Sunday, January 30, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 17

#17: His Blood Be on Us and Our Children

Perhaps the most famous “anti-Semitic” line in the entire “NT” is Matthew 27:25 where “all the crowd” is said to have invoked an eternal curse upon all the Jewish people. But let’s remember that Matthew himself was also called Levi and Matthew is certainly not pronouncing a curse upon himself and his own people.

In the response to the obvious facts, some bigots suggest that the religious elite were the ones who set the curse, and then, by extension the curse flows over all Jews. Those who are hell-bent on hating Jews will always find reason to hate; they obviously know not Y’shua or the Word of YHWH. Nevertheless, some Pharisees did in fact pronounce a curse upon themselves and their descendants, yet very few realize how this works. Yochanan 11:48-53 makes it quite obvious that the religious elite feared for the entire destruction of Israel at the hands of the Romans, and not just their own personal loss of power. In addition, they were trying to deal with two Scriptural possibilities.

Since Y’shua was performing miracles, they knew it was very possible that he could be the Mashiyach. However, if so, Mashiyach’s main purpose was to die for Israel, to be a substitutionary sacrifice for the nation (Isaiah 53:1-12). That is perhaps why Caiphas even says Y’shua would die, either way. If Y’shua was the Mashiyach, he was supposed to do this. If he wasn’t, according to their human reasoning, his death might still prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of others should Rome decide to destroy Israel, which it turns out, they in fact did, anyway. Even Y’shua predicted this, so he and Caiphas actually agreed on this same point.

However, if they killed and innocent man in order to save the nation (better that one should die than the rest perish), Caiphas still believed Israel would benefit. The reason is, if they made this horrible mistake, the worst that could happen is that their sin would be carried to the fourth generation (Exodus 20:5, 34:7, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9), but Israel proper would survive. If they did not act, however, then the fear was, justifiable or not, that there would be no Israel ever again, for hundreds of generations. In other words, no matter what, Y’shua had to die, which was exactly his mission in his own words, anyway. It may seem self-serving that Paul would speak so highly of his own race but he clearly taught that Jews “… are beloved for the fathers’ sake” (Romans 11:28).

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 16

#16: Echad as Plurality

“Hear O Israel, YHWH is our Elohim, YHWH is One.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

This is enough evidence, right here, to convince most Jews that there is only One Elohim whose Name is YHWH. Three is not one regardless of how you do the math and that’s the problem. Man’s math and science and tradition as opposed to YHWH’s! Perhaps you’ve heard that in Deuteronomy 6:4 “one” is “echad”, which can mean a unity. If Elohim was exclusively singular, this would read “yachid” which can only mean one. Yes, “echad” does in fact have a compound singularity in it, such as having one synagogue with a hundred people inside. However, the situation is more complicated than this. The fact is, “yachid” is a very rare word, and in Hebrew the number one is “echad”, so it also refers to things that are exclusively singular. This does not mean, however, that Christians are entirely wrong in using “echad” as a pointer to the “Godhead.” Some of the greatest Jewish rabbis, sages and mystics have been doing just that for centuries.

Nevertheless, the reality is that “echad” is pointing to the fact that Elohim is infinite. 1 Kings 8:27 relates this very clearly. Not even the uttermost reaches of the heavens can contain Him. Therefore, we must say “echad” because while He is One, the number one cannot contain Him either. Infinity is greater than one!

On the other hand, Deuteronomy 6:4 agrees with the rest of Scripture which states:

“By the Word of YHWH the Heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth, all their hosts” (Psalm 33:6).

“But a shoot will grow out of the stump of Jesse. A twig shall sprout from his stock. The Spirit of YHWH shall alight upon him: A spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and valour, a spirit of devotion and reverence for YHWH” (Isaiah 11:1-2).

“Listen to Me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am He – I am the first, and I am the last as well. My own hand founded the earth. My right hand spread out the skies” (Isaiah 48:12).

The Spirit of YHWH sends several spirits also from YHWH to alight on a man and the Word of YHWH doing creation but wait – Isaiah says Elohim did that alone! Once again, Elohim is One, and infinity includes everything. That is why Trinity does not work, because it reduces Elohim to the level of His aspects, or the signs of His Infinity.

In the century before the birth of Mashiyach Judaism was an incredibly diverse and variegated phenomenon, with deep disagreements on just about every major issue. This plurality of belief is not only mentioned in detail by the first century historian Josephus (Antiquities 18.1.2) and in the Renewed Covenant Writings with regard to Messianic expectations, (Matthew 16:13-14), but it also permeates almost every aspect of what we know about life in Israel during that period. Even so, and of course acknowledging deep differences of opinion on the identity and power of Mashiyach, Torah – just before the dawn of the Common Era – paints a far different picture of “the Godhead.” Instead of three Marvellous persons, the infinite Elohim has spirits or aspects, and it is these aspects, imbued with His one marvellous nature, that manifest themselves in various ways. This is “echad”, not Trinity.

After the advent of Mashiyach, however, the Natzarim (Acts 24:12-14) revised this picture slightly. To them, the Word of YHWH (‘davar’ in the Hebrew of Psalm 33:6) became the Arm of YHWH, or Mashiyach, (Isaiah 53:1). It is the Arm of YHWH’s job to save (Exodus 6:6). Additionally, the “spirit of council” mentioned in Isaiah 11:1-2, was linked to the Ruach haKodesh that David prayed about (Psalm 51:11); again the main point being, they all came from Elohim and share in the one marvellous nature.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 15

#15: The “New” Covenant

The “New” Covenant is introduced within the writings of the “Old” (please see Jeremiah 31:31-34 / Hebrews 8:8). So, when Hebrews 8:13 says that the Renewed Covenant is to put aside the “Old,” it is not that the Old became obsolete and terminated. Rather, it is a clear fact of Scripture that the “New” Covenant arises as a contingency out of the “Old,” because Israel rejected YHWH’s laws. If the “New” Covenant gains its power from what was revealed beforehand, then what came before cannot be rendered as useless. Paul explains this matter:

“That is why he is the one who mediates the renewed covenant between Elohim and people, so that all who are invited can receive the eternal inheritance Elohim has promised them. For Mashiyach died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant” (Hebrews 9:15).

This is, once again, also described in the “Old” covenant and was in fact prophesied in Isaiah 53:1-12. In reality, the terms “Old” and “New” Covenant are a misnomer, of course, and very misleading. Nevertheless the Ancient Paths that lead to the Everlasting Truth about the Renewed Covenant are right within most Bibles, accessible by all “lovers of Truth.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 14

#14: Israel and the Church

A doctrine known as replacement theology began in early all-Gentile Christian churches that postures the idea that all the blessings of the Bible were transferred to Christians and all the curses in the Bible fell upon the Jews. While this may remain as a popular Christian belief, it is nevertheless very unscriptural:

“Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For YHWH has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their sorrow. Yet Jerusalem says, “YHWH has deserted us; YHWH has forgotten us.” Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on my hand. Ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. Soon your descendants will come back, and all who are trying to destroy you will go away” (Isaiah 49:13-17).

