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Letter to Mr. Tkach from Jules Dervaes

Copyright © Jules Dervaes

August 5, 1986

Dear Mr. Tkach,

(Luke 18:8) However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

Why would Jesus ask such a question? Was He really concerned about this possibility? If so, are we as concerned as He was (IS)? Or, are we so smug today, because, like the Jews, we think of ourselves as God’s “pets”? What do the Gospels show about the people to whom Jesus came the first time? Are there any present-day similarities, considering the fact that the carnal mind has not changed over the centuries of human existence?

Living at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry were a people who were counting on their association with the Temple and banking on their knowledge of the Law in order to gain favor with God. They had a religious heritage they could embrace to enable them to feel securely righteous.

Yet the nation of Judah failed to SEE their Messiah for this very reason: They thought they had it all going for them. In fact, such an attitude proved to be a faith-barrier; and, for outstanding examples of faith, Jesus had to point out other peoples. He was even astounded over the faith shown by one who was considered an “outsider.” And so HIS OWN PEOPLE, the ones most prepared to recognize and receive Jesus, were instead the most obstinate, while the leaders—those “in the know”—were the worst of the lot.

The holy words they studied and expounded upon did not give them any magic key to open up their eyes to see who was standing before them. It was the common people who were the most receptive to Christ’s approach because they were not preoccupied with maintaining power and position.

The Pharisees sought to retain their superior standing in the community and their influence with the Roman government. Failing to heed the signs of the times, these leaders could not accept any vision that was different from the one they cherished which centered on their being at the top. The special knowledge they possessed had “gone to their heads” and became a hindrance (not a help) to their applying it to the reality of the Christ.

Hypocrisy reeked from the ranks of the ruling Pharisees because they were concerned about the SHOW more than the SUBSTANCE. Their education in the Scriptures was used not as a means to find the truth; but, in a sick perversion, it was employed as a way to entrap Jesus, who Himself WAS the TRUTH (John 14:6). They did so without any qualms because they were so sure they were specially immune to correction that they could twist and tangle the Scriptures for their own ends.

Jesus spoke directly to the LEADERS of His Old Testament Church when He exposed their hoax, saying that they were VAINLY WORSHIPPING Him, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. This had occurred because those in power were passing off as God’s word their own interpretations and additions based on their reasoning.

Since they only looked to themselves as the final say-so, they had set up a “biblical CATCH-22” by which they always came out on top. The standard, pat answers they had been giving soon formed their own tradition which then became more important than the Bible itself. This brought on a stagnation of thought which, subsequently, embalmed their minds to any further revelation of truth. This same Mark 7:7 holds for the Church today.

Jesus brought a unique message that the Pharisees could not or would not accept. They accused Him—a mere human—of claiming oneness with God. In fact it was evident that Jesus even talked with the Father. This posed a direct threat to their sacrosanct priestly positions; for Jesus was actually bypassing them. The whole “spiritual” hierarchy was at stake.

And so, at His Son’s death, with the veil to the Holy of Holies being torn from the top down, God thus signified that a new phase of worship had begun. This happening signaled a RETURN to the original plan of forming personal relationships with God: God talking WITH Adam. The Holy Spirit being received at Pentecost confirmed that vital truth: All who had God’s Spirit had access to Him. This common accessibility effectively canceled the previous “superiority” of the priesthood which the Pharisees had fought so bitterly to retain. What Jesus stood for and what He was put to death for now came to light. The Second Adam restored man’s broken relationship to God on a personal basis and revealed his (everyone’s) incredible human potential, that is, to become as God.

With the Holy Spirit now being available to all, this enabled anyone to have a direct, personal relationship with God since Jesus had taken for Himself the office of the High Priest, the mediator and intercessor for the people. No other special administrative personnel were needed; for, the new Christian could approach the throne of God on his own. Paul’s writings clearly indicate this new reality. God Himself had torn down the barrier that the LOGOS had previously ordered erected to serve a ministerial purpose UNTIL the time when Jesus would qualify to remove it.

Accordingly, while on earth Jesus had worked hard to prepare His disciples to accept their NEW role as His ministers. Yet the Bible shows their total misunderstanding of this change when it records that the ones Jesus Himself personally trained for three and one-half years were still fighting for the top positions in the forthcoming government, the last argument occurring even just before His death. In order to eradicate this OLD idea, Christ instituted a new format for the Passover which would display, by way of reinforcement, the deep lesson He had come to teach.

Thus, the footwashing ceremony was not only to be an act done once a year but it was also to be an attitude practiced continually, throughout the year, by true ministers of Jesus. It would be the “nail in the coffin” for whatever lofty ideas would be lingering from the old priesthood mentality; it would serve to define and usher in a new era of ministry. No longer to be a position monger, the minister was to be a servant of all, following in the footsteps of the Master-Servant. His office would exist, not as an end for elevation of self, but rather as a means for elevation of others to Christ.

