Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Faith of Job: Faith Intact

…The Faith of Job…
Job 1:1-12
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. And that man was perfect and upright, and one who feared God and turned aside from evil.  (2)  And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters.  (3)  And his possessions were seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household, so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.  (4)  And his sons went and feasted in the house of each one on his day. And they sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.  (5)  And when they had gone around the day of feasting, Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. So Job did always. 
(6)  And a day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah. And Satan also came among them. 
(7)  And Jehovah said to Satan, From where do you come? Then Satan answered Jehovah and said,
From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 
(8)  And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you set your heart against My servant Job, because there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil? 
(9)  And Satan answered Jehovah and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? 
(10)  Have You not made a hedge around him, and around his house, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock have increased in the land. 
(11)  But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face. 
(12)  And Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power. Only do not lay your hand upon him. And Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah.[1]

            There is a place in which all of us should have to wander, a place, a time, a season of disquiet, of trial and testing. Call it the fire, the crucible, the cauldron; call it by any name you want, but the result is the same: you will be tried; you will be shaken. This is the place, as J. Vernon McGee was famous to say, “this is where the rubber meets the road”.
            Carl Jung , noted psychologist, once wrote “Is it worth the lion’s while to terrify the mouse?” This line aptly describes the prologue of the story of Job. Job, is a hard read. It is the oldest book of the Bible, estimated to have been written 1500 years earlier than the Torah of Moshe. To most contemporary theologians and scholars, the book of Job (to them) represents that grand struggle of how to answer the age old question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” It, they also muse, speaks to the divine justice of God and how He always balances out things for believers in the end. Now, I have expounded on the theme that Yahvey is a God of just weights and scales. We can see this in various Scriptures:  Pro_16:11, Pro_20:10, Pro_20:23; Lev_19:35-36; Deu_25:13-16; Hos_12:7; Amo_8:5-6; Mic_6:10-11.
            But truly what does that mean? It is not necessarily so that Yahvey will give measure for measure; For what will Yahvey give to a man who has lost his arm or leg? Will He grow the limb back?  (He could…) What of the one who has lost their sight? Will new eyes grow in their head? (They might…) No, it cannot be a measure for measure, but more the concept of integrity, of honesty. Surely you can have honest scales without God, but without honesty and integrity you cannot have God at all; He will not inhabit such a place. Let me clarify this statement a bit: (excuse me while I jump down a rabbit trail….). There are a lot of places out there that say they are “Christian”, or let us be a bit more generic “faith based”… The work that they do is supposed to be in line with the religious principles, but we all know that isn’t always true. Their honesty and integrity is lacking, yet surprisingly, good things do happen. The caveat is this: just because God uses a place doesn’t mean He’s in that place. Sometimes, men and women go into these organizations and soon realize that they aren’t quite what they’ve said they were, but in spite of the facilities shortcomings, God shows up and works miracles in the individual’s life. This is the testimony to God’s greatness, not an organization. I say this to put things in perspective. Now, back to our narrative..
            Yahvey does not necessarily balance out all scales this side of eternity. Bad things happen to good people; horrible things happen to God’s people. Sometimes there just isn’t any assurance to a person that God will deliver them from their situation. Many God fearing people have suffered and died as a result of lingering illness or disease. Some have tragically been the victims of violence, rape, murder. All of this begs the question “Where were You God?” and the answer to that question is elusive, and might just not be able to be answered at all.
            And then there are those who, when these tragedies strike, come out of the wood work with all of their favorite pet theories:
1.    You must of sinned and God is punishing you (chastising you, correcting you, just fill in that blank…)
2.    Oh no, it wasn’t God that brought this upon you, it’s satan!
3.    Uhh, well, maybe it was God, He’s making you suffer for His glory…
4.    Ummm, nope, it’s neither God nor the devil, you just ran into a spat of bad luck there.. wrong place at the wrong time…[2]
Where do these “theories” leave the hurting souls they encounter? Usually disappointed with God. For when we struggle, when we hurt, we all want answers as to why this happened, and we want someone to blame. That is just our human nature. Philip Yancey writes:
“…The problem of pain is not one you can neatly solve then file away… We are born slathered in blood and bodily fluids, amid tears and cries of pain; we die in like manner; and in between birth and death we ask, Why?...”[3]
            Job is almost universally looked upon as a book of suffering, and taken on its face value, this is a truthful assessment, yet if we look at it from un-jaded eyes, with the hope that we can find some new insights and not just deal with the suffering, a quite different theme evolves. Actually, there are two major themes in Job that tie in with one another that bring about the over-riding idea of Job.
            The first theme is found in chapters 1 and 2 of Job: a glimpse of the supernatural that takes place every day around us. Here is the conflict that John speaks of in the Book of Revelation:
Rev 12:7-10
And there was war in Heaven. Michael and his angels warring against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels warred,  (8)  but did not prevail. Nor was place found for them in Heaven any more(9)  And the great dragon was cast out, the old serpent called Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  (10)  And I heard a great voice saying in Heaven, Now has come the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.[4]

It is also what Peter spoke of:
1Pe 5:8-9
Be sober, vigilant, because your opponent the devil, as a roaring lion, doth walk about, seeking whom he may swallow up,
(9)  whom resist, stedfast in the faith, having known the same sufferings to your brotherhood in the world to be accomplished.

This warfare has affected every soul who has ever lived on this planet, up to today. Have the events in Revelation 12:9 occurred yet? According to the Word, the answer is no; so the accuser is still in the heavenlies, accusing the brethren day and night…

            The idea that a “good” God wouldn’t allow suffering in His people has been the mainstay of Christian theology since the 19th century. Just as Job’s friends argue this point with him from chapter 3 through 37, theologists have argued this point for the last 2 to 3 centuries. We lean heavily on what Paul spoke:

Rom 8:28
And we have known that to those loving God all things do work together for good, to those who are called according to purpose;
And what was said again in:

Mar 10:27
And Jesus, having looked upon them, saith, `With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.'

Mar 11:24
Because of this I say to you, all whatever--praying--ye do ask, believe that ye receive, and it shall be to you.

But what if “all things” turned out to be not quite what you and I believe them to be? The prevailing idea is that God has to follow certain rules here on earth that says He needs or has to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. Tell this to the believer that is lying in the hospital dying of cancer, or the believing parents whose only child was struck and killed by a drunk driver… Ask the Jewish survivor of the Holocaust what he or she thinks of this. The list goes on and on.

So what is really going on? The story is older than Job, older than Adam, it goes back to the creation of the one spoken of in Isaiah:

Isa 14:12-17
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  (13)  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  (14)  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  (15)  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.  (16)  They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;  (17)  That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?[5]

This war shakes all of creation, waiting for the Son of Man to conquer all his enemies and place them under His feet. Till then, the true test of Job is revealed; the battle is for our faith, our trust, our belief, our commitment to the Word of God. The cosmic drama that is played out in heaven day and night becomes each man or woman’s personal drama here on this earth.
Just as a cake in the sum total of all its ingredients, so is this faith that we claim to walk in. Most, I dare say, just toss the word about and do not really understand exactly what it is they claim to have. Most of us don’t even have mustard seed faith; when was the last time you moved a mountain?  
The author of Job reveals the conflict in the beginning of the book; it is the response of Job that will take up the remaining chapters through chapter 37. Yet, strangely, this story written, by most guesses almost 5000 years ago, is our story. How many of us have cried out to God “This isn’t fair! I’ve done everything you’ve asked! Why me?” How many tears have been shed in trying to make sense of a tragedy? How much suffering have we seen and no answer or explanation falls into the realm of reason. Such was Job’s complaint, such is ours. Contrast this with one who knew he had done wrong:
Luke 23:38-43
And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew,
(39)  And one of the hanged criminals blasphemed Him, saying, If you are Christ, save Yourself and us. 
(40)  But answering, the other rebuked him, saying,
Do you not fear God, since you are in the same condemnation. 
(41)  And we indeed justly so, for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this Man has done nothing amiss.
(42)  And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.  
(43)  And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.

Faith. All we are, all we believe hangs upon this word and its proper understanding. I’ve told you before what faith truly is; it is the trusting, believing and committing wholly unto the Word of God, the Risen Word. Let us explore what each of these mean.
What is trust? The word  translated as “trust” is first found in the Bible in Judges 9:15(KJV) and is the word: H2620 חָסָה chacah (khaw-saw') v. meaning “…1. to flee for protection 2. (figuratively) to confide in [a primitive root] KJV: have hope, make refuge, (put) trust…” [6] It comes from the root word:
Original: בּטח
- Transliteration: Batach
- Phonetic: baw-takh'
- Definition: 
1.  to trust   
a.  (Qal)   
1.  to trust, trust in  
2.  to have confidence, be confident  
3.  to be bold  
4.  to be secure   
b.  (Hiphil)   
1.  to cause to trust, make secure   
2.  (TWOT) to feel safe, be careless
- Origin: a primitive root
- TWOT entry: 233
- Part(s) of speech: Verb [7]

  In the Messianic Writings, it is first translated as “trust” in Matt 12:21; the original language word is:
G1679 ἐλπίζω elpizo (el-pid'-zo) v.
1. to expect or confide
[from G1680]
KJV: (have, thing) hope(-d) (for), trust
Root(s): G1680 [8]

Which comes from the word:
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis (el-pece') n.
1. expectation
2. (abstractly or concretely) confidence
[from a primary elpo "to anticipate, usually with pleasure"]
KJV: faith, hope [9]

In the King James Version, Judges 9:15 reads as such:
Jdg 9:15  And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

But in Young’s Literal translation it reads:
Jdg 9:15  And the bramble saith unto the trees, If in truth ye are anointing me for king over you, come, take refuge in my shadow; and if not--fire cometh out from the bramble, and devoureth the cedars of Lebanon.

Matt 12:21- King James:
Mat 12:21  And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

Mat 12:21  and in his name shall nations hope.'

 So what’s the point you ask? Trust is not “Oh I believe You are going to take care of me, I trust You…”; trust is “I need shelter Father, I need refuge, I need a place I can run to…” By mixing the old with the new, we can see that “trust in God” is an expectation of safety. Is that trust violated by a tragedy, or if something horrendous happens? No… it is in these times that we need that expectation of safety even greater than in times of quiet and peace.
Next, belief… What is it? In his book “Fossilized Customs” Lew White writes:
“…BELIEF A mental act or habit of placing trust or confidence in an opinion, or the acceptance of something as true or real. To expect or suppose. When something believed-in is exposed as being false, a reaction is aroused. How an individual reacts depends on how well-equipped they are, and the degree to which they want to believe the falsehood. Dresden James wrote “A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over  generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous, and its speaker a raving lunatic”….” [10]

What is belief? In its simplest understanding it is becoming convinced that something is true. Scripture speak of this :
Rom 4:16-22
Therefore it is of faith so that it might be according to grace; for the promise to be made sure to all the seed, not only to that which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all  (17)  (as it has been written, "I have made you a father of many nations") --before God, whom he believed, who makes the dead live, and calls the things which do not exist as though they do exist.  (18)  For he who beyond hope believed on hope for him to become the father of many nations (according to that which was spoken, "So your seed shall be").  (19)  And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body already dead (being about a hundred years old) or the deadening of Sarah's womb.  (20)  He did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God,  (21)  and being fully persuaded that what God had promised, He was also able to perform.  (22)  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

“…being fully persuaded…” Convinced.  All who believe must walk out our belief; we learn to walk through our unbelief. We have to be convinced, fully and totally in our minds that Yeshua is God and what He has said, He will accomplish..

Rom 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  (36)  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  (37)  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  (38)  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  (39)  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word used for “persuaded” in the Greek is the word G3982 πείθω peithō pi'-tho defined in Strong’s as:
“…A primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): - agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) content, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield…”[11]

Thayer defines it as:

Thayer Definition:
“…1) persuade
1a) to persuade, i.e. to induce one by words to believe
1b) to make friends of, to win one’s favour, gain one’s good will, or to seek to win one, strive to please one
1c) to tranquillise
1d) to persuade unto, i.e. move or induce one to persuasion to do something
2) be persuaded
2a) to be persuaded, to suffer one’s self to be persuaded; to be induced to believe: to have faith: in a thing
2a1) to believe
2a2) to be persuaded of a thing concerning a person
2b) to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with
3) to trust, have confidence, be confident…” [12]

Note the highlighted section in Thayer’s definition; belief then, the act of being persuaded or convinced, ties in with our third description of faith – commitment.

What is commitment to the Word of God? Isn’t it nothing more than being willing to obey? What does the word say:
[ Note: I’ll give you a lot of Scripture here; please read it in context…]

From the Tanakah:
1Sa 15:22  And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Exo 19:5-6  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:  (6)  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Exo 23:20-22  Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.  (21)  Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.  (22)  But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.

Deu 11:26-28  Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;  (27)  A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:  (28)  And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

 From the Messianic Writings:

Rom 6:16-17 KJV  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness(17)  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

2Co 10:4-6 MKJV  For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,  (5)  pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ(6)  and having readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Heb 5:7-10 MKJV  For Jesus, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong cryings and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared,  (8)  though being a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered(9)  And being perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him,  (10)  being called by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek;

            And here is where we draw the matter all together; “…yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered…” Here, this is faith; trust, belief, commitment. He trusted God; He believed God, He committed Himself to the Work of God through the Word of God, so that all Scripture might be fulfilled, Php 2:8 MKJV  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

What usually happens though?

There is a famous cartoon, that shows three monkeys holding there hands over their ears, eyes and mouth; we all know it :
"Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil"

Change this around and you'll see a different picture:

"Hear no Torah, See no Torah, Speak no Torah"

We as a body have become Torahphobic.

And unfortunately, like the monkeys, most won’t obey.

            Faith is perfected in suffering; Job would come to learn this. That message would be repeated in the Torah:

Deu 8:1-3 The Scriptures 1998+  (1)  “Guard to do every command which I command you today, that you might live, and shall increase, and go in, and shall possess the land of which יהוה [YHVH] swore to your fathers.  (2)  “And you shall remember that יהוה [YHVH] your Elohim led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, prove you, to know what is in your heart, whether you guard His commands or not.  (3)  “And He humbled you, and let you suffer hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, to make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of  [YHVH] יהוה[13].

Deu 8:1-3 KJV  All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.  (2)  And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.  (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 every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

To have faith is to trust in something or someone, to believe in that something or someone and to commit to what it is that something or someone expects of you. James is a book of faith; Job is a book of faith.  James says :
Jas 1:22-25 KJV  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  (23)  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  (24)  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  (25)  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Jas 2:14  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

Jas 2:17-20 KJV  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  (18)  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  (19)  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  (20)  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James is not a book about how to be made forensically righteous; it is about how to live your faith in a practical manner. To just say “I believe” has no practical value. Obedience is the key. Job is a book about how that obedience, that faith is tested and tried by God. Sometimes suffering is the tool He uses.

If you knew the answer to the question “Why do good people suffer?” how would it affect you? If you had an understanding of every bad thing that occurred, what would it do to your perspective? If suffering was explainable, what would happen?

I dare say the answer to these questions would surprise you. We would accept suffer if we understood it, and that would make us just a bit less compassionate, a bit less prone to help, it would alter our perspective enough that we would walk by… Don’t believe me? How many people notice the homeless person on the street? How many of us dig into our wallet at that intersection and give the panhandler a dollar? How many of us turn away from the cries at night, the tears, the pleas for help? How many change the channel rather than be stirred by images of starving children? How many say “There is nothing I can do..”
Jas 2:15-16 KJV  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  (16)  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

What is easier, to help those that suffer, or say “…Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled…”? When you suffer, who comes? Who helps? Does not the suffering you have experienced make you more likely to reach out than not? There are no easy or comfortable answers to these questions. You either feel the compassion and are moved by it or you are not. Doesn’t make you a bad person, means we just all have more to learn about the compassion of Christ…

Here is the fire of faith:
Mar 4:35-41
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.  (36)  And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 
(37)  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 
(38)  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 
(39)  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 
(40)  And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 
(41)  And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?[14]

So in the crucible of the trial is our faith tried. Like Job, how we respond may change the world; no, let me correct that. How we respond will change the world. The twelve turned it upside down, or right side up, depending on your point of view. Their faith was born in the suffering of Messiah, and perfected in the fire of persecution and their own deaths, yet they loved Him more than life, and held on to spread the good news of salvation. Day and night the accuser rails against the brethren, and day and night the Father allows them to be tried and tested. In the unknown agony of tragedy, someone cries out to God, either in pain, anger, or humble submission. Here their faith or lack of it is tested; here they cry out either “…Master, carest thou not that we perish?…” or as Job:

“…Job 13:15-16 KJV…”
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 
(16)  He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.

In the cosmic realm you and I are but bits of dust; but the test of our faith shakes the heavens and if we hold on, will shame the devil. The friends of Job, Bildad, Eliphaz, Zophar and Elihu, all believed in a God that rewarded good for good, and evil for evil. They were seeing in the dark; just like most believers today.  They acted as if God needed them to defend Himself against the railings of Job, things like:

Job 7:19-21 MKJV  Until when will You look away from me, nor let me alone until I swallow down my spittle?  (20)  I have sinned. What shall I do to You, O Watcher of men? Why have You set me as a target for You, so that I am a burden to myself?  (21)  And why do You not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? For now I shall sleep in the dust, and You shall seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.

Job 10:18-22 MKJV  Why then have You brought me from the womb? Oh that I had given up the spirit, and no eye had seen me!  (19)  I should have been as though I had not been; I would have been carried from the womb to the grave.  (20)  Are not my days few? Cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,  (21)  before I go, and I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;  (22)  a land of obscurity, the darkness of the shadow of death, without any order, and the shining is as darkness.

Job 16:9  His anger has torn and hated me; He gnashes on me with His teeth…

The answer to this is to go back to Job 13:15. No matter what Job goes through, he does not give up on God. The cosmic wager between God and satan is finished when Job refuses to deny God. He may be angry and perplexed, but he shrinks not from his faith that God will one day justify him again. The parallel to this is found in the Messianic Writings:

2Co 4:7-10 KJV  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  (8)  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  (9)  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  (10)  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Is there suffering without meaning? Does God simply step aside and let the enemy rage, kill and destroy at whim, with no aim in sight? I cannot answer this in all assuredness, yet this I can say as a man: all the ills and misfortunes of the world demand a response: we either curse or we humble ourselves before that which we understand not. How we respond will change the world. We either give satan a victory or we snatch it from his evil hands and give the crown to Yeshua. Either the blood of Messiah is sufficient or it isn’t. That is the true issue at stake in all suffering, in every test of faith. We are being trained for the day when the storm hits and we can lay our heads down, knowing that He is with us, even if He is sleeping in the back of the boat. One day our faith may demand our lives; where will you stand?
We live now in peace, though we may not die that way. May we finish well, though, our faith as Job’s, faith intact.

May God richly bless you my beloved

[1] Modern King James Version, electronic edition, eSword ver 10.1.0, ©Rick Myers, 2000-2012
[2] Concepts adapted from Philip Yancey’s “The Bible Jesus Read”,  ©1999, Zondervan Publishing House, pg 45, with editing by David Robinson; All glory to Yahvey for His leading, and thanks and credit to Mr. Yancey for his insight.
[3] “The Bible Jesus Read”, by Philip Yancey ©1999, Zondervan Publishing House, pg 46
[4]  King James Version, electronic edition, eSword ver 10.1.0, ©Rick Myers, 2000-2012
[5] King James Version, electronic edition, eSword ver 10.1.0, ©Rick Myers, 2000-2012
[6] Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries, Copyright © Jonathan K. Mickelson 2005, 2008 All Rights Reserved.
[7] Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries, Copyright © Jonathan K. Mickelson 2005, 2008 All Rights Reserved.
[8] …Ibid…
[9] …Ibid…
[10] Fossilized Customs: The Pagan Sources of Popular Customs, by Lew White STRAWBERRY ISLANDS MESSIANIC PUBLISHING, Sixth Edition
[11] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, by James Strong, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, v. 10.1.0,  copyright ©2000-2012 by Rick Myers
[12] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company 
[13] 1Messiah quotes this in Mt. 4:4 and in Lk. 4:4.
[14] King James Version, electronic edition, eSword ver 10.1.0, ©Rick Myers, 2000-2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012



1 John 2:1-6 (NASB95)

1     aMy little children, I am bwriting these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, cwe have an 1dAdvocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
2     and He Himself is athe 1propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also bfor those of the whole world.
3     aBy this we know that we have come to bknow Him, if we ckeep His commandments.
4     The one who says, “aI have come to bknow Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a cliar, and dthe truth is not in him;
5     but whoever akeeps His word, in him the blove of God has truly been perfected. cBy this we know that we are in Him:
     6     the one who says he aabides in Him bought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. [1]

We begin our study today looking at definitions. There is a reason for this; we need to set and define terms before we get into the heart of our study, for it behooves[2] us to be thinking along the same lines. What am I talking about?  Halakha.  We see by the passage above taken from 1John in the Testimony of Yeshua[3] that John says we “…bought … to walk in the same manner as He walked…” This is Halakha. The word halakha comes from the Hebrew word (Strong’s H1980) הָלַךְ [halak /haw·lak/] which has the meaning:

“…A verb meaning to go, to come, to walk. This common word carries with it the basic idea of movement: the flowing of a river (Gen. 2:14); the descending of floods (Gen. 8:3); the crawling of beasts (Lev. 11:27); the slithering of snakes (Lev. 11:42); the blowing of the wind (Eccl. 1:6); the tossing of the sea (Jon. 1:13). Since it is usually a person who is moving, it is frequently translated “walk” (Gen. 48:15; 2 Sam. 15:30). Like a similar verb dāraḵ (1869), meaning to tread, this word is also used metaphorically to speak of the pathways (i.e., behavior) of one’s life. A son could walk in (i.e., follow after) the ways of his father (2 Chr. 17:3) or not (1 Sam. 8:3). Israel was commanded to walk in the ways of the Lord (Deut. 28:9), but they often walked after other gods (2 Kgs. 13:11)…”[4]

In Judaism it is described as follows:

“…What is Halakhah[5]? 

Judaism is not just a set of beliefs about G-d, man and the universe. Judaism is a comprehensive way of life, filled with rules and practices that affect every aspect of life: what you do when you wake up in the morning, what you can and cannot eat, what you can and cannot wear, how to groom yourself, how to conduct business, who you can marry, how to observe the holidays and Shabbat, and perhaps most important, how to treat G-d, other people, and animals. This set of rules and practices is known as halakhah.
The word "halakhah" is usually translated as "Jewish Law," although a more literal (and more appropriate) translation might be "the path that one walks." The word is derived from the Hebrew root Hei-Lamed-Kaf, meaning to go, to walk or to travel.
Some non-Jews and non-observant Jews criticize this legalistic aspect of traditional Judaism, saying that it reduces the religion to a set of rituals devoid of spirituality. While there are certainly some Jews who observe halakhah in this way, that is not the intention of halakhah, and it is not even the correct way to observe halakhah…” [6]

The highlighted section above is the context in which we will visit today, the description of halakha being “the path that one walks”.   As noted above, halakha can be lumped into one large category called “Jewish Law” but this designation reduces it to form and function, not what it truly is: the way to go, the path one takes in life. While there are many different ways to look at halakha, such as the traditions of the oral Torah or of the Rabbis, it must be said it is simply Yahoveh’s instructions to us that tell us how to live life from the moment we rise till we lay down again. This is the Torah of God.  What happened to the religion of God in the Messiah’s time is no different from what has occurred in our day; men deciding for themselves (even if good intentioned) what it was God wants from us instead of letting God tell us Himself.

There are two sets of commandments that Father Yahvey wants us to follow:
·         ben adam l’Makom: Those that deal with relating to God
·         ben adam l’chavero: Those that deal with relating to man

o   These sets of “commandments” or “taryag mitzvot” comprise the 613 mitzvot found in the Torah of Moshe [the five books of Moses] “…as developed through discussion and debate in the classical rabbinic literature, especially the Mishnah and the Talmud (the Oral Law)…” [7]

It has to be said that those mitzvoth [commandments] relating to how we deal with one another often carry more severe consequences when violated as they require forgiveness from both those offended as well as God.

There are positive as well as negative mitzvoth.
·         The Positive ones brings one closer to God
·         The Negative, when violated, create a distance between us and Him (i.e. one example: “Thou shalt not steal”)

For believers, the “Testimony of Yeshua Ha’Machiach” is our halakha – developed for us by the Apostles based upon what Messiah had taught them (the “Torat Yeshua”) [8]. This is no different from the Torah given to Moses, for Yeshua was a Torah observant Jew; He also had to of kept all the requirements of Torah, including not breaking any “instructions”, statues or ordinances to be the sinless One that took away the sins of the world, for John tells us in 1 John 3:4-5:

 “…Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah.
You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him…” [9]

By the authority of Messiah, the Apostles had the right to “bind and loose”: Matthew 16:19 (NASB95)

19     “I will give you athe keys of the kingdom of heaven; and bwhatever you bind on earth 1shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth 2shall have been loosed in heaven.” [10]

but to understand what this means you have to understand “Bind and loose” from a Hebraic perspective. David Bivin, a member of the Jerusalem School, explains:

“…The Hebrew words for "bind" and "loose," אסר (asar) and התיר (hitir), each appear with more than one meaning in the Hebrew Bible. "Bind" can mean "tie" as in Judges 15:12 and 16:11; "imprison" as in 2 Kings 17:4; "hitch" (a cart, wagon or chariot) as in Genesis 46:29; and "tether" as in Genesis 49:11; while hitir can be the exact opposite of asar in each of these senses.
By the time of Jesus, asar had acquired the additional meaning "forbid," and its antonym hitir had acquired the meaning "permit." These are the meanings most often found in rabbinic literature...” [11]

With heaven as a witness, and with the Torah as their backdrop, the Apostles were able to make rulings on what was forbidden by the teachings of Yeshua and what was permitted. What they did was essentially  the rendering of a decision on how to apply Torah depending upon the circumstances and based upon what Yeshua had taught, and Yeshua’s teaching were based upon Scripture [as written in the Tanakh). Acts chapter 15 is a good example of this rendering.

Let us look at Scripture:
Acts 15:1-21 (NASB95)
    1     aSome men came down from Judea and began teaching bthe brethren, “Unless you are ccircumcised according to dthe custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
     2     And when Paul and Barnabas had 1great dissension and adebate with them, bthe brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the capostles and elders concerning this issue.
     3     Therefore, being asent on their way by the church, they were passing through both bPhoenicia and Samaria, cdescribing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all dthe brethren.
     4     When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and athe apostles and the elders, and they breported all that God had done with them.
     5     But some of athe sect of the bPharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to ccircumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”
     6     aThe apostles and the elders came together to 1look into this 2matter.
     7     After there had been much adebate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that 1in the early days bGod made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of cthe gospel and believe.
     8     “And God, awho knows the heart, testified to them bgiving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us;
     9     and aHe made no distinction between us and them, bcleansing their hearts by faith.
     10     “Now therefore why do you aput God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which bneither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
     11     “But we believe that we are saved through athe grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”
     12     All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were arelating what bsigns and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
     13     After they had stopped speaking, 1aJames answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me.
     14     aSimeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.
     15     “With this the words of athe Prophets agree, just as it is written,
     16     aAfter these things bI will return,
And I will rebuild the 1tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
     17     aSo that the rest of 1mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles 2bwho are called by My name,’
     18     aSays the Lord, who 1bmakes these things known from long ago.
     19     “Therefore it is amy judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,
     20     but that we write to them that they abstain from 1athings contaminated by idols and from bfornication and from cwhat is strangled and from blood.
20     “For aMoses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since 1he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” [12]

Let us dissect this:

1     aSome men came down from Judea and began teaching bthe brethren, “Unless you are ccircumcised according to dthe custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Here is the whole issue that Rav Sha’ul[13] would spend the rest of his life and duty as an Apostle combating: that something other than the shed blood of Yeshua had to be added to accomplish salvation. We can see this same struggle in the book of Galatians. The ones called by Sha’ul “the Judaizers[14]” were in truth believers. They were either natural born Jews or those who had gone through the proselyte rituals to become a citizen of Israel. The common or excepted teaching of the day was that only Jews could find eternal salvation, hence their belief that the Gentile believers had to follow the identification rituals that would make them “Jews”.

Verses 2-4: Sha’ul and Bar-Nabba (Barnabas) disagreed with this faction and brought the matter to attention of the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem, and vs. 4 states that “…they were received by the church and athe apostles and the elders, and they breported all that God had done with them…”

     5     But some of athe sect of the bPharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to ccircumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”

Here we see something that is a bit of a dilemma for some in various Christian circles: Pharisees who believe in Yeshua Ha’Machiach. This verse and Acts 6:7 and 21:17 are problematic in the fact they mention the Pharisees and Jews who believed in Messiah.

Acts 6:7 (NASB95)
7     aThe word of God kept on spreading; and bthe number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to cthe faith. [15]
Acts 21:20 (NASB95)
20     And when they heard it they began aglorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many 1thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all bzealous for the Law; [16]

I say this is problematic in the sense that many deny that the Jews followed Yeshua. All to often we hear that ALL Isra’el rejected the Messiah, and this just isn’t true. The rise of the worship of Yeshua as Savior and Messiah could not have happened with only a handful of believers. It would take a large contingency of like minded people to shake and upset the status-quo to the extend the Apostles and disciples of them did; indeed as it was declared in Acts 17:6: “…These that have turned the world upside down…” [17] Indeed they did. What troubles them even more today is the fact that they (the 1st century believers) were for the most part all Jews and all “zealous for the Torah”. 

Now on to Sha’ul’s problem, the claim by some of the Pharisees that “… “It is necessary to ccircumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”…” After much debate, Peter took the floor (starting in vs. 7) and spoke to this subject. Avram Yehoshua of The Seed of Abraham states it this way:

“…The Council met because some believing Pharisees wanted to make Jews of the Gentiles and attach the Law to faith in Yeshua through circumcision (Acts 15:1, 5). In other words, they would say that salvation or entry into the Kingdom of Yeshua consisted of faith in Yeshua plus the keeping of the Law (symbolized in circumcision). Of course, they would have thought that for themselves, also. They hadn’t realized what the Blood of the Lamb was all about concerning entry into, and continuance within, the Kingdom of the Son. This is what Peter was addressing. He wasn’t speak­ing against the Law. He was coming against the Law being added to faith in Jesus for salvation.
This was a new concept for those believing Pharisees and for most everyone else there. That’s why the Council convened. The congregation in Antioch wanted to know what was required for Gentile salvation. In a very real sense it was logical for the believing Pharisees to think that way—Gentiles became part of Israel before Messiah Yeshua by being cir­cumcised (Ex. 12:48) and keeping the Law (Ex. 12:49; Lev. 19:34; 24:22, etc.), but this was the New Covenant and a new way of entering into it...” [18]

This was a new concept for those believing Pharisees and for most everyone else there.” And here we have the beginning of a new halakha, a new way to go.

10     “Now therefore why do you aput God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which bneither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

Before we go on much further, we need to address this verse, one of the most misunderstood in the Testimony of Yeshua.  What is this “yoke” Peter is speaking of?

What is the traditional Christian rendering of this verse?

“…To put a yoke - That which would be burdensome and oppressive, or which would infringe on their just freedom as the children of God. It is called in Gal_5:1, “a yoke of bondage.” Compare the notes on Mat_23:4. A “yoke” is an emblem of slavery or bondage 1Ti_6:1; or of affliction Lam_3:27; or of punishment Lam_1:14; or of oppressive and burdensome ceremonies, as in this place, or of the restraints of Christianity, Mat_11:29-30. In this place those rites are called a yoke, because:
(1) They were burdensome and oppressive; and,
(2) Because they would be an infringement of Christian freedom. One design of the gospel was to set people free from such rites and ceremonies.
Which neither our fathers ... - Which have been found burdensome at all times. They were expensive, and painful, and oppressive; and as they had been found to be so, it was not proper to impose them on the Gentile converts, but should rather rejoice at any evidence that the people of God might be delivered from them.
Were able to bear - Which are found to be oppressive and burdensome. They were attended with great inconvenience and many transgressions, as the consequence…” [19]
“…to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, etc. — He that was circumcised became thereby bound to keep the whole law. (See Gal_5:1-6). It was not then the mere yoke of burdensome ceremonies, but of an obligation which the more earnest and spiritual men became, the more impossible they felt it to fulfil. (See Rom_3:5; Gal_2:4, etc.)…” [20]

All these examples show the common Christian theme, that the “yoke” spoken of is the law, both moral and/or ritual law. The common consensus is that why put the “yoke of the law” upon the Gentiles when not even the Jews themselves could bear the law? The conclusion to this way of thinking then says that the “law” or Torah is done away with for the Gentile believers, that there is in essence two separate laws for believers, one of “yoke” for the Jews, and one of freedom for the Gentiles. There is only one problem with all of this: they are all wrong, the result of developing an interpretation of Scriptures from a Western/Greek mindset, and not from the Hebraic perspective. So what was Kefa[21] really saying?
For this explanation I turn again to Avram:
“…The yoke that Peter speaks of in Acts 15:10 is the Law.389* Many see the Law as the yoke ‘in and of itself,’ but that’s not what Peter meant. Here’s what he said:
‘Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples, a yoke which neither our Fathers nor we were able to bear?’
Bruce says ‘a proselyte, by undertaking to keep the law (sic) of Moses’ was said to ‘take up the yoke of the kingdom of heaven,’390 and that the Law was the burden the Fathers ‘found too heavy.’391 Obviously, he wasn’t thinking of Father David392 otherwise known as the greatest king the world has ever seen apart from his Son Yeshua. David said many things about the Law, none of which seem to correspond with what Bruce thought of it. Here’s a sample of what David thought:
‘The Law of Yahveh is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony of Yahveh is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of Yahveh are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of Yahveh is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Yahveh is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of Yahveh are true, they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned. In keeping them there is great reward’ (Psalm 19:7-11).
David clearly extols the Law as something that is good and beneficial to him. His different ways of speaking about the Law (e.g. its precepts and judgments) is very Hebraic.393 David sings much of the praise of Yahveh’s Torah (Ps. 1:2; 37:31; 40:8; 119:1, 77, etc.) because he knew the wisdom and understanding that are inherent in it (Dt. 4:5-8; 30:15, 19, 20; 32:47, etc.).
If the laws of God were holy and righteous for Moses, David, Isaiah and Jesus, why wouldn’t they continue to be after the Resurrection? Why would they be any less holy for the Gentile believer who has been grafted into the Family of God (Rom. 11:13-12:5; Eph. 2:1-22; Gal. 6:16)?
Yeshua kept the Law all His life, and all the Jewish believers, many years after the Resurrection, kept the Law, too (Acts 21:20, 24; 24:18; 25:8). Perhaps the Apostles didn’t understand ‘the yoke’ as Bruce presents it? Bruce errs because of his ‘law-free gospel.’394 *[22]
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary states that the term yoke is not necessarily a negative word:
‘a yoke in Jewish thought does not necessarily mean a burden but designates an obligation.’395
The yoke Peter spoke of was the Law of Moses, but if the Law wasn’t the burden, what was? Wycliffe lumps both the Law of Moses and legalism together, declaring the Law a burden in spite of what Wycliffe just said:
‘Peter asserts that Jewish legalism was an obligation and a burden that the Jews were unable to bear. In contrast to the burdensomeness of the Law, salvation is through grace’.396
In making the Law a legalistic burden, Bruce, Wycliffe and all those who espouse such ideas, make the God of Israel who gave it a very hard task­master. The Jews were not saved out of Egypt by the Law, but by God’s Grace. Did God save them out of Egyptian slavery only to place a different type of slavery and legalistic burden upon them at Mt. Sinai?
Williams also misses the point when he states that ‘any attempt to revert to a religion of law was to try to test God’.397 Stern stumbles as well, but rightly comes against the verse being used to disparage the Law of Moses:
‘Much Christian teaching contrasts the supposedly onerous and oppressive ‘yoke of the Law’ with the words of Yeshua, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’398
Stern makes two points about the Law. One, if a person thinks something is pleasant, then one cannot project onto him that it’s not, but this point can’t be used in defense of the Law or the yoke because it’s very subjective. Most Christians see the Law as a burden, and if subjectivity is the criteria for judging, the Law is very oppressive. The criteria is not how we think or feel about the Law, but what God says about it (Dt. 4:1-8; 12:8; 29:29) especially in the New Testament (Mt. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31; 7:12).
For his second point Stern says the commandments are not oppressive. Although he’s right, Peter called something unbearable. Stern says the commandments are not ‘an oppressive burden any more than Yeshua’s yoke is.’ He correctly states that the yoke of the Law is ‘acknowledging God’s sovereignty and his right to direct our lives’ and that if God has given commandments, ‘we should obey them.’399 This is true. The Law is not a burden, God is sovereign and He does have the right to direct the lives of believers in Yeshua by His commandments—but Stern believes Peter’s yoke was legalism, the ‘detailed mechanical rule-keeping, regardless of heart attitude, that some’ Pharisees had. He states that it was this ‘yoke of legalism’ that was indeed ‘unbearable.’400 No flesh shall be justified by legalism? As true as that is, what is biblically true is, ‘No flesh shall be justified by doing the works of the Law’ (Gal. 2:16). One can’t be Born Again by doing good deeds (and that’s Paul’s point). No amount of good works will transform one’s nature into that of the Son of God (Gal. 4:21).
Witherington also believes the yoke was the Law. He states that Peter, as ‘a Galilean fisherman,’ may not have liked parts of the Law that would have been a burden to him, such as going to Jerusalem three times a year for the annual Feasts (Ex. 23:17; Dt. 16:16). According to Witherington, it would have meant the loss of income to support his family.401 As logical as this may seem, it totally misses the mindset of a Jew like Peter, who was all too happy to leave his fishing nets for a week in order to go to Jerusalem on God’s ‘holy vacations’ and worship Yahveh in the midst of all Israel. After all, it was Yahveh who had made him a fisherman and ultimately provided for him and his family. Every Jew knew this, but Witherington, in failing to understand the holiness of the Law and the joy of *[23]celebrating the Feasts, stumbles. He also adds that the Gentile was being required to become a proselyte to Judaism.402 This was true, but neither Peter nor his Fathers were proselytes, so that can’t be the yoke, either.
Hegg believes the yoke was the Gentile becoming a proselyte, with the traditional interpretation of Torah and the cumbersome man-made rules of the Pharisees attached to God’s commandments (as Stern before him wrote of). The Gentile would have to be circumcised, become a proselyte and comply with all the laws in order to become part of Israel (to ‘get in’ to the ‘saved Jewish community,’ as E. P. Sanders wrote of). In this, being part of Israel, the Gentile would be saved. Hegg writes,
the ‘yoke they are unwilling to place upon the backs of the Gentile believers is the yoke of man-made rules and laws that required a ceremony to ‘get in’ and submission to untold number of intricate halachah.’403
Those Pharisaic believers who wanted the Gentiles circumcised (Acts 15:1, 5) were looking for them to become Jews (proselytes). That a proselyte was a Jew, part of the Jewish people, is seen in Nicolas being counted as such (Acts 6:5), and in Yeshua speaking of them (Mt. 23:15). Alfred Edersheim says that the children of a proselyte were ‘regarded as Jews’.404 He states that once the proselytes ‘were circumcised, immersed in water and offered a sacrifice’ they became…
‘children of the covenant…perfect Israelites…Israelites in every respect, both as regarded duties and privileges.’405
Herbert Loewe (1882–1940), in A Rabbinic Anthology, adds that a ‘proselyte can say “God of our Fathers” because he is a full Jew’.406
The yoke, though, isn’t about becoming a proselyte, with its ‘man-made rules’ and keeping the Law (symbolized in circumcision). Peter wasn’t a proselyte and he didn’t keep ‘man-made rules’ (Mt. 15:2 by inference). This isn’t the burden he spoke of.
The yoke that neither Peter nor his Fathers could bear was the keeping of the Law…for eternal life (salvation: justification before God). This is what circumcision ultimately implied and this is what the Council struck down: the false teaching that the Law was a vehicle for salvation407 (as well as the secondary understanding that Gentiles didn’t need to become Jews). The yoke has nothing to do with ‘legalism’ or ‘intricate halachah’ or ‘mechanically’ keeping the Law. Stern, Hegg and much of Christianity miss it at this point.
Marshall, however, adroitly perceives that the yoke Peter spoke of was the Law used for justification:
The point here is not the burdensomeness or oppressiveness of the law (sic), but rather the inability of the Jews to gain salvation through it, and hence its irrelevance as far as salvation is concerned.408
Exactly! This is how Jews thought one earned eternal life, despite the view of the New Perspective, which presents Judaism as a faith-based religion that doesn’t look to the Law for salvation. Even though the Rabbis can stress the ‘joy of the commandment,’409 and that ‘the Law must be fulfilled for its own sake and for the love of God and not for reward,’410 when it comes right down to it, the Jew must keep the Law in order to be saved.
The New Perspective on Judaism, brought into Christianity by Sanders, Dunn and Wright, follows the ‘party line’ of rabbinic thinking, believing that the Jew wasn’t concerned about salvation because he was part of the Chosen People, which guaranteed his salvation, hence, the Jew didn’t keep the Law for salvation. This, however, was an ideal never achieved, based on a false (non-biblical) hope about what it meant to be part of the Chosen People.
Scot McKnight, summarizing this new Christian perspective on Judaism, states,
‘Israel was elected by God, brought into the covenant and given the law to regulate how covenant people live.’411
As true as that is, there’s no mention of eternal life. James Dunn, speaking of Sanders, further explains,
‘the commandments are not a way of earning God’s favor but a way of showing how the people of God should live. That’s the basic point that had to be made in terms of the new perspective.’412
Dunn seriously errs when he writes that the Jews didn’t look to the commandments to earn God’s favor. The Law clearly states, obedience equals blessing (Dt. 28:1-2, 15, 45). By the days of Yeshua the Law had come to be the vehicle for Paradise, but this was never what God intended…” [24]


“…Before Peter and Paul had known Yeshua, they too had been deceived into thinking that the keeping of the Law would merit them eternal life with God, but now in Acts 15:10 Peter was setting the record straight, something that Paul would do later in Rom. 3:31, where he writes of establishing (the place of) the Law in the life of every believer. Paul is saying that the place of the Law is not for eternal life, as he had previously thought, unregenerate Pharisee that he had been. The Law was the criteria for knowing God’s view on what is sin and what is right living (Rom. 7:7, 12, 14; 1st Cor. 7:19, etc.), even and especially when a person enters the Kingdom by faith in Yeshua. Paul didn’t write the letter of Romans to the Sanhe­drin, but to believers in Rome who needed to know the place of the Law in the midst of God’s Grace.
Religious traditions that nullify God’s Word are very hard to perceive when one grows up in them. This was true for those Jewish believers back then and is true for so many in the Church today. Tradition blinds people into thinking that it’s of God. When one looks at the Pharisees, locked in mortal combat with the Son of God, one sees how tradition can bring one to fight against the living God Himself. Only the Holy Spirit can bring Light that reveals the deception and produce a desire for change.
Paul fought this false teaching on salvation (of combining circumcision with faith in Jesus) in his letter to the Galatians. He now understood the difference between using the Law for salvation and using it as a means for divine living. His conclusion of the matter, on using the good deeds of the Law (symbolized in circumcision) for justification, is seen in Gal. 5:4…
‘You have been severed from Christ, you who are seek­ing to be justified by Law! You have fallen from Grace!’
Some of the Galatians were seeking to be justified by faith in Messiah and the doing of the Law. Anything attached to or added to Yeshua denies the sufficiency of Who He is and What He did, but once in the Kingdom, does it matter if we obey the King? His laws are meant to be for our lifestyle in His Kingdom, just as they were for Yeshua, and to set us apart (i.e. make us holy and distinct) from the world of darkness, just as they did with Him. They’re for our protection and blessing (Lev. 26; Dt. 28–30). God didn’t give the Law to Israel because He hated her or wanted to enslave her. He was sharing His wisdom and character with His Bride. He wants to do that with us, too.
Yahveh never intended that the Law would be a means of eternal life. Nowhere within the Law does God say that, if it’s obeyed, the reward will be eternal life. No one can be ‘justified’ or ‘Born Again’ by the keeping of the Law. The Law was never intended as such. The Law gave Israel the holy rules for covenant relationship with Yahveh and with their fellow Hebrews after they were saved or delivered from Egyptian slavery. Once saved and delivered from Satan’s Kingdom of slavery to him, sin and death, the Law is the holy guideline for the Gentile, also…”[25]

Torah was never meant by Yahoveh to be an issue of salvation; this was the yoke that the Pharisees had imposed upon the Jewish people, that this was the method of eternal life. Yeshua addressed this same situation Himself in His discourse with the leaders of the temple in John 5:10-40, specifically in verses 39-40:

“…Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life…”[26]

Another translation of these verses puts it this way:

“…You keep examining the Tanakh because you think that in it you have eternal life. Those very Scriptures bear witness to me, but you won't come to me in order to have life!”[27]
How the text of the Testimony of Yeshua Ha’Machiach has been translated outside of a Hebraic perspective has colored the Western church’s understanding of Yeshua and the times in which He walked. Salvation was not thought of in the terms the Western church has used it; indeed the over-arching definition of “salvation” as understood by the rabbis is contained in the following statement:
“…The liberal spirit of Talmudic ethics is most strikingly evidenced in the sentence: "The pious and virtuous of all nations participate in the eternal bliss," which teaches that man's salvation depends not on the acceptance of certain articles of belief, nor on certain ceremonial observances, but on that which is the ultimate aim of religion namely, Morality, purity of heart and holiness of life…” [28]
Salvation and atonement have been separated from one another in Western thought, yet the Jewish mindset had the two linked with salvation being the cultivation of a pure heart and holiness before God through acts of atonement/repentance which lead to regeneration as seen below:
“…Atoning powers are ascribed also to the study of the Law, which is more effective than sacrifice, especially when combined with good works (R. H. 18a; Yeb. 105a; Lev. R. xxv.). The table from which the poor received their share atones for man’s sins in place of the altar (see ALTAR); the wife being the priestess who makes Atonement for the house (Ber. 55a; Tan., Wayishlah, vi.). The meritorious lives of the Patriarchs especially possess a great atoning power (Ex. R. xlix.). The Holy Land itself has atoning qualities for those who inhabit it or are buried in its soil, as is learned from Deut. xxxii. 43, which verse is interpreted “He will make His land an Atonement for His people” (see Sifre, Deut. 333; Gen. R. xcvi.; Ket. 111a; Yer. Kil. ix. 32c). On the other hand, the descent of the wicked (heathen) into Gehenna for eternal doom is, according to Isa. xliii. (A. V.), an atoning sacrifice for the people of Israel (compare Prov. xxi. 18). “I gave Egypt for thy ransom [kofer], Ethiopia and Seba for thee” (Sifre, Deut. 333; Ex. R. xi.). The whole idea underlying Atonement, according to the rabbinical view, is regeneration—restoration of the original state of man in his relation to God, called “tekanah” (R. H. 17a; ‘Ar. 15b). “As vessels of gold or of glass, when broken, can be restored by undergoing the process of melting, thus does the disciple of the law, after having sinned, find the way of recovering his state of purity by repentance” (R. Akiba in Hag. 15a). Therefore he who assumes a high public office after the confession of his sins in the past is “made a new creature, free from sin like a child” (Sanh. 14a; compare Midr. Sam. xvii., “Saul was as one year old”; I Sam. xiii. 1, A. V. “reigned one year‘” K. V. “was thirty years old”). In fact, the Rabbis declare that the scholar, the bridegroom, and the NASI, as well as the proselyte, on entering their new station in life, are freed from all their sins, because, having by confession of sins, fasting, and prayer prepared themselves for the new state, they are, as it were, born anew (Yer. Bik. iii. 65c, d; Midr. Sam. l.c.). This is the case also with the change of name or locality when combined with change of heart (Pesik. xxx. 191a.; R. H. 16b). The following classical passage elucidates the rabbinical view as taught by R. Ishmael (of the second century; Yoma 86a): “There are four different modes of Atonement. If a man fails to fulfil the duty incumbent upon him in case of a sin of omission, for him repentance suffices, as Jeremiah (iii. 23) says, ‘Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your back-sliding.’ If he has transgressed a prohibitory law—a sin of commission—the Day of Atonement atones: of him the Law says, On this day He shall atone for your sins to cleanse you’ (Lev. xvi. 30). If he be guilty of crimes such as entail the death penalty and the like, repentance and the Day of Atonement can not expiate them unless suffering works as a purifying factor: to this the Psalmist refers when he says, ‘I will visit their transgressions with the rod and their iniquities with stripes’ (Ps. lxxxix. 33 [A. V. 32]). And if the crime amount to a desecration of the name of God and the doing of great harm to the people at large, nothing but death can be the penalty; as Isaiah (xxii. 14) says, ‘Surely this iniquity shall not be atoned for you [A. V. “purged from you”] till ye die, saith the Lord God of Hosts’ ” (compare Mishnah Shebu. i. 1–6)…”[29]

Granted while this helps to explain the mindset of those who believed that salvation was of the Jews alone, hence their insistence on the Gentile believers undergoing the rites of passage (i.e. circumcision, Torah observance, and proselyte washing), it also shows the radical (of the day) teachings of Yeshua and His disciples.  If truly “salvation” is as defined in the context of deliverance and regeneration (or as said above “…according to the rabbinical view, is regeneration—restoration of the original state of man in his relation to God, called “tekanah”…”), then the idea that salvation came in the guise of the atoning death of Messiah was indeed a theologically radical idea. Webster comes close to defining salvation as the Jews saw it:

“…SALVA'TION, n. [L. salvo, to save.]

1. The act of saving; preservation from destruction, danger or great calamity.
2. Appropriately in theology, the redemption of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him everlasting happiness. This is the great salvation.

“Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.” 2 Cor 7.

3. Deliverance from enemies; victory. Exo 14…” [30]

This is driven home by:

(properly hWvy, swthria, both meaning originally deliverance or safety). No idea was more ingrained in the Jewish mind than the truth that God was a Savior, a Helper, a Deliverer, a Rescuer, a Defender, and a
Preserver to his people. Their whole history was a history of salvation, and an unfolding of the nature and purposes of the Divine Being. Israel was a saved people (Deuteronomy 33:29); saved from Egypt (Exodus 14:30), delivered from enemies on every side, preserved in prosperity, and restored from adversity — all by that One Person whom they had been taught to call Jehovah. Though human instruments were constantly used as saviors — as, for instance, the judges — the people were always taught that it was God who saved by their hand (2 Samuel 3:18; 2 Kings 13:5; 14:27; Nehemiah 9:27), and that there was not power in man to be his own savior (Job 40:14; Psalm 33:16; 44:3, 7), so that he must look to God alone for help (Isaiah 43:11; 45:22; Hosea 13:4, 10). This the Scriptures express in varied forms, usually in phrases, in which the Hebrews rarely use concrete terms, as they are called, but often abstract terms. Thus, instead of saying, God saves them and protects them, they say, God is their salvation. So, a voice of salvation, tidings of salvation, a word of salvation, etc., is equivalent to a voice declaring deliverance, etc…” [31]

Also we can see the same explanation from the Jewish Encyclopedia:

So it is beginning to seem as if the Hebraic concept of salvation has a slightly different take on it apart from the traditional Christian concept.

The word “salvation” takes many forms:
The usual rendering in the English versions for the Hebrew words , , derivatives of the stem , which in the verb occurs only in the "nif' al" and "hif' il" forms. Other Hebrew terms translated by the corresponding forms of the English "save" and its synonyms are: (1) . This word, meaning in the "ḳ al" "to live," acquires in the "pi' el" and "hif' il" the signification "to keep alive," "to save alive" (Genesis 12:12 ,19:19 , 45:7 Exodus 1:17,18 : Numbers 22:33 1Samuel 27:11 ). Ezekiel employs it to express the condition of the repentant sinner who, having escaped the penalty of sin (death), continues safe in life. (2)  = "to deliver" (2Samuel 19:9 A. V. "save "). (3)  , in the "pi' el" (1Samuel 19:11 2Samuel 19:5 Job 20:20 ). (4)  = "to keep," "to spare" (Job 2:6). (5)  = "to redeem" (see Go' el ). (6)  = "to release."
The underlying idea of all these words, save the last two, is help extended and made effective in times of need and danger, and protection from evil. "Padah" means "to free by paying ransom." "Ga' al" denotes the assumption of an obligation incumbent originally on another or in favor of another. "Yasha' " primitively means "to be or make wide." [32]
‏יְשׁוּעָה‎ [See Stg: <H3444>]
yešû‘āh: A feminine noun meaning salvation, deliverance, help, victory, prosperity. The primary meaning is to rescue from distress or danger. It is used to signify help given by other human beings (1 Sam. 14:45; 2 Sam. 10:11); help or security offered by fortified walls, delivering in the sense of preventing what would have happened if the walls were not there (Isa. 26:1); one's welfare and safety (Job 30:15); salvation by God, with reference to being rescued by Him from physical harm (Ex. 14:13; 2 Chr. 20:17); being rescued from the punishment due for sin (Ps. 70:4[5]; Isa. 33:6; 49:6; 52:7). Used in the plural, it signifies works of help (Ps. 44:4[5]; 74:12); and God's salvation (2 Sam. 22:51; Ps. 42:5[6]; 116:13).[33]


יֵשַׁע‎ [See Stg: <H3468>]
yēšaʿ, ‏יֶשַׁע‎ yešaʿ: A masculine noun meaning deliverance, rescue, liberty, welfare, salvation. David used the word salvation to describe the hope and welfare he had in the midst of strife due to his covenant with God (2 Sam. 23:5). God saves communities, as when He promised relief to Jerusalem (Isa. 62:11) as well as individuals (see Mic. 7:7).[34]

Another way to look at it is in the word “way”:

‏נָתִיב‎ [See Stg: <H5410>]
nat̠iyb̠, נְתִיבָה‎ net̠iyb̠āh: I. A masculine noun indicating a path, a pathway, a wake. It refers to a trail or navigable pass made by humans or by nature. It indicates figuratively the path, the way of life, of the wicked (Job 18:10); and the path to wisdom (Job 28:7). It is used of a wake, the foam and waves left in the water (Job 41:32[24]). God's tragic treatment of the Egyptians created a path for His people (Ps. 78:50); His commandments are a path of life (Ps. 119:35); as is the way (path) of righteousness (Prov. 12:28).
II. A feminine noun indicating a path, a pathway, a wake. It indicates well-traveled paths or roads, highways (Judg. 5:6). Figuratively, it indicates the paths of life (Job 19:8); of ethical and moral guidance (Ps. 119:105; 142:3[4]); as well as the way of the wicked (Prov. 1:15). It describes the paths of salvation and restoration which the Lord prepares for His people (Isa. 42:16). The ancient way of obedience to the Lord, the ancient paths, are the sources of guidance for God's people (Jer. 6:16). The Lord is capable of hiding, blocking the true paths of His people (Hos. 2:6[8]). [35]
Our first example gives us our Savior’s name:  ישׁוּעה   yeshû‛âh  yesh-oo'-aw: Yeshua. The concept of “salvation” to a Jew is “deliverance”. We in the West expand that definition to include eternal life, yet isn’t this the same yoke that the leading Pharisees and the influencers in the Yeshua movement tried to put upon the people? They thought that keeping the commandments gave eternal life; we think that “once saved, always saved”, giving us our ticket to heaven. Yet what did the Master say?

“…Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life…”[36]

John 14:6–7 (NASB95)
6 Jesus *said to him, “I am athe way, and bthe truth, and cthe life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
7 aIf you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you bknow Him, and have cseen Him.” [37]

Eternal life is the result of faith; the trusting that Yeshua is the Son of God, the Savior of the World. We have called this faith in Him “salvation”, yet in the word’s truest sense this is not what it means.

“…Salvation in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the concept of salvation, or deliverance, focuses on concrete situations. While eternal salvation is not ignored in the Old Testament, that doctrine is not fully developed. When Old Testament saints called on God to save them, they typically meant being rescued from dangers in their immediate circumstances…” [38]

This emphasis on “physical salvation” is seen in several passages in the Tanakh, such as the Psalms:

Psalm 88:5 (NASB95)
5 1Forsaken aamong the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more,
And they are bcut off from Your hand. [39]

And the deliverance comes from God alone:
Ps 88:13    But I, O Lord, have cried out ato You for help,
And bin the morning my prayer comes before You. [40]
Richards says that  “…intimately involved in the concept of salvation is the awful awareness that unless someone acts, all is lost…” [41] We saw the extreme example of this in the wilderness as the people  of God came up against the Red [Reed] Sea with the Pharaoh’s army closing in on them. Moses admonished them:

Exo. 14:13            But Moses said to the people, “aDo not fear! 1Stand by and see bthe salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.
14 “aThe Lord will fight for you while byou keep silent.” [42]

Again, the word used here in Sh’mot [Exodus] is the Strong’s number H3444:

3444. יְשׁוּעָה yešûʿāh: A feminine noun meaning salvation, deliverance, help, victory, prosperity. The primary meaning is to rescue from distress or danger. It is used to signify help given by other human beings (1 Sam. 14:45; 2 Sam. 10:11); help or security offered by fortified walls, delivering in the sense of preventing what would have happened if the walls were not there (Isa. 26:1); one’s welfare and safety (Job 30:15); salvation by God, with reference to being rescued by Him from physical harm (Ex. 14:13; 2 Chr. 20:17); being rescued from the punishment due for sin (Ps. 70:4[5]; Isa. 33:6; 49:6; 52:7). Used in the plural, it signifies works of help (Ps. 44:4[5]; 74:12); and God’s salvation (2 Sam. 22:51; Ps. 42:5[6]; 116:13). [43]

It is truly no mistake that the Father named His Son יְשׁוּעָה Yeshua.  It is in their standing and believing in the intervention of God that they saw their salvation.

Now this has been a rather long explanation, but we must truly come to an understanding of what salvation is to be able to see how it ties in with our halakha. Let’s look at a couple of words:

G4982 ἐκσῴζω, σῴζω [sozo /sode·zo/] v. From a primary sos (contraction for obsolete saoz, “safe”); TDNT 7:965; TDNTA 1132; GK 1751 and 5392; 110 occurrences; AV translates as “save” 93 times, “make whole” nine times, “heal” three times, “be whole” twice, and translated miscellaneously three times. 1 to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. 1a one (from injury or peril). 1a1 to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health. 1b1 to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue. 1b to save in the technical biblical sense. 1b1 negatively. 1b1a to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment. 1b1b to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance.[44]

G4991 σωτηρία [soteria /so·tay·ree·ah/] n f. Feminine of a derivative of 4990 as (properly, abstract) noun; TDNT 7:965; TDNTA 1132; GK 5401; 45 occurrences; AV translates as “salvation” 40 times, “the (one) be saved” once, “deliver + 1325” once, “health” once, “saving” once, and “that (one) be saved + 1519” once. 1 deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation. 1a deliverance from the molestation of enemies. 1b in an ethical sense, that which concludes to the souls safety or salvation. 1b1 of Messianic salvation. 2 salvation as the present possession of all true Christians. 3 future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God. Additional Information: Fourfold salvation: saved from the penalty, power, presence and most importantly the pleasure of sin. A.W. Pink.[45]

4992 σωτήριον, σωτήριος [soterion /so·tay·ree·on/] adj. Neuter of the same as 4991 as (properly, concretely) noun; TDNT 7:1021; TDNTA 1132; GK 5402 and 5403; Five occurrences; AV translates as “salvation” four times, and “that brings salvation” once. 1 saving, bringing salvation. 2 he who embodies this salvation, or through whom God is about to achieve it. 3 the hope of (future) salvation.[46]

These are the three Greek words used by the writers of the Testimony of Yeshua that are normally associated with being “saved” or “salvation”.  The ISBE states it as such:

“…In English Versions of the Bible the words "salvation" "save," are not technical theological terms, but denote simply "deliverance," in almost any sense the latter word can have. In systematic theology, however, "salvation" denotes the whole process by which man is delivered from all that would prevent his attaining to the highest good that God has prepared for him. Or, by a transferred sense, "salvation" denotes the actual enjoyment of that good…”[47]

It is in the Christian systematic theology that the idea of linking salvation with eternal life developed; it was in the rabbinical theology that keeping the commandments became the way of eternal life. Both miss the true mark of faith in the Messiah alone being enough. Truly salvation is more in line with sozo, defined by Vine as:

“…Save, Saving
"to save," is used (as with the noun soteria, "salvation") (a) of material and temporal deliverance from danger, suffering, etc., e.g., Mat_8:25; Mar_13:20; Luk_23:35; Joh_12:27; 1Ti_2:15; 2Ti_4:18 (AV, "preserve"); Jud_1:5; from sickness, Mat_9:22, "made ... whole" (RV, marg., "saved"); so Mar_5:34; Luk_8:48; Jam_5:15; (b) of the spiritual and eternal salvation granted immediately by God to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, e.g., Act_2:47, RV "(those that) were being saved;" Act_16:31; Rom_8:24, RV, "were we saved;" Eph_2:5, Eph_2:8; 1Ti_2:4; 2Ti_1:9; Tit_3:5; of human agency in this, Rom_11:14; 1Co_7:16; 1Co_9:22; (c) of the present experiences of God's power to deliver from the bondage of sin, e.g., Mat_1:21; Rom_5:10; 1Co_15:2; Heb_7:25; Jam_1:21; 1Pe_3:21; of human agency in this, 1Ti_4:16; (d) of the future deliverance of believers at the second coming of Christ for His saints, being deliverance from the wrath of God to be executed upon the ungodly at the close of this age and from eternal doom, e.g., Rom_5:9; (e) of the deliverance of the nation of Israel at the second advent of Christ, e.g., Rom_11:26; (f) inclusively for all the blessings bestowed by God on men in Christ, e.g., Luk_19:10; Joh_10:9; 1Co_10:33; 1Ti_1:15; (g) of those who endure to the end of the time of the Great Tribulation, Mat_10:22; Mar_13:13; (h) of the individual believer, who, though losing his reward at the Judgment-Seat of Christ hereafter, will not lose his salvation, 1Co_3:15; 1Co_5:5; (i) of the deliverance of the nations at the Millennium, Rev_21:24 (in some mss.). See SALVATION.

"to bring safely through" (dia, "through," and No. 1), is used (a) of the healing of the sick by the Lord, Mat_14:36, RV, "were made whole" (AV adds "perfectly"); Luk_7:3; (b) of bringing "safe" to a destination, Act_23:24; (c) of keeping a person "safe," Act_27:43; (d) of escaping through the perils of shipwreck, Act_27:44; Act_28:1, Act_28:4, Passive Voice; (e) through the Flood, 1Pe_3:20. See ESCAPE, WHOLE.

Note: In 2Pe_2:5, AV, phulasso, "to guard, keep, preserve," is translated "saved" (RV, "preserved"). In Luk_17:33 some mss. have sozo (AV, "save"), for the RV: see GAIN, B, No. 3. For "save alive," Luk_17:33, RV, see LIVE, No. 6.

(a) "preservation," (b) "acquiring or gaining something," is used in this latter sense in Heb_10:39, translated "saving" (RV marg., "gaining"); the reference here is to salvation in its completeness. See OBTAIN, POSSESSION.

Note: In Heb_11:7 soteria is rendered saving. See SALVATION…”[48]

So we see that salvation in the strictest sense of the word cannot simply be equated with eternal life, even though that is the standard response of Western theologians: if it truly is this, then what do you do with Rabbi Sha’ul’s admonishment in Philippians 2?

“…12  So then, my beloved, ajust as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your bsalvation with cfear and trembling;
13 for it is aGod who is at work in you, both to will and to work bfor His good pleasure…”[49]

Salvation must be an act then, a walk, a journey, a halakha. I’ve gone to great length to show you that this “yoke” is not the “law” as is purposed by standard Christian theology, and it is not the means of gaining paradise as purposed by Rabbinic thought; if we have to “work out” our salvation, then salvation clearly is the exercise of faith and trust that we put into our relationship with Messiah, and this is a life-long endeavor. Kefa said it succinctly in verse 9 that the Spirit “…uput no difference between us and them, xpurifying their hearts yby faith…”[50] And this brings us to Ya’akov’s[51] declaration in verses 20-21 (starting at verse 19 for context):
19 Wherefore mmy sentence is, that we ntrouble not them, which from among the Gentiles oare turned to God: 20 but that we write unto them, that they abstain from ppollutions of idols, and from qfornication, and from rthings strangled, and from rblood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, sbeing read in the synagogues every sabbath day. [53]

Again, these pronouncements are generally misunderstood. These are not as most scholars report “the rules for table fellowship”; these are the requirements for Gentiles to prove that they are serious concerning their belief in Yeshua. Let us take a brief look into the world of Yeshua….

1 Corinthians 10:14 (NASB95)
14 Therefore, my abeloved, flee from bidolatry. [54]
H205 ʾâven (1), trouble, vanity, wickedness
H457 ʾĕlı̂yl (1), vain idol
4656 miphletseth (4), terror idol
H5566 çemel (2), likeness
H6089 ʿetseb (1), earthen vessel; painful toil
H6090 ʿôtseb (1), fashioned idol; pain
G1494 ĕidōlŏthutŏn (1), idolatrous offering
G1497 ĕidōlŏn (4), idol, or the worship of such [55]
H8655 tᵉrâphı̂ym (1), healer
G1495 ĕidōlŏlatrĕia (3), image-worship
G2712 katĕidōlŏs (1), utterly idolatrous[56]
 “… the apostle Paul addresses the problem of idolatry in the Corinthian church. Worship of various gods was totally ingrained in Greek culture. In the ancient Greek world there were idols on street corners and in houses. Various civic societies paid homage to their favorite gods. Cities adopted certain gods as their special protectors. The pagan temples were frequented often, especially in Corinth with its temple prostitution. Most of the food in the marketplace had been offered in worship to different gods. Paul first addresses the demonic nature of idol worship and then expounds on the nature of Christian liberty, especially concerning food offered to idols…”[57]

1 Corinthians 6:18 (1901 ASV)
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. [58]

H2181 zânâh (3), to commit adultery
H8457 taznûwth (1), harlotry
G1608 ĕkpŏrnĕuō (1), to fornicate
G4202 pŏrnĕia (24), sexual immorality
G4203 pŏrnĕuō (7), to indulge unlawful lust [59]
“…Prostitutes…were common in the ancient world. In fact, prostitution has been a part of religious rites since at least 3000 a.d.
In Babylon, Syria, Canaan, Arabia, and Phoenicia intercourse with a temple prostitute was believed to induce fertility among humans, animals, and crops. The historian Herodotus tells of a Babylonian custom that required every woman to sit in the temple of the goddess Ishtar until chosen by a stranger for sexual relations. A desirous man would toss a coin in a woman’s lap. If she accepted the coin and his sexual advances, she would have paid her obligation to the goddess and be free to return to her normal life.
In Israel, however, ritual prostitution was forbidden (Deut. 23:17). Laws existed to prevent priests from marrying prostitutes (Lev. 21:7), and income from prostitution could not be used to pay vows in the temple (Deut. 23:18)…”[60]

“…cwhat is strangled and from blood…”

These are not rules for table fellowship as most “scholars” and theologians suppose. It has nothing to do with offending Jewish brethren at the dinner table, but everything to do with the worship of the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob and His Son Yeshua. We see these same four prohibitions spoken of again in Acts 15:29 and in Acts 21:25, though in a different order; below is a comparison of the verses and the original prohibition from the Tanakh:

Leviticus 3:17
17‘It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.’ ”

Acts 15:20
20but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

Acts 15:29
29that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.” [61]

25   “But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, ahaving decided that they should abstain from 1meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.” [62]

The whole of the decision of Ya’akov was geared to halakha: for the Gentile believers to be true talmidim[63] of the Messiah their lives had to change. No longer could they be a part of the greater community in which they lived, the pagan Gentile community. If they were going to align themselves with the God of Israel and His Son, then they could no longer participate in the practices of their neighbors, or of the Roman Empire, which decreed by law the worship of the pantheon of gods, including the Caesar. It wasn’t enough to profess Him; they had to make Him the exclusive Lord of their lives. How could they be followers of Yeshua and still partake in the worship of the false gods, the sacrificing of animals by strangulation, the drinking of the blood of the sacrifice and the sexual immorality with temple prostitutes? For Scripture was clear:

·         Genesis 4:10–11—First reference to blood: The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood.… This illustrates the reverential fear of the shedding of blood and its association with life.
•     Genesis 9:4—But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
•     Genesis 49:11—He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. Here Jacob is figuratively referring to grape juice as “the blood of grapes.”
•     Exodus 12:6–7, 13—Keep [the lamb] until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.… Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.…
•     Leviticus 17:11—For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.
•     Leviticus 17:13–14—Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life.[64]

The drinking of animal’s blood would make a mockery of the sacrifice of the Master:

•     Matthew 26:27–28—Then He took from the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”[65]

This is all backed up by the use of different words in the Greek. Eating of blood at any time is a sin. The difference is between blood that would be drank at a pagan sacrifice ceremony (i.e. idolatry) and what we would call a dietary regulation or law if one eats a rare hamburger or steak. [66] Below is a comparison of the verses:

Diagram 1. Word comparison

1. “idols” = G 1497. εἴδωλον  (or ) eídōlon; gen. eidṓlou, neut. noun from eídos (1491), a form, appearance. An image or representation whether corporeal or imaginary or some other thing. In Class. Gr., used for a statue of man or even for a concept of the mind, an imaginary deity. In the NT, it stands for an idol or image set up to be worshiped as a god, whether or not intended as a representative of the true God (Acts 7:41) or of a false one (Acts 15:20; 1 Cor. 12:2; Rev. 9:20; Sept.: 2 Chr. 33:22; Is. 30:22). Also stands for a false god, usually worshiped as an image (Rom. 2:22; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:21). Paul in 1 Cor. 8:4, 7; 10:19 (Sept.: Num. 25:2; 2 Kgs. 17:12; 21:11, 21) says that although an idol is nothing in the world, it does represent something which is not the true God. Idols may be material, the works of men’s hands such as statues of gold, or creations of God Himself such as the sun and moon. However, they have none of the excellency which would merit divine worship or that servile worshipers are pleased to attribute to them (cf. Is. 41:24; Hab. 2:18, 19).
Deriv.: eidōleíon (1493), idol temple; eidōlóthuton (1494), that which is sacrificed to idols; eidōlolatreía (1495), idolatry; eidōlolátrēs (1496), an idolater; kateídōlos (2712), utterly idolatrous, given to idolatry.
Syn.: eikṓn (1504), statue, icon, resembla[67]

2. “idols” = G1494. εἰδωλόθυτον ( or ) eidōlóthuton; gen. eidōlothútou, neut. noun from eídōlon (1497), idol, and thúō (2380), to sacrifice. Whatever is sacrificed or offered to an idol such as flesh or heathen sacrifices (Acts 15:29; 21:25; 1 Cor. 8:1, 4, 7, 10; 10:19, 28; Rev. 2:14, 20).[68]
3. “idols” = G1494. εἰδωλόθυτον (or )[69] eidōlóthuton; gen. eidōlothútou, neut. noun from eídōlon (1497), idol, and thúō (2380), to sacrifice. Whatever is sacrificed or offered to an idol such as flesh or heathen sacrifices (Acts 15:29; 21:25; 1 Cor. 8:1, 4, 7, 10; 10:19, 28; Rev. 2:14, 20). [70]

The point of all this is to reinforce the knowledge of what is actually the intent of the writer’s words: to convey the message of Ya’akov that the Gentiles had to give up their idolatrous ways if they were to be accepted into the family of Yeshua. The four prohibitions given as halakha to the Gentiles was their starting point: verse 21 gives them the rest. They were to go to the synagogues and learn the Torah, and to walk as Yeshua did, Torah observant and a lover of God. They would also be expected to grow in faith and knowledge of Messiah as revealed to them by the Apostles. This was to be the way to the Truth; forsake all other gods, place their trust in Messiah and then walk out the things of Elohim – walk out the Torah not because it earned them anything, but because it pleased God when they did. It would be a hard walk, especially for a Gentile for in giving up his worship of foreign gods, he was in essence breaking Roman law and would find himself in a very uncomfortable position.

So what is different today?  Nothing really… If one chooses the path of halakha, then he/she must prepare themselves for the backlash that follows. A Messianic believer walks in two worlds: the world of Yeshua and the world of Torah. They will find that it is an uncomfortable place, for neither the ultra-orthodox Jews nor fundamentalist Christians will welcome them. The Messianic believer can be rightly called a “no-people”, taken from Scriptures:

Deut 32:21
aThey have made Me jealous with what is not God;
They have provoked Me to anger with their 1bidols.
cSo I will make them jealous with those who are not a people;
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, [71]
1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are aa chosen race, a royal bpriesthood, a choly nation, da people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you eout of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 afor you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. [72]

We as Messianic believers stand in the gap and speak of the whole truth of God’s word, not with arrogance or pride, but humble before man and Yahoveh with hope that others will hear the Master’s voice.

a  John 13:33; Gal 4:19; 1 John 2:12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21
b  1 John 1:4
c  Rom 8:34; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 7:25; 9:24
1  Gr Paracletos, one called alongside to help; or Intercessor
d  John 14:16
a  Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 John 4:10
1  Or satisfaction
b  John 4:42; 11:51f; 1 John 4:14
a  1 John 2:5; 3:24; 4:13; 5:2
b  1 John 2:4; 3:6; 4:7f
c  John 14:15; 15:10; 1 John 3:22, 24; 5:3; Rev 12:17; 14:12
a  Titus 1:10
b  1 John 3:6; 4:7f
c  1 John 1:6
d  1 John 1:8
a  John 14:23
b  1 John 4:12
c  1 John 2:3; 3:24; 4:13; 5:2
a  John 15:4
b  John 13:15; 15:10; 1 Pet 2:21
[1]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[2] Make right or proper…
[3] This is the preferred term I like to use for what the Western Church calls the “New Testament” or the Messianic Movement calls the B’rit Hadashah. Since none of the Apostles would have even thought of their 1st century writings as a “New Testament” let alone thinking of the Tanakh as the “Old Testament”, we need to get a better understanding of how they might have referred to this collection of writings. Clues can be found in Revelation in the following verses: Rev. 1:2; 1:9; 12:17; 19:10, with the key verse being 12:17: “…And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ…” Since in truth the B’rit Hadashah (“New Covenant”) is the eye-witness testimony of Yeshua the Messiah, in my humble opinion, and it is only mine for I speak under no authority concerning this but my own, that for me at least, a better description of the Apostles writings is simply “the Testimony of Yeshua Ha’Machiach”, thus my rendering.
b  John 13:15; 15:10; 1 Pet 2:21
i.e. (that is)
[4]Baker, W. (2003, c2002). The complete word study dictionary : Old Testament (265). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[5] As in most languages, the transliterated spelling of a word can take different forms depending upon the author of the article quoted. Halakha can be seen to be spelled in various fashions, such as “halakhah”, “chalakha”, or as I use it, “halakha”.
[6] From the website Judaism 101 at
[7] From the article Halakha-Definition, at the website
[8] Hebrew for “the Teachings of Yeshua”.
[9] The Complete Jewish bible, translated by David H. Stern ©1998 by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc, Clarksville Maryland
a  Is 22:22; Rev 1:18; 3:7
b  Matt 18:18; John 20:23
1  Gr estai dedemenon, fut. pft. pass.
2  Gr estai lelumenon, fut. pft. pass.
[10]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[11]  From the article  ̏ “Binding” and “Loosing” ̋ by David Bivin,
a  Acts 15:24
b  Acts 1:15; 15:3, 22, 32
c  Lev 12:3; Acts 15:5; 1 Cor 7:18; Gal 2:11, 14; 5:2f
Acts 6:14
1  Lit not a little
a  Acts 15:7
b  Gal 2:2
c  Acts 11:30; 15:4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4
a  Acts 20:38; 21:5; Rom 15:24; 1 Cor 16:6, 11; 2 Cor 1:16; Titus 3:13; 3 John 6
b  Acts 11:19
c  Acts 14:27; 15:4, 12
d  Acts 1:15; 15:22, 32
a  Acts 11:30; 15:6, 22 23; 16:4
b  Acts 14:27; 15:12
a  Acts 5:17; 24:5, 14; 26:5; 28:22
b  Matt 3:7; Acts 26:5
c  1 Cor 7:18; Gal 2:11, 14; 5:2f
a  Acts 11:30; 15:4, 22, 23; 16:4
1  Lit see about
2  Lit word
a  Acts 15:2
1  Lit from days of old
b  Acts 10:19f
Acts 20:24
a  Acts 1:24
b  Acts 2:4; 10:44, 47
a  Acts 10:28, 34; 11:12
b  Acts 10:43
a  Acts 5:9
b  Matt 23:4; Gal 5:1
a  Rom 3:24; 5:15; 2 Cor 13:14; Eph 2:5–8
a  Acts 14:27; 15:3, 4
b  John 4:48
1  Or Jacob
a  Acts 12:1
a  Acts 15:7; 2 Pet 1:1
a  Acts 13:40
a  Amos 9:11
b  Jer 12:15
1  Or tent
a  Amos 9:12
1  Gr anthropoi
2  Lit upon whom My name is called
b  Deut 28:10; Is 63:19; Jer 14:9; Dan 9:19; James 2:7
a  Amos 9:12
1  Or does these things which were known
b  Is 45:21
a  Acts 15:28; 21:25
1  Lit the pollutions of
a  Ex 34:15–17; Dan 1:8; Acts 15:29; 1 Cor 8:7, 13; 10:7f, 14–28; Rev 2:14, 20
b  Lev 18:6–23
c  Gen 9:4; Lev 3:17; 7:26; 17:10, 14; 19:26; Deut 12:16, 23; 15:23; 1 Sam 14:33
a  Acts 13:15; 2 Cor 3:14f
1  I.e. the books of Moses, Gen through Deut
[12]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

a  Acts 15:24
b  Acts 1:15; 15:3, 22, 32
c  Lev 12:3; Acts 15:5; 1 Cor 7:18; Gal 2:11, 14; 5:2f
d  Acts 6:14
[13] Rabbi Paul
[14] This term I have problems with, for it has come to be seen as if being a Jew or becoming a Jew through the proselyte process was a bad thing: I prefer the term “influencers” for it more accurately reflects what these men were trying to do.
a  Acts 11:30; 15:6, 22 23; 16:4
b  Acts 14:27; 15:12
a  Acts 5:17; 24:5, 14; 26:5; 28:22
b  Matt 3:7; Acts 26:5
c  1 Cor 7:18; Gal 2:11, 14; 5:2f
a  Acts 12:24; 19:20
b  Acts 6:1
c  Acts 13:8; 14:22; Gal 1:23; 6:10; Jude 3, 20
[15]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a  Matt 9:8
1  Lit ten thousands
b  Acts 15:1; 22:3; Rom 10:2; Gal 1:14
[16]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[17]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
c  1 Cor 7:18; Gal 2:11, 14; 5:2f
[18] The Lifting of the Veil – Acts 15:20-21 by Avram Yehoshua, pg. 166, Trafford Publishing; ©2010 Avram Yehoshua. Available at or by visiting
a  Acts 5:9
b  Matt 23:4; Gal 5:1
[19] Notes on the Old and New Testament, by Albert Barnes, ©1983 by Baker Books

[20] Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary on the Bible, ,( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.9.1,  copyright ©2000-2011 by Rick Myers
[21] Hebrew for “Peter”
*The following footnotes follow the outline of Avram’s numbering system.
389Knowling, The Acts of the Apostles p. 320. It’s a ‘metaphor common among the Rabbis, and also in classical literature,’ cf. Jer. 5:5; Lam. 3:27; Ecclus. 51:26 (Zeph. 3:9) and Matt. 11:29 (Luke 11:46) Gal. 5:1. ‘Possibly in’ Jer. 5:5 ‘reference is made to the yoke of the law, but Psalms of Solomon ’ 7:8 cf. 27:32 ‘present undoubted instances of the metaphorical use of the term “the yoke” for the service of Jehovah. In Sayings of the Jewish Fathers ’ 3:8 ‘(Taylor, second edition, p. 46), we have a definite and twice repeated reference to the yoke of Thorah (sic)’. ‘It would seem therefore that St. Peter uses an almost technical word’ for the Law of Moses.
390Bruce, The Book of the Acts, p. 290.
392David is called πατριαρχου (Patriarch, Father) in Mk. 11:10 and Acts 2:20.
393Words like judgments and statutes, etc., are synonymous with God’s Law and speak of His holy Instruction or Teaching (Torah) to Israel (Dt. 4:44-45; 5:1-22; 7:11, etc.). For testimony see: Ps. 78:5; 119:88; 132:12; Is. 8:20, etc. For testimonies: Dt. 4:45; 6:17, 20; Ps. 25:10; 78:56; 99:7, etc. For judgments: Lev. 18:4, 5, 26; 25:18; Dt. 4:1, 5, 8; 5:31, etc. For ordinances: Ex. 21:1; 24:3; Lev. 19:37; 20:22; 26:15; Num. 9:3, etc. For statutes: Ex. 18:20; Lev. 10:11; 18:4, 5, 26; 19:19; 20:8; Dt. 6:1, etc. For commandments: Ex. 15:26; 16:28; Lev. 22:31; Num. 15:22; Dt. 6:17, etc. For the fear of Yahveh: Ex. 9:30; 18:21; 20:20; Lev. 25:17; Dt. 4:10; 5:29; 6:2, 13, 24; Mt. 10:28, etc.

394Bruce, The Book of the Acts, p. 285
395Pfeiffer, WBC, p. 1151
397Williams, Acts, p. 264
398Stern, JNTC, P. 276
401Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 454.

402Ibid., pp. 453-454. He also speaks of the possibility that Peter spoke of the ‘priestly requirements of the Law,’ that the ‘Pharisees and the Qumranites’ were wanting all Jews to walk in, and suggests that Jesus may have thought the Law to be heavy (Mt. 11:30). It wasn’t the glorious Law that Yahveh had given to Israel (Dt. 4:5-8; Rom. 7:12) that Yeshua called heavy, but the weight of sin and guilt upon each person (Mt. 11:28; Rom. 7:7).
403Hegg, The Letter Writer, pp. 265; 280-281f.  Halachah means ‘the way to walk’ and is used by the Rabbis to describe their rules for living in this world. Hegg is quite mistaken on the ability of a Gentile to be circumcised. He teach es that Timothy was a Gentile (pp. 113, 285) who, because he realized that his faith had saved him, could be circumcised. This is a fanciful interpretation, but Hegg uses it to build a theological position that Gentiles can be circumcised for the right reasons (p. 114). Yet, why would Paul circumcise Timothy if he taught against it (Acts 16:4; 1st Cor. 7:17-19, 24; Gal. 1:6-9; 2:1-5; 5:2)?
Timothy is not an example of Gentile circumcision. He didn’t ask to be cir cumcised. Paul circumcised Timothy because he wanted Timothy to go with him and Timothy was seen as a Jew. Acts 16:3 states, ‘Paul wanted this man to go with him and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.’ Why would Jews care if a Gentile boy was circumcised? The verse only makes sense if Timothy was seen as a Jew by those Jews (and Paul) and hadn’t been circumcised when he should have been (at eight days old, Gen. 17:10-14). His mother was Jewish (Acts 16:1), and this seems to be the criteria that Paul went by, despite some information that Hegg presents from the Mishna to the contrary (p. 113, notes 232-233). In Orthodox Judaism, if the mother is Jewish, the child is, too.

There’s no place in the New Testament that even hints that a Gentile (or his newborn son) should receive circumcision if he understood that he wasn’t doing it in order to be saved. The New Testament neither speaks of it nor authorizes it. On the contrary, a number of places in the New Covenant explicitly state (or imply) that the Gentile isn’t to be circumcised (Acts 15:1-21; Rom. 2:26-29; 3:30; 4:7-12, 16; 1st Cor. 7:17-19, 24; Gal. 2:3; 5:2). Didn’t God realize, though, what He had said to Abraham and Moses about circumcision (Gen. 17:14; Ex. 12:48)? It seems that the ‘circumcision made without hands’ (Col. 2:11; Phil. 3:3), pictured in Dt. 30:6, has superseded physical circumcision for the Gentile and places all believers in the New Jerusalem (Gal. 6:16), where Yeshua is King.
With Timothy being circumcised, boys born to a Jewish woman should be considered Jewish, but even if ‘only’ the father is Jewish, the child should still be circumcised. This transcends rabbinic tradition, where only the mother ‘determines’ the child’s Jewish, but Tamar wasn’t a Jewess, yet who would say that Perez wasn’t a Hebrew (Gen. 38:29; 46:12)? Asenath was an Egyptian (Gen. 41:50-52), but both her sons, Efraim and Manasa, literally became two of the 12 Tribes of Israel (Gen. 48:1-5; Num. 1:10)! In conclusion, sons born to a Jewish parent should be seen as Jews and circumcised on the eighth day.
404 Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2000), p. 1015.
405 Ibid., p. 1014.
406 C. G. Montefiore and H. Loewe, A Rabbinic Anthology (New York: Shocken Books, 1974), p. lxxxv.

*The following footnotes follow the outline of Avram’s numbering system.
407 Marshall, Acts, p. 250. ‘What the legalists were trying to do was to place the yoke of the law on the Gentiles, a yoke which the Jews themselves had never been able to bear successfully…as far as salvation is concerned.’
408 Ibid.
409 Montefiore, ARA, p. 202.
410 Ibid., p. xxxvi. Italics are Montefiore’s.
412 Wright: The Paul Page, Oct. 25th, 2004.
[25] The Lifting of the Veil – Acts 15:20-21 by Avram Yehoshua, pg 167-168, Trafford Publishing; ©2010 Avram Yehoshua. Available at or by visiting
[27] The Complete Jewish Bible, translated by David H. Stern ©1998 by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc, Clarksville Maryland, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.9.1, ©2000-2011 by Rick Myers
[29] THE Jewish Encyclopedia, © 2002 VardaBooks, © 1905, 1909, BY FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY, vol. 2, article: Atonement, pg 280.
[30] Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, ( electronic edition of the 1828 version), e-Sword®, ver. 9.9.1,  copyright ©2000-2011 by Rick Myers
[31]  Article excerpt from the CYCLOPEDIA of BIBLICAL, THEOLOGICAL and ECCLESIASTICAL LITERATURE, by James Strong & John McClintock: AGES Software Rio, WI USA Version 1.0 © 2000, vol. 10, pgs 275-276.
[32] THE Jewish Encyclopedia, © 2002 VardaBooks, © 1905, 1909, BY FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY, vol. 10, article: Salvation, pg 663.
[33] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, pg 481.
[34] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, pg. 484.
[35] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, pg. 761.
[36] Modern King James Version of the Holy Bible, © 1962 - 1998 by Jay P. Green, Sr.,  Sovereign Grace Publishers,( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.9.1, ©2000-2011 by Rick Myers
*  A star (*) is used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wise to change these historical presents to English past tenses.
a  John 10:9; Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18; Heb 10:20
b  John 1:14
c  John 1:4; 11:25; 1 John 5:20
a  John 8:19
b  1 John 2:13
c  John 6:46
[37]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Jn 14:6–7). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[38] Richards, L. (2001). Every name of God in the Bible. Everything in the Bible series (54). Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson.
1  Lit A freed one among the dead
a  Ps 31:12
b  Ps 31:22; Is 53:8
[39]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ps 88:5). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a Ps 30:2
b Ps 5:3; 119:147
[40] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ps 88:13). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[41] Richards, L. (2001). Every name of God in the Bible. Everything in the Bible series (54). Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson.
a Gen 15:1; 46:3; Ex 20:20; 2 Chr 20:15, 17; Is 41:10, 13, 14
1 Or Take your stand
b Ex 14:30; 15:2
a Ex 14:25; 15:3; Deut 1:30; 3:22; Josh 23:3; 2 Chr 20:29; Neh 4:20
b Is 30:15
[42] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ex 14:13–14). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[43] Baker, W. (2003). The complete word study dictionary : Old Testament (481). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
v v: verb
[44] Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
n n: noun or neuter
f f: feminine
AV Authorized Version
[45] Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
adj adj: adjective
[46] Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
[47] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, by Orr, James; Nuelsen, John; Mullins, Edgar; Evans, Morris; Kyle, Melvin Grove, public domain, 1915 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co; (electronic edition, Power BibleCD v5.9 [2010.09.14] ©2010 Online Publishing, Inc.)
[48] Word Studies in the New Testament, by Vincent, Marvin R., ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.9.1, ©2000-2011 by Rick Myers
a Phil 1:5, 6; 4:15
b Heb 5:9
c 2 Cor 7:15
a Rom 12:3; 1 Cor 12:6; 15:10; Heb 13:21
b Eph 1:5
[49] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Php 2:12–13). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
u See ch. 10. 35.
x Ps. 51. 10. ch. 10. 15. & 11. 9. 2 Cor. 7. 1. So 1 Cor. 1. 2. 1 Pet. 1. 22. Comp. John 13. 10. James 1. 21.
y See ch. 10. 43.
[50] The Cambridge Paragraph Bible: Of the Authorized English Version. 1873 (cxix). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[51] Hebrew name of James, brother of Yeshua.
m Comp. ver. 28.
n 1 Macc. 10. 63. & 12. 14 (Gk.).
o ch. 14. 15. & 26. 20. 1 Thess. 1. 9. So ch. 11. 21.
p So Dan. 1. 8. Mal. 1. 7, 12. Ecclus. 40. 29 in the Gk. See ver. 29. Comp. Ps. 106. 28. Ezek. 4. 13, 14. Tobit 1. 10, 11.
q Wisd. 14. 26, 27. 1 Cor. 10. 7, 8. 1 Pet. 4. 3, 4. Rev. 2. 14, 20. See 1 Cor. 6. 18.
r See Lev. 3. 17.
r See Lev. 3. 17.
s ch. 13. 15. See Luke 16. 29.
[53] The Cambridge Paragraph Bible: Of the Authorized English Version. 1873 (cxix). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
a  Heb 6:9
b  1 Cor 10:7, 19f; 1 John 5:21
[54]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (1 Co 10:14). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[55] Strong, J. (1997). New Strong's guide to Bible words (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[56] Strong, J. (1997). New Strong's guide to Bible words (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[57] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson study Bible : New King James Version (1 Co 10:14). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
[58]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[59] Strong, J. (1997). New Strong's guide to Bible words (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[60] Word in life study Bible . 1997 (electronic ed.) (Jdg 16:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
c  Gen 9:4; Lev 3:17; 7:26; 17:10, 14; 19:26; Deut 12:16, 23; 15:23; 1 Sam 14:33
[61] Jones, D. A. (2009). Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament (Le 3:17–Ac 15:29). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
a Acts 15:19f, 29
1 Lit the thing
[62] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ac 21:25). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[63] disciples
[64] Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (78–79). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[65] …Ibid…
[66] The Lifting of the Veil – Acts 15:20-21 by Avram Yehoshua, pg 205, Trafford Publishing; ©2010 Avram Yehoshua.
[67] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[68] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[69] The subtle differences in the spelling of the Greek words comes from the renderings of the particular Greek manuscripts from which the verses are translated. Some examples are the Textus Receptus, the Alexandrian Text, Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, the Nestle-Aland Greek NT and others. Though the variants exist, they have by and large not affected the translation of the Greek word; what has been affected is the interpretation of the text, and that comes from a lack of understanding of the Hebraisms that run throughout what is rightly called the “Jewish-Greek” text of the Testimony of Yeshua Ha’Machiach. This is what the Hebrew Roots movement for the most part is trying to correct – getting the proper perspective out.
70Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

a Deut 32:16; 1 Cor 10:22
1 Lit vanities
b Deut 32:17; 1 Kin 16:13, 26
c Rom 10:19
[71] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Dt 32:21). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a Is 43:20f; Deut 10:15
b Is 61:6; 66:21; 1 Pet 2:5; Rev 1:6
c Ex 19:6; Deut 7:6
d Ex 19:5; Deut 4:20; 14:2; Titus 2:14
e Is 9:2; 42:16; Acts 26:18; 2 Cor 4:6
a Hos 1:10; 2:23; Rom 9:25; 10:19
[72] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (1 Pe 2:9–10). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.