You’re probably thinking to yourself, “OK. Where is he going with this one?”
I was a Combat Engineer in the Marine Corps, and one of the many things we did was construction. I have also worked in the home remodeling field. When you are building a roof, you carefully measure the length and angle of the rafters, which are the supporting beams for the sheathing the shingles go over. Every single rafter has to be cut at the exact same angle and the exact same length of the roof section it is being used for. The way you do that is to cut and test a rafter, then you use that as the standard model for the other rafters. Every other rafter is measured against that one “master” for accuracy.
If you cut the master, then cut a second rafter from that one, then cut the third from the second, cut the fourth from the third, the fifth from the fourth, and so on, by the time you get to the other end of the roof your rafter will be off by inches. Once you stop using the one “known-good” rafter, your correctness will constantly degrade until what you have isn’t even close to the original.
Are you starting to see where I am going, now? God gave us the Torah- that is the “Master” for how He wants us to worship Him and treat each other. He says it is all we need: it is not too hard to do (Deuteronomy 30:11) , and we shouldn’t add to it or take anything away from it (Deuteronomy 4:2.)
Religion has been born from people trying to do exactly that- add to or detract from the Word of God. God gave us the Master measurement for building His house on earth; the second rafter was cut when Yeshua taught us that it isn’t just the words we need to live by, but the spirit of the Law. Yeshua never changed anything, He simply explained it in more detail. He cut a second rafter that was exactly the same as the first. Then, within Judaism, over the years we cut rafters from the first, ignoring the one Yeshua cut, and the second was different, the third was different, and today we have Hasidim, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Messianic Jews.
Christianity also failed to cut their rafters from the Master. And what has developed, as it is today, is not from the teachings of Yeshua (Jesus) but by the rules instituted by Constantine. He cut the “gentile” master in the Third Century (give or take) at the First Council of Nicaea. Then that rafter was cut up into Eastern, Western, Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian, Baptist, AME, Amish, Lutherans, and so on and so on.
If we tried to build a House of God today using these “religious rafters” there wouldn’t be any two that matched. They are all supposed to be cut from the Word of God, but they have been cut from each other, and that is why religion has prevented the worship of God as He said He should be worshiped.
Shaul (Paul) tells us in Galatians 3:28:
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
He is telling us that through the Messiah we are all one, we are all the same in God’s eyes and we are all equal heirs of the Kingdom. We should all be rafters that are exactly the same. Even if you are Jewish and don’t believe Yeshua to be the Messiah, the meaning of this statement is still true- just substitute ‘Mashiach’ for ‘Jesus Christ’ and the message is in perfect alignment with Torah and the Prophets.
That’s why I wrote my book (see side panel to order it) and that’s what this blog is about- it is a ministry of simplicity and solidarity. We are all one in Messiah, and whether you agree and accept that that Messiah is Yeshua (Jesus) or not, it is still in total accordance with Tanakh that the Messiah will bring us back to God, that the Messiah will overcome our sin and that without the Messiah we have no chance of reconciliation.
It is also true that Jew or Gentile, we are commanded by God to worship Him as He says we should, and those rules and regulations are found in the Torah.
The prayers said before and after we read from the Torah thank God for giving us the Torah, setting truth and life in our midst and choosing us to receive it. The Torah, however, wasn’t meant only for the Jews: it was given to the Jews for them to bring to the world (“…you are to be a nation of priests”: Exodus 19:6. Remember?) Priests bring the word of God to the people and lead the people in the worship of God.
The saddest oxymoron of today is that religions say they worship the one and only God but no two religions worship Him the same way. They have different rules for conduct, different liturgy, and even though we all use the same book, Jews ignore everything after Micah (Chronicles, if you want to be accurate) and many Christian religions ignore much of everything before Matthew. It’s one book, it’s one set of rules directly from God, and it’s one God. It’s also one Messiah, the only one through whom we all can find salvation.
My message to the world is simple: God has no religion, so do what God says, not what people say.