There is an expression that says “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” You may have never heard of this expression, but odds are that you have and have even used it yourself. I have found a pretty accurate definition for this expression and it reads as follows: Obsessive attention to certain details to the extent that one misses larger points and fails to understand the bigger picture.
Mountain top view
If we were to somewhat analyze this phrase and the definition shown, we might be able to think of some of our own obsessive traits in areas of life that prevent us from seeing the bigger picture. Maybe we’re some of those who’ve been a believer in the Son of God and have read the Bible for years and, to reference the expression above, have focused only on the trees (just a few certain truths) that we believe or have been told are the only ones that matter; and therefore the view of the forest (the bigger picture) is no longer important. What if you discovered that the only way to truly understand the Scriptures and the context of the writers was to allow the Father to take you to a helicopter view of the whole Bible?
We as believers today have been plugged into ‘the story’ some six thousand years removed from the start of creation and two thousand years (or so) removed from the Apostles’ writings and the struggles they faced in explaining this incredible fulfillment by the Redeemer from their Scriptures. There is a character prerequisite, though, to our heavenly Father bringing us to this amazing view of the Scriptures: a humble heart…
PSALM 24:3-4 Who may ascend the mountain of YHUH (the LORD)? Who may stand in his holy place?The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
Notice: Only clean hands and a pure heart will allow you to ascend His mountain and stand in His holy place.
Let’s say you’re someone who has read the Bible so many times you’ve lost count and you’ve come to the conclusion that you must have a pretty firm grip on the main concepts you need to know from the Scriptures. You might be saying to yourself, “If there were any more deep things in the Bible for me to grasp, surely He would have shown me by now.” My question to a statement like this is: “Is it up to us and in our timing as to when He reveals new and deeper things in His word, or is it in His timing?” I think an honest heart knows the answer to this question. There is an amazing prophecy in Isaiah about this very thing…
ISAIAH 48:6-7 You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, ‘Yes, I knew of them.‘
My brother in Messiah (who has co-labored with me in writing this book) and I have often talked about how we felt like we were at a stop sign in our walk with our Savior, especially with the Scriptures. Our service to others and discipline in our spiritual walk seemed to be strong, but we knew there was something missing and we couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I believe this was a major time of testing for us to see if we would continue clinging to abstract theories on why there isn’t unity in the body (church) of Messiah or would we wait for the Father to reveal the answers that we sought.
HEBREWS 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God (Yahuah), because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.
As we both had been given a tremendous gift of faith, we knew we needed to keep our hearts pure and humble in our pursuit of Him; furthermore, as stated in the scripture above, He then would reward our diligent seeking. I’d like to use a couple of scriptures that I had read many times as an example to show how – when the Father decided to reveal a depth to His word that I couldn’t have imagined – these particular scriptures would be seen in a completely different light.
JOHN 4:23-24 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God (Yahuah) is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Notice: the worship instructions: Spirit + Truth
My belief for many years of my walk was that it was all about the Spirit. Of course I still believed at that time that the Bible was an essential part of my growth and depth in my walk in the Spirit, and I had understood and memorized many verses that applied to spiritual concepts. These many verses of understanding came from absolutely scouring through the New Testament which was incredible for my growth. The question is, though, was I worshiping Him in complete truth? I must say there were many scary verses that I would continually come across in the New Testament that I just couldn’t quite get a handle on. For example in 1 John 1:8 it says that…
1 JOHN 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Yet, just a couple of chapters later it states…
1 JOHN 3:6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
What on earth! This was extremely confusing. The teachers that I had continually listened to would always declare to the congregation that “we’re all just sinners,” which would seem to be true at a cursory read of 1 John 1:8. But what about 1 John 3:6 which absolutely states that the one who continues to sin has neither seen Him or known Him? So, in light of 1 John 3:6 how could we continue to say and believe that “we’re all just sinners”? Maybe it’s that many of those who say that are actually habitually sinning and think it’s OK to keep some hidden habits of sin tucked away for no one to see; but…
1 CORINTHIANS 4:5 He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God (Yahuah).
The revelation that would finally come brought clarity to this issue. See, before the revelation came I knew I had some sinful habits. But I had been told for so long that the blood of Jesus washes away those habitual sins, and I wanted to believe it because it technically let me off the hook, or so I thought. For some reason I had also tried to cling to this idea that we were so fortunate to be born in a time when the blood of Jesus washes away even my future sins. The fact is, we could have just as easily been born in Moses’ day, what then?
