The Pharisees and I:
A Devotional Approach to Scripture
I have always wondered what the Pharisees would look like today. I always thought about what would happen if I met a modern day Pharisee and had the spirit of Yahshua come over me. What would I do? Would I grab a whip and in righteous anger whip him? Would I cry over the people and tell them to seek Elohim elsewhere? I do not know. But lately that has been on my mind. What if?
It did not take me long before I met my Pharisees. They came in the garb of overly religious, white washed, folk. Of course, they were not your ordinary lay people; these were your overly religious pastors. They walked with an air of damned pride, an air of prestige radiated from them. They wore nice clothes; they had merry, chubby faces. Some were quiet skinny and evil. They came in to church one day with these characteristics; you know, the atmosphere in which Elohim leaves and human guilt presides. Eventually, human guilt ceases in here; they all call it ‘holiness’. Yes, holy people have entered. When they entered I had a most irreligious feeling in my stomach; I do not know where it came from or where it was going. I felt utterly disturbed. Later, I had this irresistible feeling of favor wash over me; it was like white accosting black. It was the spirit of Yahshua. Of course the spirit resting in me rebuked the pride these sensual men bore. I could not resist. I started weeping.
While I was weeping I felt a sense of peace along with righteous, zealous anger. I began praying for the people; the masses were being deceived. I pictured Yahshua crying over his own people. I pictured the scribes, with their so-called secret knowledge (gnosis), desperately searching the Torah and the ‘traditions’ for help against this ‘teacher’ who had come to take their flock away. They have taken the key of knowledge; they have no access to Elohim, and they allow no one else access. I seen the high priest, dressed in expensive priestly garb, raise his scepter and point it vehemently at Yahshua. I saw Yahshua breaking the clueless, people-hating laws of their traditions; He dare dine with ‘unclean’ sinners. I saw Yahshua spit on the ground and mix his spit with dust and spread it on a blind man’s eyes. The people looked at Him as if He had made dung then force another to consume it. They were morbidly horrified! Yahshua was not just ‘unclean’, He was ‘uncleaning’ others with his concoction of earth and tongue!
I saw Yahshua rebuking the Pharisees for their lack of love. For, though they rightly ‘loved’ Elohim, they just hated His creation! I saw the over-governing Sadducees rebuke Yahshua’s teachings about shalom; they wanted to control everything, even love. Their brand of control required the use of the sword. I saw Yahshua come into the Temple and throw over the tables; He was angry, period! Yea, I saw Him.
I saw Him become courageously outraged at the money changers; yes, the love of money is the root of all evils. He criticized the financial system of the Temple; it was, they supposed, the ‘United Bank of Yahweh’. He criticized the priest who abused their freedoms. Most of all, He criticized us, the people. He wanted us to realize the stupidity that we, like silent sheep being lead to the slaughter, were taking part in. He begged for us to see our own problems, our own faults. He wanted us to realize that we are all human; all sinners. He wanted…but we refused.
I stood there looking at the pastors and I felt a sense of bitter shame. Maybe it was guilt, I do not know. I had stood by this crowd far too long. I had watched my people suffer beneath the horrible, overly religious traditions. I have seen them turn to find joy in foreign places: now there was no Elohim, there was only requirement; now there was no joy, people turned to stupid toys to soothe their souls. They had forgotten Elohim. Why talk about Elohim when He has turned His back on us? Elohim had become a tradition. A religious ceremony. Elohim is dead. All we have now is this childish, heartless, mindless, service. Yeah, they call it a ‘the program’. Here, speak this, say that, pray this, read that, and then finish with a collection. Pass the tray. Pass it you slaves of perdition. No Elohim is taking you out of Egypt. You are all staying here! Right here in your pews. Stay seated till ‘Chr-st’ comes in.
Have we really allowed ourselves to be so deceived? Have we allowed ourselves to believe that Elohim really needs our money? That Elohim really needs our beautiful church buildings? We think we are holy because we pay the tithe. We think we are righteous because we go to church. We think we will be saved and greeted by the Anointed One because we have played the part of usher and greeted others. We think we will be saved because we do not have sex outside of marriage. We think we will be saved because we are virgin (Elohim knows it so hard to stay that way these days…). Elohim, we think too much! We think every anti-intellectual tidbit of doing will save us! “We”, “us”, and “save” are the key words. We will save ourselves. We. What has become of Elohim? Do we dispose Him? Oh, Elohim? Yeah, He’s out of style and old fashioned. Come on, science has proved He does not exist. We want something new. Yes, new and modern. Elohim is old. He may still be alive but He is old. Our program and service has taken Elohim out of the picture.
Does anybody study logic? Nobody studies it these days. Elohim does not need your organized program to function. Wait, is Elohim a machine? Elohim does not need your service to be neatly organized. He just wants to be Elohim. He wants to be the Power that moves masses. The Power that changes lives. Not your sermonette that you scratched out during pie and football. Elohim no. He abhors your new moons, feast days, and your Sabbaths. Or was it Sundays?
