Month 4:22, Week 3:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year 5935:107 AM|
SHABBAT 4:3, Omer Count Day 44/50
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 23 July 2011
Digging Through Confusion
My Faith Journey and Hopefully Yours
Continued from Part 2
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!
My lev (heart) goes out to new converts to Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus), not because I think they have made some terrible decision - far from it, it is the best and most important decision of their lives! - but because having found Him and been born again, they then have to sort through the maze of Christian and Messianic 'religion' out there. Concealing or distorting the true identity of the Saviour of Mankind that Yah'shua (Jesus) is, is Stage #1 in Satan's strategy to mislead people - Stage #2 is to get people so confused over the Christian or Messianic lifestyle that he hopes they will eventually give up and abandon their faith.
If you ever get the opportunity to see the Grand Canyon one day, or even just photographs of it, take a look at the sides of the gorge and at the layers of sedimentary rock deposits (see picture above). There are layers upon layers upon layers of silt turned into rock. When it comes to the sphere of religion, Satan has laid down layer upon layer upon layer of lies that have fossilised into religious traditions. It truly is a maze out there trying to figure it all out. As one brother recently bewailed in a discussion we were having about the Masoretic Text which forms the basis of nearly every English Tanakh (Old Testament) translation, and how the rabbis tried to fudge the messianic prophecies and remove the Divine Name:
Yes, it does indeed seem like "an impossible task" but it isn't. There are many dedicated believers boring through all these layers of religious falsehood trying to get to the original faith, of which I am one. We have all approached the task from slightly different angles based on our religious or non-religious upbringing. What unites us, even though we still disagree on many things, is that we share a passion for Yahweh's Emet (Truth). To each is being given different pieces of the puzzle as we learn from one another, and each must shed various false traditions that he was raised with. It's a major struggle because each discarding of error and each embracing of a replacement emet (truth) is a big shock to the system! It is not easy adjusting mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even physically to each new emet (truth) learned. And there are very few willing to do this.
"With the rabbis messing with the Old Testament, it seems like an impossible task to even know what the truth is anymore".
Looking at the background of each of us you might be tempted to conclude that we are the ones who are confused! It is not uncommon to be accused of being 'muddled' or 'unstable' because we have passed through so many different systems on our journey until you realise that Yahweh is in control of each man's journey and will remain in control until all error has been sloughed off and all emet (truth) embraced. It is not a sin to embark on a journey, neither is it a sin not to remain in just one puddle. Yahweh's explorers and pioneers must travel through multiple seas and oceans until they arrive at their destination. Each traveller maps the route so that others following in their tracks can minimise the risks and shorten the journey. That is why we do this - to make it easer for others trying to negociate this maze called earth-life.
No two journeys are, moreover, alike. That would be impossible. Here is mine - well, part of it - it is impossible to list every part - with those groups I actually joined in the first column, those I involved myself with without joining in the second, and those I investigated seriously but without associating with in the third - only the first column is chronological:
|Church of England - Anglican (nominal) ~10 yrs
[Atheism] ~9 yrs
Mormon (LDS) ~3 yrs
Community of Christ (RLDS) ~3 yrs
Independent LDS ~5 yrs
Evangelical (New Covenant Christian Fellowship) ~7 yrs
Messianic (B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh / New Covenant Church of God) ~7 yrs
MESSIANIC EVANGELICAL (Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon)
|Sokka Gakkai Buddhism
Unification Church (HSAUWC)
Worldwide Church of God
Church of God of Prophecy
Church of Christ (Campbellite)
Sons Ahman Israel (Gnostic LDS/occultic)
Subud (Esoteric Islam)
Seventh Day Adventists
Messianic Judaism (eg Stern, Trimm)
Messianic Israelitism (eg Koniuchowsky)
Satanism (LaVey, Crowley)
Egyptian mystery religion
LDS Break-offs (~150)
United Church of God
International Church of God
Apostolic Church of God
Assemblies of God
Kaballah, Zohar, etc.
