By Buel Hallpike
(Note: All Scripture quotations are shown in blue italics. Unless otherwise indicated, they are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Many persons, who say they have found the truth, merely mean they have discovered something that makes sense to them or to which they can relate. However that does not fit the accepted definition of ‘truth’.
In its general usage, truth is defined as "accuracy or authenticity; a verified or indisputable fact; that which is consistent with reality; and not false or erroneous". By this definition, truth is not what one conceives to be correct. It is unrelated to personal opinions, but instead is in harmony with irrefutable and accurate facts. In terms of doctrinal truths, if error is to be eliminated, there must be some authentic standard by which truth is measured. We cannot rely on convictions, scholarship, popularity, customs, feelings or persuasive arguments.
The highest and only infallible standard by which truth can be judged is the word of Yahweh commonly known as the Bible, For the word of [Yahweh] is right, And all His work is done in truth Ps 33:4. Again the psalmist wrote, "The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever" Ps 119:160. Only an immovable, unchanging standard will guarantee the truth throughout all generations.
Since the Bible is that fixed, ageless basis of truth, and because truth is unrelated to one’s opinion, why then are there thousands of denominations, throughout Christendom each claiming to have Bible-based doctrines and alleging to have the truth? How many different ‘truths’ can there be on any topic?
The World Christian Encyclopaedia estimated in the year 2000 that there were over 33,000 Christian denominations worldwide. According to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, this figure increased to approximately 39,000 denominations in 2008 and by 2025 the total is expected to rise to 55,000. But these figures cannot possibly include the many small groups that are constantly springing up. One thing is sure: They cannot all be right.
Because of the plethora of conflicting beliefs, the genuine seeker after truth can be easily led astray, end up confused or give up in his/her search for truth. Yahweh is not the author of confusion, and the ‘Yardstick’ by which truth is judged is not at fault. How then can so many seemingly earnest people come up with such widely varying and contradicting doctrines, with each asserting they are reading the same Book, and are being led by the same Holy Spirit? Why is this so and is there a way to cut through this massive maze of contradictions to find for yourself the truth and nothing but the truth as taught by Yahshua and practised by His earliest disciples?
The Origin and Sources of Error
Let us go to the place where error of doctrine first occurred. In the beginning there was only one assembly. Let us call it ‘The Eden Assembly’. It was a very small congregation. It consisted of only three members: Yahweh (as head), Adam and Eve. They were all in perfect harmony. To this idyllic scene, the sinister, serpent Satan entered with one purpose, which was not to promote unity among the founding members but to sow seeds of discord and rebellion. Who would have thought this perfect threesome cord which included the Almighty Himself, could be broken? Yet the unimaginable thing happened. The human members, Adam and Eve, succumbed to the wiles of the intruding enemy, when Satan caused Eve to question the command of Yahweh. They failed to heed the words of Yahweh but chose instead to act upon the smooth, slippery promises of the seductive invader that with subtlety drew them away from their Creator and from the prospect of eternal life. They were expelled from Eden. Disobedience to Yahweh’s words was the cause of their downfall.
Alas, rebellion against Yahweh became part of man’s inherited DNA. Not content with this seemingly significant triumph in the Garden of Eden, Satan never relinquished his purpose and strategy to seek to disrupt Yahweh’s plans at every stage of history. By adopting his attitudes, the united House of Israel, Yahweh’s chosen people, were split into two kingdoms. Once again disobedience was the cause of this division. They were taken into captivity and learned the ways of the heathens. Yahweh sent His only Son, Yahshua to restore both houses into one, and to bring them and all mankind into a closer relationship with Himself. Satan with his usual persistence attempted to wreck Yahweh’s plan of redemption when he tried to have Yahshua murdered at birth. Having failed in that attempt he tempted Yahshua to disobey Yahweh by offering Him a shortcut to fame. Satan did not succeed, for Yahshua had an inseparable bond with the Father and came down from heaven not to do His own will but the will of Him who sent Him (John 6:38). Thus Yahshua’s obedience to the Father blocked Satan’s attempt to derail Him. Yahshua accomplished His mission and built a body of men to continue His work on earth.
