Sermons Series 3:99, 23 June 2007
Grace and Torah
Bridge-Building Between Evangelicals and Messianics
"To the Torah (law) and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word (Is.1:10), it is because there is no light in them" (Is.8:20, NKJV).
One of the greatest interests that I currently have in my witness of the Gospel is bridging the gulf between Messianics and Evangelicals. Why is there apparently such an irreconcilable difference? There are, in my opinion, no legitimate scriptutal grounds for a wall of partiton, and certainly none for hostility. It grieves me that the old Torah versus Grace arguments have still not yet been resolved by these two parts of the Body.
As in any controversy, there is always a danger of emotions getting stoked up and a partisan spirit dividing the Body of Messiah even further. I personally do not have a problem being both an Evangelical Christian as well as a Messianic Israelite in the fundamentals of the faith. I believe the differences that exist - apart from all the respective pagan and Talmudic additions - are largely caused either by a misunderstanding of words or by an unwillingness to deal with the truth as it presents itself. It deeply disturbs me that Messianics have to mutilate Romans, Galatians and Ephesians to justify a Torah-lifestyle by demeaning grace, and it raises my hackles every time Evangelicals cheapen or demonise the Torah, as though it was our main problem in life and some kind of conspiratorial barrier preventing us from getting into a relationship with Yahweh our Heavenly Father or with each other in the Body.
To intimate that the Torah is somehow evil is to imply that our Heavenly Father is the main problem for Christians to overcome and that we need the Son to come and free us from Him. And though saying this sounds ridiculous on the surface, when you analyse the attitude that most Protestants have toward Torah they're pretty much adopting the old Gnostic heresy which viewed the Yahweh of the Old Testament as a rather inferior and cruel 'Demiurge' - a not very enlightened angel - who had to be straightened out by a much more loving and compassionate Messiah. I just cannot buy into such a myth under any sort of pretext. And to ignore that there is a conflict between very often very sincere and honest proponents on both sides of the division line, each making reasonable cases for their positions, would be to bury my head in the sand and pretend there isn't a problem.
Torah, the New Testament teaches us, is holy or set-apart. It is pure, it is good (Rom.7:12). It's purpose is to expose sin in our lives - in our heart-condition, in our behaviour and actions - and to awaken guilt and conscience so that we will stop sinning and get right with Yahweh by living the lifestyle that He has ordained. He has provided the solution to sin and guilt in the person of His Son Yah'shua who became an atonement for those who will trust His efficacious sacrifice for us. ANY sort of hatred or indifference toward Torah, in the light of its purpose as revealed in Scripture generally, can only mean hatred or indifference towards the Creator, Yahweh-Elohim. There is no other conclusion to be reached. Whatever you may feel about Torah you of necessity must feel the same about the Creator, even if it is just perplexity. There are no two ways about it. This logically means that if you believe in a 'Christ' who has supposedly come to do away with the Law of the Heavenly Father then that 'Christ' must be a counterfeit Messiah! That Christ must absolutely be false. To claim that there is another 'way' of 'viewing' this is just pie-in-the-sky thinking because you can't in the same breath say you love Yahweh whilst at the same time pretend that Torah isn't there or that the Son doesn't have the same attitude towards it as the Father does.
The dilemma of these Christians - the paradox, which is viewed honestly, drives them insane or into accute denial - is that they can't understand how Yahweh can be both love and (as they wrongly suppose) a 'tyrant', 'mysogenist' or 'cultist' at the same time. Their experience of salvation, love, forgiveness, renewal and spiritual life in Yah'shua demonstrates to them uniquivocably that Elohim is love (1 Jn.4:8,16) whilst the "law and the testimony" seems to be describing a Being who is anything but 'love'. They are forced to read the Torah, which says that if you don't obey the rules that you are proving you don't love Him and for which there was the death penalty in the Old Covenant, and balk. They also get caught in this non sequitur which says that since Yah'shua has paid for our sins and we are absolved from the death penalty that somehow sinning today is nowhere nearly as serious as sinning was 2,000 years ago and before when the Old Covenant was still in operation. The wages of, or penalty for, sin is still death (Rom.6:23) and the purpose of Torah is to awaken us to an awful sense of this reality no matter what covenant we and our ancestors are, or were, respectively in. When 'gracers' flee from the full implication of what Torah means today what they are actually saying is that they don't want any responsibility for their sins. They don't want to grow up! They want Yahweh the Lover, incarnated as Yah'shua, but not Yahweh the Ruler, Authority Figure and Disciplinarian. They are blinded to the truth that authority, like grace, is also love, and that true love is authority. And you will consistently find them doing things that rebel against authority under the pretext of 'freedom' and the excuse of 'legalism'. Others are more reaslistic and see the absurdity of saying that we are free to do whatever we like but at the same time then pick and choose whic rules should be obeyed, and which shouldn't. We can't. We don't have that luxury. Scripture says all or nothing.
What is Freedom in Messiah?
The New Testament - and especially Paul - talks a great deal about 'freedom' or 'liberty' so it behooves us to find out exactly what that word means in context. In our day and age it is a much politicised word that has a completely different meaning biblically because it has a completely different setting - there was no such things as 'democracy' in the Bible. When Scripture says that Yah'shua has set us free, and that we should not be brought into bondage again, what exactly is meant? What are we being set free from? And what are we being set free to? There is a difference between the two. And what historically, in the New Testament period, were those coming to faith being set free from in their own generation? Paganism? Rabbinical Judaism and Talmudism? Yahweh's Law or Torah? Surely not Torah?! Yet that's precisely what millions of Protestants believe - that Yah'shua came to set us free from the terrible bondage that Yahweh's Holy Law puts us into if we believe and practice it.
