TRADITION OF THE ELDERS
Mark 7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. 14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
The word tradition means, “a transmission, a precept.” It is the word ordinances, in 1 Corinthians 11:2. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. So we can see that there are good, gospel traditions, or ordinances, that have been “transmitted” to us by the Holy Spirit through the apostles.
Consider these three verses that the Apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. In each of these three the great apostle to the Gentiles honestly states that the Lord Jesus did not specifically address these individual matters, but that the Holy Spirit now inspired the apostle to reveal these ordinances, or traditions to us!
And this is exactly that which the Lord told them would be the case! There were things that he intended them to hear that he deferred to the office and work of the Holy Spirit! John 12:16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Therefore we have the same apostle writing to the Thessalonians in the same manner. 2 Thess. 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Thess. 3:4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. 5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. 6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
But then there are evil traditions that are dangerous to our spirituality! Colossians 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The Prophet Amos warned that there were evil traditions, which if Israel continued to practice, could cause them to lose God’s forgiveness! Amos 2:4 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked: 5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem. You see, dear Reader, walking only in the traditions of carnal religion requires one to despise God’s law!
And THAT is exactly what our Lord told the hypocrites in his day! Mark 7: 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, To hold to man’s religious traditions, one must “omit” God’s commands! Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
The Prophet Jeremiah also had to address this evil in his day! Jeremiah 9:13 And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; 14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: 15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.
And never are the traditions of man of any benefit to the edification of their souls! 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.
Dear Hearts, the Whore’s word is “Do!” – “Keep our traditions!” But the true church’s word is “Be!” – “Be ye therefore holy!” The Whore church is like the two daughters of the horse leach! They never allow their slave/members to cease doing! No matter what has been accomplished by them, it is never enough! Proverbs 30:15 The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: Therefore, more and more “traditions” are made up to keep them in slavish bondage!
But Christ’s sheep alone are led to “lie down!” Psalm 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Christ’s sheep alone are given to have “rest to their souls!” Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. The Lord Jesus has completely finished the work of redemption! John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Eternal Father has been completely “satisfied” by his Son’s sacrifice! Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
Christ’s sheep do not have to continue to ‘preform’ for any whip-cracking religious leaders! They are fully “accepted” in Christ’s finished work! They are now come to “Be” what they are by grace alone! Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; These have been predestinated to be conformed to Christ’s image! Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
But make no mistake about it, dear sheep! There is nothing more odious; nothing that causes more rage in the hypocrites of religion, than for you to deny their traditions in order to follow Christ! This was that which fueled the first religious terrorist’s rage! Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
This is that which caused him to later confess that he was the chief of sinners! 1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
The disciples saw these hypocrites rage first hand. And so will all who dare to abandon the weak and beggarly elements of carnal religion in order to follow Christ alone! Matthew 15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Consider this answer the Sovereign Word gave to his disciples concerning pharisaical traditions. He did not give instructions concerning individual traditions – “Don’t do this,” or “Don’t do that!” He simply instructs that those who abandon God’s word in order to follow man-made traditions are not the plantings of the Lord! And the Lord keeps a neat garden. All these weeds shall be rooted up. And he identifies them as those who are spiritually blind, who are set forth to fulfill a task of God’s infinite wisdom of leading the others, blinded by the Harlot’s religion, to their fall! Dear Soul, if a man wants to deny everything God has done to keep him from hell, God will then help him get there! Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Peter had a difficult time turning from the tradition of the fathers. He even rebuked the Lord upon receiving the vision of the sheet being let down, in which were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. (Acts 10:12). He considered himself too holy to obey God in this! That is what pharisaical religion will do to you! But the answer that the Lord gave him would later finally reach his heart and completely deliver him from tradition’s grip. The Lord said, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
There is one more recorded faltering of Peter in this matter. In Galatians chapter two it is seen that Peter was sitting among the Gentiles, eating, as it were, a ham sandwich until James and some other Jewish brethren came to Antioch. Then he quit the company of the Gentile believers, thus reverting to his former Jewish prejudices.
How was he finally cured? Remember that phrase, just listed, that the Lord gave him on that roof top in Joppa? God has cleansed these things at the cost of his Son’s blood. Therefore Peter was never to refer to them as common and unclean again! Therefore read what he writes in his first epistle.
1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: It had finally come to his heart that the “cleansing” of God from these Jewish traditions was accomplished by nothing less that the blood of the very Son of God! And he would never count that blood as an unholy thing! (Heb. 10:29).
Pastor Gene Breed