Saturday, September 10, 2016

Is Context Important?

I have been doing quite a bit of pondering and working through some things people have said to me.  So it has been a while since I have last posted.  Not only that, but we have been trying to get settled into where we are currently living.  Now, getting that all out of the way, let me proceed.
   As much as I would like what I have been seeing in the Scriptures to be non-offensive, it is quite plain that much of what the Scriptures say is offensive.  It can be offensive to those not wanting to believe the Scriptures, it can be offensive to those wanting to believe their church's doctrine over the plain teaching of what the Scriptures actually say in their totality.  This being said, is it my intent and purpose to offend?  Of course not; my purpose is and always has been to get people to stop and think about the things they are being taught from the pulpits of their churches.  It is getting people to be Bereans and study the Scriptures with their church's doctrine put aside.  People take offense because what I have said challenges what the church has been teaching for hundreds of years.  People take offense because it is easier than going to the Scriptures and seeing for themselves what the Scriptures teach rather than the church.  Today's Christianity looks nothing like what the Messiah taught His followers in the first century.  Questions you should be asking are 1.  Did Yahshua come to bring in a new religion,? Or 2.  did He come to put into practice and fully teach the words of the Father?  This leads me to just how important is the context of any verse or phrase in the Scriptures.

     If we pull a verse or a phrase out of its context in the Scriptures we can make it say just about anything we want it to.  Take for instance this phrase from Matt 5 that the church chooses to pull out and use to make it say something completely different from what it actually says.

 "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."

I have been told by those teaching in the churches that this means the Messiah has done away with the law.  He fulfilled it so we do not have to.  Question?  Does this teaching line up with all of Scripture?  Is it even in agreement with all of the context it is in?  I dare say this is being misused to bring an inappropriate understanding of the Scriptures.  It is used to promote a teaching that goes against the context and the very teaching of the Messiah and the Apostles themselves.  Here, look at the immediate context.
Mat 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mat 5:18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Mat 5:19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The entire context of the passage of chapters 5-7 deals with the future kingdom.  In the beatitudes the Messiah takes the Old Testament promise to those who will be participating in the future kingdom, telling the blessings associated with them and also giving the woes to those who will not be inheriting the kingdom.  Verses 13-16 are giving the responsibilities believers have while they await the kingdom.  Now let's narrow this down to the immediate context.
This is from a different translation.
Mat 5:17  “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets.1 I did not come to destroy but to complete. Footnote: 1The Law and the Prophets is a term used for the pre-Messianic Scriptures. 
Mat 5:18  “For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.1 Footnote: 1Lk. 16:17. 
Mat 5:19  “Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens. 
Mat 5:20  “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,1 you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens. Footnote: 1Mt. 15:3-9, Mk. 7:7-13, John 7:19, Acts 7:53, Rom. 2:23-27, Gal. 6:13.   
  
The Messiah did not come to abolish, do away or destroy the law, Torah, or instructions of the Father.  Now, the church says that the word fulfill means Messhiah fulfilled the instructions of the Father so we do not have to abide by the instructions of the Father.  
Thayer's Greek definitions have this to say about the word.
 to fulfil, i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G4134

What Yahshua is saying in fulfilling the law or instructions is He is contrasting the true intent of the law with the common Rabbinic interpretation of the day.  He is living it fully and making it fully known as the Father intended it to be known.
If the law or instructions are not done away with this would line up with the teaching of the whole of Scripture.  When the Messiah was here He told us that He followed all of the words of the Father completely.  Else where in the New Testament we are told to follow in the footsteps of the Messiah, to live as He lived.
Let's go down further in this section of verses.  The law or instructions of the Father will not pass away until the heaven and earth pass away.  Are they still here or have I missed something?  

Now, if the law is done away with and that is what we are teaching, according to verse 19 we will be considered the least in the coming kingdom.  The reverse then is also true, if we do, or as Deuteronomy and James puts it, if we guard to do the instructions or law of the Father and are teaching that, then we are considered great in the coming kingdom.  I myself want to be in the latter category.  To guard to do and teach the instructions as a way of demonstrating our love for the Father is what Yahshua tells us in John 14 and 15.
Verse 20 is the key here.  How in the world can our righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees?  The Messiah addressed this over and over in the gospels.  The righteousness of the leading religious people of his day was an outward show of the instructions.  There was something missing and that was what the Messiah was pointing out and ultimately led to His death.  The instructions, Torah, law was never intended to be just an outward show.  It was always intended to be inward and then demonstrated through the things we said and did.  If our outward behavior does not match what is internal then our rightousness is only as good as that of the Pharisees.

1Jn 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 
1Jn 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 
1Jn 2:5  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 
1Jn 2:6  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 
1Jn 2:7  Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. 

Luk 11:28  But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. 

Psa 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 
Psa 19:8  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 
Psa 19:9  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 
Psa 19:10  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 
Psa 19:11  Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 

When Yahshua said he came to fulfill the law it was with this meaning.  He was here to show the Father's instructions were intended to regulate the motives of our hearts as well as what takes place on the outside.  Not that He was doing away with them and living them so we would not have to.
Be Bereans.  Search it out.  Don't take my word for it.  Your eternity is at stake.

this is an addition to the original post.
Take Peter's vision.  churchianity takes this vision totally out of its context to make it say what they desire it to.  They use this to say Yahweh Elohim is taking away the food laws and make everything clean.  This is in no way what is being said.  In order to understand Peter's vision you must continue to read the interpretation which is given here.  The Father was telling Peter not that all foods were now clean but the the gentiles could now be grafted into Israel.  By the way gentile means "out of covenant".  When we are grafted in we then have become part of Israel.  Not a Jew, for that is those who are in the tribe of Judah.