Religious elites are those within the visible Christian church who add to, subtract from or deny the Scriptures. This group covers a broad range of confessions, from the clearly cultic Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Catholics, through the neo-evangelicals, like Billy Graham, who embrace ecumenical universalism, to the intellectually “respectable” liberal denominations, such as the Episcopal denomination. They all have the same heritage and legacy. Their heritage can be traced back to the Garden of Eden when the serpent spoke to Eve and said, “Has God indeed said,…? Genesis 3:1. Their aberrations arise from the same source and that source is Satan.
When Jesus Christ, our glorious Lord and Savior, confronted the Jews for their blasphemous rejection of Him as their Messiah, He clearly established the fountainhead of their frenzied rebellious unbelief.
“I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father-God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 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. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” John 8:39-47
These deceivers do not belong to God, are of their father the devil, and are unable to hear God’s words, just like the Jewish unbelievers who rejected Jesus Christ. They reject the truth that Jesus Christ has told them in the pages of the Bible and instead rely upon their own corrupted knowledge, traditions, reasoning and godless logic.
Religious elites grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. God reveals their depravity to us in the book of Jude:
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they do know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. Jude 4-19
The individual examples given by Jude of unbelief and sinful rebellion, perfectly epitomize the character of the religious elites. Cain rejected God’s means of righteousness and tried to establish his own resulting in the murder of his brother; greedy Balaam used sorcery and wicked pagans to entice God’s people into gross sin, and Korah rejected the authority of Moses and God’s call upon Moses as His prophet and leader. Religious elites are greedy, arrogant, depraved rebels who lead others astray into gross debauchery, self-righteousness, and rejection of Jesus Christ as the only One Who reconciles us to God.
The legacy of the religious elite is identical to that which is reserved for all who reject the truth of God’s Word which points us to our desperate need of His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. The Jews rejected the Messiah when they wandered in the desert after their deliverance from Egypt, and God rejected them.
For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Hebrews 3:16-4:2
Jesus warned the Jews to believe and obey what He said to them, revealing the destiny of those who refuse.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it”. & “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:13 & 21-23.
The legacy of those who reject God’s Son and the testimony He has given to us of His Son Jesus Christ found only in the Scripture is unmistakably declared in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible.
But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. & For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Revelation 22:15 & 18-19
Because the religious elites do not believe what God says in His word they cannot obey Him. Many, instead, substitute their own doctrines and practices, thinking this will somehow please God, but God’s Word makes it abundantly evident that those who add to, subtract from or reject the Scriptures have only the wrath of God awaiting them in a fiery eternal judgment in the lake of fire that burns forever and ever.
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. & “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 20:15 & 21:8
Wouldn’t you rather share in the bequeathed bountiful blessings of the Savior Jesus Christ, believing in and following Him, than inherit the legacy of eternal damnation from the religious elites?