20190408

Dubious teachings and the power of the original Scriptures


The Bible has several opponents since immemorial times but there is one particular people who has worked hard to preserve the Holy Scriptures: the Jewish nation. But curiously, if there is someone who could have strong reasons to destroy the Bible, is the Jewish nation!
I think that this only reason is enough to prove that there is indeed someone superior behind the preservation of the Holy Scriptures: God.

Anyone who have the chance to erase the evidences of his unfaithfulness and wrong doings would do it immediately! The Bible is a solid document that testifies against the Jewish nation and instead of destroying it, this nation made copies of it for centuries using all the available ways: by handwriting, printing and currently making it available on line.

As I said in a previous post, we owe the Holy Scriptures to the Jews. The Old and the New Testament was written by Jewish writers.

The Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, said in Matthew 5:17-19: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

I recalled Jesus' words in a study of the original Hebrew of the book of Genesis. I learned about an important issue related to a small symbol that represents the conjunction “and” in the first two verses of Genesis 1, the Hebrew letter Vav וְ (it is highlighted in red in the following Hebrew verses).
The Hebrew Bible says:
א בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ:
ב וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָֽיְתָ֥ה תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְח֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם:

Only the English King James version preserved the original conjunction of the Hebrew text.
Let’s compare some of the versions (please check other versions not listed here):

King James
(1)  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
(2)  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

New American Standard Bible:
(1)  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(2) The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

New International Version:
(1)  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(2) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Holman Christian Standard Bible:
(1)  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(2) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

As you can see, the conjunction “and” was omitted in these versions except the King James version.
I am not advocating in favor of the King James version in detriment of the others, my favorite English version are the New American Standard Bible and the Holman Christian Standard Bible, but the point is about how a translation may provide opportunities to insert teachings that are based in the translation ignoring the original text.

There are people teaching that between the verse 1 and 2 there is a gap in the timeline that could explain theories like the existence of the dinosaurs or even the rebellion of Satan.
They see an interruption between the two verses because most of the English translations do not include the word “and”. 

Curiously, versions in other languages do include the conjunction “and”.


The original Hebrew Scripture shows this conjunction that gives continuation of the sentences without suggesting an interruption and a consequent a gap in the timeline.

We must be aware of strange teachings that ignore the original Hebrew Bible and find support in a way of translation.

I do believe that the Bible translators use their best abilities and good intentions to deliver good versions of the Bible but there are people that elaborate teachings on translations instead of looking for their foundation in the original Scriptures.

Perhaps this article arises questions about the validity of modern Bible translations. Maybe you are asking “Is this Bible of mine reliable?”

My recommendation is to stick to the version that you love which God uses to speak to your heart. Get very familiar with it and using your favorite version as a starting point, if you are interested then begin to study the original languages of the Bible.

There are also wonderful tools that will show to you the original text and the translation word to word. One of these tools is the website BibluHub.com.

As rule of thumb remember that if you are a born again Christian, the Holy Spirit resides inside you and He will teach you all the truth.

Jesus said in John 16:13-14  "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

When you hear about a dubious teaching, the Holy Spirit will turn on a red light in your heart, so research the originals and be humble to ask to your pastor or a knowledgeable Bible teacher in your Church about any teaching that may sound fishy. God is protecting you all the time against the lies of the adversary and if you are following Jesus in faith and obedience, He will preserve you.

Know your Bible!

20190402

Your Bible was entrusted to the Jews before it became available to you

The First Bible was the Jewish Bible, this means that it was a Bible without the New Testament.

When the Apostle Paul wrote: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness in 2 Timothy 3:16, he wrote this about the Old Testament because there was not a New Testament when he wrote this statement. So Paul, the herald of the salvation by grace only by faith in Jesus Christ, believed that all the Old Testament is inspired by God and fully valid after Jesus Christ died in the cross and have resurrected, therefore the Old Testament continued to be valid. The important point is that the salvation comes from the faith in Jesus' sacrifice and the obedience to God's law is not a mean to get saved, but a lifestyle of holiness.

Today's day there is a general belief that Christianity just needs to follow the New Testament and that the Old Testament is only for Jews, that also the New Testament have invalidated the Old Testament. This is not true.

Jesus, Simon Peter, James, Paul and the other apostles (all Jews) had only the Old Testament to preach the Gospel! The first community of followers of Jesus, known as The Way, had only the Old Testament as Holy Scriptures.

If this is the first time that you see Christians were not called Christians, but they were called as the Way, here are some references for you: Acts 19:9; 19:23; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14; Acts 24:22.

The Way was one of the four groups of the Judaism: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Way. Today's day we call the last group Messianic Jews.

When you hear pastors preaching about Saul persecuting the Church, actually they are speaking about one of the leaders of the Pharisees Jews who persecuted the Messianic Jews and it was an intense internal fight among Jews. There was not a gentile Christian Church in that period.

