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    4 & 5. Tabal: The Sin of Pride

    Part 1

    The following are extracts from two lectures given to the Sub-Deacons and Sub-Deaconesses in the temple of the Holy Order (Chavurah Bekorot) as part of their training for the priesthood. It includes some of the covenants of the Zadokian Order. Trainee Deacons and Deaconesses pass through 12 monthly temple sessions as part of their training for priesthood ordination and service in the Local Colonies of the New Covenant Church of God. If their training is successful they will be ordained as Zadokites and be set apart to one of the four Zadokian offices (Pastoral Assistant, Teacher, Sub-administrator, or Steward. All newly ordained Deacons and Deaconesses serve as stewards and may be called to one or mroe of the other three offices later. The twelfth temple session is known as a "weighing" session where they are examined for their worthiness to serve. Further weighing sessions take place annually in which the Deacons of Deaconesses assess themselves. The degree of the Temple entered into by trainee Deacons and Deaconesses is called the House of Tabal.

    Today you are to enter the Fourth House of Tabal where you commence the next stage of your spiritual journey. Today you will face one of the greatest enemies of the human soul, an enemy which has time and time again slain many would-be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many who would be in this House today had they not been cut down by this demon. Within every soul this enemy still lurks, waiting to effect his work of destruction. Today you begin an inner war until you have overcome.

    You will see him a great deal until he is utterly rooted out of your personalities through the grace and almighty power of the Lord Jesus Christ who overcame this demon when one day Satan took Him into the Judean wilderness and put Him through three tests, tests which you too must go through.

    But before you can begin conquering this enemy you must first see him. An invisible enemy is hard to defeat. My task today is to throw a bright light on this opponent of spiritual growth so that you can see him clearly now and so that you can identify him in the future even when he takes on invisibility again.

    Satan is the great arch-enemy of this work and he is particularly active against those who would expose him. Having had one mask removed, however, he will resort to other ones and try to convince you that you have already dealt with him and that you can now relax. The wise man or woman knows, however, that exposing sin once is not enough and that Satan, and our fallen human nature, are extremely skillfull at concealing sin in many different forms. Indeed, there are so many forms that it is impossible to know them all without having had a lifetime's experience. For us, however, time is short.

    My commission tonight and tomorrow, brethren and sisters, is to give you some very powerful keys that will not only expose this enemy in yourselves but in others to. They are very powerful keys and must be used wisely. You are therefore invited to give me your close attention and, above all, to remain open and honest with yourselves for some of you will be sorely tempted to inwardly run away. Please don't do that for it will only retard your spiritual growth and sanctification in Christ. Nevertheless, you are free to choose, and if anyone wishes to leave this House at any stage they have only to stand up and request being excused. The same conditions of re-admittance apply as before, namely, a mandatory absence of a minimum of one year.

    Who or what is this enemy or demon that I have been talking about? I am talking about the demon called PRIDE !!!. And so today we begin our journey or pilgrimage to the Holy City at a small but actually very difficult and dangerous village called Pride. It is impossible, brethren and sisters, to discover God's plan for victory in your life until you come face to face with the demon called Pride. It is a perennial problem.

    Pride is the primary ingredient in Satan's personality and it is the cardinal characteristic of fallen man who has conformed himself to the image of his leader. It lies, though often disguised, as the root cause of most conflict in our lives. In its wake we find wars, ruined lives, broken homes and broken hearts. Pride elevates the Self to the throne of the heart and says in its arrogant voice: "I'll run my life, Lord; I'm the one who can."

    The deadliness of Pride is hightened by its subtlety. Unlike so many sins that cripple our walk with God, Pride is the master of deceit. It wears a thousand costumes and masquerades itself as a thousand different faces. It loves to come to church, loves to wear religious clothing, loves to manifest itself in a cloak of spirituality, wisdom, and, yes, even love! But it has to be removed. You can't do it, but God can. And you must choose to let Him.

    Today we begin a painful, personal look at the perennial problem of pride. What actually is pride? PRIDE IS ANY FORM OF PRE-OCCUPATION WITH SELF. In one form it is self-exaltation, preoccupation with how good we are. In its more subtle form it is self-condemnation, preoccupation with how bad we are. But both forms are deadly, for both exalt that dead man or woman known as Self, and promote the charade that says: "He's alive."

    But your Self is dead. God knows it and the Scriptures confirm it, but Satan has invented a series of lies to deceive us into believing that not only is Self alive and well but that the phoney little rascal is deserving of all kinds of attention. So we listen to the lie. We play the charade. And the resulting product is a useless and extremely destructive commodity known as Pride.