One of the things I missed the most when I was at boarding school was having a father. I was merely a 'pupil' amongst several hundred other pupils with a dozen or so teachers and other staff to take 'care' of us. I was away from home 10 months in the year. It wasn't until Yah'shua came and revealed much more deeply and intimately just what the Heavenly Father was actually like that Israelites started coming to understand that their relationship to Yahweh was that of a son (or daughter) to a Father and not only that of a servant. He wasn't called 'Father' in those days. The religious leaders had, centuries before, taken away His Personal Name, Yahweh, and reduced Him to an Adonai or 'Lord'. And whilst, of course, Yahweh was, and still is, a 'Lord' or 'Master' He is also a loving Pappa with a personal Name meaning 'I am eternnally present' or 'I am the ultimate Reality', meaning 'I am with you always, I know the truth better than you do, and I provide you with everything you need'. Through the revelation and atonement of Yah'shua the Messiah something wonderful happens that changed people's experience of Yahweh. Paul conveys this sense when he writes:
"For you did not receive a ruach (spirit) that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Ruach (Spirit) of sonship. And by Him we cry, 'Abba, Father'" (Rom.8:15, NIV).
If you've never read the testimony of an ex-Muslim Pakistani lady of noble birth called Bilquis Shah, who write the book, I Dared to Call Him Father, then I recommend you get hold of a copy. In it she answers the question that many searchers after truth are asking: What will happen if I really give myself fully to Yahweh? Will He really fulfil His promises to take care of me - to protect me under all conditions and in all circumstances when I am trusting Him? With so many spiritual orphans who never knew a real father, or who had fathers who were tyrants or who were simply absent, there is an inbuilt fear that either such tender fatherhood doesn't exist or that Yahweh is some evil, despotic ultra-patriarch who delights in punishment and torture, making us forgive others "seven times seventy" (Mt.18:21-22) whilst supposedly giving exquisite pain to those who must burn in hell for all eternity. We naturally hesitate to reach out to such a caricature of Elohim. Yet here is Paul saying that something wonderful happens when we meet Yahweh face-to-face and heart-to-heart through Yah'shua - we just want to cry, Abba! or 'Pappa!' and run to Him as fast as our legs will carry us.
We're also forced, as we read Scripture, to face the fact that this is what Yahweh wants everyone to know and experience. Paul said:
"[Yahweh] predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Yah'shua the Messiah, in accordance with His pleasure and will - to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One (Yah'shua) He loves" (Eph.1:5-7, NIV).
"[Yahweh] sent his Son, born of a woman, born under Torah, to redeem those under Torah, that we might receive the full rights of sons" (Gal.4:4-5, NIV).
What this is describing is not passage out of slavish fear of a harsh and vengeful Elohim caused by His adherence to Old Covenant Torah but the interpretation of it promoted by the controlling Rabbinical Judaism of his day. We know how harsh and cruel the religious rulers were. They had no idea what the love behind Torah was. Paul knew the bondage that that kind of legalistic religion was and had passed out of it into peace and liberty, because he has been a part of it as an ultra-Pharisee. And even after exiting that Judaic cult, he called Torah "holy". This false Talmudism, which perverted Torah and gave the people a distorted and ugly picture of Yahweh, was but one of the problems of the religion of the time. It wasn't the whole problem. But that was not the only difficulty. McLeod Campbell captures the essence of another aspect of the problem which I want to share. He writes:
"Let us think of Christ as the Son who reveals the Father, that we may know the Father's heart against which we have sinned, that we may see how sin, in making us godless, has made us ORPHANS, and understand that the grace of God, which is at once the remission of past sin and the gift of eternal life, restores to our orphan spirits their Father and to the Father of lost spirits His lost children" (The Nature of Atonement, p.147).
What is the freedom that Yah'shua gives to us? Adoption! Freedom is the keynote of the life of an adopted son or daughter. It is the freedom from being exposed, unprotected and unloved. It is the freedom to know these things where before we have been in starvation. On the other side of the line lies bondage, not to Torah but to unconfessed but sore and melancholy servitude of the man who has no strong controlling purpose, whose path is lit by no guiding light more reliable than his own reason and desires, whose inner life is one of inglorious, lonely and miserable moral defeat. But adoption changes all of that because it carries with it "the glorious liberty of the children of Elohim" (Rom.8:21).
So what is this 'freedom'? Is it the freedom to do whatever we want? To break the commandments with indifference? Or to pick and choose the one we like and reject the rest? To relegate them to second place in our lives? Is this what Yah'shua set us free to do? No! Not in a million years! This is the freedom that comes when the personality, once disintegrated, becomes unified! But not only unified in itself, but unified in and with Yahweh's personality in an echad relationship. Repression, caused by a divided mind and heart, gives way to inner release and the tone of the moral life becomes victorious, not defeated. This is the 'liberty' or 'freedom of Christ'. This is what Scripture calls "life in the Ruach" because "the Ruach Herself testifies with our spirit that we are [Yahweh's] children" (Rom.8:16, NIV)! The liberty is one of being covered and safe. This is the liberty of assurance so that we do not spend our days anxiously debating the question: 'Am I saved or am I not?' 'Am I truly alone in this world or do I in fact have a protective parental covering?'
