My intent is not to endorse Hebrew Roots or Messianic theology. Nor am I writing to endorse Christianity, Catholicism or even Judaism. It is not in my entire being to elevate Islam or any religious theological narrative born of the prophet Mohammed. My purpose is not to discard any religious teaching at all. I will say however, that my belief in the Biblical account is without question. I see more of a citizenship opportunity aligned with the Biblical Kingdom that is yet realized in the earth. I seek to understand and represent the culture, the language, and the history of GOD’S plan from Genesis to Revelation.
After reading several scholarly books addressing researched analysis denoting various cultural concepts, idiomatic expressions, poetic writings styles and literary works of the ancient world I have concluded that our modern world is a result of the ancient world. It’s just our turn. I can piece together cultural norms that we have that are handed up to us through the centuries. Many of our traditions are the result of ancient celebrations, coronations, and relationships of supposed gods and goddesses. Most of our holiday’s tie us directly to ancient communities whether thru political families and or the gods that those families worshiped and or invented.
Their world subsisted on agriculture and the ability to grow food and to feed livestock. They believed the gods were their benefactors and that pleasing them would bring about the harvest and the ability to survive. The Biblical account is based on this sort of existence. They would have no connection to Microsoft or Amazon! Their cultures would not be intertwined in our current reality but their gods most assuredly are. I started researching the world they lived in. I stopped forcing my cultural understanding of our modern world onto the text. See John Walton, “The Lost World of Genesis One.” Reading all of
Waltons “Lost World Series” was a game changer for me. Through a rather dramatic experience in 2007 the denominational churches that I had been attending were more than a little reticent to discuss what I was now pursuing. I was asked to leave a few churches because I had different questions than what was preferably being presented in the Sunday sermon. I asked questions that were foreign to the seminary trained.
Eventually, I found Hebrew Roots thru Pastor Mark Biltz of Tacoma, Washington. I was enthralled with what was pouring out of this man. So much so that I relocated from Vancouver, Washington to Tacoma in 2010. I wrote a book, the entire Biblical reality of my world flipped. I could not get enough of the “Jewish Stuff.” No church that I had ever attended taught this material. In fact, I learned about, “Replacement Theology” through various “Hebrew Roots” teachers, many of who I admire to this day. I am not likely to return to El Shaddai Ministries but Pastor Mark’s teaching on Replacement Theology helped me to understand why the numerous churches that I had attended were hateful of anything Jewish! How can antisemitism be this blatant while teaching material from Jewish writers?
As I confirmed the lessons presented by Mark Biltz through additional material and writings, I understood antisemitic teachings better in the Christian faith. After reading “The Roots of Christian Antisemitism” by Malcolm Hay (and other such works) I understood how entrenched the prejudices against anything Jewish is within Christian doctrine. It is just a fact…..
Anyway, I started learning that translations favored the denominations doing the translation. Well, the more ancient Hebrew that I was able to learn the more obvious the translations found in the Bible were miles and miles and yes, miles away from original concepts common to ancient Mesopotamia. Modern Biblical exegesis was more relatable to other modern writings. Through various scholars I was able to conclude that ancient Israel’s writers were relating to the world they lived in as well.
Learning the legal systems, literary styles and cultural norms in the ancient world helped me to understand better that we are what their world produced. Hence our traditions, political dynasties, and governmental institutions are not unique. Ancient Israel produced tyrannical rulers and faced invading armies not unlike their neighboring kingdoms and communities. The difference has always been the GOD of the Israelites.
I read Dr. Dinah Dye’s book series, The Temple Revealed in Creation, The Temple Revealed in The Garden, and The Temple Revealed in Noah’s Ark. What I found to be exhilarating was the humanity that Dr. Dye visited regarding the people of the Genesis account. Adam is not just a spiritual man who makes the mother of all mistakes or the “Created from dust” motif that has fostered a plethora of misinterpretation but rather a person maneuvering through chaos, now appointed of GOD. The idea of Kingship and Government are also introduced in the Genesis account which Dr. Dye zeroes in on throughout her three books.
For me, I saw the story of one God doing something incredible through people that was not about pleasing the gods but rather about assisting in the work. I saw GOD asking people to interpret what he was doing for the first time as opposed to being a follower of Jesus alone. It occurred to me too, that all the story of Genesis is years before the religious systems that our modern lens attempts to comprehend. I asked a simple question (to myself)…..What church did Abraham attend?
This single question was the end of my church affiliations and religious foundation.
“Because Abraham kept my Statutes, Commandments and Laws.”
This verse, most likely cataloged hundreds of years later was not about Israel or Jewish anything. It was about being a part of the citizenship that Abraham aligned himself to. I also begun to realize that the first sentence of the Bible is the commencement origin, if you will of a planned kingdom, country, state, however you wish to describe it, of the place of GOD’s presence, Israel.
It was never in my consciousness to wear a Kippah or to tuck Tzitzits into my trousers. Nor have I ever thought that being grafted into the commonwealth of Israel meant that I need to convert to Judaism or follow the traditions that often led to chaos. Not all Jewish traditions are something to avoid. Fools do this sort of thing!
