EXCEEDING THE RIGHTEOUSNESS
OF THE SCRIBES AND THE PHARISEES

[Part 3 in our series on the "Gospel of the Kingdom"]

Sept. 4, 2007
By: S.R. Shearer

"For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, ye shall IN NO CASE enter the kingdom of heaven."

- Matthew 5:20

INTRODUCTION

This is the third article in our series on the "Gospel of the Kingdom." Our first article dealt primarily with the REALITY of this Gospel, and its relevance for today: Specifically as an ANTIDOTE to the claims of the American New World Order System, a system that - together with the American church and its toadies throughout the world - falsely claims to represent Christ on earth. [Please see "The Kingdom of God is at Hand."]

In our second article on the "Gospel of the Kingdom" we dwelt at some length on the RECIPIENTS of the Kingdom of Heaven: the POOR of the earth - the "sons and daughters," so to speak, of Chad, the Congo, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Brazil, Vietnam,, etc. - the people who have been so RUTHLESSLY and BRUTALLY oppressed by the American New World Order System. [Please see our article, "Christians in Africa Awake! America and the American Church Are Not Your Friends."

These are the people to whom Jesus SPECIFICALLY came and announced the "good news" of the coming kingdom:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, BECAUSE HE HATH ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL [OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN] TO THE POOR Ö" (Luke 4:18) [Please see our second article on the kingdom, "The Principles of the Kingdom."]

IT'S THE POOR WHO LONG
FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

It is the poor of the earth who long for the coming kingdom, not the rich; not those who are surrounded by the wealth of Babylon, OR who directly or indirectly benefit from this HORRIBLE system of brutality and oppression.

The rich aren't really looking for the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. They're not the ones who pray earnestly "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)

The rich have their sh-- together in this life! They're happy with things as they are now; to be sure, it's not that everything is perfect at present, but they're working on it and have high hopes that soon everything will be as near "perfect" as things can be - especially if they can get that new job, that new car, that new home. What idiocy! What blindness! - these are precisely the "Fat-Cats" about whom Jesus said:

"Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with [material] goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art [spiritually] WRETCHED, and MISERABLE, and POOR, and BLIND, and NAKED." (Revelation 3:17)

It is exactly for this reason that Jesus said of the rich -

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a [sewing] needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)

And make no mistake about it - He had in mind not just so-called unbelievers, but those who profess to be Christians - those who confess Christ with their tongues, but whose hearts are far from Him:

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

"In vain they do worship me Ö" (Matthew 15:8-9)

DISENTANGLING ONE'S SELF
FROM THE AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE

Finally, we dwelt at some length on the necessity for all those who wish to act as heralds of the coming Kingdom of Christ to DISENTANGLE themselves COMPLETELY from the "AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE." The Bible says:

"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:4)

EXCEEDING THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF
THE SCRIBES AND THE PHARISEES

Now - in this third article - we come to the matter of Matthew 5:20:

"For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, ye shall IN NO CASE enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20)

Now that's heavy! That's really heavy. It is precisely the scribes and the Pharisees who in their daily lives bent every effort to keep the Law - and we are called to EXCEED their righteousness? If they can't do it, what chance do we have? And, as if to make matters worse, Jesus went on to say:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5:17-18)

There are, of course, many people who cavalierly gloss over these warnings - who say blissfully in their hearts, "These verses do not apply to me; I trust Christ for my righteousness." But these are like those about whom the Apostle James warned:

"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils [demons] also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19)

PERSONAL PIETY COUNTS FOR
LITTLE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

It's one thing to say you believe; it's quite another thing for you to demonstrate BY THE WAY YOU LIVE that you actually do so - AND MORE THAN JUST PERSONAL PIETY IS IN QUESTION HERE. The Bible says:

"And he [i.e., Jesus] spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

"I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14)

The righteousness that the scribes and the Pharisees trusted in was the PERSONAL piety that they exhibited in their lives. They did everything right: they were not "extortioners," they were not "unjust," they were not "adulterers" (Luke 18:11); they prayed (Matthew 6:5), they fasted, they gave tithes, etc. (Luke 18:12). But the Bible says that those who concentrate on perfecting their PERSONAL piety are double-minded; they are more interested in making a show than anything else. These are the kind of people about whom Jesus said -

"When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6:16)

Their religious life is wrapped up in their own personal piety - A KIND OF PIETY THAT JESUS SAID WILL COUNT FOR NOTHING INSOFAR AS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS CONCERNED. NOTHING! Again, that's not what I say, it's what Jesus says:

"I say unto you , that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, ye shall IN NO CASE enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20)

So much, then, for appraising a man's Christianity on the basis of that person's personal piety. By that standard, Ghandi must have been a Christian - AND HE WAS NOT!

