What started me on this “study” was that 1) God, for reasons that I will never understand, opened my understanding of the Scriptures on one day in one extraordinary event. After this, 2) I noticed (glory to God!) that not only did Yeshua call himself “The Way”, but the early ecclesias (churches) did as well. And, I noticed the difference between what the early ecclesias lived and did, and what today’s church lives and does. And, therein I found the answers not only to my own struggles in my “walk”, but to issues that had confused me about today’s church as well. Where is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, in my own life as well as in the church? Why is the church not of “one accord”? Where is the “unselfish love” that was supposed to come with “repenting and believing”? For years I was hurt, bitter, critical, stumbling, and sinning; my prayers were empty, I didn’t receive what I asked for “in Jesus’ name”, and the “social life” of church wasn’t satisfying to me. What was wrong? Was it me? Was my faith (or belief) not sincere? I had led people “to the Lord”. I had been involved in several “ministries”. I had prayed and studied the bible, and had not “missed church” on Sundays, and had participated in and led “bible studies”. I had counseled people with “problems” in the Word. Why was I so empty? Why couldn’t I succeed in my personal life or work or business no matter how hard I tried? What was wrong with me? Where was the “peace with God” I had been promised? I had, I thought, really meant what I prayed, after all.
I found the answers (glory to God and His grace!) in my search for The Way. When I had prayed, I had been sincere. But, looking back, I had to ask myself, “What had I prayed for, and to whom had I really prayed?”
And what, I must also put forth, are we being saved from? Many people “pray the prayer” because they’re not happy with their lives, and know they need a change. Yes, God can use unhappiness in a person’s life to bring awareness of Himself to them. But that is not what people are being saved from, even though most who pray the prayer are satisfied with any “change” for the better that may come about afterwards, and often show the change as being the proof that they have been delivered. But is their “unhappy life” what they’re being delivered from? I can’t truthfully say that being delivered from such things can’t be a part of the process of being “saved”. But, I can say that such things aren’t the primary deliverance, even though they are sometimes (too often?) treated as such.
No, there is one primary and one secondary condition that we are being saved from when we are truly delivered by the Blood of the Covenant of the Lamb. The first is Corruption, our lack of fear of God, our sin, and the resulting sin-death. The second is the Wrath of God. But those things aren’t real to us the ways our happiness and unhappiness are real to us. So we tend to stigmatize the true threats, not truly understanding them, and we exalt the “secondary benefit” of a “cleaner, happier” life. Therefore, once we’ve “prayed the prayer” and the “changes” have taken place, we feel (and are often told) that the work has been done, and we are now free to go on with our cleaner, happier lives. The result is that in overlooking the primary dangers, we place ourselves (along with our “new lives”) back in the “center”, and minimize the primary form of worship we should be giving to our New Lord. That form of worship, in the Word of God, is called the fear of God, and the resulting obedience to Him.
When we do so, the God of Wrath becomes the God of permissiveness, the God of coddling, Who is constantly reaching out to us and begging, “Please, come to Me. I’ll give you what you want, a happier life!” We forget that nowhere in the Word of God does it pause in reminding us that He is the God of Wrath, and that He sets the conditions of worship and deliverance, and not us. He does not give us a “menu” from which to choose our “catch of the day”. Instead, He has shown us that there exists three certainties: 1) Corruption (in the world and, ultimately, in the reality called Perdition), 2) His Righteous Judgment and Wrath, and 3) One Way to be spared from His Wrath and Live. Sin causes us to be dead (literally, separated) from God, and anything that is dead is unclean and cannot enter the presence of God. Without His Life, His Spirit, in us, we are dead and hopelessly separated from Him. The question is, how can we be sure that we have His Spirit? By praying the sinner’s prayer? That’s not what the Word of God says.
Many have read them and just plain missed them. Many have read them and, for a fleeting moment, have applied them to themselves, only to dismiss them with a “Nawww…”, as not applying to their own lives and doctrines. But they are there, repeatedly, in the Torah, the Prophets, the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles, and the Revelation. They are the warnings of not heeding, or not following, or not returning to, His Way. Also, allow me to state, for the record, that this work, neither any other work of mine, is an endorsement of “The Way International.” They are not, despite the name, The Way. They and their name, however, are a “part” of the clever deception by the enemy to keep believers from following anything that calls itself The Way. And The Way is the only way we can become sons and daughters of God.
To put an exclamation point on His warnings, and to call the sheep who know His Voice, God sent His only begotten Son to live His Way as an example for us to follow (Psalm 85:13). Many have replied to that by saying, “He did it for us so we wouldn’t have to, because we can’t”, and they call that belief grace. But His warnings tell us otherwise, and the completed Word confirms them, and indeed, His Son confirmed them with His Words and His Life and His Fruit and His Revelation.
