November 14, 2010
After 2000 years of confusion and misrepresentation by religious leaders, the answer to the question of Pilate “What is truth?” is as difficult to settle among the modern church denominations as it was amongst the Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots of that day. Pilate found no fault in the statement of Jesus, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”
In this day of modern religious extremism it has become necessary to explain what the phrase “Coercive Church" means. The truth is Christ was a king of a government and though His kingdom was not a part of the “world” of Pontius Pilate and Rome, it was here at hand. Jesus did not preach some Sunday go to meeting Church. He preached and appointed a kingdom. The early Church provided the entire social welfare for a society that not only believed in Christ but also in doing and living His way of love and mutual service.
The Church was a government but it was not coercive in the performance of its responsibilities of caring and providing the charitable social welfare needs of the people. Rome, Herod, and the Pharisees, including many of the other governments surrounding the Mediterranean, had extensive social welfare systems. Roman free bread and circuses spread to Judea, and Augustus was loved for his benefaction by many of its citizens. “In Jesus’ day an impressive system of welfare tended the poor ... The tithe of grain and fruit could first be exchanged for silver ... silver for grain, wine, oil, and whatever would promote the joy of the people in the presence of their God ... The tithe also functioned as a kind of a tax to support the temple and its personnel… An administration was in charge of the storehouse for the continued welfare of the personnel… The presentation of any offering required careful adherence to the prescribed regulations...”
About 78 BC, the Pharisees, which were a political party, thought they had a better idea. Their Sanhedrin decided to create a socialist state that could exercise authority over the people by compelling contributions and enacted a law upon the people to enforce the collection of temple tribute. This was gradual at first but under Herod the contribution of members was no longer the freewill offering as prescribed in the Old Testament. The government instituted for Judea by the Pharisees no longer operated like the one that was instituted by the revolutionary ideas of Moses.
The temples were government buildings which administered systems of social security with contributions called Corban. In the early days of Israel Corban was provided by “free will offerings,” but the Corban of these Pharisees demanded the contributions of its members by statutory enforced decree. This filled the treasury of the temples of Herod through his employed government ministers.
Herod wanted to make his “Temple the largest… in the world… a quarter of a mile long by a fifth of a mile wide… Twenty thousand functionaries were employed in its servicing....”  These socialist system offered many benefits to the people, but would alter the character of society. This entrusted mammon was spoken of by Christ. It would eventually fail, but not before it corrupted the hearts and minds of the people as in the days of Sodom.
“But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” Luke 20:17
Surprisingly enough the Pharisees and lawyers were baptized - but not by John. “Herod’s scheme of initiation into a new form of Judaism was immensely successful. Jews everywhere were willing to join the worldwide society ... Entry was for members only; they had to show at the door an admission token in the form of a white stone from the river Jordan which the missionaries gave them at baptism. On the stone was written their new Jewish name.”
John the Baptist's system of social welfare was true charity through the voluntary sacrifice of people. The Pharisees, in the vanity of their religion, were forcing contribution of their members under the threat of punitive persecution. Their system of social welfare was supported through the sacrifices and contributions of the people they, called Corban. Their form of Corban was condemned by Christ because it made the “word of God to none effect.”
God's government had always depended on the freewill offerings which both God and a free society require. The governments of the world often require full faith and allegiance to their leaders who call themselves benefactors but who exercise authority one over the other. In this one precept we may see a fundamental difference both then and now between the Kingdom of God as preached by John, Jesus and the apostles and the kingdoms or governments of the “world.”
The Christian system of welfare operated by faith, hope and charity only. Israel was a government and not a “religion” alone. The word “religion” seldom appears in the Bible. Few people understand the difference between the "pure religion" spoken of in the New Testament and the impure religion of the Pharisees which made the word of God to none effect. Nor do they understand how religion gets spotted by the “world” or what that meant in the Biblical context of James. Religion was the way people maintained their social welfare system. This was the central focus in many of the other temples of other governments at that time.
Yes, the Kingdom of God was a system of faith which required hope and charity in love, not force. In early Israel, as it was in the early Church, your tithing and free will offerings were given as a voluntary choice by individuals of every congregation. That contribution was given according to the service of their personal minister by choice not by dictates of statutes or the imposed penalties of men.