Though, what about after Jesus (Yahusha) heals a man, He shares this…
JOHN 5:14 Afterward Jesus (Yahusha) found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
Also, we always forget to mention Jesus’ (Yahusha) final declaration to the woman who was going to be stoned for committing adultery. We only key on what He told the Scribes and Pharisees, which is “Whoever is without sin let him cast the first stone,”
Here is Jesus’ (Yahusha) last declaration to the woman…
JOHN 8:11 And Jesus (Yahusha) said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
How about Peter stating…
1 PETER 4:1-2 Therefore, since Messiah (Christ) suffered for usin the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God (Yahuah).
What about Paul asking the question about continuing in sin…
ROMANS 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
So, Jesus (Yahusha), John, Peter, and Paul all agree that we can not go on sinning; yet we have been continually told by many teachers that “we’re all just sinners.” It should be stated that a lie never turns into the truth no matter how long it is told.
I had also reached a point where I needed more concrete answers as to why or how we truly arrived at the Messiah having to die for everyone. I began to realize that there were more significant reasons for Yahusha’s (Jesus) death than just for the fall of Adam and Eve. God (Yahuah) started revealing true meanings to words that I hadn’t even necessarily thought were that important. Words like covenant, righteousness, and inheritance to name a few. One of the other big Scriptures that took on a whole new meaning was…
2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to Yahuah (God), a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
It was huge to realize that the only way these answers would come was to scour the Old Testament in the same way we had the New. While we believed the whole Bible to be true, this term of rightly dividing the word of truth told us we needed to thoroughly study the major pivot points in the Bible that brought humanity to this point. What were all the ramifications for disobedience from His children, and what were Yahuah’s (God’s) provisions moving forward? Allowing Yahuah (God) to show me the bigger picture gave me an ability to see huge important details that I couldn’t have seen prior to having this view. Without a doubt, the most important word that we grasped that sprung this new revelation in the Scriptures was the single word covenant.
We came to see that this word has always defined mankind’s relationship with Yahuah (God). There is no other relationship with Him that is available to us other than covenant relationship. Even Adam was in a covenant relationship with our Creator, shown here as Hosea speaks about the children of Israel breaking the Covenant just like Adam…
HOSEA 6:7 As at Adam, they have broken the covenant; they were unfaithful to me there.
We began meticulously to move forward from the time of creation and examined each time Yahuah (God) made a covenant with man, why that covenant came about, and what the parameters of that covenant were. Also, since we knew we were in the New Covenant, what would we find that we hadn’t known about the demands of our Covenant?
PSALM 25:8-10 Good and upright is YHUH (the LORD); therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.All the ways of YHUH (the LORD) are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
Understanding the demands of our Covenant would end up bringing clarity to Paul making this statement…
1 CORINTHIANS 9:27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
I used to think, disqualified from what? What was this prize that Paul said he could be disqualified from? There was another warning in the book of Hebrews along the same lines that I would soon find out was completely connected to what Paul was talking about…
HEBREWS 12:16-17 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.
Why was this warning about rejecting the inheritance in the New Testament? We eventually were able to see that we did have demands to our Covenant and that they directly related to who would inherit the Kingdom and who wouldn’t. It was huge to take a thorough look at this concept of inheriting because we had always been taught to only think in terms of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-10 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God (Yahuah)? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Somehow it had eluded us that Paul was writing this letter to believers. Believers that practice these behaviors will not inherit the Kingdom, WOW! This sent us on a search to find out as much as we could about this inheritance. (Through that search we were able to reconcile the difference of “inheriting the Kingdom” vs. the concept of “heaven or hell.” The clarity on this issue will be explained in the final three chapters entitled Obedience/Disobedience, The Golden Calf Worship System, and The Promised Land!)
REVELATION 22:14-15 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Butoutside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
Notice: Doing His Commandments is connected to having the right to the tree of life and entering the gates of the city.
