Modern Day Pharisees 
Dear friends, the Lord has laid such a burden on my heart, which is; that so many professing Christians will end up in the lake of fire through ignorance and trust in people who are tools of Satan. 

You cannot help noticing, that although the writings of this ministry pulls no punches concerning the truth; no earthly person is attacked or belittled, as this can cause bitterness and rancour and defeat its purpose, which is that it's hoped that you the reader shall peruse all the teachings so that the Lord can work in your life, purifying the water of words that flow from your tongue, blessing others by your Christ-like example while you grow in spiritual power. 
However, having just studied Matthew chapters fifteen and sixteen, it is felt that the time has come to explain the significance of the heading of this teaching. 
Going back in time to the beginning of this ministry, I believe that the following task was laid upon me and the gift given that goes with it: 
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. 
(Jeremiah 7:1-11)
Having also just reread 2 Kings chapter twenty two, it is asked that you do the same, possibly beginning a few chapters back to get into the flow of things. 

Please take special note of 2 Kings 22:19, as here is the key to the door of the Kingdom. 
Before we distinguish who the modern day Pharisees, etc. are, let's look at the identification of those in the days of the earthly ministry of our Lord, the man Christ Jesus. 

Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, Sanhedrin. They mostly had different beliefs and doctrines, but one thing they had in common, they were people of authority and importance in the society of the time and the common people looked up to them, respected them and listened to what they had to say. 
The other common denominator, was that almost to a man, they were hostile to Jesus of Nazareth and His disciples, although after Pentecost, certain of them believed. Many of those that were converted were the bane of Paul's ministry, because they were probably the ones who tried to bring such Jewish traditions as circumcision in to the churches . 
The following descriptions are extracted from Easton's Bible Dictionary:
Pharisees separatists (Hebrews persahin, from parash, "to separate"). They were probably the successors of the Assideans (i.e., the "pious"), a party that originated in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes in revolt against his heathenizing policy. The first mention of them is in a description by Josephus of the three sects or schools into which the Jews were divided (B.C. 145). The other two sects were the Essenes and the Sadducees. In the time of our Lord they were the popular party (John 7:48). They were extremely accurate and minute in all matters appertaining to the law of Moses (Matthew 9:14; 23:15; Luke 11:39; 18:12). Paul, when brought before the council of Jerusalem, professed himself a Pharisee (Acts 23:6-8; 26:4, 5). There was much that was sound in their creed, yet their system of religion was a form and nothing more. Theirs was a very lax morality (Matthew 5:20; 15:4, 8; 23:3, 14, 23, 25; John 8:7). On the first notice of them in the New Testament (Matthew 3:7), they are ranked by our Lord with the Sadducees as a "generation of vipers." They were noted for their self-righteousness and their pride (Matthew 9:11; Luke 7:39; 18:11, 12). They were frequently rebuked by our Lord (Matthew 12:39; 16:1-4). From the very beginning of his ministry the Pharisees showed themselves bitter and persistent enemies of our Lord. They could not bear his doctrines, and they sought by every means to destroy his influence among the people. 
Sadducees. The origin of this Jewish sect cannot definitely be traced. It was probably the outcome of the influence of Grecian customs and philosophy during the period of Greek domination. The first time they are met with is in connection with John the Baptist's ministry. They came out to him when on the banks of the Jordan, and he said to them, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matthew 3:7.) The next time they are spoken of they are represented as coming to our Lord tempting him. He calls them "hypocrites" and "a wicked and adulterous generation" (Matthew 16:1-4; 22:23). The only reference to them in the Gospels of Mark (12:18-27) and Luke (20:27-38) is their attempting to ridicule the doctrine of the resurrection, which they denied, as they also denied the existence of angels. They are never mentioned in John's Gospel. There were many Sadducees among the "elders" of the Sanhedrin. They seem, indeed, to have been as numerous as the Pharisees (Acts 23:6). They showed their hatred of Jesus in taking part in his condemnation (Matthew 16:21; 26:1-3, 59; Mark 8:31; 15:1; Luke 9:22; 22:66). They endeavoured to prohibit the apostles from preaching the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:24, 31, 32; 4:1, 2; 5:17, 24-28). They were the deists or sceptics of that age. They do not appear as a separate sect after the destruction of Jerusalem. 
