It never ceases to amaze me how deceitful people are. But, I’m not talking about overt liars, but about people who lie to themselves, deceive themselves.
I am starting to see that this is very close to the root of all sin and all conflict!
Mind you, I came from a very similar background as most people who would read this. I was deceived also, and I continued to deceive MYSELF, for quite some time, even after having read the SIMPLE truth in His Word. Over and over. And over. In truth, I am still prone to deceiving myself, but I am beginning to pray earnestly that this not be the case any longer, ever again. Several times Yeshua said, “Do not be deceived,” and I’m certain He had in mind even self-deceit.
One of the things I love about Messianic Judaism is that we go through the whole Torah and much of the Prophets and the Brit Khadashah every year. We ‘hear’ His Word regularly, over and over. And by that, we are supposed to be CHANGED. But, it is when we DECEIVE ourselves that we do NOT change:
“Be DOERs of The Word, and NOT hearers only, deceiving yourselves!” And, “But whoever looks into the perfect Torah of liberty and ABIDES in it is not merely a hearer of The Word, which can be forgotten, but a doer of THE WORK, and this man shall be blessed in his labor.” Ya’akov [James] 1:22,25
The biggest deceit and double-speak is that people reject The Word, which is a biblical title for The Torah, which is Yeshua manifesting in a human body. Ya’akov makes that abundantly clear in that one verse above, verse 25. Ya’akov was Jewish, and The Word was/is known to Jews as The Torah. He used both interchangeably in that verse. Do you see it? Or are you deceiving yourself about that, or being deceived by a previous ‘doctrine?’
But, self-deceit does not stop here. It’s only the beginning.
“The heart is DECEITFUL above ALL things!” Jer 17:9
One of the biggest lies perpetrated even on believers is “follow your heart.”
Poppycock! Follow His WORD.
But, read His Word with HONEST EYES. Dare to read it without religious preconceptions, without the pretext of deceitful doctrine, and WITH the pretext of HIS WORD [Torah].
Looking back on my walk of faith, I remember the first LIE I had to overturn in my mind was the compromise I had made with evolution. I was a very good student of science [biology] in school, and was a reader of several science periodicals when Messiah gently brought me back into His Word. I remember thinking, ‘surely all these very intellectual scientists can’t be completely wrong on the age of the earth and its origins.’ And something within me told me just to ‘read’ the text, forgetting all I had learned. Read it for what it says.
At the time, I did not read Hebrew at all. But, I was and always have been a very good reader of English. I was reading from the KJV and NIV [I had a parallel edition]. No matter how I read it, how I studied it, I could NOT stuff billions of years into that text! Or even thousands! I saw plainly that He specified that He created the earth in six twenty-four hour earth-time periods, what we call ‘days.’ [I later learned that the Hebrew makes this obvious, and abundantly explicit.] Further, I saw that the sun, the moon, and the stars were not added to this universe until the FOURTH 24-hour period, while the plants and trees had all been there on day 3, fully grown and with fruit in them; immediately I could see, following the rules of evidence and science, that they would NEVER survive 1 year, 1000 years, much less a billion years, in utter darkness! I had deceived myself.
And that made me question EVERYTHING I had been taught, as it had been ‘well-meaning’ pastors and teachers who’d put the deceit of that religion [evolution is the religion of humanism, which requires MORE faith than belief in G-d] in my mind. I still believed in G-d, but I had been mixing doctrines of humanism with the truth of His Word, watering down His Word, and detracting from HIS POWER and HIS TRUTH. Who did I think I was to say He ‘could not’ have done it in 6 Days, especially when HE said that’s what He did? [I happen to believe that Elohim [G-d] wrote the WHOLE Word.] Who was I? I dared to editorialize His word and ADD interpretation to it to fit MY ‘understanding,’ to appease those who taught me ‘science?’ It was in that study where the ‘question’ of the Sabbath came into my mind, because G-d clearly rested on DAY SEVEN, and BLESSED THAT DAY, before giving any command.
The lies go on and on, I found. My next big encounter was the ‘trinity’ doctrine. I remember people calling ‘Jesus’ ‘god,’ and it concerned me a little. But when I began to investigate the ‘doctrine,’ I began to see that there were some serious, serious infractions against the PLAIN meaning of the text.
The ‘official’ doctrine of ‘trinity’ states that the son and the father share the same ‘substance,’ make-up, body. “Glory to the three in ONE,’ suddenly differed from my take on it.
Let me set what was in my mind before I encountered this doctrine. Even though I grew up in a Baptist environment and sang the doxology every week, I never believed that the Son of God was not still a man. I understood that He came down from heaven out of His Father, as I understood that I came out of my father. As a child, I did not need to know ‘how’ I came out of my father, but I knew I did. The same applied to G-d. I understood that Yeshua was human just like me, because He was tempted, and He died. I understood that His Father, G-d, did not die, but raised Him from the dead. I had no issue believing He was divine, but I did not think for a moment that He WAS His Father. That never, ever crossed my mind, even when I heard and read Him say, “I and My Father are One.” I knew that did not mean ‘of the same substance,’ but ‘one’ as in UNIFIED, perfectly agreeing in everything, Yeshua being perfectly obient to His Father, because He had His Father’s NATURE in Him, and not that of man.
