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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Jehovah's Witnesses & blood transfusions

As of the writing of this article the Watchtower teaches:
"The Bible commands that we not ingest blood. So we should not accept whole blood or its primary components in any form, whether offered as food or as a transfusion."
I said "as of the writing of this" as the Watchtower stance has changed over time, and could change back in the future as they have with the "superior authorities" of Romans 13:1.
The Governing Body claims to base their belief on blood from three scriptures.

1) "Genesis 9:4. God allowed Noah and his family to add animal flesh to their diet after the Flood but commanded them not to eat the blood. God told Noah: 'Only flesh with its soul—its blood—you must not eat.' This command applies to all mankind from that time on because all are descendants of Noah."
They correctly recognize that this is about eating animal blood. However the last sentence is fallacious reasoning. For example all people are descendants of Noah and God told Noah:
"Make an ark of cyprus timbers for yourself."
Genesis 6:14
Hence this command to build an ark applies to all mankind right? Clearly not. If God has a command for all people he will make that clear another way.

2) Leviticus 17:14. “You must not eat the blood of any sort of flesh, because the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood. Anyone eating it will be cut off.” God viewed the soul, or life, as being in the blood and belonging to him. Although this law was given only to the nation of Israel, it shows how seriously God viewed the law against eating blood.
They correctly recognize it is regarding eating animal blood, and that it is a command to Israel under the old covenant.

3) Acts 15:20. “Abstain . . . from blood.” God gave Christians the same command that he had given to Noah. History shows that early Christians refused to consume whole blood or even to use it for medical reasons.
Let's get the context before I comment on the Watchtower's conclusion.
James told the apostles and elders:
"Therefore my judgment is that we don't trouble those from among the nations who turn to God, but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood. For Moses from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."
Acts 15:19-21
Here James called for the nations under the new covenant to abstain from certain things, because abstaining from such was taught in the synagogues.
No citation is provided on early Christians refusing to use blood for medical reasons, but the issue is on transfusions which were not performed until centuries later, hence why scripture does not mention such.

The Watchtower argues that scripture does mention transfusions implicitly, hence they argue the following:
"If a doctor told you not to drink alcohol, would you inject it into your body? Of course not! In the same way, the command not to eat or drink blood means that we would not accept a blood transfusion."
One glaring problem is that scripture is referring to animal blood and not that of man, which the Watchtower reads into scripture.
The reason why Israel was commanded to not eat blood is found in Leviticus 17 where Yahweh told Moses:
"Any man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who live as foreigners among them, who eats any kind of blood, I will set my face against that soul who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life. Therefore I have said to the children of Israel, 'No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who lives as a foreigner among you eat blood."
Leviticus 17:10-12
So the reason was because the blood was given to make atonement for them. Such was a shadow of Christ who was the atoning sacrifice for the transgressions of the world (1 John 2:2).
The blood of man never atoned, but rather the blood of God.
"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."
Acts 20:28
On a side not the Greek does not read "one" or "Son" to make the purchaser someone other than God.
Nevertheless the blood of animals points to the reality fulfilled in blood of the Lamb.
"...They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Revelation 7:14
Originally the Watchtower understood Acts 15:29 to be merely about eating blood:
"He further suggested writing to them merely that they abstain from pollutions of idols, i.e., from meats offered to idols (verse 29), and from things strangled and from blood - as by eating such things they might become stumbling blocks to their Jewish brethren (See 1 Cor. 8:4-13)- and from fornication."
Watchtower Nov 15th 1892, page 350
While the Watchtower claims to be a Spirit led organization, it was not until July 1951 that they claimed blood transfusions were contrary to God's commands.
Aside from this the Watchtower currently allows people to receive fractions of blood, when earlier they said such was forbidden.

This article could be a lot longer going into the Watchtower's ever changing teachings on blood, but this video is just to focus on how scripture says nothing about blood transfusions, but rather animal blood and what it is a shadow of.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Hebrew Israelites & the gospel

Hebrew Israelites & the gospel
By Shawn Cahill

What is the gospel of the Hebrew Israelites?
First of all not all Hebrew Israelites believe the same thing, but I'm going to speak on a gospel presentation provided from some of them.
Let's jump into the scriptures they used to explain the gospel as they interpreted it. 

