Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.   Jesus

I sometimes imagine every person walking around with a proverbial righteousness yardstick which they can use to measure others with. For the majority, these sticks are likely about the same, even if the unit of measure is perhaps different, but there are some who feel no one could ever measure up to their own perception of righteousness. These individuals have a very long yardstick they use to judge those around them and these persons feel their yardstick is the only true measure of God’s righteousness. They believe they are capable of judging those around them as righteous or unrighteous, however only God can truly judge. Jesus confronted some of these people in his day and they were called Pharisees. 

The Pharisees were a small group of religious zealots, believed to number about six-thousand, who felt they were the "true Jew". They had great influence over other people because their words, no matter how wrong or oppressive, were believed to be true in spite of offering up no valid proof.  This is because they spoke these words with force and intimidation, were often testy, and their manner made it difficult  to speak against them. They could be very crafty. 

The Pharisee were isolationists who looked down on all others as inferior and felt they alone were the gatekeepers of salvation. The Pharisee devoted more to the study of words and doctrines than to actual care for others so feeding the poor, clothing the unclothed, providing care for the sick and injured was all beneath them. When Jesus came doing these things it was in direct opposition to the Pharisee and placed them in a very bad light. 

The Pharisee considered themselves to be the "called out". Their Aramaic name (Φαρισαῖος) literally means "separated". They ignored the important matters such as justice and mercy, in favor of an exactitude of doctrine through an intense study of the law. Jesus turned the tables on their philosophy of life and, if the manner in which Jesus spoke of and to the Pharisees is any indication, God was not in any way pleased with the way of the Pharisee. Their piety was false.

In Matthew the Pharisees are depicted by Jesus as having these characteristics and more:

  • Hypocrites,
  • Children of hell
  • Blind
  • Whitewashed tombs
  • Brood of vipers
  • Leading people astray
  • Straining out a gnat to swallow a camel
  • Cleaning the outside of the cup while leaving the inside filthy

Jesus told a parable of an encounter with a Pharisee and it is found in the book of Luke:

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”


There can be no assumption of righteousness based on any sort of affiliation with any earthly organization or movement. This Pharisee assumed his position and affiliation with the Pharisee sect brought him some form of overt righteousness above all others. It did not. This man the Pharisee observed in the distance, this tax collector, the Pharisee simply lumped together with extortioners, adulterers and, for good measure, pretty much any other "unjust" man he felt might walk the earth. All evil or deficient persons were equivalent to this tax collector in the view of this Pharisee and he, of course, exempted himself from such scrutiny, so he never measured himself against his own righteousness yardstick. When he looked in the mirror he saw only perfection without blemish. 


This tax collector was likely a man with a very bad job he  inwardly hated.  I once held a position in a government agency under intense scrutiny by prosecutors for fraud and other crimes. I did not know this when I accepted the position, but quickly learned this when I arrived at work about a month into the job, was hustled into an impromptu meeting, and it was announced several of the top officials had just  been arrested that morning for their actions but "we will get through this". They were later convicted and sentenced but their arrest did not change the culture of this agency in any way. Each day I needed to hang my moral compass at the door, hold my nose, and just do my job. I held a lot of power over people's lives in my position. Lives that had already been destroyed by serious injury. The modus operandi of this agency was to deny everything, in any way they could, then let the lawyers fight it out in court. I had an attorney assigned to me and was expected to keep them busy. The fight could take years and meanwhile people lost their homes, their vehicles, their savings and ended up homeless when their resources ran out. The blame for this was always shifted elsewhere but it was our actions that so degraded their lives and any attempt on my part to show any mercy or compassion was met with distaste by those above me. What we did as an agency was extremely cruel and we were schooled regularly by management in what was termed "the paper bag test". If you could deny something, even if it was plainly evident it was due the person, and did not need to wear a paper bag over your head when you left work that day, do it. Perhaps this tax collector found himself in a similar position. I had obligated myself in writing for a year when I accepted the position and when my year was done I was too.

