Have you ever noticed how Jesus went against the religious system of His time? Have you noticed how the religious system of Jesus’ time in many ways mirrors the religious system we have today? The question then lies ahead, according to our current religious standards was Jesus a heretic?
Was Jesus was a heretic? To make it blunt, yes He was. For someone who has been broken off from the current religious system, along with still working to get rid of past indoctrinations, my view of the system continues to expand. Allow me to show you where I come when it comes to this statement of heresy and perhaps you will see it too. Just warning though, what I will show you may shock you.
I posted a video on Youtube from my Friday scripture readings showing a small part of this and it really made me think. So I decided to write this long blog.
Jesus Against Their Systems
This is something that God has been slowly showing and revealing to me over the course of a few years, but it wasn’t as blatant as it has been the last few months. Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus speaking against the Pharisees and the synagogues and how they will kick the disciples out and even murder them because they believe they are doing God a service. But then He tells them that they do this simply because they do not know Jesus and His Father.
This is found in John 16:1-4:
“These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3 These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.John 16:1-4
The Pharisees were also so focused on human acceptance and held themselves higher than the common folk (Matthew 23:1-7). They taught their traditions rather than the written scripture of God’s word, which we see in Matthew 16:6 & 11. They also made the law and sin heavier and more difficult than they were even willing to deal with themselves (Matthew 23:3-4), which adds to Matthew 23:25-26.
To add a few things, Jesus understood the deepest concept of the law and the 10 commandments, which enabled Him to be able to break the manmade laws of the Pharisees. This of course caused Jesus to become a heretic to them because He didn’t abide by their laws that they put above God’s laws. Looking from a different perspective, Jesus understood the most basic concept of it all. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. He understood that if you love God in those ways, you will be transformed by Him and you’ll see everything clearly. Because if you truly love God with everything you are, you will exude love, which will then overflow into your life and you will end up showing love and loving everyone else. This is seen in Matthew 23:21-22, 1 John 3:15; 4:20.
21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the courtMatthew 23:21-22
15Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.1 John 3:15
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.1 John 4:20
Jesus also understood that we have issues that we must deal with and so giving us this information, shows us that’s it’s possible. The Pharisees acknowledge it, but did nothing of the sort and took the law by the letter, which resulted in killing everyone. Jesus – on the contrary – took everything by the spirit, which resulted in everyone living. This is why 1 Corinthians 3:6 says not to take the law by the letter, but by the spirit. This was of course written by Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul. And as we all know, Saul was a former Pharisee who killed many because they were following Jesus and Jesus and all of them were all heretics and blasphemers.
Jesus Against the Current Systems
Quick Comparison of Past and Current
Now this stuff, I have found myself absolutely fascinated with. There are only select things in the world today that fascinates me and this is one of them; how Jesus is against the current system and seeing the comparison between the past and current.
You are probably asking me how He is against the current church system, allow me show how the current system is (my numbers and estimation) 1,000% worst than Jesus’ time. If you take all of Matthew 23 when Jesus was giving His woes against the Pharisees and scribes, you will see an absolutely fascinating parallel with today’s churches: THEY’RE EXACTLY THE SAME, IF NOT WORSE!
I will not be going through every-single-one of them, because that’s too much for this article and is bound to be a book rather than a simple blog. But what I will do is show a quick comparison between the past and the current and that should reveal how Jesus wants to tear down the current system.
First – while Jesus did not specifically point it out – it is a blatant issue that most do not even recognize. We have hundreds – if not – thousands of denominations in “Christianity”, versus the 3 or 4 in Jesus’ time. Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and the Kabbalists (Could be wrong on that one) were all “denominations” during Jesus’ time on Earth. The most basic difference I know of them is that the Pharisees acknowledged the resurrection of the dead and believed in the spirit realm, Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead or believed in the spirit realm, the Essenes were the ones who were out of the religious system and were considered mystics, and the Kabbalists were also mystics, but took part in magic.
