Believing the Truth?
Believing the Truth?
by Lonnie Lane
How do you explain eternal
life to an unsaved Jewish person (or any person) who has no belief in life
after death? How do you even begin to tell him of the goodness of God when his
“truster” was broken years ago and his images of a father, and therefore of
God, are of an abuser? How do you approach someone whose erroneous beliefs are
|[W]hat we believe, no matter how strongly we believe it, really gains us nothing unless what we believe is truth.
I had a brief email exchange with such a man, someone who was part of my family before divorce separated him away. I found a photo of him and his son I had taken at a wedding last year – a
sweet moment between them caught in a camera lens and I decided to send it to both him and his son. He replied back and I sent another email asking him how he was since he’d had a recent death threatening illness from which he has survived rather miraculously, including recovering from paralysis of his legs. Despite the miracle of his recovery (lots of prayer went up for him), he answered that he was grateful to be alive since he didn’t believe there was any life after
death. He knows I’m a believer. Did he say that to “bait” me into a conversation?
Did he really want to know more but didn’t know how to ask? Or was he just letting me know he doesn’t believe as I do?
Not one to miss an opportunity to possibly lead someone in the direction of knowing Yeshua I
answered that what we believe, no matter how strongly we believe it, really gains us nothing unless what we believe is truth. Eternity is a long time to have missed finding the truth. I then told him that in working with Messianic Vision and It’s Supernatural, I have met a number of people who have been to heaven and to hell. They are alive today because Jesus sent them back to tell people of the reality of both. I directed him to our website to watch the TV shows or listen to the radio shows of persons who have had such experiences. He did not respond back to me. I care
little what he thinks of me; I care greatly what he thinks of Yeshua. (Would you take a moment to pray for his salvation? Thank you.)
I’ve had my own experience in a vision of hell and heaven, in that order. I’ve learned enough about hell that I wouldn’t want even Hitler to be there, and for a Jew that’s saying something of how terrible it is. It was meant for satan and his rebellious angels-cum-demons, but Yeshua had much to say warning us as to how to avoid being sent there. To
refuse the Light He is and that He brings, is to be cast into outer darkness. I’m
probably preaching to the choir here, considering who reads this website, but
you don’t want to go there, nor do we want anyone else to go there. Nor does
the Lord want that which is why He first of all died so that we could be
forgiven, and then told us to “Go
therefore and” tell others (Matthew 28:19).
Last night I had a dream
about two Jewish men in an environment alien to Judaism. Not intolerant, just
not Jewish. They were in India, married to Indian women, the fathers of sons
who were born and will be raised in an Indian culture. An Indian man contacted
me several years ago, responding to one of my articles. He has a love for the
Jewish people in India (yes, there are Jews in India) and for the Feasts of the
Lord. He and his family also keep the Shabbat. He is a “one new man” man! He
has kept in touch with me since, telling me of his “one new man” experiences
and his attempts to share Yeshua with the Jews he knows there in India. He’s
become a friend. Perhaps that’s why my dream took place in India. In my dream,
the two Jewish men were each wearing a short tallit (prayer shawl) usually worn by orthodox Jews under
their clothing, and they were dancing intensely in Jewish Hassidic-like dances
before the Lord. I could feel their longing for God in their dancing, an
ancient yearning for the Holy One of Israel to come to them; to know Him. Waking up with those feelings still
with me, I believe I was feeling God’s yearning for them to come to Him just
as He also yearns for the unbelieving Jewish man to come to Him.
The men in my dream did not
seem to have broken “trusters” but they were aware of a void, a big holy gap,
between them and their God. They wanted more of Him, and tried to dance their
way to Him, the way David danced before God to bring the Ark to Jerusalem.
David didn’t get there the first time he attempted to bring the Ark to
Jerusalem. The Ark housed God’s presence which is what he wanted near him, with
him. I understand. I feel the same way. I’m sure you do too. But His presence,
that is the Ark, could only be carried according to the Word of God, not what
they “believed” was the right way. You remember the story? They had built a new
cart to sit the Ark on in order to wheel it up to Jerusalem. Makes sense,
right? But the vehicles of man, what man believes is the way to go, even when
they make sense in the natural, do not bring the presence of God. (Nor do our
beliefs protect us from sure judgment by denying that there’s an afterlife,
like the Jewish man whose counting on being right in what he believes.) God
defines how we must come to Him. Obedience requires humility, a deferring to
God’s ways and a letting go of our own good ideas, and our pride in our own beliefs
when they are not His ways. That’s the only way we can know Him as Lord in all
His goodness and holiness. David and all Israel had to learn how the Ark of His
presence was to be carried if it (He) was to be with them.
