Religion is nothing more than doing what is right in one’s own eyes. The current spiritual state in the United States of America resembles that of Yisra’el (Israel) during the period of the judges.  “In those days there was no sovereign in Yisra’el—everyone did what was right in his own eyes [Shophetim (Judges) 17:6 & 21:25, The Scriptures].”  This is what Mosheh (Moses) forewarned Yisra’el against when he reiterated the statues and judgments/right rulings they were to guard and do in the land.  “Do not do as we are doing here today—each one doing whatever is right in his own eyes [Debarim (Deuteronomy) 12:8].”  And so, on this Yom Teru’ah (Day of Trumpets & Shouting), the shofar sounds the proclamation: Do not do as we are doing today claiming Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah) as merely our Savior.  Remove the religious veils and serve YHVH in obedience to His Torah (teachings and instructions) and reverse the societal demise evidenced in our families, neighborhoods, cities, states, and nation!

Religion dismantles the authority of Scripture. The religious minded blaspheme YHVH’s Shem (Name) by making discipleship a matter of traditions and men’s teachings—thus causing many to falsely represent YHVH’s character, reputation, authority and miss His purpose for their lives.  Yeshua Ha’Mashiach rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for neglecting the commandments of YHVH in order to hold fast to the traditions and teachings of men.  Recall the confrontation.  The Pharisees and some scribes questioned Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, finding fault in His talmidiym (disciples) eating without washing their hands.  Marqos (Mark) then describes why they found fault before giving Yeshua Ha’Mashiach’s reply, which included Yeshayahu’s (Isaiah’s) prophecy: “And YHVH says, ‘Because this people has drawn near with its mouth, and with its lips they have esteemed Me, and it has kept its heart far from Me, and their fear of Me has become a command of men that is taught [Yeshayahu 29:13, The Scriptures].”  Pay close attention to how Yeshua Ha’Mashiach responded…

And He answering, said to them, “Well did Yeshayahu prophesy concerning you hypocrites, as it has been written, ‘This people respect Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as teachings the commands of men. Forsaking the command of Elohim, you hold fast the tradition of men.”  And He said to them, “Well do you set aside the command of Elohim, in order to guard your tradition…nullifying the Word of Elohim through your tradition which you have handed down.  And many such traditions you do.” [Marqos 7:6-9 & 13, The Scriptures].

Marqos then reveals the corrective nature of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach’s rebuke.  The reason why the Pharisees and scribes present found fault in the talmidiym’s action was that religion had taught them that eating with unwashed hands defiled an individual spiritually.  The truth is that eating dirt does not change a person’s demeanor, albeit it may very well make one sick.  True defilement, as Yeshua Ha’Mashiach attested, comes from within [Marqos 7:14-23].  This is the origin of temptation: “…but each one is enticed when he is drawn away by his own desires and trapped.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death [Ya’aqov (Jacob/James) 1:14-15, The Scriptures].” This is not to say that eating what YHVH has instructed us not to eat is now permissible, as the religious traditionalist would have us believe.  If it does, then please share it in context so that we can more correctly understand and apply the Word of Truth.

So how is the United States of America comparable to the state of Yisra’el during the period of the judges?  Are not the 50 states and its territories sprinkled with innumerable Christian churches with varying theological denominations?  Why?  Because we all assimilate with others who see things as we do, what seems right in our own eyes.

Headlines today are filled with examples of not only sexual immorality and the manipulation of parishioners and congregation members among the clergy and religious leaders, but include prominent Christians who have fallen away from or become disenfranchised with “their faith.” Why is this? How can this be possible?  Religion is at fault with its manmade traditions that oppose the Torah, while claiming a relationship with YHVH Who gave us His Torah for our best interest and welfare.

Those who blindly set aside the Torah for the traditions of men and claim that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship have lead many into the very religious mindset they claim to oppose and to which they offer the alternative.  Nevertheless, their alternative is merely traditions of men that leave many shipwrecked in despair, doubt, and confusion when they realize the relationship they have been sold is to a man-made god and not to YHVH, El Elyon.

