Jesus was A Jew ?
Reading the word
A Murder of Crows Salvation Download the first chapter by clicking on here
Brother Ray has continued to expand his earlier look at Scriptural "genealogies". We have regrouped them in sequence. As he says, it is an ongoing study, a work inj progress. If you haven't look at the "genealogy" article lately, there is more there now. It's good stuff.
This extended message on the Word is the longest of Brother Ray's many works. He hopes it will appeal to all stages of Yeshua's followers, at whatever stage of study they are at. Due to its length, one might want to study the message in parts or stages. In preparing this message and praying over it, even though of its length, he was found it yet to be complete or even the end of the beginning. As he prayed over the work, we urge you to pray before reading it. As he often says, believe nobody but take it to the word itself. May this be a blessing. Ray told us that one day a doctor of his acquaintance. spied him coming out of a hospital to proclaim in a loud voice "THE BIBLE MAN". Praise for the Word not the man and evidence of God's unending mercy for us, sinners all.
HOW TO READ THE WORD
by Brother Ray
The word is God speaking to us. Religion is man speaking back to God.
(A)When going to the word, always begin in prayer for guidance. (We were considered bright, often read a book a day, but always, even then admitted we were often stumped trying to make heads or tails over Shakespeare - we did get an A - in difficult authors like the American William Faulker, but especially the bible. The reason why. We had not submitted to the Lord, repented and received the indwelling of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. Without the spirit, the word, as the world says, seems foolish. With the spirit, a whole new world opens up).
(B)Always remember Paul's commandment (not a suggestion) in Acts 17:11. Listen to all. Suspect it all until you have checked it against the word itself. This is the Berean commandment. Always to be followed for all authors starting with me.
When we first mercifully came to the Lord, or more properly when the Lord came to me (for what must have been the umpteenth time), we immediately joined a believers community, submitted to the baptist of water, and put ourselves under the influence of a mentor. Within months if not weeks we would then describe ourselves as a post-millennial, dispensational, evangelical denominationalist (Baptist variety). It has taken us years to gain the discernment that each of these descriptions were of men rather than of god and to discard them as the traditions (Hebrew "takanot"). Today's denominational or man made traditions are the current day equivalent of the man made oral law (Hebrew Talmud). When Yeshua spoke His 7 woes to the scribes and Pharisees of His day (Matthew 23), He was addressing the religious establishment of the day. When Yeshua (Rev 2-3) delivered His attention and message to the seven churches, he was addressing the religious establishment of that day. Were He to deliver the same message today (and He does through His word) He would warn today's religious establishment. It isn't a message for Catholics or orthodox , protestants, evangelicals, pentecostal or any of the other myriad of self described groups, you are a member of a religious establishment regardless of size. Each tragically teaches all the other establishments are wrong and only they are right..
But it is all of man, not of God, and, as the word says early and often, of no pro port and even well intentioned in the same category as used rags.
(After discarding all of my self described appellations, if asked today "what" we are, we think we would say we are a follower and disciple of Yeshua Ha'Messhiach, the same Yeshua Ben Josef, Yeshua Ben David - indeed Yeshua Ben ha Shem, Yeshua Ha'Nazrit. Not merely a fan of but a follower of and doer for. We consider ourselves a pilgrim, a citizen of the kingdom. If that offends our denomination friends, too bad. We would much rather offend traditionalists (man made variety) than offend the maker and judge who will judge each of us so on enough).
(C)In approaching the word, we must always answer the questions: when was it written, who was the person God used as His secretary or messenger at that time, who was the audience then, what was the language used. Then we move on to the message for today, for you and me. What has more than one meaning (it is always a matter of 'both/and' rather than 'either/or'?
We have some friends who maintain vigorously that the inerrant word of the Lord was, is and remains the King James Version of the word, circa 1613 AD. The word was inerrant WHEN ORIGINALLY DELIVERED and was not placed on hold until 1613.
