A "Bible Revelations" Presentation  - Created 2002  -  updated Nov. 12,  2014

Questions & Answers

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Index 

- Should we refrain from using the Sacred Name of God?
-
Do the events at the Baptism of Messiah prove a 'Trinity'?

Is Judaism's Oral tradition as defined in the Talmud and the Mishnah unscriptural?  Are they merely man-made Rabbinical rules?

- Should Messianic believers submit to Rabbinic Oral Torah,  Jewish Halacha and Rabbinic authority?

 

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Q: "Judaism prohibits the uttering, the writing and the proclamation of the Sacred Name of God.  Is the Messianic Sacred Name Movement therefore in error for using it?"

Answer

To answer this question, we need to refer to the Scriptures for its directives.  This is done, not in an effort to prove Judaism in error, for if any theology should have the Truth on such a delicate subject which affects the honour and purity of worship of the Most High, then it would be Judaism.  If therefore, we should indeed find Scriptural support for the use and utterance of the Sacred Name by worshippers, then we would also search for the reasons why Judaism has founded this prohibition, and we would certainly not follow the general trend of accusing them of 'changing the Scriptures' or 'resorting to man-made doctrines'.  We do believe that there is a deeper and more honourable reason.

Exodus 20:7 and Deut. 5:11 are the key Scriptures underlying this prohibition of the use of His Name.  These Scriptures define the 3rd of Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:7
KJV version:  "Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain ..."
Jerusalem Bible:  "You shall not utter the Name of Yahveh your God to misuse it."
David Stern:  "You are not to use lightly the Name of ADONAI your God..."
JW:  "You must not take up the Name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way..."
Rotherham: "Thou shalt not utter the Name of YAHVAH thy Elohim for falsehood."
Dr Koster:  "You do not bring (take) the Name of YHVH your Elohim to nought.."

The generally accepted concept of this Mitzvah (commandment) has come to mean:  "to not take His Name 'in vain'".  But clearly, this is one of those Scriptures (and a vital one as such) where the translators have had a field day.

With all this difference in translations, it is important that we start out from the literal Hebrew text and then get the Scriptures to interpret itself by referring to the other usages in the Hebrew Bible,  of the key term that is used in this text: 'L'shav' (in vain?) .

"Lo      tisah    et        Shem        YHVH           Eloheicha       l'shav ..."
Don't  make    the    Name    (of) YHVH    your God      l'shav

Two words in this sentence, the 2nd and 7th, control the true meaning - and neither of these have forthright, conclusive meanings - hence the great variation in the translations. This, of course, leaves the translators and teachers to be influenced by what they have been told it means, and what they would like to have it confirm!

The only sound and safe guide to use, would be the context of the Scriptures in totality and the usage of these words in other parts of the Bible.  We shall apply this measure in this discussion and review.

tisah - is the command form of the verb 'to make or do'.  It is one of the most common words in Hebrew:  Lo  tisah - As to children: 'Don't do this or that' or 'What are you doing?'

But this verb is also widely used as an auxiliary verb:
- to make a sacrifice;
- to make peace, war, money, an attempt, progress;
- to enforce the law; execute, introduce;
- to create, accomplish, perform;

Young's Concordance summarizes its use in the Tanach (Old Testament) as follows:
- number of times it appears 2429;
- translated into 59 various meanings;
- 1292 times as do;
    631 times as make;
      45 - 50 times each as: deal, commit, execute, keep, offer;
The other 50 meanings are used 1 - 5 times each;
- and only twice as 'take' - and then referring to 'take vengeance, councel').

And yet, it behooved the majority of interpretations of this word in this text, to be translated 'don't take'!

Our first conclusion thus,  'Don't make the Name l'shav...' (as in 'doing with it or to it'),  and not,  "Don't take the Name l'shav ..."

Secondly, L'Shav.  We shall now let the Scriptures interpret the meaning of the Hebrew word  L'Shav from its usage in other places in the Bible.