    Our purpose today is the begin to allow the Lord into our hearts to rid us of this deceitful disease called Pride. We have to ask Him to clothe us with the humility we know to be Jesus Christ. That is our purpose or mission today. Our method is to begin by seeking knowledge. It is written: "O how marvelous are the works of the Lord, and how long he suffers with His people; yea, how blind and unpenetratable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them. Yea, they are as a wild flock which fleeth from the shepherd, and scattereth, and are driven, and are devoured by the beasts of the forest".

    And one of those beasts which separates us from the shepherd, the Lord Jesus, and devours the human soul is Pride. Wisdom, as you will all learn, not only elevates the human soul into the heavens but cuts through all that is false like a red-hot sharp knife. Your challenge here in the House of the Lord is to let go of all that is wrong and ascend into Heaven, or to stubbornly cling on and face the hot knife of the Word carred by the Patriarchate, or to run away altogether.

    That is your choice, brethren and sisters. Remember, that knowledge is that red-hot sharp knife. Once you have it you can never run away from it for it will pursue you wherever you go. So you must either run, turn around and face it, or deny the Holy Spirit and become a Son or Daughter of Perdidtion. This is the price you must pay for all the keys of knowledge you get in this House. For they will either exalt you or slay you.

    If you remain here you have to be honest -- totally honest -- with yourself and with all those here even if it means facing many ugly things in your life that perhaps you have been too ashamed to admit before. As a House of Revelation all is revealed in the temple. You will not be able to hide any part of yourself in the House of the Lord. All false motives will be exposed. This I tell you now, and I will remind you of it often, so that you are under no illusion as to what is expected of you here.

    For this reason you are sitting in the Zadokian Room of the House of the Lord which is physically and spiritually the lowest room in the Temple. The rooms which lie above are much purer and the veil between Heaven and earth much thinner. Only those who have been purged are allowed to ascend higher. And so it will be with you.

    The knowledge you will receive here is is the accumulation of information about God's perspective of life. It is knowing the facts. Once we have searched the Scriptures for knowledge -- and in the House of the Lord you will encounter many books of Scripture -- and once we know the will of the Lord on a particular subject, our second objective is understanding.

    Understanding is personalising the knowledge we have learned. It is applied knowledge. This should lead us to the third stage of our lives, Wisdom. What is Wisdom? Wisdom is chosing minute by minute to allow the mind of Christ, who is resident in us, to be His own Master in a given area of our lives.

    So let me recap. First, we begin by searching after the facts by asking ourselves: What is the mind of Christ where Pride is concerned? To do this we must ask ourselves three questions: (i) How does God feel about Pride? (ii) How does God respond to Pride? and (iii) How does God deal with a prideful spirit?

    The answers which are found in the Scriptures are simple. (i) God hates pride. In fact, it says in the Book of Proverbs, that He destests an arrogant spirit (Proverbs 8:13). Pride is an abomination to God. He hates it! The Lord also says in the Scriptures that He views a proud man as worse than a fool. And if you read the Book of Proverbs carefully you will see that God has much to say about fools.

    He who trusts his own heart is a fool, the Lord says, but the man who walks wisely shall be delivered (Proverbs 28:26). A fool, the Lord declares, says everything that is on his mind indiscriminately, but a wise man keeps it to himself and shares it with the right people (Proverbs 29:11). Is this not a lesson you have already been taught in this House? To guard your tongue? You will be reminded of it many times. Like the dog returning to his vomit, Proverbs says, so the fool returns to his folly (Proverbs 26:11).Like the snow in summer, and like the rain at harvest time, so honour is unknown to the fool (Proverbs 26:1). You will find descriptions of fools in almost every chapter of the Book of Proverbs. And you will discover that that their foolishness always stems from the sin of Pride. It is no wonder, then, that the Lord calls the proud man or woman a fool.

    God, therefore, responds in a most predicatble way to the proud man or woman. He says in Proverbs that He will destroy the house of the proud (Proverbs 15:25). And yet when the Lord has spoken in our time, in modern revelation, rebuking and calling the proud to repentance, there has been the typical reaction of Pride, namely arrogance and rebellion. Thus we have seen one outer House of the Lord destroyed, namely, a Church of Christ. Truly the house of the proud, or the Church of the proud, was destroyed. And it was destroyed and buried in one single day. Let us never allow such a calamity to occur again.

    Both the apostles James and Peter say in their pastoral epistles to the saints, in stern warning: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5, NIV). Some translations use the verb "resist". God opposes and resists the proud. He holds them back from possessing His love and grace. But to the humble, the Lord says the very opposite -- He simply keeps pouring and pouring out grace and love without limit. It just keeps flowing, like a never-ending fountain.

    Having warned the people against Pride, Peter says: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7, KJV). What is the key to the highest heavenly rewards? Humility! James says the same thing: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded...Humble yourselves in the sight of God, and He shall lift you up (James 4:7-8,10, KJV (author's version)). Who is the devil we are to resist? It is Pride. Therefore we must resist Pride as though it were the devi himself, for Pride is the devil working in you.

