asked by a Messianic Jew and NCCG's Responses
NCW 75, April-June 2002
Every now and then someone writes into NCCG with a 'list of questions' to 'test' us, presumably to see if we know what we are talking about. When a Messianic Jewish writer wrote into us to find out if we had any business calling ourselves 'Messianic' (the attitude usually is that unless you're 'Jewish', you have no business doing so), we ignored his arrogance and decided to answer them anyway. Our answers surprised him and he gave us a 'score' of about '75%' (as measured against his own Messianic Jewish beliefs and interpretations). The following is our response. See what you think.
1) What is true and effective religion Before GOD?
Caring for your family (1 Tim.5:4), controlling your tongue (Jas.1:26), looking after orphans and widows, and keeping oneself unspotted from the world (Jas.1:27 - all NIV).
2) Who is your sibling?
Everyone who truly accepts Yah'shua (Jesus) as Lord and Saviour.
3) Who is your neighbour?
Everyone (see Parable of the Good Samaritan).
4) What was our Messiah's first Biblical miracle?
This question can be answered in so many different ways, depending on whether you are talking about (a) the pre- or post-incarnate Messiah, (b) what you mean by "miracle", (c) whether the miracle had to be witnessed by humans or not.
(a) If you're talking about the pre-incarnate Messiah, then the Creation of the world rates as a pretty major miracle in my eyes. If it isn't necessary that the Messiah is performing the miracle Himself, then His own virgin birth constitutes a pretty big miracle in my eyes.
(b) If you're talking about the mortal Messiah, then it could be the time that Yah'shua (Jesus) confounded the Scribes in the temple when He was a boy, or if you're talking about the Johannine chronology, then it was the miracle at Cana - of turning water into wine, indicating the transformation of the Old Covenant into the New Covenant.
5) What is our better/new Covenant?
The New Covenant, in which the Messiah becomes our eternal High Priest (Heb.7:22), which is the Torah written on our hearts (Jer.31:33).
6) Name at least three areas where our own Bibles clearly warn us how to protect our own possessions from our own GOD's Righteous Judgement of His Own people?
[Question not understood]
7) What was Sodom and Gomorrah's sin?
If you're a heterosexual, then clearly it was the sin of homosexual behaviour. If you're a homosexual, then it was the sin of inhospitality. Clearly sodomy was the chief sin though inhospitality, violence and pagan religious practice in general would also have been counted as sin. Genesis 18:20 says the inhabitants "are doing all kinds of evil things" (CEV). So we may say that Sodom and Gomorrah's sin was multifaceted.
8) What day of the week was our God slain for our sins?
Tricky one. Do you reckon His death from the point He gave up the Spirit on Golgotha (Friday 1 April AD 33 - Nisan 14) or from the time He commenced His "death" in the Garden of Gethsemane (31 March AD 33 - Nisan 13)?
We may never know the answer to that question in this life.
9) What day of the Biblical year was He aRisen?
Nisan 16 (Judean calendar) (Feast of Firstfruits) - Sunday 3 April AD 33.
10) How long did the apostles and co. await after His aRising for the Promised Breath to Fall Upon and Among us all in Acts 2?
50 days - as it was on Pente(50)cost, 50 days from Firstfruits, the day Yah'shua arose.
11) How old was the baby Messiah when His human parents first brought Him into the Temple for His Life Dedication?
12) What was/is the "last supper"?
The New Covenant Passover Meal.
13) Why was our Messiah's "hem" so important to the woman reaching out described in Luke 8:43-48?
Because the hem, or border of tassels (tzitzit) along the edges of a garment (Dt.22:12), which was bound by a blue cord, served to remind the wearer of Yahweh's commandments and of the need to obey them (Num.25:38-39). By touching the hem of Yahweh's cloak she was indicating the importance of commandment-keeping to a proper relationship with the Messiah and, in this context, therefore, to healing.
14) What are the Wedding garments of Matthew 22:1-14?
Rev.19:8 informs us that they represent the righteous deeds of Yahweh's people. One could also look at this passage as a midrash and posit that it is the blood-covering of Christ.
15) What is the Biblical Definition of "more than conquerors"?
Read Rom.8:28-39. Those who love God are 'more than conquerors' (v.28), meaning that they are overcomers (per pro Book of Revelation) of the flesh and opposition, etc.
