For Thirty Pieces of Silver.

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In Exodus 21:32, we read that if your ox gores a slave belonging to someone else to death, you are to pay the owner 30 shekels of silver.  (“If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.”)  This section of Exodus is dealing with remuneration for losses, and legal consequences for personal injuries.  A slave was not an important person.  More than likely, this was a laborer.  The price was not inconsequential, but it was not extravagant either.  As you’ll come to see, it was definitely nowhere near enough to match the exceeding value of Christ, and His kingdom.

In Matthew Chapters 26, and 27 Judas arranges with the chief priests to betray Jesus to them, and caries out the betrayal.  He does all this for the price of a slave, 30 pieces of silver.  Matthew 26:14-16, “Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.”  Matthew Chapter 26:20-25, “Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.””

In Mathew 26:31 He refers to what He had revealed to the prophet Zechariah in Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, against the man who is My Companion,” declares the LORD of Hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn My hand against the little ones.”  Since Christ is citing this about Himself in the book of Matthew we know that the verse in Zechariah is a prophecy about Him.  The same consequences of the shepherd being struck are mentioned also in the New Testament scriptures.  Mark 14:27, 28, “Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ …”  Matthew 26:56, ““But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.”  John 16:32, “Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”

As well as a shepherd Christ is the suffering servant, and the sacrificial lamb, of Isaiah chapter 53.

The Suffering Servant

1Who has believed our message?

            And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

      2For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,

            And like a root out of parched ground;

            He has no stately form or majesty

            That we should look upon Him,

            Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

      3He was despised and forsaken of men,

            A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

            And like one from whom men hide their face

            He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

      4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

            And our sorrows He carried;

            Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

            Smitten of God, and afflicted.

      5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

            He was crushed for our iniquities;

            The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

            And by His scourging we are healed.

      6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

            Each of us has turned to his own way;

            But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

            To fall on Him.

      7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

            Yet He did not open His mouth;

            Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

            And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

            So He did not open His mouth.

      8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

            And as for His generation, who considered

            That He was cut off out of the land of the living

            For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

      9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

            Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

            Because He had done no violence,

            Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

      10But the LORD was pleased

            To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

            If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

            He will see His offspring,

            He will prolong His days,

            And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

      11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

            He will see it and be satisfied;

            By His knowledge the Righteous One,

            My Servant, will justify the many,

            As He will bear their iniquities.

      12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

            And He will divide the booty with the strong;

            Because He poured out Himself to death,

            And was numbered with the transgressors;

            Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

            And interceded for the transgressors.

Zechariah 11:7-14 “7So I pastured the flock doomed to slaughter, hence the afflicted of the flock. And I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Favor and the other I called Union; so I pastured the flock. 8Then I annihilated the three shepherds in one month, for my soul was impatient with them, and their soul also was weary of me. 9Then I said, “I will not pasture you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be annihilated, let it be annihilated; and let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.” 10I took my staff Favor and cut it in pieces, to break my covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11So it was broken on that day, and thus the afflicted of the flock who were watching me realized that it was the word of the LORD. 12I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. 13Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD. 14Then I cut in pieces my second staff Union, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.”

In context we see this is referring to Israel, and Judah.  God is no longer going to shepherd them, but as it refers to Christ prophetically we see Him as the shepherd sold for 30 pieces of silver.  There is a sarcastic mocking tone to this as 30 pieces of silver is an insult.  It shows how little Israel, and Judah valued God’s shepherding, and how little the Jews would value Christ, and His shepherding.  The money is ultimately thrown to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Matthew 27:1-10, “1Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; 2and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.

      3Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” 5And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; 10AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER’S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME.”

We can see the fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 11 in Matthew 27.  There are a few possible explanations as to why in Matthew he says the prophecy came from Jeremiah instead of Zechariah.  One of those reasons is that it is a literary device referring to the more commonly known major prophet who mentions a field that the prophet was commanded to purchase, or it could be the way that the Old Testament was formatted in that time.  The scrolls would have been referred to by the name of the prophet that was the beginning of the scroll even though it contained the writings of the minor prophet as well.