With unrelenting determination Satan set about to lead astray would-be followers of Yahweh in much the same way as he had deceived Eve. His objective was to break up the solid foundation of obedience to Yahweh that had been taught in the Old Testament and extended by Yahshua and His apostles in the New Testament. He turned Yahweh’s free provision of salvation, ‘Grace’, into the means of disobeying Yahweh’s Torah. Before the death of the apostles, divisions and false teachings had crept into the local assemblies. Jude found it necessary to write: Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, [wicked] men, who turn the GRACE of our [Elohim] into lewdness and deny the only [Elohim] and our [Saviour Yahshua the Messiah] Jude 3, 4.
These early divisions did not satisfy Satan’s inexhaustible hunger to defeat Yahweh’s purposes. Working through Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church with their hatred of Jews, Satan caused them to seek to root out anything Jewish, including obedience to the laws, which Yahweh had given to His chosen people. In place of truth, false doctrines entered the ‘Church’. These were propagated as being the same teachings of the earliest apostles, with whom the Roman Catholic Church conveniently alleged to have had a special affinity.
The cosmetic changes made by the Reformation did not remove some of the basic tenets of Roman Catholicism, which flouted the laws of Yahweh. Protestantism today has continued to uphold many doctrines that came from the Roman Catholic Church, such as the replacement of Yahweh’s seventh day Sabbath with Sunday; the cessation of celebrating Yahweh’s appointed Feast days; replacing the Passover with Easter and celebrating the pagan feast of Saturnalia under the pretence of commemorating our Saviour’s birth. All these have just one basic theme, which is to disobey Yahweh’s Torah.
The list of such irregularities is almost endless. Doctrines of materialism have crept in. Please read our article Be not deceived! - Part 3 This world is not your home. The concept of 'once saved always saved' and false theories on repentance, which were not taught by Yahshua or His early disciples, are popular today. Both of these are examined in our article 'Eternal Security'. Ignoring the words of Yahshua, many now teach that saints will escape the Tribulation. Please read our article 'Worthy to Escape the Tribulation?' Replacement theology in which 'Christians' are supposed to have replaced the Jews as Yahweh's chosen people, are rife. So also are notions that 'Grace' has done away with the need to obey Yahweh. Please read our article Be not deceived! - Part 2 The 'Grace' Deception.
At almost every stage of the history of Christianity, persons have sought to correct past errors of doctrines, yet no one had chosen to carry out a wholesale 'root and branch' reform of 'Christianity' to bring it in line with the Bible. Offshoots have been exactly that - they have not had a complete break from all of the traditions and practices of their former assemblies. When one measures what is taught and practised today in Christendom with the word of Yahweh, there is a gaping gulf that divides the one from the other. Nevertheless each group is more concerned to preserve its own teaching and autonomy than to find out without bias exactly what the Bible teaches. With an innate desire to be free, believers in Christendom prefer to take advantage of those of Paul’s writings that suggest ‘Grace’ has replaced Yahweh’s Torah, without even giving passing consideration to Yahshua who said He had not come to abolish the Torah (Matthew 5:17-19). This, like all other instances, when man has strayed from Yahweh’s truths, is the work of Satan, who has kept on teasing them with the same question he had asked Eve, "Has Yahweh indeed said…?" But just as Yahshua did not succumb to Satan’s strategies, Christendom did not have to believe the Satanic lies. They have done so because like Eve, they question the word of Yahweh and give greater honour to one of His creatures than to Him.
