62 - Symptoms of Religion

Religion is quite something, and God has much to say about it in his word. It isn't as if God wants us ignorant. Quite the contrary, he wants us educated and wise.

1 Corinthians 12:1
Now concerning spiritual [pneumatikos - spiritual matters] gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

God had his word written so that rather than being ignorant of spiritual matters we could understand them. It follows then that if we do not read the bible and understand it, we will be ignorant. We may know a heck of a lot about church administration, politics, spiritualism, religion, astrology, communism and freemasonry, but we will be ignorant. If we do not learn the bible and walk by the spirit, we will be in the dark. To be able to see, we must have our eyes open.

Ephesians 1:17-19
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Wisdom and knowledge come from an understanding of the bible. Knowing the hope of our calling comes from knowing the scriptures. Perceiving the exceeding greatness of God's power comes only from a knowledge of the word of God and manifesting that power. If we do not know the bible, we are ignorant. Someone may have a PhD, but without a knowledge of God's word they are uneducated, they have no understanding of spiritual matters. Don't take my word for it though, Paul was one of the most educated, influential and religious men on the planet and here's how he put it.

Philippians 3:8
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

The world educates about anything and everything except the truth of God's word, and does everything it can to prevent the accurate teaching of the bible. The devil is a master at keeping people ignorant.

2 Corinthians 4:3,4
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

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.

Now, the devil isn't stupid. He is brilliant at what he does. He has been watching us for a long time and he knows us. He knows some of us will occasionally have a yearning for an understanding of spiritual matters and that we might go to the bible for help. To keep us blinded and to prevent us from ever coming to a knowledge of the truth and an understanding of spiritual matters, he invented religion. Religion is a disease that rots out the eyes and ears of anyone searching for an accurate knowledge of spiritual matters. Of course, the devil needs men to run these religions for him so it is no surprise to find sociable, personable, intelligent, educated men in control of the world's religions.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such 
are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

As religion is a disease, it is only prudent that we learn to recognise the symptoms so we can treat ourselves if we become infected with it. To help us we will look at the life of Jeroboam, the first king of the northern tribes of Israel.

When Solomon turned his back on God's word by marrying unbelieving women, they turned his heart just as God had said they would.

1 Kings 11:1-13
But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

Of the nations 
concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.

Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.

Whenever and wherever we turn our backs on God by ignoring his word, the thief has access to our lives. Solomon's love for women was more important to him than doing the word. He loved people more than he loved God. What is there in your life that is more important to you than doing the word? Is using your credit card to buy things for which you do not have the money more important than believing God to supply your need? Is having that brand new outfit or computer or latest gaming system by flashing your credit card more important to you than saving up for it and budgeting properly? You see, we have to discipline ourselves to do things God's way if we want to keep the thief out of our lives.

When Solomon turned his back on God, it was not a good situation for the children of Israel because Solomon was their king and it put their nation at great risk. God therefore took steps to try to protect his people by sending a prophet to speak to Jeroboam, who was a believer, a disciple, a man who loved God and had a heart to serve him and do what was right.

1 Kings 11:28-38
And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.

And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two 
were alone in the field:

And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:

And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

(But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:

But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.

And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

God always does his best for us. Whenever and wherever men and women put their trust in him and believe his word he is there to help them. God never goes anywhere because he is everywhere. God never walks away from people, it is always people who walk away from God. After Solomon's death the kingdom split, just as God had said. Solomon's son Rehoboam ruled Judea, and Jeroboam ruled northern Israel. God's word is trustworthy, you can rely on it, you can trust your life to it.

