Response to Anonymous 6/29/22 comment on Ch Ch Ch Changes post

In response to the question
"- you stated that the ABC "denies Christ came in the flesh". Is this true?"

The ABC has three basic doctrines: the Foundations from Hebrews 6, the Creation teaching and the Revelation teaching. Beyond that, they are mostly stagnant with an undue focus on placing burdens on people, rather than setting them free.  

To answer your question directly; is there a specific teaching in the ABC that states Christ did not come in the flesh? No.  

However, the matter for which I was “eternally judged”, and told I could not speak a word in my own defense was this. In answer to a question about whether Jesus sinned when he stayed behind in Jerusalem to teach in the temple at age twelve, I stated Jesus did not sin against God, but may have trespassed against his parents by making them go out of their way to fetch him. His parents had traveled a full day into the desert before discovering Jesus was not with them. This caused them to leave the caravan, then travel back through the desert all alone for another full day to go find him. People traveled in caravans because there were thieves, robbers, and other perils. There was safety in numbers so they traveled in groups. Traveling back through the desert alone would have been very risky. Once back in town they frantically searched for three more days before finally finding Jesus at the temple teaching. This was a noble endeavor on Jesus’ part, but it also caused his parents much worry and grief. These were Mary’s scolding words to Jesus when she finally found him “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” So, five full days passed, causing his parents great anxiety and the loss of their caravan. This was undoubtedly not a small expense. 

Under the old law there were two types of sacrifice. One for a sin and one for a trespass. The first a bull, the second a goat. A dove if one was poor. Sin and trespass are not equivalent. Sin is against God; trespass is against another person. Did Jesus sin against God? No. Did he inconvenience his parents, put them at some peril, and undoubtedly cost them some money to acquire another caravan?  Looks that way. A trespass against another person is not any more a sin against God than if I accidentally stepped on a person’s toes. Jesus wasn’t belligerent in his actions, in his youthful mind it seemed the right thing to do. It wasn’t. Being on the caravan was the right thing to do and his trespass was accidental as he was not born with an adult mind. To a twelve year old this likely seemed the rational course, but he was still reliant on parents for guidance.

Jesus set aside the Godhead and became flesh, like any other infant or boy. Jesus was born to Mary in the flesh, and lived among us in the flesh. He became subject to everything we suffer, yet without sin against God. There is an entire book written about Jesus as a boy doing things such as accidentally using his “power” to kill a playmate. It’s a ridiculous book and carries the "Jesus as God on earth" concept to the absolute extreme. Jesus came to earth with a mind and body appropriate to his age. He was not born with adult thinking. He was not born talking and teaching before learning to read, write and all those other things his siblings learned along with him. He became the "Son of God" at his death and resurrection, not at his earthly birth.

When Jesus was on earth, he set aside being God until after his resurrection. I have no doubt he behaved in much the same manner as any other boy his age and needed to be taught how to behave properly. We know this is true because it is written in the gospel of John "For not even his brothers believed in him." His siblings saw him only as their sibling as he was growing up, not as a different creature with savant characteristics.  

Was Jesus staying behind at the temple a sin against God? No. Did he inconvenience his parents? Of course, he did. It took them five days to find him, put them in peril, and likely cost them money. While his cause was noble to “be about his father’s business”, he was not where he was supposed to be at age twelve. 

When they found him, He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”  Their response was not to say, “oh, sorry, yes, we understand now. You are God on earth so, please pardon our interruption. Please continue with your father’s business while we get out of your way” Instead,…"they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.” Jesus then had a change of mindset “…and He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them…;” Like any other boy realizing they have accidentally hurt their parents he subjected himself to their parentage and delayed going about “his father’s business” until he was an adult. So, was Jesus unlike a normal child that needed to learn obedience? Not according to scripture. Jesus had to learn obedience.

I was not allowed to speak at the ambush, but I spoke up briefly for a moment to state my father, the one who started the ABC, would have agreed with me, and had stated this same fact to me many times. I was immediately shouted down by Bruce Leonard who stated my father would never say such a thing, as though he were somehow privy to every conversation my father and I had in the nearly eighteen years we lived in the same household. My father and I had many conversations about whether Jesus was like a normal boy when he was young, or if he was different. His conclusion was that his family did not see him as any different until much later in life, so he was likely just like any other boy growing up. This thought, Gilbert Larson, Bruce Leonard, and others felt was my “blasphemy” when I referenced it in my answer.  I was enticed to the ambush by a lie spoken to me at IHOP by Andy Atwell and a man named Mark. I was then judged for all of eternity to be a blasphemer. I lost every “friend” I had in one day simply because I had stated Jesus behaved like any other boy in the flesh and did not behave like a “god” on earth.  

