“He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens..” (Rev 3.7).
We have “keys” to understanding the Scriptures that has been lost for nearly 2000 years. Christianity separated itself from everything that God gave to Israel and the Jewish people. This “separation” is called ‘Replacement Theology” and it can be seen and felt everywhere.
In the beginning God gave the “Word” or “Davar” (John 1.1). Davar written out in Hebrew contains the word for “son” (bar). The Hebrew letter “dalet” means “door” and when you add it to “bar” it means the “Word is the door of the son.” That is what the Scriptures should be, but that is not what it is to many. The “davar” will be the essence of understanding anything in the Scripture because the “davar” defines how we understand. We all have heard about spiritual warfare, and the essence of psychological warfare is to confuse the meaning of words and to infiltrate the mind with conflicting concepts. In this study, we want to do is show you how to get the key to understanding the “Word” but not give you all the keys.
In the English language, there are many “sub-languages.” A Lawyer has a legal language, a Doctor has a medical language and so does every profession. There is a computer language that most of us don’t know, then there are the languages needed to operate a Smart phone, all the apps and on and on it goes. Well, there is a language in the Scriptures. They were written in Hebrew, including the New Testament. Bishop Papias of Hierapolis said that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, for instance. There are also Aramaic loan words as well. Now, there are also “sub-languages” that the Scriptures were written in. There is an agricultural sub-language that uses words like Ma’aser (tithing); Bikkurim (first fruits); Shemittah (sabbatical years); Yovel (jubilee); Sheva Minim (the seven species); Terumah (contributions) and many more. There is a Temple language concerning all the courts, altars, rooms, chambers and all the ceremonies connected with it like the Beit ha Shoevah and Simchat Beit ha Shoevah. There is a Sacrifice language, or “korbanot”, concerning all the types of offerings. For instance, there are thirteen bread offerings. There is a Calendar language like the four Rosh ha Shannah’s, all the names of the months, when the civil calendar dates are used and when the religious calendar dates are used, the signs and seasons and much more. Then there is the Festival language like Shabbat, Pesach, Hag ha Matzah, Bikkurim, Shavuot, Yom Teruah, Rosh ha Shannah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Purim, Chanukah, the Four Fasts, the Last Trump, the First Trump, the Great Trump, Shemini Atzeret, Hoshanna Rabbah and so on. There is an Eschatological language we need to understand like the Olam ha Zeh, the Atid Lavo, Tohu, Torah, Yom’ot Mashiach, Ik’vot Mashiach, the Acharit Yamin, B’Yamin, the Olam Haba and much more. All of the above have their own idioms, phrases and concepts associated with them.
There are great sources for finding out about these languages and “sub-languages. Learning Hebrew is a start, this will open up many resources for you. Concordances and Lexicons will help with definitions. The Jewish Encyclopedia can be found on-line and it is a great source for finding the Hebraic meanings and concepts behind words. Books written from a Hebraic perspective by Rabbi’s and other writers with understanding of these things will help you find meanings. The Mishnah has terms to learn. The writings of Josephus and Philo, the Apocrypha and Pseudo-Pigrapha are written in the vocabulary of the time periods we need to know and learn.
Again, what we want to do is to show you how to get the “keys” and not just give them to you. In the Peace Corps there is a saying, “Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” You must search and have the joy of finding things out for yourselves, using the “keys.” What we have today is people wanting to drive a car (the Scriptures), but they don’t know how to drive nor do they have the keys to the car even if they did.
There is a major concept in the Scriptures called the “Schema” and it means the setting, the language used, the culture, the geography and the history behind what is going on. The Scriptures are read in English, but when we see a word like “shout” or “last trump” we don’t see what the rest of the meaning is in such Scriptures like 1 Cor 15.52 and 1 Thes 4.15-16. You can read just about every Christian book on prophecy and see that very few will tie these terms into the festival called Yom Teruah. They miss it because they understand the words in English, but not the eschatological meaning behind it. That is why some tie in the “last trump” to the last trumpet in the book of Revelation. You are always going to have “guessing” until you have the “keys.” We need to go back to the language of agriculture, the Temple, the festivals, the calendars, eschatology and so on to learn what these terms mean. Christian eschatology and prophecy is full of error because they don’t know the “keys” and are not familiar with the sub-languages. As a result, they redefined what these things mean and therefore their teachings are off course.
For example, there is a book called the “Legends of the Jews” by Louis Ginsberg. In the Jewish Encyclopedia there is an article on the Anti-Christ and it talks about 2 Thes 2. The false messiah cannot come till after the “departure” spoken about in 2 Thes 2.3. Ginsberg says that Paul is using terms found in Jewish eschatology. Many people who come to study the Tanach and the New Testament in Jewish terms still carry the “luggage” from their previous “church” experiences and it will take time to renew their mind. By “luggage” we mean the concepts, terms and meanings from Christianity. God has given his list of concepts, terms and meanings but they have thrown away the “list” or the “keys.” Replacement Theology and a western mindset and “we are the church” has replaced the Hebraic mindset and the “Eschatological Kahal.”
In Part 2 we will pick up here and discuss more “keys” that will get you started to understanding the Scriptures the way God intended and with the mindset that the writers used to convey the message to us.