By comparing these sections of scripture, it is evident that Christ is the Messiah, the shepherd, and He is the suffering servant.  The low value that was placed on Him was an insult.  That insult comes from impenitent, rebellious, proud, and wicked hearts.  For those who are being saved the exceeding value of Christ, and His kingdom are beyond measure.  As God says in Matthew 13:44-45, “44The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46When he found one very precious pearl, he went away and sold all he had and bought it.”  The Apostle Paul wrote this in his epistle to the Philippians 3:7-8, “7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, …”  1 Peter 2:6-7, “6For this is contained in Scripture:

            “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,

            AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,

            “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,

            THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,””

Christ Jesus, God in the flesh, the God man, hung in our place on the cross, punished for our sins as if they were His, bore our guilt and shame, was pierced, and bled…  The just wrath of God was poured out on Him, His Son to atone for those He chose in eternity past.  This should humble us.  This time of year when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, let’s remember why He came into the world this time, and think on how He will come again in the future.

Where does murder come from?

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With recent events in America, one wonders, “Why?  Why are people killing others?”  Meanwhile the left is using these tragedies as an excuse to shift the blame to an inanimate object.  This of course makes the right angry enough to commit murder of the heart, while the left is angry enough to actually commit murder.  Their pundits are encouraging it on the nightly news, if that is what you call it.  Of course on the right we’ve taken to calling if fake news, because we are tired of all the lies, half truths, and godless, communist, propaganda.  Before you run off, assuming this is a political rant, I urge you to keep reading.

Murder is nothing new.  Mankind has been killing since the beginning.  The agnostic, or atheist left would have you believe it is a matter of education.  They assume that people are naturally good intentioned, and if they grow up to be hateful, bigots, evil conservatives, or murderers, it is simply because they were given wrong, or inadequate education.  As a Christian, a Father of 4, and a Corrections Officer of 24 years, I can assure you that is not the case.

We are born with one thing on our minds, our own individual pleasure.  Our flesh is the most important thing to us.  We learn to love our parents, because they take care of us.  It still boils down to self.  Without them, I would have nobody to feed me, clean me, comfort me.  We don’t wonder why they do those things at first.  We just accept it.  We must have some quality about us that is worthy of that kind of affection, but then the lessons begin.  Punishment for doing bad things.  Rewards for doing good things.  Well the nature of a child loves rewards.  The flesh loves goodies, and compliments, but it hates spankings, physical pain, removal of fun things.

Being selfish, and evil is our nature.  We have to be taught to be good.  We want to be comfortable, and enjoy pleasurable things.  That is not necessarily sinful, but when it involves committing a sin, or sins of omission to achieve that comfort, or pleasure, then we are guilty.  Read what God has to say about it in His word,

James 4:1-10 (NASB) Things to Avoid
​  What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

It is pretty clear that we murder because we are selfish, sinners at heart.  We don’t rightly fear God, nor do we heed his laws.  We make up our own to please our flesh.  We make up our own gods as well.  Some depressed teen surmises that nobody loves him, or they don’t live up to his unrealistic expectations of how they should behave towards him, which further drives him to hate those who don’t participate in his self-pity, so he decides to teach the world a lesson.  This by the way is the result of all the self-esteem nonsense pushed down our throats for the last 40 years.  People don’t need to feel better about themselves, or esteem themselves more, especially if that esteem is misplaced.  We need to see ourselves as God sees us.  We need the truth.

You didn’t see this happening in the 60’s and 70’s.  We used to drive to school with our rifles in a wrack on our pickup cab rear window.  It was common place.  Kids would come to school with their dear, or elk in the back of the pickup to show it off after a successful hunt.  The problem isn’t guns, kids, or video games.  It is the sinful heart of man, and the lies that we are telling our kids.  This is a necessary consequence of becoming a godless secular society.  You want to blame someone leftists?  Blame yourselves.

People seem so shocked by murder partially as a selfish way to virtue signal.  We also are shocked by it because we see ourselves as good, and deserving happy lives with many rewards, and pleasures.  To think that someone would not value us they way we value ourselves is a shock.  Of course there are exceptions to the rule.

There are people who are shocked for the right reasons, most of those people are Christians.  They see the value of human life according to the word of God.  They understand that we deserve death, and hell, and that every day is a blessing from God where we should seek to glorify Him.  They understand the inherent idolatry, and blasphemy of destroying an image bearer of God, and spilling the blood unjustly, the blood of His creatures who belong to him, the blood that contains the life.

