Last month, while working on my article about the Good News of Messiah, I received a thoughtful gift from a Baptist church: a little booklet. Though the person who gave it to me had good intentions, they did not realize that I do not stand on the right side of the river (Christianity) nor on the left side (Judaism), but see myself being in the river with Messiah.
Appreciating the gesture, I took it upon myself to examine the contents of the booklet, especially in light of my recent article. I wanted to determine whether its teachings aligned with the true Good News and other biblical topics or if they veered towards a different interpretation, as Peter and Paul had warned about.
Not directly related to the gospel, but a topic worth discussing. At the outset of the book, it asserts:
“In the Bible, God says that everything He made was good. From massive galaxies soaked with shiny stars…”
However, this modern interpretation of the scriptures deviates from the cosmological framework presented in the scriptures. I have authored several articles delving into the subject of Biblical Cosmology, which you can find and read here.
Critique Number 1
“Snakes can’t be trusted. Satan (an angel who was kicked out of heaven when he tried to take over)…”
Snakes cannot be entirely dismissed as untrustworthy creatures. While some associate snakes with evil, it is important to note that the Seraphim, a class of angels, are described as serpentine beings. Moreover, the presence of snakes on Noah's Ark indicates that they have a place in the natural order, sanctioned by Elohim. And as shown below, snakes have been used to exemplify Elohim’s power.
“And יהוה spoke to Mosheh (Moses) and to Aharon (Aaron), saying, When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves,’ then you shall say to Aharon (Aaron), ‘Take your rod and throw it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.’ So Mosheh (Moses) and Aharon(Aaron) went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, as יהוה commanded. And Aharon (Aaron) threw his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the practices of witchcraft. And they, the magicians of Mitsrayim (Egypt), also did so with their magic. And they, each one, threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But the rod of Aharon (Aaron) swallowed up their rods.” (Exodus 7:8-12)
Elohim could have had the staff turn into any animal but he chose for it to become a snake.
“And the people spoke against Elohim and against Mosheh (Moses), “Why have you brought us up out of Mitsrayim (Egypt) to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our being loathes this light bread.” And יהוה sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people. And many of the people of Yisra’ĕl (Israel) died. Then the people came to Mosheh (Moses), and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against יהוה and against you. Pray to יהוה to take away the serpents from us.” So Mosheh (Moses) prayed on behalf of the people. And יהוה said to Mosheh (Moses), “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole. And it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Mosheh (Moses) made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole. And it came to be, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:5-9)
In this instance, Yah uses snakes to reprimand His people, and then instructs Moses to create a bronze serpent so that the people may be healed upon looking at it. Snakes are not evil, dangerous sure, but they serve a purpose. Furthermore, in my article titled "Satan: A Seraphim," I delve into the intricacies of the Hebrew term used in Genesis chapter 3, where the word 'Nahash' can also signify Seraphim. This exploration sheds light on the multifaceted nature of scriptural language and its potential for deeper interpretations. Additionally, I present evidence in the same article that suggests Hasatan (referring to Satan) has not been cast out of heaven at the time of the events in Genesis, as later biblical references, including those in Revelation, indicate he still retains access to heaven and even participates in heavenly conflicts.
Critique Number 2
“In that one bite, trust was shattered…as a result, evil (sin) entered into the perfect world.”
“Because of their sin, death entered the world.”
“Sin was now between them.”
As we progress on this journey, it becomes essential to clarify our terms, especially at the beginning of this book. The Life Book, however, has chosen to maintain a vague definition of sin. Although it acknowledges sin as a breach of trust, an embodiment of evil, and a path leading to death and separation from the Father, it does not precisely define what sin entails. This lack of definition leaves the concept of sin open to interpretation, a trend that can be found in many Christian works.
To gain a deeper understanding of sin, we turn to the Bible, which clearly defines sin as the transgression of the Torah. The Torah represents the Father's set-apart instructions for righteous living, providing a path to follow that leads us to walk in His ways and receive His blessings.
“Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law (Torah); sin is the breaking of law (Torah).” (1 John 3:4)
Torah is the instructions for righteous living given by the Father.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil,” in that I am commanding you today to love יהוה your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to guard His commands, and His laws, and His right-rulings. And you shall live and increase, and יהוה your Elohim shall bless you in the land which you go to possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16)
The very first command given, as recorded in the Bible, was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This command highlights the importance of adhering to God's ways and avoiding disobedience. The last quote pulled for this section:
“Because the flood did not break the curse, sin and rebellion against God’s ways started all over again.”
Comes close to defining sin but ultimately does not explain what the ways of Elohim are. Sin, the transgression of the Torah, led to separation from the Father and the introduction of death. As we continue on this exploration, we should seek to comprehend the significance of following Elohim's ways, which were set forth in the Torah, and understand the profound effects of sin on humanity and the world.
Critique Number 3
“God gave Moses 10 laws…”
It is crucial to dispel a common misconception propagated by some interpretations within Christianity. Yah indeed gave Moses more than just ten laws or commandments. A closer examination of Exodus chapter twenty reveals that Elohim spoke the Ten Words audibly for everyone to hear, not exclusively for Moses. However, the magnitude of this divine manifestation was so awe-inspiring that it overwhelmed the people, leading them to express fear and reluctance to hear further.
“And all the people saw the thunders, the lightning flashes, the voice of the shophar, and the mountain smoking. And the people saw it, and they trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Mosheh, “You speak with us and we hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.” And Mosheh said to the people, “Do not fear, for Elohim has come to prove you, and in order that His fear be before you, so that you do not sin.” So the people stood at a distance, but Mosheh drew near the thick darkness where Elohim was.” (Exodus 20:18-21)
Following the grand encounter with Elohim, Moses ascended the mountain and received additional instructions on how to live, beyond the Ten Words. It is essential to clarify that the notion of the "Ten Commandments" as a standalone entity is misleading. These statements are, in fact, integral to the marriage covenant forged between Yah and His people. In the scripture, they are not referred to as the "Ten Commandments" but rather as the words of the covenant.
“And he was there with יהוה forty days and forty nights. He did not eat bread and he did not drink water. And He wrote on the tablets the Words of the covenant, the Ten Words.” (Exodus 34:28)
It is essential to emphasize that the Ten Words are not to be viewed in isolation from the rest of the Torah. They should not be perceived as exclusively universal or moral commands, while the remaining parts of the Torah are considered archaic or less relevant, as some interpretations within Christianity might suggest. Instead, the Ten Words serve as a foundational expression, capturing the essence of the covenant between Yah and His people.
The rest of the Torah, comprising the detailed instructions and teachings, serves to elaborate on and provide practical application of these fundamental principles found in the Ten Words. Together, the entirety of the Torah forms a cohesive and comprehensive guide for righteous living, outlining the set-apart principles and precepts that underpin the covenantal relationship with Yah. It is through understanding and following both the essence of the Ten Words and the elaborations in the Torah that we gain a holistic perspective on how-to live-in alignment with Yah's will.
Critique Number 4
I have not included specific references in this passage as they would require listing several sentences. However, the references can be found in the following subsections: "Blood Payment" and "The Promise."
In line with observations about Christianity, it is evident that there is often a failure to fully comprehend or acknowledge the profound reasons behind Yeshua's coming, death, and subsequent role as the eternal high priest in the heavenly tabernacle. Regrettably, his sacrifice is frequently reduced to catchphrases that fail to encapsulate the entire essence of the verses they reference. For instance, the common phrase "He died to save you from your sins" only scratches the surface and does not fully capture the deep significance and multifaceted aspects of Yeshua's sacrifice.
It is vital to understand that Yeshua's primary mission was to seek and save the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This singular focus is of utmost importance in comprehending the purpose and scope of his ministry.
“And He answering, said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’ĕl.” (Matthew 15:24)
The reason behind this lies in the fact that the house of Israel was divorced. According to the Torah, once a wife is divorced and defiled by another, it becomes impossible for the former husband and wife to be remarried. This circumstance creates a significant barrier to reconciliation and restoration between them.
