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 on: November 12, 2017, 04:26:51 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe
Toldot: Generations/Descendants

Torah reading: Genesis 25.19-28.9
Haftarah: Malachi 1.1-2.7



BRI International Internet Yeshiva Forum Notes, July 1, 2006

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual taped BRI Yeshiva lecture.
Copyright © BRI 2006 All Rights Reserved Worldwide

OBADIAH -- The Coming Destruction of the 'End of Days' Edomite Empire


I purposely left the scroll of Obadiah ("servant of the Lord") until now, preferring to major on it only AFTER the lectures on Jonah were completed. Although Jonah follows Obadiah (and Obadiah is listed officially in the Twelve Minor Prophets as the 4th in the natural sequential flow) I wanted to give much needed attention to this prophet's writings as they are perhaps the most important -- to my mind at least -- next to Zechariah and Malachi.

The reason for my high appraisal is this: we are living in the approach to the EndTime and we are located in geographical regions where modern Edomites have the social, economic, political and military dominance. Many of those on this BRI Members Board are Edomite by race, or a mixture thereof. Of course, in Mashiach there "is neither Jew nor Greek [or Edomite]" as far as equality of status in the ekklesia. Outside the ekklesia, racial factors play an enormous part in the outworking of the plan and purposes of God for humankind and the entirety of the universe.

Let us now turn our attention to the contents of the prophetic scroll of Obadiah. Because it consists of just 21 verses, I have included it in this lecture in full.

"The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, Arise you, and let us rise up against her in battle.

2: Behold, I have made you small among the nations: you are greatly despised.

3: The pride of your heart has deceived you, you that dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that says in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?

4: Though you exalt yourself as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, thence will I bring you down, says the LORD.

5: If thieves came to you, if robbers by night, (how are you cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave some grapes?

6: How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!

7: All the men of your confederacy have brought you even to the border: the men that were at peace with you have deceived you, and prevailed against you; they that eat your bread have laid a wound under you: there is no understanding in him.

8: Shall I not in that day, says the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?

9: And your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.

10: For your violence against your brother Jacob shame shall cover you, and you shalt be cut off for ever.

11: In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even you were as one of them.

12: But you should not have looked on the day of your brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

13: You should not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yes, you should not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;

14: Neither should you have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither should you have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.

15: For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations: as you have done, it shall be done unto you: your reward shall return upon your own head.

16: For as you have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually, yes, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.

17: But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

18: And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD has spoken it.

19: And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

20: And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.

21: And Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's."

Yes; so you can see quite clearly that Obadiah is a very short scroll and it is preoccupied with God's coming judgment on the racial descendants of Edom or Esau. Now, it was intended for that time back there about 800 or so years before the birth of the Mashiach. It speaks of God's condemnation upon Esau (Edom) for their hostile treatment of the people of Israel. But there can be little doubt that it speaks for the generation just ahead of us now (for both history and prophecy are cyclical) and it looks forward, along with all the other Minor prophets, to the coming Day of the Lord "on all the nations" (See verse 15 where Obadiah links the future with the past in a prophecy as yet unfulfilled) -- the period just ahead of us which will be the time of Yeshua's intervention in world affairs ushering in the End of Days.

We can ascertain the approximate date for the scroll by looking carefully at verse 11.

"In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even you were as one of them."

Most scholars postulate that Obadiah is speaking of the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar and the captivity of Israel as having already occurred (585/6 BCE). This date is far too late. It is often overlooked that during the reign of Jehoram (circa 848-841 BCE) Judah was invaded by both the Arabians and the Philistines and that at that time Jerusalem was plundered (2 Chr 21.16-17; Jo 3.3-6; Am 1.6) and during that same period we have evidence of bitterness toward Judah from Edom (2 Kgs 8.20-22; 2 Chr 21.8-10). Amos certainly knew of Obadiah or at least his work (cf Ob 4 with Am 9.2; Ob 9,10,18 with Am 1.11,12; Ob 14 with Am 1.6,9; Ob 19 with Am 9.12; Ob 20 with Am 9.14). There are indications that Jeremiah also had read Obadiah.

All this being so, it would seem from the text itself that God reserved a special judgment for the Edomite people who seem to have played out a vitally important and treacherous political manoeuvre which involved betraying in some manner their cousins, the Jewish people.
 
"For your violence against your brother Jacob shame shall cover you, and you shalt be cut off for ever... Neither should you have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither should you have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress."
 
I shall return to this text a little later in this series of lectures on Obadiah. It is most important. In Jeremiah 13.23 the prophet of God wonders aloud, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?" This rhetorical question answers itself. Edomites naturally hate the Jewish people; they always have and they always will. For those who will object, remember the early incident in which the Edomites refused passage to Moses (Num 20.14-21) and they were always at the ready to use the Jews for their own purposes, and to further their worldly political ambitions, only to aid the enemy of the Jews when it was also in their own selfish interests. It is inarguable that they saw the Jews as a means of building a strong economy wherever they settled in their journeys.

There are about a dozen individuals named Obadiah in the Hebrew Scriptures and none of them are the prophet who wrote this scroll. We really know absolutely nothing about him. But we do know a fair deal about the Edomites. Obadiah is particularly attentive to the fact that (in his day) the Edomites were occupying the desolate territory south of Judah -- the rose rock city of Petra, Edom's capitol, being given special mention ("the clefts of the rock" [Sela, Gk. petra] and "nest set among the stars").

The Edomites literally dotted their borders with enormous fortresses in order to protect their copper and iron-rich mines which extended to the Gulf of Akaba. Famous for their "wise men" (Jer 49.7), historians have lost sight of the ancient Edomites. But history has not been silent about them. We can know precisely what happened to the peoples of Esau. Without a knowledge of these historical facts we would have no understanding at all in real terms of how prophecy is to be fulfilled, nor the identity of many of the modern nations of the world.

In regard to the judgment of God on the people of Esau, consider these biblical passages which also foretell the coming destruction of the nations designated by God as Edomite.

1. Isaiah  34.5-15
2. Jeremiah 19.7-22
3. Ezekiel 25.12-14; 35.1-15
4. Amos 1.11,12

Significantly, Obadiah's prophecy relating to Edom's destruction had a former fulfillment that occurred about 4 years after the fall of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The Babylonians had the support of Edom during the siege of Judah, but then Nebuchadnezzar (as the "servant of God") turned in fury on his mercenaries butchering the lot and destroying the Edomite Kingdom. The Arabian Nabataeans took over the deserted Edomite territory and the remaining tribal peoples were subjugated by them. By 126 BCE, John Hyrcanus of Maccabean fame absorbed the Edomite residue into the Kingdom of Judah. Herod was Idumaean. After the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE, Edom disappears from official historical observation. In the words of Halley, "they [completely] disappeared from history" (Halley's Bible Handbook, [24th ed] 1965, 362).

But did they? Can we locate where the Edomites went? What connection did Edom have with the Saxons, Anglo-Saxons and Celtic tribal peoples that migrated into Europe from the Russian steppes and the region of the Black and Caspian Seas -- if any?

The Isaiatic text (34.5-15) reveals that the final world empire existing at the time of Mashiach's Advent will be an Edomite Empire. The Jews at the time of Yeshua believed that they were living in the very EndTimes BECAUSE the Messiah was not only expected to appear at that time according to the prophetic outline of dates in the scroll of Daniel (9), but Judaea had been absorbed by the Roman Empire (the Romans were descendants of Esau) and furthermore, the Jewish State was in the hands of the Herods -- themselves Idumaean (Edomites). The only problem with this first century Jewish rabbinic eschatology was that they were some 2000 years out in their chronological understanding as to the conclusion of the present evil age.

To begin with, let's peruse some ancient history which has relevance for us today by turning to Genesis 25.19-34. Here we find a tale involving two brothers which was written into the sacred Hebrew Scriptures by Moses, the prophet of Israel's Deity, YHWH. The story involves the birth of twins, and the subsequent events of their lives, and the prophetic nature of the races to which they gave birth. The story's prophetic substance is clearly untapped and misunderstood by the universal church. Yet it contains information that has suddenly become entirely relevant to occurrences in today's world. Indeed, once the truth concerning the destiny of the twins is realised the identity of modern nations can be clarified, and the modern fable of "British-Israelism" altogether discounted. After all, twins are often mistaken and confused with one another.

According to the Torah:

"This is the account of Abraham's son [and heir] Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.

"Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to become pregnant. The LORD let Himself be entreated and answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. The babies jostled each other and struggled together within her, and she said, 'Why is this happening to me? Life is unbearable. I wish to die!' [Nachmanides] So she went to enquire of the LORD [at the School of Shem, where the knowledge of God was still being taught (Midrash) by elderly father Abraham, (Hertz) Shem and Eber his son (Jasher)].

"The LORD said to her,

'[The founders of, (Hertz)] Two nations are in your womb, and two races from within you will be separated and be mutually antagonistic from birth; one race will be stronger than the other race, and the older will serve the younger.'

"When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red-haired [taking Heb. admoni as primarily red-haired], indeed his whole body was like a [reddish] hairy garment, so they named him Esau ['thick-haired']. After this his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob [lit.Heb., one who takes by the heel, or, supplants]. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

"The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet, harmless man, staying among the tents [schools of religious study (Midrash)]. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

"Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, 'Let me swallow [with animal-like voracity], please, some of this red, red stew! For I'm famished!' (That is why he was also called Edom [lit. Heb., red].)

"Jacob replied, 'First sell me your birthright.'

"'Look, I am about to die,' Esau said. 'What good is the birthright to me?'

"But Jacob said, 'Swear to me first.' So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

"Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

"So Esau despised his birthright."

The tale continues,

"When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

"When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, 'My son.'

"'Here I am,' he answered.

"Isaac said, 'I am now an old man and don't know how soon I may die. Now then, get your weapons - your quiver and bow - and go out to the open country and hunt some wild game for me. Prepare for me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.'

"Now  Rebekah was  listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Isaac had left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, 'Look! I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 'Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I might give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.' 'Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.'

"Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, 'But my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I'm a man with smooth skin. What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.'

"His mother said to him, 'My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.'

"So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the skins of the kids of the goats. Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.

"He went to his father and said, 'My father!'

"'Yes, my son,' he answered. 'Who is it?'

"Jacob said to his father, 'I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may give me your blessing.'

"Isaac asked his son, 'How did you find it so quickly, my son?'

"'The LORD your God gave me success,' he replied.

"Then Isaac said to Jacob, 'Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.'

"Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, 'The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.' He did not recognise him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he greeted him. 'Are you really my son, Esau?' he asked.

"'I am,' he replied.

"Then he said, 'My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.'

"Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, 'Come here, my son, and kiss me.'

"So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said,
'Ah, see the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the LORD has blessed.
May God give you of heaven's dew
and of earth's richness -
an abundance of grain and new wine.
May peoples serve you
and nations bow down to you.
Be Lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother
bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed,
and those who bless you be blessed.'

"After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left his father's presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, 'My father, sit up, and eat some of my game, so that you may give me my blessing.'

"His father Isaac asked him, 'Who are you?'

"'I am your son,' he answered. 'Your firstborn, Esau.'

"Isaac then trembled violently and said, 'Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me?' I ate it just before you came and I blessed him - and indeed he will be blessed!'

"When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with an exceeding loud and bitter cry and said to his father, 'Bless me - me too, my father!'

"But he said, 'Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.'

"Esau said, 'Isn't he rightly named Jacob?  He has deceived me these two times!  He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!' Then he asked, 'Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?'

"Isaac answered Esau, 'I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?'

"Esau said to his father, 'Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, bless me too, my father!' Then Esau wept aloud.

"His father Isaac answered him,

'Your dwelling will be
away from the earth's richness [of Canaan],
away from the dew of heaven above [Canaan].
You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless, roving
at large,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck'
(Genesis 26.34,35; 27.1-40 tentative BRI/IMCF Version based on Jewish thoughtform).

Finally, the account states of Esau, "[he]...realised how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac, so he went to Ishmael [Abraham was Esau's grandfather whose actual firstborn son was Ishmael through his concubine Hagar] and married Maha'lath, the sister of Nebai'oth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had [who were Hittites]" (Genesis 28.8,9).

Esau (Edom) enjoyed the sensual, pleasurable company of hedonistic Canaanites (Gen 36.2ff). He took wives of the Hittites, and finally, to please his mother and father, he married his cousin in order to propitiate both parents "who were grieved at his alien wives" (Hertz note Gen 28.9 Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 1961). His blood descendants also intermixed with the Hittites, following the example of their progenitor, and were known as the Aryan Phoenicians, Arya being Sanskrit for "excellent," "noble," or "honourable," and thus Aryan meaning "noble race." But Arya at its root signifies "lord of the field." Esau was certainly the "Lord of the field" -- or as Genesis 25 puts it "a man of the open country."

Sanchoniathon, the Canaanite historian, tells us the Phoenicians worshiped an ancient god called Ousoos, who is identified with Esau. Esau's nickname was "Edom," (Gen 36.1,8) -- "red-haired" (Gen 25.25). Esau's hot-blooded temperament carries through to today when most people recognise that red-haired individuals are more likely than not to be considered "quick tempered" especially after a pint or a large swig of Scotch whiskey. The Greeks called the Red Sea (Erythrian Sea), which in ancient times included the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, after Esau's children. Erythrian means "red." So does Phoenix (from which is derived Punic) which can mean red-gold or scarlet or purple (red plus blue). Admittedly, there has been some real confusion over the term with some scholars advocating that Phoenix is Greek for "Phoenician man" but there now exists a consensus that Phoinikes (Eng. Phoenix) literally stands for "red haired people." Some of his descendants settled in Mt Seir, south of Israel, where we find the fabulous once-hidden rose-rock city of Petra.

Now, at once we must ask the question: can we identify Esau in secular history? The ancient god Herakles, known amongst the Romans as Hercules (and who performed the astonishing labours of the Greek classics), gave birth to a peoples known as the Heraclidae. Their father lost his birthright, as did Esau. Josephus tells us that Abraham's concubine Keturah gave birth to a number of sons and that one of his progeny, named Apher (who gave his name to the continent of Africa), was an auxiliary to Herakles (Josephus, Antiquities., l,XV,l). Apher was actually Abraham's grandson, a son of Midian (Gen 25.1-4). As such the red-haired Herakles lived during the same period as Esau! Historical records and ancient myths reveal them to be indeed one and the same personage.

The name Herakles means "glorious gift of Hera [to his parents]" or "son of a glorified ancestress [Hera]." While he adored his father, Esau hated and despised his mother Rebekah for her treacherous political dealings and intrigue with her favourite son Jacob. Seeing himself as a world Messiah, and the only true king, the Tyrian Hercules created the colour purple to signify his Royal lineage. Bitterly agonising over his loss of his birthright, and setting his heart on deifying his ancestor Eve (Hebrew, hawwah) the name Herakles speaks volumes. The Semitic name for the Great Earth Goddess, the Matriarch of Every Kindred, was Awa and in Greek, Hera. Hera was the daughter of Atlas, who had the weight of the earth on his shoulders. Recall that Adam and Eve were originally co-bodied and that the Lord separated her from Adam's side. So, in a sense Adam gave birth to his own mate. This is how the ancient's viewed the event, and it is not far from the truth of the matter. Adam most certainly had the weight of the earth on his troubled mind. And so, the Oxford Classical Dictionary states that behind the myth of Herakles must lie the true story of a man, more real than imaginary, the son of a Hera-worshipping people.