It should be noted that while the video I watched is titled "Sabbath Class: What is the Gospel?" they often went off topic reading other scriptures which are not on the subject. I mention this because it was a struggle trying to see if the scriptures they brought up were trying to be tied to the gospel, or something else. Since the class was two and half hours it's obvious that they didn't need that much time to explain what the gospel is. They also brought up a lot of scriptures that are unnecessary repetitions.

They began with Matthew 3:1-2.
"In those days, John the Baptizer came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"
As I will show there are various parts of the gospel, and so far they are correct in that the gospel includes repenting of wickedness.
In Acts 14:15 Paul and Barnabas told a multitude of people sacrificing to them:
"Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the sky and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them;"
So yes one cannot turn to God while holding unto wickedness.

Next they went to Matthew 3:11-12.
"I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire."
Yes John told those under the old covenant to repent of wickedness before coming in faith to the Lord. Though a wrong assumption is made that all the old covenant law carries over into the new covenant.
In 1 Corinthians 9:20-21 Paul said:
"To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law."
So Paul was under law toward Christ, or what James calls the "law of freedom" (James 2:12). Multiple times Paul said how the saints are not under the law, but here he had to counter the false accusation of being lawless.

Next they went to Luke 1:68-71.
"Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and worked redemption for his people; and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old), salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;"
Salvation from enemies is indeed part of the gospel as it says in Luke 3:16-18.
"John answered them all, 'I indeed baptize you with water, but he comes who is mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire, whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Then with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people,"
Though an underlying issue with their interpretation is that God's people is only referring to the twelve tribes. When John baptized and preached he wasn't checking to see if those who came forward were of Israel, but rather if they were repentant.

Next they went to Luke 4:18.
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed,"
Here they point out how Jesus was reading from Isaiah and then go Isaiah 61 and read past the portion that Jesus quoted all the way to verse 6, when Jesus stopped in the middle of verse 2.
They do this so they can associate the following with the gospel.
Isaiah 61:5-6 read:
"Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of Yahweh; men will call you the ministers of our God: you will eat the wealth of the nations, and you will boast in their glory."
They interpret this as them having slaves, and having supremacy over those they consider to be the nations.
Isaiah 61:1 mentions the gospel, but it's an error to take anything after that and try to include that in the gospel when that wasn't the authors intention.
In Luke 4:19-21 it continues from what Jesus went on to say:
"and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.' He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, 'Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
If having slaves and supremacy over the nations is part of the gospel than Jesus said that was fulfilled in that day, but that obviously wasn't fulfilled. Hence that was not Isaiah or Luke's intention.

Next they went to Matthew 11:4-5.
"Jesus answered them, 'Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them."
They claimed that the gospel includes healing. The gospel does include healing, but that is not gotten out of this scripture, but rather is read into it.
The problem is this scripture doesn't explain what the gospel is but merely says "the poor have good news preached to them". The only thing we can learn about the gospel here is that it is something that is preached.

Next they went to Acts 2:38-41.
"Peter said to them, 'Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.' With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, 'Save yourselves from this crooked generation!' Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls."
They interpreted this as being baptized through the word, basically turning from sin and obeying the old covenant law.
This does not explain what the gospel is, but it is related in that it describes how one receives the gospel. Though as shown earlier this is regarding the new covenant, hence the law is the law of freedom and not that of the old covenant.

They brought up Romans 7:7.
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? May it never be! However, I wouldn't have known sin, except through the law. For I wouldn't have known coveting, unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."
They brought this to show how their people are ignorant of the law.
Assuming this scripture is about their people this may be partially true, but is not the intention of Paul here.
Rather Paul is explaining how the purpose of the law is to show people their sin.
Paul explains this in Galatians 3:23-25.
"But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, confined for the faith which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
So the purpose of the law is not to justify someone, but to show them their sin and thus need of the savior, who saves all those who come to him in faith.

Next they went to Matthew 1:21.
"She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins."
They interpreted this as showing that the gospel is for those of Israel who have faith, which is true. Though they err when they assume that it's not for believers of other nations.
In Romans 1:16 Paul said:
"For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek."
So the gospel is for the Jew and the Greek, not the Jew and the Israelites scattered amongst the nations.

