NOTE: This post is an addendum and preface to my post: A Literal/Physical 2nd Coming?
The Interpretation Issue
First I’d like to demonstrate that just as it’s possible to interpret the scriptures in a overly literal sense and thereby miss their intended meaning (I don’t believe this bears demonstration), so it’s all possible to over spiritualize them. Take for instance the prophecies of Messiah’s atoning work loaded in Is. 52:14-15 and Is. 53; or those in Daniel 9 that Messiah would be killed (“Karath”, H3772, see BDB definitions, Dan. 9:26) , that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed (Dan. 9:26), and the sacrificial system terminated (v. 27). These prophecies were all literally fulfilled, and if we attempt to spiritualize their meaning away we’re going to run into all sorts of major problems. In fact, in light of archaeologist Ron Wyatt’s discoveries in Jerusalem in 1982 (see my Ark of the Covenant Tract for more on this discovery), we know that Messiah even literally and physically “anoint[ed] the most Holy.“(v. 24) with His blood upon the earth being rent and him being stuck in the side with a spear, and his blood running down and splashing the Ark of the Covenant, which by the providence of God was hidden underneath the very spot where Messiah would be crucified, some 618 years earlier, just before the Babylonian captivity, consummating the Sacrificial system. Or how about the prophecy that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2)? Obviously I could go on and on but I don’t want to belabor the point. The point is if the prophecies of Tenakh which have been already been fulfilled were literal, than why should the rest of the prophecies integral to Messiah’s work which have yet to be fulfilled not also be literally fulfilled?
I propose that, because in scripture the prophets oft times are speaking in the context of their immediate physical circumstances, describing specific events to literally physically be fulfilled (and in many cases to be physically re-fulfilled again in the future as “type/anti-type” prophecies; refer for instance to Gary Hedrick’s 8-Part series Joseph: A Prophetic Portrait of the Messiah), while in many cases also containing a spiritual application, we must consider both spiritual and literal meaning, and likewise both immediate and future fulfillment, and cannot miss any one for the other. In fact, because the Bible is filled with interwoven and intersecting threads of prophecy, literal and spiritual events that took place in history (oftentimes given as prophecies before the actual events took place, and therefore also describing events that will take place yet in the future), symbols, allegory, poetry, song, and also spiritual principles and instructions for living, etc. if such an approach is not taken, the entire Bible (on the surface anyways) appears to be a book entirely riddled with confusion and utter contradictions from cover to cover. So we must consider all variables as well as the context of any particular verse against the whole of scripture, comparing scripture with scripture, in order to arrive at a balanced conclusion and what is the actual intended meaning (2 Pet. 1:20) of any given verse, reconciling it to the whole that we end up with a cohesive understanding of scripture (theology).
The same also applies to our “school” or “tradition” of interpretation. I believe just as it’s possible to interpret scripture in an overly greco-roman/pagan mindset (again, I don’t believe this needs demonstrating), so it is likewise to do in an overly traditional jewish or rabbinical mindset. One need only consider the wearing of the phylacteries on the head/arm or the nailing of a mezuzah to a doorpost, which while not “wrong”, clearly miss the intended spiritual meaning of the scripture (by the way, wasn’t it the Jews who missed and had crucified their own Messiah because they were expecting a dramatic literal and physical deliverance from Roman bondage?). After all, most good jews will tell you that based on the scripture, Messiah would not, neither could be God because God is not a man (and they’d point to Num. 23:19); that God’s firstborn son is Israel not some guy name Jesus (then they’d point to Ex. 4:22)! And besides, atonement through Messiah’s blood would be considered human sacrifice, and God clearly condemns human sacrifice (Deut. 12:30-31; Ps 106:37-38)! And after all, we Jews don’t need atonement, because we have and keep the law (Deut. 30:10-14), etc.
The Translation Issue
I propose that Just as God from the beginning intended Jew and Greek (gentiles) to become one in Messiah, that all mankind should have opportunity to salvation, so it is no coincidence that the translation of the Bible which God in His providence chose
to use more than any other to evangelize the world for the last 400+ years has been the the AV1611 King James bible, in the gentile language of English, and based on the original tongues of Hebrew + Greek, i.e. representative of both Jew and Gentile (notice also this trend in scripture: Rev. 9:11; Lk. 23:38, etc.).