Holding fast to “religion” has a way of making one feel righteous through ceremony. Consider how Shemu’el (Samuel) rebuked Sha’ul (Saul) for such a pious attitude. “And Shemu’el said, ‘Does YHVH delight in ascending offerings and slaughterings, as in obeying the voice of YHVH? Look, to obey is better than slaughtering, to heed is better than the fat of rams [Shemu’el Aleph (1 Samuel) 15:22].'”

Questions: Does your way delight in ceremony or traditional practices, rather than obeying YHVH and walking in His Torah?  Have you preferred the comfort of going along with the religious crowd or blindly following a religious leader without searching Scripture for yourself or seeking YHVH for yourself?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are in danger of falling away…

Likewise, Sha’ul (who was also known as Paul [Ma’asei (Acts) 13:9]) wrote of the blasphemy related to not walking in Torah in his letter to the Roman congregations.  After the salutations, Sha’ul first foretold how the “wrath of Elohim (YHVH) is revealed from heaven against all wickedness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness [Romiyim/Romans 1:18].”  He claims that those who reject YHVH are without excuse because YHVH Himself manifested that which is known of Elohim to them, to the extent that His invisible qualities are evident throughout His creation through both His power and might.  Sha’ul then goes on to outline the result of human pride, leading those who reject truth to become fools although they claim to be wise.  They embrace all sorts of religious practices, worshipping the creation and accepting secular humanism [Romiyim 1:19-23].  Observe the parallel in our society:

Because of this Elohim gave them over to degrading passions.  For even their women exchanged natural relations for what is against nature, and likewise, the men also, having left natural relations with women, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing indecency, and receiving back the reward which was due for their straying.  And even as they did not think it worthwhile to possess the knowledge of Elohim, Elohim gave them over to a worthless mind to do what is improper, having been filled with all unrighteousness, whoring, wickedness, greed, evil; filled with envy, murder, fighting, deceit, evil habits; whisperers, slanderers, haters of Elohim, insolent, proud, boasters, devisers of evil, disobedient to parents, without discernment, covenant breakers, unloving, unforgiving, ruthless; who though they know the righteousness of Elohim, that those who practice {sic, practice} such deserve death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them {sic, practice} [Romiym 1:24-32]

Are we seeing the pattern? Nevertheless, the secular minded are not the subject of Sha’ul’s rebuff: the religious minded are, for they are the ones that blaspheme YHVH’s Shem (Name: His character, His reputation, His authority, and His purpose for His people).  Sha’ul challenged unrepentant, hypocritical thinking that takes advantage of YHVH’s kindness and patience, yet leads to His wrath on all who have it regardless of their lineage [Romiyim 2:1-10].  Sha’ul then explained that YHVH judges impartially, for those who sinned without the Torah and those who sinned in the Torah will all perish because only the doers of the Torah shall be declared right, not mere hearers [Romiyim 2:11-15].  He then built his argument against the religious mindset that boasted of being a teacher of the Torah without personal application [Romiyim 2:17-22].  It is at this point that Sha’ul made his strongest rebuff: “You who make your boast in the Torah, through the transgression of the Torah do you disrespect Elohim?  For ‘the Name of Elohim is blasphemed among the nations because of you [Yeshayahu 52:5]’ as it is written [Romiyim 2:23-24].”  Sha’ul understood the spirit of circumcision was a matter of the heart—echoing what Mosheh stated:

And now, Yisra’el, what is YHVH your Elohim asking of you, but to fear YHVH your Elohim, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being, to guard the commands of YHVH and His laws which I command you today for your good?  See, the heavens and the heaven of heavens belong to YHVH you Elohim, also the earth with all that is in it.  YHVH delighted only in your fathers, to love them.  And He chose their seed after them, you above all peoples, as it is today.  And you shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and harden your neck no more.  For YHVH your Elohim is Elohim of all mighty ones and Master of masters, the great El, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe [Debarim (Deuteronomy) 10:12-17, The Scriptures].

