Exploring the Hebrew Roots of the Faith
~ Featured Inside ~
A View From
Peace be unto you through our Father in heaven, and His Son, our Saviour, Yeshua HaMashiach.
It is our prayer that each one of you are learning how to live within the blessings that have been provided for you by our loving Father in heaven. Sometimes it does not seem that we are being blessed until we stop and take stock of who we are (the children of God) and where we are going (the Kingdom of God).
We all live in a world that is based entirely on the material and the physical. One quick way to become dissatisfied with what we have, or our station in life, is to turn on the television set and just watch the commercials. They are specifically designed to make us dissatisfied with our present lives, so that we will go out and buy whatever product is being pitched, in hopes that it will somehow make things better. Often all the purchase of these products does is make us a little poorer and the seller a little richer.
But the products that our Father in heaven has for us do not perish with the using. They are for everlasting and will be with us for all eternity. "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see." (Rev. 3:18).
It is time to begin filling our lives with the love of God, not with the things of this world. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt. 6:19-21). Let us get down to the work at hand, which is to prepare the Bride of Messiah for His coming, and for the great and wonderful Wedding that is to take place very soon.
~ Masthead Change ~
If you have noticed the
masthead on this issue of Hebrew Roots, you will see
that an additional date has been added on the second line. It is
our desire to begin using the Hebrew calendar dates as much as
possible without confusing our readers to any great extent. Thus
you will find the Roman months (April/May/June) and the Roman
year (1997) listed in its usual place. On the second line we have
added the Hebrew months (Aviv/Iyar/Sivan) which more or less
correspond. What may come as a surprise to you is the year that
we have chosen to accompany the Hebrew months (5998). As many of
you know, the Jewish calendar lists the current year as year 5757
Why have we chosen the year 5998 for our masthead when the Jews say it is 5757? The answer lies in our belief that we are very close to the year 6000 from Creation. This is not true of the Jewish chronologists, however. Their chronology is missing approximately 241 years as compared to most Christian chronologies. Jewish chronology is believed to have been correct during the time of Yeshua. They expected the Messiah to come at the end of the first 4000 years and that is precisely when Yeshua was born. However, once Yeshua had been rejected as Messiah, by the leaders who later developed rabbinic Judaism, the Jewish scholars took another look at their chronology and decided they had miscalculated, and decided to remove about 241 years.
It is impossible to state dogmatically that we are currently in the year 5998, but by anyones reasonable guess it is evident that we are truly in the last days as described in the Scriptures. Many believe that Yeshua will return on Rosh HaShanah in the year 6000 (or 6001) from Creation, to usher in the one thousand year reign of Messiah over all the earth. Some others feel that Yeshua will not return until 2000 years from the year of His crucifixion, or possibly 2000 years from the beginning of His ministry.
It is not our prerogative to set dates for Yeshuas return, nor are we attempting to do so. That task is entirely in the hands of the Father of the Bridegroom, for in the ancient Hebrew wedding the night in which the Son comes for His Bride is decided by the Father and no one else. However, let us be sure that we (the Bride) are ready at anytime for His coming to take us to the Wedding (Rev. 19:7-9), and let us not be found without oil in our lamps. (Matt. 23:1-13).
~ Prayers Needed ~
Each issue of Hebrew
Roots presents a new challenge. Little did we realize, when
we began this venture about one year ago, the immense spiritual
pressure that would be brought to bear on us personally as a
result of our desire to assist in the feeding of the Flock of God
by exploring the Hebrew roots of the Faith. It is no exaggeration
to say that before and during the writing and production of each
issue, any number of spiritual problems seem to be forthcoming,
testing our resolve to continue. At times it would be easier to
just give it up and go back into the working world on a full-time
basis. But just about the time we are ready to do that, something
happens to bring us back into the reality of the necessity for
doing what we are doing. It is our firm conviction that our
Father wants us to produce this publication at this time. This is
not to say that there might not be others out there who are
eminently more qualified than we to produce such a publication.
It is as much a mystery to us, as it probably is to you, why this
task has come our way.