“What then is the superiority or the Jews? Or what is the advantage of the circumcision? Much in every way. And first, because to them were entrusted the words of Elohim. For if some of them have not believed, have they, by their not believing, made the faith of Elohim inefficient? Far be it: for Elohim is truthful, and every man false: as it is written: That you might be upright, in your declarations; and be found pure when they judge you” (Romans 3:1-4).

Obviously, both of these passages refer to the Jews and not Gentile Christians, since Christians are assumed to be Rav Shaul’s audience in Romans. Also please read Romans 11:1, 11:7 and verses 25 through 29.

Rav Shaul clearly attacks hypocrites (who happen to be Jewish), rather than all Jews which would include himself. It is also very clear that Jewish sinners are not the only people Rav Shaul rebukes in his writings. Please see 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.

So if all Israel is saved, where is the “Church” in all this? You will find the answer in Ephesians 2:11-14. But, the reality is, there never was such thing as the “Church” in the days of the original Apostles – only a renewed Israel that Gentiles are welcome to join! Gentiles do not “replace” Israel but become part of Israel! Please read Jeremiah 31:31 which very clearly references the recipients of the Renewed Covenant.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 13

#13: Praying in the name of Y’hoshua

One of the foundational concepts within Christianity is that prayer is made in “the name of Jesus”, and there are many verses that appear to support this but not all verses as we will soon discover. Nevertheless, here are some verses that appear to uphold this from the NIV:

“Peter replied, ‘Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 2:38 NIV)

“But Peter said, ‘I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!’” (Acts 3:6 NIV)

Also see Acts 3:16, 4:10, 4:30, 5:40-41, 9:27, 10:48, 16:18, 19:5, 19:13, 19:17, Romans 15:30, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 5:4, Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 2:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 1:12, 3:12, Hebrews 13:15, 1 John 3:23 that also appear to bolster this idea. However, we must correctly understand the difference between names and titles while considering that there is One Name – imbued with power and linked directly to the One Elohim – and then there are many titles, even of the human variety that are comparatively powerless on their own. The ironic point is, Name and names look and sound the same. The difference is not only within the intensions we display when speaking them, but the distinguishing office of power behind the name.

A very important Torah concept is that of the power of the promise. Put simply, Elohim gives or changes someone’s name, and the new meaning that is given to it points to a promise that He will fulfill. The best example of this is the patriarch Abraham:

“Abram threw himself on his face and Elohim spoke to him further. “as for Me, this is My covenant with you: You shall be the father of a multitude of nations, and you shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham” (Genesis 17:3-6)

Abram is Hebrew for “exalted father”. However, Abraham translates to “father of many nations,” which is exactly what Elohim promises. A short time later, after Abraham almost sacrifices his son Isaac, he is told:

“All nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants” (Genesis 22:18).

Consider that the world shall bless itself through Abraham’s seed and now witness how this principle manifests itself:

  “Jehosophat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem in the House of YHWH at the front of the new court. He said, YHWH Elohim of our fathers, truly You are the Elohim in heaven and You rule over the kingdoms of the nations; none can oppose You. O our Elohim, you dispossessed the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and You gave it to the descendants of Your friend Abraham forever. They settled in it and built a House for your name. They said, Should misfortune befall us – the punishing sword, pestilence or famine, we shall stand before this House and before You – for Your name is in this House – and we shall cry out to You in distress and You will listen and deliver us’” (2 Chronicles 20:5-9).

Jehosophat addressed Elohim directly in His House and then invoked the name of Abraham to access the power of Elohim’s promise to the patriarch. In Orthodox liturgy, this is called Yitzkar, or “Yah remembers.” It is done on Judaism’s holiest day, Yom Kippur, when the faithful pray that Elohim will remember  their loved ones who have passed on because of the covenant with  Abraham and his seed. This is very obviously not the same thing as someone invoking the name of a man as if he were Elohim. Rather, it is an affirmation of Elohim that says:

1) I heard Your word’s: 2) I understood Your promise: 3) I understood how and by whom You will carry that promise out: 4) I am grateful that You have done this for us, Your people Israel: 5) and now I pray in Your name, and access the power of that promise by invoking the Name that You gave to the recipient of that promise.

This is a very Jewish concept to pray only in the name of YHWH, but ask in the name of the receiver of the promise. In Aramaic, the words pray and ask are not as nearly interchangeable as they appear to be in English. These are two very distinct words derived from completely different roots. As such, it is very easy to tell the difference between them. That clear delineation is also why, when you go through the Aramaic Renewed Covenant, you will always see Mashiyach or Paul addressing their prayers to MarYah, which literally means Master YHWH. In fact, the Aramaic Tanakh has MarYah in place of YHWH almost 7,000 times, so there is no doubt whatsoever of its meaning.

Conversely, if anyone wanted to pray in the name of the man, they would have used the phrase “Our Master” – (Maran). However, as with Abraham, they can access the power of the promise of Elohim with Maran. From here, two questions emerge: How did this happen? Is it really in harmony with Tanakh?

It is quite obvious that the post-apostolic church founders never understood that the name Y’hoshua is empowered by YHWH, and by that empowerment, the greatest promise of all is within it. Put simply, we have name and Name here too. The mortal, and common name, of a man is Y’hoshua, a form of “Joshua” in English. There may be millions of Yehoshua-Joshua-Y’shuas in the world right now and for them it is their legal name, but there is no power or divine promise embodied into the person because they have this proper name.

However, the Name Y’hoshua was Set Apart by YHWH for Y’hoshua to also receive his unique anointing as Mashiyach: Y’hoshua means “Yah is salvation” in Hebrew. Therefore, to call upon Y’hoshua is to call upon Yah to save you if you pray with the appropriate intent. Because of this one crucial fact, it is a major transgression to apply a pagan name toward the Almighty Elohim. Exodus 20:7 restricts us from taking the name in “vain” – shav – means “to make desolate”. How is this done? By either directly transgressing against His Name, or taking the name of a pagan deity and applying it to YHWH. For example, one of the pagan gods was named Zeus and was addressed as “Kurios” and “Theos”, --exactly the same words that the Greek translators applied to YHWH in the Greek “New Testament”! To use a name for Zeus and then apply it to YHWH renders the Name above all names as shav, literally giving His esteem to another (Isaiah 42:8). If is true for the Father, then this same principle also applies for the Son! Furthermore, that is why Philippians 2:9-11 says:

“Therefore Elohim exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, and that at the name of Y’hoshua every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Y’hoshua is YHWH, to the esteem of the Father.”