Scribes anciently held various important offices in the public affairs of the nation. The Hebrew word so rendered (sopher) is first used to designate the holder of some military office (Judges 5:14; A.V., "pen of the writer;" R.V., "the marshal's staff;" marg., "the staff of the scribe"). The scribes acted as secretaries of state, whose business it was to prepare and issue decrees in the name of the king (2 Samuel 8:17; 20:25; 1 Chronicles 18:16; 24:6; 1 Kings 4:3; 2 Kings 12:9-11; 18:18-37, etc.). They discharged various other important public duties as men of high authority and influence in the affairs of state. There was also a subordinate class of scribes, most of whom were Levites. They were engaged in various ways as writers. Such, for example, was Baruch, who "wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord" (Jeremiah 36:4, 32). In later times, after the Captivity, when the nation lost its independence, the scribes turned their attention to the law, gaining for themselves distinction by their intimate acquaintance with its contents. On them devolved the duty of multiplying copies of the law and of teaching it to others (Ezra 7:6, 10-12; Nehemiah 8:1, 4, 9, 13). It is evident that in New Testament times the scribes belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, who supplemented the ancient written law by their traditions (Matthew 23), thereby obscuring it and rendering it of none effect. The titles "scribes" and "lawyers" (q.v.) are in the Gospels interchangeable (Matthew 22:35; Mark 12:28; Luke 20:39, etc.). They were in the time of our Lord the public teachers of the people, and frequently came into collision with him. They afterwards showed themselves greatly hostile to the apostles (Acts 4:5; 6:12). Some of the scribes, however, were men of a different spirit, and showed themselves friendly to the gospel and its preachers. Thus Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin, when the apostles were before them charged with "teaching in this name," to "refrain from these men and let them alone" (Acts 5:34-39; comp. 23:9). 
Sanhedrim more correctly Sanhedrin (Gr. synedrion), meaning "a sitting together," or a "council." This word (rendered "council," A.V.) is frequently used in the New Testament (Matthew 5:22; 26:59; Mark 15:1, etc.) to denote the supreme judicial and administrative council of the Jews, which, it is said, was first instituted by Moses, and was composed of seventy men (Numbers 11:16, 17). But that seems to have been only a temporary arrangement which Moses made. This council is with greater probability supposed to have originated among the Jews when they were under the domination of the Syrian kings in the time of the Maccabees. The name is first employed by the Jewish historian Josephus. This "council" is referred to simply as the "chief priests and elders of the people" (Matthew 26:3, 47, 57, 59; 27:1, 3, 12, 20, etc.), before whom Christ was tried on the charge of claiming to be the Messiah. Peter and John were also brought before it for promulgating heresy (Acts. 4:1-23; 5:17-41); as was also Stephen on a charge of blasphemy (6:12-15), and Paul for violating a temple by-law (22:30; 23:1-10). The Sanhedrin is said to have consisted of seventy-one members, the high priest being president. They were of three classes (1) the chief priests, or heads of the twenty-four priestly courses (1 Chronicles 24), (2) the scribes, and (3) the elders. As the highest court of judicature, "in all causes and over all persons, ecclesiastical and civil, supreme," its decrees were binding, not only on the Jews in Palestine, but on all Jews wherever scattered abroad. Its jurisdiction was greatly curtailed by Herod, and afterwards by the Romans. Its usual place of meeting was within the precincts of the temple, in the hall "Gazith," but it sometimes met also in the house of the high priest (Matthew 26:3), who was assisted by two vice-presidents. 
We know from reading the Bible that Jesus of Nazareth was without sin, that He "was with God before the world was" that "I saw Satan fall from heaven", therefore He knew, even in His earthly body, the secrets of all men. So if He called the "rulers" a generation of snakes, He was speaking only that which was true: 
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. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres 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. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 
(Matthew 23:23-33)
Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth 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. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. 
(Matthew 15:1-20)
The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 
(Matthew 16:1-12)
You see, He knew them, their thoughts were different to those whom they made themselves out to be. Almost exclusively, Jesus used them as examples of what not to be. 
In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. 
(Luke 12:1-5)
We know from other writings in this series, that they were told that Jesus was the Messiah and yet they broke some one hundred Jewish laws to convict and crucify Him the way they did. This is a mystery that we can shake our heads at not so, until we remember that God searches the hearts and anyone that has not an upright heart, who has not pleasure in righteousness, is fed strong delusion. God, who is all powerful, uses the arch deceiver, Satan - the god of this world. 
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 
(2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Satan knew who Jesus was all right, he tried to get Jesus to worship him and when he failed, then used his human tools to destroy his enemy by getting Him crucified. Little did he know! 
He couldn't solve God's mysteries either!
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 
(1 Corinthians 2:6-8)
Now we know that they were hypocrites, blind to the Truth, proud, blasphemers, adulterers etc., but willing tools of Satan? Like the Bereans, you might ask "where's this in the Bible that the rulers were the tools of Satan?" 
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 
(John 8:42-47)
When Jesus called them whited sepulchres, He was not lying, because He was perfect. So He must have known something about them that was not common knowledge then, nor is it now. What very few Christians are aware of is that when the Israelites were taken as captives to Babylon, it was because God had lost patience with them. They had become so apostate that they needed to realise that they could lose the land of Canaan that Jehovah had promised to their forefathers. 