“Some scholars regard the ancient confederation of Hebrew tribes that endured in Palestine from the 15th century BC until a monarchy was established about 1020 BC as an embryonic republic.” Likewise, “The churches in New England were so many nurseries of freemen, training them in the principles of self-government and accustoming them to the feeling of independence. In these petty organizations were developed, in practice, the principles of individual and national freedom. Each church was a republic in embryo. The fiction became a fact, the abstraction a reality...” In Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, he praised “the union and discipline of the Christian republic.” He also pointed out that “it gradually formed an independent and increasing state in the heart of the Roman Empire.”
Both Israel and the early Church were called Republics by historians because of the titular nature of its leaders who served the people and the needs of society without exercising authority one over the other. The people retained their God given right of choice, their original God given liberty, because they exercised their responsibility to provide the service of government through faith, hope and community charity. Any government whose leaders are no longer titular is no longer a Republic.
While the modern churches say “all you have to do is believe”, in reality it appears that Christ actually talked about doers of the word not hearers only. He talked about striving and about those who were told to depart, because they were workers of iniquity. Jesus did not come to license the members of His Church to covet their neighbors' goods through the agency of governments they make for themselves.
"The civil law is what a people establishes for itself."
The sins of the Pharisees were many, but one of them was their statutory socialism which made the word of God to none effect, which was a rejection of God. Christ came to save them and the world form that sin if they would repent. There should be no doubt that preconceived and false notions accepted with blind faith is nothing more than a continuation of the blind leading the blind.
From Cain and those first city-states to Nimrod and his world-ruling tower of Babel, or from the statutory corvee bondage in Egypt to Herod, the Sanhedrin of the Pharisees and the commercial and military control of Judea by Rome, the Bible is either about man and his relationship with the God of Heaven or with the governments of men, and the gods of those governments.
Jesus said in Matthew 20:25 “But Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.”
The early ministers of the church said “there is another king, [one] Jesus” and that “We ought to obey God rather than men.” But we were also told in Exodus 23:32“Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.”
The Church was composed of benefactors who did not exercise authority but provided all the social welfare of the people through the perfect law of liberty by faith, hope and charity. That took real faith and doing, forgiveness and giving, sacrifice and love. Being a Christian was not as easy as modern Christians would like to believe.
Instead the modern church sends people to eat at the tables of those socialist benefactors who exercise authority one over the other which makes the word of God to none effect. They were warned that those tables served deceitful meats, that they were a snare and a trap.
The religion practiced today is done at the government temples which provide for the needy of modern society. Those administrators are the priests of the people's true religion and their government is the new Pharisees of the Coercive Church established by men. Their schemes of social security are formed like those of Herod and the Pharisees and again make the word of God to none effect. What they do on Sunday is just to ease their own conscience or tickle their ears with false hopes so they may give heed to fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
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Christ meant His Church to set the table of the Lord through faith, hope and charity. To depend on the welfare of rulers was to again become entangled in the bondage of their world. Christ came to open our eyes to the sin common in the history of men and to set us free if we will repent.
As we see the unrighteous mammon failing, it is time for the people and the ministers of their church to repent and seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness so that they will be suitable for more righteous habitations.
John 18:37 “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?
Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born,
and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness
unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate
saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out
again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at
2. Luke 22:29, 12:32, 16:16, Hebrews 12:28, Matthew 21:43, Matthew 23:13, 26:29, Mark 1:15, 4:11, 9:1, 11:10.
3. Elwell Evangelical Dictionary
4. Salome- Alexandra (about 78 BC), that the Pharisaical party, being then in power, had carried an enactment by which the Temple tribute was to be enforced at law. Alfred Edersheim’s book The Temple.
5. Leviticus 22:18 “Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever [he be] of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering;” Exodus 35:29, 36:3, Leviticus 7:16, Numbers 7:5, 15:3, 29:39, Deuteronomy 12:6, 17, 16:10, 23:23, Ezra 3:5, 8:28, Psalms 54:6, Psalms 119:108, Ezekiel 46:12, Amos 4:5
6. “On the 25th of Adar business was only transacted within the precincts of Jerusalem and of the Temple, and after that date those who had refused to pay the impost could be proceeded against at law, and their goods distrained, the only exception being in favour of priests, and that ‘for the sake of peace,’ lest their office should come in disrepute.” Alfred Edersheim’s book The Temple, p. 71.