Next they went to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
"Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures"
They correctly interpreted this as Christ having died for sin, being buried, and then resurrected. Though they wrongly interpreted the word "our" to be in reference to the twelve tribes of Israel.
1 Corinthians 1:1-2 says who Paul wrote to:
"Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, to the assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours:"
Corinth was hardly a city inhabited exclusively by Israelite tribes, so as was established earlier the gospel is for all people because Christ died for all people.

Next they went to Ephesians 2:8-12.
"for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them. Therefore remember that once you, the nations in the flesh, who are called 'uncircumcision' by that which is called 'circumcision,' (in the flesh, made by hands); that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world."
They interpreted this to teach that "the nations" is referring to Israel, and they are saved by Christ and keeping the old covenant commands, and that such is a gift.
This does not explain what the gospel is, but it is related in that it describes how one is saved.
First of all Israel was not "strangers from the covenants".
In Romans 9:4 Paul said:
"For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers' sake, my relatives according to the flesh, who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service, and the promises;"
Here Paul referred to unsaved Israelites who had possession of the covenants,  so "the nations" he mentioned in Ephesians are the non-Israelites who had faith in Christ.
Second works of the law are not a requirement for being saved in addition to faith in Christ.
In Galatians 5:1-4 Paul said:
"Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace."
Paul was addressing people who believed in Christ and thought keeping the commands was necessary to being saved along with faith in Christ. He shows how trying to obey the whole law only brings bondage and thus death, unlike Christ who brings liberty and life.
And lastly they are correct that being gracefully saved by faith is a gift, but if one has to work for something is not of grace as Paul said in Romans 11:6.
"And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work."

The Hebrew Israelites get a lot of the gospel correct, but the few things they get wrong unfortunately turn their message into what scripture calls "another gospel".
"I am amazed that so quickly you are deserting from the One having called you in the grace of Christ to another gospel, which is not another, except there are some who are troubling you and are desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel out of heaven should preach a gospel to you contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let him be accursed!"
Galatians 1:6-8
When someone adds or takes away from the gospel, that message then becomes another gospel.

Before I address what these Hebrew Israelites added to gospel, let's share some things they failed to mention.
Paul said in Galatians 3:8.
"And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed."
So part of the gospel is about all nations being blessed through justification, not only the twelve tribes, or the those scattered amongst the nations. Not only is this truth not mentioned, but the complete opposite it taught.
John said in Revelation 14:6-7.
"Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."
Again the gospel is for all people, but here it focuses on worship and glory being directed to God. The focus in the Hebrew Israelite gospel seems to be on them being exalted and having slaves, rather than on the saints being slaves of the Lord and worshipping him.

The one thing I see Hebrew Israelites adding to the gospel is works in addition to faith.
They appear to conflate repentance with works, but these are two different things.
In Acts 26:19-20 Paul told Agrippa:
"Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the nations, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance."
So repentance comes before works.
In John 6:26-29 Jesus told a multitude of people:
"...Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. Don't work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him.' They said therefore to him, 'What must we do, that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."
Jesus was asked about what works the people must do to have eternal life, and he said to "believe in him", not believe in him and obey the law statutes and commandments.

If you are a Hebrew Israelite, please understand you have done wickedness (Ecclesiastes 7:20) and are guilty before God (Romans 3:19). The Father provided a way for you to be reconciled to him (2 Corinthians 5:18-19), and that is through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son. Your blood is irrelevant to your being reconciled (John 1:13), but rather if you are willing to repent and turn to God (Mark 1:15). Don't rely on your own righteousness, but rather humble yourself and submit to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3) which comes freely to those who receive Christ. Then once you get saved, do you best to obey the law of freedom under the new covenant (James 2:12), not to stay saved, but out of gratitude to God for his mercy toward you (Hebrews 12:28).

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Hebrew Israelite interpretation of Matthew 15:24

Hebrew Israelite interpretation of Matthew 15:24
By Shawn Cahill

Matthew 15:24 reads:
"But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
All quotations will be from the King James Version as Hebrew Israelites are often fond of using the KJV.
Some Hebrew Israelite's have interpreted this scripture to mean that Christ was only sent as savior for the nation of Israel.
How do they arrive at this conclusion? Perhaps they are ignorant of all the scriptures expressing salvation for all nations, or they have a presupposition they read into scripture to get around salvation being for all people.
Let's go through the scriptures some Hebrew Israelites have used to support their belief.