What can you do to help? Primarily what we need is a circle of dedicated Believers that are willing to give some of their time each day to earnestly pray for us and for this publication, so that Hebrew Roots truly fulfills the purpose which our Father desires for it.
It is also true that Hebrew Roots has financial needs. Dean is unable to devote full time to research and writing because of the need to provide additional family income. This is a major reason why the last two issues have been quarterlies instead of bimonthlies.
Many of you have written and expressed the desire to help in the financial support of this teaching ministry but are unable to do so because of very limited income. We do not expect anyone to support us financially unless they are able to do so, and we will continue to send materials to those who desire to receive them, as long as funds are available. (We believe strongly that it is neither necessary nor right to take sustenance from the needy for this or any other ministry.) On the other hand, if you are able to contribute, and our Father in heaven gives you the desire to do so, be assured that we use the funds made available to us in the best possible way we know how, in the service of the Bride of Messiah.
One of our primary expenses is the cost involved in mailing Hebrew Roots, especially to our overseas subscribers. Until more adequate funding becomes available it will be necessary for us to send most overseas mail via surface rate. This will cause a three to four week delay in delivery time. We are truly sorry that this must be the case. As soon as funds become available we will return to sending all material airmail.
~ This Issue ~
This issue begins with
The Torah of Grace. As this article points out, these two words
really do belong together. The article Emendations of the
Sopherim draws attention to the 134 places in the Hebrew
scriptures where the Tetragrammaton, YHVH, was changed
to Adonai, and explains why this was done.
Many of our readers are becoming involved in home churches or study groups, and some have experienced problems with individuals who try and take over the group. Group Bible Study Keys provides an outline that may help to level the playing field for all participants, and thereby open up the scriptures to deeper understanding. Food for Thought explores the scriptures that pertain to serving God.
~ Current Tape Offers ~
Just a reminder that
Hebrew Roots does not provide an automatic tape program. If you
wish to receive specific tapes please return the form provided.
This enables us to send tapes only where they are wanted, saving
us much work and needless expense.
This month the Wedding of the Messiah series is continued with Part III; Yeshua Takes a Bride. The second tape is a radio program that was heard on station KSHP AM 1400 in North Las Vegas, NV. In this one hour program called, The World Now, host Lee Clark and Dean talk about the current situation in Israel and about the meaning of the Passover season and how it pertains to Believers.
the peace of God
be with you always,
Dean & Susan Wheelock
| Hebrew Roots
is supported entirely by the prayers and freewill
donations of its subscribers. It is published
several times a year by Dean & Susan Wheelock.
Subscriptions are free (based on availability of funds)
to anyone who sincerely desires to "...grow
in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
(II Pet. 3:18)
Those wishing to assist financially in this teaching ministry can do so by sending a check or money order, payable in US funds, to:
Copyright © May, 1997
The Torah of Grace
Grace and Torah (translated
Law in most English Bibles) are words that are often
associated in opposition to one another. This is most unfortunate
because it breeds a "law vs. grace" argument that
really should not exist. In reality, Torah (law) and
Grace work together in a magnificent way.
The Hebrew word Torah comes from the root word yarah (yah-rah) which means: "to flow as water; to lay or throw (espec. an arrow); fig, to point out; to teach." Thus, as water flows down a river, so does Gods instructions flow down to us through the Torah. As the arrow is aimed at its mark, so all Believers should aim to follow the teachings of God. When we miss the mark, we sin or transgress. Probably the best one word definition of Torah in English would be instruction; the loving instruction from God to His highest form of creation, mankind.
The English word law carries a lot of baggage with it. Usually when one thinks of law the concept that comes to mind is that of rules, policemen to enforce the rules, citations, warrants, arrests, courts, lawyers, judges, juries, fines or prisons. In other words, the English word law can carry a great number of negative connotations.
On the other hand, the English word instruction usually has positive connotations. It most often carries the concept of assistance, helpfulness, caring, learning, growing and loving attention. Of course, instruction can be of the difficult kind as well; the so-called "school of hard knocks," but generally, it is thought of in a caring atmosphere. This is a perfect picture of Gods Torah, His merciful instruction on the righteous and proper way we are to live our lives.
