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   Tsiyon News

Tsiyon Messianic Radio Newsletter Vol 5.28 - 4/27/6010 TAM - 7/09/2010

 

I Will Bring Them Down

Emerging Space Powers

Though they
ascend to heaven...

... From there I will 
bring them down.

Amos 9:2

The New Space Race

 

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Listener Q + A

Listener Comment - Apostle Paul?
I wrote some questions down a while back that I have about the Apostle Paul. I know some of these questions sound harsh so please bear with me. Any help you could give me on these topics would be much appreciated. I have been a believer since I was a child, but August of 2008 God began to speak to me on the importance of his Torah. I have been to Bible College and feel like I have a decent understanding of the scriptures but there are still questions that have not settled. Below are some of those questions. I know it is a lot but I appreciate any help you can give.
[EBD - Questions are included with answers below]
 

Tsiyon Answer - Apostle Paul?
Thanks for forwarding your questions. You are not the only person to have trouble with Paul, since he has always been highly misunderstood. As Peter put it, Paul's "letters contain some things that are hard to understand." Note that Peter does not fault Paul for that though, acknowledging God as the source of Paul's writings, saying; "Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him." Peter also calls Paul's writings "..Scriptures." On the basis of these verses alone, if we accept Peter as an apostle we must also accept Paul, because Peter endorsed him. (2 Peter 3:15+16)

So what makes Paul so difficult to understand? For starters, he was a Jew sent to minister to non-Jews, in many cases formerly ignorant idolaters and pagans. While some of them had been "God-fearers" and knew Torah, many others had no Biblical foundation at all. Communicating the truth to them meant coming to grips with strange ideas born of Gentile culture and philosophy. Some of that historical backdrop is known to us today and some of that is not. This brings us to the issue of context. Paul's writings were difficult enough for his countrymen to grasp when he wrote them. For us, removed 2000 years from Paul's day, it is often impossible to understand the full cultural and philosophical context he is dealing with in the more difficult verses. My guess is that the most problematic verses from Paul are due to contextual considerations which are presently beyond our grasp. That doesn't make Paul wrong in the context in which he made a given statement. It simply means we need to refrain from drawing conclusions in such cases, and should find the humility to shelve those verses we don't understand as we wait for more information that might cast light upon them.

Paul had arguably the toughest duty of all the apostles. Jews have always been hated by Gentiles and pushy Messianic Jews even more so. As Paul traveled throughout the Roman world preaching to Gentiles he often narrowly escaped with his life. At home in Judea he was hated BECAUSE he was preaching to the Gentiles! The Jews wanted to kill him too. Paul put his life on the line every day for Messiah and was eventually executed in His Name. Paul had the evidence in his life of a true apostle who laid down his life for the sheep and for the Shepherd. Holy apostles of that caliber are deserving of our humble appreciation and even respectful reverence. Paul deserves more regard from us than to be dismissed because we can't understand him correctly, don't you think? At least, that's how I see it. In that spirit I will offer what I have on each of the questions you have listed.

1. Thirteenth Apostle?

Answer: Listen to these programs.

Fitly Framed Temple #83
Apostolic Body Building #84
Apostolic Job Description #85

Paul was not one of the Twelve, but was an apostle.

2. Misquoting Old Testament References?

Answer: Quotations in the NT are usually from one of three versions of Scripture. These are the Hebrew Scriptures, the Greek Septuagint and the Aramaic Targums. The Greek and Aramaic versions are not always word for word with the Hebrew, but are more like paraphrase Bibles, the Targums even more so. This explains some of the differences in NT quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures. Also, people did not have a Bible to carry around with them to check references, as they do today. General paraphrases from memory were the acceptable norm.

3. Y'shua came to teach and fulfill the law in the correct way, not adding or taking away but it seems Paul sets up his own rules, adding to the law.

Answer: Leaders in Scripture have always changed things and set new rules for those changes when circumstances required it. This is not changing the Torah. It is adapting the Torah to real life. For example, David brought the Ark out of someone's house and put it in a Tent that was not the Tabernacle, until it could be housed in the as yet unbuilt Temple. Neither the Tent nor the Temple were mentioned in Torah, but both were within the Father's will in the situation that David as new king was faced with. Having the Ark in the Tent prompted David to set up Levitical singers and other ministers according to new rules and orders that came through David. All this was later retained in the Temple service. We need leaders like David (and Paul) who are anointed by YHWH to lead us through real-life circumstantial changes that arise through the generations. That Paul did this when required is evidence that he was a real anointed leader. By the way, these kinds of rules that come through anointed leaders are sometimes called "ordinances" in Scripture.
 