(D)The original language of most scripture was Hebrew. The original Hebrew had 22 pictographs or pictures. There are no vowels, only letters. They begin with Aleph, which is the picture of a mature Ray, head of the flock, father, creator. The picture for the second letter, bet, is a drawing of a tent, the normal abode of the day, where the family resided. We move on and come to the Hey, and the picture is of a stick man
Raising his hands to the heavens and God. There is the "mem' and the picture is of running (living) water. We finally end with the "tav" and the picture is of two crossed sticks, a tree and the cross. We begin with the father, His family. Enter the spirit. Follow living water and culminate (or are fulfilled) at the cross. Today's Hebrew has changed at least five times through the centuries but the original 22 pictures are the perfect Hebrew. Every Hebrew word has a root of two or three of these original pictures. Understand the root of a Hebrew series of pictures makes both Hebrew and the word itself much clearer - as it was intended, as God gave it
(E)The original Hebrew was a very sensate language. Everything pointed to the five sense: sight, smell, touch, hearing, etc. Note this when you read the word, with special focus upon psalms.
Greek supplanted Hebrew and the Greek language is not a sensate language. The Greek sections of the word appeal to the intellect (first verses of John), to abstractions. Greek gave way to Latin which gave way to German which gave way to us English speakers. Each of these switches over time unfortunately has lost some if not much of the original intent of the Word, causing confusion,misinformation, ignorance and error. Most often lost is the Hebraic roots of the word, of our Hebrew Yeshua and both intentionally and unwittingly has given impetus to "replacement theology". Hence today's tradition of "New Testament" churches which leave out, void, the Tanakh or Old Testament.
Luther, the father of the German bible, ended up viciously hating the Jews. The English authors of the King James lived in a time where Jews had been exiled from the land for 400 years (hence a dirth of Hebrew scholars and insights).
(F)In reading the scriptures, the authors of the day often spoke in a shorthand. They assumed their audience was fully cognizant of the word (such as they had at the time), of the middle east culture,times, customs and habits. While the original authors were comfortable with their shorthand at the time, it is not so comfortable for us today. We must take special care to try to understand the times, the lands, the languages, etc. to fill in the holes and gaps in our present understanding.
(G)There are many helpful guides assisting us in discerning the word. A good "concordance" is particularly helpful to us in finding where in the old testament items used in the new testament came from. But even concordances have their limitations. The words used in one testament may not have been the word used in the other testament. The word church is one case in point. Church is not used at all in the old testament. But that does not mean God's assembly of called out believers was not. The old word used was assembly. The discerning student of the word looks at the old testament "assembly" and the new testament "church" in tandem as one and the same. This discernment does serious damage to the erroneous current belief that Yeshua came to start a new church and that new church's birthday was on Pentecost. The fact is God has always had His assembly and always will. Yeshua did NOT come to start a new religion, He merely FILLED FULL (Matthew 5:23) the word,not to replace one with another. The point is some outside helps are helpful but they are often incomplete and can lead one astray -particularly if you haven't begun your study in prayer for the help of the spirit.
Especially when you approach the word through, as many of us have, a denominational perspective, consider well that one churches teaching materials are of men, are not inerrant, can be incomplete. We are being asked to put on a denominational pair of trifocal glasses when in fact the word speaks for itself, is its own commentator, and is not needed (See Matthew 23 where Yeshua commands us to call no man master - it is so interesting and revealing than denominational studies run away from Matthew 23 rather than facing the fact that Yeshua is speaking about them). Also see 1 Corinthians 13:12.
(H)Every teacher will face judgement for what he (or she) has taught, for how people (both believer or non-believer) has come closer or farther away from God. We most certainly will face judgement for this. Not every teacher has been given the gift of teaching. There are wonderful pastors who are great pastors but who have no business try to teach when they haven't been given that gift. The biggest challenge in teaching for following the word is not to add to or take away from what the Lord has given us. Some denominations see or interpret the word as absolutely ensuring the doctrine (man made) "once saved, always saved' while others interpret the same word as meaning the exact opposite. A great example of man trying to superimpose his desires and wishes on the word.
(I)Always remember that God's time is not our time. He is outside time itself. When you are confused from time as all of us are about the time of Old testament or New testament, even our best Rolex watch is not what God uses.
(J)Yeshua is directly or indirectly on every page in the word. If you read a page and you have missed Yeshua ha Messhiach, keep going back until you find Him.