So, while you likely would not hear any person directly teach that Jesus did not come in the flesh, this action of eternally condemning me forever for speaking this truth speaks for itself. The ABC does not acknowledge Jesus came in the flesh, dwelt among us, and was subjected to human frailties, yet without sin. Trespass and sin are not equivalent. 

There was another time I was declared to be a blasphemer that would show the ABC believes Jesus did not come in the flesh. I address this in my post “Haímatos (αἷμα / αἵματος ), hīdrṓs (ἱδρώς) and the Fox”

In this teaching I am considered to have “blasphemed” Christ when I related the story of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, when he knew he was soon to die.  Luke described this moment as, “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

I mentioned in my teaching Jesus, at that moment, when he was in great agony, suffered a human medical condition called hematidrosis. This is a condition in which blood enters the sweat glands, causes them to rupture and swell and the sweat becomes enlarged and bloody. This condition is only brought about by a person in extreme anguish and is exactly, precisely, what is described in Luke’s account of Jesus in the garden. We must not forget; Luke was a physician and he spoke as one who was a physician. The backlash was immediate. It was declared to me, Jesus was God, was therefore perfect, and could not possibly have suffered such a human condition. My words then were considered blasphemy against Jesus.   

This further shows the ABC does not believe Jesus came in the flesh. My words regarding Jesus being in the flesh were no small issue to the “leaders” of the ABC. After I was ambushed and “eternally judged”, while not being allowed to defend myself in any way, everyone I knew was then commanded not to speak to me under the threat that if they did, they too would be “eternally judged” in the same manner. They were admonished that they needed to decide if they were “in the body” or “out of the body”. The body of Christ is not just a few hundred people affiliated with the ABC. It is universal and none of these men have the right to decide who’s in and who’s out. That is arrogance.
Some still showed up at my door, even very late at night. One person even showed up at ten PM, unannounced, to shout at me that I was now a “stain on the body” for my single sentence. Others would show up to plead with me to do what the leaders told me, even if it was wrong. Secret letters were sent to my wife telling her to leave me and come back to the ABC without me. Secret phone calls were made to her work to convince her I was a "blasphemer". There was much, much more harassment, all provoked by Bruce Leonard at the behest of Gilbert Larson. My only option was to sell my house, leave my career position and literally go into hiding to remove myself from the incessant harassment of these self-righteous persons.

The ABC love bombs a person into membership. When you say, in reference to your ABC friend, “Although most of our conversations about the Lord end up at baptism”, this is because the ABC, a group of only a few hundred on this globe, believe the ABC baptism, by a member of the ABC, is the only valid baptism that exists. All other baptisms are “John’s Baptism” and are considered an invalid baptism, even if that person had proper faith toward God.  These friendly encounters you speak about likely have only one goal. To entice you into joining the ABC. This is likely not about being a friend. It is “love bombing”. 

In Revelation it speaks about an uncountable number of faithful and this is just the number that came directly out of the tribulation, not all those throughout all of history. How many is immeasurable? More than a few hundred? Juxtapose immeasurable with the few hundred persons of the ABC and do the math. Is it really possible the ABC has the exclusive franchise on truth and baptism? They do have a Greek Concordance that is difficult to use and causes spiritual myopia through an intense focus on words rather than truth. I speak as one who once suffered that same myopia, but I took off the polarized glasses obscuring my view. They will accuse me of “abandoning my foundation” but that is quite far from the truth. I just don’t keep laying it down over and over again, as they do. My view on the foundation has not changed one bit, but my focus has shifted to a focus on faith, the more important element in that list. It is a person’s faith toward God at baptism that saves them. Not the lineage of the baptizer, or the right words being incanted, or a witness assuring a nose tip might have not gone fully under which, if missed, supposedly invalidates the whole thing, per the ABC. All those rules were made up by Andy Atwell, but my father, the guy who started the ABC, did not ever meet these rules. They are a real stretch beyond putting faith in baptism, the faith being the thing that saves us. The physical baptizer is of no consequence. If that is a requirement, all in the ABC are lost because my dad was not baptized in the ABC way by this set of rules. All who followed after him are relying on his supposed ABC style baptism to assure a perfect spiritual lineage. That did not happen and I explain those details in several other posts.

