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Tradition Is not Acceptable as an Authority on the Bible


Some groups teach tradition over the actual word of God. May it never be. Tradition has been applied to locations where Jesus was supposed to have walked and taught. It has been used to interpret scripture and even change the meaning. Tradition is the reason for ceremony. Tradition binds men in sin and blinds their eyes. Compare what is taught to the scriptures. It the two disagree, the tradition is wrong and so are its teachers.


Israel Strayed From What They Had Been Given

Exodus 32:1 says, "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." They could not even go the distance of forty days. Not long after they entered the promised land they strayed again. Judges 3:7 tells us, "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves." We have a similar situation in Judges 3:12 "And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD." The phrase "did evil again" is used again in Judges 10:6 and 13:1. King Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem but strayed as time went on. In 1 Kings 11:6 we see, "And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father." The result was that ten tribes of Israel split from Judah and Levi after which they became very unfaithful and certainly not true to God's word. They forsook God's word and replaced it with false teaching that became tradition.


The Leaders Were not Reliable

When Ezekiel prophesied to Israel the country had hundreds of years of history, culture and tradition. God showed Ezekiel the leaders of Israel hiding in secret chambers below the temple committing abominations as recorded in Ezekiel 8:7-12.

7And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
8Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.
9And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
10So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
11And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.
12Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.

Jaazaniah may have been established or a leader in the house of Israel but that did not make him right. Jaazaniah had many followers with him but numbers don't matter.


Worship Turned to Tradition That Angered God

The prophet Jeremiah also encountered those who strayed from God's word. In Jeremiah 7:18 we are told, "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. These people had a tradition worshipping the queen of heaven as we see in Jeremiah 44:15-19.

15Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,
16As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
17But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
18But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
19And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

Jeremiah spoke against the status quo, challenged empirical observation and the hearts of the people. Tradition meant nothing. God's word meant everything. God was not happy with this practice and told them he would "watch over them for evil, and not for good:" See Jeremiah 44:25-30.


The Music Changed From Tradition

Psalm 66:1 tells us "Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:" Psalm 81:1, 95:1, 95:2, 98:4, 98:6 and 100:1 repeat the command. Why aren't the Psalms all sung in happy tunes today? It is written in Amos 8:10, "And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day." What we have today is not what existed in the beginning.


Jesus Christ Did not Follow the Pharisees' Tradition

Tradition was wrong is Ezekiel's day and in Jesus's day. In Mark 7:1-13 we see how Jesus addressed tradition when confronted by the Pharisees.

1Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
3For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4And 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.
5Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6He 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.
7Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8For 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.
9And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
11But 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.
12And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.


The Pharisees' Changed Tradition

In John 5:45-47 Jesus said, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" The Pharisees did not believe Moses and were not faithful to the teaching God provided through Moses. In John 7:19 Jesus said, "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?" In Mark 15:7-9 we find, "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." They were not true to what had been taught in the past. They did not keep tradition but over time replaced it with the teaching of man.


Jesus Disapproved of the Pharisees' Tradition

In Matthew 23 Jesus directly confronted the Pharisees. He exposed their tradition for what it was.

1Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
14Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
16Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
17Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
18And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
19Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
20Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
21And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
22And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
23Woe 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.
24Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
30And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
34Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
36Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.


God's Word Matters not Tradition

Israel strayed in Moses' day, they repeatedly failed in the days of the Judges, Solomon went the wrong way, the priests and elders forsook the Lord and worship was altered. Tradition is wrong about many of Jerusalem's historical sites. Tradition is wrong about the death of John the Apostle. The times these people were right it was because they were following the word of God not because they were in power or because of tradition. Jesus told it like it was. It may seem harsh but if he did not address their sin they certainly would not change. In addition, the Pharisees were hurting other people with their teachings. To have compassion on the wrong doers would mean that Jesus would not have compassion on the victims. There are many pastors and people living now that let tradition invalidate the Bible; the word of God. Tradition is not an authority. What matters is what the holy scriptures say.



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