So, when I heard people say, ‘Jesus is god,’ I was actually shocked. And I learned that though many people say it, there were almost as many explanations for it as there were people who said it! And NO ONE was confident in their interpretation, except dogmatic Catholics, who invented the doctrine.
When I read the actual doctrine, I was shocked. Homoousios? Why do I need that word? “Of the same substance, consubstantial.” It was not in the scriptures! The word had to be invented in order to define this ‘trinity,’ which is a word that means ‘three.’ I must have had the Shema imbedded in my Jewish DNA, because even at that time I knew “The LORD our God is ONE LORD,” [though at the time I did not know His Name was in that command.] And if they are indeed the same ‘substance,’ then where is Yeshua’s BODY? Because as a child I had learned that the most important EVIDENCE of His Resurrection, and therefore our faith, was HIS BODY. Is He no longer FLESH? [“Touch me, and see, that I am FLESH AND BONE, JUST AS YOU ARE.”] And if He is FLESH, is the Father no longer ‘Ruakh?’ [spirit]. I had always understood that Yeshua was a manifestation of His Father, the perfect ‘representation’ of His Father, the ‘express image,’ but NEVER had it occurred to me the contradictory phrase I kept hearing over and over, ‘They are ‘one in the same,’’ [homoousios] yet I was temporarily known to say it, while sorting this thing out in my mind, for fear of not being ‘orthodox.’
THAT’S NOT WHAT HE SAID! “I proceeded forth and CAME OUT OF MY FATHER.” Why was that so hard? Why do we need a ‘pope’ or any human authority to tell us who He is, when we have the plain meaning of His Word? We are not supposed to test our brothers’ faith by their adherence to a creed, but by their FRUIT. Yes, we are supposed to test spirits. And let’s look at how!
“Any spirit that does not say that Yeshua HaMashiakh is come IN THE FLESH is NOT from Elohim!”
Does not then the spirit behind this doctrine violate this, by saying that the son is the same ‘substance’ as the father? Meaning He is NOT a man, flesh and bone as are we? Test a catholic theologian on it, as I have, and you’ll find that this is EXACTLY what they are saying! And because far too many protestants want to remain within the circle of ‘christian orthodoxy,’ they say the SAME thing, or at least will not defy this spirit and call it what it is!
How did it get so confusing? Yeshua is not God His Father, but He came OUT of His Father, G-d, and has His divine NATURE in Him, making Him distinct from every man, but yet He is a man, STILL, with scars in His hands, feet and side, forever, to prove it. He stands at His Father’s right hand! Next to the throne of Majesty, but His Father sits on the Throne. TzefanYah [Stephen] saw Him there, Yokhanan [John] saw Him there. [Acts 7, Rev 4-5] “If you have not the Son, you have NOT the Father; if you have NOT the Father, you have NOT the Son.” Too many people have tossed the Father aside, or tossed Yeshua aside, depending on which way they view this DOCTRINE that MEN made up!
What other lies am I being told?
After seeing that the feasts of G-d in Leviticus 23 are a perfect and beautiful picture of the ministry of Messiah, both at His first and second comings, I HAD to go back to this Sabbath thing, because when He named HIS Feasts, He named HIS Sabbath first!
“Remember the SABBATH DAY, to keep it holy.” I learned that the word ‘Sabbath’ in Hebrew is actually the SAME as the number SEVEN.
As a fledgling historian, I wanted to know when it changed, because in my mind, it had to change in order to justify my having been worshipping Him on the 1st day of the week. Again, I was SHOCKED.
The only historical evidence of it officially changing was when Constantine declared himself the “Holy Roman Emperor,” the lord of the realm of ‘christianity.’ “Let us NO LONGER have anything to do with that odious people, the Jews, but let us now worship on that day of the GLORIOUS SUN” [Sol Invictus, his sun-god, whom he worshipped the rest of his life.] Never having been catholic, I did not see this Constantine as a ‘poppa,’ a ‘father,’ a ‘pope.’ I saw him as a man who goes to the toilet just like me. And now I saw him as an anti-Semite. My Messiah is Jewish. If you call one Jew odious [disgusting] because he is Jewish, then you’ve called Yeshua the Messiah odious. So, I looked further into SCRIPTURE and found that there was NOT ONE PLACE where the Jewish people of the 1st century, NOR the gentiles who trusted in Messiah, had turned from His Sabbath.