When Jeroboam had ruled for a while, for some reason he began to fear losing his position as king. He didn't deal with his fears either, he let them take root and grow. Perhaps he was too busy with his job to have time to keep himself in the word, like I've heard a thousand times from people in our day. Listen, if you love God, you love his word. If you don't have time for the word, you don't have time for God and all your talk about love is religious horseshit. If you neglect God's word because you're too busy with life, or too lazy to maintain a consistent faithful diet, or something else in life is more important to you, you are walking away from God. Is television more important to you than spending time in the word? Are computer games and glossy magazines more important to you than spending time in the word? Are your hobbies and pursuits more important to you than spending time in the word? If so, change your direction. God isn't going anywhere, it's you that's walking away.

If we ever feel fear creeping into our lives in any category, we should be scrambling to get to the word. Look at what Jeroboam said in his heart, look at his fear.

1 Kings 12:25-27
Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:

If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, 
even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

He was afraid of losing his job and consequently his life. Hey, wasn't it fear that almost destroyed Job? The book of Job existed during Jeroboam's day, so why didn't he keep his heart in the word? Look again at what God told him by way of a prophet.

1 Kings 11:30,31,37,38
And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:

And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do 
that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

Why didn't Jeroboam stay faithful to God's word by keeping it clear in his mind? Good question. Why don't people today believe God's word? It has everything to do with keeping ourselves in the bible and maintaining a faithful, daily diet of God's word. If we don't keep ourselves in the word, we will lose it. That's not a threat, that's just life. If you don't eat, your body will become weak and ill and you will eventually die. You don't have to eat, but if you don't, you're not going to enjoy much of a life because you will be dead. If you neglect the word, fears await you and what you fear will become reality in your life. If you don't believe me, go and spend some time in the book of Job, which is where Jeroboam should have gone. He was afraid of losing his job, he was afraid of losing his kingdom, he was afraid of losing the power and authority he had obviously developed a taste for, and he was afraid of losing his life.

1 Kings 12:27
If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

Instead of going to God's word to deal with his fears, Jeroboam made a few plans of his own. Do we walk by the senses or do we walk by the revealed word and will of God? Jeroboam decided to do things his way.

1 Kings 12:28-33
Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves 
of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

Will you look at that. Jeroboam built a new religion. He turned his back on the fountain of living waters and hewed him out a broken cistern in which to house his fears.

Jeremiah 2:13
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, 
and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

A church or ministry is something man makes in which to house his religion. Man just seems to feel the need to have some kind of organised structure complete with layers of leadership into which he can place his religion. Always remember, God does not dwell in temples made with hands. If you lose this truth, you will be blown about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and the cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Religious organisations constructed by men are broken cisterns that can hold no water. Any flowing of living waters they once energised will eventually leak out of them until all that is left is dry religious ceremony.

Let's look at this new religion of Jeroboam's to see what we can learn. Remember, Jeroboam had been a disciple, a disciplined follower of God, a man who loved God and his word. He neglected the word, and in its place constructed a religion, complete with gods in the form of golden calves.

1 Kings 12:28
Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

The first thing he did was to replace the true God with alternative gods. People require something to worship, something they can call their god. In this administration, golden calves wouldn't work, so the devil has to adapt. The intent is to strip the power of God out of people's lives and replace it with religious ceremony.

The living waters of Jeremiah refers to the energising of God's power, the manifestation of spiritual power, therefore replacing the manifestation of spiritual power with ceremony and ritual is an important stage in the development of a broken cistern. In modern day language, this would equate to turning people away from walking by the spirit to walking by the counsel of men. Instead of walking with Christ as their head, people are taught to walk within a structure of leadership who all report up the chain to a patriarch who feels responsible for the entire religious structure. That is walking by the senses because it is putting your trust in men. If you have Christ in you and you can walk by the spirit, what do you need a patriarchal system for? Either Christ is your head or men are your head. The only leadership anyone needs is whoever witnessed to them, the person who is responsible to look after them, teach them the word, and show them how to walk by the spirit for themselves. This is a family thing, a home church thing, not a monstrous patriarchal leadership man-made temple thing.

