Who’s Deceived?

In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.

Luke 13:28-29

By now it should be obvious that the theme of most of my blog posts concerns commandment keeping, and how the church at large is, for the most part, is not doing this. There are two schools of thought at minimum, and many more, if we consider all of the doctrine that has come into existence over the last 2000 years. Let’s examine the doctrines that I was taught in Catholic, Pentecostal and Baptist churches during the first 45 years of my life.

1. The Old Testament is a series of stories to give us material for life lessons, Sunday school stories and sermon topics. For example, “face your giants like David”. These giants may be out of control credit card debt, or an abusive boss. Another example is “don’t look back” as Lot’s wife was guilty of doing, causing her to turn into a pillar of salt. On one hand, the Old Testament is reduced to illustrations and children’s stories, yet on the other hand, we are told to believe every word written in the Bible because it is the Word of God.

2. Any Old Testament law that Yahweh gave to Moses is obsolete now, part of an old covenant that Jesus nailed to the cross. This includes eating unclean animals, sexual conduct, Sabbath and feast keeping. Those are all things that the Jews did, and Yahweh, or the LORD, is not concerned with those things anymore; some more, some less depending on what denomination a person references. All would agree eating unclean animals and feast days do not matter, except for the day of Pentecost in some denominations, which is the feast of Shavuot. Tithing is not part of this. Yahweh expects that law to stand, but not the others.

3. Jesus was born on December 25. This is the day we celebrate his birth. If questioned, we say no one knows when he was actually born, then sing happy birthday Jesus anyway. Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon after the spring equinox, and rose three days and three nights later, early Sunday morning, which is celebrated on the day of Easter.

4. The Sabbath is no longer important, although it was changed from the 7th day of the week to the 1st day of the week, Sunday. This is the Lord’s day now and it is expected that the believer will attend church at least one or two times, depending on the denomination.

5. There are two groups of people that belong to God. “The church”, which is expected to be miraculously removed from the Earth before a time period called “the tribulation”, and the “Jews”, who will be required to endure the period called “the tribulation” while “the church” is in heaven with Jesus.

6. When we die, some non-material part of us immediately goes to be with Jesus, where we will see disembodied spirits of our loved ones. Unless of course we didn’t make it because of some undefined sin in our life, which then, our disembodied spirit goes to a place called hell, where the devil is with his demons. There is also something called a resurrection, where the believer gets their body back at some point.

There are obviously more items that we could consider; however, these give a generalized view of what I learned in all the years I attended the various denominations mentioned earlier. Are these views right? Does a non-material part of us depart to a good place or bad place when we die as the greek philosophers taught? Does God have two groups of followers He treats differently? Most importantly, did the laws, or instructions given by Yahweh, really get eliminated so we no longer have to be concerned with them? What if that view is wrong? What are the ramifications of thinking we no longer are required to do anything Yahweh said? What if the deception Jesus spoke about was these very things I am speaking about?

Mat 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

I have always wondered who the elect were that could be deceived, and I always prayed that I would somehow not be one of these people tricked and bamboozled out of the Kingdom of God. It was not until I started studying the Bible and asking hard questions of my belief systems that I realized something: either most of what I believed was wrong, or we have to take what tradition tells us as truth above what the Word of God tells us.

Unfortunately, in my experience, it does not go well when any of these points are brought up to people in church leadership who, logically, should be able to easily make things clear. After all, they are formerly educated in theology and their job is to study scripture, pray, and know these things inside out. At one time, I thought the reason I could not reconcile scripture with the theology I was being taught was due to my lack of understanding. As I studied more, I began to realize no one could reconcile scripture with many of our belief systems handed down to us. “It’s a mystery” is not an acceptable answer for questions with potentially eternal consequences.

I am extremely happy that no one was able to satisfy my quest for truth. Now, the deception that I was wondering about earlier becomes clearer daily. So why all the effort trying to tell people what I have discovered, writing blog posts that seem to ramble on and on? For one, in person discussion is complicated. It took me years, with hours of searching, praying and studying. It is impossible to have a discussion of these matters with someone who only gets a verse or two a week from the Bible, or a passage with modern commentary in a devotional every so often. These blog posts are meant to be a spring board for people who are interested in searching the heart of God for themselves. I do not want people to fall into the trap of blindly believing what they are told, and then just hoping for the best. It is critical for a successful life on Earth and the after life to seek God with all your heart. I will point out controversial matters so people that want to get it right will double check what they believe. If there is no concern of these matters, than that is a huge problem. I certainly do not understand it all, and collectively we could search and study together. With the help of the Holy Spirit of Truth, we could learn how to live a life pleasing to Yahweh. However, if we just want to be told what to believe, and are not allowed to ask hard questions, then it is not what seeking the heart of God looks like. It is merely a pagan cult with its associated rituals.