History, again, tells us that Herakles took the daughter of Celtes or Britannus -- Celtina -- as his bride and she later gave birth to Galathes or Celtus (from whom some would seek to distance the Celtic race which included the Gauls, or Galatians). Esau's remarkable people, red-haired Titans who worshiped their forefather Herakles (or Phoenix) and maintained the tradition of matriarchal supremacy until the fall of Rome, emerged from a world that had been engulfed in the cataclysm and holocaust of flame and flood. The second millennium BCE was a time of cosmic horror, when the "planets went out of their courses. In the night, stars fell like rain. The earth shook" (James Legge [ed], The Chinese Classics, III, Pt.1., 125).

In spite of the cosmic destruction that wrecked our planet, human beings emerged like the resurrected Phoenix to conquer the earth again. And they were led by the Edomite Aryans. In Hindu records, civilisation rose Phoenix-like from the ashes being first introduced "by red [haired] men of the southern continent" (Edouard Schure, The Great Initiates, 1913, Vol.I.,6). Later called Phoenicians by the Greeks who came on the scene a thousand years afterward, meaning "red (haired) men," the Edomites referred to themselves proudly as (true) Canaanites, Esau having originally lost his birthright and, later, his father Isaac's blessing to his twin brother Jacob, as we have seen, under illegal circumstances.

One infamous Edomite tribe, known historically by the Greeks as the Hyksos, invaded Egypt during the calamitous and disastrous Exodus period -- the Bible referring to them as the hated Amalakites. Remnants of ancient Egyptian literature call them Amu (I. Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos, I., 55-102). In fact, Manetho calls the ruling Hyksos "foreign kings from Phoenicia." The mummy of Amalakite Rameses II had yellow hair (Thor Heyerdahl, Observer Magazine, 1/11/1970). Red hair was, and is, entirely peculiar to the descendants of Esau (Edom).

In sturdy ocean-going vessels, and armed with astronomical, mathematical and navigational knowledge salvaged from lost libraries, they challenged the seas, ran empires based on sea-power and religion, and planted colonies of hardy survivors of their ruined world from the British Isles to Easter Island, the megaliths of the latter being decorated with red topknots (hair). Heyerdahl has forcibly argued that the huge stone heads on Easter Island decorated in typical Phoenician fashion, with ear lobes stretched by wooden ear plugs, represent red-haired European sea adventurers who had fled South America as late as 400 C.E. There can be no question that rock-engravings on Easter Island are identical to some found in Scotland.

In establishing a secret world trade, the Phoenicians -- whom all scholars recognise as the preeminent colonising navigators of antiquity -- made a point of sailing at night. So famous were the Phoenicians for night sailing by the North Star, that in the Old World Polaris carried the appellation "Phoenician."

Traces of this astonishing race are found in the name Erythrian (Red) Sea for the Persian Gulf (and Indian Ocean), still called the Red Sea between Arabia and Egypt. We insist the Red Sea means Sea of the Red (Haired) Men. The same traces can be located in the early conquerors of India, those who followed the Phoenician Rama and his red-blonde legions, and in the blue-eyed red-haired Phoenicians of the Mediterranean. These same commercial and maritime peoples had once ruled the earth from the now-submerged continent Atlantis (which may yet prove to be beneath the Antarctic ice), as well as from the coasts of Syria-Phoenicia, and extended their operations, according to historians of antiquity, beyond the "Pillars of Hercules" into the "great exterior ocean." They established their colonies in all the coastal regions wherever they landed "from the extreme east to the extreme west," (J.D. Baldwin, A.M., Ancient America in Notes on American Archaelogy, 1872, 171) bringing with them musicians, artists, doctors, builders and poets.

They also brought with them a doctrine of racial superiority, world conquest, and super-technological weapons of mass destruction. None could stand before them.

According to the Irish chronicles, annals and genealogies (such as the Book of Lecan, the Book of Leinster and the Book of Migrations [Cin of Drom-Snechta or alternatively known as Leabhar Gabhala, the Book of Invasions]) they came on the oceans in "crystal ships" which could become land-borne, and "chariots" of shining metal which launched fire and smoke, reminiscent of the Sanskrit and Vedic myths of India, for the artillery of the "wonderful strangers" and "sea people" are identical with those found recorded in the Mahabaratta (Maha'Barata) and Ramayana. Destructive "bright rays of fire" and "lances of light" (laser beams) were "death weapons" in the hands of these red-haired warriors, some of whom rode in discs that "generate the powers of the universe."

These were the tribal peoples who carried the genes of Esau in their bloodlines, and which gave birth to Western civilisation. States the Mahabarata: "The able Panch [Aryan Phoenicians] setting out to invade the Earth, brought the whole world under their sway " (Mahabarata [Indian Epic of the Great Barats] I, 94, 3738). The Rig Veda Hymn tells us, "The Brihat [Brat Phoenician] singers belaud Indra ...Indra hath raised the Sun on high in heaven...Indra leads us with single sway...The Panch [Aryan Phoenicians] leaders of the Earth. Ours only, and none others is he." Likewise, the Mahabarata Epics: "The able Panch [Aryan Phoenicians] are all highly blessed, and know the eternal religion, the eternal truths of religion and righteousness." Then there is the Vishnu Parana Epic informing us, "[Indra's] sources of subsistence are arms and the protection of the Earth. The guardianship of the Earth. The guardianship of the Earth is his special province...By intimidating the bad and cherishing the good, the ruler who maintains the discipline of the different tribes [of Barat Phoenicians] secures whatever region [of the Earth] he desires." Again, hear the Mahabarata: "And king Barat gave his name to the Dynastic Race of which he was the founder; and so it is from him, that the fame of that Dynastic People hath spread so wide" (I, 94, 3704).

Just who were the Aryan Barat Phoenicians?

None other than the ancient race of the lost birthright -- the patriarch Ytzak's (Isaac's) sons, Tzak's sons ...Sak's sons ...the Saxons!

We shall continue this series of lectures on Obadiah at our next Yeshiva.

 2 
 on: November 10, 2017, 06:27:32 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe
PAUL'S LETTER TO THE ROMAN CHRISTIANS (38)
Analytical Commentary on Romans

Has Israel Forfeited Its Future? (Part Three)

ELECTION: Is the Remnant Teaching of Paul Directed at Gentiles?
Romans 9-11

The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture38.MP3


Copyright © BRI 2017 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)
CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“Faith is believing in something when commonsense tells you not to” – from the movie Miracle on 34th Street

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase” – Martin Luther King Jnr

“Pray and let God worry” – Martin Luther

“Dare, dream, dance, smile and sing loudly! And have faith that love is an unstoppable force!” – Suzanne Brockmann, fiction author

“Come, my Light and illuminate my Darkness. Come my Life, and revive me from Death. Come, my Physician, and heal my Wounds. Come, Flame of Divine Love, and burn up the thorns of my sins, kindling my heart with the Flame of thy Love. Come, my King, and sit upon the throne of my heart, and reign there. For thou alone art my King and my Lord” – St Dimitrii of Rostov, 17Th century Russian Orthodox Bishop

I would like to begin this lecture by sharing a story. Firstly, a question: What do we mean when we use words like faith and belief? Author Dale Ratzlaff shares an insight.

“The story is told of a tight-rope walker who a number of years ago strung a cable across Niagara Falls. The newspapers carried the story that he was going to walk across this dangerous place on a given day. That day hundreds gathered to watch this man perform his risky skill. Shortly before he was to go out on the cable this tight-rope walker made his way into the crowd. He would approach people and ask them if they believed he could make it across without falling to his death? Most said he could.

He came up to a young man and said, “Do you believe I can safely walk across this cable above the falls?”

“Yes,” answered the young man. “You are a tight-rope walker and have the necessary skills to do it.”

“Do you really believe I can do it?” asked the tight-rope walker.

“Yes, I really believe you can do it!” answered the young man.

“Good,” said the tight-rope walker. “You are just the person I am looking for. I want to push this wheelbarrow across the falls and I want you to sit in it!”

NEW COVENANT IS NOT GRACE
Today I will be sharing with our national and international student membership, on our audio recording, some excerpts from our last lecture (37) due to the fact that we spent almost the entirety of the allotted period to answering questions related to essentials of the full Gospel. Hence, some of that which is included in the previous posted written lecture (on the BRI/IMCF Educational Board) is absent from the last Yeshiva audio lecture. There are students who never read the written lecture but are content to just listen to the audio recording, which is fine by me. There can be issues however, because in the audio I often deviate from my notes and go off onto very important tangents. On the other hand there may be things included in the written lecture which never get a mention by me as I actually teach as recorded on the audio. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Of course, questions are vitally important and especially is this the case when many believers are living in a deceived state having inherited sometimes modified doctrinal positions of the church that birthed their particular denomination – I am speaking primarily of the Roman Catholic Church which gave rise to the many Protestant bodies in the world today. Protestantism never fully rid itself of their Mother Church's positions on some issues. It's like the old saying, “Like mother, like daughter.” The Protestants never entirely threw off their mother's DNA. The Reformers restored some biblical foundations, and failed to surrender other factors which really meant that they did not complete the Protestant Reformation! This has led to confusion doctrinally. It has also given rise to over 50,000 differing, bickering churches, denominations, sects, cults and schismatic heterodox groupings. Strange thing is they all claim to be representative of the “Truth.” They all claim to possess the “Truth.” Is Christ divided?

There are Christian academics who proclaim that at least Romanism was (and still is) logical in many of its positions, but Protestants are largely contradictory and illogical in their own selective doctrinal schemes. I could not agree more with this assessment. Especially is this the case when we find, as a prime issue and example of what I am discussing here, that Protestants largely mix up the New Covenant with God's Grace.

Listen! A covenant is nothing more than a contract! A contract exists because of man's inability to trust another (or others) with whom they have entered into an agreement of whatever sort. Where it used to be a matter of a simple honest “yes” and/or “no” as articulated by human beings, and followed through with a mere but firm handshake, these days its entirely a matter of needing to draw up a legal contract because of character deficiencies. The existence of SIN is the reason a legal contract must be drawn up to protect each others' rights in relation to that in which all parties are to be engaged in a mutually beneficial accomplishment. In other words, of necessity two or more parties who enter into an agreement must personally commit to ensure that each individual fulfills their end of the bargain/agreement (whatever that may be). In the New Covenant there were intentions that involved commitments on all sides of the contract that was entered into. Under the terms and conditions of the new Covenant, God would place His laws, rules, regulations etc IN the hearts of men, and they in return would make a firm resolve to act in accordance with God's expectations of them.

As a prime instance, in the disciple's prayer – a significant model prayer based on the propositions of New Covenant relationship which is located in Mt 6.9-13 – Yeshua speaks of our need to ask God “to forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (verse 12) and which Christ goes on to amplify a few verses on when he qualifies, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses” (Mt 6.14,15 cf Lk 11.4).

Who among us can honestly claim to be able to sincerely, without resentment or hesitations, achieve such a thing? Even with the holy Spirit residing inwardly, it is almost an absolute impossibility to accomplish perpetually – invariably and without variation and infractions – God's expectation of us. This is why God revealed through the apostle Paul (Rav Shaul) a better STATE of existence. This is why God accommodated to us in this matter. That it may be ALL of Grace.

But Grace is not, and never was, and never ever will be, a CONTRACT. Further, the New Covenant is racially oriented. It was never intended to be made with Gentiles. It was only ever to be made by God with Israel and Judah (Jer 31.31–34; Heb 8.8; 10.16,17). Gentiles had to align themselves to the people of Israel, in order to enter into a New Covenant with them as their Gentile allies – in order to cease being alienated from “the national life of Israel” (Eph 2.12). But they were, and they remain, Gentiles – as I have adequately established in previous lectures – even though they become the seed of Abraham. For those who would argue against this proposition please recall that Abraham has a number of Gentile nations and religions which trace their origins back to the sons of Abraham by his concubine (his sensual sex toy) Keturah.

Understand this about GRACE.

Grace is the unmerited and undeserved favour of God. Whereas an act of mercy can be repaid in like manner by us, God's Grace can never be repaid. Grace is an English word which is translated from the equivalent Greek word charis. Paul chose a Greek word – for there were no words in Hebrew that could reveal the depth of the heart of God in this matter of God's Nature, in His dealings with sinners, believe it or not – to demonstrate the deep inner character and Salvific RIGHTEOUSNESS [justice] of God toward His beloved creations.  

Intriguingly, Charis was the personal name of a minor goddess in Greek mythology – one of the Charites, – charis basically means “grace, kindness, beauty, creativity, fertility and life” – ALL in ONE. The educated Paul is always full of surprises. Here he does not hesitate to borrow from the Greeks a personal proper noun and applies it to the essential Nature and integral Salvific feature of God the FatherMother of us all in whom dwells grace, kindness, beauty, creativity, fertility and Life.

God freely declares us righteous. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his Grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 3.23,24).  

Mercy can be repaid in thankful, appreciative obedience and in a life of good works. Grace can never be repaid. “Blessed are the merciful,” said Our Lord, under the terms of the New Covenant, “for they shall obtain mercy.”

As the Messianic Movement progressed into a profound spiritual maturity Yeshua called Paul to grant a BETTER revelation – God always utilises progressive revelation – concerning His Grace. Paul tells us plainly, under inspiration of the Ruach HaKodesh: “Having predetermined us unto the Sonship of children by Yeshua the Messiah to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his Grace, WHEREIN [IN HIS GRACE] HE HAS MADE US ACCEPTED in the beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his Grace” (Eph 1.5-7).

Yes, we have gone beyond the New Covenant, into God's GRACE. This does not mean that the New Covenant no longer applies to us as God's children. By no means is this the case! Rather, we in the flesh (ie., according to our humanity) recognize our obligations under the New Covenant terms and conditions, but as far as our salvation is concerned, in the Spirit we recognize and appreciate that the forgiveness of our sins is by Grace, not our ability to forgive other people for causing us grief. Our forgiveness is as a consequence of Messiah's shed blood and not on our ability to forgive others.

I am sure that some Messianic believers will be contentious toward me over this matter. They will possibly argue that this imperative about forgiving others in order to be forgiven is according to Sinai Covenant understanding. But I disagree. It is entirely New Covenant teaching. But this teaching, even though given originally by Yeshua himself prior to the cross, is superseded by GRACE. According to the riches of God's Grace we are forgiven, and not by our ability or non-ability to forgive others. Again,

“In Him we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace” (Eph 1.7).

The Grace of God openly exhibited and evidenced through the shed blood of Yeshua the Messiah enables all forgiveness to abound toward us. Our forgiveness from God the Father is not dependent on our good and liberal nature of peace and tranquility and loving harmony toward others. B'ruch HaShem! I would be doomed, if salvation was contingent on my ability to forgive others, and so would we all.

I repeat! It is expressed clearly enough in Paul's introductory remarks but most miss its significance. Paul writes: “To the praise of the glory of his Grace WHEREIN He has made us accepted IN the beloved [Mashiach]” (Eph 1.6).

We are not accepted IN the New Covenant or its expectations of us regarding our forgiveness of others. We are accepted IN Grace. ONLY. It is written: “By Grace are you saved,” not “by the New Covenant are you saved.” There is a difference brethren, and the difference is monumental.

As a matter of fact, as far as Paul's new revelation of Grace is concerned it is Messiah's behaviour, not ours, that matters. Understand! Our salvation is according to God the Father's SALVIFIC WILL, not our intentions, good or bad, real or imagined. The holy Spirit made this abundantly clear in Titus 3.5.

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the holy Spirit.”

Further, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law” (Rom 3.28).

Moreover, “You have been severed from Messiah, you who are seeking to be justified by the law, for you have fallen from Grace” (Gal 5.4).

Only by this method, or Way, can we ever be granted an acceptance by God the Father IN Yeshua His Son (examine again Eph 1.6 and THIMK about what it is you are reading).

