Thus says Yahweh: “Stand by the ways, and see, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ –Jeremiah 6:16
The Holy Bible of the Judeo/Christian faith has a way of getting right to the heart of a person. It says in Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. I can testify that Elohim and His Words have shaken me to the very core of my soul in the last several months. Shaken to the point where everything that I thought I knew wasn’t exactly as I had thought. That the very things that I placed trust and faith into are not the clear and fullest truth. That I’ve been on a path, or road if you will, that is not the same road from where it all started…in the very beginning. Let me explain.
From the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, subsequently translated into Latin, English, and a variety of other languages, the very words of the canonized Bible…what is commonly called the Old and New Testaments…have impacted the vast majority of people around the world for multiple centuries. From those very powerful words, written by approximately 40 authors over the span of about 1500 years, comes the voice of Yahweh God to the people that inhabit this planet. All things came from God through Yeshua/Jesus, (the son of God), according to the very words of the Holy Scriptures. It says in Colossians 1:16-17 “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. In Genesis 1:1, the first of the 66 collected books that make up the Holy Bible, it says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
If we look through the timeline of the Bible we learn that God created Adam and Eve, the first people, who fell into sin (a breaking of God’s laws) and lost the paradise God had given them (the Garden of Eden). Subsequently through lineage, Noah came about, but so did rampant sin against God, who then flooded the planet (saving only Noah and his family) to start fresh. Essentially God establishes a group of people through Abram (Abraham) and his offspring to be a holy people (holy means “called out”) and to eventually establish His laws to these people through His prophet Moses, after God lead the Hebrew people (Hebrew meaning to “cross over”) out of bondage (Egypt). He gives them a land (the Promised Land) to live in and to worship Him. Unfortunately the 12 tribes of the now-called Israelites have conflicts with one another and are separated (northern 10 tribes and southern 2 tribes) and go through many rise and fall periods because they kept breaking God’s laws. Even after multitudes of warnings from various prophets of God to repent (meaning to turn away from sin), their sinning continued. This went on for centuries. But God had a plan for not only the Jewish people, but for the rest of the world as well.
The last Old Testament period prophet came proclaiming that the “Promised One”, the Messiah, who would take away the sins of the world would be coming. John the Baptist announced that one was coming to take the punishment for all sins and give all people a way to be restored to God. Thus, Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus Christ, came. Jesus followed and fulfilled all the laws and commandments of God perfectly (something no one can do) and gave us the example to follow. Since the punishment for sin is death, the way prescribed to atone for sin was a blood sacrifice. God gave His Son Yeshua/Jesus as that sacrifice (he took the punishment for all the sins, past, present, and future) and made it that whoever believes in him, follows him, makes him lord of their lives, confesses and repents of sins, will be saved from eternal death (hell/hades). While Yeshua was walking on this planet, he had followers that he taught the ways of God too. They became his disciples, who would subsequently continue on the teachings of Christ, even after Yeshua rose from death into eternal life in heaven.
All the new believers were called Christians, followers of Yeshua as their Messiah. This Christianity began as an outgrowth of Judaism and still remained the believer’s basis of their worship and knowledge of God through their understanding of the Tanakh, what we call the Old Testament. The early Church continued the Jewish traditions, as seen in their later writings (the 4 Gospels, epistles, and other texts that subsequently coalesced into what is now called the New Testament). Even non-Jewish people (Gentiles) who believed in YHWH God and saw Jesus as the Messiah were grafted into this worship. (There has always been non-Jewish people who worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the centuries with the Israelites as noted in the Old Testament. Examples would be the word “sojourner” in the Torah and many other references to Gentiles). Thus, the early “church” of believers in Yeshua gathered regularly together to worship Yahweh on the Sabbath and teach about Yeshua and his Way to others.
For reference, I am not an Messianic Jew, nor do I hold to Hebrew Roots or Torah Observant religious beliefs. I will say though that I believe that the vast majority of modern church denominations and movements have drifted extremely far from the true roots of Christianity’s origins and beliefs. Sadly, in many circles, it has come to the point where they have even gone to the extreme of completely dismissing the Old Testament, or at the very least, have minimized the true intent of God’s plan for all people in how they should live and worship. The God of the Torah didn’t change the rules along the way. Nor did He delete the standing orders of how He is to be worshiped. Yeshua/Jesus never said that the old ways were done away with and we can now worship the creator God in a “new” fashion. So, when did it all get purged and whitewashed and become a homogenized new religion? At what point did the followers of Christ put away the teachings of the Torah and the worship at the synagogues on the Sabbath day (which technically falls on Saturday)? When did all this stop, and better yet, why? There is a lot of history that has been either ignored or erased that shows man has injected his own agendas and ideologies into the Christian religion. Being a follower of Yeshua Hamashiach, (or as it has been Anglicized as Jesus the Messiah), doesn’t change anything from the Old Testament, other than the temple sacrifices have been done away with because of Yeshua’s ultimate sacrifice. I say all this based on what I have read within the Scriptures and have studied from history. You can look it up yourselves!