Keys of Enoch
New Age groups
The key to success in any faith journey is to first of all search for the Messiah Himself - if you go searching for groups, churches, assemblies, ministries first you will either end up confused and dissilusioned, or you'll plump for one and spiritually fossilise. It's important always to first go to Source. Get into right relationship with your Heavenly Father Yahweh, through His Son Yah'shua (Jesus) and then you can be guided through all the rest. Making sure you have your feet in Heaven by getting right with Elohim (God) one-to-one first must come before anything else. Getting the doctrine and lifestyle right must follow this because we are saved by our emunah (faith, trusting) in the Deliverer (Saviour), not by our works. I count everything I knew before 30 March 1977, when I first met Yah'shua (Jesus) and was born again of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) as pretty much useless - I would never have got where I have today without that. Prior to that I was trying to figure out everything intellectually as an Oxford student - by my own brain power - and was getting nowhere fast.
The second most important thing is knowing your biblical ethics and living by them. The Ten Commandments (Ex.20:1-17) make a good starting point. However, I was not successful in properly living all the Ten Commandments until this year - some 35 years after the day I was born again. I am speaking of the commandment to observe the seventh day sabbath. I was 'born' into the Sunday error as an Anglican and wasn't really challenged until I met the Seventh Day Adventists. Not until 1999 did I switch to the 'Saturday Sabbath' thinking that this was the seventh biblical day of the week, as almost all sabbatarians do. I did not know that this was another pagan day and not the Biblical Sabbath. Not until the beginning of this year did I discover the true Creation Calendar and finally start observing the Sabbath on the biblically ordained day. And though I started observing Yahweh's fesivals in 1999 it was not until this year (12 years later) that I started observing them on the right days too. You need to know Yahweh's Calendar to get an awful lot of outward things right. So only since this spring have I been properly observing the Fourth Commandment to observe the Sabbath - before then I was only getting it right 10-20% of the time.
Though I have known about Elohim's (God's) true Name for some time I did not start using it properly until about a decade ago and so start observing the Third Commandment. I didn't know the biblical definition of adultery until I started deeply researching Yahweh's laws on marriage and discovered I was accusing some people of having commited adultery when they had not. I needed to get the Seventh Commandment straight. For though I had pretty much being observing seven of the Ten Commandments faithfully since becoming a believer (and before because of my Anglican upbringing), one (the Sabbath) I was completely ignorant of (along with most of Christendom and the Messianic movement), one (the third) I didn't understand at all, thinking that Elohim's (God's) Name was 'God', 'Jehovah', 'Lord' and other errors, and one (the seventh) I could only see through the lens of orthodox Christianity.
Getting the Ten Commandments right is pretty fundamental but it took me decades of digging through all the encrusted theological lies to get to the emet (truth). Then there was a whole stack of other theological lies that needed cleaning up - all the pagan traditions in both the Christian churches and the Messianic assemblies.
Without doubt my 1999 conversion to Yahweh's Torah was a huge leap forward for me, opening door after door of understanding in a seemingly never ending cascade of emet (truth). 1977 was my 'Great Leap Forward' (if I may borrow Mao's erroneously used Cultural Revolution slogan) when I found Messiah and the next was 1999 in finding Yahweh's Law (even though it had been staring me in the face all along). We have been programmed to be blind - our journey consists of getting unblinkered and unblinded to that we can first see and then plunge into the refreshing waters of Yahweh's Kingdom. And a large part of being sucecssful in this enterprise is not allowing yourself to be intimidated by other believers still lost in Satan's religious lies.
It has been a long, hard and painful journey thus far but totally worth it. I wouldn't go back to what I had before for anything. Whoever you are, wherever you, get stuck in and let Yah'shua (Jesus) lead you but be prepared to do some footwork - He won't do it all for you. Yah's people are converging and will, at some point meet, but first it's going to take some more social, economic, religious and political upheavals in the world to persuade people that this journey is necessary to save their lives and the lives of their families.
I am happy to assist anyone who asks for help. You are free to come and go. The things that Yahweh wants you to learn are sometimes very hard and meaty but necessary. If you have been content on a milky diet up to now, the changing times will force you to seek deeper. The days of willful ignorance are soon over - soon everyone will have to start making hard choices. Make them now while you are free and you will more readily appreciate the blessings these choices afford than those who are forced to bow the knee reluctantly.
Have a blessed Sabbath!