Leviticus 26:46 says:
"These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses."
Yes Yahweh gave statutes and judgments and laws to Israel, but this says nothing in regards to excluding other nations from salvation. Unless the belief is that salvation comes by obeying such, and if so God disagrees, where in Galatians 2:16 it says:
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
So doing the works of the law is not what will save a person, but rather faith in Christ.

Next in Deuteronomy 7:6 Moses told Israel:
"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."
Yes Yahweh chose Israel above all people, but this is not speaking of salvation. So what did God choose Israel for? Well the verse says "to be a special people unto himself".
Not all Israel was saved as Paul wrote of a remnant in Romans 11:5-7:
"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded"
While God desires all of Israel to be saved, only a remnant of them will be.

Next Amos 3:2 says:
"You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."
Yes God only knew Israel by being in the old covenant with them. The old covenant has nothing to do with salvation, so this scripture should not be linked with salvation. Abraham was not of Israel and yet he was saved as God said in Romans 4:2-3:
"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
Here a man of another nation was justified on account of believing the promise of God.

Next in Matthew 1:21 an angel told Joseph:
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
Yes Jesus will save his people from their sins, but this presupposes that "his people" is an exclusive group that some people cannot enter.
In Isaiah 56:3-7 Isaiah told the people of Judah:
"Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people."
So we see strangers could join themselves to Yahweh and his people under the old covenant.

Next in Acts 13:23 Paul told those in the synagogue:
"Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:"
There's at least two ways this can be explained:
One way is that everyone who has faith in the Lord joins Israel. While this has scriptural support and is a reality, I don't think this is the interpretation here.
The other way is to acknowledge that Jesus is the savior for Israel. Though this scripture says nothing about Jesus excluding other nations from salvation.
In 1 Timothy 4:10 Paul told Timothy:
"For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."
It says "all men", not all men of Israel.

Next Romans 11:1 says:
"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin."
Yes God did not cast away his people, but again this says nothing about excluding other nations from salvation.
Long before the nation of Israel existed, God told Abram:
"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." - Genesis 12:2
It says "all families of the earth", not all families of Israel.

Next Galatians 3:16 says:
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
The breakdown I heard read the part that says "thy seed, which is Christ", and yet claimed the "one" referred to is Israel. The one seed is Christ, and all those who make up his body as he is the head.
In Galatians 3:26-29 it goes on to mention Abraham's seed:
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise."
So anyone who has faith in Christ is Abraham's seed, not Israelites alone.

The last proof text I heard is Hebrews 8:8:
"For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:"
Yes the Lord made the covenant with Israel and Judah, but this scripture says nothing about excluding other nations. The reason why he only mentions Israel and Judah is because of the prior verse:
"For if that first covenant had been without fault, no place would have been sought for a second." - Hebrews 8:7
This is referring to the covenant God made with Israel, so he doesn't mentions other nations as the first covenant was only made with one nation. Aside from that Jeremiah was speaking to people under the old covenant, where individuals had to join Israel, so there would have been no purpose for him to mention other nations.
In 2 Corinthians 3:6 Paul said "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
The word translated as "testament" is the same one translated in Hebrews as "covenant".
So Paul was made a minister of the new covenant, and who was he sent to?
Galatians 2:8 says:
"(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)"
So Jesus sent Paul to the nations, just as the other apostles were in Matthew 28:19:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
They were to teach all nations, not the Israelites scattered amongst the nations.

With all these proof texts out of the way, what is Matthew 15:24 teaching?
Let's get the often neglected context, starting in verse 21:
"Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon."
These were areas belonging to other nations.
Verse 22:
"And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil."
So a Canaanite woman approached Jesus, he did not go to her.
Verse 23:
"But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us."
So Jesus was with his disciples, and the reason he did not answer her is probably revealed in the parallel account in Mark 7:24:
"And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid."
It appears that Jesus was trying to get away from the crowds, and perhaps take a break.
Continuing in Matthew 15:24 where it says:
"But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
The scriptures provided by the Hebrew Israelites prove one thing, and that is that Jesus was sent to Israel during his earthly ministry. I have more to say on this but the context is not yet complete.
Verse 25:
"Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me."
This Canaanite woman recognized Jesus as Lord, and had hope that he would help her. This shows that Jesus was not known for treating those of other nations as many Hebrew Israelites treat those they consider to be non-Israelites.
Verse 26:
"But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs."
As a Canaanite she was not of God's covenant people, and hence dirty as depicted by the word "dogs". Jesus is saying his ability to heal should be given to those who have faith, hence the believers of Israel depicted by the word "children".
Verse 27:
"And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
The Canaanite woman understood Jesus, but still called out in faith for him to show mercy.
Verse 28:
"Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."
John 2:23-25 shows one important thing to know about Jesus:
"Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man."
So Jesus knew what was in this Canaanite woman, but he wanted to display before his disciples that non-Israelites could have faith, and benefit from that faith. Jesus also displayed that he does not reject people just because they come from another nation.