The inescapable testimony of the soul who has received this adoption for real is: 'I know I am safe and secure in Yahweh by my trusting in Yah'shua His Son'. So long as I am actively relying on Him, I'm just fine and don't have a thing to worry about! And, moreover, this confidence is not based on anything that is within me myself. I am not secure because I am being a 'good son' but because He is an in infinitely good Father. I am secure because of His grace - His 'undeserved loving-kindness', His 'unmerited favour'. He loves me not because of the the points I have scored on the 'righteousness scale' but simply because He is my faithful and loving Dad and no more. If I wander from Him because I fail to demonstrate my gratitude to Him by failing to live the Torah lifestyle He has commanded me to live, that is not because He has suddenly denied His Fatherhood to me as a 'punishment' but because I have chosen to wander away into the enemy camp and fellowship with His enemies. He's still my Abba. My choice is to go home or stay where I am in hostile and unfriendly territory. And the longer I stay away from Him, the further I will wander. And if I wander long enough and further enough, choosing to remain in darkness instead of going home, then that is where I will remain. And if I am still in that darkness when I die, then I am in serious trouble when I pass over to the other side of mortality.
The teachings of Yah'shua constantly affirm the Fatherhood of Elohim and the blessedness of His presence. Even if the whole universe comes against the man or woman trusting in Him, the man who knows his sonship in Elohim can remain untroubled and unshaken. One word of the living Elohim means more than a thousand loud angry and unloving voices on this earth. "The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it" (1 Thess.5:24, NIV). That is the aopted son's high confidence. That is his liberty and his freedom - freedom from anxiety and fear of His place in the eternal scheme of things. Freedom from the gnawing and terrifying sense of homelessness.
The atmosphere of this peace, certainty and liberty is not some legal fiction that just 'happens' because you have repeated some mantra verbally indicating your religious belief. It is predicated upon true faith. The trusting sinner isn't automatically made 'holy' or 'pure' other than jurisdictionally in Yahweh's eyes - he still has inner purity to work on; when he is trusting, he is facing in the right direction. He is secure in the arms of his Abba so long as he is trusting but he has to move forward in faith and live his Torah life if he is to be sanctified inside. He may be surrounded by paganism, as Abraham was initially, but his heart is turned towards the land of promise. He wants to get out of Babylon, not stay in it or get more involved in it. He wants Zion where Torah is lived communally and everyone can be safe communally. Abraham is the earthly father of our faith. We're supposed to imitate his attitudes. We need to get out of the world system and raise families in the outward security of mutual protection in Him whilst even more importantly having the inward security that comes through our trusting. We may still be woefully entangled in our sins. There may be a long, weary road to travel yet before we can find escape from the 'far country' which we continue to unwisely made our home. What matters first and foremost is that our life has found new orientation so we had better not gaze back at Sodom and start desiring to go back. We may be "in Messiah", we may be "looking to Yah'shua" (Heb.12:2), but we can't keep it all inside, because being "in Yah'shua" and "looking to Him" in all things means three important things:
First, it means that the sinner is not looking inside for any merit but outside to Yah'shua and to the grace and love of an entirely trustworthy Heavenly Father, Yahweh;
Second, it means that he is not looking downwards but upwards - not downwards to sin's alluring shame, but upwards to the beauty and purity of Messiah;
And thirdly, he is not looking backwards but forwards, "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead" (Phil.3:13, NIV).
Our position may not have altered much but it's the change of direction that matters. It is by direction and motion that Yahweh judges, not position. I repeat, when it comes to both the inwards and outer life - what is so important to Yahweh is this:
It is by direction and motion that Yahweh judges, not position!
Once the sinner had his back to Messiah; now his face is towards Him. This is faith, and it holds the potency of a glorious future. This is what Yahweh sees, and this is what justifies the sinner, and how he is declared "righteous". We don't have to be there or be perfect, or living Torah 100% perfectly, to be righteous but we do have to be facing the right direction and be moving on the Way and want to do it perfectly in His grace. And that Way is Torah - living and implementing a Torah lifestyle in Messiah. This is no legal fiction. It's fact. It is the deepest and most important reality that you can know. I don't care if you've turned back a hundred times but each time you turn round again and start again along the Way, guess what? You're right with Yahweh because of His patience, love and long-suffering - because of His grace! But don't make see-sawing a habit. We all do it. The important thing is not to remain facing the wrong direction for too long and to make progress forwards. Grace is not eternal - at some point Justice catches up and must be executed. That's called Judgment.
Hidden issues coming to the surface after a long 'hibernation' may seem to threaten your sonship or daughterhood. They have a way of throwing us off and causing us to doubt: 'Was I ever actually saved?' One thing for sure is that Yahweh has not ceased to be your Abba. Dad is still there waiting to be Dad. He never throws the towl in and gives up on you. He'll keep calling you back until time is up and life comes to an end. He'll stick with you right to the end.
We've talked a lot about freedom and understood that it is not the right to do whatever you please. Freedom in Yah'shua does not give you the right to break the mitzvot or commandments. The freedom you have is the freedom to know you are safe in Him and need never worry. Freedom in Yah'shua is never freedom from Torah, the mitzvot (commandments) or responsibility in general. The freedom that Yahweh gives you is in actual fact to set you free from the irresponsibility that comes from feeling that life is purposeless and pointless.
The Ruach-filled Life
The fifth chapter of Paul's epistle of the Galatians is one of evangelical Christianity's favourite sections of Scripture but it is misunderstood by both Evangelicals and Messianics. It begins triumphantly with these words:
"It is for freedom that Messiah has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Gal.5:1, NIV).
