“God did not create religion. God created man. Man created religion.” ~ A.D. Williams
This page is going to examine Shinto and the commonalities it has with the Word of God (Jesus). There are many parallels between the teachings of Shinto and the Bible which can be used to show the Gospel of the truth of the character/nature of Jesus Christ.
The true intent of the law/Word of God is not to make men religious but to reform men into the image of their God who is love (1 John 4:8).
1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Do all of man’s concepts of God point to the Creator? Yes and no. Man has allowed idolatrous ideas of God that get between them and the Creator, yet if one is truly seeking God they are seeking the LORD as there is only one God.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Co 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
1Co 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
All religions point to Messiah, albeit they corrupt His Image. Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, the ‘Mythologies’ etc., all have shadows of Messiah. It is not our job to convert one another to each others religions and our conceived perceptions of God (Matthew 23:15). It is our job to seek God’s face and it is through the Holy Spirit that we will be led into truth (John 16:13; 1 John 2:27; 1 Corinthians 2:10). All religions have some truth which is a gift of grace to all of mankind to draw us back to the Most High (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4; 4:10). As Christians, our job is to walk in truth and be living epistles of the Word (2 Corinthians 3:3). It is through love that mankind will know the truth, not through our doctrine (John 13:35).
The work of the Holy Spirit in the process of purification is to lead us to love (1 Peter 1:22). The goal of the Torah/Word is to lead us to love (1 Timothy 1:5; Galatians 5:14; 6:2). Love is the fruit which reveals that we are growing in maturity in Messiah (2 Peter 1:5-8). Love is the bond of perfectness (Colossians 3:14). If the writings of other religions have truth and lead the followers thereof into this love then the people of these religions should not be hated but encouraged to continue growing in truth. Ultimately, this will lead them to Jesus as He is the Truth.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Eph 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
When we look to God, we see what we are. Evil, despicable, unworthy (Romans 3:10-19,23)…but when we look to Him we see His unending love for us in spite of our sinfulness (Ephesians 2:1-7). When we look to our fellow man, our carnal flesh which is full of hate immediately wants to focus on their evils and unworthiness (1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Romans 8:7). However, if we remember that we are just as unworthy of God’s love as them, yet God still grants us His unmerited, unending love, will we not be more likely to do the same to them?
He has forgiven us so let us forgive (Matthew 18:23-35; Ephesians 4:32). He shows us mercy so let us show mercy (2 Samuel 22:36; Luke 6:36). He overlooks our lack of understanding and ignorance so let us do the same with others. Even if the other person accepts not our forgiveness, love and understanding we must remember that we have treated God the same in the past, and even still do today as believers.
In seeking His Face, His Light will shine upon us where we can walk in His name (Numbers 6:24-27). If we seek His face continually (1 Chronicles 16:11), His light will reflect from us to others (2 Corinthians 4:6). Scripture likens seeking the Face of the Lord as looking into a mirror (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 13:12) in which we now see darkly. As a result, we should abide in faith, hope and love. Most importantly, in love. This love is summed up in the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31).
All religions are based upon this Golden rule of love. Almost everyone in the world follows a religion so why is there so much hate? The problem is that we cannot keep the golden rule by our power or understanding. The Golden rule can only work if we are following by the principle of seeking God’s Face. We can only truly abide by the Golden Rule if we are treating men as we wish God to treat us. We want forgiveness and mercy and grace from God…this then should be given to others. We must love as He loves us (John 13:34; 15:12).
All religions are seeking the Most High. The problem is that religion makes an idol out of the Most High and many times the adversary uses religion to steal worship. This is why all religions have some truth and a lot of their doctrines trace back to the Scriptures (Psalm 22:27). We all came from Adam and then from Noah. Truth permeates through all cultures. Doctrine is not God. God is beyond our attempts to explain Him (Job 11:7; 5:9; 37:23; Psalm 145:3; Isaiah 40:28; Romans 11:33). He is the Word, therefore, the Scriptures are our sole source of ultimate truth, not our our interpretations of the text.
If theology (study of God) & religion leads one to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, the image of God who is love, causing one to love God and love their neighbor more then this is great. However, if theology & religion leads one away from love (even in the slightest) then this is at best dung/worthlessness and at worst complete wickedness. If theologians and religious leaders lead us in the former then we should respect and walk with them…if they lead us away from love and teach us to hate others then we should reject them completely.
Christ came to save, not condemn (1 Timothy 1:15; Matthew 9:13; 18:11; Mark 2:17; John 3:17; 12:47). He came to serve in love (John 13:13-17; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 3:18; Philippians 2:5-8), patiently (Romans 15:5; Revelation 1:9) and meekly (Matthew 11:29-30; 2 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Peter 2:23) (not angrily frustratingly forcing His will on others – Matthew 15:14).