    Psalm 9 says the Lord hears the cry of the humble, but He turns His back on the pleas of the proud (Psalm 9:12). GOD HATES PRIDE, brethren and sisters, but He loves humility. He resists the proud but pours out His grace on the humble. It is the humble who progress through the Temple quickly but the proud will quickly fall out of it, no matter how intelligent they may think they are.

    This is the way the Lord feels, and this is the way He responds. Do you want to know the heart of God? Then remember this key. So what does God do when His children will not deal with pride? And by His children I am referring to those who believe and confess Christ though it is applicable to anyone, believer or not.

    The answer is that God has passed a divine Law and it is this: Every man or woman who exalts this corpse called "Self", God will humiliate. On the other hand, every man or woman who humbles himself or herself and takes a God's-eye perspective of Self, God will exalt that person in due time. So here is a word of knowledge, or key, about pride. This is the mind of Christ where Pride is concerned. These are the facts. God never ignores or passes Pride by.

    Many people would like to stop there. But God says this is wrong. We are to go on. Our next responsibility is to take that platform of truth and lay it over our own lives. Next we are to ask God to surface all of the pride that is hidden in the secret places of our hearts. Let us therefore now pause and pray a short prayer to the Lord. I would like you to remember these words and to use them daily in your prayers. Let's close our eyes. Repeat after me: "Lord, whatever it takes!!!, show me the pride in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

    One thing that every firstborn saint will come to know is that God keeps His Word. If you have sincerely meant the prayer we have just said together, the Lord will unearth the layers of self-centredness and prideful attitudes that you are too proud to know even exist.

    In today's session our objective is understanding or application to find pride in our souls and to ask the Christ in us to do something about it.

    We will now take a look at natural pride and take 5 satannic statements that characterise pride and we'll look at 8 conflicts between the Word of God and the world. I think you will be surprised just how indoctrinated in and how much a part of the world's way of thinking and doing things you are. This will be an unpleasant revelation but is absolutely necessary.

    The sin of pride breaks out in a Christian's life in these two deadly forms. The first is called Natural Pride, in other words, various forms of pre-occupation with the natural man. You will all know someone in this category and that this sin includes such things as pride in how we look, pride in what we've done, pride in how we compare with one another.

    The second form of pride is called Spiritual Pride. Its various forms of preoccupation with self include camoflaging yourselves in robes of spirituality. Both kinds of pride are vicious. They enter the bloodstream and spread through the soul like a raging river overflowing its banks under the pressures of a storm.

    Nearly always Satan takes 5 simple statements and through subtle variation tricks us into conforming to his slimy image. Now those 5 statements of satannic self worth are these. Listen carefully to them -- they sound simple on the surface but you'll be hearing them from the enemy almost constantly in your daily life. Here they are:

    (1) Look at me; (2) Listen to me; (3) Let me win; (4) Give me mine; and (5) I need praise.

    I repeat: Look at me, listen to me, let me win, give me mine, and give me praise.

    • 1. LOOK AT ME
    • 2. LISTEN TO ME
    • 3. LET ME WIN
    • 4. GIVE ME MINE
    • 5. I NEED PRAISE

    Please file these five statements in the back of your mind as we proceed through this endowment session and try to remember them through the next month as the enemy tries to work on you. You will be amazed to find out how unimaginative the devil really is. He may dress them up or phrase them cleverly but basically he will run those five demands through the computer that's lodged between our ears over, and over, and over again.

    Now Satan has a built-in carrier with which he infects mankind with pride. It's called the World System. It is a humanistic philosophy that appeals to the natural inclination of unregenerate man by elevating the value of self in reducing truth to a relative system of variables. They can change from day to day -- they can change from person to person. There is no such thing to the world as truth.

    The key ingredient of humanistic philosophy is pride, the enthroning of self. And its basic drive is expressed in those 5 statements: Look at me, listen to me, let me win, give me mine, and I need praise. The world programs these thoughts into our biocomputers almost from the time we are born, over and over again -- in school, on television, even from well-meaning parents who say, "Look at me, listen to me, let me win, give me mine, I need praise." And when we become Christians our responsibility is to deprogram and reprogram our minds to think from God's perspective.

    Part 2

    Brethren and sisters, I welcome you back to the House of the Lord in the Name of Jesus Christ, whose House this is. Yesterday you were introduced to the Five Satannic Statements of Self-Worth, namely LOOK AT ME, LISTEN TO ME, LET ME WIN, GIVE ME MINE, and I NEED PRAISE. In this Fifth House of Tabal we will compare the conflict between the world and the Word of God where pride is concerned, and ask ourselves some very personal questions about pride. Let us begin.

