Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Goal (End) of the Faith - Part Two

In Part One, we looked at a letter from a Rabbi to his son in the Faith.  Rabbi Shaul, known to most as the Apsotle Paul.  In this excerpt of his letter to Timothy, I translated the term "law" which is being carried over from the Hebrew concept, as "Torah" or, "instruction." When hermeneutics are applied consistently, we can see more clearly.

In this first part, we see that Rabbi Shaul tells Timothy: "1 Timothy 1:5  the goal of our torah is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."  Some of you who read this may think we are heading in a direction of legalism, or something akin to that of the Judaizers.  On the contrary, the Rabbi precedes this verse in the letter to Timothy with the aspiration:
1 Timothy 1:4  4" nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith"  Note, the Apostle puts torah, and faith together in the same sentence, whereas modern churches teach they are opposite and antithetical!

But where does Rabbi Shaul get this expectation, or this doctrine, that this instruction (torah) has as its goal a "good (ie, clean/pure) conscience and a sincere faith?"  It is the teaching and testimony of the First Covenant, and Yhwh's redemptive promises to Israel, the sons of Jacob.

One place we see this clearly is by the prophet Zechariah.  Yeshua taught, "I did not come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets...."  In chapters 12-14, Zechariah prophesied on the coming battle of Armageddon, and the salvation of all (yes, twelve tribes) of Israel.  In chapter 14, we see Yeshua Messiah's victory:

Zechariah 14:9  9 And the LORD (Yahweh) will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD (Yahweh) will be the only one, and His name the only one.

And then a few verses down, we see the state of affairs in the Messianic kingdom, also know as the kingdom of God.

Zechariah 14:16  16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD (Yahweh) of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths (Sukkot).

Most churches teach in their theology that Yeshua, or Jesus came to set us free from the Law.  Never mind that John tells us that "everyone who practices sin practices lawlessness.  Sin is law-lessness (1 Jn. 3:4)."  Protestant believers have been separated from the worldview of the Hebrew authors of the Bible, almost from the second century.

The fact is, the Bible clearly defines the righteousness of Yahweh with his commands (Ps. 119:150), His Torah (instruction - Ps. 119:142).  During His life Yeshua lived a life of perfect righteousness, keeping Yahweh's Torah perfectly.

Does it then make sense that once Yahweh delivers sinners from the punishment and verdict of their sin, that he will allow and encourage them to live in law-lessness (unrighteousness)?  Yet this is the approach that many who claim to follow Messiah take.  But scripture tells us that "he who claims to live in him (Messiah Yeshua) must walk as he walked" (1 Jn. 2:6).  The apostle Paul asks, " What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Rom. 6:1,2).

Clearly, we see that the Messiah Yeshua reigns from His temple in the Millenial Kingdom, over the restored Israel, and the surving remnant of mankind, who will then repopulate the earth during this 1,000 year period.  As Yahweh Elohim told us, "He is the same yesterday, today and forever."  His standard of righteousness never changed.  In fact His Son, Yeshua, His Word/Torah made flesh will reign over His people, till He hands over all things to Yahweh Abba, the Father.

Birthed By Truth. (Jas. 1:18)

By his* will he gave birth to us through the message of truth, so that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. (Ja s. 1:18)

The typical believer says amen!  But what exactly is the message of Truth?  Yeshua the Messiah tells us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6).  Okay, but is there more?  How is this understood from a biblical worldview?  A good hermeneutical principle is that. Scripture always interprets scripture.

In Ps. 119, the longest  chapter in the Bible, which is in praise of the Torah (law) of Elohim, we are told this:  "Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your law is truth" (142).  So here we are told Yhwh's Torah is truth.  This is perhaps one of the most neglected verses of scripture by the entire Christian Church, and it separates those who belong to Messiah, and those who have a spirit of religion.

Further down, in Ps. 119:151, we read: "You are near, O Yahweh, and all your commands are truth."  In fact, reading sections Tsade and Qoph, verses 137-152, you see the themes of 'righteousness,' 'the word,' 'belief,' and 'obedience' to Yhwh's righteous commands.

So for the Jews living during the days of Yeshua's first advent, they would have understood the term "word of Elohim" as the Tanak, or more specifically, the Torah, which we see throughout the Psalms, and the entirety of the Tanakh (Old Testament).  So when the apostle John writes "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us" (Jn. 1:14), he was communicating that the Torah became flesh!"

We know Yeshua lived a sinless life by keeping God's Law (Torah) perfectly.  That is how He was able to fulfill Passover as the lamb of Elohim.  John further instructs believers in one of his lesser known books, that "anyone who claims to live in him must walk as that one walked" (1 Jn. 2:6).  That is to say, believers must walk in righteousness, that is, in Torah, not to be saved, but because they are saved, in obedient love.  Yeshua taught, "The one who loves me will keep my commands."  Amen!