Many Such Things
By Jim Huskins
Pharisees and Torah scholars criticized Jesus for allowing His disciples to eat bread without first practicing a hand washing ritual not found in Scripture. He responded by calling them hypocrites and quoting Isaiah 29:13: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
He then quoted Exodus 20:12 and 21:17. These Torah commands require us to respect and care for our father and mother. The Pharisees invented a loophole which they called Corban. This Hebrew word means “given to God.” A man could declare that all his possessions were Corban. He retained and controlled everything as before, but because his property now belonged to God, he was supposedly not able to help his parents.
Every hostile exchange between Jesus and those religious leaders resulted from Him confronting their man-made teachings. They had rules against healing on the Sabbath, carrying a sleeping mat on Sabbath, traveling more than a certain distance on Sabbath, using mud made with spittle as a healing salve, and plucking and eating grains of wheat or barley on Sabbath. Their hand washing ceremony is almost comical. In Mark 7:13, Jesus said that their traditions “make void” the word of God. To emphasize the extent of this behavior he added, “And many such things you do.”
Perhaps it would be wise for us to “make void” the Word of God. Contradicting the teaching and example of Jesus may prove advantageous in a culture controlled by people who despise everything Godly. The rapid spread of the anti-God agenda is a core topic of a recent book entitled Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents by Rod Dreher. In chapter four of the book, Dreher explains that major, American corporations have adopted the agenda of the “woke” left. Those companies are using their vast capacity for gathering, analyzing, and manipulating personal information to shape public opinion. On page 75 of the book, Dreher makes this chilling statement: “Woke capitalist branding harnesses the unmatched propaganda resources of the advertising industry to send the message, both explicitly and implicitly: the beliefs of social conservatives and religious traditionalists are obstacles to the social good.”
If Dreher’s analysis is correct, then everything I hold dear is a direct affront to those who now define “progress.” History teaches that totalitarianism always begins by raising doubt about any shared narrative. It always manipulates language in absurd, new ways. It always redefines good and evil. In Genesis 3, the serpent questioned the shared narrative by asking, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” He twisted the human’s language by insisting, “You will not surely die.” He redefined good and evil by saying, “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.”
The man and the woman did not cease life function on the day they welcomed sin into their lives, but they initiated the process that would inevitably lead to them returning to dust. Slavery to sin is the ultimate totalitarianism. Sin caused them to be expelled from paradise, barred from the Tree of Life, and kept from direct fellowship with God. This seems a high price for even an exceptional piece of fruit.
Satan’s agenda has never changed. It is not surprising that his modern minions are using those ancient techniques. The “woke” left tells us that America is not and has never been a force for good. They say unborn babies are not human. They tell us that men can become women and that young children should be assisted in “choosing” their gender. They claim that socialism is superior to free-enterprise capitalism because capitalism is “racist” and socialism is “fair.” These lies and many more represent an organized effort to usher soft totalitarianism into modern America.
The “hard” totalitarianism of the Soviets and the Nazis was enforced by fear. The secret police, the gulag, and the concentration camp made effective tools for controlling the populace.
“Soft” totalitarianism is implemented less by fear than by hate. We are told that we must hate our founders, our Constitution, our entire history, and anyone who does not follow the party line. Many who refuse to cooperate find themselves banned from communication forums, publicly disgraced, and deprived of careers. Constitutional rights have been canceled. The radical left is determined to teach everyone to hate each other and to eventually hate themselves.
The woke left is determined to eliminate one of the most repeated messages in Scripture. Here it is from Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” Rod Dreher warns that the beliefs of “religious traditionalists” stand as an obstacle to wokeness, but I wonder if that is the case. Jesus came to pay the price for our sin and to call us to lead lives characterized by a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Righteousness is obedience to God. The Bible teaches that sin is bad and righteousness is good. It defines sin as breaking God’s law. (1 John 3:4) Jesus says that The Law will be in full force for as long as heaven and earth remain.
A disturbing number of Church leaders claim that sin no longer matters, that righteousness is an attempt to “earn salvation,” and that God’s Law is an unbearable burden. Modern Christianity teaches “many such things.” The truth is that sin is still an intolerable affront to Holy God. When we enter that saving relationship “by grace through faith,” we have no option but to “keep the commandments of God and (our) faith in Jesus” (Revelation 14:12) Perhaps the best way to avoid persecution which will certainly be focused on people who follow Jesus’ example is to maintain association with one of the many groups which teach and practice only that small portion of God’s Word which they find palatable.
Obedient Heart Fellowship meets each Sabbath (Seventh Day) at 2460 US 221 Business N. Marion, NC. 10:00 A.M. 828-460-7913
Jim & Beverly Huskins are members of Obedient Heart Fellowship in McDowell County. Beginning July 2, 2022 Obedient Heart Fellowship will meet at 10:00 Each Sabbath (Seventh Day) in space graciously shared by New Covenant Church in Christ. 2460 US 221 Business N. In Marion, NC. Call for info. 828-460-7913You can read more good Christian news from Jim HERE.