(K)Satan, the fallen angel, is almost in every page of scripture. In our current English language bibles, there are 1,189 chapters All but four dwell on the fall, Satan, the sin nature, the need to repent, time for salvation. The only four that do not dwell on Satan and sin are Genesis 1,2 and Revelation 21,22 - before Satan appeared in the garden and after he is consigned to hell.
(L)(The word did not have numbers or chapters or book divisions or commas or periods and often not even vowels until introduced by a Spanish monk in 1270. They are man made and not perfect or inerrant by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes the breaks come in mid sentence. It is always wise to begin a passage 10-15 verses earlier and to continue reading past the point when a man made system tells you the word is moving on to a new subject.)
(M)Hebrew was called by Hebrews as the perfect language. We have pointed out it is a sensate language. There is still a Hebrew prayer that thanks God for a good trip to the bathroom Now that is earthy. But completely understandable. Greek is a different language. It is most mathematical and precise. While the Greek (and Roman) periods had and have their limitations and traps, the Greek language has one element that English does not, i.e., "the Greek present continuous tense". Simply it means a beginning, a continuing middle and a final end. That is why scripture often says keep on, keep on, stay the course. Believers who want to believe in the once saved always saved idea totally miss the impact of the Greek present continuous tense. Salvation may begin at a Billy Graham crusade but it is only the beginning. You must keep walking the walk and it is not until our earthly bodies are discarded and we receive a new heavenly body, sinless and totally clean that we are truly and completely saved and allowed to live forever and ever with the king of kings and Lord of Lords. What a wonderful thing it would have been to have had an English equivalent to the Greek present continuous tense.
HOW TO READ THE WORD, part 2
(N) Leave your baggage or preconceived ideas at the door when approaching the word. Few if any commentators choose the book of Job and even fewer have discernments of complete merit. Job was probably the first book in the Bible, written during or even before the patriarchal period, and was not particularly Hebraic in style or content - it was different, hence some difficulty in approaching it. (Reference our earlier message on Job). When Yeshua taught in the synagogues or temple the people were always amazed saying He taught or spoke with "authority" or quite simply as the author. Yeshua, of course, was the author or authority (see John 1). Yeshua spoke in the first person saying I AM. it was the first time since Moses was told God's name was I AM WHO AM that anybody in scripture (other than God speaking directly through the prophets) that anybody had dared to do so. Our Hebrew brothers used the names THE NAME or ADONAI as substitute over 6,600 times between Moses and Yeshua (although there was NO commandment from God to use any substitute). (A side hint: where your bible says Adonai or hsshem, cross it out and replace it with I AM WHO AM and you will get a much clearer view of the word. Did anybody else speak in the first person saying IAM. Go to the 32nd chapter of Job and meet Elihu ben Berekhal the young man who spoke to Job after the three old guys.
Elihu 's name,in Hebrew means MY GOD IS HE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED. Elihu spoke authoritatively as did Yeshua. The number of commentators who think Elihu was an early cameo appearance of Yeshua can be counted on one hand and you'd have fingers left over. The number of commentators who don't comment on this biblical "hint" are as many as sands in the sea. That to us is a pretty good example of "baggage". Remember Acts 17:11, go to the scriptures for yourself.