This Pharisee was likely not far off base in his outward assessment of this tax collector's character, but he had no way to see this man's heart to see the real man beneath. A tax collector was often a brute beast who laid waste to people and property in order to extract tax money. This is what was expected of him, it was just part of the job. A tax collector was much like a shakedown artist not far from what is depicted as an “enforcer” in mob movies. One who collects “protection money” for "da boss" and if one chooses not to pay what they owe "da boss", the enforcer would then just breaka their legs. But it was for their own protection, of course, so something worse wouldn't happen to them next time.  That was the life of a tax collector and they were generally hated among the population.  All tax collectors were considered unscrupulous simply by association with the position, even if they were doing their job fairly.  Many were thieves, skimming taxes off the top, then overcharging citizens to cover their tracks. We can see this in the story of Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, who became very wealthy by way of fraud and intimidation but had a change of heart:

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Jesus was able to look up into that tree and see this man Zacchaeus had a good heart.  The Pharisee, on the other hand, just like the rest of us, saw only the outer representation of the man and could not read his heart. To the Pharisee this man was just a tax collector, a cheat, a thief, potentially even had murdered in the process of his job. He was not worth much to the peace and safety of society so he instantly judged and rejected him. But to God this tax collector in the parable was a good man inside and had found his way to a point of contrition. It is he who was honored by God that day, not the one who had isolated himself from the rest of the "riff-raff" and devoted his life to an ultra-literal interpretation of all things with a false show of piety. 

This Pharisee scoffed at this tax collector without investigation then prayed and boasted to himself about his own perceived righteousness. The tax collector, in a moment of true humility, momentarily acknowledged his absolute nothingness directly to God, not even lifting his face because he was such a broken man. He had likely kept a tough facade on the exterior throughout his career but was secretly  keeping score of his own failings deep inside. He may have been a brute on the outside but he still had a conscience. The Pharisee was a brute in other ways and lacked any conscience. He too kept score, but he kept score of others failings and never his own. Undoubtedly he was able to "find a law" that would justify his heart of stone feelings toward this tax collector and kept his distance from this tax collector, thinking himself to be a “man of God”, this tax collector unworthy of his very presence. He was likely worried he might become stained by him should he get too close. Avoid all appearance of evil was likely on his mind when he rejected him in this way.  We read how Jesus was put down for being too close to those felt to be of no value. Jesus would have stayed at this tax collector's house, taken a meal with him, cared for the wounds of his soul, just like he did with Zacchaeus. Jesus hung with a crowd most considered to be "low lifes" and "sinners", not those who basked in their own self-righteousness and seemed pious.

This Pharisee felt his actions of "faith" and "piety" proved his closeness to God but, in truth, the Pharisee was nothing but air and a facade. Less than zero since his actions of false piety were actually causing him to be indebted at the end of his earthly journey. When he saw this man, this tax collector, he didn't provide aid and comfort to him, he instead whipped out his extra tall yardstick of scriptural knowledge, keeping in mind his own "righteous" life, then began to size him up with his imagined shortness of righteousness, further boosting his own bloated ego in the process, making him feel tall. Without ever measuring himself, he declared his own righteousness to be far above that of the tax collector. He declared this to himself because did all the right things. He fasted regularly, score, tithed on his gross income and then some more, score, undoubtedly made long loud flowing prayers in the street in perfect vernacular as a show of his fervent religious “faith” toward God. Score again.  Undoubtedly he was a great scholar of the law, studied the  scrolls religiously and precisely in the Aramaic language and knew the mind of God perfectly. Score yet again. He could probably recite the prophets and poets verbatim when it was convenient for him. Double score. He was likely a regular at the temple, perhaps even selling sacrifices to the poor to save them some time as they entered seeking forgiveness. Huge score for the win! He was proud of his pious nature and this Pharisee saw his judgement on the tax collector as his duty. He was assured within himself he was doing God service. He wasn't. This Pharisee’s god could only be viewed in a mirror. This poor tax collector, expected to measure up to this Pharisee’s self-righteousness, perhaps felt himself a fraud at that moment, one who would fall far short of this Pharisee's standards of religiosity and knowledge. But simply by his momentary contrition it was he, the tax collector, who walked away from that place standing tall in the eyes of God. The Pharisee only acquired more debt, payable at the end.