Through Satan’s machinations churches today are unwittingly infected with spurious doctrines that make a mockery of Yahweh’s truths. Pagan titles are used to displace the original Hebrew name of the Almighty, while a hybrid-Latinised Greek name that has no meaning, replaced the Hebrew name of His Son. Please see our articles Proclaim the Name - Part 1 and Proclaim the Name - Part 2. Like lost sheep they have wandered away from the voice of the Good Shepherd, but are so duped by Satan, that they still believe they are walking in Yahshua’s paths. As Eve, hypnotised by the satanic spell had visions of equality with Yahweh, so too denominations, mesmerised at each stage of their history, by the satanic delusion of freedom from Yahweh’s Torah, believe they are on par with the earliest apostles who had been taught by the Messiah. Satan proved in the Garden of Eden that there is no place, person or thing on earth so holy as to be exempt from his wily aspirations. Nevertheless churches, brimful with self-confidence, have not bothered to examine their beliefs critically against the word of Yahweh. Without realising what was happening, genuine believers throughout many centuries and by a series of imperceptible steps have drifted into the enemy’s camp away from Yahshua’s pure doctrines.
The Mix of Good and Evil
No assembly would admit that their doctrines are of Satan. Indeed it is hardly likely that all of any assembly’s doctrines are of Satan. The majority uphold the fundamental truths of the Bible such as the sovereignty of the Creator, the death and resurrection of the Messiah, His Second Coming, the hope of the righteous and the punishment of sinners, but intermingled with these truths are man’s own doctrines. In this regard they, like Adam and Eve, are eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, from which Yahweh had said we should not eat (Gen 2:17).
The appetising coating of truth conceals the toxic layer of error. In one hand they carry the Bible. In the other hand, are man’s theologies that replace the Bible. On the one hand they claim to believe the Messiah; on the other hand they give preference to many teachings that contradict what the Master had said. On the one hand they say Yahweh’s laws are abolished, but on the other hand they unashamedly advance the law on tithing to boost their income. On one hand they quote and revere the Ten Commandments; on the other hand they have displaced the fourth commandment, and by their doctrines have disregarded the first, second and third commandments. On the one hand they agree that the word of [Yahweh] endures forever 1 Pet 1:25; on the other hand they teach as doctrines the commandments of men Matt 15:9 and attempt to ‘modernise’ the timeless truth of the Bible. In spite of their contradictory cocktail of beliefs, they maintain they are adhering to Yahweh’s truth and not their own.
If there is such a mixture of truth with error among those who should be leaders of the blind, how can the blind and unschooled in these matters find their way to truth?
Where not to search
If you wanted to know how to be a good citizen of any country, would you ask advice from a known criminal of that country? Or if you needed instructions in driving, would you ask someone who you knew had lost their driving licence as a result of committing several traffic offences? The answers to both questions would be a resounding "No!" Likewise if you desire to please Yahweh, you should not seek advice from someone who with their lips is pleasing Yahweh, but whose heart, actions and beliefs are focused on pleasing some religious organisation or themselves. No man can serve two masters. Neither can anyone travel in two opposite directions at the same time. You are either espousing the truths of Yahweh or advancing the doctrines of demons.
When one chooses to live in error, without regard for truth, such a person is practising disobedience. The word of Yahweh has not changed but they have moved away from it and from what they see as its ‘restrictive’ requirements. They are false advocates of truth and cannot be trusted to guide you into Yahweh’s paths.
Sadly this is the reality with most denominations. Instead of studying the Bible for themselves, they disseminate, without question, doctrines that have been handed down from their predecessors or established by their organisations. In spite of their claims, their teachings are not so much Bible based as ‘church-biased’. The ‘church’ has become the standard of truth, instead of the Bible. To them, upholding the church’s teachings is of greater import than exploring the truth of the Bible. Yet they would not admit this to be their case, for without exception they ALL insist that their doctrines are based on the Bible. The seeker, who turns to these groups, does so in the false belief that since they purport to teach the Bible, they are equipped to offer spiritual direction.