    The Word of God and the world collide over the issue of pride. Collision No.1 -- the world says, Look at me! I have the credentials for greatness! I have a right to glory in my strengths! I'm good! And I can do it!

    But the Word of God says in the Book of Jeremiah: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or let the strong man glory in his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this; that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV).

    The apostle Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians that God did not call us because of our wisdom, or our power, or our reputation. In fact he says that not many noble, not many wise, not many mighty have been called. He then gives the reason: "(God) chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things -- and the things that are not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no-one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God -- that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord"" (1 Corinthians 1:28-31, NIV).

    Now I want to ask you some questions. What are you teaching your children to glory in? What they can do? Their school grades? Their atheletic ability? Their talents? How cute they are? How good they are? What is the basis of your praise in their life -- physical accomplishments or spiritual accomplishments? And yet people wonder why the values of children are the way they are today. God says there is only one basis for boasting or glorying, namely, that they understand and know who He is -- His love, His judgment, His righteousness.

    Now let me ask another question about us here: What pleases you the most? Your weaknesses or your strengths? Think about it for a moment. The typical reply in the world would be: my strengths! Another question: Are you always saying things about your weaknesses? Most of us do. For example: "I can't do that! I don't have that ability!" Self condemnation is a form of pride. Remember that your weaknesses are God's springboard to grace! God's power is perfected in your weakness. And that's why Paul said: "That's what I glory in!"

    The world says: "Magnify your strengths!" The Scriptures say: "NO." God would rather transform your weaknesses -- so that whoever glories will glory in the Lord. The only basis we have to glory or boast is to be proud of Him -- who He is, what He has done.

    The First Covenant

    Brethren and sisters. You will now be put under covenant to glory only in God. Please repeat after me: "I solemnly covenant and promise, before God, Christ, angels, the Patriarchate and this assembly, that I will never boast of my own strength, achievements, and wisdom!!!; but I will give all the glory to God this day and for ever more. Hallelujah! Amen." Please be seated.

    Collision No.2 between the Word of God and the world is this. The world says: Compare -- comparison proves. Find someone less talented than you are and compare yourselves -- it'll make you feel good! Find yourself someone more experienced that you are and compare yourselves -- it'll motivate you!

    The Scriptures say: "NO!" Paul says in the second book of Corinthians: "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise" (2 Corinthians 10:12, NIV). God says: DON'T COMPARE! It magnifies self. The world says use "ivory liquid" and your hands will be acceptable to society; use "Wild Ox Roll-on Deodrant" and your odour will be acceptable to society! Wear this, drink this, do this....because everybody does it. God says: "NO! My children are divinely unique; no two are exactly alike. No two are exactly in the same place in their spiritual pilgrimage so any comparison is a wrong comparison!"

    Now ask yourself these questions: Am I intimidated by those who seem to do everything right? Do I wish I could speak like he can, or sing like she can, or write like he can, or take care of childen like she can? That's pride. Maybe he or she can't pray like you, or give like you, or care like you, or serve like you. Ask yourself: am I always comparing myself with those who can't measure up so I'll feel better about myself? Most people play that game all the time in one form or another. Or am I glad when someone else fails so that I feel less of a failure? That's pride. On the other hand, do some of us rather compare ourselves with those who are successful all the time so we can prove to ourselves how worthless we are? That's pride too.

    Concerning either self-exaltation or self-condemnation, the Lord says: either way, just stop it! The Christ in you is not comparing you with anybody. Self wants to do that but remember, self is dead.

    Another form of comparitive pride is an over-competitive spirit. It has to win! On the tennis court, in the swimming races, riding competitions, even playing family games like chess or scrabble. It has to win, no matter who the losers are, even our own children. Ask yourself: Do you get upset when someone you love wins even if it means you lost?

    When your children win a swimming competition or a tennis match, do you ever stop to think how the other parents feel? Or if its your own parents, how the children of the parent who lost feel? When you yourselves are taking part in competitive sport, do you only think of winning yourself or are your thoughts on how the other player feels?

    Ask yourself: Is winning everything? Or are people what is important? Satan tells us this lie: We deserve to win! Not so. The only winning that matters is winning the crown of life -- and that we obtain not on our own merits but on the merits of Christ, through faith! Competitiveness is not of God. It belongs to the world.

    Another way we build ourselves up is boasting of our bargains. The Book of Proverbs says: "The customer always complains that the price is too high, but then he goes off and brags about the bargain he got" (Proverbs 20:14, GNB). Do you ever thank a store-keeper or a business man for giving you a good deal? Do you ever wonder if the store owner or the employees might be struggling as much as you are? Are you so anxious about getting a good bargain that you are totally thoughtless about everyone else? Does the bargain, or the thought of getting it, totally consume you so that you can only think of yourself?

