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Unapologetically Pro-Torah
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ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

My short comments on the text are notated in “maroon pop-up text tipsMy comment is displayed like this.” which are accessed by “hovering” your mouse over the text or tapping your touch screen. [A few short comments look like this.] Longer comments are included in footnotes or links to other pages. Sometimes my paraphrase provides all the commentary needed to clarify the passage. I have added emphasis to some phrases simply to call them to your attention. Explanations of Greek and Hebrew words are from the NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries Copyright © 1981, 1998 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved Lockman.org. In order to get the most from these pages, please follow all the hyperlinks, nearly all of which will open in a new tab or window.


Sections of the Apostolic Writings
The Gospels and Acts • The “Pauline” Letters • General Letters • End Times


Ketuvei Schliachim
(Writings of the Emissaries)

Introductory Comments on the
Writings of Yeshua’s Emissaries

The Ketuvei Schliachim (Writings of the Emissaries) is a collection of thoroughly Jewish documents written during the second half of the first century of the Common Era, and should be considered the fourth division of the Tahakh (Hebrew scriptures) alongside the Torah, Nevi'im, and Kituvim.

With the exception of Dr. Lucas (Luke), who was probably not officially a rabbi, all of these documents were written in the Jewish language by Jewish rabbis living in a Jewish land among Jewish people, worshiping  in the Jewish Temple and attending Jewish synagogue services every Shabbat, all living Torah-pursuant lifestyles, and directed to an audience who were all living a thoroughly Jewish lifestyle in a community whose standards of behavior were dictated by the teachings of Moshe (the Torah) and augmented by the teachings of the great Jewish Rabbi, Yeshua of Nazareth. These letters serve to instruct their recipients in the proper way to interpret and integrate Torah and the teachings of the Master into their lives.

Perhaps the greatest single tragedy in the spiritual lives of God’s people since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, in my opinion, is the division of God’s loving instruction for His people into two parts: one part, the “Old Testament,” only for Jews, and the other part, the “New Testament,” only for Gentiles, the “Church.”

The word “old” denotes something archaic, from the past, obsolete, no longer of any value. The word “new” denotes something that is fresh or has replaced the old. So the “Old Testament” is only for the Jews and their archaic, obsolete religion, and the “New Testament” is only for Christians and their new religion that has replaced the old, obsolete religion of the Jews. This did not happen by the hand of man alone. Only HaSatan, the Adversary, is crafty enough to so thoroughly nullify the clear intent of Yeshua for the body of Believers to be united:

9“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given to Me, because they are Yours. 10Indeed, all I have is Yours, and all You have is Mine, and in them I have been glorified. 11Now I am no longer in the world. They are in the world, but I am coming to You. Holy Father, guard them by the power of Your name, which You have given to Me, so that they may be one, just as We are. … 20I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in Me because of their word, 21that they may all be one. Just as You, Father, are united with Me and I with You, I pray that they may be united with Us, so that the world may believe that You sent me. 22The glory which You have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as We are one — 23I united with them and You with Me, so that they may be completely one, and the world thus realize that You sent Me, and that You have loved them just as You have loved Me.” (John 17, CJB)

The division of God’s loving instruction into two separate entities has divided the body of Believers in Him into two classes of people, “us” and “them.” On the Temple grounds there were two main courtyards, an inner courtyard for Jews only and an outer courtyard for GoyimGentiles.

Several remains of Herod’s stately temple have by recent explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer court, called “the court of the Gentiles,” intended for the use of strangers (GoyimGentiles) of all nations. These two courts were separated by a low wall, as Josephus[1] states, some 4½ feet high, with thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871, built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek capitals: “No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue.”
There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks.
It is of importance to notice that the word rendered “sanctuary” in the inscription was used in a specific sense of the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word rendered “temple” in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28-29 . When Paul speaks of the middle wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14), he probably makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall stood the temple proper, consisting of:
  1. the court of the women, 8 feet higher than the outer court;
  2. 10 feet higher than this court was the court of Israel;
  3. the court of the priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly
  4. the temple floor, 8 feet above that;
thus in all 29 feet above the level of the outer court.[2]

It is this wall of division that Rav Sha'ul claims Yeshua tore down through His sacrifice, making one people of both Jew and Gentile:

For He Himself is our shalompeace, wholeness — He has made us both one and has broken down the m'chitzahdividing wall which divided us (Eph 2:14)

“But,” I hear someone say, “what of those of us who are under the New Covenant? Doesn’t that mean that the Old Covenant has been abolished?” God forbid![3] This thinking stems from a gross misinterpretation of the Scriptures. The “New Covenant” has absolutely nothing to do with the “Church,” nor does it have anything to do with the so-called “New Testament.” Through the prophet YirmiyahuJeremiah, HaShem makes it absolutely clear that the New Covenant is specifically for the Jewish people:

