“My eyes pine for Your salvation, and for Your promised righteousness. Treat Your servant according to Your kindness, and teach me Your statutes.” Psalms 119:123-124
This past week has been an exceptionally difficult one…my having another round of health issues coupled with watching a world being consumed by the Coronavirus and the subsequent economic fallout. Truly, in my opinion, we are witnesses events which Yeshua Himself warned would come to be just before the Day of HaShem arrives.
One event which did occur and went largely unnoticed, is the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem filed an official request with the Israeli government to establish the stone Mizbeach (Altar) on top of the Temple Mount and to sacrifice a lamb on it during Pesach (Passover) 2020. If approved, this would be the very first time this has occurred since the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD by Rome. The mere fact they are submitting an official, formal request, is an indicator in itself of how close we are to the Day of HaShem because initially and I stress initially all that is needed for a rebuilt functioning Temple is the placement of the Mizbeach on the Temple Mount. Then the daily Tamid (Daily morning and evening lambs as Korbon Olah i.e. Burnt Offerings) can resume. This means they must have a kosher Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) selected and who qualifies but also must mean they have the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) in order to sanctify and purify not only the Mizbeach, but the Kohanim and Leviim. Again, we must be much closer than even we realize!
Sadly, as you can imagine, the cries of blasphemy, insults and condemnation by those who have been fully immersed in Replacement Theology i.e. Christendom, are deafening once more. Further, their ignorance of what is the truth and what they have been taught with regards to what we read in the Apostolic Writings is astounding.
Now, understand I do not make these statements from a place of haughtiness or pride, but as one whom HaShem has, for whatever reason which only He knows, has shown me the evidence and the truth as it pertains to His Temple. As He has shown me time and time again, learning everything we can about His Temple is the KEY to everything in His Word!!! No wonder He commands us in Ezekiel 43:10-11 to study and learn everything, the blueprint, the services, the doors, gates, the procedures, etc, of His House because He knew all along His House is not only His Throne on earth, but an unfathomable teaching tool right in our faces for each of us to strive to emulate. Paul’s statements that we are the Temple, was not some ethereal, spiritual concept designed to replace the need for a literal, physical Temple in Jerusalem, but was a very well known and understood Jewish concept of his day and before. Unfortunately Replacement Theology has done enormous damage in its zeal to separate from anything Jewish and toss HaShem, Yeshua, His Torah, His Feasts, His Shabbat and His Temple overboard into the sea of oblivion. I digress.
This all said, I want to examine a statement Yeshua Himself made which unfortunately has been twisted up to mean something completely opposite of what He meant and in examining this statement, we will see Yeshua aligned Himself very much with a specific sect of the Pharisees and would be shaking His head in frustration over what is being taught today in the Replacement Theology indoctrination centers.
But before we get into this, always remember the following as they are vital to properly understanding what HaShem, Yeshua and Paul all said:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
This weeks Torah portion is ‘Terumah’ which is found in Shemot (Exodus) 25:1-27:19. It is here the most important command HaShem gave is listed i.e. 25:8-9 which says “They shall make a Mikdash (Sanctuary) for Me, so that I may dwell among them, like everything that I show you (Moshe), the form (Tavnit/Blueprint) of the Mishkan and the form (Tavnit/Blueprint) of all its vessels, and so shall you do.” This command in its last statement i.e. ‘And so shall you do’ is very, very serious because it basically means ‘And just so shall you do exactly as I tell you and you have no authority to add too, take away or change anything I show you!’
Additionally, these verses are in the ‘Continuing Tense’ as indicated by the Hebrew letter ‘Vav’ which means this command to build HaShem a Temple applies to every single generation alive in human history which means this command applies to you and I today! His Temple was NOT rendered obsolete, not replaced, not tossed aside as being irrelevant nor has the people somehow become His Temple! Point is, NOTHING has changed despite what Replacement Theology teaches! Keep all this in mind as we proceed.
Yeshua makes a very interesting statement as recorded for us in Matthew 23:2-3 which says “The Scribes and the Pharisees sit on the Seat of Moshe. Therefore, whatever they say to you to guard, guard and do. But do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do.”
Replacement Theology has twisted up this verse to mean Yeshua was somehow condemning keeping the Torah of HaShem. Other groups teach Yeshua was saying to keep the Torah but to disregard the Halakah i.e. the Oral Torah (Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, etc) and has led to centuries of Antisemitism and rejection of Israel and Judah. Is this what Yeshua was saying or was He saying something that all of His followers fully understood and accepted without hesitation? Remember Acts 21 tells us there were a great many Yehudim who were all believers in Yeshua as being the promised Mashiach AND they were all zealous for the Torah! Point is, Yeshua didn’t change anything! I digress yet again.
In order to fully understand what Yeshua meant in Matthew 23, we need to understand the history of the time period He lived in and for that we will reference a book entitled “Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus” by Rabbi Harvey Falk. Now I should reiterate I do not agree with everything the author says, but a lot of what he does say is very good. Further it should be noted Rabbi Falk is NOT a believer in Yeshua.