What we need is for people to be taught the truth.  We are sinners.  We need for Christians, the Church, to preach the gospel of Christ.  If people come to Christ, and are changed, they won’t become mass murderers.  Do you want to see America great again?  Preach Christ!  More laws won’t do it.

 

Christ, Kanye, and Christian Music.

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First, we need to respond to Kanye’s confession as we would any other person’s confession, with joy and praise to God.  Second, we must not give more honor to a public celebrity than to an unnamed convert in North Korea, or a person who has grown up in the Church, but came to faith later in life while living a publicly moral life.

If your attitude is one of, “Oh let’s watch and see!  He will fail, and then I will be vindicated in my presumptions about him.”  Well how did that work out for Jonah?  Do you want God’s rebuke as well?  I’m not saying that Kanye is, or is not a true convert.  Time will tell.  He is just a man.  No different than any man.  There are four soils that the seed of the gospel is sewn on.  I hope that Kanye is going to return a fruitful crop of works prepared for him to do before creation, for the glory of God.

Look at him.  He is just a man.  He has a life of sin that was on public display.  You probably had your sins hidden from the public eye.  Living for Christ is the best life a person can have, but it is difficult, and includes suffering.  The Christian life is hard enough without having people sit on the sidelines waiting for you to mess up.  How often in your young faith did you fall to sins that would be scandalous if found out?  Have mercy.  Demonstrate grace, not just to Kanye, but all young Christians.  Correct in love where needed.  Share the gospel.  Engage in the great commission.

Christian music is a mixed bag.  There is lots of good, bad, and in between.  If a new convert, who happens to be a world famous musician, wants to express the miraculous thing God has done to them, it should stand to reason that they would do it through music.  I read a tweet this morning from Shai Linne.  He is a theologically sound Christian, and a very kind man from what I’ve been told.  He is also a rapper.  He even raps theology.  Rap might not be your thing, but that doesn’t mean that it is bad.  If Christian men can reach lost men by expressing their new hearts in their words and music, and since the Bible doesn’t condemn it, and in some places looks like it is acceptable, I say go right ahead.  We have to understand our liberty in Christ, as well as others liberty in Christ.  Christ is our King.  He is our God.  It is His word we read to know Him by.  If a man wants to sing about that, more power to him.  I might even come along next to him and sing as well.

There are some who claim Christ, but their lyrics, and lives demonstrate worldliness, and sin.  Their music is full of carnality.  I’ve just listened to Kanye’s album.  It seems Christocentric to me.  More so than some I’ve heard from other musicians over the years.  Let’s pray for Kanye’s passion of Jesus to grow, and his life to example fruit in keeping with repentance and faith in Christ our Savior.  Let’s pray that for all the new Christians we know, and even ourselves.

Matthew 13:1-23 (NASB Strong’s) Jesus Teaches in Parables
​ That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.
And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
An Explanation
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”  Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘ You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The Sower Explained
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he  falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

James 2:1-13 (NASB Strong’s) The Sin of Partiality
​  My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in  fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?  Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “DO not commit adultery,” also said, “DO not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

So join with me in rejoicing over all the people who have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved, for their good, and God’s glory!  Praise God for sinners saved, and His goodness, longsuffering, mercy, justice, and grace!

Is Kanye saved?  I don’t know.  Are you saved?  I don’t know.  Do I trust God to bring in His elect?  Most assuredly!  If you, and Kanye are saved, I praise God for both of  you in the same manner, and I pray for you all to become what God has planned for you.

Calling Out False Teachers Publicly.

This topic comes up pretty often.  Someone high profile will criticize a false teacher and then themselves become the object of criticism for not doing it with kid gloves.  When someone is a teaching false things publicly, they must be exposed publicly, and in no uncertain terms.  It is one of the duty of elders to do so.

Here is direct instruction from Paul to Timothy on how to handle an elder who is sinning,  1 Timothy 5:20 (NASB Strong’s) “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.” This is to be done publicly.

Romans 16:17 (NASB Strong’s) “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.”

