The Seed of Religion Is the Seed of the Garden

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the seventh chapter of this New Testament book. “Then came together unto Him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye” (Mark 7:1-13).

            “And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is onthing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? DO ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:14-23).

            “And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, A Syrophoenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the3 devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her,  Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed” (Mark 7:24-30).

            “And again, departing from the coats of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decaoplis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak” (Mark 7:31-37).

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the second account of an even which the apostle Matthew wrote within the gospel narrative account he penned. As you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find and encounter the scribes and the Pharisees coming unto Jesus from Jerusalem. Scripture is unclear as to why the scribes and the Pharisees had come from Jerusalem unto Jesus, nor even whether or not they were sent. The only thing we know for sure is that the scribes and the Pharisees had come from Jerusalem unto Jesus, and upon coming unto Jesus—presumably while He was in Galilee—they witnessed and observed something that would greatly offend them. In fact, it is when you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture that you are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the fact that after the scribes and Pharisees had come unto where Jesus and His disciples were they witnessed and observed something which His disciples had done which greatly distressed, greatly perplexed, and greatly offended them. So great and so powerful was this offense that John Mark actually goes on to write that when the scribes and Pharisees witnessed a certain behavior and action within and among the disciples of Jesus they found fault with them. What makes this particular reality so absolutely astonishing is when you think about the fact that what they actually found fault with was not even anything that had something to do with the Law of Moses, nor any of the commands, statues and decrees that were found within the Law of Moses. Upon reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the reality that what the scribes and Pharisees found fault with had absolutely nothing to do with anything the disciples did to violate and break the Law of Moses, but rather something which violated the traditions of the elders—something which the scribes and Pharisees had held and adhered to for years.

            The more you read and consider the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that when the scribes and the Pharisees came from Jerusalem to that place where Jesus was they witnessed and observed His disciples engaging in a certain behavior which they felt violated their traditions and their rules. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for what we find in this passage of Scripture—and not only what we find in this passage of Scripture, but also what we find in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Matthew is a strong and powerful truth and reality surrounding the disciples finding fault, being offended, judging, accusing and condemning—not according to that which necessarily violated the Law, but rather that which had violated the traditions which they held. In order for us to truly understand the narrative and reality surrounding the traditions of the elders we must needs recognize and understand that these traditions were more often than not certain interpretations which they had adapted based on their own understanding and knowledge of what was written within the Law. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely remarkable and incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that when the scribes and Pharisees found fault with the disciples they did so not because they observed the disciples doing something which would have violated the commands, statutes and decrees which were found written in the Law of Moses, but rather that which they observed as a clear violation of the traditions of the elders of Israel.

            What I find to be absolutely incredible and astonishing when reading the words found within this passage is when you think about and consider the fact that it wasn’t merely one religious group that had found fault with the disciples of Jesus, but it was actually two different religious groups that had found fault with them. WHEN RELIGION FINDS FAULT WITH THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS! WHEN RELIGION FINDS FAULT WITH THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS! WHEN RELIGION TARGETS THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS! WHEN RELIGON ASSAULTS AND ATTACKS THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS! It is one thing to read the four gospel narratives and see, witness and observe how the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests, the Sadducees, and the elders of the people took and found fault with Jesus, however, there are at least two certain and specific cases when you witness and observe the religious system and establishment finding fault with the disciples of Jesus. You cannot read the words which are found within the four gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the incredibly powerful truth that there were two instances and occurrences when you read and find religion and the religious leaders and system finding fault with and being offended with and by the disciples of Jesus. There was this particular occasion when you find the religious leaders finding fault with the disciples of Jesus because of their alleged violation of the traditions of the elders, and there would be another instance when the religious leaders and system would find fault with the disciples of Jesus because they witnessed and observed them picking corn on the sabbath day and eating it. It is absolutely impossible to read the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the religious leaders and the religious establishment and how they were not only those who would carefully observe Jesus and His actions and behaviors, but they would also witness and observe the actions and behaviors of the disciples of Jesus as well.