In this series of lectures on Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians we have been repeatedly faced with the question often insinuated and surfacing in the subtext of his writing, “If our good behaviour will not entitle us to the abundant spiritual blessings that come from Grace, what will?” Both Our Lord Yeshua and Paul answer:

Yeshua: “They therefore said to him: What shall we do that we may work the works of God? Yeshua responded to them, This is the Work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (Jn 6.29).

Paul: “... that is the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Yeshua as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scriptures says, Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed” (Rom 10.8-11 cf Isa 49.23; 28.16).

THE REMNANT TEACHING OF THE APOSTLE PAUL
“Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.” That is what the sacred Word tells us. But I know a lot of people who have been very disappointed because they have read the Bible texts somewhat differently to certain church interpretations of what Paul spoke about in Romans 9,10,11 – and they have been left with the quandary of believing (on the one hand) what all the prophets of God have foretold about the future of the nation of Israel, and yet are stunned into silence by being told authoritatively by their ministers that they have been misreading the Scripture concerning Israel's future. They have not understood, say these elders of the church, that when the prophets speak of Israel in the latter days, they really are referring to the Christian Faith. They have been told that if they continue to believe what the biblical revelation seems to say to their minds and hearts then they will need to leave their church. These church leaders major on the teaching of Paul in those same chapters of Romans relating to what he calls a “remnant.”

Paul did speak about a remnant. There IS a “remnant teaching” that appears in Romans 9,10,11. The remnant teaching also appears in the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures. God has always had a remnant that he spoke of as being His true people.

But Gentile church leaders – particularly those associated with groups of Christians that believe they are a “remnant church” of God – ought to STOP applying what Jews were inspired to write by the Ruach HaKodesh and applying those texts that refer specifically to the nation of Israel... to Gentiles! I admit, Israel as a nation has never fully been replete and as ONE in their obedience to God and in their belief in God. Apostates have always abounded in Israel. But we need to know what Paul was really teaching when he spoke of a remnant. After all, Paul asserts in Romans 9.6 – in discussing why Israel rejected Messiah – “For not everyone from Israel is truly part of Israel.”

As I pointed out in my previous lecture, Yeshua was in fact finally acknowledged to be the Messiah by Kayafa the High Priest during the trial of Yeshua before the political Sanhedrin and they participated in his Messianic destiny in dying for the people (as the Messiah was expected to do). This becomes apparent after a careful reading of the event as recorded in John's Gospel and also of the prophecy uttered by Kayafa in respect of Yeshua fulfilling his Messianic destiny. BUT, and this is intriguing, immediately AFTER the resurrection of Christ the Sanhedrin found it impossible to continue believing in his manifest destiny because Yeshua failed to live up to the apparent obligations anticipated by the leaders of the Sanhedrin to be fulfilled by him, viz.,

1. Yeshua did not rise up, calling on his 12 legions of angels – over 80,000 of them – to deliver the Jewish State out of the hands of the Roman troops garrisoned in the holy Land.

2. Yeshua did not exterminate the Roman State and capitol of the world exalting Israel in God's Government over the earth as the prophets all said he would.

3. Yeshua failed to return the lost tribes of Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora to the holy Land.

On this basis the Sanhedrin which had finally acknowledged Yeshua as Mashiach, then – after the resurrection – rejected him completely without publicly recognising what they all knew to be true – that Yeshua had risen from the dead after three days in the tomb. According to the Christian account, they began to circulate the rumour that his disciples had stolen his body. This was an absolute nonsense and hardly believable for it implied an accusation in relation to the Roman tetradion presence. (A tetradion was a body of four Roman soldiers guarding the grave for each of the four watches throughout the period of three days. Thus they were changed every three hours. See Acts 12.4 where this procedure is spelt out in respect of the imprisonment of Peter. Cf Mt 27.65,66.)

Many tens of thousands of the Jews nevertheless accepted Yeshua as the promised Messiah by the time God called Paul and he met up with James (Acts 21.20). Yeshua's brother Yaakov (James/Jacob) became the alternative high priest of the Jewish nation, a post he held until he was assassinated by the Sadducees in 72 CE.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum speaks about the Pauline doctrine of the remnant in his Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology: “The doctrine of the remnant means that, within the Jewish nation as a whole, there are always some who believe and all those who believe among Israel comprise the Remnant of Israel. The remnant at any point of history may be large or small but there is never a time when it is non-existent. Only believers comprise the remnant, but not all believers are part of the remnant for the remnant is a Jewish remnant and is, therefore, comprised of Jewish believers. Furthermore, the remnant is always part of the nation as a whole and not detached from the nation as a separate entity. The remnant is distinct, but distinct within the nation” (1989, 601).

Of course! When the prophets major on the believing remnant, that remnant is never Gentile! That remnant is never some “church” – Christians are so paganistic these days that they not only follow pagan customs (Sunday services and as a substitute for the fourth commandment, Xmas, Easter, New Year's, Halloween, Valentines Day, etc) but they also name the Christian or Messianic Community by the appellation “church” which cannot be Anglicised from the Greek, for “church” bears no similarity to anything associated with Christianity in the Greek language. “Church” rather finds its origin in the pagan goddess of sorcery, Circe the daughter of the sun god Helios, from which we get the terms circumference, circle, and circus. As to the latter mention of circus perhaps we can make a connection to church. The remnant is ALWAYS a remnant of Israel.

Gentile churches that proclaim themselves to be God's special “remnant people” and yet at the same time “do away” with (eliminate, destroy, annihilate) the Jewish people and nation as having no further use by God make an utter mockery of the Word of God. You see, the believing remnant “kept” Israel alive and functioning as the Chosen People. The  Abrahamic promise involved blessing upon those who blessed Israel, and withheld blessing from those who cursed Israel (Gen 12.3). The remnant of Israel – the believing remnant of God – ASSURED Israel's continuation and perpetuation in the intent, plans, and purposes of God. The “remnant” does not get rid of unbelieving Israel nor does it replace Israel but rather it GUARANTEES Israel's non-destruction. Israel carries the distinction of being called and elected by God as a nation among nations (Deut 7.6-8; 10.15-17; Num 23.9) – a fact that is “without repentance” (Rom 11.27-29). Of course, this does not negate a spiritual calling for the Jewish people which is essential for Israel to enter into the fulfillment of her promises (Acts 3.19-21 Greek).  

Australian New Testament scholar Leon Morris shares with us his insights into this issue. “‘Not all those who are of Israel, these are Israel.’ His compatriots were in error in holding that the promise of God applied to the whole of physical Israel. Paul is denying that it was ever intended to apply in this fashion. If descent from Abraham was what mattered, then the Ishmaelites and Edom were in the same position as Israel. But Israel was not ethnic Israel. Whatever might happen to ethnic Israel, the promise to Israel stood; the falling away of some, who were not true Israelites, had no bearing on the issue... This was clear in Old Testament days, with the emergence of the concept of the remnant; it had long been obvious that the nation as a whole was not responding to God’s leading. It was a smaller group within the nation that was really God’s people. It was stupid to think that, since the whole nation had not entered the blessing, the promise of God had failed. The promise had not been made to the whole nation and had never been intended to apply to the whole nation” (Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, 1988, 352,353).

Again: Gentiles beware! As American biblical scholar and professor of systematic theology Robert L. Saucy states in his The Church in God's Program, “Physical descent alone is not sufficient to reap God's blessings. This was already true of Israel in the Old Testament. There has always been a true Israel within national Israel, but this true Israel is a part of the nation. This interpretation allows for the natural understanding of the Old Testament prophecies portraying a future for Israel as a nation. It is also consistent with the New Testament teaching of the church as distinct from Israel and yet sharing in God's salvation program” (The Church in God's Program, 1972, The Moody Bible Institute, 70). Saucy adds a foot note. “Compare the concept of the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah, where in many places the Servant is identified merely with Israel (e.g., 41:8; 43:10; 44:21), but in other instances it is clear that only the true Israel is involved (51:1,7).”

Indeed, the entire context of Romans 9 reveals candidly and clearly that Paul when speaking of “They are not all Israel which are of Israel” (verse 6) is noting only a division within Israel. Moreover, in vv.3,4 Paul has introduced the subject constellating around “Israelites” who are his “brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”

FINAL PROOF THE REMNANT OF PAUL IS WITHIN ISRAEL
Most Messianic believers in Yeshua, Jew and Gentile, would realise the meaning of challah which is commonly recognised as bread which is traditional dedicated (blessed) to be eaten on Shabbat. Challah is a Hebrew word associated with ritual and meaning “dough offering.” A batch of dough (raw) is prepared by a “holy woman” for the baking of bread for the Sabbath meals. The woman takes from the raw batch a small piece of this dough (the act itself is termed challah) and burns it in fire as a sacrifice to God. This is accomplished prior to the actual baking of the bread.

Most believers are completely ignorant of the fact that the apostle Paul significantly spoke of this challah in his reference to “the first handful of dough” in Romans 11.16.

“Now if the hallah offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole loaf” (Sterns' Complete Jewish Bible).

“The first handful of dough that is offered is holy. This makes all of the dough holy” (New International Readers Version).

“If part of a batch of dough is made holy by being offered to God, then all of the dough is holy” (Contemporary English Version).

“If the first piece of bread is holy, so is all the rest which came from the same bread mix” (Worldwide English New Testament).

“If the first handful of dough is holy, the whole batch of dough is holy” (Names of God Version).

“If the terumah haissa (portion, offering of the dough) that is reshit (first) is kodesh (holy), so is the whole” (Orthodox Jewish Bible).

IF, as some Christians believe and promulgate, this teaching of the remnant applies to Gentile Christians then let me say this on the authority of the various textual versions above: it is the Gentiles who derive their holiness from the people of Israel and decidedly not the other way around. For,

“Even if you think yourselves superior [comparing yourselves to the Jews] remember THAT YOU DO NOT SUPPORT THE [JEWISH] ROOT: it is the [Jewish] root that supports you” (Rom 11.18,19).

Yeshua made it plain to the Samaritan woman at the well: “You do not know what you worship! We [Jews] know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews!” (Jn 4.22).

Essentially, the doctrine of God's original election of Israel, and Paul's introduction of the idea of a Jewish remnant (based on the many prophecies concerning the remnant of Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures) came about as a direct consequence of the fact that, as McClain saw, “if the Jewish nation will not accept Jesus as Messiah, then the unbelieving Jew would say that there are two possible conclusions to be drawn. Either the Gospel that Paul is preaching is not true, or else, if it is true, then the promises of God to Israel have failed, because the Messiah and blessing to Israel were connected inseparably. The Jew would say in essence that, either Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah or the Word of God has proven false. That is the problem, and it is a tremendous one! It is still a problem today, with which men are trying to cope...A great many people set aside the Jew entirely. They say the promises have failed as far as the Jews are concerned” (Alva McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace, 1973, 173).

In our next lecture we shall pursue Paul's arguments concerning the continuing role of the Jewish people and nation in the state of God's spiritual economy.

THIS CONCLUDES LECTURE 38


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 3 
 on: November 05, 2017, 04:20:41 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe
Parsha: Chayei Sarah Genesis 23.1-15.18
Haftorah: I Kings 1.1-31



FUNDAMENTALS: THE OVERWRITING OF THE NT CORPUS [10]

Let's Hear It For Christian Women!
 
Copyright © BRI 2014 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.


“If by chance, Christ Himself had been taken by His later followers as the model and pattern of a new way, and a serious attempt had been made to set up His life and teaching as the standard and norm for the church Christianity would have been something vastly different from what it became. Then 'heresy' would have been as it is not now, deviation from His ways, His teachings, His kingdom...What we may properly call 'Galilean Christianity' had a short life, though there have been notable attempts to revive it and make it live again, and here and there spiritual prophets have insisted that anything else other than this simple Galilean religion is 'heresy'; but the main line of historic development has taken a different course and has marked the emphasis very differently” (Rufus Matthew Jones, The Church's Debt to Heretics, 1924, 15,16).

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (David, in Psalm 11.3).

“How can you say, 'We are wise because we have the word of the Lord,' when your scribes [translators of Scripture] have twisted it with their pen by writing lies?” (Jeremiah 8.8]


When most of us give thought to the universal church today – in all its forms – we acknowledge two essentials things (in an arm-long list of perceptions):

1. We think of an exclusively male-dominated priesthood and a largely ignorant laity that needs to be taught about the Bible and to be made aware of relevant matters regarding salvation.

2. We blindly accept the notion that this priesthood is hierarchical by its very nature.

As to the second point, we have been conditioned to just accept without question the principle of hierarchy (and especially a male-dominated hierarchy) in the church. In other words, we just accept that the church is (i) ruled from the top down and (ii) by men (as in Roman Catholicism, more often than not in Protestant churches, and we locate this principle in the Eastern Orthodox form as well) because its always been this way. But this latter sentiment is a nonsense.

History records that the very notion of a hierarchy did not take initial form until the latter period of the first century after the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE and it only made its appearance in a mildly structured way in the mid-second century CE. Indeed, it appears Ignatius – a serious student of the apostle John – may have started the whole ball rolling as far as the exercise of hierarchic authority is concerned.

Remember this! Our Lord Yeshua had commanded the apostles: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave” (Mt 20.25-27).

Luke expands on this teaching of Yeshua. “And he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.…” (Lk 22.25-27).

That the early Messianic Movement was anything but hierarchical is missed in some renderings of Scripture:

KJV (AV) Heb 13.17 “Obey them that have the rule over you...”

Greek: “Be courteous and accepting toward those who are your guides...”

KJV (AV) Heb 13.7 “... who have the rule over you...”

Greek: “... who are guiding you...”

KJV (AV) Heb 13.24 “Salute all them that have the rule over you...”

Greek: “Salute them who are your guides (leaders)...”

It was in the interest of King James to insist on obedience to the powers of the Church of England which ruled directly beneath his awful hand of tyranny.

IGNATIUS & HIERARCHICAL GOVERNMENT

So who was Ignatius and what did he contribute to the development of the Church?

Ignatius (c. 35-108 CE; others c. 50-98/117 CE) of Antioch was also known as Theophorus and was one of the Ante-Nicene Fathers (or, if you wish, Apostolic Fathers) – part of a second-generation leadership (which also included Papias, Clement, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Polycrates, Irenaeus) within the Christian congregations and a student of the apostle John. Irenaeus (130-200 CE), a pupil of Polycarp, speaks of John's notable disciples as “Papias, Polycarp and Ignatius.” 

The rare number of extant Christian writings that survived this dark period of ecclesiastical history makes it extremely difficult to gather much in the way of informative data that is not at some point questionable.

“For fifty years after St. Paul's life, a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 A.D., with the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul” (Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, The Story of the Christian Church, 1918, 41).

This period of 50 years is called the “missing” age of the church. A lot can happen in some 50+ unrecorded years, and it did.

It is generally conceded that Ignatius penned seven letters which are ascertained as genuine. All told there have been 15 epistles bearing his name, but eight of them have been classified by competent scholars to be fraudulent. This is due to the fact that both Eusebius (300 CE) and Jerome (495 CE) are silent regarding the first eight of his letters which he was thought to have written. These scholars claim that the eight letters must have been written after Jerome's period, and they may well have been. Indeed, these fraudulent letters “swarm with offences against history and chronology” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol.II, 1910, 661) but Schaff adds that even those considered genuine “have not wholly escaped the hand of the forger” (663). So, in any study of Ignatius' letters it is appropriate that a proper caution be exercised.

There are some moderns who totally reject all 15 of them as pious, spurious fakes. I cannot agree with this assessment and am in Schaff's camp in relation to them, especially for the reasons he outlines in his second volume of the History. The letter of Ignatius to the Romans, for example, has a freshness and quality to it which deems it unusual for that future time period which is dominated by the Papal ascendancy. And, Ignatius may extol the Romans for their spiritual standing in Christ, but he fails to acknowledge Rome as the centre of world faith, and while he encourages the Roman Christians he nowhere mentions the bishop – a strange thing indeed if it was composed at a later period. As one reads Ignatius there remains a glory of martyrdom which is a formidable undercurrent in the seven accepted epistles.

