I have been a Christian now for many years, and in those years, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of Christianity. Christianity is a blessing, but it can also become a curse for us who adhere to it when we make man’s opinions or interpretations more important than the Bible. When we make man’s opinions or interpretations more important than the Bible, we are guilty of idol worship because a created human being gets elevated above the plain meaning of the word of God.
I dont know how long you have been a Christian, but try to think back to when you accepted Christ. Was the Bible difficult to understand?
When I think back to the day when I accepted Christ, I would have to say the Bible was easy to understand. It was only after I, as a new Christian, was told how to understand the Bible it became difficult.
The Bible in itself is very straightforward and not difficult at all; we broke Gods law back in the garden of Eden, God kicked us out of the garden to protect us from eating from the tree of life, God rescued us on the cross and allowed us to come back to Him if we accept Jesus. What I was told was difficult to understand was every little detail in between the garden of Eden and the cross, but in my mind, it was very straightforward; the Bible is and will always be a Jewish book written by Jews for Jews because God is a Jewish God.
If we allow the Bible to speak for itself, we can not deny that it is a Jewish book written by Jews for a Jewish audience with a Jewish God and a Jewish Messiah. This was one of the first things I understood when I read the Bible, but I also understood that the Bible said everyone could become a Jew. Then things got complicated.
As a new Christian, I was told we are Christians, not Jews. When I asked my pastor about how a person who accepts Christ is a Christian and not a Jew when the Bible says a person who accepts Christ is a Jew, I was told only a mature spiritual Christian could understand this, and I just needed to accept it.
The Bible is not a complicated book; Christianity as a religion is a complicated religion.
What had happened was that my pastors taught church doctrine, not the Bible. Church doctrine says things like; a person who accepts Christ is a Christian free from the law of Moses. The Bible says things like; a person who accepts Christ is a Jew, and a Christian obligated to keep the law of Moses.
We need to choose who to listen to, our pastors or the Bible. We need to choose who has the greater authority in our lives, our pastors or the Bible. Yehovah, our God, wrote the Bible; our pastors did not write the Bible; I would choose to listen to the book’s author. In my mind, the author of the book has greater authority.
Who do you look to when you need help understanding and interpreting the Bible? Do you look to the author of the Bible, or do you look to a human being?
Take, for instance, the word Christian. In Acts 11:26, the Bible says it was in Antioch; the disciples were first called Christians. Acts 11 says the disciples in Antioch lived as a sect of Judaism, not as a separate religion. So we know they were not called Christians because they had converted from Judaism to Christianity; they were called Christians because everything they said and did imitate the life of Christ. (1. John 2:6). And we know the Greek word Christian is a translation of the Hebrew word Messianic. So today, we would not have called them Christians; we would have said they were Messianic Jews.
When we allow the Bible to speak for itself, this is how we understand Acts 11:26 and the term Christian. This is how the author of the book intended it for us to understand what a Christian is. A Christian is a Messianic Jew, someone who keeps the law of Moses and believes Jesus is the Messiah.
Is this how you understand Acts 11:26?
If you are like me, you know what Acts 11:26 says, and you know that this is what God intended it to say. Still, in the back of your mind, you hear the voice of your pastor or Christian authority figures in your life, telling you, “a Christian is not a Jew; a Christian is someone who is a member of a religion that has got nothing to do with Judaism or anything Jewish because Christ came to set us free from the law of Moses.
So you have to make a choice, who do you listen to? The author of the Bible who intended us to become Messianic Jews? A human being who has no interest in what the Bible says because they see it as their number 1 task to defend church doctrine and not the Bible?
I have been a Christian now for many years, and in those years, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of Christianity. The bad and the ugly are pastors and leaders who have no interest in the Bible; their only desire is to defend church doctrine. The good is the Bible in itself:
Here in the Bible, we find a Jewish God whose name is Yehovah. He has created everything and everyone, and He is the only God; there is no one like Him. Because He is the creator of everything and everyone, He is the only one who gets to decide what is a sin and what is righteousness. If we disregard or ignore what He says is a sin, He is the only one who gets to decide what the consequences will be.
In the Bible, Yehovah has told us the consequences of breaking His law are death and an eternity in hell. Even so, from the first pages of Genesis, we see how He has always provided a way for us to stay out of hell and continue under His protection and guidance. If we will become law-abiding citizens of His Kingdom and become reconciled to Him through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, He will forgive and forget our sins.
When we repent and become reconciled, we will become Jews and Christians.
As we saw earlier, a Jew and a Christian are two words describing the same person; a man or a woman who lives in obedience to the law of Moses, believing in Jesus as their Messiah. And yes, I know, this is not what you are used to. You are used to thinking of a Jew or a Christian as two individuals belonging to two different religions. This is why you have to choose who to listen to, the author of the book or a human being who is more concerned with church doctrine.
Church doctrine, often written and compiled by people who hated Jews, would tell you a Christian is not a Jew. The Bible, written and compiled by God, would tell you a Christian and a Jew are two words describing the same person; a man or a woman living in obedience to the law of Moses, believing in Jesus as their Messiah, regardless of DNA or ancestry.