Elohim? Oh, yeah, He’s that bearded old man up there that wants my money. Is that Elohim? Has Elohim now become a product? Do we sell Elohim to consumers? Yes. Absolutely. The Temple mindset has overtaken us again: money changers, bank notes, gold, silver, money, loans, debt, credit, debt records. Has the church become a financial business? Again? Yes, Rome has taken religion and turned it into an institution. But America has taken Christianity and turned it into a business! Ah, but its predecessor, Judaism, was the first to do so. Like mother, like son. The apple never really did fall from that tree in the first place. Or did it?
I was debating with myself. Lots of thoughts crossed my mind; some were good, some were bad. I was, after all, only a human. Mere dust. I do not know why I was weeping; I felt so much zeal and passion and anger. Above all, anger. I wanted the people to be saved. I really wanted them to find the One True Elohim. I wanted them to just follow two simple commandments: Love Elohim and love your neighbor as yourself at first. That’s all. Nothing hard. No books to read, no scientific statements to make, no mathematical equations to solve. But these Pharisees, have made this so difficult, so erroneous.
I wanted to meet my Pharisees and I have met them. They were, obviously, theoretical. But somehow they stayed with me. Somehow, some nights, I stay up fighting them in my sleep; fighting, even in my mind. I see them. Even now, Elohim knows, I see them. I think about them. I try to understand them. But I fear that I cannot. Because, in that withdrawn carcass of my soul, I face the truth. And the truth is nothing but harsh. It hurts so much. You realize it, you embrace it. Or maybe I should not embrace the truth? No. I refuse. I would prefer taking each demon head-on. There’s nothing to lose except Eternity. I am the Pharisee. I am he.
Now I know why I wept. It was not I; it was my spirit. It wanted to be saved. I was my own worst enemy and I was my own worst law-giver. I have created my own religion, my own self-righteousness. And your spirit? Ah, it cries to be saved. It longs to be free, peaceful, at rest.
When the spirit of Yahshua comes over you it only wants to free you from yourself unto your faithful Father. Nothing less. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Only truth sets your spirit free. May Elohim help me.
After my encounter with the Pharisees, I encountered more. This time it was a Pharisee of a worse kind; a twister of truth. Elohim knows I hate people who twist the truth. Elohim forgive me. He sat in church one day and looked at two young ladies. He did not like them. He stared at them for two good hours until he coaxed them to himself and began ‘teaching’ them. He was taking a non historical-critical, but somewhat ‘devotional’, approach towards Scripture. Ladies, you are the bride of Christ. You mustn’t look the way you look. Why have you been deceived? He opened up the New Testament and pointed to a verse and read, “You cannot turn one hair white or black.” Ladies, you have dyed your hair. It is a sin. The Bible says so.
I almost fell through the ground! I have never seen Scripture being twisted in such a way. It was horrifyingly hilarious! Let us look at the quote with its surrounding message, Yahshua speaking:
‘Again, you have heard that our forefathers were told, “Do not break your oath,” and “Oaths sworn to Yahweh must be kept.” But what I tell you is this: You are not to swear at all- not by heaven, for it is Elohim’s throne, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King, nor by your own head, because you cannot turn one hair of it white or black. Plain “Yes” or “No” is all you need to say; anything beyond that comes from the evil one.’
Surely Yahshua is not concerned with cosmetics here! That would be wrong and extremely deceitful to interpret the passage that way. But it has happened. Yahshua is most likely referring to the fact that a person has no control over his own life; he becomes old (gray/white hair) no matter what. I met the Pharisee. I do not think I said anything. I was, after all, just a young biblical student at that time. But the ladies will now be deceived for eternity; condemned by a Pharisee’s lies. May Elohim help them.
Pharisees. So much self-righteousness, all for nothing. Just self-seeking people amusers. Yes, walking and talking amusement parks. Are they not a sight to see? This one says he fasted for 40 days; did you hear that? I am sure he did. He probably placed an ad in the local newspaper: Attention Readers. Pastor Jon Smith will be fasting for forty days. Please join him and pray for him (send donations to…). Yes, I do get tired of this humanistic approach. When will we allow Elohim to do His job? Pharisees. So much of them. They are all around us; you even might be one of them. Just take a closer look. I dare you.
 Luke 11:52; Gos Thom 102: Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees; you are like dogs sleeping in a manger, neither eating nor allowing the oxen their fill. You who seek knowledge, however, must be as wise as vipers and as naive as doves.
 Luke 15:1
 That is, loving ‘Elohim’ superficially. Actually, Yahshua said that their [the Pharisees] Elohim was mammon [money] (Luke 11:42).
 1 Timothy 6:10. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs. 11. But as for you, Adam of Elohim, shun all this; aim at righteousness, goodness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
 The New Testament and early Christianity know no such thing as a ‘tithe’. In Tertullian’s time (200 A.D.), the ‘church members’ (again, a foreign word for early Christians) still gave according to what each had. See Acts 4:32-5:10. Yahshua also did not care about the ‘tithe’; his statement to the rich ‘righteous’ man was to sell everything (Luke 18:22).
 Selective paraphrase of Isaiah 1:13-14. He abhors them because the religious leaders were not worthy to present any sacrifice to the Holy Yahweh.
 The ancient Jewish Temple (Second Temple) had its own financial system. When the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 the first thing burned were the debt records!
 My somewhat modified form of Richard Halverson’s quote: In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.
 Luke 10:27
 Luke 11:46
 A misrepresentation of Matt. 5:36
 Matthew 5:33-37 REB