Hebrews 1:4 also teaches that the esteem  always goes to YHWH, but “the name that is above all names” is also YHWH; reason being, every other name for a messenger (angel) has El in it (MichaEL, UriEL, RaphaEL etc). EL is a name for Elohim but not the name of Elohim that YHWH is. Once again, the verse points to the Hebrew and Aramaic name and identity of Mashiyach, because the Name of Yah is in the name of Y’hoshua.

However, as alluded to earlier, not all verses support the mainstream Christian tradition; in fact, one neglected passage can correct the standard interpretations of dozens of others. That is why the “name of Jesus” references were kept intact with the Gentile name Jesus, because now you will see for yourself how difficult it is too understand the truth of what Y’hoshua means by using the Gentile name “Jesus”. However, here is the passage that breaks the truth wide open:

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Set Apart Father, protect them by the power of Your Name – the same name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11).

How about that? Even the Greek New Testament reads this way, proclaiming that the “name of Y’hoshua” is really that of YHWH. Therefore, every time we lift up our voices to Y’hoshua, we are really proclaiming praise to the one and only YHWH, literally, to the esteem of the Father. Furthermore, since there is only One Name for the One Elohim, those who call on the true Name of YHWH become one with Y’hoshua, which then makes them one with YHWH. So, to bring it all together we can confidently:

    * Pray in the name of YHWH.
    * Ask for the power of YHWH’s promises in the name of the method of their fulfilment, but only as a way to bring esteem to YHWH. This involves, by the way, performing miracles. Take the case in Acts 4:1-12. in that passage, Jews who witnessed the miracles of Peter and Yochanan were not content to hear that they simply came from Elohim. Instead, they wanted to specifically know by what name it was done. Peter says it was by the name of Y’hoshua the Mashiyach of Nazareth that a lame man was healed. However, Peter is careful to make the point that YHWH Himself raised Y’hoshua from the dead so that this power could be accessed when he believed the same thing. So, when he adds in verse 12, “For there is no name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” he is not saying that Y’hoshua the man replaces YHWH. Rather, what Peter means is that there is no other Mashiyach that Elohim has chosen except Y’hoshua to fulfill YHWH’s promise. To say the Name then of Y’hoshua, is to acknowledge the power of YHWH to save us according to His Word.
     * Immerse in the name of the Father (YHWH, Who promised and sent the Son), in the name of the Son (Y’hoshua, who fulfilled YHWH’s promise) and the Set Apart Spirit (who is the “spirit of truth” that gives you the reason behind the ritual). Reason: for only in that manner are the complete methods of fulfilling that promise recognised (Ezekiel 36:24), with all the esteem again to YHWH.  The Aramaic word for this carries a meaning closer to “immersion”, as in using Jewish ritual mikveh baths. Also, the fact is that Ruach haKodesh (Set apart Spirit) is another name for YHWH (Psalm 51:11) and the Mashiyach has the Divine nature within him that only comes from YHWH (Isaiah 11:1-2, 1 Corinthians 12:3).
     * Assemble in the Name of YAHU—SHUA: “When two or more gather in my name, there I am in the midst,” refers to these days when Mashiyach has physically departed from the world. He resurrected and ascended to “the right hand of the Father.” This is a metaphor that means “to dwell next to the Father” (Psalm 110:1). Two or three souls gather together to bear witness to the directives given by the Spirit of Mashiyach. So, remembering that Yehochanan told us about the Word made flesh that was with Elohim in the beginning (also see Yehochanan 17:5), what happens after ascension is that Y’hoshua becomes the Word again. We know this because when he comes out of heaven again he is called by the name that he took on when he entered it two millennia before: Word of Elohim (Revelations 19:13)! Therefore, since the Word is with YHWH again, they are inseparable, and to gather in that Name is to gather in the Name of YHWH, while accessing the power of the promise of His Mashiyach

Monday, January 24, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 12

#12: Grace and Torah

Another very common misconception is that “grace” only came with Mashiyach’s advent. Prior to Mashiyach, many Christians posture, Jews were under the “age of law”, which has become obsolete by yielding to the “age of grace”. The fact is being either unilaterally “under grace”, or “under the law”, is a doctrine that has never been true! However, the “under grace” theology usually employs this verse:

“For the Torah was given through Moshe, grace and truth came through Y’shua the Mashiyach” (Yochanan 1:17).

Many claim that “grace” was only made manifest through the birth of the Mashiyach. The big problem with this idea is that Yochanan himself bears strong witness against it!

“In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. He was with Elohim in the beginning… and the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His esteem , the esteem of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Yochanan 1:1-2, 14).

Y’shua’s origins are very clearly before Moshe existed. In fact, as the Word, his origins go back to a time before all humanity existed (Micah 5:1-2). Furthermore, promises relating to Mashiyach go all the way back to Genesis, since 49:10 tells us the sceptre will not depart from Y’shua’s tribe of Judah. The fact is, the moment Adam and Gawwah (Eve) were expelled from the Garden, a contingency in the plan of Elohim was created that culminated with Y’shua’s sacrifice on the torture stake. More fundamentally, is the matter of linguistics. Put simply, Aramaic writings very easy correlate the ancient values of “grace” or “mercy” that is not understood in the vehicular language of Greek:

“Anyone who rejected the Torah of Moshe died without mercy (rakhem) on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Hebrews 10:28)

            “Speak to those who are going to be judged by the Torah that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy (rakhem) will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy (rakhem) triumphs over judgement” (Ya’akov 2:12-13)

As we can easily see here, “grace” could well be the valid reading in both these verses, the very same word is used in Tanakh:

“And may Elohim Almighty grant you grace (rakhem) in the sight of the man, that he may release to you your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved” (Genesis 43:14).

“And nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that YHWH may turn from His burning anger and show mercy (rakhem) to you, and have compassion (rakhem) on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers” (Deuteronomy 13:17)

If these pairs of quotes are not sufficient to make the point then there are nearly 40 additional passages with rakhem as “mercy”, “grace” or “compassion” to indicate this fact. There are also many synonyms to rakhem that have at least as many references that could be brought to the reader’s attention. Additionally, in the Renewed Covenant
writings, rakhem is the overwhelming word of choice for “grace” appearing nearly two hundred times, and interestingly enough, the same word also means “love”. So, since YHWH has always loved us, we have also always had access to His grace if we admit our failings and seek Him with all our hearts.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 11

#11: Commandments Nailed to the Torture Stake

 “And in his flesh (the) enmity and regulations of commands (contained) in his commandments are abolished (so) that in himself (an occurrence of the divine nature, or qnoma), he might make the two  into one, establishing peace. And has reconciled both with Elohim in one body and has slain the enmity by his stake (of execution)” (Ephesians 2:15-16).

