Believing the Truth?
by Lonnie Lane
How do you explain eternal life to an unsaved Jewish person (or any person) who has no belief in life after death? How do you even begin to tell him of the goodness of God when his “truster” was broken years ago and his images of a father, and therefore of God, are of an abuser? How do you approach someone whose erroneous beliefs are so protected?
I had a brief email exchange with such a man, someone who was part of my family before divorce separated him away. I found a photo of him and his son I had taken at a wedding last year – a sweet moment between them caught in a camera lens and I decided to send it to both him and his son. He replied back and I sent another email asking him how he was since he’d had a recent death threatening illness from which he has survived rather miraculously, including recovering from paralysis of his legs. Despite the miracle of his recovery (lots of prayer went up for him), he answered that he was grateful to be alive since he didn’t believe there was any life after death. He knows I’m a believer. Did he say that to “bait” me into a conversation? Did he really want to know more but didn’t know how to ask? Or was he just letting me know he doesn’t believe as I do?
Not one to miss an opportunity to possibly lead someone in the direction of knowing Yeshua I answered that what we believe, no matter how strongly we believe it, really gains us nothing unless what we believe is truth. Eternity is a long time to have missed finding the truth. I then told him that in working with Messianic Vision and It’s Supernatural, I have met a number of people who have been to heaven and to hell. They are alive today because Jesus sent them back to tell people of the reality of both. I directed him to our website to watch the TV shows or listen to the radio shows of persons who have had such experiences. He did not respond back to me. I care little what he thinks of me; I care greatly what he thinks of Yeshua. (Would you take a moment to pray for his salvation? Thank you.)
I’ve had my own experience in a vision of hell and heaven, in that order. I’ve learned enough about hell that I wouldn’t want even Hitler to be there, and for a Jew that’s saying something of how terrible it is. It was meant for satan and his rebellious angels-cum-demons, but Yeshua had much to say warning us as to how to avoid being sent there. To refuse the Light He is and that He brings, is to be cast into outer darkness. I’m probably preaching to the choir here, considering who reads this website, but you don’t want to go there, nor do we want anyone else to go there. Nor does the Lord want that which is why He first of all died so that we could be forgiven, and then told us to “Go therefore and” tell others (Matthew 28:19).
Last night I had a dream about two Jewish men in an environment alien to Judaism. Not intolerant, just not Jewish. They were in India, married to Indian women, the fathers of sons who were born and will be raised in an Indian culture. An Indian man contacted me several years ago, responding to one of my articles. He has a love for the Jewish people in India (yes, there are Jews in India) and for the Feasts of the Lord. He and his family also keep the Shabbat. He is a “one new man” man! He has kept in touch with me since, telling me of his “one new man” experiences and his attempts to share Yeshua with the Jews he knows there in India. He’s become a friend. Perhaps that’s why my dream took place in India. In my dream, the two Jewish men were each wearing a short tallit (prayer shawl) usually worn by orthodox Jews under their clothing, and they were dancing intensely in Jewish Hassidic-like dances before the Lord. I could feel their longing for God in their dancing, an ancient yearning for the Holy One of Israel to come to them; to know Him. Waking up with those feelings still with me, I believe I was feeling God’s yearning for them to come to Him just as He also yearns for the unbelieving Jewish man to come to Him.
The men in my dream did not seem to have broken “trusters” but they were aware of a void, a big holy gap, between them and their God. They wanted more of Him, and tried to dance their way to Him, the way David danced before God to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. David didn’t get there the first time he attempted to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. The Ark housed God’s presence which is what he wanted near him, with him. I understand. I feel the same way. I’m sure you do too. But His presence, that is the Ark, could only be carried according to the Word of God, not what they “believed” was the right way. You remember the story? They had built a new cart to sit the Ark on in order to wheel it up to Jerusalem. Makes sense, right? But the vehicles of man, what man believes is the way to go, even when they make sense in the natural, do not bring the presence of God. (Nor do our beliefs protect us from sure judgment by denying that there’s an afterlife, like the Jewish man whose counting on being right in what he believes.) God defines how we must come to Him. Obedience requires humility, a deferring to God’s ways and a letting go of our own good ideas, and our pride in our own beliefs when they are not His ways. That’s the only way we can know Him as Lord in all His goodness and holiness. David and all Israel had to learn how the Ark of His presence was to be carried if it (He) was to be with them.
