Gal 1:11 & 12 – But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me was not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Is it possible to get the real deal, straight up revelation of the Gospel personally from Christ as Paul did?
In my last post, I wrote about three forms of human righteousness, which I can summarize as: religious, secular, and political. These three forms of human righteousness are biblically exemplified to us in the Sanhedrin, which was divided into three main sects: Pharisees, Saducees, Herodians. (I give a more thorough rendering of the concept in that post, so to gain better understanding of he concept, feel free to read it: Three Branches of Antichrist)
These three basic paradigms of human righteousness are pretty well all-encompassing in any human civil structure, every participant in society tends to fall into one (or two) of these three categories (religious, secular, political). The tendency of man also trends toward partisanship, so we will find throughout any society that likeminded people group together, and quickly find themselves in partisaned groups and sub-groups of each of these categories.
In the days of Christ it was Pharisees (the religious), Sadducees (the secular), Herodians (the political).
Interestingly, Jesus did not fall into any of these categories. The Pharisees despised Him because although He was clearly deeply spiritual, He was not categorically religious as they were; the Sadducees despised Him because although He was humanitarian in His ministry, He was not a humanist as they were; the Herodians despised Him because although He was he rightful king of Israel, He was not political, as they were. Each of these groups sought a Messiah figure who would inspire, strengthen, and justify their cause: the Herodians sought a political Messiah, the Pharisees sought a Messiah who would be the ultimate priest and prophet, the Sadducees doubtless thoight if there was a Messiah coming, He would be a humanist. Why? Because we think God is like US.
Psalm 50:21 ‘…thou thoughtest I was altogether such an one as thyself…’
Surely, we think that our own course, and cause is just, surely if Christ was here today, He would be a Republican (modern Herodian)! No, I’ve got it, He’d be a King James only Baptist, or a suit wearing, Holy Ghost throwing TV-celebrity Pentecostal, right (modern Pharisee)? Of course, the Catholics know, He’d probably be an humble monk, or priest. And there are those today who would affirm if Christ was here today, He would accept homosexuals, and transgenders to be valid ministers, and would be tolerant of other religions, etc (modern Sadducee).
But Jesus was not wrangled into any of these three forms of human righteousness, He didn’t get sucked into partisanship – in fact, when men wanted to claim Him and start up a human group in His name, He resisted them. He die not commit Himself to any man… because He knew what was in man (John 2:23-25).
There is a real difficulty in assessing how we, as Christians should participate in society without becoming partisaned into one of these three all-encompassing groups. Even the disciples of Christ were wont to divide into these groups not only as they existed as sects in their days, but also as paradigms to be incorporated into. Most people reading this will be Christians – those who would most likely side with the Pharisaic (religious) branch.
My thesis in the last post was that these three paradigms, which made up the perspective of the Sanhedrin when Christ was crucified are the same three paradigms of the antichrist system through history. I’m convinced that here is only one way for any person to avoid falling into human sectarianism on the basis of religion, humanism, or politics, and thus only one way to avoid becoming part of the antichrist system.
The only way that the disciples of Christ came apart from these paradigms, and were extracted from being caught up in them was: personal engagement with Jesus Christ. In fact, even though engaged, personally with Christ, the Lord had to instruct them (somewhat consistently) not to bet caught up in the paradigms of these sects. Surely some of the teachings of the Rabbinic Pharisees regarding spiritual and religious things still appealed to them, some of the humanitarian works of the Saducees seemed to have merit, and as national Jews, a degree of Herodian Zionism appealed to them.
Of all the characters in the Gospels, we see only Jesus perpetually standing above the mindsets of these human systems of thought. In every instance He knows how to refute their wrong ideologies, their teachings and their questionings; He alone in the narratives of the Gospels sees through all of it and knows the Truth of every matter He is presented with.
Only through personal engagement with Jesus did the twelve move past the automatic human sectarianism which occurs in society.
In our day, we, too will fall into the same three categories; I’ll not say that all three of these paradigms are on equal footing in terms of their earthly validity – by all reasoning of the Gospel accounts Jesus seemed to be far closer to the Pharisees than to the Saducees, but he was equally distant from the Herodians. Yet the danger in the religious sector lies in how near spiritual validity it APPEARS to be, whereas secularism, and political fervor are easily identified as ‘earthly,’ or ‘carnal,’ religion is less so because it is in the guise of spirituality.
In our day the only way to prevent being sucked into any of these three social paradigms (I speak to church-going Christians) is the same way that existed when Jesus walked the earth: personal engagement with Jesus Christ.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
In Jesus’ day the issue with rejecting Christ was the same that it is today; the flesh has not evolved from its carnal tendancies, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). As we read the Gospels, I think we often assume (just like the Pharisees assumed) that we would be more apt to relate properly to Jesus whilst He was in the flesh, but not so.
