As I communicated at the end of Installment 26, I had interpreted my prayer and the moment that I presented my body face down before my Creator as confirmation that I was to present Torah and its applicability to the New Testament. I also shared after that, that I filmed a series discussing those events.
I had a journal dedicated to Bible study. In that journal on May 15, 2012 there is this entry entitled, The Return:
Quite frankly, I never really thought I would return to this journal, yet here I am. I kind of knew that my journey would remain with studying the Old Testament, but little did I expect it to become what it is currently becoming.
That entry is the first of several pages that lead into my study of Psalm 119. In that same journal, on the same day, in the next entry I wrote:
The [congregation] challenged me on my teachings of the importance and relevance of the Old Testament, hoping that if I did a ‘study’ of my thoughts I would reconsider – such did not happen. The main thinking that I challenged was: we are a New Testament church, with the interpretation that the Old Testament is nailed to the cross [based upon] a poorly understood interpretation of Colossians 2.14.
…I am fully persuaded that 2 Timothy 3.16 has application to the New Testament, but originally only meant the Old Testament, the Tanakh.
I am fully persuaded that Jesus, in no way, makes void [as in abrogates or nullifies] the Old Testament (Matthew 5.17-19), and that the Golden Rule is a pithy statement regarding the use of the Old Testament, the Tanakh (cf. Matthew 7.12).
I am also fully convinced that Torah cannot and never will justify a person with God (Romans 3.20). Torah reveals sin, [and] gives knowledge of sin [Romans 7.7]. If Torah could bridge the divide between the Creator and the created, then Jesus has no purpose (Galatians 2.21). Thus Jesus’ death [burial and resurrection] and the preaching of the Gospel would be vain. Yet, there is a proper use of Torah (1 Timothy 1.8).
I am persuaded that the church without Torah can be saved, but it is grasping at knowledge. …
However, as I begin my study of Torah, I am convinced Deuteronomy is to be studied and cross referenced and conferred by Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. …
Lastly, I am convinced that Psalm 119 must be studied, that will be done here in this journal. …
To make it absolutely clear. I am absolutely convinced that the only proper use of Torah is with Jesus (Yeshua) providing the Messianic lens. This means some things in Torah cannot any longer be practiced – e.g. sacrifices for forgiveness. But the moral, ethical, and other general to specific teachings can be followed through Jesus’ Messianic message of: “love God and love your neighbor”. However, this means that tradition is not inherently “evil” when the traditions are not against God’s instructions (Torah) – e.g. Feast of Purim, the traditions have value and on occasion, Messianic fulfillment.
…I am also convinced that one does not have to know Torah to have faith in Jesus (cf. Acts 14.8-18, Acts 17.18-34)… .
I am absolutely convinced of Acts 15.7-11. There Luke records Peter’s statement that both Jew and Gentile are saved by faith (Acts 15.11), that the Torah is a yoke (Acts 15.10), but that with Torah (the Jews) or without the Torah (the Gentiles) the Holy Spirit showed acceptance to faith (Acts 15.8) thus the believer’s heart (whether Jew or Gentile) is purified by faith in the Good News given through and by Jesus. This, however, does not, in any way, negate the need for the Gentile to learn from the Law [of Moses] (Acts 15.21).
Since, I have made such a public stand teaching the Torah, I have had lots of questions. So I was pleased to see that I wrote so much regarding my foundational beliefs, even though private, as I began my official presentation of Torah. As for what I quote, I have not yet been able to complete my cross reference system centered on Deuteronomy.
During the month of May, I did my first study of Psalm 119. I made other additional notes during the months of June, July, and August. In October, November and December, I made my second study of Psalm 119.
Returning to my other journal, I wrote entries about interactions with others, and I wrote about some meditations regarding the events that were occurring. I considered what all those events meant for me regarding the direction of my life and ministry. I continued asking people how I could keep them in my prayers. Someone told Mary something about me and I wrote about a couple of dreams.
I wrote in my journal on July 01, 2012:
Last night at Havdalah, [a brother] told Mary that I had an apostolic calling. Not sure what it all means, but I do believe [the brother] is led by the Spirit… .
Talk about a strange statement. While I no longer advocate it, I was trained in Cessationism Theology. I was taught that once the early Apostles died there were no more Apostles.
Back when I was taught that, I did not have enough personal study to have it occur to me that Jesus, post-resurrection, chose Saul to be an Apostle. Here is what that means.
I was taught that the Apostles had to witness Jesus and his ministry. As far as we know, the 12, when they were called by Jesus, observed all that Jesus did during his ministry. But take note that the inner three (Peter, James, and John) observed things that the other nine were not able to witness.
However, at the end of the Gospel narratives, Judas Iscariot hangs himself and the Book of Acts opens up with Matthias being chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. As far as the New Testament text is concerned, and as far as my research indicates, Matthias is only mentioned in Acts 1, nowhere else. Matthias was chosen to replace the Apostle Judas Iscariot, yep, believe it or not Judas Iscariot was an Apostle. When chosen, Matthias became the twelfth Apostle, and stood with Peter at the day of Pentecost (Acts 2.14), but the New Testament provides no evidence that Matthias witnessed everything that Jesus did during his ministry.