The next phase of Jeroboam's plan was to construct religious buildings in which to house his new gods. No doubt the temples he made for his golden calves would have had elaborate religious design intended to draw gasps of wonder from folks stepping inside. No doubt people would have talked in awe about the grandeur of those temples in Bethal and Dan and spread the word of the new religion.

Any religious organisation with a central headquarters whose staff support a patriarchal system of leadership that walks by counsels of men thinking there is safety in a multitude of counsellors is a temple made with hands. As there are thousands of such man-made temples around, with some brands having church buildings on practically every street corner, it's also a good idea to label them so people can choose which broken cistern they would feel comfortable supporting. After all, people like to brag about the broken cisterns they've dedicated their lives to despite God stating very clearly in this administration that he does not have anything to do with any of them.

Acts 7:48-50
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,

is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

Hath not my hand made all these things?

The next thing Jeroboam did was construct an administrational system around his new religion and staff it with wonderfully sincere religious pricks, er sorry, priests.

1 Kings 12:31
And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

The sons of Levi were God's leadership in the old testament. In this age of Grace, there is no priesthood. Instead, those of us with a knowledge of the word and who walk by the spirit are to establish churches in our homes and teach others how to do the same. To support this work, God gives gift ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These gift ministries are for the perfecting of the saints (the mending, the caring of God's people), for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ. These gift ministries are to be energised at the home church level for that is where they are needed. And another thing, God gives these ministries, not men. Who ordains leadership in broken cisterns? Men do. They also give them nice religious titles such as reverend, labels that you won't find anywhere in the bible. God gives gift ministries, and he absolutely does not do it through counsels of men. The worldwide network of energised home churches who walk with Christ as their head make up the body of Christ, not some dead religious temple made with hands.

Ephesians 4:11,12
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

I've never been in any church or ministry leadership programmes. I've never been to any religious educational institutions for further education, and I don't have any degrees or university qualifications. Do I have any gift ministries? Well, what does an apostle do? He brings new light to his generation, therefore how would you know if God had given someone the gift ministry of an apostle? By reading his name tag? I don't see reverend listed in the gift ministries, I see apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. I don't see anyone calling Paul reverend, I see everyone referring to him as the apostle Paul. I don't see Reverend Philip in the bible, I see Philip the evangelist. I don't see Reverend Agabus in the bible, I see Agabus the prophet. Who gave these ministries to those men? God or a structure of leadership who took it on themselves to do it? People may call themselves reverend and enjoy the worship they get from men, but in truth they're nothing more than priests ordained by men to help prop up their particular brand of religious horseshit.

What about the gift ministry of a prophet? What qualities exemplify a prophet? A nametag with reverend on it? Prophets confront God's people and bring them back to the word. What about the gift ministry of an apostle? What qualities exemplify an apostle? A nametag with reverend on it? Apostles bring new light to God's people. It may be old light, but it's new to the generation to which he brings it. These definitions make it rather easy to see where gift ministries are in operation. Men do not give gift ministries, God gives gift ministries where it pleases him, and I can assure you that he has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with patriarchs and counsels of men dishing out reverend titles in temples made with hands.

The next thing Jeroboam did was institute a religious calendar, complete with special holy days, alters, incense, feasts, ceremonies and rituals. Which days top your religious calendar? Christmas? Easter? The anniversary of your broken cistern?

1 Kings 12:33
So he [Jeroboam] offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

This doesn't sound much different to every other religion on earth today, does it? You just will not find God within any religious man-made ministries or organisations anywhere on earth. They are all broken cisterns. Every single one of them without exception. Just because a church or ministry sings a few congregational songs every sunday followed by the reading of a script splattered with a few bible verses is no indication of anything.

So, Jeroboam constructed a new religion in which to house his fears. His fears were the motivation for turning his back on God and hewing out for himself a broken cistern. We know that fear is believing, so how did things turn out for the king?

