The Scriptures and the Faith given by God are built on questions. When you read the Gospels and Epistles, you will see many, many questions being asked. Periodically, we have received questions and so we are going to put some of these questions out there with our answer. This doesn’t mean we have all the answers, but maybe what we say will help you and stimulate further inquiry that will satisfy the curiosity out there. This is the first in a series called “I Have a question”, so the Roman numeral at the end of the title will tell you what part of the series we are on. This is the first, so that is why you see “I” at the end, and so on. These questions will cover just about every subject out there, but we will keep our answers short and to the point, trying to get to the heart of the matter.
Q. Some people believe that Islam will be the religion of the false messiah. What is your opinion on this and are they correct?
A. Islam will play a role in the end times because many of the nations named in prophecy are Islamic, or have a large population of Muslims. However, it is not the religion of the false messiah. The false messiah will claim to be “Jesus” and “God” to deceive believers. Yeshua said that if it were possible, the very elect of God would be deceived, which means it will very deceptive. Jews in the Birthpains would never accept an “Islamic” false messiah anyway. True believers will not believe the false messiah, but it tells us that what is being taught will resemble the truth, which rules out Islam. Islam is not even close to the truth of the Scriptures. If the false messiah came out of Islam, he would claim to be Mohammed, not “Jesus” anyway. The religion of the false messiah will be a form of apostate Christianity which promotes idols (the Abomination of Desolation), and Islam hates idols. The false messiah will have an image of himself in the Temple of God, claiming to be God. Islam would not even allow a Temple to the God of Israel to stand. Many misinformed writers and teachers are promoting this false teaching, but it just doesn’t match the Scriptures because the authors themselves don’t know the Scriptures. No Muslim would even dare claim to be “Allah” like the false messiah will do. We know right now ISIS and other Islamic groups seem to getting more powerful, but they will get weaker in time, but there has to be some explanation for it. However, this religion and a lot of the areas they operate in right now will be judged during the Birthpains (Psalm 83; Ezek 38-39). Islam will be behind some of the nations involved with the Kings of the East and they will oppose the apostate Christianity of the false messiah, but Islam and apostate Christianity have fought before and will oppose each other again in the Tribulation.
Q. Should we consider extra-biblical sources as equal to the books of the Bible, or should we trust those who put it together and only consider the books we have today as Scripture?
A. We believe that we can trust beyond reasonable doubt that what we have in the Bible is accurate. There was a certain criteria used when considering any book to be included in the Bible, and you can go and study this process for yourself. God can use anyone to preserve what he wants. One of the biggest areas that differentiates the canonical books from the others is the area of prophecy. Other books, when examined, just don’t measure up, and as time goes by, more and more prophecy is made clearer in the books we have. The others seem “amateurish” in comparison. People need to master the books we have before they worry about all the other books they may feel were “left out” of the Bible, but that is our opinion.
Q. What does Paul mean when he says he will be “all things to all men” in 1 Cor 9.22?
A. Paul is teaching the Corinthians how to relate to others who are different than they are. He said he would accommodate customs and practices that did not violate the Torah, which should always be our standard. He says that he will be as “without the Law” (a Gentile) to those “without the Law” (Gentile), though not being without the Law himself, meaning, he will be like a Gentile but still observe the commandments as they apply (1 Cor 19.21). Paul is not going to compromise truth for the sake of unity. For example, Paul would go to an athletic game with his friends, but he won’t do anything that would violate the Torah while doing it.
Q. What is gossip and how do we handle it?
A. Gossip, by definition, is small talk often involving persons or sensational rumors. We handle it by not listening to it and spreading it further. Another thing we can do is to verify the story for ourselves before responding. If you hear something, go to the person talked about and find out for yourself it something is true. Spreading a story about someone without verification of its truthfulness is gossip. However, this is a flip side to this. Sometimes we need to warn others about someone who is damaging others, or is dangerous, and Paul warned others in the Scriptures to stay away from certain people, and even named them. This would bot be gossip. So, in a nutshell, is a good guideline.
