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The Pharisee Parable
On Jan. 9, 1996, the Lord suddenly told me to "Go write a story." He had me use a previous humorous correspondence I had written to someone for inspiration, and continue from there. As I typed, I continued in prayer and asked about each character. Toward the end of this allegory, the Holy Spirit came upon me so strongly that I almost fell out of my chair, and I was very astonished to see that He had me prophesying at the end. This story is credited to the Lord only, and is for the hope of His glory in His Church.
One day a huge box was delivered to a local church by a mysterious little man. The little man was brightly clothed, and smiled as he carefully pushed the huge box into the middle of the sanctuary. The man then sat on a chair somewhere to the back of the sanctuary. The little man had left the box on its side. This was evident by the fact that you had to tilt your head to read the clearly marked letters of: 'THIS END UP!' Next, your eyes were drawn to the large arrow pointed away from this command to the other side of the box. So, because of the box was on its side, the letters were on the left and the arrow pointed to the right.
The pastor came out of his office upon noticing this mysterious delivery. He was puzzled by both the presence of the box and the markings on the side. He looked for any labels or address marks which would tell him where the box was from, or from whom it was. The only marking was the "THIS END UP!" with the arrow pointing to the right. Certainly the box had been left on its side, and the pastor scratched his head and wondered aloud, "Now, which way do I turn this box?" The little man smiled and said, "This is not in the natural, but in the spiritual." The pastor heard these words but did not see the man, so he directed his question toward the heavens. "I cannot tell which way to tip the box, so that it rests correctly on it's bottom. Plus, the opening is impossible to get to, since the box now rests upon it!" There was silence. "Why have you sent me this box?" the pastor asked upward again. This time, the little man announced, "It is not just for you. It is for all of you."
The pastor decided to take this very seriously. He prayed all night for the answer on which way to tip the box correctly, and received no answer. Then he fasted for three days, and still there was nothing further from the Lord. By this time it was the Sunday service, and the pastor had exhausted all of his usual means of inquiring from the Lord. The box still sat there-still visible to all. The little man was also still there, but he was not visible to all.
The pastor gave his Sunday sermon as he had planned. He was not sure he should interrupt the usual course of things because of a mysterious box, so he ignored it. Besides, he was slightly embarrassed by the fact that thus far his prayers were to no avail. This embarrassment was compounded by the many people approaching him afterward, asking the meaning of the box. One of these people was greatly offended by the presence of a large box in the middle of the sanctuary. The box had blocked his view of his beloved pastor at work, he complained. Getting no satisfactory answer from the pastor on this affront, he picked up all of his belongings and left in a huff. He was heard muttering under his breath, "I will find another pastor who better deserves my adoration and devotion!"
There was a prophet in the church. His advice and counsel were not asked for except in private, and certainly not by leadership. He had grown so accustomed to this that he was usually found sitting by himself. Still, he loved his pastor, and thus was praying for him while the others surrounded the pastor with their appeals or demands for an answer. The pastor explained what had happened, and how his prayers and fasting thus far had not given him the answer of which way to open the box. If he could only get an answer out of God as to which way to turn the box, he said, then they could look in and see what God had for them. No, he said, he would not tear into the box or cut through the box, for he respected God's mysterious and mystical ways.
Suddenly, the invisible little man reached over and touched the prophet's face. "Well, let's see," the prophet said aloud with his now brightened face, "let us apply a little 'prophet logic' to this puzzle. A 'THIS END UP' with arrow pointed down....Therefore, the arrow is pointing to the end that the 'THIS END UP' is indicating. After all, we all know that the symbols are of great precedence over the letter of the law"..." You know," he said quietly to the Lord above, "those Pharisees would be paying more attention to the letters, and thus miss the point, unless you show them!" The prophet began to chuckle to himself at this private joke with God, along with the little man.
