The Reverend Hatfield was an interesting character that I wrote about previously. As a student of human nature the Reverend was always a bit of a quandary to me. He always seemed like someone from the 1940’s that had been transported to us through time travel. He wore somber dark suits with white button down shirts and skinny ties. His hair was greased back and as my grandmother used to say “his barber gave him white sidewalls”. He always had a white linen handkerchief in his pocket and brought it out every time he preached to mop the sweat off his forehead. It did it not matter the temperature. I thought of it as an affectation, to show the congregation how hard he had been preaching. As for his theology it was simple. If it was something you might hear in a Pentecostal church in the Deep South in 1949, it was as though God himself said it. If it was anything else it was of the devil. He seemed to sort of idolize a time in the past of camp meetings and hell and brimstone preachers. Bathing suits and makeup were sinful. Working on Sunday was sinful. Men having their hair grow over their ears sinful. Dancing or going to movies also sinful. Almost anything he didn’t like could become the topic of his next sermon, and usually did. He was a man sort of stuck in time. It was like like he was type cast to play the role of a southern holiness preacher and like most of us he was absolutely convinced his beliefs were correct even against very strong evidence to the contrary.
I remember one day he came into my dad’s store. He was dressed to the nines in his usual preaching suit. He must have been going some place to preach. Suddenly, he lifted up one arm and loudly proclaimed “ I’m going back to that old time religion. I’m getting back to the old ways”. Well, being a bit of a smart mouthed young man I said “congratulations Reverend, so you are converting to Roman Catholicism”. Reverend Hatfield turned a little red in the face and mumbled in a low voice “not that far back” turned and left. I know, I know, it was cruel letting the wind out of his sails like that. But, at the time it was hilarious. My brother laughed until he had tears in his eyes.
I think most of us have a little Reverend Hatfield in us. Most of us don’t really base our beliefs on the truth. But, upon what we were taught as a child. What our community of friends around us believe. Maybe we study whatever our particular Church denomination teaches a little in Sunday school. But, that’s about it. I believe most of us are guided by three things, our social relationships, group think and convenience. Most of us would rather go along with the flow than risk being looked at as an oddball. I know that I’m an oddball. I have to explain to people that I keep the Friday night, Saturday sabbath. That I can’t participate in whatever they want me to participate in during that time period. I am a vegetarian so I don’t violate the law against consuming blood. This time of year I struggle with family and friends that want me to celebrate Christmas with them because I cannot.
I have no intention in making this post about what is permissible and what is not as a follower of Yeshua. What I really want to talk about is this. Most of us are just going with the flow. Yeshua said that to be saved “you must be born again”. What does that mean? I think I now understand what it means to be born again. For a person to stop being lead by the group think of their family and peers, they have to think rationally and really listen to the words of Yeshua. They have to accept that the words of Yeshua are the final word on whatever subject he is addressing. They have to accept that, as Yeshua said “the one sent is not greater than the one that sent him”. No Apostle or Prophet can teach anything that conflicts with what Yeshua taught. Neither can he go beyond what he taught and add to it. The reason for this is that Yeshua, not the Bible is YHVH’s living word. In John 5:39-40 it says.
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
To truly follow Yeshua requires one to completely reorganize ones thinking. You will no longer be allowed to go along in peace with the crowd, stuck in your own social class and parroting the prevailing wisdom of those around you. You must begin to listen to and obey Yeshua. To do this is to be born again. It will change your life. The only way to enter the kingdom of heaven is through doing the will of YHVH. Matthew 7:21 says.
“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”.
If you are born again you will be something of an oddball. You will obey the laws of YHVH. Yeshua said If anyone claims to be right with YHVH but doesn’t serve the poor, needy, oppressed, marginalized, sick, diseased, and sinful, they do not have a relationship with YHVH. No matter what they proclaim with their mouth. Yeshua said those that don’t obey the commandments and hold to the testimony of Yeshua will not enter the kingdom (Revelation 12:17). It is obvious to most Christians that the Jewish people do not in fact hold to the testimony of Yeshua. But what is not obvious to them is that they don’t obey the commandments of YHVH. They choose the ones they wish to obey and reject the rest. Those born again will leave neither left undone.
I have been forced to accept that people simply choose what they want to believe. Every person decides what evidence they will accept as truth and rejects the things they won’t accept as truth. Most people don’t even bother looking for proof, they just play the role they were cast to play, much like Reverend Hatfield.
9 thoughts on “The Role”
Nicely said. Great observations and explanation.
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Thank you my friend.
So Jews seem to follow Yeshua’s teachings more than Christians do, it appears, because THEY follow the law that Jesus said WE are to follow, correct? Yeshua said in Matthew 7 to follow the law, and Jews do that.
They do follow the law, but do not hold the testament of Yeshua . That is they do not accept Yeshua as messiah and follow him as the prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15. Both Jews and the Christians that do not follow the law are lacking. I would recommend that you look up brother Douglas Del Tando’s you tube channel “Jesus words only”. There you will learn many things. Doug is a lawyer and a scholar of both Greek and Latin languages. He has devoted his life to finding the truth. Blessings to you my friend.
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The word messiah means the anointed one. I do not see Yeshua fulfilling the prophecies attributed to the Messiah to come through, unless he does them at his second coming as Christians teach. But the Old Testament doesn’t teach the Messiah will come twice; only once. So I have a problem with this too. Most of not all, prophecy that Christians say is referring to Jesus is not. I have looked them up. And if you get the translation from the original Hebrew to English, instead of from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English, you will find the translation not be be the same; not to be what Christians SAY it means. So I guess I question Yeshua being the Messiah that is spoken of in the Old Testament 🤔
You wrote what needed to be written. Most that fit this role would never admit it identifies them.
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I appreciate the work that you are doing. When I committed to being a Christian without the leavening of the Pharisees things became very simple. Jesus’ teachings are simple, but not easy. Following Jesus Only can be a lonely path, but it is worth every minute of it. Whereas today’s church teaches belief, Jesus’ real teachings are to believe and follow.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had conversations with Christians in which I will say something like: “Jesus wants good works.” This statement is usually met with a great deal of resistance, ranging from a long diatribe about how that statement sounds like “Salvation through works” to outright accusations of heresy. So sad when you consider how many needy people there are in the world who could use a bowl of rice rather than a sermon.
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“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Thank you brother.