Many of their Priests were killed, their temple destroyed and they were slaves, under the influence of the religions of their captors. With few exceptions, such as Daniel and his friends, who themselves worshipped God, we read very little about the Jewish Priestly system. 
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door: And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king's presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city: And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah: And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land. 
(2 Kings 25:18-21)
What is so significant about this captivity to Babylon, and there were others, for example to Nineveh and Damascus, is that God washed His hands of the whole rotten bunch. The name Babylon is mentioned time and time again in the scriptures, both in the Old and New Covenants: 
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. 
(Matthew 1:17)
So, without an operating priestly system, here was an opportunity for Satan to infiltrate the chosen people of Jehovah, and here they learned various secret rites, rituals and signs that were Satanic in origin1

As a matter of interest, these same rituals are today practised in certain "Christian" churches, as well as secret societies such as the Freemasons. However in those days the secret writings etc. were called the Kaballah2. This word is so secret that it is not found in normal libraries or encyclopaedias. 
Just as the early Christians were supposed to have used the sign of the fish to recognise each other, so these secret society members had various signs (and still have today) to contact each other. 
What is this all leading up to?
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. 
(John 8:1-11)
There are three very significant facts here. 
  • Jesus wrote on the ground on two occasions in reply to their question. 
  • Those that are caught in the act of adultery are to be put to death, both the woman and the man
  • The accusers, when asked who was to cast the first stone at her, left the scene. 
This is all very strange, not so?
The following is a supposition, one that fits the facts, but please don't teach this as anything else. 

When the woman was brought before Jesus it was not primarily to be stoned, but to see our Lord's reaction. What did Jesus do? He wrote on the floor of the temple. What were the most likely writings? Signs and symbols of their secret society. He was telling them, "I know you and your innermost secrets, nothing is kept from me." Notice that He wrote twice and the second time stood up before bending down to write. Jesus was accentuating the answer to their accusations. They got the message; notice that they were convicted by their consciences, also that they all left. 
Secondly, where was the man? We all know that it takes two to tango, so this fact is passing strange. If he was missing, how did they know that she was committing adultery; caught in the very act? Because the man was one of them! 
In fact, this was a trap, but because Jesus sprung it on them, they were the ones caught. This is borne out by the fact that they left in defeat, because according to the law, adulterers are stoned. When Jesus said "let him that is without sin cast the first stone at her", He was telling them that He knew that it was a set-up and confirmed it by writing on the floor a second time. 
How they hated Him, their secret society wasn't so secret after all. 
Here's something else that's significant:
And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth. 
And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King. And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. 
(Luke 22:66 - 23:1-5)
Besides demanding the release of Barabbas, they showed that they were murderers at heart: 
But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 
(Mark 15:9-11)
But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; 
(John 12:10)
Among His accusers, there were probably some that were innocent of ulterior motives, but others wanted Jesus dead at all costs, even to the extent of conning the mob to curse themselves: 
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath 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 ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 
(Matthew 27:20-25)
Here's something else:
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? 
(Luke 23:28-31)
who were "they"?
Further, here's a warning that circumstances will continue and even be worse in the future. That future is now, today. 
Why did Jesus come down so hard on the Pharisees and leaders? 