No one can possibly measure up to this Pharisee's self-righteousness yardstick because it is impossibly tall. This Pharisee never held this yardstick to his own life because deep down he knew he could not measure up to the righteousness he boasted to have attained. It was all whitewash. This made him far worse than a hypocrite because this Pharisee, lifted up with pride, had a haughty spirit. It is these two things, pride and a haughty spirit which make up the recipe of destruction of one's self.  Jesus, a man who never wore flowing robes, never sought a position in the temple, professed affiliation with no earthly structure, lived a homeless existence, broke the law of Moses on a regular basis, and did not fit into any mold of a religious person, did not like Pharisees.



If Jesus was right, and I tend to think he was, the righteousness yardstick we carry and measure others with is the exact same yardstick we will be held to account with on the day of our judgment. Many on that day, when measured with the yardstick they carried in their life, will not  measure up and will be found wanting. A little humility can go a very long way to make one stand tall in the eyes of God. Carrying a very short yardstick through life can be a wonderful thing for a person in the end when they are placed against it to see if they stand tall or are lacking. 

For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For each one shall bear his own load.   From the Letter to the Galatians

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.  From the Letter to the Romans

In a letter written to the Romans (text shown later); Paul begins by juxtaposing Jews and Gentiles and the opportunity he believes each has for salvation. It's a bit of a word salad but this text addressed some of the degrading issues in the area at the time. It appears perhaps some were expressing prejudice against either Jew or Gentile, feeling they were the ones more accepted by God than the other side. This problem with sorting the "approved" and "disapproved" continues in our world today and is even the cause of some wars.  

There is some acknowledgement in this text God selected the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the first to receive the commandments, then the law, but all of that ended under the new covenant. All became equal at Christ's death and resurrection and there is no longer any Jew or Gentile. 

Abraham, and his forbears until the time of Moses, lived by faith, and not by direct commandment or written law. For a time mankind even lived without any law and simply did what seemed right in their own eyes.  Jesus returned us to the original state of living strictly by faith, not by law, and things have now returned to be just like in the days of Abraham, except we have an eternal sacrifice now and need no longer sacrifice bulls and goats daily. It was hardness of heart that brought about the law. The law was a curse and not part of the original design. There is evidence the prophets of old came speaking of this but they found themselves cast out and killed by zealots, like the Pharisees of Jesus day, instead of being listened to. But I've drifted slightly from the main topic. 

The primary message here is this. There is none that is righteous. This statement from Romans, shown below in CAPS, was extracted very loosely from writings in the book of Isaiah.  Jew, Greek, Roman, Gentile, male, female, rich, poor, young, old...there is not a single righteous person living on earth. None. Not then, not now, not ever. I'm not, you're not, we are all unrighteous, just like that tax collector who found righteousness only through his inaction and a heart of contrition. No one is capable of being as righteous as the Pharisee assumed himself to be.  He was worshiping his god in the mirror, all the while thinking he was worshiping the God in heaven. He wasn't, even though the masses caused him to feel accepted in his manner of self-worship. A Pharisee spent his days seeking an ever finer point to the understanding of God but it was a vain pursuit. It is why Jesus spoke of them straining out the gnats while they swallowed camels. Granular thinking behavior was their specialty and it was a behavior Jesus found detestable.

The yardstick we each carry is just another piece of wood that decorates our home. It will in the end, after we have been held to its measure, burn. It has absolutely no value to us and should be ignored, stowed away and not ever used. I quote below from the amplified bible, not generally a version I prefer, but I use it here because it elaborates this statement to the Romans well.