Earlier I mentioned the earthly ministry of Jesus, and this is because his ministry continued through his apostles.
Acts 1:1 says:
"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,"
So after Jesus ascended to Heaven he continued to do things and teach through the apostles and other people whom God breathed his word through.
In John 10:16 Jesus told the Pharisees:
"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
So Jesus would bring other sheep that were not of the fold of the Jews, but all who believed would be one fold.
In Acts 9:15 Jesus told Ananias this about Saul:
"Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:"
So Paul was sent to preach Jesus before the children of Israel and the nations, not the Israelites scattered amongst the nations.

In conclusion we have to look at everything in scripture, and not isolate particular scriptures and read things into them. During his earthly ministry Jesus did not go and teach the nations, but he did later through his disciples.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

What is forgiveness?

What is forgiveness?
By Shawn Cahill

The English word forgive comes from the Old Saxon word fargeban. It also appears as a translation choice in both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.
To get a good understanding let's start with the Hebrew.
In the King James Version five different Hebrew words are sometimes translated as forgive (or forgiveness).
The word most often translated as forgive is sālaḥ [H5545].
The first use of this word is in Exodus 34:9 where Moses told Yahweh "O Lord,' he said, 'if I have indeed found favor in Your sight, my Lord, please go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our iniquity and sin, and take us as Your inheritance." - Berean Study Bible
This was right after God said regarding himself "maintaining loving devotion to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. Yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished; He will visit the iniquity of the fathers on their children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." Exodus 34:7
So the idea is that even though God had the right to do way with Israel, he was asked to not do so. This is why verse 9 in the KJV reads "pardon" instead of forgive.
Next in Numbers 30:5 Moses told the heads of the tribes "But if her father disallow her in the day that he hears, none of her vows, or of her bonds with which she has bound her soul, shall stand: and Yahweh will forgive her, because her father disallowed her." - World English Bible
Making a vow was not a transgression, so here "forgive" can also be understood as releasing, specifically the woman from her vow.

Now unto the Greek.
The word most consistently translated as forgive is charizomai [G5483].
The first use of this word is in Luke 7:21 where it says about Jesus "In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits; and to many who were blind he gave sight."
Here charizomai is translated as "gave" which depicts a kindness shown to those who did not deserve such.
Next in Luke 7:42 Jesus told Simon "When they couldn't pay, he forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him most?"
Here a lender released some of his debtors from the debt.

You may notice above I said "The word most consistently translated as forgive is..."
The reason I said this is because there is a different Greek word most often translated as forgive, but not consistently. This word is aphiēmi [G863], which in the KJV is translated as "forgive" 47 times, and "leave" 52 times. 
All this is mentioned to show that the words translated as "forgive" have multiple ways they can be understood and must be determined by the immediate context, and scripture as a whole.

