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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Understanding Replacement Theology


Understanding Replacement Theology

It may seem a superfluous thing to try to bring an understanding of the life and times of Yeshua Ha'Machiach (Jesus the Messiah); many books have been written, many more will come, so it is not my intention to duplicate or replicate said tomes. What I wish to do is something brief, but profound; something enlightening, but easy to grasp. In my opening sentence is the dichotomy that exists in the study of Messiah: the Hebrew Yeshua versus the Greek Jesus. Now the Holy Spirit [Hence to be called by me the Ruach Ha'Kodesh] preserved for us the name "Iesous" which in Strong's Concordance/Dictionary is said to be of Hebrew origin, a derivative of the Hebrew name [H03091]    Y_howshuwa`,  (pronounced yeh-ho-shoo'-ah) what we in English would say Jehoshua or Joshua. The name Yeshua is derived from this, more closely in the word (H03442) Yeshuwa`, [yay-shoo'-ah]; as in all Hebrew names, the name has a meaning. In the case of Yeshua, it means "he will save". Remember, when you see a name given in the Scriptures, look up the meaning of it, for it will help to explain the context of what you read - the story, the intent of God is found in the names of His people. The former usage of the word, [H03091 Y_howshuwa], is translated or defined as "...something saved, i.e. (abstractly) deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity:--deliverance, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare...", hence when we read of "salvation" in the Tanakh, we are by comparison reading about Messiah, for He is our salvation. Now what does all this mean? There are those who teach that the "old" has been done away with, that the "law" [Better, TORAH, instructions, guidance..] is no longer valid, that we are now "Christians", a separate entity from the Jewish or Hebraic people. This teaching is, well, at best woefully ignorant of Scripture [either through the teachings of man's traditions and/or man's interpretations that fly in the face of solid Biblical exegesis] or there is a more sinister motivation. This motivation may or may not be born of a conscious bias against God's word concerning His chosen people; I can't speak to that, for only Yahoveh knows a man's heart. What we can speak of is the outward manifestation of one's decision to either align themselves on the side of God or the side of Korah: on God's side stand those who obey Moses and have the testimony of the Son; on the other side are those who rebel against God's anointed Moses, and who then just pay lip service to the Son. Does this sound harsh? Do not take my word for it; listen to Yeshua's own words:
Luke 16:29-31 “Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30“And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31“But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ” and again He said in Matthew 15: "...1Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men..." This applies today just as it applied almost 2000 years ago...
How can we as a people not see that the Word of God is plain and sure? In the wilderness, Yeshua defeated the devil with these words:
"... 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God...
7...Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.... 
10...Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him...." [Matt 4:4, 7, 10-11 KJV]

Where did He get these words?

Deuteronomy 8:2-3
2 And thou shalt remember all the way which Jehovah thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or not. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live.

De 6:16 Ye shall not tempt <nacah> the LORD <Y@hovah> your God, <'elohiym> as ye tempted <nacah> him in Massah. <Maccah> (KJV)

Deuteronomy 6:13-14 (NASB95)

13 "...You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.
14 You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you..."

All these words came from the Torah of God, written by Moshe [Moses].  When we take away the Jewishness or the Hebraic understanding of the scriptures, then we are left with a theology that the writers of the Tanakh and the First Century Writings never intended. All of our translations today are not translations at all, but transliterations. In our English bibles we have the English transliteration of a Latin mistranslation of a Greek quotation of a Hebrew text (thank you Daniel Gruber for pointing this out in Copernicus and the Jews...): got that? When we take away the understanding of the power of the Torah and of God's Holy Word, we are left naked and powerless before the onslaught of the enemy of our souls, for we are fighting him on an assumption that is false, a premise that doesn't exist. The Bible is not a "Christian" book; it is Jewish through and through, and its real intent can only be unlocked in that context. Over and over again all throughout the "Church's" history, there has been a move to remove the Jewishness of the text and the identity of the Messiah. Yeshua has had His identity stolen from the people He had created to be a blessing to the world, the ones chosen to present the truth of who Yahoveh was. Consequently, as the "church" moved farther and farther away from its Hebraic roots, error crept into the "transliterations" of the "translations" and the true meaning of scripture was obscured and the Messiah became the "Christ" and we lost His true identity in the shuffle. When we rob Him of who He was, we rob ourselves of the promises of God, for what Jesus do we really serve? One made up of biblical truth, or one made up from a theology and traditions that refuse to recognize Him for who He truly is - a Torah observant, Torah loving Jew who was also the Son of the Living God of all creation. It is important for us to understand this distinction, for Scripture plainly calls Him the "King of the Jews", yet by taking Him out of His natural context, the context of culture and history and genealogy, we have made Him out to be a law-breaker, a blasphemer, a Messiah that the Jewish people could and would never follow unless they can see Him in His rightful identity. O we know of Him, we say He is a Jew, for we sing about the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah", yet we then stop there. We know of Him then; we don't KNOW Him. This is the same situation that the Hebrews found themselves in the wilderness, Ex 33:10-11a:
"... 10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. 11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend..."

They knew of God from afar, each worshiped at his own tent, but Moshe spoke to Him as a friend, face to face, at the Tabernacle, God's dwelling place. I'm not saying that a person who doesn't have the Hebraic perspective is not saved; I have no way of knowing that anyway, for only Yahoveh knows the heart. The fruit of salvation will show out, yet what does it profit us to deny the truth? The Scriptures are not "Christian"! At the time the Apostles wrote their epistles and the Gospels, there was no "Christians"! There was no "church"; there was no debate of "Law vs. Grace". There was no split between Jewish believers and those Gentiles that became "Sons of Abraham" by faith and the shed blood of Messiah; they became "grafted into" the House of Israel, heirs to the promises just as a natural born Israeli. The Apostles never even contemplated a division such as we have today, where one side of believers claim to have "superseded" the other side. They would have looked upon the "church" today and probably declared that we had all gone insane with all this "Grace Good" "Law bad" nonsense. They would be shouting at us if they heard preachers saying "we aren't to be Hebrews but Christians". There were no "Christians" in the early ecclesia! They were Torah observant, Temple praying, sacrifice keeping, Feast observing Jews! And this is what they expected all believers to be like! There would have been no division among them about Scripture; it was the Tanakh, and the Tanakh only that they read, that they studied, that they preached from. Their Gospels and epistles were written to enhance the understanding of Messiah that the Tanakh spoke about; they used the occasions they had to draw deep from the Tanakh to show to other JEWS that Messiah had come, and that they could believe also. This was the 'Good News', that Messiah had come to the Jewish people, that salvation was obtainable, not by national identity, or genealogy, but by His atoning death and resurrection from the dead! Torah was the marker, the road sign to Messiah; after coming by faith, they did not abandon the Torah, but embraced it with a new vigor, a clearer understanding of what it truly meant apart from the traditions of the elders; they could now walk freely in the renewed covenant, having the Words of God written upon their hearts by the Ruach Ha'Kodesh, and no longer on tablets of stone.. The location changed, not the Torah. Their understanding was opened, not closed, Torah was Holy; they called their Messiah the Ha'Torah, the Living Torah. They recognized His authority to tell them how to correctly interpret the Word, and how to teach it to all men [hence the epistles and the Gospels that would further enrich the progressive revelations of God] so that no longer could satan hold men back from the things of God because of tradition, but all could now come and worship in Spirit and in Truth upon the Holy Mountain of God.

            So here we are, almost 2000 years since Messiah's death and resurrection, and we still don't collectively as body really KNOW Him. Countless books and commentaries and explanations have been written of Him, yet the answer is right before our eyes if we would so choose to look. We have replaced the Hebrew Yeshua with the Greek Jesus and wonder why here in the last days that we can see no power, no victories as a corporate body. We are fractured into 20,000 plus denominations; there are at last count over 450 different versions of the English translation of the Bible [contrast that to the Jewish Tanakh - there is only one version; many commentaries, but worldwide the Hebrew Scriptures consist of only one version, no matter where in the world you are. The only other rendering of the Hebrew Scriptures is the Greek language version called the Septuagint...]. As in Judaism, there are factions, such as liberal, reformed, orthodox, conservative etc; we in the west seem unable to be Bereans, searching for the answers ourselves, instead relying upon who ever stands behind the pulpit to give us "our daily bread" instead of letting God's word feed us. We have taken a subset of the Jewish religion and turned it into an institution in Europe and made it into a "for-non-profit" business in America. Over and over the "church" is rocked by scandals involving high profile pastors and preachers, from money scams to sexual misconduct and many flee the institution because of what they perceive as a lack of binding truth being taught. We hear about our best life now, instead of the eternal one to come; sin is brushed aside and love is all that is spoken of, and the hard questions of eternal damnation and judgment go unanswered. Mega congregations spring up, with all the ministries you could want contained within the fortress like walls of massive auditoriums and chapels, but the lost remain outside the sphere of influence because they just don't fit the image the leadership wants to portray. Truth is watered down or just ignored completely, as "seeker" friendly preaching is the norm rather than the exception. Those that do choose to speak the truth concerning social issues of the day face an ever increasing vocal attack from the opponents on the side of darkness, and the real threat of legal retaliation. "Non-profits" are scrutinized by the government, and can find themselves in deep trouble due to the fact that they owe their "corporate status" to a governing regulatory agency instead of God. All the while the "church" goes on, blindly following the traditions of men who in the past sought to distance themselves from the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob because they did not like being associated with those "Jews". Century after century of error has piled on, becoming cemented into the very fabric of faith that is no faith at all for it is built upon the falsehoods and mistranslations of biased teachers and never questioned as to whether it was right or not. Comfortable in its own arrogance the "church" has defied reform and basically kept to its own path, the broad way that leadeth toward destruction while the narrow path that leads to life continues to be dismissed and forgotten. I know these words sound harsh, but I say to you they are spoken in love for I want nothing more than what the Father wants, and that is for us to return, to turn back to Him and His Son, to see things in His light and His perspective, to unite behind a paradoxical shift of one complete book that will forever alter our lives for the good, and if we can shift our focus this way, it'll be the shot heard around the world and the gates of hell truly won't be able to withstand it. Our choices are stark and clear; continue in the folly of false teaching, or reach out and restore the ancient paths, set back up the boundary stones and raise up on high the True Messiah, Yeshua Ha'Machiach, and take our place on the side of Moshe, leaving Korah to his fate. We are either on the side of replacement or replenishment, life or death. What will you choose?

Till next time, may Yahoveh richly bless you my beloved...