I have always been so disappointed when I think about all the different Judeo-Christian religious doctrines.
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Don’t we have only one God, one God who is the same today, as he was yesterday, and will never change throughout eternity?
Didn’t this one God give us just one set of rules and send only one Messiah?
You say “Yes”? Then why are there scores of different religions, each one professing to worship this one unchanging God, but they all have different ways to do that, with different rites, ceremonies, holidays, and traditions?
I am Jewish, born and raised, and what is even cooler is that I recently found out that I have the genetic marker of the Levite! But I was raised Reform, and when I was a child I recall some Orthodox Jew calling me a “Goy.”
The Hebrew word “Goyim” means “nations”, as in everyone else except the Jewish people, and the term “Goy” has come to be a derogatory expletive within Judaism for any Gentile.
And when I was a child, my Catholic friends, well…they accused me of killing God.
Judaism isn’t really, in my opinion, a religion as much as it is a lifestyle. God gave us, through Moses, instructions on how to worship him and how to treat each other, and God also gave us a mandate, which is to be a nation of priests to the world (Genesis 19:6), which means that we are to teach everyone else how to live in accordance with God’s instructions. And despite having these instructions written down, we failed to comply with them, over and over.
Let’s review just some of the mistakes that we Jews made since receiving the Torah:
- We created an idol (the Golden Calf);
- We failed to obey the Sabbath rule regarding resting of the land (which is why we had to spend 70 years in Babylon);
- We rejected God’s authority through his prophets and demanded a king;
- Our rabbis have added many difficult traditions to the relatively simple rules God gave us in the Torah by creating Halacha (the Walk) in the Talmud; and
- We have rejected Yeshua as the Messiah (this was a BIG mistake!)
These are just a few of the main ones. So, if you were creating your own religion from Judaism (since that was the original and only religion that worshiped Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), wouldn’t you avoid all those mistakes, mistakes which the Tanakh had identified and which you could see, over the centuries before Messiah came, resulted in disaster and destruction for the Jews?
Don’t you think that someone creating their own religion would do everything they could not to make those same boo-boos?
Let’s look at Christianity (this includes all forms of it):
- They created an idol: just walk into any church and see a graven image on a cross, or statues of saints all over that people bow and pray to;
- They created holidays that God never gave us, which by itself may not be so bad, but they totally ignore the ones God commanded us to observe;
- They not only changed the day we observe the Sabbath, but they totally changed the rules about how to observe it;
- They reject most of God’s instructions which he gave in the Torah;
- They created their own king and call him the Pope; and
- They rebranded the Messiah as an ex-Jew who negated his father’s laws and created his own religion, in which he is God!
WOW! I mean, really? Just make up whatever rules you want to, ignore the ones you don’t like, and keep only what you don’t mind doing. Label some commandments ceremonial and therefore, unimportant, even though God told us to do them! Wouldn’t that imply it is important to him?
And, in my opinion, what is worse of all is that traditional Christianity ignores most of what truly came directly from God (the Torah and the books of the Prophets) and teaches almost exclusively a misinterpretation of the letters from a man who wasn’t receiving what he wrote from God, but was micro-managing congregations of Gentiles learning to be Jewish.
That’s right- I am talking about the Epistles of Paul. Everything he wrote was to congregations of Gentiles that he formed, who were learning how to live a “Jewish” lifestyle instead of the pagan lifestyle they had lived, previously. What he wrote was not a direct commandment from God, like what Moses and the prophets received, but letters to micro-manage the internal, interpersonal problems that his congregations were facing.
Paul never taught to ignore the Torah: he was teaching how to obey it, but little-by-little, line-by-line, precept-by-precept.
If that sounds vaguely familiar, you can find it in Isaiah 28:10 when he was chiding the Israelites about how they were ignoring and disobeying God and how they had to learn like children.
As we can now see, the Christian religions, as well as within the different sects of Judaism (we’re still making mistakes!), have all made their own sets of rules, ceremonies, rites, and holidays that are different from what God commanded us to do. So, nu? What do we do now?
The obvious answer is to get back on the program. But that will never happen, I am sorry to say, simply because we have been doing this for so long that the people are comfortable with what they have learned and refuse to change. Humans, in general, hate change; if you don’t believe that, at your workplace try to institute a different procedure- any procedure- and see how willing people are to do it.
No, these tares have already been growing with the wheat for so long that there’s nothing left to do now but wait for the harvest (Matthew 13).
The good news is that until the harvest comes, those tares have a chance to become wheat!
This is what I believe (in a nutshell): the Torah is still valid, Yeshua is the Messiah God promised and through our repentance and by means of Yeshua’s sacrifice, we can be forgiven of our sins.
I am not preaching performance-based salvation (you might know it as “legalism”) but faith-based salvation, remembering that in James 2:14 we are told faith without works (meaning obedience to the Torah) is dead. No one can be sinless, but we all can sin less by not trusting only in our religious leaders but verifying what they tell us by reading the Bible and asking the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide us in our understanding of what God wants from us.
God has wonderful blessings for us, but we won’t get them by making up our own rules, so STOP making the same mistakes we have all, always made and get with the program GOD laid out for you.
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That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!