(O) A great example of the gospel writers "shorthand" is when both Matthew and Mark in describing the Last Supper (as many know it) or Yeshua's final observance of the Pesach seder (which he filled full and not replaced) say Yeshua and the disciples "prayed" (KJV). If you are a Christian not knowing the Hebrew customs, you would be lost as to what the prayer was. If you are knowledgeable in the passover custom, you know exactly what the prayer was - Psalms 113-118 or "the Hillel". (Hillel means praise). Both Matthew and Mark knew that ALL Hebrews of the day knew which prayer. They didnt have to spell it out and was omitted. The pesach seder has been the same from Moses (1,500 BC until today or for 3,500 years. The order of the seder is called the Pesach Haggadah. The seder meal is a series of prayer, eating, questions, prayer, eating and questions. If you are a middle European you will be familiar with the extended family meal with friends. The table is full, there is talking, there is drinking, there is eating, always with more talking. A meal can take hours. The pesach seder is one such event. Of course the pre Yeshua seder commemorated the escape from slavery to freedom Moses style. Today's filled full (Matthew 5;23) celebrates escape from our bondage (sin) to, via the cross, freedom/restoration with God. Yeshua's seder was the perfect seder. Its predecessors were "types" or hints or rehearsal of the real event later. Want to have one terrific and wonderful experience? Sit down some evening and picture yourself in the room where the last supper was held. Imagine you are hearing Yeshua and His disciples pray the hillel. The psalms (He is the author and the word) were written by Him for Him. The kingdom and the power and the glory are in those psalms. Hear Yeshua pray them,fall on your knees and with arms lifted high praise Yahweh the father. There are many other "short hands" in the Word. The Christian who thinks the word is complete as is without these discernments, study and prayer sorely miss much of the message. They settle for nuggets when so often there is a rich mother lode just around the corner.
(P) The scripture Yeshua had and read and taught from was different than the KJV or today's English, Roman or Orthodox bibles. There were not 39 books but either 20 or 22 (some combine several books written by the same author as one book). The order of the books was very different (David Stern's Complete Jewish Bible follows the order as Yeshua knew it and used it). Samuel, Kings and Chronicles each were a single book but split into two now. In those days, and particularly before the Greek Septuagint (circa 300 BC) did not, as Hebrew did not, use vowels so the book took less of a scroll to complete. With the introduction of vowels it took more space to write and Samuel, Kings and Chronicles were split into two books each. Many contemporary bible teachers always use the refrain 66 books, 40 different authors. If one is familiar with the Hebraic background of the word, it wasn't 66 books. Six in numerology is thought to the number of men, seven the number of completeness or God. So 66 books fits this concept quite nicely but it just isn't so. Just another example of man adding to the word rather than just taking the word for what it is by He who wrote it.
(Q) Where your bible uses the word "law", cross it out and replace it with "Torah". The Hebrew Torah means something quite different from the Greek word for law. Torah includes teachings, prayer, prophecy and much more. The Greek "law" is much more restrictive and limited. They are two different words, two different concepts and to equate one with the other is wrong. Of course Yeshua is "the living Torah" the living Word, the living "law". When you meet the word law in your bible, always begin by asking WHO'S LAW. There is the Word of God, known as the written word, and THE ORAL LAW, the man made opinions of the rabbis and leaders of the religious establishment of the time. The oral law was consolidated into both the Jerusalem and Babylonian "Talmud" The man made "targums" are another expression of man made doctrines. When Yeshua (see Matt. 5:23 and Matt. 23) He addressed first Torah (Matt 5:23) and then the man made oral law (Matt 23). Yeshua was clear to distinguish between the work of God and the work of men. The oversimplified use of the word law in most bibles lacks this distinction. When Paul wrote about the law, he was almost always talking about the man made law NOT TORAH.
One quite sad outcome of this confusion and lack of discernment is the quite common teaching that the old testament was the time of law and the new testament is the time of grace - as if there were no grace (or spirit) in the old testament and no law in the new testament. Most contemporary Christians or believers have been seriously infected with this virus. There was and is Torah from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 just as there was and is grace (Genesis: and the spirit hovered over the earth) from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22. This confusion is so epidemic that it has been quite easy to go directly to "replacement theology" - just as grace replaced law, the new testament has made the old (and the Hebrews) obsolete or over. This is not only wrong, it is damned wrong. One God, One saviour, One Word, One Grace, One Torah. All else is either adding to or taking away from Scripture and often both. Simply parroting or repeating or continuing false ideas will not pardon any from judgement thereupon. NB the new testament does cite the "law of Yeshua" and the "law of the spirit". Both should be read as "the Torah of Yeshua" and "the Torah of the spirit".
