By Brother R. Michel Lankford
Overview of Whole Testament Theology
1. יהוה Almighty God is God, and He does not change.
2. We must be changed to agree with יהוה, because יהוה will not change to agree with us.
3. Jesus of Nazareth (Yeshua) is the Messiah and Christ sent by יהוה Almighty God.
4. Salvation is a free gift of grace, but growth, maturity and affective discipleship is not free. Moreover, YHWH’s true grace will give us the growing desire and ability to obey YHWH’s Law. God’s true grace will never give us permission to break YHWH’s Laws.
5. Rightly divided Scripture cannot contradict rightly divided Scripture. Since the Old Testament was YHWH’s Word written first, then no rightly divided New Testament doctrine can possibly contradict Old Testament Commands, instructions and teachings, and still be correct, because God does not change. If there appears to be a contradiction, then our own interpretation must be faulty.
6. We must seek to worship YHWH in spirit and truth, and diligently avoid worshiping יהוה in vain.
7. The effective disciple who lives to glorify יהוה should worship יהוה on purpose. They should be deliberate about what they choose to do and what traditions they choose to practice or what they refuse to practice. They should know why they are making those choices, and how their choices are truly supported by rightly divided Scripture. That is the only way that one can truthfully call themselves a Bible believing or Bible pursuant man or woman of God. Anything less is self-delusion and deception.
More detailed Explanations
1. יהוה Almighty ‘God’ is God and He does not change: (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hebrews 13:8). The words, Commands and principles that Almighty God declared in the Hebrew Scriptures are still true in the Fulfillment Scriptures. Wherever יהוה Almighty God has declared something to be righteous 5000 years ago, then observing that principle will still be righteous today. Likewise, if the Almighty has openly declared something to be sinful, wicked or an abomination 5000 years ago, then יהוה will still consider that same practice to be a wicked abomination today. Wherever Almighty God has made a Commandment upon His people which He says is an everlasting regulation, then the true God follower and disciple of Messiah, is still required to honor respect and obey those regulations as much as possible, for love’s sake, because YHWH does not change, and those who love Him will obey Him (Matthew 5:17-20; Matthew 7:21; John 14:21; 1 John 2:3-4,7-8; 3:4, 3:22-24, 1 John 4:21, 5:1-3).
Psalm 33:11; YHWH’s Plans and Counsel do not change. They endure forever.
Psalm 119:89–91; His Word does not change it endures forever. It is forever settled in heaven.
Psalm 119:142; His Law does not change and it is Everlasting Truth.
Psalm 119:151; ALL of His Commandments are Truth, (not just some of them, but all of them).
Psalm 119:160; All of His Word and His Ordinances are Everlasting Truth.
Isaiah 40:8; The Word of YHWH endures FOREVER.
Lamentations 3:22; His Compassion does not change. It’s renewed every morning.
Hebrews 13:8; Yeshua the Messiah, (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) does not change. He is the SAME yesterday today and forever.
2. We must be changed to agree with יהוה Almighty ‘God’: Authentic discipleship is about submitting to God and allowing HIM to change our hearts and minds so that we will come into agreement with HIS definitions in all matters. It is NOT expecting God to adapt His definitions or standards to suit our own definitions, preferences and desires. There is a huge difference, (Amos 3:3; Isaiah 5:20-24; Matthew 6:22-23; Romans 8:5-8; Romans 12:1-2). We cannot hope to successfully walk with God, unless and until we learn to agree with יהוה Almighty God and His definitions in the first place.
3. Jesus (Yeshua) is Messiah: Whole Testament believers believe that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Messiah and Christ of God promised since (Genesis 3:15), and throughout the “Old Testament” Scriptures. We believe that He was one (echad), with the Almighty Father in the beginning (John 1:1). We believe that Messiah became flesh and “tabernacled” among us, (John 1:12-14). We believe that Yahshua, (Jesus) of Nazareth described in the “New Testament” IS the prophet prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:18-19. The Torah requires us to obey the Words of Messiah. The Words of Messiah requires us to obey the Father’s Commandments, (Torah; e.g. Matthew 5:17-20; Matthew 19:17). So Christians who reject the Torah are VIOLATING Messiah’s Instructions; and Torah followers who reject the teachings of Messiah are VIOLATING and BREAKING the Torah, (Deuteronomy 18:18-19). So the only clear solution then is to do BOTH. We must KEEP BOTH the Commandments of יהוה Almighty God, and we must ALSO KEEP the Words and testimony of Yahshua the Messiah, (Revelation 14:12). We believe the Messiah’s atonement via His sacrifice through His death to purchase our forgiveness required for our breaking the Laws of יהוה Almighty ‘God’ (1 John 2:1-2). We believe that Yeshua the Messiah IS the living embodiment of the Passover Lamb upon His death – the fulfillment of (Isaiah 53:1-12; Daniel 9:26). We believe that upon His resurrection from the dead, Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah then became the eternal High Priest, thereby changing the technique by which the sacrificial system is carried out and administered, but it still goes on in heaven today (Hebrews 7:25).
