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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Worship and Encountering the Divine, Part 4

Go to Part 5...




…Worship and Encountering the Divine…

Part Four

..The LORD is ONE: The Creed of Yeshua…

Matthew 22:35-40
35) One of them, [1]1aa lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,
36) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37) And He said to him, “ ‘aYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38) “This is the great and 1foremost commandment.
39) “The second is like it, ‘aYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40) “aOn these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [2]

Mark 12:28-34
28 aOne of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and brecognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the 1foremost of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘aHear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord;
30 aand you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this, ‘aYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that aHe is One, and there is no one else besides Him;
33 aand to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, bis much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him,
You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
aAfter that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions. [3]



Matthew 16:13-21
13 aNow when Jesus came into the district of bCaesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that cthe Son of Man is?”
14 And they said, “Some say aJohn the Baptist; and others, 1bElijah; but still others, 2Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered,
You are 1athe Christ, bthe Son of cthe living God.
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, aSimon 1Barjona, because bflesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 “I also say to you that you are 1aPeter, and upon this 2rock I will build My church; and the gates of bHades will not overpower it.
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.”
20 aThen He 1warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was 2bthe Christ. [4]

We have started each of these teachings with the same starter verses for a reason. I want you to pay attention to them, to really ponder what is being said and then explore, search and come to a conclusion. Either we trust Scripture at its most basic interpretation, that is the plain meaning (Peshat, the plain, simple, direct meaning of the Written Word), or we allegorize and “spiritualize” the language to mean whatever we hope to make it mean.

We must know how to study the Word of Yahvey.  One of the ways (though for sure not the only way) is to use the inductive method of study that says we must always ask ourselves certain questions when studying Scripture, and these questions consist of the following five areas:
1.       Who?
2.       What?
3.       When?
4.       Where?
5.       Why?
Though the order of these five elements can be switched around, to truly understand what it is we are reading, these questions must be asked and answered:
1)      Who…
a)                  …wrote it
b)                  …said it
c)                   …is mentioned
d)                  …whom is the author speaking to
2)      What…
a)                  …are the main events taking place
b)                  …are the major ideas
c)                   …what are the doctrines or teachings being introduced
3)      When…
a)                  …was it written
b)                  …did it take place
c)                   …will it happen
4)      Where…
a)                  …was this done
b)                  …was it said
c)                   …will it happen
5)      Why…
a)                  …was it written
b)                  …was this mentioned
c)                   …the emphasis or lack concerning of a certain event
d)                  …does this happen or not happen, depending upon the case

From this list, you can see that a careful study of Yahvey’s word really requires a bit of effort.  After all, it wasn’t just to fill up space in the Bible that Yahvey said:

Proverbs 25:2 (1901 ASV)
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.[5]

A sixth element can be added to the list and that is the question “How?”

6)      How…
a)                  …did this happen
b)                  …is it done
c)                   …is this truth illustrated

The reason for so many questions isn’t to bog the student down in the minutia of the details, but for the student to gain a sense of the context and the times of what they read.  Observation is very important in studying Scripture.  Without careful observation, without a sense of the context and the themes introduced, the student will find that what they read will become colored by their own presuppositions- what you think, what you feel, or what other people have said.[6]  This leads us to a very dangerous place, as Scripture clearly warns:

2 Peter 3:16 (KJV)
16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. [7]

By careful observation and with even a cursory examination of the 5 W’s and an H, many pitfalls can be avoided; then the true rich and deep intent of Yahvey’s word can come through.

Another method is the Jewish way, the way I prefer, called PaRDeS…

But first let us look at the modern manner of interpreting Biblical text is commonly called exegesis.

Exegesis (from the Greek ἐξήγησις from ἐξηγεῖσθαι 'to lead out') is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used for greater specificity. Exegesis includes a wide range of critical disciplines: textual criticism is the investigation into the history and origins of the text, but exegesis may include the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds for the author, the text, and the original audience. Other analysis includes classification of the type of literary genres present in the text, and an analysis of grammatical and syntactical features in the text itself.

The terms exegesis and hermeneutics have been used interchangeably. However, hermeneutics is a more widely defined discipline of interpretation theory: hermeneutics includes the entire framework of the interpretive process, encompassing all forms of communication: written, verbal and nonverbal, while exegesis focuses primarily on the written text.

There is a contrast to Exegesis and that is:

Eisegesis (from Greek εἰς "into" as opposed to exegesis from ἐξηγεῖσθαι "to lead out") is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that it introduces one's own presuppositions, agendas, and/or biases into and onto the text. The act is often used to "prove" a pre-held point of concern to the reader and to provide him or her with confirmation bias in accordance with his or her pre-held agenda.

