MANY IF NOT MOST PREACHERS "ADD TO" THE WORD
by Ray LeRoux
Throughout the scriptures, in both "old" and "new" covenants (or testaments) we are admonished to neither add to or take away from the Word of God. The scribes and pharisees (teachers and preachers), almost from the very day Moses came down from the mountain with God's written word, the chosen people began to add their "oral" testimonies, as if God needed any man to explain His word.
Yeshua (or Yehoshua) often proscribed ANY man made "traditions". In Matthew, Yeshua Himself said most clearly: Call NO MAN rabbi. Or master. Or teacher. Or authority. Shaul, or Paul, repeated this message. As did John. And others.
By the second century, after the destruction of the temple, the rabbis, as a substitute for the Torah's "sacrificial" system, had replaced God's clearly written message with the current rabbinical system. It wasn't long before the rabbis had determined that where the written Torah, the written scriptures, and their "oral" rabbinic teachings diverged, THE RABBINIC VIEW PREVAILED. To put it most simply, man overrules God. In the process, they "added to" God's Word, tossing aside the scriptural promise of a curse for doing so and not only risking but sealing their removal from the Lamb's Book of Life.
The Roman Catholic church has not only embraced this practice but carried out to newer extremes. A pope, speaking or writing "ex cathedra" REWRITES (or overwrites) scripture.
Ditto the Eastern Orthodox church. Where the popes have erred, they have done the same.
Protestant churches are little better. Bible writers, who change the original text, to accommodate homosexuality for one example, are no better.
The overwhelming number of today's preachers, from their pulpits, hardly refrain from departing from the Word (exegesis) to add their own (or denominational) views (esigesis). Sunday after Sunday in churches around the world, preachers pass right by the scriptural admonition not to add to or detract from God's Word to make their personal or denominational viewpoints the law of the land.
Preachers who espouse "once saved always saved" are quick to skip over, avoid, any scriptural references on the matter to espouse their own man made traditions. The word "if" appears over 1,500 times in the scriptures, yet many preacher avoid the Word like it was a plague when it differs from their point of view.
There are several fundamental scriptural points established. One, Yeshua's pointed remarks on man made traditions (whether individual or collective/denominational). Two, Yeshua's equally candid remarks to "call no MAN rabbi". Each of these errors tend to want to remake Yahweh in man's image rather than the other way around.
In Revelation 2-3, Yeshua, through John, speaks clearly about the Nicolaitans. That word is a combination of two Greek words that combined refer to those who would place themselves as mediators between God and man, a role set aside for ONLY Yeshua by His obedient death on the cross. When the Temple veil was rented, it was torn forEVER, not merely temporarily to be restored by a rabbi, a pope, a patriarch, a bishop, a teacher, a Baptist minister - by ANYBODY other than our "intercessor", Yeshua Himself.
Whenever we hear a pastor (or teacher) begin to skip around from one segment of scripture to another, our ears immediately tingle and begin to sound an alarm. Too usually, it means the pastor or teacher has sought advice from a commentary by man or denomination to prove a man made and man held tradition.
The scriptures tell us that in the last days, there will be false teachers. Followers of Yeshua do not need to look beyond their own church doors at others as apostate churches, at Islam, at "new age" religions, at the prospect of a one world religion, at a politically correct version of Christianity. Any definition of false teaching must include, if not begin with, "christian" preachers and teachers who continually merge man made traditions with the Word itself.
We should all be "Bereans" as Shaul/Paul said in ACTS 17:11. Believe NO MAN but search the scriptures for "the" truth.
When we are told in the Pauline epistles to put on the WHOLE armor of God, it clearly means the ENTIRE Word of God, ALL scriptures, not just those carefully selected lines assembled out of context and reassembled to bolster a man made point of view. The whole armor of God means all the 1,500 plus IFs and the 1,400 plus DOs. The whole armor of God means all 66 books (in the English language). When the scriptures ended with the Book of Revelation, it was ended. It wasn't as if God didn't know woman's rights to abort a child would become common practice centuries later, elevated to the law of the land. Or that AIDs would become an epidemic. For God clearly spoke to these issues - and all others - in the Scriptures.
The line between the Word and man made traditions has become so blurred in contemporary "churches" it is hard to discern where the Word ends and "tradition" takes over. The result is a hodgepodge of a belief system that clearly must delight the evil one while he still has dominion over this earth. Traditionalists may have a heaven in eternity, but it must might turn out to called HELL.
Man made traditionalism may in fact be the biggest idol of all - and God has already spoken quite clearly on that issue.
David Pawson always recommends AGAINST using "study bibles" with commentary notes at the bottom of the page. He does so on the theory that readers can get lazy and fail to distinguish between the inerrant word and the man made commentaries. Use commentaries, he says, but always keep them separate so as not to get confused, to blur the lines between God's word and man's word. A case in point is the favorite English version of the Scofield bible. In the case of the Thompson chain reference bible, the chapter man made headings often fall prey to "replacement theology" where the post cross christians feel the law, or Torah, is done away with.
Reading the Word through the viewpoint of a man made commentary or theology is like putting on a pair of glasses to filter the Word itself, in effect placing an intermediary between God and the individual believer. Yeshua clearly tells us He is giving us the only intermediary we need, i.e., the Holy Spirit, which is our ONLY guide.
The "old testament" scribes and pharisees in an honest attempt to protect the Word placed "hedges" between the Word and man. Now we do the very same thing, placing hedges or filters where none are necessary AND WHICH ARE NOT TO BE USED. This is the Word of God Himself.
