(Based on real characters and events in the past, present and future)
One day, an angel paid a visit to a kingdom in Asia to mediate between the king and the high priest. The former had waged a verbal war against the latter’s priests’ hypocritical behavior, causing no small storm of discussions among the people — fanned, of course, by overeager chroniclers. And since all the kingdoms of the world had accepted the doctrine of separation of religious and state affairs as an inviolable law, although the Lord never taught it (He had always taught and worked for unity), God decided to interfere and expose the roots of this latest squabble for the sake of truth and peace.
Getting the two alone together (without noisy chroniclers listening in) was the most difficult part of the angel’s mission. It was like getting Genghis Khan and Cleopatra to pray together inside the Sistine Chapel. So, he arranged to interview the two in their sleep that evening.
Angel: Mighty King, you keep reiterating your experience as a child when you were molested by a gay priest. Why? Have you not forgiven him at all?
Mighty King: Sir, if I were a common citizen, I could only speak but will only be heard by a handful of people. And half of them would only pity me or laugh at my unfortunate experience. As an accuser in a court, I could not hail the offender for he has long been dead. But as a ruler, I can, at least, reach more people and help them see a truth that they all know but hesitate to do anything or say anything about.
Angel: And what can you say to that, High Priest?
High Priest: I appreciate the king’s candidness and desire to expose any immorality within the ranks of the priesthood. We do not tolerate such shameful behavior. In fact, we have established strict rules and sanctions against priests who misbehave.
Angel: It is understandable that you should feel haunted by your disturbing experience, Mighty King. But why do you use it as primary evidence to attack a religion that believes it has a noble mission to accomplish? What form of redress will satisfy and give you closure? Or is there a more deeply-rooted reason for your repeated accusation?
Mighty King: I can only point to the long history of grave abuse and selfish indulgence of these priests. Yes, I speak of my own private experience but only as a corollary to the other horrible experiences suffered by other people in many places. Even our foremost hero died exposing the truth regarding this religion more than a century ago. I do not speak against one person alone but against a religious system that presents itself in a respectable manner, but behind its façade is something else.
You see, they wear purple-lined vestments and carry golden staffs, not to mention live in opulence, while many of the poor dwell in slums or starve. Any sensible person will not stomach such inconsistency of the teachings and the lives of these priests. As king, my ultimate goal is to free the next generation from the hypocrisy of these sons of whores — mga buang (fools)!
A: Mighty King, when you curse the High Priest, do you do so for a reason or do you excuse your behavior as a mere mannerism? The Lord has said that everyone will give an account for every word uttered when you face the Great Judge. But in fairness to all, do not think that many are already excused, even those who pride themselves of not uttering curses or vows. For you may not be speaking a curse yet may harbor hatred in your heart against your brother or sister. Hating is no less abominable in the eyes of God than cursing. They are one and the same – for what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a person.
MK: Sir, did not the Lord curse the false teachers by calling them murderers, brood of vipers and whitewashed tombs? Whores, at least give temporary pleasures to humans; but murderers, vipers and tombs only render permanent death. I know I’m not always civil; because I speak my mind. I’m just being honest.
A: The Lord warns that he who calls his brother “You fool!” shall be in danger of hell fire. God will render the final judgment on this matter. But going back to the issue: True, history will not be deleted from the chronicles of Heaven until the final judgment is finished. All the kingdoms and rulers of the ages will give account before the Great Judge. And you two, among many others, now also sit ruling over the lives and souls of millions of people. What we will accomplish tonight – whether you will work together under God’s banner or remain divided because you do not follow His wisdom – will affect the future of this kingdom and that of others as well.
Does your religion, High Priest, truly uphold and represent the truth and will of God when the historical records show its priests and ministers, as mentioned, have committed such grievous offenses which kings themselves and their ministers have also committed? Every person’s defense, of course, will be biased; for everyone will always find an excuse for all sins committed, just as the king has excused his cursing.
HP: We have the Holy Law of our Universal Religion that guides us in our administration of our faith. Just as the king has his Royal Decrees which enable him and his ministers to establish law and order. We believe that our faith was handed to us by Petros, our first Universal High Priest. As such, we have a sacred duty to lead others to follow the teachings of God according to the calling of the priesthood which we have received from the first holy priests. The sitting Universal High Priest is God’s highest representative for our times. Under him, the priests administer the word of the Lord.
Yes, there have been scoundrels in our ranks, just as there have been scoundrels in all world kingdoms. Our faith is accepted and practiced by imperfect people undergoing sanctification. Our job is not finished until the final judgment. We seek to cooperate with all people and with all kingdoms. We will not pick a fight with anyone, least of all the king. But he started this squabble, to be honest about it. We have our own misgivings about his rule, for instance . . . .
MK: On the contrary, they started it! I was still a child when I and my friends were molested by a priest when we went for confession. Do you think that was just an isolated case? Your faith is just one of the many beliefs in the world, although it is one of the most predominant. It is because of that predominance that makes it even more dangerous and, as such, leads its adherents to be blind, complacent and proud.
