It’s the “Tag Line” of my ministry, it’s the voice in the desert trying to make straight the path men have perverted, and it’s the truth.
God gave us the Torah, that is, He gave the Jewish people the Torah but not as their sole property. It was given to them to bring to the world. It is the history of a family that became a nation, of a people that were enslaved and freed, of rebellion and atonement; it is also a document that acts as a Ketuba (marriage certificate), a constitution, a penal code and a warning. It provides life eternal, and eternal suffering.
It is, in it’s most simplistic definition, the rules for how people are to worship God, and how they are to treat each other.
Yeshua (Jesus) said the two most important commandments are to love the Lord and love each other. That pretty much sums up what the Torah is all about.
Mankind, with it’s need to interpret, to control, to reject what is hard and create something from nothing, is why there are so many different religions. And instead of loving each other and being compassionate, as the Torah teaches, we have slaughtered each other in the name of Jesus. Or in the name of God (I am referring to persecution of Messianic Jews in Israel. That’s right! Today in God’s Holy Land, Jews killing and persecuting other Jews in God’s name.)
And let’s not forget how many have been killed in the name of Allah (although Allah isn’t a Judeo-Christian deity, but we might as well throw him into the pile just to make sure I don’t miss insulting someone.)
The foundation stone of my tag line is found in Yesheyahu (Isaiah) 29:13, where he is prophesying about the city of Jerusalem:
My Lord said, “Because that people has approached with it’s mouth and honored me with its lips, but has kept its heart far from Me, and its worship of Me has been a commandment of men, learned by rote- truly, I shall further baffle that people with bafflement upon bafflement; and the wisdom of its wise shall fail, and the prudence of its prudent shall vanish.
This came true in the ancient land of Israel; Jerusalem was lost to the Jewish people, and today… Praise God! It is being restored to them.
But there are so many others out there who are not Jewish but are doing exactly what the Jewish people did that Yesheyahu warned them about: they are following the canon of Men instead of the Word of God.
If you haven’t gotten my book yet, please do so. It isn’t expensive, it is an easy read, and it shows you how in many cases the Word of God has been ignored and, worse than that, sometimes just plain rejected by men so that they can worship the way they want to.
If you are a Gentile or a Jew, did you know that what you are following is as much man-made as God-commanded? Maybe even more so of men than of God.
Catholicism is following what Constantine originated; Lutherans and Protestants are following Luther, Methodists follow John Wesley, and there are 6 different forms of Judaism! You would have thought that at least the Jews would have stayed on track!
We follow men more often than God. And don’t think I am leaving out my own people- today the Orthodox and Chasidic Jews will go to the Talmud before they go to the Torah, and the Rabbi is as influential, if not more so, than the teachings in the Tanakh; Jews will ask the Rabbi to interpret Torah and take what he says as gospel (hmmmm….am I allowed to use the word “gospel” when talking about Jews? I mean, it’s just a word but it does have such a “Christian” connotation, doesn’t it?)
Now, there is nothing wrong at all with asking your religious/spiritual leader for an interpretation of the bible: what is wrong (in my opinion) is not verifying it by reading the passages and asking God to guide you. In fact, you should start in the bible, ask God to guide your understanding through His Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) and then ask your Rabbi, or Priest, Pastor, Minister, whatever for clarification.
God gave us a plain and understandable commandment: love Him and treat each other as you would want them to treat you. Simple. In Deuteronomy 30:11-14 Moses tells us just how simple it is:
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
The Word is very near- but we don’t read that word, do we? We go far from the word to ask someone else to tell us what it means. Religion is something that men created so that they could control other men. What other reason could there be for a person to ignore what the Lord God, Almighty has said to do and, instead, tell others what he or she thinks they should do? Is a human more knowledgeable than God? Can a human do what God has done? Can a human understand the mind of God?
Get your bible, turn to Genesis 1:1 and read a chapter. Then tomorrow morning pick it up and read another chapter. That’s all you have to do- one chapter a day, every day. Let the Ruach lead your understanding, and try to use extra-biblical writings as little as possible. Trust in God to lead your understanding because, well, He did write it and He knows what He wanted to say.
There is a message in that book for you. Yes- you, the person reading this right now. Don’t look around: I mean Y-O-U. God has a plan for you, a mission for you, a need for you and a reward for you that is greater than anything you could ever have on earth.
The map to that reward is in the bible- the entire bible, which starts in Genesis and ends with Revelations.
Go find your reward!