            It would be one thing to read the four gospel narratives and think that the scribes, the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law, the Sadducees, and the whole religious establishment took and found fault only with Jesus, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding religion, the religious system, and religious leaders taking and finding fault with Jesus, as well as His disciples. The more you read the four gospel narratives the more you will encounter and come across instances when the scribes, the Pharisees, and the religious leaders of that day would set their sights on Jesus and His disciples that they might find reason to accuse, condemn and judge them. What we must needs realize and understand when reading the words which are found in the gospel narratives is that the scribes and the Pharisees were those who although they sat in the seat of Moses would actually sit in a place of judgment—and not even that judgment which would necessarily be based on good and evil, but that which would be based on one’s own interpretation of good and evil. In all reality, I can’t help but think about the events which occurred in the garden of Eden and how Adam and Eve transgressed against the commandment of the LORD by eating and partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I can’t help but think about the words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul, as well as the second chapter of the epistle which was written by James the half brother of Jesus. Moreover, I can’t help but think about and consider the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Exodus when you actually witness and behold the seat of Moses and what that seat actually looked like. In order to truly understand that which took place within this portion of Scripture I invite you to first and foremost consider the events which took place in the garden of Eden as they were written and recorded by Moses the servant of the LORD:

            “…And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).

            “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and died eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent bebuiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD GOD said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will pur enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:1-24).

            HATH GOD SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN? WE MAY EAT OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREES OF THE GARDEN! OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREE WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN, GOD HATH SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF IT, NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT! LEST YE DIE! THE SERPENT SAID UNTO THE WOMAN, YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE! GOD DOTH KNOW THAT IN THE DAY YE EAT THEREOF, THEN YOUR EYES SHALL BE OPENED! YE SHALL BE AS GODS! KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL! WHEN THE WOMAN SAW THAT THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD, AND THAT IT WAS PLEASANT TO THE EYES, AND A TREE DESIRED TO MAKE ONE WISE! SHE TOOK OF THE FRUIT THEREOF, AND DID EAT, AND GAVE ALSO UNTO HER HUSBAND WITH HER! AND HE DID EAT! THE EYES OF THEM BOTH WERE OPENED! THEY KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED! THEY SEWED FIG LEAVES TOGETHER! MADE THEMSELVES APRONS! THEY HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD GOD WALKING IN THE GARDEN IN THE COOL OF THE DAY! ADAM AND HIS WIFE HID THEMSELVES FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE lord GOD AMONST THE TRES OF THE GARDEN! THE LORD GOD CALLED UNTO ADAM! WHERE ART THOU? I HEARD THE VOICE, I WAS AFRAID, I WAS NAKED, I HID MYSELF! WHO TOLD THEE THAT THOU WAST NAKED? HAST THOU EATEN OF THE TREE WHEREOF I COMMANDED THEE THAT THOU SHOULDEST NOT EAT?

            Now I fully realize and understand you might be wondering why on earth I would choose to present the words which are found in this passage of Scripture when the text before us is found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark and deals with the scribes and the Pharisees, and yet the truth and underlying truth and reality is that what we find in the garden of Eden has direct bearings on what we find and read in the gospel narrative written by John Mark. If you take the time to read the events which occurred and took place in the garden of Eden you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding Adam and Eve, and how at the center of the garden were two trees—the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It would be in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we face and encounter the command given by the LORD unto Adam that he must not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that he eat thereof he will surely die. In the third chapter of this same Old Testament book we find the serpent—who was more subtil than all other beasts of the field—coming unto Eve there in the garden and immediately questioning that which the LORD God had said. The serpent would come unto Eve and first call into question that which the LORD God had said concerning eating the fruit of all the trees of the garden. Eve’s response would be something that would be absolutely critical for understanding what we find in the gospel narratives—and not only in the gospel narratives, but I would also argue is also found in the New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Colossae. When Eve was asked by the serpent concerning that which the LORD God had said she did indeed and did in fact reveal that which the LORD God had said, however, she also added something which the LORD God had not said. It would be there in the midst of the garden where Eve would in fact acknowledge that they ought not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, however, she would also add something which the LORD God had not said—namely, neither shall ye touch it.”