In Matthew 15:14, Messiah says to let the Pharisees (representative of believers bound by the religious spirit) alone. In Greek, the word ‘let them alone’ is ἀφίημι ‘aphiēmi’ which also means to forgive (Matthew 6:12, 14-15; 9:6; 18:21 etc). We shouldn’t try to force other believers to see as we see or to follow Messiah as we follow Him. If we can’t come to agreement on an issue, ‘let them alone.’ If they are truly following Him, He will guide them to the truth. If they are walking in blindness they will fall into the ditch where He will be to lift them up (Psalm 37:24; 40:1-2; 50:15; 145:14). He led people to the truth in love, gently and meekly (Ephesians 4:15; Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:16-20). Hence, we are to work out our own salvation with meekness and fear (Philippians 2:12), preferring others over ourselves (Romans 12:10) and seeking to edify them in love (1 Corinthians 8:1).
The Lord is transforming us from glory to glory by His own power (2 Corinthians 3:18), not by our religious doctrines and movements. It is His job to perfect us and recreate us in His image, not ours (Psalm 57:2; 18:32; 138:8; Ephesians 4:4-13).
Messiah said that the world would know we are His disciples by our love. He did not say they would know us by our understanding of doctrine/theology.
Joh_13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1Jn 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
1Jn 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
When the Lord returns, He will judge us according to our service in love (Matthew 25:31-46). Serving in love is the true path to ‘theology’ or knowing God (Jeremiah 22:16). Scripture declares that love of one’s fellow man is equated with love of God (1 John 4:11-12, 20-21) and is the fulfillment and purpose of His Word (Matthew 22:39-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 6:2). It does not say love of one’s fellow religious counterpart, but of one’s fellow MAN (Galatians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 3 John 1:11), even our enemies (Luke 6:35). This love is manifested in service to one another (Galatians 5:13-14; 6:2; John 13:35; 1 John 3:16-19), in particular the poor and weak amongst us.
Man was created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27) but that image was corrupted when Adam sinned. From there man took up the image of Adam which still pointed back to God, but in a corrupted form (Genesis 5:1; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49). Messiah came to earth in the very image of Almighty God (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3), who is love. His life displayed that love and He calls all those who believe in Him to display that love as well. This is the essence of the concept of ‘Christ in us.’ It is through His love that man is formed into His image (Colossians 3:10; Romans 8:29) where there is no longer Jew or Greek, Barbarian or Scythian but Messiah is all and in all (Colossians 3:11).
This is the message of the Gospel. Love. Love that breaks down the barriers and walls which man has set up to divide (Ephesians 2:1-22; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Love that breaks down the wall of sin which has separated man from God (Isaiah 59:2; John 3:16; 12:32; Isaiah 49:6; Revelation 5:9). This love is revealed in our actions towards our fellow man, not in our intellectual proclamations. All of us see through a glass darkly which keeps us from seeing eye to eye (1 Corinthians 13:12). The only remedy for this is love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 1 John 4:7-21). Love and patience towards one another until the Lord returns and His salvation is fully revealed (Isaiah 52:7-10). Love allows man to understand that we can have differences of opinions but ultimately if we abide in love we can dwell in peace and unity (Ephesians 4:2-16, 32; 5:1-2; Colossians 3:9-17).
Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Eph 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Eph 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
The true intent of the law/Word of God is not to make men religious but to reform men into the image of their God who is love (1 John 4:8). It is this love that unites us and perfects us. It is the bond of perfection (Colossians 3:14) which sets man free (Galatians 5:13-14). This love is not intended only for a certain group of religious people, but for all mankind. Scripture declares that in the Messiah shall the ‘gentiles trust’ (Matthew 12:21; Romans 15:8-12; Isaiah 11:10). For Jesus is the true Light which enlightens every man (John 1:9; 12:44-46; Isaiah 49:6), sent to restore all of mankind back to God (Isaiah 45:22; Romans 3:29; John 1:12; 3:15-17).
The message of Jesus is universal. It transcends religions, ethnic or cultural barriers. It is a message of love and reconciliation back to God. The message of victory over death which entered into the world when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:45-48; 55-56. This message of forgiveness and restoration is not just for Israel, but whosoever shall believe in the Lord Jesus.
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Jesus did not play religion. He reached out the sick, the blind, the deaf, the adulterer, the sinner and the tax-collector. Those who knew they needed Him (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 9:11). Those who saw how helpless they were without Him. This is what true religion is (James 1:26-27; Proverbs 21:3; Isaiah 1:17; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:8; Matthew 9:13; Mark 12:33), not doctrine, but acts of love towards one another (John 13:35; 1 John 3:17; 4:12, 20-21).
