Like many I would start out with the ambitious goal of reading through my Bible in a year, and inevitably I would hit Leviticus and just skim through it because that was obviously just for the Jews, and since they don’t have a temple anymore there couldn’t possibly be anything in there for me. Then came the repetition of Numbers… boring…. If I hung in there long enough I may have made it through to the major prophets, but I would inevitable peter out, and honestly, I was missing the point of what I was reading entire time.
Unfortunately, the Tanakh which consists of the Torah, the prophets and the writings (what many refer to as the “Old Testament”), is rarely referenced in the modern church. I mean it’s no wonder because under the wildly popular “hyper grace” theology, the first 2/3rds of the Bible simply don’t apply anymore. If it is mentioned it is generally taken out of context and in small snippets to reinforce a principle that is being expounded upon to fit a twisted interpretation of the New Testament Writings.
When we are taught our whole lives that the “Old Testament” doesn’t apply to us, why would we be so interested in what is has to say anyway?
During my time in the desert as I like to refer to it, I was constantly confronted with this nagging notion that “it all applies”. Somehow, I felt deep down that it all, the entirety of scripture has to apply. Why else would it have been preserved for us in such a meticulous fashion? What use would it serve for us today if it was just the account of a people long passed away? What was its purpose if it didn’t have some application for my life?
You see I had been the unwitting victim of many other unwitting victims. I was the product of the heritage and the tradition of my forefathers. I walked in their paths without really questioning the tenants of the “faith”. I swallowed the teaching of preachers and evangelists like candy, never questioning or really searching it out for myself, I simply judged their “performance” by how closely it fell in line with everything else I had been taught.
However, as I began to pray, study, and really research things like the pre-trib rapture, dispensations, and the typical New Covenant teachings that say the Law is dead, and as I began to lay scripture upon scripture I started to find errors with what I had been taught, and in fact I realized that much of what I had been led to believe just didn’t fit scripture. One would have to take things wildly out of context, completely ignore verses, chapters and even huge sections of scripture just to get some of the mainstream teaching to even remotely fit. Yet many sadly accept these teachings without even blinking because they never took the time to examine it for themselves.
After three years of wandering I finally cried out and I believe He answered. For weeks all I heard ringing in my head was “Keep My Sabbaths and My Appointed Times”. I didn’t understand it at first, and honestly, I thought it may have just been my subconscious playing games with me, so I ignored it for a while but I could not shake it.
Finally, after being under conviction I sat down to try to understand the Mo’ed or the Appointed times. I knew that the Biblical Sabbath was on Saturday, but I never truly understood why the “Church” gathered on Sunday. When I asked others, I would hear the typical excuses, but I never received any scriptural references to support the change.
And regarding the feasts, what were they? And why? I kind of knew what Passover was, but what was this thing called Shavuot and Sukkot? Again, I have never had a pastor even touch the feasts and their prophetic significance.
That was about a month before Passover 2015. With time being short I scrambled to research as much as I could. I hurried my wife along to gather supplies at the last minute and we set out on what would be the adventure of a lifetime. I can still remember it vividly as we took the kids around the house looking for crumbs, and how we gathered around the fire pit to burn the remaining scraps of bread the night before. The picture was so profound and powerful. It was a real-life picture of our need to diligent search, and to thoroughly purge our lives of sin. As I stood there with my family all I could do was rejoice as this principle was literally being played out right in front of me.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
(7) Therefore, cleanse out the old leaven, so that you are a new lump, as you are unleavened. For also Messiah our Pěsaḥ was slaughtered for us.
(8) So then let us celebrate the festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I would like to take a moment to point out that Paul, in the above reference is actually encouraging those in Corinth to “celebrate the festival” of Passover and Unleavened Bread. So much for it not applying to those in the “church”…
We followed a somewhat traditional Seder that year. I am not one for tradition, but even through the tradition of the Seder the truths of our Messiah have been preserved in an astonishing fashion. As we went through it step by step, I was so moved that I was led to tears. Never before have I ever seen a Biblical teaching come so alive, and be so real. I was nothing short of amazing, and I had the immense privilege of leading my family thought it, explaining each aspect and how it relates to our Messiah, and how that through Him we have redemption from the bondage of sin.
After that I was convinced. There was nothing holding me back anymore because I knew what I had just experienced was of God. As a result, I decided that the scorched earth method was the best route to take. Having realized that much of what I had been taught was in error, I laid everything on the table and it was time to get rid of the leaven. Literally everything except the belief that Yeshua is the Messiah was up for examination, and if it didn’t pass the test of Scripture I discarded it like an old rag. During this time, I was also very careful who I listened to, and vetted carefully the resources that I began to accumulate because I didn’t want to be led astray yet again. My library was slowly purged, and my whole way of interpreting the Bible began to shift.
We began keeping the Sabbath and realizing just what a blessing that is, then our diet changed, and along came the Tzitzits. Slowly as we re-learned our bibles, we began to conform ourselves to its teaching. And all along the way, the Scriptures began to literally come alive. And in an amazing unexpected twist, Leviticus or ויקרא Vayikra in the Hebrew – which means “He called“, you know the book I once had no use for… Yeah, well it actually became my favorite Book of the Bible.
To be continued…