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand surrounding this particular event within the garden is that before transgression and iniquity and sin were brought into the world, and before death would enter into the world there would be something Eve would say and something Eve would do that would have tremendous bearing all the way down throughout history. Upon reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find Eve in fact acknowledging that which the living God had indeed and had in fact said, however, you will also encounter Eve adding something to the command of God which He hadn’t said. OH it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for essentially that which Eve did—even before she would actually partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—would be what men and women have been guilty of for centuries and generations. What Eve did there in the garden was not only adding to the command of God that which He had not said, but also adding this additional element of touching the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That which we find here in this particular portion of Scripture is absolutely incredible and astounding when you take the time to think about it, for God’s command was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and yet Eve would go on to add to the command of what He wouldn’t say. This is particularly and especially necessary to recognize and understand when you consider the narrative and language surrounding the scribes and the Pharisees, for when you read of their quarrels, their offenses, their faults, and their grievances with the LORD Jesus the Christ you will find that a majority of them were not necessarily based on any actual violation of the commandment or Law which the LORD God had commanded, but rather that which had been added on to the commandment of the living God. The more you read the four gospel narratives the more you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome truth that more often than not that which the scribes and the Pharisees condemned, accused and judged Jesus and His disciples for was not necessarily the actual commandment(s) of the LORD, nor even an actual offense against the Law of Moses, but rather that which was added to the commandments of God, and that which was added to the Law of Moses.

            Oh if there is one thing we must needs realize, recognize and understand it’s that we play an incredibly dangerous game when we take that which the LORD God has spoken, and that which the LORD God has commanded and we add our own interpretation to it, and/or even when we add our own commandments, statutes, and precepts. It is incredibly dark and dangerous to take that which the living and eternal God has indeed and has in fact commanded and adding our own commandments and our own traditions to what He has spoken. If and as you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that what the scribes and Pharisees were guilty of was not only adding to the commandments of the living God, but also basing their judgment, their offense, their accusation and their judgment on that which was added to the commandment of God. You will notice when reading the words within this passage of Scripture that the scribes and the Pharisees were not offended, nor did they find fault with the disciples of Jesus because of an actual violation of the commandments of God and that which was written in the Law of Moses, but rather based on an alleged offense against the traditions of the elders of Israel. That which so angered and infuriated the scribes and the Pharisees on this particular occasion was the disciples of Jesus allegedly and supposedly violating the traditions of the elders—the “nor shall ye touch it” which Eve had added to the commandment of the living God within the garden. Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how incredibly dangerous this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the reality surrounding how toxic it is to take that which the living God has actually commanded and adding our own commandment to it. It is incredibly toxic to take that which the living God has indeed commanded and adding our own interpretation, our own understanding, and our own traditions, and commands to it which He has neither spoken, nor even commanded. I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the dangers in the garden of Eden wasn’t solely Adam and Eve eating and partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but that which Eve did when she added to the commandment of the living God.