    It is good to get a bargain and be grateful for it but it is wrong to get one and be boastful of it. Human nature always wants to think that it can get away with something. But God's nature never wants anything to be done at anyone else's expense. The Lord wants us to develop sensitivity towards others in everything and for us to forget ourselves -- we should never want something for ourselves without having done all we can to meet others' needs first. To seek after self-interest, one's own family interests, one's own country's interests, and so on, is all a problem of pride. God is no respector of persons, families, tribes, or nations, but treats all alike.

    The Second Covenant

    You will now be put under covenant not to be comparative or competitive. Please repeat after me: "I solemnly covenant and promise before God, Christ, angels, the Patriarchate and this assembly, that I will not compare myself with others or allow a spirit of competitiveness to make its home in my heart. Even so. Amen."

    Now we come to Collision No.3. The world says: Do what it takes to be noticed. Go to the right places, meet the right people, do the right things....look at me! But the Lord says: No! The Book of Proverbs says: "When you stand before the king, don't try to impress him and pretend to be important. It is better to be asked to take a higher position than to be told to give your place to someone more important" (Proverbs 25:6-7, GNB).

    Jesus put it even better in the Gospel of Luke in his parable on humility and hospitality. He noticed how the guests all chose the best seats in the house. Jesus said that when you are invited to a marriage feast, don't sit down in the best seat, because your host may come up to you and ask you to move for someone else. How embarrassing that would be! Rather, go and sit down in the least important seat; the host who has invited you may then come to you and invite you to one of more importance. Thus you will be honoured. The Saviour concludes by saying: "For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be make great" (Luke 14:7-14, GNB).

    Perhaps I can give you a modern example. There were some in the old Independent Church who thought that they should hold this or that priesthood office and when they were called to something less, or even demoted in office, they were greatly injured in their pride, so much so that some became inactive and others began to blame their leaders for a lack of inspiration.

    Yet the Parable of the Prodigal Son teaches us that all who wear this mortal flesh are prodigal and that all should seek for the meanest and humblest positions in the Kingdom, just as the younger son did. It is a proud heart that seeks honours in the Kingdom and is not content with what God gives to him.

    The humble man or woman expects nothing but is willing to give everything. The Second New Olive Leaf Revelation says of love: "Thou shalt not demand another to love thee, nor expect it, nor declare it to be thy right...For when a man demandeth love, he putteth a price upon it, buying and selling it for profit like unto a usurer..." (OB NC&C 99:21-23). Likewise a man or woman who seeks honour should not expect it of others or of the Kingdom of God, for such presume to declare that their desires are their right. But before Almighty God we have no rights -- we have no right to demand enything.

    It is fatal to start thinking in terms of our own self-importance, not because we are unimportant, but because self-importance exalts pride.

    The mind of Christ is 180 degees away from the world. It is the reverse of everthing the world thinks and teaches. If you want to be important, then stop trying to be important! Stop trying to work your way into the limelight. Stop trying to show the world who you are. Stop trying to show the Church members how important you are! Just labour in the shadows faithfully. If you do, you won't face the humiliation of abasement, but the exhilaration of exaltation.

    So let's ask ourselves some important questions: Do you have to have the best seat? Do you have to have the "best" of everything? Do you always have to have the last word in a conversation? Are you a self-appointed authority on every subject? Do you volunteer an opinion whether you are asked to or not? Do you automatically assume that you belong at the top, or in the front, or alongside leaders? Are you always "good friends" with the best? Do you automatically assume that you could do that job better? Would you rather volunteer to take command and be told you're not ready, or labour silently in the shadows until God invites you to the place of honour through His Priesthood?

    And who and why do you have guests in your home? Jesus goes on in the Gospel of Luke: "When you give a dinner or lunch, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbours -- for they will invite you back, and in this way you will be paid for what you did. When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; and you will be blessed, because they are not able to pay you back. God will repay you on the day the good people rise from death" (Luke 14:12-14, GNB). The perennial problem of pride is the Word of God and the world in conflict.

    The Third Covenant

    You will now be put under covenant to be inconspicuous and humble. Please repeat after me: "I solemnly covenant before God, Christ, angels, the Patriarchate, and this assembly, that I will not seek to draw attention to myself but serve humbly in the background as the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. Even so. Amen.

    Collision number 4. The world says: Tomorrow, success is mine! I'm absolutely sure! I'm only as good as I think I am, and I'm the one that can. But the Word of God says in the Book of Proverbs: "Never boast about tomorrow. You don't know what will happen between now and then. Let other people praise you -- even strangers; but never do it yourself" (Proverbs 27:1-2, GNB). The apostle James says: "Now listen to me, you that say, 'Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business, and make alot of money.` You don't even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. What you should say is this: 'If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.' But now you are proud, and you boast; all such boasting is wrong. So then, the person who does not do the good he knows he should do is guilty of sin" (James 4:13-17, GNB).