(R) One terrific way to read, ponder, study and then to use Scripture is to consider the Tanakh (old testament) as "rehearsal" for the same story or play, the Brit Hadashah (new testament). One author, one cast, one drama, many rehearsals, many casting calls, many try-outs and finally opening night - the cross. From the Garden to the Cross is all rehearsal. The play is not stopped or discarded but continues on to opening night. This play has been a hit and has enjoyed a run going on 2,100 years. The end of the run is in sight. We have not switched authors, although man has tried and the evil one continues to try to alter daily. God has often made cast changes but not the main role. And the bad guy has never changed. This play is not everybody's cup of tea. Ultimately all will have seen it. Some will like it. Others will run from it. The choice of whether it is your cup of tea or not -it is your choice - will determine not whether there is an eternity for you but WHERE you will spend that eternity. As in Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, some will rejoice as Babylon (the world) falls while others will run for the caves to try to hide from the Lord returning in judgement. By then the time of choice will over.
(S) Always remember almost everything in the new testament comes from the old. One is type, one is filled full. The Book of Revelation has 400 verses and over 850 (and counting) direct and indirect citations of the old testament. To overlook, misunderstand (by ignorance or otherwise) this 'marriage' is to misunderstand the word itself. Even contemporary non believing Jews find the Book of Revelation, with all its old testament (tannakh) references as 'the most Jewish book' in the New Testament (except Rev 2-3). Next to remember , particularly is you are using a study bible or a bible with references in the middle column, is to understand that the listed reference are very far from complete. The more and more one studies the word, one will find an old testament verse that quite specifically matches up with a new testament message (or a new testament message that in reverse relates to an old testament teaching) even the the connection is not made for you. We repeat Acts 13:11 - search the word itself diligently, often and always for yourself.
(T) If you thing God's word is harsh and His vengeance not that of a loving God, consider this: Scripture has 1,189 chapters and all but four involve sin, the sin nature, the devil, the call for repentance. All but four chapters speak of the ongoing and absolute war between the creator and the created. Even when reading the doomsday prophet Jeremiah (very rough stuff to take), one is struck by the repeated and repeated extension of the hand and mercy of God to His children. Jeremiah cites and encyclopaedic list of sins that the Lord totally, completely and forever despises and will punish. But at the same time, God gives man what he doesn't deserve - a way out, a way home, the way of cleansing, the way for reunification. Surely not the actions of our God who wants only vengeance.
(U) Just as we have mentioned "law" and cautioned you to query "who's law", the same can be said of the word "doctrine". The caution is the same: who's doctrine? We must distinguish between the doctrine of God, the doctrine of scripture and "man made doctrines". There are two quite different things. All churches and denominations have their own man made doctrines and unfortunately all too often teach man made doctrines as being truly scriptural and thus binding. Often in taking the word to the unsaved, these church or denominational doctrines become a stumbling block for non believers,not the word itself. One premier example is the man made doctrine concerning salvation. Some men say once saved always saved. Just as many have an opposite doctrine. How often we have sat in churches that fail utterly to discern what is of men and what is of God. To establish, hold to and teach a man made doctrine often if not always can fall into the category of adding to or taking away from the word itself.
(V) One failure of today's believers is to skip, rush over or disregard the genealogies and lists of names in the old (and sometimes the new) testaments. Each carries a powerful and wonderful message, always of Yeshua and the cross). If you take the time to research the name or places. wonderful treasures await you. You need not be a Hebrew scholar. Readily and free tools await you. Begin with the list of the names from Adam to Noah in Genesis (earlier messages give you the answer but look for yourself). Try the three sets of 14 names in Matthews 42 people in the genealogy of Yeshua. You can spend weeks and months in this hunt for treasure. Every one contains repeated gospel messages which are simple and clear and speak to our hearts. The long lists are NOT time taking lists of perhaps meaning at the time but of no meaning for us. They are for us too. Don't be lazy. DO search the word. Scripture uses the English word IF over 1,600 times and the English word DO over 1,500. Master the little words and you will master the Word. DO the doing. Respect and obey and follow the IFS and you will be enlightened and praised of God. The bigger the words used in today's religious establishment, the higher probability is is something of man and prideful man to boot.