Only the Lord knows those who are his. It’s not up to me. It's not up to them. When I do the math, it does not add up to the ABC having an exclusive franchise on truth and baptism. They speak of faith, but have little understanding of true faith towards God and not towards a baptizer. It is not their right or privilege to decide who is “in” and who is “out”.  That is up to the Chief Shepherd only.


Ch ch ch changes

It would appear control of the ABC has passed into the hands of these four men. 

  • Kenton Miller
  • Mark Davison
  • Daniel Robertson
  • Richard Oslund 

Kenton Miller and Richard Oslund previously played a legal role in the church, but Mark Davison and Daniel Robertson are now new to that list. 

There is no longer any reference to Gilbert Larson, the "apostle", in the legal record of the ABC and the previous treasurer, James Shierman, passed away last September. It can be assumed this likely prompted these changes.

Mark Davison, in Vancouver Washington, has now taken control of the treasury and one hopes this change will bring about an era of greater protection, and transparency, for all members of the ABC. 



Someone asked me, not long ago, how much income the ABC receives in tithe each year. I was aware, at one point, the income exceeded one million dollars per year. When I was "eternally judged" to be a "blasphemer", and phone calls were made to everyone I knew to tell them I was  "evil", and they should not speak to me unless someone "trusted" was present, that ended most of my direct contact with persons in the ABC. I have no direct reference to an exact answer to that question of church income. Many more have left the ABC, or passed away, and this has likely reduced that income level. I could only make a wild supposition. 

This new document on file with the State of Washington indicates, by the highlighted "no" statement, the income is still currently in excess of at least one-half million dollars per year and it may, in fact, still exceed that one-million dollar mark but I have no direct evidence of that. (Note: the most recent corporate "Annual Report", acknowledged by the State of Washington on 2/6/23, shows the income level has now declined below the $500,000 mark.)  

I understand, from what I have been told, there is a significant investment portfolio that generates additional income on top of what is received in tithe and offering but of this I have no proof since management of the tithe has always been held secret.

Most non-profits must give an accounting of their monies to anyone who requests it. There are state and federal loopholes which allow religious non-profits to hide their accounting, and maintain zero transparency.  This may be correct legally, but morally and ethically, I am not so sure. It opens up the potential for abuses without any chance for audit.

I requested a transparent accounting of the monies several times before I was "eternally judged for all of eternity". The only  response I ever received back to my requests is I must trust God it is used correctly. This, in effect, keeps the money a mystery. Hidden.

After I was ambushed I sent a certified letter to the ABC requesting this information again. This letter was ignored, as expected. The ABC pays a salary to certain select men and makes a payment of sorts to Yvonne, my father's second widow, who previously attempted, unsuccessfully, to take control of the church. As a concession, the church agreed to pay her a monthly "retirement", but the specific information is not disclosed. This secrecy indicates to me there is something to hide. I know, from past experience, the tithe and offerings have, at times, been grossly mishandled so some transparency seems in order. 

There is a word in Greek, kekaustēriasmenōn, (κεκαυστηριασμενος), which means "to be burnt with a branding iron".  This word is found in Paul's first letter to Timothy.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron...

Recently there was a television program depicting life on a large cattle ranch in Montana. In this show, if one showed a special dedication to the ranch, that person could choose to be branded with a hot iron. Just like cattle. Once branded, this person was expected to remain loyal to the ranch for life. Even if that meant witnessing the death and destruction of others. In the show, as atrocities mounted, those branded were expected to "just go along", even if it could later subject them to legal peril. Those branded could never leave the ranch and those who did try were killed to prevent them from disclosing the atrocities they had witnessed. There are some parallels here.

These persons in the letter to Timothy, the Ephesians, had been "branded" in their conscience. These Ephesians, completely unaware of their own lies and hypocrisy, had begun to teach contradictory laws and created rules for men to follow that were out of step with truth. They had lost their first love and had, in their midst, false apostles who demanded their loyalty. The Ephesians had once again became enslaved to the law and welcomed these false apostles and prophets for a time. For this reason Paul requested Timothy to stay and try to correct things in Ephesus. 

When one is branded with a hot iron, the nerves  become dead and the area becomes numb. In this writing, in Timothy, Paul refers to this branding being of their entire conscience. The effect was a numbing of their conscience to the point they no longer registered the atrocities being committed right before their eyes. They became willfully ignorant and blind to them and no longer cared about the trail of damaged souls left in their wake. They lost all ability to show empathy or care.There is a great deal of similarity between the ABC and Ephesus.

