Lately I have noticed a trend amongst those of us that are followers of Yeshua and are keen to study the scriptures. I see this trend in myself also so, I am not exempting or excusing myself from this issue. I write this reluctantly because I believe that the people that are most guilty of this problem are by and large, the most devout of Yeshua’s followers. Many of these people have dedicated most of their lives to the spreading of the Gospel. Many have forsaken lucrative careers and have lost friends and even family members for the cause of the Kingdom. These people hunger and thirst after YHVH’s word and are among the most knowledgable and zealous among his disciples. So, this is written to people that I both love and admire. They have often suffered hardship because of their commitment to YHVH. That has long been the pattern and the path for servants of the Most High. A period of prayer and study followed by a time of testing and self reflection which leads to dedication and service to the cause of spreading the good news. The twelve disciples Followed the Messiah for more than three years. In that time he taught them, corrected them, scolded them and moulded them into the twelve Apostles. They were men that abandoned all and gave themselves fully to his instruction and to his example of selfless love for humanity. They learned from both their successes and their failures. They were taught boldness and humility; strength and weakness. In the end they were given the great commission to evangelize the world and were told that they would sit on twelve thrones in the new Jerusalem.
When I was a boy I saw a photo of a computer that was being installed in a banking center. It was enormous to the point that it required a crane or like piece of heavy equipment to get it into the building. Today, my tablet computer has probably a thousand times the computing power of that machine. The availability of computers coupled with the internet has advanced our ability to access information in ways that were unimaginable to prior generations. Our ability to communicate one with another and to have our words and ideas broadcast to a large number of people is unprecedented in history. With this advancement in communication has come an astonishing variety of opinions. There are people proposing ideas of every kind imaginable. Some are profound and some are ridiculous. There have always been differing ideas amongst those that claim to be Christians. It has been said if you ask three Christians about a matter of doctrine you will get four opinions. I think there is a lot of truth to that statement. There are more than two hundred christian denominations in the United States alone. Few profound, most ridiculous.
Here is the issue that I am seeing. Some of the faithful are getting drawn into controversies and doctrinal positions that are not productive for the advancement of the kingdom. There are two old sayings that come to mind that illustrate what I mean better than I can. The first is “majoring in minors” and the second is “getting stuck in the weeds”. Getting stuck in the weeds is what happens to us when we major in minors. There are many voices on the internet that are advocating for one new (or not so new) doctrine or another. I’m sure most of them are quite sincere and some are probably correct in light of new and better scholarship. However, you and I, brothers and sisters have a commission from Yeshua to take the good news of the coming kingdom to the lost. That is our mission. We are to preach “repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. We are to preach the teachings of Yeshua and none other. Acts 4:12 says, Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
I have many times repeated the passage of scripture in Matthew 19:16, Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
We seldom hear it taught from our pulpits that Yeshua declared that we must repent and also obey the commandments. The message we are given is one of easy believeism just believe and you don’t have to obey the law. We are even told that if we try to obey the law then Yeshua’s salvation is of none effect to us; What blasphemy!
1 John 2:3, Now by this we know that we have come to know YHVH: if we keep his commandments. 4 The one who says “I have come to know YHVH” and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person. 5 But whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of YHVH has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. 6 The one who says he resides in YHVH ought himself to walk just as Yeshua walked.
Yeshua declares in Matthew 5:17-19
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Deuteronomy 18:15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you—from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him. 16 This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the Lord your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore or see this great fire anymore lest we die.” 17 The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. 18 I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. 19 I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name.
If we understand that Yeshua is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15, that he is the anointed, the Messiah of Israel and the king of YHVH’s coming kingdom, the chief cornerstone upon which your and my salvation must be built, then his words and his teachings must be unwaveringly obeyed in lieu of any one else’s. Yeshua’s words are the utmost, supreme words in scripture. Therefore anyone that contradicts him is a false teacher. Even someone that claims to be an apostle or prophet.
Romans 3:28. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Romans 10:4. For Christ is the end of the law, to bring righteousness to everyone who believes.
Galatians 2:16. know that a man is not justified by works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Acts 13:38 Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39. Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.
Romans 3:10-12 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”
Here is the scripture Paul is misquoting and misleading his listeners with: Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.
Paul was wrong and contradicts Yeshua. There were righteous people,
Deuteronomy 30:11. For this commandment I give you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12. It is not in heaven, that you should need to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it for us and proclaim it, that we may obey it?’ 13. And it is not beyond the sea, that you should need to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and proclaim it, that we may obey it?’ 14. But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it.
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Yeshua warned us against false teachers and prophets that would come to test us, and so they have, from Paul of Tarsus and his vision in the wilderness outside Damascus to Joseph Smith in the wilderness near Manchester New York and many others, one after another.
Matthew 24:23, Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 Remember, I have told you ahead of time. 26 So then, if someone says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him. 27 For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be.
Paul was not one of the twelve, in fact he never met Yeshua. He was not an Apostle . But he did self proclaim to be one.
