Cry loudly, do not hold back; raise your voice like a shofar and declare to My people their transgression and to the house of Ya'akov their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

December 28th, 2009

DISCLAIMER: Within this article I give very straight forward and harsh rebukes to some of the fallacies found in our religious bodies today. It is not a light message and requires one to be truly open to hearing direct criticism. I also make some comments directly against some things regarding Oral Traditions passed down in Judaism. However, as the knowledge base for Judaism's literature is so incredibly vast, it is possible that some things I have written or spoken of here are done in such a way that I am misunderstanding the text. If this is true, please help to correct me and offer the right interpretation and meaning of the issues covered. Thank you.


Terminology guide:

I might use some terminology that readers aren't familiar with, so here's a quick guide, I use these terms because I feel they have a much richer meaning than their English or alternative terms (not because I want to sound more authoritative). My suggestion would be for everyone to research them and come to understand them for your own personal benefit as well. Now that this is out of the way, let's get started.



Every atheist loves to talk about the flaws in religion. They point out how religion has caused war, they point out the numerous contradictions, they bring up the Crusades of the Roman Catholic Church, the political agendas of many religious leaders over the centuries, and the cult like following of certain denominations. They call religious folk fools and hypocrites, and you know what? They're absolutely right. Absolutely right! They have EVERY right to mention these things and point fingers saying "shame on you"; but if only these same atheists would pay attention to the words of Yeshua, because he preached the EXACT same thing during His ministry.

Yeshua and Religion

Not very many people realize that Yeshua did not come to start a new religion. Even fewer people realize that Yeshua preached against religion altogether. Let's take a look at Matthew 15,

"And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of G-d for the sake of your tradition? "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'" (Matthew 15: 3, 7-9, NASB with title edit)
Today, a mass multitude of people from all religious backgrounds transgress the very commandments of G-d, just so that they can hold on to their beloved (idolized) traditions. Very few make this connection though. Now Yeshua was quoting Isaiah 29:13 which states,

HaShem says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. (Isaiah 29:13, NIV with Name edit)
Everyone's hearts are far from HaShem for one simple reason: they do not make HaShem their authority. Instead, they make the rules and doctrines of men as their authority. Many people have read in Paul's epistles the concept of being "under the law". What being under the law means is that you look upon the law and how it is taught in religion as your authority (and therefore as your means of justification). However, the law will condemn us all to death and is arguably both worthless and pointless without G-d, the GIVER of the law. This argument is based around the fact that the law can do nothing for us without Him; salvation is only from HaShem, who embodied and revealed Himself through Yeshua, His Son, here on earth. Paul emphasizes this when he says