Now if the Torah is a handbook of righteous instruction, then why not just follow all of its rules and thereby receive eternal life? After all:
"... the Law (Torah) is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good."
The reason why we cannot receive salvation through commandment keeping is because the flesh is weak. Because of this inherent weakness we cannot keep the law perfectly.
".. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
This is why grace is so very important.
"For what the law (Torah) could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin (transgression of the Law) in the flesh."
~ What Is Grace? ~
Grace is another one of those
religious words; along with faith, justification, salvation,
sanctification, etc., that is frequently discussed but seldom
defined adequately. The dictionary definition of grace contains a
number of different but related concepts.
Grace - "A disposition to be generous or helpful; good will. Mercy; clemency. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve."
Sometimes it is helpful in understanding a word or concept to examine some of the ideas which the word does not convey. There are a number of things which Grace does not or cannot do:
These definitions help us to understand Gods grace toward the Body of Messiah. (Those who have, accepted Yeshua as the Son of God, the prophesied Messiah who is; "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
The concept of Grace is really quite
simple when it is placed in the context of a court of law. While
todays court system is but a corrupt image of the heavenly
court, still the principles that are supposed to govern our
modern courts are really quite similar to the biblical model.
Eventually, all people will be required to come before the throne of God for judgment.
"And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."
"For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
All mankind will be judged by the righteous Judge; the Messiah, Yeshua.
Since everyone must stand for
judgment, there has to be some serious charges that are laid
against us. The court, especially the Heavenly one, would not
bring someone before it without a legitimate reason, nor without
We have already seen that "... all have sinned..." (Rom. 3:23). In addition, if one breaks even one command they are considered to be guilty of breaking the entirety of the law.
"For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all."
Now the penalty for sin is death.
"Behold, all souls are Mine;
The soul of the father
As well as the soul of the son is Mine;
The soul who sins shall die."
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
One of the points being made in the sixth chapter of Romans is that each person will be held accountable for his own sins. No individual will ever be held accountable for the sins of another person even if they be of one s own family. This is confirmed in the Hebrew Scriptures as well:
"The fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin."
All have sinned (both Jew and
Gentile), therefore all are guilty of breaking the law, so all
mankind is under the penalty of death if found guilty in the
Many recognize this very problem. However, there are different ways in which people attempt to resolve it.
~ The Heavenly Court ~
How one approaches the Heavenly
Court is just as important as how one approaches an earthly court
of law. If one comes with contempt for the Court, he should
expect to be treated with contempt. If one comes before the court
in a respectful attitude, he will be treated with respect,
although he may still be found guilty.
What are some of the attitudes that people might bring before the Heavenly Court in the Day of Judgment? Following are some possibilities.
First comes the person who knows he has committed some sins in his life but believes that his good works outweigh his evil deeds. He may come before the Heavenly Court and say; "I did break some Torah commandments on rare occasions, but I strictly observed all of the traditions of my church (or synagogue). Also, I gave money to various charities and I even cast out a demon in the name of Yeshua. Therefore, if it pleases the court, I submit to you that my good deeds and observance of religious traditions far outweigh the transgressions that I have committed. Therefore, I feel the court should acquit my case." (This is the person who feels he can earn his salvation by his works.)
To this man the Righteous Judge, Yeshua, may respond; "You admit to breaking the Torah commandments. Did you not read, in the scripture, that all of your righteousness is as filthy rags? (Isa. 64:6). How could you ever expect that your works would be able to pay for the sins you have committed? I find you guilty as charged."
Another may come and say; "I have never broken any of the Torah commandments because those laws were all nailed to the cross by you and were thereby done away. Since there is not a single valid law on the books, other than to love God and love neighbor, I do not believe that I can be held accountable for any Torah transgressions. Therefore, I petition the court to dismiss my case." (This position is known as the antinomian [against the law] position.)
To this the Righteous Judge may respond; "I did not come to destroy the law but to make it full. (Matt. 5:17). The law was never done away, therefore you stand guilty as charged."
Finally comes the man who says; "Yes, O Righteous Judge, I have sinned by breaking the commands given in the Torah. I am guilty and without excuse. However, I have fully repented of my sinful actions and ask that the Court accept as payment for my sins that which you, my Elder Brother, Yeshua HaMashiach, has already made to this Court in my behalf." (This is the man who truly knows from whence comes his salvation [yeshuah]).
To this the Righteous Judge will respond; "This Court accepts as full payment, for this mans sins, the atoning sacrifice of his Elder Brother, Yeshua HaMashiach. For this reason, and this reason alone, the Court extends grace to him. You are hereby released from your debt (sins) and your obligation to pay with your life. Go and sin no more.
Now that this sinner is no longer "under the law," is he free to go forth and sin again? Of course not. For if he sins again, he comes once again "under the law," and must face the Court yet another time. Since, in this case, the Judge is actually the one paying the penalty, it would seem to be the better part of wisdom for that person not to keep sinning and thereby repeatedly reappearing in Court asking the Judge to pay his penalty.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?"
~ Grace; A Torah Teaching ~
Forgiveness is certainly a part of
the teaching of the Brit Chadasha (Breet
Khah-dah-shah = The New Covenant), but is it also a part of
the Torah? Yes, very much so. There is one difference however,
the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) only hints at the
possibility of forgiveness extending on into salvation for all
eternity. It was left to the remainder of the Hebrew Scriptures
(the Prophets and the Writings) to flesh out this important
The primary expression of forgiveness in the Torah deals with forgiveness in the here and now. If Israel had obeyed all of the commandments laid out in the book of the law (the Torah), then God would have blessed them abundantly. However, when Israel transgressed against God they were punished. The punishments began with the withholding of rain. If they did not respond positively the punishment was escalated. The final, and most extreme, punishment was to be cut off, or exiled, from the land of promise. However, Gods punishments of Israel were not designed to be permanent, but rather were a means of discipline so the children of Israel would repent and return to the LORD with all their heart. If they did so, He promised to hear their prayers and restore them to peace and prosperity in their own land.
"But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
"When you are m distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them."
(Deut. 4:29-3 1)
This is Grace, pure and simple.
However, in the Torah there
is more to Grace than just repentance, being forgiven for
ones sins, and receiving a restoration of physical
blessings. Torah Grace also includes freedom from all
oppression. However, Grace cannot be implemented without some
form of outside intervention. To fully understand the magnitude
of forgiveness offered to Believers under the New Covenant,
another important Torah concept about forgiveness and
redemption must be considered. This is the understanding that sin
creates a debt that must be paid by someone. Once this principle
is understood our present relationship to Yeshua can be
more fully appreciated.
How did God instruct the children of Israel to handle the problem of debt in their society? The answer has startling implications for Believers for the same principle applies in a spiritual sense in the Brit Chadasha (New Covenant).
"And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave, but as a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee."
Note that the Israelite who sold
himself because of his debts, only became indebted to his brother
Israelite until the Year of Jubilee, which occurs once every
forty-nine years. (Some say once every fifty years. This depends
on whether the Jubilee is the first year of the next forty-nine
year cycle, or a fiftieth year inserted at the end of each
forty-nine year cycle.) The important concept to remember
is that the person is to be a servant to his Israelite brother
only until the Jubilee. Once the Jubilee arrives, the servant is
released from his service and, in addition to his freedom, has
his family land returned to him so that he can support himself
and thereby remain a free man. In other words, he becomes totally
free; and if he is circumspect about his life from that point on,
It was also possible for a poor Israelite to sell himself into bondage to a rich stranger (non-Israelite). if this happened, it became necessary for a close relative to buy him back from the stranger, otherwise he would be in permanent bondage. A relative who purchased such an Israelite slave was called a kinsman redeemer.
"Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the strangers family, after he is sold he may be redeemed again One of his brothers may redeem him; or his uncle or his uncles son may redeem him; or anyone who is near of kin to him in his family may redeem him; or if he is able he may redeem himself"
Notice that the Israelite brother who redeemed a fellow kinsman was commanded not to deal harshly with his newly acquired servant.
"He shall be with him as a yearly hired servant, and he shall not rule with rigor over him in your sight."
It did not matter whether the poor Israelite was redeemed from a stranger or whether he sold himself directly to another Israelite, the new owner was never to deal harshly with the servant.
"But as a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee. .. You shall not rule over him with rigor, but you shall fear your God."
~ A Teaching for Believers ~
What does all of this have to do
with Believers in the 20th century? Everything! For, as we have
seen, every human being has sold himself, through the vehicle of
sin, into permanent slavery to the Adversary HaSatan. He
is the stranger who has purchased each one of us through our
obedience to sin. It all began in the Garden of Eden when Adam
and Eve sold their place in paradise to HaSatan for a
taste of the forbidden fruit.
Because of this permanent bondage to HaSatan, it became absolutely necessary for Yeshua to come as a "Kinsman Redeemer" in order that He be in a qualifying position (that of a near relative), thereby being allowed the privilege of paying the sin debt that each Believer has incurred through submission to HaSatan and his way of life.
As the seed of Abraham, Yeshua came to set the Israelite captives free from their personal sin bondage to HaSatan. When Yeshua went to Nazareth and attended the synagogue service on the Sabbath day, He read the Haftarah reading for that week from the book of Isaiah:
"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted,
To preach deliverance to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed,
To preach the acceptable year of the LORD."
Yeshua then closed the book and sat down. The scriptures tell us that "... the eyes of all that were in the synagogue were fixed upon Him." (v.20). This action should not be surprising to anyone that understands the customs of the synagogue, for one stands to read and sits to teach. The members of the fellowship were merely waiting to hear what He had to say about the reading. What they heard astonished them.
"And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
To state it simply; one of the principal reasons Yeshua HaMashiach came to the children of Abraham was to be a Kinsman Redeemer in the full sense of the word; to purchase them and thereby release them from their bondage to the god of this world, HaSatan.
~ What About the Gentiles? ~
A Canaanite woman came to Yeshua asking that her daughter be healed of demon possession. Yeshua turned to her and said; "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt. 15:24)
Then she implored Him, and worshipped Him, and He answered her;
"It is not good to take the childrens bread and throw it to the little dogs. And she said; True Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters table. Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire. And her daughter was healed from that very hour."
Yeshua did not come to save
those who are not a part of Israel, because only Israel is
sanctified (set apart). For about the first ten years
after Yeshuas death and resurrection, the Church
consisted only of Jews, Jewish proselytes and converted
Samaritans. It was not until Simon Peter was sent to the house of
Cornelius that uncircumcised Gentiles were able to become a part
of the fellowship.
So how does all of this square with scripture? Quite well when one fully understands Romans 9, 10 and 11. In chapter 11 Paul goes to great lengths to explain the place of both Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Messiah. He compares Israel to an olive tree. The Jews are a natural part of the Olive Tree of Israel because of their birth, their heritage, and the fact that God had never divorced the house of Judah. However, not all of the Jews accepted Yeshua as Messiah, while many Gentiles did. Today many people believe that God, at this point, abandoned the Jewish people and the church became the new Israel. This is known in theological circles as "replacement theology." Romans chapter 11 says just the opposite. In reality, the Gentiles are grafted into Israel and become Israelites by their faith in Yeshua, while the unbelieving Jews are broken off. However, the Gentiles are told not to brag, because God can just as easily cut them back out and graft the unbelieving Jews back in by causing their eyes to be opened to the Messiah, Yeshua.
"And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
"... For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more will these, who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?"
This passage does not totally exclude unbelieving Jews from continued contact with God, for they, unlike the Gentiles, continue to have that privilege as physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (as do also the descendants of the lost ten tribes of the northern House of Israel). As physical descendants of the Patriarchs, the Jews still hold a special relationship to God, even in their unbelief.
"Concerning the gospel they (the Jews) are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."
What are these irrevocable gifts and calling of God?
"What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?
"Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
"Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar."
Can God still save the unbelieving Jews? If He can, will He?
"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
"The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins."