In Exodus 13:9, just before the escape from Egypt and slavery, it speaks about the law being imprinted, or "branded", on the hand or between the eyes (on the forehead) of those enslaved who were fleeing Egypt. This was to be a memorial to them. 

This was before the curse of the law of Moses was given. It was before even the ten commandments were known. The only law that existed at that time was an unwritten law passed down through the generations from Abraham's time. The Lord's law.

And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

Juxtapose this with a similar "brand", at the end of days, when men will once again become enslaved, just like the Israelites. The Israelites escaped this bondage in Egypt, became enslaved to the law then once again became enslaved, this time in  Babylon, drawn in by its beauty. 

Revelation speaks about the antichrist causing those who follow to have an imprint, a "brand", placed on their hand or on their forehead. This is a "brand" of enslavement to a "hidden Babylon" and is the polar opposite to the memorial "brand" of freedom which ended the captivity in Egypt.  

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

While some will disagree, not all things written in Revelation are to be taken literal. The Israelite people did not receive a literal "brand" or tattoo on their hand and forehead, it was a figurative "brand"  as a memorial. In Revelation, this too, is a figurative "brand" placed on the conscience, or soul, of an individual. It depicts an enslavement to "Hidden Babylon".

Mankind has been watching and waiting for "the antichrist" to show for centuries but the spirit of the antichrist is already here. It has been for centuries. The common theme among most Christian sects is the antichrist will be a person in the flesh that will rise up to take over every government in the world,  they will then control the entire globe through physical branding and a physical enslavement. Having worked in three levels of government, over a period of thirty years, I can tell you this; governments are not that efficient. Nations do not work together well when not allied during war. There are too many hurdles for this to happen in a literal sense

This scripture is a parable of sorts and the "mark" is  a figurative mark, not a literal "branding" or mark. It is the "brand" given to those who have enslaved themselves to the spirit of the antichrist rather than having a memorial of becoming free "branded" on their hands and mind. 

When concepts are spoken in parables there are  words attached such as, "If any man have an ear, let him hear." These words are attached to this story of the "mark" in Revelation.

This mark in Revelation is just like the figurative mark given to the Israelite people when they fled bondage, but is instead a mark of entering bondage rather than a memorial to freedom. This mark, placed on the hand or the forehead, symbolizes dead works or false teaching and prophesy. This is the anti-mark to the memorial of freedom given to the Israelites. 

We are given a huge clue about the substance of this mark in the wording that directly follows. Not all are able to hear this and understand.

Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

There are two other places we find this exact same number. It is in the book of First Kings and Second Chronicles. Both of these places read nearly identical and both refer directly to the riches of Solomon that caused him to turn away from God, become an idolator and an oppressor of his own people.

The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold...

It is not a coincidence the number of the "mark of the beast" correlates with the number associated with Solomon's wealth building when he, in a degraded and idol worshiping state, sought his own devices, rather than God's mercy and truth. This is the part we must hear and understand. It is a compact statement that must be extensively unpacked.

Solomon became the builder of the temple when David failed the test and was rejected by God. After building the temple, Solomon gave himself privilege and status and took control of the treasury to enrich himself with money, wives, horses... Solomon then fell into a steep decline and, during this period of decline, began to tax the people he ruled in such a manner that his income would equate to exactly 666 talents of gold yearly. This is the number of mankind spoken about in Revelation. This numbering system of words was common in ancient languages. 

In today's currency Solomon's income would be about one billion dollars per year. More than a person would ever need for personal sustenance. This was all about power and control. Ego. Enslavement. Solomon enslaved his own people to build the temple then used the temple for his own worldly gain. Solomon received money from outsiders, but this was not included in the sum of talents that equaled to six-hundred and sixty-six yearly. This number was deliberate and symbolic.

Deuteronomy laid down some of the rules for a king. Solomon broke them all.

"The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again." He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.

Juxtapose this now with Revelation, which uses a great deal of figurative language regarding horses, the bride replaced by a harlot, and gold. These were the root of Solomon's sins. Horses, wives and gold led him astray. That takes some deep analysis to understand, and most of the verbiage is figurative and not literal.

Money is often associated with decline. Money is the root of all evil. Think of how Jesus whipped the money changers at the temple who were selling doves used as a sacrifice of forgiveness. A lamb was required as a sacrifice for sin but, if one were poor, a cheap dove could be sacrificed instead. These money changers, buying and selling sacrifices, were actually preying on the poor,  denying them forgiveness without them first paying tribute.