The key word, namusa, can sometimes mean “Torah” and other times “customs” or “regulation”. In Ephesians 2:15 though, it cannot mean “Torah” because a few lines earlier, in 2:11, Rav Shaul talks about the Gentiles being excluded from the “commonwealth of Israel” as a bad thing, and what else separates Israel from the nations other than Torah observance?

Instead, the better reading of namusa here and in several other key passages is “man made rules” or “regulations of the Pharisees.” The Greek backs this usage up beautifully in Ephesians 2:15 by recording the word dogma for “ordinances”, which can also only mean man-made doctrines. The Aramaic carries the meaning to an even clearer level by conjugating the phrase as namusa d’poqda b’poqadonhi, or “regulations of commands” (dogma, rules of the Pharisees) contained in his commands (Y’shua’s true teaching) is abolished, leaving only the truth for the faithful to follow. Obviously no one else but Y’shua could be the “he” behind those commands, since only Y’shua can forgive sin!

Let us go even deeper into this critical portion of Scripture by looking at the previous line:

            “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke  down the “syaga”, the divided wall” (Ephesians 2:14)

The highlighted word syaga means “fence”. Does this sound familiar?

            “Moshe received the Torah at Sanai and handed it on to Joshua, Joshua to the elders, and elders to     the prophets. And the prophets handed it down to the men of the great assembly. They said three things: be prudent in judgement. Raise up many disciples. Make a fence (syag) for the Torah.” (Mishnah, Pirkei Avot, 1:1)

The Mishnah was written by the Pharisees! The “fences” are nothing but man made regulations that restrict access to the Torah! Look what Y’shua taught about this very thing:

            “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven. from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow others who are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13)

Y’shua even goes so far as to say that he is the Way to avoid fences:

            “Truly I say to you he who does not enter by the tarea into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the tarea is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his sheep by name and leads them out… Truly I say to you, I am the tarea of the sheep” (Yochanan 10:1-4,7)

The word tarea can mean “door” but more specifically, “sheep gate.” So while the Pharisees and later rabbis are busy making fences around Torah to get control over people, Y’shua is the shepherd who swings the gate open, letting everyone in to enjoy! Here is a similar passage that also gets twisted out of context:

            “Having concealed out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the stake” (Colossians 2:14)

At the risk of being overly repetitive, the same man who wrote that the Torah is Set Apart just and good cannot be referring to the Torah as the “certificate of debt nailed to the cross.” More fundamentally however, we have this:

We have already seen two Aramaic words (aurayta; namusa) and one Greek word (nomos) that have been the cognates used in the Renewed Covenant for the word “Torah” as mentioned in Tanakh. Even if you cannot read Aramaic or Greek it is not so difficult to consult a concordance either online or in any reference library. None of the words that mean “Torah” ever appear in either Greek or Aramaic in Colossians 2:14! So what, then, is “the certificate of debt”?

In Aramaic the word khawbayn, means both “debt” and “sin”. In addition, Y’shua used the same word in the Sermon on the Mount when he says, “Forgive our debts/offences, as we forgive those who are in debt to us/have offended us.” Note that half the Greek texts read “debt” and the other half read “offence” because each group choose one of this word’s two meanings. However, in Aramaic thought, to be in sin is literally to be in debt! Also note that khawbayn is in the plural state, meaning “the certificates of debts.” as in humanity collectively. That is why Y’shua says elsewhere:

            “Y’shua said to them, ‘if you were blind you would have no sin, but since you say ‘we see’, your sin/debt remains’” (Yochanan 9:41).

Clearly, the certificate or our debts is simply a record of all the transgressions that we have generated throughout our lives. Torah tells us what those sins are, but what Y’shua did was take the transcript of our sins and nail it to the torture stake symbolically! However, the list of sins is only covered if the sinner is repentant and turns from sin, otherwise they stay on the books as a witness against them.

Friday, January 21, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 10

#10: A New Commandment

A variant of the above idea is the new commandment as a kind of sudden New Testament enlightenment that was not possible in Torah.  Once again though, Scripture begs to differ.  As with the previous topic, let’s take a look the passage that gets twisted:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (Yochanan 13:34).

Now let us stop and think for a moment.  Is anyone really so foolish as to believe that Torah, in all its writings, has no commandments for people to love one another?  This was a brand new idea just 2,000 years ago?  Really?  Let’s look at just a few Scriptures:

“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear nay grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself; I am YHWH” (Leviticus 19:18).

“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt;  I am the YHWH your Elohim” (Leviticus 19:34).

“So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt
(Deuteronomy 10:18).

Obviously this is not a new commandment in the sense of it never having been given before. Rather, it is clear that this new commandment means this is the first time that Y’shua is giving this particular teaching to his apostles!  Let’s investigate more places where this radical new idea occurs:

“Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.  And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.  This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it” (2 Yochanan 1:5-6).

What else can His commands from the beginning be other than Torah?  Finally, the apostle Yochanan makes and even clearer statement on how new commandments are really about as ancient as it gets:

“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but and old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard.  On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining” (1 Yochanan 2:7-8).

What we are seeing here is that these commandments have been with us from the beginning, but their highest and truest understanding has come through Mashiyach, the light of the world:

“In him (Y’shua) was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it….For the Torah was given through Moshe, and grace and truth came through Y’shua the Mashiyach”  (Yochanan 1:5,17).

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that Elohim is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1Yochanan 1:5).

“For Elohim, who said, Light shall shine out of darkness, is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the esteem of Elohim in the face of Mashiyach” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Mashiyach, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in Elohim who created all thins;  so that the manifold wisdom of Elohim might now be made known through the assembly to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.  This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Mashiyach Y’shua our Master, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.  Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your esteem”
(Ephesians 3:8-14).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 9

#9 My Word/Commands/Commandments

Many Christian theologians posture that Y’shua brought his own commandments, and that these are somehow new and improved over the ones given in Torah. The same principles apply here as with the synonyms we discussed earlier, namely commands and words.  However, since the Aramaic foundation for these principles has been established earlier, we need not visit linguistics again here, so let’s examine a few verses that are often twisted right out of context:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”
(Matthew 24:35)

“For all who are ashamed of me and my words in this sinful and adulterous generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the esteem of his Father with his Set Apart Messengers” (Mark 8:38)

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (Yochanan 15:7)

“This is my commandment:  that you love one another, as I have loved you"
(Yochanan 15:12).

The truth is that Y’shua’s words, commandments and commands, were all according to and validated by Torah:

“Now He said to them,  These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things that are written about me in the Torah of Moshe and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is  these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to me so that you may have life.  I do not receive esteem from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of Elohim in yourselves.  I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.  How can you believe, when you receive esteem from one another and you do not seek the esteem that is from the one and only Elohim?  Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you in Moshe, in whom you have set your hope.  For if you believed Moshe, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (Yochanan 5:39-47)

In these other passages, Y’shua makes it very clear that his teachings do not even come from himself:

“My teaching is not my own, but His who sent me” (Yochanan 7:16).

