From the teaching Yeshua's Disciple: Belief
A few weeks ago I was preparing the blog for the Signs teaching and started a word study on the word believe found in Mark 16:17. That also lead me to undertake a word study on key words thrown around by people that find God's laws to be obsolete such as grace, justification, and faith. I just want to make sure I have a solid understanding of what these words mean and how and why they are used. So in Mark 16:17, "believe" is G4100 in the Strong's Concordance and comes from the primary verb peithō which has a pretty long explanation of what it means - to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):—agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) confluent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield. What stands out to me is that all of these entries can basically be summed up by the last four - obey, persuade, trust, and yield. If I believe that Yeshua is that Promised One mentioned in the Scriptures, then I have been persuaded of His authenticity and in turn I must now decide if I will yield myself to Him and obey Him. Yeshua said it Himself that something follows "belief". It doesn't stand alone in someone's mind as if it has no visible counterpart. The signs mentioned in Mark 16:17-18 confirm the Word and is a product of our belief, trust, and level of yielding to Him. What word is being confirmed? The Word of YeHoVaH. The instructions that were given for how His people should be governed, the prophesies concerning The Prophet that we must hear and obey.
So what's the difference between what we understand the word believe to mean and the Christian take on believe? Well, growing up Christian and in having conversations with Christians today, I notice that some have a very strong connection with the religion and this is used as a measurement of belief. Some find their identity in the religion of Christianity and it's precepts, not in the truth of the Scriptures. It's almost like being a part of a club that we cherish and feeling that we belong to something. And what's better than to belong to something that makes us feel good inside? Something that seems good, right, just, and holy. I remember when I was younger that I wanted to be Catholic because they seemed to have a religious structure that was very ritualistic and impressive in my mind. I wanted to feel like I belonged to something structured and had orderly rituals. I was looking for structure and I believe that draws many people to religion, but when we define biblical belief, it shows us what it is and what it looks like. On the road to Emmaus in Luke, Yeshua reproved His disciples for not being aware that He had fulfilled the prophecies concerning His suffering and entering into glory. It goes on to explain that staring at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded all things in scripture concerning himself. If YeHoVaH wanted to, He could just reveal Himself to each and every person in an absolutely undeniable way, and He will in the future, but why has/does He reveal Himself the way we read and see today. He wants us to be convinced in ourselves through trust in Him that He is who He says He is. What's the point of identifying something that will occur in the future? He wants us to have a record of His faithfulness and trustworthiness and to test those that claim to speak for Him. Not that He has anything to prove to us, but so that we can see Him, His character, and for our edification - so that we might believe.
We believe that Yeshua is the Messiah because the Spirit of the Most High has revealed in every believing heart the veracity of the recording of His earthly existence that fulfills prophecies. If by His Word He has charged us with looking for these prophecies, then by His word we verify the authenticity of the Holy One that was promised in the Tanakh (Old Testament). The difference that I see with biblical belief and Christian belief is not in the prophecies that identify circumstances surround His birth, genealogy, rejection, and suffering, but in the work of the Messiah. One problem is that many people seeking the Father through Christianity are told to start reading the Gospel record of Jesus to understand Him and some are even given a "New Testament Bible". A "New Testament Bible" just makes me scratch my head. Who gives someone one quarter of the Bible and expects them to grasp the full picture the Father paints for us? That, to me is just proof that something is amiss and draws attention to the Christian mission-to draw you into its fold. It doesn't reveal itself that way, but when you study basic history of the Christian Church, it really speaks for itself. One obstacle is that many of us don't even take the time to search out what we claim to have faith in. In my personal conversations with Christians, I've noticed that many profess that they hardly spend any time in the books before Matthew. That's what doctrine has done. It has removed the entire picture of the prophecies spoken of in the Tanakh and narrowed the view of the Messiah in the minds of people to a Savior that was born to set us free from law. The fact that the Tanakh is referred to as the "Old Testament" does more damage in the minds of people than we give credit.
Now when verses like John 14:15 are read about charging us with keeping commandments, it's been reduced to only things mentioned in the "New Testament", but if you believe that Yeshua is THE Prophet spoken of in the Tanakh, that means He speaks for the Father. He tells us He comes not to do His own will, but that of the Father in John 6:38. Why is He called the Word made flesh? He is the spoken Word of the Most High on full display. Some of that Word was written down for us and it doesn't begin in Matthew, it begins in the beginning. That means we must start at the beginning to understand what it means when Yeshua is referred to as the Word made flesh. Yeshua's commandments ARE the Father's commandments. If we believe that Yeshua set us free from the Almighty's law, then where do we find that? A way to test that is to return to the Tanakh and what we find is His law exalted and described in various ways as freedom and life. Yeshua said Himself and invoked two witnesses, heaven and earth, that He didn't come to destroy the law. So when someone then explains that fulfill means that Yeshua ended up nailing YeHoVaH's law to the cross, they are still saying that He destroyed it like He said He didn't come to do. No, we believe Yeshua is that Promised One because the method by which the Father charged us with testing doctrine is fulfilled in Him. He meets the criteria and wants those that really believe His authenticity to follow His ways and those ways point to the Father. The Father wants us to walk in His ways, His commandments, through the power of the Holy Spirit. If we believe - trust, are persuaded by, obey, and yield to the Messiah, our actions should match His words and deeds. If our ways do not line up, we have to question what we really believe.