"for circumcision is nothing, neither is uncircumcised; but the keeping of G-d's commands" (1 Corinthians 7:19, AENT, emphasis added)
The emphasis here is that a person should not circumcise themselves just for the sake of it; rather, they need to follow G-d’s command, and ONLY G-d’s. This is what really matters! Circumcision of course, is one of G-d’s commands, but the Gentiles at Corinth would not have come to the full understanding of this concept in their current spiritual walk. See, in Paul's day, there were Pharisees which were trying to force circumcision upon the Gentiles, making it just another legalistic tradition. I say legalistic because this forcing of circumcision was for the purpose of conversion, and many believed that if you were not converted to be a Jew, you could not be saved. Mashiyach cleared up this heresy when He gave Peter the vision in Acts 10 (that, according to verse 28, is correctly interpreted as applying to men, not animals). So Paul, being an advocate for Mashiyach’s truth, spoke harshly against this issue of circumcision because if the Gentiles circumcised themselves right then and there, they would be doing it under the authority of the Pharisees/Rabbis which falsely believed that one must be “converted” to be saved (downplaying the blood of Mashiyach). This elevates tradition over HaShem’s work of salvation through Mashiyach! This is not only dangerous and wrong, but if they were not to do the commandment, or any commandment, out of love inspired obedience to G-d, then the very act becomes pointless; it is brought to nothing (works without faith is also dead). Religious tradition, ideals, or doctrines are also pointless without an understanding that it is a commandment coming from G-d, and that understanding must be written on the heart by G-d Himself (Jeremiah 31:31-33). This principle applies to prayer, worship, "baptism" (which is really a mikvah), communion (which is really supposed to be the Passover Seder), and everything else you do in your religious denomination. You must understand that what you do comes from G-d; and if it does not, then you have to respectfully reason with your leadership and seriously question WHY things are being done this way and if G-d would approve or not. Be careful however not to isolate yourself from other Believers when you go through this, because then you set yourself aside as an easy target for the enemy. Rather we must, in love and unity, discuss these things according to guiding of the Spirit, seeking the will of HaShem. This then is truly how we can bring our hearts closer to HaShem. Sadly though, many people are content with doing what they've always been told to do, and never strive to truly bring their hearts closer to HaShem. It is the spirit of complacency in which they honor Him with well memorized prayers, an act of the lips, but not with an act of the heart. Even worse, most people don't know very well G-d's name, a true description of His sovereign and eternal nature. They only know Him by the influx of foreign titles/ideas that were previously applied to all manner of false idols and deities throughout the ages that, when mixed with the truth, ends up with myriads of denominations who cannot agree on anything.

The False (or Abused) Authorities(y)

But the big question now is, if people's hearts are far from G-d because they are not under the authority of HaShem, then just whose authority are they under? While HaShem appoints people into authority over His flock, when those leaders are not properly accountable to Him, they abuse that authority and lead people astray. Let's go over some of the common religions and who they answer to:
Counter-fit Mashiyach VS True Authority

In every single one of those instances, there are leaders who are abusing their authority and in some cases, weren’t given it by HaShem at all (rather, they assumed it). For those who do not test the spirits and come under the authority of those people, they are now a victim of a counter fit Messiah. You see, since the dawn of the post-Flood world, Satan has been trying to install his counter fit Messiah to lead G-d's people astray. By allowing yourself to be under the authority of something other than HaShem and His appointed shepherds, you (sometimes inadvertently) believe that by doing what that authority tells you, you will be saved. But this is EXACTLY what legalism is. No one religion has the monopoly on legalism because anyone who trusts in their religion is a legalist. You see, regardless of what that authority tells you, that authority CANNOT save you. Salvation only comes from HaShem, through Yeshua the Mashiyach (whose name means HaShem saves) for,

"... there is not salvation by another man for there is not another name under heaven which is given to men by which it is proper to have life" (Acts 4:12 AENT)
This isn't meant to say, however, that anyone who is in a position of so called religious authority is rendered null and void. On the contrary, we are commanded to teach one another and to make disciples of all the nations (please see "the great commission" of Matthew 28:19-20). But in doing this we are commanded to act in a very precise manner, taking after Yeshua's example and heeding to His words which are as follows,

"But do not be called [My Great One]; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, the [Mashiyach]. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:8-12 NASB, with title corrections)
As mentioned, though we are commanded to teach one another, there is only ONE true teacher; there is only One true authority (and this authority is not your religion or it's denomination, even if what they say is correct). There is only One who is to be called Father, He who is in heaven (despite what Catholicism teaches). And there is only One leader, Yeshua haMashiyach. Not the Rabbi, not the Pope, nor the Pastor, or the Watchtower; nobody, except for Yeshua. The rest of us are only here to serve one another by encouraging each other to grow closer to G-d; to help guide one another to His Truth on the basis of Scripture, which is the only authoritative text to contain the words, teachings and instruction of our Master HaShem-Yeshua (Name reference from Acts 2:38, AENT). Pastor actually comes from the same Hebrew root word as shepherd: ha’vah, which means “to feed”. Yeshua is the bread of life (John 6:51), and we are to feed others His instruction, not our own. The office of leadership here on earth isn’t so bad so long as that leader is properly accountable to Mashiyach through a Beit Din and realizew that he has no authority separate from Mashiyach. If we could just understand this one single concept taught by Yeshua alone, we would be able to knock down ALL the fences set up between religious denominations, because we are all brothers (Matthew 28:8) and we are all ONE in Mashiyach as stated by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians,