The Hebrew Bible, that today Christians know as the Old Testament, is divided by the Jews in three sections: The Torah (The Law of Moses, that are the first five Books of Moses also called Pentateuch or simply The Law), the Nevi'im (that are all the books of the prophets) and the Ketuvim (all the remaining books).

These three sections, Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim have a Jewish acronym: TaNaKh.
So, when a Jew speaks about the Torah, is referring to the first five books, and when he wants to refer to all the Old Testament, he calls it TaNaKh.

Even that we Christians have called it Old Testament for centuries, I think that the proper way to think about it is the Jewish Bible or the First Testament, because calling it old brings the wrong idea of something outdated and no longer valid, that is absolutely false. The Jewish Bible or the first 39 books of the Christian protestant Bible is valid and extremely important to understand the New Testament. If we don't understand the Old Testament is very probable that we will misunderstand the New Testament.

The Jewish version of the Bible has 24 books because Judaism classifies the same books in a different way, but in essence, the 39 books in the Old Testament of the Protestant Bible and the 24 books in the Jewish Bible are the same.


Hebrew Bible
Protestant
Catholic
Tanakh
Old Testament
Old Testament
(24 books)
(39 books)
(46 books)
Torah
Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses
Bereishit
Genesis
Genesis
Shemot
Exodus
Exodus
Vayikra
Leviticus
Leviticus
Bamidbar
Numbers
Numbers
Devarim
Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
Nevi'im (Prophets)
Historical books
Yehoshua
Joshua
Joshua (Josue)
Shofetim
Judges
Judges
Rut (Ruth)
Ruth
Ruth
Shemuel
1 Samuel
1 Samuel (1 Kings)
2 Samuel
2 Samuel (2 Kings)
Melakhim
1 Kings
1 Kings (3 Kings)
2 Kings
2 Kings (4 Kings)
Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles)
1 Chronicles
1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon)
2 Chronicles
2 Chronicles (2 Paraleipomenon)



Ezra–Nehemiah
Ezra
Ezra (1 Esdras)
Nehemiah
Nehemiah (2 Esdras)


Tobit (Tobias)
Judith
Esther
Esther
Esther


1 Maccabees (1 Machabees)
2 Maccabees (2 Machabees)

Ketuvim (Writings)
Wisdom books
Iyov (Job)
Job
Job
Tehillim (Psalms)
Psalms
Psalms



Mishlei (Proverbs)
Proverbs
Proverbs
Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes)[
Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs)
Song of Solomon
Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles)


Wisdom
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
Nevi'im (Latter Prophets)
Major prophets
Yeshayahu
Isaiah
Isaiah (Isaias)
Yirmeyahu
Jeremiah
Jeremiah (Jeremias)
Eikhah (Lamentations)
Lamentations
Lamentations


Baruch
Yekhezqel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel (Ezechiel)
Daniel
Daniel
Daniel

Twelve Minor Prophets
The Twelve 
Hosea
Hosea (Osee)
or 
Joel
Joel
Trei Asar
Amos
Amos

Obadiah
Obadiah (Abdias)

Jonah
Jonah (Jonas)

Micah
Micah (Michaeas)

Nahum
Nahum

Habakkuk
Habakkuk (Habacuc)

Zephaniah
Zephaniah (Sophonias)

Haggai
Haggai (Aggaeus)

Zechariah
Zechariah (Zacharias)

Malachi
Malachi (Malachias)


The Catholic Bible includes some extra books in the Old Testament that Jews and Protestant Christians do not consider as inspired books but only records of Jewish history left out of the holy Cannon. This deserves another post in the future.

The apostle Paul said that God entrusted to the Jews the responsibility of His Word and if the Jews do not consider these extra books as inspired, the gentile Catholic Church has not authority to declare any other book inspired by God. "The Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God."
Romans 3:2 - NVI.

The Old and the New Testament were written by Jewish people.

In the same way as the Old Testament, the 27 books of the New Testament were also written by Jews. The Jews who wrote the New Testament were Messianic Jews, or Jewish people who identified and accepted Jesus of Nazareth as the Jewish Messiah. The first generations of followers of Jesus were mainly Jews.

Jesus Christ was a faithful Jew, a recognized rabbi and His public life revealed the special characteristic of being the Anointed One, the Messiah, or as we Christians call, The Christ.
Jesus, or Joshua, was the important prophet announced by Moses, the main leader of the Judaism, in Deuteronomy 18:15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him." 

It is very important to be aware of the Jewish roots of our faith. Jesus Christ is not the God of the gentiles (non Jewish people). Jesus Christ is the Messiah sent by God father to the Jewish and the Gentiles for their salvation through faith in Him.

So if you love God and you love the Holy Bible, be grateful to the Jewish people and pray for them. Pray for peace in Israel and for a revival of faith among the Jewish nation.





20190326

The salt in the Temple of Jerusalem and in the teachings of Jesus, the Messiah.


Leviticus 2:13 

'Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.


The Law of Moses requires that every sacrifice made by the Hebrew priests must have salt. Grain or meat, must have the salt of the covenant.