Exod. 23:1 "You shall not raise a false report".
Deuteronomy 5:20 "Neither shall you bear false witness".
Ezekiel 21:23  "It shall be unto them as a false divination."
Hosea 10:4  "Swearing falsely in making a covenant"
Zech. 10:2  " ... told false dreams."

In applying this meaning to l'shav,  the 3rd Commandment should at this stage of our research be rendered:
"Don't make the Name of YHVH your God false or to be false ...", or
"Don't make the Name of YHVH your God falsehood ..."

L'shav is also rendered 22 times as vanity and 22 times as vain.  These two forms account for 44 of the 50 usages of the word l'shav in the Bible.

The majority of the 22 Scriptures which render vanity, give no indication of its meaning - but it is clearly something which 'God will not hear ...' (Job 35:13) and which we should 'turn our eyes away from.'  (Ps.119:37).  In 2 places it is grouped with 'divining lies'  (Ezek. 13:23; 22:28).

The 22 renderings of  l'shav as 'vain', however, give clear indication of the meaning of 'useless - followed by no good result, without result or success', e.g.. "Except YHVH builds, they labour in vain." (Ps. 127:1).

Applying this meaning of  l'shav to the 3rd Commandment, we then have:
"Don't make the Name of YHVH your God to be in vain ..."
"Don't make the Name of YHVH your God useless, without result ..".

We may therefore quite confidently conclude, that, according to the usage of the word l'shav in the Bible, and together with the verb 'tisah' which is used in conjunction and in reference to the Sacred Name,  the 3rd Command could be interpreted as:  "Don't make the Name of YHVH your God to be false, useless, worthless, without result, a lie"

Exactly the same phrase is also used in Ps. 139:20  "Your enemies take your Name in vain ..."  This has the interesting implication (judging from the context in which it is stated) of these enemies receiving no benefit or result by calling upon His Name - as opposed to what His true followers would benefit by calling on Him by His Name.

If the Mitzvah concerning the Name therefore instructs us:  "do not make His Name worthless", then the question is, do we not make it worthless by withholding it from being proclaimed; by discouraging and prohibiting the use of it and by opposing and routing out the proper and honourable 'Memory' thereof?  Even when we stick to the meaning of 'vain' - it says "Do not make His Name vain / worthless."

No doubt, by slinging the Sacred Name around in discussion, like Sacred Name users have the habit of doing, without caution and proper reverence, the Sacred Name is made worthless. What more if it is written down on paper and the paper is afterwards crumpled and cast in the dustbin; or the T-shirt is used to wipe some vomit off the baby's face! This is where Judaism's respect eigns far superior.

SCRIPTURE  SUPPORTS

THE  USE  AND  PROCLAMATION  OF  THE  SACRED  NAME

How can we ever "take His Name in vain" when Scripture repeatedly inspires us to "call upon His Name and He will hear"?

From the general context of Tanach and from the Scriptures which we will examine hereafter, it seems that His Splendor will,  and should be magnified by proclaiming Him by His Name (Who He truly is) and as to His Purpose (that all nations should know about Him through Israel). Those who will misuse His Name, will do so anyway, even without the specific knowledge of His Name. They will receive their just punishment, more so because they have then more specifically breached Him by Name!.

Please note:  Exodus 6:2.  He is identifying Himself by His Name as the Guarantor of the Divine Promises.  In His opening Words to Moses He introduces Himself by Name.
"God spoke to Moses and said to him: 'I am YHVH.  To Abraham and Isaac and Jacob I appeared as 'God Almighty'.  I did not make Myself known to them by My Name YHVH" (as He is now doing to Moses).

He uses His Name thus, as additional 'support'. or 'guarantee'.
In verse 6 - He instructs Moses to announce Him by His Name to the Israelites,  thereby identifying the One Who will bring them out.  "Say this to the sons of Israel: 'I am YHVH. I will free you from the burdens of Egypt ... I will adopt you as My own People and I will be your God.  Then you shall know that it is I, YHVH your God Who freed you ..."