...he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

"and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

If we are of God, we have a foundation which contains a seal; "The Lord knows those who are his..." It is a memorial just like the Israelite people received on their hand and forehead.  If we are of the spirit of the antichrist, we are instead "branded" with the mark of a man. We are told we must rely on an outside money changer to worship God properly or find forgiveness. We are taken captive then led to believe, just like Solomon, we have special privilege. That didn't work for the Jews that sought out John the Baptist, feeling their association with the lineage of Abraham gave them special privilege. It didn't.

The physical Babylon seemed a beautiful place to the Israelites, but it was really a place of bondage, enslavement. So, too, is Hidden Babylon. It appears attractive, feels right, but it is a trap that enslaves.

God is not a brand. God set the Israelites free and set a memorial of that freedom. He set us free but man often seeks out bondage again, once freed. The Israelites ended up enslaved again in a visible Babylon. We, too can become enslaved again by a Mystery, or a Hidden Babylon.

The buying and selling referred to in Revelation is not the purchase of lettuce and toilet paper for our homes. It is the  erecting of a false external temple, real or virtual. It is the belief we must worship at a certain place and time and must find our forgiveness there. It is the establishing of false prophets and apostles to rule over our false temple, real or virtual. It is allowing these false apostles to seek earthly gain from a tax on the people.

It is this "branding" that leads us down a destructive path and enslaves us to an entity, rather than to righteousness and to God. It is this "brand" that stipulates where we must worship God. There is nowhere in this universe where God isn't. We can worship God from the deepest hell, although I don't recommend it.

The kingdom of God is within us. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are created in God's image. If someone says, go here, go there, don't believe it. Walk the other way since they speak by the spirit of the antichrist. The number 666 in Revelation is a clue for us to look back at Solomon's degraded state, his abuses of power, his taking of wealth from the people, his enslavement of people to build the temple of God then using it to enrich himself. It is a warning not to follow in the same path. Juxtapose that to the memorial of freedom given to God's people when God freed them from Egypt. He gave them just ten commandments but they demanded to be enslaved under a law because ten was just too nebulous. This mark of six-hundred and sixty-six spoken about in Revelation is upon our soul, upon our conscience and not upon our flesh. The Ephesians failed this test miserably, so has the ABC.

The ABC regards itself as being "outside of Mystery Babylon", denies Christ came in the flesh and  condemns as a blasphemer those who speak such things. These are the marks of the spirit of the antichrist working in their midst.This is evidence they are deceivers with mysteries and things hidden.

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

Mystery Babylon is  alleged to be the Catholic Church which sits on  seven hills in Rome, her daughters being the mainstream denominational churches born from her. This is convenient, but not necessarily true. It doesn't account for the many non-Christian religions not born from the Catholic church. It is a ruse intended to avoid the truth that the avoidance of Mystery Babylon is pointed directly at us as individuals, not at "them somewhere out there". 

If this concept were true, the ABC is a daughter of Mystery Babylon as the lineage can be directly traced back to Broadway Tabernacle in Seattle, an Assembly of God affiliate. Nearly all of the study materials used in the ABC were developed by James A Watt, pastor of Broadway Tabernacle in Seattle. 

The ABC is an incorporated denomination just like all other denominations. This is an unavoidable fact. If this Mystery Babylon teaching is then correct, as taught, the ABC is just as much a daughter of Babylon as all the rest of those denominations they look down on and declare to be evil. 

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians; "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." that's exactly what he meant.  Come out. Be separate. 

We are all individually a temple of the Holy Spirit and our very life is a worship of God. We can fellowship where we will but should not enslave ourselves again to false temples, apostles or prophets.

The ABC seeks to build large phylacteries of Greek knowledge, institute rules that are burdensome, reverts to old laws that were done away with at Jesus death, builds wealth through a tax, passes eternal judgments without looking in the mirror first, and some even try to stand in place of the Chief Shepherd and rob, maim and kill parts of the flock.  These false shepherds enslave sheep with the intent to "brand"  with a hidden "brand" that demands absolute loyalty to them rather than to God. We belong to God. They require their followers to look the other way when atrocities are committed and to stay silent under threat of similar treatment. Those who choose to leave the ABC are considered as dead and no longer worth their time. Unless it is to try to woo the person back in. If you are not within the walls of the ABC, it is assumed you are no longer seen by God as righteous. Those who speak of these abuses are defamed. 

This does not hold up in the light of the fact there is a number that cannot be counted before the throne at the end of time. Compare that with the few hundred of the ABC. Their numbers are not even close to innumerable.