We do know from history that the early church “evolved” to a point where the progressing early leaders wanted to separate themselves from the Jewish religion all-together. When Emperor Constantine was Romanizing the Christian religion, he created a council (Nicaea) in 325 to declare what the Christian religion was to “believe in”. Essentially by the 4th century, Judaism was purged from Christianity and the two were deemed “separate” entities…neither to be practiced together. But prior to this declared split by the self-appointed “leaders”, the believers of Yeshua were practicing the Jewish Torah and customs set out in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible…or “Old Testament”, as we call it in westernized society). It was also during the ecumenical council that they felt the need to separate the Jewish Passover and Easter (the crucifixion of Christ). Easter was severed within the “new” orthodoxy from its calendrical and thematic connections with the Passover. Also changed was the day of worship gatherings. No longer would it be on the Sabbath (Saturday) but instead on Sunday…just to segregate the two! In fact, it was through these “evolutions” that many of today’s westernized holidays related to Christianity were invented. It came to the point where you could not believe in Jesus and go to synagogue on Sabbath per the leaders of the “new” Christian religion. In fact, there was a lot of anti-Jewish (anti-Semetic) discourse and writings/sermons that came out of this time, such as Bishop John Chrysostom’s (c.349-407) sermon titled “Against the Jews”. Essentially, this chasm grew and grew between the Christian faith and the Jewish faith (the very Jewish faith from which it all originated from). With all the new declarations of what Christian orthodoxy should look like, it expanded and essentially became a whole new separate religion.
Why am I sharing this Reader’s Digest Condensed version of church history with you? All this to point out something that so many people who proclaim themselves to be believers in Jesus Christ (who may or may not be active participants in the many modern Christian church(s) out there today) seem to be completely unaware that all the current denominations and doctrines and such that are part of the so-called Protestant (and Catholic) churches today were removed from the original church and purpose. Man decided they didn’t like what God had instituted, that it was too archaic. So, thinking that he knows a better way of doing things more than God, he changed what God had decreed. And it’s this kind of thinking that will cause God to give them over to their own passions and demise. Romans 1:21-25 says: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
These verses (and so many other warnings from God to man within the covers of the Holy Bible) are not just about lifestyles and the flesh…but they warn of how man’s self-righteousness and arrogance to depart from how we are to follow and honor and worship God will be man’s complete downfall and dismissal from God! God commands us in Deuteronomy 6:5-6 that “You shall love YHWH God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” And the part that many have ignored, or dismissed all together, is that God’s commands have not changed from Genesis to Revelation. The only thing that changed in history is what man has decreed for himself. If the Bible is God’s Word and is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then why did man deviate from it? If God declares that the grass may wither, the flower eventually fades, but the Word of the Lord will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8), then why have the assemblies and councils of men dismissed (large) portions of Scripture? Psalm 33:11 says that “the counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations”. Sounds like there isn’t a new “version” that God would be switching to because He sent Yeshua as a propitiation for our sins against His Holiness and His decrees! In fact, there really isn’t a “new testament” from the “old testament”, but rather a pre-messiah and post-messiah section of the whole of Holy Scripture! We accept the 10 Commandments, why do we dismiss all the rest of His commands?
As I have battled within myself regarding the issues of faltering faith these last several months, I thought that God, perhaps, had given me over because of my weaknesses and confusion. I couldn’t resolve the many red flags that kept cropping up as I tried to rectify and remedy myself to all the theology and doctrines I had studied over the many years. I knew something was wrong, and it didn’t help that the enemy took advantage of that to get me believing that I walked away from God, or that I was never saved, or that I was, per some theological stances, “predestined” to hell. Yet, now I am seeing that perhaps it wasn’t just me that was confused, (though disclaimer: I am still sorting out quite a bit here!) but that the current state of the accepted Christian religions in the world today are actually wrong. That history shows man taking liberties to change God’s decrees and laws and commands just to fit his own ideologies and narratives. Essentially, the vast majority of today’s Christian churches are following deviated orthodoxy that was created by men who were bent on removing the very Jewishness of God’s people and God’s Messiah, who was himself Jewish!
With that, I am taking new course in life regarding Bible reading and believing. Since these are Jewish Scriptures written by Jewish believers that follow a Jewish worship decreed by YHWH God, the very God who gave us all a Jewish Messiah who had Jewish followers and disciples who all kept the Jewish customs and traditions and worship, and historically had grafted in the Gentiles who wanted to worship and study and believe in this very same YHWH God and follow the Jewish ways, et.al., I plan on re-reading the Bible in its entirety, but without the man-made doctrines or theologies that I had been indoctrinated into believing up till now. I will be reading the Holy Scriptures with a first century Jewish/Gentile perspective as all this was intended from the very beginning. I believe that the Books will be more alive and enlightening to this soul that I could have ever imagined!