(In response to a letter received.)
We can identify with your plight, for none of us here at Truth On the Net were “raised in the truth.” Each of us had to be lead on our individual voyage of discovery in order to arrive at the truth. I will limit my remarks to what I have found; however, I believe there will be agreement between us on the principals.
As much as anything I was “brought up” Baptist in the 1950s and 1960s. This was a somewhat “liberal” branch of that faith, but nothing like it is today. The first real questions I encountered, was when our “Young Peoples” (post high school through college age, but not married) Sunday school teacher threw out the "approved planned lessons," opened a Strong’s Concordance, and we began to study whatever subject that was timely (seasonal) or of interest. This of course came to a quick end upon the discovery (sometimes to the surprise of the teacher) that modern Baptist doctrine and the Bible did not always agree, and we were returned to the “approved” regimen (sans that teacher). I stopped attending shortly thereafter, having never joined the ch–ch.
After drifting about for a while, associating with but never becoming a member of several groups, I became disillusioned and threw the whole lot of religion into the trash bin for a time. Like you, I thought that the people involved in religion were sincere about the Truth and Principles of the Bible. The finding was; that between ignorance (real or self-imposed), personal issues, and self-promotion there was little room left for truth. For a time I dropped out, knowing that IF there was Truth I would first have to de-program to find it.
When I finally decided to reinvestigate “religion” ALL possibilities were at first considered. Among the first things found was: no matter the religion/faith, no matter what it proclaims as its truths or principals there is a dearth of people that actually try to follow it, perhaps none. Therefore the truth must lie in what is written, not in what people say is written. Find the writings, read them for yourself, understand them as best you can and see where you are led.
Doing all this in the late 1960s and 1970s took some time, there being just about anything the mind can conjure up going around at that time (though some were obviously false and took only a cursory investigation). The conclusion was that indeed the original Bible contained The Truth, and that the “New Testament” had to be based on and support the “Old Testament.” Another realization was, that as bad as “religion” had been a few years earlier, it had deteriorated rapidly.
My next task was to READ the Scriptures for myself cover-to-cover, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide. The first time was a chore; the second time I was able to see where previous programming was still trying to override what I saw; the third time was finally a good read. The findings were that indeed the teacher from several years previous was on to something: what mainline Ch----anity taught was in the Bible was NOT in there at all; indeed usually the opposite is to be found.
To make the story a little shorter: after investigating many groups, some called “cults” by mainline Ch-rchanity, I found a final few that seemed to perhaps be in the Truth; and moved very slowly and cautiously from there. I was finally lead to see one organization (see the White Stone articles) that actually taught the Truths and Principals of the Bible and implements them as best as humanly possible. I have found none other.
Why is there a discrepancy between the word of Yahweh and what is taught and practiced? That is a question I still ponder, especially when I KNOW the person I am talking to admits to knowing that they are NOT obedient to, NOR teaching what they have proved to be truth. I will have to leave them to hash it out between The Judge and themselves. (Matthew 5: 17-20)
All we need deal with is Scripture. Hopefully the few below will help to explain what is going on at this time. Of course there are many more but space is limited:
First of all, what is “truth?” It is the word of Yahweh:
John 17: 17 “Sanctify them in the truth: your word is truth.” (See also 2 Sam 7: 28 1 Kings 17: 24 and Psalm 25: 10)
We are to serve Yahweh in sincerity and in truth:
Yahshua (Joshua) 24: 14 “Now therefore fear Yahweh, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the elohim which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve Yahweh.” (See also 1 Samuel 12: 24; 1 Kings 2: 4; Psalm 26: 3; Psalm 43: 3; Psalm 85: 10-13 and John 4: 23 - 24)
Truth yields freedom:
John 8: 31 - 32 “Yahshua therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit:
1 John 5: 7 “And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.” (See also John 16: 13)
The father of lies:
John 8: 44 “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do.. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stands not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Those who avoid or reject the truth:
Jeremiah 9: 5 - 6 “And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity. Your habitation is in the middle of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, says Yahweh.” (See also Hosea 4: 11 - 19; Romans 2: 8; 2 Thessalonians 2: 10 - 12; 1; 2 Timothy 3: 7-8; 2 Timothy 4: 3 - 4; Hebrews 10: 26; Jacob (James) 3: 14 and 1 John 2: 4 - 6)
To perpetuate man’s traditions:
Matthew 15:6 “You have made void the word of Yahweh because of your tradition.” (See also Mark 7: 5 - 13; Colossians 2: 8 and Titus 1: 14)
They do so to gain recognition:
Mark 12: 38 - 40 “ And in his teaching he said, Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and to have salutations in the marketplaces, and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts: they that devour widow’s houses, and for a pretense make long prayers; these shall receive greater condemnation.” (See also Matthew 23: 14; Luke 20 : 46 - 47 and Galatians 4: 17)
They do so to gain wealth:
1 Timothy 6: 3, 5 “If any man teaches a different doctrine, ... wranglings of men corrupted in mind and robbed of the truth, supposing that righteousness is a way of gain.” (See also Acts 8: 14 - 23 and 2 Peter 2: 3)
There are those who want only that which is easy:
Isaiah 30: 9 - 11 (verse 10 “that say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not to us right things, speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits,” (see also Proverbs 5: 3)
Their main method is one of deceit:
Jeremiah 8: 8 “How do you say, We are wise, and the law of Yahweh is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes has worked falsely. The wise men are out to shame, they are dismayed and take: lo, they have rejected the word of Yahweh; and what manner of wisdom is in them?” (See also Jeremiah 5: 31; 29: Jeremiah 8 - 9 and Matthew 24: 4 - 5, 11 - 12)
These liars have only one end:
Revelation 22: 14 - 15 “ Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone that loves and makes a lie.” (See also Proverbs 17: 4; John 8: 44; 1 John 2: 4; Deuteronomy 33: 29; Jeremiah 8 : 8-9; Matthew 7 : 15 - 16; 1 Timothy 1: 10 and Revelation 2: 2)
It is not easy to find the truth. There is only one Body of Messiah:
Matthew 7: 13 - 14 “Enter you in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad in the way, that leads to destruction, and many are they that enter in through it. For narrow is the gate, and straightened the way, that leads to life, and few are they that find it.” (See also 1 Corinthians 12: 12- end of chapter)
Why do so called “Preachers” or “Prophets” reject Truth and replace it with old worn out, patently false, vulgar traditions? Because they are Satan’s children. They have sold themselves to the Devil for wealth, or fame, or some personal crusade in the here and now. They have succumbed to the temptation in Matthew 4: 8 - 9 “Again, the devil takes him to a very high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and he said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” They disguise themselves as “angels of light: 2 Corinthians 11: 13 - 15.
With the POSSIBLE exception of someplace in some far remote, isolated spot on the globe none can use lack of study aids as an excuse. With the internet, satellite, and shortwave communications available, these purveyors of falsehood are WITHOUT excuse. It is the responsibility of each individual to make their calling and election sure; we cannot say, “But I was told that .......” 2 Peter 1: 10.
May Almighty Yahweh’s Holy Spirit guide each of us into the coming Kingdom,
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