p. 219.

The previous quote tells us that those who "have been in the work so many years," in other words, church leaders, will oppose the last great light that God sends because they are in "need of nothing."  They feel they "have all the truth" and need no more.  

The lesson to be learned?  Just as the disciples would have been lost if they followed the church leaders of their day, so we are in danger of being lost if we follow church leaders because church leaders will reject the last great light of truth that God sends.  We must study for ourselves and not let any church leaders do our thinking for us.

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I  have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:2

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2002, 05:39:00 PM »
Sister Jean,  while I can see the present truth in the statement you quote, I cannot see it all encompassing as you believe. Do you realize that many of the priests accepted Jesus as their Saviour? Do you not realize that there are faithful servants in the ministry today? Why do you lump all of the church leadership into one group?

Richard

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2002, 09:43:00 PM »
Yes, Brother Richard, I agree. Later on today I thought that I should have included that fact. The majority of the leaders led the wrong way, but there were a few faithful minority. That's the way it was in Jesus' day and I believe history will be repeated.  From what Ellen White is telling us history is going to be repeated.  That's why we need to study for ourselves and not depend on human flesh. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't this minority in Jesus' day accept Jesus later on but not at first?  I believe that's why Jesus had to pick His disciples from among the fishermen--because at the time He couldn't find any among the leadership.  I believe the same will be in the end.  Ellen White tells us that in the end time God is going to use a leadership that have not been trained in "literary institutions."  She also says why--because the leadership has become "self-sufficient." I'll dig that quote up later if anyone is interested as I don't have time now.

[This message has been edited by Jean Miller (edited 03-24-2002).]

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I  have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:2

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2002, 03:09:00 AM »

Excuse me here when I insert something else. I don't want to interrupt the flow of thought subject between the two of you. I think there's a bit of a pause so I can answer the question Richard posted back then on April 6th that quite apparantly was overseen by me. Sorry.

I was in a paragraph dealing with my thoughts of mentally viewing the ministry of leaders in church and church organisations that use the theory of relativity to contempory life (situation ethics) for moral standard instead of God's revealed will as absolutes. That is how I got to typing..." Restrictions and prohibitions are within the commands of God but we are not told to go to unwarranted extemes in fulfilling the law."

I was implying that we are not told by certain (not all) church leaders to be exact in fulfilling the law of God.

Joan


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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2002, 03:45:00 AM »

As to the second question I also missed the chance of answering from the misintended oversight.... but as you asked here.. "Yet  another work remained for Christ to do. Another purpose was still to be accomplished", ..I had to go and look through the chapter again. I see that Ellen White make comment about a certain time had come to meet the need to speak more plainly. There was a discreptancy going on in the minds of the common folk. They had innocently been in great trust accepting the party line from the Pharisees and now this struggle of statements between Pharisee and Jesus was getting them uncertain who was right. So the authority of Jesus was at stake here because the loyalties of the folk were conditioned over time by the leadership of the Pharisee's influence.

The Priesthood was corrupt and the people were habitually enslaved to allowing them to do their thinking for them. Another problem was that the big cheezes didn't do what they said was the right thing to do and the Lord was bringing this up to light. This caused the common folk to start thinking for themselves. I believe the task meant here to do as his important purpose, was to come and set the prisoner free from slavery to false teachings, to open the eyes of the spiritually blind and also to false man-made conceptions. He came to expose the pompous show of piety and set the captives free to lead a life of service in humility to others.

So in conclusion I see the purpose of Jesus standing firm in the face of opposition and calling a dirty spade dirty. No beating around the bush. The Pharisees were put in camera focus under zoom modus. He did so to expose what burdens they were putting unnecessarily on the folk who trusted them as lambs to the slaughter. He spoke with authority, He spoke truth, and the sensitive hearts awoke and responded. He had set the captives free.

Joan


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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2002, 07:55:00 AM »
Well put Joan!  

"There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads.  They had the light of truth, they knew their Master's will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works...Men of finite judgment cannot see that in patterning after these men who have so often opened to them the treasures of God's word, THEY WILL SURELY ENDANGER THEIR SOULS.  JESUS IS THE ONLY TRUE PATTERN."  5 T p. 214.