This concept of love is found in every religion, it is the commonality which points back to Jesus who is the epitome of God’s love (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-16). It is not doctrine which leads others to the truth. It is the love of God within us. ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27).
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Scripture declares that love of one’s fellow man is equated with love of God (1 John 4:11-12, 20-21) and is the fulfillment and purpose of His Word (Matthew 22:39-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 6:2). It does not say love of one’s fellow religious counterpart, but of one’s fellow MAN (Galatians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 3 John 1:11), even our enemies (Luke 6:35).
The Scriptures and ancient belief, indicate that the Word equates with the physical manifestation of the Most High in His creation. Whether it be the Torah, which is His “autobiography”, a physical manifestation of the Eternal or whether it be Jesus who is the Torah made flesh.
The Word of God was committed to Israel, who was called to bring forth God’s glory/love to the world. Instead, Israel fell into idolatry and was cast into the nations. Judah was cast into Babylon but by God’s grace was allowed to return to the land with another opportunity to bring forth God’s message of love to the nations. Instead, Judah chose to form a religion which corrupted the message of God’s Word and instead of man being formed into His image, they were to be formed into the image of Judaism.
The fruit which Israel was called to produce was the ‘goodly’ fruit of His Word (Jeremiah 11:16). However, Israel did not produce this fruit but brought forth wicked fruit (Jeremiah 24:2-8). As a result, God brought fire upon this olive tree, breaking the branches thereof (Jeremiah 11:16-17).
The Hebrew word for ‘goodly’ in Jeremiah 11:16 is תאר ‘toar’ which means a shape, form, outline or figure of a thing. תאר ‘toar’ is a cognate of the word תורה ‘torah’ which literally means instruction which defines the border of a people or the ‘image’ of a people. תורה ‘torah’ is most commonly translated as ‘law.’ Here we see that Israel was to produce the fruit of His Law which would bring forth His image to the world. His Image is that of love (1John 4:8, 16; Matthew 22:35-40).
Israel did not bring forth this image of love (Luke 7:36-47; 10:27-37; 18:9-14). Although they were zealous for the law (Acts 21:20; 22:3), in their zealousness they corrupted its true meaning (Romans 10:2). They were outwardly religious, yet inwardly full of wickedness (Luke 11:39; 16:15; 20:47; Matthew 6:2-5, 16; 23:5, 25-27). They separated themselves from the peoples of the world, declaring anyone who didn’t worship God according to their traditions was an unclean heathen (John 4:9; 8:48; Acts 10:28).
By their traditions they had put up a dividing wall between themselves and others (Acts 21:28; Ephesians 2:14-15), preventing them from drawing nearer to God (Luke 11:52) as Israel was the custodians of His Word (Romans 3:2; John 4:22) which reveals His nature to mankind. It was their traditions which corrupted the Word of God (Matthew 15:2-9; Mark 7:3-13; Colossians 2:8) and perverted the message of His love to mankind, which led Jesus Christ to declare them as lawless (Matthew 23:28; John 7:19). It is because of this lack of love (Matthew 5:22; John 15:25) that the Lord was sent to Israel to separate the good trees from the bad (Malachi 3:2-3; 4:1; Matthew 3:10-12; Luke 3:9; John 15:2).
The religion which was set up by the leaders of Israel became known as the tradition of the elders (Matthew 15:3). These traditions were a set of guidelines which the nation was to follow. In and of itself this is not a negative thing but the problem is that the people exalted their traditions above the Word of God. As a result, this religiosity became in reality, lawlessness (John 7:19; Matthew 23:28; Galatians 6:13). The religious leaders of the second Temple were outwardly religious but inwardly were full of lawlessness (Luke 11:39; 16:15; 20:47; Matthew 6:2-5, 16; 23:5, 25-27; John 7:19; Matthew 23:28; Galatians 6:13). Ultimately, this led to their destruction (John 15:25).
Sadly, this same thing religious spirit is seen in many religious believers today. We who have been given a taste of heaven, ought not act in such a manner (Hebrews 6:4). We should be bearing the fruit of love and mercy and forgiveness (John 15:1-10; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11), not the thorns and briars of hatred and condemnation (Hebrews 6:8; Luke 13:7-9).
The inheritance was taken away from the bad trees and given to a nation that would produce the fruit of love which the Lord desires (Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; 1 Peter 2:4-9; Galatians 3:1-29). Believers in Messiah became a ‘reformed’ Olive tree and were given the call to abide in Him (Hebrews 3:1-6), being formed into His image (Philippians 3:14-15; Ephesians 1:1-6; 1:17-23), bearing forth His fruit (2 Peter 1:5-9), called to bring forth God’s Gospel of love to the world (2 Timothy 1:9-11), revealing His image (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).
The Greek word for ‘calling is κλῆσις ‘klēsis’ which is used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word קרא ‘qara’ which, as mentioned above, is associated with manifesting God’s name/image on earth.