I hope with these recent changes perhaps the culture of the ABC will change. But it has been more than fifty years of a few ingrained false abusive doctrines so it is not likely. Time will tell.


Sheep and Goats and Seeds and Weeds

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.  Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.  Then he told them many things in parables, saying:  

“A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

The  premise is simple. All of the seed was good, some of the ground was not. The rest of the story is about crop yield. In the days before supermarkets, with their ability to import fresh food from around the world, local yield was a very big deal. If crops did not properly yield locally, people could starve and potentially die.

There is more to this story however. The sower parable was just the introduction and must be read along with the following parable to be fully understood. 

In the sower parable Jesus focused on the entire world as one huge field in which seed has been scattered. In the next parable, often called “the parable of the weeds”, Jesus now speaks only about the "kingdom of heaven (or God) or "the good ground". This is the ground that will actually produce an increase or crop yield. On the rest of the ground that was not "good", everything died or was eaten. 

In the first parable Jesus speaks of a physical territory, the world, but in the second he speaks of an invisible kingdom without natural walls or borders.

 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time, I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

In the "parable of the weeds" all of the plants are growing in good soil. We know from the parable of the sower these plants are thriving to varying degrees, thirty, sixty or a hundredfold, yet, in the kingdom of God or heaven, an  enemy has  crept in unawares and cast weed seed into this field of good soil. This is not the path, this not the rocky place and this not the place of thorns. This is not "out there somewhere". This is the good ground, inside the kingdom of God. Weeds are growing right next to the wheat, right up until the day of harvest. The ground is good, but not all of the crop has value. The disciples, in their fervor, wanted to go pull these weeds but Jesus told them, no, just let them all grow together on that same good ground. He cautioned if they tried to uproot them, they would, for certain, uproot good seed as well.

I divert now away from this field to a pasture full of sheep and goats. 

Matthew wrote:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

Here is a quick test. Below are pictures of two animals. Which one is a sheep, and which one is a goat? 


The sheep we see roaming fields today (below) have been hybridized and domesticated for maximum wool production and bear little resemblance to the sheep of Jesus day. 

The sheep and goats of Jesus day, as shown in the A/B illustration above, looked remarkably similar. These similar looking animals would be placed together in the same pasture where the sheep would graze on the low grass and the goats would forage through the taller stuff. Combining sheep and goats in one field allowed all of the available food in a pasture to be picked clean. 
Goats can be useful when pastured with sheep, but there are over one thousand breeds of sheep and goats and it can sometimes take an expert to determine whether an animal is a sheep or a goat. Especially if the sheep has recently been shorn. Sometimes that determination can only be made by smell. Goats have a definite smell, most have hair, rather than wool but, when passing large herds through a gate,  identification must be made quickly and the goats must be diverted from the sheepfold on the spot. That takes a good eye, an expert and a specialist, a Chief Shepherd trained to know the difference. Hirelings were not trained to know the difference.
When Matthew wrote this he was speaking to people who  understood this fact, but this is lost to us in our modern supermarket world. Some confuse this statement to mean some are meek, like sheep, and some are stubborn, like goats, but that is not the point. The point of the statement was not even that sheep are good and goats are bad. Goats are just as useful as sheep. The statement is illustrating there is one who stands at the gate making the decision on who can enter as a sheep and that person is the Chief Shepherd.

We are, none of us, professionals, none of us Chief Shepherds. None of us "stand at the gate" to separate sheep and goats at the last day and we certainly don't have that job today. In fact, as I will show, there is one who stands guard at the gate, but not even this person is allowed to determine if an animal is a sheep or a goat. It is not our responsibility to separate sheep and goats, not now, not ever, because we too are just sheep...or perhaps a goat. A few may be present as hirelings, but there is only one true Chief Shepherd. All others portraying themselves as Chief Shepherds are fakes, thieves and robbers.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the gatekeeper opens.

We often read these words in the gospel of John, as a "salvation" message. It is often stated Jesus is the narrow door to salvation we must enter and not try to enter by another way,  but read it again carefully here.

"he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the gatekeeper opens.

The sheep are already in the sheepfold. It is the Chief Shepherd who stands at the door waiting for the gatekeeper to open.  This is not about sheep waiting to get in. The sheep are already there, waiting for the true shepherd and the  gatekeeper will only open the door to the true shepherd. Anyone else pretending to be a Chief Shepherd  will be denied entrance and if they do choose to enter, they will need to find an illegitimate way in. Undoubtedly their motive is to steal, kill and maim. 

