John chapter 08:1-20 - A trap for Jesus
This is Chapter 8.
Seven is the number of completion. There are 7 days in a complete week.
Thus eight must start a new system.
Jesus wants to use this Chapter to show how the Law has failed. Thus God needs to introduce a new system, a new covenant in order for people to be saved from sin.
The Pharisees had tried but failed to arrest Jesus. Nicodemus had then wanted a fair and open trial for Jesus. Examining the true facts about Jesus would have wrecked the underhand plot of the scheming Pharisees. Like cockroaches, they scuttled away to their own houses. They had been defeated for the moment but they were going to keep trying. Their only intention was to destroy Jesus.
Jesus is the Word.
Even today, there is something about certain issues of the written Word that church leaders cannot stand.
Sadly, they choose to ignore or change or contradict those verses of the Bible that do not suit them. Yet other Scriptures they happily believe. It seems that nobody today dares to believe all the Bible, just the way it is written.
The Pharisees next move was to manufacture some new false accusation against Jesus.
Notice the farce of their so-called legally correct question. In their minds they had already passed the death sentence against Him.
So they conspired to set a brilliantly clever trap for Him.
The Jewish religious leaders could just not believe all the written Word of their day. Thus they had to get rid of Him as He was a threat to their system.
Long before this they had already planned to kill Him.
John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day
This set the pattern. The religious leaders did not love Jesus Who is the Word of God.
The Pharisees and Sadducees loved their religious systems more than they loved the Scripture.
History repeats itself today. There are 45000 different kinds of denominational and non-denominational churches. Their respective leaders elevate their own church teachings above the Scripture. Those who insist on being Scriptural become the enemies of the church.
John 8:1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
This was the year AD 32, the year before He died.
The Pharisees had all gone to their homes. Jesus instead went to the Mount of Olives.
This implies that Jesus, being the Word, made a deliberate separation from the religious leaders who sought not Bible truth, but rather their own religious agendas.
Olives speak of olive oil, the symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Thus the Mount of Olives speaks of the Holy Spirit that will guide us into all truth as long as we separate from the unscriptural beliefs of the church leaders who oppose the Scripture.
The Mount of Olives is separated from the Temple by the Kidron valley.
Kidron means clouded or obscured. Something that cannot be clearly seen.
That represents our human wisdom. We just cannot get a clear picture of what God is doing unless we ascend into the heights of the Holy Spirit, the symbolic “oil” from the Mount of Olives.
We have to separate from human wisdom and church opinions and traditions if we are to understand spiritual truth.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
:2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
Bethpage means a house of un-ripe figs.
The fig tree is a symbol of Israel. Unripe means they were not yet ready to accept Messiah. The Jewish religious leaders had blinded the Jews to the truth of Scripture.
The last church age of the Laodiceans is also described as blind.
Who blinds the people? It can only be the preachers that the church-goers listen to.
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;
Revelation 3:17 ... and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art ... blind,
So history repeats itself.
In the next year, AD 33, Jesus would ride from the Mount of Olives in triumph into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
There the Jewish leaders would have Him killed in that same week.
So the mount of Olives would play a significant role in His ministry.
From the Mount of Olives the disciples go to untie two donkeys.
Separate the donkeys from the man who had tied them up.
This is symbolizing church-goers that are tied up by the bonds of church traditions and unscriptural beliefs. They have to be separated from their human bondage before Jesus can use them. Only then can the donkeys be used to carry the Word into Jerusalem to fulfill prophecy.
The two donkeys were untied from their previous owner and led to Jesus by the disciples.
The New Testament was written by the disciples who became the apostles. In order to believe this New Testament we have to separate from our modern day church ideas and be led by what the original disciples wrote.
Only then can we carry Jesus, as the Word of God, in our hearts.
A female donkey and her young colt.
Feminine is symbolic of the true church which is called the Bride of Christ.
The first church age was the original adult stage of the church.
The last church age represents the children who are restored back to the original apostolic adults.
Jesus rode on the adult donkey, but the young colt walked alongside in complete agreement. The truth is only carried by the New Testament church of the apostles.
