by John and Ruth Greene
Today, most of the planet places great importance on credentials. In fact, many folks say that you are nothing without them. Even in places that profess faith, “ordination” and “titles” are often a big deal.
“Then Yahshua [Jesus] again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world. The one following Me will in no way walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.’ Then the Pharisees said to Him, ‘You witnessed concerning Yourself; Your witness is not true.’” – John 8:12-13, HRB
Yahshua [Jesus] spent much of His ministry confronting people. (We count well over 400.) This was an effort to reach the hearts of any that would listen. He was consistent in getting people to think. Yahshua [Jesus] drew a clear line between His Kingdom and the darkness of the world. Where the Master was speaking in the temple that day was where candles burned to symbolize the pillar of fire that led Israel through the desert. The pillar of fire represented YHWH’s presence, guidance and protection to the Jews. In the same way, those that follow Him in obedience would not walk in darkness. The same is true today. The Master is the guiding light for His disciples. Those that hear the message of Messiah have a decision to make, whether to follow light or darkness. (“Live As Children of Light“; “Disciple: Living As Light“; “Are You Running Away from Messiah?“)
Today, Christianity, Judaism and other religions are full of those that have credentials. Rabbinical text said that no man could be a witness for himself. This is much the case in the world today. You don’t need to look any further than your favorite television ministry to see that many eagerly submit to the idea of having university, theological and important ministry contacts and titles in an effort to bolster their presence and importance. Many have attended schools or are awarded honorary doctorates in the hope of polishing their image in the eyes of the world. Many people love to parade titles. Sadly, even Christians have learned to look on degrees and credentials as an important factor in their “faith”. Many of the Pharisees and others rejected Yahshua [Jesus] because He didn’t have credentials, the weight of important people or earthly organizations behind Him. Without this authority, He simply didn’t command respect in their eyes. (“Disciples of Messiah & the Authority of Man“; “The Role of Authority in Your Life“; “Which Shepherd Do You Believe?“)
“Yahshua answered and said to them, ‘Even if I witness concerning Myself, My witness is true; for I know from where I came, and where I go. But you do not know from where I came, and where I go. You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one. But even if I judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone, but I and the Father who sent Me. And in the Torah it has been written that the witness of two men is true. I am the One witnessing concerning Myself, and He who sent Me, the Father, witnesses concerning Me.’” – John 8:14-18, HRB
Yahshua [Jesus] was unflappable in His witness to the Pharisees and surrounding Jews. His Father was His witness as the One that sent Him. He reminded His accusers that they judged based on their flesh and fleshly laws. Up to that moment, He had not accused them, but revealed that they would indeed judge themselves by their own minds, as they separated themselves from YHWH.
Generally, the Jews expected the Messiah to lead an army to victory and to command leadership on earth in their age. Anything less than this was unacceptable to them. They were firmly grounded in the physical and the carnal. Many that live in this age continue to make the same mistake, firmly grounded in their terms of faith, instead of YHWH’s. Yahshua [Jesus] confronted the beliefs of any that were listening, acting much like a mirror, as the listener examined their heart. (James 1:19-25) Others stubbornly held to their own ideas and traditions. What each individual received and how each person reacted depended on the state of his heart. (“The False Shepherd and the True Shepherd“; “Consenting to Fables of Men“)
“Then they said to Him, ‘Where is your father?’ Yahshua answered, ‘You neither know Me, nor My Father. If you had known Me, then you also would have known My Father.’ Yahshua spoke these words in the treasury, teaching in the sanctuary; and no one seized Him, for His hour had not yet come.” – John 8:19-20, HRB
Yahshua [Jesus] drew the lines for them. Those with hardened hearts and minds did not know the Almighty, nor did they understand what He was really saying. They did not recognize the Messiah or the importance of the man standing before them. In the same way that the Pharisees rejected the Messiah in the court at the temple treasury, many Christians reject what He said by following after their own religious notions, material wealth and the lifestyle that supports self-reliance and independence from YHWH. (“What Lifestyle Are You Pursuing?“; “Do You Live a Lifestyle of Greed?“; “YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“)
“Then Yahshua said to them again, ‘I go, and you will seek Me. And you will die in your sin. Where I go, you are not able to come.’ Then the Jews said, ‘Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go, you are not able to come?” And He said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are from this world; I am not from this world.