"14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances (Gree: dogma; not a reference to Torah), so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace," (Ephesians 2:14-15 NASB)
"14. He is himself our peace, who has made the two (become) one, and has demolished the wall which stood in the midst, and the enmity, by his flesh; 15. And in his flesh (the) enmity and regulations of commands contained in his commandments are abolished (so) that in himself (an occurrence of the divine nature, or qnoma) he might make the two into one, establishing peace" (Ephesians 2:14-15 AENT)
The enmity and regulations of commands contained in ordinances (in Greek, dogma) refers to the distortion of Torah through dogmatic customs that were drawn out from bad theology. These are the things Yeshua preached against during His ministry when he argued with Pharisees and He had every right to call them out on what they were doing wrong because His authority came directly from HaShem. In other words, there were fences that were set up to shut up the Kingdom of Heaven, as mentioned earlier. These fences were what was stopping us from seeing Torah in it's true light and entering into fellowship with HaShem. Mashiyach came to break down that fence and restore that relationship for both Jew and Gentile alike. Let's take a step back though and quickly go over how this religious dogma, this… distortion of the truth, came to be in the first place. To start, the whole concept of a counter-fit Messiah began in ancient Babylon at the Tower of Babel, where paganism was born and where every single aspect of paganism throughout the centuries can be traced to (to learn more about that, please request to join "Shoresh Ha'Torah Yeshua Facebook Fellowship"). But the whole purpose of the counter fit Messiah by Satan is to turn people away from HaShem (and His righteous instruction/Torah) and to the things of this world. Satan wants us under the authority of something that will distract and draw us away from G-d's instruction (Torah), and the easiest way to do that is to take what’s true and add a little bit of leaven to it. And then a little bit more; and a little bit more, until, you are drawn away completely. This is what happened with the golden calf. But sometimes Satan is just blunt about it. One way in which he was blunt was through the sun worship that was born in ancient Babylon at the Tower of Babel. This sun worship worked so well that by the time of Daniel the prophet, only 7,000 Israelites remained faithful to G-d (and if you look at the statistics found in the book of Numbers, you will see how significantly small this is). But since that time, these aspects of sun worship actually remained! You can continue to see much of it plague our religious traditions today.