The big question is: what yoke of slavery? Most evangelicals will tell you: the Law or Torah! Most Messianics will tell you: Talmudism! But here Paul is not saying either:
"You who are trying to be justified by law (Torah) have been alienated from Messiah; you have fallen away from grace" (Gal.5:4, NIV).
He is not saying that Torah, or the Law, or law-keeping is wrong, only that trying to get right with Yahweh - getting into right relationship with Abba - father - by obedience, like the Talmudists taught, and all false religions teach, is futile because it nullifies the work of Yah'shua the Messiah. Such a talmudic doctrine is teaching that if you break the commandments you become an orphan. These wicked people were saying: 'Son, if you don't obey my rules, you're not my son anymore'. Were that to be true, then we are permanently orphans because we all sin, and all sin leads to death (1 Jn.5:17). It means we are permanently dead! And that is a dreadful lie! What father with a father's heart says to his son everytime he is disobedient - 'You're not my son anymore, I hereby disinherit you, get out of my house!' What does he do? He punishes him as a father and to his son. He lovingly corrects him, just as Yahweh corrects and disciplines us. But the relationship is still in tact. It may be strained but it is still intact. Same with husband and wife. Things go seriously wrong between spouses, so what is it that holds them together? Our marriage covenants to be true 'for better or worse' like the covenants Abba made with us at Sinai and the new covenant He made through His Son.
Paul is not dismissing Torah. He's saying you can't be saved or get into right-relationship with Yahweh by obeying Torah but only by trusting in Yah'shua. That means pointing in the right direction and keeping moving. It means looking to Yah'shua as the deliverer from sin, not our Torah obedience. Obeying Torah - obeying the commandments - is the sign that we are trusting. When we stop trusting, we stop obeying and we start making the usual antinomian excuses for not obeying.
Now Galatians 5 upsets Messianics who put on their blinkers just as much as the Evangelicals do. What upsets the Messianics? Paul says that circumcision is useless. If you want to go and mutilate the male progenitive organ, that's up to you, but this has no spiritual value whatsoever today. The act of the male having his foreskin removed does not indicate that he's 'in the club', as it were. Not any more. It was the sign of the pre-Messianic covenants. And whilst Yahweh reminded the ancient Israelites that outer circumcision of the foreskin was of no spiritual value without a circumcised heart (Dt.10:16; 30:6; Jer.4:4; Rom.2:29) - a heart right towards Elohim - the New Covenant has a different outward sign of indentity with Messianic Israel, namely baptism by immersion. This, however, is not enough, just as cicumcision wasn't enough in the Old Covenant - baptism of water must be accompanied by baptism of the Ruach (Spirit). There must be a genuine change of heart which will be evidenced by the spiritual fruits of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal.5:22-23, NIV). Moreover, the apostle said: "Against such things there is no torah (law)" because these things are evidence that the the objective of the Torah is in operation in the heart - written there - and Torah can by no means condemn them. Thus Paul would say:
"I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law (Old Covenant Torah). You who are trying to be justified by law (Old Covenant Torah) have been alienated from Messiah; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Ruach the righteousness for which we hope. For in Messiah Yah'shua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love" (Gal.5:3-6, NIV).
Circumcision is the sign of the Old Covenant. It is not relevent any more because the Old Covenant isn't either. Anyone who allows himself to be circumcised is obligating himself to a covenant that Yahweh has abolished in the Cross, the Mosaic or Levitical Torah. Today we have a New Covenant, the Melchizedek Torah, in Yah'shua. It's different from the Old inasmuch as the whole sacrificial system and its priesthood - along with circumcision - have been abolished because they aren't needed anymore, because Yah'shua has fulfilled them as the Final Sacrifice for sin.
Dn't misunderstand the last sentence in the passage I quoted you where Paul supposedly says: "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love". That doesn't mean 'any old faith' neither does it mean a mere 'expression' of faith through 'love' (whatever that might mean). The Aramaic says: "trust which is perfected by love" (v.6, HRV). This 'trust' or 'faith' is the emunah spoken of throughout the Scriptures, Old and New Testaments. It isn't any old 'faith' - it's 'the faith' which is referenced over 34 times in the New Testament - it's what you have faith in which is Messiah who is the full embodiment and completion of the Torah which He has Himself 'filled up'. We are to have emunah in the One who told us to obey Torah and who by His death has made made us children of our Abba in Heaven.
There is no contradiction between grace and Torah. The important thing to realise is that we can't even live Torah without grace and we certainly can't get right with Yahweh by anything other than actively trusting and adhering to the person of the Messiah, Yah'shua.
Messianics, please realise and accept that cicumumcision is now useless. Paul said: "Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted?" (Gal.5:11, NIV). The 'circumcision party' is a great danger to the Body of Messiah. Forcing people to be circumcised is not pleasing to our Heavenly Father. If done for spiritual or religious reasons, it's a rejection of Yah'shua and the New Covenant and it's extremely dangerous to the welfare of your soul because then you are obligated to a dead covenant. If it's for hygenic reasons, that's another matter. Paul was so emphatic about this that he said:
"In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished (for those who observe circumcision for religious reasons). As for those agitators (the circumcision party), I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!" (Gal.5:11-12, NIV).
Strong words indeed. He continued:
"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love" (Gal.5:13, NIV).
Do Evangelicals still think that freedom is not obeying the Torah? Do disobey the commandments is to serve the sinful nature because that is one of the reasons Torah was given - to tell you what is sinful and what is not. What actually does this passage mean? The next verse explains:
"The entire Torah (law) is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Gal.5:14, NIV).