Therefore, I said to you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Who are You?’ And Yahshua said to them, ‘Even if I should begin to speak with you, I have many things to say and to judge concerning you; but the One sending Me is true, and what I heard from Him, these things I say to the world. They did not know that He spoke to them of the Father.’” – John 8:21-27, HRB
Here Yahshua [Jesus] spoke essentially to the nation of Jews. He was going to die and ascend to Heaven while the Jews continued to seek His Coming in their closed minds. As a result of this stubborn mindset, they would die in their sin because of rejecting Him. They failed to believe. As some puzzled over His statement of going away where they could not go, Messiah drew the spiritual line once again with more detail. Unbelievers were of the earth and He was from a higher authority. Unbelievers, those with closed minds and hearts were and are of the world. Messiah was and is not of the world, clearly dividing the two kingdoms. They did not and would not understand who He was, nor of their impending judgment. They did not believe that Yahshua [Jesus] was the Messiah. They were guilty of sin that forever would separate them from YHWH: personal unbelief grounded in religious pride and worldly tradition. (“Leaven of the Pharisees; Leaven of the World“; “Disciple: The Bible & Higher Authority“)
“Then Yahshua said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM; and from Myself I do nothing; but as My Father taught Me, these things I speak. And He who sent me is with me and does not leave me alone, because my Father is pleased at all times with the things that I do.’ As He spoke these things, many believed into Him. Then Yahshua said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s seed, and we have never been servants owing debt to anyone, never! How do You say, You will become free?’ Yahshua answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone practicing sin is a servant of sin. But the servant does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.’” – John 8:28-36, HRB
Yahshua [Jesus] prophesied that the Sanhedrin would know He was the Messiah when He was lifted up and crucified, resulting in the tearing of the sanctuary curtain. They would know He was the Messiah when He was lifted up in resurrection after three days. Those that were paying attention with the right mindset would realize that prophecy had been fulfilled and that He was the Messiah.
For those that believed His words spoken at the temple, He admonished them that if they believed, they would continue in the faith that He introduced them to as His disciples. Those that believed Him would act in belief on their faith. There was a Jewish saying “that no man was free, but he who exercised himself in the mediation of the law.” The Gospel truth says that no man is truly free but the son whose heart is full of YHWH’s renewal. This Gospel truth frees the disciple from the yoke of Satan as a spiritual taskmaster. (“Freedom from Spiritual Bondage“; “Strongholds & the Armor of YHWH“; “Breaking the Strongholds of Egypt and Canaan in Your Heart“; “Filling Your Life with Truth Instead of Deception“)
How sad so many that profess to be Christianity are still in a very real and present bondage to the very things that they are supposed to be free from. Many that claim to be free are full of guilt, shame and matters of the broken and corrupted heart of the old man. They haven’t been renewed in YHWH’s Spirit. The evidence is in the spiritual fruit. Belief is not merely mental agreement. Belief is seeking and then, as truth is discovered, obedience, a relationship that begins to prove itself and bears real fruit for the Kingdom of YHWH. Yahshua [Jesus] addressed this truth in His own words, the promise that those that actually follow Him in discipleship are sons and daughters of His Kingdom. (“Spiritual Fruit & Renewing Your Mind“; “Spiritual Disease that Eats at Your Salvation“)
Religion has confused the truth about faith and trust and created a cheap substitute. What is this substitute?