4. Salvation begins as a free gift of grace, but maturity, character, and discipleship are NOT free gifts: Growing into a mature and effective disciple is a Cooperative Work of Grace (e.g. 2 Peter 1:3-11). Righteousness and salvation is given to us as a gift through Messiah to all who will believe, ask, and accept it. No man can earn it solely by his own works of the Law. At the same time, progressive works of repentance away from sin and walking toward יהוה Almighty God in obedience to God’s Laws will ALWAYS follow true salvation, as the fruit and the evidence that the grace and salvation of יהוה Almighty God has truly taken place within us. Our own obedience to God’s Laws and Commandments will never cause or bring about our right standing with God, but at the same time, the Whole Testament of Scripture bears witness that no person who has been truly saved and Born Again by the grace of יהוה Almighty God, will continue to disregard, disrespect or live a lifestyle that persists in willfully disobeying God’s Laws, Commandments, and Principles. Do not be deceived. Obeying God’s Law can never cause your salvation, but true salvation will always cause you to progressively desire and progressively be able to obey God’s Laws through the power of the Holy Spirit; (Ezekiel 36:25-27; Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 30:6; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 19; Daniel 9:4; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Matthew 7:21; John 8:31-34 John 14:21, 23-24; John 15: 10, 14; Romans 3:31; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:13; James 1:19-25; James 2:18,26; 1 John 2:3-4,7-8; 3:4, 3:22-24, 1 John 4:21, 5:1-3; Hebrews 10:26; Revelation 14:12). Authentic grace gives us the desire, the power, and the
growing ability to progressively obey God’s Laws. It will never provide us any license to abolish or disobey יהוה Almighty God’s Holy Laws or instructions, (Titus
5. The Authority of יהוה Almighty God’s WRITTEN Word: Whole Testament theology believes that all Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is God’s written Word. That it is all true, relevant, and directly applicable to the God follower or Christian today.
We believe that יהוה Almighty God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them by speaking His Word (Genesis 1:1-3, 31). He also re-creates our lives when we hear, receive and obey His words.
As Whole Testament believers, we believe that Yeshua the Messiah defeated the temptations of the devil by speaking God’s written Word with His mouth, which He was already obeying in His life, (See Matthew 4; Luke 4; cf. Hebrews 4:15). Messiah could have used any means available to Him to defeat the adversary, but He obeyed and spoke the written Scriptures, yes even the Old Testament Scriptures. He did so as our example (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6).
Therefore, we believe that God said what He meant and means what He says. We believe that all Scripture (Old Testament and New Testament) is God breathed, anointed and appointed by God.
Rightly divided Scripture all fits together and never contradicts itself. If the Scripture appears to contradict itself, then it is our understanding, our interpretation or our own applications which are faulty, and we must keep studying and asking the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Since God does not change, and He does not contradict Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), and since the so-called Old Testament was obviously written first, then no correctly interpreted New Testament doctrine will ever contradict Old Testament teachings, doctrines and Commandments. Again, if it appears to do so, then our interpretations and understanding is faulty, because God does not change.
We believe that The Whole Testament is all Scripture and completely sufficient for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the people of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (see 2 Timothy 3:14-17). Therefore, by the apostle Paul’s own statement, if a person throws away, abolishes or disregards the so-called Old Testament (which is the only thing he was referring to when he wrote to Timothy), then that disciple who disregards or abolishes the Commandments Instructions and teachings of the Old Testament, cannot possibly be thoroughly equipped for every good work that יהוה Almighty God would have them to do. Think about it. Those are Paul’s words in the New Testament.