The Koine Greek language with it’s “perfect” tense, articles, etc. is the most definitive as well as expressive language to have ever have existed. So it makes sense that it’d be the language God would chose to use to document the events in surrounding His Son contained in the gospels, as well as the documents written at the hands of apostles who were trained by Him, and who were used of God according to His progressive revelation, to bring to light a proper understanding of Torah in light of the renewed covenant, and therefore upon which future generations should base their theology. Neither can it be considered a coincidence that the majority of all extant manuscripts have been in this language (i.e. the textus receptus or “received text” of the Reformation Bible; and when it’s a well documented fact that ALL Bible translations subsequent to the AV1611 KJV either have an ecumenical agenda, embrace the Council of Trent’s diabolical counter-reformation-pro-Jerome’s-Latin-vulgate-Westcott & Hort text, or the teachings of of the “higher critics”, which are largely based on the “Vaticanus” & “Sinaiticus” (the latter manuscript literaly being found in a trashcan!) and that ultimately have their roots in the Alexandrian gnostic/kabbalistic schools of mysticism (and likewise does the Septuagint, which is the source of the catholic “Apocryphal” books). Not only do these translations contain omissions of certain passages, they render passages that tend towards damnable heresies. Even take for instance David H. Stern’s “Complete Jewish Bible” which attacks the virgin birth (see Isaiah 7:14) and also has many other horrible (or deceoptive) renderings in it! That’s why using the Septuagint to to translate the B’rit Hadashah into Hebrew can be potentially very dangerous! Because the Jews that translated the Septuagint were not Torah Jews who served the Most High God, they were practitioners of the ancient mystery religions, and therefore servants of the enemy, and naturally that would have an impact on their understanding of scripture and ultimately their translation.
And so we must be careful how we read/interpret the scriptures, as Yeshua said, “by their fruits shall ye know them”. Make no mistake about it, while the King James Version is a translation, and is not perfect, it is without out a doubt the most honest, and pure (in intent of heart) translation there is, and is therefore generally agreed to be the most inspired of them all (in the coming weeks I will be finishing an exposition I’ve already started titled “All Bibles Created Equal?” where I will be elaborating on these points, and proving that the KJV actually has God’s stamp of approval on it in it’s very name. So stay tuned!). God has very evidently blessed it above all of the others, which no doubt, is why from it’s inception the devil sought to use men to destroy it from the very beginning (see Jesuit ‘Gunpowder Plot‘) just like he did of the Lord Jesus Christ himself; and then, when he realized he couldn’t destroy it, he inspired all sorts of other ‘Bibles’ to be translated which the masses would embrace under the pretense of “ease of reading”, “a better translation”, etc. but that were in actuality extremely compromised and deceptive, neither based on the Majority Texts but rather the counter-reformation texts, translated by dishonest men who have ecumenical and other agendas.
So it is pertinent to realize that a departure from the AV1611 KJV is ultimately an attack on the manuscipts which can be traced back to the apostles themselves, and therefore invariably leads back to the same old Roman papal conspiracy and errors which we’re all opposed to!!
Now, while ‘truth’ is by its very nature absolute and objective, sometimes the ‘truth is in the middle’ in the sense that the multiple proponents may each have elements of truth, while also at the same time being in error on other points. This is just part of the human condition, and therefore is also inevitable to one degree or another with any translation. The actual inspired Word of God must be contained in the actual autograph manuscripts written by the hands of The prophets themselves through whom God chose to wrote (and of course the copies of those manuscripts). Therefore, everything else being a translation, we must bring every possible tool to the table in our interpretation and in seeking understanding: consulting the original tongues, commentaries, and even alternate translations, when necessary; but bearing in mind that it’s wisest to primarily use the medium God has evidently blessed and chosen, unless there’s an apparent contradiction, error, or more light is evidently required.
We must ask themselves, why would God choose to evangelize the World with the KJV if it isn’t mostly, and even the most reliable? And how can we justify, judge ourselves wise, or even act in indifferently, when choosing any other translation as our “go to” ultimately tends towards popish, gnositc, ecumenical philosophies, and that often have Jesuits in their translation teams. (see following articles for example: The Roman Catholic Church, her Jesuits, and Modern Unauthorized Bible Versions, Out From Her).
The moral of the story is, if we’re using deceitful translations, we should expect to be deceived and confused.
Koine Greek at the time of the apostles: the authors of the original manuscripts, was as the English language today, in the sense that it was nearly universally spoken and understood. So again, it only makes sense that upon Messiah declaring to the Jewish People “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Mt. 23:38), likewise Paul and Barnabas, “it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46), that God would use the language of the Gentiles as the basis for the dispensation which was to follow and last until the close of the age (Lk. 21:24, 27). There’s no getting around this fact as even today it’s the English language which is primarily being used to to teach and preach the Gospel, as well the language in which nearly all commerce and business transactions are conducted in the world over.