Paul even opposed Peter publicly over his false teachings and corrected him.  Galatians 2:11-14 (NASB Strong’s) “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from  James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Paul on the works based teachings of the Jews,

Philippians 3:2-3 (NASB Strong’s) “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,”

I could go on and on about this.  There are plenty of scriptures that demonstrate how to treat believers and nonbelievers who are engaged in publicly teaching falsely.  I will list a few more sections of scripture at the bottom.  When someone is publicly teaching, and they are doing so as a biblically unqualified person, there is no doubt how they are to be marked out, decried, debunked, and shunned until they repent.  In today’s world of being able to just go down the street to the next Church, if by some chance you get put out of yours, there just isn’t any accountability.  It may seem mean spirited at times, but if the motivation of the person calling out the false teacher is a love for the gospel, the Savior, and His word, then they are doing so rightly.

A false teacher who is a wolf will respond by doubling down, and going further to the left theologically.  A false teacher who is an erring brother will repent.  Maybe not right away while his feelings are raw and hurt, but wounds from a friend are better than the flattering kisses of an enemy.

John the Baptist publicly exposed the Sadducees and Pharisees in Matthew 3:7-8 (NASB Strong’s) “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;”

Jesus warned in Matthew 7:15 (NASB Strong’s) “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Again Jesus does not talk kindly and privately to these false teachers, “Matthew 12:34-36 (NASB Strong’s) You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.”

Jesus again publicly speaking, John 8:44 (NASB Strong’s) “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Here is Dr. John Piper’s page on the topic.

A Snyder’s Soapbox review of, “Random God Sightings” by Kelly Hanes.

Random God Sightings (Paperback) - Walmart.com

I was approached by Emily Jones from Columbus Press via social media for the purpose of writing a review for a new book they were publishing. The book is, “God Sightings” by Kelly Hanes. The original message I was sent included a blurb about the book. After I read it, I was concerned that it might not be theologically sound. I sent Emily Jones this message, “…If you still want me to read and review your book, you should know ahead of time that theology is very important to me. If the book has heresies, or blasphemies in it, I will mention them in the review…” To which she responded, “… I understand your theological commitment. I will get you a copy right away. We would love to have you do a review…” That being written, I agreed to do a review.

The book promptly arrived, and I began reading it. I immediately ran into problems with the emerging theological positions. I wanted to give the author, “Kelly Hanes” the benefit of the doubt, so I kept on reading. Unfortunately as I progressed in the book, I determined that it was blasphemous, and heretical. Vague, emotionally manipulative language was used throughout. I believe that the vague language is used as a defense measure, so that if anyone is critical of the work the author could come back later and insist that the critic didn’t understand what she was writing, and that they are misrepresenting her. It is incumbent upon the author to use specific and precise language when explaining nuanced topics like theology. I would expect precision from someone who has won literary awards like she has.

The book, “God Sightings” is a collection of 26 vignettes about the author’s alleged encounters with God. It seems from what I could deduct that the author believes; that everyone at certain times is actually God, in some sort of panentheism. That people preexisted in Heaven. That emotions are the arbiter of truth and since God’s word wasn’t even mentioned, I’m guessing that it is completely under the authority of emotional experiences. That it is acceptable to lie to people and her Husband. There is a mixing of heterodox teachings, emotional manipulation, a reliance on emotional experiences, in some syncretic, new age/emergent movement mysticism.  These alleged extrabiblical personal revelations from god are not to be trusted because they conflict with His word, and what He has already revealed of Himself in it, as well as through the incarnation, and the creation.

If I give Hanes the benefit of the doubt, I could conclude that when she writes about seeing God in these individuals, that she really means, she sees God using them as the means by which He accomplishes His sovereign will, while not indwelling the unbelievers, but unfortunately after reading her book, I can’t give her the benefit of the doubt. It is fairly obvious that she truly believes that all people are God. Not in the sense of the Holy Spirit indwelling them, while economically remaining a distinct individual person of the triune God, but rather as God Himself in the panentheist understanding.

In other words, she writes that these people are God. She even reveals her thoughts that she had during her conversations with these people, and in those thoughts says things like, “The silence finally broke, and the children returned to their conversations. I looked at the brown-eyed girl and smiled, and she smiled back at me. It was then, in that moment, that I saw God, right there, in the girl’s eyes. Shining, confident, exultant. Oh, God! I said in my mind. Is that You? (notice how she capitalized You to indicate that it is God.) I should have known! I felt my heart lift, my spirit soar. As we sat there looking at each other, God and I, one of Her classmates, leaned over and confided to us, voice lowered, “You know what? Sometimes I think I see specialness too.””

In one vignette she writes about a man who she thought perhaps was a malfeasant regarding her children while at the store. The children had received stuffed animals from this strange man, and it aroused her suspicions. She followed him and had a conversation with him. This is part of what she said that relates to her panentheism, “My heart began to pound. When he looked at me like that, wrinkles crinkling, dark brown eyes shining as he mentioned my children, it all washed through me…God! I was speaking with God in the middle of the grocery store parking lot, and God had been glad to see my children that day.”

She returns to her van and children and then her eight-year-old son says, “You know what Mom? People like that could change the world.” I mean come on? Of course, this is no different than many American, “Christians” these days. We’ve collectively abandoned orthodoxy, and the surety of God’s word for fickle and fleeting emotional ebbs and tides.

In another vignette she writes about the evils of the world. Then makes this dubious statement, “Yet embedded within the killing world is another world, a world forever connected to The Good Kingdom, (Notice how she capitalized, “The Good Kingdom.” This leads us to believe she is writing about God’s Kingdom.) a world that each one of us has known. It stands as our reminder.” It seems that she is trying to establish our preexistence in Heaven. If that is the case, then she is guilty of false teachings.

Mixing all of these heresies, and heterodox teachings together with the rampant emotional manipulation is common among the leaders in the, “New Age, and Emergent Church” movements. It is syncretism at its worst.

It is also apparent from her work that she doesn’t understand the noetic effect of sin, or the curse of the fall. In an encounter with a sick girl, where they both hugged for a prolonged time she wrote, “My darkness was gone. Because She saw my soul and acknowledged it. Because She chose to “sit with me a while.” Because She looked me in the eye and pronounced me good. And somehow, in doing so, She had dispelled my darkness and I became well. I realized, as the girl disappeared from my sight, that it was God who had laid Her head upon my knee and wrapped Her arms around me. And it was God I had held in my arms. God is a sick girl, healing you.

Please note, that again she capitalizes, “She.” Hanes is implying that the girl is God. Then she flatly proclaims the girl to be God. Not only that, but God has pronounced her to be good. This statement lacks any grounding in Biblical truth. As Christians, we understand from the Bible, that we are not good, but rather are sinful. Christians have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them upon repenting of their sins and trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross for their justification to God. In other words, their righteousness is not their own, but God’s imputed to them.

On page 56 Hanes details how she, through deception, manipulates her husband into leaving Lowe’s hardware store because she doesn’t want to be there. Does that sound like an honest, and earnest Christian wife? How about, “I’d rather not go with you to Lowe’s, but I’d love to spend time with you after. Maybe we can go to dinner?”

Emotions are fickle. If you are counting on feeling God as a way to determine that your faith is true, then you will always be confused by the constant flux of your unbridled emotions. God says in His word, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” In James 1:5-8 we read, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

You see to have sure faith you must know God by the truth of His word. If you know Him, and His will, you can ask in faith. You can live and have stable emotions because you can temper them with what is true. This is the right way, not emotionalism and experientialism. The emotionalism and experientialism are an empty cistern, that cannot quench your thirst.   Instead trust in Christ. He is the living water that will satisfy your soul forever, and the only way to do this is to know Him by His word. 

Humans are not God. God is omnipresent. Each individual person of the trinity remains separate individual persons, in perfect communion with each other, while one in being. The only person of the godhead who has specific location is the Son, but by the indwelling of the Spirit, and the Spirit coming forth from the Father and Son, economically the Son can be considered omnipresent by the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit unites the believer to the Father and the Son. This is how we are in Christ. A human, who is not Christ, is not God. The only human to every be God is Jesus Christ, and He was not solely human. He was the hypostatic union of human and God natures. Both natures, 100% God and 100% man joined perfectly in the person of Jesus without mixing the natures.