Only the final church age will produce Christians who follow and believe exactly the same Scriptures as the original beliefs of the first church age of Ephesus.
But in AD 32, when Jesus walked from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, the Jewish leaders were also planning to kill Him.
Let us now consider the vicious and fiendishly clever trap that the Pharisees had set for Jesus.
John 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
A lawyer can be a dangerous profession when legal skills are used to convict the innocent. They were using their legal training to trap Him by creating a pretense of justice. They were not trying to establish truth.
Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge:
Using the law to justify a hidden agenda makes a complete farce of the legal system.
The Pharisees had an agenda. They wished only to destroy Jesus.
They were devilishly clever and they thought they had Jesus trapped.
The woman was guilty and the Law of Moses said that she must die.
If Jesus agreed, then He had given a death sentence. After doing that He could not claim to be the Prince of Life, the Messiah.
Agreeing to kill would have canceled out His ministry of saving people from sin because He would have failed to save this woman.
After all, Messiah comes to save the Jews, not to kill them.
On the other hand, if He says that they must not kill her then He has disobeyed the Law of Moses. That makes Him liable to be killed because they would claim that He had contradicted the Law of Moses.
Then these religious leaders would have achieved their goal. They would have the excuse they needed to kill Him.
The whole scene was a set-up. Pretending that they had wanted to kill the woman, they knew that Jesus would be inclined to protect her from their bloodlust. Then they could turn their murderous rage against Him instead.
John 8:6 But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
This is one of the most baffling episodes in the Bible.
Jesus had a perfect answer but instead of giving it, He writes with His finger in the ground.
We need to remember that Jesus thinks at a much deeper level than you and I do.
Moses came down from Mount Horeb (or Sinai) with writing on two stone tablets.Jesus came down from the Mount of Olives and wrote on the ground.
What was the link between these two scenes?
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Jesus was basically saying, “You want to catch Me out by using the Law of Moses. You forget that Moses was a murderer himself. Then, when Moses went up the mountain to get the Law, your Jewish ancestors behaved so disgustingly in a naked orgy of adultery.
Exodus 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
Moses, in deep anger, threw down the tablets of stone and became the first man to break all ten commandments.
Exodus 32:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
Who knows how many illegitimate children were conceived at that time. Thus any of the men who are accusing this woman may be descended from an illegitimate ancestor.
But their Jewish ancestors certainly were immoral. They had nothing to brag about as far as those ancestors were concerned.
They were so decadent that when Joshua came into the Promised Land at Jericho, the first person to get saved was the prostitute Rahab. She symbolized the behaviour of the Jews when Moses was on the mountain of Horeb (or Sinai) getting the Law.
Then Jesus took His silent lesson to a deeper level.
Why was He writing with His finger on the ground?
Moses broke the tables of stone. Broken stone crumbles in the wind and rain to form ground.
As the Son of God, Jesus wrote on the ground with His finger.
Basically, He was telling them that, as God, He had first written the Law with His finger in stone.
Exodus 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Jesus was effectively saying, "You think you can catch me out on a technicality of the Law of Moses? I am the God Who gave Moses the Law".
But the Law that the Pharisees were making such a fuss about had not helped.
The Law had not improved love and compassion amongst the Jews.
They still wanted to kill one another. Even Moses broke all those laws symbolically as the stone tablets were smashed.
As the Son of God, Jesus writes the 10 Commandments with His finger on the ground.
Like Moses, Jesus had just come down from the Mount of Olives, to teach the Jews about the Law. But Jesus emphasized how the Law had failed to take away the desire to sin.
So Jesus picked up where Moses had left off.
Moses had smashed rock which would eventually turn to ground. So Jesus wrote the Law on the ground.
But this was also a waste of time. Wind and rain would erase it. By this example, He was showing the complete failure of the Law.
The Law, written on stone, had failed to make the Jews into better people.
The Law had been given to the Jews during the Exodus to make them a separate people from the world.
Exodus 33:16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
God does not want to be worshiped in a worldly manner, nor with modified pagan festivals and ideas.