David grew afraid of God when
Uzzah died on the spot, when he put out his hand to steady the Ark when it
seemed like it might topple off the cart. Uzzah means strength, incidentally,
which when it’s your strength you’re relying on and not God’s, can get you in a
lot of trouble. God apparently knew that in his heart Uzzah had no real
reverence for Him. But somehow he’s in the position of being one of the guys
escorting the cart. Not everyone in a position of leadership has a heart of
reverence when it’s position they’re after and not God. I wonder if that was
true of Uzzah. We can assume he thought of himself as a guy able to take care
of things. But to God, to touch the Ark in a casual way, even to try and keep
it from falling, when God made clear in His Word it wasn’t to be touched, is
blasphemy to God. It’s irreverence. And so he died in one swift moment by the
Hand of God. Eventually David found in the Torah God’s instructions for
carrying the Ark. It must be carried by the Levites on long poles which would
rest on their shoulders. What a picture of carrying the glory. Not on a
man-made cart, however efficient that might seem, but on the shoulders of men
who were obedient to do it God’s way. Then they were able to bring the Ark to
Jerusalem, sacrificing every few feet, as David danced his way up the hill
before the Lord in great joy. Why don’t I let the Scriptures tell the story.
Try and picture this like you’re watching a movie.
Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel,
thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him
to…bring up from there the Ark of God which is called by the Name, the very
name of the LORD of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim. They placed the Ark
of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which
was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new
cart. So they brought it with the Ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which
was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the Ark. Meanwhile,
David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all
kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines,
castanets and cymbals.
But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon,
Uzzah reached out toward the Ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen
nearly upset it. And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck
him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the Ark of God. David
became angry because of the LORD’S outburst against Uzzah, and that place is
called Perez-uzzah to this day. So David was afraid of the LORD that day; and
he said, “How can the Ark of the LORD come to me?” And David was
unwilling to move the Ark of the LORD into the city of David with him; but
David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. (2
Samuel 6: 1-10).
“Then David said, ‘No one is to carry the Ark of God
but the Levites; for the LORD chose them to carry the Ark of God and to
minister to Him forever.’ And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring
up the Ark of the LORD to its place which he had prepared for it. David
gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites. (872 by my count according to the list.) …Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the
priests, and for the Levites… and said to them, ‘You are the heads of the
fathers’ households of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your
relatives, that you may bring up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel to the place
that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it at the first, the
LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the
ordinance.” So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring
up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel. The sons of the Levites carried the Ark
of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded
according to the word of the LORD. Then David spoke to the chiefs of the
Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music,
harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.
“So it was David, with the elders of Israel and the
captains over thousands, who went to bring up the Ark of the covenant of the
LORD from the house of Obed-edom with joy. Because God was helping the Levites
who were carrying the Ark of the covenant of the LORD, they sacrificed seven
bulls and seven rams. Now David was clothed with a robe of fine linen with all
the Levites who were carrying the Ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader
of the singing with the singers. David also wore an ephod of linen. Thus all
Israel brought up the Ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with
sound of the horn, with trumpets, with loud-sounding cymbals, with harps and
lyres” (1 Chronicles 15).
David may have started out dressed for the
occasion with decorum along with all the Levites who were carrying the Ark, but
that’s not how he wound up, having been overtaken with joy: “And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might,
and David was wearing a linen ephod” (2 Samuel 6:14). Have you ever danced
before the Lord with all your might? The two men in my dream were, but they
were dancing out of a longing for God while David danced out of the absolute
joy of being in God’s presence. It was pure worship. Dancing before the Lord can
be an act of intercession and prayer, not only of worship. If you’ve never worshiped
the Lord with dancing, or even if you have, why not put on some worship music
that inspires you and let your whole being worship the Lord in dance. You may
feel a little self-conscious at first, even if you’re all alone, but let loose.
Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to enjoy Him and let “all that is within (you),
bless His holy name” (Psalm 103:1).
As a Jew who danced traditional
Jewish/Israeli dances at synagogue at times on Shabbat or at various holidays,
weddings, and bar-mitvahs, etc. I was astounded at the sobriety and somberness
of the church when I first entered the Christian world. I remember making the
observation that Christians (at least those in my non-Charismatic somewhat-fundy
church at that time) seemed to relate to the Lord with their heads only but not
with any other parts of their bodies, let alone their whole beings, that I
could tell. Had I inched my way into the aisle, or even stood and jiggled at my
seat in an arm-lifted two step to “We Bring The Sacrifice of Praise,” I would
have received the same response that David received from Michal the day he
brought the Ark up to Jerusalem.
