Understanding Scripture – 2 0f 2

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PARADIGM-SHIFTING – OUR CONFLICTING WESTERN MINDSET:  What in the world is paradigm-shifting?  Have you ever noticed that wherever you are on the globe, the local World-map shows them at the center of the world?  Likewise, we in the west are naturally western-centric – viewing the world with ourselves at the center and everything revolving around us.  In Bible study this approach is a very slippery slope sliding off into a pit of wrong conclusions and misinterpretations. 

First step in our paradigm shift is to recognize that the Bible is a Hebrew book.  It was written to Hebrews, about Hebrews, by Hebrews.  Next, which is mostly disregarded today, is that Old Testament actually includes the four Gospels and the first fifteen chapters of the book of Acts where the story transitions from the dispensation (administration) of Law to one of Grace.  From the twelfth chapter of Genesis through the twelfth chapter of Matthew the story revolves around Abraham and his family.  By the end of chapter twelve, Jesus begins to divorce Himself from “unfaithful” Israel.  He proclaims that salvation is not simply through their Hebraic blood line but through obedience to God.  When confronted, Jesus “ . . . stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mt 12:49-50 KJV)

The next point in our paradigm shift is to recognize that ever since the Grecian Empire, the West has been dominated by Greek philosophers who took a dualistic approach to life and the universe. Their philosophy heavily influenced the Roman Empire and carried on through the centuries even till today.  Their influence is evident in our architecture, literature, and our general perception of the universe.  The Platonian idea is that the material world has no essential meaning.  True knowledge is found only in the mind…in thoughts and ideas.  This is the worldview the early Church Fathers were trained in.  Enter Augustine (345-430 AD), a student and proponent of Platonian philosophy.  He helped to introduce allegorical hermeneutics into the reading of Scripture and heavily influenced the development of the Roman Catholic church and much of her Protestant offspring.  They tended to allegorize passages they didn’t understand and forsook the literal meaning of the text.

By contrast, the Hebrew perspective is one of unity, not dualism.  The created universe, both visible and invisible, is viewed as a unified whole.  The Hebrew language is one of “action.” Verbs come before nouns.  The Bible…written through the influence of the Holy Spirit by Hebrews…is a book of action, of function, of doing.  It is not concerned with outward appearances (John 7:24; 1Corinthians 5:12).  Obviously, then, the God of the Bible is also concerned with action, function, doing, and not simply appearance and ideas.  As we read through Scripture listen up for the verbs – action, form, purpose

Prophecy is Pattern:  Another aspect we in the west should take into account is that Jews see prophecy as pattern.  We in the west think of prophecy in linear terms, sequential — one day following another, sunrise followed by sunset.  This isn’t the way the Hebraic mind thinks.  For example, the chronological order of the book of Daniel is chapters 1 through 4, 7 & 8, 5 & 6, then 9 through 12.  In Daniel Chapter 6 we see King Darius the Mead who succeeded Belshazzar, king of Babylon.  In chapter 7 the script flips back to Belshazzar. The most familiar example of Hebrew thought is Luke 4:19* where Jesus was reading from the Isaiah scroll.  He stops reading in mid-sentence and sits down.  He stopped midsentence at the comma in Isaiah 61:2, which indicated the exact day and time in which they were living.  That pause, that comma, jumps right over the following 2000 years and picks up at the end of the age.  As we step over the comma and continue in the text at the in Isaiah 61:2 and read on through the following verses it is clearly describing the “Day of Judgment” and the Covenant Promise of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Restoration of Israel.  From verse 1 to the comma in verse 2 is Christ’s first advent.  After the comma is His second advent, “the of vengeance of our God.”

*Our God is amazing. In the synagogues, they have prescribed daily scripture readings. On the day Jesus sat in His local synagogue it was His turn to read. The assigned reading for that day was Isaiah 61:2. God had worked this timing out precisely.

