Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
October 13, 1997
Last Updated :
March 6, 2012
NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.
Testimony Of A Messianic Jewess, FidoNet And BBSes, Learning Directly From God's Word, Our Superficial World, God Looks At Our Hearts, Beware Of Worldly Enticements, Religious Leaders Puffed Up With Pride And Vanity, Verses Regarding Walking In A Meek And Humble Spirit, False God Of This World, Satan Cast Down Due To Pride And Vanity, Devil Continues To Tempt People With Pride And Vanity, Lovers Of Their Own Selves And Proud Boasters, Beware Of Bringing Reproach To The Cause Of Christ, Timothy Ordained First Bishop Of Ephesus, Puffed Up With Too Much Knowledge, True Messengers Have Always Been Despised By The Religionists, Persecution Of God's Prophets, Murderers Of The Prophets, Jesus Is Rejected And Murdered By Jewish Elders
A number of years ago while reading through certain FidoNet message echoes, I came across the following humble, yet very inspiring, testimony that was written by a Messianic Jewess, which I would like to share with my readers:
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"When I sought out rabbis for answers and discovered they really could not answer, I learned a valuable lesson about faith: if you want to know anything, it is up to YOU to learn/discover things for yourself. There are no shortcuts -- including asking a so-called "sage" . . . I had to study on my own and draw my own conclusions . . . So, in my ignorance, I turned to a fabulous reference known as The Holy Scriptures and read them for myself -- I read my little Jewish Bible, and did so without viewing it through the "window of the Talmud" . . . I was untainted and free of all influence -- it was up to me, an atheist on my own, to decide IF I would believe, and to what degree I should believe. I believe that due to my own honesty in seeking to know the Truth, that G-d blessed and led me with His Ruakh HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), and revealed that Truth to me . . . So, I went from atheist to Messianic Jewish Believer -- and it has now been over 20 years since that time."
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For those of you who may not be familiar with it, FidoNet was -- and still is to a considerably smaller degree -- one of a number of global messaging networks that is utilized by PC-ANSI-based Bulletin Board Services -- or BBSes -- as a means to exchange message data packets. FidoNet and similar networks preceded the Internet and the World Wide Web. Some of us old-timers still keep our BBSes running for nostalgic reasons, as well as to demonstrate to the younger generation how computer users communicated prior to the advent of the World Wide Web. Please refer to my article entitled "The Internet: Our Final Frontier, Your Last Chance?" for a brief look at the history of the Bill's Bible Basics ministry.
At any rate, wow, what a touching story! I can really relate to it. Much like myself, here is a person who did not rely upon organized religion, or the wisdom of men, to teach her the Truth. Rather, she chose to go directly to the Lord and His Word, despite what other people may have thought or said regarding her "unorthodox" method of learning. I am reminded of verses such as the following:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
To our own shame, in this world which has become so overrun with political correctness, it seems that many people have fallen into the bad habit of judging others by their physical appearance, or by how many educational degrees they possess, or by what kind of a car they drive, or by what kind of a job they hold. The people of this modern, superficial world have indeed become quite shallow and judgmental. I am reminded of what the Lord said to the Prophet Samuel about three thousand years ago when he was sent to anoint a young shepherd by the name of David as the next king of Israel. In the first Book of Samuel we read the following:
"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7, KJV
So, as you can clearly see, while we often tend to look on a person's exterior, and judge them according to what we see, the Lord is more interested in what is on the inside. Sadly, many people today have foolishly fallen victim to the very devilish enticements which the Apostle John warns us against in his first Epistle, as we see here:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:16, KJV
While it is bad enough that secular people yield themselves to these things, tragically, these very same sins of pride and vanity afflict modern-day Christianity as well. It seems that much like the Scribes and Pharisees of old, there are certain Bible scholars, religious leaders and preachers who just love to set themselves above others through their vain boasting. The Apostle Paul cautioned us against making such comparisons in his second Epistle to the Corinthians when he wrote the following:
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."
2 Corinthians 10:12, KJV
This unhealthy attitude of bragging about our accomplishments is in direct contradiction to the Scriptures. It is a worldly attitude which has absolutely no place in the life of a true Christian. Over and over again we are repeatedly admonished to humble ourselves before the Lord, and to take the lower seat. Consider the following Scriptural examples which are found in the Old Testament:
"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
Psalm 34:18, KJV
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV
"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility."
Proverbs 18:12, KJV
". . . but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."