Would Moses then not have been out of line by withholding His Name from them?

In Exod. 7:5 he determines that by all these Signs, even " ... the Egyptians will come to know that I am YHVH ... Who brings Israel out!"

"How",  we may ask, "will they come to know His Name if Israel does not proclaim it?"

Well Moses did proclaim His very Name, also to Pharaoh, who challenged Moses in Exod. 5:2  "Who is YHVH? I know nothing of YHVH and will not let Israel go!"

Still doubtful whether Moses used His Name?  Exodus ch. 4 relates Moses's arguments against YHVH
- verse 1 "What if the sons of Yisrael will not believe me and say: 'YHVH has not appeared to you.?'" God then uses Moses's staff as a Sign to convince them - by turning it into a serpent, to prove to the sons of Israel something ... What?
- verse 5 "So that they may believe that YHVH ... has appeared to Moses."

Wow!

THE  SACRED  NAME  IS   'HIS MEMORIAL'

We should heed not to make His Name worthless by erasing its Memorial status.   He declares His Name a Memorial, therefore it should stand in memory of, or as a witness to His True Being and His Promises. As we should avoid a worthless witness (Eyd Shav), so, similarly, we should prevent making His Name worthless (lo tisah L'shav) and rather restore it as a Memorial?

It seems that this whole episode of the Exodus from Egypt goes about Who - and by Name, it is Who leads them out.

The revealing of His Name to Moses is documented in Exodus ch 3 - with that emphatic Divine Statement in 3:15 which declares His Sacred Name as 'a Memorial'.  We will have to contend therewith in this question whether His Name should be proclaimed or not:

3:15 b  "PROCLAIM to the sons of Yisrael: YHVH the God of your fathers ... has sent me to you. This is My Name for all time! This is My Zichri (Memorial) for all generations to come!"  The root of the word Zichri refers to Remembrance.

Is it therefore correct that the average Jew today knows precious little about this Remembrance? During and after the Exodus His Name was their Honour! Those Egyptians certainly knew Who it was, by Name, that drowned their elite army in the sea!

Shall we hide His Memorial?  Shall we keep it for Israel only? - if it was good enough for Pharaoh and the Egyptians to know at the time of the miraculous Exodus?

Cautionary Note:

Having said all this regarding Judaism's restriction and caution, we totally and utterly reject the general venomous attitude of non-Jewish sacred Name promoters against this Jewish practice.  We do subscribe to Judaism's supreme respect for the Sacred Name and we do advise those who do utter and write the Name/s to do so with great caution.  The Name should never be uttered in Jewish presence and the displaying of the Sacred Name on T-shirts, clothing, jewelry, stickers, flags etc. is inacceptable. The problem comes when that article containing the Sacred Name needs to be discarded. Judaism takes great care of discarding books that have the Name printed. Imagine the Sacred Name being casted into a trash bin!

Ezekiel ch 20 refers to Israel's long history, starting from the Exodus which we have seen above would identify Him by Name before the Egyptians. In this chapter God repeatedly confirms His concern for the Profanation of His Name by the nations. How would this profanation occur?  This portion of Scripture repeatedly confirms in this chapter:  "If He broke His Promise before the nations in failing to lead Israel out";  or if He destroyed Israel as their deeds in His estimation deserved from time to time in their history (Read! this chapter please!).  "In the End", He promises, "Israel shall bow before Him and He will lead them into the Land".

Verse 44 "Then you will learn that I am YHVH when I treat you as respect for My Own Name requires ..."  This whole chapter (which represents the whole history of Israel) concerns the Honour of His Name. Contrary to the teaching of withholding the proclamation of this His Name, it is His Name, in fact,  which will identify Him to Israel and to the nations (verse 41).

