Do You Have a Swiss Cheese Bible—a Holey Bible, not a Holy Bible?

To many people have Swiss cheese Bible full of holes. The holes are from the pages they’ve ripped out deeming that these instructions in righteousness no longer apply to them.

In today’s mailbag, this blog received a nice comment from a very well-meaning individual who has a rather traditional churchianity view of the Torah. He was politely taking exception with my view that the biblical dietary laws are still in force today. He attempts to prove his point by making a distinction between the moral and ceremonial laws of Moses—or the spirit and the letter, while claiming that we are only subject to the latter,  but no longer subject to the former. Here’s is my instructive response to his comment.  Perhaps this will help you in addressing similar issues with your Christian brethren who believe similarly as this man.  Natan

The Bible equates the “Law of Moses” with the Hebrew word Torah, which is usually translated as “law” in our English Bibles, and is a word that means “instructions, precepts, teachings [of Elohim].” As such, they are a reflection of Elohim’s very character and nature. Yeshua summarized  YHVH’s Torah-laws when he stated that they show man how to love Elohim with his all and his neighbor as himself.

Are there any parts of Elohim’s precepts or instructions in righteousness that man has the right to nullify, do away with, or subdivided such that any parts of it are no longer applicable to man? If so, then who is man that he can instruct the Almighty Creator on which parts of his laws are for us today and which parts or not? Is this not extreme hubris and pride—a huge sin in itself—in fact the worst and most abominable sin of all (Prov 6:16-17)?

On the contrary, the Bible from Genesis to Revelation unquestionably presents the Torah as an indivisible whole, which stands and falls together. This includes the dietary laws, which are an aspect of being holy or set apart (from this world), even as Elohim is set apart or holy (Lev 11). James says that if you break one law, you’re guilty of breaking them all. John in his first epistle says that sin is the violation of the law. Yeshua in his Sermon on the Mount states that he didn’t come to destroys the law—not even one yud or tag of it. Paul in his epistle to the Romans says that the law is holy, just and good and grace in no way nullifies the law. None of these men of Elohim made distinctions between carnal or moral, physical or spiritual or ceremonial subdivisions of said Torah-law. This is an invention of the early church fathers because of their anti-semitic theological bias. Go read them. I can provide you with actual quotes and references—and not a few!

If the physical, letter aspects of the law, such as diet are no longer applicable, then some of Yeshua’s Sermon the Mount teachings are irrelevant and meaningless. In fact, Yeshua totally contradicts this notion. Who am I to believe? The teachings of Yeshua or the doctrines and traditions of man that make of none effect the word of Elohim? To wit, Yeshua in his sermon affirms that man is not only not to murder, but not to hate as wells; not to commit adultery as well as not to lust and so on. Here he affirms both the letter and the spirit of the law. The same can be said of the dietary laws. Both letter and spirit are applicable to man today. Since the dietary laws are about holiness and separation from the world, this means that we’re not to eat the world’s physical food as well as its spiritual food. By practicing the dietary laws, we  learn what true holiness is—both letter and spirit. To become holy, we must stay separate from the world both in practice and in heart and mind, even as Elohim is separate or holy, which is the main point of Lev 11. Oh, and did I mention that Elohim calls eating unclean meats an abomination? That means he detests it just like homosexuality, which he also calls an abomination. If the physical dietary laws are done away with, then likewise, it’s no longer a sin to have physical homo sex (the letter of the law) as long as you don’t lust while doing it (the spirit of the law)! Elohim forbid! May it never be so!

Some try to use 1 Cor 7:19 to prove that the Torah has been subdivided into moral and carnal laws. In reality, this verse  is not a statement proving that the indivisible Torah can be subdivided into moral and ceremonial laws. If you read everything that Paul says about circumcision, his main point is that circumcision is not a precondition for salvation. Period. He still practiced circumcision, and he wasn’t for or against it per se. The Pharisees were twisting and abusing the biblical truth of circumcision and making it into something the Torah never intends—a path to salvation and a way to keep Jews and Gentiles separate. This is the issue Paul is addressing. Because men pervert the laws of Elohim (as the Pharisees had done with the law of circumcision), does that mean we toss out the proverbial baby with the bath water? Of course not. Satan has perverted nearly every truth of Elohim. If we toss everything out because of Satan, we’ll have nothing left.