Before moving on it's important to know the difference between remission and forgiveness.
Remission is the cancelation of a debt, while forgiveness is releasing one from a debt. One can be released from a debt because it was cancelled, but also if it isn't cancelled. So while the two are related, there is a clear distinction between them.
Hebrews 9:22 says "According to the law, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission."
Some translations say "apart from shedding of blood there is no forgiveness", but this is not true for the following reason.
Leviticus 5:11-13 says "But if he can't afford two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he shall bring his offering for that in which he has sinned, the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, neither shall he put any frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. He shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it as the memorial portion, and burn it on the altar, on the offerings of Yahweh made by fire. It is a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin that he has sinned in any of these things, and he will be forgiven..."
Under the old covenant sacrificial system the debt could be cancelled and person forgiven, but the sin was never taken away from the individual.
Hebrews 10:4 says "For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins."
Thankfully John the Baptizer said about Jesus "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" - John 1:29
What does one have to do to be forgiven?
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 Yahweh told Solomon "if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
While this is about the nation of Israel, the same applies to unbelievers in obtaining forgiveness through Christ. It simply expresses turning away from wickedness, to the one Lord.
Once one becomes a child of God they have been released from the wrath of God, but they are still subject to chastening as it says in Hebrews 12:6 "For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives."
Jesus spoke about this to his disciples:
"But if you don't forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." - Matthew 6:15
Meaning he would they would not be released chastening, until they repented.
Or as John told his fellow saints "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
So forgiveness of sins is twofold:
First one who is dead in trespasses is released from the wrath of God:
"You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses," - Colossians 2:13
And then a child of God is released from chastening when they repent of any transgressions they may commit.
As ambassadors for Christ we must remember what Paul told his fellow saints:
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:32
This is referring to not holding the transgressions of others against them, as us saints have no power to release people from the wrath of God, this being something God alone does.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Hebrew Israelite interpretation of John 3:16

Hebrew Israelite interpretation of John 3:16
By Shawn Cahill
Last updated: 3/17/21

John 3:16 reads:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
All quotations will be from the King James Version as Hebrew Israelites are often fond of using the KJV.
Some Hebrew Israelite's have interpreted this scripture to mean that "world" is only referring to those who are Israelites.
How do they reach such a conclusion? By leaving the immediate context to commit eisegesis.
The "breakdown" as they call it may differ depending on the particular Hebrew Israelite who offers it. I will respond to breakdown (or precepts) as I heard.
First they went to Psalms 90:2 "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God". 
This is quoted to show that there a difference between the earth and the world. 
While I do agree that there is a difference in this scripture it is not the difference suggested by the Hebrew Israelites, that being that "world" here is referring to a nation. I think "world" is referring to the universe since it describes things such as mountains and the earth.

Next they went to Hebrews 11:3 "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear". 
This is quoted to show that "worlds" means nations. 
However it says the worlds were "framed by the word of God", and this is not how God made the nations. God made the nations through natural procreation. The worlds (or world) was made by God speaking such into existence as is shown in Genesis chapter 1 (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, & 20).

Next they went to Hebrews 7:14 "For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood". 
This is quoted to show that Judah equals Israel. 
While the kingdom of Judah which returned from captivity to the promise land was referred to as Israel, this scripture is merely referring to the "tribe", and not the nation as a whole.

Next they went to Isaiah 45:17 "But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end". 
This is quoted to show a connection with the word "everlasting" in Psalms 90:2, and that Israel is the "world" that will be saved. 
In Psalms 90:2 "everlasting" is in reference to God, while here it is in reference to salvation, so no immediate connection without adding other points. The reliance on the word "world" is sad when one realizes that is not what the Hebrew word "owlam" [H5769] means. The vast majority of the time the word is translated as "ever", in which various translations translate it as "ages", "eternity", "forever", "evermore", & "ever". 
The phrase "world without end" depicts a never ending period, hence why many other translations read as "all eternity", "ages everlasting", "Forever and ever", "evermore", etc.

Finally they went to John 3:1 "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews". 
This is quoted to show that Nicodemus would have known that the word "world" would have been referring to Israel, since he was a Jew himself.
In this story Jesus was probably not speaking to Nicodemus in Greek, but the book of John was written in Greek. We have to consider if the word translated as "world" is used the same in both Greek and Hebrew. Jesus may have spoke Aramaic here, but since Aramaic is similar to Hebrew, and we have no Aramaic scripture to help us on this, we will consider the Hebrew.
The Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek about 30 BC in what is known as the Septuagint. When the Greek is compared between the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament one can see the meaning of the word kosmos changed at some point between 30 BC and AD 45. Only later did the word begin to be used in regards to the nations of the world. 
The question is which possible meaning best fits in John 3:16? Let's consider all meanings, both the former and latter.
I'll start with the meanings used in the Septuagint, substituting the word "world" with the various meanings:
"For God so loved the BEAUTY, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - Doesn't make sense.
"For God so loved the BRACELETS, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - Doesn't make sense.
"For God so loved the CONSTELLATIONS, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - Doesn't make sense.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
"For God so loved the DELIGHT, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - Doesn't make sense.
"For God so loved the GATES, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - Doesn't make sense.
"For God so loved the GLORY, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - Doesn't make sense.
"For God so loved the HOST, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - Everlasting life is not restricted to a host/army.
So all the meanings from the Septuagint don't apply.

