Is HAKODESH YISRA’EL, the Holy One of Isra’el, a reality in your life, or is He merely “a belief”? It is estimated that the majority have “a belief” in God, meaning that He is part of their religion or “belief system,” but is that enough? Ya’acov (Jacob; trans. “James”), the brother of Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus), writes,
You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe\, and tremble. (James 2:19)
If you believe that there could be a God, or even if you do say that you believe in God, Ya’acov (Jacob/James) says, “Congratulations, you have a demonic level of faith,” but it takes more than simple acknowledgement in a belief of God for you to be pleasing to God. YHWH, the Holy God of Isra’el, requires more than simple “belief,” but He wants to be a reality in His people’s lives. I would argue that religion reduces God to “a belief” that we can either accept or reject; thus, giving the power of control to the individual – NOT to the Holy One of Isra’el.
Religions vs. Kingdom
All Religions – regardless of what name you call them – are a façade, a myth, a masquerade, a false path that deceives people into believing that if they do what their religion says to do than they are pleasing God – but oftentimes, they are not. Religion uses God or the gods to get what individuals want. The Bible does not teach a religion – but a Kingdom. In a Kingdom, the King owns everyone and everything within His Kingdom. The King decides how this citizens will live, will do, and practice, even their feasts. The alleged “biblical religions” manipulate and use the Bible to teach the doctrines and practices of their own religions. These religions, indeed, preach “RELIGIONS” and NOT KINGDOM. In a religion, for example, what is “sin” depends on what you or I may “believe,” but in a Kingdom, it does not matter what you believe or I believe, the King has already decided, and whether you or I agree with it or not does not matter, because God will judge us based on what He believes and thinks – not what each person believes or thinks. Thus, our opinion is actually irrelevant.
The Holy One – Ultimate Reality?
The Holy One of Isra’el is NOT about religions at all. He is NOT “a belief,” but He is the ultimate reality. He exists outside of the minds and hearts of human beings. Even if every person on the planet were to disbelieve His existence, the Holy One would continue to exist. His existence and power is not dependent on us at all. I don’t go around and say, “I believe in oxygen,” even though I can not experience it with my senses. Nor do I say, “I believe I have a wife and a family,” nor do I say, “I believe I have a job,” or “I believe I have a car,” because these are all realities in my life. To call them “a belief” would mean that they are NOT a reality. Thus, the Holy God of Isra’el is not “a belief” in my life – but Reality. Therefore, I will not diminish Him as my King by calling Him “a belief.”
English Translations – Not the Best?
Unfortunately, our English translations are not the best, since they really do not do the best in getting the ideas of the original languages across. For example, in Genesis 15, it is written,
Then he [Abraham] BELIEVED in the LORD; and He [God] reckoned it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)
The word “believed” is the English translation of the Hebrew word ‘aman, which is better translated as “trusted, relied upon, and faithful to,” meaning that this verse should be written as,
Then he [Abraham] TRUSTED, RELIED UPON, and was FAITHFUL TO the LORD; and He [God] credited to him as righteousness.
As we can see, the English does not adequately translate the Hebrew verb that is used. To “trust, rely upon, and be faithful to” God goes way beyond mere “belief,” or “mental acceptance.” I asked a class one time, “How many people believe that I would not do anything to purposely hurt you?” Everyone raised their hand, and I then asked them, “Who will give me their credit cards?” Not one student volunteered. They “believed” but they did not have any “trust” in me. This is how many people are with God. They may “believe” in His existence, but most of them do not “trust Him, rely upon Him, or are faithful to Him.”
The translators have also not done very well with the verbs in the Greek either. For example, in John 3, Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus) is speaking to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, and He says,
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever BELIEVES may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who BELIEVES in Him is not judged; he who does not BELIEVE has been judged already, because he has not BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:14-18)
In this passage, the word “believes/ believe/ believed” is the Greek verb pisteuo, which means “to believe or trust in,” and not only would the word “trust” be a better translation than “believe,” but it is also a present participle verb, which means that “it indicates an action that is repeated or continuous.” Consequently, Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus) is not speaking about a one-time belief, but a continuous, ongoing TRUST in God. But it is important to remember that this conversation did not originally happen in Greek – but in Second Temple Hebrew. Therefore, the word “believe” should be understood to mean the same thing as the Hebrew and not limit ourselves to only the Greek.
Religions – Not About God?
Now I believe that many people believe that saying that the Holy, Unique God of Isra’el, is real and exists constitutes a religion. However, this is not true since there are four world religions – Theraveda (Orthodox) Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Theraveda Buddhism and Jainism have their origins in India and are a break-off from Hinduism. Taoism and Confucianism began in the Asian countries of the Far East. Although Siddhartha, who becomes known as the Buddha, or “Enlightened One” was an agnostic, who believed that the Hindu gods could not be proven to exist, so he focused his time and energy on what he could prove. Buddhism is about teaching people how to share in “an experience,” called “Nirvana,” which suggests an “end of suffering,” “inner peace,” and “liberation from the limitations of the world.” According to Michael Molloy’s book, Experiencing the World’s Religions: Tradition, Challenge, and Change, 3rd ed., he writes, that the term “Nirvana” suggests that –
…the fires of desire have been extinguished. Upon attaining nirvana, the individual has self-control and no longer driven from inside by raging emotional forces or from outside by the unpredictable events of life. (131)
Unlike Buddhism, Jainism believes that there have been twenty-four tirthankaras that are subject to the same karma and change as anyone else. Jainism teaches that the direction of our rebirth – whether to a higher or lesser form of life form – is determined by karma, which is produced by every action that we do. Like Hinduism, Jainism does not believe in forgiveness or compassion, so if something bad happens to a person or if they suffer, it is because of their bad karma that they acquired from their previous lives. If a person acquires only good karma, they become one of the tirthankaras, superhuman beings, or even “celestial beings.” These tirthankaras are sometimes called “gods” or “deities;” however, these tirthankaras are not “gods,” as the word is understood in the Western world. When the karma of the tirthankaras run out, they will be reincarnated as a lower life form in the lower parts of the earth or even in the universe. But just like Hindus and Buddhists, the Jains seek liberation and freedom from the the endless wheel of karma and reincarnation.
In Asian countries, the two religions without “a God” or “gods” are Taoism and Confucianism. Taoism seeks to live in harmony with and experience an impersonal natural force can be experienced in nature; whereas, in Confucianism, the Taoism can be experienced in social groups, society, and even in government. It is not God they seek – but the Tao.
Thus, there is only one true God in the universe, and that is the Holy One of Isra’el and no one else. All other gods in the various religions of the world are a figment of peoples’ imaginations. HAKODESH YISRA’EL, the Holy One of Isra’el, is the King of all kings and LORD of all lords, and it is His Kingdom that we belong. Therefore, we need to submit ourselves to His rule and reign over every aspect and part of His life. We must repent, accept what God has done in and through His chosen Messiah, Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus), and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins, and then we are to pick up our own crosses and follow Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus) daily until we finish the race at the end of our lives by keeping God’s commandments that He has given in and through His servants Moses, the prophets, and His chosen Messiah, Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus). Only then will we experience the reward of His eternal life in His Kingdom. Amen.\