I’m sure by now you think I have forgotten the original intent of this letter. But, I haven’t. I wanted to point out that as followers of Yeshua our commission from him and for that matter from YHVH, is to point out to people that the words and teachings of Yeshua are the the very words of YHVH; the words of salvation, and that there is no higher authority or newer dispensation or teaching that supersedes him. We have been instructed in what is really important. This is what we must preach to the world that has been fooled into following a false gospel. It is our duty to turn people from false prophets and point out the true Prophet. This teaching is far too important for us to get bogged down in minor matters like calendars or which books are canonical or a thousand other theories that YHVH has not given us clear instruction on. We have not yet plumbed the depths of the few books we have. Simply put, our salvation depends on building our faith on the chief cornerstone that is Yeshua’s teachings and no other.
Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Obey the commandments:
Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
These are the things that I believe the world needs most from us now until these things are accepted as truth we need go no further.
6 thoughts on “Distractions”
Oh Ron,,, We can, and will go much further down the rabbit hole. Saul of Tarsus is at the very top of the rabbit hole. What do you suppose we will find near the bottom of that hole???
You are hung up on “Paul”. Yes, Saul of Tarsus is a POS! But you better take your heart meds, because the “holy” bible is so full of damning evidence, it will cause some to experience cardiac arrest!
Don’t be afraid to jump in that rabbit hole. It is full of truth, both good, and awful!
I completely agree with you on everything. I am however curious why you would quote a passage from the book of Acts? I guess I assumed you only thought the gospels were scripture along with the Old Testament, but perhaps it’s because Luke/Acts go together as sort of one book? Thank you for your great teachings! What a blessing to hear the truth!
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Brother, you laid out so very well what is important and what is not. Yahweh made it very simple when he commanded us to obey Only the Greatest Prophet. The Sole Teacher is the Only Way. You know the Truth so keep preaching and let others prosper and Yahweh will be so pleased!
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While I agree in principle with the things you wrote, I believe there is more to understanding the kingdom to come and our role in this lifetime than just what we get from the words in red in the bible. Because the gospels repeat a lot of things. Which means we only have a snap shot of what he actually said and did.
According to one site I googled, for the word count in red for the 4 gospels, once you exclude the duplications of Jesus’ speeches in the four gospels, the total number of words spoken by Jesus is 31,426.
Then if you enter this number into Convert Words to Minutes – Speech Calculator (Free), you find that it would take 242 minutes, or about 4 hours, to read all of Jesus’ words aloud.
This does not include Revelation, which might add another hour of reading time. Now with the stakes being our very eternal soul, 31,426 words and 4 – 5 hours of reading time does not seem to be all that much to go by.
Now consider John 3:13, which reads: No one has gone up to heaven except the One who came down from heaven – the Son of Man (Tree of Life Version bible). In this passage the Christ is stating that he has gone up and come down from heaven. So, how many times did he visit in the past to speak to prophets of old? How much of his teachings and instructions are we missing from the OT. How many of his words are we missing from the NT age?
Then consider that not everything he taught in the gospels is explained fully, with the parable of the shrewd manager being a prime example. And the story of the rich man and Lazarus is another example. For some argue it is a parable while others say it was something that actually happened. And because many of his teachings and sayings are not fully explained, we end up with dozens of interpretations. This then is why the teachings of the apostles who knew him are so important. And why it is important to read a whole lot more than what we find in the 4 gospels and Revelation.
The Christ is our Lord and Savior. He is the light, the path, and the door. But the devil has worked very hard to limit the number of his teachings. And worked hard to limit the understanding of the few teachings that we have. This is why writings such as Clementines Homilies, the Shepherd of Hermas, The Didache, The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter, and others are so important. And it is why we must read many other writings in order to understand the prophecies that he spoke of.
So I do not consider, for example, the study of end time prophecy to be a distraction. And to study it fully, we must read a lot more than the words in red.
Let me clarify my position. I think you misunderstood. I did not say at any point that we should only read the words in red. I was primarily addressing the falsehood of Paul. I believe the words of the Apostles that were taught by Yeshua are worth study, this includes James and Jude who were not included in the twelve but were his brothers. There are others that are worth reading if you are a scholar of the scriptures that might be edifying or possibly clarifying. However, when someone makes a statement of doctrine and it disagrees with something Yeshua taught or goes beyond what he taught and introduces something new that he did not address then,the person that teaches it does so at his own peril. I do not believe Yeshua left his work half done. We have everything we need in his words to obtain eternal life. He told us that. The Pharisees took the words of Moses and reinterpreted them to have different meanings than the simple teachings of God. I’m sure they originally had the best of intentions. However, as Yeshua pointed out they went beyond those teaching and ended up “teaching for doctrine the commands of men. When Yeshua gave the great commission he told them to “go into all the world and teach them whatsoever “I” have commanded you to do”. These non canonical books do hold a certain fascination for many and that is fine especially if you are a scholar. But, they hold far less weight than the words of the actual Messiah. They have no bearing on doctrine. Our souls are of such importance that I personally will only trust mine to Yeshua. To build upon any other foundation is a mistake. That is the point I was making.
I apologize for a second comment. But it does not allow me to edit my original one. So I would like to point out a few things the Christ said. He said Peter is the rock that the church would be built on. He appointed James to be the head of the church in Jerusalem. He gave the great commission to the apostles. He said the apostles had the keys to the kingdom. And he said the apostles would do greater things than he. So it seems to me that the Christ was telling future generations that we should listen to these people. That they can be trusted to have a full understanding of the Good News gospel.