Anyone who has been around mainstream Christianity for long will notice that the “Old Testament” is de-emphasized and they concentrate mostly on Paul’s epistles. There is a reason for that and his name is Marcion. Marcion lived about 100 years after Yeshua and taught that the Old Testament (the Tanach) should be rejected because it belonged to an inferior God, a God of “Law” and not the God revealed by “Jesus.” Marcion was very anti-Jewish so he naturally rejected any New Testament writings that spoke favorably of the Jews, the Synagogue, Temple or Torah. As a result of his beliefs, Marcion began to “edit” the Scriptures and was left with Luke’s gospel (except any Jewish segments) and ten of Paul’s epistles. Marcion’s anti-Jewish, pro-Paul idea’s spread throughout the Roman Empire and it threatened Christianity. His idea’s finally died out in the 5th century, but did they really? Many believers make a “distinction” between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New, just like Marcion. One is “Law” and the other “Grace” and we ultimately end up with Marcion’s “two gods.” Isn’t this what many Christians do? They think the “old testament” God is too stern, mean and not very kind, and don’t they embrace the “new testament” God who doesn’t expect them to obey the Torah and is full of “grace?” If anyone is honest they will soon see that the core foundation for the heresies of Marcion are still alive today.
If you take away the Torah, you destroy what you understand about the Word of God. An example of this can be found in Rev 7.9-17, which is talking about Sukkot, with idioms, phrases and concepts associated with the festival. Most would not see it when they read that portion because they do not have the foundation in the festivals they need. But, the people in the first century understood this because it was taught (1 Thes 5.1). Another example is Rev 13.1. Who is being described there? It is Leviathan, a picture of the false messiah (Isa 27.1; Ezek 29.1-8; Ezek 32.1-8; Psa 74; Job 41; Job 26; Isa 51.9; Psa 104; Amos 9.3; Isa 14.29; Isa 30.6; Job 9). In Job 40, who is being described there? Behemoth, who is a picture of the false prophet.
The God-fearers had to be taught all of this and they had to transform their thinking, which is called “renewing the mind” (Rom 12.2) Rev 13.11-18 talks about the false prophet. What does he do? He is a false “Elijah” before the false messiah. What do the Jewish people expect before Messiah? They expect “Elijah” and the false prophet will try to deceive many into believing he is “Elijah” and that the false messiah is “Jesus” of Re0lacement Theology Christianity, which will be the religious system that is the power behind the false messiah. What is the purpose for a miracle? It is to gain your attention and to draw your attention to what the person is teaching (Deut 13.1-5). If he/she teaches you that you don’t need to follow the Torah and that it has been “done away with” they are not from God, no matter what signs there was.
Just as the Messiah has requirements, so does the false messiah. What are they? He will be Jewish, a good speaker, a military-minded man who is European. He will be an apostate, anti-Torah (lawless) individual who despises Israel. The false prophet is also Jewish (a false Elijah) and he has requirements, too. What is the religion of Europe? It is Christianity. Most people in Europe believe that you are “born” or “baptized” into it. They will not be going in the Natzal, and it will be the established religion of the false messiah. Who do these people in Europe follow? They follow “Jesus” and not the Torah observant, Jewish rabbi named Yeshua. The false messiah will look like people believe “Jesus” looks like, mostly based on the Shroud of Turin, which is not Yeshua. People have had “visions” or have “gone to heaven” and say that the “Jesus” they saw looks like the Shroud. Pictures and images all reinforce the idea that “Jesus” looks like the man on the Shroud. These pictures and images are forbidden by the Torah (Deut 4.15-19). The false messiah is a political leader and the false prophet is a religious leader from Europe.
Now, what do you teach a bunch of people for the first time who have never heard of these Jewish concepts? Here is the pattern that is followed. First, you must teach the concept of time and the 7000 year plan of God (Psa 90.4; Hos 6.1-3′ 2 Pet 3). You must master how this time period is divided into the Olam Haba, the Olam ha Zeh, the Atid Lavo and then back to the Olam Haba. God will be teaching a different concept of time from the western concept. Then the months of the religious and civil year needs to be taught because the Bible goes by both, and these are related to the coming of the Messiah. The ceremonial cycles need to be understood like the festivals in Lev 23. The word for convocation used there is “mikrah” and means “a rehearsal” so the festivals are rehearsals for the real thing to be fulfilled (given meaning) and the word for appointed times is “moed.” These dates, festivals and times tell us about prophecy. The New Moon, Purim, Chanukah also teach about prophecy. The year of Jubilee, called the Yovel, is figured from Yom Kippur to Yom Kippur, and the second coming of Yeshua will be on a Yom Kippur, so there is a deeper meaning there. The Sabbath and the 6 days of the week teach us about the 6000 years that lead up to the “Day of the Lord.” There are “seasons” that we need to know about. When are the “joyous” festivals and when are the “solemn” festivals? The Passover season is not over till Shavuot, and Yom Teruah/Rosh ha Shannah is not over till Shemini Atzeret, the “eighth day” after the seven days of Sukkot (Exo 23.14-16; 34.22; 1 Kings 8.2,65-66; Lev 25.9; Deut 14.28).
