Compare the following two worship events.
It’s the seventh day of the week. Dressed in simple attire an unassuming young man sits by the seashore speaking to a small gathering. A gust of wind wafts the pungent aroma of fish and seaweed over the crowd. The teacher paints one vivid picture after another in stories that teach about sin, repentance, and the coming Kingdom. He talks of obedience and warns of wickedness and evil that could destroy His listeners’ faith. He quotes liberally from the Old Testament and explains that he has not come to bring peace and harmony to this world but by special calling to make a separation of His people by the sword of the Word.
He is provocative, His words are penetrating and his straight-to-the-heart style enraptures His audience. His amazing insights bring to the surface the deepest thoughts, motives, and guilt of His listeners. They are cut to the quick. They hang on His every word and many share a burning and repentant desire hence-forth to live by the truth He teaches.
We switch now to a different teacher at another place and time.
– It’s morning on the first day of the week. A black-robed man with chevrons on his sleeves and sporting a pricey necklace dangling a shiny silver cross steps up to a richly carved oak podium. The walls of his sanctuary are decorated with ornate fish symbols, crosses, and Greek letters on wide, velvet banners. Behind him on a polished altar burn two tiers of tall white candles. Rainbows of light shoot through colorfully painted windows.
– A red-robed choir stands ready, waiting for their cue to present a chorus of J.S. Bach accompanied by a huge, melodious pipe organ. The audience rises from their cushioned pews to echo the minister’s chants, after which he stretches out his arms and motions them to sit in unison.
– His stained-glass voice speaks of grace and acceptance of all faiths as just different routes to heaven. He tells his listeners to think positive thoughts and to love themselves or else they cannot love others. After quoting part of a verse in Galatians about the need to reject Scriptural law, he tops off his 15-minute message with a story of a 7-year-old child who loses a pet turtle.
– The choir sings a final selection and the audience quickly files out, satisfied that they fulfilled their spiritual duty for another week and eager to enjoy the rest of the day at the mall or head to the local links to play 18 holes.
A Forgotten Message
Here are two modes of worship, both purporting to teach truth but both at polar opposites.
The first by our Savior is firmly planted in the Word and is riveting, life-changing, and relevant for all ages. The other is a blend of pop psychology and trendy clichés focusing exclusively on increasing the listener’s own prosperity and self-fulfillment. Yahshua is missing from this message; the real focus is on self. People are urged to look within; to try to understand themselves; to come to grips with their problems, their hurts, their disap-pointments; to have their needs met, their desires granted, their wants fulfilled.
If they could be transported back 2,000 years to stand on the seashore and listen to the Messiah Yahshua teach, most churchgoers today would be too uncomfortable to linger long. His style and messsage are out of vogue, so how could they possibly have any truth?
But the real reason for rejection is more serious: Yahshua’s teachings of repentance, obedience, sacrificing self, and permanent change in personal behavior is offensive to a culture obsessed with self-fulfillment, self-achievement, and self-worship free of all restraints. And so He and His Word have gone AWOL from today’s pulpits.
The powers that be in churchianity are so completely focused on whatever works to bring in more members and money that they fear any Bible-based message that might work counter to this goal. Like making a stand for truth and risk losing friends and family.
Fearing what they themselves might discover, most worshipers today are unwilling to take their Bible out of their dresser drawer and see what it actually says. If they did they would quickly realize that what millions take for granted as right religious instruction is totally foreign to the teachings of the Scriptures.
Missing Foundation, Twisted Truth
How many have stopped to consider that the Savior was not a Christian but a Hebrew, a Jew? He based His teachings on truths from the Old Testament – the only Scriptures in existence at the time He walked this earth.
Christianity sprang from Israelite worship. That means its roots are deeply established in the Old Testament. This simple fact is a thinly veiled secret in today’s
denominations that have sought for centuries to separate themselves from anything “Jewish” or “Old Testament.”
But facts are facts and the proof is convicting. Consider this: because modern worship actually sprang from Old Testament worship, churches still have “altars” as did ancient Israel. It is the reason churches continue to take up “offerings,” just as Israel took their offerings each day to the tabernacle or temple. Because it grew out of Judaism, Christianity still gives lip service, at least, to keeping one day of the week “holy,” just as Judah and Israel kept holy the seventh-day Sabbath as the Word commands.
The weekly communion service is a carryover from Israel’s Passover, with its body and blood symbols. The word “Easter” in the KJV of Acts 12:4 mistranslates the Greek Pascha and the Old Testament Hebrew Pesach or Passover.
Worship areas of churches are known as “sanctuaries,” a throwback to the holy place in the Tabernacle and Temple. Music in the modern church service sprang from the Old Testament practice of singing Psalms, most of which King David wrote and set to music.
Church terms like “father,” “elder,” “priest,” and “shepherd” trace directly to the Old Testament. Similarly, “amen,” “halleluyah,” “Sabbath,” and other designations used in the modern worship service come untranslated right from the Hebrew. Many other terms used from time to time in churches today are pure Hebrew, too, like: abba, Satan, mammon, maranatha, raca, cummin, shekel, jubilee, corban, and hosanna.