    This leads me to ask you some more hard questions: Have you found the balance between planning and presumption? Proverbs says: "We can make our plans but the final outcome is in God's hands." Is your faith in the future based on your trust in the sovereignty of God or in your business experience, your life insurance, your five-year plan, or your savings account? Do you fit your plans into the unfolding of God's will in your life, or God's will into the unfolding of your plans?

    Do you put off witnessing, or ministering to your neighbour, or visting the sick because there will always be another day? What presumption! How do you know what life will bring forth tomorrow? Life is like a mist -- here one day, gone the next. And you may not be here tomorrow, and they may not be here tomorrow. Man says: I'll do it tomorrow! God says: Only I know what tomorrow brings. Do it today. So be careful. Postponing our duties is a symptom of the perennial problem of pride.

    The Fourth Covenant

    You will now be put under covenant to fulfill God's commissions to you without postponement to go about life in God's strength. Please repeat after me: "I solemnly covenant and promise before God, Christ, angels, the Patriarchate and this assembly that I will seek at once to know and fulfill the Lord's plan in my life in His strength, and not my own desires and plans in my own strength. Even so. Amen.

    Conflict number 5 in the collision between the Word of God and the world says this. The world says: If noone else will do it, then I'll do it. I'll tell them how good I am! I'll toot my own horn. It'll help you get a job, it'll help you get a mate, it'll help you get recognised for what you are! But the Word of God says: "Let other people praise you.....never do it yourself" (Proverbs 27:2, GNB). The Book of Proverbs further says: "Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful he is, but just try to find someone who really is!" (Proverbs 20:6, GNB). God says: Humble yourself, be honest, and let God through others give you your recommendations.

    Now some more difficult questions: Do you find yourself sneaking your accomplishments into conversations? For example: "Oh, yes, I know who you mean...I was able to help him out." Such a remark is totally irrelevent to the conversation -- the man talking just wanted the person he was talking to to know he had done something for them. Here's another example: "Oh, I know what you mean, I had a similar experience when I was on the local team and we won the championship." This information was irrelevent to the conversation but he wanted you to know he had won a championship. Pride! Sometimes people are so generous that they even give God a little credit by saying: "I've really been so fotunate -- God is so good to me!" "I sold more than anyone else in my company this month -- isn't God great!" "I've had so many investigators this week -- isn't the Lord wonderful!"

    Yes, brethren and sisters, people do this all the time. But you are not to. Question: would God have been any less great if you hadn't been first? but third, or fourth? The Lord says: STOP PRAISING YOURSELF! SELF IS DEAD! How successful can a corpse be anyway?! If God has done it, He'll handle the encores. Ask yourself: If you take the "I's", the "me's", and the "my's" out of your vocabulary, will there still be enough words left to form a sentence?

    The Fifth Covenant

    You will now be put under covenant never to praise yourself before others. Please repeat after me: "I solemnly covenant and promise before God, Christ, angels, the Patriarchate and this assembly that I will never seek to praise myself but remain humble and loyal to the Heavenly and Earthly Churches of the Firstborn. Even so. Amen.

    Conflict number 6: The world says: Everybody loves a good fight! Go and get what's yours! Stand up for your rights! Give me mine! The Word of God says: "Arrogance causes nothing but trouble. It is wiser to ask for advice" (Proverbs 13:10, GNB). "Selfishness only causes trouble. You are much better off to trust the Lord" (Proverbs 28:25, GNB). In other words, the Lord says that Pride is the root cause of contention and strife.

    Question: Do you love a good argument? Would you rather fight than change your opinion? Are you always having to ask somebody's forgiveness because said something you wish you hadn't? Do you always have to have the last word? Would you rather win the battle even if it means losing the war? Would you rather be right even if you hurt someone in the process or even if you lost someone for Christ? Is there always strife in your homes, strife in your ministry, strife in your workplace? Is everybody else always wrong and you're always right only nobody seems to recognise it but you? Then you do know where the problem is -- the perennial problem of Pride.

    The Sixth Covenant

    You will now be put under covenant not to be contentious. Please repeat after me: "I solemnly covenant and promise before God, Christ, angels, the Patriarchate and this assembly that I will learn to defend the truth in meekness and with patience. I will cease being contentious and aggressive and insisting on my rights but learn to live in peace and humility. Even so. Amen.

    Collision number 7: The world says: Walk with self-assurance. Hold your head high and dress so that everybody will notice you. But the Word of God says: "Wicked people are controlled by their conceit and arrogance, and this is sinful" (Proverbs 21:4, GNB). "There are people who think they are so good -- oh, how good they think they are!" (Proverbs 30:13, GNB). Or to use another translation: "There are... those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth; those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful..." (Ibid., NIV).