There is however insufficient evidence to support that optimism. Yahshua gave this advice to His disciples before finally leaving them: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations … teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" Matt 28:19-20. In giving this commission, Yahshua provided a fixed basis for the doctrines of His disciples. He knew better than any other, that the judgements of man can lead you astray, for every way of a man is right in his own eyes Prov 21:2. Therefore His advice was that they should teach and observe ALL THINGS THAT [HE HAD] COMMANDED. This was the guarantee that they would not stray. So let us examine some of Yahshua’s teachings and see to what extent the majority of Christendom is observing ALL things that He had commanded.
1. Yahshua said in John 3:13 "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven". If anyone misunderstood Yahshua’s words, Peter on the day of Pentecost said: "let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day … For David did not ascend into the heavens" Acts 2:29,34. The book to the Hebrews again confirmed the words of the Messiah for it said of our forefathers, all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, [Yahweh] having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us Heb 11:39-40. (We will return to this topic later). In spite of these unequivocal teachings, many denominations teach that saints go to heaven when they die. Whose doctrine is that?
2. Yahshua in telling His disciples about the end-time events distinctly said in Matthew 24:29-31 "Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other".
There is no mistaking the sequence that Yahshua gave. He said, "immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days", there would be signs in the sky, then He would appear in the clouds and His angels would gather His elect from wherever they may be. Yahshua did not say the saints would be caught up in the clouds to meet Him before the tribulation. He explicitly said it would occur AFTER the tribulation. This same order of events is confirmed in Mark and Luke.
In Matthew 24:9 Yahshua said, "they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake". Almost in defiance of what Yahshua taught, many churches teach, that believers will not go through the tribulation, but will be caught up (‘raptured’ as they say,) before the tribulation. It is possible that they teach this in ignorance because they confuse the tribulation with the wrath of Yahweh, but really their preference is for the easy option and not for Yahshua’s doctrine. If they had read their Bible they would have known that the tribulation is the persecution of believers by opponents of Yahweh, whereas the wrath of Yahweh is the pouring forth of Yahweh’s anger on those who had oppressed His people and despised Him. Please read our article 'Worthy to Escape the Tribulation?' With this false doctrine that saints will escape the tribulation, many believers will be unprepared for the persecution that awaits them. Do they have insight that surpasses Yahshua’s? If they speak what is contrary to sound Biblical doctrine whose message are they giving, Yahweh’s or Satan’s?
3. Yahshua taught His disciples that they should be in unity just as He and His Father were one. He prayed to the Father saying, "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" John 17:21. Because He was one with the Father He taught only the doctrines of His Father. He said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me" John 7:16. Christendom has ignored His teachings and example. They have become fragmented into about forty thousand denominations, with contradictory doctrines that are not what the Messiah taught. In doing this they have shown indifference to the One whom they claim to revere. How can they be honouring the Son of Yahweh, when they do what is diametrically opposite of what He taught and fervently prayed? He taught unity, but they practise division. He taught the Father’s doctrine. They teach their own doctrines. Whose truths are they following? Can they be trusted to declare the unequivocal truths of Yahweh?
4. Many denominations and ministries in Christendom attract vast numbers through their message of promised prosperity. They misquote Deuteronomy 28 by saying that blessings will run after those who give to their causes, without stating that the promises given by Moses were conditional upon obeying Yahweh’s commands: all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of [Yahweh] your [Elohim] Deut 28:2. Churches are claiming the material and physical blessings that were promised to Israelites if they obeyed Yahweh, without trying to meet Yahweh's conditions.
Conversely, Moses said "if you do not obey the voice of [Yahweh] your [Elohim], to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you” (verse 15). There would be blessings if you obeyed Yahweh, and curses if you did not. The Bible does not say that the blessing would be dependent on whether people gave to some particular cause of a preacher. They have deliberately extrapolated part of what was actually said and applied it to a totally different situation in order to achieve their devious ends. They are espousing blatant lies from the master twister and father of lies, to manipulate and coerce their hearers into giving.