But the Jews had failed to remain a separate people. Thus the Law had failed.
The Law, written on ground that had been formed by the broken stones, was just as ineffective.
1500 years after Moses and what has the Law achieved?
The only thing that sinful Jews want to do is kill another sinful Jewess.
Such was their bias against her that the Pharisees did not seek to punish the man who had sinned with her.
No justice was involved. They were just using the woman as a bait to set a trap for Jesus.
Worse still, they are desperately anxious to kill their Messiah. They were completely sold out to corruption and their hidden agendas.
Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
If they had listened to Moses, they would have followed Jesus.
But they were using the Law of Moses to reject Jesus.
Again, history repeats itself.
We are supposed to use the revelations found in the quotes of brother Branham to follow our beliefs through the verses of the written Bible.
But many Message -people are using the quotes of brother Branham to take the place of Scripture, and thus they reject the written Scripture. Now they build their speculative beliefs on the seven Thunders that were not written in the Bible.
Yet the only effective reply that Jesus made to the Devil was, "It is written ..."
The Pharisees did not have enough brains to follow the lesson that Jesus was giving them on how futile the Law had been. The Law had not made the Jews into better people and it had not enabled the Jews to recognize their Messiah.
So they kept pestering Jesus for permission to kill her.
John 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Jesus gives this classic answer. No-one could argue against that statement.
John 8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
So He had written the 10 commandments in the ground. Now, as the Son of God, He writes the 10 commandments for the second time. Why?
Because, as God, He had to write the 10 commandments a second time and give them to Moses.
Exodus 34:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
Each human has an inner conscience that acts as a policeman.
When we do wrong, our conscience tells us. The oldest man had lived longest and thus sinned the most. He left first, followed by all the rest of the sinful accusers.
John 8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
Now the scene is different. Just a sinner woman and the Lord Jesus.
But a woman symbolizes a church because the true church is called the Bride of Christ.
So this scene represents Jesus saving a sinful church.
The Jews would reject their opportunity to get saved. But then God would turn to the Gentiles and save the sinful Gentile church in each church age.
John 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
It is pointless for people to accuse and condemn others. We have all sinned. So our condemnation of another is very hollow seeing that we are also all flawed vessels.
ROMANS 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
ROMANS 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
We humans are very anxious to condemn in another, the very things that we ourselves do wrong.
JOHN 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
This summed up the Gospel. Jesus came to forgive and save the church throughout seven church ages. He planned to turn sinners into saints so that they would get to know Him in a personal relationship based on repentance.
How can Jesus get us to lose the desire for sin?
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Then the Holy Spirit of Christ would indwell our hearts to guide us into all truth.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
Why does this approach work?
God made Adam from the dust of the earth.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
As God, Jesus wrote the Law with His finger on tables of stone. Stone crumbles to form ground.
As the Son of God, Jesus wrote the Law with His finger in ground. But from ground we get the dust from which God makes human hearts.
Then as the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus will indwell the human heart and write His laws inside our hearts.
But the Law was written on two tables of stone. And the human heart is harder than stone.
So our hearts must first break in repentance.
Then the soft inner portion of the heart is exposed to the finger of Jesus who dwells in the repentant heart as the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit writes God’s Law into our hearts which makes us believe the Word of God, not because we have to obey God’s Law, but because we want to obey God’s Word.
Our deepest desires that we really want to do come from the heart.
Our deeds and beliefs no longer come from a sense of obligation or a fear of punishment or a hope of reward.
What the finger of God, Who is the great Holy Spirit, writes within our hearts is simply that we must love God and man. Family, friends, and enemies.
The finger also writes that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The finger writes that the written Word of God, the King James Version of the Bible, is our Absolute that we want to believe.
We now have a deep love for Bible truth.
We want to know the mysteries of Scripture because that reveals to us the fascinating way that Jesus thinks and plans.
God cleans out our lives with His Holy Spirit to make us better people, and then He wants us to become part of His end-time plan for the Bride. He wants us to develop a love for the revealed mysteries so that we can return to the beliefs of the first church age established by the apostles.