Wrongly Dividing the Word
Despite these and other similarities with Old Testament practice and teaching, to advocate seriously using the Old Testament as the basis of Biblical truth would get you quickly ushered out the door of most churches today.
Through centuries of conditioning, the average Bible believer has been led to the false notion that the Old Testament and its system of worship, laws, and principles for living are dead. Its books are considered irrelevant. This is the same conditioning that would make today’s churchgoer uncomfortable gathering at a seashore for a worship service. It is just not what most are accustomed to.
It has been drilled into most churchgoers that the Old Testament’s 39 books have no significance today. Never mind that the Apostles and the Savior Himself quoted from, taught from, referred to, and based their teachings on Old Testament Scriptures. Never mind that the Old Testament continues to be published alongside the New in every Bible version coming off the modern press. Could it be that Yahweh has preserved His entire Word for a very important reason?
Suppose you were given a two-part novel to read. How much of it would you understand if you were told to skip Part One and go directly to Part Two?
Without solid grounding in the knowledge that the New Testament has Hebraic roots, that Christianity grew out of Judaism (nearly every one of the early converts was a Jew), and that the promises were given only to Israel (others are grafted in, Rom. 9 and 11), you would be open to manifold errors and even blinded to the basic Biblical message. This is the state nominal worship finds itself in. It has lost its moorings as well as its direction because it has left the fundamental teachings of the Word.
Without a firm footing in Yahweh’s law and commandments the modern church is powerless to confront today’s sin. Televangelists can talk forever about realizing your self-potential and seeking “what G-d wants for you” and – because they ignore the Word – get swept right into the cesspool along with the culture.
For today’s church to condemn society’s murder, stealing, lying, adultery, and every other rampant sin while simultaneously teaching against Biblical law is hypocrisy. If it insists on continuing to compete with worldly entertainment in its worship and continue watering down whatever might be left of a Bible-based message, the modern church will be powerless to stem the tide of runaway sin. In an effort to please listeners with pablum, it ties its own hands, Isaiah 30:10.
Paul, churchianity’s champion, is often said to teach a “law-less” New Testament as well. Paul explains the truth of the matter, however, in Acts 24:14, “But this I confess unto you, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” “Law and prophets” means the Old Testament with its laws and teachers. Paul supports the Commandments in 1Corinthians 7:19, and even maintains that the law has dominion over a man so long as he lives, Romans 7:1.
Notice what he says in writing to the Romans about the roots of True Worship: “For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away unrighteousness from Jacob,” Romans 11:25-26.
He calls it a “mystery,” Greek musterion, which refers to a sacred secret that Yahweh intends to carry out for the purpose of His Kingdom. That secret rests on the duration of Israel’s blindness. To bring the gentiles into the promise, Yahweh sent a Deliverer from Zion – not from Athens or Rome!
Notice that Paul does not say that Yahweh has a different plan for the church , which now replaces Israel. Rather, Yahweh has opened a way up for Gentiles to come into the covenant promise established with Israel. The New Covenant today is a takeoff of that first covenant with Israel. It is not a completely new plan applying exclusively to the “church.” It is an open covenant where others can join in salvation with His chosen. They must, however, still meet the conditions and standards of obedience just as in the first covenant.
Hebrews 8:7-13 clearly explains the main difference between the New as opposed to the Old Covenant, which in essence is putting His laws in our hearts and minds. Hebrews chapters 9 and 10 show that a change in priesthood and ritual means that the New Covenant is based on Yahshua as High Priest. His shed blood pays the penalty for sin, Hebrews 10:10. Animal blood under the Old Covenant served only to remind Israel of their sins, not remove those sins, Hebrews 10:3-4.
Being totally ignorant of this fundamental truth of sin in the covenants, people have the notion that all churchgoers are headed for a reward in heaven regardless of what they believe or how they behave. In contradiction, Paul said all are damned who don’t believe the Truth, but enjoy unrigh-teousness (sin), 2Thessalonians 2:12.
The fact is, the Kingdom is promised only to those who are of Israel or become a part thereof through partaking in the one promise offered to all in the New Covenant through faith and obedience. That is the substance of Paul’s message. The wild olive is grafted in, not replanted and grown in a separate plot, Romans 11:17, 24.
Do not be deceived into going down the broad way that leads to death. The way of Truth means adhering to the “faith once delivered,” Jude 3. Return to the roots!
I really ENJOYED this and it CONFIRMED how I was feeling about what’s going on in the churches of today. The WORLD and it’s FOLLOWERS has taking CHRISTIANITY and made it into CHURCHIANITY and aree misleading people for MONEY. And, it TRULY is a SAD thing and a DISGRACE to OUR FATHER and HIS SON; YAHWEH and YAHSHUAH is their Names. THANKS for SHARING the TRUTH abot them. SHALOM