ONE'S CHRISTIANITY MUST EXTEND
TO THOSE WHO SURROUND HIM

No! - one's Christianity must extend well beyond the realm of one's personal life. Jesus said:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

"But I say unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, BLESS THEM THAT CURSE YOU, DO GOOD TO THEM THAT HATE YOU, AND PRAY FOR THEM WHICH DESPITEFULLY USE YOU, AND PERSECUTE YOU;

"That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

"For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

"And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" (Matthew 5:43-47)

This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

Again, Jesus said:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

"And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. (Matthew 5:38-40)

This too is what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about: "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also," and "If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also," and "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

This kind of righteousness has an outcome! It extends well beyond the range of one's personal piety. This is the kind of "righteousness" that Jesus exhibited on the cross:

"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Roman 5:7-8)

This is the kind of righteousness upon which the Kingdom of Heaven is founded; the kind that Jesus commended to the "Seventy" as they took leave of Him after the Sermon on the Mount to go out and preach the "good news" of the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 10:1) - and THIS IS PRECISELY THE KIND OF CHRISTIANITY THAT SETS APART THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN FROM THE CHRISTIANITY THAT JUSTIFIES THE AMERICAN NEW WORLD ORDER SYSTEM. This is the kind of Christianity that the poor of the earth can embrace, that the so-called enemies of Christ can embrace, those which today's Christianity never tires of condemning: those in the gay and lesbian community, liberals, people like Jane Fonda, the "lefties" of this world, etc. - not the greedy, self-righteous, war-loving Christianity embraced by Chuck Colson who said,

"Out of love of neighbor, Christians can and should support a preemptive strike [against Iran]."

OR the kind of war-making Christianity embraced by pastor John MacArthur who said:

"I don't think we're starting a war. I think a war [has] already started. The only question is what are we going to [do with] a war that has already started."

OR the kind of empire-building Christianity embraced by Charles Stanley when he defended the so-called "War on Terror" by saying -

"Throughout Scripture there is evidence that God favors war for divine reasons and sometimes uses it to accomplish His will. He has also given governments and their citizens very specific responsibilities in regards to this matter. How can we justify the protests and marches against war? I understand that, in America, for example, we have a right to express our different opinions. However, there comes a time when our personal opinion is not a priority. The only reason we have the freedom to protest in this country is because thousands were willing to die for that liberty in the past."

How can it possibly be said that the Christianity embraced by these church leaders is the kind of Christianity that can IN ANY WAY be tied to the principles that undergird the Kingdom of Heaven; again, principles which clearly tell us to -

"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)

PRINCIPLES THAT "SET APART"

These are the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven: principles that clearly set apart the Kingdom of Heaven from the American New World Order System which - together with the American church and its toadies throughout the world - falsely claims to represent Christ on earth. One cannot be united to the one system, and remain a part of the other. The Bible says:

"What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14)

What's that say, then, about Chuck Colson, D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley and John MacArthur? Plainly it says that the kingdom they have embraced is NOT the Kingdom of Heaven.

WE ARE NOW AT THE "END OF THE AGE"

Brothers and sisters, I tell you the truth: We are now at the "end of the age" and THERE IS A GREAT SEPARATION THAT IS OCCURRING, AND THAT SEPARATION HAS VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH OUR OWN PERSONAL PIETY, AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HOW WE RELATE TO ONE OF THESE TWO KINGDOMS:

  1. THE AMERICAN NEW WORLD ORDER SYSTEM.

  2. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

You CANNOT associate yourself with one kingdom and still call yourself a member of the other. What's that say about those who are comfortable with this life here on earth; what's that say about those who continue trying to "perfect" their lives with one new purchase, a new house, a new car, etc. What's that say about those who refuse to disassociate themselves with the American New World Order System and the apostate church that supports that system?

JESUS IS COMING AGAIN

In Psalm 72 (which all Bible expositors recognize as a "psalm of the kingdom") the Bible says that Jesus is coming again to -

"JUDGE the poor of the people [i.e., the weak, the afflicted, the wretched of the earth], he shall save the children of the needy, and shall BREAK IN PIECES THE OPPRESSOR [i.e., "the sons and daughters" of Babylon].

"He shall come down [upon them] like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth." (Psalm 72:4, 6)

Now you must understand something here: the word "judge" (Qal) here means to "plead for," to "minister to," to vindicate." In other words, Jesus is coming again to take up the cause of the poor of the earth - the "sons and daughters" of Chad, the Sudan, the Congo, Guatemala, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc. - the very people that the American New World Order System has BRUTALIZED and OPPRESSED.

The psalm continues:

"He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.

"He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.

"He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and PRECIOUS SHALL THEIR BLOOD BE IN HIS SIGHT." (Psalm 72:12-14)

YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED AS A HERALD

This is the "good news" that has been delivered into our hands - THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. It is a gospel that has been carefully crafted to rip away the false piety of today's American New World Order System and the harlot church that justifies this system; but not just that: It has also been crafted to "test" the nature of your Christianity:

And so I say unto all of you: TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES before it's too late! The Bible says:

"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

"Every manís work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every manís work of what sort it is." (1 Cor 3:12-13)

God bless you all,

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

P.S. Remember the Word of God:

"IF WE HAVE SOWN UNTO YOU SPIRITUAL THINGS, IS IT A GREAT THING IF WE SHALL REAP YOUR CARNAL (MATERIAL) THINGS?" (1 Cor. 9:11)

 

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]

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