Building a Belief System

It sounds so “professional”, doesn’t it? “Building a belief system”- like you are creating some commercial organization, or something.

Despite the stoically cold and unemotional sound of it, it is what we all do during our lives. Whether we are believing in our parent’s trustworthiness (which usually comes as a given), what we are told, what we learn, in Santa Claus, or even whether God exists or not, we depend on our beliefs to help guide us through life.

Hopefully we believe that ethical and moral behaviour, as defined by our society, is the way in which we should act towards others. Isn’t there an old adage that goes something like, “Honesty is what you do when you know no one will ever find out.”? We who have a belief system based on honesty and respect for others (and their property) believe in this.

So how do you build a belief system? You start with something that you believe in. DUH!!

If you believe in God, you have a really good start, but if it is that God doesn’t exist, or that He exists in some way other than what others believe, it is still something. No one can not believe in something, because even total apathy is something you believe in.

The question I was discussing with friends the other night is how do you know what to believe? We hear so many different things from so many different religions (and non-religions which are treated as a religion) that it is really hard to know who is right about what, and that was the question posed to me: “How do I know who to believe?”

My answer was, “You don’t, and that stinks” (I think the actual descriptive adjective I used at that time was somewhat more graphic.) But that is how it is. No one can be absolutely certain what to think or who to believe, at least not when first starting. So what do we do?

We take a leap of faith. We believe in that which seems right to us. I pray that God will be influencing each person’s heart when making that initial choice, but the choices we make are influenced by other things, too. Such as, what we learned from our parents (whether as a positive or a negative experience), what we learned from our friends, our teachers, our religious leaders, and (unfortunately) from TV. I have to include TV (and maybe nowadays I should include YouTube and the Internet) because it is such a major part of our lives now.

So we start with believing what is comfortable for us, and we move on from there. As we discuss our beliefs with others we hear their beliefs, and we compare and we re-evaluate, so on we go through life, constantly learning and adjusting our beliefs.

At some point, though, we have to take a stand. Sooner or later we will conclude that what we believe in is not open to change. I feel that way about my belief in God and Yeshua as my (actually, everyone’s) Messiah. I have always felt a calling to know God better, and I went through many years of not believing in Him at all; I cursed Him and His name often as a child, and I felt torn and confused, I believed we were all our own Messiah and that salvation was an individual thing, that there was no death only reincarnation, that there was no reincarnation, that …well, let’s just say I went through a lot of beliefs. After going through them all, I finally settled on what I truly believe in, what I have had proven (to me) to be the correct belief because of actual, real events in my life, and what I can say is more than a faith-based belief because for me it is a fact, a reality, an unchanging and unchangeable truth upon which I can now feel totally certain.

And here’s the hard part, the part that still stinks…I had to come to this absolute and unmovable position initially by a leap of faith.

In the long run, Brothers, Sisters, Friends, you need to make a leap of faith and choose to believe in something. What you are told, what you learn, what others tell you is true is all part of the process, but ultimately you must choose for yourself what you will believe. And it gets worse- you have to be willing to stand up to others when you choose that belief. You can’t go through life changing your moral and religious beliefs. I am sure there are people that do, and I can only feel pity for them. Without a belief system, you are building a house on sand instead of rock, and you will always be shifting  your moral and ethical position. You will be a leaf blown about in the wind instead of a strong tree upon which others can depend for support. And you will never feel secure in anything.

I believe that God exists, as He is described in the Bible, and that He sent Yeshua to be the Messiah He promised and told us about throughout the Tanakh (The Old Covenant.) I believe that the New Covenant is the continuation of the Old one, not a separate book about a new religion. I believe Yeshua (Jesus) taught the Torah, and the Torah is what He stood for and believed in. He never taught that we should act any way but the way we are told to act in the Torah. And all the other writings in the New Covenant support that.

I also believe that Yeshua died and was resurrected, and that His death allows me to be saved from my own sinfulness, which is a real part of my innate nature. I also believe that I can be a sinful sinner but still be a good person; at least, “good” as society defines “good.”  Which, I also believe, from God’s perspective isn’t good enough. That’s why we all need the Messiah.

I came to this belief system after more than 40 years of searching for it, and now I am totally comfortable with it. As I say above, I am convinced that it is correct because of the events in my life since I chose to accept this belief system for myself, and I am unmovable in it.

If you say I may be wrong, you have the right to believe that- I was where you are. The character Morpheus from “The Matrix” movie at one point had someone say to him that others didn’t believe as he did, and Morpheus answered that what he believes doesn’t require others to believe the same.

I believe, and I would hope that you believe as I believe, but you don’t have to. I respect your right to believe what you do, and am willing to discuss what I believe, but am not willing to allow you or anyone else to tell me what I believe is wrong. Maybe wrong for you, but no one can say it is wrong. Even if I vehemently disagree with what you believe in, I can’t say you are wrong, only that what you believe in is wrong for me.