The first example of His Way comes to us in the book called Genesis. “…He placed Cherubim (plural) at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword (singular) which turned every way (plural), to guard the way (singular) to the tree of life.” It’s interesting and revealing that Yeshua said, “I am the way (by which one must enter in), the truth (the Word of God is a two-edged Sword), and the life (the One Tree of Life); no one comes to the Father but by Me.” A Book could be written on the subject matter of the two verses above, and, indeed, One has been written. I won’t attempt to re-write the Book, as some have, but I will show the importance, the necessity, of understanding, and living, The Way.
It’s important to note at this time that immediately after showing that the way is guarded, the Scriptures show us that Cain brought “an offering”, and Abel brought “of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat.” Cain’s an offering was not in accordance with the way, and Abel’s firstlings and fat was in accordance with the way, for it was pleasing to God. Abel didn’t “hold back” the blessing from God that had been given to him by God (Hebrews 10:38). He didn’t “hold back” and “store up” for himself so he would be sure he had enough for himself for “tomorrow”. With a joyful heart, he gave the Lord the first and the best. The way back is being established. Then, in Gen. 4:7, is a very interesting comment. “If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin waits at the door: and to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.” Now, before we get all excited, let’s (for a moment) remove the words in bold print. “If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And to you shall be his desire, and you will rule over him.” Remember Esau and Jacob? Same thing. But Esau didn’t do well, so Jacob got the blessing. Esau didn’t kill Jacob, because Jacob knew the story; so he ran and hid. Now, reinsert the bold print. “If you do well, you’ll be accepted and (your brother’s) desire will be for you, and you’ll rule over him. If you don’t do well, sin waits at the door” (Author’s paraphrase from KJV). Well, he didn’t do well.
The next mention of way comes to us in Genesis 6:12. It’s written that “all flesh had corrupted his (KJV), their (NKJV), way on the earth.” I’ll leave it to the scholars as to whether the “his” applies to God or man, for in either case, both are true. If it’s their, then it is only their way that was corrupted. I personally paraphrase that, “all flesh had corrupted His way, and therefore their way, on the earth”, because it fits in more soundly with the whole of scripture. You must study and reach your own conclusions. In either case, (his, their) way had been corrupted, which brought about destruction.
Have we corrupted Yeshua’s way? The Prophets said we would, and that we would also face an end that will be “as it was in the days of Noah.”
By the way, am I going to pull up every scripture that mentions the way? No, that would be almost like pulling up every mention of “Lord” or “God” or “Spirit”. It is my intent to show The Way demonstrated throughout the Word of God, because the importance of understanding The Way can’t be underestimated. It is critical to our understanding of God’s Word and God’s plan. And nearly all the Holy Spirit inspired writers address it.
We see the way come up again in Genesis 18:19, when The Lord is referring to Abraham and his legacy. He says, “For I have known him (Abraham), in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of The Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” Keep the “righteousness and justice” in mind, as well as the Lord saying that they do it so the Lord can keep His Word. It’s quite clear that “the way of the Lord” is “to do righteousness,” and not just praying the sinner’s prayer and depending on “grace” for the rest. Also, remember who the “true” children of Abraham are, as explained in the Epistles. They are the offspring of the seed of righteousness, and bear the same fruit (seed bears like seed).
So, moving on to Genesis 28:20. Jacob states, “This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” The Word then tells us, “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone (‘upon this Rock…’) which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house,…” The prophetic content of these verses is staggering, and yet we hardly hear much credence given to Jacob in the arena of the prophets. But take note of the “bread to eat and clothing to put on”, and recall the similar Words of Jesus when He states, “Take no thought of tomorrow, what you’ll eat or what you wear…” and Paul’s “be content with food to eat and clothing to put on.” Also remember, “Upon this Rock I will build My church (house).” And remember that, at first look, it seems as if Jacob was “kinda greedy”. But what did he ask for? He wanted God to “keep him in this way” and to provide food and clothing. That’s all. Again, a Book could be written on these few verses, and has been.
Exodus is incredible unto itself in the manner in which The Way is portrayed. In Ex. 13:18, God led the people around “by way of the wilderness”. In Ex. 13:21 He “went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way,…” They get “baptized” upon leaving “Egypt” in the wilderness, and are led further into the wilderness to be tempted and to die (those who were disobedient died) along the way. In Ex. 23:20, while explaining the feasts and sacrifices (both pictures of His Son), He says, “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. The next verse is prophetic about Yeshua as well. He says, “Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My Name is in Him.” Hmmm… Verse 22. “But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.” Not only is this a picture of His Son, but one should always take note whenever God says, “If, … Then, …”
It seems, at least to me, that many of us today make it “out of Egypt”, then we get baptized, and, once in the “wilderness”, we tell ourselves, “I made it! I’ve been delivered!”, and we never move any farther in the Way to the True Goal, the Promise. We believe we’ve entered the Rest while we’re truly still in the wilderness.