The Bible only remains Scripture when it is read, divided, interpreted and applied correctly. The Holy Bible in the Books of Genesis to Revelation is the inerrant written word of God, but if and when it is NOT correctly read, interpreted, or when it is misapplied or abused, then at that point it then becomes human opinion or a poor commentary on the Scripture, and it is no longer Scripture. Whenever it is misread, misinterpreted or misapplied, it is then no longer Scripture, because in that case it is no longer true to what יהוה Almighty God actually said. So it then ceases to be Scripture at that point, and it becomes human opinion or commentary on the Scripture. There is a vast difference. So in order to remain Scripture, it must originate from the books of Genesis to Revelation, and it must also be correctly read, rightly interpreted, correctly divided, and rightly applied in such a way that it would remain true throughout the entire book of Scripture.
We believe that when it is rightly divided and obediently applied in the context of being in right relationship with God and Jesus Christ the Messiah, Scripture is completely sufficient to give us true wisdom in every situation, guidance and comfort through every hardship, and ultimate victory in every battle.
We believe that it is the refusal to rightly divide and obey YHWH’s Word that is at the root cause of every human ill and character defect we will ever encounter. Restoration only begins and continues when we hear and believe the truth, when we repent from disobeying God’s truth, and when we turn to God, and we begin and continue to walk in agreement with יהוה Almighty God.
6. We must worship Almighty יהוה Almighty God in spirit and truth, and avoid worshiping God in vain:
““But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” (John 4:23–24, NASB95)
Even within the confines of the so-called New Testament, Messiah made a clear distinction which is often overlooked within modern-day Christendom. Messiah made a crystal clear distinction between those who worship Almighty God in spirit and truth, (which are those that The Father seeks and desires, John 4:24), and those who worship Almighty God, but who do so in vain (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13). Whole Testament theology, seeks to train ourselves and others to qualify for the first group, and avoid falling into the second group.
According to Messiah there are two principal ways in which people worship God in vain. First, whenever we allow the traditions of human beings to become so important that we treat human traditions as though they were doctrines of God, when in fact they are not. Second, we worship God in vain when we disobey what God actually did command and we replace what God commanded with doing our own traditions instead. Sometimes we even go further than that. Unless we are diligent to guard against it, we can actually get to the point where by practice and tradition we can indulge and practices that God actually forbids, but we delude ourselves into thinking that God will accept it, because we do it, “In Jesus’ Name.”
If one disobeys a direct command of God that is, if they say by tradition and practice, “Do not do what God has said to do, but do this other thing instead,…” and incidentally what they are advising also happens to be something which God expressly forbids doing, then both of those things would be worshiping God in vain.
For this reason, Whole Testament pursuant people are extremely selective about which religious traditions and practices we will accept and observe, and which we will reject. Such decisions must never be made based on passions and desires, emotions or preferences, but instead it must be made by making a diligent comparison of the religious tradition, its regular pattern of practices through history, alongside the Commandments of Scripture. No matter how long-held or deeply cherished it might be, if any religious tradition, celebration or practice, happens to violate any explicit instruction of Scripture, it must be rejected if one seeks to worship Almighty God in spirit and truth.
It is for this reason that Whole Testament pursuant people DO NOT observe the traditions of replacing the seventh day Sabbath with Sunday worship. We do not observe the traditions of Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween among others; all of these clearly contain festival days, decorations, traditions and practices which are historically idolatrous and demonic by nature, and which consequently are expressly Biblically FORBIDDEN. All one needs to do is care enough to look into the history of these festivals and compare them with Scripture, and one can clearly see that those practices are declared to be an abomination according to the Scriptures.
It’s also noteworthy that none of these traditions were accepted into Christian practice, because they were considered idolatrous until after the fourth century or A.D. 300. All of these practices were officially brought in by royal edict of Roman emperors, and then later they were officially adopted into Christendom by the decree of the Roman Catholic church in the popes, in direct defiance of Holy Scripture. Any diligent search will show that this is indisputable fact. All those traditions and festival days are the commandments of men in direct disobedience to the Commandments of God.