There is none righteous [none that meets God’s standard], not even one. There is none who understands,there is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have become useless;There is none who does good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open grave; They [habitually] deceive with their tongues. The venom of asps is beneath their lips.
Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and they have not known the path of peace. There is no fear of God [and His awesome power] before their eyes.
Paul stated this in a rather hyperbolic manner, intending to drive home a point. Paul, by nature, was a fervent man given to bold statements in his writings and it appears he was one who worked hard to restrain this fervent nature at times but was unsuccessful. I believe this fervent nature is what he considered his "thorn". But we can glean much from his writings and the fact remains we are all unrighteous in a form, but we are not completely unrighteous before God. We have been made righteous, without our effort, through the prism of the propitiation for our sin. Yet still, there are none who can, on their own, meet God's standards. No matter their actions, devices or assumed perfect granular doctrine. None. When we hold up a righteousness yardstick of our own making then judge others by their outward appearance we are deceiving ourselves. Only God knows the heart, only the Chief Shepherd is allowed to separate sheep and goat, the foundation of God is solid having this seal "The Lord knows those who are his". When we judge another man's salvation by our own standards, what follows is vanity, deceit, lies, bitter words, bloodshed, destruction and mischief. God can save who he will, no matter the rules, laws and processes we decide to put in place. This is the very trap this Pharisee had fallen into. He became so convinced he stood at the gate and had the keys to righteousness, to the exclusion of all those he found distasteful, which was pretty much anyone outside his sect, he elevated himself to a position he should not ever inhabit. It's a long fall from there. 
I witnessed a great deal of this granular, separatist, isolationist, doctrine and thinking in my time in the ABC. The separatist, doctrinal adamant way of the Pharisee is a core doctrine of the ABC and creates exclusion and isolation from others deemed to be less. The ABC is a school for pharisaic thinking. This crooked path it leads one through obscures the sight and those who stay on this path soon find themselves  blinded to the false judgments they make of others. Some begin to feel, just like this Pharisee, God is on their side due to their affiliation and advanced granular knowledge. They then feel free to judge others at will because, like the Pharisee, they believe they have a more perfect knowledge. They begin to feel, wrongly, they have become the holder of truth because they have sought out the "higher, deeper things of God" and thus have this more perfect knowledge they can wield like a sword of words. It is arrogance and pride. Our only path is to accept we are lowly, none are righteous without intervention of the propitiation, and we all know nothing. Below is a small bit of Psalm 5. I encourage a person to read the entire Psalm. David, a very imperfect man after God's own heart, wrote of this contrition. 

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
When I was ambushed, the "judgment" passed on me was declared to be "eternal" since, and I quote, "eternal judgment is a part of our foundation". But so is "repentance", so is "faith". This is an arrogant falsehood and Pharisaical thinking that leads to an attitude of non-repentance.  Looking beyond the foundations there are greater things than "eternal judgment". Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, meekness... We cannot dwell in our foundation, we can only dwell in the house built on that foundation. Our foundation is not intended as a basement to inhabit since our foundation is solid stone and uninhabitable. When one wrongfully, and disgracefully, passes an "eternal judgment" on another person they have forgotten the weightier matters of the law and are exhibiting hardness of heart. True justice, true mercy and pure faithfulness are the most important things, judgment is not. Mercy will always triumph over any judgment we make. This judgment on my soul, even it were valid, is of no effect and is the vain ramblings of a Pharisee. It is vain words because they are triumphed by any necessary mercy. True eternal judgment is that point at which we are measured against the righteousness yardstick we carried and measured others with. Eternal judgment is seeing if we measure up to our own words and judgments. By our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned. True "eternal judgment" is not the passing of an eternal sentence on another person, as this Pharisee did. All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth and the royal law supersedes everything else. Everything.  This is unquestionable.
This parable speaks not only of judging a brother, but also the judging of all other persons, like this tax collector, who inhabit the world around us. This is a very hard truth for a blind and deaf Pharisee to accept, but it is truth.
Later Paul admonishes the Romans: For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 
I repeat now the words of Jesus when he  warns us to hold a very short yardstick: Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.   Jesus 
The just will live by faith. Faith is nothing if love is not coupled with it. Together faith and love equal righteousness and it is this coupling together of faith and love that protects the heart of man, not knowledge and action as this Pharisee wrongly assumed. 