Taking this chapter a step further, to its reference more pertinently to the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel which will be re-identified in the Last Days, it becomes clear that Knowledge of His Name will play a great part in this re-identification process. This re-identification is currently in progress in fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:15. But this is a vast and controversial subject all apart. You may acquaint yourself with a Jewish Orthodox commentator's views, Yair Davidy, at  http://www.geocities.com/hiberi/

That is exactly what the comprehensive contents and context of BIBLE REVELATIONS' Web Site proclaim: to awaken the spirit of re-identification amongst the Ten Tribes of Israel in Dispersion and who, like Ruth in the Bible, wish to make "the God of Israel their God". The only way that this can be achieved, is to educate them on the True Identity of YHVH, the God of Israel and what the requirements (Halachic Torah) is for conforming to His Covenant.

There are today literally millions of Bible students scattered loosely across the world, who are embracing the Covenant of YHVH, step by step.  The last Miraculous fulfillment which remains, is their total re-identification with their estranged 'brother' Judah - which should logically result in formal Conversion to Halachic Judaism.

In that Day the Prophecy of Jeremiah 23:7 will be fulfilled. "See then, the days are coming - it is YHVH Who speaks - when people will no longer say: ‘As YHVH lives Who brought the sons of Israel out of the Land of Egypt!’ but, ‘As YHVH lives Who led back and brought home the descendants of the House of Israel out of the Land of the North and from all the countries to which He had dispersed them, to live on their own soil.’"

Again, not only the Exodus from Egypt will be to the honour and the knowledge of His Name, but more so,  the Ingathering of the TWELVE Tribes from across the earth! Surely, they should know and use His Name to fulfill the literal Proclamation of the above Prophecy: "As YHVH lives!"?

Ezekiel 28:25 "When I gather the House of Israel,  this is how I am going to display My Holiness in the sight of the nations: They (the fully restored House of Israel - all 12 tribes?) will live on the soil.  Then men will learn that I am YHVH their God."

THERE  IS  POWER  IN  HIS  NAME

Scripture relates the prophet Elijah's challenge of the Baal priests before the people, when he calls on God by Name to outwit them and prove their god inferior.

1 Kings 18:21 "Elijah stepped out in front of all the people ... 'If YHVH is God, follow Him - if Baal (the Lord), follow him."

To an audience of 'all the Israelites' and 450 Baal prophets, the prophet uses the Sacred Name of God to identify the One Only True God, in a challenge to the pagans.
Verse 24 - "You must call on the name of your God and I shall call on the Name of mine.  The God who answers in fire, is God indeed ..."

"They called on the name of Baal, 'O Baal, answer us ... but there was no answer'

Verse 36  "Then Elijah stepped forward: 'YHVH God of Israel, let them know today that You are God in Israel .. answer me YHVH, answer me, so that these people may know that You, YHVH,  are God.  Then the fire of YHVH fell and consumed the holocaust ... When all the people saw this, they fell on their faces: 'YHVH is God, YHVH is God!'"

Undeniable proof of the power in calling upon God by His Name.

SCRIPTURE  COMMANDS  US  TO
"SWEAR  BY  HIS  NAME"

Deut. 6:13  "You are to fear YHVH your God, serve Him and swear by His Name."  (Also Deut.10:20).

Then we also have the following prohibition:
Lev. 19:12  "Do NOT swear by My Name falsely, which would be profaning the Name of your God."  Thus, not the use of the Name, but the swearing falsely which profanes it.

We have a practical example in Scripture in Joshua 9:1-20 of Joshua taking such an Oath (verse 19) and refusing to break it for fear of YHVH's Anger falling on them.

In Jer. 12:14 - 16 YHVH personally expresses His Will that other nations should learn from Judah and 'Swear by His Name'.

Gen. 24:3  Abraham made his Servant swear "by YHVH God of Heaven'.

Daniel 12:7 The Angel swore by "Him that liveth for ever."

Christians maintain that Messiah contradicted that Mitzvah by saying that we should not swear an oath at all (Matth. 5:34).

