To a former bible student . . .

[A visitor just clicked this post which made me review it; indeed time for a repost. 

First posted in 2012;  it encapsulates one Sinaite’s journey from Christianity to the Sinai Revelation.  The occasion for this repost is — there are a handful of Christians curious about the beginnings of Sinai 6000, specifically the Sinaite who is actively interacting with them.   Here’s the original Introduction:

Since there has been so much ground covered in the 800+ (Update: 1010 as of 2017) articles here, we are reprinting selected ones that have gotten buried in the file. They bring us back to the beginning of our Sinai pilgrimage, circa 2010 and add to the explanations of why we are where we are today in terms of leaving our former Christian faith and venturing into the Hebrew Scriptures and embracing the God of the Sinai Revelation.

This was an exchange of emails between NSB@S6K and a young person to whom she was a resource person for New Testament studies; therefore, he was among the first to whom she declared her change in direction from Christ-centered beliefs.  Date of email: October 2010; date when first posted: April 6,2012. 

Admin-1.]

 

——————————————————-

 

Q: You’ve always said that you answer only those who ask…so Im asking.  

The implications of your “confession” sound serious, if Im reading this right.  

The foundations of my belief, as much as I think I could stand alone, are very much rooted in what you have taught me through the years (or God through you)…so this could a bit of a test for all of us I guess.  I’ll pray for you… 

 

 

Answer:

So [name witheld], I finally get your attention.  Yes, the implications are serious indeed; you read it right. I owe it to you and others to correct what I taught you so bear with me on this one.

 

How did I get to where I am now?  And exactly where am I now in terms of my belief system?

 

The answer to ‘HOW’ is rooted in a promise in God’s Word, specially in the “Old” Testament which I will now call by its acronym “TNK”, which is replete with declarations like—

  “you will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” 

[Jeremiah 29:12-14]

 

While that was specifically directed to God’s chosen people in exile, I hold on to that declaration because I have chosen the God of the chosen people.

 

God promises that true seekers will find Him. He has provided the compass, His UNADULTERATED WORD.  And the key word is UNadulterated. 

 

Who are the true seekers? Those who don’t get boxed in by religion; who dare challenge doctrinal creeds; who don’t just swallow teachings and interpretations that have been passed on for generations without investigating the source of those beliefs. Not a great position to be in, right? You pit yourself against centuries of unquestioned religious authorities and accepted church tradition.

 

All my life as a “christian” (believer in Jesus Christ as Savior, the Way, the Truth, the Life), I read the bible and listened to preachers and teachers from different christian denominations.  I didn’t feel confident enough to study on my own, and even if I did, I simply read everybody else’s interpretation. Who was I to question anything?

 

I did wonder why Christianity is so diversified and can’t get it together; christians don’t agree among themselves; and they all think they’re right and accuse each other of being wrong.  They brand anybody “cultic or heretic” who dares to deviate from the doctrinal summary decided in the Council of Nicea (325 CE), re-stated a few centuries later in the “Apostle’s Creed”. That statement of faith includes belief in the Trinity, in Jesus as Incarnate (fully human/fully divine), the church as God’s fellowship of “saints”, etc.  All catholics memorize the creed; google it as well as Council of Nicea under Emperor Constantine. You’ll see the seeds of Christian doctrinal statements. I never questioned any of the “givens” in that creed before.

 

Later as a dropout from catholicism, I tried to fit in other churches and small fellowships, but the teaching couldn’t satisfy my spiritual hunger. I got tired of shallow Sunday preaching and sometimes felt I knew more than the preacher and eventually just quit going to church, but continued studying on my own. I called myself a “floating christian”, a bible-believing follower of Jesus Christ.

 

Enter  Messianic Judaism.  As its name suggests, it is supposedly “Judaism” that has accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah. [What’s the word for that, oxymoron?] A strange religious mix that is not acceptable to Jews, and not understood by Christians who called it ‘legalistic’.   MJs restudied their Jewish roots and in the process, came up with a theology that attempts to correct everything that’s wrong with Christianity.  They returned to the Biblical Sabbath, Saturday. They say the one and only covenant God ever made with mankind through the nation/people of Israel is still in force. There’s more to this than I can explain here; let’s just say it’s a good introduction to more in-depth study of the neglected “Old Testament” part of the Christian bible.

 

As much as I could figure, Messianics took it upon themselves to restudy and reinterpret New Testament according to Hebrew thinking, Hebraic culture, Hebrew language, Israel’s history, etc.  They restored Jesus to his Jewish roots, reminded all that the Bible is Jewish, written by Jews from OT to NT, that you have to think Jewish when you read it.

 

Messianics opened my eyes to “Replacement Theology” which says that Christianity developed a theology that replaced everything that the God of Israel gave to its convenant nation/people.  Like what?