Next are the meanings from the New Testament:
"For God so loved the ADORNING, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - Doesn't make sense.
"For God so loved the EARTH, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - The Planet cannot believe in the Son.
"For God so loved the CREATION, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - There is no indication plants and animals believe in the Son.
"For God so loved the WORLD SYSTEM, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - God hates wickedness, so this does not fit.
"For God so loved the PEOPLE, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - This fits, so Nicodemus must have understood this meaning.

Next we must ask which people? All people, or s specific group of people?
To answer this we must consider the context. In verse 3 Jesus told Nicodemus "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
So Jesus brought up "a man" but does not mention a specific group. In verse 4 Nicodemus replied to Jesus" How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"
So Nicodemus did not mention a specific group, but simply used the same wording "a man" as Jesus brought up.
Jesus brings up being born of the Spirit and told Nicodemus he must be "born again", which Nicodemus did not understand. Then is verse 15 Jesus told him "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
The word translated as "whosoever" is also translated as "all", and again Jesus does not mention a specific group. Verse 16 begins with word "For" which directly links it to verse 15.
Hence if Jesus never specified a specific group, there is no reason to apply the word "world" to Israel.
Nicodemus may have had the mistaken view that only Israel could be born of the Spirit, but Jesus refutes that idea in verse 8 where he said "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
If only Israel was able to be saved Nicodemus could find one born of the Spirit, and tell where they came from, that being Israel.
Jesus could have said "For God so loved Israel..." but he did not. Not because he doesn't love Israel, but because he doesn't love Israel exclusively.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Atonement - Does it "satisfy" God's wrath?

Atonement - Does it "satisfy" God's wrath?
By Shawn Cahill

I like the song "In Christ Alone" by Stuart Townend. In the song it says "Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied. For every sin on Him was laid...".
Many people echo what this song says saying things like "Christ has now satisfied God’s wrath" and "God’s wrath is satisfied and propitiated by the perfect sacrifice that Christ makes".
It should be noted that scripture does not explicitly say anything about Christ satisfying God's wrath, but this is claimed to be implicitly taught in God's word.
I was curious where in scripture people God this belief from, so I asked "What scripture teaches that atonement (in and of itself) appeases God's wrath?"
A popular answer was:
1 John 2:2 "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."
Propitiate said to be defined as "appeasement of divine wrath" and "an offering to appease or satisfy an offended party". I did not ask where these definitions were gotten from, but since it was claimed that it means the same thing in Greek, let's go to the Greek.
The word translated as "propitiation" in 1 John 2:2 is hilasmos which is defined as "an appeasing, propitiating" and "the means of appeasing, a propitiation".
So just as the word "propitiation" has multiple definitions, the Greek word "hilasmos" also has multiple definitions. Only one of the definitions has appeasement occurring, with the other definition merely says such is the means of appeasing.

Another answer was the following scriptures together:
2 Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Colossians 1:20 "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."
The idea is that by Jesus being made "sin for us" and having "made peace  through the blood of his cross", the act of atonement in itself has appeased the wrath of God.
In 2 Corinthians 5:21 it doesn't mention any appeasement having occurred, but rather appeasement that is possible for those who "might be made the righteousness of God".
In Colossians 1:20 it should be noted that some translations read "having made peace", while others read "making peace". Both translations are acceptable according to the language, but I believe "making peace" is the correct choice in light on the context. In Colossians 1:21-22 it goes on to say "And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death...". Notice it speaks of people who "were" alienated, hostile in mind, and doing evil deeds, which implies that they are not such anymore. Reconciliation is something that must be received by man (Romans 5:11), hence why Paul and Timothy said "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20). The moment man humbles them self before God they have made peace through the blood of the cross, thus making appeasement.