            Pause for a moment and consider the two-fold and double-edged dangerous sword that is wielded—not only when we possess within ourselves the knowledge of good and evil, but also when we take the commandments of God and add our own commands, our own traditions, and our own understanding to them. There have been countless men and women throughout history who have focused solely on Adam and Eve eating and partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for upon doing so—not only did sin enter into the world, but also death would enter in right behind it. I am fully aware of the transgression of Adam and Eve in the midst of the garden, and how Adam and Eve did indeed and did in fact transgress against the commandment of the LORD God when they ate and partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What we must also realize, recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, however, is that while it was indeed true that sin and death entered into the world as a direct result of Adam and Eve eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and transgressing against the commandment of God, there was something else which entered into the earth at that particular point in time. There was something else which was found present within the garden which we ought not miss and lose sight of, for it calls and draws our attention to what the scribes, the Pharisees, the elders of Israel, the Sadducees, the teachers of the Law, and the like were guilty of. When the serpent asked Eve if God really said that they should not eat of all the trees of the garden Eve would initially respond correctly by referring to the commandment not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, however, she would add an additional commandment which the living God had not said. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the serpent heard this additional commentary and this additional command which Eve had added to what God did originally say and realized he had an opportunity to beguile and tempt Eve.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that we place ourselves in a grave and dangerous place when we not only know the commandments of the living God, but also add our own commandments and our own traditions, rules, regulations, statutes and decrees to it. There is something incredibly toxic, dark and dangerous when we possess within ourselves the knowledge of good and evil and partner and couple that knowledge together with our own addition of commandments and traditions and rules which the living God had never commanded. In all reality, I am convinced that the seed of religion is the seed of the garden and was something that was planted centuries and generations earlier. The seed of religion is the seed of the garden in that it centers upon taking the actual command of the living God and adding to it that which the living God had not said. Although Eve would not judge anyone based on that which she had added to the commandment of God, we know and understand when reading the four gospel narratives which are found in the New Testament that the scribes, the Pharisees, and the religious system would indeed and would in fact find fault, judge, accuse, condemn, and be offended with and by those who would violate those commands, those traditions, those rules, and those regulations which not only were not originally spoken by the living God, but were added to what the living God had indeed and had in fact spoken. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that at the very heart and center of religion and the religious system is that which we find in the garden of Eden when Eve correctly spoke and declared the actual command of the living God, but also added that which the living God did not say and that which He had not commanded. The scribes and the Pharisees would adhere to traditions, rules, decrees, statutes, and the like which the living God had not commanded, and they would find fault and take offense based on something which the living God had never spoken and which the LORD God had never commanded and revealed. What’s more, is that we cannot state, nor can we declare that the scribes and the Pharisees did not know the Law of Moses, for we know that they did in fact know the Law of Moses. The trouble and inherent danger was found in this additional “secondary law” and “secondary command” which they would add to the Law of Moses.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but view the traditions of the elders of Israel as being nothing more than that which Eve did in the garden when she took the actual commandment of the living God and added to it that which the living God had not spoken. There is not a doubt in my mind that the serpent capitalized on that additional commandment, for he knew and recognized that it would be an inlet and inroad to beguiling and tempting Eve. What we find within religion and what we find within the religious system is an incredibly toxic and dangerous system which is and has been put in place, for at the very heart and center of it is not only it’s alleged and supposed understanding of good and evil, but also adding to that which the LORD God has spoken and that which the LORD God had commanded that which He had not and which He did not speak nor command. What we find within this passage of Scripture is an incredibly powerful picture of the seed of the garden—and not only the seed of the garden, but also the seed of religion and the religious spirit itself—for the religious spirit has at the very heart and center of it an addition to that which the living God had not spoken and that which the living God had not commanded. What we find within this passage is the scribes and the Pharisees not necessarily finding fault with the disciples because of anything they did which violated the commandments which were found within the Law of Moses, but that which violated the tradition of the elders. That which the scribes and the elders of Israel took and found offense with on this particular occasion was an alleged violation of their own command, their own tradition, and their own rules which were added on to that which the living God had not spoken, nor had commanded. The scribes and the Pharisees found fault with the disciples of Jesus because they viewed their actions as a direct violation of the commandments, the traditions, the rules and the regulations which were added on to the actual commandments of the living God which was revealed in the Law of Moses. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Colossae:

            “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ form the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (TOUCH NOT; TASTE NOT; HANDLE NOT; which are to perish with the using) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in all will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh” (Colossians 2:16-23).

