John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, while on earth, encountered two kinds of religious sects – the Pharisees and Sadducees.
The Pharisees were a conservative orthodox sect. They were keepers of the law and traditions who, in their orthodoxy, had lost the love for God, gratitude to God, and everything that showed zeal for the word of God, and in its stead, practised a dead orthodoxy, and became egotistical and proud. The Pharisees were very strict with regards to the outward observance of forms and were hypocritically self righteous. They believed that their status in life, their good works and above all, having Abraham as their father, were all they needed to make heaven. They pretended to be righteous but were not. They pretended to be holy but were not holy.
On their own side, the Sadducees practised a sinful liberalism. They didn’t believe in life after death. The Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels. They didn’t believe in heaven, neither did they believe in miracles. They did not believe in the coming of a messiah. They believed that man has the freedom of will to create and control his own circumstances. One then wonders why they even claimed to be religious? As a matter of fact, the Sadducees were PRACTICAL ATHEISTS! They were malignant and antagonist to the express will of God.
Together, the Pharisees and Sadducees pretended to be religious, but were in fact not actually worshipping God but engaged in a lot of religious hypocrisy, political hypocrisy, violence, turbulence, sin and corruption in their days.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were legalistic, hypocritical and corrupt. They knew the truth but were opposed to it. They knew God’s will but refused to obey same. They were a people filled with a dead orthodoxy or carnal liberalism that admits of nothing of the reality of God.
John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ saw through the hypocrisies of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and told them so in unmistakable terms.
John the Baptist and Jesus Christ referred to them as “brood of vipers” (Matthew 3; 23 and John 11).
WHY BROOD OF VIPERS?
The viper is a very deadly poisonous snake, highly unpredictable, aggressive with a lethal venom with such potency that makes it one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Their poisonous bites are so deadly that without a quick medical intervention, humans hardly survive them. They can camouflage in woods and sticks that one can pick them up with the sticks or twigs or woods, just as Apostle Paul mistakenly picked one up in the island of Malta, and it eventually bit him (Acts 28:3).
John the Baptist and Jesus Christ rightly called the Pharisees and Sadducees brood of vipers because they disguised as religious leaders while they dangerously led so many people to hell. In disguise as religious leaders, they attacked, destroyed and killed those who stood for the truth. In disguise as religious leaders, they set so many barriers in the name of traditions, and thereby drove many away from the true worship of God. In the guise of religion, they sought to use the name of God to fulfill their selfish and carnal desires, instead of allowing God to use them.
As vipers, they bore satanic qualities, hiding under deceitful circumstances . They were dangerous because they were blind men leading a large population of blind followers.
They were wicked because they saw it as their duty to eliminate any harbinger of truth who threatened the age old traditions that they were benefiting from. They saw any change in status quo as a threat to their financial and political domination at the time.
That was why, despite their huge differences in belief, despite their hatred for each other, the Pharisees and Sadducees united to conspire and crucified Christ.
While they saw John the Baptist as queer, weird and odd, they hated Christ with passion and conspired to kill him.
John the Baptist and Jesus Christ did not call them brood of vipers out of hatred for them, but for them to realise the enormity of their deceit and wickedness, and repent from same.
BEWARE OF THE MODERN DAY PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES!
Today, we have these two elements in the church, the Pharisees and Sadducees.
MODERN DAY PHARISEES
These Pharisees are still there as the preservers of old and obnoxious traditions that tend to draw men more into paganism and away from the worship of God. They hold on to dead and obnoxious dogmas and teachings that have no relevance to one’s salvation.
A Pharisee church will stand by her tradition to excommunicate members of your family if you marry a fellow christian of another church, maybe because their church is registered in heaven, and all members will be going there, together in one bus.
In a Pharisee church, if you don’t have evidence of payment of tithe, you will not be allowed to wed, and also, they will pronounce that things will be tight for you, because Dangote and Bill Gates pay their tithes in these churches. A Pharisee pastor will order you to go towards the altar with your tithes, to enable him identify those who pay tithe regularly. A Pharisee pastor will demand that you lift up your offering very high, because he thinks that God cannot see well enough when your hand is not raised up.
A Pharisee pastor/church will demand that you recite certain portions of the Bible or prayer book repeatedly, in a certain posture because, to them, God is suffering from hardness of hearing and memory loss, and without monotonous repetitions, God cannot comprehend your prayers. If a Pharisee pastor does not anoint you, you cannot exhibit God’s gift in his church. For you to survive on earth, you must be spiritually connected to a Pharisee as your spiritual father, and not being connected to Christ our Lord. It is only the Pharisee pastor that has the sole prerogative to connect to God, while you, his worshipper, connect to him.