Messiah though, was not changing Torah.  He was standing behind the Oral traditions that had developed.  The Talmudic sages had long discussions about this Mitzvah and determined that we could swear by Adonai's Name, but in so doing we might swear falsely and then we would have misused the Name. Then, we would have broken two Mitzvot -- one of which demanded the death penalty.  To prevent ourselves from falling to this much greater violation of Torah, it was decided that we should not swear at all using Adonai's Name -- even though the   Torah had given us permission to do so. Messiah simply upheld that Rabbinical ruling. The Jewish sages also forbade the taking of oaths in HaShem's Name, lest the entire world be brought to destruction by the sinners who swear falsely. (Hilchos Shavuos 11:13).

The Command of Torah regarding 'swearing by His Name', should be understood in its correct context.  Just as the Messiah's directives in this connection should be understood in its correct context.  Matt 15 confirms that Messiah, far from annulling the Torah (as modern Churches and even most Messianics claim), actually confirmed Torah and even emphasised its implication, eg.  murder is even being angry with someone (verse 21);  and adultery is even looking with lust (verse 28).

If we apply this same emphasis to the Mitzvah of taking an oath, then Messiah's directive here is that we should not need to 'swear by His Name', but simply let our 'yes' be yes.  This does NOT do away with the Mitzvah - neither does it
prohibit the using of His Name.

When we apply Messiah's emphasis on the use of the Name, it automatically excludes and prohibits any misuse or even casual use of the Name.  In worship though, it is powerful.  In Proclamation of the One True Faith and its God, it is
vital!

How shall they worship Him and praise Him if they dont even know His Name?

Ps. 145:21  "Let every creature bless His Holy Name for ever and ever."

SCRIPTURE  COMMENDS  US  TO
"CALL  UPON  HIS  NAME"

Checking through the hundreds of texts in the Tanach ('Old Testament') which refer to 'calling on the name of someone',  it is blatantly obvious that these Scriptures literally mean just that:  to call upon someone by his/her name.  Why then should it be different when it refers to "Calling on the Name of YHVH?"

Jeremiah 33:2 "YHVH Who made the earth, Who formed it and set it firm - YHVH is His Name - says this:  'Call to Me and I will answer you ...'"
 

Isaiah 12:4  "Give thanks to YHVH - call His Name aloud.  Proclaim His deeds to the nations, declare His Name sublime.  Sing of YHVH, for He has done marvelous things - let it be known to the whole world!".

Recommended additional reading:
Notes on the Sacred Name - Why has the Sacred Name been removed from the Bible?
God or Elohim?- Should we refrain from using the Title of 'God' and use 'elohim' only?

Click here to return to:
Index of Questions  & Answers
Main Page
On-Site Library which acts as a Site Map to the different subjects

 


Q: "During the baptism of Messiah, YHVH' Voice came down from heaven and said that YAHU'SHUAH is His Son;   the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a Dove and rested on Messiah. This is used by Trinitarians to prove that there are 'three different persons existing simultaneously and they are all One'.  Can you explain how the Oneness doctrine responds?

Answer

The Trinity theory does proclaim
- that God is One
- that Messiah is God.
Yet, in essence, it denies these two main issues.

So, where does it go wrong?

In proclaiming that;
- Messiah is not also the Father, neither the Holy Spirit
- that the Holy Spirit is a Personage
- that there are 3 distinct different Persons in the Godhead who are co-equal and co-eternal.  Refer the Athanasian Creed

Confusing, certainly!  But your quoted problematic event of the Baptism provides the answer:
- If the Holy Spirit is a 'Person,' co-equal with the Father and the Son, how come a dove appears?
How can the Holy Spirit be a Dove?
And if the Father appeared at the Baptism, the attending crowd  would have shriveled up - as God warned Moses at His Appearance at Sinai to keep the people away from the mountain.

Let us look at the NT reference to this event:

Matthew 3:16  "And YAHU'SHUAH, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the Heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, (Luke 3:22  ... in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him."