1 Kings 15:29
And it came to pass, when he [Baasha] reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite:

Oh dear, perhaps hewing out broken cisterns and decorating them with glittering religious trappings isn't the way to go. By the way, while we're here, religious trappings come in many forms, a few of which might surprise and shock you. For example, while Moses was leading the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land, at one point they had a major problem with the local wildlife.

Numbers 21:5-9
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

The Israelites still had not got their heads around the truths in the book of Job regarding not accusing God of doing criminal things to them. Once you start accusing God of doing criminal things to you, the doors are open to all sorts of problems. The devil tried to break Job's integrity by getting him to blame God for his problems. Job didn't break, but these Israelites just couldn't stop themselves. Here they go again, this time accusing God of taking them out into the wilderness so he could kill them with hunger. Go to any church in the world today and you will hear folks accusing God of making them sick and killing them. People, you had better wake up to the truth that God does not dwell in temples made with hands and stay well away from them.

As a consequence of their unbelief, God couldn't protect those Israelites from fiery serpents, but when the people came back to God and apologised for accusing him of doing evil things to them, he made a way for them to escape, he provided a solution. Every time we come back to God, no matter how much we've neglected him or even how terrible we've been, he will always be there to help us sort out our problems. In this case, Moses was to make a brass image of the serpents that were biting them and if someone was bitten all they had to do was run to the brass serpent, look at it and they would be healed.

Now listen, selah, God had Moses make that brass serpent for a particular job. Once the people were out of the danger area and into the promised land, did they need the brass serpent any longer? No, they didn't. It had served its purpose. However, hundreds of years later during the reign of Hezekiah, the children of Israel were still worshipping that stupid thing.

2 Kings 18:1-4
Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, 
that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.

Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.

He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan [a piece of brass].

This is amazing. Can you see now how religion takes the things of God and turns them into mindless ceremonies and rituals? Hundreds of years later, the Israelites were still worshipping that stupid piece of brass. Hezekiah took it out of its temple and broke it in pieces. If we want to live for God, we are going to have to take down any religious idols we may have and break them in pieces.

For example, what does the word say about water baptism? Was water baptism part of the patriarchal system? No, it wasn't. Was it part of the law administration? Moses wrote nothing about water baptism. Search and look, Moses wrote absolutely nothing regarding water baptism. In fact, there is nothing in the bible about it until John the baptist came along.

Matthew 3:1-6
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

John the baptist was a prophet, a man of God, just like Moses, and God told John to get out into the wilderness and water baptize people in the River Jordan. Just as God had Moses set up that brass serpent to bless his people, God also had John institute water baptism to bless his people. However, look at what John said to Jesus Christ when he came to him to be baptised.

Matthew 3:13-15
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

And Jesus answering said unto him, 
Suffer [allow] it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered [allowed] him.

Will you just look at that. It's almost unbelievable. John refused to water baptize Jesus Christ, the son of God. John told Jesus he wasn't going to do it, and then told him that he had need to be baptized of him with something better. John the baptist himself knew that something better than water baptism was coming and that Jesus Christ would make it available. John the baptist knew his water baptism was but a temporary symbolic gesture until that something greater came along. Look at what John said publicly in verse 11, before Jesus came to him.

Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit], and with fire:

John knew that his water baptism was but a symbolic gesture preparing people for what was coming, something far greater, which was to be baptized with the holy spirit. His entire ministry was simply to prepare people for what was coming. Water baptism isn't worthy to bear the shoes of baptism with the holy spirit.

Mark 1:8
I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit].

John 1:32,33
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit].

God told John to water baptize people in Jordan as a symbolic illustration to prepare them for the baptism with the holy spirit which Jesus Christ had come to make available. John the baptist himself taught his followers that Jesus Christ was the true way to God. John knew his ministry of water baptism was temporary and that it would be replaced.

John 3:25-30
Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews [Judeans] about purifying.

And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all 
men come to him.

John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Jesus Christ also knew that he would make a far better baptism than John's available. On the day of the ascension, he again brought up water baptism and told his apostles that John's water baptism would be replaced in a few days.