The genuine epistles are listed as:

Ignatius to the Ephesians
Ignatius to the Magnesians
Ignatius to the Trallians
Ignatius to the Romans
Ignatius to the Philadelphians
Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
Ignatius to Polycarp of Smyrna


The letters from Ignatius are evidently penned in a hurry (he wrote some of them while journeying to Rome under a military escort for his execution) and in an unsystematic system of thought. It is evident that he is deeply troubled and filled with a sense of anxiety (this reveals itself in his “run-on” sentences) which would be quite normal under such horrendous circumstances. His death came about during a severe persecution of the church and he was torn apart by starving lions in the Colosseum in 108 CE (Jerome's Latin trans., Chronicle) – in the 11th year of the reign of Trajan.

What is intriguing about Ignatius is the fact that he referred to himself as Theophorus – “God-bearer” – due to the story which circulated in his time that he was one of the little children who had been lifted into the arms of Yeshua when he was very young. While this story may be entirely mythological, Ignatius (who knew of it) did nothing to discountenance it. Due to the dearth of surviving texts from this period of early church history (it is remarkably silent from around 70-120 CE) we must assume that Ignatius is the earliest “pastor” who has left us with the first real emphasis regarding “loyalty” to those presiding in positions of authority – i.e., absolute single obedience to “bishops” or overseers accompanied by elders and deacons. He grants us the first actual glimpse of an evolution of ecclesiastical structure. This change seems to have been sudden, and occurring late in the first century or very early second century. But, and keep this fact in mind, nowhere does Ignatius speak of a bishop as having any authority over churches, but only within the sphere of his own congregation!

In his letter to the Magnesians he notes, “For your part, the becoming thing for you to do is to take no advantage of your bishop's lack of years, but to show him every possible respect, having regard to the power God has conferred on him. My information is that the sacred clergy themselves never think of presuming on the apparent precocity of his rank; they give precedence to him as a sagacious man of God – or rather, not so much to him as to the Father of Him who is the Bishop of us all, Jesus Christ. So for the honour of Him who loved us, propriety requires an obedience from you that is more than mere lip-service... What it comes to is that we ought not just to have the name of Christians, but to be so in reality; not like some persons who will address a man as bishop, but in practice take no notice of him... Let the bishop preside in the place of God, and his clergy in the place of the Apostolic conclave [Apostolic Council] and let my special friends the deacons, be entrusted with the service [business] of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father from all eternity, and in these last days has been made manifest... Maintain unity with your bishop and leaders... [see that] yourselves... never act independently of your bishop and clergy. On no account persuade yourselves that it is right and proper to follow your own private judgment...” (Extracts from Ignatius to the Magnesians 3.4.6.7, as translated by Maxwell Staniforth, Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers, 1968, 87,88).

Again, Ignatius reveals himself as a hard-liner (much as in the spirit of his teacher, John):

“Follow your bishop, every one of you, as obediently as Jesus Christ followed the Father. Obey your clergy too, as you would the Apostles; give your deacons the same reverence that you would to a command from God. Make sure that no step affecting the church is ever taken by anyone without the bishop's sanction. The sole Eucharist you should consider valid is one that is celebrated by the bishop himself, or by some person authorised by him. Where the bishop is to be seen, there let all his people be; just as wherever Jesus Christ is present, we have the world-wide church. Nor is it permissible to conduct baptisms or love-feasts without the bishop” (Extract from Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 8].

That Ignatius seems to reflect an idea of autocratic church government cannot be denied, but we need to ask the reason as to why he is so strong in his emphasis in this manner. It is my own view that he is combating the rise of spurious sects under the sway of the pervading rise of Gnosticism that was prepared to rip apart the remnants of the Messianic Movement. With such a mounting threat from the outside to the continued existence of the Messianic Community (church) and the threats from within with the assembly itself with too close an association with false brethren Ignatius became somewhat dictatorial in his approach to the situation – but not without reason (again, in my opinion).

By the turn of the century, the largely Gentile church was dominated by a monarchical system, of government. As Boer states, “in about A.D. 100 the office of monarchical bishop was fully in effect. Ignatius (110) speaks of it as a generally recognised office. He refers to the bishops in several churches in Asia Minor. He himself was the bishop of the church in Antioch. His letters urged the churches to whom he wrote to submit to the authority of [their particular] bishop” (Harry R. Boer, A Short History of the Early Church, 1976, 68).

Clement of Rome, on the other hand, fails to mention any such all-powerful single office in his writings and for him the bishop and the elder were the same office – that of an overseer, or guide, for the brethren in the same assembly. Most scholars place 1 Clement circa 95 CE, but I am absolutely firm on my stand that he ought to be dated much earlier than this (See Real Apostle Paul Lecture 4). Clement was a recognised co-labourer of Paul's (Phil 4.3). It was Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses III, iii, 2-3) who informed (and confirmed) to us that Clement saw “the blessed Apostles and conversed with them, and had yet ringing in his ears the preaching of the Apostles and had their tradition before his eyes, and not he only for many were then surviving who had been taught by the Apostles.” In a similar vein Epiphanius shares with us (extracted from Hegesippus) that Clement was a contemporary of Peter and Paul. The Canaanite Father, Tertullian, writing around 200 CE claimed that Clement had been ordained by Peter (De Praescript XXXII). At the time of Jerome “most of the Latins” believed that Clement was the successor of Peter at Rome (Illustrious Men 15).

Again, there are some who believe that Ignatius may have created the system of monarchical government in the church single-handedly (but such would not appear to be the case) or he may have been, along with other colleagues, simply speaking in his letters of what was already well established as far as church order was concerned.

Whatever the case, in the NT Codex the holy Spirit empowers believers with certain gifts, one of which is “administration.” However, as many NT epistles make plain, such positions were for guidance, and not for rulership. There was no actual “laity” as opposed to “clergy.” All Christians were standing on a foundation of equality. Giftings of the Spirit were always understood to be horizontal, not vertical. Paul made it candidly apparent that the ministry of the ekklesia was one of a “priesthood of all believers.” The prayer-oriented widow was just as vital to the growth of the Messianic Community as was someone with a remarkable ability to share God's Word in a teaching capacity or someone with a healing ministry. All were on the same footing. Administrative “control” and general order was not to be interpreted as control over others except in severe cases of discipline in relation to deportment: and this was exercised through the elders but with common general assent.

BUT WHAT OF WOMEN IN ECCLESIASTICAL OFFICE?

While this is not the place to delineate the tragedy of woman under the power and control of a male-dominated ecclesiastical empire, nor the place to recount the history of general feminine powerlessness in society – and over many years I have personally combated such evils, in lectures that span over 30 intellectually productive years – nevertheless we ought to rethink some of the lessons involving women we have learned in relation to our studies into Pauline theology.

In previous lectures, we have come to the conclusion that women had a very important place in the life of Abraham the “Father of the Faithful” – for he possessed an entourage of women as his sexual intimates. Perhaps “possessed” is too strong a word for all the women with whom he associated as his concubines and wives were, after all, “priestesses” in their own right. The Biblical revelation tells us that Abraham, himself a prince (Gen 23.6), was surrounded by concubines, plural (Gen 25.5,6) and we know his first wife (“wife number one”) was Sarah who was indeed a priestess and a princess. Abram and Sarai were to become an integral part of Hindu mythology (through the children of Keturah) Abram = Brahman and Sarai = Saraisdati (Sarai-Svati) or Saraswati. There was also Hagar, the Egyptian, and she also was a blood royal. Then we have Keturah, probably yet another princess, and to the list we must add the Assyrian Susanna (So'sannes) – yes, another princess. Then there is the little known Mashek who also had royal blood in her veins. Philo Judaeus calls Abraham “a king” who must needs “learn to govern and not to be governed” (On the Migration of Abraham, ll, 8]. If he wasn't a king he most certainly acted the part! (See my lecture The Austrian Chronicle).

Concerning Hagar, Midrash Rabbah Genesis 45.1 is cited by Rashi:

“R'Simeon ben Yohai said: Hagar was Pharaoh's daughter. When Pharaoh saw what was done on Sarah's behalf in his own house, he took his daughter and gave her to Sarah, saying, 'Better let my daughter be a handmaid in this house than a mistress in another house.'”

Abraham's wives and his concubines were not a bunch of "yes ladies" -- they were rulers in the own right and the example of Abraham's attitude toward Sarah shows him to be meek and even obedient in her presence!

Yeshua and in his ministry was surrounded by women who both loved and supported the Nazarene King of the Jews. This reality was nothing less than revolutionary! Women were the outcasts of society next to lepers, in Second Temple Judaism and even in much of the wider world.

“Now it came to pass, afterward, that he went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities - Miriam called Magdalit, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many other [women] who financially provided for him out of their own possessions” (Lk 8.1-3).

Note that Yeshua did not hesitate to elevate women into a level of equality with that of men. Its astonishing how men overlook this fact of the Lord's life! Consider the following account:

“Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Yeshua saw her, he called her to him and said to her, Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity. He laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Yeshua had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day. The Lord then responded saying, Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be released from this bondage on the Sabbath?” (Lk 13.10-16).

Did you notice it? Yeshua called a despicable woman a “daughter of Abraham.” Son of Abraham was well acknowledged ... among both sexes. But to be called an actual daughter of the Father of the Faithful was a statement that must have shocked his listeners, women as well as men.

THE TEXT THAT HAS KEPT CHRISTIAN WOMEN IN SPIRITUAL CHAINS

In Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, penned in 57 CE in the Spring – it was penned prior to Shavuot (1 Cor 16.8) and he was intending to spend the following winter in Corinth (1 Cor 16.5-8) which he most certainly did (Acts 20.2,3) – Paul writes about the specific problems of disorder that existed in that Greek assembly wishing to correct them. Among his topics covered there was an issue involving women. But note its context:

“How does the matter stand then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a song or psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a divine revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done with a view to edify the congregation. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three [at a single meeting], each in their own turn, and let one person interpret. But if there is no interpreter available, let him keep silent in the ekklesia, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others evaluate their discourse. But if anything is revealed to another who is seated, let the first keep silent. For you can all function as a prophet one after the other, that all may be learning and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of harmony. In all the assemblies of the saints let the women keep silent, for they are not permitted to speak; but to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is a disgrace for women to speak in the assembly. Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant [of the fact that Paul is inspired], he is being disregarded. Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14.26-40).

Now, Paul is speaking about prophets (in context). Paul would have known the many stories in the Scriptures involving women of Israel as prophetesses. Paul knew well that midwives were the real heroines of the Exodus period when they overturned a wicked scheme by Pharaoh who wanted all male babies eaten by crocodiles or drowned. He was well versed in the realisation that Abraham's wives, and Jacob's wives and concubines, were the ones who gave birth to the entire Jewish nation. Then there was Moses' mother and sister, Deborah and Jael, Huldah, and Esther. All prominent, influential to a fault as well as presenting as powerful speakers. Paul was not an ignorant man and he couldn't tolerate fools gladly (see verse 38). Paul was also well aware, from the traditions circulating in his day, about the life of Yeshua and his relationship with women – that the Son of God held them up in highest possible esteem, even prostitutes as well as the nobility – so, in this light, how is it that Paul, years after his conversion could write the following: 

In all the assemblies of the saints let the women keep silent, for they are not permitted to speak; but to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is a disgrace for women to speak in the assembly”?

There have been innumerable suggestions, including the thought that the Greek women were tantamount to being disruptive in assemblies, chatting away to one another and causing disruption while a teacher was expounding the Gospel. Such a notion is mentioned by Dorothy R. Pape in her excellent book In Search of God's Ideal Woman. A Personal Examination of the New Testament (1976). Yes, this may well have been the case but it doesn't fit the context or narrative here in 1 Corinthians. Indeed, in Acts women are recorded as being actively engaged in the ministry of public prophesying. Joel speaks of the latter days when all human beings (even “handmaids”) will be experiencing God's Spirit, men and women will be prophesying, and Peter expanded on the vision because in Acts it was apparent that all those on whom the Spirit descended spoke in tongues – yes, even Miriam the Mother of Yeshua! (Acts 1.13,14 cf 2.1-4,17,18). Women in Acts are shown to be teachers of men (Prisca teaching Apollos comes immediately to mind). The evangelist Philip had four daughters who were given to public displays of prophesying (Ac 21.9). Women are not only sharing a capacity in leadership but are noted as being apostles. Paul in Galatians speaks authoritatively as disregarding social roles within the ekklesia (Gal 3.28). In Paul's view all are on the same identical footing.

And yet, despite it all, women are to keep “silent in the assemblies.”

Or are they?

For, there is extant evidence that the original Greek mss did not have 1 Cor 14.34,35 in Paul's original letter. How do we know this? None of the Apostolic Fathers (the Ante-Nicene Fathers) quoted it and this despite its apparent vital importance and significance as a primary NT commandment. Not Clement of Rome, not Tatian, nor Ignatius, Polycarp, Polycrates – none of them spoke of it. Bible commentator, talented musician and ex-Armstrongite Todd Derstine tells us (and for once I wholeheartedly agree with him):

“The hypothesis that these verses were not in Paul’s original letter helps to explain why none of the Apostolic Fathers – Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Polycrates – or Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, Shepherd of Hermas, the Gnostic Gospels or second century pseudepigraphae, Tatian, or Clement of Alexandria or Hippolytus ever make reference to them.

“Clement of Alexandria has it in his head that both men and women should 'embrace silence' at church, but extols Miriam as Moses’ associate in commanding the host of Israel as a prophetess, which together implies his text of I Cor 14 did not have vv. 34-35. Tertullian (Bap. 15.17) [early 3rd century], then, is our first Christian writer to clearly show his awareness, not to mention wholeheartedly acceptance of, this pseudo-Pauline policy of feminine silence...

“It is as if whoever invented these verses wanted the church of God to disqualify the role of women in the church and reinterpret the inclusiveness implied in 14.5, 14.18, 14.24, and 14.31. We are led to ask the question, 'What part of all didn’t he understand?' If v. 34’s unqualified silencing of women were true, then the 'all' and 'every one of you' in vv. 5, 18, 24, and 31 force us to understand Paul’s letters as being only addressed to the men in the congregation, which is ludicrous in the extreme and contrary to the prominence given to women throughout his epistles and in the book of Acts written by Paul’s most faithful companion, Luke. Ironically, it reflects the same kind of thinking towards women reflected in Talmudic literature which had its inception during the second century, that women were somehow not endowed by their Creator with the same ability as men to appreciate the Torah or truth in general. And frankly, the church fathers, beginning with Tertullian and culminating with Jerome, display this very same kind of perverse marginalization of gender, sex, marriage, and women characteristic of all false religiosity” (Todd Derstine, in America's Prophetic Destiny [internet site]).

The earliest dated versions of this portion of the Greek ms of 1 Corinthians that exist today were copied after 300 CE. While they all include vvs 34,35 several mss position them at the end of 1 Cor 14.40 immediately before the start of chapter 15. What does this reveal? Simply this: verses 34, 35 were marginal notes by a copyist that were not in the original text! Leave these verses out completely and the text flows much more easily. The truth is they do not belong there.

For women to remain silent in the assemblies would mean, essentially, that they have to keep their mouths shut – completely. No singing, no praise, and no minister, rabbi, or priest may even speak to them if they are unable, by such a sweeping commandment, to reply. There is no sense of equality in this respect, which would blatantly contradict Paul when he refers to women and men as ONE in the ekklesia. Please bear in mind, too, that in 1 Cor 11 Paul gives the green light to women, if they are appropriately attired, to prophesy as well as pray in the congregation. This does not necessarily overlook that in this same chapter women were the main instigators of all kinds of strife. And, look at what Paul stated in verses 28 and 30 where MEN are commanded to keep silent! This is clearly, in context, not a permanent prohibition but a temporary one.

Even IF verses 34 and 35 were Paul's instructions we have no idea where they belong in the letter because originally early copyists may well have left them out somewhere between 1 Corinthians 1.11 and 1 Corinthians 16.18. They may have existed somewhere in-between! Maybe. But it certainly doesn't look like it.

Still, if these are his words, he may have had in mind simple chatter between women which was disrupting a sermon. There is nothing worse for a speaker than to hear people of either sex chatting to each other during a delivery of an important message (which message incidentally is included in that which we term “prophesying”). Such is offensive and distracting to others and not just the speaker. Perhaps this is why the text adds “let them ask their own husbands at home.”

Why have we not thought of that?

Why have we not even considered the possibility that the Christian women were probably (not possibly) largely illiterate as was the case for most women wherever they happened to be found during that age of masculine ascendancy and predomination? If this were the case it would answer a lot of questions about this text – if indeed this odd passage is not a forgery.

The fact of the matter is that none of us possess the original text of 1 Corinthians which was written by the apostle Paul. We only have copies of that ms. It is true that all the extant copies we today possess include those two verses which we have been examining... but this in no way implies that they should be in the copies of the epistle as that letter stands in our modern versions. If they are not meant to exist where they are presently found (and recall again that some mss have them at the conclusion of chapter 14) then where would they more appropriately fit in this letter? The fact is – nowhere!

The unknown author of Hebrews wrote: “Cast not away therefore your freedom of speech [parrhesia] which carries with it enormous possibilities in relation to reward” (Heb 10.35 Gk; See also Rotherham & Mitchell translations).

He was directing his statement to both men AND women. For a woman “to keep silent in the assemblies” would violate this cardinal principle by invalidating the exercise of that particular freedom empowering women especially by the holy Spirit, and tread under foot with contempt the freedom and the liberty won for women by the shed blood of the Redeemer of both men and women.

1 Corinthians 14.34,35 is a corruption and should be discarded along with all the other over-writings of the NT Codex that we have been discussing in this series of lectures. Christian women are co-equals with men – in the ekklesia of God, if nowhere else.


 4 
 on: November 04, 2017, 06:31:20 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Pamela
I was speaking on this very subject today...more than once...with some who are afraid of the suffering that "hellfire" is told to exact on their lives and those who have gone on before that THEY BELIEVE lived an unrighteous life! They, as I did, live in fear that they will do, think, act in some way that will send them to "hell"!

I am grateful that GOD blessed me many years ago to know this was a lie from the pit of hell intentionally designed to enslave the masses and keep corrupt religious leaders in control! Since Becoming a BRI student, your teachings have further given great insight to the TRUE BLESSINGS of an Unconditional LOVE that is ONLY in the FATHER of ALL SOULS! Your question section is brilliant...any other stiff-necked opinion is as you said - "It's a “save your skin” theology. It's as corrupt as the stupid Rupture (er, sorry, Rapture doctrine)."  This is such a sad commentary of the churches today but it is exactly as the understanding of the prophecy of John to the churches in Rev. 1, 2...

I am grateful beyond words for the TRUTH that has set us as firstfruits free in Christ to prepare and BE wedded at the appointed time - COME LORD JESUS!

 5 
 on: November 04, 2017, 04:42:27 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Pamela
THANK YOU REBBE! I can always count on a honest and humble reply concerning questions that you feel Holy Spirit inspired to answer and admittance of those you do not.

I do and will probably maintain the position (until the Ruach reveals) that the 6th Day creation was indeed the "Adam and Eve's" of God's multiple complexioned creations and that they too were given the presence of Yahweh in there own times BUT disrupted by the minor gods that intentionally did not fulfill their positions to "point to" the ONE TRUE GOD! Hence, the Adamic peoples were appointed to share the ONE true GOD through HIS covenant with Abraham to ALL creation.

 I believe the flood was localized and hence these "races" were allowed to continue their state of being in their appointed times and places. Also allowing for a second influx of Nephilim after the flood, whose sole purpose was to disrupt the Savior from HIS mission to redeem ALL creation. It was my understanding the Noah being "perfect in his generations" meant he did not mix with the fallen angels as that is the context of the passage, not that he did not mix outside of his race. If that was the case, such a stance would negate all this mixing to create all these hybrid races!

I do believe this is the VERY reason why we are admonished NOT TO BE CONCERNED with endless genealogy! However, I am so gravely saddened by the inferiority and superiority complexes that plague our entire species, affecting religion, economics, social standing, politics - EVERYTHING!!! I'm tired! BUT GOD!!! COME Lord Yeshua!!! PEACE BE STILL!!!

 6 
 on: November 02, 2017, 07:48:04 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe
Shalom Pamela,

I am always delighted when students of the biblical revelation come to the point where they can freely cast off their previous garments (spiritually speaking) of indoctrination they have received -- "garments" of religious thought having been imposed on them over the years from ministers of the Dark Lord, who ever only seek to control others. They seek to exercise control over the views, opinions, feelings of others -- even to negate normal, ordinary self-confidence in those they can authoritatively intimidate: replacing it with confidence only in a religious hierarchy of often self-appointed little Napoleonic upstarts and pedophilic deviates that some folk have rightly spoken of as "thought police." Such has not been limited to sectarian and cultic Christian aberrations. It has been found in long-established religious backwaters of "faith."

Forgive my aside in somewhat relentless diatribe here, but intriguingly it is to such identities that we can trace the historical origins of racial/cultural/religious discrimination, bigotry and persecution. It is these folk who stand accused of promulgating the entire negative "black mark" evil. Because church officers very early in ecclesiastical history rejected Jewish thoughtform in favour of Greek, Jerusalem in favour of Athens, and the Jewish people (as God's Chosen People) with the new "spiritual Jews" in the church, from the biblical revelation they forgot altogether the remarkable Jewish traditions which largely have been maintained sacrosanct for millennia (as vitally important to a proper background understanding to much of the existing biblical narrative). One of these traditions has it that the mark of Cain was the gift of God to Cain of a wolf -- at that time totally untamed, aggressive, a killing machine... this was long prior to the domestication of the wolf. All modern dogs have wolves as their ancestors. Cain's fear of being butchered by other peoples living outside of the protective area of the Garden of Eden (and the immediate region east of Eden) is an admission by the writer of Genesis that other races had evolved on this planet beside the populations seeded by Adam and Eve.

Problem with the Bible is that there is absolutely zero information about other races created by God. Zero data about their cultural existences, hominid status, as well as zero information about their progenitors. What colour were they? We do not know. Was Cain's wife black? Maybe she was. And what about Mrs Noah? What colour was she? We know that Noah was not subjected himself to miscegenation, but what about his sons? If Mrs Noah perhaps was black, could this account for their firstborn son Ham being "dark" which is what "Ham" means in Hebrew? If so, and Ham was so dark he appeared black, then this was not a curse at all but simply a loving expression of one of God's predetermined intentions to bring about genetic variations within the human family, the human race (and by human I mean homo sapiens sapiens -- intelligent and creative thinking humankind). Of course, because of the dearth of ancient information relative to our distant ancestors many questions will unfortunately never receive an explanation until we all stand before the Throne of God's Grace.

It is at that point that we will have inherited God's memories, which is promised in Scripture from so many diverse vantage points of argument, and then we will know all things.

But until that time the proponents of racial discrimination, hatred and bigotry cannot justify the enslavement of non-White races from the biblical perspective. The terrible "curse-prophecy" of Genesis 9.27 that came about on Canaan as a consequence of Noah's castration was ultimately fulfilled when the Romans (who were descendants of Japheth) conquered the Carthaginian Canaanites of North Africa. But Noah's curse was two-edged in fact (as God's curses also happen to be). To be a "servant of servants" means "servant second-to-none" -- and the Hamitic peoples/races [plural] have given to the world at large brilliant inventions, and other wonderful expressions of blessing, that have been utilised "to the max" by an ungrateful humanity.

We all need to appreciate that in the Kingdom of God, and also in the universal church for that matter, skin colour and race has no place. "For there is [in Messiah] no longer Jew or Gentile, nor slave or free, nor male and female, for all are one [new humanity] in Messiah Yeshua" (Galatians 3.28).

Hope this input sits well with you.

Kol Tuv,
Rebbe


 7 
 on: November 02, 2017, 05:22:20 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe
BRI International Internet Yeshiva Forum Notes, August 17, 2013

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.
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Lectures on “The Apocalypse” [153]

REFLECTIONS ON HELL

There are some students who have sat beside me in this sharing ministry over many years but I can't help but wonder how they would cope if they were engaged in a debate by other Christians on the subject of salvation and redemption.

I concluded my last lecture with this summation: Our Lord Yeshua made it patently clear. To accept the PEACE of God there are CONDITIONS. (I am not talking about salvation here, which is entirely by God's Grace and unconditional love; I am speaking rather of our need to overcome anxiety replacing it with peace.)

What are these conditions to be granted peace – peace of mind, THE peace of God, God's very own peace or shalom? The conditions are enunciated in Matthew 11.28,29.

Come unto me [that's a condition to receiving peace] all you who labour and are heavy-laden and overburdened and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. Take my yoke upon you [this is another condition to be granted peace] and be educated by me [here is yet another condition], for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and [as a consequence] you will find rest [here is the fulfilment of the promise concerning peace] – relief, ease, refreshment, recreation and blessed inner quiet – for your souls” (Mt 11.28,29).

Relief, ease, refreshment, recreation and blessed inner quiet are the qualities of peace, not anxiety.

Peace, shalom, is what will get us through the next few years now ahead of us.

Without God's PEACE we will not endure the life and times of the Antichrist.

Before we enter into the wonderful visions of Revelation 20 I wish to take time out for some reflections. I think for some this may prove to be spiritually beneficial. It will help some of us to rehearse some of the essentials that form the bedrock of the contents of the following chapter in this series on the Apocalypse.

After my own Damascus Road in 1981 I was given an insight into that which God the Father had planned for this end of the age. I was given a Scripture which has never left me. It is a Scripture that constellates around hope, faith and love. It is located in Isa 43.19:

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?”

God the Father has been doing an entirely new thing through this Teaching ministry for the past 40+ years, in re-educating Christian believers into God's very own word as understood and reinterpreted through a restored lost Jewish thoughtform. Over the past 20+ years we have seen other organisations and other church affiliations and internet websites adopting this phrase “lost Jewish thoughtform.” Tens of thousands are now accessing our site and many of those are believers who see the value of this ministry and Work of God. If they feel pleased to use our terminology then B'ruch HaShem. Praise God. The Messiah is once more being elevated and preached.

In our recent trip overseas I was asked by a believer: “What is it that we teach that is different to the other churches that we see around us?”

It was a sincere question, and I gave him a quick reply. But in this Apocalypse lecture I would like to answer it more fully before we progress to Revelation 20. In my forthcoming lecture devoted to that chapter I will share with you the rabbinic response to the lie about an eternal burning hell called Gehenna. I will reveal to you the rabbinic teaching about just how long the period of trial for the unregenerate in Gehenna will last. And, of course, its decidedly not eternity!

Over many years believers have desired to have a rabbinic response to this age-old question and in two weeks from now I will answer it thoroughly. I ask you all to bring along your friends and/or family for that lecture, so that they might be liberated once and for all from the devil's demonic doctrine of abject filth and degeneracy. Remember this one fact above all others: HaSatan, the Dark Lord, desires above all else to make God the Father out to be a sadistic monster who delights in torturing souls non-stop in the most fiendish and cruel of ways possible. The horror really is that people believe this crap.

My wife and I were touched by the reaction of an Anglican Rector we knew many years ago. Whenever he thought of his deceased father (whom he loved deeply) burning in hell forever he would cry uncontrollably. His wife could not help him for he thought he knew the truth about hell – his father was a Mormon, and so was unsaved and therefore God's judgment of torment had already been pronounced. He was writhing in eternal unceasing torture burning yet never being consumed.

When I suggested that his view was in error, and that it was contrary to what Christians and early church fathers originally held to be the case for the first 300+ years of the history of the church, he was shocked. I do not care how nice your Rector is, how educated your pastor may be, or how erudite and loyal to conscience your priest may profess to be – if he believes in this image of God then he has made God the Father in his own damned image and he needs to repent!

Hosea said it correctly millennia ago: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge!” cries God. And who does he blame for this spiritual ignorance that leads to destruction? Why, the religious leaders of the day. “Because you have rejected knowledge I also reject you as my priests!” (Hos 4.6).

Most Christians fail to realise that it is God – a God of unconditional love – who brought Gehenna into an existence in the first place. God created hell. If hell is eternal, and if hell is filled with hopelessness and doom and if hell consists of never-ending torturous horror for those who reject His Son – pray tell what kind of “Love” is this? “God is love,” John tells us (1 Jn 4.8,16).

How is it that we Christians speak and sing of God's endless Grace, God's endless unconditional, unmerited favour, only to be confronted by an eternity promised for those who reject His Grace filled with the terror of a Graceless Night. We are really admitting that Grace is not unconditional. It is not endless love. Is there a termination point for God's Grace and Love? Church doctrines when compared to the biblical revelation are in fact a brutal declaration that God is a liar. And a very cranky one at that.

For the first 300 years the Fathers of the church taught a universal salvation. For the first 500 years the belief in a universal salvation was never denounced in any church creed or list of heresies. Then suddenly with the introduction of the notions of Latin "justice" ("pay-back") and then (later) Purgatory, universal salvation was deemed heterodox – a damnable doctrinal lie. Did you know that atheists did not exist in the eastern church until the Roman church spread its doctrines of a hostile God into Constantinople? Atheism is the fruit of the doctrinal aberration called “eternal torment.” Yes, we are faced today with a dilemma of monumental proportions. Is God true or not? Can we really take Him at His word?

What do we teach that is markedly different to the Gospels others promulgate? (And, remember, I am here to educate people, not indoctrinate them.)

In Jewish thoughtform salvation is not a matter of being saved from an ever-burning hell. That's a very negative view of salvation. It's a “save your skin” theology. It's as corrupt as the stupid Rupture (er, sorry, Rapture doctrine). Rather, salvation consists of being saved into ALL that God IS. On that basis, believing that God is a God of PURPOSE (and theologians all agree that hell is utterly without purpose) we believe that the Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, is a satisfied Saviour. He's not the provider of salvation (and nowhere in the Bible is he called that) but the Saviour. Yeshua was and is "the Passover Lamb" and that Lamb was never offered to Israel -- it was GIVEN. It was never a "sin offering."

We believe Yeshua is a satisfied Saviour because if God is LOVE then God is truly love, endless love, unconditional love. In fact, when Yeshua came he made the loving character of God the issue. Notice what he said in Mt 5.43-44 “You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: Love your enemies! Bless them who curse you, do good to them who hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and who persecute you.”

What a hypocrite is God! He wants us to be one way while he intends to be entirely another on Judgment Day! He will hate his enemies, cursing them into the ever-burning lake of fire and brimstone, condemning them to burn eternally with only increasing agony, and totally forget about them – forever!

Well, that's what the Anglicans teach, that's what the Baptists teach, that's what the Uniting church teaches! That's what hundreds of millions believe. But Yeshua adds a word of comfort in this passage:

“In order that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven...become you therefore spiritually mature even as your Father in heaven is spiritually mature” (Mt 5.45,48).

If we are the children, the sons and daughters of God, we will carry God's DNA: we will emulate the character and nature of the Father.

Forty years ago I started asking some poignant questions about current Church theology and no single minister of ANY Christian persuasion has answered them. They cannot answer these questions because if they attempted to do so they would condemn themselves for teaching Satanic demonic doctrines of evil. I now pass these questions by you (as I have in the past) for your consideration.

QUESTION: How can it be that in Romans 13.10, Paul tells us that love works no ill to his neighbour. We are commanded to love our neighbour for God Himself is the embodiment of love and we are to be like Him. If this is the case could God inflict an endless ill to even those His enemies He professes to love?

QUESTION: It is the teaching of the churches that sin is infinite and man must justly be punished, as a consequence, infinitely. Stop please, and use your brain for a minute. Isn't man a finite creature? How can a finite creature commit an infinite sin? If man as a finite creature cannot commit an infinite sin, then is justice served by punishing him endlessly?

QUESTION: If one sin is really infinite, can a hundred billion transgressions be any more? And if one transgression isn't infinite, does a hundred billion transgressions amount to an infinite sin? Moreover, if sin itself is infinite, how can one sin be greater than another? Further, if sin (which is the transgression of God's Torah – 1 Jn 3.4) is infinite, is it really the case that “where sin abounded GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND” (Rom 5.20)?

That's GRACE brethren, and not judgmental fury and castigation!

QUESTION: When we pray to our heavenly Father, should we pray in faith without doubting (Jam 1.6-8)? We are told to do so by God Himself. Should we pray for the salvation of all men? I think all Christians, no matter what denomination they belong to would give consent to this proposition, because it is written that God desires the salvation of humankind. And, God makes it patently clear that there is only one Name under heaven given among men by which that salvation can come (Acts 4.12).

I well recall, when employed with the world's largest international missionary radio organisation many years ago, that the Australian Director of that worldwide work enthusiastically embraced the concept that God desired the salvation of all men and he stated often that we ought to pray effectively and intelligently for that salvation to be implemented (1 Tim 2.1).

I challenged him then as I challenge you all now.

The Word of God informs us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14.23). If we are to pray without doubting for the salvation of all humankind, can it not be that God intends all to be saved? If we are praying for this result other than in faith then we are actively sinning before God and we are doing so in His plain sight.

Unfortunately, he couldn't answer (or perhaps wouldn't answer) the obvious point of my perceptive thrust. I really don't think he ever prayed the same again after that, especially for the lost. I mean, if today is the only day of salvation (which he held to be a self-evident fact of Scripture – which it isn't by any means) and endless misery is the just lot of the lost (who fail to accept Yeshua as their Saviour in their present lifetime for the simple reason God hasn't called them to do so) then WHY should any of us “desire and pray” that endless misery and eternal torment may prove FALSE?

Ecclesiastical history tells us that the fourth century Roman emperor Constantine created a new church during his reign and he called that church “the Catholic church.” The Constantinian church in all three major divisions today has been spoon-fed a corrupted Gentile Gospel for over 1,700 years. The prophet Jeremiah says about the days of the coming of the Messiah: “The Gentiles shall come...and say 'Surely our fathers have inherited lies...'” from prophet, priest and minister alike (Jer 16.19).

FACT: “Faithful is the saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we labour and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all men, especially [NOT exclusively] of them that believe. These things command and teach” (1 Tim 4.9-11).

This speaks of a salvation within a salvation. Because the church early rejected the Jewish agricultural festivals and their meaning in relation to the Cosmic Plan of God for humanity, the church forgot that WE TODAY who follow Yeshua do so because we are the “Firstfruits” of the harvest of God. We are not THE harvest, only the firstfruits of that coming harvest. We are called “firstfruits” on a number of occasions in the Bible. The church has forgotten WHO we are and has really lost its way! Romans 9,10,11 tell us that we have arrived at the time when God is reappointing Jewish people to deliver the original Gospel back to the Gentiles.

FACT: “For God so loves the world, that he gives his uniquely-begotten Son, that everyone who is believing in him should not be perishing, but may be having everlasting life. For God sends not his Son into the world [not the church] that he should be condemning the world, but that the world [not the church] may be saved through him” (Jn 3.16,17 correct tense).

Why do we consistently read “church” into these verses when the text spells it out as WORLD?

FACT: “We see Yeshua, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb 2.9).

Nobody was left out of the equation when Yeshua died for the sins of the world. He was our Representative Man. He represented all of us to God the Father. ALL were included in Christ's death. All were included in His resurrection too! You can't have one without the other. They go hand in glove, so to speak.

If Christ became every man, woman and child that has ever lived or will ever live and He took upon Himself all the personal sins we have ever committed or evil thoughts we have ever had, then He must become a Personal Saviour to each of us in order to save each of us personally. That means there must be a time period during which he will reveal himself to every human being that has at some time walked this planet. Hence Jn 3.16,17 is written in the present continuous tense.

FACT: It is the blood of Mashiach that has made possible the gathering “together in one THE UNIVERSE in Christ, all things whether they inhabit the heavens or the earth. In him” (Eph 1.10). “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who WILL [not desires, hopes, aspires or wishes] have ALL men to be saved [that’s ‘all men’ – not all sorts of men] and to come to the knowledge of the truth that there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua, who gave himself a ransom for ALL the testimony of which is to be given in strategic seasons having a unique character of their own” (1 Tim 2.4-6 Greek).

The Greek word which we translate as “age” or eon is ainios. It does not mean “eternity.” It does not mean “everlasting,” “forever,” or “never-ending.” It means “age” and is the equivalent of the Hebrew word ol'm which also means (in biblical Hebrew) “an age.” Jonah, we are told, was in the belly of the great fish “forever.” But he was soon spewed out onto the sandy shores of Assyria, watched by the locals in amazement as he struggling up the beach covered in seaweed and fish spew, his skin broken all over in seeping acidity sores. The word the scroll of Jonah uses for “forever” is ol'm!

FACT: “Who among us shall dwell with the DEVOURING FIRE? Who among us shall dwell with EVERLASTING BURNINGS? He that walks righteously, and speaks uprightly; he that despises the gain of deceit, that won’t accept bribes, and closes his ears from plans to shed blood, and who shuts his eyes from seeing evil” (Isa 33.14,15).

I preached to a group of ex-SDA's on a few occasions. These people have no sense of eternal security. Their prophetess Mrs E.G. White (egg white) made it candidly plain to her churches that nobody can claim to believe they are already saved. That would be presumptuous, she said. They could fail spiritually in life and miss out on the reward of heaven. So SDA's trudge along wanting to believe that Christ will save them, but never having an assurance of salvation. They might be devoured by the fires of “Jesus” when he burns up the wicked at his advent.

On one of my preaching occasions I left them stunned when I shared the above text of Isaiah with them. Our God is a consuming fire. The Bible tells us that twice. As such we will live forever in the fires of God. Better get used to it now! We will burn forever...in God's all embracing consuming love. Its not the wicked who will burn forever. It is us.

FACT: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1.29).

The Lamb of God is not just any lamb. It is the Passover Lamb which was never a sin offering. The Passover Lamb was never offered. It was given. And it had to be consumed completely so that nothing of it was left over in the morning.

FACT: “As IN ADAM all die, even so IN CHRIST shall all be made [spiritually] alive” (1 Cor 15.22).  “Death [the state of death] is swallowed up in victory. O death [the death state], where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” (1 Cor 15.54,55). “For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed [annulled] is death” (1 Cor 15.26)... “that God may be all in all [not all in some]” (1 Cor 15.28).

There's the equation! “As in” = “even so.” All will ultimately arise “IN Christ” as spiritual creatures. This cannot be talking of a physical resurrection after which the second death is experienced, as some Christians erroneously teach. We all died in Adam. We will all live IN Christ. Furthermore, if one person remains in death, the death state will not have been abolished, and death will remain as God's enemy and that for all eternity. Ain't gonna happen.

FACT: “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Yeshua the Messiah, the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 Jn 2.1,2).

Clearly, none of the above Scriptures testifies to an eternal hellfire. And nor do we at the BRI/IMCF. Rather they plainly state that God's purpose is the salvation not just of men but of the entirety of the universe.

These Scriptures and these arguments need to become artillery and ammunition to use in our present warfare against the Principalities and Powers that exercises relentless control over a religious community that sadly resides in darkness experiencing the grief that is endemic to the state of unenlightenment.

“You shall know the truth,” said Our Lord Yeshua, “and the truth shall make you free.”

Let us not be hesitant in sharing the JOY and PEACE of mind that comes with a proper understanding of the loving heart of God.


-- Les Aron Gosling, Messianic Jewish Lecturer

 8 
 on: October 29, 2017, 04:33:23 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe
BRI International Internet Yeshiva Parashah Notes, November 12, 2011

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.
Copyright © BRI 2011 All Rights Reserved Worldwide

"I teach nothing new but all things original" -- Rebbe


Parasha Vayera  (he appeared)
Gen 18.1-22.24
Haftorah 2 Kgs 4.1-37


Why did the two daughters of Lot seduce their drunken father and have children by him? Today the Jordanians claim descent from two essential tribal peoples who locate their origin in Lot's two daughters -- Moab and Ammon. In fact, the capitol of Jordan today remains Amman. Of course, there are many Philistines also cohabiting within the Jordanian borders.

We locate the account of the seduction of Lot in Genesis. The scroll of Genesis (among other things) is an account of incestuous relationships. Firstly there is the story of Adam and Eve. Eve was originally a created part of Adam which (or who) was creatively separated from his side so in a sense she was his sister.

Because no actual mention is made of other people living at the time of the creation of Adam and Eve, it is generally assumed (inaccurately as it stands) that Cain when banished from the Garden of Eden married a sister -- a daughter of the Adamic prototypes. If this is indeed the case, we find again a record of incest as we do with Seth (Gen 4.26).

Certainly, Abraham is married to his half-sister Sarai (Gen 20.11,12). Nahor, the brother of Abraham, marries their niece Milcah (Gen 11.27-29). Isaac and Rebekah were first cousins, once removed (Gen 24.15; 27.42-43; 29.10). Jacob married two of his cousins (Gen 29.1-30). Reuben took his father's concubine (Gen 35.22; 49.4). Judah made love to his daughter-in-law (Gen 38.16-18). Add to this the fact recorded in Exodus that the parents of Moses were none other than aunt and nephew and we reach the pinnacle of intra-family sexual debauchery (Ex 6.20). The point is that the lives of the patriarchs seem to form the basis of the antifamily sex prohibitions of Lev 18 and 20.

The Mosaic covenant disallowed incest (Lev 18.6,7), although in earlier epochs in our planet's history incest was not only permitted, it was encouraged. Cain, if you recall, left Eden and went to the land of Nod where he married (Gen 4.16,17). Who did Cain marry? The Genesis account tells us that Eve, earlier on in the narrative, had children. This is why Adam named her "Eve" (Khavah) -- mother of all living (Gen 3.20). This was long before she gave birth to her twin sons (Gen 4.1,2). Presumably, her first children were daughters, as her utterance over Cain indicates ("I have gotten a man from the Lord," Gen 4.1: This text actually says, "I have gotten a man, even YHWH"). Alternatively, as I have pointed out in previous lectures, there could have been other human beings on our planet prior to the special advent of Adam (Gen 1.26-30 The first Genesis account of man's creation differs markedly from the second found in Gen 2.4-8). Whatever the case, Cain took a wife and the force of rabbinic opinion is that he married a daughter of Eve.

Certainly incest was expected of regal dynasties and even Abraham was married to his half sister, Sarah. By the time of Sinai it was explicitly forbidden and disclaimed by the apostle Paul in NT times (1 Cor 5.1).

When we come to the story of Lot's daughters (which is included in the Torah) there appears to be some legal justification in their actions with their father. And make no mistake about it, the daughters of Lot in the Genesis annals take full responsibility for their actions, not their father.

Briefly, there came a time when the entire Jordan went up in smoke and fire in what well may have been one wave of alien invasion (Gen 19.28). "Angels" figure prominently in the account. It was a veritable "Independence Day" but in this scenario the "angels" scored a complete victory and the humans registered "nil."

But the daughters of Lot misinterpreted the event. The Midrash informs us that they came to the conclusion that only they had survived the fiery holocaust (Gen 19.31). This admission is important in understanding their actions with their father. They were definitely under the distinct impression that the end of the world had come in their lifetime. They thought only they and their father were alive to recreate a new civilisation.

There is a legitimate reason why they thought this way. The reason they believed this was not only due to the divine holocaust that occurred (and it was quite sweeping in its effects) but they knew the worldwide flood of Noah in all its hideous and horrific proportions deluged the planet (or most of it) in the tenth generation from Adam (Gen 5.4-29). Lot's daughters were living in the tenth generation from Noah (Gen 11.10-27).

Appreciating the cyclic nature of history (and the ancient world was governed by astrology -- Deut 4.19; Josephus, Ant., 1,VII,1), they realised that heaven would not destroy the planet again by the deluge of water because God said He wouldn't repeat a Deluge of those proportions (Gen 9.15). But the world WILL one day be judged by fire (2 Pet 3.7) and obviously the ancients knew this prediction as Josephus records just such a prophecy made by none other than Adam subsequent to his fall in the Garden of Eden.

Speaking of the descendants of Seth, Josephus says, "They also were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies [astrology] and their order. And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known [they recorded them in stone], upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water" (Ant., I,II,3).

But Eve was promised a Messiah who would crush the power of universal evil (Gen 3.15). All the people of the ancient world have recorded this fact in bas reliefs as well as symbolically in idol structure and form. If the earth had been destroyed how could the Messiah come as the promised Seed of the Woman (Eve)? Why, only through the survivors of the fiery holocaust. Namely the daughters of Eve through Lot. What a jolt awaited them when they came out of the cave in which they had all taken refuge, and into the sunlight of a new and ordinary day.

The world was still continuing as before, minus a few cities on the plain, and here they were pregnant by their own father.

But there is a more important fact regarding this sad episode. And that involves the blind operation of the law of karma.

Jewish traditions explain that Lot, right from the outset desired to live in Sodom for the engaging reason that his nature wanted to live in a city where he could lose himself in his own natural depravity (Tanhuma, Vayera 12 ). This situation reaches its apex when he offers his daughters to the mob of rapists (both men and women). The rabbis rightly observe that a godly man would give his own life in order to save the lives of a wife and family. "In response to this, the Holy One, blessed be He, says to Lot: By your life, the improper act that you intended to be done to your daughters will indeed be committed, but to you."

The Midrash lays no blame on the daughters of Lot (Aggadat Bereshit [ed., Martin Buber] 25.1) as God knew their thoughts that they desired to save the world from total devastation.

Lot was prepared to force his daughters against their own will to engage in sexual relations with rapists. As a consequence, after the fiery holocaust and believing the End of the World had come, Lot's two surviving daughters have sex with their father to keep the race alive for the eventuating of the Messiah to fulfill that promise given by God to Eve. Lot offered them to rapists. They rape their own father. It's Lot's deserved punishment. They cry, "The Holy One, blessed be He, has rescued us so that the world will exist through us, so that the human race shall continue."

And, once more, we are treated to the forthright doctrine of God's accommodation to humankind.


 9 
 on: October 27, 2017, 07:41:06 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe
PAUL'S LETTER TO THE ROMAN CHRISTIANS (37)
Analytical Commentary on Romans

Has Israel Forfeited Its Future? (Part Two)
ELECTION: The Righteousness of God in the Creator's Superintendence of History
Romans 9-11

The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture37.MP3

Copyright © BRI 2017 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.
 

“Everything is foreseen, yet freedom of choice is given” – Rabbi Akiba (Aboth 3.16)

“The Pharisees... when they determine that all things are done by faith, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit; since their notion is that it has pleased God that events should be decided in part by the council of fate, in part by such men as will accede thereunto acting therein virtually or viciously” – Josephus


THE TEXT
“I am speaking the truth — as one who belongs to the Messiah, I do not lie; and also bearing joint-witness is my conscience, governed by the Ruach HaKodesh: my grief is so great it consumes me, the pain in my heart so constant, and not letting up, that I could wish myself to be actually accursed from Messiah – cut off and banished – on behalf of my brothers, my own flesh and blood, the people of Israel! They are the possessors of Sonship, the Sh’khinah has been with them, the covenants are theirs, likewise the giving of the Torah, the Temple service and the promises; the Patriarchs are theirs; and from them, as far as his physical descent is concerned, came the Messiah, who is over all. God blessed forever! [Stern, in order to tone down this reference in his Jewish New Testament, unwisely wrests what Paul actually wrote. To do this he must distort the Greek to read “Praised be God for ever!”] Amen. But the present condition of Israel does not mean that the Word of God has failed. For not everyone from Israel is truly part of Israel; indeed, not all the descendants are seed of Abraham; rather, “What is to be called your ‘seed’ will be in Isaac.” In other words, it is not the physical children who are children of God, but the children the promise refers to who are considered seed. For this is what the promise said: “At the time set, I will come; and Sarah will have a son.” And even more to the point is the case of Rebekah; for both her children were conceived in a single act with Isaac, our father; and before they were born, before they had done anything at all, either good or bad (so that God’s plan might remain a matter of his sovereign choice, not dependent on what they did, but on God, who does the calling), it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” This accords with where it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” So are we to say, “It is unjust for God to do this”? Heaven forbid! For to Moses he says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will pity whom I pity.” Thus it doesn’t depend on human desires or efforts, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “It is for this very reason that I raised you up, so that in connection with you I might demonstrate my power, so that my name might be known throughout the world.” So then, he has mercy on whom he wants, and he hardens whom he wants. But you will say to me, “Then why does he still find fault with us? After all, who resists his will?” Who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me this way?” Or has the potter no right to make from a given lump of clay this pot for honorable use and that one for dishonorable? Now what if God, even though he was quite willing to demonstrate his anger and make known his power, patiently put up with people who deserved punishment and were ripe for destruction? What if he did this in order to make known the riches of his glory to those who are the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — that is, to us, whom he called not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call my people; her who was not loved I will call loved; and in the very place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called sons of the living God!” But Isaiah, referring to Israel, cries out, “Even if the number of people in Israel is as large as the number of grains of sand by the sea, only a remnant will be saved. For God will fulfill his word on the earth with certainty and without delay.” Also, as Isaiah said earlier, “If the Lord of Legions had not left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, we would have resembled ‘Gomorrah.” So, what are we to say? This: that Gentiles, even though they were not striving for righteousness, have obtained righteousness; but it is a righteousness grounded in trusting! However, Israel, even though they kept pursuing a Torah that offers righteousness, did not reach what the Torah offers. Why? Because they did not pursue righteousness as being grounded in trusting but as if it were grounded in doing legalistic works. They stumbled over the stone that makes people stumble. As the Scripture puts it, “Look, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will trip them up. But he who rests his trust on it will not be humiliated” (Romans 9).

BACKGROUND INSIGHTS
Scholars have questioned why it was that the Jewish population of Jerusalem welcomed the sight of Yeshua riding on a donkey into the city during Pesach – thus announcing himself to be the expected Messiah – crying out aloud “Osanna!” to him, and a week later “Crucify him!” (Jn 12.13, 19.15).

The fact of the matter is that the Sanhedrin had commissioned rabbinic scholars to follow Yeshua from morning to evening watching his every move and reporting back to them everything they could extract concerning what his teaching happened to be at any one time. They are noted for their repetitious question “Are you the Messiah? Tell us plainly.” Instead of always tempting him for incrimination purposes, these lawyers were sincerely attempting to ascertain (clumsily or otherwise) whether or not he was in fact, the long anticipated Mashiach who was to bring salvation to the Jewish race and peace to the world at large.

Finally, they came to realise he was Mashiach and they decided to support him in his mission to be sacrificed for the nation (which in those days was expected of the Messiah). Their own texts of the Second Temple Period are candidly clear on this matter (though never appreciated by early Roman Catholic scholars and others). They knew he had to die for the sins of the people, and they expected him to rise from the dead when he did so. It is only in recent years that academics have recognised that the Messiah was to be slain and that there would be a three day period involving his death for the people. Intriguingly, the apostle John (a close friend of the high priest Kayafa) gave us all inside information about Kayafa being granted a prophetic voice in respect of Yeshua.

“Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. 'Here is this man working all these signs,' they said, 'and what action are we taking? If we let him go on this way everybody will believe in him and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.' One of them, Kayafa, the high priest that year, said, 'You don't seem to have grasped the situation at all: you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for all the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.' He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest he made this prophecy that Yeshua was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him” (Jn 11.47-53).

The high priest, and all the Jewish leaders assembled with him, agreed that Yeshua must die not only for the salvation of Israel, but “to gather together in unity the scattered children of God” – in other words, to fulfill the Messianic commission. It is for this reason – to actualise the Jewish prophecy that the Messiah must “die for the people” and “gather the scattered children of God” – that the Jewish leaders determined to “kill” him, and not, as we have been told by two thousand years of Gentile-Christian history, because they and the Jews whom they led “despised” and “rejected” him.

Kayafa (Caiaphas) speaking as a prophet proclaims that Yeshua must be executed, not as a punishment for claiming to be the Messiah but, on the contrary, in order to fulfill his Messianic destiny: “Yeshua,” he says, “must die for the nation [of Israel]... and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God.” Kayafa is calling on the authority of Jewish Oral Scripture. The first part of his prophecy that “Yeshua [must] die for the nation” parallels the Jewish, pre-Christian Oral Scripture:

“When God desires to give healing to the world He smites one righteous man among them... and through him gives healing to all... A righteous man is never afflicted save to bring healing to his generation and to make atonement for it” (Zohar 5.218a).

This Atoning Messiah of Judaism not only “dies for the people,” but also rises from the dead after three days – as shown in another Jewish Oral Scripture that states: “(The) Messiah [ben Joseph] will... be slain and lay in the streets for three days. Then... the prophet Elijah will go and revive [him]... And in the hour when the Tribes of Israel will come forth, Clouds of Glory will go before them. And the Holy One, blessed be He, will open for them the sources of the Tree of Life, and will give them to drink on that day” (Otot Ha-Mashiach).

Clearly, this pre-Christian, Judaic doctrine anticipates Christ's alleged prediction throughout the Gospels, that on the “third day” He would “rise again.”

The second part of Kayafa's prophecy – “and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God” – refers to another Jewish Oral Scripture: “And then the Community of Israel communes with the Holy One, blessed be He, and that hour is a time of Grace for all, and the King [Messiah] holds out to [Israel], and all who are with her, his scepter of the thread of Grace so that they all may be wholly united to the Holy King” (Zohar 5.45a). Furthermore, a Mishnah by Maimonides states, “If a king will arise from the House of David [who]... gathers the dispersed of Israel [as Kayafa believes Yeshua could do], he is definitely the Messiah” (Mishnah Torah: Hilchot Melachim U'Milchamoteihem 4.11).

Three days after his crucifixion (which had been accompanied by stoning), our resurrected Lord Yeshua still bearing the scars of recent torture walked out of an empty tomb that had been heavily guarded by tough Roman soldiers. No doubt they were reduced to babbling nervous wrecks by the incident. The Rabbis knew he had risen from the dead and they then expected him to accomplish that which their traditions had anticipated. They were then mortified, not by something that happened, but by something that had not happened.

Firstly
, Yeshua did not rise up, calling on his 12 legions of angels – over 80,000 of them – to deliver the Jewish State out of the hands of the Roman troops garrisoned in the holy Land.

Secondly, he did not exterminate the Roman State and capitol of the world exalting Israel in God's Government over the earth as the prophets all said he would.

Thirdly, Yeshua failed to return the lost tribes of Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora to the holy Land.

On this basis the Sanhedrin which had finally acknowledged Yeshua as Mashiach, then -- after the resurrection -- rejected him completely.

Many tens of thousands of the Jews nevertheless accepted Yeshua as the promised Messiah. Yeshua's brother Yaakov (James/Jacob) became the alternative high priest of the Jewish nation, a post he held until he was assassinated by the Sadducees in 72 CE.

In the meantime the priestly John outlined the endtime scenario in his Apocalypse which taught that Yeshua as Messiah would return in a time of immense peril that was dominated by a three-and-a-half year (or 1260 day) period. It would be the time of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness (to borrow an Essene phrase) and fragments of Zealot material make mention of the expected “return” of the Messiah at that time. The only Messiah that could have “returned” would have been a Messiah that had previously visited the planet. Here is evidence that the Zealots were followers of Yeshua. (The “sons of light” would come into a final conflict with the “sons of darkness” initiating the rapid return of the Messiah from the heavens. It is stated in 2 Baruch 30.1.

“And it will come to pass after these things, when the time of the advent of the Messiah is fulfilled, and he will return in glory, then all who have fallen asleep in hope of him shall rise again. And it will come to pass at that time that the treasuries will be opened in which is preserved the number of the souls of the righteous, and they will come forth, and a multitude of souls will be seen together in one assemblage of one thought, and the first will rejoice and the last will not be grieved.”

As to this latter reference from the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch parts of which appeared around the same time as John's Revelation, this is not an expectation of the first advent of a Messiah, but is a direct statement of a “return.” The Zealots were very much expecting YESHUA to return as the Messiah!)

That the Zealots were in association with the Christians is a point established in the writings of Jude and 2 Peter. The Zealots (and John the apostle) were oriented around an obscure 65-year prophecy found in the scroll of Isaiah that was to be fulfilled at the end of days. I have written extensively on this perception.

So now we return to Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians to ascertain the thoughts that led Paul to come to an understanding of the role of Israel's rejection of Christ in the matter of the doors opening to the Gentiles for the apocatastasis – “restitution of all things” – prophesied from ancient days and recorded as a phrase in Acts 3.21.

IS ROMANS 9-11 PARENTHETICAL?
Emil Brunner spoke of Romans 8 as “The Righteousness of God Through Faith in Jesus Christ” and Romans 9-11 as “The Righteousness of God in His Ruling of History.” There can be little doubt as we progress through this special section of Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians that Brunner correctly articulated this thoughtful assessment of the Righteousness of God as pertaining to Justification by Faith (Alone), for the sake of humanity, and as especially witnessed in the saving action of the God of history – having relevant pertinence relationally as well as in His sovereign superintendence cosmically. Justification, or Righteousness by Faith, emerges always strategically throughout this epistle. There can be no doubt that “the history of Israel in the present is as much a part of the revelation of God's righteousness as the history of Israel in the past” (H.L. Ellison, The Mystery of Israel, 1968,1978, 27). Remember Romans is all about God's Righteousness.

Again, if I may quote directly from Howard Snyder in an extract from a previous lecture in this series on Romans:

“In contrast to traditional views, the Bible describes the church in the midst of culture, struggling to maintain its fidelity while tainted by the corrosive acids of paganism [on the one hand] and Jewish legalism [on the other]. This view is sharply relevant for the modern age... The Bible sees the church in cosmic-historical perspective. Scripture places the church at the very centre of God's cosmic purpose. This is seen most clearly in Paul's writings, and particularly in the [letter to the] Ephesians. Paul was concerned to speak of the church as the result of, and within the context of, the plan of God for His whole creation (Eph 1.9,10, 20-23; 3.10; 6.12). What is this cosmic plan? Based on the first three chapters of Ephesians we may say it is that God may glorify Himself by uniting all things in Christ through the Church. The key idea is clearly reconciliation – not only the reconciliation of man to God, but the reconciliation of all things, 'things in heaven and things on earth' (Eph 1.10)” (Howard Snyder, The Problem of Wineskins: Church Structure in a Technological Age, 1975, 154,155).

The author continues: “Central to this plan is the reconciliation of man to God through the blood of Jesus Christ... as mind-boggling as the thought is, Scripture teaches that this reconciliation even includes the redemption of the physical universe from the effects of sin as everything is brought under proper headship in Jesus Christ” (Snyder, ibid).

Again, “Paul emphasises the fact of individual and corporate salvation through Christ, and from this goes on to place personal salvation in cosmic perspective. The redemption of persons is the centre of God's plan, but it is not the circumference of that plan. Paul alternates between a close-up of personal redemption, but periodically switching to a long-distance wide-angle view that takes in “all things – things visible and invisible; things past, present and future; things in heaven and things on earth; all the principalities and powers – the whole cosmic-historical scene” (ibid, 155 emphasis his).

As I have laboured over decades to insist, Christianity (or better, churchianity) early threw out the Jewish baby with the Jewish bathwater in their hostile rejection of Jewish thoughtform and as a consequence the biblical revelation suffered. Perhaps it would be better to assess that Christians (and the world, for that matter) suffered and not so much that the biblical revelation suffered. Humans suffered because they rejected knowledge, even the knowledge of salvation. Recall that Yeshua stated in absolute terms “Salvation is of the Jews” (Jn 4.22). But the Constantinian church wanted nothing to do with the Jews, and it was as a result of their condemnation of the race for Deicide that Jews were murdered by “Christians” (particularly Roman Catholics) over the centuries and in their millions.

But we are busily restoring the lost Jewish thoughtform to the biblical revelation, and multitudes are accessing our sites to their benefit. May more come to the realisation that apart from the Jews, there can be no salvation for Gentiles (Jn 4.22).

Jewish Christian expositor Henry Leopold Ellison in his The Mystery of Israel which I have mentioned above, notes that “we owe [Romans 9-11] not merely to Paul's love for his unbelieving people, nor to the problems of the Christians in Rome or elsewhere, but ultimately to the fact [of the lengthy biblical] history of Israel...” (Ellison op.cit., 27).

So, in short...

Romans 9 speaks of God's ELECTION of Israel. Essentially this is viewed as PAST tense.

Romans 10 speaks of Israel's REJECTION. Essentially this is viewed as PRESENT tense.

Romans 11 speaks of Israel's RECEPTION. Essentially this is viewed as FUTURE tense.

To an academic mind, Romans 12 would more logically flow directly on the heels of the concluding text of Romans 8. It would seem a smoother transition from Paul's preoccupation with the particulars of the doctrines involving salvation upon which he has been faithfully focused (Justification in Romans 1-5; sanctification in Romans 6-8; and glorification in Romans 8) to his labours explaining how once-saved believers in Yeshua ought to now live their lives (Romans 12). Let me show you what I mean.

Paul concludes Romans 8 with the following thoughts and comments. “Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Messiah Yeshua, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Messiah? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all the universe, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Messiah Yeshua our Lord” (Romans 8).

Romans 12 flows straight on logically...

“I exhort you, therefore, brethren, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a living sacrifice, set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical, rational, intelligent Temple worship for you. In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the present evil age fashioned after and adapted to its external and superficial customs. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed. For I am telling every single one of you, through the Grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own sense of self-importance. Instead, develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given to each of you, namely, trust. For just as there are many parts that compose one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function; so there are many of us, and in union with the Messiah we comprise one body, with each of us belonging to the others.... etc” (Romans 12.1-3).

Alva McClain most certainly understands this noteworthy characteristic style of Paul's when he writes, in his lectures on Romans, “Paul has shown [in Romans 1-8] how God saves a sinner. And, as in every other epistle he has written, Paul follows the doctrinal portion with exhortation, as in Ephesians; “I... beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called” (Eph 4:1, ASV). Notice how nicely chapter 12 would follow. He has finished telling us about the mercies of God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God” – that is, on the basis of the mercies as dealt with in the first eight chapters – “that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” Then Paul tells them how they ought to live their lives” (Alva McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace, 1973, 172).

