Ezekiel had said that the Lord sent watchmen to warn his people. If the watchmen warned and the people didn’t listen, then the people would be accountable. If the watchmen didn’t warn, the people would still be accountable, because His Word is available; but the watchmen would be even more accountable, because they neglected to Word of the Lord to warn the people. Who are the watchmen? Watchmen are like shepherds who watch their flocks. Ezekiel also warned about shepherds who neglected their flocks by not feeding the sheep all of God’s Word and used God’s Word to feed themselves while neglecting their flocks. People who declare themselves to be spokesmen for the Lord have taken a grave responsibility on themselves. Timothy was instructed to be ready to defend his faith against all who spoke against the faith. There are many in the land today who speak against the faith. Are those who call themselves preachers, pastors, and reverends defending the Word of God?
There are plenty of people who say that they believe in the Bible, but they say they also believe in a lot of religions, and other religions help them understand God’s Word. That is a bald-faced lie. The Bible says that God is against those who follow the ways of other peoples, other religions, and other gods. If God is against all these other ways, then how can someone say they believe in the Bible and in other religions? They are in effect saying that the Bible is a lie when it tells people to avoid these other teachings. Yet they say they believe in the Bible, but then call the Bible a lie. Do people want to stand up and say, “Oh, yeah, I’m so intelligent that I can believe in lies”? Then there are plenty of people who say they are striving to be Christ-like or Christ followers, and they turn around and call Christ a liar, because they say there are many ways to the Father when Christ said that He is the only way to the Father. “Oh, yeah, listen to me; I’m so intelligent I know how to believe in lies!”
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. 7 The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame. 8 They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity. 9 And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways, and requite them for their deeds. 10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the harlot, but not multiply; because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish harlotry. (RSV)
Hosea was written before Ezekiel, but nothing in Ezekiel contradicts what Hosea taught. It is because they both spoke as the Lord spoke to them, and the Lord’s Word does not change. Moses gave God’s instructions to the Israelites to teach them, but was not meant for their salvation. Abraham was saved long before the law was given. Read next from Hosea what God desired more than their sacrifices and burnt offerings given by the instructions handed down by Moses.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings. (RSV)
Colossians 2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fullness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
15 He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him. 16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (RSV)
Moses instructions were very detailed about sacrifices and burnt offerings, but this wasn’t the salvation of God; it pointed to the sacrifice God was to make Himself through His Beloved Son, our blessed Savior. The Jews had set up elaborate teachings for the Sabbath (i.e. one could only travel so far on that day; and many other detailed rules and instructions). Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man. It is to be a day of rest, and of meditating on (including studying) God’s desire (His will, His way) for man. As I can best determine the meaning, it is a day to put off one’s normal work, business, occupation, etc. Some people say you can do this, but not this on the Sabbath; some say you are not even to prepare and cook meals or do dishes or basic household duties on the Sabbath. I will not say they are wrong, but I do not understand it that way myself. One could go to the extreme and say that one should not get out of bed on the Sabbath, because that is the work of rising yourself up, but I’m sure most would agree that is far too extreme. But when drawing lines, different people draw lines in different ways, so those who wish to argue details, I do not wish to get into that. Some say the Sabbath is this day or that. Personally, I don’t care if you call Monday your Sabbath, or Thursday your Sabbath. If one did nothing on the Sabbath but their most basic necessities and studied God’s Word then, I suppose, most Seminary students could say they celebrate seven Sabbaths a week. But as is pointed out in Colossians, some pass judgment on others in questions of food, drink, festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths.
The Jews with Jesus would agree that the greatest commandment was LOVE and not sacrifice as pointed out in the Hosea passage above. All the other trimmings are a shadow of what is to come, as is taught in the Colossians passage above. The purpose of these shadows of things to come is for instruction in ‘the knowledge of God’ from the Hosea passage above and ‘the substance which belongs to Christ’ from the Colossians passage above. The teachings seem quite clear and unambiguous to me (though I don’t claim to be an expert and others may not agree, but I say what I believe).
Woe to these people who say they believe in the Bible, but they need other religions to understand it; they call the Bible a lie, because the Bible says don’t listen to the ways of other peoples. Woe to these people who say they follow Christ, but they also believe there are other ways; they call Jesus a liar because Jesus said He is the only way. Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” If you choose to serve Buddha, serve Buddha. If you choose to serve Baal, serve Baal. If you choose to serve Mohammed, serve Mohammed. If you choose to believe the Bible and Jesus, then don’t call the Bible and Jesus liars. If you say you believe in lies, then you decide whether you think people should listen to you or believe you.