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me?  The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father abiding in me does His works” (Yochanan 12:49).

“For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” (Yochanan 14:10).

“He who does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine, but the Father’s, who sent me.” (Yochanan 14:24).

Monday, January 17, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 8

#8 End of the Torah

Here is an important and very beautiful phrase that is equally apparent in both Aramaic and in Greek:

“Mashiyach is the end (Gk. Telos) of the Torah, so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4 NIV)

While telos can mean, “end”, it is very irresponsible to render it this way due to the flexibility of that term in the receiving language. In English, “end” has two meanings. The first is “termination” which is the majority usage of the word in English. However, we also have phrases such as “the ends do not justify the means.” In this case, the lesser-used meaning is that of “goal”, which applies in both Greek and English.

Rav Shaul clearly refers to the Torah itself as “perfect, righteous and good” (Romans 7:12), so it is very foolish to then think that he turns around and teaches the “termination” of Torah. Instead, and as Rav Shaul clearly teaches in Galatians 3, Torah is the tutor that instructs and brings people to Mashiyach. Then, when a person understands and accepts the fact that Y’shua is Mashiyach, he (Mashiyach) becomes Torah’s goal. This is also one of the many meanings behind the cryptic remark in Yochanan 1, calling Y’shua the “Word (Torah) made flesh.” By extreme contrast, the NIV translation of Romans 10:4 is the exact opposite of what the original texts meant! NIV makes it sound like Rav Shaul is a train conductor calling out a stop – “end of the Torah! Everyone get off!”

Furthermore, in certain key Renewed Covenant passages, telos can only mean “goal”:

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to Elohim, the benefit you reap leads to set apartness, and the goal (telos) is eternal life” (Romans 6:22).

“The goal (telos) of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

“Obtaining as the goal (telos) of your faith the salvation for your souls” (1 Peter 1:9)

In Aramaic we find these same verses have the same reading as “goal” with the word ”saka”. Like telos. The context provides the key to realizing the intended meaning. Because Rav Shaul continually upholds Torah in every way (Romans 3:31), then “goal” is also very consistent with the rest of his teaching.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 7

#7 Died to the Torah

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Torah through the body of Mashiyach, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for Elohim, for while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Torah, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Torah, for we died with Mashiyach, and we are no longer captive to its power. Now we can really serve Elohim, not in the old way by obeying the letter of the Torah, but in the new way, by the Spirit” (Romans 7:4-6)

The heart of this passage is the phrase, “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Torah, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” Sinful passions have always been aroused by Torah. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Hawwah came to know sin only when YHWH said “thou shalt not eat” and then after they sinned they tried to cover up their nakedness. In addition the “new way, by the Spirit” is really the old way, of Abraham (Romans 4:2-16), but it became new because by Y’shua’s time the “conventional wisdom” of the Pharisees was anything but wise! The consistent point of Rav Shaul, though, is that Torah is the way sin is defined, and yet, just a few lines later he makes it clear that:

“As a result, Torah is Set Apart; and the Commandment is Set Apart, and righteous and good” (Romans 7:12)

Notice that the “old way” was the Pharisees tradition of obeying the “letter of the Torah,” but this is most certainly not an indictment against Torah! Y’shua taught that Torah is good, but we are instructed to look at the intent, heart and Spirit of Torah:

“Woe to you, teachers of the Torah and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the Torah – justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former” (Matthew 23:23)

“Yet a time is coming, and now has come, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. Elohim is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Yochanan 4:23-24)

Now let us look at the other passage where “died to the Torah” appears:

“For when I tried to keep the Torah, I realized I could never earn Elohim’s approval. So I died to the Torah so that I might live for Elohim. I have been nailed to the stake with Mashiyach” (Galatians 2:19)

Rav Shaul realized that he had fallen into the same trap that he now accuses other religious authorities of being in. He gives more details on the method behind that trap here:

“For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism… I was advancing in Judaism beyond the Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers” (Galatians 1:13-14)

Notice Rav Shaul does not mention Torah here, but “the traditions of my fathers” (i.e., the fences built by men around the Torah). Here the ritual became so important that it gave birth to regulations that became erroneously identified as sanctification. Instead, the true justification is in the next line:

“But when Elohim, who set me apart from birth and called me to His favor (grace), was pleased to reveal His Son to me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man” (Galatians 1:12-16)

Once again, it is always the faith behind the rituals that really counts.

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 6

#6 Works of the Torah

“Works of the Torah” also appears in Galatians 3:10. However, the more accurate phrase is, “Those who rely (only) on observances of the Torah of Moshe.” In other words, this means that “works of the Torah” is something that stands alone without the faith element required to sanctify the ritual, as seen in other verses:

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by works (abdeh) of the Torah; rather through the Torah we became aware of sin” (Romans 3:20).

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works (abdeh) of the Torah” (Romans 3:28).

“We who were Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, know that a man is not justified by the works (abdeh) of the Torah, because by the works of the Torah no man shall be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

In this last verse Rav Shaul appeals to his own people and says that, out of their own Scriptures and traditions, they should know that ritual alone does not justify themselves! Furthermore, the word used here for “works” is “abdeh” and it has an interesting etymology. The word “abdeh” can also be personified, turning the meaning into “servant” or even “slave”, as we see here:

“Paul, a servant (abdeh) of Mashiyach Y’shua, called to be an apostle and set-apart for the Gospel of Elohim” (Romans 1:1).

“Paul and Timothy, servants (abdeh) of Y’shua the Mashiyach” (Philipians 1:1)

“Ya’akov, a servant (abdeh) of Elohim and of our Master, Y’shua the Mashiyach” (Ya’akov 1:1)

Therefore, the teaching in a sense is not to be a slave of any form, but to understand that we are to follow the commandments of YHWH. With that idea established then, let us look at the remainder of the Scriptural record:

“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Y’shua the Mashiyach was publicly portrayed as crucified?” (Galatians 3:1)

Compare this statement to two others Rav Shaul makes. The first one is in Galatians 1:6-7 where he talks about these people turning to “another Gospel, which is no Gospel at all.” The second is here:

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And when the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Master Y’shua will slay by the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in the accordance with the works of Satan, displaying in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they have refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason Elohim sends them a strong delusion, so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)

The message is that the Galatians should have known better by what they have seen and heard, and that the heresies that have ensnared them arose very early and will continue right until the End Times. Now let us examine the next verse:

“This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works (abdeh) of the Torah, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? (Galatians 3:2-3)

Clearly no one, neither Jew nor Gentile, ever became righteous by doing the Torah. Instead, they came to the decision to do Torah through spiritual revelation that this was YHWH’s will:

“Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain – if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works (abdeh) of the Torah, or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:4-5).