Out of all these categories of sinful believers that wouldn’t inherit His Kingdom, I was shocked to find out that one of the categories was practicing a lie.
Remember: prior notice of worship instructions: Spirit +TRUTH
It became abundantly clear to me in these findings that I could no longer make any excuses about my walk with Messiah. I had to understand what these categories of sinful behavior meant from Yahuah’s (God’s) perspective and not my own. I needed to worship (serve) Him by His truth. 1 John 3:6 started to make a lot more sense.
1 JOHN 3:6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
As I understood that I couldn’t make any more excuses for sin, I found this verse…
HEBREWS 12:4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
So the writer of Hebrews is talking about Yahusha (Jesus) and how He shed His blood, and says the same thing to us in saying that there might come a time where you will need to shed blood for the cause of Messiah, and he amazingly calls it resisting sin. In your mind, place yourself in a future situation where you’re given a choice on standing for the truth even if it meant being beaten or even killed. Truly, have you ever looked at that decision as RESISTING SIN?
It takes courage to walk out truth and resist sin. Overcoming sin must be how Revelation 22 declares that the ones who have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city are the ones who do (or obey) the commandments. I needed to know which commandments I needed to obey. I also began to think, “Could the right to the Tree of Life and going through the Gates into the City be our inheritance?”
There was one more aspect of understanding that needed to take place before I could start down this journey and it also involved humility, as it usually does. As there were more questions that needed answering there would be other concepts in the Bible that needed closer examination. Would I be willing to let those concepts go if they were not entirely true? Was I teachable?
MARK 2:22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
Thankfully, I had heard the perfect interpretation to this verse and it helped me to really check my heart. This Bible teacher shared that an old wineskin referred to someone being un-teachable. I had realized that I had allowed myself to become an old wineskin. Therefore, there was no ability to pour new wine or new teaching into my old wineskin. A new wineskin represents a person who can be stretched with new teaching or teaching that corrects false views. An old wineskin refuses to examine and test what he believes.
As Yahuah (God) is the author of truth, it is up to us to stay open-hearted to His truth at all times. Our perspective can and very likely will change as He reveals more truth. This is exactly why Yahusha (Jesus) chose men to be His disciples who were not schooled in the teachings of the Scriptures, because He could mold them like children. They were totally new wineskins that He could pour His new wine (teaching) into, and if He stretched them they wouldn’t burst (reject it).
MARK 11:25 At that time Yahusha (Jesus) said, “I praise you, Father, Lord (Ruler) of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
This spiritual concept is the same for us today no matter how long we’ve been a believer. The moment we classify ourselves as the wise and learned, it becomes almost impossible to change our views.
ROMANS 3:4 Let Yahuah (God) be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”
We must continually ask ourselves: are we teachable?
Concrete vs. Abstract thought
What if you found out that world history and culture, years before the Messiah even walked the earth, has played a major part in shaping your modern Christian views today? Wouldn’t it be important to know if our mindset of how we have understand our Bibles and how we have set up our church services had been majorly influenced by a past culture vastly different from the culture of those who wrote the Scriptures?
Using an analogy to help display my point, let’s say that you met someone you were really interested in. Things were going great in the beginning stages. You were so excited. Then, all of a sudden this person completely changes. They begin blowing up over things that aren’t that big of a deal. Also, as you now want to start moving towards marriage they become completely despondent, almost numb. “But things were going so well,” you might think. Would it be easy to just chalk it up to “well I guess it wasn‘t meant to be”? No, you’d want answers, right? Would your view of the situation change a little if you then found out that this person had been mentally and physically abused throughout their childhood? It should, right? Your whole paradigm in how you’d approach the situation would change. At least your view of the situation would totally change. You’d say to yourself, well that completely makes sense now.
Well, for us and our relationship with Messiah it is also crucial to truly understand the why’s of how we have this wonderful hope by looking intently at the past. Our Messiah redeemed us for deep reasons that Satan has tried to keep hidden from all of us.
