Some time ago, I was having a conversation with a gentleman. He told me the Bible says Ismael is the founder of Islam and Salome was Herod’s daughter, the one who asked for the head of John the Baptist. When I asked where he got this information from, he said it is in the Bible.
I then opened my Bible and asked him to show me where; he searched through the Bible and had to admit he could not find it anywhere.
What my friend had done was a classic mistake we often make when reading the Bible. We sometimes tend to read back into the text information that is not there, from sources outside the Bible. My friend had heard someone telling him Salome was the name of Herod’s daughter, but this they had gotten from the Jewish historian Josephus. A Muslim had told him Ismael was the founder of Islam. Then my friend took these two pieces of information, and when he read the text in the Bible about Ismael, he mentally connected what he read to what his Muslim friends had told him. He did the same thing with Herod’s daughter, and the consequences were him ending up with two false memories of the Bible.
My friend is not the kind of guy who studies the Bible regularly. He reads his Bible once a while, but he always makes sure to listen to his favorite TV evangelist and his local pastor. He has read through the Bible once in his life, but when he reads it now, he only reads the New Testament. His lack of interest in his Bible was the reason why he ended up with two false memories.
What happened to my friend is quite common among Christians. We seldom read and study the Bible for ourselves, and if we do, we almost always read only the New Testament. Like my friend, our faith is in our pastors/tv evangelists’ interpretation of the Bible, not the Bible itself. But what we dont know is that a pastor’s loyalty is always in his Bible + something else.
When a pastor gets up to preach, they base their sermons on the Bible + several other sources such as Bible commentaries and their denominational agenda to enforce doctrine. Usually, a pastor will not tell their congregation which part of the sermon comes from the Bible and which part is based on other sources. The congregation believes they are being fed the word of God, so they blindly accept everything being said as from the Bible and only from the Bible. So the next time they read their Bible, they do what my friend did and interpret the text based on what they have heard, not on what the book says.
We must let the Bible speak for itself, and we must have the Bible and the Bible alone as the only source for our faith.
What would you say if I asked you who the Apostle Paul was? There are two answers to this question, depending on how much you read your Bible.
As a Christian, your answer would be somewhere along the lines of He was the Apostle to the heathens, the one who rediscovered salvation by grace through faith.
Where in the Bible does it say the Apostle Paul rediscovered salvation by grace through faith?
Most Christians end up with this false impression of Paul because they never study the Old Testament, they seldom, if ever, read the New, and they base their faith on their pastor’s interpretation of the Bible. This is why the Paul they think they know is not Paul in the Bible.
When Paul wrote the book of Romans, the New Testament would not exist for another 400 years. Everything He says in the book of Romans can not be adequately understood unless you first study Pauls’s Bible, the Old Testament. Studying the Old Testament gives us the correct understanding of Paul and what he was trying to tell us.
Then we will not see him as an Apostle to the heathens preaching salvation by grace through faith; instead, we will see him as an Apostle to the heathens, telling them to repent back to Yehovah through faith in the cross shown in obedience to Moses.
But a correct understanding of Paul also opens up a new understanding of our God, a side of our God Yehovah we usually dont like to talk too much about.
We all enjoy listening to sermons telling us how much God loves us and wants us to succeed in life. And because most Christians seldom, if ever, read their Bible, they have this impression of Yehovah as one white-bearded senile grandfather who is a millionaire more resembling Santa clause then Yehovah. Their god does not care too much how they live their lives as long as they dont do anything major such as murder. He wants them to be happy, blessed, and live successful lives even if it means never changing as a person and never maturing. As long as they believe in Jesus, they have their fire insurance guaranteed a ticket home to heaven.
This god comes from a false understanding of Paul. Paul the Apostle never preached a god like this; if he had walked into one of our churches today, he would have written us a stern rebuke in one of his letters equal to the letter he sent to the Galatians.
But what happens if we have a correct understanding of Paul?
Then we see how Paul the Apostle, in Romans 2:5-12 and 2:13, says the same thing as Jesus in Matt 7:21-23 and Yehovah in Deut 28. Here in Romans 2, Paul says our salvation depends on our Torah obedience. If we obey the Torah (which is the same as following Moses), we will be saved. If we disobey the Torah, 2:8 says we will be unrighteous and live under Yehovah’s wrath and fury. From 2:9-12, Paul even says if we obey the Torah, Yehovah will bless us and meet our every need. If we disobey the Torah, Yehovah will curse us and make sure we fail in life. This is the same thing as Jesus says in Matt 6:25-34, and Yehovah in Deut 28.
What Paul is trying to tell us is that judgment is coming. Yehovah will judge us both in this life, and the next, depending on our disobedience or lack of disobedience to the Torah. So if Paul was alive today, one of the things he would have told you as a Christian is this: If you reject Moses, you will be rejected by Yehovah. (Matt 7:21-23.) If you accept Moses and follow Moses, Yehovah will accept you and bless you in return.
The fact that judgment is coming and the criteria for being judged or not judged is our obedience to Moses is kind of important. We should pay attention to Paul about what he is trying to tell us here. But because so many of you who are Christians never actually read your Bibles, you will end up in judgment in hell for eternity.
A false understanding of Paul will not only send you to hell for eternity; you will also not be able to overcome the devil.
The Bible warns us time and time again; we have a genuine spiritual enemy who has been permitted to test us and to accuse us if he finds fault with us. The devil does not mind if you read your Bible once in a while, as long as he can make sure you interpret your Bible through what you have heard about it so you can make false assumptions such as Ismael being the father of Islam and Solome the daughter of Herod. He does mind, though, and what he fears are those Christians who read their Bible and obey it. They are the ones who have power and authority over the devil.
The Bible confirms this in Rev 12 and 14; if we obey Moses and believe in the cross, we will overcome the devil.
Choose to be an overcomer today, follow Moses, believe Yeshua died for your sins, and you will overcome the devil.