Isaiah 66:2b, KJV
In the New Testament, Jesus continued to teach this very same principle of walking humbly before the Lord, as we see by the following verses:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven . . . Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Matthew 5:3, 5, KJV
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward . . . And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
Matthew 6:1-2, 5, KJV
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
Matthew 11:29, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:4, KJV
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
Matthew 23:11-12, KJV
The Lord's chosen Apostles -- such as Peter, James and Paul -- likewise promoted this very same meek and humble attitude in some of their writings, and warned the members of the Early Church to be careful that they didn't become lifted up in pride and vanity, as we see by the following verses:
"Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:"
Acts 20:19, KJV
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
Philippians 2:3, KJV
". . . Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
James 4:6b, KJV
"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4:10, KJV
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
1 Peter 5:5, KJV
As I have mentioned to my readers on other occasions, the truth of the matter is that the Bible has absolutely nothing positive to say about pride; not a single word. That being the case, then we must ask ourselves what spirit motivates people to be proud of their accomplishments? To be proud of their college degree? To be proud of their great job? To be proud of their brand new car? To be proud of their nice home? To boast against their fellow man? Is it possibly this one?:
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
Ephesians 2:2, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
As I explain in such articles as "Satan: His Origin, Purpose and Future", pride was also Satan's downfall. As we read in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Satan -- who is also known as Lucifer, the Serpent, the Dragon and the Devil -- wanted to steal God's Throne. He wanted to rob God of His Authority. However, as a result of his pride and vanity, this is what happened to him:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."
Isaiah 14:12-15, KJV
"And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."
Luke 10:18, KJV
Thus, from the Book of Genesis -- telling Adam and Eve that they will be as gods -- to the Gospels -- tempting Jesus in the wilderness -- to the Book of Revelation -- inspiring the Battle of Armageddon as well as the final Battle of Gog and Magog -- Satan has repeatedly used pride and vanity in his endeavors to destroy God's highest creation -- man -- and to try to take over His Kingdom.
As I noted earlier, these very same sins of pride and vanity plague modern Christianity as well. Contrary to the previous Scriptural counsel which advises us to walk humbly and meekly before the Lord, some of these self-made religionists love to brag about their theological credentials. They boast about the theological seminaries they have attended. They boast about how many books they have written. They boast about the size of their so-called "megachurches". They boast about how many speaking tours they have taken part in. They boast about the "glorious" history of their particular church. They boast about the thousands of people who they supposedly lead to the Lord. They boast about how God has blessed them with material blessings -- including lots of money. They just boast, boast, boast; and I suspect that God must really be sick of it!
It is interesting to note that in writing about the sinful and ungodly citizens of Rome, the Apostle Paul also included the words "proud" and "boasters" in his description. Consider this verse:
"Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,"
Romans 1:30, KJV
In short, these kinds of people will do anything, and say anything, to try to appeal to the common man, and to impress him with their so-called "importance". They are so hung up on their own selves, and so in love with themselves, and so drunk on their own accomplishments, that all they know how to do is boast, boast, boast. It might interest you to know that in describing the Last Days, this is exactly what the Apostle Paul said would happen. Paul was obviously right on target. Consider these words that he wrote to Timothy:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
2 Timothy 3:1-5, KJV
In particular, notice Paul's use of the words and phrases "lovers of their own selves", "proud", "boasters", "heady", "highminded" and "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof". Some of these modern preachers and spiritual leaders certainly fit these descriptive words to the letter. It is difficult to not consider that the Lord may have shown these Endtime false prophets to the Apostle Paul two thousand years ago. Furthermore, while some of these religious leaders may appear godly on the surface, we must wonder if they truly are. How many of these false shepherds have publicly shamed our Christian faith already -- through sex scandals, money scandals, etc. -- and brought reproach to the Cause of Jesus Christ?
In describing to Timothy the qualities which were to be desired in a bishop, one of the things which Paul told him was that a bishop must not be lifted up in pride. However, what Paul also told Timothy, is that a bishop must be beyond reproach, and not yield himself to the Devil's temptations. Consider the following verses:
"Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
1 Timothy 3:6-7, KJV
For those of you who may not be aware of it, it is possible that one of the reasons why Paul shared this advice with Timothy, was because he was preparing Timothy to become the first bishop of Ephesus, which he did in fact become, as we see by this verse:
"The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. [The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.]"