Vignette 12, “God Sings” really gets my hackles up. Doesn’t Hanes know that the unbeliever is at war with God. They are His enemy. He doesn’t love them as a Father. God is angry with the wicked every day according to scripture. Romans 8:8, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” With the reading of every line of, “God Sightings” I agonized, “If I have to read one more expression of panentheism, or any other heresy, I’m going to burn this book.” Reading this book was truly a test of my patience. I wondered to myself, “Has this woman every studied the Bible?”

If vignette 12 ticked me off, vignette 24 sealed the deal. It was titled, “God is an Atheist.” After reading that one, I’m left wondering if the author has taken hallucinogens, or has a mental illness. Run from this book, and never read any of Kelly Hanes’ work until she repents, and trusts in the real God, the God of the Bible, not the one she made up that makes her feel all special. I know she is going to feel attacked after reading this review. Perhaps she’ll take her own advice from vignette 25? I hope my review shakes her out of her blasphemies, heresies, and lies. I hope she is so upset that she repents and comes to true saving faith.

I cannot recommend this work for Christian study. It is not edifying or conducive to genuine maturation of your faith. This is a solid, “Don’t waste your time.” From cover to cover, this book has no redeeming qualities for the Christian, and his library. The author, Kelly Hanes, regardless of the world’s opinions of her qualifications to teach, is Biblically disqualified, and it is well demonstrated by this heretical book that seems to present panentheism, human preexistence, and new age syncretism, as Christian.

For all the other reviewers who clamored their adoration for this book, “What is wrong with you people? Have you never read the Bible? Tolle Lege!”

Have you ever talked with someone who openly mocks Christ, and your faith in Him?

Christians To The Lions Stock Photos & Christians To The Lions Stock Images - Alamy

I have a few acquaintances, who for some personal reasons, think that it is a good, fun, time to mock Christ, and my faith in Him, as well as the faith of all Christians. They say things like, “Christ is a mythological character, God does not exist, all Christians are crooks, all Christians are homosexuals and touch little boys, Christians are the ones bringing all of the illegal immigrants in, If there is a God Christians are just trying to make themselves feel better by making up Christ who they dump all their sins on and God is really going to grind them to powder because there is nobody to atone for their sins, Christians are the worst people, the Bible is made up, religion is just used by the elite to control the masses, (“religion is the opiate of the masses.” ala Karl Marx, oh by the way he is dead, but Jesus is alive!) I am God worship me, I’d never worship a god who would allow people like you into heaven, Roman Catholicism, Easter Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnessism, Seventh Day Adventism, Judaism, Islam, (insert blasphemous heretical cult/religion here) are all the same.

Now we know these are ignorant, and hateful statements, that are the product of a heart and mind set against God, but it doesn’t cause us to be any less hurt when someone says them regardless of their professed reasons for saying them.

1 John 5:19, “19We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

Romans 1:18-23, “ 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

Romans 8:6-8, “6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

It is even more upsetting when friends, or family say these things purposefully to get under our skin. Why does it hurt? Because our identity is wrapped up in Christ, if we are in Christ. Someone is mocking the one who you love, gave you new life, took the punishment you deserve, the one who died for you, and changed your heart. Of course, it should hurt.

Take heart, God is our fortress. He is our defense. God will not be mocked.

Psalms 62:5-8 “5My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.

6He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

7On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

8Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.”

Galatians 6:7-8, “7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Psalms 1:1-6, “1How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

2But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

4The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.”

We know that they only mock us, and God, because they hate God. One day, if they don’t come to be in Christ, they will be judged outside of Him. They will be judged in their sins.

Matthew 5:11-12, “ 11“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Romans 8:1-5, “1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

What should our response be when people treat us badly because of Christ? I encourage you to follow the link and read the article. How many of us could do like Christ, and stand silently while being accused falsely, insulted, and assaulted without a plea or defense? How many of us could pray for God to not hold this against them? How many of us could look forward to the treasures in Heaven, while allowing someone to destroy our earthly pleasure? As Christians, we need to think about these questions, and respond as Stephen, and the other Apostles who were martyred, and all the martyrs thereafter, even today being martyred for Christ. God is good, and we must praise Him, and tell of Him to all the world, even if they persecute us, and kill us.