Do you see that verb "summed up"? Paul didn't say that entire Torah has been replaced by the one commandment or mitzvah, "Love your neighbour as yourself". He said it's a summary. It's like the flyleaf of a novel which summarises what the novel is all about. It's like the synopsis of an academic treatise. It isn't supposed to replace the novel or treatise but give an overview. The overview of Torah is lbe - loving your neighbour - it's the first principle of Torah and is explained in the Ten Commandmants and all the other mitzvot. A summary is not a replacement.
Galatians 5 is not the green light to lawlessness. Far from it. It's simply setting priorities and refuting the heresy that Torah obedience puts you in right-relationship with Yahweh because if that were true, Yah'shua wouldn't be needed at all. What, then, of His warning not to gratify the sinful nature? Obeying Torah in your own strength does not solve the problem of sin. You can observe the Sabbath and still be carnal and devilish. There are plenty of unregenerated Christians around, meaning they have not been born again. Therefore Paul says:
"So I say, live by the Ruach, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Gal.5:16-17, NIV).
The Ruach haQodesh is the deposit we receive for adhering in faith to Yah'shua (2 Cor.1:22), and it is She who empowers us to overcome the carnal nature. Torah does not empower. It is an exposer of sin and a lifestyle. It's the divine map and compass. Torah alone cannot regenerate or empower you to live a life pleasing to Yahweh. The Ruach haQodesh is the enabler. Just as a book on motherhood cannot displace the need for a real mother mothering her child, so the Torah cannot displace the need for the living Comforter. A certificate telling an orphan that is he no longer parentless is not enough, he needs the parents too and the knowledge as to where to find them.
The Torah is not the enemy of grace, it is its road-map. Grace is no threat to Torah, it is its enabler and empowerer. Ignoring the Sabbath signs on a map, for example, is going to get you into trouble and no amount of grace is going to indefinitely excuse you from obeying. The freedom from being an orphan and the freedom being a son does not give you the licenece to disobey Father: Abba's rules have a loving purpose. Follow them, all of them.
The other night our family watched the Walt Disney movie, Nemo, after I had given them a pep talk on the ungodly parts of the film and warned them of its pagan and immoral elements. In the storyline, a father fish called Marlin warns his son Nemo of the dangers of the open sea. The boy fish thinks his father is being overprotective and paranoid but lo and behold, guess what happens? This one act of disobedience - of not trusting - leads both the son and his father into mortal danger, not to mention risking the lives of other friends too. And whilst good things come of this adventure, the purpose of life is not adventure! The purpose of this life is to do what we were called to do, not go on some wild, crazy adventurous journey getting out of the tangles we have created because we were lawless and trusted our hearts more than we trusted Yahweh and His Torah. One of the lies in the movie is said by the father himself who tells his son to be adventurous. It's a dangerous half truth. Sporting with death because of stubborness and rebellion is not what we're here for. Yahweh will provide us with trials enough to ensure we fulfil the measure of our creation so who needs to add to this by making unnecessary trouble, pain and sorrow? Torah was given precisely to prevent the latter and grace to gently and lovingly bring us back onto the path of Torah when we wander because of sin.
Nemo got a whiff of what the world calls 'freedom' which made his father's 'freedom' look over-protective, pathological and suffocating, until through the hard knocks of life he understood that his father had had his best interests at heart after all. We often look at our Heavenly Father in the same light as a restricting, controlling and manipulating spoil-sport because He won't allow us to do our 'own thing'. Fathers and husbands have the responsibility to imitate our Heavenly Father and have been given a similar mandate. They being sticklers to Yahweh's rules or Torah makes them unpopular and provokes the demonic lie that they are 'unloving'. But Torah, we will all come to understand one day, is love, just as Yahweh is love, because Love made those rules for our happiness. That's loving-kindness, in my book; that's grace because frankly our sinful disposition, caused by the fallen Adamic nature, leads us into vain confidence making Yahweh's constant intervention undeserved. We deserve the punishment of Torah, which is death, but we often forget that, like an irresponsible teenage son doesn't appreciate the financial nightmare a wrecked car can cause his father because all he sees is that he is simply 'forgiven' and the car is 'taken care of'. We have to remember that forgiveness and reparation is costly and that it actually kills. It nailed the Son on the Cross at Calvary and made Him sweat blood in a beautiful Garden called Gethsemane as He took upon us our sins.
In the end, none of us have any merit and absolutely nothing to boast about, even hopefully at the end of a long and productive life for Him, except what Yah'shua has done for us, because He did it all. Paul said:
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of Elohim" (Gal.6:14-16, NIV).
And you know why Paul said these words? Because of the circumcision party! He said:
"Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Messiah" (Gal.6:12, NIV).
And isn't that why so many evangelicals refuse to obey Torah? Isn't that why so many Messianics refuse to be legalistic and drop their talmudism? Because they want to make a good impression and avoid being persecuted for being true to Scripture.
So here we are facing choices, as we do, every day. Paul is telling the Galatians to make tough choices and risk all for Yah'shua. After all, He risked all for us. Paul is begging them to view him as a father and not as an enemy and says right at the end:
"Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Yah'shua" (Gal.6:17, NIV).
That doesn't mean he had stigmata - mystical nail marks appearing on his body like some Catholics claims - it meant that he was being a spiritual, emotional and physical punch-bag for the Galatians in the same way that Yah'shua was, and is, nailed to the cross every time we refuse to obey Torah, to stop playing games to try and impress others in order to please them because of their ungodly traditions. Instead, risk disapproval, rejection, excommunication, persecution and the like for the sake of the Gospel.
Paul was not saying he was abandoning the Galatians or quitting his apostolic mission. He was appealing to them to consider the toll his life had taken because of all the problems these people had brought him. As believers - as disciples - the punch-bag comes with the job, only we're the punch-bag. It's in the job-description, it's in Scripture. Honestly, who wants it? I don't! But love compells us. We may run and hide like Jonah, Peter, Jacob and others from time to time, but the irresistable love of Yah'shua brings us back into the boxing ring. And if we're being like those troublesome Galatians, or Corinthians, or any of the other converts who gave Paul such a headache, we need to realise just what price others are paying for us when we refuse to do what is right. Let us instead pray what Paul prayed in finishing this letter to the Galatians:
"The grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah be with your spirit, brothers. Amen" (Gal.6:18, NIV).
|Glossary of MLT Hebraic, Greek and English Terms |
For other terms and full details please see the Micropedia
AGlossary Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved
Adon(ai) = Master, a pagan fertility god, Adonis; used by many Messianics but not MLT
(a)eon(ian) = 7 dispensation- or age-long time periods, not forever (see le-olam-va-ed)
Alef-Tav = Alpha-Omega, A-Z, first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet = Yah'shua
Amen = truly, let it be so, written Amein by some Messianics
Apocrypha = Hebraic Scriptures not a part of the Protestant canon (e.g. Baruch)
Anti-Messiah = Hebraic term for the end-time Antichrist or anyone opposed to the Messiah
antinomian = lawless Christian who disregards all or part of Torah/commandments
Ashkenazi Jew = East European Jew descended from the Turkic-Japhethite Khazars
Assembly = church, congregation, ekklesia, community, fellowship, koinonia, gathering
Azazel = the Yom Kippur scapegoat
Baal, Ba'al = any other master than Yahweh, usually demonic in MLT terminology
Bachor(im) = firstborn son(s)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah = Son/Daughter of Commandment, covenant to obey Torah at age 12
being = soul, the whole person (spirit and body), e.g. "my whole being"
Beit, bet, beth = house, e.g. Beit Yisrael (House of Israel), Beth Lechem (House of Bread)
Beit haMikdash = Yahweh's Temple in Yerushalayim
B'rit Chadashah = the New Covenant; B'rit Chadashah Scriptures = New Testament
B'rit Milah = circumcision - abolished in the B'rit Chadashah, replaced by Mikvah
canon = authoritative Scripture (Heb. qaneh, Gk. kanŰn = measuring instrument)
Catechumen = a serious, covenanted investigator seeking Mikvah or Baptism in MLT
Chag haMatzah = Feast of Unleavened Bread, second of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Chavurat Bekorot = MLT's Priesthood Order, Holy Order and Assembly of the Firstborn
Cohen = priest; Cohen Gadol = High Priest (also spelled Kohen)
Council of Yah's elohim = the heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn or Chavurat Bekorot
demon = fallen malek or angel in rebellion against Yahweh (Heb. shad; see l-Shaddai)
derech = the Way, Path or Road - Yah'shua and the Gospel are the Way
Drash = moral or homiletic interpretation of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Echad = One, Union of two or more in one (as opposed to Yachid) - see Elohim
Echad Godhead Doctrine = Father Yahweh, Son Yah'shua and Sevenfold Ruach (Mother)
Êl, Eloah, Elah = God the Father, Yahweh
Êl-Elyon = Most High God, Yahweh
Êl-Shaddai = Master/Lord over all shads or demons
Elohim = God, the Godhead (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), lit. 'Mighty One(s)', 'Ruler(s)'
elohim = Israelite judges, rulers, angels or gods (false deities, idols, demons)
emunah = faith, actively trusting, clinging or adhering to (especially Yahweh or Yah'shua)
emet = truth, Yah'shua is the Emet
Ephraimite = descendant of the patriarch Ephraim and head of Messsianic Israel
Feasts of Yahweh = the 7 annual Moedim (Pesach, Chag haMatzah, Yom haBikkurim, Shavu'ot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot)
Gan-Eden = Garden of Eden, Paradise and state of the purified heart in Messiah
goy(im) = nation(s), Israelites or gentiles not born in or converted to the Covenant
hallelu-Yah = praise Yah(weh)!
Heylel = proper name of Satan or haSatan = the Adversary, the devil
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Hochmah = Wisdom, title of the 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
IDL = International Date Line, false man-made time division in Pacific Ocean
IDL Zone = Area between the true Divine Date Line (Lake Van/Eden) and the false one
Israeli = citizen of the modern Edomite-Khazar Republic of Israel (not Biblical Israel)
Israelite = citizen of biblical state of Israel or a modern follower of the Messiah
Jew = post-biblical term describing descendants of Edomite and Khazar converts to Judaism
Johannine = pertaining to the Apostle Yochanan (e.g. Gospel of John)
Josephite = descendant of the patriarch Joseph, the head of Messianic Israel
Judahite = a person in direct descent from the patriarch Judah, forefather of the Messiah
Judaism = a Talmudic-based religion rejecting Yah'shua the Messiah
Judean = a citizen of the Kingdom or Province of Judah until the 2nd Century diaspora
Kadosh la Yahweh = set-apart or dedicated to Yahweh, 'Holiness to the Lord', MLT motto
Karaites = Jews (from 700 AD) who reject the Talmud and accept only the Tanakh
kashrut = keeping kosher, food laws of Yahweh and correspinding lifestyle
Ketuvim = Writings or Hagiographa of the Tanakh
Khazar = a Turkic convert to Judaism ~700 AD forming the Ashkenazi Jewish community
kosher = clean foods authorised by Yahweh for human consumption
Lashon Hara = evil-speaking, gossip or slander
legalism = false route to salvation through works (self-salvation)
le-olam-va-ed = dispensation- or age-long, aeonian, not eternal, forever or for eternity
Lev = heart, as in Lev-Tsiyon = heart of Zion
Lev-Tsiyon = Heart of the Fortress [of Yahweh], Hebrew name of MLT's founder
Master = Lord, Sir, Adon(ai) - (one in authority, a ruler - a king, husband, prophet, judge)
Malak(im) = Angel(s), heavenly supernatural messenger(s)
manna = wafers of honey, bread from heaven (lit. 'what is this?')