Did Yahshua promote this type of giving for His ministry? He taught in Matt 10:8-10 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food". Here Yahshua made it clear to His disciples that in serving others, their concern should not be for their own welfare but for those to whom they were ministering. His work was not to be a moneymaking business.
Today many churches and ministries take advantage of their positions to boost their income, claiming to be doing their Master’s work even though they are not doing His work the way He said it should be done. Their excuse would be that by their modern techniques they are able to draw a larger number to the Messiah. Does the end justify the means? Who is their Master if they do not the things that He says? Yahshua would say today to those who purport to be disciples: "Why do you call Me ‘[Master, Master]’ and do not do the things which I say?" Luke 6:46.
Yahshua neither upheld this type of giving nor the materialism of the popular prosperity message. He taught in Matt 6:19-20 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal".
When Yahshua ministered to the physical needs of others He often followed it up with spiritual advice, such as "sin no more". He taught the crowds who sought after Him for food that there was something more important than the miraculous provision of bread. "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you" John 6:27.
Leaders whose main focus is on the physical and material aspects of life are not teachers of truth, but deceivers. Shun them! They are making our Father’s house a house of merchandise (John 2:16) or a den of thieves (Matt 21:13), by suggesting they have authority to sell the blessings of Yahweh for monetary rewards.
These deceivers do not explain that when persons give because of blessings they are expecting, they are not giving to Yahweh but to themselves. It is self centred, idolatrous and hypocritical. Outwardly they appear to be giving to Yahweh but in their heart, they are giving to themselves. They are playing the lottery with or trying to bribe the Almighty. Self-centred teachings and practices are contrary to the doctrines of our Master, who freely gave His life for others, and taught that we should seek first the kingdom of [Yahweh] and His righteousness Matt 6:33.
5. Today many churches are expanding as a result of their mastery of fashionable crowd-drawing techniques and watered down doctrines. They measure success by the number of members and large church buildings, instead of compliance with the word of Yahweh. This is so unlike Yahshua who spoke the uncompromising message He was sent to deliver. Yahshua taught "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" Matt 7:13-14.
The crowded broad-way of popular teachings that satisfy the senses, is completely different from Yahshua’s narrow road that leads to the Kingdom. Yahshua constantly taught that there is no middle road to eternal life. "Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" Luke 14:33. In Matt 16:24 He said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his [stake]". He taught that His followers would have to make a choice "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other" Matt 6:24.
Yahshua’s messages were not tailored to woo a crowd. They were like seeds scattered by a farmer. Some would fall by the wayside, some in stony places, some among thorns and others in good ground. From the beginning Satan’s message was of pleasing one’s senses and not Yahweh. Yahshua’s teaching was always the opposite. When more emphasis is placed on the ‘appeal’ factor than in delivering the simple truth of the necessity to obey Yahweh and to be ready for His soon coming Kingdom, whose doctrine is being promoted?
6. Yahshua had much to say against lawlessness. He said in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
Speaking of the end-times, He said in Matthew 13:41, "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness".
Again in Matthew 24:12 He said, "Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold".
Lawlessness is the absence of law. The word ‘lawless’ is defined in most dictionaries as being ‘against or without the law, not governed by or disobedient to law’. Yahshua made it clear that He was totally opposed to anyone who ignored Yahweh’s instructions given in the Torah. In Matt 5:17-19 He had this to say: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
In spite of such unambiguous teaching by the Master Himself, ‘Churchianity’, hell-bent on disobeying Yahweh, claims that the laws of Yahweh are obsolete and not applicable to believers today. They quote Paul in support of their stance. But who is greater, Paul or Yahshua? Please read our article 'Be not deceived! - Part 2 The 'Grace' Deception. Can Paul save these lawless so-called ‘believers’ in the day when Yahshua shall say to them, "depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness"? Furthermore Paul in many places said and demonstrated that he upheld the Torah. Sheep wanting to go astray do not need an excuse. They simply ignore the voice and direction of the Shepherd. Yahshua said to the Jews who surrounded Him, "you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" John 10:26-27.