In Jewish thought the “Yomot Mashiach” or the “days of the Messiah” can extend into the Atid Lavo, and the Atid Lavo can extend into the Olam Haba, or the Olam Haba can go all the way back to the beginning of the Yomot Mashiach. Now, if you don’t understand what we just said, that is an example of what needed to be taught to the Gentiles coming into the faith in the fist century. There is a principle in the Scriptures called “Here now, but not yet” and that concept is needed in order to understand eschatology. For instance, Sukkot is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom and the presence of God. Jacob’s dream in Gen 28.10-17 takes place on Mount Moriah. He came to the “makom” (place) and “rests”, anoints a stone (Messiah) and see’s a ladder which links heaven and earth (Psa 132.7). He calls the place “Bethel” meaning “house of God.” So, the Temple will be built on that spot and will be seen as the “gateway” for God’s presence. He says “There (Mount Moriah) I will put my name” in Deut 12.11 and “I will meet you.” So, this carries the idea of worship, where we ascend and God descends to meet us. This idea is carried over into what is called the “Avodah” or “services” which were given by God (1 Chr 28; Rom 9.4). In the Temple, there were 15 steps that led into the inner azarah (courts), and there are 15 Psalms of Ascent. The Levitical choir would stand on these steps and sing these psalms during certain services. The word “Sinai” and “ladder” have the same numerical value in Hebrew (130). Both are seen as pictures of the Messiah and the Torah. Both are “links” to God. In the Mishnah, Sukkot 5.1, it says that during the day the people would “ascend” into the Court of the Priests for the Beit ha Shoevah ceremony at Sukkot. At night, the priests “descend” into the Court of the Women for the Simchat Beit ha Shoevah ceremony for dancing, singing and teaching. These themes are discussed by Yeshua in John 1.48-51. From Israel would go forth salvation through the Messiah to the world, who is the “ladder” or “link.” All of this is a theme of Sukkot.
All of this applies to our time-line, with overlapping concepts and ages and “ascending” into the Olam Haba, also called the “L’Olam Vaed” or “forever and ever.” The Olam Haba is coming to us, and Yeshua is experiencing it right now, but we only “taste” it (Heb 6.5; 1 Cor 13.9-13). That is why the phrase “Here now, but not yet” is so important to learn. If you don’t understand these concepts, you will not be able to interpret the Scriptures correctly, or eschatology, so it must be there before we start.
Another example is found in Luke 21.23-24. When was this fulfilled? What about Rev 11.2 were we are told that it’s still the time of the Gentiles after Jerusalem returns back to the Jewish people. They seem to contradict, but they don’t. In 1967, we have a “here now, but not yet.” Rev 11.2 is another “here now, but not yet” which will be fulfilled at the end of the 7th year of the Birth-pains (Zech 14) when the “times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled.” An example of this concept can be found in Gen 15.12-16. The Olam Haba has only the righteous in it, “without beginning or without end” is the term L’Olam Vaed, which is an idiom for a tzaddik. Other items to teach a “beginner” is geography (Shephelah Valley, Sukkot, the wilderness, Judea, Samaria, etc); history (study battles, events, warfare, etc); language (every Hebrew letter means something about the Messiah, MND’s, Chaistic structure, idioms etc); culture (ceremonies outside of Scripture like a wedding, Temple ceremonies, customs of the people especially in the first century). Read the Scriptures as if you were Jewish, then you will see the Bible as a Jewish book, with a proper context.
In Part 4, we will pick up here and begin to look at the chronology of the prophets and kings, especially as they relate to Micah. We will also get into the Assyrian and Babylonian kings as they relate to the kings of Israel and Judah, and we will need to keep these in mind for future studies because some of them will relate to prophecy in the end times.