We had a bible teacher, who was filtering his exposition of revelation on a denominational study guide, urge us to refrain from deviating from the study guide by adding personal "opinions". When one prays for divine guidance before individual study, when one relies upon the Holy Spirit as our guide, the result should be not a personal man made opinion but a God given discernment as to the meaning of the Word. Our teacher was urging us not to confuse our brothers and sisters by departing from denominational doctrine. Our intuitive response immediately reminded us Scripture is in 66 English books, not 67 books which would include a denominational man made filter.
When we depart from the Word itself, it is always wise to ascertain the "geneology" of the man made tradition. Who says this? Who taught him? What are their preconceived opinions? Remember Acts 17:11, Trust no one (man) but search the Word. Where man made traditions are at variance with the Word itself, throw the tradition out and stick with the Word and the Word only.
THEY LOVED THE TORAH
by Ray LeRoux
This week, we've been deeply immersed in a short book by Dr. David Friedman, a messianic Jewish brother and colleague of David Stern the author of The Complete Jewish Bible. Dr. Friedman's book is titled THEY LOVED THE TORAH. The book carefully spells out how Yeshua (Jesus), Sha'ul (Paul), Shimon (Peter) and the first generation believers completely, reverentially and religiously followed the Torah (the written word of God in the Scriptures).
Have you ever sat in a western "Christian" church and heard a preacher expound on how the Christ of the New Testament had ended "the law" replacing it with the new covenant, where "grace" had REPLACED "law"? We have, incessantly, repeatedly and still today.
This simply is not so and has NEVER been.
First John, chapter 2, verse 35 clearly states ALL the scriptures are to be followed. Last we looked, ALL means exactly that - ALL. From the first verse in Genesis to the last and concluding verse in Revelation.
The western "church", in teaching grace has replaced law, are simply rewriting scripture, in the process both adding to the word and taking away from it at the same time - a double error.
Forget that Yeshua (Jesus) in Matthew 5:23 clearly said He had NOT come to do away with Torah, but to fill full.
The Gospel of John begins with the clear definition that the Word IS God. One of the better names of Yeshua (Jesus) is that He IS the LIVING TORAH.
Every moment He was on this earth in His first coming, Yeshua was an observant follower of and practitioner of the Torah. Dr. Friedman documents chapter and verse. Yeshua was a rabbi and a teacher. He taught in synagogues and elsewhere. His "students" included Peter and John, the other apostles and disciples. He was THE righteous one, THE tzaddik. This means He, the living Torah, followed Torah. He taught Torah.
(Torah means both the first five books of the scriptures and ALSO the rest of the Word of God).
In Greek, the word for Torah, unfortunately or otherwise, was nomon or nomos. In Greek, the work connotes a legal process or law. However, Torah in the Hebrew has a more comprehensive meaning including teachings, commandments, instructive poetry, history and so much more. NOMOS has a restrictive meaning, TORAH does not.
A good tip is to take your western scriptures and restore the word TORAH for every place the Greek derived word LAW is written.
Next, we must distinguish between the WRITTEN law or Torah and the ORAL law or Torah. The Written word comes from God. The "oral" law comes from TRADITION and is MAN MADE. When Yehoshua and Sha'ul made pointed comments in the Gospels and the Brit Hadashah (the books of the "New Testament") about either the law or tradition, they were criticizing man made traditions NOT the TORAH.
Too many of us have been taught that grace has superseded or replaced law. Not so. Grace and Torah are linked. Yehoshua was both grace AND Torah. They are inseparable. In fact they are ONE.
Yehoshua and His students, right through Revelation, upheld Torah, followed Torah religiously, lived righteous lives by and in the Torah. They taught Torah. They justified their belief and trust in and by the Torah.
The division of grace and Torah came early, perhaps as early as the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, when early Christianity was no longer considered a division or sect of Judaism. Christians up until 70 AD always began their work in the world's synagogues, where they could NOT have been welcome IF they were not Torah observant believers.
After the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis REPLACED the temple and its scriptural mandated sacrificial system with a new religion focused upon the rabbinate, upon man made traditions and studies, and on a religious system of man made works.
Just as the rabbis were eager to disenfranchise the early followers of Yeshua, the gentile world was a willing partner in seeking separation from pre-Temple Judaism. Both wanted a split and they got it. Gentile believers WANTED to do away with Jewish customs and, in the process, were only too willing to throw out the Torah as well, proverbially throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The "Church" has suffered ever since. It was the origin of what we know today as "replacement" theology.
Yehoshua never came to begin a "new" religious system or church. He came to complete or make full the same belief system in His father as began with the Torah. And continues with Torah.
When Yehoshua returns to us, will He still be observing Torah? Assuredly. God does NOT change. When Yehoshua returns, will Torah be "the law of the land"? Could it be anything else?
There is no stop of one method of believing in and obeying God and the beginning of another method. Man however does teach this. God does not.
Over and over and over in the scriptures we are told to beware of false teachers. Many of these false teachers are well intentioned but clearly deficient in the original Word of God, ignorant of the original languages, trained by tradition (takhanot) which is man made and NOT divinely inspired. Unfortunately, many of our western preachers bow first to their denominational views and only read the WORD through glazed glasses (just as the Pharisees placed "hedges" around the Word). Yeshua taught against these "hedges" and his teachings are just as applicable in the New Testament as they were when He walked with us.
Dr. Friedman's book THEY LOVED THE TORAH is a wonderful work that helps us refocus on the Word and the life of Yehoshua and His early followers, how they lived, what they believed in, how they conducted their lives - gracefully and in the Torah. It is available through the following website. www:messianicjewish.net.
A Murder of Crows Salvation Download the first chapter by clicking on here