matzah = unleavened bread, see Chag haMatzah
Menorah = 7-armed candlearbra = the 7 annual Moedim and 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
Messiah = Christ; Anti-Messiah = Antichrist
Messianic Community = Body of Christ, sum total of all true believers; all true fellowships
Messianic Israel = all who worship Yahweh, trust in Yah'shua, obey Torah and overcome
Messianic Jew = Messianic convert from Judaism still clinging to Talmudic traditions
Midrash = aggadic interpretation of scripture vi‚ Drash, a scriptural discussion
Mikvah = baptism by immersion of convert into Yah'shua or of wife into husband
Mishpachah = family: nuclear, congregational, tribal or the whole of Messianic Israel
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon = family of the heart of the fortress [of Yahweh]
Mishpat = right-ruling or judgement
mitzvah/mitzvot = commandment(s)
moed(im) = appointment(s) of Yahweh, 7 Annual Feasts, Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh
Nefilim, Nephilim = giant offspring of materialised demons and human women
Nevi'im = prophetic writings of the Old Testament or Tanakh
New Birth = spiritual conversion in the Ruach haRishon, being 'born again' with new heart
Nidah = a woman's menstruation period during which no intercourse is permitted
Olive Branch = collection of revelations, prophecies and visions published by MLT
Paraclete = Comforter, Advocate (NEB), Counsellor, Ruach haQodesh (Gk. paraklÍtos)
PaRDeS = method of textual interpretation (homiletics) - see P'shat, Remez, Drash, Sod
Patriarch = a father who is head of his family, clan or tribe (lit. 'father-ruler')
Pentateuch = first five books of the Tanakh (Genesis-Deuteronomy), also called Torah
peribolaion = headcovering worn by daughters/wives in submission to fathers/husbands
Pesach = Passover, first of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Peshitta = an Aramaic version of the Bible
Prototrinitarianism = early, simplified MLT formulation of the Echad Godhead Doctrine
Prush(im) = Pharisee(s)
Pseudepigrapha = Non-canonical Hebrew writings additional to the Apocrypha
P'shat = literal, contextual, philological, exoteric, outer meaning of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Qadosh Qadoshim = Holy of Holies, most sacred set-apart room of the Beit haMikdash
Qodesh, Kodesh = set-apart, holy (see Ruach haQodesh)
Rabbi = Teacher, term used by Messianic Jews and some Messianic Israelites = Pastor
Refuge, the 12 Cities of = divinely protected MLT fortresses during the 7-year Tribulation
Remez = hint or allegorical level of Hebraic understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Rosh Chodesh = monthly New Moon appointment of Yahweh
ruach = spirit of a person (lit.'breath')
Ruach Elohim = Spirit of God (the Spirit of the collective Godhead or Elohim)
Ruach haChamashee = 5th Ruach presides over Yom Teruah and Yom Chamashee
Ruach haQodesh = the Sevenfold Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (lit. 'Set-Apart Breath')
Ruach haRevee = 4th Ruach presides over Shavu'ot, Yom Revee and Bar Mitzvah
Ruach haRishon = 1st Ruach presides over Pesach, Yom Rishon and the New Birth
Ruach haShanee = 2nd Ruach presides over Chag haMatzah and Yom Shanee
Ruach haSheshi = 6th Ruach presides over Yom Kippur and Yom Sheshi
Ruach haShleshi = 3rd Ruach presides over Yom haBikkurim, Yom Shleshi and Mikvah
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Satan = rebel archangel Heylel, father of lies, devil, chief demon (lit.'Adversary')
Sephardic Jew = West European Jew of mixed blood containing many Judahites
Septuagint = Greek translation of the Tanakh, LXX
Shegal haShabbat = 7th Ruach (Sabbath Queen) presides over Sukkot and Yom Shabbat
Shekinah = Divine Presence and Glory of Yahweh-Elohim
Set-apart = holy, sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, separated (to and by Yahweh)
Shabbat-Shabbaton = High Sabbath (e.g. Yom Kippur)
Shalom = heavenly peace, standard Hebraic greeting invoking Yahweh's peace
Shamash(im) = servant(s), deacon(s), attendant(s)
Shavu'ot = Pentecost or Weeks, fourth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Sheol = grave or pit, euphamism for Hades or hell - also see Tartarus
shofar = ram's horn, blown during Yahweh's Moedim
simcha = joy, keynote of Sukkot
Sod = mystical, anagogic, inner or esoteric understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Sukkot = Tabernacles or Booths, seventh of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Synagogue = Greek word used by Jews and Messianics (but not MLT) for a meeting house
talmid(a) = male/female disciple or student
Talmud = scriptures, teachings and commentaries belonging to non-Messianic Judaism
Tanakh = acronym for Old Testament Scriptures - Torah, Nevi'im & Ketuvim
Tartarus = place of imprisonment under the earth for rebellious angels and Nephilim
teshuvah = repentance, remorse and contrition leading back to Torah obedience
Torah = Yahweh's teachings or Law; New Covenant Torah includes Yah'shua's teachings
