There is little doubt that the Christian Brotherhood is a radical organization, or perhaps a better term would be organism. Synonyms for ‘radical’ in both Hebrew and Greek include zealous, fervent, or intense.
As previously noted the Christian Brotherhood was first alluded to in the Psalms depicting the sacrifice of the future Messiah. The terms brotherhood, brethren, and brothers are used interchangeably.
“I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.” Psalm 22:22
Matthew recorded a basic proclamation of Jesus relative to the Brotherhood and His position as Leader and Founder.
“…One is your Teacher (Master, Leader), the Christ, and you are all brethren.” Matthew 23:8b
The immutable purpose of the Leader of the Christian Brotherhood is to establish a universal sovereign ruling authority based on absolute justice and righteousness according to God’s standard. The plan was announced more than 2,500 years ago in the prophecy of Isaiah.
“Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:7
Note particularly the wording in the last sentence of the above. Recall the word ‘zeal’ is synonymous with ‘radical.’
The New Testament Apostle Peter stated also that the Christian Brotherhood would experience great suffering during the church age just because of who they were.
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you…but rejoice…that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you…”
1 Peter 4:12-14a
Many would consider the Brotherhood to be radical simply because of their doctrines. For example, the Brotherhood is admonished by their Leader to love their enemies instead of seeking to destroy them.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you. Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who…persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” Matthew 5:43-45a
While the Brotherhood has many enemies, Jesus identified a particular group who adamantly hated Him, and were thus self professed enemies. The following doctrines were ascribed to those haters.
· They denied that Christ was deity, the Son of God
· They denied the power of the Holy Spirit and attributed Christ’s miracles to Satan
· They claimed to be sons of Abraham, yet they wanted to kill Jesus
· They added to Moses’ law and then gave those additional traditions the same weight as the original law
Jesus boldly exposed the scribes and Pharisees for who they really were.
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him…” John 8:44a
Jesus also vehemently condemned them for leading others astray.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in ourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in…Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:13, 15
Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees.
“…He began to say to His disciples first of all, ‘Beware of the leaven (teachings) of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.’” Luke 12:1b
The warnings about the doctrines of the Pharisees were so significant in the New Testament that more than three dozen chapters reference them. The Christian Brotherhood must be on guard until the end of the age.
To be completed next week.