Today some ministers seem to be erecting those barriers once-and-for-all removed and banished by Christ. They are trying to re-establish the old regime emphasizing the exclusiveness of their position by claiming sole contact with the mind of Christ. This represents an artificial monopoly designed to create dependency and thus maintain power. This contradicts the basic teaching of the Bible.

Yet it is evidently “taught” by ministers; for it is NOT “not taught.” Statements against this heinous deception are conspicuously absent. Members just seem to know that a minister tells them God’s will. They believe it and accept it; and this is allowed to continue without correction. This “teaching” by default, then, has become the de facto, established teaching that is the everyday, common practice.

To the Pharisees, Jesus was indeed a rebel. He was easily guilty of repeatedly violating the Sabbath “laws” THEY had manufactured as a tool to control those who were not as spiritually enlightened as they. In order to set them straight Jesus used the crucial principle: THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN AND NOT MAN FOR THE SABBATH.

For, the LEADERS had taken a good thing and had warped it beyond what God had ever intended. They had taken the test commandment of God and had attached their own “dos and don’ts” in order to establish a power base and test their control. The Sabbath which was the way to identify God’s people became the means to enslave them to those who had special knowledge of the Law. In their hands the God-given Sabbath became a Pharisee-controlled one. What was intended to establish a relationship with God (God and Adam conversing on the seventh day), instead became the way to establish one with the influential leaders. God somehow disappeared from the picture entirely, having been replaced by a system based on man-serving-man.

This directly applies to the Church today by replacing the terminology “the Sabbath” with the phrase “the government of God.” The exact same error of judgment made by the Pharisees is being made now by those who have taken the government of God and distorted its proper use. They have extended it BEYOND the limits even God had prescribed and are using it as an instrument of control in areas of non-doctrinal matters. What God established to assist man has instead been used to manipulate him. What should have been a delight has been turned into a fright. The principle that should be, but is NOT, in effect is this: THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD WAS MADE FOR MAN AND NOT MAN FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD.

Here is stated a clear, incontrovertible principle based on the Bible which the Church has not come to terms with. For, the means whereby God was going to teach man to have a personal relationship with Him has become, in this church era, the way to choke him out of it. The government has become the one all-important end, without any regard for its God-given purpose. The foremost requirement is to have the church member establish a relationship not with God but rather with the minister. That seems to be the only thing that really matters. Yet, Jesus already set this matter straight once and He died for doing it. And this is to be noted as a WARNING: Jesus Christ did not die at the hands of liberals! This fact needs to be UNDERSTOOD.

The REAL government of God should be based on this elementary principle: There exists the equality of nature with a difference of roles. This is evident in the God Family (Father and Son equal but with different roles) and in the human family (husband and wife equal but with different roles). The church family, however, seems based along these lines: Minister and Layman NOT equal BECAUSE OF different roles. This perversion corrupts the very government of God. The Church’s preaching stands in stark contradiction to the practicing, because the ministry in the Church under the label of authority does perpetuate a subtle division of the Spirit resulting from the status of the office.

With this bias in effect, the ones in charge can actually prevent the growth of the “inferior” ones. That growth and development which would result from a member’s direct contact with God on a personal basis is thwarted. Instead of fostering and driving the layman to reach for the highest level of spiritual maturity, it is beneficial for leaders to protect their “privileged” rights toward God by keeping others in a spiritual crib. What, therefore, WAS a false, artificial inequality of the Spirit-nature can manifest itself as a “real” gap, which can be easily “widened” by the stunting, crippling effect brought on by smothering ministers.

A pattern has emerged in the Church which has extremely serious implications. The ministry has sought to replace parents—rather than to assist them. The article that you wrote in The Worldwide News shows that you are aware of this situation. But the ministry has also sought to replace husbands—rather than to assist them. And, finally, it has even sought to replace God—rather than to assist Him. There has been, therefore, a real “persecution” that is actually destroying the Church from within. It is much worse by far than any trial that the world could perpetrate on us because the world can only destroy the body (Luke 12:4). What it involves is a battle for the spiritual minds of God’s people. Yet what we hear preached is “Peace,” that is, UNITY, when there IS NO unity (Ezekiel 13:10).

What history has shown is that the Jews—God’s physically chosen people—”missed” the first appearance of Jesus who came in physical form. Now, two thousand years later, will we—God’s spiritually chosen people—”miss” the second appearance of Christ who will come in His spiritual form? Have we learned the lesson contained in the Gospels?

Scriptures referring to Pharisees of OUR DAY:

(Matthew 23:3) So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

(verse 13) Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

(verse 15) You [teachers] travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

(Luke 11:52) Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and have hindered those who were entering.

(Acts 20:29-31) I [Paul] know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!

(2 Peter 2:1-3) But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.

May God guide your way.

Jules Dervaes

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