It's No Secret, the Wise and the Foolish Watch the Same Exact Road

In Proverbs 9 there is a tale of two women; a "foolish woman" and a “wise woman”.  The foolish woman calls to persons passing by promising them stolen water and secret bread. This foolish woman does not legitimately have these things in her possession and makes this offer to be tantalizing and appeal to the curiosity of mankind. She is successful at drawing in persons to her lair but, once this person enters, she captures them to herself, leaving them in worse shape than when they first arrived. These persons are then likely not able to finish their journey with strength after having been taken captive by this foolish woman.  

A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple, and knows nothing. For she sits at the door of her house, on a seat by the highest places of the city, to call to those who pass by, who go straight on their wayWhoever is simple, let him turn in here”; and as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.

On the other hand, the wise woman has busied herself making bread, mixing wine, furnishing a real table and sends out maidens to invite others in for  true, not stolen, sustenance. She herself is also crying out from the highest place, offering prepared food and drink to any who choose to show up. When these travelers arrive, they eat, drink and rest before continuing  on their journey of pursuing wisdom and embracing understanding.

Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; she has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine, she has also furnished her table. She has sent out her maidens, she cries out from the highest places of the city, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.

Compare the visual of the foolish woman to that of the wise woman. The stories are very similar, nearly alike actually, but there are a couple small, but crucial, differences between the two. I have underlined and bolded these similarities and differences since these are the most important elements of this poetically phrased parable.

The foolish woman is like those who promise things they cannot truly deliver, but draw in converts and capture souls to themselves with lies, deceits and a facade. Those who are like the foolish woman offer up tantalizing knowledge they only pretend to have. The foolish woman presents a facade of being a place of peace, a place where one can find truth and understanding but, in fact, she is as one who presides over the dead and those who enter become captive guests of hell, just like herself.

The wise woman, on the other hand, does not capture souls to herself, she does not hold them to her will, she serves exactly what she has promised, a bread of truth and wisdom, a drink of mixed wine that soothes the soul, a full spread to nourish and build up, and a place of peace, safety, comfort and rest. The wise woman sends these travelers back on their way fully refreshed and does not demand their money, dedication or capture.

Both the wise and the foolish woman call to the same simple people on their way but only one, the foolish woman, tantalizes with a promise of "stolen water" and "secret bread". This foolish woman sits by the high place, not in it. She promises mysteries of God with secrecy but cannot deliver. She does not belong in the high place and cannot enter. She pretends she belongs there, and her intent is to proselytize the unwary so she can ensnare their soul. She delivers food which does not nourish, offers stolen water from a tainted well, and gives nothing of value that will serve a person’s needs. She lives a lie and her home is a facade. The foolish woman entices travelers in much the same manner as the wise woman, but she has no maidens to send and sits alone in her offering up of secret bread and stolen water. Few who enter her gates ever leave because she ensnares their soul with lies and secrets. The wise woman sits in the highest place because this is where she belongs and she is only offering truth.

As Jesus traveled about with his ragtag bunch of “sinners” and “lowlifes” he did not capture men and women of great esteem who would then build him a physical church, temple or tabernacle dedicated to his memory. When a rich young man called him “good”, Jesus refuted this by saying, "why do you call Me good? No one is good but one, that is God.” Jesus invited people to come listen without judgment, healed their wounds and sickness, fed their bellies, gave them drink to quench their thirst, then sent them on their way fulfilled. He likely did not ever see most who came to him ever again, and found no need to offer up secrets to entice them in. He fulfilled every promise he made to them and spoke to them in parables of illustration to wake their minds to a few simple truths while he fed their needs.

We have today many denominations, churches and Christian movements which build their membership rolls by promising to share  “secrets” of God. But God is not a secret and is, in fact, not far from any person. These secret doctrines offered are based strictly on suppositions, not simplicity. Matthew 24 warns there are many “foolish women” in the world and we should not be enticed by any of them;

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders…

The ways of God are simple, easily understood and are not secret or mysterious wonders or full of signs. The ways of God can be easily learned and do not require hours of study to understand. But don’t take my word for it. Here is but a sample from Psalms and Proverbs:

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Ps. 19

The Lord preserves the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Ps. 116