Eisegesis is best understood when contrasted with exegesis. While exegesis draws out the meaning from a text in accordance with the context and discover-able meaning of its author, eisegesis occurs when a reader imposes his or her interpretation into and onto the text. As a result, exegesis tends to be objective when employed effectively while eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective.
An individual who practices eisegesis is known as an eisegete, as someone who practices exegesis is known as an exegete. The term "eisegete" is often used in a mildly derogatory fashion.

Although the term exegesis is commonly heard in association with Biblical interpretations, the term is broadly used across literary disciplines.

Exegesis concerns itself mostly with the literary and grammatical context of Scripture verses. Practitioners of exegesis sometimes view anything beyond the literal text as "isogesis" and often pay it little heed to it, or regard it with suspicion. This is an unfortunate error, a result of a backlash against improper allegorizing of the Scriptures, resulting in a case where "the baby is thrown out with the bathwater."

With regard to the proper understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures in their proper context, including the "New Testament" books, there are in fact "levels" of interpretation that must be taken into consideration. This was the method used to write and interpret Scripture by the authors themselves as well as the audience of their time and culture. This is the PaRDeS method.

THE RULES OF PaRDeS INTERPRETATION

·         Peshat (פְּשָׁט) — "plain" ("simple") or the direct meaning.[8]
  • Remez (רֶמֶז) — "hints" or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
  • Derash (דְּרַשׁ) — from Hebrew darash: "inquire" ("seek") — the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
  • Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in 'bone') — "secret" ("mystery") or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

The four level of interpretation are called: Parshat, Remez, D’rash & Sud. The first letter of each word P-R-D-S is taken, and vowels are added for pronunciation, giving the word PaRDeS (meaning "garden" or "orchard"). Each layer is deeper and more intense than the last, like the layers of an onion.
·         P'shat  (pronounced peh-shaht' - meaning "simple")
The p'shat is the plain, simple meaning of the text. The understanding of scripture in its natural, normal sense using the customary meanings of the word’s being used, literary style, historical and cultural setting, and context. The p'shat is the keystone of Scripture understanding. If we discard the p'shat we lose any real chance of an accurate understanding and we are no longer objectively deriving meaning from the Scriptures (exegesis), but subjectively reading meaning into the scriptures (eisogesis). The Talmud states that no passage loses its p'shat:

Talmud Shabbat 63a - Rabbi Kahana objected to Mar son of Rabbi Huna: But this refers to the words of the Torah? A verse cannot depart from its plain meaning, he replied.

Note that within the p'shat you can find several types of language, including figurative, symbolic and allegorical. The following generic guidelines can be used to determine if a passage is figurative and therefore figurative even in its p'shat:

  1. When an inanimate object is used to describe a living being, the statement is figurative. Example: Isaiah 5:7 - For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant; and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
  2. When life and action are attributed to an inanimate object the statement is figurative. Example: Zechariah 5:1-3 - Then I turned, and lifted up my eyes, and looked, and behold a flying scroll.  And he said to me, What do you see? And I answered, I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits, and its width ten cubits.  And he said to me, This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth; for everyone who steals shall be cut off henceforth, according to it; and everyone who swears falsely shall be cut off henceforth, according to it.
  3. When an expression is out of character with the thing described, the statement is figurative. Example: Psalm 17:8 - Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of your wings ...

·         Remez  (pronounced reh-mez' - meaning "hint")
This is where another (implied) meaning is alluded to in the text, usually revealing a deeper meaning. There may still be a p'shat meaning as well as another meaning as any verse can have multiple levels of meaning. An example of implied "REMEZ" Proverbs 20:10:

Different weights, and different measures, both of them are alike an abomination to the Lord.

The p'shat would be concerned with a merchant using the same scale to weigh goods for all of his customers. The remez implies that this goes beyond this into aspects of fairness and honesty in anyone's life.

·         D’rash (pronounced deh-rahsh' also called "Midrash," meaning "concept")
This is a teaching or exposition or application of the P'shat and/or Remez. (In some cases this could be considered comparable to a "sermon.") For instance, Biblical writers may take two or more unrelated verses and combine them to create a verse(s) with a third meaning.

There are three rules to consider when utilizing the d'rash interpretation of a text:

  1. A d’rash understanding cannot be used to strip a passage of its p'shat meaning, nor may any such understanding contradict the p'shat  meaning of any other scripture passage. As the Talmud states, "No passage loses its p'shat."
  2. Let scripture interpret scripture. Look for the scriptures themselves to define the components of an allegory.
  3. The primary components of an allegory represent specific realities. We should limit ourselves to these primary components when understanding the text.

·         Sud or Sod (pronounced either sawd, or sood [like "wood"] - meaning "hidden")
This understanding is the hidden, secret or mystic meaning of a text. An example most people are familiar with is Revelation 13:18, regarding the "beast" and the number "666."



EXAMPLES OF PARDES FROM MATTHEW

Examples of the Remez, D'rash and Sud, can be found in Matthew as follows. (Of course the p'shat is throughout the text.) Without knowledge and application of the rules of PARDES, these verses would either not make sense or indicate an error on the part of the author:

Remez

Matthew 2:15 - "Out of Egypt I called my son." This is a quote from Hosea 11:1 that Matthew is applying to Yeshua. If we stuck to a literal exegesis only and researched the quote, we would have to accuse Matthew of improperly using Scripture, as Hosea is clearly speaking of the nation of Israel, and not the Messiah. Matthew however, is hinting (a remez)at the relationship between Israel and the Messiah, in this and other verses he uses.

D'rash
Matthew 18:18 - "... Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" This is a verse that has been interpreted in numerous (incorrect) ways due to a lack of understanding that this a d'rash concerning decisions one makes in their personal "walk with God" (called your "halakha" in Hebrew/Judaism).

Sud
Matthew 26:28 - "Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, Drink from it all of you, This is my blood ..." Taken literally this verse would not only be a violation of the Torah commandment against consuming blood, but along with other verses about eating Yeshua's flesh (John 6:51-56), could be grounds for accusations of cannibalism. There is a far deeper, more mystical meaning here however (the sud), even one that those who heard Him did not understand (John 6:52).[9]

One way of looking at this is to study the four Gospel accounts. Here in the West we have broken the Gospels down into groups that goes something similar to this:

“…Matthew - the Jews who needed proof that Jesus was the promised Messiah, which explains the numerous references to OT prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.

Mark - the Christians of Rome who were suffering under Nero's persecutions. They needed to know that it was in suffering for Jesus that they would achieve their glory, that they weren't suffering in vain.

Luke - the Gentiles. Luke has to explain the meaning behind numerous Jewish-isms.

John - Those that wanted to know Jesus even better than they had by reading the Synoptic Gospels (Matt, Mark & Luke). John established the fact that Jesus, the One closest to God is the One who reveals him in chapter 1 - "No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him." And then shows that he is the one, at Jesus' side, who will reveal the True Jesus in chapter 13 - One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus' side…” [10]

A more basic formula is:

Matthew = Hebrews (or the Jews)
Mark = Romans
Luke = Gentiles
John = Christians

In the PaRDeS method, the four Gospels, it could be said, could be interpreted a different way:


  • Matthew - Peshat (Plain or literal sense, or reading of the Scriptures on its terms, not adding to or subtracting from by trying to impose our own application.)
  • Mark - Remez (Hint - Implied meaning, either Typological/Allegorical with a moral bent. This is not to say we are free to assign any meaning to Scripture we want – we have to in this method allow Scripture to interpret itself without adding our own presuppositions. When we add our own bias to Scripture, we can easily sidestep the lead of the Spirit.)
  • Luke - Darash (Searching – for the relevance of the Written Word to our lives; here is the most difficult application of Scripture, for we have progressed away from what the Scriptures actually said to the first readers/hearers to what it says to us today, thus distorting the intent of the words to fit our world instead of the eternal truths God expects us to keep. One example is this: we may be comfortable with what Scripture says except when it convicts us of our sins..)
  • John - Sod (Mystical, or deeper meaning – the “theological sense of God.” [11] What must be taken into consideration here is what it is we are dealing with: Sacred Texts, Sacred Writings, the author of which is God. It is to our shame if we take these words as our possession, to pick and choose our way through them, to discard or distain some aspects of the Word because it doesn’t fit our “theological paradigm”; the Sacred Text belongs to God, and we should approach it with fear [awe] and trembling. Anything less allows us to twist and turn and manipulate Scripture to our sure destruction.)


We could see it as this:  

  •  Matthew is the Gospel that most directly alludes to the Tanach. Among all four, it appears to make its case most plainly because the Tanach references are mostly found on the surface in the form of direct quotes. Also, if we followed the Hebrew Canon as it is given in the Tanach, with the Chronicles being the last books of the Hebrew Scriptures, then Matthew fits well into forming a more cohesive transition from Tanach to Messianic Writings.

