Below is a testimony by a fellow Believer in Messiah.
Her story reveals the process she had to go through to ‘break through the fog’ — that is, to come out of the foggy and puzzling questions within ‘Christianity’.
Her testimony reveals many of the internal struggles that Believers in Christ have experienced. As you read her very interesting journey, look for the four realizations that helped her dissolve “the haze that covered my understanding.”
For almost five years now, I have believed in the relevance of the Torah in the lives of Believers in Yeshua/Jesus and have attempted to live my life according to its standards. I even wrote a long series to help combat the misunderstood passages of the New Testment that have been used to say that, “The Torah has been ‘done away’ with.”
Until now, I have not explained how I came to this new lifestyle. This is my story of how I discovered the beautiful truth of the Torah:
By the time I was twenty years old, I had spent several years being extremely disenchanted with the Christianity I witnessed and had been apart of. The three churches I attended while growing up all had splits during our attendance, each messier than the one before. The last church split was so bad that what remained eventually fizzled out and became non-existent. So many, myself included, were very hurt and confused by it all.
For about two years, I led worship at the last church and I eventually started to “burn out”. For so many reasons, I wanted to get off the stage and quit church entirely. I was upset with the apathy I saw around me, especially within my own generation. It seemed so few were really interested in holiness and developing a deeper relationship with our Creator.
I was tired of church politics, fed up with traditions that seemed totally pointless and profitless, and so utterly haunted that something was terribly off. Something very, very important was missing, I was convinced. I looked at my own spiritual life and could not seem to get over the fact that while I had faith in God, and wanted to do what was right, I felt so terribly empty. I became cynical about Christianity as a whole, tired of the system, and upset that its followers had not given me the answers I was seeking.
Held Tightly to God
Despite getting burned by the church circus, I still held tightly to God. I knew He was real. I had experienced His love in such a powerful way, time and time again. No matter what happened, I could never give up on God, because I knew He would never give up on me. The more I became fed up with “religious correctness”, the more passionate I became about knowing God. The problem was, I could not quite figure out how.
I was under the impression that prayer and worship were the solution for everything. Whatever spiritual struggle you may deal with, a little worship should fix you up real good.
But no matter how much time I spent doing both, I was still convinced I did not do it enough, because I still felt terribly empty. I left most worship sessions thinking, “What just happened? Anything…?” Sometimes I came away feeling refreshed, but most of the time, I came away dreading the fact that I had to face life again, and face that terrible feeling that none of us knew what the heck was going on.
I tried reading my Bible more, and always asked the Holy Spirit to teach me while I read. However, many times I read the Scriptures and could not understand how much of it was relevant. They were just words on a page. I could not figure out what I was supposed to DO. I wanted instructions and direction, but all I could seem to find was one confusing doctrine after another.
Interestingly enough, I was often drawn to the books of the Prophets. Their passion and fire stirred something inside of me, and awakened a deep longing in my heart. I did not really understand the context, and I was not exactly sure what it was these Scriptures were saying, but I knew they were right.
The Prophets bemoaned of how Israel had left her first Love. Yehovah, the God of Israel Himself, pleaded with His beloved people to return to Him and His ways. I found myself connecting with such passages, feeling as if they were directed towards me, and I felt like proclaiming them to the entire Christian Church as well. Return to your first Love! Return! Return!
Return to What?
But the question was: “What exactly are we supposed to return to?” I sub-consciously asked myself this question all the time: “What does it mean to have a relationship with God? What does a life of worship really look like?”
I began learning that many church traditions were really pagan practices that had nothing to do with real Christianity. Most of my family’s friends also understood many of these things, and we were all so tired of religion, and wanted something more sincere.
The book ‘Pagan Christianity’ by Frank Viola and George Barna, was passed through our circle of friends, and helped put things in a better perspective. However, I soon discovered that, although a useful and informative book, it barely scratched the surface. Something was STILL missing.
When I was about 18 years old, our youth group went to see Josh McDowell speak at T– Baptist Church. It was a very pivotal moment in my spiritual journey. McDowell, a Christian apologetics teacher, made me realize that I had no clue what I really believed.
McDowell’s lecture prompted me to study the foundations of my faith and to question EVERYTHING. Of course, you can imagine how freaked out my dad was when I told him I was reading ‘The God Delusion’ by the famous atheist, Richard Dawkins. I wanted to know the arguments against God. I felt that if I was going to put my trust in God, I had to be able to prove that His Word was true.
While most of Dawkins’ book was a lame rant against the evils done in the name of religion (how exactly does that disprove the existence of God??), he did bring up some “contradictions” in the Scriptures, for which I had no explanation. I was very bothered by this.
But thankfully, around the same time, I happened to listen to Michael Rood’s ‘Jonah Code’ presentation, which just so happened to answer these specific questions, much to my relief and excitement!
Rood’s teaching sparked my interest in the Hebrew culture. It was not until then that I truly realized that Jesus, and every writer of the New Testment, was a Jew. If there was any hope for me to understand the Scriptures, I realized I had to read them through, by understanding the Hebrew culture they were written in.
In describing my predicament, I like to use the popular phrase, “If you don’t know where you came from, you don’t know where you’re going.”
It became obvious to me that the foundations of western Christianity are flawed and/or missing. We have been looking at the Scriptures through filters of Greek and evolutionary thinking; we are not looking at them through their original Hebrew perspective. Because of this, much of the Scriptures never made sense to me, nor did Christianity as a whole.