One final answer I was given is regarding the word "pleased" in the following:
Isaiah 53:10 "Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; He has put him to grief. When you make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, He shall prolong his days, And the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand."
The idea is that if Yahweh was pleased with the death of Jesus upon the cross, his wrath must have been appeased, for how could God be pleased while having wrath?
People can be pleased and have wrath at the same time, so surely such is possible with God. Also God's pleasure was regarding bruising his son, while his wrath is regarding sin, so they are not contradictory.
Also God's wrath still existed with those who eventually believed in Christ, after he was "pleased", which is a perfect segue to the next portion of this article.

Ephesians 2:3 says "among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
Here about AD 63 Paul told his fellow saints how before they were saved they were "children of wrath". But how they could such wrath exist if it was already satisfied by Christ on the cross about AD 33?
This led me to ask "At what point does God's wrath cease to be on an individual?"
The most popular answer I was given was "at faith in Christ", which I believe scripture supports.
Here God's wrath existed, despite it apparently having been satisfied about 30 years earlier. To this query I received the following:
One person suggested that the wrath was satisfied on the cross, but only removed from individuals upon faith.
Another suggested there are two kinds of wrath; one against sin and the other against sinners.

Suggesting God's wrath was satisfied, but is still on an individual seems odd, and since I don't see scripture in context suggesting that God's wrath was satisfied on the cross, I must reject this suggestion.
The other suggestion of two kinds of wrath is an interesting option.
I took a while to study various words translated as "wrath" and "anger" in both Hebrew and Greek, and I always found that wrath was directed at individuals, and not to sin it itself. This wrath was directed at these individuals because they had sinned. Hence I also reject there being two kinds of wrath, one of which was satisfied by Christ on the cross.

The word "satisfy" is not one that is quoted from scripture, so allow me to quote a scripture which I believe shows a truth seen elsewhere.
In 2 Chronicles 12:12 it says about Rehoboam:
"When he humbled himself, the wrath of Yahweh turned from him, so as not to destroy him altogether: and moreover in Judah there were good things [found]."
So here the wrath of God was upon Rehoboam until he humbled them self, and then the wrath was "turned from him".
While this scripture is referring to a temporal wrath, I believe it shows that wrath abides upon people until they humble themselves before God.
Another interesting scripture is Ezekiel 5:13 where regarding Jerusalem it says:
"Then my anger will be spent and I will satisfy my wrath on them, and I will be appeased; then they will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken in My zeal, when I have spent my wrath upon them."
While this scripture is about temporal wrath, it shows how God's wrath was satisfied upon those who sinned.

My conclusion is atonement has never satisfied God's wrath. For those who humble themselves before God and receive his reconciliation, his wrath is turned away from them. For those who refuse to come to Christ they will face God's wrath, and it will be satisfied.

Permit? What does God permit?

Permit? What does God permit?
By Shawn Cahill
Last updated: 7/8/21

Scripture uses various words to refer to what God does in regards to making a decision. Things such as "will", "counsel", "desires", "purpose", and "permit".
These words mean different things, so it's good to consider how these all work together.
Another word used in scripture is "decree", but this follows after God makes a decision about something.
Let's review the above words and see what we can learn from them.
1) Purpose
"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be restrained." - Job 42:2
Here it speaks of God's purpose that is always fulfilled.
See also: James 4:15
2) Desire
"who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth." - 1 Timothy 2:4
Here it speaks of God's desire that is not always fulfilled.
3) Permit
"For I do not wish to see you now in passing, but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits." - 1 Corinthians 16:7
Here it speak of God possibly permitting something that ultimately was not his purpose.

It's important to understand the distinction between God's purpose and his desire. 
Desire means that something may not play out as God desired.
Purpose means that something will absolutely play out as God purposed.
Some examples of things God permits are:
-Adam to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:
"Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die." - Genesis 2:16-17
-People to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal:
"and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind" - Jeremiah 19:5.
-People to not be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth:
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth." - 1 Timothy 2:3-4
There are many more things that God permits, and one way to know what God permits is to read what God decreed, and see when that is disobeyed.
God has permitted some things that are also his purpose, such as the following.
"For truly, in this city against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the nations and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever your hand and your council foreordained to happen." - Acts 4:27-28
God decreed for Israel not to murder (Deuteronomy 5:17), but they chose to murder Jesus (Acts 10:39). God permitted their disobedience, while at the same time it was foreordained.
The desires of man often goes against the desires of God, and since God is sovereign he can either permit or stop an action from occurring.

In conclusion to make it simple God sometimes permits what he does not desire, will or decree.