Acts 1:4,5
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] not many days hence.

Jesus Christ came to make baptism with the holy spirit available, which was something far superior to water baptism, and it first came on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:1-4
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit], and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

With the coming of the greater, the lesser was no longer necessary. With the coming of the baptism of the holy spirit, water baptism was no longer necessary, it had served its purpose. Like Moses' brass serpent, water baptism was simply a temporary measure, and once baptism with the holy spirit became available it was no longer needed. Water baptism was a symbolic cleansing, a ceremony John instituted to illustrate what was coming, to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. The actual receiving of the gift of holy spirit, which is to be baptized in holy spirit, cleanses you within and washes you entirely, making you righteous before God. No amount of washing in water can do that for anyone.

So why then do churches today two thousand years later still perform water baptism ceremonies? They dunk people, sprinkle them, immerse them, and submerge them in rivers. Why? Same reason the people in Hezekiah's day still worshipped that stupid brass serpent. Look, getting wet will get you nothing from God. The only way we can get anything from God is to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. At that moment we are saved, sozō, made whole, by receiving the gift of holy spirit which is to be baptized with the holy spirit. The receiving of that spirit washes us completely and gives us the righteousness of God. Water baptism is religious horseshit, a religious ceremony, a mindless ritual that accomplishes absolutely nothing other than making people wet.

What other religious trappings could we have in our lives? Well, anything that we do with our five senses, with our human abilities to try to please God falls into the category of religion. It is impossible for any man or any woman to do any works of any kind in order to be baptized with holy spirit. It is impossible to worship God except in spirit and in truth, which is to manifest the gift of holy spirit by speaking in tongues. Anything a person may do with their five senses abilities because they think it's how you please God falls into the category of religion.

Like wearing a cross around your neck. The cross is a symbol of torture and murder. If Jesus Christ had been run through with a sword, would you wear a sword around your neck? If Jesus Christ had been shot, would you wear a gun around your neck? If Jesus Christ has been beaten to death with an iron bar, would you wear an iron bar around your neck? If you think worshipping the very tool the devil used to murder Jesus Christ pleases God, you're insane. This isn't about his death, this is about his resurrection from the dead. Get those filthy icons of death out of your life. While you're at it, you can dump all your guardian angel garbage, as well as any pictures or statues of Jesus and Mary, or any other religious trash you have around. They cost you money? Getting money from you was the whole point.

What else? Well, what about your written words? Do you think God enjoys seeing you capitalise pronouns referring to Him and His Word? Do you think He appreciates what you consider He might want? He does not want you worshipping Him with works of the flesh so shove your capitalisation up Your religious broken cistern ass. All you do with that religious garbage is alienate yourselves from the world by making yourself look ridiculous. If someone insists you should do it, ask them for the chapter and verse.

What about saying 
Amen at the end of prayers? Do you even know what amen means? If you don't know what it means and you just repeat it mindlessly at the end of prayers, you're just performing a religious ceremony. We don't pray to God in the name of Amen, we pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ. I once read that a hindu woman with a red spot on her forehead was asked about it and she didn't have a clue what it meant. She replied that it was just their custom. Her mother did it, so she did it too. If that's all Amen means to you, shut the fuck up. Try speaking in tongues and worshipping God in spirit and in truth instead. It is perfect prayer, after all. Amen was a congregational response to a prayer which meant no more than wot he said in modern language. It is not some magic word that somehow opens the windows of heaven for you. Used mindlessly, it is just another piece of religious horseshit.

What about saying 
God bless you to people, or signing your letters and emails off with God bless you? It's nice to be nice, don't you think? Is it? I don't see God bless you in the book of Acts or anywhere in Paul's epistles. I see grace, mercy and peace to you from God our father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, but I don't see God bless you. Quite the contrary, I see that God has already blessed me with all spiritual blessings.