In the time of Yeshua there were two dominate sects of the Pharisees i.e. The School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. Both were opposed to one another and they both centered around the status of non-Jews and their place within the Kingdom of HaShem and relation to the Torah of HaShem. Understanding what each school taught will tell us Who Yeshua supported via His statements as we will shortly see.
The School of Hillel was very supportive of bringing non-Jews into the Covenant and teaching them the Torah and believed when a non-Jew converted and adopted the Torah of HaShem, they became literally grafted in and a full member of Israel.
The School of Shammai on the other hand was extremely hostile towards non-Jews and taught a doctrine which was to separate Jews from non-Jews i.e. the 18 Edicts of Shammai which prevented and prohibited literally any interaction between Jews and non-Jews. Remember the vision of Peter’s Sheet? This vision was HaShem dismantling the 18 Edicts of Shammai! Shammai taught a non-Jew had no place in the Kingdom of HaShem and therefore wouldn’t even talk to or answer questions from non-Jews about the Torah.
On page #80 of ‘Jesus the Pharisee’ Rabbi Falk says in regards to who was Yeshua condemning when He condemned the Pharisees “We may be fairly certain that Yeshua was referring to Shammai and his school. It must be realized that the Pharisees during the first century C.E. were dominated by the schools of Shammai and Hillel. Shammai died in 30 C.E., about the same time Yeshua was crucified; Hillel died about 10 C.E., and this might have caused some weakening of his school’s influence. Since Shammai was reluctant to accept converts to Judaism per Shabbat 31A in the Talmud Bavli, he also denied salvation to Gentiles even if they observed the Noachide Commandments, one can attempt to rationalize Yeshua’s charge of hypocrisy. It would certainly be difficult to square Shammai’s view with the Torah’s emphasis on fairness and just reward to all men. It should be recalled the Talmud itself recommended that one adopt Hillel’s attitude towards converts, and not Shammai’s per what we read in Shabbat 30B.”
Very interesting…so even the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian) says Shammai was wrong and Hillel was right in his interactions with and bringing the Torah to the non-Jews! This is the message Yeshua brought i.e. the Good News or the Gospel i.e. bring the Light to the Nations with the Light being Torah to the Nations/non-Jewish world so they can come into the Kingdom of HaShem!
Rabbi Falk continues on page #81 when he says “According to this interpretation, we would have to assume that Shammai and his school constituted the majority of the Pharisees at the time Yeshua made his remark (Matt 23). The popular perception that the halakha (How to walk in the Torah i.e. Mishnah/Talmud/Midrash) is always decided in accordance with Bet Hillel (School/House of Hillel) is only true from the time of Bat Kol (Heavenly Voice) was heard in Yavneh declaring the halakha in their favor (After 70 C.E. or later). It seems quite clear fro the discussion of the Talmud (Yevamot 14A) that during the century prior to that the majority status shifted from one school to the other. In one case, the Mishnah (Shabbat 13B) tells of an instance when the school of Shammai gained ascendancy and passed eighteen rules in one day.”
So we have historical proof from the Mishnah and Talmud both that Shammai became the dominate sect and in one day passed 18 edicts prohibiting Jews from interacting with non-Jews! This right here is the crux of the Apostolic Writings! Without this foundation being laid, no wonder Replacement Theology has been able to burrow in and come up with all sorts of Antisemitic/Jew bashing doctrine we see today!
“It would seem in general that the Founder of Christianity’s well known criticism of the Pharisees (Math 23) is directed specifically against the school of Shammai, who evidently constituted a majority at the time and not the school of Hillel. He begins by bidding his listeners to do all the Pharisees command, since they have taken Moshe’s seat. Yeshua shows his allegience here to rabbinic Judaism! Then he brands them as hypocrites and accuses them of placing heavy loads on men’s shoulders. This appears to be an obvious reference to Bet Shammai, who almost always adopted the more stringent view and passed difficult measures. He then accuses the Pharisees of liking to be called Rabbi, and reminds his listeners that he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. This might well be a reference to the fact that the humble members of Bet Hillel always quoted the opinion of Bet Shammai before their own in the House of Study per Eruvin 13B in the Talmud Bavli.”
So, does this not greatly challenge the doctrine of Replacement Theology that Yeshua was NOT against the Pharisees just because, but He was opposing a specific sect and the reason was because that sect was not including non-Jews i.e. bringing Torah to the world!
“His next scathing remark appears in line with the early part of this footnote: ‘For you lock the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven in men’s faces…for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte…’ The later quote would refer to Shammai’s reluctance to accept converts to Judaism, while ‘locking the doors’ he meant Bet Shammai’s view denying salvation to those Gentiles who observed the Noachide Commandments. This leads into his charge of letting the weightier matters of the Torah go i.e. justice and mercy…it has been pointed out by the kabbalists that the school of Hillel represented mercy. We might recall here the Talmud’s statement (Shabbat 17A) that the day Bet Shammai gained complete control and passed the eighteen measures was as troublesome for Israel as the day the Golden Calf was built.”