It is extremely important to understand that the “Spirit” is not above Scripture. Rather, the Spirit guides us to the proper interpretation of Scripture as well as proper implementation of Scripture’s commands:

“Even so Abraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that Elohim would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “all the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer” (Galatians 3:6-9).

Here we see the climax of Rav Shaul’s argument. Abraham heard the Voice of YHWH, recognized the Voice as the One true Elohim, and then, by obeying that Voice, had his belief credited as righteousness. It just does not get any clearer than this. Rav Shaul aligns with the same understanding in the Tanakh, which is that works without understanding the origin of its requirements is a dead ritual. It certainly does not mean that the Torah, which has this truth, is to be set aside!

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 5

#5 Curse of the Torah

First, here are some Scriptures that are rarely taught in a church setting:

“And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse (umqalelcha). And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3)

“You will receive a curse (kelawlaw, qalalah) if you reject the commands of YHWH your Elohim and turn from his way by worshiping foreign mighty ones” (Deuteronomy 11:28)

“Then afterward he read all the words of the Torah, the blessing and the curse (kelawlaw, v'haq'lalah), according to all that is written in the book of the Torah” (Joshua 8:34)

Each of these instanses, the root word is "qalal" which has a meaning of "curse"

Most understand very well that Torah was not invalid during “Old Testament” times; it is crystal clear, then, that the “curse of the Torah” does not cause Torah itself to pass away! Nor is it tenable to suggest that a curse is something invented among the apostles, who were allegedly trying to divorce themselves from their own Hebraic roots. With this in mind, let us examine a familiar verse:

“All who rely on observing the Torah of Mosheh are under a curse. For it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the book of the Torah’” (Galatians 3:10)

This portion of Galatians is, in fact, so critical that it is necessary to go line by line to uncover the true nature of Rav Shaul’s argument. Again, if this was the first time “curse of the Torah” was being discussed, perhaps  the idea that Torah was passing away might be a little more plausible – and yet Torah remained in force during the many centuries since the passages in Genesis, Deuteronomy and Joshua were written. In addition, if Shaul was actually trying to undermine the authority of the Torah, it would be very foolish of him to quote almost verbatim from Torah while also teaching Torah as his authority!

“Clearly no one is justified before Elohim by the Torah, because the righteous will live by faith” (Galatians 3:11).

Again, if Shaul says no one is justified by the Torah, and he is quoting from the Torah, or, the faith in Torah’s divine origins that justifies us. Mashiyach redeemed us from the curse of the Torah by becoming a curse for us, for it is written:

“The Torah is not based on faith; on the contrary, the man who does these things will live by them” (Galatians 3:12)

The Torah then, as Rav Shaul says, is merely the instruction manual. It is acknowledging, though, the faith in Torah’s divine origins that justifies us. Mashiyach redeemed us from the curse of the Torah by becoming a curse for us, for it is written:

            “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3:13)

To properly understand this verse, we must understand the source of Rav Shaul’s quote:

“If a man is guilty of a capital offence is put to death and is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him  the same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under Elohim’s curse” (Deuteronomy 21:23)

In other words, the only way Mashiyach could “become a curse” is by being put to death in the manner of a criminal. Make no mistake about it, Mashiyach was completely innocent of all charges levied against him! He committed no capital offence; however, he died in the manner of a criminal:

“I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is turned to wax, it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me, a band of evil men has encircled me. They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. People stare and gloat over me. They divide their garments among them, and cast lots for my clothing” (Psalm 22:14-18).

“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9)

Concluding this portion of Galatians:
“He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Mashiyach Y’hoshua, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit” (Galatians 3:14)

“The promise of the Spirit” is that YHWH spoke to Abraham, and when Abraham did as he was instructed, he procured the blessing of YHWH on the entire world for his obedience. This is also the promise that Shaul says was not nullified at Sinai, because the giving of the Torah to Mosheh was simply  another step in a lengthy promise which was working itself out for centuries prior to Mosheh even being born. Now, the Gentiles, who previously did not know the true Elohim, were allowed to come near to Him by faith in His Son.

Therefore, all the Scriptural evidence clearly points to the idea that the “curse of the Torah” is simply that Torah shows us what sin is and sets a standard for perfection. However, the Torah also points us to Redemption, Salvation and Deliverance and a time of reckoning when those who are dead will awake to everlasting life or everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1-10). Enoch and Elijah are two exceptions who did not taste death; therefore, the “curse of Torah” does not automatically apply to physical death. Both of these men were righteous and observed Torah according to how YHWH intended by Faith, and because of their Faith they did not see death.

“Do we then nullify the Torah through faith? Not at all! Rather, we establish the Torah” (Romans 3:31)

Friday, January 14, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 4

#4 Justified by Torah

This term is largely a synonym for “under the Torah” in that it looks to Torah ritual alone for forgiveness of sins. Further, the same rules just discussed for “under the Torah” apply here also. The reason for the slight repetition, however, is two-fold. First, “justified by the law” is a common buzzword in conventional Christianity, and therefore should be dealt with separately lest anyone think that idea is correct under the title. And Secondly, because it gives another chance to dispel the myth that the Torah preaches salvation through works:
“In YHWH all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in Him they will boast” (Isaiah 45:25)

This could not be clearer. It is obedience to Elohim’s laws, precisely coming from the knowledge that they came from Him, which causes justification. Here is yet another witness to this same idea:

“Cursed is anyone who does not affirm the terms of this Torah by obeying them. ‘And all the people will reply, “Amein”’ (Deut 27:26)

Let’s look at a parallel passage in Galatians on this same idea with the next pair of terms.

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 3

#3 Under the Law

Before previewing the usage of this word in the Renewed Covenant, let us look at how it is used in the Tanakh:

“They should collect all the food of the good years that are coming and store up the grain under (tachath) the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food” (Genesis 41:35)

“Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and shall say to her, “If no man had laid with you and if you have not gone astray into uncleanness, being under (tachath) the authority of your husband, be immune to this water of bitterness that carries a curse” (Numbers 5:19)

As we see here, to be “under” something means to derive authority from it, and this is true not just of the word highlighted in Hebrew here, but several other synonyms translated into English as “under” as well. Therefore, if we are “under the Torah,” that would mean that we derive authority from the Torah, a doctrine that is NEVER taught in Tanakh:

“YHWH appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for awhile, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My requirements, My commands, My decrees and My laws.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar” (Genesis 26:1-6)

“In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges and decide it according to My ordinances. They are to keep My laws and My decrees for all My appointed feasts, and they are to keep My Sabbaths set apart… declares the Sovereign YHWH” (Ezekiel 44:24,27)