Oral Tradition and the Twisting of Torah

Believe it or not though, things got worse than just the influence of sun worship. Satan devised another tactic to draw G-d's people away from his righteous instruction (Torah) and this tactic I believe may be one of the things that turned post-apostolic Christians away from the Torah in the first place (leading up to why it's not emphasized and even completely rejected in churches today). The tactic Satan used was inserting a his own little seeds of heresy into the truth of Torah which I believe can be found mixed in with the Talmud, Zohar, etc. today. This is a controversial subject and I am going to say right up front that I am certainly not a karaite, but at the same time, if the Rabbi’s are given authority by G-d and yet they choose not to listen to Him but instead listen to the father of lies, then where does that leave us? I’m not saying that they never rule on Torah correctly; much of their Torah commentary is beautiful and amplifies the text wonderfully. I quote them when we study Torah on Erev Shabbat all the time. But they are not free from satan’s influence and the fact that he loves to get his hand in the cookie jar of truth makes the Rabbi’s a particularly special target. By distorting the Torah the adversary has the opportunity to turn people from HaShem to legalism, and that is exactly what Paul preached against when he talked about being "under the law" (a concept that was NEVER promoted in HaShem’s Torah). On that note, it should be mentioned that never once did Paul do away with HaShem's righteous instruction as some have been confused to believe; rather, he was there to establish a correct understanding of it (see Romans 3:31). Yes, Paul only ever was speaking against the false doctrines or bad theology that was carried forward within oral tradition. But if don't understand the cultural context of first century Judaism, you won't understand what Paul is writing in his letters. Now, to explain this distortion of Torah, we need to understand some things in Rabbinical Judaism (side note: although I do not endorse this, to be fair, for a Karaite opinion on this discussion you may watch "The Hebrew Yeshua VS the Greek Jesus"). In Rabbinical Judaism, which was in full effect by the time Yeshua showed up, there were (and still are) two Torahs: the written Torah and the oral Torah. The written Torah is the actual Word of G-d; the divine instructions inscribed on stone tablets by HaShem Himself, presented to Moshe on top of Mt. Sinai. The oral Torah contains the rulings and ordinances on how to walk out the written Torah which at various points in time (depending on which Rabbi you want to quote) contains legalistic doctrine promoted by the Pharisees. This is the fence we keep referring to, and while Torah says that we are to guard certain commands (come up with ways to help you avoid breaking it), when a fence around the real Torah which is built incorrectly, we shut up the Kingdom of Heaven for the sake of our tradition (Matthew 23:13-36). These same sort of fences are what exist today in many our current religions (some fences are higher then others, but they exist nonetheless from our failure at large to understand Matthew 23:8-12). Now, despites the oral Torah’s proper interpretation (fulfillment) of the written Torah, as it is not free from satan’s influence it can be susceptible to contradiction. The battle between the Word of G-d and an interpretation of it via the contrasting of written/oral Torah was the very beginning of the battle between truth and tradition; a battle that still exists today in Judaism, Catholicism and Protestant Christianity.

Now any of the distortions or incorrect interpretations and teachings that were being demonstrated or endorsed by the Pharisees was what Yeshua came to break down during His ministry (which is exactly what Paul is pointing out in Ephesians 2:15; he is not saying that HaShem’s Torah is done away with, and if you have a paraphrased translation that does say that [such as the NLT], GET RID OF IT, and pick up an accurate translation like the NASB or AENT). Now, everyone reading this is probably familiar with the "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew chapters 5 to 7. What I don't think everyone is familiar with though is how one of the central themes of that sermon was introducing a concept of oral tradition and then explaining what the original commandment from the written Torah actually teaches. You see, every time Yeshua says "you have heard it SAID" He is referring to the oral traditions of the time (much of which has become the oral Torah of today recorded in the Talmud). You can call it "Jewish law" if you want, but it is not guaranteed to be a proper interpretation of the Torah of HaShem, and the Torah of HaShem was designed for everyone, both Jew and Gentile alike. Now let's go over an example of oral tradition against HaShem's truth to illustrate what Yeshua was doing,

"You have heard that it has been said that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you that you should not stand against evil, but who hits you upon your right cheek, turn also to him the other. And he that desires to go to court with you and take your coat, leave to him also your cloak. He that compels you to go one mile, go two with him. He that asks you to give to him and he desires to borrow from you, you should not deny him." (Matthew 5:38-42 AENT)
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth is indeed Scriptural, as you can see by referencing Exodus 21:22-27, Leviticus 24:19-20, and Deuteronomy 19:21. But taken literally, this course of action would contradict Torah by repaying evil with evil, transgressing the following commandments,

"Do not hate your brother in your heart. Reprove your neighbour, for certain, and bear no sin because of him. Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people; rather, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am [yud-heh-vav-heh]" (Leviticus 19:17,18 ISR)
If we were to literally repay evil for evil by taking out the eye of someone whom took out your eye, we would be doing so on the basis of hate, bearing a sin because of them. We would be taking vengeance upon them on account of our grudge against he who committed the initial sin. But rather, HaShem commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves. Yeshua in Matthew 5:38-42 is teaching this same thing in saying that we should not repay evil with evil, but rather, repay evil with good. Paul reminds us of this in Romans saying,