Now, back up, if you will, to Ex. 23:18-19, which takes place right before these instructions. God says, “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor shall the fat of My sacrifice remain until morning.” !!!!! This not only portrays a picture of His Son on the Cross, but do we, as believers, in going out of the way, offer the “blood of His sacrifice” with leavened bread? Do we mix the world with the way? Examine this and pray and search diligently, as for your very soul. And look at what He says after in Ex. 23:24. Again, a Book could be written…
You’ll notice, I hope, as you continue reading, that at times I “leave you hanging” with a scripture to examine. I’ll admit that my purpose is to get you to open The Book. Don’t take my word for anything I say, whether you think I’m correct, or not. It’s important, to me and to yourself, that you give this work the dignity of establishing it’s correctness, or incorrectness, in the Authoritative Guide.
As we continue, we move forward to Ex. 32:8. Israel’s “watchman” has left them for a short time, and they proceed to turn back to corruption. God says, “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I have commanded them.” They’ve stopped depending on God and have created their own gods to depend on. Read the whole story; but at this time I must make comment on the “modern christian.”
Does the “modern christian” do the same things the world does? Do we rely on our technology and our week to week paychecks and our self- ordained and self-pleasing religious practices to sustain us? Do we even remotely resemble the ecclesia of the Apostles? Do we think God’s wrath will be any less severe on us than on the rest of the world? Do we need to check ourselves against these examples? After all, we “claim to see.”
The prayer of Moses, after God reveals His displeasure with the people (Ex. 33:13), is both prophetic and insightful. He prays, “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.” Moses realizes that it was by God’s grace (the leading of the Spirit of God) that he had met Him at all, and knows that he must follow His way if he is to know Him and acquire His grace (to know Him, the indwelling of His Spirit). You’ll notice later, I pray, that Yeshua and the Apostles followed and taught the exact same principle, “grace to grace” (John 1:16-17). The Law that revealed sin as well as our inability and/or unwillingness to follow God’s instructions was God’s grace to lead us to the grace given to us by, and in, Yeshua’s Way and His Covenant Blood.
Now it continues to get interesting. You see, the word way is not mentioned even once in Leviticus. We all know, I believe, that Leviticus is the book of the law. It gets better. In Deuteronomy, which basically means the repeating of the law, the word way is mentioned repetitively. It’s more than interesting to me that the Law reveals sin and death, but the fulfillment of the law is The Way, or the Walk of Faith in righteousness. Coincidence? By the way, there’s no “kosher” Hebrew word for coincidence, for God plans, controls, and fulfills everything. He “owns all our ways”.
Now, another thing to note is that the word faith is used only twice in the Old Testament Scriptures. Once is when God tells Israel they don’t have any faith in De. 32:20. The other is when the Lord states in Habakkuk 2:4: “ The just (righteous) shall live (I Am … the Life) by his faith (the Way).” It’s clear that there is a reason that the word faith is almost completely omitted from the O.T. text, but the word way is used excessively. The word(s) unrighteous(ness), by the way, He uses a lot.
So, let’s move on to Numbers. You may have already noted that every time the way is progressively mentioned, the prophesied Gospel is revealed, except when man is going his own way. But in the name of proving, and driving home, the point, I’ll continue.
In Numbers 20:17 Moses sends a message, hoping to avoid conflict. He says, “… we will go along the King’s High-way; we will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left …” Interesting language, to say the least, when taken in context with the rest of scripture. But the contextual point is, God is not allowing them to continue on the way because of their previous disobedience. And following, in Nu. 21:4, Israel gets discouraged “on the way” because of their lack of faith, or trust, in God. It was “too tough”, so they wanted to go back to Egypt! They were willing to give up their Inheritance for the “comforts of the world”. They couldn’t die to themselves and trust God. The Lord calls some of those guys wicked (which usually means worthless because of worldly stain) quite often!
In Numbers 22:21-35, we see the story of good-ol’ Balaam, the misguided prophet. The Angel of the Lord is guarding the way with His drawn sword because Balaam is going his way. It takes a talking donkey to wake him from his stubbornness.
