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Jon Thompson - Jon Thompson leads the House of Yeshua fellowhsip in Lincoln City, Oregon. Feel free to contact him with your comments at jont_isme@yahoo.com
Jon Thompson

Believer or Follower?

The Sound of the Shofar

By Jon Thompson

"Do you think it matters whether I do what the Bible tells me as long as I believe in Jesus?"

"First, letís define what it means to believe. Today, belief is a conviction, persuasion, opinion, or sentiment, something we have trust in."

"Yeah, I trust in Jesus."

"Thatís good, but what did it mean to the people who wrote "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved"?

"The same thing?"

"Not really, the idea of belief being a mental thing is a Greek idea. To the Hebrews who wrote the Bible, if you believe in something, you show your belief by how you live, thatís why the apostle James said "faith without works is dead." If you believe in something, but you are not doing the works that display your belief, then you really donít believe."

"So if I believe Iím a basketball player, but I never play basketball, Iím just deceiving myself about being a basketball player according to the Hebrew way of thinking?"

"Now you got it. And if you say you believe you follow Jesus, but you donít do the works He did we deceive ourselves, like James said, "Be a doer of the word and not a hearer only thus deceiving yourself." Another thing to consider is that throughout scripture God always requirs His followers to obey His laws. Jesus said "If you love me, keep my commandments" He also said, "My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent me." Who sent Jesus?"

"His Father."

"Right! Where can we find the doctrine that Jesus was talking about that was not His but His Fatherís?"

"In the New Testament, Jesus said, "Search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life and they testify of me." We know the New Testament speaks of Him, so the doctrine is there too."

"So how much of the New Testament do you suppose was written when Jesus said ĎSearch the scripturesí?"

"All of it I guess."

"Actually, none of the New Testament was written until many years after Jesusís death, burial, and resurrection."

"Then what was He talking about if there werenít any scriptures?"

"There were scriptures, they were known as the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Jews know them as the TANAKH, itís what we call the Old Testament, Torah (books of Moses), Neviim (prophets), and Ketuvim (writings)."

"So he was telling them to search the Old Testament?"

"Yes, but it wasnít called that. It was called the Tanakh, or just Ďthe scripturesí."

"Why would Jesus tell His followers to read the Old Testament?"

"Because it contains Godís words. In fact, Deuteronomy is named Devarim in Hebrew, it means Words, because it contains Godís direct words to Moses. God spoke to Moses face to face as one man speaks to another. All other prophets, excluding Jesus, received visions or messages as through a glass darkly, that were cryptic, and they had to figure out the meaning. With Moses, he wrote what God told him, kind of like God dictating to him. So the books of Moses are a straight, easy to understand, version of what God said."

"So when the people read Moses, did they see that the books testified of Jesus?"

"Some yes, like Paul the apostle. Most of them didnít see the testimony because they were so caught up in the law that was added because of transgression, the law of sacrifice and temple offerings, that they missed all the references to Jesus, whose name was Yahshua."

"Whose name was Yahshua?"

"Jesus."

"Why did they call Him Yahshua?"

"He was a Jew; that was His name, Yahshua means ĎGod is salvationí (Yah Ė God yeshua Ė salvation). ĎJesusí is a transliteration of a Latin name Ioesus, pronounced heysus which means nothing in Hebrew, but in Latin it means Ďhail Zeusí. If Yahshuaís name had been transliterated into our language, it would have been closer to Joshua"

"So why did they call Him Jesus?"

"Yahshua never heard the name Jesus. That was a name given to him by the early church many years after His crucifixion, they wanted to remove any Jewishness from the new church. They eliminated His Jewish name and blended the name of Zeus into the Christian church to make it comfortable for all those who previously worshipped the Greek and Roman gods to become Christians. Since Zeus was the top god of their experience, attaching the name Ioesus to Yahshua gave Him top priority in the worship hierarchy."

"Whatís the difference; He knows who Iím talking about."

"Yep, thatís true, as long as you do."

"What do you mean?"

"Well you asked does it make any difference if you do what the Bible says as long as you believe in Jesus. Well, Jesus is often portrayed as a white skinned gentile who disobeyed and tried to get rid of the Jewish laws and commandments and set everyone free from the oppression of the God of the Old Testament. He was against all the law obeying Jews of His day and when He couldnít convince them to stop doing what God told them to do through Moses, He finally sent Paul to straighten everyone out by telling them directly to stop keeping all the Old Testament laws or they would lose their salvation."

"Yea for Paul, itís a good thing he came along to straighten them out."

"Right. But consider for a moment that Yahshua is a different person. Yahshua kept every one of Godís laws. He also taught all of His followers to keep all of them. He was likely dark skinned, a Jew born to a Jewish mother in a Jewish town and raised according to all the Jewish laws, customs, and traditions of His day. He was taught the Hebrew scriptures, the Tanakh, and the teachings prevalent in his day. We know, because he effectively argued against many of the incorrect teachings. When Yahshua gave the revelation to John years after the crucifixion, He told him to keep the commandments. Do you really think Yahshua failed?"

"What do you mean failed."

"That He tried to show people they didnít have to keep the laws of God, but He failed and had to send Paul to do what He failed to do?"

"No, I donít think Jesus failed at anything."

"So then perhaps the apostle Peter was correct when he said that many of Paulís writings "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things HARD to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." (2 Pet 3:16) Maybe Paul really didnít tell us to disobey God, because if he did, he would be a false prophet under the test God gave us (see Isa 8). The Berean saints searched the Tanakh and found that Paul taught the truth according to the scriptures. So that indicates that what he really taught is in the Tanakh and it couldnít include disobeying Godís laws."

"Wow, maybe I donít really understand Paul. I should go back and read Galations again."

"Good idea, and read it in context. Better yet, go back and read the Tanakh in context, because when Peter said the Ďunlearned and unstableí he was talking about not knowing the Tanakh, and more specifically the Torah. If you understand them, you will have a better chance of really understanding Paul."


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