God gave us all free will, and I respect God’s opinion and His choices. Even if you say there is no God and never was, my answer will be that your belief that God doesn’t exist is because He allows you to make up your own mind.

That’s what this is all about: initially, every belief is a leap of faith, no matter what you believe. Yeshua said we are all a slave to something, and I think we should be a slave to our beliefs; otherwise, what good are they? Let me say this: whatever you believe, make sure it is your choice to believe it. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should believe, especially about God.

You need to be certain that what you believe is your choice because God will hold each and every one of us accountable for what we believe.

Believe me when I tell you that.

Jewish or Jesus: Why Not Have Both?

In the Seventies, the big spiritual saying was, “I found it!”, meaning (of course) Jesus. There was also at that time a big resurrection (no pun intended) of Messianic Judaism, which has continued to grow. At that time, being Jewish, not caring, but still having been brought up being taught Jesus is a Jew-hater that started a new religion and Jews are Christ-killers, my response to “I’ve found it!” was: “I’m Jewish- I never lost it!”

That’s true, in a sense- you can only lose what you once had. I never had my Messiah, I never had the understanding about who Jesus was (Jesus Christ is not a name- we’ll get to that in a moment) and I never really had even a chance of getting to know the truth about the New Covenant writings because they were an anathema, forbidden and any thoughts about even wondering who Jesus is was traitorous!

About “Jesus Christ”: Yeshua ben Yosef was the name Jesus was given, lived with, and was called by all who knew Him or heard of Him for the first century or two since His birth. Yeshua is Hebrew and means, essentially, the salvation of God, or God’s salvation (ben Yosef is ‘son of Joseph’.) When the B’rit Chadashah (Good News) books about Yeshua were being written, except for Mattitayu (Matthew) which was most likely written in Hebrew (some scholars say), the other New Covenant writings were in Greek, the language of the world back then. There is no Greek word for Yeshua, since both culturally and religiously there was no Greek reference for God’s salvation, or for Messiah (Anointed One.) So, they did what we usually do when we have a word with no translation- we use a transliteration, a word that sounds like the meaning. For the Greeks, Yeshua sounded like a Greek man’s name, Jesu. As for Maschiach (Messiah/ anointed one) they used Cristos. That was a method of rubbing oil on a shield to keep the leather supple. When Jesu Cristos was Latinized, it became Jesus Christ. So, the etymology of “Jesus Christ” is a Latinized translation of a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name/title Yeshua Ha Mashiach.

Before Yeshua was born, the Septuagint was written. This was a Greek translation of the Tanakh and was distributed throughout the Diaspora for the Jews living there. As with Yeshua’s name, there were many words and ideas that had no relationship with Greek culture or religion, so the authors created a kind of Greek-Hebrew language. If you ask Greek speakers who read the Septuagint, they will tell you that there are words that have absolutely no meaning in the Greek language. Shaul (Paul) used some of these terms when writing his letters to the Messianic Congregations (there were no churches in the First Century CE) that he established. I think that is why some of his writings have been historically misunderstood, and used as a polemic against the Jewish people. And as such, have created the subtle but conscious anti-Semitic interpretations in the New Covenant.

Jesus was Jewish, He lived a Jewish lifestyle (more so than anyone ever did, and especially much more than any Jew I have ever known!) and when He was resurrected, He didn’t come back from the dead as a Christian. He also didn’t preach anything, not one thing, different from or against the Torah. If you read the Gospels you will see that His teachings defined the true meaning of the Torah. In Mattitayu 5:17 He insists that He did not come to change the law, but fulfill it. The anti-Semitic usage over the centuries of that statement has been to tell Christians that having fulfilled the Law, it was done away with. NOT!!! In First Century Rabbi-speak, to fulfill the law meant to interpret it correctly.  Read the New Covenant writings- Yeshua tells us how to follow the Torah, not how to ignore it.

Think about this for a minute: Yochanan (John) tells us in His Gospel that there was the Word (i.e., Torah) and that the Word became flesh (i.e., Yeshua), and Yeshua tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand but that His Kingdom will stand forever, so….if Yeshua is the Living Torah, and His kingdom will stand forever, and a house divided against itself cannot stand, then for Yeshua to say anything against the Torah is a house divided against itself (since He is teaching contrary to who and what He is) and thereby, based on His own words, His kingdom will not last forever. If that is so, then when He said His kingdom will last forever, He lied. And, if Yeshua lied, He isn’t the sinless Lamb of God, His resurrection must be false and we have no salvation.

Ergo: if you believe that Yeshua did away with Torah, then you have no salvation.