    Ask yourself what the one word would be that would characterise the look on your face at any one time-- angry? desperate? compassionate? arrogant? What about the look in your eyes -- compassion? condescension? or unconcern? Look in the mirror -- look in your eyes. Is there a proud look there? A proud look and lofty eyes are not from God. They are the remnants of a corpse called Self, and that haughtiness is but a symptom of that perennial problem of Pride.

    Never dress to get attention to yourself. The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, tells us how He felt about the arrogant women who dressed and over-dressed to call attention to themselves. He says: "'The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores upon the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald.' In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the head-dresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls" (Isaiah 3:16-23, NIV).

    Perhaps you recognise that condition in the women of today. Even men are imitating them with fine perfumes, rich clothing, earrings and other jewels. Go around any fashionable city centre and you will see just what the Lord describes in this revelation. He goes on to say through the prophet that all of these things will be taken away. Speaking of a time when Jerusalem will be destroyed by the armies of Antichrist, God says:

    "Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding. Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle. The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute she will sit on the ground" (Ibid., vv.24-26, NIV).

    This chapter, and the ones that follow, describe the restoration of Zion in the Holy Land and in the 12 Firstborn Colonies that will be established through this Holy Order. Isaiah says:

    "In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; He will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding-place from the storm and rain" (Isaiah 4:2-6, NIV)."In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, 'We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!" (Ibid, v.1, NIV).

    The City of Jerusalem is one of the 12 Firstborn Cities that will be established in the Millennium. As you have heard it will be purged by judgment and by fire. There are eleven others that will arise -- ours is called KADESH EPHRAIM, which means, "The Holy City of the Tribe of Ephraim". It will not arise in the way that the Millennial Jerusalem does, for this city, which is of the House of Judah (and is also called KADESH JUDAH) will be purged by warfare, blood, earthquake, disease, and much else. By contrast, this, the House of Ephraim gathered in the north countries, is to be purged by the Ordinances of the House of the Lord.

    And that is why you are here today. Unlike our brethren in the House of Judah who must undergo severe physical hardship in order to purge them, this people -- this New Covenant -- is to face different trials and a different purging process. Today you are in the fourth stage of this purging -- the fourth of many, many degrees of sanctification in the House of the Lord.

    Most of the degrees leading to the Holy Patriarchal Priesthood are concerned, in one way or another, with the rooting out of pride. You are here to learn how to do this of your own free will and thus be spared the kind of judgment that Jerusalem will face. For the whole world will be judged by fire as Jerusalem will be -- that is another reason we are gathering/gathered out of the world.

    The apostle Peter gives us the keys for proper dress when he says: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold, jewellry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear...." (1 Peter 3:3-7, NIV).

    These principles are applicable not only to husbands as well but to the unmarried. To overcome the world's pride there must be a complete spirit of submission and obedience to men and women of God, and to God Himself. There is no other way to purge the sin of pride out. Wives are to obey, and be submissive to, their husbands in the Lord, and husbands are to be considerate and respect their wives. Children are to obey and submit to their parents in the Lord. And all are to submit to and obey their spiritual fathers and mothers in the Holy Order, the Patriarchate, in righreousness.

    I repeat, there can be no purging of this deadly disease of pride until there is perfect obedience and submission in the love and holiness of the Lord. The fruits are simple: purity, reverence, and a gentle and quiet spirit. And these fruits are both for women and men. These are the tokens of the Holy Order, and the only keys that will open the doors to the higher degrees and mysteries of the Firstborn.

    Brethren and sisters, you are all called to be beautiful inside. Zion is a condition of inner beauty, purity and holiness. Though much pride has still slipped in through the doors of the House of the Lord, and sits here in its arrogance, it cannot proceed into the Holy of Holies. For this reason this Zadokian Room is not so pure as the rooms that lie above it, as you have been told before.

    Here we all dress alike in white robes so that the eye may focus on that which is spiritual. The differences in dress that do exist are to remind the wearers of their covenants in different degrees. Thus you will not know the meaning of many of the forms of temple dress until you have entered those degrees yourself or unless you are specifically told.

    We dress in the House of the Lord to compliment inner beauty and we should dress in the world so that others can see Christ in you. The clothes we wear in the world should reflect the inner character of orderliness, neatness, simplicity, and cleanliness. The way we dress should therefore be a projection of our spirituality, not of our ego and pride.

    The Seventh Covenant

    You will now be put under covenant to dress yourselves as befitting redeemed sons and daughters of God. Please repeat after me: "I solemnly covenant and promise before God, Christ, angels, the Patriarchate and this assembly that I will dress according the standards of Zion. I will dress modestly, neatly, simply, and in such a way so as not to draw attention to myself. I will be circumspect in the symbols I wear on my clothing that I may advertise the Kingdom and the King. Even so. Amen."