Second – and a quite blatant one – is the Pharisees (all legalists) of Jesus’ time and much of the religious church today both hold themselves higher than the general public. They both go to church, do their thing, and then go home and live their life. There is no relationship with the Father and no transformation. The church today claims to read their Bible, but many don’t, and the ones who do make it a religious act. Just like Jesus said in John 5:39-45a
39You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men; 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the FatherJohn 5:39-45a
But in today’s world, they read the scriptures thinking they are growing closer to God, but they don’t live what the Word says. I have lived this in my own life personally, but also seen it with people around me. Thinking and believing we’re following Jesus, when we’re just living a lie without even knowing it. Where there is no transformation into Christ (being like-Christ), there is no life. They live life full of strife, have no patience, and have no true love.
Now keep in mind, there are many who are doing the only thing they know what to do and to them, they do love Jesus, but they’re living in absolute ignorance. All they know is the traditional and religious system and they don’t dare go outside the box, which are the manmade rules and regulations. To them, if they go outside of the rules and regulations that they’ve abided by, they would be stepping away from God’s commandments.
The third, the Pharisees of Jesus’ time were extremely stingy on money. In Matthew 23:24, Jesus says that they strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel. Meaning that they are very stingy on money, but welcome and consume any money given to them. Today’s church is much the same. I have spoken to past and current waiters and waitresses that say Sunday is the worst day for tips. “Christians” don’t tip or are very judgmental when giving tips, but always expect a discount on anything any everything.
This is the absolute opposite of what Jesus had instructed us to be. He spoke about being generous in all things, this includes money! The church strains out 10% and questions whether to give more just because the Bible only speaks about giving 10%, but the concept of tithe is a basic concept of simply being generous with your possessions.
Now keep in mind, I am not talking about the single mothers or fathers out there who give their tithe out of faith simply because they can or cannot afford it. God uses this as a faith builder, but is meant to increase their faith.
In Acts 2, the early church was extremely generous and in fact it literally says that they sold everything they had and gave it to the church. These people lived in community and this was done so that no one was lacking anything. Now, I do understand that we don’t live in the community setting that was present in Acts 2, but the concept still exists and is still present. Last, but definitely not least, the Pharisees were some of the most closed-minded and judgmental people. In one instance, we see a Pharisee praying to God thanking Him for not being like other people. While just a bit down from him, a tax collector is seen being humble and sorrowful to God. This is seen in Luke 18:9-14 along with John 10:33.
9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”Luke 18:9-14
33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”John 10:33
As I said before, the church is some of the most self-righteous and closed-minded people that we know. We look down on others who are known sinners and don’t try to help them up and anything that goes against our paradigm of theology and beliefs, we cast them out. The Jews considered Jesus to be a heretic and a blasphemer because they didn’t want to believe that Jesus was actually the Messiah. It didn’t match up with their beliefs and their paradigm.
So now, in the church, anytime someone starts asking questions that can’t be answered or they vocalize how what the church is doing is against the Bible, they kick the person out. I have heard of this happening time and time again. Some denominations are worst than others, but the fact of the matter is. The church doesn’t want to deal with questions that are too difficult to answer and/or don’t want to change their belief systems simply because they’ve believed them for so long.
Plea to the Church
These are just a few points that are out there and we cannot allow this to continue. We as a church MUST become better and actually start living by what Jesus spoke and how we lived. Yes, according to the Pharisees, Jesus was a heretic and He was killed for it. And yes, according to our belief systems in our current day and age, Jesus was a heretic, and anyone who lives by what He spoke and lived by today, will be considered a heretic and will be kicked out of churches. Jesus spoke this in John 16:1-4.
“These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2 They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3 These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them.John 16:1-4
Whether or not you want to accept it, to again answer the question of was Jesus a heretic, yes He was. Again, I encourage the entire church to really look at Jesus’ life, the systems of his time, and the systems now. We MUST do better than what we’re living now. There are countless people in the world who are church hurt simply because the church cast them out and/or disregarded them when they needed the church the most. We absolutely must get out of this closed-minded, self-righteous, and selfish way of life and actually start becoming transformed by the spirit of Jesus.
I again encourage you to watch the video I posted and also the scripture reading on Friday. Both are available here.