(W) When the Lord tells us through the prophet Jeremiah that He will establish a "new covenant" with believers and will write in in our individual hearts, He is saying each of us will be directly connected with Him and no longer will need the mediators of anything or anybody else. We all will be individual temples. While we are urged to assemble together, we will not or should put any man made person or institution between us. Most simply, we can go directly. Our one and only mediator is Yeshua who sits at the right and just hand of the father. We need not religious establishments. We need not patriarchs or popes or cardinals or denominations. Any attempt to detour our direct connection to our one and only mediator is devilish in origin and devilish in practice. This comment will be particularly offensive to those.
involved in man made mediatorial processes, but we would rather offend here than offend the lord. We care not about man's judgement but are fearful of the Lord's. (We shall not even begin but merely mention the Catholic doctrine that Mary the mother of Jesus is THE mediator between God and man and the only path to salvation. Of course in the Hebrew bible there is no Mary and no Jesus. They are Greek names. In the Hebrew it is Miriam the mother of Yeshua. One of our most spirit filled evenings with fellow followers of Yeshua took place in a home church in Varna Bulgaria a group without buildings or other accoutrements.
(X) When reading and studying the Word, note that the tannakh or old testament is chuck full of adjectives or descriptive phrases,i.e. GREEN pastures. These are very Hebraic and of immediate value to us as well. Also note that the new testament, particularly the gospels seldom use adjectives. We know more about Yeshua's countenance and appearance from Isaiah than from the apostles first hand testimony. This is worthy of much further study and reflection. An accident? Coincidental The ancient rabbis correctly observed there are NO accidents or coincidences in the Word.
(Y) Have you noted,particularly in Psalms, that mention is made first of Yakov (Jacob) then of Israel. One might think they are two different people. They are not. They are the same person. Jacob was the name of Isaac' son BEFORE he spent a night wrestling with God. Israel was his new name given by God Himself. Always when God directly changes one's name it signifies a change, always for the better. When scripture uses the pre-wrestling old name of Yakov, it means one thing and when scripture uses the post wrestling name of Israel it means something different. Not two different people but two different situations. Tuck this away and think on it when you encounter the name used. A second factor is the name Israel. Who is Israel? Many if not most think it means the Jews and even more so the old testament Jews. How one considers Israel and who is Israel can often lead to misunderstanding and possibly error (see both anti-Semitism and replacement theology issues).We are indebted to David Stern for his definition of Israel: (1) they're descendants of the Patriarch Ya'akov, i.e., the Jewish people, (2) the physical and geographic land of Israel, (3) those within Israel who remain faithful to God and (4) ALL JEWISH AND GENTILE BELIEVERS IN GOD AND HIS MESSIAH YESHUA. When we first read this truly inspired definition by Stern, it confirmed many thoughts. It is not one or two or three or four. It is not either/or. It is all of the above. If Stern is correct and we believe he is, we, believers, are ALL Israelis. First there can be NO room for anti-Semitism or replacement theology. At the same time, there is room in Israel for all.
With this discernment we almost immediately came across (no accident surely) an old testament scripture that says the believing gentile (or goyim) will be allotted to one of the 12 tribes and that portion of Israel they will inherit. What joy when we found this word.
(Z) Many words in scripture have double meanings. Where scripture says FOOD always this WORD. They are used interactively. God gives both worldly and eternal food. He gives His eternal word for application here and now. Reconsider the last supper. When Yeshua took matzah, broke it (the cross), gave it (salvation) to His followers, there was no mistake or confusion about what He meant. His food was His Word (which included the promise about to be fulfilled). The wine,here and now, was His blood,about to be shed for each of us, both then and now, even after we have our doubting Thomas moments. One final "last supper" comment. Besides being the final and filled full and perfect Passover from slavery/sin to freedom/salvation, one can gain additional and wonderful insights into God's design by studying and contemplating the traditional marriage customs of the time and the place. (See separate message on the wedding customs). The bridegroom either directly or via a surrogate goes to the proposed bride and makes her and her family an offer which they can or can not accept. If agreed,the custom was to sign the agreement with a ceremonial glass of wine. The agreement had the force of the marriage itself. Then the proposed bridegroom left to prepare a home. The wedding and the next glass of completion would take place at the marriage feast. Even milk stage believers see the parallels with "the last supper".
Amen, even so, come Melchi Yeshua.