Messiah said that the all of the Law and Prophets hang upon the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12; 22:40). Paul says that the entire law is based upon this principle (Galatians 5:14). By applying the concept of seeking His Face, this is seen. A proper fulfillment of the Golden rule depends upon what man is seeking. God or religion/idols. Idolatry and religion lead to hate (John 15:21-25; Hosea 9:7-8), this is why there is so much hate in the world. If we are not walking in love, we are not walking with God (1 John 4:8).
Hatred for our fellow man is indicative that we are not seeking the Face of God as man was created in God’s image (1 John 4:20-21; James 3:9). Hate is indicative that we are walking in the carnal flesh which is at war with God (Romans 8:7; Galatians 5:19-21). Hate in one’s heart reveals a spiritual blindness (1 John 2:9-11) which is caused in many cases by religion (John 9:41; 15:21-25; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Isaiah 44:18; 6:9-10; Matthew 13:13-15; 15:7-14).
When we seek the Face of God at all times we can overcome the hate for others caused by fear and ignorance (1 John 4:18; Romans 8:15, 31-39; Psalm 118:6; Hebrews 13:6). When we seek the Face of God we can love our enemies and show them mercy as He does (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36; Romans 12:14-21; 1 Peter 3:8-15; Ephesians 2:2-22). When we seek God’s face we can see those of other understandings of God and love them as He does.
This is the essence of being a “little guy in the Eye”. Love. Walking in close relationship with God who is love (1 John 4:8) and extending that love to our fellow man (1 John 4:12). Its not about religion or doctrine, its about relationship with the Most High. Each one of us must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling as God works through us according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). If we keep focused on Him and not on religion He will be able to transform us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) until we are formed into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
It is when we stop seeking God’s face and begin to seek the face of man that we fall into the trap of religion.
Messiah Jesus warned His people of the leaven of the Pharisees (i.e. religion)…
Luk 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
A hypocrite is an actor, or one hiding the true self with a false exterior. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, whitewashed tombs etc..
Mat 23:28 So you also indeed outwardly appear righteous to men, but within are full of hypocrisy (ὑπόκρισις ‘hupokrisis’) and lawlessness.
Jas 5:12 But before all things, my brothers, do not swear, neither by the heaven, nor by the earth, nor any other oath. But let your yes be yes, and the no, no, that you may not fall under judgment (KJV – condemnation – ὑπόκρισις ‘hupokrisis’).
Gal 2:13 And also the rest of the Jews dissembled with him, so as even Barnabas was led away with their dissembling (KJV – dissimulation – ὑπόκρισις ‘hupokrisis’).
Vincent Word Studies
With their dissimulation (αὐτῶν τῇ ὑποκρίσει)
Not to or over to their dissimulation. Paul uses a strong word, which is employed only in 1Ti_4:2. The kindred verb ὑποκρίνεσθαι to play a part, and the noun ὑποκριτής hypocrisy do not occur in his letters. Their act was hypocrisy, because it was a concealment of their own more liberal conviction, and an open profession of still adhering to the narrow Pharisaic view. It was “a practical denial of their better spiritual insight”
1) an answering
2) an answer
3) the acting of a stage player
4) dissimulation, hypocrisy
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G5271
1) to take up another’s statements in reference to what one has decided for one’s self (This is the essence of religion…people repeating what their leaders tell them to believe without finding out the truth for themselves. By definition, religion is an exterior manifestation which does not always reveal that which is within)
1a) to reply, answer
2) to make answer (speak) on the stage
2a) to impersonate anyone, play a part
3) to simulate, feign, pretend
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: middle voice from G5259 (under) and G2919 (to separate, select, choose, be of the opinion, determine, decree, judge, arbiters in matters of life, passing judgment on the deeds and words of others, rule, govern)
In essence, the word hypocrite means to be under the headship of man. This is why the word means to be a play actor. When you are under the headship of man, you are not under the headship of Messiah and walking/yoked with Him. Therefore, your righteousness is that of man (Matthew 23:28) and your fear of God is that taught of man (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:2-6; Mark 7:2-13; Colossians 2:20-23). It is not something within you but it is merely an outward appearance or mask put on in accord with the rulings of the head you are following. This is why Jesus begins His rebuke of the Pharisees in Matthew 23 with telling the people not to have men as their leaders and heads. Our only Head is to be Messiah. Our only righteousness comes from Him.
“The Savior deals differently with each individual according to his needs…He becomes all things for all people, while always remaining by nature what He is.” Cyril of Jerusalem
1Co 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
1Co 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
1Co 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
1Co 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
1Co 9:23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
1Co 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
1Co 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
1Co 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1Co 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1Co 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
1Co 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Rom 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Rom 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.