Some think exceeding their authority is a way to protect the sheep and they are doing God service. The truth is they are actually thieves, robbers, and potentially even murderers. When the scriptures reference "false Christs" in the last days, it is speaking of these false shepherds, these inward ravening wolves who put on sheep's clothing to appear righteous, then enter the sheepfold by way of deceit and subterfuge to steal, maim and kill sheep.

We are not to weed out that which we think is bad seed because we will destroy the good in the process. We are not harvesters and have no authority to bundle and burn what we think are weeds. We are not the Chief Shepherd with the authority to determine who is a sheep and who is a goat. At our very best, we can be a hireling, but a hireling merely stands watch over the sheep and waits for the return of the chief shepherd. The hireling may even run the other way, and abandon the sheep, should wolves appear. The hireling has no stake in the life of the sheep. When danger appears they may respect their own life over that of the sheep. A hireling is hired to assure the safety of the sheep. They will be held accountable for any loss.

Some leaders in the ABC, and similar churches, believe they have the power to separate sheep and goats present day. They believe they have the power to remove weeds from the wheat before the harvest in the present day. They believe they have the power to pass "eternal judgments" on anyone they choose at any time.  We have been warned against this. 

“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.”  

We are not to pass a judgment, and especially not an eternal judgement, on anyone. Peter wrote to those who were hirelings to tell them the best we can accomplish is to shepherd the sheep by example and never by lording over the sheep. One could add here, we should not be beating sheep with the rod or the staff. David got it right in the twenty-third Psalm. "...thy rod and staff comfort me." The rod and the staff are for comfort, not punishment. If we wish to be fervent in a belief, we should have fervent charity...for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. If we are going to provoke one another we should provoke one another to love and good works.

In the universal sense, we are all simply nobodies. All of us. None is elevated above another. Salvation is without effort. If we seek a reward, that comes from our labors but, if we do not labor, salvation is assured but with no reward. More on that later.

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
I have already written about "God's building" many times so I won't belabor that point here again except to say God's fields, God's sheep and God's building are  all equivalents. Just different metaphors for the same idea.

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth. Miss that point and you miss it all. All those weeds the disciples wanted to pluck up and burn, who is to say they were not just a stalk of wheat producing at thirty-fold instead of one-hundred fold? It still has value and the loss is still  great.

We must never forget the foundation of God has this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His... We don't know who are his. Only the Lord knows who are his. If we decide, we may be wrong because we are not experts.

If we take on the role of removing bad seed we run the risk of destroying wheat. For that, we will incur a debt to God, the landholder. The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. It does not belong to us. We are only residents for a time. If we attempt  to enter the sheepfold, as a false shepherd, and cull or beat the sheep, we are thieves and robbers, potentially murderers. None of us has the authority to stand at the gate and decide who is a sheep and who is a goat. It is not our job now and it never will be since we are not qualified. If we take on this role, we are a false Christ, a false Chief Shepherd and we are working in the spirit of the antichrist.
"B" is a Jacob sheep. An ancient breed.
"A" is a Cashmere Goat which has a wool coat,
 rather than hair, but is still a goat. 

Did you get it right? 
When Jesus repeated this parable a second time, he now began to call himself "the door". All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be kept safe and will go in and out and find pasture.  
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe. Pr. 18
While they are not specifically mentioned here, Jesus is referring to the Scribes and the Pharisee, the religious leaders of his day, as the ones who are thieves and robbers. These are those who steal, kill and maim. 
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 
A wolf in sheep's clothing, is not referring to a canine wolf that has somehow skinned a sheep and cloaked itself in the skin. Wolves in nature do not do this, ever. Jesus is referring to those who dressed themselves in the expensive finery of wool clothing then attempted to appear pious when really they were preying upon people's curiosities and fears. These were the religious leaders of Jesus day. These were the ones who through pride and ego, or by pursuit of sordid gain, enticed sheep away from the  safety of the sheepfold then captured them in their own enclosure. Here the sheep are held captive, unable to leave and find green pasture. Unable to enjoy the freedom in Christ Jesus. 
The freedom we have allows us to enter and exit the sheepfold and go out into green pastures. The sheepfold of the Pharisees is an enclosure with a locked door where sheep are held captive while heavy burdens are inflicted. The Pharisees had one standard for themselves and another standard for "the laity" they captured. One only need read all of Matthew 23 to get a good picture of who the Pharisees were.