    Collision number 8: The world says: When others praise you, lap it up. Revel in it. You deserve it! But the Word of God says in the Book of Proverbs: "As gold and silver are purified by fire, so a man is tested by his reaction to praise" (Proverbs 27:21, LB). To put this into other words, your pride quotient -- the real you -- will surface like the dross when gold is refined the minute you're confronted with praise.

    Ask yourself -- when somebody comes up to you and says: "Hey, that was good! That was a job well done. I like that!" No matter what you say, do you in your spirit swell with pride? and say: "There's a person with good judgment! I really was pretty good!" And what if noone recognises the job you're doing, are you just as motivated to keep doing it? Or is praise the fuel that powers the engine of your faithfulness?

    Pride is a disease which Satan injects right into our hearts. And yet the world thinks it is an acceptable way of life. But God hates it. There is no room for it in the Church of the Firstborn. The Lord can't stand it. He declares that it is an abomination. He resists it and if it continues He humiliates us. This is a fundamental spiritual law which if you have not already understood it you will come to understand it with crystal clarity in this House.

    The Eighth Covenant

    You will now be put under covenant to be modest and retiring when you are praised. Please repeat after me: "I covenant and promise before God, Christ, angels, the Patriarchate and this assembly that I will not glory in the praise of others but learn to be modest and retiring. Even so. Amen.

    Brethren and sisters, this concludes the Eight Covenants of the Fifth House of Tabal. Over the last two days we have looked at the sin of Natural Pride. In the next two Houses of Tabal we shall be taking a close look at the sin of Spiritual Pride -- how Satan takes His personality and infiltrates it into the churches, into the ministry, into meetings and programs, our attitudes towards faithfulness, our leaders, our theology, and even our spiritual growth. We will then take a look at success, which is Satan's greatest tool to destroy the work of God. We will also look at the conflict between humility and a healthy self-image.

    Having spent four painful sessions looking at pride, we will come to the wonderful world of Wisdom and how to actually see humility take control of our lives. In the weeks that separate this Fifth House of Tabal and the coming Sixth and Seventh Houses you should seriously examine yourselves because God wants to show you specific areas of pride that are crippling your spiritual growth. The Lord desires to give you the spirit of understanding so that you may eventually come under the complete control of the mind of Christ.

    The Lord said to the prophet Jeremiah: "Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before He brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but He will turn it to thick darkness and change it to deep gloom. But if you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord's flock will be taken captive.....Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns will fall from your heads" (Jeremiah 13:15-18, NIV ).

    The Word of the Lord to you today is to sit down, humble yourself, or you will loose your crown of glory. If He is obeyed, a whole new world of fellowship and ministry will open up to you and the Lord will begin to do His mighty work through each of you. These weeks and months will be painful but they are necessary if you are to progress in your endowment and enter new dimensions of light and joy. I want you to consider them to be a time of grace, to allow you to wrestle with your inner man and woman before you are put through the fires of the House of Qum in the years to come, which House belongs to the Order of Enoch, or the Elders and Eldresses. There all unconfessed and hidden sin will be exposed before the General Assembly of the House of Tabal as God wills it. The knife will be sharp but the vessel that it hollows out will enable you to receive and hold the Love of the Firstborn. May you, like Jacob, wrestle valiantly until you have obtained the Lord's blessing and entered into the heart of your new Firstborn Name, becoming spiritual fathers and mothers of Zion.

    Let us pray together:

    Dear Heavenly Father, we come before you this night to confess our pride. We ask you to give us the spirit of understanding so that this enemy of our soul may be forever banised. Reveal to us the mind and heart of your Son, Jesus Christ, that we may walk in the paths of humility and enter into sweet, mystical union with You and with the Church of the Firstborn. We desire with all our hearts to be Your servants. We know that pride is an abomination to You. O Lord, reveal the needs in our lives over the coming weeks so that as we come face to face with the need for repentance we might really gain a spirit of wisdom. May the mind and heart of Your Son Jesus Christ (Yahshua haMashiach) take over our own minds and hearts!. We praise You, O Lord Yawheh, for You -- and You alone -- are worthy of praise. In the Name of Jesus Christ (Yahshua haMashiach) we pray, Amen.

    102. May the Lord bless you and keep your minds and hearts focused on the covenants you have taken here today. May His love distill upon your hearts as you submit yourself to Him and His righteousness, fulfilling all that He asks of you. May His peace abide in you, is my blessing upon you, in Jesus' (Yahshua's) Name. Amen.

    First created on 9 July 1998
    Last updated on 8 May 1999

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