  •  The Gospel of Mark seems to hint at a deeper message, one that is not as plain as Matthew's. Matthew runs many themes in the background, but Mark introduces them more subtly. Its apparent less detailed presentation when compared to Matthew hides many significant points under the surface. You have to look for hints of its inner message in the way he uses words such as "way." In Mark Christ explicitly wants to keep his identity as Messiah a secret, a unique feature of the Second Gospel. It can be said that Mark wants us to go “under the surface” and begin to see a deeper Hint into who Messiah is.

  •  The D'rash opens up for us the moral and practical application for life. As we search the Bible, we see that the examples given to us are “types” of lives that can and do mirror aspects of our own lives and it as such, have many life lessons we can learn. Luke presents to us more than the other Gospels the humanity of Messiah; only in Luke do we read about Yeshua’s going to the synagogue, opening God's Word, and making it applicable to those who heard Him speak (Luke 4:16-21). Luke’s Gospel account contains the greatest number of parables (from which we can draw real-life applications). It can be said also of Luke that it is the Sapiential[12] Gospel - its overall tone reflects the wisdom of the Proverbs and similar moral-oriented literature.

  •  To correctly interpret John,  we have to understand the allusions that he is trying to bring about. It is an infinitely deep book – one that goes beyond the pale of human wisdom. John links us back into the Creation Story with his opening words “In the beginning”, and if we fail to properly connect the dots, then we miss the secret that he is trying to explain; the mystery of the second Adam, the new creation, the restoration of all things. It is literature that is not of this world; the heavenly realm awaits those who are willing to let the Spirit guide them into the truth that John lays out before us.


The ultimate truth of the Scriptures rests with its ultimate author: Almighty God. God’s words mean what God intends, not with what we want to interpret as the “human author’s intent”, or the “interpreters intent” if you will. A “plain or literal sense” of Scripture has to be taken from a close reading of the Scriptural text and “the knowledge the authors assume from their first readers [emphasis mine]”. [13]

We can learn from the many teachers that there has been throughout the ages, but we must take caution; did these teachers adhere to the p’shat (the plain meaning of Scripture), or did they deviate so as to justify a particular theological supposition? Did the teachers approach the Word with careful consideration, or was there an agenda to be had? Did they have love in their hearts for the Word and for their brothers or was a murderous intent burning in their hearts? Did they lend themselves to the righteousness of God, or the unrighteousness of the world? We have to examine the fruits of their lives to see if we want or should follow what they advocated.

1 John 1:5-10 (NASB)
5  This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
6  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
7  but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8  If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Hatred for the Jewish people was a common theme among those who Christianity call their “fathers of the faith”. Look at the below: 

“…The Anti-Semitism of the Church Fathers:
The war of the Christian Church against the Jews began with the Church Fathers' relentless attacks on those Jews who stubbornly refused to accept Jesus as Messiah. "The unbridled utterances of bigotry and hate coming from the venerated Church Fathers of the early Christian Church raises some doubt as to both their sanity and their saintliness."37 Despite their belief that Christ's death was necessary and predestined, they denounced the Jews as a "condemned race and hated of God."38
Before expounding further on the anti-Semitism of the Fathers, it is only fair to mention that from the days of Paul onward, there was considerable anti-Christian hostility from among the orthodox Jews because of the claims of Christianity. Because the rapidly growing Church was becoming a real threat to Judaism, fear and hatred of Christianity would not be surprising. It is quite possible that the Jews may have aided and even instigated the early Roman persecution of the Christians in the first few centuries.
Because of the growing power of the Church, Christian theology and the Church Fathers were to become more and more obsessed with Jewish guilt. The following teachings of the Fathers were to be handed down throughout succeeding generations in Christendom.
Origen (185-254 C.E.) echoed the growing hostility:
"On account of their unbelief and other insults which they heaped upon Jesus, the Jews will not only suffer more than others in the judgment which is believed to impend over the world, but have even already endured such sufferings. For what nation is in exile from their own metropolis, and from the place sacred to the worship of their fathers, save the Jews alone? And the calamities they have suffered because they were a most wicked nation, which although guilty of many other sins, yet has been punished so severely for none as for those that were committed against our Jesus."39
The Church, who was now Israel, had to discredit the other Israel. And it did so by making anti-Jewish theology an integral part of Christian apologetics. The Fathers turned out volumes of literature to prove that they were the true people of God, and that Judaism had only been a prelude to or in preparation for Christianity. Justin Martyr along with Hippolytus (170-236 C.E.) was obsessed with the belief that the Jews were receiving and would continue to receive God's punishment for having murdered Jesus.
Hippolytus writes:
"Now then, incline thine ear to me and hear my words, and give heed, thou Jew. Many a time does thou boast thyself, in that thou didst condemn Jesus of Nazareth to death, and didst give him vinegar and gall to drink; and thou dost vaunt thyself because of this. Come, therefore, and let us consider together whether perchance thou dost boast unrighteously, O, Israel, and whether thou small portion of vinegar and gall has not brought down this fearful threatening upon thee and whether this is not the cause of thy present condition involved in these myriad of troubles."40
As the Church came into power in the fourth century, it turned on the synagogues with even greater intensity. Jewish civil and religious status was deteriorating, thanks to the influence the bishops had in the political arena. Laws were passed making it a capital offense for any Jew to make a convert, they were excluded from various professions, denied all civil honors, and their autonomy of worship was being threatened. In every way, they were being discriminated against. Christians felt that their belief in divine punishment was now supported by this growing evidence.
Hilary of Potieres spoke of the Jews as "a people who had always persisted in iniquity and out of its abundance of evil glorified in wickedness."41
Ambrose defended a fellow bishop for burning a synagogue at Callinicum and asked "who cares if a synagogue - home of insanity and unbelief - is destroyed?"42
                Gregory of Nyssa (331-396 C.E.) gave the following indictment:
"Slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, adversaries of God, men who show contempt for the Law, foes of grace, enemies of their fathers' faith, advocates of the Devil, brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men whose minds are in darkness, leaven of the Pharisees, assembly of demons, sinners, wicked men, stoners, and haters of righteousness."43
The strongest attacks on Jews and Judaism by the Church Fathers are to be found in the Homilies of Chrysostom (347-407 C.E.) in his Antioch sermons. He is considered to be among the most beloved and admired in Church history. His name translates in Greek as St. John the Golden Mouthed. His discourses were prompted by the fact that many Christians were meeting on friendly terms with Jews, visiting Jewish homes, and attending their synagogues.
Chrysostom said:
·         "The Jews sacrifice their children to Satan....they are worse than wild beasts. The synagogue is a brothel, a den of scoundrels, the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults, a criminal assembly of Jews, a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, a gulf and abyss of perdition."44
·         "The Jews have fallen into a condition lower than the vilest animal. Debauchery and drunkenness have brought them to the level of the lusty goat and the pig. They know only one thing: to satisfy their stomachs, to get drunk, to kill, and beat each other up like stage villains and coachmen."45
·         "The synagogue is a curse, obstinate in her error, she refuses to see or hear, she has deliberately perverted her judgment; she has extinguished with herself the light of the Holy Spirit."46
Chrysostom further said that the Jews had become a degenerate race because of their "odious assassination of Christ for which crime there is no expiation possible, no indulgence, no pardon, and for which they will always be a people without a nation, enduring a servitude without end."47
He elaborated further on God's punishment of the Jews:
"But it was men, says the Jew, who brought these misfortunes upon us, not God. On the contrary, it was in fact God who brought them about. If you attribute them to men, reflect again that even supposing men had dared, they could not have had the power to accomplish them, unless it had been God's will...Men would certainly not have made war unless God had permitted them...Is it not obvious that it was because God hated you and rejected you once for all?"48
On another occasion Chrysostom is quoted as saying "I hate the Jews because they violate the Law. I hate the synagogue because it has the Law and the prophets. It is the duty of all Christians to hate the Jews."49
Chrysostom's Homilies were to be used in seminaries and schools for centuries as model sermons, with the result that his message of hate would be passed down to succeeding generations of theologians. The nineteenth century Protestant cleric R. S. Storr called him "one of the most eloquent preachers who ever since apostolic times have brought to men the divine tidings of truth and love." A contemporary of Storr, the great theologian John Henry Cardinal Newman, described Chrysostom as a "bright, cheerful, gentle soul, a sensitive heart..."50
Augustine, the great theologian, was also guilty of the growing hatred. In a sermon on Catechumens, he says:
"The Jews hold him, the Jews insult him, the Jews bind him, crown him with thorns, dishonor him with spitting, scourge him, overwhelm with revilings, hang him upon the tree, pierce him with a spear...The Jews killed him."51
"But when the Jews killed Christ, though they knew it not, they prepared the supper for us."52
In another sermon he characterized the Jews as "willfully blind to Holy Scripture," "lacking in understanding" and "haters of truth."53
The Church Fathers had sown the seeds of intolerance and Jews were to become the object of hatred and persecution all over Europe for centuries to come…” [14]