In the first century, there were only assemblies in Asia and Europe established by the original ministers of God — most of them, by the way, founded and nurtured by Paulus, not Petros. The notion that Petros founded your faith is neither historically accurate nor logical. God is the Rock and is the only foundation there is. Any group founded on a human being, especially an erring believer like Petros was, must be as unstable as any human organization or kingdom.
I’m not picking a fight against anyone but against hypocrisy itself. It is the most insidious sin of all for it not only deceives millions but victimizes them to follow a religion that has taken over the place of God at His throne. As a lawgiver and a judge myself over the people, I have the prerogative to render counsel concerning what acts or ideas are propagated in this kingdom in order to protect its integrity. I will not stand idly by while people repeat the abuses that have wreaked havoc upon this kingdom in the past.
HP: Neither will we neglect our duty to remind the king of the abuses under his rule, especially the summary killings committed by the soldiers.
A: You both mean well; but unless you two see eye-to-eye, the people will also be divided.
Mighty King, you studied law, not theology. The High Priest is both a lawyer of his religion and a theologian. How can you be sure that what you believe or say is consistent with the teachings of God?
MK: I already admitted to the people that I do not believe there is a hell. And I am not even sure if there is a heaven. If there really is a heaven, God forgive me. I’m not a theologian, true. But I have many theologian friends who share their knowledge with me. Besides, I don’t need to be a theologian to know if someone is a hypocrite or someone is being deceitful. For more than four centuries, many have embraced this religion in our kingdom and we have remained underdeveloped for so many years. And we are not alone – look at South America! Europe threw away the shackles of this religion in the 16th century and became the most progressive part of the world for the next four centuries. During all that time, our kingdom languished under a colonizer which was imperiously carrying the banner of this religion. And how did we unshackle ourselves? By spreading the writings of our greatest hero who exposed the evils of this religion during his lifetime. That is factual and noble history for you. I also have a book exposing recent abuses committed under a previous ruler. Do you really think they have reformed?
(Turning to the High Priest) Do you think your priests have ceased from teaching and doing what they have been teaching and doing from the time of Lutherus, Zwinglius, Calvini and even Rizali? You merely reformed your external ways of dispensing your priesthood; but the core of your religion has remained the same. You have not changed and will not change. Even your rituals, traditions, attire and prayers remain the same in essence after almost two millennia. Your temple bells still peal at five in the morning in our old towns and new cities as they have for hundreds of years ago, rousing up people from their sleep — even those who do not adhere to your religion. Other religions do the same thing, whether they use bells, fireworks, drums or loud chants. As a result, many people learn to hate “holiness”, “piety” or even the idea of God because of people who impose their beliefs in such selfish and anachronistic manners. Such things have nothing to do with righteousness or being pleasing to God.
(Addressing the angel) Don’t you agree, Sir! Oh, what am I saying? You should know, Sir. What do you think of their religion? How do you and other angels look at all the divided religions of this world?
A: I did not come to judge between the two of you but to find out how you serve God and how you treat the people you claim to serve. Many of you rulers – whether in state or in faith — have lorded it over the people for so long. God has allowed you and the people to decide what kind of rule or religion you want to establish or embrace as a kingdom or as individuals. As a kingdom, you can even shift from being one to being a consensus or a people-ruled commonwealth. However, you both can do a lot of good simply by letting people decide more for themselves, instead of treating them like they were mindless children or docile lambs.
God established His kingdom in the hearts of individuals; He did not set up another earthly kingdom. What you have built for yourselves – your religions, kingdoms, schools, institutions, laws and doctrines — God has merely allowed. He puts people who are responsible for making His will made known through your faulty, if not oftentimes corrupt, systems. For such people can work for reforms and beneficial changes, no matter how small and how slow. Because in spite of God having done His part in simplifying His administration by doing away with the strict temple-centered religious system of His rebellious chosen people with its many burdensome priestly rituals, you still revert to such a failed and faulty structure.
In your hardheadedness then, God has left you to your own desires. He has allowed you to remain divided and in constant conflict and strife. Wars and crimes prevail because God’s Spirit does not reign in your hearts. Your laws are countless; and yet justice does not prevail. You have built many temples and cathedrals but your religion has not helped you establish genuine and lasting peace, progress and harmony. And yes, hypocrisy exists everywhere. I know, in your heart, you both consider each other a hypocrite. But God sees your hearts and knows the true condition of your souls.
HP: Oh, Holy Messenger, our role as priests is precisely to shepherd lost souls to the fold of God. Since the time of God’s appearance in the form of a human being, God’s servants and messengers have diligently served to bring people to a way of life that is pleasing to Him. Yes, there have been abuses, lapses and mistakes; for, after all, priests are mere humans and they deal with people who are themselves fallen and subject to the weaknesses of the flesh. That is why our faith has imposed celibacy to reduce the propensity of humans, including priests, to the call of carnality. We have sought to serve God as servants totally dedicated to the work of administering the grace of heaven.