And today the Word of God has received yet another opponent, this time from the Messianic movement (don’t get me wrong, this movement has done more good than bad, and I am 100% behind it), which is teaching that the scriptures cannot be relied upon because the disciples would’ve taught in Aramaic not in Greek, despite the fact that this position cannot be substantiated and does not hold to careful scrutiny and the testament of history. It’s the same old attack the ages over against the Word of God ultimately being perpetuated from the father of lies who masquerades in his cunning as an angel of light. One need only consult the secular Encyclopedia Britannica to find out which manuscripts the early church actually used:
“The received text (textus recepticus) is the old Byzantine text with hundreds of copies in agreement. It was written in koine Greek of which hundreds of words cannot be translated into classical Greek. The early church used koine Greek manuscripts and rejected the Alexandrian versions which were based on corrupt versions with Origen and other Gnostic revisions.
Origen taught that Jesus was a created being who did not have eternal existence as God.“
-Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 16, 1936, p. 900-902
The Racial Issue
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.“-Romans 11:11-12, 17, 23, 30-31
Please understand, I do not subscribe to replacement theology. I understand God made a special covenant with Abraham and his physical seed, and that many of these promises are yet to and will be fulfilled. Nonetheless, we must acknowledge that according to the scriptures, the Jewish Nation of Israel as a whole has been set aside for a time (again, see also Mt. 23:38, Acts 13:46, Rom. 11:11-12, 17, 23, 30-31, etc.) This was even prophesied in Daniel’s 70 week prophecy. We must acknowledge therefore that God HAS given light to the Gentiles.
The scriptures make it absolutely and categorically clear that the apostles repudiated the notion that Gentiles should have to adopt traditional Jewish rites, practices, and observances in order to receive the light of grace, truth, and salvation (see Rom. 2:25-29; Acts 15:1, 5-11, 19-20, 24, 28-29; Gal. 6:12-16; Gal. 3:29; 2 Cor. 3:6; Rom. 8:2; Gal. 2:3-4, 14-16, 19, 21; Col. 2:13, 16, 17; Rom. 14:5-6, etc.). It wasn’t about the “letter” of Torah, it was about the spirit of Torah. In one sense Torah was a depository, and many of it’s teachings were merely object lessons or “shadows” of God’s plan for salvation (Hebrews 10-13; Col. 2:17). Most of the 613 commandments can’t be physically observed today for a number of reasons, including but not limited to the fact that the majority of God’s people are not in the land of Israel, there being no more a temple, etc. Salvation either comes from keeping the law (and therefore all of it must be kept and perfectly (Js. 2:10), or it doesn’t (Rom 3:20). And of course on the opposite extreme, that doesn’t mean we say the law was done away with either (Rom. 3:31, Mt. 5:17-19). It really all comes down to the 10 commandments, upon which the Torah is based, which teach our duty to God and our fellow man, and also the spiritual principles inherent in Torah (Is. 8:20, 1 Jn. 2:4; Rev 14:12). And surely we’re not going to advocate trying to reestablish a theocracy, and start putting people to death who violate Torah as it instructs (Deut. 13:6, 10; 21:18, 21; 22: 21-28, and all of Lev. 20, etc.). Not only would there be virtually no one left if such judgment were carried out with consistency, but above all we must use Yeshua as our ultimate example, who certainly didn’t advocate such a sentence when confronted with the woman caught in adultery (remember, in the most Holy Place the Mercy Seat of the Ark was above the law.) And yet sadly, when properly understood, prophecy does indicate that America (with the world following in her footsteps) will become a theocratic persecuting power in the endtimes, and the Noachide laws will most certainly play a part in that, as most Rabbis are foot-in-foot with the ecumenical movement, and have even been the subject of bills passed by congress in recent times. And God says because of these things they will go into perdition. Because above all God is a God of liberty (2 Cor 3:17), and he only accepts offerings (worship) of freewill. It cannot be a mere coincidence that it was largely from America, founded on religious liberty and freedom of conscious, that the world would evangelized with the gospel, and that would go on to become the most prosperous and evidently blessed nation ever to exist in human history. She’s even identified as a lamb-like nation in prophecy.
