We are going to begin a series of teachings designed to give the believer a proper backround to understand the Brit Chadasha, or New Testament. Why is this needed? Because for nearly 2000 years, Christianity has taught false concepts and has a major problem called Replacement theology. For more information of what this is, go to our teaching on this site called “Replacement Theology” to see just how this has come about. We need a basic understanding of what happened. To understand the New Testament we need to place ourselves in the audience of those listening in the First Century. They were trained in Jewish thought, the idioms, phrases and concepts of the people, and so should we. The problem is, the terms haven’t changed but the same words will have different meanings now. We will also move away from using “New Testament/Old Testament” because they convey something that isn’t there, so we will refer to the Old Testament as the Tanach, and the New Testament by Gospels and Epistles. At the end of this series called “Torah and New Testament Foundations” the sources that were used in this study will be given.
The Gospels and Epistles were written in Hebrew originally and so the language, thoughts, idioms and concepts will be Hebrew. The word “Tanach is an acronym for the Torah (“T”=teachings)), the Nevi’im (“N”=Prophets) and the Chetuvim (“Ch”=writings). You will also see it written as “Tanak.” We are not denying that there is a “New Covenant” but it comes in stages, like redemption. But this term can convey the false concept that the “New Testament” has replaced the “Old Testament” and the Torah, which is a major doctrine of any replacement type theology. The Brit Chadasha is found in Jer 31.30-34. It was made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah and it has not been fulfilled yet. The “Basorah” or “gospel” was preached in the wilderness (Heb 4.6) and it was preached before that to Abraham (Gal 3.8). We have been taught that it began with Yeshua, but that is not true and it is part of the Christian Replacement Theology belief system that we are going to move away from in this teaching so that you can have a proper foundation to understand the Gospels and Epistles.
The Basorah is the “good news” or “glad tidings” and this concept of “the gospel” is found all over the Tanach (Isa 40.9; 52.7 for example). It is the “good news” of the redemption and the Messiah. We need to see the characters in the Gospels and Epistles as Jewish and with Jewish concepts. Ha Satan tries to make us move from what God was trying to communicate, and he has done so in Christianity and all the other religions. The “Jesus” of today is not the Yeshua of the Gospels and Epistles which the prophets foretold. Paul was not a “breakaway” from the Judaism he knew. He remained a Pharisee from Beit Hillel and kept the Torah. So, let’s talk about Yeshua and Paul. We know that Yeshua followed the Torah because when he was on trial, they could find no fault in him (where he violated the Torah). In 1 Cor 11.1-2 Paul says he imitated Yeshua and was Torah observant. He then goes on to say that he praised the Corinthians because they held fast to the “traditions” that Paul taught. The word for “traditions” is the Greek word “paradosis” which means “the Jewish ways” and it is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew “halakah” or the “way one walks in the Torah.”
Paul remained a Pharisee after he became a believer according to his own testimony. He said “I am a Pharisee” (present tense) in Acts 23.6. He was taught in the School of Hillel, and James (who was Nasi of the Messianic community and wrote the book of James), was also a Pharisee, possibly from the School of Shammai by what he taught (“The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity” by Jeffrey Butz, p 96-99). There is a book called “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up” by Vendyl Jones. The picture on the cover has a Protestant looking Jesus, a Catholic looking Jesus and the middle one we would not recognize because he looks like an Orthodox Jew, holding a Torah scroll. People see Yeshua, Paul and the Talmidim as “westernized” of “gentilized” but we need to see them as they were, not as they are presented. Protestants see him as the “pastoral shepherd, with a lamb around his shoulders” with blond hair and blue eyes. Catholics see him as the “suffering” Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns. Each denomination sees Jesus” as they see themselves. There is a Jesus that is Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran and so on.
In Dan 11.29-32, we have the time of Antiochus Epiphanes IV. Alexander the Great has brought Hellenism (Greek culture and religion) wherever he went. He dies and his territories are divided among his four generals. Seleucus was given Syria, where Antiochus comes from. Antiochus brings on the war with the Maccabee’s because he tries to get the Jewish people away from following the Torah, going to the Temple and other things. He is enraged against the Torah and many moved away from following it because they didn’t want to be persecuted. He makes war on the Temple and introduces idolatry and favors those who forsake the Torah. There are two types of Jews here in these passages. There are Orthodox Jews who follow the Torah and Hellenistic Jews who are corrupt and move away from the Torah. Antiochus changes the “times” and the “laws” in Dan 7.25. The word for “times” is “zemenim” meaning the biblical calendar and the festivals. The word “laws” is the word “v’dat” meaning the Torah. This sounds exactly like what has happened in Christianity, and it should because Christianity is Hellenistic. It has moved away from the Torah. It has moved against the Temple, it has moved against the biblical calendar and the festivals, just like Antiochus did.
But Christians will say, “But we love the Jewish people” but that is a subtle form of anti-semitism. They want Jews to be saved, but then they tell them they need to move away from the Torah, the Temple and the calendar and festivals. Lately, some groups parade around as Jews wearing kippah’s and talits, but they still teach Christian doctrine. Some have gone so far as to say the Jews don’t need to be saved because they already have a covenant with God. This called “The Plural Covenant” but that isn’t true either. The Scriptures teach that Jews believed in Yeshua and were saved, there was no “plural covenant” to save them. If there was, why would Yeshua, Paul and the believers go to the Jews? The Jewish people did not forsake the Torah, and neither did Paul (Acts 21.15-26). Paul took a Nazarite vow (Num 6) and he cuts his hair ending the vow in Acts 18.18. He is coming to the festival of Shavuot (Acts 20.16) to give alms and offer the korbanot (sacrifices) required for coming out of a Nazarite vow (Acts 24.17). This is 28 years after Yeshua has risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. Paul is not moving away from the Torah after he believes as taught by many false teachers.
After he offers the korbanot and pays for the korbanot of four other believers in Yeshua to prove that he is Torah observant and walks according to the halakah (Acts 21.24), he is falsely accused by some enemies of bringing a non-Jew past the Soreg into Temple. He is arrested and he gives his defense before Felix, the Roman governor, beginning in Acts 24.10. In Acts 24.17 Paul explicitly says he came to Jerusalem to bring alms and to present korbanot (offerings in the Temple). Felix will be replaced by Festus two years later in 60 AD, so we know that this event happens around 58 Ad, 28 years after Yeshua.
What we are establishing is the writers of the Gospels and Epistles were all Torah observant Jews 28 years after Yeshua because they were the elders that advised Paul to pay for the expenses of the four believers as they were coming out of their Nazarite vows (Acts 21.18-24). They weren’t moving away from the Torah either. Christianity teaches that Paul taught against the the Torah (we will have a full teaching on this subject in the future), the very false accusation against Paul in Acts 21.21! This accusation was refuted by Paul and the “brethren” and Paul paid for the sacrifices of those four other believers coming out of their Nazarite vows. This would be very strange behavior for people who behave according to how Christianity portrays them. When did “grace” begin? It began with sin in the Garden of Eden as far as what is written in the Scriptures. It did not begin with Yeshua. It has always been a part of the character of God (Exo 34.6). We need to change our way of thinking about these men who wrote the “New Testament.” If we fail to recognize this then we will be misled. We do not want anyone misled anymore, so a proper foundation and structure is needed in order to understand the Gospels and Epistles.
In Part 2, we will continue talking about Antiochus, what he did, Christian “Dispensationalism” and much more. This series will take some time to develop but it is absolutely necessary in order to understand the Scriptures.