"For he that loves his neighbor, has properly understood Torah" (Romans 13:8b AENT)
"Love does no evil to one's neighbor because love is the fulfillment of Torah" (Romans 13:10 AENT)
If this is true, then what are the passages in Torah exclaiming eye for eye, tooth for a tooth really saying? Well, it is referring to fair restitution; not literally taking out an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. Rather, the amount to be restored must be as close as possible to the value of what has been lost. Both legalistic judges and pagan cultures though opt for barbaric crime for crime punishment, and Israel throughout the ages was susceptible to this as well. But this is lawlessness of which Yeshua has no part of (see Matthew 7:23). Yeshua further raises the standard right after this lesson by teaching that we should love our enemies as opposed to the oral tradition of loving your neighbor only and hating your enemy (Matthew 5:43). We are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Genesis 17:1, 1 Kings 8:61, Psalm 101:2-6, Matthew 5:48).

Yeshua verses the Religious Elite

The above examples from the Sermon on the Mount are great examples to show that the teaching given and in-house debates had by Yeshua either had a large influence on Judaism at that time, or He agreed with some of the other Rabbi’s because the Talmud actually agrees with the above teaching and does not adhere to whichever oral tradition Yeshua was opposing at that time. But Yeshua maintained this truth against tradition theme throughout His entire ministry, and some of the other Pharisees were both mocked and insulted by Yeshua when either their religious dogma or their personal behaviour contradicted HaShem's Torah. A most prominent example is the legalism of the Sabbath, which made it a burden for many to keep, and this continues in some sects of Orthodox Judaism today. But any Netzarim or Karaite Jew will tell you what a delight it is to keep the Sabbath, as both groups adhere to a more balanced interpretation of HaShem's Torah, which Yeshua emphasized in saying that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). Other legalism attacked by Yeshua was the distorted washing rituals of the Pharisees in Matthew 15 and Mark 7, proclaiming that appearing to be clean on the outside will not change the fact that you are unclean on the inside. HaShem knows your heart, so you must seek His approval rather then the approval of men from a strictly outwardly righteous appearance. In other words, as continually pointed out in this article, HaShem must be your authority who justifies you based upon your humble turning towards Him, and no one else, for salvation.

Now the heat of the arguments Yeshua had with the religious authorities of the time comes to a climax when, in Matthew 23:13-36, Yeshua proceeds to list off eight woes to both the Scribes and Pharisees. Sadly, however, these same woes could be placed on many of our "religious leaders" today who claim to follow the very person that would be speaking against them.

The Teaching of Yeshua verses Today's Religion

The false doctrine within Pharisaical Judaism that was prevalent during Yeshua's ministry, the very bad theology that Paul spoke against, continued to distort the world with it's legalism (salvation by conversion, fasting, prayer and good works) and it’s attitudes (Gentiles are unclean and therefore unsaved) once Yeshua had ascended into heaven. This consequently was one thing which turned many away from HaShem's Torah, and eventually led to the all-Gentile church rejecting anything Jewish in general (this was most prevalent once Constantine became the authority instead of Yeshua. For more info, consider this video). Indeed, the fence remained, separating the two once more, reversing Paul's statement in Ephesians 2:15. The post-apostolic church may have been convinced that they had it right, but without an intricate knowledge of HaShem's instruction (let alone having it [the Torah] available for the masses to study and read so that they could discern for themselves what is pleasing to G-d as we now do today) how were they able to stay true to the "faith which was once delivered" (Jude 1:3)? Paul knew what was to happen when he said,

"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;" (Acts 20:29 NASB)
Already at the writing of the letter of Jude this was happening (see Jude 1:3-4), yet many fail to realize that the authorities they place themselves under are products of those very savage wolves. I'm going to try and be brief here, but let's go through some of the teachings of Yeshua and how they accurately describe practices found in our religions today. In Matthew 15 Yeshua states,

"And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of G-d for the sake of your tradition?" (Matthew 15:3 NASB with title correction)
Now just a few verses later, Yeshua (in Matthew 15) quotes Isaiah to further his Truth,

There are many other examples I could go over from any religion or corresponding denomination, but I feel this establishes the point I've intended to get across. However, after saying this, there are some very important issues which must be addressed.

All Religion is False Religion

Every denomination has their own rebuke for some of the points I've brought up above, but regardless of what they say or believe, that does not change G-d's truth, and Paul clearly makes a points in saying this to the Romans,

"For if some of them have not believed, have they, by their not believing, made the faith of Elohim inefficient? Far be it: for Elohim is truthful, and every man false: as it is written: "That you might be upright in your declarations; and be found pure when they judge you." (Romans 3:34 AENT, emphasis added)
The fact of the matter is that EVERY religion is false (at least to a point), for only G-d is truthful, and His embodiment of Yeshua points to Mashiyach as being the only Way, Truth and Life. Only those denominations who put Him as their King and Authority are safe to follow, for anyone who elevates themselves above Him is falling prey to the very first lie of Satan in Genesis 3:5, which is the root of all false religion. Now, despite the difficulties of Yeshua's teaching, Peter knew all too well that Salvation comes from no one else in saying,

"My Master, to whom should we go? You have the words of life that is eternal" (John 6:68b, AENT, emphasis added)
In reality, at the end of the day, it does not matter what the religious institution believes for it is up to YOU to be upright in your declaration, and be found pure in your faith on the day of judgment (where the true believers will be sorted from the lukewarm). And the only One who has the words of life that is eternal is Yeshua the Mashiyach! He is the true Teacher; everyone else is but a brother/servant. In saying this, I must strictly emphasize that everything brought up in this essay alone should be taken with a grain of salt. Search the Scriptures (accurate versions please) for yourselves!! Study earnestly and pray diligently, for only G-d is truthful and I am but just one brother in Mashiyach to you all.

The Role of Religion and You

I hope that you have not found yourself asking the question "which religion should I follow then?" during the course of this essay. If so, then you've completely missed the point. The only One whom you should follow is Yeshua, for He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. In saying this though, I do not mean to imply that all religion is futile and worthless. On the contrary, our religions and their institutions can play a vital role in the faith of many who will then work towards establishing the Kingdom of Heaven (beginning from with in by having Torah written upon the heart). While it is true that some are certainly better than others, nonetheless, we all need guidance in order to be introduced to Yeshua, and not everyone is able to obtain this from their parents. The point I'd like to make therefore is that our religious institutions are stepping stones; a means to an end, but never an end unto itself. Mashiyach must be the goal, but in order to reach that, you need to free your mind from religious baggage and turn to HaShem directly. And to truly get to know Him and His Mashiyach, you need to do some work (all good relationships require work, right?). You can't rely on your religious institution alone, especially since their practices may not always be Scriptural as pointed out in this essay. Let me give an analogy to explain this further.

Growing up as kids, we need the structure provided by our parents as a means to learn and grow into the young adults we become upon leaving to start our own lives. During this transition from childhood to adulthood, we begin to become more and more independent, relying less on our parent’s guidance and more on ourselves. Despite this however, we should never stop going to our parents for both advice and guidance. Now, in much the same way, as children we require structure as a means to learn and grow in our faith in Yeshua the Mashiyach. But there too comes a transitional phase where we must begin to search the Scriptures for ourselves, relying less on our religious institutions, and more on Yeshua our Mashiyach (becoming His disciple in the process). Despite this however, we should still consult our brothers and sisters in Mashiyach for guidance and support, being careful not to stray from the path of Truth into the hands of the adversary. In saying this, I urge you all to discuss and give feedback (and I thank those who have already provided it; it has helped me to grow and I hope it is also helping you). But the point here is ultimately to rely on HaShem as our Authority/Father, who dwells in Mashiyach as our Leader and Teacher. We must not become complacent in our religious institutions but thirst for His Truth by reading the Scriptures daily. In doing this, we move our hearts closer to HaShem, and become what is called the faithful remnant...