A quiet, introverted teacher overheard the prophet's words, and he moved closer to him. Soon they were found investigating the letter of the law verses the Spirit in Scripture. A few people gathered around the prophet (who was still chuckling) listening to the prophet explain the prophet-logic of the symbol in connection to the letters. The teacher then quoted: "not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." However, one of the Pharisees of this group took offense at their whole discussion. He spoke loudly in his best KJV English: "No way! How can you apply such a scripture to a BOX? Surely thou art twisting the scriptures. Just what are you trying to teacheth us, anyhow??"
This first shout had the same effect as a rooster in the barn yard who clucks to the hens, calling them forth to find bugs in the dirt. Suddenly all the Pharisees in the whole church rushed to the scene, which meant that the pastor was left standing virtually alone. The prophet and his friend the teacher were soon in the middle of great controversy with these Pharisees, all of who spoke almost at once. "If," the tallest one said, "there exists anything like prophetic words after the Old Testament times..." (the teacher then commenced to look quickly in the Bible for the proper scriptures to prove this fact...He was in the book of Acts when...) "Indeed," another cried to the prophet, "thou art probably just an unlearned person operating totally in thy flesh, for thou art not examining the letters on the said box now with a high-powered microscope like my colleague yonder is now doing!" "Prove just HOW some scripture about letters would apply to a BOX!" continued the first one to the teacher.
The prophet inwardly groaned at this exchange. All he wanted to do was share what little bit God had shown him, and he did not claim to have all the answers. Being an honest man, he said so. This incensed the Pharisees all the more, who were busy telling him he was no prophet if he did not have these answers for them. One or two of the Pharisees shouting loudly, "WE object to your use of the word 'prophet-logic' in the first place. It's a totally made up word by you, I am sure...Where is that in the Bible?" they demanded.
"Some of us scholars agree with our beloved teacher on these matters," said another, "Certainly there are still those who prophesy, but they are only New Testament prophets. There is no such thing as prophesying with authority like an Old Testament Prophet, you know..." "Yes, and you did not first pass your word through the elders! " one of the Pharisees objected. "It has to have MY approval before it can be considered a true word from the Lord, and my PRIOR approval before it is good enough for the rest of the congregation!" he cried. While these Pharisees were teaching the prophet a thing or two about proper prophet etiquette, the remainder of the church surrounded the pastor and a few deacons, all of whom were still in a long discourse over which way to turn the box .
In the meantime, one of the Pharisees studying the box with his microscope cried out, "I see the word, "Change" in the letter 'T' here-why do I see the word, "Change?" "Thou fool!" said a companion Pharisee, who then yanked the microscope away from him...There's no need to CHANGE the way we do things!" But since there was much shouting and tumultuousness, no one heard this cry above the din.
Due to the pastor urging them to pray, two of the people lost interest in speaking with the pastor, and therefore walked away. They were soon found surrounding the more interesting debate between the prophet and the Pharisees. They watched with a sense of satisfaction as the Pharisees harangued him further on his exact 'prophetic' words, and the manner and timing in which he delivered them. They had all kinds of good suggestions to the prophet on how to make himself more acceptable, or how to fit into their mold. The two people listened well to the teachings of the Pharisees, and soon began nodding their heads like good Jr. Pharisees-in-training. In a little while, they were completely leavened and became worse then their teachers.
The prophet felt confused and almost paralyzed by their claims of both authority and wisdom on such matters of prophesy, but he noticed both their subtle glorification of the compromising to the wisdom of the world, plus their ignorance of the things of the Spirit. He could also discern a sense of judgment and contempt throughout their constant criticism. When he had enough of the this, he mildly shrugged his shoulders and said, "The foolishness of man is the wisdom of God," upon which a small explosion of many accusations ensued in rapid succession. "AHA!" they cried, "Now we know for certain thou needest to repent. Thou art a renegade, and willst not submit to us and our authority. You even presume to PREACH to us. We, who are much more mature Christians than you are! Repent not only for thine insolent attitude to us," said one of the Pharisees (who had the title of elder), "Repent also for never having submitted this word to our lovely pastor and the committee of overseers before speaking it!" "No," answered the prophet, "I will not repent of what the Lord has shown me, and the spontaneous way and manner in which He had me deliver it. Whether or not it was delivered to your satisfaction is not the issue. I will no longer defend myself or let you discourage me!" "Brat!" cried this elder Pharisee "Thou art a BRAT!" Having gathered enough evidence against the prophet, this Pharisee walked away briskly back toward the pastor, eager to report all.