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4. I Corinthians 1:17 “sent me not to baptize but to preach.” Did he not have the same commission as the other apostles? “Baptizing them in the name…”

Answer: Actually, Paul didn't have the same commission as the other apostles, at least not directly. The Lord told Ananias what Paul's commission would be: "he is my chosen vessel to bear my name before the nations and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” "Bear My name" sounds like preaching to me. Acts 9:15, 16

5. I Corinthians 1:14-16—Did he forget who he baptized? Are there more he didn’t think of ?

Answer: Now we're getting a bit nit-picky. It was not Paul's regular custom to baptize, since that wasn't his personal call. He usually did the preaching and let others do the baptizing, but in a pinch (no other qualified brothers available) he preached AND dunked to meet the need.

6. I Corinthians 2:15—“The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” Did not Y'shua say “Do not Judge lest ye be judged?” Yet he has the power to judge? Is Paul setting himself up as some sort of untouchable, unapproachable “spiritual man” that cannot be judged or be wrong about things. Paul himself said there was a battle for himself between the flesh and the spirit, i.e. “I do the things I don’t want to do….” He puts himself on the same level as Christ while implying that the Corinthians are not “spiritual men” but natural or of the flesh and therefore must accept him as some sort of dictator.

Answer: Your first problem here is mixing up multiple meanings of the word "judge." Notice that these are two different words in the Greek. When Y'shua said "do not judge (G2919) lest ye be judged” He is using the word "judge" in the sense of "condemn" (Luke 6:37). In other words, 'don't be condemning of others lest you be condemned yourself'. The meaning here is not to be a nit-picky faultfinder in your personal relations with others. This is not the same sense in which Paul is using the word "judge" (G350) in I Corinthians 2:15, since this is an entirely different word in the original Greek. There "judge" means "assess" or "appraise."

The NASB translates thusly; "But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one." This simply means that the spiritual man is equipped by the Spirit to appraise the real situation while he cannot be correctly appraised by anyone who is not spiritual.

It is impossible to find fault with this statement. Y'shua said that the Spirit would lead us "into all truth." This is essentially the same as Paul saying "he who is spiritual appraises all things." Paul's claim that those who are not spiritual cannot "appraise" those who are spiritual is equally unassailable. Clearly, someone without the Spirit cannot understand the spiritual man, since, as Y'shua put it "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" and "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (John 3:6, 12) The problem of those persons who walk (and think) in the flesh is not Paul or other leaders YHWH sends to them. Their problem is a failure to walk (and think) in the Spirit. That is what Paul was trying to help them with.

7. Wasn’t Y'shua supposed to have gone to the Father after appearing to the people before the Pentecost so that the Spirit could come? Yet Paul claims Jesus was with him for 3 years?

Answer: The only place Paul refers to a three year period is Gal. 1:18. Nowhere in this verse or any other does Paul claim that Messiah was physically with Paul for three years. Whatever this question is predicated upon it's just wrong. Paul never made such a claim.

8. Does Paul envision such a place as purgatory? I Corinthians 3:15

This verse is part of a longer passage that is clearly allegorical, having nothing to do with the Catholic doctrine of purgatory.

9. Why does Y'shua say don’t judge but Paul tells us to judge. I thought judgment was left for God alone, but Paul says we judge the church now and the world and the angels later?

Answer: I think we've been through this one already. Messiah's statement means don't be a nit-picky faultfinder in your personal relations with others. Paul would agree with that. What Paul was talking about is crimes against Torah among the brethren. John, Peter, and Jude also called for judgment by the assembly against apostates. Torah itself states that such crimes must be judged and dealt with from within the assembly of believers (1 Cor 5). As for judging the world and angels in the life to come, Paul is only repeating Daniel and the other prophets.

10. Does Paul think that Christ is coming back in that generation that he is advising people not to marry? If everyone in the world would have listened to his advice back then, there would be no population of people on the earth. “Now let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short, so husbands should not let marriage be their major concern.” Yet the words of Y'Shua in Matthew 19 say if anyone can be married, he should!

Answer: Actually, you are mistaken in thinking Messiah (or Paul) said all men should be married. In Matthew 19 Messiah said quite otherwise. Notice the exchange Messiah had with His disciples after explaining marriage.