The Pharisees were looking FOREWARD to the Messiah, and should, therefore have had the advantage in recognizing Him. We have the benefit of looking BACKWARD to the Messiah, and should, therefore have the advantage in recognizing Him. The Pharisees had so much light, so many scriptures, so many prophets who revealed Him but they did not recognize Him when He came; He was too common – too much like a man, and there was nothing in His appearance that they should desire Him. But we have a more xoncrete version of Messiah, we know many things that He historically did, but we too are at a distance from Him, personally.
If Jesus came to you in a form you did not expect – even with all you knkw of Him – would you recognise Him? Could you distinguish Him from other men? Or would you assume that, naturally you woukd recognize Him because He would surely be the most spiritual person you’d ever met? (Pharise) Or the greatest humanitarian, or the wisest ruler? We share the advantage of the Jews in the days of Christ in that we have scripture that describes Jesus (as they did); but we also share the disadvantage that they had if our faith is not primarily personal engagement with the Messiah.
When Jesus came in the flesh, most of the people failed to recognise Him, the religious, the secular, the political all had equal opportunity, and access to equal knowledge about God; they did not recognize Him in the flesh becahse they never knew Him personally in the Spirit. Although Jesus had had a human witness (John Baptist) that declared plainly Whom He was, still many did not believe; and though the testimony of John was important, and vital for receiving the Messiah (we find that those who did not receive John’s ministry could neither receive His own (Luke 7:29 & 30)), yet Jesus did not own the commendation that even John the Baptist gave Him… because John was a man, and that would be sectarian.
John 5:33 & 34 ‘Ye sent unto John [the Baptist], and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not the testimony from man: but these things I say that ye might be saved.’
Actually, John 5 is a perfect place to see the application of this understanding of personal engagement with the Mesiah. Couldn’t the Lord say to 90% of we Christians today: ‘[Ye] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think he have eternal life…’?
How many of us are ‘sola scriptura’ (scripture alone) Christians (or think we are)? So were some of the Pharisees! (Some, not all – they had their ‘traditions of the elders’: Talmud, just like Catholics, and Orthodox which they could add to scripture, and thus believe themselves the more correct.)
Speaking to those who had the scriptures that testify of Messiah, Jesus unveils this mystery of recognizing Him. It is not found in partisaned human relationship. You will be deceived if you trust in your church or denomination – remember: no matter how great a minister John Baptist was, Jesus received not HIS testimony; you will be decieved if you believe the traditions of the church fathers will guard you in the faith – did not the Pharisees have valid, Godly traditions?; you will even be deceived if you believe scriptures, alone, provide all you need for salvation – ‘…for in them ye THINK ye have eternal life…’
But what’s the answer? ‘…and they are they which testify OF ME.’ Let’s look at the process involved in recognizing Messiah; its the same process that Jesus had expected of the Jews when He cane to them – the process He explained (The full discourse can be found in John 5:17-46, but I will extract certain thoughts which reveals the point (my commentary below un-italicised)):
37 ‘The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.’ (Interesting: Jesus expected the Jews to know the voice and form of the invisible, and inaudible God – surely this could only have been done through personal engagement with the Spirit of God.) 38 ‘And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him he believe not. 39 [Ye] search the scriptures for in them he think that ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. …41 I receive not honor from men. … 43 I am come in my Father’s name , and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.’ (Like the nation so thoroughly recieved their political ruler, Herod, that a partisaned political party existed expressly in his name? Interesting.) 44 ‘ How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?’
There is now, and will continue a rise in human partisanship, even as there was at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. No human parisanship, regardless of how spiritual, and righteous – even if Elijah the prophet returned to the earth, and we obetyd his teachings (John the Baptist) – will save us from the power of man (666) in the last days. Partisanship and submission to the systems and paradigms of man will lead us unwittingly, and directly into antichrist deception – ‘How can ye believe, which receive honor from one another…?’ I’ve been approaching this from an eschatological perspective (and I think, therefore, losing some people – of which I am little concerned (if my words are of Christ will not the righteous hear them? – and if I speak in the flesh then it’s best not to be neard at all), but this partisanship while an antichrist snare is merely worldliness: friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).
In the days of Christ, partisanship prevented many of the rulers and lay people from accepting Jesus, and thus empowering he antichrist system which would eventually murder Him: ‘Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.’
And so it will be in the last days, as society grows more and more antichrist, men will compromise more and more to be accepted, receiving not the testimony of God, but of man – ‘Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: FOR IT IS THE NUMBER OF MAN; and his number is 666.’ This will increase as it did in the days that Christ walked the earth, until men call what is good: evil, and what is evil: good, just as the people in Christ’s day condemned the Christ and let the antichrist (Barrabas) go free.
Only personal engagement with the living God will save us. In the Revelation which speaks of the last days, the saved are those who, quote: ‘Have the testimony of Jesus’ (Rev. 19:10); remember, Jesus does not receive the testimony of men; the only testimony He recieves is that of God.
Let us engage personally with Christ so that we can say with John the Revelator: ‘That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that he also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.’
The testimony of Jesus Christ is not after man; it cannot be taught by man, but only by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11 & 12).