Act 17:10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.
Act 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Act 17:12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

The question is, do we do what the Father said to do, or do what religion tells us to do? Is the following verse in Jeremiah solely historical, or does it apply today as well?

Jer 6:16 Thus says Yahweh: “Stand at the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the way of the good is, and walk in it, and find rest for your inner selves. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Jer 6:17 And I raised up watchmen over you: ‘Listen attentively to the sound of a horn.’ But they said, ‘We will not listen attentively.’
Jer 6:18 Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O community, what will happen to them.
Jer 6:19 Hear, O earth, look, I am about to bring disaster to this people, the fruit of their plans, because they have not listened attentively to my words, and my teaching, they have rejected it also.

Judgement is coming. Do believers disobeying the Father really think they can live contrary to the Father’s commands and escape tribulation in a rapture? Look at this prophetic warning from Yahweh through the prophet Isaiah:

Isa 66:15 For look! Yahweh will come in fire, and his chariots like the storm wind, to give back his anger in wrath, and his rebuke in flames of fire.
Isa 66:16 For Yahweh enters into judgment on all flesh with fire and his sword, and those slain by Yahweh shall be many.
Isa 66:17 Those who sanctify themselves and those who cleanse themselves to go into the gardens after the one in the middle, eating the flesh of swine and detestable things and rodents together shall come to an end!” declares Yahweh.
Isa 66:18 “And I—their works and thoughts!—am about to come to gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory.
Isa 66:19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow; Tubal and Javan, the faraway coastlands that have not heard of my fame, and have not seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations,
Isa 66:20 and bring all your countrymen from all the nations as an offering to Yahweh on horses and chariots and in litters and on mules and camels, to my holy mountain, Jerusalem,” says Yahweh, “just as the sons of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of Yahweh.
Isa 66:21 And indeed, I will take some of them as priests and the Levites,” says Yahweh.
Isa 66:22 “For just as the new heavens and earth that I am about to make shall stand before me,” declares Yahweh, “so shall your descendants and your name stand.
Isa 66:23 And this shall happen: From new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath all flesh shall come to bow in worship before me,” says Yahweh.
Isa 66:24 “And they shall go out and look at the corpses of the people who have rebelled against me, for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

There is going to be some people group who are going to be eating rodents and swine’s flesh (hotdogs?) when Yahweh returns in the future, and He is not happy about it. I do not want that to be me. But wait, I thought it was Jesus coming back, not Yahweh? That is a good question, but for our purposes it means the same thing. These are the words of Jesus, also called Yeshua, meaning salvation.

Rev 22:11 The one who does evil, let him do evil still, and the defiled, let him be defiled still, and the righteous, let him practice righteousness still, and the holy, let him be holy still.”
Rev 22:12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to repay each one according to what his deeds are!
Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Rev 22:14 Blessed are the ones who wash their robes, so that their authority will be over the tree of life and they may enter into the city through the gates.
Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral people and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and who practices falsehood.

Jesus tells us to do the will of the Father.

Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Did the will of the Father change? If it truly did, what is the purpose of the Old Testament? Paul tells us the purpose of what we call the Old Testament. It is for teaching, correction, and training in righteousness. There was no other scripture when Paul wrote these words to Timothy.

2Ti 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
2Ti 3:15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

When I think of training for righteousness, these verses come to mind:

Lev 19:1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 19:2 “Speak to all the community of the Israelites, and say to them, ‘You must be holy, because I, Yahweh your God, am holy.
Lev 19:3 Each of you must revere your mother and your father, and you must keep my Sabbaths; I am Yahweh your God.
Lev 19:4 You must not turn to idols, and you must not make for yourselves gods of cast metal; I am Yahweh your God.

Lev 20:25 And you shall distinguish between the clean and the unclean animal and between the unclean and the clean bird; and you shall not defile yourselves with the animal or with the bird or with anything that moves along the ground that I have set apart for you as unclean.
Lev 20:26 And you shall be holy for me, because I, Yahweh, am holy, and I have singled you out from the nations to be mine.

Peter reiterates the same message in his letter to the Galatians and other dispersed Israelites:

1Pe 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1Pe 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,
1Pe 1:15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
1Pe 1:16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1Pe 1:17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
1Pe 1:18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,
1Pe 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

I read Peter’s message as follows: since Jesus ransomed you from your sin and inevitable eternal death with His own blood, and He is coming to judge according to each one’s deeds, be fearful and obedient to what the Father says to do.