 

  • Well, for one, Sabbath was no longer Saturday but became Sunday (day of worshipping the sun god) but gave a “christian” explanation, because Jesus resurrected on a Sunday. They started calling it “The Lord’s Day” instead of Sabbath.
  • For another, supposedly the church inherited all the promises to Israel because the chosen people failed their God and crucified their Messiah; so the church became the “New Israel.”
  • They labeled the Hebrew Scriptures as Old to suggest it’s obsolete or “not for us”, and called their scriptures as New, meaning relevant today! They even claimed the old covenant with Israel is passe, God made a new covenant with the church, the New Israel.
  • They say we are under “grace” and not under “law”, so all the Laws given on Sinai are to be dismissed, including dietary prescriptions.
  • The church said the Feasts of Leviticus 23 are not applicable to Christians:
    • They replaced Passover with “Easter”; replaced the week long Feast of Unleavened Bread with “Holy Week.”
    • They replaced the Feast of Tabernacles (September) with Christmas and put the birth-date of Jesus on December 25, the feast day of the Roman sun god.  
    • They replaced the Feast of First Fruits with Resurrection Sunday.  
    • They renamed the Feast of Shavuot (Weeks) with the Greek word Pentecost and made it the day of outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Plus a lot of other replacements, hence “Replacement Theology”.
    • Add to this the similar theology of Supersessionism, meaning, the church superseded Israel in everything.

 

With messianic teaching, I thought I finally understood the whole bible from Genesis to Revelation and felt confident enough to share it; it gave me a working understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures [TNK], relating it to everything in the New Testament where prophecies were fulfilled ‘to a T’.

 

I stopped short of joining the local messianic group in Baguio because I’m just not ‘churchy’ and felt it was yet another religious commitment. Instead, I continued studying on my own.

 

Thinking that christian history books would enhance my knowledge further, I started reading several versions of Christian history. Why read different versions? History, like a newspaper account, is not really an objective accounting of events because it is written from the point of view of a historian.  There are historians who are faithful to the facts they record; there are others who inject their interpretation.  If a catholic wrote it, you get the catholic twist. If protestants wrote it, it’s a bit different. And so on.  Then there are secular historians, simple scholars who just record as much as they can  . . . without an agenda . .  they’re the ones to take more seriously. You can tell who’s who. Reading different histories of christianity taught me a lot about the roots of the faith.  Pagan Rome which persecuted Jews and believers in Jesus developed into Papal Rome. Google any christian history on the web.  I turned away from Catholicism, only to find out, that its creedal statement in the Council of Nicea were embraced by Protestants as well as Messianics. So what’s wrong with that, you might say, if it’s all based on Scripture anyway, specially from the New Testament?  I’ll explain this part another time.

 

From history, I went on to reading about translations.  That further opened my eyes to the fact that versions/translations, again, depend on the point of view of the translator.  By the very fact that they have to choose a word equivalent to the original Hebrew or Greek, that alone colors the meaning of a verse, a word.  So we end up with so many translations and updated newer and more modern versions.  Some translations are colored by the theology of the translators. Catholic Bibles rearrange the 10 commandments, remove ‘no idols’ and split coveting into ‘neighbors’ wives and goods, have extra books not accepted by the Jews as divinely inspired.

 

Further on translations, it seems there are not only accidental mistranslations, poor translations, intentional mistranslations that influence interpretation for specific doctrinal positions; there are many verses added here there and everywhere that were not in the original texts; but all translations carry these inserted verses–some indicate they were not in the original by italicizing them or adding brackets, some do not.  Poor readers hanging on to the Bible as “the very word of God” are clueless!

 

Study Bibles could be a great help but the notes are, again, written from a doctrinal point of view . . . and those viewpoints differ if you start comparing them. But the maps, diagrams, notes on places, etc. help a lot, if you don’t swallow the interpretation.  Some study bibles give 3-4 different interpretations of one verse, take your pick. I know God is clearer than multiple choice, read the TNK!

 

By the time I got to reading about CANON — meaning, which books are selected to be part of the Bible and declared to be the only ones “inspired by God” and in fact are considered “the very words of God” —-I ran into more eye-opening facts particularly the New Testament canon.  There were so many gospels that were written;  the early church fathers (associated with the Roman Catholic Church) picked out the 4 in the final NT gospels;  their authorship was unknown, so names were superimposed on them.  Paul didn’t write all the epistles attributed to him, 3 of them were not really his. Peter didn’t write 1 2 Peter, James didn’t write James. Whoever wrote John’s gospel/epistles/revelation had quite a creative imagination.

 

The books I recommend for all to read [if you care to receive a list] were written by scholars who studied the language, style, etc. and detailed the problems they encountered in the Gospels.  In short, they concluded that the Jesus of history did not say all the things attributed to him; he never claimed he was the messiah or divine; he simply taught like any other rabbi but with a deeper interpretation of the Torah.  One study managed to separate his sayings and called them “Q” for quelle.  Others claim that the Christ myth developed over centuries in an effort of this new religion to displace everything Jewish (antisemitism)—displace the God of Israel YHWH with the God-Man of Christianity who is more approachable, lovable, because he’s one of us. Lots more to this, very fascinating development when you read detail after detail in these books.