We have here a perfect example here of the 'manifestability' of God.  God in essence is a Spirit Being (John 4:24) and as such has omnipresence.  At the Baptism, that One Selfsame God was baptized in His Human form in the river, while He spoke from Heaven and appeared also as a manifested Dove.  In order to understand His manifestability, imagine in addition, that God was also a bystander in the form of a human being - just as He appeared as 'An Angel' (not with wings, but a normal human Being!) in Genesis to Hagar,  and as three men unto Abraham, etc.  (Refer to the 4 lesson Bible Course for several such recorded manifestations).

You may also test the spirit of Trinitarians in the following way:  They admit that Messiah is God.   Ask them how their spirit reacts to the thought that Messiah could be the One on the Throne?  Many of them would object.  Thus, they admit that He is God, but they do not like to see Him on the Throne!  This makes 2 Gods, if indeed they recognize Him as God - one superior and one subservient to the other. This is unscriptural!

The Key to this complicated issue lies in His omnipresence and manifestability.  While He is omnipresent in Spirit, He can manifest Himself in whatever form or forms He wishes.  These manifestations are not 'co-equal gods',  but are just that - the Manifestations of the One True God YHVH.  In becoming Messiah, He went one step further and manifested Himself by way of a seed in the womb of Miriam the Hebrew woman, in order to become perfect human being, so that no-one in the Judgment could confront Him as being unfair, for not having experienced humanity with all its temptations and failings Himself!

So yes, the Trinity teaching proclaims, from one side of the mouth, the truth, but from the other side of the mouth the greatest blasphemy and insult against God and His Messianic Manifestation.

Trusting that this clarifies the issue for you somewhat.  The ultimate understanding is based on a Revelation which only He can give - and He is willing to give it to all who sincerely wish to obtain it and honour Him accordingly:
Matt 11:27  "No one knows the Son except the Father ... and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him."

Recommended additional reading:
Several studies on the Oneness concept as proclaimed in Scripture

 


Q: "Is Judaism's Oral tradition as defined in the Talmud and the Mishnah unscriptural?  Are they merely man-made Rabbinical rules?"
 

The Oral Tradition

by Rabbi Chaim Richman

Excerpt from: The Mystery of the Red Heifer

Special Study selected for its erudite content

The author of this essay has no association whatsoever with BIBLE REVELATIONS and may not endorse any or all of the views as expressed in the Pages of this Web Site.
Similarly, BIBLE REVELATIONS may not agree with all the views expressed in the author's essay or Web Site.

SOURCE:  http://www.lttn.org/oraltradition.html

© 1997 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved

One of the most important foundations of Jewish faith is the belief that God gave Moses an oral explanation of the Torah along with the written text. This Oral Tradition was given directly by God at the Revelation of Mount Sinai. We are taught that when Moses was with God for forty days and forty nights (Ex. 24:18), the Holy One taught him a set of rules and principles of the Torah which could be applied to every eventuality and situation that could arise in the course of time. God also revealed to Moses all the details of how the commandments should be observed. Among these, He revealed many things which would not be used until much later. While Moses was on the mount, God taught him the Written Torah during the day, and the Oral Torah at night. This is how Moses was able to distinguish between day and night while he was with God, since "Moses entered the cloud where the Divine was revealed" (Ex. 20:18).

Thus when we speak of the Torah, we actually refer to "two" Torahs, which are one and the same: the Written Torah, known as the Tanach (from the acronym of the Torah-the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings, sometimes called the Old Testament) and the Oral Torah. Both are alluded to in God's words to Moses: "Come up to Me to the mountain, and I will give you the Torah and the commandments" (Ex. 24:12).

This provides the explanation for the many, many instances where the Torah refers to details which are not included in the written text - as if we must be aware of these details from some other source. These details can all be found in the Oral Tradition. We shall see that in this manner many of the details pertaining to the red heifer are recorded in the Oral Tradition.

Some Other Important Examples:

The Bible states "You shall slaughter your cattle...as I have commanded you" (Deut. 12:21), which clearly implies that there is a commandment concerning ritual slaughtering. In fact, these rules comprise one of the most complicated areas of Jewish law. Yet the details concerning ritual slaughtering, the kosher method of killing animals by which Jews are permitted to eat meat, are nowhere to be found in the written text...for it is an oral commandment.