It’s time that Christians took off their colored glasses by which they read the Scriptures and stop viewing it through the lens of man-invented dogmas. Why is it that humans want to carve up the word of Elohim and toss out the parts they don’t like?  (The answer is  found in Jer 17:9 and Rom 8:7.)

Isn’t believing that certain parts of Elohim’s instructions in righteousness are no longer applicable to us today is ultimately succumbing to the lie of the serpent at the tree of knowledge who told the first humans that Elohim didn’t really mean what he said, and that man can have it his own way by creating his own pick-and-choose religion? There Satan told man that he could pick out the parts of Elohim’s word that he wants to follow, and then invent philosophies that justify his tossing out the parts he doesn’t like. Most Christians have bought into this lie of the serpent.

As a result of following the deceiver’s lies, too many people have what I call the Swiss Cheese Version of the Bible—one that’s full of holes (holes for all the pages they’ve ripped out of Elohim’s word that “are no longer applicable to them). They no longer have a Holy Bible, but instead a Holey Bible!

Finally, Yeshua states in Matt 5:17–19,

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Please notice the last sentence. Torah obedience will determine one’s level of rewards in the world to come. Those who are saying that certain aspects of Elohim’s law were abrogated and are no longer applicable are consigning themselves to a lower position, a lower reward status in Elohim’s everlasting kingdom—so says Yeshua. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual whether they want to be the least or the greatest in his kingdom. I’m going for the highest reward, which means I’ll continue to follow the biblical dietary laws both letter and spirit. Amein!

 

Jacob—Learning to Submit to Elohim the Hard Way

Genesis 28:22, I will surely give the tenth. To whom would Jacob ultimately tithe? We don’t know, but Jacob may have been making a prophecy about his descendants bringing their tithes and offerings to the house of El or the temple that would eventually be built on that exact spot.

Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28 was his first, life-changing personal encounter with the Elohim of his fathers (Gen 28:10ff). What was his response? It was to serve YHVH and to worship him by giving him one-tenth (a tithe) of his increase (verse 22). What prompted this response on Jacob’s part? Why was such a response appropriate? When did you have your first encounter with your Heavenly Father and Master? In following the example of Jacob, have you faithfully used the first fruits of your increase to honor, worship and express your gratitude to him ever since? If not, why not? Scripture calls not tithing “robbing Elohim” and that as a result a curse may be on your finances (see Mal 3:8–11). Proverbs 3:9 lays out a solid truth about how tithing is a form of worshipping the Creator. “Honour [glorify] YHVH with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase, so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

The Scriptures reveal the importance of the spiritual law of reciprocity: You reap what you sow (Gen 8:22; Gal 6:7–9). If you don’t sow you will not reap. If you sow evil or good you will reap the same. Jacob had to learn this law the hard way. In Job 4:8 we read, “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.” Jacob gained the birthright through posing as Esau (a deception) and Laban in turn deceives Jacob by putting Leah under the veil posing as Rachel in Jacob’s marriage bed. It is very easy to see the principle of reaping and sowing in others’ lives, but can we see it in our own life? This is very difficult to do! Aren’t we prone to concoct every excuse and argument imaginable to justify our sinful actions and then blame the results on others? Prayerfully take a long and hard look at your life, examine hardships and trials, and honestly ask yourself the question: Am I reaping what I have sown? It is never too late to repent and make a course correction—to bring your life into agreement with YHVH’s Word and will, so you can start reaping Elohim’s blessings.