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
What do the commandments look like when they are written in our hearts?
Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
:38 This is the first and great commandment.
:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
When Jesus, as the Holy Spirit, writes with His finger in your repentant heart, then you end up loving God and His Word and loving mankind (including your enemies).
God is the Word. So if you love God, you also love and obey the written Bible.
As you learn the mysteries of Scripture, so you learn to love God’s thinking.
This is a whole new lifestyle, based on Christ as the indwelling Holy Spirit in the heart of man.
The four chambers of the heart remind us of the four beasts that dwell around the throne of God in Heaven.
Revelation 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Revelation 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
:7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
What happens on earth should reflect what happens in Heaven.
So the only throne that Jesus has on earth is in the hearts of repentant human beings.
Living in the human heart with its four chambers reminds Jesus of His throne in Heaven which is surrounded by the four powerful bodyguards. These are the spirits that protect and guide His church, His Body, through the seven church ages.
These powerful spirits would show the church what to do and believe during the changing circumstances of human history.
So why did Jesus write the law twice on stone and then twice on the ground?
Because the third step would be repeated twice during the church ages.
The first church age had the Holy Ghost baptism with power, and they believed the doctrines of the apostles that were written down as the New Testament.
Thanks to the apostles' influence, the early church enthroned Jesus in the hearts of the people.
The Holy Ghost thus guided them into all the Biblical truth of the New Testament.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
The apostles died, and human leadership took over the church and guided them away from the written Scriptures. Human traditions and opinions like Christmas and Trinity and Eve eating an apple bound the church ages in error.
Only in the last church age of the Laodiceans would God send an end time messenger to restore us back to the early church's original beliefs that had been guided by the apostles.
Matthew 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
So in the last church age, for only the second time in church history, will there be believers who strictly follow the teachings of the apostles who wrote the New Testament.
The last age has to produce individuals who are a duplicate of the first church age.
When you harvest a seed, it is an exact duplicate of the seed that was sown.
Jesus, the Word, was carried into Jerusalem by an adult donkey. They were accompanied by the foal or the “child” of the donkey that obediently followed the parent donkey.
This Spirit of Christ must replace our old human spirit as we learn to die to self.
Jesus had chased away the religious leaders with their hidden agendas so that the accused woman was left alone. Thus these leaders hated Him for defeating them. They wanted to get rid of Him, the Word, because He was a threat to the hold that they had over the people. The religious leaders had no desire to lose the power that they exercised over the people.
Jesus had also chased the money changers out of the Temple.
Separating the religious leaders from their money was never going to be accepted by them.
John 2:13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
If you want to make an enemy for life, just threaten a religious leader's money income.
Pastors insist that the tithes belong to them, although no Scripture says this.
Separating a pastor from his income. That means war.
Let us go back to the accused woman who was now separated from the religious leaders who had walked away from Jesus, and thus they had walked away from the Word of God.
Now Jesus could explain what happens to a separated individual, like the sinner woman who was left alone with the Lord. This refers to any person who has a personal experience with the Lord Jesus by accepting Him into the individual's heart.
The Holy Spirit of Christ becomes an inner light that guides the person down the pathway of Scripture as the Bible verses unfold a deeper revelation of God’s Word.
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Jesus, in your heart, gives you that inner light to guide your footsteps and your decisions.
Above all. The Spirit of God will make you believe and follow the Bible.
John 8:13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
The religious leaders said that He cannot just make claims about Himself.
All preachers make claims about themselves to build up a following. But where are they leading the people?
John 8:14 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
The Pharisees thought that they had a point. Why should they have to believe Him because of what He said about Himself?
But they overlooked the miracles that Jesus had performed. Turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Standing in Cana and healing a sick person in Capernaum. Feeding 5000 men with a schoolboy’s lunch and still having 12 baskets of leftovers. Walking on a windswept sea. Revealing the past life of a Samaritan woman.
This was a true record that did not depend on His words. These things had been seen to have happened.
No Pharisee or religious leader could compete or compare with His supernatural power.