The prophet was no longer interested in the intellectual discussions or accusations upon his character, and so he stood on tip-toe to try to ascertain what was going on with his beloved pastor. He could only see glimpses of official and important looking papers being laid out by the Pharisee who had just called him a 'brat' before the now quiet pastor. The prophet decided not to let anything distract him from his real work, and so said to all, "Excuse me now, while I go pray." The Pharisees and other Jr. Pharisees-in-training all nodded their approval to one another, certain that the wayward prophet was off to beg God for forgiveness. They were even more certain of it when they could see his tears as he was deep in prayer, kneeling before the sanctuary's altar.
Then there was the sound of the glass inside the box breaking, for a small crew of members of the congregation had just tipped the box the wrong way upon instructions from the pastor. An intense darkness covered the sanctuary. Oh, it wasn't the darkness most people could see, but it was the darkness some people could FEEL. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, there was the sound of muffled weeping from several intercessors. "Now, now," consoled the pastor, "I don't know what all of this has been about, but now I am certain that this little church has been under attack from the devil. Perhaps we should all offer up our worship to God, Who will surely deliver us from the devil's ways."
Since they not heard the breaking of the glass, four deaf Pharisees proceeded to find the opening of the box and reach their hands inside to lift out the contents. They emerged with cut hands from the sharp glass inside. Several people with the gift of mercy rushed to the aid of these Pharisees, attempting to bandage their wounds. But the Pharisees were quite angry from the pain, resisting all efforts of ministrations. The merciful people continued to attempt to assist them.
Some Pharisees, however, were blind. Five wandered away, leading each other out of the sanctuary and into a pit. Two protested that indeed the darkness of Satan must be great, for they could no longer see very well, and sang loud worship songs along with the pastor and a few others to defeat the works of the devil.
The remaining nine Pharisees determined amongst themselves that nothing was valuable inside the box, and it must've been of the devil as their pastor said. Three of these Pharisees examined the box itself, determining that the best use for it was to salvage it and paint it nice and pretty. Their plan was to entice or force that pesky person who-called-himself-a-prophet (although he never did) inside, along with everyone else who dared to agree with him. There was the sound of six pairs of running feet chasing someone down in the darkness.
The three Pharisees working on the box had been clever enough to use gloves to keep their hands consecrated while removing all the broken contents from it, before they made use of the box itself. They were busy carefully laying the pieces of glass upon the carpet so they could examine the pieces for defects. They wanted to be certain to lay this whole box controversy to rest, once and for all. The best way to do that was to divide up and judge the broken pieces.
A woman who had just arrived from the mission field walked into the darkness of the church. She noticed the general mayhem of the church, and saw pastor's papers spread out all over the altar. Looking closely at the papers, she sighed and shook her head gently. Here on these Most Important Papers were graphs of top successful fund-raising techniques, demographic statistics relating to expected church growth, bell-curves on which worship style was preferred according to age groups, and of course, financial reports. Stunned by the spiritual state of the church, she tossed aside the papers. Soon she was kneeling beside the mysterious broken contents as the Lord had instructed her to, weeping and crying out for Him.
When she laid her hands on the pieces with the gift of faith, the contents were miraculously fused together again. The invisible little man fell over with laughter, and all who had not left the scene because of fear of the Pharisees rejoiced with much cheering about this miracle. Light began to enter the sanctuary again.
Half of the Pharisees who had been running after the prophet decided to turn their wrath on this person with the gift of miracles. Previously, this person was not noticeable to them and therefore of no concern, but now they could no longer ignore her. Incensed by her boldness, they could only sputter snatches of scriptures about women being in proper submission. The three who had been working on the box got so excited that they revised their plans for it's use. With lots of glue and tape, they determined they could now easily reconfigure it into a coffin.