David grew afraid of God when Uzzah died on the spot, when he put out his hand to steady the Ark when it seemed like it might topple off the cart. Uzzah means strength, incidentally, which when it’s your strength you’re relying on and not God’s, can get you in a lot of trouble. God apparently knew that in his heart Uzzah had no real reverence for Him. But somehow he’s in the position of being one of the guys escorting the cart. Not everyone in a position of leadership has a heart of reverence when it’s position they’re after and not God. I wonder if that was true of Uzzah. We can assume he thought of himself as a guy able to take care of things. But to God, to touch the Ark in a casual way, even to try and keep it from falling, when God made clear in His Word it wasn’t to be touched, is blasphemy to God. It’s irreverence. And so he died in one swift moment by the Hand of God. Eventually David found in the Torah God’s instructions for carrying the Ark. It must be carried by the Levites on long poles which would rest on their shoulders. What a picture of carrying the glory. Not on a man-made cart, however efficient that might seem, but on the shoulders of men who were obedient to do it God’s way. Then they were able to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, sacrificing every few feet, as David danced his way up the hill before the Lord in great joy. Why don’t I let the Scriptures tell the story. Try and picture this like you’re watching a movie.
Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to…bring up from there the Ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the LORD of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim. They placed the Ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart. So they brought it with the Ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the Ark. Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals.
But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the Ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it. And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the Ark of God. David became angry because of the LORD'S outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. So David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, "How can the Ark of the LORD come to me?" And David was unwilling to move the Ark of the LORD into the city of David with him; but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. (2 Samuel 6: 1-10).
“Then David said, ‘No one is to carry the Ark of God but the Levites; for the LORD chose them to carry the Ark of God and to minister to Him forever.’ And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the Ark of the LORD to its place which he had prepared for it. David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites. (872 by my count according to the list.) …Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites… and said to them, ‘You are the heads of the fathers' households of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance." So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel. The sons of the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD. Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.
“So it was David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, who went to bring up the Ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with joy. Because God was helping the Levites who were carrying the Ark of the covenant of the LORD, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. Now David was clothed with a robe of fine linen with all the Levites who were carrying the Ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the singing with the singers. David also wore an ephod of linen. Thus all Israel brought up the Ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the horn, with trumpets, with loud-sounding cymbals, with harps and lyres” (1 Chronicles 15).
David may have started out dressed for the occasion with decorum along with all the Levites who were carrying the Ark, but that’s not how he wound up, having been overtaken with joy: “And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod” (2 Samuel 6:14). Have you ever danced before the Lord with all your might? The two men in my dream were, but they were dancing out of a longing for God while David danced out of the absolute joy of being in God’s presence. It was pure worship. Dancing before the Lord can be an act of intercession and prayer, not only of worship. If you’ve never worshiped the Lord with dancing, or even if you have, why not put on some worship music that inspires you and let your whole being worship the Lord in dance. You may feel a little self-conscious at first, even if you’re all alone, but let loose. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to enjoy Him and let “all that is within (you), bless His holy name” (Psalm 103:1).
As a Jew who danced traditional Jewish/Israeli dances at synagogue at times on Shabbat or at various holidays, weddings, and bar-mitvahs, etc. I was astounded at the sobriety and somberness of the church when I first entered the Christian world. I remember making the observation that Christians (at least those in my non-Charismatic somewhat-fundy church at that time) seemed to relate to the Lord with their heads only but not with any other parts of their bodies, let alone their whole beings, that I could tell. Had I inched my way into the aisle, or even stood and jiggled at my seat in an arm-lifted two step to “We Bring The Sacrifice of Praise,” I would have received the same response that David received from Michal the day he brought the Ark up to Jerusalem.
Surely Yeshua must have danced. Did you ever think of Him as dancing? I have often. Sometimes He even dances with me! Or at least I can picture Him dancing with me. It goes with how I see Him – joyful, funny and loving to laugh. And holy! They go together for me. Does your Yeshua have a really funny sense of humor? Mine does. If we’re made in God’s image and as far as we know, no other animals have a sense of humor, where do you think that came from? Him! Since there’s great joy in heaven and Yeshua’s goal was that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, wouldn’t that include joy? Not only could I not relate to the sobriety I observed in the first church I attended, neither could I relate to the portraits of Jesus doting the walls of the church here and there, looking like He suffered from a serious case of depression or He bore an expression of otherworldliness that in any of us would be considered a psychological disengagement from reality. Why would anyone want to follow someone like that?