Thus the Pharisees, who were totally outclassed by His miracles, had not the faintest idea where this power came from. Nor did they have the faintest idea of what His future mission was.
Their religious traditions and customs regulated the Pharisees. They wanted a set of human rules that told them what to do and guaranteed them a regular pay packet.
They had reduced the Jewish faith to repetitive man-made religious routines.
They had no idea how to cope with Someone Who was outside their religious system and was also led by the invisible Spirit of God.
The Pharisees had no concept of a Man Who could fulfill Scripture.
The Pharisees also had no idea that they could be so very wrong. They really thought that they had the full truth. Just like the church leaders of today who emphatically deny that the church is asleep and blind despite the Bible describing the end-time church with those words.
Jesus described the saved Christians at the end using ten clean-living virgins. Some wise, some foolish. But all fast asleep.
The last church of the Laodiceans was called blind.
John 8:15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
The Pharisees had no spiritual judgement. They wanted to kill Him physically because He threatened their physical power to command the people. He also threatened their physical income of money. They could only see the immediate threat that Jesus was to their power and income. The welfare of the people did not come into their thinking. They thought only of themselves as they ganged up on Jesus.
Jesus passed no judgement. That is why He spared the sinner woman.
John 8:16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
But if He did pass a judgement then it would be a true judgement. Why? Because the Spirit of God was His Father and God is always just. God never makes mistakes.
The miracles that He performed could only be done if the supernatural God dwelled within Him.
Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
John 8:17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
So Jesus was not the only one talking about Himself. The supernatural God from Heaven was demonstrating that this was His chosen Son. The quality of His miracles could not be ignored.
John 8:18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
As a Man, Jesus could talk about His mission on earth. But the phenomenal supernatural power that He could exercise meant that the supernatural God was also testifying about Him by His deeds.
John 8:19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
The Father, Who is the Spirit of God, dwelled in the Man Jesus and performed the miracles. Any man who could do such great supernatural deeds had to have the supernatural God within Him.
Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
The person who places the seed of life in a woman’s womb is the father of that child.
The Holy Ghost placed the Seed of Eternal Life in the womb of Mary. Thus the Holy Ghost is the Father of Jesus.
But a human baby can only have one father.
Thus the Holy Ghost is God the Father.
John 8:20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
Jesus was now in the treasury. This is where he had chased out the money makers. But they were all scared of Him. His anger at their money-lust glowed in His eyes, and they kept their distance.
Why was Jesus so angry with the religious money makers?
Because in them, he saw the big-business spirit of the final church of the Laodiceans.
Church leaders would become wealthy but could never collect enough.
The simplicity of the early church would never be recaptured by the materialistic Laodiceans who reject the Scriptural teaching of the prophet because of their love for a profit.
A poor Carpenter actually started the church.
Biblical Scholar, Dr. Richard Halverson once said, “When the Greeks got the Gospel, they turned it into a philosophy; when the Romans got the Gospel, they turned it into a government; when the Europeans got the Gospel, they turned it into a culture.
But when the Americans got the Gospel......they turned it into a big business!”
The focus of organized religion is not God, as much as itself. While many church leaders make millions and have perks to live a lifestyle commensurate with the mega-rich, people starve.
The late Ron L. Hubbard of the Scientology church once said: "If you're going to make money in today's world, you have to start a church."
The Catholic Church worldwide has vast amounts of real estate. It owns more land globally than any other organization on the planet. The Vatican has billions of dollars in solid gold in its coffers, mostly stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the Vatican's wealth, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. The Church possesses more riches in real estate, property, stocks, and shares than any other single institution, corporation, bank, government, or state, making the Pope, the official ruler of this vast reserve, the richest man in modern history. Indeed, the staggering accumulation of the Catholic Church's wealth becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment. No one can realistically assess how much the Pope is worth in terms of billions of dollars. The church cunningly values most of its artwork and valuables at just 1 euro, so they will never be sold. And it doesn't pay any taxes anywhere.
John 13:29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag,
Of the original disciples, it was Judas Iscariot who kept his hand on the money.
Accumulation of wealth is the downfall of the Laodicean church.