In recent years I have seen a revival in my own life.
The Scriptures are starting to make more sense to me. I started looking at my Christian doctrines and asking why we shut the door to the largest part - the Old Testament. I could run down a list, but that is for another day. Essentially, I asked, "Is this consistent through Scripture?" And I did something so profound...
You see, every time I asked these questions about, what seemed like a contradiction, or at least an "about face" for God. You know, New Testament God versus Old Testament God. Each time I put up this question, I literally heard the voice of John MacArthur, Dave Hunt, Hank Hannegraff (The Answer Man), or some pastor or professor. While these guys are all smarter than me, where was the voice of God?
So, I went through a process of purposely turning them off. The Scripture speaks over and over about "inclining the ear toward God" and Him inclining toward us as individuals as well as a people group. We are all, to some degree, at the mercy of our teachers. I can see why teachers are judged more harshly. I can see why I ran from teaching for so many years.
I set out on a journey to let the very words of Yahweh be the Word of Yahweh.
With the instruction of Paul to Timothy, I decided to treat ALL scripture as inspired and profitable. I have to be honest, understanding the hard words of Scripture is only as hard as it is because most Christians (and non-believers) have chosen to shut out the parts that make them feel squinchy. Would an investigative officer (who is fair) take only one person's witness? Would a true judge say, "We are hear only to hear the accuser. We don't need to hear the defense?"
"A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed." Deut. 19:15 Interestingly, Paul later gave a second witness, even to this verse - "This is the third time I am coming to you. "At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." II Cor. 13:1
So I set in place four things that made my world turn upside down. Call it an experiment, if you will.
1. I turned off the voices of the theologians and apologists.
Obviously, much of what these men I mentioned, plus many others, is valuable and sound. It's just that I realized that I want to approach the throne and seek His face only. It was time to delete the mediators and bring the Lamb of God in for that. Since I started this, I have slowly started to hear teachers speak prophetically in my life, but I needed the break in order to do that.
2. I listened to scripture.
I inclined my ear to the very words of scripture, seeking phrases that appeared elsewhere. I marked or made notes when I remembered hearing that phrase somewhere else. I realize we have great cross reference bibles that do this, but I found it helpful if I sort of heard the echo in my head. )No jokes about the hollowness of my head right now, please.)
3. I spoke scripture.
I started to pray out loud the words of scripture. Hint: Psalms is a good place to keep busy for a while.
4. I asked questions to Scripture.
I asked the Word of Yahweh. Huh? Well, it looked like this. When I came up with a verse that was too hard for me to understand, I wrote in a colored question mark. Many times, in a few paragraphs, I found the answer. Often, both verses worked off each other and took on a fresh meaning. Sometimes the answer came much later, in another chapter - or book of Scripture.
The Bereans are applauded for their searching of the scriptures.
"Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." - Acts 17:11
Notice: They searched the scriptures to see if the words Paul was saying were true. They did NOT search Paul to see whether the scriptures were true.
If I was preaching right now, I would have to repeat that one to let it sink in. Every conversation I have ever had with my brothers in Christ regarding Torah or Jewish customs has sparked the same exact phase, "...but Paul said." If we take some time to understand what I call Biblical Judaism, we will understand more closely the words of Paul that Peter said were "hard to understand."
I think every Christian should ask herself/himself, "Am I Jewish?"
What do I believe? What is different between my belief and Jewish belief?
Was Jesus Jewish?
Were all the apostles Jewish? What did they believe? Are any of my beliefs different? If so, why? Who told me that Biblical Jewish belief is void? Is there a Jewish doctrine that is unbiblical? Find these things out?
And while we are at it, let's ask this question: "Am I a Christian?"
Christian, are you inclining your ear to the scriptures or to the theologian who inclined his ear to the theologian (multiplied by 50)?
Do you, in fact render the things of God to God, or to Rome?
I hope you will find out that there are many different Judaisms. There are many more Christianities. Our brutal generality toward everything Jewish has created general brutes toward the Jewish people. While Jesus was handed up (rendered) by the Pharisaic Jewish leadership, he was hung on a Roman cross by Romans.
A few hundred years later, the customs and practices of Christianity were handed over to Rome. (He was even a guy whose head was on coins. Got it.)
It is time for every believer to look at Judaism with fresh eyes. It is time to make an effort to understand this mystery heritage that we often defame. I ask you to take the next few hours or days and ask yourself this one question: