Culture and our society change and evolve more and more for each day, sometimes for good but also the worse. Sometimes the change happens so fast that we who are alive today right now in 2020 have gotten to experience both time with all the things we take for granted today and without them. I can remember how it was like to live in a world without the Internet and Facebook. Back then, we used letters in the mail (snail mail) to communicate, and sometimes we had to wait for weeks until we got a reply. Now in 2020, we get impatient if someone on Messenger has not replied to us instantly.
If we who are alive today had the opportunity to travel in time and talk to someone living in 1995, they would have a hard time understanding us. Now in 2020, we use expressions like Messenger, Instagram, snap chat, Facebook, PM, and other words and phrases that would be unfamiliar to someone living in 1995. So if we want to understand the culture back then, in 1995, we have to adjust ourselves to their way of thinking. To be able to understand someone living in 1995, we first have to contextualize everything they say, do and think to their reality in a world without much the things we take for granted today. We can’t understand them unless we first understand how they think and their culture.
If we want to understand the Bible, we first have to contextualize everything in it to the time, culture, age, and people group it was written to. We know for a fact the Bible was not written to someone living in 2020, it was written by Jewish men who never stopped being Jewish, living in the Middle East many centuries ago. It was not written in English; it was written in Hebrew and Greek. We can’t understand the Bible if we try to read it with the mind of someone living in the year 2020 who is born into a society strongly influenced by Greek philosophy and the theology of influential antisemitic church leaders.
If we want to understand the New Testament, we first have to contextualize everything in it to the time, age, culture, language, and people group it was written to. We know for a fact the New Testament did not exist until 300 years after the birth of Christ. When Yehoshua (Yeshua/Jesus) walked among us, He did not have a New Testament. When Paul the Apostle wrote his letters, he did not have a New Testament; when Jakob, John, James, Peter wrote their letters, they did not have a New Testament. If we want to understand what Yehoshua, Paul, Peter, James, John, Jakob meant, we first have to remember they only had the Old Testament.
If we want to understand the New Testament, we first have to make sure we understand the Old. If we’re going to understand the Old Testament, we first have to make sure we know Hebrew culture, language, and society at the time the Old Testament was written.
Sadly, most Christians and atheists choose to ignore the Old Testament and the context of Hebrew culture and society. This error will one day cause them to lose their souls. Atheists who have never actually studied Hebrew culture or opened a Bible continually make false assumptions and accusations against God, choosing to ignore His offer of reconciliation and forgiveness because they have believed a lie. Christians who have been told time and time again, the Old Testament is not relevant today by antisemitic church leaders have chosen to believe a lie that, in the end, will cost them their souls.
We have to remember the Bible says we have a genuine enemy, the devil. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it was not because they ate of the apple, it was because they changed the word of God by adding to it. When atheists and Christians add to the word of God or change it by saying the Torah does not apply to us, they are repeating the sins of our forefathers Adam and Eve.
We know from secular history, the New Testament did not exist until 300 years after the life of Christ. For the first 300 years of the church, Gentile and Jewish believers in Yehoshua as their Messiah lived according to the law of Moses. Gentile and Jewish believers in Yehoshua as their Messiah celebrated the Jewish Shabbat, they kept the Kosher food laws in the Bible, and they were circumcised. Back then, the idea that Yehoshua came to “free us from the law of Moses” or the idea that says “the law of Moses was done away with at the cross” would rightly so have been labeled as heresy.
It was not until Emperor Constantine made it illegal for Gentile believers in Yehoshua to partake in Jewish customs and religion we saw a split between Jewish and Gentile believers. Constantine was a mortal, sinful human being, but even so, most Christians today have chosen to obey him and his teachings instead of the Bible. If you believe the law of Moses does not apply to you, or it was done away with at the cross, your god is Constantine and not Yehovah.
Is it any wonder you sometimes are tempted to doubt your salvation and even doubt God’s existence? The doubt you feel deep down inside is the Holy Spirit trying to warn you and persuade you to repent from obeying and worshiping the man Constantine.
One of Constantines and Agustine’s favorite doctrines would be the doctrine of “the sin nature.” In most churches today, this is accepted as Biblical proof telling us all humans are inherently evil and unable to do good, and this is why we need salvation. If we take an honest look at ourselves and the society around us, we have to admit that even an unbeliever is well able to do good. There are a lot of “good” people in the world who have rejected Christ a long time ago.
The doctrine of the sin nature is nothing more than a phantasy made up in the minds of men like Emperor Constantine, the theologian Tertullian and Augustine. The Bible, on the other hand, says every human being alive today is born perfect into this world and ready to do good. So we have to make up our minds, who do we listen to, the Bible who says even an unbeliever can do good? Mortal, sinful human beings like Constantine, Augustine, and Tertullian, who claim unbelievers are unable to do good?
If your God is Yehovah, you would, of course, listen to the Bible.
If this is true and even the unsaved can do good, why then do we need salvation? Yehoshua gives us the answer to this when He says to the rich young ruler in the Bible, only those who obey the law of Moses can be considered good enough. We have all at one time wilfully disobeyed the law of Moses; this is why we need to be reconciled to Yehovah by repentance and faith in the cross.
How can you know for sure the doctrine of the sin nature is not in the Bible? The doctrine of the sin nature said when Adam and Eve ate of the apple, their nature changed, and from then on, everyone inherits their sinful nature. So from now on, we are born to do bad things that condemn us to hell because we can’t help ourselves, our nature wants to sin.
If you read the Bible, you will see something exciting that shows us Eve sinned before she ate of the apple and clearly says the doctrine of the sin nature is not in the Bible.
When Eve at first starts having a conversation with the snake, she repeats Yehovah’s instructions about the apple, but then she adds something to it that Yehovah had never said. The fall of man was not that she ate of the apple; the fall of man happened when she changed Yehovah’s instructions and lied about what He had told them. Eve was able to add to the word of Yehovah, and by doing so, sin, when she was perfect before the fall of man, had ever happened.
So what happens when Christians obey Constantine, Augustine, and Tertullian instead of obeying Yehovah? What happens when atheists make false assumptions about God and willfully ignore secular history and observable proof about the Bible? They repeat Eves sin by lying about what Yehovah said.
This brings us to the question, how can you know for sure there is a God?
The relationship between humans is on two levels, intimate friendships and people we dont know personally and have never met. Few of us have had the privilege of meeting an American President face to face, and even fewer of us can claim to know some of them as a close personal friend. Even so, we know, and we dont doubt they exist. We might not agree with Mr.Obama or Mr.Trump, but we dont walk around claiming they dont exist just because we have never met them, and we dont know them personally.
What would it take for someone to become your close personal friend? What would it take for someone to become a close personal friend of Mr.Obama or Mr.Trump? They would have to have something in common with you and them. If you found someone who shared your values, your morals, your ethics, and your interests, they would become your close personal friend very quickly.
How can you know for sure there is a God?
The Bible says in John 14 if you want to know for sure there is a God, you would first make sure to have something in common with Him. The Bible goes as far as to say that only those who share Yehovahs morals, ethics, and interests will know for sure there is a God, and they will have a close personal friendship with Him.
For the rest of you, who have no desire to share His ethics, morals, and interests will never have the opportunity to know Yehovah as a close personal friend. Instead, you will know Him the way you know Mr.Trump is the president of the USA right now and the way you know your local Sheriff. You can choose to ignore them and pretend they dont exist, but that does not change the fact that they have the authority to make sure you obey by federal and state laws. If you, at one point, should break one of those laws, you will have the opportunity to get to know them in a way you would later regret. It is the same thing with Yehovah; you can choose to ignore His existence and pretend He does not exist. You can decide to make all kinds of false assumptions about the Bible and believe all sorts of lies, but when you break His law (the Torah/the law of Moses), you will have the opportunity to get to know Yehovah’s wrath.
You can know for sure there is a God, and you can even have a close personal friendship with Him, but as with any other relationship, it has to be done on His terms. What are His terms?
Repentance (you turn from living a life in disobedience and start obeying the law of Moses) AND reconciliation by faith in the cross.
This, of course, would mean that Christians who have chosen Augustine, Tertullian, or Constantine as their God have no relationship with Yehovah (Matt 7:21-23). They will one day, together with all the atheists, have the opportunity to know Yehovah’s wrath for all eternity in hell.
It does not have to be that way, choose today to repent and believe in the cross.