In that same vein of marriage, we have entered into a marriage betrothal period with our Messiah…
2 CORINTHIANS 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Messiah (Christ).
What if the roles were reversed and you were the one who all of a sudden wasn’t interested in the other person in your marriage betrothal period? You couldn’t blame the other person for backing out, right? In light of this situation and how it relates to us and our Messiah (husband), could this be why many New Testament Scriptures tell us…
MATTHEW 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
This concept of practicing lawlessness could be the most important topic for any believer walking this planet. If the scripture says that by practicing lawlessness and not doing the will of My Father you will not enter the kingdom of heaven, it becomes essential for us to fully understand what these concepts mean from the Father’s perspective. As we move forward I want you to strongly consider in your heart that the enemy has done everything he can to keep the truth hidden from us – the truth of why our Messiah has told us more than once that there will be many He tells He never knew, even those prophesying and casting out demons.
As we need to, as the scripture states, let Yahuah (God) be true and every man a liar. In all humility I ask you to take this journey with us to answer these all important questions. Please keep an open mind and heart as we move forward. Ask yourself, can I afford to not have concrete answers on issues like my inheritance?
Before we delve into our inheritance, I believe it is crucial to make some essential points on how we arrived at our culture as we know it today, and how that culture has majorly influenced the way we view our Scriptures. By around 326 B.C. Alexander the Great had conquered most of the entire world. Think about that for a second, most of the entire world! Not to mention he did all of this by the age of thirty. Our New Testament, for this very reason, mentions Gentiles as Greeks.
ACTS 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to Yahuah (God) in repentance and have faith in our Master Yahusha (Lord Jesus).
ROMANS 1:14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
Alexander’s military feats were unparalleled; but to take over a society, he knew he had to change their views, the way that they thought. Now, Greek philosophical thinking didn’t just burst onto the scene with Alexander. In the 12th century B.C. a man named Homer wrote epic stories about a war between Greece and the city of Troy called The Iliad and The Odyssey. These stories were very influential on Greek art, science, philosophy, and religion. The poems written by Homer influenced the creative writing of the Greek myths of ancient gods and goddesses. From this spawned the idea of the ultimate minds of all the gods (Zeus), or the logos. The logos gave way to the idea of developing proper thinking, not proper action. This was a huge point of reference in Paul’s struggles with Greek minded people.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:22-23 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for(worldly) wisdom,but we preach Messiah (Christ) crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (Greeks),
COLOSSIANS 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Messiah (Christ).
Homer’s literature also majorly influenced the idea of hero worship. So, at the core of the Greek society were mythology, the logos, and also hero worship. A few centuries later began the construction of gymnasiums. These were Greek arenas that housed athletic games where nude athletes would appease the gods, particularly Zeus, with their amazing feats. The word gymnos is the Greek word for naked. This led to smaller arenas called theaters being built for Greek tragedies and comedies. Soon after these theaters were built they were used for great philosophers to have famous debates. These debates were a way for the great intellects to out- intellectualize each other. These debates produced the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are deemed by most historians to be the most influential people in shaping Western culture.
The first of these to arrive on the scene was Socrates who, according to most current encyclopedias, was the most influential thinker to the Western world. Today the Socratic Method, which is inductive reasoning, is a widespread way of thinking and which is reasoning from particular facts to a general idea. The problem, though, is it is based on an abstract view of what fact is. Life was based upon ideas and thoughts to be debated without any real conclusions. If I can out-debate you with my vast intellect, then by default, I must be right. Socrates also taught that there were no instructions from the gods, just one’s own moral intellect to guide them to a happy life. Socrates challenged conventional Greek thinking and opened up very new ideas. Socrates also taught that no one is inherently evil.
Socrates’ most influential student was Plato. Plato would take Greek philosophy to another level. Believe it or not, Greek thinking was rather tame up until this point. Plato was a member of the social elite and brought very powerful contributions to religious thought. Plato taught the dualism of man, that man consisted of two separate parts: soul and flesh. The soul was inherently good and the flesh was inherently bad. It was only the soul that could do good. The flesh was incapable of doing good and just a passing phase of our existence. What this led to was the idea that what the body did was irrelevant. So, now combine ultimate knowledge – the logos – with the fact that what you do in the flesh doesn’t matter, and you’ve got a deadly combination for influencing scriptural thought.