The Faithful Remnant

If G-d is truthful and every man false, then surely those who search the Word of HaShem and thirst after His Truth will work towards the fulfillment of this prophecy,

"O HaShem, my strength and my stronghold and my refuge, in the day of distress the gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say "Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility, and there is no value in them." Would a man make god’s for himself, which are not god’s? Therefore see, I am causing them to know, this time I cause them to know My hand and My might. And they shall know that My name is HaShem!" (Jeremiah 16:19-21, ISR emphasis added)
Yes, most Christians have indeed inherited lies (falsehood) from the pagan cultural backgrounds of the Gentile church, those things that are foreign to Scripture (when Scripture is taught properly, you will find truth in the church). These sorts of things have been made reference to with in this article. For example, once again, many institutions have adopted a multitude of graven images for people who desire a sign, but as Yeshua clearly said, no sign will be given to this adulterous generation. Everyone wants a sign or an image to hold on to, but they forget what G-d has already given us. In regards to these sorts of lies, the following scripture should be considered,

"I am [HaShem], that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:8 NASB with Name edit)
We have attempted to give His glory to titles, images and traditions that never belonged to Him. The graven images in which we created (walk into any Catholic Church) are everywhere, and throughout all this time, we've forgotten His Name, His character; the very essence of who He is. His Name refers to His reputation, and these are concepts that are firmly based in Torah values and principles (not “church doctrine”). And truly it is the one memorial that was supposed to be remembered for ALL the generations. But the remnant knows that HaShem has glorified His name once before, and He will glorify it again as heard by everyone who surrounded Yeshua when He prayed to the Father in John 12:28.

We've also inherited the lie that it's perfectly alright to ignore HaShem's feasts, customs, laws, and instructions, all the while adopting pagan ones instead. But the following Scriptures command otherwise for ANYONE who would choose to be a child of G-d,

"When you enter the land which [HaShem] your G-d gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations." (Deuteronomy 18:9 NASB with Name edit, emphasis added)

" take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.' You shall not worship [HaShem] your G-d in that way;" (Deuteronomy 12:30-31a ESV with Name edit, emphasis added)

"Thus said HaShem, "Do not learn the way of the heathen, and do not be awed by the signs of the heavens, for the gentiles are awed by them. For the customs of these peoples are worthless" (Jeremiah 10:2-3a, emphasis added)

"And you shall guard My Charge, so as not to do any of these abominable practices which were done before, so as not to defile yourselves by them. I am Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh your Elohim" (Leviticus 18:30 ISR, emphasis added)

"The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before [HaShem] : The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you." (Numbers 15:15-16 NIV with Name edit, emphasis added)

But the remnant knows that HaShem's feasts and Sabbath were signs to remember for all the generations (Exodus 31:13) and that they are to show that we love G-d and that His love dwells in us (1 John 5:3). Truly, if Gentiles are to be grafted in as G-d's people too, set apart for Him, and loving Him with all of their heart and all of their soul, then they too were given these signs to observe, and that many will come to their observance in the end times anyway (Zechariah 14:16).