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Why do you say God bless you to people? If they're born again, God has already blessed them with all spiritual blessings. Are you implying that God didn't do a decent enough job and that he still has some blessings to give to that person? If so, you're contradicting the bible, because the word says that God has already blessed us, all of us who are born again, with all spiritual blessings. If you want to bless someone in this administration, Corinthians tells you how to do it.

1 Corinthians 14:16,17

Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

According to Corinthians, if you want to bless someone you're going to have to believe to operate tongues with interpretation and prophecy at a home church meeting.

God bless you? Where did you learn that anyway? From the bible or from a broken cistern? Why do you say 
God bless you to people? Because it's in the bible or because everyone else at your broken cistern ministry does it? It's time to be honest people. Saying God bless you to people is religious horseshit. You're already blessed with all spiritual blessings, don't ever forget that.

The origin of saying 
God bless you is quite intriguing. The phrase God bless you is actually attributed to Pope Gregory who uttered it in the sixth century during the bubonic plague epidemic that killed over 25 million people. In other words, saying God bless you to someone originated in death. Every time you say God bless you to someone, you are thinking death of them. It originated with a fucking pope who claimed God was killing all those people with the black death to bless them.

The following verses in Corinthians have been taught extensively regarding believers marrying unbelievers, and I'm sure that's a tiny part of it, however, read the verses again in light of what we've just learned regarding religion.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in 
them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Are these verses simply addressing marriage? I don't think so! These verses address having fellowship with unbelieving believers in their temples made with hands. Come out from among them and be ye separate. Touch not the unclean thing, walk by the spirit instead because God is your father and he will not be found in temples made with hands.

What about putting your hands together when you pray? Do you really think it makes any difference to God what you do with your hands when you pray? Nowhere in the entire bible is anyone ever instructed by God to clasp their hands together when praying. So where does it come from? Haven't you ever stopped to wonder where that religious piece of shit comes from? I mean, just look at it. It doesn't take much imagination to realise that it's just making a penis in front of your face to pray to which is what the ancient pagans did. What a wonderful christian thing for parents to teach their young children hey?

I could go on forever on this subject, but I think I've made the point God wanted me to make. Yes, it is God who has been energising within me to will and to do of his good pleasure while I've been putting this class and this session together. And another thing, God is quite happy with my language. Do you think swearing means I'm not a man of God? The word says my speech should always be with grace, seasoned with salt so that I should know how to answer every man.

Colossians 4:6
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

This verse mentions grace and salt, it says nothing about swearing. If you insert swearing into this verse, you're full of religious horseshit. Do you even know what grace is? This is the grace administration. I'm extending grace by teaching about God's grace. You will find grace all the way through my teachings. I always teach grace, therefore my speech is always with grace. Salt is a reference to commitment. Does anyone out there doubt my commitment to what I do? If you think being holy and righteous means you don't swear, you're worshipping a brass serpent, attempting to establish your own holiness with works of the flesh. I worship God in spirit and in truth, do you? I walk by the spirit and not by counsels of men, do you?

While I was researching and writing this session, one morning I woke up without any idea where the class was going after Jeroboam. I was half way through and I didn't have a clue where it was going next. As I sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bed, at that moment I saw very clearly the direction I had to take. When I later finished writing up the first draft, God filled me with a deep peaceful feeling inside to let me know the job was done. All I had to do then was tidy it up and prepare it for publishing. I can assure you, God is quite happy with my language because it communicates. If he didn't like my language he would not have worked within me to do this thing and pull it all together. My righteousness I hold fast and will not let it go, my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

Look, I don't hate religious people and nor does God. Well, he loves them a lot more than I do, but I'm not simply out to annoy them just for the sake of it, I'm trying to get their attention. I'm confronting the world because I love enough to want to see the word live. Come out of those broken cisterns my brothers and sisters in Christ, energise that gift of holy spirit within you and establish churches in your homes that are self governing, self propagating and self supporting. Only then can you be truly free.

Chapter 63 - 1 Corinthians 12