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Ps. 119

To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple… Pr. 1



Anyone can crack open a book and write down what they read.  Anyone can fill up a phylactery with knowledge and appear wise. Anyone can put together an assortment of scripture together and create a doctrine or two or many. True knowledge comes only from receiving wisdom, the understanding of wisdom and from no other place.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom…but the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.    Letter to James

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.  Proverbs 4

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.  Pr. 14

I have underlined those things in the letter James wrote to the twelve tribes, shown above, which show the true fruit of those who serve up wisdom and understanding on their table. Every one of these things center on three basic traits: humility, peace and mercy. All of the ways of God are peaceful, full of mercy and truth. All! There is no room for judgment at the table of God. If the place in which you stand serves a bread that does not taste of humility, peace and mercy, it is time to assess where you stand.  Knowledge is not equal to wisdom and knowledge  is not equal to the understanding of wisdom. Knowledge puffs up but the wisdom of the Spirit builds.

Einstein was wise when he said, “the pursuit of knowledge is more valuable than its possession.”  We are to be seekers of wisdom, not just pursuer or possessors of vain knowledge.



I occasionally get flyers in the mail promising to show me the mysteries of the end times, or they give me a promise to expose the facts of the creation of the earth. Most allege this creation happened roughly six thousand years ago, or portend the Revelation events are imminent so I must fear what is soon to come. These seminars are intended to invite me in. Fear sells. 

The physical evidence does not usually support their “biblical” interpretation of the Genesis story. Genesis is likely somewhat, or entirely, allegorical and not cleanly historical. Genesis gives us only a very simple outline of this event. An event that likely took place over a much longer time-frame than just six human days. But no one knows for certain how many days, or eons of days, it took for the earth to form and become inhabited. We know very little of this event because we have only this sparse outline in Genesis from which to determine the facts. To be adamant is equal to vanity so we can be adamant on very little.

In my lifetime the “mysteries” I was shown in the ABC regarding the end times did not ever once come to pass. My father definitively “proved” mathematically Jesus would return in his lifetime. This he based on the date Israel regained statehood, but he died nearly four decades ago without any of his Revelation predictions or prophesies coming to pass. Others came after him making similar predictions, which also did not come to pass. I have heard differing tales of trumpets, vials, beasts, horses, angels and the like from multiple sources, inside and outside the ABC. These are always attributed to catastrophic current real life world events, intending to prove we are in the last days, but these dates and events pass with no prediction being fulfilled in the right time-frame. There have been many assumptions made, along with much conjecture of what will transpire in our lifetime, but with no truly valid proof. It has been stated many times, in the last century or so, the antichrist would soon arrive, the earth will fall into a one global government system, with one central bank, and instead of cash, debit or credit cards we would have a mark on our flesh with which to buy things like food, gas and toilet paper. There will be three and  a half years of peace followed by three and a half years of utter chaos. If one were to accept this tattoo with which to buy and sell, they would then lose their eternal salvation. It was once presumed God would bring back manna as we hid in the hills waiting for the very end. Three men were sent into the hills to find a place for us to hide and eat manna but they almost died when they were caught in a blizzard. I heard tales of government plans to imprison those who are “believers”, simply because they follow the words of Jesus. It has been predicted there would be massive death in various forms around the globe very soon. There was even a prophesy by one man that those in San Francisco should run to a particular rock when the imminent falling of California into the ocean occurred. My father showed pictures of the weakening pillars that would soon collapse taking most of California with them. All of these predictions and prophesies went without fulfillment. These things may someday come to pass, who knows, and it may be in our lifetime, or it may not, but it is foolish to make such solid predictions as to when, where, how or even if they will occur.

There have been many “watches” throughout all of history.  The center of power has shifted many times. During these upheavals there has been great tragedy but were not followed up with the coming of Christ. We have no way to know if the “watch” we are in is the final watch. Jesus spoke of this when he said; “And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.” There is a huge etcetera attached to that statement. Society has gone through many periods, or watches, of gradual building up of society with sudden rapid declines; good times followed by very bad times, periods of prosperity followed by days of famine and destruction. This is just the nature of the entire universe. Flux and change, seasons and orbits. Some or all of Revelation may be strictly figurative as well, and for certain not all is meant to be taken literal, and not all necessarily applies to the end of days.  