So again, it’s all about a proper balance. To insist on a physical observance of the teachings of Torah/Tenakh while spiritualizing away its prophecies is just as unbalanced as saying Torah is done away with. And yet today we have people teaching that if you don’t Call God/Jesus by their Hebrew names He wont even hear your prayers (how unloving the god who be so pedantic?), and there’s even ministries teaching believers need to be literally physically circumcised. These types of doctrines are really the opposite side of the coin, of the equally absurd replacement theology, or notion or that Jews should have to forsake their Jewishness and become gentiles now that we’re in “the church age”. And again, don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% behind the Messianic Movement, and myself embrace Torah, and even believe in literal circumcision, for instance, because of it’s proven health benefits, and desensitizing of the penis which decreases the likelihood of sexual sin. I myself happened to be circumcised, and if and when I have children, they will be circumcised if its a boy. I also seek to eat only those foods God has said are clean, etc. because I believe God as the creator knows what’s not good to be eaten (and proof of this is contained in the fact that in 14th century during the bubonic plague pandemic, the Jews were hardly effected, for which reason they were accused of poisoning the wells, see for instance article How Jewish Law Helped Protect Jews from the Black Death Plague). I’m also 100% for the study of the Hebrew language and concepts, as it’s the basis of the first half of the Bible. But again, it all comes down to balance, and we must also make distinction between the religion, racial, cultural, and other traditions of the Jews, versus those things which are actually based on the scriptures of the Jews, and likewise at that point we must be sure to properly contextualize those things in the Torah/Tenakh to the whole word of God. And of course that doesn’t mean it’s not also wise to have an understanding and to study the traditions of the Jews which are practiced today (which ultimately have their before the time of Yeshua) in order to better understand the those things recorded in the Gospels. But we must also keep in mind the Jews were Messiah’s biggest opponents because of their traditions (Mk. 7:7-9, Mt. 23:13-16, 23-24, etc.). The only thing that is essential is that both the OLD and NEW testaments are received as the WHOLE and COMPLETE Word of God. If both parties did this, then they would be one, regardless of their cultural and other traditions.
All agree God is sovereign. Nothing happens by chance, God works all things according to the counsel of his will (Eph. 1:11). So again, we shouldn’t think it an accident or coincidence that God has chosen chiefly to use the gentile English Bible based on both the Jewish and Greek autographs, to bring the world to knowledge of Salvation through Messiah, the one true God, creator of heaven, earth, and all that in them is.
We must meditate upon why God would allow that for a period of time the Hebrew origins, concepts, and names of the only true religion should be lost site of. Obviously God has allowed this for a purpose. And I believe because A) of the change of dispensation for a period of time, and this to the end of B) provoking the Hebrew/Jewish people to jealously. This can especially be said to be true today, as the gentile believers in Yeshua the Messiah start to embrace the Hebrew roots of their faith like never before.
The Big Picture
I believe that we are at a time now, where we need each other in order to see the big picture. We need to learn from each other, bringing both schools of thought/interpretation and traditions based on scripture together. God has given both Jew and Gentile a piece of the puzzle, in order that it would require our mutual participation, love, respect, and embracing of one another, for us to truly become one in Messiah. If we throw out the Hebrew roots of our faith the teachings of our Jewish Messiah and the rest of the new testament cannot truly be understood at any level of depth. And yet at the same time, if we relegate the gentile expositors and other men through Whom God has chiefly worked and given light for the last 400+ years, we will also miss out on invaluable insights into God’s plan for man and depth of understanding concerning the scriptures, etc. especially as it regards prophecy. And likewise both parties have a rich heritage, music, culture, gifts, and understanding which God has given: in order that we may bless, appreciate, edify, share and appreciate one another. If either party looks upon the other with even the slightest degree of inferiority or contempt we will ultimately fall into a snare whereby actually we rob ourselves of blessings and gifts, and also which spirit leads to imbalance, pride, and ultimately therefore deception.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek….for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.“-Gal. 3:28
As my one Messianic friends says “God must have a sense of humor, he put the answers to understanding the prophetic symbols of the new testament in the old testament, and the answers to understanding the Messianic prophecies of the old testament in the New Testament”. Indeed, the key to an accurate understanding of the intended meaning of scripture is using the old and new testaments together, to interpret one another. If we deem either as being more or less important/central we will ultimately ending up missing pieces pivotal to seeing the bigger picture. Behold the two witnesses!
What a beautifully dramatic and dynamic love affair! Just think of the the volumes the way God has chosen to work speaks about His character. And so shall we conclude with the prophet, as he himself concluded, concerning these very matters:
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.“-Romans 11:33-36
Ok, so now that we’ve covered all of that… lets get back to the subject of second coming and start our journey through the scriptures! You may click here to return and continue where we left off on the initial page.