The prophet and teacher, now sporting a few bruises, managed to persuade some of the mercy-motivated people to disengage from the foolish deaf Pharisees, saying, "Please do not let it be for our sister as it has been for us! Please assist her!" However, two of these mercy-gifted people did not appear to hear them, and did not respond until shaken on the shoulder. They turned around briefly and then turned back. They had listened too long to the leaven of the Pharisees, and were now deaf.
Meanwhile, the little man took a few bows to the Almighty, and left for his next job. But before he left, the prophet got to see that this 'little man' was really a 12-foot tall angel. That was his reward for a job well-done. And he had to smile to himself about it.
Even though the Pharisees were working as if it were still dark, the sanctuary was now inundated by a gentle, glowing light. Not the kind most people can see, but the kind some people can KNOW. The intercessors, who have the best hearing of all, began to hear the sound of rushing wind. Suddenly the sanctuary doors burst open, and everyone was pinned down by this wind of God, for He IS God. The God of Love. Even the Pharisees who had not left in fear or grand offense to these new events were pinned down. But that did not guarantee they were permanently changed in heart, for that is done by choices. Nevertheless, some of them humbled themselves, sealing the work of the Spirit in their hearts.
More interesting than any outward signs, was the inward workings. The teacher was led to open his Bible near him, to find a small business card inside. On it was printed the acronym, "B.R.A.T.S.: Bible Researchers and Actual Truth Seekers." The prophet, however, could not get up yet. He lay not far from the teacher, groaning and weeping as his internal wounds and scars were healed. Someone neither had never seen before kneeled beside the prophet, praying for him. After a time, one could hear long and loud laughter coming forth from the prophet... "What's so funny?" his new unidentified friend asked. He answered," You would never guess what the Lord said to me, "B.R.A.T.S.: Beautifully Radical Association of True Seers!"
Then the prophet along with all the others rested in the gentle rain. Down and down it poured. Mercy and joy and love, filling the thirsty, repairing the earthen vessels. Now that the vessels could hold the water of the Spirit, the rain could fill them up. Eventually, the prophet understood he could see clearer, and so he opened his eyes. Still beside him was his unknown friend, with bowed head, his head drenched in the deluge of the rain of God. The prophet's eyes followed the path of rain down to his shirt. It was no ordinary shirt, for printed in bold letters upon it was the words: Biblically Righteous Association of Trustworthy Shepherds. The shepherd lifted up his face to gaze upon the prophet. "How long have I prayed for your restoration, and how I am overjoyed at your recovery!" he cried out. The prophet was speechless.
As the rain continued and the waters rose, the voice of the Lord was heard over the waters: "It is time now to learn to swim, and once you learn to swim, then it will be time to learn to float upon My many waters." However, most everyone who attempted to obey the Lord found that they were too heavy to swim well. The waters grew into a torrent for them. Soon there were cries from unseen dark creatures as they were ripped away by these powerful, swelling waters, and floating pieces of baggage bobbing up and down. Sadly though, some of the people clung to their baggage. "I can't float without this!" they shouted angrily into the wind and rain, and they were carried out the open doors upon their baggage.
Round and round the waters went. "Were are we going?" someone asked amidst the churning waters. "I don't know!" was the answer. "When do we get to go out and evangelize?" shouted one woman to the other with the gift of faith "Let God be God!" she answered over the loud, rushing waters. "But there are fish in the water, and I have been given a net to catch them." "The water is too rough, now!" the first woman called out again. "We must wait; we must pray, as we learn to be intimate with the Almighty. The waters are rough in order to tear away all gods we had before Him."
