Independence – Freedom or Rebellion?
As I’m sitting here writing this blog entry the sound of fireworks echoes off Big Turkey Lake, just about 200 yards from my house. It’s the Independence Day weekend and nearly every community across America celebrates the independence of the United States with fireworks and celebration. What about independence? Is it a desirable thing? What do we desire to be independent from? What does the word “independence” even mean? I ask these questions primarily in the relationship of the professing church with her husband.
Independence is an interesting word. According to Webster’s Dictionary, online, independence is defined as “the quality or state of being independent.” The word “independent” comes from the Greek word “auto-nomos.” Now here’s a very familiar Greek word used here. Remember the Greek word used in the Scriptures, translated “lawlessness?” It is the Greek word “anti-nomos.” Nomos is the Greek word for “law.” The context of the text dictates whether it is used in reference to the Law, or Torah of Yahweh, or of the “works of the law,” that contains man’s additions and subtractions to Torah. That’s another subject for another time, but the important thing is to look at independence in light of the Christian, and even the Messianic Judaic practice and doctrine. Does it fit? Is it right?
Please look with me a little closer at the Webster’s definition of the word “independence” from the Greek word, “auto-nomos.” According to Webster’s definition it means, “not subject to control by others… self-governing….rule oneself…not affiliated with a larger controlling unit…not looking for others for guidance.” Just to dig in a little deeper let’s look at the phrase in the definition “self-governing.”
Self-governing is what this nation professes to be and how it started, right; the will of the people determining the law of the land – the majority rule? Well that’s not how it appears it was meant to be. At least we were told we were a republic, a nation of laws – a constitution that places parameters around the lawmakers in congress and the senate, guiding the decisions of the judges and the president. Of course we see how that isn’t working so well for us. Why? Autonomy! Self-governance!
The Greek word, “autonomous” means “independent from the law,” or “having the right or power of self-government.” The United States of America was born out of a revolt against the authority of England. In short the people of the American colonies of England rebelled against their government, defeated England and formed its own government, by the people for the people. I’m not here to debate whether that was a right thing or a wrong thing. I’m just looking at if for what it really is. The USA became autonomous from England through rebellion against England’s authority. Now what does that mean to mankind in his professed relationship with his Creator? Since then she has rebelled against her own laws. It appears that rebellion is deep seated in mankind. Scripture even says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and said in Torah to not allow a witch to live! Rebellion of HIS creation is a serious matter with the Creator.
What we call the Book of Galatians is, in actuality, a letter written by the Apostle Shaul/Paul to the Galatians. It is pivotal in the establishment of doctrine, especially in the professing church. It is commonly called the church’s “Magna Carta,” and more commonly, “The Christian’s Declaration of Independence.” Let’s take a look at these ascribed titles and perceived doctrine concerning The Book of Galatians, in light of the definition of the word “independence.”
I ask you, please, just use some common sense, logic, and more importantly, the Scriptural context, and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you concerning this issue. Think about it; The Christian’s Declaration of Independence from what? The church says that the reborn Christian is now free from the Law, or Torah of Yahweh. The Christian, in his or her mind, is now “independent” of the Torah! Consider that Yahshua, or Jesus, as he is mistakenly known in the professing evangelical church, is called the Living Word in Yohanen/John Chapter One. And as we’ve said so many times, the only Word they had at that time was Torah, the Prophets, the writings of Psalms and Proverbs, and the historical books of Kings, Chronicles, Joshua, Ezra, and so forth. So the church is declaring their independence from the Word of Yahweh contained in these Scriptures, and in effect declaring their independence from Yahshua, the Living Word! How does that work? By being “independent” the church has said she is “autonomous” and now has the authority and the ability of self-governance, apart from the guidance of the Word of Elohim/God, both written and Living, in the person of Yeshua!
The Roman Catholic Church readily admits that they believe they have this autonomy, in connection with their change of the Sabbath day from the seventh day (Sabbath) to the first day, the venerable day of the sun, commemorating the sun God Mithra. That is self-governance, apart from the confines of Scripture and the authority of our Creator who is the Word and spoke the Word, AND commanded that we obey HIS Word! But Shaul/Paul says in Galatians Three that the Scripture has confined all under sin! Yohanen/John says in 1st Yohanen/John Three that sin is lawlessness – anti-nomos! This is rebellion! Self governance, autonomy, is born out of rebellion against the Creator. The rebellion of the created against their Creator – who do you think will win in the end?
The declaration of independence from the Torah, or Law of Yahweh, breaking loose the bonds and the confines of Scripture is rebellion. But this autonomous living is really a falsehood. Men believe they have autonomy, and are living as such, but in reality are not free from the Torah; the Law of Yahweh. Even if men refuse to bow down on this side of eternity, declaring that Yahshua, The Living Word is Master, they will ultimately do it when they face HIM in eternity. But then the bowing to HIS sovereignty is too late to afford entrance into HIS kingdom. In Mattithyahu/Matthew Seven Yahshua (mistakenly called Jesus) said that those who practice lawlessness (anti-nomos) will not be allowed into HIS kingdom. HE said that HE will tell them to depart from HIM, that HE never knew them, addressing them as “you who practice lawlessness.” These who are anti-nomian have declared themselves autonomous – able to govern themselves outside the authority of the Creator and HIS Torah – Law.
I believe it is time for a serious re-think on the part of the church, and indeed those in Messianic Judaism. The problem Shaul/Paul addresses in Galatians is the same anti-nomian, autonomous declaration of the Scribe, Pharisees, and lawless Levitical priests, born out of the Law of Judaism. The Law of Judaism is Torah mixed with the autonomous rabbinic additions and subtractions to Torah. They were saying that the Galatians needed to be circumcised, become a Jew, and through them have access to the kingdom through Abraham. But the Word of Yahweh (in fact Yahshua – see 1st Kepha/Peter 1) says that it is by faith in the Seed – Messiah, not the seeds, or descendants of Abraham, who have access to HIS kingdom. Faith is defined by Paul as coming by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Yahweh – Torah those proclaiming Torah. Through believing and doing HIS Word – faith, we access grace, changing our heart of stone into one of flesh. This new heart, given us through the work of grace, has Torah written upon it, and through the work of grace, HE causes us to walk in HIS statutes and keep HIS commandments. We are free from lawlessness and now are willing slaves to HIS righteousness. We are not independent of HIM and HIS Word. We are not autonomous!
Autonomous self-governance produces man’s doctrine or additions and subtractions to HIS Word, whether it is rabbinic self proclaimed authority, or so-called church fathers, we must be like the Bereans and subject their doctrine, and our every thought and action to the Torah of Yahweh, for we are not autonomous from the rule of HIS Torah. If we believe we are, then we are not HIS, for we have removed ourselves from HIS kingdom and into one that is merely a figment of man’s futile imaginations. These vain imaginations have produced feast days that are not keeping with HIS commanded Feasts that teach us about HIM and HIS plan of redemption. In our self governance we have cast off the very authority that gives us the foundation for the Redeemer HIMSELF! We have left ourselves, the lowly pot, to fend for ourselves in our arrogance, forgetting that the Potter will destroy those pots that are displeasing to HIM. But if those pots, which are now displeasing to HIM, repent and begin to please HIM by faith, believing and obeying HIS commandments, by grace through faith, HE will restore them to a place in HIS kingdom. We must repent while we have opportunity because the great and terrible Day of Yahweh is coming upon the sons of disobedience.