There are many religions today. Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc; not to mention all the different sects that stem from these religions! In Christianity alone there are hundreds of different congregations, groups and sects! Yet, all of them have something in common. They all claim to possess the “truth.” Though they may differ in many things, they all claim to have the correct “truth.” If you are a Christian you might say “I have the truth.” If you are Islamist you might protest and say “nay but I have the real truth!” Now brethren, how do you measure truth? By what standard? Surely there can be only one true “truth”? More importantly, for there to be truth, there must also be Someone who gave that truth, who laid it’s foundation and determined right from wrong! There must be a Source of real truth! The Bible says that God (YAHVEH) is the One that laid the earth’s foundation; He is the One that created everything, even we!
The sum of Your Word is true; every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.(Psa 119:160)
Psa 119:160 says that God’s whole Word is truth! Someone might ask “How do you know the Bible is true?” The Bible has never been wrong or inaccurate in prophecy; archaeology has proven many times that the Bible is correct. There has never been a written Text as profound as the Bible!
But alas, as is the way of corruption, many men have tried to corrupt the Text of the Bible. When you look at the history of the Bible it is clear. Even today the modern translations of Scripture leave out or put in words (sometimes even whole sentences) under the pretence of “making it understandable to the modern man.” But YHVH (God) has been faithful in preserving His Word for the righteous! As it is written, His Word is a stumbling block to the wicked, but as sweet as a honeycomb to the righteous.
But the focus of this post is the vanity of religion. It has been said that religion was invented to keep man in subjection to the ruling authority! This can be seen in the “dark age” of mankind when the Scripture was only available to “learned” men (catholic priests) and not the average lay person! If one controls religion you have much influence. We don’t realize often how strong a belief may be and more so when it has been passed down for generation to generation. Corruption set in when our first parents (Adam and Eve) did not listen to YHVH’s instruction, but instead followed what they felt and believed to be right according to the “new information” that was given to them by the serpent. Since then everything man touches seems to decay and corrupt. If God said “Thou shalt not kill” the tendency of man is to do the opposite and kill. If God says “Keep my ways and honour my Word” man has the tendency to do just the opposite.
Man has become trapped in a “body of death.”
Romans 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?
And now we, just like Paul, cry out: “Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Who will set us free from the power of sin? Paul gives us the answer in verse 25:
Rom 7:25 I thank YAHWEH through Y’shua Messiah our Master!……
It is through the death of Y’shua our Messiah that we have been redeemed and set free from this body of death and at the resurrection we will be given incorruptible bodies and sin will be dealt with.
Now I want to ask the reader a question… Can religion save a person? Can faith in a religious institution, a rabbi, a pastor, a priest save a person? Will blind faith be enough when you stand before your Maker? What I have concluded is that most people would answer yes!! But this is a grave error and a deception that must be dealt with.
Let’s turn to the Scriptures for our answer. After God instituted the Levitical priesthood some people once again corrupted what God intended to be good. This is what the priests and prophets (who were supposed to teach YHVH’s Ways to His people) did:
Jeremiah 2:7 And I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you went in, you defiled My land and made My inheritance an abomination. The priests did not say, Where is YAHWEH? And they who handle the Torah did not know Me. And the shepherds rebelled against Me; and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after things not profitable.
Jeremiah 5:30 There is an appalling and horrible thing that has happened in the land.The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their hands; and My people love it so. And what will you do at the end of it?
Ezekiel 22:25 A plot by her prophets is in her midst, like a roaring lion tearing prey. They have devoured souls and they have taken the riches and gems. They multiplied her widows in her midst. Her priests have violated My Torah and have profaned My holy things. They have not divided between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and clean they have not taught. And they have hidden their eyes from the Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Zep 3:2 She did not listen to the voice; she did not receive correction; she did not trust in YAHWEH; she did not draw near to her Elohim. Her rulers within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they do not gnaw bones for the morning. Her prophets are proud, men of deceit; her priests have profaned the sanctuary; they have done violence to the Torah.
In these verses they are guilty of prophesying falsely in the Name of YHVH and of doing violence to His Law. They did not make a distinction between the clean and unclean (as God’s Law does), rather they loved the error more than the truth. And yet they appear to be “religious” men and women. God does not want forced obedience. He does not want a mere show of religion, and neither does He want lip-service. He does not want you to trust your religion, He wants you to trust HIM. He does not want you to trust your pastor or priest, He wants you to trust HIM. God is looking for that pure faith, that genuine heartfelt obedience out of a heart of love for Him and the brethren. He wants you to have real faith and to ACT upon it, not just sit passively and “believe” everything will be ok.
Micah 6:7 Will YAHWEH be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of torrents of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? O man, He has declared to you what is good. And what does YAHWEH require of you, but to do justice, and to love grace, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?
You can read in Mathew 23 how Y’shua spoke about the religious Pharisees and scribes. It is very clear that our God still wants us to love and obey Him from our heart, not because we have to or because the church says so, but because you know Him and He knows you!!
If we just obey a set of man-made rules because we have to, then our religion is vain and of no value. Listen to what our Messiah said:
Joh 17:3 And this is everlasting life, that they may know You, the Elohim of truth, and Yahshua Messiah, whom You have sent.
Y’shua is saying in this prayer that it IS eternal life that we may KNOW God and the Messiah whom He has sent. How well do you know God? Do you trust Him with everything or are there some things you would rather do yourself? More importantly, do you have a relationship with Him?
Its something we all can ponder about….
Shalom till next time.