'Here we see the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of th wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust."   5 T p. 211.

"He will raise up and exalt among us those who are taught rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the outward training of scientific institutions.  These facilities are not to be despised or condemned; they are ordained of God, but they can furnish only the exterior qualifications.  God will manisfest that He is not dependent on learned, self-important mortals."  5T p. 80-82.

Putting these quotes together with the ones I've already quoted, we can see that the majority and maybe all, church leaders will initially reject the last great light that God sends because it is different than they expect, so God has to choose new leaders.  I believe that later on, some of the old leaders will join the new, but the majority won't. (I believe this because Ellen White says that at the end the church will be the same as at His first coming and this is what happened.) This will cause great shaking in the church.  Everyone will have to sift out the truth from error, and only those who are studying deeply from the Word of God will be able to successfully do this.

So, study hard and pray hard, and the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. But don't depend on any church leaders to do your thinking for you.

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I  have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:2

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2002, 11:01:00 AM »
Sister Jean, while we need to look to Jesus and do our own studies, we need to have confidence in others whom God is leading also. We need to take great care in not leading the minds of others in the wrong direction. As one who holds herself up as a teacher, you need to be carful to not teach error. There are some who may take your pointed remarks as truth. They may jump to the conclusion that "all" of the leadership will fail. I don't believe we shall find this as counsel and I don't believe it to be the case.

I am quite familiar with the statements you quote and take no exception with the Spirit of Prophecy, but I think we need to let others draw their own conclusions as to what is not said. Enough is said that we all should be drawing close to Jesus and studying for ourselves. We can esteem others opinion higher than our own, but in the end we are each responsible to know the truth for ourselves. 

As teachers,  we need to be pointing our people to Jesus and His Word. Yes, there has been altogether too much relying on the minister to tell us the truth. This is very wrong. We must each feed upon Christ every day. Grace is not given for tomorrow, only for today. We may not store it up for tomorrow. Our natural hearts are so wicked that they need to be filled with grace each day. Only Jesus can do this.

This beautiful chapter in The Desire of Ages is indeed a warning for us today,  but let us not go beyond the warning and teach the people that they may have no confidence in the ministry. God is well able to pour out water upon the minister as He is upon anybody else.  The Apostle Paul was highly educated by the religious schools of his day. Who wrote most of the New Testament? God has His men today also, just as the Apostle Paul. Let us seek them out and listen to what they say, then the command is to compare what they say with the Bible. This is our duty.
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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2002, 11:36:00 AM »
Yes, Sister Joan, this is just the point. Many in the church today do indeed trust their salvation to the minister. They follow blindly rather than having morning devotions and morning and evening worship. They do not compare Scripture with Scrpture. The condition is also known as the Laodicean condition. Because we are in God's church, we are all fixed for heaven. Just like the Jews at the time of Jesus.

The message that Jesus gave must be given again. It is called the "staight testimony" and it will accomplish it's intended work. There will be a shaking in the church and she will be purified. And,  yes,  there will be many new leaders, but we do not know how many faithful leaders will heed the call. I am reminded of David's respect for the annointed  of the Lord, not the man, but the position. We need to guard carefully our words that they may be well chosen and filled with wisdom and the Spirit of God.

Jesus did not withhold the truth from men always. He did not let the truth languish on His lips, but He was led by His Father and always did that which pleased His Father. How  much more should we rely on God before we speak as did Jesus to one who is ordained to the gospel ministry!