It is also one reason (among many others), why there is a vast collection of conflicting doctrines within Christianity itself. If you do not understand the context of the Scriptures, then you will inevitably twist them every which way, each man having a vastly different interpretation than his neighbor.
Time went on, and I became very busy with work. Much of my “learning” came to a halt, as I found myself thrust into adult life. It was not until I became engaged to my husband, that I really did pick up the quest for spiritual knowledge again.
I stumbled upon a teaching titled “Law vs. Love” by a guy named Jim Staley. The title intrigued me so much, I knew I had to check it out.
For years I had been asking, “Why don’t we obey the instructions in the Old Testament?” I never received a satisfactory answer until I listened to this teaching by Staley. I listened to it multiple times over the next few months, trying to reconcile everything I had been taught by mainstream Christianity with this new concept: “The Torah has NOT been done away with.” ??? I honestly cannot believe how long it took for me to finally get it.
Demonstrating Our Love
Many months after wrestling with these concepts did I finally realize, that obeying the Torah is not about earning salvation, which only comes through grace, but about demonstrating our love for God by following His instructions.
When I finally began studying “Hebrew roots”, things began falling right into place, and the haze that covered my understanding began to clear. I learned the significance of the Torah and the Prophets, and how both the ministry of Jesus and the entire New Testament were based upon these writings. This helped me begin to understand what Jesus taught, and what the New Testament writers actually meant.
The Torah was no longer just some confusing piece of history and odd laws. Suddenly, I was able to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament. The two time periods and the two testaments were no longer opposite and contradictory. Instead, they blended together in perfect marriage!
Most importantly, I found instruction. I found the keys to holy living, or what I like to think of as true worship. Faith was no longer this abstract term that was hard to define or make sense of. Faith has become to me what it has always been about: belief proved by action. All the righteous men and women we read about in the Scriptures did not just believe the Word of God, they DID the Word of God. They heard Yehovah’s voice and obeyed. THIS is what faith is! Not just belief.
I had been taught by mainstream Christianity, that attempting to obey God’s commandments in the Torah puts you in bondage. And yet, the more I looked into the subject, the more alive I felt. If the Torah places people in bondage, why did I feel as if it was setting me free?
All my life, I had been searching for something to cling to, something to trust with all of my heart; a piece of land to sink my roots into. Spirituality was always an emotional “experience”.
I had thought, the way to judge how spiritual I was, was by how “intense” I felt about God; about how “real” His presence felt. It was all about feelings. But being both a sensitive individual and a female, this feelings-based spirituality was a mess. It left me wandering in circles, questioning every experience, and pleading with God to just “show up” and “become real.” But when I finally discovered the commandments of Yehovah found in the Torah, I knew I had found what I was searching for: absolute truth.
Christianity’s current view, though it might not be so evident, is that God changes His mind, and that truth is subjective, and that it is really an evolutionary concept. This is evidenced through it’s doctrine of dispensationalism, which says that God does things differently in each different period of time, and that the rules continually evolve. God’s Word spoken to Moses is now moot and irrelevant.
But is this really the nature of God?
We preach from our pulpits that God’s Word is absolute, unchanging, and endures forever. But do we really believe that? (I highly recommend Brad Scott’s teaching, “2 Seeds Diametrically Opposed: Creation & Evolution”.)
A Starting Point
When I discovered the absolute truth of God’s Word in the Torah, I cannot describe to you the peace that came to me. I now have a starting point, a foundation that I can work with. Now I can figure out where I am going. I have a standard from which to discern between right and wrong, and the precepts of the Torah help me to determine whether I am truly hearing from the Holy Spirit or not.
Without some basic guidelines, I could never tell who was talking to me. I would ask myself, “Is that the voice of my God? Or is that another voice, seeking to lead me astray?”
But now, I know that if it does not fit according to God’s Word, then it is not God’s Spirit. But if it agrees with, and establishes God’s Word, then it is truly God’s Spirit speaking to me!
Granted, I still have lots of questions. I believe it is impossible to have everything figured out in this life. There are still aspects of the Torah that I don’t understand, and that I struggle with, just as I do with the rest of the Bible. But that doesn’t mean I dismiss it all. I simply ask for God to continually reveal to me what I need to know.
It is my hope that others will be so inspired by my story, to look into this topic for themselves. All I want is to help strengthen everyone’s desire for truth, and help spur the questions that must be asked.
In the past few years, I have truly taken to heart the truth of, “Ask and you shall receive.” When I come before God with an open and sincere heart, free of pride and agenda, and ask God to teach me, I have always been answered, and received more than I could have dreamed of.
Discovering the Torah was an answer to prayer and has, in many ways, saved my spiritual life.
While my change of traditions, and the sharing of my thoughts on the Torah, have put me in a rather peculiar situation, I do hope that sharing my journey will help others. (And no, I have not converted to Judaism; and no, I have not rejected Jesus; and no, I do not believe in works-based salvation.)
In the end, all glory goes to Yehovah. He is where my journey begins, and where it will end. It’s all about Him!
Thank you Dear Friend, for sharing your story!
- Coming Home – to the Truth of Torah – another testimony
- Thy Torah is My Delight – adjusting our attitude toward God’s Word
- The Torah: The Key to Unlocking God’s Word
- 2 Seeds Diametrically Opposed – Creation & Evolution – a Hebrew Roots resource; Brad Scott’s Audio Teaching (scroll down to the excellent 4 Part, Audio Teaching – Part 1 is 1hr 16 min)
- Hebrew Roots Resource – great list of Hebrew Roots Resources