Going back to the original prophecy (Jeremiah 16:19-21), would a man make "gods" for himself which are not the one true G-d? Certainly! This happens constantly both with in and outside of our religious institutions. When life gets hard, we go running to our idols instead of HaShem, creating a false sense of support. We often talk about what we "think" G-d is thinking, or how He views something. Yet in doing this we often don't have a Scripture backing for it. Without Scriptural support, we create our own version of G-d by talking about how we'd like Him to be, rather then who He really is. The Catholic Church, as a political entity, has done this for centuries in trying to control the people, fulfilling the timeless prophecy of Jeremiah 16 (and the protestant daughter churches have inherited all sorts of weird ideas because of it). But the remnant knows that G-d is the beginning and the end; who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty! (Revelations 1:8) They know that He means what He says (He is a G-d of truth Isaiah 65:16) and that He does not change (Malachi 3:6). Therefore, the remnant pays attention to His everlasting word and takes Him seriously, thirsting their hearts after His Truth rather than seeking the praise of men. The remnant, amidst the sin of the world, seeks to please HaShem above all else, following after the command to "come out of her my people" (Revelation 18:4). For there is nothing and no one other than G-d in whom we can trust completely while on earth. And we indeed know that His Great Name is HaShem (Jeremiah 16:21)!

One in Mashiyach, not in Religion

If you've heard it said that it's not about religion, but a relationship, then that is absolutely correct. Religion is man's way of trying to work towards G-d with the traditions and rituals done in religious institutions, where as Yeshua the Mashiyach is G-d coming to us and offering us a relationship with Him. You see, the only true mediator between us and G-d is Yeshua; not the pope, nor anyone else (all they can do is introduce us to Him). The reality of this matter is that HaShem truly IS real, and Yeshua IS the promised Mashiyach who came first as a suffering servant (Mashiyach ben Yospeh) and will return as the reigning king (Mashiyach ben Dawid). This reality therefore means that G-d is working in our very lives right now, despite the religious doctrine we may be adhering to. The key for us is to pay attention and catch Him at work, and then draw closer to Him by actively seeking Him out. This is not just a personal quest, but one that should involve the whole body of believers. See, Yeshua did not want us to be a religion, let alone multiple religions. He wanted us to be brothers; to be One in Him (Ephesians 3:15), as He and the Father are One (John 17:11). He wanted us to be a community and a people who keep the same feasts (HIS feasts - Lev 23:2) and HIS Shabbat (Lev 19:30), not our "own sabbath" on any day of the week that we please. No, we walk together as ONE people with ONE Shepherd and ONE Torah. We walk according to the Spirit (HIS Spirit), loving one another as He loved (and continues to love) us (John 15:12); working together and serving the only perfect Authority worthy of our respect and submission. For all men fall short of the glory of G-d, as it is written, "there is none righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10, Ecclesiastes 7:20). Religion divides, but Mashiyach brings together. He restores that which is lost; that which is broken. In this day and age with the multitude of religions and denominations, we are certainly both lost and broken when we consider what we have become as a whole since the apostolic era of early believers. I just pray that we may come together in perfect harmony through Mashiyach, not being divided by our religious dogma but rather, abiding in the love and truth of Mashiyach, for the glory of HaShem our G-d. It is not my objective to sow dissention or have anyone forsake the fellowship commanded by G-d (for we are always to be a community, not lone wolfs) but once again, our communities must not be “one man shows” but accountable to Mashiyach through a properly ordained Beit Din to lovingly settle disputes according to the will of HaShem.

I pray that this essay may be a blessing for all who read it, and that the words I have written here are an honest reflection of His words and His will; not my own. I pray that our hearts may be opened to His Truth; that we can give up any traditions or attitudes that may be keeping us from following His commandments and walking in the fullness of His blessing; the very commandments which set us apart from this world to abide in His love (John 14:15, 21, 15:10). Indeed, these commandments protect us as one body in Mashiyach. May we all have the faith of Abraham and follow the example of Mashiyach, loving one another as the true fulfillment of Torah (Romans 13:10). I ask for all these things in the blessed, mighty name of Yeshua haMashiyach. Amen.


PS - If you are a little overwhelmed by all of this, don't worry because HaShem is with you. As decided at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, you should learn Torah over time and apply it little by little as you come to get to know Him and become more set-apart, "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath" (Acts 15:21, NASB) Let us all come to repentance and turn back to HaShem through Yeshua the Mashiyach!