            The more I think about the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that the very seed of religion and the very heart of religion is that which the apostle Paul wrote about in this particular portion of Scripture. If you take the time to read the words which are found here in this passage you will find the apostle Paul writing and speaking about “touch not,” “taste not,” and “handle not,” and it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand and recognize how incredibly important this truly is. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found within this passage of Scripture, for when we read the words found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark we find the scribes and the Pharisees speaking directly unto Jesus after they found fault with the disciples of Jesus because of their alleged and apparent violation of the traditions of the elders. What makes this truly interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that they didn’t find fault, nor were they offended with the disciples of Jesus because they transgressed and somehow violated the Law of Moses and what was commanded within it, but rather because of their alleged violation of the traditions of the elders. What we must needs realize, recognize and understand is that at the very heart and center of religion is not only the knowledge of good and evil—and not only the knowledge of good and evil, but also one’s understand and interpretation of good and evil—but also adding to the Law and commandments given by God that which was never spoken and that which was never commanded. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth when speaking about religion that at the very heart of the religious spirit is something that was found in the garden of Eden—even before the actual sin and transgression was committed by Adam and Eve. Even before the serpent actually beguiled Eve, and even before Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and gave to her husband we find something else which would be sinister then, and would continue to be sinister and evil throughout the generations from that time on.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the narrative and language that is found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark, for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that at the very heart of religion—and not only religion, but also religion’s antagonistic attack and assault on the disciples of Jesus—is both a knowledge of good and evil, as well as taking that which the living and eternal God has commanded and adding our own interpretation, adding our own understanding, and adding our own traditions, rules and regulations to it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for when we read the words written and recorded in this passage of Scripture we are brought face to face with the undeniable truth that what the scribes and Pharisees took and found fault with was the disciples allegedly and supposedly violating the traditions of the elders. These traditions of the elders must be understood and recognized as that which was  found present within the garden of Eden when Even did in fact speak about the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, while at the same time also adding to the commandment of God that which He did not say. What makes this all the more interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that the serpent would come unto Eve and ask if God really did say, and essentially “Did God really say that,” and not only did she respond with what God did in fact say, but she also responded with what God didn’t say. It is truly something interesting when you think about and consider the fact that the serpent would come unto Eve and initially ask if God really said, and when responding to what the serpent spoke unto her—not only would she speak of and reveal that which God did say, but she also added something else which God didn’t say. Oh we must see and recognize this for what it truly is, for there in the garden—even before sin and death entered in because of transgressing the commandment of God, even before men would gain the knowledge of good and evil, and even before the serpent would actually beguile Eve—there would be something so sinister and something so dark that would ensnare and entrap men and women for generations.

            That which we find in the garden of Eden was more than just the serpent asking Eve if God had indeed said, more than just the serpent declaring unto Eve that she would not surely die, more than just the eyes of Eve being opened knowing good and evil, and more than simply their being as gods. What we find in the garden was Eve hearing the question of the serpent concerning that which the living God had indeed and had in fact spoken and both revealing what the living God had said, as well as adding that which the living God had not said. We have great need to realize and understand this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous danger and snare that exists within and surrounds taking that which the living God has indeed and has in fact spoken and adding to it what He has not spoken. It is absolutely and incredibly dangerous when we think about and consider the fact that when Eve was asked what the living God had indeed and had in fact really spoken she not only responded with what the LORD did speak, but she also added that which the LORD didn’t speak. This act of adding to what the LORD has actually spoken that which was not spoken and adding to what the LORD has commanded what hasn’t been commanded is not only something religion and the religious spirit has been doing for generations, but it’s also what the false prophets did during the days of Jeremiah the prophet who prophesied during the reigns of Josiah king of Judah and his sons. Jeremiah would prophesy during what might very well have been considered “the last days” of Judah and Jerusalem, and it would be during those days Jeremiah would contend with false prophets who would not only prophesy according to their own inspiration, but also their own imagination. One of the things we must needs realize, recognize and understand is that this act of adding to what the LORD that which He hasn’t spoken, and adding to what the LORD has commanded that which HE hasn’t commanded is something Jeremiah contended with during the days of his generation, and it was also something which Jesus contended with during the days of His generation. With this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah concerning the false prophets which were present during the days of Jeremiah the prophet:

            “Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his hiliness. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of searing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priests are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD> Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD> And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneess gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: They make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD> They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, NO evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard  his word? Who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and form the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith the LORD> I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think ot cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. Why is the chaff to the wheat? Saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD< that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:9-32).