All Israel, ALL ISRAEL, is to be saved. Do not make the mistake of holding the Jews in contempt because they do not believe. It is Gods doing and they are in His very capable hands.
~ Yeshua ~
~ The Kinsman Redeemer ~
~ For All Mankind ~
Because of the grafting principle as described in Romans chapter 11, Yeshua has become a kinsman redeemer to the Gentiles as well as to all Israel, for they have all become one in the brotherhood of Israel. Now all who believe can be redeemed by the great Jewish Redeemer; whether from the house of Judah (a Jew), from the house of Israel, or a Gentile. All are considered to be a part of the good Olive Tree, provided they believe and are thereby grafted into the good Olive Tree of Israel. Many people believe that the Apostle Paul started a new religion which was contrary to Judaism. However, a proper understanding of Romans (chapters 9-11) does not allow for Christianity to be a new religion, rather it is the old religion now given proper understanding and broadened to include all peoples.
Does this mean that all Believers must become Jews? No, not at all, because Judaism, while containing the essence of true religion, had become burdened down by the rules and fences of the Pharisees. It is fine to throw out the improper application of the Torah and its legalistic observance but it is wrong to throw out the baby with the bath water. First century Judaism was a Torah based religion, that had gotten out of hand through its myriad of rules. Yeshua and the Apostles put it back into its proper perspective.
"Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
"So Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.
"And he answered and said to Him, Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.
"Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.
"But he was sad at this word, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions."
One is not a true follower of Yeshua HaMashiach unless one becomes willingly obedient to the instructions found in the Torah, and is ready to give up everything to follow Messiah.
~ Servants of God ~
Remember that a kinsman redeemer did not pay the debt for his relative in order that the relative could go scot free. Instead, the redeemed Israelite became a servant of the one who had redeemed him. However, the kinsman redeemer was not to treat the fellow Israelite as a slave but rather as a hired servant.
"He shall be with him as a yearly hired servant, and he shall not rule with rigor over him in your sight. ... For the children of Israel are servants to Me; they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."
The same is true with Believers who have been redeemed through the blood of Yeshua:
"You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men."
(I Cor. 7:23)
"...knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by the tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
(I Pet. 1:18-19)
Because Yeshua is the kinsmen redeemer for both Jew and Gentile, those whom He has redeemed are now His servants.
"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that ones slaves whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?
"But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. .. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. . . - But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life."
So now, we are the slaves, or servants of God, and we have life more abundantly. Therefore we are to praise God and serve Him continually.
"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
The final step of this scenario is yet to be played out. We are servants of Yeshua in this life, but when He returns it will be the year of the Great Jubilee. At that time, all of those who are redeemed, and are servants of Yeshua, will return to their original inheritance and be set free.
"And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family."
What was the original inheritance of
mankind? It was the sinless state in which Adam and Eve were
created. It was the Garden of Eden in which they lived.
What will be our new inheritance? It will be a world where even the nature of the carnivorous animals will be changed so that the calf can lay down with the lion and not be devoured. It will be a time when all the world will live by the instruction (Torah) of God.
It will be a time of complete Grace.
~ Sources ~
The American Heritage Dictionary of the
English Language (Third Edition), Houghton Mifflin Co.,
Boston, New York, London, 1992.
Berkowitz, Ariel and Dvorah, Torah Rediscovered, First Fruits of Zion, Inc., Lakewood, CO. 1996.
Jones, Stephen, Secrets of Time, Gods Kingdom Ministries, Batesville, AR, 1996.
The Open Bible, The New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1965.
Strong, James, S.T.D., L.L.D., Strongs New Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, World Bible Publishers, Inc., Iowa Falls, IA, 1966.
There was a king who wanted to test the loyalty of his
subjects. He called one of his officers and gave him
instructions to go out among the people and attempt to
incite a rebellion. One wise man, who was approached by
the instigator, reasoned that the man must be acting with
the kings consent, and that the kings
ultimate purpose was to test the loyalty of his subjects.
Otherwise, why would a powerful king allow a traitor to
move about so freely in his attempt to incite a
rebellion? So the wise man immediately rejected the