Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sha'ul / Paul - The maligned, misunderstood, and misinterpreted Emissary

Sha'ul / Paul - The maligned, misunderstood, and misinterpreted Emissary

Probably no other person ever to live has been more maligned, misunderstood, and misinterpreted than Sha'ul / Paul.


Sha'ul is the brunt of resentment and outright hatred in some quarters. Many Jewish Groups see him as a Jew turned traitor, who converted to a foreign religion that has persecuted Jews for almost 2000 years. Some that believe in Yeshua as Messiah totally reject all of his writings based on their seemingly Anti-Torah basis (Ebonites to give an example).

While this view is one of the easiest to follow (maligning someone takes little effort or understanding), is it accurate?


"Paul left Judaism and became a Christian". This is a widely held belief, in both Judaism and Christianity. There is only one problem, it is not true. Paul, whose Hebrew name is Sha'ul, called himself a Jew and a Pharisee long after he began following Messiah Yeshua. Many do not realize he continued to go to the Temple and make sacrifice after he believed on Yeshua.

To claim Sha'ul the Jew became Paul the Christian is based on ignorance of his continued life as a Jew and is Scripturally and historically inaccurate. Sha'ul remained Sha'ul the Jew for his entire life. When dealing with Gentiles and introducing them to the G-d of Israel and His Messiah, he used Paul (his Roman name) as it was less foreign and more respected. Was he being two-faced then? G-d forbid! No, he was meeting the person where they were at, so they would be open to the message.


Sha'ul's (Paul's) writings cannot be interpreted correctly outside their cultural (Jewish) and historical context. Paul was so misinterpreted even in his own day that Kefa (Peter) said that 'his writings are difficult and hard to understand', and 'many are misusing them to their own destruction'. If Peter was saying Paul's writings were leading unstable people to destruction at the time of their writing; how much worse could it be today, almost 2000 years later.

Paul's writings are the basis for the antinomian (anti-Torah) basis for almost every group today. This leads to a real problem - If Messiah says to keep the commandments (Torah) and Paul says not too, who wins? Who will we listen to? More importantly, who has the Authority to make a ruling like that?

In Summary

Sha'ul (Paul), as we will learn during our new teaching series on Romans, was a Jew amongst Jews; who never stopped being a Jew. Nor did he found a new religion called Christianity. He was a Emissary of Yeshua sent out to bring the good news to the Gentile world. He never told Jews to stop circumcising, stop eating kosher, or stop keeping Shabbat; for he himself did all these things (see Timothy).

What he did do was uphold the teaching that a Gentile did not have to become a Jew to be saved.

Rabbi Gavri'el

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is "3 Persons" Accurate Scripturally?

Is describing G-d as 3 persons scripturally accurate?

We have been struggling with 1 key aspect of the Nicene Creed for several years now. This key aspect is referring to G-d as 3 persons.

What We Believe Before we are misunderstood, I would like to state for the record that we teach and believe: Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel, He was born of a virgin, was sinless, died on the execution stake, bodily resurrected, ascended to the Father and will return to establish His Fathers Throne on Earth. So please do not misunderstand nor misrepresent that we deny the Messiah or His divinity.

How the "3 person" wording came into widespread use When the early Church was being attacked by Gnosticism and other doctrines that either denied that Messiah was (part of) G-d, or that He was not human; the concept of the Trinity came into being. This doctrine attempted to address 2 key points made in scripture, that Messiah was of the same essence as G-d, and that the Ruach HaKpdesh was of the same essence of G-d. Both these teachings are fully reflected in the Renewed Covenant.

Issues with the "3 person" wording While the Trinity doctrine truly expressed Messiah and the Ruach being of a divine nature; it had one major drawback, it implied a separateness that does not exist in scripture.

The most important statement in scripture according to the Torah and the Messiah is "Hear oh Israel, the L-rd our G-d is one G-d". The Master (Messiah) repeated these very words. How then can there be 3 persons making up one G-d? If we study history, we will see this has been a major stumbling block to Jewish belief in Yeshua as Messiah. In fact, this view is seen by most Jews as Polytheism.

I think we would all agree that there are not 3 G-d's, only one. Furthermore, it is clear from scripture that neither Yeshua or the Ruach HaKodesh do anything apart from the Father. Yeshua Himself says He does nothing apart from the Father, and that He only does the will of the Father.

If Yeshua & the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Breath or Spirit) only do what they are commanded; how then are they separate persons?

One of the concepts of persons was derived from the fact the Spirit can be grieved; but is that not equally true if G-d is grieved through His Spirit?

An alternative wording A far more understandable wording of the nature of the Father, the Messiah, and the Ruach HaKodesh is: G-d, His Shekinah, and His Spirit. These concepts are all central to Jewish belief and both the Shekinah & Ruach are seen as being manifestations of one G-d.

The Shekinah is the visible presence of G-d, as Yeshua was when He was on earth. The Shekinah was also with the G-d from the beginning and is divine. This means that calling Yeshua the Shekinah of G-d is totally scriptural, as is the Ruach HaKodesh.

In Summary

The "3 persons" of the Nicene creed as a man made attempt to describe the nature of G-d and His Messiah. It served well when addressing Gnosticism; but failed when addressing Jewish thought on the nature of G-d.

By replacing the "3 person" reference with a much more scripturally accurate description of Shekinah & Ruach,; we can still fully acknowledge Messiah and the Ruach as being of the divine nature and part of G-d without presenting what most people see as 3 G-ds.

This is a small price to pay to remove a major stumbling block to our people; without denying the true nature of the Messiah as part of G-d.

Rabbi Gavri'el