The Baggage of Opinion
What is an opinion? Why do people have them? And why do places where many different opinions gather, tend to be places of unrest and dissention? Is an opinion a good thing? Do we need to have them at all? By the end of this book you might have a few opinions of your own. Do independent or mass agreed upon opinions in regard to YHWH’s Word have any concrete place within the body of Moshiach?
According to one source an opinion is a person’s ideas and thoughts towards something. It is an assessment, judgement or evaluation of something. An opinion is not a fact, because opinions are either not falsifiable, or the opinion has not been proven or verified. If it later becomes proven or verified, it is no longer an opinion, but a fact.
Conversations inhabited by opinions would not likely occur in the heavenly realm, especially when it comes to the way it operates. Think about it, two people having ascended to the throne room and on receiving glorification are not going to have a debate over the correct running on an aspect of the Temple service. It will be there, proceeding right in front of them and if there is a dispute the Almighty will settle it.
Opinion was first given birth to in the heart of the HayLale' ben Shakh'ar Yalal (HaSatan - the Accuser). "Ben-adam (Son of man), take up a lament concerning the (שַׂר Sar [Ruler]) of Tsor and say to him: ‘This says the master (or sovereign) YHWH: “You were the model of perfection, full of chochmah (wisdom) and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden ha Gan (the Garden of Eden) Elohim; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; (He wore the choshen – breastplate - as High Priest of the Angels.): on the day you were created they were prepared. You were the Moshiach-like (anointed) Karuv (guardian) that covers (the Mercy seat of Heaven); for so I ordained you. You were on the Kadosh (Set-Apart) mountain of Elohim; you walked among the fiery (faceted) stones. You were blameless in your halachot (ways) from the day that you were created until iniquity was found in you. By the multitude of your merchandise (or trade) you were filled with violence, and you have sinned. So I will cast you out as the profane-one out of the mountain of Elohim, and I expelled you, O Karuv that covers, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your lev (heart) was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your chochmah (wisdom) by reason of your splendour: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before melechim (kings), that they may see you. You have defiled your sanctuaries (Angelic Houses of Worship) by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trade; therefore will I bring out a fire in your midst, it shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that see you. All they that knew you among the nations shall be astonished at you: you shall be a waste before them, and never shall you be again.’”(Ezekiel 28:12-19)
It was the most beloved of all the angels who developed an opinion that the Master YHWH should not receive all glory and praise alone. There is no need to say that HaSatan developed a differing opinion, just an opinion. An opinion by definition is a different view that is either willingly or unwillingly held without knowledge of a fact. To say that HaSatan had a different opinion to YHWH suggests that the Creator’s view of things was also based on opinion. HaSatan’s development of an opinion enabled him to falsely legitimise his rebellion. Unlike someone who is genuinely ignorant of the truth, he had to willingly withdraw his knowledge from truth. In doing this he retarded his ability to discern, by choosing to ignore the fact that even if he overthrew YHWH and killed Him, heaven forbid, his heart would stop beating in the next instant and all creation would cease to exist. This is how disruptive rebellion is to a person’s mental perception.
Prior to his corruption, all HaSatan’s views fell in complete harmony with YHWH’s will. Over time he slowly developed a unique and disunited view. HayLale' served as the high priest of the angelic host. He wore the choshen (breastplate) and “…walked among the fiery stones…” and he was responsible for the Kadosh Places. But “[He] defiled [the] sanctuaries by the multitude of [his] iniquities.” His opinion led to his destruction and disqualification as High Priest in the heavenly court. To solidify his opinion he rallied for supporters, eventually coaxing one-third of the heavenly host to follow him. This was echoed in Korach’s Levite rebellion against Moshe in the desert (Numbers 16). He was against the validity of all Moshe's appointments, including A’aron's appointment as the kohen. He began a series of verbal exchanges with Moshe that grew into his gathering two hundred and fifty supporters. The result of this rebellion was not favourable to say the least. Before the sight of the whole congregation, Korach and all his supporters and their belongings became swallowed up as Sheol opened its mouth to them (verse 32-33).
