The BOOK - Read it
A book worth reading. I know most who will be looking at this site do read the Holy Bible, or the Book we call the Holy Bible. The meaning for Christians would be the Hebrew Writings we call the Old Testament along with a smaller book that is a record of the First Century Church,
composed of those having accept YaHshua as the Son of the Living God, come in the flesh and as Savior -- the Promised Messiah that we and the people of Israel were told about. Moses spoke of Him and many others, Isaiah 53 goes in to some detail. The New Testament, is a New Covenant. Using the word Testament leads to some focusing only on "testifying" and to many that means different things, as the Covenant relationship get lost in translation, so to speak.
The Old Covenant was a Covenant made with the people of Israel. YaHshua comes as the Lamb of God the Father and is rejected, but not by all. As we read in the Book of Acts the first 5,000 converts were all Jews. Did they all stop being Jews? Did they all stop going to Synagogue on the Sabbath? No, to both quesitons. This is where you went to read, study and share the Word. What the new converts ran into, eventually, was to insist the YaHshua was the promised Messiah. It was not the first time Jewish people had to deal with self proclaimed messiahs, some even finding support from the religious leaders of the day. The problem with this movement among the Jews was the number of people suddenly coming to synagogue challenging the norm. Not trying to destory the Torah but to share what YaHshua taught -- a refinement of Torah, not an abolition. Eventually enough religous people became angered at the suggestion they could not be saved or earn YaHWeH's respect by serving the Law they began to drive those calling themselves followers of YaHshua of Nazareth out of synagogue. We know that the Chruch centered at Jerusalem was still practicing Jewish customs. In one incident Paul is convinced to take part in the custom of purification, and Paul does not object. Let's havea quick look at this reading --
James the Lead elder at Jerusalem give Paul some advice:
(Act 21:21) And they are informed about you, that you teach all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses (Torah), saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
(Act 21:24) Them take, and purify yourself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning you, are nothing; but that you yourself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
Paul does not object to this but does as James wants and enters into this 7 day purification "custom". Of course it ends badly and gives us an example of how the uber-religious were becoming fed up with these followers of YaHshua. If you read the rest of the account in Acts 21 you will see the whole story of a Christian, Paul, trying to accommodate and make peace with the Jewish brethern was unsuccessful and this is the picture developing among the Jewish brethern still meeting with those of their kindred to read and share Scripture. Oh, and James, the brother of YaHshua, the lead elder at Jerusalem, not Peter, sent Paul on this mission that nearly got him killed.
Remember, Paul, was once a persecutor of followers of YaHshua, and by the authority of the Priests imprisoned some -- the Romans allowed various religious groups to govern themselves -- this, however, would later change and the strong hand of Roman rule and would incite the Roman power to go after all of the Jews, believers or not, seeing them as more than trouble makers but a threat to stability, a threat to the authority of the Empire.
Read the Book, hear the Book, it is understandable. Find a good translation and read it.
A small warning --
It would seem, then as now, if the very religious people, as a collective group, in the flesh, are given too much attention and allowed to become part of the governing system they, sooner or later, become a real pain, even to the point of going against the Kingdom or government within which they live. If these zealots, no matter what religion, are given rule of great influence they become greater oppressors of the people than secular governing bodies. It seems to be an historical fact that if given power over the people or over the government or of any State they become even greater oppressors in their zeal to bend everyone to their views to their authority.
Read the book, listen to the Book, abide by the Book, judge the actions of yourself but the Book. And if necessary to judge other things let it be by the word from the Book, the Words of our God and Savior, not by the flesh. Even YaHshua said this, remember?
(John 5:30) I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
(John 7:24) Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (The Book - His Words)
(John 8:15-16) You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. NIV (YaHshua's word is from the Father, and If YaHshua does judge it is from the Father and this trumps all judging or judgments -- our judging comes from the flesh and to override this we must use His Words to determine what is right and what is wrong)
See why you, we, need a Savior -- don't worry about the other guy or gal, think about yourself first -- what can you do to live by the word in a world of sin? Have you ever told a lie? Then you are a liar. Have you ever had an illicit thought about another peson in a sexual way? Then you are a fornicator, as our Lord says even if you think of such things you are guilty (Mt 5:28). Have you ever had sex outside of marriage? Then you are an adulterer and or a whoremonger. Have you ever stolen anything? Then you are a thief. Have you ever wished someone dead, or killed anyone? Then you are a murderer a killer, a destroyer.
We have all committed sin and if you answer any of those questions in the affirmative then you are as guilty as the rest of us. We are liars, cheats, thieves, whoremongers, adulterers and some even murderers. What would the penalty for such in a court of Law? Yes, we all want to see the criminals behind bars, don't we? Why should our Creator be any different. He sees us all as criminals deserving of death or imprisonment -- certainly not worthy of His Kingdom.
He gave us the Book to record our actions and to give us a message and reveal a plan to save us, to deliver us from the penalty of the Court. We have all been judged and found lacking, deserving the penalty for our crimes, imagined or real, our crimes are serious in the Judgment of our Creator. In His infinite wisdom and desire to save us He sent His Son, YaHshua, to save us -- to pay the price for us -- to satisfy what the law of sin demands. We are not forced or made to accept Him but we are given a choice. Read the Book, hear what it has to say. The message is there with plenty of warnings and directions and best of all, the offer -- the Promise of the Covenant, if you are willing to accept it and be saved. This Covenant is a contract between two parties, you and our Creator. By accepting YaHshua the Son and Savior you enter this "covenant" this agreement, this contract of acceptance, on your part and for His part? His promise of a better world, of Eternal life with the wickedness of now. His part is much greater than our part, a real bargain for us. He offers us everything on into eternity and only asked that we accept His Son as our Savior. What a lopsided deal. We only have to confess YaHshua as our Savior, having died for us, paying our deserved penalty and we walk free and more -- we are offered new bodies, new eternal glorious bodies like His. It is up to us, as individuals to chose life or death. His BOOK shouts at us, Chose life !
This Book, as any author will tell you, is the greatest piece of literature ever written. Many an author of fiction has taken their inspiration from the Book. Hardly a book has been written that does not in some way use this Book for its plot line or story line. What this Book has to offer is more than that, however, it is more than just good literature, it is a contract between men and women and the Creator God. It is a record of the Contracts, or Covenants made with men and nations ending with the final Contract, the New Covenant. In this Covenant a sacrifice is made for all of our misdeeds imagined and otherwise, cleaning us, preparing us for a new birth into a new life, and Eternal Life. Read the Book.