If it happens that a few of us fall along the way by violating their vows of chastity and poverty, it is not something we condone or take pride in having done. As to our role in serving along human rulers as a moral guide, we have been effective in stemming certain abuses and evil practices. Again, some of us may have become part of a few wicked regimes in the past or, in short, failed to live up to our high calling. We can only ask God to forgive the perpetrators, knowing He is just and merciful to all sinners.
In the end, we continue to do the job God has given us to fulfill. And that involves working in all levels and all areas of life where we can shed the light of God’s love and mercy in this world. We will not cease or hesitate to work as His obedient representatives.
A: I do not question your sincerity and dedication to your vocation; for that is exactly the defense and attitude of all those who espouse any form of religious, ideological or political belief. But words and confessions will not establish you in the truth of God, only humble submission to the perfect will of God will justify anyone. And every single person will answer for his or her deeds.
God has this to say about all people, “Not all those who say Lord, Lord will be justified but those who do the will of the Father in Heaven. Your prayers do not reach Heaven for they are merely endless chants of dummies mumbling repetitious words that have no value for the heart and the soul. Have I not said, ‘Go into your closet and pray and the Lord will hear you’? So why do you force people to come to you when I, the Almighty, will gladly come to anyone who humbly seeks My presence? Or do you pride yourselves of your ability to build temples, cathedrals and mosques which have merely restored the ancient high places where my truth and my Spirit will never dwell? Worship Me with your pure lives, not your empty words.
My kingdom is within you! But you have set up kings for yourselves and high priests for yourselves when I alone Am your King and High Priest. You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation; and I will dwell in the hearts of those who worship Me in spirit and in truth. Where will you go to worship Me? To Rome? To Mecca? To Jerusalem? If I take away your fancy buildings, will you lose your faith in Me? Or will you also weep against the wall of the temple ruins instead of thanking Me for freeing you from a burdensome religion? I have destroyed Solomon’s temple, with no stone left standing, never to rise again. In its place I gave your heart, the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is given to those who believe. And as Jeremiah prophesied, no one will teach brother about Me. For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know Me.
Don’t you still get it? I have abolished temple worship and the priesthood. Stop acting like slaves and unredeemed people constantly needing reprieve, looking for a place of refuge. I demand mercy and compassion, not sacrifice. You have been bought with a great price; stop acting like you can merit righteousness by your good works – works that glorify your plans and not Mine, works that make people praise you and forget Me.
So, why have you restored the temples, the priesthood, the ancient idols and pagan traditions? Is it not to distort the truth; no, to deceive people and to take away My glory? What I have done no one can undo. You reign in My place and have neglected the people and left them like lost sheep without a shepherd.
Your kingdoms take taxes from the people. Your assemblies receive tributes from the people. What for? Is it not to give back to the people and not for your own use? Yet, you build structures for your own use, foremost, and for the people to marvel at, secondarily. As I said, I do not need these structures. They are for your own satisfaction, not Mine. Oftentimes, kings and their ministers feed the people but also steal from them. The priests feed the souls of people but also indulge themselves. You have all fattened yourselves off the meat and the fat of the land while the people languish.
You have left the Earth in desolation by your wicked ways. Behold, Nuwa, Ibrahim, Moshe and Eliash – my righteous servants — will stand as witnesses when I render righteous judgment in the end.”
For the sake of the millions who suffer, God sends His angels to give another warning. As rulers yourselves, you may or may not truly know His ways. But the reason you do not work as one proves your do not realize what the truth is and what the Lord demands. You know only in part because you have not been perfected in knowledge. Neither are you perfected in all virtues. God has sent His messengers and prophets to reveal to the people their true condition. The opportunity is for you to see your faults and to find ways to amend your ways according to the word or counsel of God, not according to your own thoughts or laws.
It is necessary that strife and division among rulers and among the people must occur in order that the truth will be made known. Any earthly kingdom will fall if it remains in chaos and division. You, Mighty King, have made allegations that will be judged not in your courts of law but in the courts of Heaven when the time comes, although in ancient times, you would have surely been burned at the stake. You, High Priest, have imposed certain laws and have claimed certain positions and responsibilities that will be validated not by yourselves or by any human leader or institution here and now — certainly not by the Mighty King — but by God Himself when the proper time arrives.
Every belief or act of every person will be also be confirmed or invalidated at the final judgment. Before then, every righteous person’s vindication will rest in his or her heart and guide him or her until the revelation of God’s final counsel. Those who persevere in doing righteous deeds will dwell in the peace and grace of God. Hypocrites, and there are legions of them, will do well to listen and learn how to amend their ways. The only cure to hypocrisy is to hear and obey God, not humans.
Be wise then and know the word of God before the dreaded time comes.
Thank you, then, for your time. When you wake up, I know that things will remain the same. But as a messenger, my duty is to let God know what you have said and done so that He can proclaim in Heaven and on Earth your very words. Only then can He make His judgment in His time. Moreover, the people will have the opportunity to judge for themselves how and where they stand in front of God before they themselves will be judged.
History is still in the making. You both make history every day of your life. But history itself will come to an end, then the Judgment. Until then, farewell!
(Illustration above: Taken from Hands-On Bible Teacher and www.google.com. Thanks!)