Because westerners think in linear terms, prophecy can get somewhat murky.  Jewish thought as stated above, sees prophecy in patterns.  Valerie Moody of the Hebraic Roots Network – Hebrews Discovery Ministries does a series of presentations explaining Hebraic thinking available on YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6seHg0C2iM&t=401s

Keep in mind that there are No covenants between God and the Church.  Through Christ, we are the children of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and coheirs with Him, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together” (Rom 8:17 KJV).

PROPHECY IS TO THE JEWS:  All prophecy is from God.  Scripture was written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by Hebrews to a nation of Hebrews, in the language given to them by God.  All the prophets were Hebrews.  We can learn from prophecy and all the insight it gives to those who study His Word, 2Timothy 3:16.

“All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2Ti 3:16 KJV).

Prophecy is to the Jews – including Daniel 1:7 through 7:28 which is written in Aramaic and concerns the nations.  Although revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, it is to Israel and reveals the course of world history, the rise of the Beast powers, and their judgment.  Daniel chapter 7 fits hand in glove with the book of Revelation. 

Salvation is of the Jews – Εκ των Ιουδαιων εστιν, Salvation is from the Jews.  Salvation seems here to mean the Savior, the Messiah, as it does Luke 2:30; Acts 4:12: and so the woman “at the well” appears to have understood it, John 4:25.  Messiah was to spring from the Jews, and from them, the preaching of the Gospel (of the Kingdom and the coming Messiah), and the knowledge of the truth, were to go to all the nations of the world (through and by the Jews).  It was to the Jews that the promises (covenants) were made; and it was in their prophetic Scriptures, which the Samaritans rejected, that Jesus Christ was proclaimed and described.  Adam Clark Commentary

This is why “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mat 10:5-6 KJV). 

Jesus confirmed this when “. . . he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat 15:24 KJV).

And to the Symaritans Jesus said, “You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews” (Joh 4:22 NLT).

WHY ISREAL AND THE JEWS?:  Because God Has A Plan to Redeem Mankind:  
In Genesis 12 God makes a covenant with Abram of a “great nation,”

 “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen 12:2-3 KJV).

And then a covenant promise of land,

14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (Gen 13:14-17 KJV).

As the generations of Abraham passed, God continued to renew the land promise with Isaac and Jacob, eventually covenanting with David.  The Davidic Covenant refers to God’s promises made to David and found in 2 Samuel 7 and later summarized in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14 and2 Chronicles 6:16.  This is an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah would come through his lineage and the tribe of Judah.  Messiah will establish rule over a kingdom that will endure forever. This is an unbreakable Covenant.  God does not place any conditions of obedience for its fulfillment.  The surety of His promise rests solely on God’s faithfulness.  It does not in any way depend upon David or Israel’s obedience—God promised! 

And thus, Why the Jews—They are to be a witness to the nations and bring salvation to the world through Jesus Christ—Just as promised by God Almighty.  Unfortunately, because of their failures that won’t happen until Christ rules in the Kingdom—coming soon!

You (Israel) are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He.  Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.  11 “I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me.  12 It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And I am God”( Isa 43:10-12 NASB).

Addressing the Jews, Jesus confirms their assigned mission,

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost

Tragically, Israel failed to be faithful in fulfilling their commission.  In the coming Millennial Kingdom, Israel will glorify God and bring Christ’s Light to the Nations.  Meanwhile, Israel and the Kingdom Gospel have been placed in abeyance until their time comes.  Meanwhile, Jesus has anointed the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul of Tarsus, and establishes the dispensation (administration) of Grace (read Romans through Titus).

Israel…just as the Church…serves at the pleasure of God and for His Glory,

“I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory” (Isa 46:13 KJV).

Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went” (Eze 36:22 KJV).

Always, reading the Scriptures in CONTEXT opens up to us God’s Eternal Truth.
That is why we go,

Exploring Scripture~because it matters-it really does!

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