            With this in mind I would also declare and propose unto you that it is necessary that we consider the words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. It is within this particular chapter where we encounter the tremendous and awesome words and truths which Jesus spoke unto His disciples and followers in the Temple concerning the scribes and Pharisees and the hypocrisy that was found within their hearts, within their minds, and within their lives. As surely as we must needs understand that the false prophets which were present during Jeremiah’s day and how they sought to add to what God had spoken that which He hadn’t, we must needs recognize and understand during the days of Jesus that the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests, the elders of the people, the Sadducees and the entire religious system would add to what God has commanded that which was not and that which had not been commanded. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew concerning the scribes and the Pharisees:

            “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees 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. For 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 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 masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 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. But woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye shup up the kingdom of heaven against me: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devours widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him towfold more the child of hell than yourselves. 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? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of min and anise and cumin, 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 the 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 vripers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 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: 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” (Matthew 23:1-36).

            The words which we find in this particular passage of scriptures is absolutely astonishing and remarkable for it helps us further understand the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees—a hypocrisy which could and did in fact enable them to add to that which the LORD God had commanded that which He had not commanded. What’s more, is that not only would the scribes and Pharisees add to that which the living God had not commanded, but the scribes and Pharisees would also judge, accuse and condemn those individuals based on those traditions and those rules which they would set up as that which the LORD had commanded. What’s more, is that even Jesus Himself would reference this when speaking unto the scribes and the Pharisees, for not only would He quote the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke, but He would also use those words to describe the scribes and the Pharisees. If and as you read the words which are found here in this passage you will find Jesus declaring unto the scribes and Pharisees how Isaiah did rightfully prophesy and speak of them when He spoke of a people which honored God with their lips, but their heart was far from Him. What’s more, is Jesus would go on to further quote the prophet when He spoke of and declared that this same people in vain worshipped the living God, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Not only this, but they would lay aside the commandment of God, that they might hold the tradition of men such as the washing of pots and cups. Jesus would also go on to declare and describe that this was simply the beginning of that which the scribes and Pharisees would do among the people which were present during those days. Oh we must needs realize, recognize and understand this truly awesome and powerful truth, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that the seed of religion which the scribes and the Pharisees held to was teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Not only this, but they would lay aside the commandment of God that they might hold the traditions of men.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome and tremendous truth that the seed of religion was indeed that which we find and that which we see in the garden of Eden when Eve added to that which the LORD had spoken—and not only that which the LORD had spoken, but that which the LORD had commanded—that which the LORD hadn’t spoken, and added to what the LORD had commanded that which He did not command. The LORD God never spoke unto Adam and declared unto Him, nor did He ever command Him that he ought not even touch the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but that he might not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that the perfect storm was brewing their in the garden of Eden, for not only did Eve add to what the LORD had spoken that which He had not spoken, but Eve would also question the word which the living God had spoken. What’s more, is that the serpent would also speak directly unto Eve and declare unto her that in the day that they eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would not surely die, for the living God knows that their eyes would be opened and that they would be like gods knowing good and evil. Oh it’s interesting and worth noting that Eve wasn’t drawn to the evil side of the tree, but was drawn to the good side of the tree. What’s more, is that when we read the narrative which was found in the garden of Eden we are brought face to face with the truth that Eve added to what the LORD God had commanded and spoken that which He hadn’t, and she questioned what the LORD God had spoken. Not only this, but I would even dare say that this knowledge of good and evil was desirable for Eve, and it was that knowledge of good and evil that she desired, for she knew that it would not only make her wise, but would also make her as a god.