7. Jesus, The Evidence, Ian Wilson Oct 1, 2000.
8. “Mammon, an Aramaic word mamon “wealth” … It is probably derived from Ma’amon, something entrusted to safe keeping. Encyclopedia Britannica.
9. Ezekiel 16:49 “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”
10. Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Barbara Thiering, Harper Collins: 1992
11. Luke 3:11 “He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”
12. Galatians 1:13-14 “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
13. Mark 7:13 “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition[translated ordinances in 1 Corinthians 11:2], which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
14. Matthew 20:25..., Mark 10:42..., Luke 22:25 “And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.”
15. James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
16. “The Corban of the Pharisees”
17. “Not of this World”
18. Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
19. Numbers 7:5 "Take [it] of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service."
20. “Republic,” Microsoft ® Encarta. © 1994 Ms. Corp. and F & W Corp.
21. Lives of Issac Heath and John Bowles, Elders of the Church and of John Eliot, Jr., preacher in the mid 1600’, written by J, Wingate Thorton. 1850
22. Rousseau and Revolution, Will et Ariel Durant p.801. fn 83 Heiseler, 85.
23. Judges 17:6 “In those days [there was] no king in Israel, [but] every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes.”
24. Order the book "The higher liberty"
25, Chapter 7. of the book The Covenants of the gods Republic vs Democracy and Audio
26, Matthew 7:21-26, Matthew 8:9-10 [Luke 7:8-9], Luke 6:47, Luke 6:49, Mark 3:35, Mark 10:19, Mark 11:26, Luke 3:10-14, Luke 6:27, Luke 6:27-46, Luke 10:37, Luke 18:18-20, John 7:17, John 3:20-21, John 9:31, James 1:22, James 2:14-26, Revelation 20:13
27, Matthew 7:23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
28, Peter 2:3...14 “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.... Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:”
29, Inst. 1, 2, 1; Jackson v. Jackson, 1 Johns. (N.Y.) 424, 426.
30, The gods Many
31, Acts 17:7 “Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, [one] Jesus.”
32, Acts 5:29 “Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
33, Exodus 23:32 “Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.” Deuteronomy 7:2.
34, Proverbs 23:1 “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what [is] before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.” deceitful is from kazab normally translated lie and defined “untruth, falsehood, deceptive thing.”
35, Psalms 69:22 “Let their table become a snare before them: and [that which should have been] for [their] welfare, [let it become] a trap.”
36, Romans 11:9 “And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:”
37, Titus 1:14 “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.”
38, Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” 2 Peter 2:20 “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.”
39, Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”
40, Luke 16:9 “And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.”
© 2010 Brother Gregory Williams - All Rights Reserved
Brother Gregory was born in America in 1948. His father was a practicing attorney and his mother the daughter of Norwegian immigrants. He Married in 1973, and is the Father of 6 children with a growing number of grandchildren. He grew up in southeast Texas, attending private schools, entering the seminary at 13, where he studied Latin, Greek, and theology. In the course of these studies he began to become aware of secrets hidden for centuries within ancient libraries that began to reveal a more fundamental purpose in the gospel of Christ. His quest to understand the “whole truth” has led him down a labyrinth of law and language, history and prophecy, fable and fallacy, in a unique portrait of bondage and betrayal, liberty and freedom, and the solution and salvation.
He is the author of several books, include The Covenants of the gods, Thy Kingdom Comes, and The Free Church Report, dozens of pamphlets, audio, and video recordings. He has appeared on radio and television “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” which is at hand, within your reach. His common theme is how are men brought into bondage and how are they made free souls under God. His hope and prayer is to bring man's relationship with the God of creation and his relationship with the gods of the “world” into a new perspective and light. Knowing the truth shall set you free, if we will do the will of our Father in heaven.
He now lives near Summer Lake, Oregon where he continues to care for his family, tending sheep of the Church and overseeing the edification of the Church established by Christ in the hearts and minds of congregations of the people, for the people, by the people who will seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.