2 Timothy 4:22, KJV
Returning to our topic concerning these proud boasters and false shepherds who have infiltrated the modern Christian Church, while they claim to possess such a deep knowledge of the Scriptures, these leaders expose their very ignorance of God's Word through their proud behavior. Not only did Paul shed light on this problem which even existed in his own day, but he also reveals that one of the things which contributes to this spiritual pride, is possessing too much knowledge. Consider the following verses:
"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Corinthians 8:1-2, KJV
"Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,"
Colossians 2:18, KJV
Imagine that! An individual can have so much knowledge of the Scriptures, that if he or she is not careful, it can actually lift them up in pride! So beware! Don't let Satan use your knowledge against you! Use it humbly for God's glory, and not to achieve your own glory or to boast of your accomplishments!
As we saw earlier in this article, as a result of their own seminary-taught theological education, their long list of impressive credentials, their pride and their vanity, and of course, their self-proclaimed importance, there are certain modern religious leaders and preachers who have a propensity for looking down on anyone who attempts to preach the Gospel, who does not also possess a background similar to their own. According to these proud boasters, such people are simply not qualified to preach the Gospel, and God could not possibly ever use them. If a person does not belong to a respectable church and denomination, these boasters would have us believe that they are even less qualified to preach the Message of Salvation. Who knows; they might even belong to a dangerous cult; at least so say the religionists.
The truth of the matter is that this attitude is nothing new. As I explain in other articles, God's true, chosen servants and mouthpieces have been despised for thousands of years; and quite often, this reproach is unjustifiably heaped upon them by those people who claim to be the Lord's "authorized" representatives.
No doubt Noah must have been viewed as a crazy, old fool by the unbelievers of his day. When Moses chose to forsake the riches of Egypt and became a humble shepherd, his Egyptian friends must have thought he had taken leave of his senses. Powerful Samson was fooled by beautiful Delilah, and scoffed at and blinded by his enemies; but the Lord still gave him the last laugh when he brought down the temple of Dagon and slew thousands of his Philistine enemies. The mighty Prophet Elijah called down fire from the sky and stopped the rain; yet he fled from the face of evil Queen Jezebel. Goliath of Gath may have laughed at and scorned little David, but in the end, a small stone sunk into his forehead and that giant dropped dead.
The Prophet Jeremiah was accused of treason, thrown into prison, and eventually cast into a deep pit full of mud by his own Jewish brethren; but in the end, his words proved to be true, and Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the forces of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. God's Word informs us that many of the other Old Testament Prophets were also rejected, persecuted and killed by the very people they were sent to warn and save -- their own Jewish brethren. When the Lord rebuked the Jewish religious Elders in the Gospels, He accused them of this very same thing. Consider the following verses:
"Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 29:19, KJV
"I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me."
Jeremiah 35:15, KJV
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Matthew 23:29-39, KJV
"And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy."
Revelation 16:5-6, KJV
"Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
Revelation 18:20-24, KJV
Of course, as we also know, Jesus was despised by, rejected by, ridiculed by, persecuted by, falsely accused by, and in the end eventually murdered by, the self-righteous religious scholars of His own day, who in their foolish pride, thought that they understood the Scriptures better than the Lord Himself. The Bible makes it quite plain that they were the true murderers of the Son of God, as we see by the following verses:
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Isaiah 53:3, KJV
"Then assembled together the CHIEF PRIESTS, AND THE SCRIBES, and the ELDERS OF THE PEOPLE, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might TAKE JESUS BY SUBTILTY, AND KILL HIM. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."
Matthew 26:3-5, KJV
"But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."
Mark 6:4, KJV
"Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them."
Luke 20:9-19, KJV
"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES SOUGHT HOW THEY MIGHT KILL HIM; for they feared the people."
Luke 22:1,2, KJV
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not."
John 1:11, KJV
"And therefore did the JEWS PERSECUTE JESUS, AND SOUGHT TO SLAY HIM, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
John 5:16-18, KJV
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the JEWS SOUGHT TO KILL HIM . . . Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? WHY GO YE ABOUT TO KILL ME? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who GOETH ABOUT TO KILL THEE? . . . Then said some of them of Jerusalem, IS NOT THIS HE, WHOM THEY SEEK TO KILL?"
John 7:1, 19-20, 25, KJV
"I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but YE SEEK TO KILL ME, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now YE SEEK TO KILL ME, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham."
John 8:37-40, KJV
"Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore HE THAT DELIVERED ME UNTO THEE HATH THE GREATER SIN. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."
John 19:10-12, KJV
". . . My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be DELIVERED TO THE JEWS: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36b, KJV
"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, WHOM YE SLEW AND HANGED ON A TREE."
Acts 5:27-30, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .