Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Truth About Lent

In her work, "Christian Feast Days and Their Relationship to Pagan Holidays," by Donna-Lynn Riley, she states: "As you progress through the Christian liturgical year, the other significant holiday is Easter, which is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The forty days prior to this holiday is called Lent. In 519 AD, Lent gained acceptance by the Catholic Church. A writer of that time, John Cassian explains that the church didn't observe Lent. But as believers started to decline from their devotion, priests had called for a period of fasting to recall them to their original fervor. Many other regions, practiced a forty-day periods of fasting. In the Andes and in Mexico pagan followers practiced a solemn fast of forty days to honor the sun. The Egyptians also observed a fast of forty days to honor Adonis or Osiris, the mediatorial god. Among the Pagans, Lent seems to be a fast to prepare for the annual festival in commemoration of the "death and resurrection of Tammuz which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing...being observed in Palestine and Assyria in June, therefore called the 'month of Tammuz' Once again correlations can be found between the Christian Lent and practices of fasting in preparation for a great event or occasion. This event for most of the pagan religions appears to be the preparation for the coming of spring and the 'rebirth' of the land. This can be compared to the Christian belief that even though Jesus had died, that He was "reborn" in his resurrection and that the followers need to prepare themselves for the anniversary of this event by the practice of fasting."

Lent was not practiced by Yeshua, i.e. Jesus, Kefa, i.e. Peter, Sha'ul, i.e. Paul, or any of the early disciples. It was created by the Catholic Church some hundreds of years after the resurrection of Yeshua. Why would you want to practice a ritual not created by the One you claim to follow? If you are going to follow Yeshua, you should do what He did and He didn't do Lent. Further, He obviously never taught the disciples to perform the ritual because they did not either. The real issue is, who or what are you going to follow?

It is time to make a stand against a religion that dishonors YHWH. Lent may be for the "Christian," but it is not for the follower of YHWH and His Son Yeshua. We are to keep the Sabbath and the festivals as set forth in the Hebrew Scriptures. Don't be deceived. Be alarmed, very alarmed at the power of darkness that seeks to corrupt the true religion.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Catholic Church Rules Yahweh Inappropriate For Liturgical Use

The following is a news article from the Vatican. The true name of Hashem will not be allowed in their services. The article speaks for itself. Latin becomes more important than Hebrew. This is a furtherance of the Catholic Churches' attempt to separate its faith from the Hebraic roots of Yeshua's faith. It began in the 4TH Century and continues today.

News Feature
Vatican directive: "Yahweh" inappropriate for liturgical use August 13, 2008

The Vatican has ruled that the Name of God, commonly rendered as "Yahweh," should not be pronounced in the Catholic liturgy.

The Vatican directive will not require any changes in the language of liturgy, since the Name of God is not spelled out in any authorized translation of the Roman Missal. However some hymns may be deemed inappropriate for liturgical use.

The Congregation for Divine Worship, in issuing the new directive, reminds bishops that in the Hebrew tradition, which the early Christians adopted, the faithful avoided pronouncing the Name of God. The Vatican directive explains that "as an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, it was held to be unpronounceable."

In place of the Name of God, pious Hebrews used the four-letter tetragammaton YHWH, or substituted the terms "Adonai" or "the Lord." The first Christians continued this practice, the Vatican notes.

The Congregation for Divine Worship observes that the invocation of "the Lord" in Scriptural text follows this practice. Thus when St. Paul prays that "every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord," the Vatican letter says that his statement "corresponds exactly to a proclamation of [Christ's] divinity."

The Bible reflects the Hebrew tradition, and the Name of God is not spelled out in authorized Catholic translations. The Vatican instruction says that liturgical language should adhere carefully to the Scriptural texts, so that the Word of God is "conserved and transmitted in an integral and faithful manner."

However, the instruction notes, "in recent years the practice has crept in" of using the Name of God and spelling out the tetragrammaton. That practice should be avoided in the Catholic liturgy, the Vatican says.

The effect of the Vatican directive should be evident in the selection of hymns, since some contemporary liturgical music violates the policy by pronouncing the Name of God. The policy will also call for some care in the preparation of variable elements in the liturgy, such as the Prayers of the Faithful.

The letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship, dated June 29, was signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze and Archbishop Malcom Ranjith, the prefect and secretary, respectively of that congregation.

In an August 8 letter to the bishops of the US hierarchy, relaying the Vatican directive, Bishop Arthur Serratelli-- the chairman of the US bishops' liturgy committee-- welcomed the instruction, saying that it "helps to emphasize the theological accuracy of our language and appropriate reverence for the name of God."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Don't Call Him Lord!

It is well established that the very early Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures used the name YHWH for the Father. However, as more and more copies were made by Gentile believers, the Greek word Kurios was substituted. Was this just an innocent title change or was more involved? The study of the origin of Kurios reveals that it was derived from a proper name. That proper name was Kuros. Kurios is the same as Kuros. Kuros is the Persian word for "sun." Kuris was the name for Adonis, the sun deity. The root Kur can be traced back to Babylon and is the older Persian name for the sun. When the name of the Father in Hebrew is replaced by the name of a sun deity, we can begin to understand how corrupt our modern translations are. There has been a commited effort since the second century to "solarize" YHWH. We must resist idolatry at all costs. This is not semantics, or something to be winked at. We need to resist the continuing efforts to remove the Hebrew Name for YHWH and replace it with a reference to a Babylonian or Persian sun deity. This is war. Whose side will you be on?

Don't be satisfied with a translation that places LORD in all capitals as if that somehow makes it right. "Lord" is not the name of the Father. It is a proper name for a sun deity. Perhaps we should call the prayer Yeshua taught His disciples something other than, "The Lord's Prayer."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Best Bible Version Part 1

Many times I am asked, "Which version of the Bible is the most accurate for those of us who cannot read Greek and Hebrew?" Previously, I have endorsed the New American Standard, the English Standard Version, and the New Revised Standard Version. All three present themselves as literal translations being accurate to the original languages. While these three are far better than paraphrases or single scholar translations, I can no longer recommend that those who want to reconnect with their Hebraic roots read them. Instead, I have found a translation entitled, "The Scriptures," to be both literal and accurate. Hebrew idioms are identified and the idolatrous translations in the other versions have been removed. Several examples will be provided to show the advantage of this work:

Hebrews 4:9
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.... (ESV)
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. (NASB)
So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. (NRSV)
So there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim. (The Scriptures)

While the NRSV comes the closest of the three to identifying a present Sabbath rest, it falls far short of the clarity in The Scriptures. According to conservative scholarship, Hebrews was written in the mid to late 60's. That means that some thirty plus years after the death and resurrection of Yeshua, believers were still observing the Sabbath. Only, "The Scriptures" makes this abundantly clear.

Yeshua says in Matthew 26:28:
For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.(NASB)
Matthew 26:27-28
For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.(ESV)
For this is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (NRSV)

All three translations avoid a description of the covenant as seen in earlier versions. The King James Version translated the verse as: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Young's Literal Translation presents the verse as follows: for this is my blood of the new covenant, that for many is being poured out--to remission of sins. The Greek text contains the word kainos. Kainos is the Greek word for the Hebrew word chadash. Chadash means to renew or make anew; to repair or rebuild. Much like we get a "new moon" every thirty days, we understand that it is not a new moon, but the next lunar cycle. In the same way, Yeshua did not come to do away with the Torah, but instead to correctly interpret it for us so we could please God. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Torah is written on tablets of stone. In the renewed covenant, the Torah is written on the hearts of men. The Torah does not change, only where it is written. "The Scriptures" translate the verse as: "For this is My blood, that of the renewed covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins."

This article brings to our attention the difference in translations. In a follow up article, I will give examples from the Hebrew Scriptures, i.e. the First Writings, to show that this is about far more than semantics. There is a serious issue here, and that issue is idolatry.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Revised: Being Deceived About the Sabbath

In 2001, Dr. John MacArthur Jr., the pastor of Grace Community Church, was asked are the Sabbath laws binding on Christians today. He responded as follows: “We believe the Old Testament regulations governing Sabbath observances are ceremonial, not moral, aspects of the law. As such, they are no longer in force, but have passed away along with the sacrificial system, the Levitical priesthood, and all other aspects of Moses' law that prefigured Christ.” According to a 2008 edition of Pulpit Magazine, Dr. MacArthur reasoned in part that the New Testament never commands Christians to observe the Sabbath. This appears to be the standard evangelical answer concerning Sabbath observance by “New Testament” believers. This article advocates the position that a non-biased translation of Hebrews 4:9 commands Sabbath observance for the people of God.
The following are four different translations for Hebrews 4:9:
1. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (KJV)
2. So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God…. (AMP)
3. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God…. (ESV)
4. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. (NASB)

The 17TH Century English nonconformist theologian Matthew Poole provided a typical protestant interpretation of the verses above: "Here the Spirit concludes from his former proofs, that there is a more excellent rest revealed to faith in the gospel, which is remaining, future, and to come, and will surely and most certainly do so; though it be behind, yet it will be enjoyed. A sabbatism, which is a state and season of a most glorious rest, (see Heb 4:10), shall be enjoyed by sincere believers, the true Israel of God, of whom he is the Proprietor, and who are for their eternal state so excellently holy, and of so Divine a nature, that he is not ashamed to be called their God." (Emphasis supplied)

There has been an effort to remove the present duty of Sabbath observance for a futuristic “Sabbath” celebration. I submit that the translators are misleading the readers. This is another example of the purposeful attempt to disconnect followers of Yeshua with his Hebraic roots. An examination of the Greek text supports this view. The Greek word for “remains” is the verb apoleipo and it indicates that the sabbatismos is "left behind.” It still remains. Apoleipo is in the present tense indicative mood. The present indicative asserts a statement of fact which is occurring while the speaker is making the statement. Conservative scholarship dates the book of Hebrews from the mid to late 60’s. The writer is expressing a statement of fact about keeping the Sabbath approximately thirty years after the resurrection of Yeshua. This is not about the future; it is about now. It is unfortunate that even Dr. Zodhiates falls victim to replacement theology in his lengthy discussion of sabbatismos. He explains in part: “Therefore, the intimation is that the Sabbath was instituted as a symbol of that eternal rest at the completion of God's work.” He clearly is referencing a future rest. A lot of linguistic gymnastics has to occur to move this statement in Hebrews into an event in the future. The Greek word for "rest" is sabbatism├│s and it means to keep the Sabbath. The use of the word "rest" was added by replacement theologians in an effort to change the commandment to keep the Sabbath into a futuristic event.

The correct translation should be:
"There is left behind a keeping of the Sabbath by God's people."

The Sabbath is the sign of God’s people being separated to Him. It is written in Exodus 31:13, 16: "Say to the people of Israel, 'You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. (RSV) An accurate translation of Hebrews 4:9 reveals the failure of the modern church to obey God's command to keep the Sabbath. It is not a futuristic fulfillment; it is a command. We should now concentrate on what it means to keep the Sabbath as God’s people in the 21st Century. If we are the people of God, we should keep the Sabbath.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Being Deceived About the Sabbath

The following are different translations for Hebrews 4:9:
(KJV)
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
(ASV)
There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.
(AMP)
So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;
(ESV)
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,
(GW)
Therefore, a time of rest and worship exists for God's people.
(HCSB)
A Sabbath rest remains, therefore, for God’s people.
(MOFF)
There is a sabbath-Rest, then, reserved still for the People of God
(NASB)
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
(NKJV)
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
(NLT)
So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.

Matthew Poole's Commentary provides a typical explanation: " Here the Spirit concludes from his former proofs, that there is a more excellent rest revealed to faith in the gospel, which is remaining, future, and to come, and will surely and most certainly do so; though it be behind, yet it will be enjoyed. A sabbatism, which is a state and season of a most glorious rest, (see Heb 4:10), shall be enjoyed by sincere believers, the true Israel of God, of whom he is the Proprietor, and who are for their eternal state so excellently holy, and of so Divine a nature, that he is not ashamed to be called their God."

I submit that the translators are deceiving the readers. This is another example of the purposeful attempt to disconnect followers of Yeshua with his Hebraic roots. The Greek word for "rest" is sabbatism├│s and it means to keep the Sabbath. The use of the word "rest" was added by replacement theologians in an effort to change the commandment to keep the Sabbath into a futuristic ideal. However, the word for "remains" is in the present tense indicative mood. The present indicative asserts something which is occurring while the speaker is making the statement. This is not about the future; it is about now.

The correct translation should be:
"There remains a keeping of the Sabbath by God's people."

A true interpretation of Hebrews 4:9 reveals the failure of the modern church to obey God's command to keep the Sabbath. It is not a futuristic fulfillment; it is a current duty.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Four Levels of Meaning to the Scriptures

There are four levels to interpreting Scriptures from a Hebraic perspective. They are:
Peshat = Literal meaning; the plain, simple meaning of the text;
Remez = An implied deeper meaning below a surfave reading of the text; this includes an allegorical meaning; or, a cross-reference to other texts; or at a philosophical level
Derash = Moral or homiletic meaning; for example, a Biblical writer can take two or more seemingly unrelated verses and combine them to create a verse(s) with a third meaning; Scripture is to interpret Scripture; one caution, this level cannot be used to strip the verse of its peshat meaning; and
Sod = Mystical or secret meaning of the text.

I am of the opinion that everything begins at the peshat level. None of the other levels should be allowed to contradict the plain simple meaning of a text. I once had a man tell me that the Scriptures allowed for a release of the slaves every seven years. He then argued to me that he should be allowed to divorce his wife so he could be released from the bondage of slavery that resulted from the marriage. Obviously, the peshat meaning had nothing to do with the marriage covenant. Therefore, it was simple to point out the gross error of his interpretation of Scripture.

I have always been somewhat troubled by some interpretations at the derash level. Scriptures that use the same word or consonants are combined to create a meaning that while may not directly contradict the peshat level, it seems very far from the simple plain meaning. What is the point? The point is that I have found it best to focus on obtaining the plain and simple meaning of texts. By concentrating on that level, I believe you will stay grounded and not be as likely to fly off on some spiritual tangent as so many do.

Credit is given to www.nazarene.net for some of the definitions of the four levels of interpretations.