Similarly, complicated observances such as tzizit (fringes-see Num. 15:38) and tefillin (phylacteries - Deut. 6:8) are given in the Biblical verses, but no instructions for their fulfillment are listed. These details, too, were commanded and clarified within the framework of the Oral Tradition.

Even the most basic cornerstone of Jewish life, the Sabbath, does not receive any clarification within the written text as to just how it is to be kept. Yet the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments! This is why God said, "You shall keep the Sabbath holy, as I have commanded your fathers..." (Jer. 17:22) - meaning, as I have commanded them in the Oral Tradition.

The Oral Tradition and the Tanach are Equally Divine

The Jewish people depend on the Oral Tradition for the interpretation of the Torah. Indeed, as we have illustrated above, the Bible simply cannot be understood without it. These examples show that the written text could even be perceived as being defective unless it is supplemented by the information contained in the Oral Tradition. This is why believing in the Divine source of the Oral Tradition is so important for the Jewish people...for if it is denied that this tradition is God-given, this can lead to the denial of the Divine origins of the written text as well. Thus, if one does not believe in the Oral Tradition, he is regarded as one who does not accept any aspect of the Torah.

Originally, this tradition was meant to be transmitted by word of mouth only, throughout the ages. It was always handed down from master to student. Since the time of Moses, it had been passed down in this manner in every generation. This process ensured that this information was transmitted in a clear manner. Any student who had a question was always able to ask, as opposed to studying from a text which is only written-it can always be misinterpreted.

The Oral Tradition is Committed to Writing

However, during the era of the Roman empire, decrees were passed which forbade teaching the Jewish faith and spreading knowledge of the God of Israel. The great sages of Israel were persecuted, tortured and killed for the crime of teaching. At this time, it was feared that all those who possessed this knowledge would perish, and it was decided that the traditions could be committed to writing. This vast body of information was compiled and preserved in the Talmud and Midrashim, but this entire area of knowledge is still referred to as the Oral Tradition.

Historical Background: Pharisees and Sadducees

During the era of the Second Temple, the influence of apostasy began to make inroads in Israel. The mainstream Pharisees (who held fast to the Oral Tradition of Bible interpretation) were opposed by the cult of the Sadducees. The former upheld the performance of the commandments as they were received by Moses at Mount Sinai, and passed down through every subsequent generation by the people of Israel. The Sadducees did not accept the traditions of Sinai; by opposing the Oral Tradition, they rebelled against God Himself-for it was He, in His ultimate wisdom, who decreed that this process should keep the Torah alive and bind it steadfast to His people through every generation and circumstance.

Instead, the Sadducees cut themselves off from this body of tradition, and translated and interpreted the Bible in a very literal sense. Thus, a classic example of the difference between the two groups is their opposing interpretation of the famous verse "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand..." (Ex. 21:24). The Sadducees interpret this verse, which deals with payment for personal damages, in a literal sense. However, the Pharisees received a tradition from Moses that these words are meant idiomatically and not literally-that is, full monetary compensation must be made for the loss caused by these injuries.

The Sadducees also denied the belief that there will be a resurrection of the dead, since this important principle of Jewish faith is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, but only alluded to; like other interpretations of the Pharisees, it too is included in the Oral Tradition.

While the Pharisees could be considered the true guardians of authentic Judaism-for their influence has kept adherence to the true Biblical ways alive amongst the Jewish people to this very day-the Sadducees sought ways to undermine the former's influence, and to establish customs and practices of their own making. Because many of these men came from aristocratic families, there were periods when they succeeded in infiltrating the Sanhedrin, where they deliberately enacted legislation that changed the accepted customs which had been practiced for generations.

Additional reading on this subject on this Web Site:
Is God Jewish?

 

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Q: "Should Messianic believers submit to Rabbinic Oral Torah,  Jewish Halacha and Rabbinic authority?"