This way of thinking is what led to Gnosticism, which is alive and well today, though called by different names. Life would consist of metaphysical abstract concepts separated from any commands or instructions. These concepts could be debated for centuries without truly being able to prove or disprove the ideas. These thoughts and debates led to an ultimate idea of what is called the demiurge. The demiurge was this dualistic god that created the world. As the thought went, the world was a cruel place and the demiurge was the god of bloody wars and sacrifices.
To escape these realities one needed to develop the logos who was the good god (the son) of this dualistic god. This was called getting in touch with the mind of the gods. One must escape into a spiritual world by abstract thought since there was nothing consistent or concrete to the world around us. By this point in time Greek thought was all about what you created and could conceive of yourself that was the standard. Plato’s philosophies have tremendously shaped the world we live in today.
Aristotle was the next great philosophical thinker and was one of Plato’s most brilliant followers. Aristotle taught that truth was discovered by systematic arguments called premise to conclusion. The problem was, your premise was always from human logic and human experience. The conclusion of truth was always up to the individual to figure out as the gods never supplied these truths. It should be noted that somehow these gods were still to be worshiped and revered. Maybe this is where we get the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” Alexander the Great came at the time of Aristotle and considered Aristotle the leading mind in intellectual philosophical inquiry.
Alexander combined the conquests of the known world through the inspiration from Homer’s Iliad and the brilliant psychological and philosophical tactics passed down from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Alexander knew that you must infuse other cultures with the Greek language and especially Greek thought. As Alexander would be called the son of Zeus, he taught that the gods would make their wishes known through brilliant speeches in theaters and arenas by the greatest intellectual speakers.
When Alexander died the entire known world was divided up among his top four generals who were thoroughly trained in Greek language and thought, which was mandatory per Alexander’s request. These next 300 years, just prior to Messiah coming to earth, would come to be known as the Hellenistic Age. This Hellenistic Age (Hellenistic stemming from “Helen of Troy,” the goddess type in Homer’s writings) with the influence of Homer, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle would solidify our Western world of thought as we know it today.
There has never been a world king like Alexander the Great that dominated our known world in the way of such brilliant psychological tactics combined with powerful military tactics.
At the time when Paul began preaching and teaching how Yahusha (Jesus) was indeed the Messiah, he right away began with the Greeks (Gentiles). The fact that Greek thought had infiltrated the entire known world, thanks to Alexander, was exactly why Paul in his writings would sometimes refer to the Gentiles as Greeks. I want to show you a verse in the New King James version explaining the Greeks (Gentiles) having this overpowering way of thinking called Hellenism.
ACTS 9:29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Master Yahusha (Lord Jesus) and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him.
This Hellenistic thinking dominated every outlying area from the region of Judea, even influencing many Judeans. As we move along to a time just after the disciples and the letters they wrote, many believers of Yahusha (Jesus) kept this Greek way of thinking and began to teach many Greek concepts and views towards, especially, Paul’s letters. One of the biggest influential teachers of this time was a man named Marcion. Being influenced by Gnostic thought himself, he interpreted and taught Paul’s writings of this battle between flesh and Spirit in the dualistic way of thinking.
The actual flesh (the body) is incapable of doing any good, therefore one must always either repress any natural instincts of the body for the Spirit or, when you slip into the flesh it doesn’t matter anyway, because it’s the Spirit, void of any rules, that will always carry you towards the Kingdom. As there were many followers of Messiah that rejected these teachings, there were also those who strongly carried it along as it continues to thrive in the minds of believers today.
ROMANS 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
It is very easy to see how someone could interpret this verse in a dualistic way. The fact is it is the sinful deeds of the body that lead to death, whether you‘ve received the Spirit or not. Of course, one could never overcome these sinful deeds without receiving His Spirit. But, our God (Eloah) cares very much about our bodies and that we glorify Him with them.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from Yahuah (God), and you are not your own. For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify Yahuah (God) in your body and in your spirit, which are Yahuah’s (God).
This next verse I want to show has everything to do with cleansing ourselves BECAUSE we have great promises.
2 CORINTHIANS 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of Yahuah (God).
Notice: the scripture states for us to cleanse both flesh and Spirit.
