by haRold Smith
"Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect the authority of the Word of God (John 1:14) through your tradition, which you, in turn, pass on. And many things of this kind you are doing." Mark 7:13
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Colossians 2:8
Shortly after marrying some years ago, my new wife (a recent convert to Yeshua) announced she wanted to do 'church' as all her girlfriends were want to do. So it was with a humble spirit that I accompanied her to the latest 'happening' of folks gathering in a local denominational institution that had recently had an outpouring of the Holy Spirit among many of the believers and some of the leadership.
Settling into the balcony section because of the crowd of people in the main arena below, my wife was all 'giddy' with excitement and anticipation of what was to happen. The music had begun to play when she leaned into my ear and whispered that, now that she was here, she wanted to learn all there was about everything she was witnessing. She then pointed at the platform below us and asked, "Where is the pulpit mentioned in scripture and what is its significance?" Hesitating, I replied, "Well, it isn't found in scripture." "Oh," she said but, undaunted, went right into the next question - "well, then, what about the pews? Where in scripture does it refer to them and why they are arranged this way?" Again, hesitatingly, I said, "Uh, well - they aren't in scripture either." She just looked at me.
She was determined, however, to learn as much as possible about everything they were doing and so it was that she went around the entire sanctuary, asking about everything taking place along with the accoutrements associated with it all - from the choir to the stained glass windows to the manner of preaching to the architecture of the building. With each item she asked about, I continued to inform her that those things could not be found in scripture. Finally, after exhausting her barrage, she turned to me and asked in a simple, naive voice, "Then, why are we doing them?"
I had no answer - none. I was as perplexed as she - but, I came away from that incident with a desire to find out why we do these things. What I discovered from subsequent research was that most of what we accept as the way and manner in which we believe are nothing more than traditions handed to us by those we learned from who, previously, had accepted those same traditions as the normal way of belief handed to them - 'and many things of this kind you are doing' (Mark 7, above). We have trusted those who have come before us to have done the necessary digging to find out what this 'stuff' is - and have found ourselves wanting. There is no substitute for hearing the Voice of God ourselves (see "Hearing His Voice").
Tradition comes from the Greek word, 'paradosis' and means -
1) giving up, giving over
a) the act of giving up
2) a giving which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, precept, etc.
a) objectively, that which is delivered, the substance of a teaching
b) of the body of precepts, esp. ritual
The Greek word for 'Word' in the verse in Mark above is the same Greek word, 'logos', appearing in John 1:14 and means 1) of speech a) a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea. This scripture is telling us that by embracing the tradition of men, Yeshua said we give up the Power of His Life operating in us and through us. We trade off His Power when we settle for what others would have us to believe instead of doing the work necessary to hear what He is saying for ourselves.
Virtue comes from the Greek word, 'dynamis' and means -
1) strength, power, ability
a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
b) power for performing miracles
c) moral power and excellence of spirit
The Power He exhibited in this external realm while among us came from, emanated from, the Virtue He embraced in His Life (Luke 6:19). That Virtue came from His association with and His intimacy in knowing the Father (John 17:3). If we are to walk in the Power of Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) in the same manner in which He walked, we must, in like manner, embrace the same essence of the Father He manifested in His Life. This is why His Life as chronicled in scripture becomes the benchmark by which we measure everything including other scripture and prophecy - not by what we are taught by other men or what we 'think' scripture to be defined as (1John 2:27), but by what it actually says. When we embrace the tradition of men we 'give up' the excellence of His Spirit and the inherent Power that Virtue brings to our lives. We overcome the enemy in our lives by the testimony of the Power His Virtue brings to our life (Revelation 12:11).
Prayer and Healing are areas where most of us have embraced tradition and have been left wondering why we do not see the Power He exhibited in His Life flow through ours. There is a difference between an incantation and a prayer. A prayer is communication between two people that love each other. An incantation is calling upon the name of someone or something to exert their power to intervene in the affairs of another or to influence circumstance and is generally associated with sorcery. Coming from a life steeped in sorcery into the movement of ruach hakodesh (Hebrew for the spirit of holiness) was, at first, very confusing to me because of seeing a similarity in operation in both spirit realms. Upon quizzing the Lord as to why this was so, He revealed the difference to be the underlying motivation of the person operating in the spirit. In Ruach haKodesh, the motivation is an impartation of Life (Romans 1:11, 1Thessalonians 2:8). We are to impart the Life Yeshua lived to others, as He did and exampled among us; whereas, the underlying motivation of witchcraft is an imposition of self upon people and circumstances (considered 'vain deceit' in Colossians 2:8 above) - regardless of the goodness of our intent. It is the difference in first hearing His Voice and what He would have us to do as opposed to what we would like to see happen - even if what we would like to see happen is mingled with the best of intentions.
Believing 'in faith' is not believing on something we 'want' to see happen. Faith is hearing what He speaks and expecting Him to do what He said He will do. Scripture tells us that healing rises in His Wings - not ours (Malachi 4:2); and that the 'faith' for that healing comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). HE is the Word (John 1:14) and if HE does not speak the Word of healing, we can believe until the sun goes down, but it won't happen. Consequently, since we do not see it happen, we then begin an unrelenting assault on the citadels of the Kingdom, attempting to annoy God into action having been taught that the way to obtain the Kingdom is by force. This response on our part places us in a category of being a 'violent' person (Matthew 11:12, Psalm 11:5), sealing judgment upon ourselves (Matthew 5:8, Psalm 18:26). We forget that the desires we have for our life and those of our loved ones were placed there by Him to begin with and that He wants to see them fulfilled in our lives MORE than we do (see Desire).