You are not a follower of Yahshua if you give priority to the words of some other person and not to Him.
There are many other doctrines taught in denominations that are unsupported in Scripture. Examples are the doctrine of infant baptism, baptism by sprinkling, celebration of Christmas, the substitution of Passover with Easter, Sunday worship to replace the Sabbath and immortality of the soul. Such doctrines are man-made. As Yahshua said in Mark 7:7 "in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men". If you are seeking for the truth you do not need help from those who are spiritually blind, or who stubbornly refuse to obey the commandments of Yahweh.
Disobeying Yahweh is lawlessness, which is sin. 1 John 3:4 says, "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness". The Anti-Messiah is called in Scripture "the lawless one” (2 Thess 2:8 & 9). How could anyone who hopes to inherit the Kingdom, be comfortable in the knowledge that they are exhibiting one of the prominent characteristics of the Anti-Messiah?
How can truth be found?
The Bible is the most reliable source of Yahweh’s truths. However since most denominations claim to base their teachings on the Bible, something else is required to assist us in order to accurately understand the truths of the Bible. Every group quotes from the Bible to support their creed. But not all the teachings of each assembly are Biblical. It depends very much on one’s approach to the Bible. With the wrong attitude or method, one can find support in the Bible for almost any point of view. This simple fact explains the reasons for the wide divergence of doctrines.
What then are the attitudes you should have and what methods should you employ in order to be certain you will find truth that is contained in the Bible?
When one examines several false teachings, a pattern invariably becomes apparent. From these one can determine the roads that lead to error and to truth. We list some of these as examples only but our list is not exhaustive.
1. Avoid making assumptions. Most errors arise when one reads into Scripture more than is actually stated. Remember the Bible is your standard of truth. You are not empowered to change it. In fact the Bible prohibits this.
Deut 4:2 tell us "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of [Yahweh] your [Elohim] which I command you".
This same thought is expressed in Deut 12:32: "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it".
Prov 30:6 cautions us, "Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar".
Rev 22:18-19 warns us, "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, [Yahweh] will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, [Yahweh] shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
In the light of these definite instructions against altering the word of Yahweh, there can be no grounds for attempting to clarify the Scriptures by adding one’s personal views that have no basis or support in the written word. At the outset of this article, it was made clear that your opinion is not a measure of truth. Truth is incontrovertible fact. The facts of the Bible are not determined by one’s opinions. Therefore let the Bible be its own interpreter. It is far better to admit you do not understand the meaning of a verse than to concoct some man-made explanation, which is not upheld by Scripture.
2. The Bible does not contradict itself. Where a verse is not easily understood, find an unambiguous verse on the same subject, then use that as the fixed point to which you can pin less easily understood verses. For example Yahshua distinctly said, "no one has ascended to heaven” John 3:13. Yahshua is always right therefore that statement is as much fact as the air you are breathing. So if you find a verse that might suggest the opposite, e.g. the accounts of Elijah and Enoch, study it in the light of Yahshua’s statement. The correct answer cannot contravene the fact that "no one has ascended to heaven". This means that regardless of what you may feel, or you may have been led to believe, neither Elijah nor Enoch nor anyone else who has ever lived is now in heaven.
