| Spiry Tee
"Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
Matthew 16:6 NKJV
The Lord Jesus warned the disciples to guard against the doctrine of the Pharisees and Saducees. The Jewish religious establishment was divided into two main sects: the Pharisees (the strictest sect which advocated for complete separation from non-Jewish elements) and the Saducees ( a more liberal sect aimed at removing Judaism from its narrowness and sharing in the advantages of Greek life and culture).
Jesus confronted the religious establishment of His day. While the Jews continued to be divided into these two parties, the spread of the testimony of the Gospel must have produced what in the public eye seemed to be a new sect. At Antioch, the name "Christians" seems to have become a popular term applied to the disciples as a sect, the primary cause, however, being their witness to Christ. Though mutually antagonistic, the Pharisees and Saducees forcefully opposed the gospel of Jesus Christ which took Jerusalem by storm. Both parties were losing members to the truth so they had to unite and fight the common enemy.
I believe that in Jesus' eyes the greatest threat to the church's survival was not Caesar or Rome, it was the religious establishment of His day. He called the religious establishment the gates of hell. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18 NKJV). Prior to Him making this statement, He had had an altercation with the Pharisees and Saducees for they wanted a sign to know if He was the Messiah but Jesus refused and left them. By doing so, Jesus taught us never to entertain religious people or suck up to their religious curiosity. They were not looking forward to be converted but to show off Jesus as a fraud.
The religious establishment is "the gates of hell". Remember Jesus referred to religious converts to Judaism by Pharisees as sons of hell. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."(Matthew 23:15 NKJV). We produce after our kind, sons of hell produce those who are twice sons of hell as themselves.
Jesus was mocking religion here when He said that they use too much effort(compass land and sea) to win one convert that end up damned like themselves. That's why they were envious of Jesus because He gathered crowds without much effort. It is the Spirit who draws men to God not fancy ideologies and doctrines. Being dogmatic and lacking the Spirit produces no eternal results.
By "gates of hell", Jesus did not only mean entrance points. Gates in old times referred to authorities that ran the territory or city because they met at the gates where metropolitan matters were discussed and problems solved. So the religious establishment were the authorities from the pit of hell. They were demonically sensitized to bring people into bondage by twisting God's holy law. They were never practitioners themselves neither did they lift a finger to help people carry the burden of the law.
Hell (hades) is a place of the dead. So the "gates of hell" (religious establishment) is designed in honor and worship of death. Religion is established by Satan to sanitise death and make death look pretty. Religion is Satan's idea to help the world accept death as a normal condition in the universe. But death is not God's plan and in Christ death is defeated. Almost all religions are founded around the idea of death and afterlife. Many today are religious not because they love God but are afraid of what will happen to them after death. Others are motivated to die in martyrdom as suicide bombers so that they can get 72 virgins in the afterlife. Religion including so called "Christian religion" is the number one enemy to the truth of Jesus Christ.
The church must contend with the religious establishment of our day. It's ideas, theories and theology is very close to the truth but its deadly. God did not send them . The establishment props up the law and despise grace because Satan knows what kills, what arouses sin, and what strengthens iniquity. Beware of the doctrine of the establishment, it's very close to the truth but its deadly.
I reject the influence of the religious establishment in my life. I belong to the real church of Jesus Christ and the gates of hell shall not prevail against me.
#KeepLiving #DontDie #KnowJesusKnowLife #NoJesusNoLife #Breathe #lifeeternal #beware #religion #establishment #Pharisees #Saducees