Because they led the people astray. If we read the books of the Chronicles of the kings of the Israelites, we shall see that the people, like sheep, followed after the king of the time and were punished or blessed according to how the king led them. 
Here are two examples, of father and son, both of the lineage of David. 
Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father: For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree. Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. 
(2 Chronicles 28:1-5)
And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead. ¶ Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 
(2 Chronicles 28:27-30:1)
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense. 
(2 Chronicles 29:2-11)
These Old Covenant examples are here of a worldly nature to show us New Covenant children of Abraham how we should live our spiritual lives. It is a matter of attitude, of joyfully being willing to do God's commands that separate the spiritual wheat from the chaff. 
And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD. 
(2 Chronicles 29:15)
In the first six verses of Ezekiel thirty four and the first three verses of Luke twelve we see what the majority of the spiritual leaders were like in the old times. We shall shortly see who those selfsame leaders are today. 
Lets see what God expects of spiritual leaders :
And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people: But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother, And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled. But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself. They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy. They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God. Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the LORD, which sanctify you, am holy. And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire. And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes; Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother; Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD. And he shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife. Neither shall he profane his seed among his people: for I the LORD do sanctify him. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them. And Moses told it unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel. 
(Leviticus 21:1-24)
Does your spiritual leader teach the whole truth?
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 
(Acts 20:26-27)
If you are a spiritual leader, do you?
You see, Paul did and he had no New Testament to teach from because he wrote most of what we regard as the New Testament. In other words, with the help of the Holy Spirit, he based his teaching on the law of the Old Covenant. 

Further, what Scriptures did the Bereans use? The Old Covenant. 
They knew that God was unchanging, His will for the people of the Old Covenant was the same for them in Paul's day and it's the same for us today. 
Gloriously however, the Covenant Sacrifice of the earthly body of our Lord Jesus Christ did away with the curse of the law of the ten commandments. 
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. 
(Luke 16:16-17)
Let's ask ourselves firstly what the sins of those rulers were and then find similar situations in today's times. 
Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. 
(John 8:19)
They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. ¶ Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 
(John 8:27-34)
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 
(John 8:41-45)
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. 
(Luke 16:13-18)
Their pride, their tradition, their unrighteous souls. Because of these, they were allowed to become deluded because they didn't want to follow after God in spirit and in Truth. 

They were transgressors, transgressors at heart. 
They were ignorant because they chose to be disobedient. 
What did Jesus say about them while on the cross? 
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. 
(Luke 23:34a)
This scripture is cross referenced to:
¶ Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. ¶ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. ¶ Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. 
(Isaiah 53:1-12)
Okay, so who are the modern day Pharisees, Sanhedrin etc.? 

But firstly let's see what the word apostate means. 
From the Chambers Dictionary: 
Apostasy. abandonment of one's religion, principles, or party; a revolt from ecclesiastical obedience, from a religious profession, or from holy orders; defection. 
Most people who go to church are denominationalists and follow after what their spiritual leaders believe, like the Israelites of old. 

To many, being a minister is a profession and not a calling from God. Moreover, most of those who were called have turned away through the wiles of the devil. Once a minister becomes obedient to a church council he has turned his back on God, because there is no church council of a major denomination on the face of this earth that follows God in spirit and in truth. 
"Whoa" you say, "now you've shot yourself in the foot because you're generalising, and anyway my minister is a man of God." 
Rather reluctantly, I'll go further and say that any man that is dependant on his congregation or his denomination (church council) for his food and clothing cannot follow God in spirit and in truth. He has to compromise somewhere to continue to eat. 