When you carefully read the account of Enoch, you will see that both Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11: 5 did not say he went to heaven, but that Yahweh took Him. In the case of Elijah, we read in 2 Kings 2:11, as they continued on and talked … suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. You may say, "There is the proof that Elijah is in heaven!" How can we resolve this seeming contradiction of Yahshua’s statement that no one has ascended to heaven? The answer is simple. If you really accept Yahshua’s assertion as fact, then it is inconceivable that the ‘heaven’ referred to here is the abode of Yahweh. Both Biblical statements are irreconcilable, although neither is incorrect. In this instance, ‘heaven’ could mean the sky as in Job 35:11 and Rev 19:17. We will not guess at what is meant, for then we would be guilty of making an assumption. But relying implicitly on Yahshua’s statement, we are bound to conclude that Elijah and all saints who have died are not now in eternal existence in the heavenly realm. This is corroborated in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:29, 34) and in Hebrews 11:13-16. But the real axis or axle of truth is Yahshua’s assertion. Yahshua who came down to earth from heaven knew who was up there. Therefore we can confidently accept His factual declaration and pin to it a verse that might have otherwise been a contradiction.
We can safely apply the same method to arrive at the truth, when we compare Yahshua’s statement that He did not come to abolish the law in Matthew 5:17-19 with some of Paul’s statements that might suggest the opposite. Truth does not contradict itself. Yahshua is the embodiment of truth. Wherever possible, use His words to help you find the truth.
3. Listen to Yahshua. Give Him priority. In the preceding example of Elijah, we did not try to prove where he went to when he disappeared from view. We were quite content to simply accept Yahshua’s verdict that he was not in heaven. In this as in all other instances, where a verse or any denominational doctrine may seem to be in conflict with Yahshua’s teaching, we always use what Yahshua has said as the final unquestionable arbiter, for He is always right. His Father sanctioned His words by saying at His transfiguration, "This is my beloved Son hear Him" Matt 17:5. Yes, hear Him! No other person who has ever lived has Yahshua’s authority. Yahshua’s words are the firm foundation on which to build. In Matt 7: 24,26 Yahshua said, "whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock … But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand" Yahshua’s ruling is final and gives clarity. It is the solid basis upon which we can safely build sound doctrine.
His last directive to His disciples of all ages was to "make disciples of all the nations … teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" Matt 28:19,20. It is our commission to teach and do ALL that He said. Animated expressions of affection towards Him are absolutely meaningless if you give greater honour to someone else. If you are His sincere follower you will not adhere to some doctrine that has come from others, in total disregard of His words as though He had not spoken.
Christendom has generally shown their preference to those of Paul’s writings that might suggest grace has replaced the law even though Yahshua plainly said He did not come to abolish the law (Torah).
In like manner they have chosen to disregard the seventh day Sabbath, which Yahshua observed, and to worship instead on the first day of the week, as decreed by Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church. Please read our article 'Is the Biblical Sabbath now Sunday?' Yahshua’s admonition to such hypocrisy is, "why do you call Me ‘[Master, Master],’ and do not do the things which I say?" Luke 6:46. He also said in John 14:15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments". Again He said to His disciples, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" John 15:14. Talk is cheap. Action is very costly. Yahshua gave His life in obedience to His Father’s will, and out of love for the whole world. Is it asking too much of you, that you should demonstrate your love of Him by simply obeying what He said? You are not walking in truth except you believe and do what the Master has said.
4. Find out the origins of your beliefs. Not every doctrine comes from the Bible. Many are rooted in paganism. By studying the history of Christianity and the origins of Protestant beliefs, you will be astounded to discover, the unbiblical sources of many popular teachings in Christendom. It bears repeating that the Bible is your best source of truth. You will not be finally judged by some church’s doctrines but by the word of Yahweh.
5. Pay attention to the context. Statements made in a given situation are not necessarily transferable to different circumstances.
6. Identify literal from figurative language. If you wrongly accept some allegorical statement to be factual or vice versa, your conclusions will be incorrect.
7. Approach the Bible as a student wanting to learn. If you come to the Bible as someone who knows, and seeks confirmation (rubber stamp) for some particular stance, you are almost certain to find what you want, but it will not be the Biblical truth. The Master said those who are well have no need of a physician. If you already know, you do not need to seek. Be humble. Only Yahweh knows everything. Seek to find His truth and nothing but the truth.