 "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Persons acting like these Pharisees have ambushed members of the ABC for decades. I write these words here on my site today, but I am not saying anything different than I did nearly fifty years ago. I had many conversations with Ramon A Haas, the founder of the ABC, and my father, about this subject. When I was asked to the IHOP by the "evangelist" Andy Atwell under the premise they planned to "talk" to a man named Wayne and accuse him of "blasphemy", I made it clear then I had seen a lot of damage done to many people, over many decades, by these unjust judgments followed by disciplines based on the "shepherding movement" precedents and I would not support the discipline, I would only support the truth. I have had this conversation with numerous "leaders" in the ABC over many years.  The "shepherding movement" has been proven false by many all across the globe. Yet this scenario will still play itself out in the ABC, and in many other religious organizations across the globe. It is wrong.
When I was personally ambushed, by men acting  like Pharisees, it was over one simple sentence in reply to a question. For this I was then burdened eternally with the label of "blasphemer" and everyone I knew in my life was told I was evil and to never speak to me again. There have been others before me that have been labeled in the same manner. As you will see, these men, having taken undue power and control, feel their enclosure is the kingdom of God. It is not. These men do not inflict themselves with this same burden, just like the Pharisees did not.
The chief person at this ambush told me I had "nearly blasphemed the Holy Spirit, thus, there was a justification for passing an "eternal judgement" on my soul. It was "part of our foundation", he stated, therefore every judgment he made was "eternal". I assume this justification was based on this piece of Hebrews, just after listing the foundation blocks. I can't account for this man's thinking other than to say it is falsehood.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

The person making this accusation had previously given a teaching, not once, but many times, that God's forgiveness, the blood of Christ, was of no effect unless a "brother" first acted as intermediary to pray and request God to give us forgiveness for a sin. This would be equivalent to shoving aside our mediator, Jesus, and would make  his death and resurrection of no value.  In effect, this was a "trampling" of the blood of Christ, a disavowing of the propitiation available to us by our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. It was an untruth that tore at the very heart of Jesus purpose on earth.

I went to this person privately, in an attempt to show him the error of his words, but was angrily shut down. The response I got back fell just short of being called a fool. I was told I could not possibly know and understand so, I just let it go and waited. 

Weeks later, this same person was confronted in a meeting by a number of people when trying to teach this same doctrine again. This time it was more than one voice speaking and he was willing to repent of his wrong position. No one ever once accused this man of blasphemy, or called him to an ambush to accuse. No one made phone calls to separate him from his friends. No one condemned his soul for all of eternity.  Even though, in essence, this was a "trampling" of the blood of Christ and was indeed "blasphemy" if one wants to attach a label to it.

After the ambush I sent a letter to this person to remind him of the grace he had once been given when he had essentially nullified the propitiation of Christ with this piece of false doctrine. (Part of my letter is shown below.)  I felt it my duty to remind him of how effective the grace of God can be since grace, meekness, mercy and truth had obviously escaped him. 

Click to Enlarge

We know, from later in the letter to the Hebrews, this could be a serious offense.

Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”

It was stated at the ambush, I had, by one single sentence, almost blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Even though, when truly evaluating my statement in context, it was fully true. It is those who deny Christ came in the flesh who are of the spirit of the antichrist, not those who state he needed to learn obedience as a child, just like any other child. 

So, if one were to get literal, and very technical, this man's teaching could be considered to be a trampling of the Son of God underfoot, counting the blood of the covenant to be common and the propitiation and priesthood of Jesus to be of no effect. This entire teaching could have been considered blasphemy. But this man was not treated in the same manner as me because in the Pharisaical system his "ministry" exists in a double standard. This man had an elevated and favored position by the apostle, Gilbert Larson, so he was not ever challenged. The Corinthians found themselves in a similar state where they had become divided into the "approved" and the "disapproved".  

What happens to this man's soul is not my decision to make. I am not the one who judges this man's soul for the eternal. I cannot bundle this person up as refuse then cast him into the fire. I am not a Chief Shepherd that can decide if this man is a sheep or a goat. I am a nobody and, in that, I find a great deal of peace.“The Lord will judge His people.” 

I do however warn people to stay away from this, and any other, system that allows men such power and privilege that they can kill, maim, destroy and establish a double standard through abusive Pharisaical behavior. This double standard exists in many church organizations and movements throughout the world. 

The ABC has developed it's virtual sheepfold. They have no brick and mortar, but they demand membership inside their virtual walls. They stand along the way calling the unwary in, giving the sense  salvation can only be found through them alone. Once captured they will then bind many burdens on that person and not allow those who have entered to leave and find green pastures. The writer of Acts spoke of this very thing. 

“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.  Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.



"For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."




Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation;  nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”