Each of us are humans frozen in our own space and time. We see what lies ahead and behind through dimmed eyes. Supposition and conjecture about things such as the creation of the earth, or end of days Revelation, while tantalizing and interesting to hear, is nothing more than stolen water and secret bread intended to entice persons in with the intent of capturing their soul. The teachers of these things decry this “secret knowledge” to appear wise when, in truth, they are not possibly expert because true knowledge of these things is completely absent. An expert is one who can speak quite knowledgeably about things of which they truly have no clue. We, as humans, have no solid proof of what came before us and, for certain, we are unable to see what lies around the next bend of time. It is an impossibility. Our vision is much too dim. 

Science is full of individuals making assumptions from experimentation, writing papers, presenting theories from their discoveries, only to have those theories smashed by more solid facts later. The age of mankind is continuously pushed back by new discoveries. Religion too presents its theories and often attaches God's name to them in an attempt to make them irrefutable. But a wise man examines everything for truth and evidence of stolen water and secret bread. 

So the errors remain, as if they are the rock on which was must have faith. If we put our faith in doctrinal sand we will fail. Jesus represented love and tolerance, not formulated doctrine. Love is coupled with faith in the armor of God, the breastplate. Tolerance and love are the royal law and inseparable.

When we try to reveal the secrets and mysteries of God we will always fail because our days are short and numbered, we lack absolute proof of nearly everything, and acquired knowledge from past generations soon fades. There have been many centuries of persons predicting when Jesus will return, always without fulfillment. To seek to know anything perfectly is a loss of faith in the invisible and intangible God. Faith is the opposite of proof.  God is not a bread to be eaten in secret. We need not steal his living water to drink. Those who claim to harbor this bread and water are like the foolish woman because both are free for the asking and not in any way complex, convoluted or mysterious. They are not truths that must be intensely studied to be discerned. The wisdom of God sets one free and does not capture.

The ABC, and other church organizations, declare to understand the mysteries of Creation and Revelation, but these are simply theories intended to tantalize those passing by into believing they have a better or deeper understanding than all others. This is not an uncommon practice. There are several other church organizations in my area, such as Jehovah Witness and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, that regularly conduct similar creation and / or Revelation seminars. These mysteries have no value in building up or edifying one’s soul and they do not bring rest and refreshment. They are essentially “scriptural candy” intended to draw persons in so they can then become ensnared. It's a Pinocchio story. They are like the promise of secret bread and stolen waters made by the foolish woman but the only thing that follows that promise of sweetness is bondage.

Even the writer of Genesis, presumed to be Moses, severely abbreviated the story of Creation because they had no complete account of those days, in any form, written or verbal. Knowledge fades. There is clear evidence the writer of Genesis, written at least two-thousand years after the actual event of creation is considered to have occurred, obtained some or all of their information from ancient Mesopotamian writings once held in libraries that no longer exist. It is difficult to pass information between generations and it is these lost writings, likely imperfect to begin with, that memorialized the Genesis story passed down through history. It is certainly flawed by the abrasions of time itself, so the writer of Genesis spoke in very vague terms. We know this story in Genesis is a grossly abbreviated outline of time because, at a time when there was an account of only four people living on the planet, one of Adam and Eve’s sons was off building a city and had a wife with no record of whence she was even born.  There is much we will never know.


When the Hebrew people could finally leave the captivity of Babylon, many remained. Even though they were still technically enslaved, they were eventually free to go if they chose. But life had become quite comfortable in Babylon, after so many years in captivity. Many, after sixty-six years of captivity, had been born into this bondage and knew of nothing else. Some were simply too old to travel and so remained for the rest of their lives. Some acquired houses, farms, possessions, and even obtained Babylonian government posts. Even their king, who had once been fully imprisoned, joined the royal courts of Babylon when released from his imprisonment. The people, in their heart, had a desire to return to their ancient homeland, but many voluntarily remained in Babylon, in bondage, out of apathy or fear of what lay beyond those walls that enclosed them. The walls made them feel safe from the unknown outside, but it also imprisoned them.