As we move forward in history there was another leader that played a major role in Westernized Modern Christianity today and his name was Constantine. As the Roman Empire began to dominate the world, Constantine adopted Christianity as the state’s Religion. The Catholic Church as we know it today is a complete result of what Constantine did and then solidified, laying down major creeds at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, one being the celebration of Easter over Passover. Prior to these events though in his youth, Constantine studied Latin, Greek, and Greek Philosophy.
If Constantine studied Greek and Greek Philosophy there is no question he was influenced by Alexander. The twist on all of this, though, was Constantine’s idea to make Christianity a state run Religion, bringing in a new dispensation and helping to sever anything Hebrew or Jewish about the Scriptures, ironically our Messiah being both.
It is very likely that Constantine himself wouldn’t have even considered himself a Christian, at least not until the very end of his life. It is said that Constantine had a vision of the cross in the sun and therefore used this symbol for all of his military conquests. Actually, the monuments from these victories show he always left symbols of the sun. Constantine, having the power as an emperor, combined Christianity with Paganism. This is a historical fact that cannot be underestimated as it relates to a believer in the Messiah today. Constantine is considered by many to have been the very first Pope.
All of the things Constantine did set the stage for 1200 years of military conquest known as ‘the Dark Ages’ where the Catholic Church carried the “Christian flag,” so to speak. During this time it became more and more solidified that the Pope was the only one that could interpret the Scriptures. Mind you, it had also shifted to the Latin language.
In 1517, a man named Martin Luther came onto the scene and challenged this edict of the Pope being the only one to interpret the Scriptures, and the Protestant Reformation was the result. To many this was the most important step towards Christianity as we know it today. But was it really? As Luther had the right idea to inform everyone that each individual had the right to read and interpret the Bible for himself, unfortunately his focus was primarily on the New Testament. In 1522, Luther only worked at translating the New Testament into German.
The Old Testament wouldn’t get translated into German until twelve years later. As Martin Luther did take a great step in helping people separate from a very religious and controlling situation, the damage had already been done with the strong belief that we were in a new dispensation where Christianity was separate from the real fathers of the faith, who were Hebrews.
This is why Constantine and Martin Luther are considered “fathers of Christianity.” They solidified this idea that we were in a COMPLETELY new dispensation. It should be noted that Luther also despised anything Hebrew or Jewish.
Thus, the Old Testament was devalued of major Scriptural importance and in essence became just lessons on what not to do. With this type of thinking the teaching of these lessons from the Old Testament becomes left to the discretion of the individual teacher and how he decides to weave them into his teachings.
The major belief was and still is strong today that all one needed, ultimately, was the New Testament. But how could you truly understand the revelation of the New Testament without understanding the context of the Old? That is like watching the final third of a movie and saying that you know everything about the characters and how they arrived to the place that summed up the conclusion of the story. Impossible!
The most important factor in presenting you with these historical facts is not so much to display the different languages the Bible went through, but for us to understand the mindsets in how we view our Bibles. Although we do have many Bible translations today that say they have gone back to the original Greek and Hebrew languages to give us our English Bibles, which is great, much still gets lost in translation. There is a way of communicating ideas that only by understanding the culture could you understand what’s actually being said. Our Western culture and society is very different from those who penned the Scriptures.
Using another analogy to try and illustrate my point, let’s say you were told to “go get a chicken, prepare it, cook it, and eat it.” Even in America this could constitute totally different actions in carrying this out. If all you knew was growing up on a farm you would know to go get your chicken from the coop, then kill it by cutting its head off, making sure all of the blood is drained, then pluck all of the feathers and thoroughly clean the animal before any marinating.
To a farm guy, that’s what going to get a chicken and preparing it means. To a guy that only knows city life, it’s as easy as going down to the store to buy the chicken, come back home, take it out of the bag, rinse it off, and then begin marinating. If a statement like this here in America carries totally different actions, do we really think we can understand our Bibles and the things being said sheerly based on a 21st century westernized English mindset?
So, I’d like to sum up much of our Greco-Roman history that has shaped our minds in viewing the Scriptures. My hope is that you can take an honest look at these things and realize that we were born into a culture that was shaped by the historical events just displayed. Also, we were ‘born again’ into viewing the Scriptures in a very similar way, which I hope you’ve been able to start seeing.