Well, let’s look at Deuteronomy, keeping in mind the earlier stated “coincidences”. The way of the Lord, as well as the Hebrews’ way, is mentioned a lot in Deuteronomy, both as “way” and as “ways”. Leviticus and Deuteronomy both had the same writer; both books talk of the same things, in the general sense. So why does one not talk of the way while the other one does? It seems as if Moses goes out of his way (so to speak) to omit the word way from Leviticus, while emphasizing it in Deuteronomy. A similar “coincidence” occurs later, in the Book of Esther. In Esther, the way is not mentioned (the word “way” is used once, but not in context of “the Lord’s way), but then again, neither is the Name of the Lord mentioned. Hmmm…
The next notable occasion of the way happens in De.1:22 during an incident involving lack of faith (disobedience) again, or, simply, not doing what God had told them to do. In the previous verse, Moses brings to their attention that God had told them to go and occupy the land. Their response? “Yeah, well, just to make sure, let’s send some guys in first to check it out and ‘bring back word to us of the way by which we should go up, and of the cities into which we shall come.’” Now, Moses thought that was a good idea, for different reasons. It turns out that while it was wise to send a vanguard of sorts, and apparently Moses thought, “Finally! They’re following instructions!” the leaders’ thinking was that a convenient little excuse to keep them from having to go in the way they should would do nicely.
I could spend much more time on that one, but that’s not the focus of this chapter.
In De. 1:30-36, the Lord our God gets quite declarative concerning the peoples’ unbelief and lack of faith. He reminds them that He carried them “as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went…” and that He “went in the way before you to search out a place for you…” and, “to show you the way you should go…” Now, even though He showed them the way they should go, they wouldn’t follow His instructions, so only two of them (who were ready and willing to obediently follow the way) entered into the promised land. The remainder died in the wilderness. That should be a sober reminder to all who claim to believe.
Let’s look at a plural example in De. 5:32-33. “Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left.” Remember Yeshua’s “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Keep that in mind, and, returning to the text we see, “You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.” And Yeshua, once again, says, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father …” and, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word;” and, “that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.” Yeshua was demonstrating the way to love God, and as He told the apostles, “And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Jesus had shown them by the way He lived. “The just shall live by his faith.” The Way. It may be helpful at this point to take an aside and look up Deut. 18:14-19.
Next, right after the famous, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might,” he tells them to teach the same “diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, … “, “led you all the way” (De. 8:2), “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and fear Him” (De. 8:6), then De. 9:12, De. 9:16, De. 11:22, De. 11:28, … and so forth. It’s clear that God requires things to be according to His way(s), and no other way(s). There’s a very stern warning to those who would tell God’s people to go another way in De. 13:1-5, what I call “the (false) prophets’ warning.”
The Word in Deuteronomy also speaks of persecution “on the way” in 25:17. They were coming out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, when they were attacked by the race known as the Amalekites. In a similar manner, “rocks” (false doctrines) and “thorns” (pain and persecution), our “giants in the land,” choke the young believer today when they are “on the way”. Upon reading the entire text, you’ll find that the Amalekites’ favorite tactic was to sneak up from behind and get the stragglers, the weak or young or old or slow or just plain lazy. Satan works in a similar manner.
Another strong warning comes in De. 27:18, “Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the way.” (The NKJ and NASB translations use the term “road” here, as they often do, but in this case “road” is not consistent with the whole of Scripture, whereas in some other cases it doesn’t seem to have a bearing. When this is the case, I’ll use the KJV.) Yeshua warned us of the “blind leading the blind”. The Pharisees weren’t living the way, but they were instructing other people on how to live. That’s why Yeshua said, “Listen to their words and do them, but don’t do what they do.” The Pharisees were cursed (hypocrites, snakes, sons of the devil, etc.) of Yeshua because they claimed to see the truth, but they blindly led their proselytes, who were searching, to perdition. Jesus said, “better to have a millstone hung about your neck and be cast into the sea” than to mislead one of “these little ones” who are searching and gladly responding to God’s words, and not men’s ways.
In De. 31:29, Moses then gives one last warning; he knows that the people, after his death, will “turn aside from the way.” This is critically important, because it shows that “the way” wasn’t simply the physical “road” or “path” to the Promised Land. After all, they were standing at the entrance! It’s also a “latter days” prophecy by Moses, that they would become “utterly corrupt”, and though in this case Moses is speaking to the children of Israel, Yeshua and the Apostles said the same thing about the church, that It would become corrupt and turn aside to false doctrines, and more progressively so toward the end days! Yet, most of us in the ecclesia today, sadly, don’t apply this warning to ourselves and heed it.