There are dozens of other examples of this same idea. All the requirements in Torah are not “Jewish” or even just “for Israel”. Rather, they are YHWH’s requirements, and it is from YHWH, and not the Torah, from which justification for doing the right things comes from. In other words, if you just happen to do a ritual commanded in Torah because it seems trendy, then by Torah standards you are absolutely not justified! This idea is true even with a foundational requirement, like that of circumcision:

“These days are coming, “Declares YHWH, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh. Egypt, Judah, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places. For all these nations are really circumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart” (Jeremiah 9:25-26)

Clearly circumcision never justified those people who are being referenced. Jeremiah’s insight is identical to that of Acts 15! But let’s hear more on this from other prophets:

“Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts My soul hates*. They have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing them. When you spread your hands in prayer, I will hide My face from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong and learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:15-17)

“For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the acknowledgment of Elohim rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6)

“With what shall I come before YHWH and bow down before the exalted Elohim?  Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will YHWH be pleased with thousands of rams or ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does YHWH require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your Elohim” (Micah 6:6-8)

This is also why Abraham comes up as an example in the Renewed Covenant over and over again. The message, in every case, is the same. Abraham performed a ritual because he believed the Word of Elohim, who instructed him to do it in the first place! Therefore, justification for Abraham, and for the rest of us, comes in two parts:

1)      Hearing and understanding the word of YHWH
2)      Taking what YHWH has said and manifesting that understanding by following the instructions

Neither faith nor works is sufficient. Works without faith shows a lack of understanding the Torah, and faith without works, as Ya’akov Ha Tzadik says, is dead. Put simply, “under the Torah," is not an idea that was coined during Mashiyach’s time, but is a false teaching that has been rampant from the beginning of time. For example, in Genesis 4, Cain and Abel give offerings to YHWH. It has been a common misconception that Cain’s offering was not accepted because it was from grain, whereas Abel gave a blood/meat sacrifice. The fact is, both grain and blood/meat offerings were deemed acceptable under the right circumstances, (Exodus 29:41, Leviticus 2:1, 5:13, 6:14-15, many others).

Instead, YHWH rebukes Cain this way:

“Then YHWH said to Cain, “Why are you downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:6-7)

In a sense, Cain thought he was “under the Torah,” that by simply doing the ritual motions he was justified. However, Since Elohim knew his heart; He did not accept the Cain’s offering. Similarly, the Pharisees had also fallen into this trap, which is why Yochanon the Immerser says:

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones Elohim can raise up children of Abraham” (Matthew 3:7-9)

Y’hoshua’s frequent rebukes on this same idea hardly need to be laid out exhaustively here. It is enough to simply say that Yehochanan did not want the Pharisees to boast in their rituals or lineage, but actually to turn their hearts towards YHWH and admit their sins. With these thoughts in mind, let’s look at some more familiar verses on this idea:

“For all who have sinned without the Torah will also perish without the Torah, and all who have sinned under (tachyt) the Torah, will be judged by the Torah” (Romans 2:12)

“To the Jews I became a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under (tachyt) the Torah, as under the Torah though not being myself under (tachyt) the Torah, so that I might win those who are under (tachyt) the Torah, to those who are without Torah, as without torah, though not being without the Torah of Elohim, But in the instruction of Mashiyach, so that I might win those who are without the Torah” (1 Corinthians 9:20-21)

Therefore, “under the Torah” really means “to derive justification from the authority of Torah and not from YHWH.” For the sake of completeness however, let us examine more places where “under the Torah” appears:

“But when the fullness of time was come, Elohim sent forth His Son who, born of a woman, became subject (tachyt) to the Torah” (Galatians 4:4)

Here is how George Lamsa translates this verse. Instead of merely rendering “tachyt” (under) again, Lamsa has correctly surmised that “tachyt” better reads as “being subject to the Torah,” which is an efficient way of bringing on the Tanakh understanding that refers to the power of various authorities. In this case the woman is subject to the Torah pronouncement that all of us are under sin. It is not the Torah itself that is sin (Romans 7:12) but, rather, that the Torah tells us what sin is (Romans 7:7-9). Let’s continue this thought further:

“To redeem those who were under (tachyt) the Torah, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:5)

In this context, the message Rav Shaul gives here is that the proper understanding of Torah by Gentiles grafts them into Israel. This is why he says elsewhere:

“Do not be arrogant, but be afraid, for if Elohim did not spare the natural branches (Jews who did not follow Torah), He will not spare you either” (Romans 11:21).

“Therefore, Remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that is done in the body by hands of men) – Remember that at that time you were separated from Mashiyach, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without Elohim in the world. But now in Mashiyach Y’hoshua, you who were far away have been brought near through the blood of Mashiyach” (Ephesians 2:11-13)

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we have this verse proving once again that the Torah itself is not the problem:

“Tell me, you who want to be under the Torah, do you listen to the Torah?” (Galatians 4:21)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 2

#2 Destroying the Torah

While keeping or vindicating Torah is the true meaning of “fulfill”, let’s also look at the word “destroy.” “Destroying the Torah” is an equivalent to the English phrase to “break the law,” meaning that the broken law is not then made null and void by the criminal who went against it. For example if you are caught speeding it does not mean there are no longer any speed limits on that roadway. Technically, however, the Aramaic word Y’shua uses does not mean “destroy” at all, but rather “to loosen”, “release” or “unravel”. Here are a few verses that use this exact root:

“When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to let loose (d’ashrea)? Barabbas or Y’hoshua, who is called the Mashiyach?” (Matthew 27:17)

“Pilate therefore said to him (Y’hoshua), “You do not speak to me? Do you not know that I have the authority to let you loose (d’ashrikh) and I have the authority to crucify you?” (John 19:10)

“And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been let loose (d’neshtarea) if he had not appealed to Caesar” (Acts 26:32).

Obviously none of these verses contains the idea of destruction! However, in Aramaic thought, destruction is a kind of unmaking, literally creation in reverse. Another way to think of this idea, then, would be to consider that we sometimes talk of divorce as “dissolving the bonds of marriage.” In the same way, YHWH’s covenant can also be undone when his people disobey Him. Once this unravelling is complete, though, it is fair to look at what has been unravelled as having been effectively destroyed, even as we realize the other, better meaning for our Western minds would be “release”. Furthermore, on the Tanakh side, there are several words that have this same meaning:

“The fountains of the great deep were released and the floodgates of the sky were opened (pathach). Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose (pathach) yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion” (Isaiah 52:2).