“When a man takes a wife and shall marry her, then it shall be, if she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found a matter of uncoveredness in her, and he shall write her a certificate of divorce, and put it in her hand, and send her out of his house, and if she left his house and went and became another man’s wife, and the latter husband shall hate her and write her a certificate of divorce, and put it in her hand, and send her out of his house, or when the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled, for that would be an abomination before יהוה. And do not bring sin on the land which יהוה your Elohim is giving you as an inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
As we know, Yah entered a covenantal marriage with Israel, forming a sacred bond. However, over time, the nation of Israel divided into two kingdoms, known as the house of Israel and Judah. Tragically, due to their continued disobedience and waywardness, Yah felt compelled to divorce the house of Israel. This unfortunate outcome resulted from their failure to uphold the covenant and follow His righteous ways.
“And יהוה said to me in the days of Yoshiyahu the sovereign, “Have you seen what backsliding Yisra’ĕl has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there committed whoring. “And after she had done all these, I said ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Yehuḏah saw it. “And I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Yisra’ĕl had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Yehuḏah did not fear, but went and committed whoring too.” (Jeremiah 3:6-8)
This situation poses a significant predicament for the house of Israel because, according to the Torah, they are prohibited from being remarried (reentering the covenant) with Yah. However, there is a crucial aspect to consider—this prohibition only lasts as long as the former husband is alive. In other words, the barrier to reconciliation and return for the house of Israel exists only within a specific time frame while the former husband is still alive. This distinction provides a glimmer of hope for their eventual reconciliation with Yah.
“Or do you not know, brothers – for I speak to those knowing the Torah – that the Torah rules over a man as long as he lives? For the married woman has been bound by Torah to the living husband, but if the husband dies, she is released from the Torah concerning her husband. So then, while her husband lives, she shall be called an adulteress if she becomes another man’s. But if her husband dies, she is free from that part of the Torah, so that she is not an adulteress, having become another man’s. So my brothers, you also were put to death to the Torah through the body of Messiah, for you to become another’s, the One who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to Elohim.” (Romans 7:1-4)
Yeshua, the husband to both Israel and Judah, made the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life to pave the way for the house of Israel's reconciliation with the Father (Read "Redeeming the Bride" to learn more). This was the primary purpose of Yeshua's coming—to provide a path for the house of Israel to return to the divine fold. Through enduring trials and challenges, Yeshua became a High Priest who can genuinely empathize with humanity, understanding our struggles and weaknesses. His role as the compassionate High Priest is a testament to his love and devotion in guiding us back to the Father.
“For we do not have a High Priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was tried in all respects as we are, apart from sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Regarding the role of High Priest, it is crucial to recognize that Yeshua is currently fulfilling that position in the heavens. However, this aspect is often overlooked by many people. Throughout history, the priesthood has consistently carried the burden of the people's sins, and this is precisely what Yeshua has done and continues to do for the covenanted community.
As the ultimate High Priest, Yeshua bears the weight of our sins, interceding on behalf of the faithful. His sacrificial act and ongoing role as the High Priest offer redemption and atonement, exemplifying his unwavering dedication to those who have entered a covenant with the Father.
“Because the Lĕwites shall do the service of the Tent of Appointment, so they themselves bear their crookedness. A law forever, throughout your generations: that among the children of Yisra’ĕl they are to have no inheritance.” (Numbers 18:23)
“He would see the result of the suffering of His life and be satisfied. Through His knowledge My righteous Servant makes many righteous, and He bears their crookednesses. Therefore, I give Him a portion among the great, and He divides the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His being unto death, and He was counted with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53: 11-12)
Yeshua holds the esteemed position of the King High Priest of Israel, and the remarkable aspect is that anyone can become a part of Elohim's kingdom. Does not matter if you were born a gentile, you can die a Hebrew, with Yeshua as your Master.
This marks the end of part 1, and I am excited to share part 2 with you next month. As always, I encourage you to test everything, including these teachings, and may the Ruach Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit) guide you into all truth.
Check out some of my books! Available in both print and kindle versions.