Gates of Heaven: A Modern Pastor Seeks Entry
A Drama [See animated version on YouTube - part 1 and final part 2. REVIEW: "I just wanted to say thanks for your recent studies. The animation on 'Modern Pastor Seeks Entry' really keeps a person captivated. Amazing! An absolutely brilliant study." Doug N. July 31, 2011.]
The mist swirled around the pearly gates of heaven. The receiving line of all who called Jesus "Lord" was long. The processing continued each hour. Many souls rejoiced at the verdict. However, as Jesus said "Many who call me Lord, Lord" will in "no wise enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46.) So the screening process had to go on one by one.
A modern pastor came to the place where Jesus sat. Our Lord's garments shined brilliant white. His face was noble and His eyes piercing. Jesus turned to the pastor, and called him forward:
Jesus: "Mr. A please step forward."
Mr. A: "Yes, my Lord."
Jesus: "Not everyone who calls me Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven, you know that?"
Mr. A: "Yes, my Lord."
Jesus: "You taught the word for 29 years before you departed your family."
Mr. A: "Yes, my Lord"
Jesus: "You taught your congregation to tithe, did you not?"
Mr. A: "Yes, my Lord"
With a sigh, Mr. A released the worry he had begun to feel. He thought Jesus was going to be criticizing him. This opening question seemed to relieve that pressure.
Jesus: "Did you give 2/3 of it to widows and orphans as prescribed in the Law every third year, and the rest of the time it was to be used for a festival celebration everyone enjoyed, including the tither?" [See our link to PDF]
Mr. A: "I never knew that."
Jesus: "You mean you never wanted to know that, did you?" Jesus said in absolute chagrin. Jesus turned to the pastor, and with that same spirit He exhibited at the money-exchangers at the temple doors, Jesus said: "As a pastor, did you not read Micah 2:8 where it says the Levite priests were 'robbing widows and orphans' for taking more than their share -- the Levites' 1/3 share every third year? So because you must have read that, then would it not have been crucial for you to find out who was the intended recipient and their appropriate share of the true tithe? But you never did investigate that, did you? You instead made self-serving assumptions of what a Levitical priest received, made yourself such a priest in your own mind (but not by Law given from above) and then you took all what belonged to the widows and orphans, right?"
Mr. A: "I am at a loss for words, my Lord."
Jesus: "Are you not then a robber in the manner you read the tithe to your benefit?"
Mr. A: "Yes, Lord Jesus but I was foolish. I never thought the requirement that the tithe go to widows and orphans really had to be strictly followed."
Jesus: "Let's move on to the next issue. What did you teach about the rest of my Law?"
Mr. A: "That it had been done away in the era of Grace. It was nailed to a cross. It no longer binds the wife of Christ whose first husband has died, that you as God died on the cross, dissolving our bonds to the Law of Israel's first husband." (Romans 7:1-7). [See this link for Paulinist view of Romans 7:1-7.)
Jesus: "So you believe Yahweh, the first husband of Israel, died on the cross when I died? But when I resurrected, you believe somewhow I still was God but no longer represented this same Yahweh. You therefore believe my resurrection did not revive the bonds to the Law of Yahweh because somehow I am God without representing Yahweh, my Father, any longer. I am supposedly now the only living God to whom a Christian is betrothed. By your logic, the Father and His law is supposedly justifiably ignored. However, I came to direct you to the Father, not declare Him and His Law dead."
Jesus was clealry frustrated at these words, amazed any God-fearing person could accept that Jesus' death represented the death of the first husband (Yahweh), thereby dissolving the Law permanently to God's wife (Israel), as taught by Paul in Romans 7:1-7. So Jesus continued with more vigor:
"Do you really believe I represent a new husband distinct from the first husband of Israel, and after the resurrection I no longer represented Yahweh? I can only conclude you must think I am a God somehow distinct from Yahweh. Did I not tell you the Father dwells in ME! And the LOGOS I spoke was not mine but the Father's who sent Me. [John 14:10.] But you believed my death signified the death of the husband God while my resurrection supposedly did not revive the original husband -- Yahweh, and that's why you believe the Law has remained abrogated. What foolish lessons you swallowed without questioning them!"
Jesus finally said in total exasperation: "Where did you get such bizarre ideas that I could be a God you could marry apart from the Father's indwelling in ME? And thus marrying me would not reconnect you to the Law given by the Father to Moses?"
Mr. A: "But Brother Paul says so in Romans 7:1-7." Yet, the Pastor could not argue with Jesus, so added: "However, now that you ask the question, it does seem a very odd logic to me."
Jesus: "You should have thought about that earlier. There are no second-chances at this point." Jesus looked away in disgust. Then Jesus continued: "But let's move on. You have read my words many times, did you not?"
Mr. A: "Yes."
Jesus: "Who did I say would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Mr. A was immediately nervous. There were two references, but one was embarassing and the other not.
Mr. A answered: "Well, once you said the greatest among you is the servant of all." (Matt. 23:11.)
Jesus: "I did say that. What else did I say about who is the greatest?"
Mr. A: "Well, you said that the greatest among men would be those who taught others to follow and obey the Law given Moses by God." (Matt. 5:17-19)
Jesus: "But you just told me that other than tithing, you taught men not to follow and obey the Law given Moses by Yahweh, right?"
Mr. A: "I cannot lie to you Lord, but only offer excuses."
Jesus: "There are no excuses here. You will be judged by every word that comes out of your mouth. I have another question. What was my criticism of the Pharisees about tithing? You were called by men a minister, so do you remember the words?"