The point is that the concepts that I was given about the termination of the apostolic nature is simply a surmising by some theologians. Difficult truth told, apostles do not have to have been a witness of Jesus and his ministry to be apostles. This seems evident by two things.
One, Jesus calling Saul to apostleship on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) is clearly after Jesus’ ministry. One could debate and say that Paul was alive during Jesus’ ministry. My response to that is: that theory advocates that the apostles witnessed Jesus while Jesus was alive, therefore that advocate will have to demonstrate that Saul observed Jesus while Jesus was alive, and the narrative of Saul does not support that theory.
Two, Saul, also called Paul (Acts 13.9), later wrote that Apostles were in the Church (1 Corinthians 12.28), but all Christians are not called to be Apostles (1 Corinthians 12.29). But, nowhere in any of Paul’s writings does Paul insinuate or directly communicate that the apostolic work would cease existing.
That is my very brief retort regarding the actual continuation of the apostolic ministry aspects of the New Testament. Now, as for me and what that brother told Mary, it has always made me wonder and reflect.
I shared this dream in Installment 12 which includes some information there that I will not discuss here. On July 20, 2012 I wrote the following in my journal:
I had this dream just before Mary left for work, and I told her about it as she was arriving at work.
I was on a used vehicle car lot. Found myself rolling down hill in a mountainous area, reminded me of the types of hills and trees I see in The X-Files from their shooting locations.
I was behind the steering wheel, which was located in/on the front row, directly in the center [of the dash] of the SUV. The front was large enough for a bench seat, but the driver seat was bucket style. The passenger seats were [also bucket style and] angled diagonal [one] to the left and [the other to the] right of the driver seat. I cannot recall if anyone was in the SUV with me.
While behind the wheel, I knew I had the keys, but did not start it, yet found myself rolling down this mountain-style road-highway (2-lane, if memory serves). I found myself rolling down the highway in this SUV, catching up to the traffic in front of me, so I put the keys in the ignition turned on the key, but did not start the engine, so I could steer and apply the brakes, but let up occasionally because I kept getting closer and closer to the traffic in front of me on this two-lane road. I felt like I needed to stay behind them, not pass them, I never lost control [of the SUV] but this situation was startling enough that I prayed, “God help me stop this thing.” and soon found myself on the side of the road, stopped.
Once stopped, I recall thinking in my dream, “Great! Now I’ve got to call the owners and have them help me get back.” …
While stopped, I looked at the truck paperwork. I knew I was in a Ford…. It was a 1972 Ford, “suburban-type” vehicle, lifted, 4X4, stood tall on the road, beefy-style SUV, what I believed was a top-of-the-line for 1972, it definitely had a commanding view of the road.
I was able to look at the original window sticker, I was holding it in my hands, I remember the price being 30,000-something in 1972 dollars, and thinking, “Wow! That’s expensive for 1972.” and the current sales price [being] $10,000. I also remember the color of the ink on the paperwork being blue.
What I really hadn’t put together, I guess until I wrote this, is the timing of when this dream occurred. This dream occurred after two major events. One, experiencing the events in the bus (see Installment 25). Two, prostrating myself during that Havdalah worship service (see Installment 26).
As I look back on the dream, I find it interesting the vehicle that was used. I mean, I get it, I was born in 1972 and the truck was from the year of my birth. But why not a new truck? So there has to be a reason that the truck was used. What immediately comes to mind is that it appears I was on a used car lot. This is what makes me wonder: what does the truck represent?
However, what I find important is that I had the keys, but I did not start the truck, yet found myself setting behind the wheel guiding this used vehicle down the road. In Installment 12, I gave my ideas about the placement of the driver seat and the passenger seats next to it. But it is the aspect of how I arrived in the vehicle that I find most telling.
I was on the used car lot, but that didn’t mean that I wanted to or that I was ready to take the truck for a test drive. Yet, there I was, driving the truck having never started it. Even after I realized that I was driving, I prayed and brought the truck to a stop having never started the engine.
In the dream, even though I wondered how I would get the truck back to the owners, I took the opportunity to read the paperwork and found myself impressed. It seems that since I was taking the time to look at the paperwork that I was, on some level, interested in the vehicle even though I found myself unexpectedly behind the wheel.
It is this last little bit that is of interest. This is because as my life unfolded from the events of early 2012, I cannot deny that I had interest in the marriage of one husband and two wives, including the examination of the Biblical paperwork about that type of marriage. But that doesn’t mean that I was ready to purchase a vehicle, even though in the dream I had been on the used car lot and apparently taking a test drive.
I should also say that the dream conveyed the idea that I test-drove a vehicle without me starting it. That is exactly how I felt about the direction of my life. Simply consider the events of Installment 25 and 26. During the months and years that followed those events, over and again I would pray for God to stop what was happening.
However, truth told, God couldn’t and wouldn’t answer that particular prayer. Why? If my reader recalls, I had prayed for God to actually step in and force me in some direction, all because I couldn’t find a way to get myself to make any kind of decision.
I am no longer afraid of driving that vehicle. But the journey from panic to understanding the leading was not without its proverbial twists and turns through the mountainous terrain.
Blessings and Shalom