1) Is it accurate. It is forbidden to exaggerate or embellish
2) Does it benefit. A revelation to others must be the only way to obtain some constructive benefit
3) Is it certain. We must be sure the information is credible
4) What is the motive. The “teller” must have the intention to be instructive, not vindictive
5) Is it equitable. The revelation must not cause undeserved anguish and damage to the subject. It is not right to protect one person and the expense of another
Q. If Yeshua fulfilled the spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost), why do they matter anymore?
A. These festivals fulfilled (fulfilled does not mean “done away with” but means “gave meaning to, confirmed”) prophecies concerning the first coming of the Messiah. He was crucified on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread, rose from the dead on First Fruits and sent the promise of the Father on Shavuot (Pentecost). Now, even the most ignorant of men can see that id these spring festivals were prophetic and fulfilled at his first coming, the remaining fall festivals of Yom Teruah (day of the awakening blast, the Last Trump, the Rapture, the Gathering, Rosh Ha Shannah), Yom Kippur (day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Tabernacles) will play a major role in his second coming. Not only that, when Yeshua returns, the festivals, Sabbaths, New Moons will be celebrated again in the Kingdom (read Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48). If “fulfilled” means we don’t need to be concerned about them anymore, or even remember them, then we don’t need to worry about birthdays and anniversaries either. You husbands, go tell your wife that anniversaries will not be celebrated anymore because it has already been fulfilled! We need to know when these festivals occur, especially the fall festivals because there will be significant prophetic events happening on those days. Now, we can’t celebrate these festivals anymore because there is no Temple, functioning priesthood or an Altar. Even if there was, you cannot keep a festival outside of Jerusalem. But, we should know when they are and their significance.
Q. What does it mean in the third commandment where it says we are not to take the name of the Lord “in vain?”
A. By his “name” we assume you are referring to the four letters “yod, hey, vav, hey” written as YHVH in English. However, God has many names in the Bible, but YHVH has the highest kedusha. Some think this means we are not to curse using any name of God. But is this what he means by this commandment? In Hebrew and biblical thought, this means we are not to give false oaths, false prophecies or use his name “lightly” or in half-hearted appeals to God, and it can include cursing. Now, this has little to do with pronouncing his name correctly, it has to do with what his name means and signifies. When we say “in the name of” it relates to the reputation, fame, glory, memorial and religion of whatever name you use. For instance, if someone speaks “in the name of the law” it should be in line with what the law says, not making something up, and doing something according to what the law says to do. That is what the Lord is trying to say here. Don’t use his name in things he himself would not be associated with. Many teach today things that are not biblical and saying things that God did not say. This violates this commandment. There are false prophets today on television stations saying God told them something is going to happen. When it doesn’t happen, they have violated this commandment. This commandment has nothing to do with “pronouncing the name of God” correctly. If you look at the YHVH can be pronounced 22 different ways, nut there is only one way to lro ounce it correctly. We will have a teaching on how to pronounce his name in later teachings, based on manuscript evidence. God has gone into great detail in telling us what kind of life to lead, what to eat, how to dress, how to treat our neighbor, how to fight wars, what calendar to use, what days are holy and how to love him and our neighbor. There is biblical evidence that YHVH was used in greetimg one another, and there is also an instruction im the Mishnah to do this. What it comes down to is the attitude of the heart. Some say we can’t say “Lord” or “God” because it is “pagan.” We would have to discard most of the English language avoiding pagan origins. We have talked with many from the Sacred Name movement, and in their avoidance of saying certain words, they still use other words that are pagan like “panic” or pandemonium” which has the root “pan”, a pagan god. The word “hermeneutics” in biblical study comes from “Hermes”, a Greek god, etc). Look at their writings and you will see they use all sorts of words that are pagan in origin. We shouldn’t worry so much about the “phonics” because we don’t believe that the Lord does. What we should be concerned with is the intent of the heart and that is what counts. We do know that the Lord said that when we pray, we are to say “Father” (Matt 6.9: “Abba” in Aramaic and “Av” in Hebrew).
