The more things change, the more they stay the same. The ways of the pharisees is as enduring and cunning as the slithering of a serpent’s tongue. Since biblical times, there has been a conflict between the words of God and those who choose to use it to enrich themselves at the cost of the flock. Almost every prophet in the bible rose up to speak against those who feign to be of God when in reality they are leveraging His name to elevate themselves.
The story of Yeshua (whose name was changed to Jesus by the order of Constantine) is the most glaring example of the conflict between the pharisees and the prophets who spoke against them. Though the message of Yeshua is continuously being hijacked by “men of cloth” in order to program people into robots of religion, His truth lives on regardless for those who have the discernment to understand lies apart from truth. The pharisees nonetheless persist and have managed to turn Yeshua into an icon and an idol—the very same thing Yeshua spoke against—by re-branding him as Jesus and turning Him into a Roman god instead of a son of Yahweh who came from our creator above.
The reason that they turned Yeshua into an icon is to convince us that we are supposed to be servile and docile followers of “the church” who are only able to get salvation through men of the “the church”. By getting people to submit to religion, religious authorities have effectively substituted themselves as gods of this earth. This is precisely what the pharisees did when Yeshua walked the earth. Did you know that pharisees means “those who keep the laws” and that Torah means “the law” as in the commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai?
What the pharisees did so nefariously back then was hijack the Torah (the commandments given through Moses) by monopolizing biblical information and then using that knowledge as a source of their power. Information is power; those who have it are always able to lord over those who are indoctrinated by those in power. This is exactly what the pharisees did; they lorded over the people with the power that they gained vis-à-vis information and then ran roughshod over them. Money being the root of all evil; these men started to collect money by way of usury in order to take from the people instead of giving to them.
This is why Yeshua went ballistic when he walked into a temple one day and saw the powerful exchanging blessings for money. Yeshua spoke against this very evil that is usury; the practice of lending and borrowing money which is the very practice that is strangling the world today. He did this because He knew the evils that exists when people worship money instead of honoring the love within each of us. The pharisees, by the way have co-opted this one teaching too as they tell us that “it’s not money but the love of money that is the root of all evil”. Of course people who chase money every Sunday on pulpits would say this because saying money is the root of all evil—which it is—would kind of get in the way of their weekly hustle.
It was because Yeshua spoke against the pharisees and threatened their hustle that they would ultimately crucify him. Every prophet since Yeshua has been murdered by the pharisees for this same exact thing. When I say pharisees, I want you to understand that I’m not only talking about the long bearded men from the past. The pharisees are among us at this present; we call them the plutocrats, the 1%, the status quo or the aristocrats—the pharisees are those who reign above the masses by enriching themselves at the cost of the rest of humanity and this planet.
These pharisees occupy many professions, they are politicians in DC, pundits on TV, media personalities and most devious of all, the pastors and ministers who preach morality while practicing none of it themselves. Let me clarify one thing, I’m not lumping all pastors, ministers preachers and “holy men” as one for there are plenty of people who are religious figures who do amazing work and are not caught up in the title in order to maximize their wealth. I myself have a pastor named David who has said plenty of times that he is not his title and that he counts himself among those who he ministers to. These are the pastors, the leaders of the flock, who lead us to greener pastures.
Who I am speaking against are those who have the hubris and arrogance to believe that they are apart from the rest of us. Their ego is so astounding that they think that they are messiahs reinvented. How else could you explain those who have the audacity to think they can forgive people of their sins and ask us to confess our iniquities to them as if they are God themselves. All of us are sinners; none among us is pure from temptation and wicked thoughts. Chief among these sins is gall to believe that a title bestows to men and women some sort of sanctification befitting of Yeshua.
They forget though that Yeshua did not live like royalty even though he was royal through and through. Yeshua lived with the very same people he spoke love to as he was effectively homeless and dwelling among the indigent. Yeshua did not wear expensive clothes nor did he live in a huge mansion and he definitely would not be flying around in Leer jets if they existed back then. He lived a humble life of a carpenter before he decided to become a fisher of men; even after he chose to be a fisherman, he fed them—he did not fish men in order to feed from them. This is a vital distinction between a true prophet who sacrifices for the people and gives to them apart from the scoundrels who done the cloth in order to extort money from the people.
This practice started at the behest of Constantine who realized that he could not eradicate Christians and the teachings of Christ through the sword. So he did something even more sinister; he decided to erase the lessons Yeshua gave us through duplicity and deception. He commissioned a group of religious people to co-opt the bible and these men went about doing that very thing as they threw out book after book from the bible and added a few in order to come up with the 66 books of the bible we have today. Since this time, the bible keeps being revised and amended—from King James Version to ESV to NIV and countless iterations of the good book—in order to add hidden agendas that serve only to glorify men as they pretend they are exalting God.
