Standing for the truth of God’s word above the philosophies of men

We need to be aware of, and reject, false religious traditions.

We need to be aware of, and reject, false religious traditions.

  • Colossians 2:8 – Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Messiah.

This admonition from the apostle Paul strikes at the heart of the major conflict that the first century believers faced: the resistance of the orthodox Jews of their day who did not accept their Messiah. The Messiah-believing Jews were coming out from among the ranks of orthodox Judaism into what was considered a new sect. However, what was happening biblically was the remnant of true Israelites was being separated from the rest of unbelieving Judaism, even among those who had been dispersed, as had been prophesied.

  • Isaiah 10:20-22 – On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no longer depend on the one who struck them, but they will faithfully depend on the Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel. The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. Israel, even if your people were as numerous as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction has been decreed; justice overflows.
  • Isaiah 11:10-12 – On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will look to him for guidance, and his resting place will be glorious. On that day the Lord will extend his hand a second time to recover the remnant of his people who survive ​– ​from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the coasts and islands of the west. He will lift up a banner for the nations and gather the dispersed of Israel; he will collect the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

This process required immense vigilance, determination, and faith in God. They were being persecuted (that is, hunted with intent to harm) by their very own brothers. They were being challenged in their faith on principles they had grown up believing, being taught in the synagogues throughout the areas where they lived. They were coming to see that many of the traditions and ideas that had been created by the religious elite were being cast away because they were not God’s design for his spiritual people.

Yeshua had railed against the religious leaders for their adherence to their traditions and philosophies above the both the clear and symbolic teachings of Scripture.

  • Matthew 15:3-6 – He [Yeshua] answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.

Besides their hypocrisy and pride, Yeshua was calling them out on their observance to their own philosophical traditions that they held to above Scripture. They had created traditions around the teachings of Scripture, traditions that were contrary to the spirit and purpose of the law.

The apostle Paul in like fashion condemned the man-made restrictions and rules that had been added to the clear teaching and meaning of Scripture:

  • Colossians 2:23 – These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

The true message of the kingdom was not more restrictions and rules by the letter of the law, but the fulfillment of those things in Messiah and the advent of the spiritual kingdom adhering to the spirit of the law. The oral laws and traditions that had been added to the law of Moses were being shed as people began to understand Messiah’s teaching in light of the spiritual kingdom.

For example, physical circumcision had become a “badge of honor” among the Jews regardless of any spiritual or ethical practices. Paul preached that this was no longer necessary, but spiritual circumcision through a removal of the flesh through baptism was.

  • Colossians 2:11 – In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Messiah…

Temple worship and practices were no longer needed, because the body of believers themselves had become the dwelling place of God, as taught by both Paul and Peter.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:16 – What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  • 1 Peter 2:4-5 – As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua Messiah.

These were the types of teachings that continued to separate the remnant of Israel from the orthodox Judaism of the day.

We also have a responsibility to confront the false teachings, traditions, and philosophies that have grown up around the true faith of Messiah in the centuries since these brave and faithful forefathers stood their ground in the first century. Through our institutions, organizations, and denominations, we have created a new “oral law,” a set of trappings that continue to divide and separate God’s people. We have created holy days not listed in Scripture, constructed networks of churches around the dynamics of charismatic leaders and humanistic teachings, and built a theology of orthodoxy on the philosophies of men rather than the truth of Scripture.

We have strayed from the spiritual nature of the kingdom into the realm of trying to build a physical kingdom representation in our own image. We must return to the roots of biblical faith and the spiritual kingdom that Messiah established two millennia ago. We, like our spiritual forefathers, must remain vigilant in the face of those who, as the apostle Paul admonished, would seek to take us “captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Messiah.”

  • Colossians 3:23-24 – Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Messiah.

If you enjoy these daily articles, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Encouraging trust in God through the good news of the Kingdom

Our objective is to overcome the stereotypes of Christianity to share the message of righteousness in the Kingdom of God.

Our objective is to overcome the stereotypes of Christianity to share the message of righteousness in the Kingdom of God.

It has been said that in order to trust someone, you have to know them. If this is true, then the same standard holds true for Yahweh and his Messiah. How can anyone trust God if they don’t know about him and what he has done throughout history? How can anyone trust in Messiah Yeshua if they don’t know who he is or what a Messiah is?

Romans 10:14-15 – But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how will they preach, if they may not be sent? According as it has been written: “How beautiful the feet of those proclaiming good tidings of peace, of those proclaiming good tidings of the good things!”

As the apostle Paul suggests here with the Roman congregation, the preaching of good news is a beautiful thing.

Isaiah 52:6-7 – Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

While Paul’s argument is to substantiate how God had revealed himself and his Messiah to his people, the Jews, he mourns how not all of them in his day had received it. Those of the nations were accepting the message of the Kingdom while Israel would not.

Romans 10:20-21 – Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

Based on this type of scriptural logic, I am of the mind that most people today who have rejected the Bible, God, and Yeshua, is because they haven’t actually heard the true message. Like the Jews of old, I believe most people are rejecting the Bible and its message of God’s Kingdom because of their own understanding of a caricaturized version of the good news.

In my view, the mainstream Christian message in America today is one of contradiction and conservative politics. On the one hand, Christians say God loves everyone. On the other, they say that God is about to destroy the world because of everyone’s sinfulness. Political rallies are promoted with the same zeal, if not more, than that for the message of the Kingdom itself. There are tens of thousands of denominations due to differences many times over minor points of emphasis, and sometimes outright error. It’s no wonder younger people are leaving denominations in droves because they are seeing the hypocrisy, confusion, and hopelessness of it all.

But, put in its proper context and perspective, the Bible message is one of good news! God, as the Creator of all, provided an eternal object lesson through a people he chose to represent him in the ancient Hebrew kingdom of Israel. They were the seed-bed for the Messiah, the anointed one through whom God established his eternal spiritual Kingdom on the earth two thousand years ago. God invited all people to be at peace with him through faith in his Messiah. God had installed Yeshua as the reigning monarch of his Kingdom in heaven until Yeshua turned everything over to the Father at the culmination of that age.

Since that time, God’s Kingdom has been expanding amidst every new generation as hearts are turned to him. Righteousness and truth live among these people of Zion, the spiritual Kingdom of God. God does want all people to know him, and to come to him in faith through his anointed one, his Messiah. Through the principles of the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, he has provided a guide for righteous and holy living that honors him and respects others. As prophesied by Daniel and Yeshua, at some point this Kingdom will grow to fill the earth. People will truly know the God of the Bible, not a caricaturized, politicized, and divided version of him.

In the meantime, it remains our objective to be the bearers of this news to those who have not heard, or who have only heard the corrupted version of the story. It is time for the light of God to shine out from the ruined shambles of tradition and orthodoxy. As we seek to deepen our own understanding and faithfulness, we should likewise pray for the ability to make him known to others, that we may become like the messenger of Isaiah proclaiming to all who are willing to hear, “Your God reigns.”


If you enjoy these daily articles, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com