Abruptly, the waters became smooth and gentle. "They had only appeared rough while the struggle was on to surrender all to God," the prophet said aloud to the others, "When we have no other gods before Him, He does not contend with us." Then the prophet turned to the shepherd beside him. "Where is the pastor I had before?" he asked him "He has left with the others," answered the shepherd. "They were floating on a painted box, and he was studying some very important papers. I overheard them say that they were going to start the Church of the Pretty Box." "Of course", commented the teacher beside him, "they will not bother with meat of the Word at all. God bless them, they might serve a little milk with the porridge every Sunday service. Not too hot, and not too cold. That is the way they like their porridge. I know, because that is what they have always demanded of me before. I am out of a job now, but I trust God."
Slowly the waters receded, leaving the shepherd, prophet, and teacher on a large, solid rock. Or, perhaps the waters just became a rock, and they could now stand. They were joined by the two women. "Who are you? I don't think I've ever met you before," inquired the teacher of the first woman. "I am the least of all of you. I am only a Bondservant Risking All To Serve," she answered. "I know who you are!" cried out the prophet, and he took her hand in joy. The woman who held the net also grasped the prophet's hand, and then held out her other hand (the one with the net) to the shepherd. "This is for Bringing in the Redeemed from the Almighty's Total Sacrifice," she spoke, referring to the net. Together, the shepherd and the evangelist held the net between them. The shepherd then took this hand, and held out his hand to the teacher. Realizing that they were almost in full circle, the teacher was trying to juggle his Bible in his remaining hand, and yet take the bondservant's hand also. "No," she instructed. "We must never close this circle, but it is ours to leave open for as many as will come."
"Yes," said the voice of the Lord to all five, "Then the circle will be unbroken."
The circle of servants stood there, leaving this gap open permanently for those to come. There was a moment of peace as all stood in humility, praying and considering God's will for them together. "It is so simple, " stated the teacher, who was weeping with humility and joy. "We are to be led by the Spirit!" All eyes looked at the now-fused glass contents of the box in the middle of their open circle. It was a dove. Soon the dove filled with light, and then became like a liquid flame, rising up. So bright was this fire, that all had to look away. The teacher's Bible then began to transform, and became the Word of God again: Jesus.
Jesus continued to hold the hand of the teacher and took the trembling hand of the apostle. "Well done!" He cried out with His Voice of Love, "You have all triumphed over the tests and triumphs of the god of religion, and any other gods put before you. Now lift up your hands with Me, for it is time for all flesh to be burned away in you by the Fire of the Spirit and by the will of the Father, so you may be consumed by Us, and go forth My Restored Church to usher in My Kingdom."
All lifted up their hands and their faces toward their Heavenly Father. The dove of fire swirling around them, so rapidly that none could tell form anymore. Hot wind of fire and cool wind of water, blowing around and then through all five vessels. As soon as they thought all flesh might burn away and they might die in His purification and in sharing His suffering, they were then hit by the sweet water of His joy. As soon as they became too complacent with the sweet water, they were blown through by His powerful wind.
They began to swirl in the power of the Fire, up, up and around, and yet none lost his grip of the other's hand. Soon, none could tell their forms anymore, either. If there was any distinguishment to be made, they could only see the Holy Power of God in the seven Spirits of God: Prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, leading and mercy. Roles mattered so little as the gifts flowed!
Then it happened. First went forth the apostolic, a blazing fire shooting forth through the doors of the church, burning long unused paths into the streets and homes. This was closely followed by the prophetic, with trumpets to announce the coming of the King, songs to sing His praises, written and spoken revelations to extol His wisdom for all the world to behold. Next came the evangelists, plunging their nets into the seas of the nations, and hauling them onto the boats of the King. Then the pastoral carefully extracting His people from the nets, not bruising any of them, completing their transfer from the barren, poisonous waters of the kingdom of darkness to the plentiful, pure waters of the Kingdom of Light; the teachers alongside them, being certain that none were snatched out of the Father's hand.
And upon all their faces, once one's eyes were accustomed to the brightness of the intense fire of the power of the Holy Spirit, was the face of Jesus.
© Copyright 1996 by Teri Lee Earl All Rights Reserved
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by Teri Lee Earl, Copyright 1996, HarvestNETwork (http://www.harvestnet.org/teachings/phariseeparable.htm)
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