8. Research! Research! Research! Before concluding that you know what the Bible says on any topic, you must be willing to spend hours in research. Do not be hasty in thinking you have found the answer. Be prepared to empty your mind of everything you thought you believed and start afresh to find out what the Bible really says. You must be rid of man-made dogmas. You cannot discern between truth and fallacy until you learn what the Bible actually teaches. There are many good study aids, but no reliable shortcuts to finding quick answers.
Through word search, and with the assistance of Bible software tools, find all occurrences of a particular word or phrase in the Bible and study the word usage, meanings in their given context, and the rendition in several translations. Satan was ahead of you and has set up many roadblocks and diversions along the way, to make you deviate from your path to truth. But Yahshua has promised that if you seek and keep on seeking you will find, and if you knock and keep on knocking the door will be opened. Be relentless. Research the history of doctrines. Dig beneath the attractive covering of popular teaching and expose the rubbish that has been carefully concealed. Get it out and start to build upon a firm and solid foundation of Bible-based truth. Do not assume that some instruction is Scriptural because a writer or preacher provided Bible verses in support of their case. Even Satan quotes Scriptures. Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians was to test (prove) all things; hold fast what is good 1 Thessalonians 5:21. The apostle John wrote, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of [Yahweh]; because many false prophets have gone out into the world 1 John 4:1.
You will appreciate from the foregoing that finding the truth is not simply a matter of taking a cursory glance at some Bible verses. It does not come merely by a routine reading of your daily devotion, regular attendance at your assembly, talking about the Bible or even looking up a word in your Concordance. It can be as painstaking work as searching for a needle in a haystack. But you will be motivated all along the way by the foreknowledge that you WILL find it. Your effort will be rewarded when after working your way through a pile of false teachings you eventually find the solid rock of truth. Only then will your faith be firm and strong. Until then you are most likely walking in someone’s shadow, instead of receiving for yourself the full rays of the Light, which is the Word of Yahweh.
From the time of Adam and Eve to the present day, an unwillingness to heed or obey Yahweh’s word has been the real reason why man has strayed from Yahweh into diverse conflicting doctrines. It will be the cause of man’s final separation from Him. Yahshua has demonstrated that when we obey Yahweh there is truth and unity. When we entertain man-made doctrines, there is error and division.
Finding the truth of the Bible is both difficult and easy. It is difficult, for you would need to be willing to devote time and effort to peeling off many layers of false teachings that have been hardened and venerated with time. It is easy, because when you are genuinely motivated by a hunger to know the truth, and a willingness to obey whatever the word says, Yahweh will lead you into His truth.
Yahshua’s promise to those who believed in Him was, and still is quite simply this: If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free John 8:32. That is the key. Abide in His word, and the cunning devices of Satan will not hinder you. Abide in His word and the deceit of man-made doctrines will not attract you. Abide in His word and the isolation of the narrow road will not frighten you. Abide in His word and the taunts of others cannot discourage you. Abide in His word and you will abide in Him.
Hebrews 1:1-2 tell us, [Yahweh], who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.
Yahshua is the embodiment of the instructions contained in the Tanach (The Old Testament).
He who in the beginning uttered his voice, and caused all things to be created; He who in His earthly ministry spoke and the dead returned to life; He who quelled the raging storms, healed the sick and cast out demonic spirits by that same power of His infallible speech, has told you how you can know the truth. Since He said it, believe it and act upon it. You are only His disciple if you abide in His word. You shall only know the truth if you abide in His word. You will only be free, (you guessed it), if you abide in His word!
Sanctify them [set them apart/ separate them/ make them holy/ purify them] by Your truth. Your word is truth (John 17:17).
"Our beliefs must fit in with the Scriptures especially when the Scriptures do not support our beliefs". Buel Hallpike
©Buel Hallpike July 2012