Q. What is Mystery Babylon?
A. Mystery Babylon is a term used in Revelation 17 for the antithesis of the woman in Revelation 12. Simply speaking, it is a common comparison you will see in the Scriptures, comparing the Virtuous Woman (God’s Torah and those who follow it, like Israel) and the Harlot (signifying deception and unfaithfulness to the Torah). The book of Proverbs goes into great detail in comparing the two. In Proverbs 7, Solomon warns about staying away from the “harlot” and this is in a literal sense, but spiritual harlotry is also meant. Proverbs 9 talks about the virtuous woman and she is personified by wisdom, and see is contrasted with the harlot. In Proverbs 31.10-31, the virtuous woman is praised. Now, in Hebrew there are 22 letters. In this portion there are 22 verses, with each verse starting with the next Hebrew letter, from “aleph to tav.” The meaning is clear. The virtuous woman has God’s blessing in total perfection of his Word, from “beginning to end, the first and the last, from aleph to tav.” The harlot doesn’t, she perverts the Word of God. In short, the harlot symbolizes all false religion, and the virtuous woman is the true faith given by God (there is only one). The Messiah would never “marry” anyone but the virtuous woman. We live with the “harlot” all around us. Here is the real problem. The harlot goes around and presents herself as the virtuous woman in order to seduce those who do not have the wisdom, discernment, understanding, knowledge and insight to recognize her for who she really is. The ability to do this can only be given by God. Revelation 17 is talking about the apostate religious system in place, in the last days, led by the false prophet. He will then point to the false messiah, seducing his listeners with words of a seductive harlot, to follow the false messiah to their own destruction. Deut 13.1-5, Deut 18.14-22 and Isa 8.20 contrasts these two “women” and they show us how to tell the difference between the two.
Q. Prosperity teachers say that Mark 11.22-24 says that whatever a believer says, and not doubt, will happen. Is that what this verse is teaching?
A. A believer cannot just say something and it will happen, even if he has the faith. That is magic and manipulation of the supernatural. Now, if the Lord tells you something and you know it is God, then you line up your words to line up with God. Zerubbabel was told by God he was going to build the Temple, and he lined himself up with that. Nothing happens unless the Lord has commanded it (Lam 3.37). So, this verse is not teaching that. To understand this verse you will need to look at the context and what was going on at the time it was said. In Mark 11, Yeshua had ridden into Jerusalem in his “triumphal entry” as it is called and he comes to Mount Moriah, the mountain of the Teacher, a Messianic title. The Temple stood on Mount Moriah. He goes in, looks around and leaves. The next day he goes back to the Temple and the mountain and begins to cast out the moneychangers and declares that the Temple has become a den of thieves, quoting Jeremiah. He knows that the chief priests and the scribes are not teaching the truth, they also want to kill him, the fountain of truth. He goes out of the city at night to avoid them. The next day he comes upon the fig tree he cursed a few days before and it had withered. The fig tree symbolized Israel at the time and their spiritual state, and it was not bearing fruit anymore (true teaching). His talmidim were astonished and he tells them, “Have faith in God” and then says the verses in the question. In verse 22, we are to have “faith (“emunah”, meaning action, confidence) in God” and in verse 23 he says if you do, you will say to “THIS mountain”, a specific mountain. What mountain is he referring to? It is Mount Moriah, where the Temple stood, where the Sanhedrin met and all their false teachings flowed from it. It was the seat of corruption, envy and greed, and he even had to drive the robbers away from it, trying to cleanse his Father’s house. He says that if you tell it (the mountain) to be “cast into the sea” and not doubt (or fearful), then what you say will happen. But what is he meaning here. He is saying that this mountain is full of false teachers, priests, scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, Boethucians and others keeping people away from the Kingdom of God through their teachings emanating from the Temple. Yeshua is saying that with faith in the Lord, the falseness of their teachings can be overcome and they will be able to enter the Kingdom of God. They must stand firm, not doubt the truth, and accept the truth that Yeshua was presenting. His teachings conflicted with the religious establishment at the time (see Mark 11.1-21). Because of the false teachings found on the Temple Mount, the Temple was literally “cast down” and thrown in to the sea after the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD, because pieces of it were found in the harbor at Caesarea. This verse has nothing to do with the “name it, claim it” teachings of the faith movement and has been twisted to mean something that it was never intended to say.