This is my problem with people who pretend to be fishers of men too and yet are either too craven or too corrupted to speak the truth about religion as it is presented to us. I am critiquing supposed men of faith who call themselves Christians but really this could apply to any religion. I could cite example after example, like for example the notion of Easter as the rising of Yeshua is preposterous! Passover is one thing, but Easter is a whole other matter. Easter was previously a Roman pagan holiday that honored to goddess Ester who was the deity of the harvest. After Constantine decided to co-opt Christianity, the precursor to the Pope went on a campaign of lies to paint over their pagan holidays with the Christianity. Likewise December 25th is not the birth of Christ for that too was an existing pagan holiday that idolized the winter solstice. These things “men of cloth” do not reveal and instead continue to deceive in order to keep chasing money by way of tithing.
The beat goes on and the hustle continues; this is how the Vatican is the wealthiest nation in the world as they build walls to keep outsiders away. I’m pretty sure Yeshua did not say “build walls to keep the least among us out of the city on the hill” yet this is what people who have greed in their hearts do—they take from the world and then build walls in order to prevent the masses from retaking ill gotten gains. Shysters thus keep manipulating the people; they have convinced us that a church is building and then keep building multi-million dollar castles in the midst of poverty and squalor and then pretend that these houses full of symbols and idols are the house of God when in reality these are homes of egos and arrogance.
This is the same hustle that they killed Yeshua over, Yeshua was exposing the hypocrisy of the pharisees and that audacity to speak truth to power was his death sentence. This is the deception birthed from the forked tongue of the devil who convinced Eve and Adam that they too could be all powerful if only they ate from the forbidden fruit. Forbidden fruits keep bearing yet more malicious fruits to the point where the roots of humanity has been infected with this malignant virus of insolence that makes all of us want to be gods of other men. This is what makes men who should know better—the modern day pharisees—to keep pulling the wool over our eyes and convincing us to part ways with our dollars as they call that shakedown tithing.
This is the excesses of religion that is destroying the world. Tithing is not of money anymore than church is made of stone. Tithing is of the heart and the kindness that you give to others—true tithing is time that you give to your neighbor and the love that you provide to those who are in need of it. In the same way, church is us the body of believers and non-believers alike for all of us—irrespective of our belief system—are children of an awesome creator. You see, religion is the problem for where there is dogma there exists either ego or ignorance and God is made non-existent through commission. Religion is what is bleeding the world as we try to prove who is right when in reality we should be more humble before God for none of us know the truth apart from the creator whose truth begat this universe.
Religion is to faith as a toad is to an ostrich, true faith and belief is inward for even Yeshua stated as such when his disciples asked him how to pray.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. 6But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” ~ Matthew 6:6
All these rituals and religious ceremonies we do are thus empty and bankrupt for the heart is where one can find God. If the heart is corrupt and leads people to take from other people, all the hooting and hollering in the world and all the scriptures quoted cannot undo the malicious deeds that are done in His name.
Just remember this one thing if you take away nothing more from this article, God is not found in money nor is a temple made of stone. Likewise, a title does not bestow unto anyone some type of sanctification; the notion of holy men is nonsense for all of us are struggling to do good in face of the constant force of evil that confounds this world. What makes men good leaders is not the cloth but in their heart. When you follow people, follow them not because of their title but based on their actions of kindness. Respect the elders for they have gained wisdom through hardship but disregard even the most learned elder if that person’s aim is to be a pharisees more than it is to be giving.
In the end, remember this one thing, our bodies are the temple and the temples when combined with others form the church. The church is not made of stones nor is it any type of building—the church is when we get together with others and share with love what God has given to all of us. This world does not need more churches made of stone nor do we need endless temples to be built in honor of God, the whole planet is a temple and so is the bodies that we were given by God. How about we build instead a house of love and in that house let charity and good will be the moral compass that guides our heart. Maybe we should strive to be less righteous and to be in and exist in doing right instead. I know one thing, church is in our hearts, church is not made of stone. #ChurchNotOfStone
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” ~ Matthew 18:20
If you liked this article and understand that church truly is within us not of stone, share this article on social media using #ChurchNotOfStone. Check out the music below, it’s an Ethiopian song by a singer named Gigi who is speaking of God’s love and that we need to stop dividing ourselves in his name. I’m having this song translated and will post the words below the video later on this later on today so check back to see the words she is singing. But for now, enjoy the music for music is a universal language that we all speak.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.