 

I started researching specific “givens” —- how did a Trinitarian God develop?   If the Jesus of history is not the Christ of Christianity, how did this religion turn him into God Himself, eclipsing YHWH of the “Old” Testament . . . by the time you get to Revelation, only Jesus deserves our worship . . . whatever happened to YHWH? What about the virgin birth, the resurrection, Lazarus, crucifixion, etc.? All made up?

 

I suggest you start reading up yourself on the web. Check www.jewsforjudaism, click  FAQ or questions and answers, gives you the Jewish perspective on this Jesus of history whom they reject as Israel’s messiah.  For balance, Y-Jesus is a website that offers evidence that Jesus is indeed everything that Christianity claims him to be.

 

“Hear O Israel, YHWH is God, YHWH is One.”

 

We never could reconcile the Trinity with that basic self-declaration of YHWH in Deut. 6. When you read TNK, you get to know this wonderful God. He constantly reminds His people to repent and turn back to Him.  He’s longsuffering, it takes centuries before He lets the ax fall, and not without prophet after prophet sent to warn His people.  When you read Isaiah 56, it talks about how the eunuch and the foreigner can join themselves to Him.  I discovered how beautiful TNK is and how well we get to know this AWESOME God through the Hebrew Scriptures.  No wonder you couldn’t convince a Jew to believe in the christian version of the Jewish “messiah”, after all it originated from them!

 

Jesus of history might have been used by YHWH like He used Moses and the prophets.  We cannot know for sure from the questionable New Testament.  Josephus, the Jewish historian, devotes a few sentences to a ‘chrestus‘ who was crucified by the Romans but since ‘chrestus‘ is simply the Latinized version of the Anglicized ‘Christ’ which means ‘messiah‘, there were men claiming or presumed to be the long-awaited ‘messiah’ of the Jews so yes, that might have been the historical Jesus but who knows for sure?   In fact strangely, Josephus has more notes about John (Yohanan) the baptizer and James (Yaakov) than about Jesus.  

 

The virgin birth? Another long story there, but you can read the jewsforjudaism.org website to get an idea.

 

It is almost pointless to “witness” to former christian/messianic colleagues because we already know how the religious mind works,  been-there-done-that. The religious mind is— well—-not open to possibilities different from their creed . . . won’t venture outside of its comfort zone . . . quite content there . . . will read only books that are produced by their own kind, considers everyone else wrong, liberal, sacrilegious to challenge long-held claims.  I don’t know why my favorite writer atheist-turned-christian C.S. Lewis did not check this out.  I do know Albert Schweitzer challenged it in his book, The Search for the Historical Jesus.   My long-time bible teacher called the results of the Jesus Seminar “hogwash” so I didn’t read those books when I had them as early as the mid-1990s.   Maybe I wasn’t ready then, but I’ve long passed that stage.

 

This gives you an idea of where I am at this point.  I’m not Trinitarian; I’m no longer a believer in Christianity’s man-god Jesus Christ.  I do believe that possibly, a historical Jesus lived, taught, was crucified.  I’m not sure where he fits into the scheme of YHWH’s plan, but I no longer think he is ‘the way, the truth and the life’, or that one can only  ‘get to the Father except through him‘.  

 

YHWH does not need a cordon sanitaire  before you even seek Him, He’s already sought you! That’s the pattern we see in TNK; He seeks out Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, even gentile seers like Balaam,  or Cyrus the Great of Persia  “My anointed one” (i.e., messiah). 

 

The real ‘good news’ or ‘gospel’ is:  

He is found by those who seek Him with all their heart and even if one seeks Him out through man-made religion after religion, the true seeker will get beyond those and find the One True God in His Sinai Revelation, recorded in the Torah portion of the Hebrew Scriptures.  

 

When you’re ready to listen to other issues—is hell eternal or does hell even exist? Is the soul immortal? Is there a devil?  What happens when we die?  Specific articles address many questions and concerns in our website, there’s much to learn.  But  for specifics, you have to ask, OK?  For now, mind-boggling as this already is,  there’s enough to chew and digest or spit out.

 

As I say to all, you don’t have to believe in any of what I’m saying.  What if I’m wrong again? Though I think I will die content and secure in this God-given knowledge.  Best to check out your beliefs for yourself; I am confident that  YHWH who’s been waiting for awakened seekers will lead them in in their search through all the clues He has left for those with eyes-wide-open who simply need to ‘connect the dots’.

 

 

    NSB@S6K

logo

Sig-4_16colors

 

 

 


Join the Conversation...

39 − 38 =