I understand that this information could bring a range of reactions from either complete disbelief on its relevance, to frustration of “if this is true what now?” Or perhaps somewhere in between. The question is, if there are terms and sayings in your Bibles that you’ve misinterpreted or been told they mean something that they don’t, wouldn’t you want to know?
Remember, our enemy (Satan) has been trying everything he can for literally centuries to keep us from the truth, and he will continue to do so until his time is up. Knowing this, I ask you to not make a knee jerk reaction to the information we will present. It sure has blown us away in the most profound way. Truly, it was what we had been waiting for our whole walk with Messiah.
2 Corinthians 13:8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
In summarizing these ideas that range from abstract philosophy to man’s religion controlling the people, our hope is that you can humbly look at this list and identify if you yourself have believed conclusions that were shaped from some of these views. As Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), it is he who has spread these falsities against concrete and functional Biblical truth.
1) Hero worship -
As the body of believers, have we not fallen victim to this mindset by elevating the Pastor or Teacher as a hero type to the point where the people identify themselves with whichever hero (Pastor) is leading them. Yet Scripture states:
I CORINTHIANS 1:12-13 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Messiah (Christ).” Is Messiah (Christ) divided? Was Paul (or your Pastor) crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul (or your Pastor)?
MATTHEW 23:6-10 “They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues (churches as well), “greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi (Pastor, Pastor as well).‘”But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’ (or even Pastor); for One is your Teacher, the Messiah (Christ), and you are all brethren.“Do not call anyone on earth your father(the Catholic Priest); for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.”And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Messiah (Christ).
1) The Logos – proper thinking, not proper action -
I have personally seen Bible believing churches label their Scriptural understanding as having the Logos. Whether it is this in your face or not, many have taken this mindset. Many think of faith in this same way.
JAMES 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 24. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
1) Theater environments –
Early in my walk I had the fortune of being part of a very gifted servant minded church. We met in a grade school gym and everyone helped out in setting up and taking down the chairs for service. This was a very powerfully anointed church. Even the one who taught stood on the same ground level with everyone attending. As numbers grew the leaders decided to build their own building. It was a beautiful facility with a wonderful stage and comfortable theater seating. Within a year the unity that we had was gone, the worship became more of a concert, and God’s presence left. It takes very strong, humble people to not be affected in their focus towards Messiah by these theater environments. The reality is that they terribly affect us all.
1) Dualism – two separate parts; soul and flesh – what’s done in the flesh is of no importance because only the soul is eternal –
Hasn’t this mindset affected our stance against sin in our lives? This mindset is exactly why believers have interpreted certain scriptures to say that once you’ve received the Messiah’s blood atonement there is nothing you can do to keep you from the security of your stance with Him. Yet scripture states TO BELIEVERS:
ROMANS 6:13-15 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to Yahuah (God) as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!
ROMANS 3:5-8 But if our unrighteousness brings out Yahuah’s (God’s) righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That Yahuah (God) is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)Certainly not! If that were so, how could Yahuah (God) judge the world?Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances Yahuah’s (God’s) truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?“Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—”Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
1) Gnostic thought – abstract concepts separated from any commands or instructions –
This mindset has played a major role in interpreting Jesus’ (Yahusha’s) words “If you love me, obey my commandments” as, “He is just referring to loving God and loving my neighbor.” Although this is true, the problem lies with an abstract concept of loving God and their neighbor. We can not look at this from a human perspective. Love can be an abstract word to where someone might say they “love hamburgers” and they “love God.” Do they really love them the same way?
In a concrete way, we love God by doing what He says to do. When Jesus (Yahusha) said “If you love me keep my commandments,” there was no confusion at the time of what He was talking about. The first four commandments of the ten explain how we love God. The final six explain how we love our neighbor. When He says to not worship other gods or idols we must fully understand what He considers to be a false god or an idol. Not what they are from our perspective, living in the 21st century.
1) Demiurge – the idea of a dualistic god both contrary in nature – one is the god of bloody wars and conquest and the other god is the Logos where one can escape by mental ascent with abstract thought, reaching the minds of the gods. –
When I first became a believer in Jesus (Yahusha) there was this strong idea that was rampant which affected the way I viewed my Bible. The idea was the God of the Old Testament was the God of blood and vengeance, and we were so fortunate to be part of the Jesus dispensation because there is no more wrath for those who accept the Son. This way of thinking stems from the dualistic centered mindset on the Father and the Son.