            The more you think about this the more you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that not only did the scribes and the Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses, but they would also set themselves up as gods among the people—those who determined what was good and evil, that which was righteous and that which was wicked. Jesus described the scribes and Pharisees as those who sat in the seat of Moses, and would also go on to describe unto the people how they ought to do what they said, but not do as they do for they were those who were engaged in hypocrisy. You cannot read the narratives and accounts of the scribes and Pharisees and not encounter how they were those who perceived themselves as guardians of knowledge of good and evil and that which was righteous and that which was wicked. The scribes and the Pharisees set themselves as those who were the ultimate authority of good versus evil, light versus darkness, righteousness versus wickedness, and clean versus unclean. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the scribes and Pharisees were those who would indeed and would in fact hold to that which the living God had not commanded—and not only hold to that which the living God had not commanded, but also teach it as doctrine. What’s more, is that as if wasn’t bad enough they would teach these traditions of men as doctrines of God, they would also judge, accuse and condemn others based on that truth and reality. That which was truth during those days would be what they themselves described as truth, and that which they described as good was good, and that which they described as evil was evil. OH it is absolutely necessary that we think about, consider and understand this, for it calls and draws us close to the place where we truly recognize and understand that the scribes and Pharisees were those who sat in Moses’ seats as guardians of what was good and evil—and not only guardians of what was good and evil, but also as those who were qualified and positioned to judge others based on their own standards of righteousness. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints at Rome, as well as the words which were written in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James:

            “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? OR despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that odeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another) in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:1-16).

            “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approves the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge, and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preaches a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, though breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumsision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:17-29).

            “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? IF ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:1-13).

            “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou beliest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man if justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14-26).

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel it absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw our attention to the words which we find within this passage, for what we see here is not only the realm of the knowledge of good and evil, and not only do we see the element of adding as commandment and doctrine that which the living God has never authorized, but also the element of judging others based on that assumption and practice. If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand when reading this particular narrative and account it’s how volatile and hostile this seed of religion actually is and how it finds it roots in the garden of Eden. What’s more, is that not only does it find its root in the garden of Eden, but it finds its roots before sin, transgression and death entered into the world. It was there in the garden where Eve added to the commandment of God that which was not commanded, and added to what God had spoken that which He had not spoken. It was during the days of Jeremiah where he had to contend with the false prophets who would add to what God had spoken that which He had not spoken and that which He had not authorized them to speak. It was during the days of Jesus where He had to contend with the scribes and Pharisees who were adding to the commandments of God that which He had not commanded. In both situations and scenarios they were days which would lead up to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of God which stood in the midst of the land. We must needs realize, recognize and understand this—particularly and especially when we consider the days and times in which we are living, for there is not a doubt in my mind that we are indeed and are in fact living in days similar to those of Jeremiah and Jesus as we are living in the last days leading up to judgment, devastation and destruction. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we have a great need to recognize and understand that there is a great need to guard ourselves from adding to the word of God that which He has not spoken, adding to what God has spoken that which He has not spoken, and adding to what God has commanded that which He has not commanded.

I find it absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw your attention to the awesome and powerful truth that we must needs come to terms with this tremendously dangerous seed of religion, for this seed of religion—if it is left unchecked within our hearts and minds—can indeed cause us to rise up in judgment against others. What’s more, is that as we attempt to place ourselves in this place of judgment we are actually setting ourselves up as gods which is what was referenced and mentioned in the garden of Eden. We have a great need to realize and understand that there is a perfect storm of desiring to be wise, desiring to be as gods, knowing good and evil, and even adding to the commandment of God that which He has not spoken. Choosing to be in such a place can indeed and can in fact bring us face to face with a tremendous danger within our hearts and our lives as we can and will rise up in judgment against others—and not only rise up in judgment, but rise up in judgment based on that which the living God never even commanded or spoke in the first place. What an incredibly dangerous place this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for the scribes and Pharisees allowed themselves to be in a place where they would and could judge others based on what was taught and commanded as doctrine which was nothing more than the traditions of men. Oh that we would recognize and understand how incredibly dangerous and volatile this truly is and that we would allow ourselves to be in the place where we neither seek to add to what God has spoken what He has never spoken, nor add to what God has commanded that which He has not commanded. Moreover, we dare not speak when God has not spoken, and we dare not seek to set ourselves in the place of judge, jury and executioner—particularly and especially when it pertains to matters which are based solely on our own understanding, our own traditions, our own interpretation, and the like. Oh that we would truly be students of the Word of God and that we would allow ourselves to be in that place of truly understanding what the living God has commanded and has instructed, and that we would not seek to overstep or sidestep what He has spoken and commanded in His Word.

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