Those Who Forsake The Right Way
|by Jacob O. Meyer|
It was in March 1778, that Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is reported to have written the following momentous comment: "Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Chr-stianity will change the face of the world." It has certainly been the firm belief of The Sacred Name Broadcaster magazine editor that the primitive principles of scriptural Messianic, Apostolic worship definitely should be restored to the religious scene. Few people today share such noble aspirations; nevertheless, a restoration of the primitivebeliefs and practices of the New Testament assembly will universally occur when Yahshua the Messiah returns.
At the time when the editor began his concentrated study of the Bible, he came across this signifcant maxim:"The message of the Bible either makes strong friends or fierce enemies." The author has experienced the truism of this statement many times as he has taught Bible truth for over thirty years. Few people actually determine to live by the tenets of the sacred Scriptures, although they occasionally give lip service to such a lifestyle. Very few individuals will even take the time to examine the scriptural teachings thoroughly, as did the noble Bureans of Acts 17:11; therefore, they wrongly interpret the term " primitive Chr-stianity." Yahshua, the Messiah Himself, taught against licentiousness or lasciviousness.
" The message of the Bible either makes strong friends or fierce enemies."
Turn to Mark 7 where He explained in verses 20 to 23, "And he said, That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, evil thoughts proceed, fornication, thefts, murders, adulteries, covetings, wickednesses, deceit, LASCIVIOUSNESS, an evil eye, railing, pride, foolishness: all these evil things proceed from inside, and defile the man." In verse 22, we find the word lasciviousness (meaning licentiousness, license to do as you please), and Yahshua declares such conduct to be a great evil. Yahshua the Messiah never approved a doctrine of license, but He included such conduct as evidence of a defilement of the heart of the evil man.
In Judah (Jude) verse 3, we are urged to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Obviously, Judah, the author, Yahshua's brother, wishes to emphasize for us that the true evangel of salvation would never be changed. This teaching, the glad tidings, has been established inflexibly for all time. In the end of the age, a people existing at that time will be keeping the commandments of Yahweh while maintaining and holding fast the faith of Yahshua the Messiah, explains the Apostle John. What was the primitive Messianic faith like anyway? What did the Apostles teach and by what teaching did the Apostolic Assembly of the first century live? Perhaps you have never considered these penetrating questions or searched for their answers, assuming only that your denomination personified the accurate, fundamental faith.
The basic answer to these questions can readily be ascertained from Matthew 5:17-20. "Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one yothe or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Yahshua the Messiah taught strict obedience to the sacred Scriptures. The Apostolic Assembly followed in His footsteps. Paul in Romans 3:31 asked the question,"Do we then make the Law of no effect through faith! By no means: no, we establish the Law." Why then do ministers and religious organizations teach that the scriptural law has been set aside or annulled when the Messiah died, when the Messiah Himself taught precisely the converse? It seems that ch-rchianity has established its own agenda and has developed its unique theology, outside the authority of the sacred texts.
"Do we then make the Law of no effect through faith! By no means: no, we establish the Law. "
Grace represents the mercy and lovingkindness of Yahweh in forgiving the sins of His people. In the Greek dictionary of Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; the term is #5485, charis, graciousness, "the sublime influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life . . . " However, Yahshua has forgiven sins, and we may no longer return to an evil life. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound ? By no means. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live in it?" (Romans 6:1-2)
Furthermore, we read in Hebrews 6:4-8, "For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of Yahweh, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; since they impale to themselves the Son of Yahweh again, and put him to an open shame. For the land which has drunk the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs useful for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receives blessings from Yahweh: but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near to a curse; whose end is to be burned." Certainly this warning by the author of the book of Hebrews is quite clear -- the one who departs from the faith must expect to be thrown into the lake of fire!
Judah continues to expound upon the thought of falling away from the faith and returning to a life of self indulgence(self gratification) by referring to the incident of the golden calf worship in Exodus 32. Having saved His people Israel out of Egypt, Yahweh afterwards destroyed them that believed not, since 40 days after the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) when Israel had ratified the covenant, they held a licentious, idolatrous service.
The title of this article was taken from Peter 2:15. " FORSAKING THE RIGHT WAY, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the hire of wrongdoing." Who would fall away from the true faith, except religious hobbyists? Is it not true that many religious organizations only appear interested in acquiring wealth, like Balaam the son of Beor in Numbers 22? Balak, king of the Moabites, offered Balaam great wealth if he would only prophesy against (curse) the nation of Israel. When Balaam sought a way to justify accompanying Balak the king of Moab to curse Israel, Yahweh said, ". . . You shall not go with them; YOU SHALL NOT CURSE THE PEOPLE; FOR THEY ARE BLESSED." (Numbers 22:12)
The name Balaam means "not of the people,"a foreigner. See the Hebrew dictionary in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, #1109 (# 1110, #1111, Balak means "waster."). This description became obvious and was fulfilled when Almighty Yahweh sent His angel to withstand Balaam and keep him from cursing Israel (the people who were obedient to Him and consequently should be blessed). Finally, Balaam's ass was given voice and intelligence to speak a warning, wherein Almighty Yahweh impressed upon Balaam that He could not curse Israel or go beyond what He had spoken. Later, in Numbers 31:8, we find that Balaam was slain by Israel in the war of retribution to avenge the difficulties that Midian had brought upon Israel through enticing them to sin. See Numbers 25. Balaam is again mentioned near the end of the Bible in the book of Revelation. "Forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the hire of wrongdoing; but he was rebuked for his own transgression a dumb ass spoke with man's voice and restrained the madness of the prophet." (2 Peter 2:15-16) We also see that Balaam is mentioned as the false prophet who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, getting them to sin and eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication (Revelation 3:14).