Mankind has had a very long love affair with rebellion. The world thrives on it. Many of our countries were formed off the back of it. Rebellion is the fuel that pumps through our films, TV shows, music, histories and culture. Rebellion is defined as any form of open resistance to authority. It’s usually fed by crisis junkies who create controversy because peace makes them miserable. Rebellion’s close cousin is “sedition,” which is an illegal action that incites resistance to lawful authority, whether done secretly or openly. Rebels that create sedition lurk with people who have abandoned a community. YHWH singles these out as His most hated. “These six things does YHWH hate: yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent dahm (blood), A lev (heart) that plans wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)
Sedition is also listed as a “work of the flesh” in Galatians 5
Korach’s challenge teaches us that rebellious tendencies can even follow us into the faith and drive us to intrude into areas YHWH may not wish to reveal to us. At times when He does not wish to reveal something to us by a specific date, we try to reason it out anyway. “The secret things belong to YHWH our Elohim: but those things that are revealed belong to us and to our children le-olam-va-ed (forever and ever), that we may do all the words of this Torah.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
My Rebbe, Rabbi Robert Miller writes: “We do just the opposite of the counsel of YHWH and we wonder why our theology (and our very) lives (are) in a mess. We trust in ourselves; we lean to our own understanding; we pay ‘lip service’ to the authority of Yahweh while we ‘bulldoze’ our own way through life. So is it any wonder that when we come into the Community of Faith we bring the old, cracked, weather-beaten, leathery baggage of rebellion.” “Trust in YHWH with all your lev (heart); and lean not to your own binah (understanding). In all your derachot acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Opinions can be used as a means of raising prestige as it heralds a person as an independent thinker who has departed from a common viewpoint. An opinionated person is usually someone who perceives many agreeing views as commonly agreed upon opinions rather than commonly agreed upon facts.
However, this is different from an individual or people who depart from a normally accepted view that was always based on opinion. HaSatan has managed to dilute the truth enough to be able to float enough opinion to keep people busy arguing about correct doctrine for a lifetime.
A soldier who exerts independent thinking on the battle field (and who doesn’t train with the rest of his team) will try to fill the gap of his ignorance with opinion and put the team’s safety in jeopardy. How much more in the spiritual realm with believers who can’t settle down in a congregation and don’t know what the rest of the body is doing. Imagine a soldier who just drifts from one platoon to another on his own whim.
Proverbs 18:2; “A fool has no delight in binah (understanding), but only in revealing his lev (heart).”
The Sadducees were an interesting sect of religious men. Today they no longer formally exist and neither do any of their writings. Some of their beliefs and even some references to their writings can be found in the Karaite movement. The word “Karaite” means “written,” as if to denote going only by what is strictly written. The Karaites evolved from a sect of breakaway fundamentalist Sadducees. They exist today and in some cases have made deep inroads into the Messianic movement. Judas Iscariot was from a Karaite sect. Yahudah HaKaraite is translated as Judas Iscariot. Judas’s Karaite belief of the Moshiach returning to the throne of David by militant force was exploited by HaSatan. The Sadducees and the Karaites that evolved from them were very opinionated groups; even members within these sects harboured differing private opinions on certain Biblical texts, born out of their doctrinal view. This is all in spite of the warning in 2 Peter 1:20; “Knowing this first that no prophesy of the Keetvay HaKadosh (Set-apart Scriptures) is of any private interpretation.”
Before Rabbi Sha’ul’s encounter with the Almighty he was a clever, capable, wise and rational man who exuded confidence and performed his duties with all his enthusiasm.
But whilst heading a fully armed and equipped Nazarene Israelite hunting party he was struck by a great light which cast him off his horse and threw him to the ground. In this day and age we’d call this a “Close Encounter of the Second Kind.” This means a visual and verbal contact by an extraterrestrial being.
Blinded, he immediately abandoned his task in Damascus and all his reasons for it. He returned neither to Tarsus nor to Jerusalem. He was like a computer in complete “reboot mode.” The capability of the software was to stay the same but all the corrupting files he amassed were deleted.
When an opinionated view takes root in one individual it can quickly spread to an entire congregation. This can lead to a general laid back arrogance and false perceptions of superiority.
The congregation of Laodicea was in poor shape. The word “Laodicea” is a Greek word and means, “people of personal opinions.” They exuded an over-confidence in regard to their status with the Almighty and became unable to recognise their own spiritual bankruptcy. Revelations 3:15-18; “I know your mitzvoth (love deeds) that you are neither cold nor hot: I desire that you were cold, or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and are neither cold, or hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy from Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with ointment, that you may see.”
To avoid opinion rearing its ugly head in Scriptural matters, tag the topic that you’re compelled to give your theory on with an immediate “to do.” Then find time to study it in context with the text and find related Scriptures. Do this with the following principle in mind: Isaiah 28:10; “For precept must be laid upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”
This piece-by-piece method of study avoids finding meanings that depart from context and maintains a message’s unity to the Scripture’s foundational text – the Torah. Then read Jewish, Messianic or Christian commentaries on the text. This can be the most enlightening process as you read other thoughts that reveal things you may never have noticed.
There’s only one opinion that’s ever going to matter to you, and that’s YHWH’s. Actually, it’s not even His opinion; it is His completely accurate view of you tempered with the perfect measure of judgement and mercy.
Wherever there is opinion there is lack of knowledge. Opinion is the desire to make a decision or offer advice at the exclusion of knowledge. What’s wrong with saying, “I just don’t know. I’ll have to go and study it”? Or more to the point, “You go and study it. It’s your question.”
Watchman Nee writes in the book, Spiritual Authority, “The primary evidence that one has met YHWH is in the disappearing of one’s opinions and cleverness.”