The fact is, they have both played a major part throughout history. As we get into later chapters you will see that Jesus (Yahusha) was the angel of the LORD (YHUH) who actually carried out a tremendous amount of the Father’s judgment to those who stood in the way of God’s (Yahuah’s) Covenant people. The Father and the Son each played their roles throughout history, not in different dispensations, which has been predominantly taught. On the idea of there being no more wrath for the believer, scripture states otherwise:
ROMANS 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of Yahuah’s (God) wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
EPHESIANS 5:5-6 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah (Christ) and of Yahuah (God).Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things Yahuah’s (God’s) wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
1) Premise to Conclusion –based solely on human logic and experience –
Could this mindset be why most preachers speak more about stories from their lives than they teach about the true application from His Word?
2 PETER 2:2-3 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
That scripture might sound like those are extreme cases, but even those teachers fell victim to the wrong mindset. What I’m trying to convey is seeing how a mindset that Satan spawned has majorly affected us all in some way or another. If your teaching is based on the idea that “Jesus did it all so we don’t have to,” your mindset becomes to just do your best and you will be able to help people through stories of how you did your best with Jesus. It will not be from scripture plainly warning us time and time again as believers to not live in sin any longer, or how we learn obedience by what we suffer, just like our Messiah.
1) The gods making their wishes known through brilliant speeches in theaters or arenas –
This mindset has infiltrated the way we view our leaders, not that someone brilliantly conveying a message is a bad thing per se. However, a believer’s gauge should never be about needing their head pastor to deliver this amazingly brilliant message for you to stay close and obey your Messiah. It should rather be about making sure we speak the truth of His word at all cost. Also, your pastor will not be standing before the judgment seat of Messiah on your behalf. In this vein Paul explains:
1 CORINTHIANS 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on Yahuah’s (God’s) power.
1) State Politics with Christianity – Blending paganism with Christianity –
How many “so called” Christian leaders play right into what Satan worked through Constantine? The “ways of the nations” described in the Bible is exactly what these leaders have fallen prey to when they link up with governmental officials. If these officials truly were doing what the Bible teaches, they would get removed so quickly by the other officials using any means necessary.
The topic of blending paganism with Christianity is one of the most important topics for any believer walking this planet. When you realize that our God (Eloah) has very significant Holy Days that are His Holy Days not “Jewish Holy Days,” and that Satan worked through Constantine to solidify changing them in “Christianity” to pagan days such as Christmas and Easter, you will find yourself at a crucial crossroads in your walk with Messiah. There is a tremendous amount on this topic explained thoroughly in a later chapter entitled “The Golden Calf Worship System.”
1) One person having authority on Scriptural interpretation –
This mindset has plagued us whether we want to admit it or not. Many people look to their pastors as the end-all and be-all regarding where they find truth. The teacher is just a servant who hopefully is teaching the right message.
I CORINTHIANS 4:3-7 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Master (Lord) has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but Yahuah (God) has been making it grow.So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only Yahuah (God), who makes things grow.
1 JOHN 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
We must ask ourselves are we being taught by His Spirit or by just a man?
1) COMPLETELY new dispensation with Messiah –
This mindset has been a major influence into the idea that all one truly needs is the New Testament for an effective walk with their Savior. Combine all the mindsets in the former ten in your view of the New Testament, and you’ve now got some major problems. Yet Paul tells us:
2 TIMOTHY 3:15-16 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Messiah Yahusha (Christ Jesus). All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
Paul, in saying the Holy Scriptures, is without a doubt referring to the Old Testament. Remember, AT THAT TIME, 2 Timothy was just a letter written by Paul clarifying what was written in the Old Testament (the original Scriptures). The Old Testament can make you wise for salvation through faith in Messiah Yahusha (Christ Jesus)! Once again, when he wrote this letter the readers looked at it to bring clarity to what was already written in the Old Testament.
Another problem with this mindset was that we began to look at our Messiah through a westernized Greek lens rather than through the Hebrew lens, which is His heritage from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If it’s His heritage, then it’s our heritage as well, no matter what man has tried to change.