To return to Jerusalem was a trek of over nine-hundred miles on foot. That does not sound far today, with automobiles that travel a mile a minute, and planes that travel at ten times that speed, but to one wandering on foot it was the equivalent of an eighteen-thousand-mile journey at freeway speed, through mostly barren land and desert. That is equivalent to a distance roughly three-quarters of the way around the globe, at the equator, at modern speeds. It is physically about half the distance of the Appalachian Trail, but with very few spots of respite along the way.  It was a months long journey on foot, fraught with many unknown perils.  But God had already led his people through the desert once before and those who did not make it to the Promised Land that time failed only because they did not have faith in God and grumbled once too many. This conflict of thought by the Babylonian captives is memorialized in Psalms 137. It begins;

By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

Some appeared glad on the surface, but were not as glad in their hearts. They sang the songs of Zion in Babylon, and lamented being held captive, but still did not come out of Babylon when they were finally allowed to leave. This was because they had become fully invested in where they dwelt and had set their roots in Babylon, not in a faith in God. In modern science we us the term “Stockholm Syndrome”, which exemplifies this human nature of putting faith in one’s captors, rather than struggling for freedom.

Babylon remains today, but is now a hidden, or a “mystery” Babylon. When the scripture speaks of “Mystery Babylon” it is not speaking of a specific place, church or specific group of people.  It is not a direct condemnation of any denomination, religion, church or movement born out of the “mother of harlots”, considered widely to be the Catholic church.  It is speaking of the “Hidden Babylon” of the heart which keeps a person who has been set free by the propitiation of Christ still enslaved to ritual, dogma, men’s doctrines and false religion. It is a trust in man, rather than a trust in God. They see their capture as a place that will protect them and provide “safety” so to come out of captivity is a scary proposition. It makes God much less tangible and, as tangible humans, we are not always comfortable with the intangible and unknown.

There is only one Chief Shepherd who divides those who are righteous and those who are not. Only the Lord knows those who are His. It is up to each person to determine where their feet stand and it is not for another to judge. If someone crosses our path, it is not incumbent on any of us to demand they follow our same exact path. We are all merely travelers in this same life. 

One must ask themself; is the doctrine they adhere to one of a foolish bondage, like Babylon, or is it a wise freedom, like the spiritual Zion? This is where one must examine themselves to see if their feet stand in true faith on this sometime uncomfortable journey, or in the bondage of Babylon, a sometimes beautiful place filled with creature comforts that hide the actual bondage.  

We do not worship God in any specific place. If someone says, “go here, go there”, to find God, we must not go because God is everywhere. We worship God in a temple made without hands and we, each one of us, can become that temple, God’s building. This is where we must worship. In God’s building. When we think of “church”, where people gather, what we are really describing is “fellowship”, not church or worship. I have stated this many times over the years and always get the same feedback "Well, we come here to worship God too, don’t we?” This after my saying worship happens twenty-four hours per day within us. Of course we are still worshiping God when we fellowship, but that worship is internal, the fellowship is an external building up of each other. It is for us.

The only necessary sacrifice taking place now in our temple is the propitiation, or perpetual sacrifice, of Christ. Fellowship is whenever two or more are gathered, building or none, to comfort each other and build each other up. This is wisdom. It is the foolish woman who condemns, judges harshly and tears down. It is truly that simple.

Churches, denominations, religions, movements all offer differing brands of fellowship and encouragement. Some are like that wise woman that builds up; others like the foolish woman who tears down. The wise provoke to good works, edify a person’s soul with healthy bread, show people the well of living water, invite them to eat and drink freely before they continue on their journey again, without dedication or capture. Those enticed in by the foolish woman will find themselves held in captivity by men’s doctrines, dogmas and statements of a creed to which they must strictly adhere. In the long term they will find this nourishment deficient because the foolish woman delivers a diet that produces a loss of faith and creates extreme apathy, just like those who remained in Babylon. The wise woman provides fellowship that builds up and nourishes the soul and is never a place of captivity.