What makes pathach a particularly important word is its usage in Hebrew grammar. Ptaha (same word) is the term used to give an open “A” sound via a special vowel making. The Hebrew speaker is expected to open his mouth very wide as he releases the sound. Y’shua also used the Aramaic version of this word (ephatha) in Mark 7:34, as he commands that a man be released from his blindness. Either way, whether we are dealing with a sound or an infirmity. This word clearly designates the strong sensation of deep release. Therefore, to restore the original meaning of this verse in Matthew it best read:

“Do not think I have come to unravel the Torah or the Prophets. I tell you I have not come to unravel but to give proper interpretation of them” (Matthew 5:17)

18 New Testament Misconceptions No.1

#1 Fulfilling The Torah

Do not think that I come to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I tell you I have not come to destroy (ashrea) but to fulfill (amala).” (Matthew 5:17)

It is an absolute impossibility for “destroying” and “fulfilling” Torah to be or to mean the same thing! Here the text is putting them in opposition to one another; so if it isn’t A but it is B, then B cannot be the same thing as A. As basic as this is, mainstream Christianity has levied a false assertion that “fulfilling the Torah” means that it is no longer necessary, i.e. destroyed!

The Aramaic word used for “fulfill” is amala, derived from the root mela, which means “to complete”. This completion is not one that results in destruction, but better understanding of the promises made. Let’s examine a few verses:

So that you might know the complete (d’amla) truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his esteem, as of the only begotten from the Father complete (d’amla) in favor and truth” (John 1:4)

The words which You have given me I have given them, and they received them, and understood completely (d’amla) that I came forth from you, and they believed that You did send me” (John 17:8)

This last verse clarifies the point in the strongest possible terms; this is where Y’hoshua clearly teaches that “fulfilling / completing” commands does not cast those commands aside; but rather, shows that they have been interpreted properly, as these citations from the Tanakh (old testament) also prove:

So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to YHWH, in order to fulfill (male) the word of YHWH, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shilo” (1 Kings 2:27)

To fulfill (male) the word of YHWH by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept Sabbath until seventy years were complete” (2 Chronicles 36:21)

May he grant you your hearts desire and fulfill (male) all your councel!” (Psalm 20:4)

Here is the exact word that Y’hoshua used, but for a slight dialectical difference in accent and, as the reader can see, nowhere in any context does the command pass away! Instead, the opposite is shown, since it is the power and validity of the command which forces its hearer to first interpret it properly and then carry it out exactly as intended. There are also half a dozen other words in Hebrew that carry the same meaning, and in all of their cases the “fulfillment” of a command coincides with its proper interpretation (Leviticus 22:21, Numbers 15:8, Ezra 1:1, Nehemiah 5:13, Psalm 76:11, 145:19).

“Fulfill” also means to have proper understanding of a scriptural passage, such as recognizing a precise fulfillment of prophecy. Therefore, when Y’hoshua says, “This word is fulfilled in your hearing,” he means that he is the goal or object of that prophecy and has now arrived on the scene to do his mission as specified according to prophecy. Now, if the “fulfillment” has not happened yet, as is the case when Y’hoshua says, All that is written in the Torah and Prophets must be fulfilled,then it means, quite obviously “kept”, “vouchsafed” or “adhered to” – the exact opposite of passing away! That is also why he says, He who keeps (fulfills) my words shall not taste death!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Torah or no Torah?

Torah or no Torah?

Satan wants to be like the Most High.
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of Elohim: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isa 14:12-14)

He has done everything in his power to achieve this, he has taken the names of the Most High from the bible and replaced them with his own names. He has also changed the scriptures to make the people not see the truth so that they more easily follow after the doctrines of demons, blindly.

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of the Messiah.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into a Messenger of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor 11:13-15)

Holy, from helios = suns ray – sun worship

(I will discuss this in much more detail in a future blog post, click on links to learn more)

"And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other mighty ones, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth" (Exo 23:13)

There is Meanings in the true names of the Creator and the Messiah
YHWH or Yahueh means “yesterday, today and forever” or “who was, who is and who is to come” or, "to exist"
Y’hoshua means “YHWH is our salvation”

You do not find the meanings in the names of the names of the idols that have replaced the true names… actually they mean the very opposite.

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve YHWH and mammon" (Mat 6:24)

We are heirs with Y’hoshua to the kingdom of heaven.
Who does Y’hoshua say are the heirs??? We always have to go to scripture.

"For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Mat 12:50)

"Not every one that saith unto me, my Master, my Master, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Mat 7:21)

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21)

"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30)

"Then said Y'shua unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things" (John 8:28)

"Y'hoshua answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me" (John 10:25)

"If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not" (John 10:37)

"And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
But the children of the kingdom (of religion) shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Mat 8:11-12)

"And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree" (Rom 11:17)

"All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him" (Luke 10:22)

What is the will of the Father?

"Y’hoshua Mashiach is  the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb 13:8)

If you can remember, earlier in this document we saw that the name of the Almighty YHWH has exactly the same meaning.

That proves that Y’hoshua is the word of YHWH in the flesh.

In John 1 we also see that the Messiah is the word of YHWH (Torah) here too.
So Y’hoshua = Torah, The word of the Almighty!!!

If you now read the following verse in this context, It has a very different meaning.

"Y’hoshua saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6)

Is it not saying that no one comes to the Father but by Torah???

That also means that the word of YHWH is still the same now as what is was in the beginning.

So what has changed???
Well the sacrificial law has not changed! It is part of Torah.
What has changed is the sacrifice.
Y’hoshua is the perfect lamb whose blood was spilled for everyone, even those people from Adam and Noah and Abraham etc.
So we don’t have to sacrifice lambs on an altar in our back yards.

Also Y’hoshua has become the High Priest.
I can again quote John 14:6 here too!!!
This statement also proves that the church is in error here. For the tenths and tythes that the church say we must give to them does not exist anymore. The tenths was never money to start off with. It was for the Lewi (priests), who did not have their own land or possessions,  as food and cloths etc. Y’hoshua is now the High Priest and does not need food and cloths from us. We are to look after our fellow believers now instead. Which has always been Torah too.

So What now?
Okay, So now we can see that the church has been deceiving us and we have not been following the true Messiah but rather after the doctrines of demons. We have been lied to our whole lives so far.

What should I then do if I want to follow the truth?

We need to repent and turn from our wrongful ways.
We also need to build a relationship with the Father in heaven and also the Messiah, by keeping the Torah (Instruction into righteousness).

"For it seemed good to the Ruach haKodesh, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled (eat Kosher), and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well, Fare ye well" (Act 15:28-29)

These are the things that have to be followed immediately if one chooses to follow in truth.
The rest of the Torah MUST be observed too as we learn the Torah, as we have read in the previous verses, but those are the things that need to change immediately.

Will it be easy?

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Mat 24:9-13)

So it will not be easy. If you follow the truth, everyone is going to judge you and hate you and tell you that you are crazy. But if we endure to the end, you will be saved.

I truly hope that this helps you!!!

Shalom aleichem (peace be with you)