Religious Authority vs. Leadership

In addition to Hindu, Zoroastrian and something called, Yazdanism, I suggest that one of the inventors of religion were the people who called themselves, the Jews.  Note the language – “people who called themselves,” here – as that was not what the living God called them.  From His point of view, the were the Children of Israel, but this title was not preferred after the second temple period.  No, by that time, those left from their collective tribes after Babylonian and Assyrian captivity gathered in what appears to have generally been known as the land of Judah (and Benjamin) and identified then, and thereafter, as Jews.  What happened?  Why did the Nation/Children of Israel appear to create their own identity to offer the world?  Perhaps understanding a little more about what the Nation of Israel was called and expected to do and be to the world might help us understand what motivated the change.

From the very beginning of YAHAVAH establishing His people and His covenants with them, all as a means to bring about the oracles (will of God through scripture and prophecy) and the Messiah, YAHAVAH sought to make the Nation a light to all nations of the world.  Yes, they were to be called out and separate but this did not mean that they were to ever be exclusive.  No, the Living God wanted several distinct things from them, including for them to,

  • Make His Name known to the world, (Exodus 9:16)
  • To make His house open and available to the same, (Isaiah 2:2) and,
  • To shine forth as His Bride, His distinct Nation, His own very peculiar people who were faithful to Him and Him alone. (Exodus 20:2-3; Deuteronomy 14:2)

Unfortunately, and through passages too numerous to cite in this blog (see, Christian Ultra-Libertarians for Truth ( for more exhaustive coverage) we see that from very early on in their history (literally, within forty days of them telling YAHAVAH that they would do all that He commands (Exodus 19:8) they committed adultery by accepting another god in their worship along with YAHAVAH – in that case it was a golden calf.  From that day forward, the Nation of Israel, instead of living up to what YAHAVAH expected them to be, they not once, not twice, but repeatedly ran after other gods.  Because of their rebellious hearts, YAHAVAH gave them up to what we universally recognize in their history as “captivity;” specifically, when the Nation of Israel was put in bondage to both Assyria and Babylon.  During those years in exile or captivity, the Nation of Israel lost more and more of its national identity and exited from them ostensibly cured of following after the gods of other nations but were resolved to create another god of their own – the Law.

By the time we get to the end of the Tanakh, the Nation was told (through Malachi) that their days were numbered, and all heavenly communication subsided into relative silence (excepting some of the post second period writings not often agreed upon by believers today).  Malachi does, however, prophesy of God sending to the true Nation a messenger before the face of the Lord (Malachi 3:1) and before what he called, a great and dreadful day that would utterly wipe the Nation (as God’s chosen people) out, once and for all.   (Malachi 4:1)

What most people neglect to see in their study of the Old Testament and YAHAVAH’s promised to them is that with the exception of God’s unconditional promises to Abraham, everything that YAHAVAH declared through promise to the Nation formed at Sinai was conditional.  In other words, if that Nation refused to comply with the edicts God commanded, His promises were not certain.

When John the Baptist and Yeshua enter the scene (as covered in the Apostolic Record’s Gospels) they faced what had become of the Nation of Israel after all their years of rebellion and refusal to do what God asked – the Jews – which was based on material justification for existence and the idolatrous worship of . . . the Law.  Instead of the Law serving to bring the Nation of Israel back to worshipping YAHAVAH in spirit and truth, it had become their justification, along with their Abrahamic/Mosaic/Davidic genealogy, for being God’s elect.  This was never the intention of YAHAVAH giving the Law in the first place. (Galatians 3:24)  But instead of the Law serving to bring the rebellious nation to repentance, the leaders of what had become a religious sect of Judaism saw the Law of Moses as supreme as the heart for God Himself.  This idealization of the Law was directly rebuffed by Yeshua of Nazareth who relentlessly went to war against their false religious traditions and those who assumed some sort of heavenly authority to govern it.

Here we have a clear example of the difference between religious authority and religious leadership.  The former members of true Israel had created a religion and assigned themselves authority to govern its false precepts among the people but Yeshua, lacking any earthly authority or observable rights, led.  Of course, He led because He had true authority, but that was entirely rejected and those with false authority, put Him to death.  Part II is coming!

Shawn McCraney
Shawn McCraney
Articles: 108

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