Why SALT OF THE COVENANT? WHY SALT?


The salt of the sacrifice is called the salt of the covenant, because in common life salt was the symbol of covenant; treaties being concluded and rendered firm and inviolable, according to a well-known custom of the ancient Greeks (see Eustathius ad Iliad. i. 449) which is still retained among the Arabs, by the parties to an alliance eating bread and salt together, as a sign of the treaty which they had made. As a covenant of this kind was called a “covenant of salt,” equivalent to an indissoluble covenant.


Numbers_18:19  "All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD to you and your descendants with you."


2 Chronicles 13:5  "Do you not know that the LORD God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?"

A covenant of salt is an irrevocable covenant. So, the salt added to the sacrifice is designated as salt of the covenant of God, because of its imparting strength and purity to the sacrifice, by which Israel was strengthened and fortified in covenant fellowship with Jehovah. So, the use of salt means that is a purified, irrevocable, firm and inviolable covenant.


In the Old Testament we have the figure of the priest at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem offering sacrifices for the unwilling sins of the people (ox, bulls, pigeons, lambs, grain) always with salt.
(I will approach the subject of sacrifices for unwilling sins in another post)

Jesus spoke about the salt that lost its taste and was thrown away to be trampled by men in

Matthew 5:13  "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.


A self-called Christian without salt will do a blind eye to sin. He will avoid any sort of confrontation, will show himself as lovely, kind, gentle, patient, good listener, comprehensive, comforting, good fellow, nice company, enjoyable, friendly but he will not point out the sin, because he has not salt, he has not commitment to the covenant of Christ, he loves more himself than God therefore he stays silent regarding sin.

Once the demons acknowledge that this self-called Christian stays silent before sin, they will come over this person as a cruel gang to bully him and to make him a puppet of demons, because he became tasteless, without salt. He will be thrown out and trampled under the foot of men!

Where Jesus Christ took from this idea of tasteless salt trampled by men?

In the Temple of Jerusalem it was consumed huge amounts of salt. The meat of animals burnt as sacrifice had to be first emptied of blood before it was consumed by fire. Let's check the Holy Scripture:

Leviticus 1:1-9 

Then the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. 'If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. 'He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 'He shall slay the young bull before the LORD; and Aaron's sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 'He shall then skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces. 'The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 'Then Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head and the suet over the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar. 'Its entrails, however, and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer up in smoke all of it on the altar for a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.

The abundant blood of thousands of sacrificed animals was thrown on the sides of the altar and big amounts of salt was used to absorb the blood around the altar.

After the salt absorbed the blood, it was taken out of the Temple and was thrown in the pathways to prevent the growing of plants. The salt was thrown on trails and pathways were people walked, trampling that salt that had lost its flavor. That salt was an ancient grass killer, similar to the weed killers that we use today, like Round-up or glyphosate.

Jesus Christ was very familiar with the Jewish ceremonies at the Temple, as a good Jew and recognized Rabbi, and very familiar with the pathways where He walk, trampling on the salt of the roads. His teachings were full of references of the common life at the Holy Land.


DISCIPLE WITH SALT IN HIS LIFE:


A disciple that has the salt of the covenant in his life, will react in a different way before sin.
First, he will show discomfort, he will not laugh on the dirty joke neither he will show a friendly acceptance of sin, rather he will show the gravity of the sin and the gravity of the consequences of practicing sin to his sinner friend.

If I can, I will tell to the person in sin: you will suffer a lot, you will end alone, you will lose everything, and you will end in hell. Leave the sin ASAP!


How do you act when someone is in life danger? If you are the passenger in a car and the driver does a dangerous move, what do you do? Or if you see someone in a near miss, in the line of fire operating a dangerous tool? You probably say: Watch out, be careful!


MARRIAGE MUST HAVE SALT OF THE  COVENANT WITH GOD TO BE A LIFETIME COMMITMENT.


A married disciple of Jesus must have salt of the covenant with God in his marriage. Marriage is a figure of our relationship with God, that’s why marriage is been attacked by Satan!


To have salt in your life is to maintain your covenant with God alive, valid, fully operational!


Mar_9:50  "Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalted, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."


Do not be afraid to point out sin in a loving way, as someone who cares about. Your friend may not like it at first, but he will appreciate you loving care later. Have salt and be at peace is a promise from Jesus in Mark 9:50.


Col_4:6  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.


The Salt of your covenant with Christ that you pour in a problematic situation caused by sin, will bring healing to the people affected by the sin, like ELISHA did:


2 Kings_2:20-21  He said, "Bring me a new jar, and put salt in it." So they brought it to him.
He went out to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, "Thus says the LORD, 'I have purified these waters; there shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness any longer.'"


Sometimes you will need to bring the true in a messed up situation  in your family, friends or colleagues. Don’t be afraid to declare God’s word where people don’t know or even forgot God’s will.


Let’s turn to God, reaffirm our commitment and fill out our salt shaker with the Holy Spirit right now!


Know your Bible!