10 His disciples said to him, “If this is the case of the man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.”

11 But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but those to whom it is given.
12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

Notice that Messiah introduced the concept of "eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake." He is saying this in the sense of men remaining unmarried for the sake of the Kingdom. Paul was one such man and Paul's opinion on marriage is in keeping with that fact. Of course Paul felt singleness for the sake of the Kingdom was the better choice, since that is the choice he personally was called to make.

Neither Messiah nor Paul insisted that all men should receive that call to singleness. Messiah said "He who is able to receive it, let him receive it." Paul said "Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk." Perfect harmony here. (Matt 19:12, 1Cor 7:17)

Most men are called to marriage. Such men function best if married (to a woman of God's choice). Those who are not called to marriage will do best if they stay single, even as both Messiah and Paul have stated.

11. If to others I am not an apostle, yet at least I am to you; for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.—Did others not consider him an apostle? Might it have been the other 12? Just because you convert someone or even a whole city doesn’t make you an apostle yet the Corinthians are his “seal”? Did Paul have some sort of Psychosis that he thought he was an apostle. (I mean, he did claim to have been personally tutored by Y'Shua for 3 years after his death while Y'Shua said that he was going to the father). I think I would rather take Y'Shua's word for it. Maybe Paul was a well meaning guy who was well educated on Y'Shua's teaching but had a serious psychological disorder? Maybe Paul ate funny mushroom on the road to Damascus? (Half Joking)

Answer: I'm glad you are joking because this is ludicrous as well as irreverent. Clearly, Peter, James and all of the other apostles accepted Paul (2 Peter 3, Acts 15, 21:18). Perhaps some in Corinth who did not want to obey Paul said that he wasn't really an apostle. That's what I get from the sense in which he writes. In any case, Paul established the congregation in Corinth, so it would be quite disingenuous of any of them to say "he is not an apostle." In that context his saying that they themselves were the "seal of his apostleship" makes all the sense in the world. As for all that nonsense about three years tutored by Messiah in the flesh, that has been addressed above.

12. Why use such strong Old Testament imagery in the Corinthian letters? Was there a sufficient amount of Jews living in Corinth that would know what he was talking about?

Answer: In fact, there were synagogues in every city and Paul always preached to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles (Rom 1:16). One would assume the Jewish brethren taught Torah to the Gentile brethren.

13. Galatians 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
a. Y'Shua said the entire Law was summed up in Two Commands, why does Paul Leave out God?

Answer: In the preceding verse Paul says; "..through love be servants to one another." Gal 5:13

The context of the verse is personal relations with one another. Therefore Paul is speaking in the context of personal relations with one another. IN THAT CONTEXT the whole law is about loving one another. Does that leave out God? Figure it out.

14. Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. What does this even Mean?

Answer: This means the Spirit of God Himself impels you from within your spirit to do the things that the Torah has always required, which brings all striving under the Torah to an end. This means doing the things of God because you have become a true son of God so that it is your spiritual nature to do the things that are pleasing to Him. In this way you fulfill the Torah by the Spirit.

15. Galatians 5:19-21 "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like." How are these obvious unless we have been taught? We are taught that by the law and by the Spirit.

Answer:

"God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them." Gen 1:27

YHWH made man with an innate moral sense "in His own image." That is how evil of all kinds is obvious, even to those who have not been taught. Because all men are created with an internal sense of morality. That is why it is just that all men and women will be judged according to their deeds (Rev 20:11-15).

Paul argued precisely this point in these words:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them.

For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.

Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." Romans 1:18-25

16. Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." What does that mean? “Against”???

Answer: Against such there is no law - "Those, whose lives are adorned by the above virtues, cannot be condemned by any law, for the whole purpose and design of the moral law of God is fulfilled in those who have the Spirit of God, producing in their hearts and lives the preceding fruits." [Adam Clarke Commentary]

That takes care of the list.

As you approach Paul's writings in the future perhaps keeping these two tips in mind will help.

1. Paul was a faithful and obedient bondslave of Messiah, who gave his life for his Master. Until you have done as well you should be slow to "judge" Paul.

2. Paul is one of the finest Spirit-led Torah scholars of all time. Everything he ever wrote is right in step with Torah, if rightly understood. If you think that Paul is out of step with Torah in any particular you likely either don't understand Torah or you don't understand Paul. Ask YHWH to help you see what you're missing.
 

From Eliyahu

In our latest program we continue with more signs in the sky. This installment looks at the changing geo-political landscape among space faring nations and the startling and rapidly developing weaponization of space. A discussion of verses from Amos 9 shows what this has to do with the scattered remnant of Israel.

Blessings and Shalom,

Eliyahu ben David

www.tsiyon.org

   

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