But it is precisely at this point – with the start of the section of his letter which we refer to as Romans 9 – that Paul begins to talk about Israel's rejection of Yeshua as their Messiah! Small wonder many expositors of the word of God believe Romans 9-11 is parenthetical.  

There are good arguments for and against parenthesis BUT what I have found entirely lacking amongst scholars is the recognition of Paul's psychological and/or personality makeup which I have stressed in past lectures bordered on a depressive illness, dissociative behaviour, and bi-polar disorder. Why do believers want to sidestep the patently obvious? In suggesting this abnormality in Paul I am not denigrating the great apostle. In no way is this the case. Rather, understanding Paul as he really was grants us an acute insight into the kind of people God uses to spread the Gospel. Paul himself writes that “not many of you are wise by human standards, not many come from noble birth, not many are wealthy or influential” (1 Corinthians 1.26) and he humbly views himself in much the same manner even though he himself came from a very powerful family dynasty. Knowing Paul's psychological profile is an encouragement to any of us who tend to feel less than ordinary, or even perhaps inwardly screaming to be ordinary. Paul helps us to accept ourselves as not only salvageable by Christ, but as saved COMPLETELY by Messiah.  So, what am I implying concerning the insertion of chapters 9, 10, 11 of Romans at such a juncture as this?

I think some of us need to reflect on the very first lecture I gave in this series on Romans in which we read of “Paul the Headstrong” and to again labour the point of his self-will in opposition to the movement of the Ruach HaKodesh in his life and the testing of God's patience toward him in his decisions to go adamantly against God's commandments concerning outreach to others. Paul's headstrong and powerful will, noted by the rabbi's physician Luke in his composition known as Acts, overrode the freely urged promptings and instructions of the Spirit – and he was prone to do this on other occasions as well. It is on record by Paul's own hand that he rejected an entire city God's Spirit had led him to evangelise, opting otherwise to search out his friend and spiritual brother Titus.

“Now when I went to Troas to preach the Gospel of Messiah and found that THE LORD HAD OPENED A DOOR FOR ME, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia” (2 Corinthians 2.12,13).

To consider that Paul found rejection of friends difficult to cope with, psychologically plunging headlong into manic fits of depression, would be somewhat of an understatement. He had no peace of mind by his own admission in missing his friend Titus, so he diverted his attention away from the city of Troas which the holy Spirit desired the rabbi to evangelise. This incident involved a rejection of an important populated city of myriads choosing instead to forsake those thousands of souls in order to find one lone individual.

In Lecture 31 of this series I analyse Paul's oftentimes serious plunge into despair and deep sadness immediately subsequent to his experience of being on an elevated emotional and/or intellectual “high” – a symptom of a condition known as being bi-polar. And it is exactly to be anticipated that at the moment when Paul at the conclusion of Romans 8 expresses his intense JOY and personal SATISFACTION concerning his SAVED CONDITION and his mind-expansive awareness of the coming “new creations” [advancing aeons] of God stretching through eternity that he suddenly is reminded of his hostile Jewish brethren who had largely rejected Yeshua, and all claims of their need of salvation by Grace. As anticipated Paul PLUNGES into morbidity. Notice it now:

“I am speaking the truth — as one who belongs to the Messiah, I do not lie; and also bearing joint-witness is my conscience, governed by the Ruach HaKodesh: my grief is so great it consumes me, the pain in my heart so constant, and not letting up, that I could wish myself to be actually accursed from Messiah – cut off and banished – on behalf of my brothers, my own flesh and blood, the people of Israel!” (Romans 9.1-4).    

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING
What does it mean to be “accursed” from Christ, from the Messiah? Really, there is no argument against the proposition that it means being – if it were possible – eternally lost. This reminds us, if we are students of the biblical revelation, of an encounter which Moses had with God. It was actually a “super angel” which had the Name of God embedded in its person and which predominantly exercised its authority over the nation of Israel during and after the exodus from Egypt. Please examine the following texts for a proper understanding of the reality of this angel in Israel's affairs:

“Wherefore then serves the Torah? It was added because of transgressions till the seed should come [Mashiach] to whom the promise was made; and IT WAS ORDAINED BY ANGELS in the hand of a mediator” (Gal 3.19).

Special Note: This “mediator” was not Yehovah. Strengthening his verbal assault on the weak Gentile Christians in his composite Letter to the Galatians, Paul adds the thought, “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is One” (Gal 3.20).

Amazingly, Paul's point is overlooked, pigeonholed or ignored by expositors, but it is clear that the mediator who gave Moses the law on the mountains of Sinai was not God. Paul just said so. How could God give the law to Moses and act at the same time as a mediator between Himself and Moses? And the mediator could not be Moses, otherwise Paul would have been woefully redundant in his statement! All Israel knew that Moses wasn't God!

But now, and here is an important point, the early Messianic community was comprised of Jews who were considered “Hebrews” and Greek-oriented Jews who were known as “Hellenists.”

Luke rather abruptly introduces the Hellenists into the narrative of Acts in 6.1. Stephen, a progressive Hellenist and the first recorded Messianic martyr, identifies explicitly the mediator. Speaking of Moses, Stephen testifies:

“This is he, that was in the congregation in the wilderness with THE ANGEL WHICH SPOKE TO HIM IN MOUNT SINAI, and with our fathers: who received the living oracles to give to us” (Acts 7.38).

Then, in a later confirmation he exclaims, speaking of Israelites “Who have received the law BY THE DISPOSITION OF ANGELS, and have not kept it” (Acts 7.53).  

The Mosaic law, according to the Hellenist Stephen, was given to ancient Israel by extraterrestrials! Earlier, recounting the history of Moses, Stephen makes the remark that the Being that appeared to Moses in the burning bush was not Yehovah. Rather, he said it was the angel of God!

“And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai AN ANGEL OF THE LORD in a flame in a bush” (Acts 7.30).

Yes, there can be no doubt that Stephen understood that the entire Mosaic economy was extended to Israel by angelic powers. The Jews of his day certainly accepted this fact as witnessed by the works of that period.  

Also, the author of the circular letter to the Hebrews makes mention of this same event of angelic intervention in Israel's affairs. “If the word SPOKEN BY ANGELS was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward...” (Heb 2.2).  

“Behold I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, and provoke him not [please note again that angels are essentially unfriendly to us]; for he will not pardon your transgressions: FOR MY NAME IS IN HIM” (Ex 23.20,21).

The Angel of the Lord's presence (Isa 63.9) bore the holy name of Yehovah, the God of Israel, in Himself. In other words he was utilised by God to speak on His behalf in the first person as if he were God himself (for abundant proof, consider the following: Gen 16.7-11; 21.17; 22.11,15ff; 24.7,40; 31.11-13; 32.24-30; Ex 3.2; 14.19 with 13.21,22; 33.11; Num 22.22; Josh 5.14; 6.2; Judg 2.1-5; 6.11-14; 13; 1 Chron 21.15,18,27; 2 Sam 24.16; Zech 1.9-17).  

In any event, as mentioned earlier, Paul's desire to be accursed from Messiah has an antecedent way back in an account of Moses intervening for Israel between his hostile kinsmen and the living God (think “super Angel” or “ET” if you wish). Writes lecturer McClain,

“There came a time when Moses went up into the mountain to get the Ten Commandments. While he was up there, the people melted their gold ornaments and made a molten calf; and when Moses came down he found the people of God naked, dancing before a molten calf, and saying, “These are the gods that brought us up out of Egypt.” Moses broke the tables of stone in his hand and rebuked them. God was going to destroy the whole nation. They deserved to be destroyed. Moses threw himself upon his face before God [and he called out to the people] “You have sinned a great sin; and now I will go up unto the Lord. Peradventure I shall make atonement.” Can a man make atonement for sin? No. Moses was beyond his depth here. He was wrong, but he says, “Perhaps I can save you.” Moses returned to Jehovah: “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin –“That sentence was never finished. There is a dash there. “And if not” – what then? “Blot me I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Moses is asking God to destroy him along with the people, if forgiveness is not possible. Notice the answer. God rebukes him: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book” (McClain op.cit., 178).

Now Paul has Moses right in front of him clearly delineated in the Torah (Ex 32.10-14). And Paul knows that he is identifying with the patriarch of the Sinai Covenant. But please note that the great apostle to the Gentiles, who so loves his own people Israel, goes way beyond Moses. For Moses wishes to die with the people that God is wanting to destroy. Paul in contradistinction to Moses wants to die in order for his people to live.

Recall again, Paul's own words recorded in his letter for posterity: “My grief is so great it consumes me, the pain in my heart so constant, and not letting up, that I could wish myself to be actually accursed from Messiah – cut off and banished – on behalf of my brothers, my own flesh and blood, the people of Israel!” And, moreover, in the Greek what Paul actually said was as I have penned it, not as some others who seek to garble and misrepresent the original intention of the apostle. “I could wish.” For, the Greek tense is imperfect, incomplete. In other words “But there is something that stops me. I am prevented from so doing.” That something was the inspired Scripture that Paul knew off by heart. Typical of the rabbis of his day and age he memorised entire scriptures. He knew them back-to-front. It was the inner conviction of the Ruach HaKodesh within the emissary of the kingdom of God guiding, leading and consoling the very human Paul.

Of course! Paul knew that once a believer is saved he cannot in any way, shape or form be cast out of Christ's presence. He wrote “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua” (Rom 8.1 Greek). “No condemnation” appears in the Amplified Translation as “no adjudging guilty or wrong.” Yeshua had made it candidly clear. He said, “All that the Father gives to me, and him who is coming unto me, I will in no wise cast out” (Jn 6.37).

What is true of Paul is equally true of each of us. If we stand in Messiah we are saved to the uttermost. That is what Righteousness by Faith is all about. It's about what Christ accomplished for us on our behalf. We are not saved by what Christ can do IN us by the power of the holy Spirit or otherwise. But we are saved by what Christ has done extrinsically for us. Christ is for us. He has done it all on the bloodied tree of Golgoleth. There is nothing we can add to the perfect Work of the Messiah. We need to rejoice in it more often.

CONCLUSION
With deep emotion etched in his tears of grief Paul starts to progressively work out in his mind, and then directly onto his parchment – in a great task of biblical and theological proportions – his understanding of the working out of the sovereignty of God in human affairs. This is why Romans 9,10, and 11 do not seem to fit into the scheme which Paul had designed originally, that is with Romans 12 following immediately on from Romans 8. He got himself sidetracked through his grief, but I see the Ruach HaKodesh working mightily in Paul presenting him with a unique opportunity to share with both Israel and the world at large why it is God permitted Israel's rejection of the Messiah in God's intent, plan and purpose concerning a full salvation of (and for) the world. God was helping Paul to grasp the wider, larger, greater intent of God for the salvation of the Gentiles as well as for Israel to fulfill her destiny under the might and power of the Spirit of God.

There is little doubt in the way Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians is now designed, that Paul has (to our lasting benefit) laid a concrete foundation for the Salvific acceptance of humanity, but this acknowledgment and acceptance is constructed upon faith – faith in the completed, perfect Work of Christ. It is really, in the ultimate analysis, Christ's own faith which saves. THEN and then only does the Spirit of God, through the writing of Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians, encourage Christians in living the sanctified – “set apart for holy use” – life. The only motivation for acceptable living standards that we will find in Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians is one that is based entirely, wholly, completely on that which Christ has himself accomplished on our behalf – and not a salvation based upon the rules and regulations, laws, statutes, judgments and ordinances of a Sinai Covenant given by angels in the hand of a Mediator during the second millennium BCE “Age of Gravel.”

We shall pursue Romans 9 in our following lecture.

THIS CONCLUDES LECTURE 37

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 on: October 24, 2017, 10:17:55 PM 
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BRI International Internet Yeshiva Parashah Notes, November 5, 2011

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"I teach nothing new but all things original" -- Rebbe

Parasha Lekh Lekha  (Go forth yourself)
Gen 12.1-17.27
Haftorah Isa 40.27-41.16



We so often hear from the Christian church that there is a great need for believers to accommodate to the will of the living God. And, indeed, we should all be attempting to align ourselves to God's expectations of us as human beings. But, when we open the first pages of the Torah -- in the first book or scroll of the Torah, Genesis -- we find that more often than not it is God Himself who is accommodating to human beings.

This is so often overlooked by believers, and it needs to be stressed that God is an accommodating God, and that this is nothing more than a reflection of His innate character. God IS love. God is infinite love. That is what the world needs to hear at this time.

A prime example of God's accommodation to humankind is that of Father Abraham. Certainly God accommodated to the patriarch, and in quite a surprising way! Turn to Genesis 12.

"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, unto a land that I will show you; and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and you be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen 12.1-3).

Quite a covenant (contract)! If Abraham complied with the commandment of God in its three sections, wonderful blessings would be his! And what were those three requirements of God concerning Father Abraham?

Firstly, he had to leave his country which was in the region of Chaldea.

Secondly, he had to depart from his relatives.

Thirdly, he had to renounce his father's house, and all it stood for.

Comments Rashi -- the great Jewish rabbinical scholar and commentator -- on this section of Abraham's call, "In this land of idol worship thou art not worthy to rear sons to the service of God."

In other words the evil surroundings would contaminate them. The Midrash takes pains to explain that this jettisoning of his past would be for the benefit of all Abraham would meet. "When a flask of balsam is sealed and stored away, its fragrance is not perceptible; but, opened and moved about, its sweet odour is widely diffused." Abraham had "to cut himself adrift from all associations that could possibly hinder his mission" (Pentateuch & Haftorahs, III, Lech Lecha, Chapters XII-XVII, 45).

Abraham is called by Paul "the Father of the faithful" for the period prior to the inauguration of the Mosaic economy. The great Apostle aligns Messianic believers with him. Yet, and here is the point, Abraham was far from obedient to the Lord's command! For, in verses 4 and 5 of chapter 12 it is written, "So Abram departed, as the Lord has spoken to him, and Lot went with him...And Abram took Sarai his wife...and Lot his brother's son."

Not only did Abraham disobey God in regards his nephew Lot, Stephen tells us that when God first called Abraham and told him to depart from his relatives (and thus from his father's idolatrous house) that Terah his father went with his son (Acts 7.2-4).
 
Not only was this the case, Abraham's life was one huge mistake after another (Gen 12.10-13,17-20; 20.1-14). In an overall sense Abraham was obedient to the heavenly vision. But that obedience was most assuredly an incomplete obedience. Nevertheless, the record states flatly that God did bless Abraham, and in a mighty and wonderful way. It is written, inspired by the Spirit of God, "Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws" (Gen 26.5).

In a word, God was accommodating to Abraham's humanness.

And Lot, who fled with his uncle Abraham from Chaldea, was certainly no paragon of virtue! No, not by any means! A man of immeasurable greed (Gen 13.1-11), involved in the official affairs of the infamous city of Sodom (Gen 19.1), who even offered his two virginal daughters to brutish rapists (both heterosexual and homosexual -- an open invitation to all the horrors of pack rape - Gen 19.4-9), and who finally committed incest with the two girls (Gen 19.30-36) -- this man is referred to as "righteous Lot" by no less an authority than the Apostle Peter himself! Not only did Peter consider Lot "righteous" but he also called him "just" and "godly" (2 Pet 2.7-9).

So here again, in the case of Lot, we find the doctrine of accommodation. God fully is aware of man's needs, not only physical and material, but emotional and psychological. God accommodates to man.

This doctrine is found all throughout the biblical revelation and finally is seen in Yeshua's accommodation to the spirits of the righteous dead by his descent into that gloomy area of Sheol itself to empty it.

We all need to go forth ourselves into the loving embrace of the God who accommodates to human need.

It is high time somebody taught this fact of God's accommodation with the authority of the Mashiach Himself.


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