What is now more obligatory for me is to learn the ancient concepts that were used to interpret what GOD, has used mankind to do since the first letter of Genesis. The more that I learn about words used by the actual writers and interpreters in the ancient world the freer I am from the controls that religion imposes on humanity. People have been slaughtered because of religious interpretation.
GOD created boundaries, with rules and structure that support life and reveal the purpose of why we are created in the first place. He poured this information into everything but, to the writers of ancient Israel, who cataloged the lives of the individuals we continue to learn from their work is miraculous by design. To think that the books of the Bible are not inspired by GOD can only be accessed through ignorance of the text and how the books are comprised.
I see more of a governmental allegiance as opposed to a denominational commitment. I look at the world today and see tyrannical government and the need to appoint a person to represent the Kingdom of GOD. I think this is what the Gospels were all about. I see repeating patterns, immeasurable meaning, and incredible discovery as the Kingdom of GOD is announced thru literary, spiritual, and historical accounts presented from an ancient manuscript.
When I think of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, I think of these men in this way, announcing GOD! I see the disciples going out into the community under threat of death to represent the order of the King. I see Paul, not as a convert to Christianity but as a legal representative espousing GOD’S Statutes, His Commandments and His Laws during a time of chaos, tyrannical rulership, and horrific sexual immorality.
Like I said earlier, ‘We are what their societies produced.” The people we honor in the biblical text were far from feckless and disconnected, they fought the insanity by offering a different Kingdom.
I know myself to be full of human frailties, but I am free from religious doctrines that have grown up complicating the historical account of the GOD of the Bible. Unlike the gods of Rome, Greece, Persia, or Islam, the GOD of Israel has allowed me, a foreigner to understand the covenant structure of His rulership. I prefer to be a citizen serving others as I learn how to participate in the Kingdom of GOD which is, in my opinion still under construction.
To sit on the sidelines in small groups or congregations isolated from being light in a dark place is just contradictory to most of those we honor in the Biblical account, and to me. I never wanted to learn about the Bible so that I could go live off the grid or in the forests away from people. The people of Israel, living in the land have been fighting for their ancestral homeland for seventy-five years. Their government is often a mess and yet they cling to the land. These people face death and vilification around the globe and within the modern State of Israel unlike any nation on earth. Peace has not come to these people, but it is promised.
I often marvel at what humanity can accomplish, has accomplished. Considering all the people from the nations who flocked into the United States of America seeking freedom and a better life. I mean really, that happened! They came for better government. The nation prospered despite her blemishes. [And, with all her religious divisions] Nevertheless, I think people are amazing! How I think creates a sort of displacement in my life. I am a biblical conservative, politically engaged, not a son of Africa who would have never, in a billion years vote for those who would destroy my country. As one great big example, I saw Barack Obama as a destroyer. I never celebrated his skin color because I saw something much darker in him. I think the western world is in great, great trouble as a result of his presidency. To say that to other black Americans is tantamount to insanity but that’s another conversation. The idea of “Better Government” now lost in…translation.
I am watching the chaos often associated with tossing GOD of out the conversation. It is sort of like tossing a bowling ball from atop a building expecting it to go up. I live in an age where people want what they want regardless of the consequence. I know from studying history “tis” not a new behavior! The idea of nailing GOD to a tree was absurd too, and yet it was done. Much of the so called, “New Testament” was written in a simialr time. The hellenistic culture in their world is very similar to what we face today.
Recently I started wondering what would Biblical Abraham think of our world today? I don’t think he would be surprised by the chaos, the sexual immorality, the decadence, and corruption. I think he would be more amazed that despite the familiar human conditions the advancement of mankind would stun his sensibility. I don’t think that he would comprehend Western doctrines or embrace the religious concepts of today. I do believe that he would equate our very existence to GOD and wonder if we knew him at all.
I fully expect mankind will unleash a form of destruction upon the world that none has seen. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan prove an historical point. So too, do horrific abuses throughout the pages of history, imposed upon the weak and the innocent by powerful governments or individuals who attack against their neighbors through political conquest. I fully expect war unlike anything that we have seen on this planet. Even now there are global organizations determined to control the lives of people in a worldwide manner. The contrast between our ability to build and to destroy is historical and yet life still flourishes, birds still sing, oceans still roar and people still seek freedom. I believe in the GOD of the Bible because, I can see beyond our failures. I live in a place where being free to see our existence as something much larger than a religion or a moment in time brings an inner peace despite the turmoil and chaos.
Dennis Prager said, “The question is not why is there evil in the world but rather why is there good in the world?” At the end of the day, I understand better why GOD is still the Master of every outcome. We cannot destroy what He is doing! He asked mankind to help him build a house so that he might dwell amongst His people. I think that Abraham would be speechless at what is still under construction.
The following video helps me to comprehend the gift of life https://www.andiesisle.com/magnificent/creation_calls.html