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6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors Me with their lips
but their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 Having left behind the commandment of [YeHoVaH], you hold on to the tradition of men.” – Mark 7:6-8, TLV; the bracketed word is my emphasis
8 See that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men and the basic principles of the world rather than Messiah. – Colossians 2:8, TLV
As it was in biblical times so has it been in our Common Era. In fact, it would seem that religious leaders have always had a propensity for either inappropriately adding their man-made traditions to the Law of YeHoVaH or completely replacing His Commandments with their own. Moreover, each time they added their own traditions or replaced YeHoVaH’s Commandments, those new man-made customs and replacements made YeHoVaH’s Law of no effect. Now, it should be noted that the word traditions, as used in this blog entry, means that which has been handed down or passed on to others – whether by word of mouth or in writing.
The above-mentioned truth about added traditions of men making YeHoVaH’s Law of no effect have is why Yeshua knew full well that, if He disregarded the seemingly harmless traditions of the religious leaders in His day, His behavior would stir the Pharisees’ righteous indignation. Furthermore, Yeshua not only violated the man-made traditions of the experts in the Law but also taught that these religious leaders’ traditions were dangerous.
Today, believers in Yeshua can see the massive damage that man-made traditions have done to so-called Christians. Because of the often referred to as harmless man-made holidays – many of which have either added to or completely replaced YeHoVaH’s Moedim and other Holy Days (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Day of First Fruits, Feast of Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the regular Sabbath) – and because of the additions of church programs (orders of worship), gimmicks, man-made holidays, and hierarchies that often are referred to as harmless customs, Christians have essentially developed a lack of personal holiness, an infrequent faith-walk, and a socially acceptable complacency, as well as have effectively blocked most of YeHoVaH’s intended way of life He has wanted His Children to live on earth.
Since this is the Christmas season, showing a sharp contrast between the Law of YeHoVaH and religious leaders’ traditions of men is necessary. Yeshua, Himself, declared that the Jewish religious leaders had “…left behind the commandment of [YeHoVaH]…” (Mark 7:8), had “..set aside the commands of [YeHoVaH], in order that [they] may validate [their] own tradition” (Mark 7:9), and were “making void the word of [YeHoVaH] with [their] tradition that [they’ve] handed down…” (Mark 7:13) by not keeping what “…Moses said…” (Mark 7:10).
Without a doubt, most modern-day Christian religious leaders have continued many of the old traditions of men started by the Roman Catholic Church. Most of those old traditions of men had completely replaced the Moedim (appointed times or holy days) of YeHoVaH with new religious seasons, sacred days, and holidays – like keeping Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath and celebrating Advent, Christmas, Epiphany (Feast of Three Kings), Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Good Friday, and Easter.
For centuries, men have been adding their oral traditions to the written Word of YeHoVaH. Beginning with the written Torah, as dictated by YeHoVaH to Moses who wrote it down and then shared YeHoVaH’s Law with the Israelites, this written Torah was significantly expanded with the oral Torah, which includes The Mishnah, the Talmud, the Tosefta, the Kabbala, and so on and so forth. Each one of these oral traditions became additions to the original written Law of YeHoVaH. They were humans’ interpretations – what men thought YeHoVaH intended to express in Scripture. My point here is that the Roman Bishops and other religious leaders in the early Roman Catholic Church were not the only ones who added to the Word of YeHoVaH.
The problem is that YeHoVaH has warned His Jewish people and, by extension, all of His Children who are saved through Yeshua, about altering His Word. He advised them, and us, about not adding to or subtracting from what He gave to them – and to us via surviving manuscripts. In spite of His clear biblical warning, adding to and subtracting from His Word is exactly what has happened.
At Yeshua’s First Coming, the traditions of men had become the Letter of the Law – completely taking over the Spirit of the Law. As a result, Yeshua repeatedly called the Pharisees hypocrites. Since then, many non-Jewish religious leaders have moved the masses of so-called Christians so far away from, for example, YeHoVaH’s Law, including His established eternal Moedim, by completely replacing them with many seemingly harmless oral traditions. As previously mentioned, the result has been that Christians have essentially developed a lack of personal holiness, an infrequent faith-walk, and a socially acceptable complacency, as well as have effectively blocked most of YeHoVaH’s intended way of life He has wanted His Children to live on earth.
It should be clear that no man-made tradition is better than YeHoVaH’s Law. Even so, the sad truth is that many Christians who keep breaking His Law by adding to or subtracting from YeHoVaH’s Word will hear Yeshua tell them to depart from Him because He knows them not. When Yeshua returns again for His Second Coming and finds left behind Christians continuing, for example, to keep Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath and/or continuing to celebrate Advent, Christmas, Epiphany (Feast of Three Kings), Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Good Friday, and Easter instead of observing YeHoVaH’s commanded Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Day of First Fruits, Feast of Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the regular Sabbath, Yeshua won’t just call these surviving or resurrected Christians hypocrites. He will cast them into the Lake of Fire.
A word to the wise should be sufficient. Shalom!