Scripture says:
1 John 2:3-11 (NASB95)
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.
7     aBeloved, I am bnot writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had cfrom the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
8     1On the other hand, I am writing aa new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because bthe darkness is passing away and cthe true Light is already shining.
9     The one who says he is in the Light and yet ahates his bbrother is in the darkness until now.
10     aThe one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
11     But the one who ahates his brother is in the darkness and bwalks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has cblinded his eyes. [15]

Ought not we hold these men to the same standards? On the other hand, we have to look at the writings of the Jews in the same light. It is noted in the last passage about the growing animosity toward the Christians in the Jewish community, but you have to keep all things in their historical context. Most of the anti-“Christian” Sentiment was the result of “…a number of events, including the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus (c. 33), the Council of Jerusalem (c. 50), the destruction of the Second Temple and institution of the Jewish tax in 70, the postulated Council of Jamnia c. 90, and the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–135…”[16]

                In light of all things, we need to keep context of Scripture and the context of historical events in mind. Please study these events on your own, to help you reach an informed conclusion.

Before we continue: I’d like to add this small disclaimer:

“…Hebrew contextual studies and research tends to depend on historical records that are sometimes outside of the Holy Scriptures. These include (but are not limited to) early Jewish writings, Oral Law, records from early church and secular historians and other records (like the Dead Sea Scrolls). While these sources are not to be considered infallible, they are none the less a valuable tool for us to use in our studies of God’s Holy Word…” [17]

                As I have stated in previous portions of this series, there are plenty of websites and groups who have devoted themselves to the tearing down of everything associated with the Hebraic Roots and the use of any Jewish material or methods of exegesis at all. In fairness, I’ll list a few (Google reports 3,220,000 results) so that you my readers can make up your own mind…


While there are more, these are indicative of the genre that is out there. Let me just explain where I come from.  I find it hard to tell another what they should believe. All of these sites reference various groups found within the Messianic movement, some that are on the edge and some that have gone over the edge (the edge being keeping in line with sound Biblical teaching). This, to be fair, can be said of various organizations that call themselves Christian also. Just because I call myself a Messianic does not mean I am demeaning Christians; call yourselves what you wish; it is just that “Messianic” fits what I believe – I follow the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua or Jesus, to me the names are synonymous. I am not a part of a “sacred name” movement, though I believe in using the name of God as I understand it. I am not hung up on what I perceive to be ancient pagan influences on the doctrines and teachings of todays “church”- God will use whatever vehicle He needs to bring His elect to Him, so far be for me to say anything about how another chooses to worship or what they choose to believe. These ancient influences will either be rooted out or heartily embraced, a decision that only those who walk in their way can make. My only wish is that those who consistently take a heavy handed approach to my belief system take a long hard look at their own first – root out your own problems before you cast stones at mine. If by close examination of our own practices and beliefs by diligently searching the word of God we can find error within ourselves or the system we hold too, then we will be able to discern the truth and be open to correction. I have had New Testament “Christians” screaming at me at the top of their lungs, waving the Bible and their fists in my face, and as the song says “I’ve been slandered, I’ve been libeled, I’ve heard words I never read in the Bible” all because they did not want to have a discussion, they just wanted to shout me down with no intention of defending their faith or correcting mine in love. I’ve known scores of people wounded in the church by back-biting, slander, gossip and rumors; I’ve seen people forcefully ejected from church for questioning a preacher’s or a congregation’s beliefs and practices. We all have seen the scandals within the church, of sexual misconduct, of embezzlement, of lies and deceit. I have seen a hatred that borders on the pathological and a tolerance and/or acceptance for the ungodly and a distaste for the holy… all by those who call themselves “Christian”. Just look at the history of the church universal, and see the stain of blood it has left in its wake. Can anyone with a sense of reason and logic truthfully tell me that with all that has been done in “the name of Christ” that there is not a need to re-examine our beliefs and the traditions and teachings that have been passed down over the centuries by men with blood on their hands and hatred in their hearts?

This all said, I have also know Christian men and women who are living examples of Christ on earth. Their faith is genuine, their love is real and boundless. They walk sometimes more in the Torah than most Messianics and they don’t even know they are doing it; they just walk upright before God and man. They are selfless and extend their hand to all in need that they can and they do this out of love for God and Jesus. So they don’t keep the Feasts. So they eat pork chops. So they go to church on Sunday. This is what they’ve been taught, this is what they believe. Am I to call them damned because they don’t think like me? I don’t think so, for then I would be as wrong as the haters out there. Let everyone work out their own salvation in fear and trembling before the LORD, and prayerfully I’ll see you on the other side.