What do you think He really meant when He said, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11). What would fullness of joy feel like? David knew: “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11). I’m always amazed at how deeply David knew the Lord, and how profoundly he experienced His presence as an Old Testament man. Surely God had put an anointing upon him as a type of the Messiah who would come, a Messiah of joy! Paul experienced Yeshua’s joy when he said, “having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all” (2 Corinthians 2:3. See Phil 2:2, 17 & 4:1 for more of Paul’s joy.) Joy is meant to be the atmosphere of the Kingdom.
Here’s my point with all this. We can have beliefs about God, but if they’re not based on what God’s Word has told us, our beliefs will not get us into His presence or into His joy. They won’t even assure us of His salvation if we believe amiss. If we believe things that are inconsistent with how He is portrayed in Scripture because they fit in more with our experience, we could be missing appreciating some of His better qualities – like simply having fun and being joyful. Incorrect beliefs may keep us trying to earn His approval when God has already fully accepted each one of us based on what Yeshua accomplished on the cross. All we need to do is rest in His finished work and let Him change us into His image. We can’t do it anyway. The rest comes in believing He will. There is only one way to “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:7) and that’s through Yeshua. Here’s one of my favorite verses: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 1:24). Don’t you love that verse? Could there be any greater promise of God’s goodness to us?
Just as my unsaved Jewish friend will have to abandon his beliefs in order to be saved, so many of us will have to abandon our beliefs that keep us from the fullness of all that Yeshua died to give us and that is Biblically ours to claim and live in. So don’t be surprised if the Lord puts before you a challenge to some things you have taken for granted as valid Christianity. You may be surprised at what will give you cause to rethink some of what you believe. Take this as a heads-up. There’s something stirring in the Spirit that may just cause this kind of re-evaluating. And keep in mind that it’s a known fact that it is always the last move of God that resists the next move of God. That is to say, it is often our commitment to the way we believe things should be or be done that causes us to resist a new revelation that God may be giving to His people. It sure was the case with the leadership in Yeshua’s day, wasn’t it?
Then take the Reformation. Wars were fought over the revelation that “the righteous man shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11) because the shift was too great for many people who held to the status quo. I’m not saying we’re in line for a religious war, but I am saying that I expect a definite shift in the understanding of some things we have believed; a re-aligning with Scripture that will enable those who will make the shift to walk in His glory when around them others are missing our “day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). Obviously something has to change as we’re not all walking in glory now. Fear not, little flock. Trust in the Lord. Be wise and discerning, while making room for God to make His Word more real to you, to give you revelation and understanding as never before. It’s always the same Word, but there are layers of revelation the Spirit of God releases to us at different times in His unfolding plan of redemption. The Reformation is a prime example of that.
Me personally, I started reading my Bible with a new highlighter in hand recently. I’m starting all over – again, mostly in the New Testament but not exclusively, to see what the Lord will say to me. I’m asking Him to show me where I’ve believed amiss and I’m starting to see things I had missed before, or interpreted based on what I expected it to mean from my experiences but not according to what it really says. I had to repent for not really believing what it said. More on that in a future article. Perhaps you’d like to do the same – either before or after the dancing!
We are likely to be in a significant time of preparation before the coming of the Lord. In which case, these words once again ring out: “Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!” (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4). The path is in His Word: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105). For those of you who take up the challenge with me, I bless your new adventure with the Lord in His Word. May you have joy in the journey.
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2010.
Lonnie Lane comes from a family of four generations of Jewish believers, being the first one saved in 1975. Lonnie has been in church leadership for many years, and has planted two “one new man” house fellowships, one in Philadelphia suburbs and the other in Jacksonville, Florida, where she now lives near 6 of her 8 grandchildren. Lonnie is the author of “Because They Never Asked” and numerous articles on this website. She has been the Producer of Messianic Vision's radio and TV shows and the International Prayer Co-Coordinator for Messianic Vision's intercessors. Click Here to order Lonnie's book, "Because They Never Asked."
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.