 

What do we mean that Messianics, Ten Tribers and Hebraic Roots Restorers  should return to Jewish Halachah and Rabbinic authority?

Let us give an example to illustrate:

In our English translations of the Torah we read, "And you shall write them (the Laws. Mitzvot) upon the doorposts of your house, and on your gates" (Deut 6:9).

How do we do this particular Commandment? This is what Halachah relates to, the issue of how to actually keep or observe ("do") a specific Commandment. The Torah mentions numerous Commandments (and most in very brief form). Halachah is the body of Jewish law that explains how these Commandments play out in day to day life. The word "halachah" actually comes from the Hebrew word "halach" meaning "to walk." It can go together with "ha-derech" which means "the way." Put the two together, and you get, "to walk the way."

To continue the example from Deut 6:9, if you ask Messianic folk how they  observe this particular Commandment, we'll come up with all kinds of interesting ideas (or no idea at all, just a blank stare that says, "Huh?"). Do we get a laser out and engrave all the words of the Torah on our doorposts? If not all the words, which ones are we to write on them? On what material do we write them? Which doorposts do we put them on? All doorposts, or only some? Where do we put it on our doorposts? On the bottom, next to our feet, or way above our head, or at eye level? Can we use photocopies of what is written or must they be originals? etc. All of these questions have already been asked and answered over the centuries. We can ask them---which we should---but the answers exist already in Jewish Law, i.e. the Halachah.

Sadly, most Messianics (Ephraimites, Ten Tribers) think that they are sufficiently knowledgeable in Torah to answer these questions themselves, and so by rejecting "Jewish Oral Torah" they generate their own "oral Torah." The common thought is that since they know who the Messiah is, they should be able to interpret Torah according to their own understanding. Their mantra seems to be the age old expression of rampant self-expression and independence, "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes." But this approach, does not produce a nation.

Did YAHU'SHUAH specifically say anything about this important question? Yes, He did. Even though He observed some serious hypocrisy with some of the Scribes and Pharisees (i.e. doing things before man, rather than before YHVH, and teaching others but not observing it themselves), He said, "The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you to observe, that observe and do; but don't do after their works: for they say, and do not" (Matt 23:2-3). This is a very strong statement supporting adherence to orthodox Rabbinic authority and Jewish Halachah.

 

Again, in Mathew 5:17, He states:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (Torah) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Torah until everything is accomplished. 19  Anyone who breaks one of the least of these Commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these Commands, will be called great in the Kingdom of heaven."

 

And in Math. 5:20

"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."


Now, we may have numerous responses to this statement of YAHU'SHUAH. Here are three: (1) ignore it, (2) convince ourselves that He did not mean this at all, or (3) accept it as true and commit our lives to it.

Realizing that there has always been numerous ways to read the Torah and that there would be no end to self-guided approaches to Halachah, YAHU'SHUAH  gave His disciples an easy to understand and simple method to avoid all of the contention and strife.

Nevertheless, much of this will still be highly irrelevant to many of us as long as we continue in the spirit of Jeroboam, meeting in separate houses of worship from the Jewish people and generally, just doing our own thing. The spirit of division, strife, and aloofness are all works of the flesh.

This is one of the last bastions for Hebraic Rstorers to get over in their return as the prodigal son, and get over it they must. For the sake of unity, harmony, and reconciliation, for the sake of YHVH, for the sake of the consolation of Zion, for the sake of Jerusalem; for the sake of Messiah, it is time to follow up on YAHU'SHUAH's Commandment without further delay.

YAHU'SHUAH said, "Salvation is of the Jews." John 4:22.  He did not say, "Salvation is of the Christians" or "Salvation is of the Messianic Ephraimites."
 

Additional reading on this subject on this Web Site:
Is God Jewish?

Is the Oral Torah unscriptural?

 

Related studies on Other Web Sites

The Oral Torah vs. Replacement Theology - A Guide for Returning 10-Tribers

 

 


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