Honesty, patience and submission to authority are fruits of righteousness. What did YHVH have to teach Jacob about these fruits of the Spirit? Jacob was impatient in submitting to YHVH’s will and waiting for the birthright to come to him in a righteous way. How did YHVH use Laban to correct these character flaws in Jacob? Jacob had to go into the Babylonian world for a season in order to be refined before being ready to be a patriarch worthy of honor and an example of righteousness as the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. What is YHVH allowing you to go through to refine you of character flaws and defects to prepare you for the future mission he has for you? Are you submitting to his refining fires that are burning the wood, hay and stubble out of your life (1 Cor 3:12–15), or are you resisting him thereby forcing him to “turn up the heat” of his discipline to help you “to get the point” and learn your lesson? (Read Heb 12:5–15.)

Jacob was forced to go east (toward Babylon) as a form of exile and punishment for his sins. After serving as a bondservant to Laban for 20 years, he returned westward to Canaan, the land of promise. This eastward-westward movement was a pattern followed by Jacob’s descendants later on several occasions. Even Abraham left Babylon and went west to Canaan. What are the prophetic implications of this in the end times when YHVH is calling his people to “come out” of spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4)?

Jacob builds a complete family in “exile” consisting of twelve tribal leaders. To return to the Promised Land of Canaan, he had to encounter Esau (or Edom) who is the father of many of the modern day Arab peoples. What is this a prophetic picture of? Did the Jewish exilic remnant encounter Esau’s descendants when they come back from Babylon under Ezra and Nehemiah? Is it happening again in our time as the exiled Jews return to Israel—their homeland? Who currently is opposing their return and is openly vowing to annihilate them? Consider Edom’s opposition to Jacob past, present and future. What (or who) is really behind this opposition to Israel’s (Jacob’s) inheriting his birthright that includes a land inheritance whose borders are from Egypt to the Euphrates River in modern Iraq?

Jacob vowing to tithe to Elohim was his acknowledging his submission to Elohim and to his will—that Elohim was the Lord over his life. Complete submission to Elohim came hard for Jacob. The same is true for us, and when we tithe this is an act of worship of Elohim and acknowledgement that we have come to a higher place of surrender in our lives.

 

When Did Easter Replace Passover?

Matthew 28:1, When did the early Christians first celebrate a day commemorating the resurrection of Yeshua?

Although the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah is a biblical and historical fact, it’s celebration (known as Easter), is neither commanded in the Scriptures, nor was it celebrated by the original disciples of Yeshua. It is purely an invention of the church, which eventually replaced Passover! Here are the facts:

In A History of Christianity (vol. 1), Kenneth Scott Latourette states that notice of Easter as a festival occurs in the middle of the second century, but that festivals commemorating the resurrection of Messiah were presumably observed by at least some Christians from much earlier times (p. 137). Church historian, Philip Schaff, also attributes the beginning of the Easter festival to the middle of the second century (History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, p. 207). He states that the Christian Passover naturally grew out of the Jewish Passover, as the Lord’s Day (Sunday) grew out of the Sabbath. “It is based on the view that Christ crucified and risen is the centre of faith. The Jewish Christians would very naturally from the beginning continue to celebrate the legal Passover, but in the light of its fulfillment by the sacrifice of Christ, and would dwell chiefly on the aspect of the crucifixion. The Gentile Christians, for whom the Jewish Passover had no meaning except through reflection on the cross, would chiefly celebrate the Lord’s resurrection as they did on every Sunday of the week.” He notes that the early Christians commemorated the entire period between the death and resurrection of Yeshua with vigils, fasting, special devotions, meetings culminating in a resurrection feast celebrating the whole work of redemption. The feast of the resurrection gradually became the most prominent aspect of the Christian Passover (Easter celebration), but the crucifixion continued to be celebrated on Good Friday” (ibid., pp. 207–208).

Christians universally kept the Passover on the biblical date of Abib (also known as Nisan) 14/15, irrespective of the day of the week until A.D. 135 according to leading Sabbath scholar Prof. Samuele Bacchiocchi quoting the fourth century Christian historian Ephiphanius (From Sabbath to Sunday, p. 81). “This conclusion,” continues Bacchiocchi, “is supported indirectly by the two earliest documents mentioning the Passover celebration, since both emphasize the commemoration of the death rather than the resurrection of Christ. The Ethiopic version of the apocryphal Epistle of the Apostles [or Didache] says, ‘and you therefore celebrate the remembrance of my death, i.e., the Passover’ (ch. 15). In the Coptic version the passage is basically the same, ‘And you remember my death. If now the Passover takes place …’ (chap. 15)’ (ibid., p. 82).