Interesting! Like their ancestors, the modern day Pharisees glory in high status, dress in costly flowing and flowery robes, bear big and intimidating titles and high sounding names, and are worshipped like gods.
These Pharisees entrench, demand and ensure absolute loyalty and servitude from their worshippers, irrespective of how heinous and despicable their behaviours are. They elevate themselves to gods, gods of men, not men of God. Above all, they tell you that it is your good works and constant connection to them that will take you to heaven!
MODERN DAY SADDUCEES
Today, we also have the descendants of the Sadducees in our churches. They are the motivational speakers parading as preachers. They preach that the power is in you, not in your dependence on God through Christ. They say, it doesn’t matter how you dress or what you do to make money, do it anyway, because Christ has already paid the price. The Sadducee tells you that your heaven is already on earth, and that you should strive to accumulate the much you can as much as you can, because as a prince, you cannot be poor on earth; that poverty is a sin, and every poor man is a sinner.
The Sadducees go about in the most expensive robes, confer themselves with the highest religious titles, ride the most expensive automobiles on earth and live very luxurious lifestyles around the world, not minding their sources of wealth. After all, Christ has already paid for it, they say.
The Sadducee pastors ensure that part of their own occupy high political offices and wield great influence in government, after all, they are meant to rule the kingdoms of this world. They encourage their members to aspire to power, wealth and influence, no matter what it takes to achieve same, regardless of their touted faith, since to them, the end justifies the means.
To the Sadducees, when God created the world, He took a tithe, the milky way galaxy, therefore you should donate your brains to them to help you use it for you as your tithe for being created.
In a Sadducee church, there’s hardly any difference between a club house and a supposed house of God; between a secular musician and a gospel singer, and between a pastor and a rock artiste: they all blend because the world has been transplanted into the church.
Now, when a John the Baptist on leather slippers and animal skin clothes come preaching the truth for revival, they brand him as a hater of the church and an enemy of christianity. They hatch every conceivable plot to shut him up or even eliminate him. They stir up their watery crowd of followers against those who preach the truth.
These Pharisees and Sadducees give people the impression of being shepherds, while in reality they are wolves in sheep clothing. They make use of God’s name to satisfy and advance their greed, instead of allowing themselves to be used of God.
They deceitfully make their highly fluid crowd of followers think that they are pointing them to light, but in fact, are blind men leading a crowd of blind followers into the pit of hell. They are dangerous, they are poisonous, they are wicked, they are a brood of vipers. They are very much with us on pulpits and the streets, contorting, twisting and hissing out a potpourri of lies and deceits every day, like the vipers that they are, leading millions into hell.
The present day Pharisees and Sadducees, like their forefathers, do not see eye to eye. They have different associations, just to show how antagonistic they are to each other, but whenever their source of livelihood is threatened, they quickly crawl out together, like the vipers that they are, from their deceptive holes, and start hissing and attacking their common enemy, releasing and splashing their deadly venom in the process.
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.
God does not dwell on dead and irrelevant traditions, neither does He take any pride in vain repetitions and posturing. Good works alone cannot earn you salvation. Our self-righteousness is like a filthy rag to God. He wants us to solely depend on Him, not on ourselves. He does not sugarcoat His messages. They come the way they are. You either accept them that way or you reject them; there’s no middle ground. And they come hard enough to break your strong and barren hearts, providing a conducive environment for the planting, watering and the growth of the word of God in you.
Before the seed of the gospel must find a conducive mind to grow, such mind must be broken. And it is only a broken heart that can depend on God, not a hard and rocky and cocky one.
The word of God cannot grow in traditional or puppet minds or those who believe that they can have the best of the two worlds without making any sacrifice for the hereafter. Playing religion cannot take anyone to heaven, neither can being worldly achieve same.
We need to retrace our steps and go back to the Bible and ask the holy spirit for direction. He’s always there to help us whenever we seek help. Christ is at the door of our heart now, knocking, asking to be allowed in, to sup with us. Let us bring him in, and he will drive away the poisonous Pharisees and Sadducees that have been occupying our lives and ‘eating us mugu’.
God bless you all.
~ Bro Chuks Ubani.