Folks, can you again see the issue is not if Yeshua is Mashiach or not, the issue is the concept of bringing the Torah to the non-Jews! Even the Oral Torah/Mishnah/Talmud all agree Shammai and his disdain for non-Jews was a disaster for Israel and something HaShem never once supported nor commanded! So why are we tossing out His Oral Torah today?
Consider what Rabbi Falk says on page #118 “We might first refer to Yeshua’s rebuke to the Pharisees (John 8:44): ‘You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.’ This is echoed elsewhere, as for example (Revelation 2:9; 3:9), ‘The synagogue of Satan.’ This has led to much Antisemitism, as well as Church decrees against Jews. No one seems to have noticed that the first century C.E. Sage Dosa ben Harkinas, criticizing his brother Jonathan for having ruled in accordance with Bet Shammai in an important case concerning levirate marriage, calls him ‘the first born of Satan’ per (Yevamot 16A Talmud Bavli). In other words, the rabbis of the first century C.E. were accustomed to refer to the Pharisees of Bet Shammai as descendants of, or followers of, the devil.”
WOW…so again Yeshua’s criticism of the Pharisees is levied directly at a very specific sect and doctrine and not all Pharisees as Replacement Theology has taught for all these centuries! This would mean Yeshua’s statements and doctrine lines up with what Hillel taught and we can see by His statements He did indeed support Hillel! Remember, Paul himself said he studied at the feet of Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel!
Rabbi Falk further says on page #122 “One further observation. One of the first debates between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel concerned the so called ‘eighteen measures’ (Shabbat 13B Talmud Bavli), which Bet Shammai sought to introduce as a means of creating further separation between Jews and Gentiles. Bet Hillel opposed these measures, and the Jerusalem Talmud records (Shabbat 1:4) that during the course of the debate, an unspecified number of Bet Hillel’s members were murdered by Bet Shammai.” When Yeshua levies the charge against the Pharisees that they killed the prophets, it is this event at this debate over the eighteen measures He is referring too. Now it should be noted, there is no evidence to suggest Bet Shammai literally murdered Bet Hillel, but it is indicated they heavily supported and did not do anything to stop the murders from taking place. Again, all of this violence because they were arguing over whether Yeshua was Mashiach? Nope…the issue was over non-Jews entering into the Kingdom and joining Israel, keeping the Torah, the Feasts, Shabbat, bringing korbonot to the Temple, i.e. converting to Judaism and becoming a full fledged member of Israel!
Rabbi Falk then says on page #126 “Shortly prior to the attack on the Pharisees (What we just read above), we read in the Christian Bible how some Pharisees got together to disconcert Yeshua (Matt 22). We seem to recognize them as the same disciples of Bet Shammai who grouped together against Hillel at the Temple (Betsah 20A), as well as against one of his disciples. There is no record anywhere of a member of Bet Hillel acting in such fashion. We should also point out here that, contrary to many Christians thinking, the Talmudic literature DOES NOT CONTAIN CRITICISMS OF YESHUA.”” This is very important everyone understand! The Talmud does NOT talk about Yeshua despite what so many have been led to erroneously believe in Replacement Theology!
Rabbi Falk concludes on page #127 “Unfortunately, many people and especially those possessing an antisemitic frame of mind have had a field day with Yeshua’s attack on the Pharisees. One can only guess at how many pogroms and persecutions were instigated against Jews because of this misinterpretation. Such actions have not only caused terrible harm to innocent men, women and children, but also maligned the memory of the Founder of Christianity amongst his own people.”
I hope you can see once again that only when we integrate HaShem’s Torah (Written and Oral) do the Apostolic Writings fit into the proper understanding and perspective!! I encourage everyone, who still may have strong biases against the Oral Torah, to ask HaShem to help you get past that indoctrination and see there is an entire world to explore just waiting at your fingertips if you let HaShem lead you. I know from my own personal experience the second I began to integrate the Oral Torah into my walk with HaShem, it was like someone turned ALL the lights on or to use another analogy like someone painted a two dimensional black and white picture suddenly with vivid colors and became a three dimensional picture with stunning details. Suddenly Paul’s letters begin to make sense.
Now, for the record before someone accuses that I am saying everyone needs to run down and go formally convert to Judaism, no that is NOT what I am saying. I am saying HaShem has given us all the tools we need to learn and unlearn what we were taught in the Replacement Theology indoctrination centers i.e. Churches. All we need to do is embrace what He has given and take it one step at a time.
This is just a short Op for this Shabbat as I am still getting back up on my feet little by little. I pray this Op has caused some curiosity in some who will go out and seek further what HaShem has for us. Now more than ever with a world collapsing all around us, we need stability and a firm foundation to live on and HaShem and His Torah certainly qualify! May it be so very soon in our days!!
- The Stone Edition Chumash by Artscroll
- Tehillim the Book of Psalms by Artscroll
- The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research
- ‘Jesus the Pharisee’ by Rabbi Harvey Falk