Praying (whether it is in tongues or in the natural) is not a magic wand or supernatural elixir. Praying is designed as a means of communication in the Spirit with YHVH so as to clean our temple so as to build our faith so as to confront the difficulties we face in our life with the confidence that He is Good (Jude 1:20) - nothing else. Whenever we start to use our prayers to create something, even though that something might be for what we think would be good for people, we have moved. We have crossed the line between the realm of the Kingdom and the realm of witchcraft - our motivation betrays us. There are many believers today who are praying prayers of self-imposition over others because they see them struggling in some manner and wish to ease their discomfiture. They have invested themselves into the traditional theology that this walk in the Spirit is to be one free of obstacles and without pain. They do so, not understanding the Will of the Father for our life.
A paradigm shift in our thinking and from what we have been taught traditionally is required in order to understand how YHVH looks at these short, brief lives we live. What is mostly lacking is an understanding of how He sees this 'breath' of a life we have here on earth and what it is intended for. We want it to be as comfortable, convenient and painless as possible. Elohim looks upon it as a short span containing an opportunity to learn of Him and to make some choices, accordingly, that will result in our station for eternity. He knows we are all going to die physically (Luke 13:4-5). Everyone dies - even all the people Yeshua healed, died. Consequently, He is not as concerned with our external circumstances as we are. For the unbeliever, He uses the external things of life to bring them to an end to themselves that they might seek Him. For the believer (those who seek Him in Purity and Truth), however, He uses the external to fashion us, shape us and to mold us into His image (Romans 5:1-5, Matthew 5:45).
While it makes good copy and sells a lot of books, this notion of a 'comfort theology' is just not consistent with His Life or the lives of the disciples (Hebrews 11:35b-40). That they 'accepted not deliverance' means there was a deliverance available and they refused it - all to obtain a 'greater resurrection'. Yeshua constantly stated that if we are to come after Him, we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him or we are not worthy of Him (Luke 9:23, Matthew 10:38), Taking up our cross and denying ourselves is not some spiritual anthology - it is real, just as His Life was real.
The Power He has granted us access to because of our belief in Him is surrounded by a hedge of selflessness. When we seek to preserve our life in some manner, we are seeking to consume that Power on ourselves - the antithesis of what His Life exampled. Our 'standing in faith' over something He has not spoken actually speaks of our UNbelief in His Goodness over the circumstances we find ourselves in (see "Healing in His Wings"). As long as we have our eyes focused on the things of our own, we won't be able to focus on the things of others - which is what He did for us and is the way we are 'sent' even as He was sent of the Father (John 17:18, 1John 3:16).
Revelation 19:10b) says the 'spirit of prophecy IS the testimony of the Life of Yeshua'. The benchmark by which we measure everything is His Life. IF (a big little word) it is not found in the Purity of Who the Father is in the Life of Yeshua - it is not Him. We don't find Yeshua praying for anyone in scripture to alter their lives. He was merely a vessel, a conduit by which the Father found an entry point for the manifestation of the Father's will, not Yeshua's, to be realized in this earthly realm (John 5:30). Even though He was equal with God, He did not consider that equality a thing to be grasped and wielded - He became a servant (Philippians 2:5-8). When He DID pray for someone, He prayed for the Father to strengthen them with the same knowledge He had of the Father so that with that knowledge, they could walk as He walked - nothing more (John 17:8-11).
What we are to believe, to 'have faith in', is not what we would like to see happen - but what His Purpose is for our life. It is an interesting observation that nowhere in scripture is it recorded where He ever healed or delivered the disciples. What IS recorded is that He empowered them to go as He was sent (Luke 9:1-2, John 20:21). Where we misunderstand what that 'sending' means is that they were NOT given power to consume it upon themselves (James 4:3). The signs and wonders are given for the benefit of the unbeliever - to gain their attention so as to validate the words being spoken to them (John 4:48). To those of us who believe, the power is within - having a regenerative effect in accordance with the virtue we embrace (Romans 8:11, Psalm 119:156). The Power we carry is as we choose to BECOME as He is in this earthly realm (1John 4:17). The only Power recorded in scripture that manifested in Yeshua's Life (and that He imparted to the disciples in Luke 9:1) to heal and deliver was Virtue. Virtue is acquired by our choice to embrace and manifest the Life He lived before us in the fullness of the Nature and Character of YHVH. He only did what He saw the Father do (John 5:19).
There are those who will read this article and come away with the idea that it implies we are not to pray for one another and that YHVH doesn't heal. To those I would say, please re-read the article because that is NOT what is being conveyed here. Are we to pray for the saints? Absolutely (1Timothy 2:8). But, our prayers should be as Yeshua's - the highest prayer we can pray for one another, that He use the circumstances in our lives to bring us into a true knowledge of Him. Are we to pray for ourselves? Absolutely - but in the manner in which He prescribed, not as a rote recitation of the words, but as an active involvement with the Ruach haKodesh in bringing those words to Life within us (Matthew 6:9-15). Does Elohim heal us? Absolutely - I have been healed and restored of too much in my life to not believe that YHVH is Jehovah-Rophe, The Lord Who Heals (Exodus 15:25-26). However, it is in examining our life and then measuring it against His Life that we come into the true knowledge of Who He Is. We would all be served well by setting aside what we have come to believe as true from those whose motive is to keep us in the clutches of tradition that it might benefit them (see "What Authority") and, instead, embrace the Truth of His Life as it is simply recorded in scripture (2Corinthians 10:5).
|"Yeshua haMeshiach is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8|