The second document that attests to the early church’s emphasis on the death rather than the resurrection of Yeshua is the Sermon on the Passover, by Melito, Bishop of Sardis (died ca. A.D. 190). According to Bacchiocchi, Melito provides a most extensive theological interpretations of the meaning of the Passover for early Christians. “Though Melito makes a few passing references to the resurrection, it is clear from the context that these function as the epilogue of the passion drama of the Passover. The emphasis is indeed on the suffering and death of Jesus which constitute the recurring theme of the sermon and of the celebration” (ibid., p. 83).

“The resurrection,” Bacchiocchi admits, “however, did emerge in time as the dominant reason for the celebration not only of the annual Easter-Sunday, but also of the weekly Sunday. The two festivities, in fact,… came to be regarded as one basic feast commemorating at different times the same event of the resurrection.” Bacchiocchi concludes,

It would seem therefore that though the resurrection is frequently mentioned both in the New Testament and in the early patristic literature, no suggestion is given that primitive Christians commemorated the event by a weekly or yearly Sunday service. The very fact that Passover, which later become the annual commemoration of the resurrection held on Easter-Sunday, initially celebrated primarily Christ’s passion [death] and was observed on the fixed date of Nisan [Abib] 15 rather than on Sunday, makes it untenable to claim that Christ’s resurrection determined the origin of Sunday worship during the lifetime of the Apostles. (ibid. p. 84)

 

Genesis 28:10–32:3 Parashat Vayeitzei (A Gospel Oriented Torah Study)

This Torah study is subdivided in sections by topic in a magazine format thus making it easy to watch at several sittings.

May you be blessed as you watch this video.

For a free, printable adult and youth Torah study guide on this Torah portion (parashah), please go to http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/parshiot.html

 

Blog Scripture Readings for 11-19 Through 11-25-17

Aside

THIS WEEK’S SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION:

Parashat Vayetzei — Genesis 28:10 – 32:3(2)*
Haftarah — Hosea 12:13(12) – 14:10(9)*
Prophets — Judges 18:1 – 21:25; 1 Samuel 1:1 – 3:21
Writings — Psalms 48:1 – 55:23
Testimony — Matthew 28; Mark 1:1 – 4:19

Our annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2017-2018 is available to download and print.

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day: one each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

* Verse numbers in parenthesis refer to the verse number in Christian English Bibles when they differ from Hebrew Bibles or the Tanakh.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 11/19/17 through 11/25/17.

 

New Covenant or Renewed Covenant? What Are Its Terms and Conditions?


Matthew 26:28, New testament.

Did you ever wonder where the terms New Testament or New Covenant came from? Yes, you will find these phrases used in the Testimony of Yeshua portion of your English Bible in exactly nine places (Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:6; Heb 8:8, 13; 9:15; 12:24), but does the English translation do justice to the Hebrew and Greek words behind them and to the biblical concept of the “New Covenant” as it is commonly called?

Let’s begin to answer this question by first asking a  question. When you think of the word new, what comes to your mind? A brand new car? A new house? A new pair of shoes?

You see, in English there is one common word for new, while Greek and Hebrew have more than one word for new. While English speakers are limited to one word, they nuance the meaning of new by adding qualifiers to the word new (e.g. brand new as opposed to used but it’s new to me) to differentiate between brand new versus new to me, or refurbished or repaired new. 

In the Testimony of Yeshua, there are two Greek words for new: neos and kainos, and each one has a different connotation. Neos more often means “brand new or numerically new,” while kainos means “renewed, refreshed or repaired or qualitatively new.” When you see the term New Covenant or New Testament used, in eight of nine time the authors use kainos. Only in Hebrews 12:24 is neos used in reference to the new covenant.

The Testimony of Yeshua’s preference over using the Greek word for renewed over the Continue reading