They ALL continued to worship on the 7th day of the week. The lie is that there are two places where they ‘met’ on the 1st day of the week. But, being a man of context, I saw very clearly that this was not ‘assembly for worship,’ but a fellowship, ON SATRDAY NIGHT. I learned that Jews still reckoned days just as Elohim did in Genesis, ‘evening to morning,’ and that it is customary for Jews to gather at the BEGINNING of the 1st day when the 7th day is ending, to close out the Sabbath ceremonially, and to take up collections for the needy. That is the context of BOTH places where the ‘first day of the week’ is mentioned. And, only ONE of those places is a record of an actual fellowship, the other is a directive to do so for the purpose of taking up gifts for the JEWS who believed! Neither of these were settings of worship or weekly sacred assembly.
The other ‘argument’ to support the 1st day meeting was ‘The Lord’s Day’ argument, which comes from Revelation, where Yokhanan is ‘in the spirit on the Lord’s day.’ By now, I’m an avid reader of the whole Tanakh [-Bible], and I know that this is the “Day of יהוה.” Yom Kippur. And, Yokhanan was ALONE on that day, in a prison cell, on the HIGHEST day of the Jewish year….of COURSE he’s in the Ruakh, it is the DAY OF JUDGMENT, and all Jews are reflective about themselves and their place with Elohim [if they believe]. These proponents argue that this is ‘sundy,’ and eisegete INTO the text that this is ‘sundy’, because the ‘lord’s day is the day He rose from the dead.’ No, that is also the lie they told themselves, to justify the change, and then Constantine made it official. [He rose on SATRDAY NIGHT, when it had gotten dark, at “Motzaei Shabbat, the ‘departure of the Sabbath’; greek redactors were not familiar with this Hebrew phrase and custom; it is also called “Havdallah,” the ceremony of ‘distinction.’] I could find NOT ONE PLACE where ANYONE in scripture EVER ‘assembled’ for worship on the 1st day of the week! Jews AND Gentiles ALL assembled in the synagogues, in MANY scriptures in the ‘NEW TESTAMENT, not the least of whom was Messiah Yeshua Himself, whose ‘custom’ was to attend the synagogue on Shabbat. [Luka 4]
And here is about where I just finish my biblical studies degree as a formality, just to hold a degree, seeing the intellectual deceit that ALL my ‘professors’ practiced, on themselves, and on their students. It truly is mind-boggling.
“Therefore the children of Yisra’el shall protect the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath as a PERPETUAL covenant throughout their generations; it is a SIGN between me and the Children of Yisra’el FOREVER, that in SIX DAYS יהוה made the heavens and the earth, and on the SEVENTH DAY he ceased from work, and rested.”
“At that time you [gentiles] were without Mashiakh, being aliens to the customs of Yisra’el, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without Elohim in the world. But now, through Yeshua HaMashiakh, you who at one time were far off are brought near by the blood of Mashiakh…Thus from henceforth you are neither strangers nor foreigners, but fellow citizens [of Yisra’el] with the k’doshim [set apart ones], and children of the household of Elohim.” Eph 2:12,19
So, I’ve spent 28 some-odd years undoing the lies which well –meaning people have told me, and that I continued to tell myself. But now I see that ALL of us deceive ourselves in SO many ways. The heart REALLY is desperately deceitful and sick [the other word in that verse to describe the human condition.] They go on ad-nauseum, on both a religious and a personal level. “Do not be deceived, Elohim is NOT mocked! Whatever you sow, that also shall you reap.” If we sow seeds of deceit in our souls, we will reap from that. But TRUTH is a blessing of the abundance that matters, that of the outpouring of His Ruakh.
Abba does NOT pour out His Ruakh amidst LIES. His Ruakh is NOT ’emotion’ and ‘feeling,’ it is TRUTH. [Rom 7:14] The Ruakh expresses His Torah plainly, just as Yeshua did [Matt 5-7, Yeshua plainly taught Torah.] The reason the community of Faith in the Son of G-d is so splintered and divided, with as many denominations as there are congregants, is because the Truth of His Salvation has been mixed in and watered down with so many lies.
The reason many of His People are so discontented is because we lie to ourselves, far too often, about doctrine, about our behaviors [justifying in our own hearts doing what He says not to do, and justifying why we do NOT do what HE says to do, ie, keep the Sabbath and rest on it, like He did, and like His Son did, love the brethren like He did, etc.] Yeshua said, “You shall KNOW the Truth, [Torah], and [then] the TRUTH [Torah] shall SET YOU FREE.” “I will RUN in the path of your commandments, for you have set my heart FREE!” Ps 119.32 “In my inner man I will REJOICE in the Torah of Elohim!” Rom 7:22
My hope is that SOMEONE reading this will stop, consider HIS WORD, and look for the continuity in it, and NOT the disjointed, convoluted, human logic that has plagued His people with discontent, selfishness, greed, confusion, and division. We will not truly unify as a people, until we unify in Him, in His Word.