25 April 2014

Theology or Faith?

I still find it interesting to read man’s critique about things which are only understood by faith.  No one will come to ‘know’ God or understand ‘who’ He is by scholarly study, but by following their heart and consciously doing what is right.  I don’t know how else to state this phenomenon, other than: one has to believe the Word in order to ‘see’ Him or in order to understand Him or in order for the hidden things to be revealed. 

It is this same faith Daniel had when he didn’t fear being thrown into the Lion’s den… or his three companions didn't fear death when they faithfully refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar, surviving the flames without a hair on their heads being singed… it is this same faith Joseph held when he was sold by his brothers, endured being falsely accused, yet continued to stay faithful to God in doing what was right and stayed obedient to his masters, later becoming the one to help save the empire of that time from scarcity and famine… with this same faith Moses walked into Pharaoh’s court and demanded his tribe be released from bondage… with this same faith Abraham, after the Lord speaking to him, left all he knew and traveled west following the Lord's instructions… it is by this same faith in God's Word one will know God, not so by much study what other men opine about the Word or doctrines or perceptions, but simply put: faithful living.  If one doesn’t believe the depictions of God moving in the old and new testaments, why are they surprised to not understand ‘who’ this God is?

Regarding Yeshua: imagine yourself trying to communicate with ants.  How would you interact, communicate and get a message across to the ants?  As it is, you being a human being, you are a giant in the sight of an ant… and the ants most likely can only see the end of your finger, not your entire body.  Imagine how ominous a sight if you were an ant and this gigantic being is interacting with you.  Now let’s depart thinking about ants when considering humans and let’s think about God and humans.  A Being without human definition is making attempts to communicate with humans.  This Being decided to create creatures with similar characteristics as to His.  Think now of Adam, the first man, made in His ‘image.’  Looking at a photograph of yourself, you can ‘see’ yourself in that photograph, but the photograph isn’t you, per say.  It is an ‘image’ of you; a much lesser representation of you.  Now think of what God did when He made you, me and every other person who has ever lived and is living today.  How was He to directly communicate with them and prove and fulfill things He promised long ago?  How was He to legitimize His own promises?  How was He able to give people hope for things to come in the future, even the hope of eternal life?  We all get a sense that death is going to be a part of life and understand we will cease to breathe at some point in time, so we all get a sense of that fear of the unknown after death.

He accomplished this by becoming a human, as was promised ( the good shepherd, the King, etc., all the ideas and earthly attributes necessary for common people to understand, like the mentioning of sheep and pastures, what herdsmen and farmers could relate to ), and brought hope for life after death by returning to life after being killed.  He proved it, and this proof made such an impact on those who walked with Him that their lives were forever changed.  The majority of them suffered death for what they believed, yet they were undeterred and fearless in the face of death, opposition and persecution!  They spread the good news and message of life after death everywhere they went… yet this ‘faith’ isn’t easily achieved with the studying of things, but by believing the message and good news, thus why ‘faith’ itself is considered a gift!

Yeshua, in describing things as simple as possible when speaking of heavenly and spiritual ideas, made most reference to the Father, bringing people into an intimate father-son relationship with God Almighty.  A commoner can understand the importance of a son; an heir to his toil and labor, a son is the most important investment when considering a legacy and continuance of values.  Yeshua established the connection of what it meant to be a true follower / believer / worshiper / son of God by referencing an obedient relationship with a heavenly Father.  He exemplified the behavior of such a faithful son in Himself!  On most occasions, He would direct all attention towards the Father, in order to teach His disciples and anyone who desired to follow / know God, what it was like and what it took to be what God intended with Adam in the garden ( obedience to your Father in all things and all circumstances, regardless of external forces and challenges to your obedience / faith ).  He taught them to pray to the Father, to always consider the Father in all things they did… and further promised the Holy Spirit to the believers ( a part of the Father residing in them to lead their hearts and consciences ).   He taught them that being religious isn’t the “way” to God, but doing good to others and being honest with yourself when others are not around is what the Father is looking for ( the notion of worshiping in spirit and in truth ), and this is the "Way" He exemplified and established… even dying for His friends, relatives and those who would later believe who may have condemned Him at the time ( think of the Roman soldier who exclaimed “surely He was the Son of God” ).  Yeshua is the example for us to follow, and He even stated that looking at Him was looking at the Father… yet because of man’s limited thinking, suspicions and religious blindness, it is easier to say He is the Son, again taking a humble position and giving all glory to the Father ( which is what we are supposed to do ).  We are dealing with a God who is beyond our understanding, but the words that best describe Him are: generous, ever-loving, patient, humble, kind, gracious, forgiving, gentle, caring, faithful, etc.. and these words and further explanations are found in His Word.

Regarding scripture forecasting God Himself working directly with His flock, without a man / prophet:

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.  This is the name by which he will be called:  The LORD Our Righteous Savior.”

- Jeremiah 23:5-6

“‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.  As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.  I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.  I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.  I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.  I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. “‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.’”

- Ezekiel 34:11-17

And the fulfillment of those predictions... here is one place:

"When the men came to Yeshua, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

At that very time Yeshua cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.  So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me."  

- Luke 7:20-23

The Israelites at the time Christ walked the earth did lie down and graze upon His Word ( the bread of Life )... they did enjoy being pastured by Him... the weak and injured were strengthened and healed.

My friends and family, these things are to be read in belief, not in a critical vein nor in suspicion, but in joyful exuberance that you have at arm’s reach the Words of eternal life!

Praise be to His Holy Name: Yeshua!