This seems like a good argument for a Jewish person to use against believing in Yeshua except for one thing: it is a false argument based on a false assumption. Yeshua did not lie because He did not teach against the Torah; in fact, He upheld every Torah commandment as necessary. He worshipped Adonai, and He did the will of Adonai. The same is true about Shaul- even though his writings are a little convoluted. However, when you carefully dissect what he says (he talks like a real Jew!) he is always upholding the Torah as a valid set of rules and laws. He talks about the future often, and when the New Covenant writings talk about the future they often foretell the end of Torah, which is no different than what we read in the Torah, itself. The End Days (Acharit HaYamim) will see a new heaven and a new earth, and a new temple with God living amongst us (read Ezekiel.)  I don’t think anyone can actually say what rules or laws we will be living with: Jeremiah 31:31 (THE New Covenant) says that God will change our hearts, and Joel tells us the same, so what will happen is that (according to the Tanakh) we will have hearts of flesh and the Torah will be written on them. In other words, we will also be living Torahs. If you are a living Torah, do you still need a written Torah to tell you how to act?

I don’t think anyone can tell us what it will be like after all is done. But the important thing is that we are on our way, and not only are we getting closer to the end, we are picking up speed!

If you aren’t right with God, better get a move on. If you are Jewish, better take a new look at this Yeshua guy. Forget the Westernized, blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryan Jesus of the Christian right-wingers, and ignore (I know it’s hard, but you have to try) the bigotry from both the Jewish and Christian worlds about Jews believing in Yeshua and still being Jewish, and make up your own mind. The Jews say you can’t be Jewish if you believe in Jesus, and the Christians say if you believe in Jesus you have to stop being Jewish. Weird! They finally agree on something, and it is the absolutely wrong thing to believe.

Listen: there is nothing more Jewish than believing in the Messiah, and the truth is Yeshua is the Messiah God promised us throughout the Tanakh. He is the Jewish Saviour to the Jewish people, who has made it possible for Gentiles to be saved, as well. In the time Yeshua lived and afterwards (for about 200 years), when a Gentile was “saved” by accepting Yeshua as their Messiah, they were becoming Jewish simply because that was all they could be. There were only Jews and Pagans: accepting Yeshua meant they were adopting a Jewish way of life. Nowadays, the Christian world says that if you want to be “saved” by accepting Yeshua, you have to stop being Jewish!

OY! Dey’s all Meshuggah!

Look, it’s simple: God said He would send a Messiah and Yeshua is that Messiah. Don’t take my word for it, and don’t accept anything anyone else tells you. Read the Tanakh so you know what to expect, then read the Gospels to see it come to fruition. Forget the other New Covenant books for awhile- stick to the Gospels until you decide yea or nay about Yeshua. If you decide nay, it’s your right to make that choice- you will regret it. If you decide yea about Yeshua, then before you read further in the Bible, pray to God (not to Yeshua- He isn’t God the Father and He is the means to your salvation, not the giver of it. That has always been, and still is, only God the Father) and confess your acceptance that you are a sinner, that you are unable to overcome your sinful nature, and that you wish to accept the salvation offered by God through the sacrificial death that Yeshua underwent. Accept Yeshua as your Messiah, and ask that God send to you the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, to guide you in doing T’Shuvah (turning from your sin) so you can do what God told His people to do: “Be thou holy, for I am holy” (that’s all Old Covenant stuff, Folks!)

Then wait for it. The Apostles waited 50 days for the Ruach, I waited about 3 months after accepting Yeshua before I received the Spirit. Once you have the Spirit to guide your understanding, hit the rest of the New Covenant.

You can see my testimony here:

If you are Christian and you have been raised believing in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, you probably should review this, too. I know many, many Christians who ‘believe’ for no other reason than they have been told they believe. Their belief is not heartfelt- it is rote. And they easily and completely accept the lies the “Church” has told them: they only need to be good people to go to heaven, that they have the spirit of God in them because they could correctly answer a few questions, and that they are the new Chosen people since the Jews rejected Christ so God has rejected the Jews. And the BIG one: the Torah is just for Jews because Jesus did away with it and when you follow Jesus you don’t have to follow the Torah.

All lies, all misdirected teachings over millennia, all from the Enemy of God, and sending all who accept those lies blindly into the pit of Sheol.

Make up your own mind. I like “The Matrix” Trilogy- have you seen it? The Oracle constantly tells Neo (the Messiah) that he needs to make up his own mind about what he is, and Morpheus (sort of a John the Baptist figure) tells someone who says to him, “Not everyone believes as you do” that “My faith doesn’t require you to believe.” That’s powerful- we don’t need others to believe something for us to believe it. You shouldn’t accept anything as truth except what you, yourself, have found to be true.

Jewish or Jesus? Here’s the truth- they are both the same! Now go and verify it for yourself.