As we proceed down this path that God is leading us upon, we should begin to see very clearly that there is no safety in following our own reasoning. There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof is the way of death. Let us seek wisdom from God and more of His Holy Spirit. We do not want to be wrong, for His sake.
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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2002, 10:44:00 PM »
Richard, I'm not the one who said these things--Ellen White did.  Yes, not all leaders will go the wrong way--but according to Ellen White the majority will.  The  point being that we should carefully compare every sermon that we hear with the Word of  God. God commended the Bereans for doing just that.  They didn't take their leaders' word for anything.   They went home and carefully studied to make sure their leaders were teaching them the truth. That is what God wants us to do. That is what we need to do today and  not just blindly follow anyone.  If we find they are teaching truth according to God's Word then we can follow, otherwise we cannot.  That is the point that I am making.  Too many today are blindly following without studying carefully to see if they are being led according to the Word of God.
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I  have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:2

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The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2002, 09:26:00 AM »
Sister Jean, I take "no" exception with what Ellen White has said, only your interpretation. In my post to you and to Sister Joan, I make a special effort to say that we need to study for ourselves, so this is not the concern I spoke of with your post. Why continue to discuss this? Because as we desire to come into unity of doctrine it requires an ability to understand what one is saying. We just need to keep saying it in as many ways as we can until we get it accross. For those that want to understand, we pray that unity will come.
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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2016, 06:12:16 AM »
"There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of  God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of their heart by confession and repentance.  In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it.  Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work. 'Why,' they say, 'should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?'  Because they did not respond to the warnings, the entreaties, of the messages of God, but persistently said, 'I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.'"  Maranatha p. 219.


The previous quote tells us that those who "have been in the work so many years," in other words, church leaders, will oppose the last great light that God sends because they are in "need of nothing."  They feel they "have all the truth" and need no more.  The lesson to be learned?  Just as the disciples would have been lost if they followed the church leaders of their day, so we are in danger of being lost if we follow church leaders because church leaders will reject the last great light of truth that God sends.  We must study for ourselves and not let any church leaders do our thinking for us.

My concern expressed about this response is it is "all encompassing". Not all church leaders will refuse Christ. The Laodicean message applies to the church, not just church leaders. Not all in the church are blind and naked. That includes church leaders. The message we are to learn from the inspired statement is we are not to trust in man, but in Christ and His Word. We are to be as the faithful Bereans and when we have listened to the faithful teacher, we are to compare what is taught to Scripture. God has faithful teachers in the church. That includes ordained pastors. There will be revival and reformation. And, as I pointed out, the experience of Saul of Tarsus will that of some leaders in the church today. Let no one deny the power of grace to transform a leader in our church. And, there are some who do not need to be converted, they already are.

This does not remove the great guilt resting upon those who represent themselves as leaders when in fact they are decoys Satan has implanted in the church. Jesus tells us "you may know them by their fruits." But, that does not mean they may not be converted. It is up to you and me to rightly represent Christ in hopes of saving some.
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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2016, 09:21:02 AM »
     "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city." Prophets and wise men, full of faith and the Holy Ghost,--Stephen, James, and many others,--would be condemned and slain. With hand uplifted to heaven, and a divine light enshrouding His person, Christ spoke as a judge to those before Him. His voice, that had so often been heard in gentleness and entreaty, was now heard in rebuke and condemnation. The listeners shuddered. Never was the impression made by His words and His look to be effaced.
     Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession.  


This is the evidence of conversion, a radical transformation of character brought about by the indwelling presence of Christ.
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Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2016, 07:28:07 AM »
 
     Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession.  


This is the evidence of conversion, a radical transformation of character brought about by the indwelling presence of Christ.

Amen, Richard! We are not of ourselves able to preserve calmness and self-possession unless Christ is indwelling us, and we are dependent moment-by-moment upon Him.

I appreciated this chapter in Desire of Ages for how it not only exposed the pretentious piety that was rooted in self manifested by the Pharisees and religious leaders who set themselves against Christ, but I appreciated that Christ also spoke words of commendation to the woman who offered her all to support the service of God's appointment.

When Jesus said of the widow, She "hath cast in more than they all," His words were true, not only of the motive, but of the results of her gift. The "two mites which make a farthing" have brought to God's treasury an amount of money far greater than the contributions of those rich Jews. The influence of that little gift has been like a stream, small in its beginning, but widening and deepening as it flowed down through the ages. In a thousand ways it has contributed to the relief of the poor and the spread of the gospel. Her example of self-sacrifice has acted and reacted upon thousands of hearts in every land and in every age. It has appealed to both the rich and the poor, and their offerings have swelled the value of her gift. God's blessing upon the widow's mite has made it the source of great results. So with every gift bestowed and every act performed with a sincere desire for God's glory. It is linked with the purposes of Omnipotence. Its results for good no man can measure. 