Surely Yeshua must have danced. Did you ever
think of Him as dancing? I have
often. Sometimes He even dances with me! Or at least I can picture Him dancing
with me. It goes with how I see Him – joyful, funny and loving to laugh. And
holy! They go together for me. Does your Yeshua have a really funny sense of
humor? Mine does. If we’re made in God’s image and as far as we know, no other
animals have a sense of humor, where do you think that came from? Him! Since
there’s great joy in heaven and Yeshua’s goal was that God’s will would be done
on earth as it is in heaven, wouldn’t that include joy? Not only could I not
relate to the sobriety I observed in the first church I attended, neither could
I relate to the portraits of Jesus doting the walls of the church here and
there, looking like He suffered from a serious case of depression or He bore an
expression of otherworldliness that in any of us would be considered a
psychological disengagement from reality. Why would anyone want to follow
someone like that?
What do you think He really meant when He
said, “These things I have spoken to you
so that My joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11). What would fullness of
joy feel like? David knew: “You will make
known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm
16:11). I’m always amazed at how deeply David knew the Lord, and how profoundly
he experienced His presence as an Old Testament man. Surely God had put an
anointing upon him as a type of the Messiah who would come, a Messiah of joy! Paul experienced Yeshua’s joy when he
said, “having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all” (2
Corinthians 2:3. See Phil 2:2, 17 & 4:1 for more of Paul’s joy.) Joy is meant
to be the atmosphere of the Kingdom.
|All we need to do is rest in His finished work and let Him change us into His image.
Here’s my point with all this. We can have
beliefs about God, but if they’re not based on what God’s Word has told us, our
beliefs will not get us into His presence or into His joy. They won’t even
assure us of His salvation if we believe amiss. If we believe things that are
inconsistent with how He is portrayed in Scripture because they fit in more with our experience, we could be missing appreciating some of His better
qualities – like simply having fun and being joyful. Incorrect beliefs may keep
us trying to earn His approval when God has already fully accepted each one of
us based on what Yeshua accomplished on the cross. All we need to do is rest in
His finished work and let Him change us into His image. We can’t do it anyway.
The rest comes in believing He will. There is only one way to “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy
Spirit” (Romans 14:7) and that’s through Yeshua. Here’s one of my favorite
verses: “Now to Him who is able to keep
you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless
with great joy” (Jude 1:24). Don’t you love that verse? Could there be any
greater promise of God’s goodness to us?
Just as my unsaved Jewish friend will have to
abandon his beliefs in order to be saved, so many of us will have to abandon
our beliefs that keep us from the fullness of all that Yeshua died to give us
and that is Biblically ours to claim and live in. So don’t be surprised if the
Lord puts before you a challenge to some things you have taken for granted as
valid Christianity. You may be surprised at what will give you cause to rethink
some of what you believe. Take this as a heads-up. There’s something stirring
in the Spirit that may just cause this kind of re-evaluating. And keep in mind
that it’s a known fact that it is always the last move of God that resists the
next move of God. That is to say, it is often our commitment to the way we believe
things should be or be done that causes us to resist a new revelation that God
may be giving to His people. It sure was the case with the leadership in
Yeshua’s day, wasn’t it?
Then take the Reformation. Wars were fought
over the revelation that “the righteous
man shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11) because the shift was too great
for many people who held to the status quo. I’m not saying we’re in line for a religious
war, but I am saying that I expect a definite shift in the understanding of
some things we have believed; a re-aligning with Scripture that will enable
those who will make the shift to walk in His glory when around them others are
missing our “day of visitation” (1
Peter 2:12). Obviously something
has to change as we’re not all walking in glory now. Fear not, little flock.
Trust in the Lord. Be wise and discerning, while making room for God to make His
Word more real to you, to give you revelation and understanding as never
before. It’s always the same Word, but there are layers of revelation the
Spirit of God releases to us at different times in His unfolding plan of
redemption. The Reformation is a prime example of that.
Me personally, I started reading my Bible
with a new highlighter in hand recently. I’m starting all over – again, mostly
in the New Testament but not exclusively, to see what the Lord will say to me.
I’m asking Him to show me where I’ve believed amiss and I’m starting to see
things I had missed before, or interpreted based on what I expected it to mean from
my experiences but not according to what it really says. I had to repent for
not really believing what it said. More on that in a future article. Perhaps
you’d like to do the same – either before or after the dancing!
We are likely to be in a significant time of
preparation before the coming of the Lord. In which case, these words once
again ring out: “Make ready the way of
the Lord, make His paths straight!” (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3;
Luke 3:4). The path is in His Word: “Your
word is a lamp to my feet and a light
to my path.” (Psalm 119:105). For those of you who take up
the challenge with me, I bless your new adventure with the Lord in His Word. May
you have joy in the journey.
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2010.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.