There is only one way to be holy in conduct in the eyes of Yahweh. Imagine if I am wrong and at the judgement Jesus saying to me, “You were a little over zealous with guarding my commandments, just chill Gary”. That scenario seems ridiculous in light of all scripture. Peter says to conduct yourself in fear. He is not talking about fearing what the pastor will think if you can’t make it to Wednesday night Bible study, or if you do not donate to the next church building project. It is how you conduct your whole life before Yahweh. So, if I keep feast days and rest on Sabbaths as the Father said, and it turns out I didn’t have to, what have I lost? If I eat meat only from animals the Father declared clean and don’t mix the things of pagan gods with the things of Yahweh, will I be faulted for these actions by Yahweh? Not according to scripture. I also get the benefit of rest and eating healthy food. All of this is still useless without feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and the more important aspects of loving your neighbour. I have been only focusing the “love God with all your heart” commands. If you love Him, you will do what he says to do with love. Part of this love is warning others.

What if the church’s status quo is wrong? What if the majority are wrong? What will happen if we break all the commandments of Yahweh because we were deceived into thinking they didn’t matter anymore? What if Yahweh still gets angry because we use symbols of pagan gods for worshipping Him? What if He wants us to still do the fourth commandment and honour the Sabbath days because He is lord of the Sabbath, and the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath? The only conclusion I can find in scripture is that not regarding Yahweh’s instructions will not yield very good results, on Earth and in the future to come.

Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Luk 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Luk 13:25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’
Luk 13:26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’
Luk 13:27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’
Luk 13:28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

Notice in these next verses Jesus is purging the law breakers out of His kingdom. This does not appear to be speaking of people who are outside the kingdom already.

Mat 13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers,
Mat 13:42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

This is speaking of the tares and sounds much like the prophet Malachi. It should not be a surprise because Jesus, or Yeshua, is the salvation and Word of Yahweh. When Yahweh speaks through the prophets, is it not His Word Yeshua?

Mal 4:1 “For look! The day is about to come, burning like an oven, and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says Yahweh of hosts. “It will not leave behind for them root or branch.
Mal 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise, with healing in its wings, and you will go out and leap like fattened calves.
Mal 4:3 You will trample down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I am going to act,” says Yahweh of hosts.
Mal 4:4 “Remember the instruction of my servant Moses, which I commanded him at Horeb to all Israel, the rules and regulations.

It is the same event. A similar story in Ezekiel, where in the future, Yahweh will purge the rebels that transgress against Him from His own followers.

Eze 20:33 “As I live,” declares the Lord Yahweh, “surely with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with rage pouring forth I will reign as king over you!
Eze 20:34 And I will bring you from the peoples, and I will gather you from the countries to which you were scattered with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with rage poured out.
Eze 20:35 Then I will bring you to the desert of the peoples, and I will execute justice on you there face to face.
Eze 20:36 Just as I executed justice on your ancestors in the desert of the land of Egypt, likewise I will execute justice on you!” declares the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 20:37 “And I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.
Eze 20:38 And I will purge the rebels from among you and the ones transgressing against me; I will bring them out from the land where they are living as aliens, but into the land of Israel they will not come, and then you will know that I am Yahweh.

Finally, Paul’s message to Timothy is “depart from iniquity”.

2Ti 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Thankfully, we don’t have to guess what is meant by lawlessness, iniquity, transgressing against Yahweh, rebelling and sin. All we have to do is accept what virtually everyone who took part in putting scripture on paper told us. Personally, I think it is clear that we should endeavour to do exactly what the Father says to the best of our ability.

What if I am wrong? According to Deuteronomy, I get blessings for following the instructions of Yahweh.

Deu 28:1 “And it will happen that if you indeed listen to the voice of Yahweh your God, to diligently observe all his commandments that I am commanding you today, then Yahweh your God will set you above all the nations of the earth.
Deu 28:2 And all of these blessings shall come upon you, and they shall have an effect on you if you listen to the voice of Yahweh your God:

What if the “the law is nailed to the cross” and the “Old Testament doesn’t matter” crowd of the contemporary church is wrong? Depart, purge, consume, trampled, repayment, judgement, recompense; not a good scenario. Be sure of your faith! Repent!

Psa 119:162 I am rejoicing over your word, like one who finds great spoil.
Psa 119:163 I hate and abhor falsehood; I love your law.
Psa 119:164 I praise you seven times in the day for your righteous ordinances.
Psa 119:165 Great peace is for those who love your law, and they do not have a cause for stumbling.
Psa 119:166 I hope for your salvation, O Yahweh, and do your commands.

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