Mr. A: "You said the Pharisees were good about the lesser command of tithing but were ignoring the more important commands about justice, mercy and faith in the Law." (Matt. 23:23).
Jesus: "And you taught tithing, but that nothing else in the Law was any longer valid, right?
Mr. A: "I cannot lie to you Lord. Yes."
Jesus: "And thus you taught the same doctrine of the Pharisees which I condemned?"
Mr. A: "Yes, I must confess."
Jesus: "Upon whom did you rely if not me then for a doctrine identical to the Pharisees whom I condemned for teaching exactly as you did?"
Mr. A: "Paul, the Apostle."
Jesus: "Wasn't Paul a Pharisee?"
Mr. A: "Yes, at one time."
Jesus: "Not at one time. After his Damascus encounter. Do you remember what he said that proves that?"
Mr. A: "Now that you mention it, Paul did say after his conversion, "I am a Pharisee" in the present tense to a large crowd. [Acts 23:6.]
Jesus: "Yes after the Damascus encounter, Paul remained a Pharisee. And thus you couldn't figure it out that you were following a Pharisee in teaching the very thing I condemned about the Pharisees' teaching in my Gospel carried by my apostle Matthew? [Matt. 23:23] Are you seriously telling me you couldn't figure out that Paul was an apostle of the Pharisees in teaching you the same doctrine I condemned coming from the Pharisees?"
Mr. A could not answer. He was now in severe grief.
Jesus: "One further question. In Bible school, did you not learn Paul's name in Latin meant 'Least'?"
[See Farrar, The Life and Work of St. Paul (E.P. Dutton, 1880) at 200; Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary]
Mr. A: "Yes."
Jesus: "Did you not ever remember my words about whom would be called "least" by those in the kingdom of heaven?"
Mr. A: "I did wonder at the time I learned Paul's name meant LEAST. But I kind of blocked it out of my mind. The thought was so horrible."
Jesus: "Explain yourself."
Mr. A: "I did remember your words:
'Whoever therefore may loose one of these commands -- the least -- and may teach men so, least he shall be called in the reign of the heavens, but whoever may do and may teach them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens. (Matt. 5:19, YLT.)
Jesus: "What did that make you think about who would be called LEAST by those in the kingdom of heaven?"
Mr. A: "Well, that you said the anti-law teacher would be called "LEAST" by those in the kingdom of the heavens. It did cross my mind you meant Paul, but then I could not figure out why you chose him in Acts as an apostle."
Jesus: "Mr. A., you did not read Acts carefully enough. Where in any portion of Acts [chs. 2, 22, 26] did the Blinding Light figure whom Paul met and thought was myself ever say Paul would be an apostle? You won't find it Sir. That voice said Paul would be a witness. And more than once I said there are only twelve apostles to sit on twelve thrones to judge the 12 tribes. (Matt. 19:28; Rev. 21:14.) You just were not listening to Me. You have no excuse."
Mr. A: "I guess I did not read carefully enough."
Jesus: "It was never a matter of care. It was a matter of will, whether you wished to follow Me or another voice who contradicted Me. And all along you knew I point blank called him out as the LEAST, and condemned him as Matthew, my Apostle, remembered under inspiration. [Matt. 5:19.] But you refused to listen to Me on the very identical point that you followed the LEAST ONE. On the Law itself."
Mr. A: "I realize now I have no excuse."
Jesus: "One more question. What does the Hebrew word for Lucifer mean?"
Mr. A: "Let me think. Blinding light. [See this link.] Yes, that's it. Oh my gosh...."
Jesus: "Now you figured it out. A bit too late."
Jesus paused, His eyes glaring in disdain at Mr. A. Jesus then continued:
"I am done here. Your own words condemn you. You admit you taught tithing but I found you did so in a self-serving manner that robbed widows and orphans. As to the rest of the Law, you told your congregation to ignore these commands from Yahweh despite my telling you this was a doctrine of the Pharisees leading people to condemnation. I even told you the anti-Law teacher's name -- the LEAST -- in Greek Paulos and in Latin Paulus. It was obvious to you as you taught the Word. But you blinded yourself. And your blindness prevented you from figuring out Paul was a Pharisee in the very mold I condemned. You thus became not a teacher of greatness but a blind teacher leading the blind into a pit. Because as I also instructed that the one who leads a believer in Me to be ensnared in sin would be happier being thrown in the deep pit of the sea than to face the judgment which I will now give, please brace yourself."
A piece of paper was handed by Jesus to the heavenly bailiff who then had the verdict read out loud by the heavenly court clerk:
Mr. A is hereby consigned to the deepest darkest corner of hell in the greatest heat. This is the punishment for any one who taught others to reject the words of Messiah, Son of God, and who instead taught in its place the doctrines of a Pharissee, the doctrines of a mere man.
The pastor wept. The guards of heaven then took him down to a road which in turn led to steps downward into a grey funnel of cloud and smoke. And he disappeared from the sight of the occupants of heaven.
But at the same time, Jesus's rulings continued, and the many "who do the commands of God" were given "the right to enter the New Jerusalem," as Jesus' Revelation to John explained. (Rev. 22:14.)
The pastor could hear the Hosannahs of Heaven far above him as he slowly walked down the steps toward Hell. The heat and smoke from perpetual fires grew until it was utterly black with smoke and a scorching heat in every direction.
The pastor could only ask himself why he ever trusted a Pharisee at odds with the words of the Lord Jesus. As years progressed, this was the question that constantly nagged him. And yet he could find no answer. The true pain of hell, he learned, is not its heat. Not its smoky darkness. Instead, the agony of hell was the realization that you easily could have seen the truth but you wilfully suppressed it to follow someone else other than Jesus.