So, if Sha’ul agrees with the Torah handed from YHVH through Mosheh, then why do so many in Christendom believe that he attests that the Torah is no longer applicable?  The answer is religion.  By misinterpreting Sha’ul’s letters through religion, many have taken the lie that YHVH changed His standard for humanity.  Many pastors and preachers are teaching a Calvinistic view, inferring we have no responsibility for salvation—completely voiding what Yeshua Ha’Mashiach taught during His earthly ministry and what the totality of Scripture reveals.  As a result, we face an era of unopposed relevant truth: we live in a society where all lifestyles lead to heaven.

Have the pleads of the inspired Hebrew writers shown on dim eyes or fallen on deaf ears? Have the voices of logic and reason grown silent? Does it take more than the obvious to convince the spiritually cold of folly? “Mass killings from gun yielding terrorists is wrong and something must be done about it in the form of gun control,” they say.  Yet even the religious minded miss the fact that the demented minds and cold hearts filled with hatred—nursed in our violent society that has rejected YHVH and His ways—are the root of mass murder.  “We need marriage equality,” they say.  Yet even the religious minded who support such degradation of the family core disregard what YHVH, Sha’ul, nature, and the entirety of Scripture opposes.  “My body, my choice” echoes the pro-choice crowds.  Yet even the religious minded who approve of those who take such a murderous stance change the truth of Elohim into falsehood.

How have we come to a spiritual state tainted by societal mores that consider the murder of innocent babies as a constitutional right?  The answer is religion.  No, the fact that someone believes that abortion is a constitutional right is not fabricated.  See The fight to end Roe v. Wade enters its endgame next week.  Apparently, the writer read a different version of the Constitution of the United States of America (the Articles of the Federation, the Preamble, the Bill of Rights and the Amendments).  By the way, have we forgotten the fact that there are no human rights outside of those YHVH established for all? And there are no rights that warrant and justify the murder of the innocent.  YHVH certainly does not!

We are fortunate to live in a republic where the people can elect leaders that represent their interest.  Although leaders who fear YHVH are important and will serve a nation well, it is ultimately the people’s obedience and service to YHVH that sustains a nation.

And now, here is the sovereign whom you have chosen and whom you have asked.  And see, YHVH has set a sovereign over you.  If you fear YHVH, and shall serve Him and obey His voice, and not rebel against the command of YHVH, then both you and your sovereign who reigns over you shall follow YHVH your Elohim.  But if you do not obey the voice of YHVH, and shall rebel against the mouth of YHVH, then the hand of YHVH shall be against you, as it was against your fathers [Shemu’el Aleph 12:13-15].”

If we have read the Bible often, we know that Sha’ul the first king of Yisra’el failed because of his disobedience and fear of those whom he was supposed to lead.  Nevertheless, the people rejected YHVH and asked for a human king, one who failed them.  Remember, the people did what was right in their own eyes.  When Sha’ul failed the first time, Shemu’el reassured his commitment to pray continuously for Yisra’el.  This is an example to us—the royal priesthood, the holy nation, those belonging to YHVH who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light—to pray continually for our nation.

This Yom Teru’ah—as all previous ones—was a call to return to YHVH and His ways.  The shofar has sounded!  During these days of awe and repentance, we ask YHVH to remove all religious veils.  The trumpet calls!  In the days leading up to Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles) we ask YHVH to search us to know our hearts, test us to know our thoughts, see if there is any idolatrous way within us and lead us in the way everlasting [Tehillim 139:23-24].  We choose to do what it right in His eyes, for we know the pestilence and destruction resulting from continuing to do what is right in our own eyes.    Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming!  He is establishing His rule for eternity as King of kings! Get ready, for He is not returning as Savior, but as Judge!!

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