16) What did our Messiah Mean in Matthew 5:17&18 when He announced, "(He) did not come to Abolish Torah, but Complete It"?
It means that He came to abolish the ceremonial law which contained pointers to the atoning work of Christ (e.g. animal sacrifice, the Levitical priestly system, circumcision, etc.). This is wrongly interpreted by most Christians to mean that the whole of the Torah has been abolished and is the pretext for Replacement Theology (also known as Dominion Theology, Kingdom Now Theology, some forms of Covenant Theology, Reconstructionalism, and Restorationism). The ethical remained intact and was completed by Christ, and the doctrine of Israel redefined in terms of the nation now consisting of Hebrew believers and gentile converts, who become adopted as Israelites, the Hebrew unbelievers being cut off from Israel and her blessings. To complete the Torah therefore means to bring it to perfection as opposed to render obsolete, creating a foundation on which to build further.
17) What is the "Curse of the Law"?
Traditionally and erroneously understood to mean that the Law is itself a "curse", the meaning of this passage is that the Law curses a person by revealing that person's sinful nature, thus prompting him to repent and invoke the blood-covering of Yah'shua. In this sense the Law is itself a blessing because it prompts the sinner to take the necessary action to ensure he no longer comes under the condemnation of sin. The Law is an illuminator of sin.
18) When did GOD HimSelf Replace Saul's name with Paul?
He didn't. His name suddenly and mysteriously "changes" in Acts 13:13. We are simply told that "Saul who was called Paul" in Acts 13:9, suggesting in the light of v.6 which mentions the proconsul Sergius Paulus that 'Paul' (Gk. little) was simply a Roman version of the Hebrew Sha'ul (Saul - Heb. asked) and was the name he was known by amongst the gentiles. Whether Saul himself initiated the change is hard to say. It was possibly chosen by him as a means of self-effaciation, since "little" was appropriate to his testimony that he was "less than the least of the saints". It may also have something to do with his small stature. The Bible does not tell us why the name was changed but these are probably the three main reasons.
19) When did GOD HimSelf Replace the Sabbath with the first day of the sun?
He didn't. The Catholics did.
20) When did GOD HimSelf Replace Yisrael-Forgiven with "the Church"?
He didn't. The Catholics did.
21) Who killed Anaias and Saphira?
The Scripture doesn't specifically say but it is assumed that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) carried out the execution, and therefore God. It could be argued that Satan did, since Satan filled their hearts (Acts 5:3).
He kept back the money which presumably he had consecrated to Yahweh to be placed at the apostles' feet. However, the chief sin appears to have been lying to the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (Acts 5:3), i.e. dishonesty. They created a false impression that they had consecrated their wealth to God when they had not.
23) What made their sin different than yours?
None whatsoever. Any kind of pretentiousness of discipleship is seen to be a serious sin meriting the death sentence. Our Christian discipleship requires that we be transparent and honest. Yah'shua (Jesus) reserved His harshest condemnation for religious hypocrites (the Pharisees and Torah-teachers) who professed one thing but did another. Hence we are able to understand why the early Church was a confessing Church (1 Jn.1:9; Jas.5:16). It is the wolves in sheep's clothing who pretend to be Christians but live lives of denial.
24) What Biblical events directly preceeded Ahab's death at Ramouth- Gilead?
That depends whether you wish to follow the account in Kings or Chronicles.
25) What was the House of Jeroboam's sin that led, not "just" to its own annihilation, but the temporal Removal of the northern Kingdom of Ephraim from beside his brother Judah?
Idolatry, specifically the altar in Bethel (lit. "House of God") and the shrines in "high places". Even after being warned prophetically, he continued to set apart pagan high priests. Indeed, anyone who wanted the job was automatically granted it (1 Ki.13:32-34).
26) Of the five women Recorded in Matthew's genealogy of Messiah's House, what separates the four Mentioned by name from the one who is not?
Tamar - Prostitute (Mt.1:3), Rahab - Prostitute/Canaanite (v.5), Ruth - Moabite (v.5), Uriah's wife [Bathsheba] - adulteress (v.6), Mary - Virgin (v.16). Bathsheba belonged to Uriah the Hittite, not David. Since tribal affinity is traced through the father, Bathsheba was a 'Hittite', and not a Judahite like the others. The three heathen/prostitutes were covered by the blood of their Jewish husbands, but not Bathsheba since hers was an adulterous relationship. Mary, in her turn, was 'covered' by Joseph even though Yah'shua was not Joseph's natural father.
