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.

No comments:

Post a Comment