 

Jesus declares all foods clean, makes a way for men from all nations and tribes, and ultimately ends the sacrificial system with His sacrifice.

Rough, Dirty Hands | Converse Life

While talking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, it came to light that he and his family are no longer Baptists, but have joined the Messianic Jews. This seemed odd to me as I would assume that they would be in the Hebrew Roots movement as they are not Jews, but nonetheless the conversation continued. He used a few scriptural references to prove his points, but upon further examination, it seemed to me that the references he made actually prove his points to be false. It is a matter of having a framework of presuppositions to provide context by which to interpret the scriptural references cited. From my perspective, which I obviously think is correct, he is wrong, but from his perspective I am wrong. We talked for a bit longer, and agreed to disagree. Neither of us swayed the other.

He insisted that the New Testament scriptural references to food that Jews would eat excluded the foods that were unclean in the Old Testament. I conceded that to a Jew who was not a Christian, and even early converts, pork probably was not on the dinner plate, but I did not agree that pork is still of limits. He also insisted that we are still under obligation to follow all of the laws. He made no distinction between, the moral law, the ceremonial law, and the royal law. To that, I simply asked, “Do you make a booth outside your house and live in it for a week? Do you sacrifice animals in the temple, on the altar? Do you pay a temple tithe?” Of course we know the answers to those questions demonstrate an inconsistency in praxia.

In Mark chapter 7 we read about Jesus chastising the Pharisees.  He is telling them that having dirty hands and eating with them doesn’t defile you, but He is also saying that the food that goes in doesn’t defile you, as well as saying that ceremonial washings don’t help you.

Mark 7:1-23 “1The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. 3(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; 4and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) 5The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”

6And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

7‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’

8“Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

9He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10“For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; 11but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ 12you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.””

14After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16[“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]

17When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23“All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Mark 7:19 “ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν ἀλλ’ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν, καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα.”

Stephen preached about the cessation of the sacrificial system, and temple system, immediately preceding his martyrdom. That is why they killed him. He was preaching Christ as the fulfillment of these shadows and types. With His fulfillment of the sacrifice, He made a way for men from all nations and tribes to be the Church. The picture of clean Israel against a pagan backdrop, would be replaced with Peter rise up and eat! The picture of clean and unclean food is analogous to the people, and the analogy does not negate the truth behind it that also applies to the food, as we can see in 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 3:14-1 Timothy 4:1-5

14I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

16By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Here we read Stephen’s testimony,

Acts 6:8-

“ 8And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. 10But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” 12And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. 13They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; 14for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” 15And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.

1The high priest said, “Are these things so?”

2And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.’ 4“Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. 5“But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM. 6“But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. 7“ ‘AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF WILL JUDGE,’ said God, ‘AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.’ 8“And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abrahambecame the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

9“The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, 10and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household.

11“Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. 12“But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13“On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family was disclosed to Pharaoh. 14“Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. 15“And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died. 16From there they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17“But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18until THERE AROSE ANOTHER KING OVER EGYPT WHO KNEW NOTHING ABOUT JOSEPH. 19“It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. 20“It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. 21“And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son.22“Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. 23“But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. 24“And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. 25“And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26“On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ 27“But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US? 28‘YOU DO NOT MEAN TO KILL ME AS YOU KILLED THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY, DO YOU?’ 29“At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons.

30“After forty years had passed, AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM IN THE WILDERNESS OF MOUNT Sinai, IN THE FLAME OF A BURNING THORN BUSH. 31“When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 32‘I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. 33“BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ‘TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND.34‘I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.’

35“This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. 36“This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37“This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’ 38“This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you. 39“Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT—WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’ 41“At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42“But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? 43‘YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.’

44“Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. 45“And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David. 46David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.47“But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48“However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:

49‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE,
AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET;
WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord,
‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE?

50‘WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’

51“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.52“Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
54Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. 55But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse.58When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.59They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

Christ’s fulfillment of the shadows, and types represented in the Patriarchs, ceremonies, and sacrifices, is inexpugnable. Anyone citing the false accusation against Stephen as evidence that we must keep all the laws of the Old Testament demonstrates their complete lack of understanding of the sermon Stephen preached and was killed for by men who were seeking to be justified by their own righteousness. Can your righteousness surpass that of the Pharisees?