“’I know that you are Abraham’s seed, but you seek to kill Me, because My Word is not given room in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father. And you therefore do what you have seen with your father.’ They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Yahshua said to them, ‘If you were children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a man who has spoken the truth to you, which I heard alongside of YAHWEH. Abraham did not do this. You do the works of your father.’ They said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication; we have one father, Elohim.’ Then Yahshua said to them, ‘If YAHWEH were your Father, you would love Me, for I went forth and have come from YAHWEH. For I have not come from Myself, but that One sent Me. Why do you not know My speech? It is because you are not able to hear My Word. You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you desire to do. That one was a murderer from the beginning, and he has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own, because he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Who of you rebukes Me concerning sin? But if I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? The one who is of Elohim hears the Words of Elohim; for this reason you do not hear, because you are not of Elohim.’” – John 8:37-47, HRB
The members of the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees and many other Jews were very proud of themselves. They had developed an extensive traditional heritage and supported that as their significance. They argued proudly that they were Abraham’s seed and YHWH’s children. They did not see their underlying mindset or heart motivation as important. In fact, they were entirely willing to murder to satisfy their authority and search for power. They were fallen beings. What Yahshua [Jesus] said to them was not clearly understood and they resented Him for it. The words of the Master did not mesh with their goals or their hardened hearts. Clearly, this man spoke foolishness to them because he was not in agreement with their viewpoint. Yahshua [Jesus] pointed out their corruption of heart and mind and who they belonged to, in contrast to who they said they were. They lacked discernment. Messiah didn’t mince words, calling them children of the devil, contrasting their wicked fruit with truth and righteousness. (“The Magi of this Age“; “Building a Counterfeit Kingdom“; “YHWH’s Threshing Floor“; “Wisdom & the Battle of Two Kingdoms“)
History has not often been kind to YHWH’s people, those that seek truth over convenience and control of others. In an age of great knowledge, today’s faithful disciples stand in a time of unbridled corruption and lust for authority on all sides. Many Christians have fully adopted the ways of the world and parade these ways as Christian, as holy to the Heavenly Father. Like the Jews, they have designed their own religion based on the yearnings of their heart, to satisfy their own desires in their own self-involved kingdom here on earth. Like the Jews claimed their heritage grounded in the faith of the forefathers, multitudes of Christians have adopted the traditions and philosophies of their own brand of tradition since the first century gathering of disciples faded from the scene. These multitudes have comfortably nestled their traditions and beliefs with the dark kingdom, rejecting the real truth of Yahshua [Jesus] and making it their own by merging it with their desires and standards. (“Authority: The Real Meaning of Romans 13“; “Spiritual Authority & Satan’s Wheels of Destruction“; “Living in an Apostate World“)
Yahshua [Jesus] was not ashamed of His Gospel. He intentionally challenged his listeners to test Him. He welcomed all that wanted to question His word as long as they were willing to follow through on what they discovered. His challenge focused on two important reasons that people miss when encountering the truth He presented. They never accepted His challenge to test Him or they tested Him, but failed to believe in Him.
The same is true today. The Savior challenges each one of us, no matter whom we think we are or the scope of our lineage. Yahshua [Jesus] calls His people to come out of Babylon (Revelation 18) and to be set apart from the world. Each of us is provoked to make a decision, for or against Him, which will resound to a moment of final destruction or salvation in face of the Second Death. (“The “Supranational” Babylon“; “Foundation of Salvation“)
Like Yahshua [Jesus], disciples of the Messiah don’t need credentials of authority that the dark kingdom holds so dear. Reverential titles are just that. In the world, these titles and reverential names distract from and distort the truth of the Bible, seeking to separate brothers and sisters in Messiah, building up a false priesthood that would put itself above others. This is just another tool of the devil that seeks to divide and conquer in the name of religious faith. Yahshua [Jesus] is our High Priest, who was sent to our earth as a spiritual King. Faithful disciples are son and daughters of YHWH’s Kingdom. We are not slaves, nor are we orphans unless we make it so through rejection and unbelief. Yahshua [Jesus] is both our Savior and Brother in faith as we learn to abide in Him more fully. We have the same credentials as He does, now backed by His blood for the Eternal Kingdom of the Almighty. ( “A New World Order“; “A New World of Religion?“; “Deceptions of Ages: How People are Deceived“)