In Joshua 1:8, when the Lord speaks to Joshua after the death of Moses, He says, “… turn not from it (the law that Moses had commanded) to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper … for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.” Remember that Joshua is a “type” of Yeshua, as Moses was, though in a different manner. Moses led them “out of Egypt”, through the “baptism” (Way) of the Red Sea, and into “the law and death in the wilderness”. Joshua led the next generation from the edge of death and the wilderness, along with the arc of the covenant, across the Jordan (the “baptism of and into Yeshua”), and into the promised land (in order that all righteousness may be fulfilled). In Joshua 3:4, the people are told to follow the Arc (the Lord), and to keep it (Him) in sight so that they would know the way by which they must go. They must enter in by faith (obedience), because the waters won’t part until the priests step foot in the Jordan. Once again, these several chapters in Joshua are huge in prophetic significance.
One thing I must remind the reader of at this point. Always take note of the words should, shall, must, will, by, in, out, his, His, the Lord’s, their, your, the, path(s) and ways in relation to the text(s) surrounding the word way. Such “small” words often, if not always, affect the meaning of the entire text. Some, such as it, his, and their, as well as way, have at times been mistranslated, and thereby some significant contextual relevance has been changed or lost.
There are more references to the way throughout the Book of Joshua, all with their own significance, but I’ll skip ahead to Joshua 23:14, where, in his “final speech”, he, as did Moses, is exhorting the people. He says, “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth.” That way, of course, is (his body’s) death. So, we have “the way of the Lord” and “the way of the earth.” Which one do we follow? Joshua, like Moses, prophesies that the people will go the way of the world, and leave the way, by way of corruption in and by the world around them. In Joshua 24:17, Joshua reminds the people that God was with them “in all the way that we went”, as long as they were following Him and obeying Him.
Next, in Judges, we see it’s not very long before Israel goes astray. We know that it was in this period that “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”) We see in Judges 2:17 that, “They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, obeying…” And after doing so, they wouldn’t listen to their God-appointed Judges. We see in this Book also, that while God didn’t break His covenant, Israel did. So God left the nations alone to attack Israel, to see if they would return to the ways of the Lord (Ju. 2:21-23). He, in effect, “turned them over to Satan”.
Next, God appoints a woman, a prophetess, to judge Israel. That must have really irked the guys, huh? Deborah prophesies and exhorts those “who sit on white donkeys, who sit in judges’ attire, and who walk along the way (again, “road” in the NKJV)” that “they shall recount the righteous acts of the Lord.”
Judges chapter 18 is quite interesting. It shows that there is a Levite serving a man who had idols and carved images, and he was serving the man, Micah, as a priest! And to boot, some spies from the tribe of Dan show up (check out the “blessing” of Dan in Ge. 49:17) and ask the priest, who is ministering with idols and images, to “Inquire of God, that we may know whether the way on which we go will be prosperous.” The Priest replies, “Go in peace. May the presence of the Lord be with you on your way.” Next, the spies return with an army to wipe out the nearby town and take it for themselves, because the town is “easy pickings”, but first they stop at the priest’s house and lure him away from his master, Micah, and they steal Micah’s idols and images. Even worse, they put the idols and images out in front of the army, then they go and wipe out the town, and they “set up for themselves the carved image”. Personally, I don’t think these guys were “in the way”, and having a “priest” or religious leader telling them “peace, peace” didn’t justify their actions in the eyes of God. If I were them (I hope I’m not), I wouldn’t count too much on that priest’s blessings! Is our priest (pastor, etc.) in the way? Or are “idols” (worldly things made with our own hands and that “meet our needs”) ok with him? Or do we “keep him” because they are OK with him?
Again, most of the references to way which occur in Judges involve his, your, and their. Whenever the way is mentioned, it’s only in reference to the fact that they were not in it. The last reference to the way in the Book of Judges occurs in Ju. 20:42, when the Benjamites are being punished, and are driven into the way of the wilderness for a heinous crime.
In the Book of Ruth, the way is mentioned only once, in Ruth 1:7, but it is indicative of the reintroduction of God’s way. It occurs when Naomi is going “on the way” back to Judah. The subsequent result is the marriage of Ruth (a “gentile believer”) to Boaz (of the tribe of Judah), who is the typeset of the “kinsman redeemer”, and the (re) establishment of the ancestry of David, as well as that of Yeshua, the True Kinsman Redeemer. It states in Ruth 1:1 that this occurs in the “days when the judges ruled”, and it is the one shining light of “the way” from the entire period. This Book of Ruth is a must for learning of Israel’s, as well as the saints’, relationship with Yeshua. It characterizes the faith of and by humble obedience.
Next Chapter: The ways of the Kings