Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, December 9, 2019
This will be short. What is “heresy?” Heresy is a violation of Scriptural principles. Why did I bring it up? Because the body of Messiah (in its many iterations) has developed heresies. These heresies began as soon as Yeshua ascended on high and have continued until today.
Dan Juster has said, “The Christian church has it’s heresies and it is inevitable that Messianic Judaism will have it’s heresies.” In light of that quote, let me offer a warning. Please beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Acts 20:29 I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Even from among yourselves will arise men speaking perversions, to draw the disciples away after themselves. 31a Therefore be alert.
Memory Verse: 2 Timothy 2:15 Make every effort to present yourself before God as tried and true, as an unashamed worker cutting a straight path with the word of truth.
* 246 12/9 Monday: 1 Timothy 1-3
247 12/10 Tuesday: 1 Timothy 4-6
248 12/11 Wednesday: 2 Timothy 1-2
249 12/12 Thursday: 2 Timothy 3-4
250 12/13 Friday: 1 Peter 1-2
Question of the day: Consider this verse and the question to follow… 1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately, What is the difference between the legitimate and illegitimate use of the Torah?
Answer: Notwithstanding the exhaustive answer Paul provides in 1 Timothy, let me offer my 2 cents worth. Then stack it up against the treasure in Scripture.
For most of the last 2,000 years, Christianity has missed the mark concerning the Law.
Rabbi Trail: Time for some definitions. When I say “Torah,” I means the 5 books of Moses. Other people may intend other meanings, so you should ask them what they mean by “Torah.” When a traditional rabbi wants to refer to the 5 Books of Moses, he will say “Sefer Torah.” “Sefer” is the Hebrew word for “book,” but that is how we refer to the Torah Scroll.
Frequently, rabbis will refer to “studying Torah.” By that they mean the Talmud, which is commentary on the Scriptures (Mishna) and commentary on the commentary (Gamorrah). Many of the rabbis (I can’t speak for all) call the Talmud “Torah” because they give it equal weight to the canonized Scriptures. End RT.
My friend, Jonathan Settel (https://www.settel.org/) taught me that people tend to be more comfortable if we refer to “God’s Law” as “God’s Righteous Principles.” Who would ever think that becoming a believer means we no longer need God’s righteous principles in our lives?
In fact, it’s the way we relate to God’s righteous principles that changes when we have a salvation experience. The flesh strives while the spirit delights. The flesh must perform while the spirit rests in grace. The flesh works while the spirit enjoys Shabbat. No wonder we have this verse.
Hebrews 8:6 But now Yeshua has obtained a more excellent ministry, insofar as He is the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises.
Let me wrap this up by getting back to my original question. What is the illegitimate use of the Law? It is not a club to beat on people. Then what is it? Galatians 3:24 Therefore the Torah became our guardian to lead us to Messiah, so that we might be made right based on trusting.
Rabbi Trail: All this talk about discipline makes me think of the times my rabbi has disciplined me. I love the way Dan Juster has discipled me (in the past, when he had to do it). He says something like, “Michael, you always have the best of intentions. And I know you would never do that (whatever “that” is) intentionally. Do I have your commitment that this won’t happen again?” How do you not love that guy? Can you hear the voice of God saying the same thing to you (using your name, of course)? End RT.
How does the Torah lead us to Yeshua? By pointing out our faults. If we are without fault (i.e. don’t know what sin is.), we don’t even need the Savior. Without repentance (Repentance from what? From violating God’s righteous principles.) we cannot enter into relationship with the one true and holy God.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For the grief that God wills brings a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret. But the world’s grief brings death.
So let me close this short lesson by offering my explanation of this verse. Colossians 2:14 He wiped out the handwritten record of debts with the decrees against us, which was hostile to us. He took it away by nailing it to the cross.
What was “nailed to the cross?” What are the “decrees against us?” Let me propose that the “handwritten record of debts with the decrees against us” is the ordinances of Temple worship. They include animal sacrifice and the ordinances of the Aaronic priesthood. Yeshua is the ultimate sacrifice. Everything other than Him finds its reality in Him.
Did I answer the “question of the day?” Well, yes and no. Yes, we did discuss it and offer some thoughts. But, no, we did not write the entire tome necessary to fully respond to this question. Still, for a small RR, mission accomplished.