It is hard to be a Gentile believer in the Messiah of Israel. It would be easier just to be a “Christian”; all I have to do is decide which “flavor” of Christianity I would like to believe in, and follow its doctrines and systematic theology. Those I talked about in the last paragraph are those who God works through despite what church they go to; their love for Him is what defines them, not their religious affiliation. I hope that the same can be said of me, but let’s face it, it isn’t always so.  Messianic Jews look down on us because we aren’t following “authentic Judaism” exactly enough. Christians look down on us a heretics because we believe in the Law and Yeshua. Orthodox Jews despise us because we are just “Christians in Jewish clothing”. Non-believers think we are just as nutty as all the others who profess to be believers.  Do this, don’t do that; walk this way, not that way. Quit trying to be a Jew, be more Jewish… on and on it goes. Other Messianics look down on us as having a “Greek mindset” because we have questions about interpreting the Word differently than they. One house, Two house, One Law, No Law, our way, this way… STOP!

Just stop. Yeshua was Jewish, the Apostles were Jewish so I’m going to try to do the best I can to understand Scripture from a Hebraic perspective. That means I am to love and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; that means I learn His Torah, His way and I put my faith (my belief, trust and commitment) in His only begotten Son, Yeshua/Jesus. It means I make myself vulnerable to the Ruler of the Universe, that I surrender to His will and humble myself before Him for the work His Son did on the stake in my place. I just want to yell STOP to all the others; quit hating me or thumbing your nose at me because I don’t think like you do. I am asking no one to think as I – all I ask is you think for yourself, you test all I say by the Holy Word and come to your own conclusion. I think that Jews just need to repent and recognize their Messiah, and Christians need to repent and accept God at His word and walk the way He says… Messianics need to repent of their high-ways and humble themselves before Him so that we can truly be a bridge between Christians and Jews.

Now why this long explanation? Because I’m going to get rocks thrown at me from all sides, but that is okay. I’m going to ask you a couple of questions, and we will stop here. My next post will finally get around to the Creed of Jesus, but as I said, a lot of ground had to be covered in order for you to understand my reasoning. […Also, I want to thank you for putting up with me as I bared my soul to you…]
I’d like to add a quote here first before I ask my question. This quote is from a book written by Patrick Navas [18]; while Mr. Navas is not known as a ‘quote’ “Biblical scholar” ‘closed quote’, as a seeker he expresses a core belief of mine very well…

“…Although the matter of regular association with a Christian community has always proved to be a special challenge (and somewhat of a spiritual dilemma) for me, and although I have maintained relationships with Christians of diverse backgrounds and affiliations, I came to the conclusion that the genuine Christians of the world are—in the truest and most important sense—recognized by and known to God and Christ, based on their faithfulness to the message revealed in Scripture, not by means of organizational membership or loyalty to a particular creed developed by men. At the same time I came to the realization that one of the primary reasons why so much division exists in the Christian world (the world of those professing the Christian faith) is that so often religious groups and leaders will not only go “beyond the things that are written” in terms of their most distinguishing doctrinal concepts, but they will, in many cases, go as far as to point to their peculiar and often complex belief, interpretation, or set of complex interpretations and beliefs—their “theological system” if you will—as a means or standard by which one should be judged as a true or false Christian…”[19]

This I believe as well, that we are known unto God and Messiah based upon our belief, trust and commitment ( or in  another word, our faith )to the Holy Scriptures, and not to the creeds and doctrines of man, “church”, or theological system. This said, here is my questions ( and also Messiah Yeshua’s ) to you all:

Who do people say that cthe Son of Man is?
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”[20]

Indeed, this is the central question for us as believers, who do we say He is? Is our concept given to us by man and his traditions, or is it revealed to us by the Spirit, just as it was revealed to Peter? Important questions, for it truly determines whether or not we know before whom we stand, and whether or not He knows us.