27) Why did the Breath of the Holy One Declare Through the Acts 15 Jerusalem council, for even the goy [gentiles] to not eat blood?
Because they too are under Torah. The burden of the whole Torah was not placed on them all at once, though, so that they would (a) not be overwhelmed by the sheer expanse of the Law and possibly be tempted into legalistic observance, and (b) so that they could build up first on their new life in Christ, thus ensuring that the Law came to be written on their hearts rather than be imposed outwardly. Though both inwards and outward observation are enjoined to ensure that Torah is observed, the direction must always be from the inside outwards.
Specifically, the ban against blood antedated the Law of Moses (Gen.9:4 cp. Lev.17:14), being a part of the Noahic Mandate. Here that mandate is reconfirmed and re-extended, showing that it is still in effect. We may, by extrapolation, conclude that Christians are to obey the Messiah's primeval commandment to exercise stewardship over the earth as well as to preach the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth (Ac.1:8).
The only blood we are permitted to eat is the ceremonial Passover Blood, the Wine of Atonement. Blood (used 362 times in the OT) is otherwise associated with death, being referred as such 203 times where the Heb. dam (blood) is used as of death with violence. In only 7 passages is blood associated with life, and 17 to do with eating meat with blood.
There are many tricky translation problems here. Whereas traditionally Lev.17:11 is rendered, "the life of the flesh is in the blood", but may equally well be translated as "the life yielded up in death", as of life set free.
To eat blood therefore is to partake of death.
28) What is the Genesis 4:7 door?
To "lie at the door" (KJV), better rendered in the NIV as "crouching at your door", is a well known Middle Eastern expression. The Heb. for 'crouch' is the same as the ancient Babylonian word referring to an evil demon, waiting to pounce on Cain - it desires to have him. This being the case, the 'door' can only refer to hell or death - the kingdom of darkness.
29) If the Bible only Describes two Resurrections, where is the "rapture"?
There isn't one.
30) What did uncle Paul list as the fundamental lessons of Messiah?
It is hard to know exactly what you are looking for in this question because Paul derived many lessons from the Messiah and expressed the same in various ways. I could give an esoteric answer, like 1 Tim.3:16, or an immensely practical one like Rom.10:9, or an intensely theological one like the Book of Hebrews (assuming you believe he was the author).
31) Why was the office of deacon first Established?
Difficult to say for sure (some would dispute that it is even an 'office'). Originally, a 'diakonos' (Heb. shamash) was one who ran errands, literally a 'servant' or a 'worker'. It first appears in Rom.16:1 for a woman where Phoebe is identified as a deaconess. Many argue that the first reference is in Acts 6:6 where Stephen, Philip and others were called to 'wait on tables'. It was originally conceived as a temporal stewardship to relieve the Twelve of having the care of financially taking care of Jewish widows so that they could focus on preaching, it later evolved to include some spiritual responsibilities. We see several NT Church offices evolving even within the short span of time in the NT. The emphasis laid on the Deacons relative to the Elders was clearly in respect to temporal things such as keeping the local Assembly/Congregation functioning - arranging, cleaning, ushering, etc..
32) Who are the women Mentioned in the disturbance that brought out the deacons?
The Greek- and Hebrew-speaking Jewish widows (or 'Hellenists' and 'Hebraists'), though whether the division was caused by language, culture or geography is hard to say. The Hebraic Jews considered the Hellenists to be spiritually adulterous in much the same way as the Judeans looked upon the Samaritans because of the assimilation of pagan elements into their faith. One could argue (#31) that one of the functions of the deacons was to assure that both 'communities' were treated fairly in the daily distribution of food.
33) Why does the Bible expressly Forbid us to rebuke haSatan or stomp on his head?