Tribulation, the Great = the final 7 years of the present aeon when Anti-Messiah rules
Trinity = Catholic Godhead formula - see Echad Godhead Doctrine and Prototrinitarianism
Tsiyon = Zion, a fortress, a name of Jerusalem and a prominent hill
Tzitzit/Tizitziyot = tassel(s) worn by men in remembrance of Torah
Universalism = salvation of all at the cosmic Yovel, with different rewards and punishments
Yachid = one, single person or item, as opposed to Echad (many in one, unity)
Yah'shua the Messiah = Jesus Christ (the Son)
Yahudah = Judah - see Judahite
Yahweh, Yah, YHWH = the true Name of our Heavenly Father, also carried by Yah'shua
Yahweh-Elohim = LORD God (the Father, Yahweh as Head of the Godhead or Elohim)
Yahweh haQatan = the sent Yahweh = Yah(weh)'shua, Malak of Yahweh's Presence
Yam Suf = Sea of Reeds, the true Israelite Exodus water crossing, not the Red Sea
Yarden = Jordan River (lit. 'meanderer')
Yerushalayim = Jerusalem
Yisrael = Israel (lit. 'ruling with l') = true believers under the New Covenant
Yom Chamashee = 5th day of the week (Thursday, Friday in IDL Zone)
Yom Din, Yom haDin = (the) Day of Judgement
Yom haBikkurim = Feast of Firstfruits, third of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Revee = 4th day of the week (Wednesday, Thursday in IDL Zone)
Yom Rishon = 1st day of the week (Sunday, Monday in IDL Zone)
Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, sixth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Shabbat = 7th day of the week and Sabbath Rest (Saturday, Sunday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shanee = 2nd day of the week (Monday, Tuesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Sheshi = 6th day of the week (Friday, Saturday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shleshi = 3rd day of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Teruah = Day of Trumpets, fifth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yosef = Joseph - see Josephite
Yovel = Jubilee or Year of Jubilee
Zaqen(im) = elder(s) of an assembly or congregation, or senior members of a community
ZoŽ Life = Greek term for spiritual life in the Messiah
Commonly Used MLT Abbreviations
For additional abbreviations and explanations,
please see the Micropedia
Amp.V(er). = Amplified Version of the Bible
Aram. = Aramaic
AV = Authorised Version of the Bible - see KJV
BCAY = B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh - see NCCG
BoA = Books of Abraham (e.g. 1Abr., 2Abr., etc.)
cp, cf = compare with
CB(Q) = Chavurat Bekorot
CEV = Contemporary English Version of the Bible
ch. = chapter
CJB = Complete Jewish Bible
CLNT = Concordant Literal New Testament
CYe = Council of Yah's elohim
Eng. = English
ff. = and onwards/forwards
fn = footnote
Gk. = Greek
GNB = Good News Bible - see TEV
Heb. = Hebrew, Hebraic
HEM = Holy Echad Marriage, eternal marriage
HO = Holy Order - see Chavurat Bekorot
HOC = Holy Order Collection of revelations - see OB
HRV = Hebraic-Roots Version of the Bible
ibid. = ibidem (lit. 'in the same place'), referring to a book previously cited
ICJC = Independent Church of Jesus Christ, earlier name of NCCF
ISRV = Institute for Scripture Research Version of the Bible
JB = Jerusalem Bible
JBP/Phillips = J.B.Phillips translation of the New Testament
JNT = Jewish New Testament
KJV = King James Version of the Bible - see AV
LB = Living Bible
lit. = literally or literature
LXX = Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon
Moff. = Moffatt translation of the Bible
MRC = Messianic Renewed Covenant Version of the NT
MS(S) = Manuscript(s)
NASB, NASV = New American Standard Bible/Version
NC&C = New Covenants & Commandments - see OB
NCCF = New Covenant Christian Fellowship, earlier name of NCCG
NCCG = New Covenant Church of God, earlier name of MLT - see BCAY
NCP = New Covenant Press, publishing arm of MLT
NCW = New Covenant Witness, MLT magazine
NEB = New English Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible
NKJV = New King James Version of the Bible
Nor. = Norwegian
NT = New Testament, B'rit Chadashah
NWT = New World Translation of the Bible, unreliable Jehovah's Witness version
OB = Olive Branch - see NC&C
op.cit. = opere citato (lit. in the work cited)
OT = Old Testament, Tanakh
p(p). = page(s)
pl. = plural - see s.
PWNC = Prophetic Words of the New Covenant, revelation cataloging system - see OB
QED = quod erat demonstrandum (lit. which was shown to be proved)
RCF = Restoration Christian Fellowship, earlier name of ICJC
RhQ = Ruach haQodesh, Holy Spirit
RSTNE = Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition of the Bible
RSV = Revised Standard Version of the Bible
RV = Revised Version of the Bible
s. = singular - see pl.
S&G = Smith & Goodspeed Version of the Bible
TEV = Today's English Version of the Bible - see GNB
Vulg. = Biblia Vulgata, Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible
WEB = World English Bible
This page was first created on 19 June 2007
Last updated on 19 June 2007
Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved