XV. How to Discern the Essence of the Religious World That Defies God
1. Why did the Lord Jesus curse the Pharisees? What exactly was the essence of the Pharisees?
Bible Verses for Reference:
“Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honor your father and mother: and, He that curses father or mother, let him die the death. But you say, Whoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatever you might be profited by me; And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draws near to Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mat 15:3–9).
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
“Woe to you, you blind guides, which say, Whoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! You fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, Whoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is guilty. You fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Whoever therefore shall swear by the altar, swears by it, and by all things thereon. And whoever shall swear by the temple, swears by it, and by Him that dwells therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by Him that sits thereon.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone. You blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you 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. Why you be witnesses to yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill you up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? Why, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you whip in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things shall come on this generation” (Mat 23:13–36).
“But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, Whether of the two will you that I release to you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate said to them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say to him, Let Him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil has He done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let Him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see you to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas to them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified” (Mat 27:20–26).
“Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? even because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, you believe Me not. Which of you convinces Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God hears God’s words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God” (Jhn 8:42–47).
“O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mat 12:34).
Relevant Words of God:
10. The Pharisees’ Judgment on Jesus
Mak 3:21–22 And when His friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, He is beside Himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts He out devils.
11. Jesus’ Rebuke to the Pharisees
Mat 12:31–32 Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Mat 23:13–15 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
There are two separate passages above—let’s first take a look at the first one: The Pharisees’ Judgment on Jesus.
In the Bible, the Pharisees’ appraisal of Jesus Himself and the things that He did was: “They said, He is beside Himself. … He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts He out devils” (Mak 3:21–22). The scribes’ and Pharisees’ judgment of the Lord Jesus wasn’t parroting things or imagining out of thin air—it was their conclusion of the Lord Jesus from what they saw and heard of His actions. Although their conclusion was ostensibly made in the name of justice and appeared to people as if it were well-founded, the arrogance with which they judged the Lord Jesus was difficult for even them to contain. The frenzied energy of their hatred for the Lord Jesus exposed their own wild ambitions and their evil satanic countenances, as well as their malevolent nature of resisting God. These things they said in their judgment of the Lord Jesus were driven by their wild ambitions, jealousy, and the ugly and malevolent nature of their hostility toward God and the truth. They did not investigate the source of the Lord Jesus’ actions, nor did they investigate the essence of what He said or did. But they blindly, impatiently, crazily, and with deliberate malice attacked and discredited what He had done. This was even to the point of indiscriminately discrediting His Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit. This is what they meant when they said “He is beside Himself,” “Beelzebub,” and “the prince of the devils.” That is to say, they said the Spirit of God was Beelzebub and the prince of the devils. They characterized the work of the flesh God’s Spirit clothed in as madness. They not only blasphemed God’s Spirit as Beelzebub and the prince of the devils, but they condemned God’s work. They condemned and blasphemed the Lord Jesus Christ. The essence of their resistance and blasphemy of God was entirely the same as the essence of Satan and the devil’s resistance and blasphemy of God. They not only represented corrupt humans, but even more they were the embodiment of Satan. They were a channel for Satan amongst mankind, and they were the accomplices and messengers of Satan. The essence of their blasphemy and their denigration of the Lord Jesus Christ was their struggle with God for status, their contest with God, their unending testing of God. The essence of their resistance to God and their attitude of hostility toward Him, as well as their words and their thoughts directly blasphemed and angered God’s Spirit. Thus, God determined a reasonable judgment of what they said and did, and determined their deeds to be the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This sin is unforgivable in both this world and the world to come, just as the following scripture passage says: “The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men” and “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” …
… Did you notice anything in these two passages of scripture? Some people say they see God’s anger. Some people say they see the side of God’s disposition that does not tolerate mankind’s offense, and that if people do something that is blasphemous to God, they will not gain His forgiveness. Despite the fact that people see and perceive God’s anger and intolerance of mankind’s offense in these two passages, they still don’t truly understand His attitude. These two passages contain an implication of God’s true attitude and approach toward those who blaspheme and anger Him. This passage in the scripture holds the true meaning of His attitude and approach: “Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” When people blaspheme God, when they anger Him, He issues a verdict, and this verdict is His final outcome. It is described this way in the Bible: “Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men” (Mat 12:31), and “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Mat 23:13).
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Jewish Pharisees used the law of Moses to condemn Jesus. They did not seek compatibility with the Jesus of that time, but diligently followed the law to the letter, to the extent that—after having charged Him with not following the law of the Old Testament and not being the Messiah—they ultimately nailed the innocent Jesus to the cross. What was their essence? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of Scripture while paying heed neither to My will nor to the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly clung to words; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. Essentially, they were watchdogs of the Bible. In order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, to uphold the dignity of the Bible, and to protect the reputation of the Bible, they went so far as to nail the merciful Jesus to the cross. This they did merely for the sake of defending the Bible, and for the sake of maintaining the status of each and every word of the Bible in people’s hearts. So they preferred to forsake their future and the sin offering to condemn Jesus, who did not conform to the doctrine of Scripture, to death. Were they not all lackeys to each and every word of Scripture?
Excerpted from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Recall what followed after the Jews nailed Jesus to the cross 2,000 years ago. The Jews were expelled from Israel and fled to countries around the world. Many were killed, and the entire Jewish nation was subjected to unprecedented destruction. They had nailed God to the cross—committed a heinous sin—and provoked the disposition of God. They were made to pay for what they did and were made to bear all the consequences of their actions. They condemned God, rejected God, and so they had but one fate: to be punished by God. This was the bitter consequence and disaster that their rulers brought upon their country and nation.
Excerpted from “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means. These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?
Excerpted from “By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew” in The Word Appears in the Flesh