Paul was speaking to his Pastor here about professing Christians in the churches of those days: 
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. 
(Titus 1:10-16)
Before you stop reading anymore and turn to something else less disturbing, please bear with this a little longer, because your life may depend on it. 
If you carefully study Acts and Paul's writings you will notice that the biggest problem that he faced in the churches was that of the Jews trying to bring their Jewish tradition into the church. You will also have noticed that Paul was a tent maker by trade and that he went into the synagogues at the weekends to preach. He was not dependant on anybody for his food and clothing. Further, most of his troubles came from the Priestly system of the Old Covenant. 
There is no Old Covenant type Priestly system in the New Covenant because being a Christian is a personal relationship between two Covenant parties - God and oneself. There is only one High Priest and His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. 
If you have read the Bible through a few times and are born again, the Holy Spirit will prompt you as to what is true and what is false. 

If you have read a few articles in this series you will notice that the word of God is used to confirm a point that is made. 
So to use the Bible as an example of what God requires, is acceptable to you not so. 
Which means that if the denomination where you worship departs from the teachings of the Bible, the denomination is incorrect, not so? Which means that, as we have seen, the leaders are Pharisees, not so. 
Privately, in your own time, find out what your church denomination and minister practices on the following subjects in the Bible. 
  • The reality of Satan 
  • Evil spirits 
  • Baptism by full immersion 
  • Repentance from dead works 
  • Speaking in tongues 
  • Speaking in tongues in public 
  • Divorce and remarriage 
  • God wants to teach you Himself 
  • You are saved by God's grace only and the works must follow. 
  • Be a doer of the word 
  • You cannot get into heaven unless you are obedient. 
  • You cannot get into heaven if you're not born again according to God's requirements. 
  • Jesus completed man's redemption on the cross. Nothing more is needed. 
  • Jesus made a Blood Covenant with the Father on behalf of mankind and anyone who accepts the terms of the everlasting Covenant will be saved. 
  • Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth was merely a woman. 
  • The woman is the weaker vessel. 
  • Women Pastors (Priestesses) 
  • Homosexuals are doomed to hell. 
  • Tithing is part of the Old Covenant only. 
  • Christian leaders who become involved in politics. 
  • Christian leaders who become famous. 
My Christian brother Darryl once belonged to a denomination that accepted women Pastors and when he stood up in the church and enquired of the minister, who was standing in an elevated position in the pulpit, concerning this matter, the dominee said something like "Darryl, you are out of order, and in any case the National Church Council has decided on this issue and there is nothing that I can do about it." 
Darryl had two choices, to sit down and accept that decision or "come out from among them." To his everlasting salvation, he chose the latter course and is allowing God to teach him. 
The same thing happened to a another man who was an ordained minister in the Methodist Church of South Africa. When he refused to "baptise" babies he was thrown out and had to seek other work - with the result that he can now bless others by word and example. 
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 
(Romans 16:17-18)
I know a lady who is an ardent follower of Jesus. When she was asked if she knew that the church where she worshipped was skew, she answered "They are all skew, but this one is less so." 
What will happen to all these people at God's judgement seat when it's found that their leaders deceived them, when they didn't seek so that they could find? No-one has any excuse because the rulebook is there for everyone to follow. If the rulebook concerned the game of soccer and you were a member of a rugby team that came to play, your team would lose, not so? 

In this case the loss will be that of life everlasting (the first resurrection) because of failing to take God seriously. 
Nobody can ever obtain life everlasting for you, you must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. 
(Luke 16:25-31)
If you have been touched by the hand of the Living God by this writing, please read 2 Chronicles 30 and sanctify yourself before the face of your Redeemer. 
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel bless you and keep you as you seek His face in these troublesome times. 

1 see The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop. Available free on the WWW at 
2 For further information on this subject please contact Christian Truth & Victory Publications, Route 5 Box 252-A, Alexandria Minnesota 56308, USA; and/or Followers of Jesus Christ Ministries P.O.Box 4174 Evansville, In 47724-4174, USA, e-mail