Because in ourselves we have no power or authority. That is why the archangel Michael said to Lucifer, "Yahweh rebuke you" (Jude 1:9). One could argue that technically Satan has a higher position of authority than us (for now) because he is an angel, in spite of the fact that he is fallen, because of his original anointing, and therefore only one in higher authority (God/Christ) has the right to rebuke him (cp. 1 Tim.5:1). Some might argue that we may rebuke those under our authority or our brother who is on our same level, but not one above (cp. Lk.19:39 & 17:3). When Peter rebuked the Messiah, Yah'shua said, 'Get behind Me, Satan!' (Mk.8:32-33). This was such a serious sin - disturbing the system of authority that Yahweh has established - that it merited the worst of rebukes. (The rebuke was not just because Peter tried to stop Yah'shua from going to the cross).
As far as "head stomping" is concerned, it is the Messiah who does that (e.g. Num.24:17; Ps.68:21). We are only to "trample" on our foes through Yahweh Himself (e.g. Ps.44:5; 60:12; 91:13; 108:13; etc.)
34) If Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and Moses was Found faithful throughout GOD's House (Hebrews 3:1-6); then why did Yahveh (the LORD) "Try" to kill him in Exodus 4:24-26?
Because Abraham had neglected his covenant in Gen.15:10-14 which was a capital crime for an Israelite in the time before the Messiah fulfilled the type of circumcision. Moses had failed to appreciate its great importance in Yahweh's sight, reminding us how important covenant is. Today circumcision is profitless as an outer ritual for Yahweh will have a circumcised heart.
35) If EVERYTHING the 1 Kings 13 man of GOD said came true in 2 Kings 23:16-19, then why did he die anyway?
Because he was disobedient. Compare Jonah and Nineveh.
36) Why does "the church" claim the new year begins January first (the Gregorian calendar), while the Jews insist it begins in late summer/early autumn, when neither agrees with Exodus 12:1&2?
Because both the Church and Talmudic Judaism are in a state of apostasy. It should be noted, however, that in Judaism there are many 'New Years', of which Nisan 1 (Abib 1) is one.
37) Why did El Shaddai have Samson, the ranking man of GOD for his own time, ignore both his parents and Scripture when seeking out his own bride?
I dispute that El Shaddai "had" Samson do this - he was his own free agent and chose to sin by seeking a woman outside the covenant. Samson also messed around with prostitutes but nobody would imply that such was Yahweh's will. This was a time of great apostasy and Samson was the best around. Yahweh did not justify Samson in the choice of bride as events subsequently confirmed. However, Yahweh was able to sovereignly operate within the parameters of Samson's disobedience and still work for the salvation of Israel.
38) If uncle Paul was a victorious Christian living large and more than a conqueror, then why did he list his physical tortures at the hands of powers (with and without their human puppets) in 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 as his credentials for his office and his own validity therein?
A dangerous implication. Why, by the same token, did Yahweh suffer the Messiah to be handed over to "powers" for flagellation and crucifixion? On the other hand, persecution and suffering are repeatedly pointed out as signs of one truly walking in the Spirit of Yahweh. Paul was victorious over the flesh by virtue of his spiritual life but his sufferings in his body were but evidence that he was fulfilling the persecuted witness' rôle.
39) Why did GOD Command Jeremiah to not marry and/or have children to have and to love of his very own?
For the same reason that Yahweh led Esther to marry the pagan Persian King Xerxes - for redemption. There are, for prophetic reasons, sometimes exceptions to Yahweh's rules, for the purpose of redemption. Hosea was commanded to marry a whore for the purpose of prophetic illustration.
40) Why did GOD allow Joseph to think his delight, Mary, might have been unfaithful and untrue, and therefore NOT a virgin almost to their undoing and disbanding engagement?
Who can say what it is that each man must experience in order to have the new man brought out of him? It is written: "When God does something, we cannot change it or even ask why" (Dan.4:35, CEV). Joseph doubted - he did not believe his wife's testimony, just as the apostles refused to believe Mary's account of the resurrection. From this we may deduce that in the New Covenant Yahweh may sometimes reveal things to women which He withholds from men, or at any rate reveal it to the women first who by natural disposition are more believing. One could also argue that this inner turmoil forced Joseph to go to Yahweh in prayer and obtain a revelation himself, thus establishing the truth by two or more witnesses. And if Joseph had believed her, critics of the Virgin Birth might have been able to accuse Joseph of colluding with Mary to make the whole thing up. But the fact that he did not believe her, and doubtless reported the matter to others, was evidence that he did not concoct the Virgin Birth story.
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