Posts

The Challenge Before Us

Does what we call Christianity today represent what its original founders meant? From the very doctrines, ideas, way of thinking to our practices and church culture, how much of what it was meant to be matches what is today?

After the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in the beginning of the 4th century, this is what happened:

“The Church precisely copied the organizational pattern of the Roman Empire, assuring it control and stability.” – Kenneth Sacks, professor of history and classics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

How does this have anything to do with what Yeshua and his apostles taught?

It doesn’t.

Do most ordinary (file-and-rank) preachers understand this today?

Most of them don’t. They are mostly busy with doing well what they were told by their tradition. Their desire to be found faithful to God is often misplaced as they equate faithfulness to God with following their respective traditional way of church service.

It’s not easy to change the way people think and live. No matter what great truth one thinks they have, most people don’t like changes because most people don’t like problems and turmoil. Life is a great challenge already so why add to our workload right? That’s how most people think.

Do high-level theologians, influential ministers and denominational leaders know how much Romanism and paganism have corrupted Christianity? Not necessarily but some do. However their careers are too dependent on being successful in the false religious system and this conflict of interest prevents them from exposing the status quo.

Some of them know or at least suspect that today’s Christianity has seriously deviated in substance and in form from what it was meant to be, but don’t know what to do about it. In fact it’s probably safe to say that Christianity as we know it today has become practically a strange new religion using the language of the Torah, the Gospels & the Epistles, but has nothing to do with the essence of what Moses and Yeshua taught.

This is not to say we just throw away everything Christian and return to Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism has also deviated in many ways from the Torah so now for us to relearn the ways of old we need to return to sources and practices that predate any of the modern religious paradigms.

May the Lord raise those who will have the courage and the competence to expose the fallacies we have been fed for too long! May his reformers arise in this nation and call us back to the source of God’s Truth, the Teaching of Moses and Yeshua, not the distortions of fanatical religionists!

May hunger for His Truth prevail so we can return to Him and rediscover life in and through Him!

Only a true spiritual awakening can ensure the future of America and the free world. If we fail in this, the barbaric forces unleashed on us will continue to grow stronger until they divide us and conquer us completely!

The roots of the question-asking culture

The ability to ask the right questions is considered a sign of great wisdom and maturity in life, in business and in leadership in many cultures today. But it seems that the Jewish culture, already from antiquity was a question-asking culture.

Our Messiah grew up asking the rabbis questions at an early age. As a result the rabbis were asking him questions, too. Was this unusual? Not really.

Let’s find out more.

In rabbinical literature there is much written about the relationship between a talmidim (disciple) and his rabbi.

According to Brad Young, Professor of Biblical Literature in Judeo-Christian Studies at the Graduate Department of ORU, one of the world’s leading experts on the history of the rabbinate, the only way a talmidim was to approach his rabbi was by asking questions. Even when a talmidim had to come to gain some great knowledge, he wouldn’t come to his rabbi boasting about it or arguing. He was to show what he had learned by way of asking questions. This same ethos we see beautifully described in the Gospel record of Lukas.

But first let’s take a look at the educational process of the Jews in those days.

For Jews living in Jesus’ day, there were three separate educational venues.

Bet Sefer

The first was called Bet Sefer. At the ages of six through twelve, Jewish children began their formal education. Both boys and girls attended synagogue school and learned to read and write. The textbook was the Torah and the goal was not just to read but to memorize the sacred text.

Bet Midrash

For the best of the best, the next educational opportunity was called Bet Midrash. Boys who were deemed worthy to continue their educational pursuits went on to study (and memorize) the entire Tanach, as well as learning the family trade. Very few were selected for this pursuit.

The Mishnah says that the time that some began to attend the bet midrash which was a rabbi’s “school” or “study group” was about 15. Adults of all ages could come to listen in on the sessions (including women) when they had spare time, and there were quite a few who studied but never became teachers – they were still called “disciples” even at advanced ages. There were just a few who were dedicated enough to spend years of time in training to become rabbinic teachers themselves.

Even though marriage was strongly encouraged, some young men were so earnest in their studies that they would put it off until later so that they could study full time. Gamaliel II (the grandson of Paul’s teacher) already had disciples when he finally got married.

Bet Talmud

Of those who finished Bet Midrash, again only the best of the best were able to pursue the final educational leg, which was called Bet Talmud. This was the longest in duration; it went from the age of 15 to 30. To participate, he must be invited by a Rabbi and, if selected, he would begin a process of grooming that would lead to the potential of becoming a Rabbi at age 30. Those who were chosen were referred to as talmidim. They would literally follow in the dust of their rabbi – desiring to emulate him in all of his mannerisms. They would eat the same food in exactly the same way as their rabbi. They would go to sleep and awake the same way as their rabbi and, more importantly, they would learn to study Torah and understand God the exact same way as their rabbi.

It appears that Jesus Himself followed this model. At twelve we know that He attended His first Passover in Jerusalem and He began His formal ministry at 30. The Bible is silent as far as His mentors, but we do know that He selected His disciples and, just like those young fifteen year olds when invited to Bet Talmud, they left everything to follow after this Rabbi from Galilee. No doubt they walked in His dust, wanting to be just like their Rabbi!

How does our “church” culture measure up against the rabbinical ethos that existed back in the days when our Messiah dwelled amongst his people?

Can you find any similarities at all between their culture of respect and discipleship and the spirit of today’s youth? Do families today think it important to emphasize the study of Scripture? Do disciples today grow in an attitude of respect for their rabbi? Do we even foster a culture of asking questions, are we the inquiring minds whom God might consider worthy to reveal His mysteries to?

Seems like the culture of asking questions has deep Hebraic roots. Many believes today are rethinking their Christianity in light of these reformative truths and the consequence we are suffering due to neglecting them.

Seeking the essence, not the eccentric

I offer the following exhortation as per the Lord’s leading.

My pursuits of the authenticity of the faith have led me to some very controversial places. However, they might sound controversial only to those who don’t share the same pursuit and only because of the degree to which our “Christianity” has drifted from the teachings of Messiah, his apostles and the early believers.

Sadly, the pursuit for authenticity can also be responsible for creating sectarian extremes. For example, some have exploited the movement to return to our Hebraic roots and have created an industry out of it.

Let’s pursue the ESSENCE of the Teachings of Moses and the Lord’s Messiah, not the eccentricities of the outward cultural attributes. Truth cannot be contained by doctrine alone but it cannot do without doctrine either. We must learn before we can know. Any attempt to know without first humbling ourselves and learning, will lead us into the ditch of useless abstracts. Any attempt to only learn without pursuing the essence of what we supposedly learn, will only feed our intellectual pride.

Let’s adopt the heart of reverence for the Lord and the Torah our Jewish brothers have had since antiquity, not vain religious superstitions, be they of Christian or Jewish nature.

Why so many so satisfied with silliness and shallow regurgitation of the formulaic?

Why so difficult for so many not to fall into predictable patterns of religiosity?

The heart in the human body is healthy when it beats rhythmically and in balance with the entire body. The brain is at its best when it’s not bigger than the cranium.

Why try to fake a bigger heart for God? Why not simply learn to walk and seek Him in humble gratitude and appreciation of His Goodness to us?

Why try to pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge, which only makes our heads bigger, which in turn causes clouded judgement?

With the heart we approach the Lord and with the heart we seek to know Him and to know his ways. We can handle only so much for today. Each day He has more. Patience is the proof of our sanity and humility. Pride is indeed a form of unhealthiness of the mind, as well as the heart and the will.

To join the deeper conversation, consider joining our Patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/threefoldlife