Scripture expressly commands us NOT to incorporate the idolatrous, pagan and demonic traditions of the worship of false gods into the worship of the real and True God. Remember that God does not change. If Almighty God called something an abomination 5000 years ago, it’s still an abomination today. Almighty God looks at such doings as an act of idolatry, even if we do not see it that way (Exodus 32:1-10; Deuteronomy 12:1-4, 8, 29-32; Jeremiah 10:1-2; Matthew 5:17-20; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; James 1:19-27;1 John 5:1-3; Revelation 14:12; Revelation 21:7-8)
For this reason, Whole Testament believers uphold, returning to the ancient paths and earnestly contending for that faith which was once for all delivered to the Saints in the first century, just as we are commanded to do in the New Testament (Jude 1:3; cf. Jeremiah 6:16a).
It’s important to understand that by the time of the first century the faith and practices which we were to follow, defend, and earnestly contend for, was already once for all delivered to the Saints. The first century saints honored the seventh day Sabbath, they honored the Feasts of the Lord, (Leviticus 23), and they recognized how each pointed to the Messiah, and they were taught to forsake pagan practices and not to bring them into the churches. There is ample historical and scriptural evidence to this fact. With this in mind, any tradition or practice which overtly contradicts what first century Saints would have done, (such as the practices which some now indulge which were brought into the church’s after the fourth century A.D. cannot possibly be the same faith that was once for all delivered to the Saints.
Consequently, we wholeheartedly support and congregate around the Biblically required feast days and appointed times of meetings with the Lord for rehearsal which are: the celebration of the seventh day Sabbaths, Passover, Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks culminating in Pentecost. These are the spring feasts which were fulfilled in Messiah’s first coming and His resurrection.
We also gather and congregate around the fall feasts, which will have multiple fulfillments during Messiah’s second coming and millennial reign; The Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement & Judgment), and a seven-day feast of Tabernacles (representing the wedding supper of the Lamb, with the eighth day Sabbath representing eternal habitation with YHWH). These are the feast which God instituted to point the way to and testify to the Messiah and Christ. Honoring the LORD’S Sabbaths feasts is one component which identifies people as being committed to and belonging to Almighty God, and they are recognized by Him, (Exodus 31:12-17; Isaiah 56:1-7; Ezekiel 20:12; Ezekiel 20:20), while on the other hand, man-made feasts and traditions of our own inventions are not recognized or ordained by God.
7. Worship יהוה Almighty God on Purpose: A disciple should know what they are doing, they should know and understand why they are doing it or they should know and understand why they are deliberately choosing not to do something, and they should be able to defend that choice within properly divided Scripture, (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:15). If they cannot, then they are being much too passive for their own good health as disciples.
The passive disciple is the ineffective disciple. There is very little that is more dangerous to a person’s walk with God than becoming passive. It is extremely spiritually hazardous to either take up a certain practice or forgo a certain practice simply because; something is commonly accepted or rejected passively. Remember Joshua and Caleb of old. They were the only two men from their entire generation to enter the Promised Land after the wilderness, because they purposely followed יהוה Almighty God, instead of what was popular and commonly accepted by the population.
The Whole Testament theological point of view seeks to firmly reestablish Biblical authority in all matters of our faith and practice. The authentic disciple should be proactive and deliberate in what we are doing. In other words, when he or she chooses to do something or not to do something in life, the disciple makes those decisions on purpose. Basically, whenever a growing disciple chooses either to add or eliminate a particular practice from our lives, he or she should be able to clearly demonstrate that they have a sound biblical basis across both Testaments of Scripture for adding or eliminating a particular practice, because whatever we choose to do or not do must be done or eliminated on purpose to glorify God.
Moreover, a disciple should be so entirely clear about what he or she embraces and practices, or why he or she refuses or eliminates certain practices, that they are ready to defend it if anyone should ask (1 Corinthians 6:19, 10:31; 1 Peter 3:15). The Whole Testament believer should be able to tell you Biblically why he or she does or does not do a particular common practice. (Deuteronomy 4:2, 6:4-9; Joshua 1:7-8; Psalms 1:1-6, 25:4-5, 51:10-13, 119:33-40; Luke 12:48; Colossians 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17-24; Acts 17:28; 1 Peter 3:15; Revelation 4:11).
Too many “Believers” Don’t know how to BIBLICALLY defend the Faith they claim to have. Believers MUST be Prepared.
Thank you for your kind attention. May God bless you as you diligently study and obey His Word.
Brother Michel LankfordKnow what Messiah commanded us! Get all the verses in a downloadable, easy to study PDF form for FREE here!