This woman revealed a life that was surrendered entirely to God--true conversion manifest in a life actuated by the Holy Spirit in doing God's will. May we experience the power of the Holy Spirit, and by living by faith upon Jesus Christ, bear all the fruits of the Spirit, so that not one is missing. Only with Christ in us the hope of glory is this possible!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2016, 06:20:59 AM »
God is love!  But, this chapter reveals a different God than some teach. Love at times must be firm and decided in correcting wrongs in the church. When God destroyed every living thing on the Earth, except what was in the ark, it was love. Why is that?

Today's reading will offend some, if we were to follow the example of Christ in dealing with apostate leaders in the church. Do we use a title today such as the Jews did in their day? Do some leaders today require some things in the same manner as did the priests?

      In the parables which Christ had spoken, it was His purpose both to warn the rulers and to instruct the people who were willing to be taught. But there was need to speak yet more plainly. Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed.
     "The scribes and the Pharisees," He said, "sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." The scribes and Pharisees claimed to be invested with divine authority similar to that of Moses. They assumed to take his place as expounders of the law and judges of the people. As such they claimed from the people the utmost deference and obedience. Jesus bade His hearers do that which the rabbis taught according to the law, but not to follow their example. They themselves did not practice their own teaching.
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JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2016, 06:43:37 AM »
I don't want to cause idle speculation but after reading this morning, I wonder if any of these priests and rulers turned around or if all of them dug their heels in and were only offended. I like to think that some who received this rebuke from Christ were part of the priests and rulers who later in the book of Acts we are told became believers.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2016, 07:19:11 AM »
Jim, I think those who later followed Christ, had not hardened their hearts to the point of not being able to hear the Spirit. There were some who like Nicodemus did not participate in the persecution of Christ. Maybe there were some who listened to Christ and were moved by His Words. It surely prepared them for what was to come.

After posting this morning, I went back and read through this topic. It was interesting. Jean Miller was making a point. I was attempting to moderate her posts. One does not have to understand more than what was posted to know my concern. But, it will be helpful to know I had spent some time with her in listening to the "new light" that had come to her group of "feast keepers". We asked her to not "teach" their "new light" here. She was respectful of our request. The church's denial of the new light had something to do with her pointed remarks about church leaders.

This is God's church, it will see revival and reformation, and there are faithful pastors in the church.
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Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2016, 09:25:35 AM »
Richard, you mentioned that there are faithful pastors in the church today. This is true. But faithfulness is only possible when one surrenders entirely to Jesus Christ and abides in Him. We see in the picture of the corrupt priesthood those who clung to the form of religion without the reality of accepting Christ. And so it is today. There are many who may speak of Christ and the Holy Spirit, yet they fail to realize or believe that by one sin the soul separates from life, and they give people a false assurance that they can have life and salvation when in sin. We see in the leaders that they were pointing people to a standard that they themselves did not keep. Their example was a contradiction of the truth. So today, we need to realize that it is of more consequence as to what we are, rather than what we say only. But what we say is also important. In the case of the teachers in Christ's day who He was warning and rebuking, they had added to God's words and had even led people to standards that God had not enjoined.

We need the simplicity of the gospel, and yet we need to realize the character or God that in seeing Him as one of infinite love, it does not mean He will excuse or tolerate evil. Yet even in meeting such conflict in the church, we also, as did Christ, are to allow the Holy Spirit to continue to abide within us, and not allow self to rise up when meeting those who are opposed to truth.

Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession. {DA 619.5}

Such an experience is not possible unless we abide in Christ. Hatred for sin and a love for the truth go perfectly together, even as the heart is stirred with pity and sorrow over the lost state of the souls who are entangling themselves in such a condition. Jesus shows us true love: a love that loves the sinner (mercy) and hates the sin (justice), and we see God's mercy for the sinner (Christ dying on the cross) in perfect harmony with His justice (that Christ's death paid the penalty of the broken law--for the wages of sin is death). Truly, we have an amazing God!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}