…Till we meet again, May Father richly bless You my beloved…



1 I.e. an expert in the Mosaic Law
a Luke 7:30; 10:25; 11:45, 46, 52; 14:3; Titus 3:13
a Deut 6:5
1 Or first
a Lev 19:18; Matt 19:19; Gal 5:14
a Matt 7:12
[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a Mark 12:28–34: Matt 22:34–40; Luke 10:25–28; 20:39f
b Matt 22:34; Luke 20:39
1 Or first
a Deut 6:4
a Deut 6:5
a Lev 19:18
a Deut 4:35
a Deut 6:5
b 1 Sam 15:22; Hos 6:6; Mic 6:6–8; Matt 9:13; 12:7
a Matt 22:46
[3] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a Matt 16:13–16: Mark 8:27–29; Luke 9:18–20
b Mark 8:27
c Matt 8:20; 16:27, 28
a Matt 14:2
1 Gr Elias
b Matt 17:10; Mark 6:15; Luke 9:8; John 1:21
2 Gr Jeremias
* 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 occurence. However, the translators felt that it would be wise to change these historical presents to English past tenses.
1 I.e. the Messiah
a Matt 1:16; 16:20; John 11:27
b Matt 4:3
c Ps 42:2; Matt 26:63; Acts 14:15; Rom 9:26; 2 Cor 3:3; 6:16; 1 Thess 1:9; 1 Tim 3:15; 4:10; Heb 3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22; Rev 7:2
a John 1:42; 21:15–17
1 I.e. son of Jonah
b 1 Cor 15:50; Gal 1:16; Eph 6:12; Heb 2:14
1 Gr Petros, a stone
a Matt 4:18
2 Gr petra, large rock; bed-rock
b Matt 11:23
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.
a Matt 8:4; Mark 8:30; Luke 9:21
1 Or strictly admonished
2 I.e. the Messiah
b Matt 1:16; 16:16; John 11:27
[4] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[5]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6]  How to Study Your Bible, by Kay Arthur, ©1994 by Precept Ministries, Harvest House Publishers
[7]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[9] Thanks to James Trimm at www.nazarene.net from whom much of this material is derived from.
[10] From the Catholic Answers Forum, found at http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=160683

[12] sapiential(adj): characterized by wisdom, especially the wisdom of God i.e. "a sapiential government" From: "Sapiential." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2013. Web. 2 Oct. 2013. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/Sapiential>.

[14] From http://www.sandrawilliams.org/ANTI/anti-semitism.html Notes for this section follow:
37 Alan T. Davis, Anti-Semitism and the Christian Mind (New York: Herder and Herder, 1969),79.
38 Ibid, 79.
39 Quoted in Bratton, 80. "Against Celcus." In The Anti-Nicene Fathers, edited by Alexander and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1956), Vol. IV, 433.
40 Ibid, Vol. I, 219.
41 Bratton, 83.
42 Ibid, 83.
43 Quoted in Bratton, 83. From "Oratiu in Christi: Resurrectionem: XV", 553. Europe and the
Jews (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961) 26.
44 Quoted in Bratton, 83-84. From Chrysostoms eight "Homilies Against the Jews" in
Patrologia Graeca (Paris: Garnier, 1857-1866), 843-942.
45 Ibid.
46 Ibid.
47 Ibid.
48 Ibid.
49 Ibid.
50 Quoted in Prager, Why the Jews? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983), 94.
51 Quoted in Bratton, 86. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, edited by Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Co., Vol. III, 1956), 373-74.
52 Ibid, Vol. VI, 447.
53 Ibid, Vol. VI, 397, 477, 496.
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
a  Heb 6:9; 1 John 3:2, 21; 4:1, 7, 11
b  John 13:34; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:21; 2 John 5
c  1 John 2:24; 3:11; 2 John 5, 6
1  Lit Again
a  John 13:34
b  Rom 13:12; Eph 5:8; 1 Thess 5:4f
c  John 1:9
a  1 John 2:11; 3:15; 4:20
b  Acts 1:15; 1 John 3:10, 16; 4:20f
a  John 11:9; 1 John 2:10, 11
a  1 John 2:9; 3:15; 4:20
b  John 12:35; 1 John 1:6
c  2 Cor 4:4; 2 Pet 1:9
[15]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[16] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_of_early_Christianity_and_Judaism
[17] Part of this disclaimer was inspired by the blog article Jesus as Rabbi: The Orchard Method of PaRDeS found at
[18] The author, Patrick Navas, is a Christian and Bible student from Los Angeles, California. He earned a Bachelor's degree in History in 2005 and a Master's degree in Education through the University of La Verne in 2010. Currently he teaches American History at the middle school level for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
[19] Patrick Navas (2011-07-07). Divine Truth or Human Tradition?:A Reconsideration of the Orthodox Doctrine of the Trinity in Light of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (Kindle Locations 95-104). AuthorHouse. Kindle Edition.
c Matt 8:20; 16:27, 28
[20] Matthew 16:13, 15