“Here, the days are coming,” says YeHoVaH, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of YisraelIsra'el and with the house of Y'hudahJudah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated My covenant, even though I, for My part, was a husband to them,“ says ADONAI. For this is the covenant I will make with the house of YisraelIsra'el after those days,” says YeHoVaH: “I will put My Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, ‘Know YeHoVaH’; for all will know Me, from the least of them to the greatest; because I will forgive their wickednesses and remember their sins no more.” (Jer 31:31-34)

The conditions and promise of the New Covenant contain two critically important elements: (1) in order to partake of the covenant you must be a citizen of the House of Israel (i.e., the Commonwealth of Israel), and (2) the result is that you will have the Torah of YeHoVaH written on your heart. If you are not a citizen of the House of Israel you cannot be a partaker in the Covenant, and if you declare that the Torah of YeHoVaH has been abolished, it clearly cannot be written on your heart.

Just as there are only two ways to become a citizen of the United States of America, by birth or by naturalization, there are only two ways to become a citizen of the Commonwealth of Israel, by birth or by naturalization.

Prior to the Jerusalem Council discussed in Acts 15, the only way to become a citizen of the Nation of Israel was by birth or by “adoption” (conversion), a process that involved renouncing one’s former religion (remember that in the first century, there were only two expressions of “religion,” Judaism and paganism; if you weren’t a Jew you were a pagan), circumcision for men, assuming a Jewish name, immersion in “living water,” offering a sacrifice in the Temple, and “assuming the yoke of Torah” (i.e., living the lifestyle dicted by Torah.)

At the Jerusalem Council it was decided that anyone who had become a true talmiddisciple of Yeshua would be admitted to fellowship by following a few simple rules:

“My opinion is that we should not put obstacles in the way of the Goyim who are turning to God. Instead, we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from fornication, from what is strangled and from blood.” (Acts 15:19-20)

Please note very carefully that these conditions are almost exactly the same as the conditions that we have listed previously, which had always been expected of the God-Fearers:

But of the stranger it was expected that he would forego the worship of idols (Leviticus 20:2; Ezekiel 14:7) and the practise [sic.] of sorcery, incest, or other abominations [which include fornication] (Leviticus 18:26), and that he would refrain from eating blood (Leviticus 17:10), from working on Sabbath (Exodus 10:10; 23:12), from eating leavened bread on Pesach (Exodus 12:19), and from violating Yom ha-Kippurim [Yom Kippur] (Lev 16:29-30).”[98] "[Compare Acts 15:28-29] (“Gentile,”  Jewish Encyclopedia, accessed 4 November 2019)

In short, Ya'akov declared on behalf of the Council that the Goyim would be accepted into fellowship in exactly the same way that Goyim had always been accepted into fellowship — simply by acting in a manner that the Jewish people considered the “minimum requirements” for any civilized person.

Then Ya'akov added a comment that, in my opinion, has almost always been misinterpreted by Bible commentators who fail to recognize the historical fact that early Messianic Judaism was part and parcel of the synagogue:

“For from the earliest times, Moshe has had in every city those who proclaim him, with his words being read in the synagogues every Shabbat.” (Acts 15:21)

So, apparently, in addition to following the teachings of Yeshua and conducting oneself in an appropriate mannner, the new non-Jewish Believers in Yeshua were also expected to participate in the daily life of the synagogue and gradually, over time, learn also the teachings of Moshe (the Torah) and apply them to their lifestyle.

In Romans 11 Rav Sha'ul makes it abundantly clear that Israel and Judaism have not been set aside or in any way replaced by the Messianic Community, but are the “root” of the “olive tree” (Israel) into which the Messianic Believers have been grafted through complete trust in Yeshua. It is important to note that when a branch has been grafted into a tree, it no longer stands alone, but is part and parcel of the tree into which it has been grafted.

What if He did this in order to make known the riches of His glory to those who are the objects of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory; that is, to us, whom He called not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles? As indeed He says in Hoshea, “Those who were not My people I will call My people; her who was not loved I will call loved; and in the very place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called sons of the living God!” (Rom 9:23-26)

Why have I said all this here in an introduction to this collection of writings? Because I am firmly convinced that it is impossible for them to be properly interpreted and understood unless they are approached from a Jewish perspective with the full understanding of the principles I have just laid out.


Books in the Kituvim Schliachim
(Writings of the Emissaries)

Books with active hyperlinks are either complete or in a somewhat usable condition.

____________

  1. Josephus, Antiquities 15:11:5. [RETURN]

  2. Eaton’s Bible Dictionary, “Temple, Herod’s,” accessed 3 June 2020. [RETURN]

  3. This is just a nice way of asking, “Are you out of your mind?” [RETURN]

 4. The early translators arbitrarily changed this name from Ya'akov (Jacob) to James, but only in the “New Testament.” In their translation of the “Old Testament” they left it as Jacob. It is my belief that they did this with the intention of removing everything Jewish from the “New Testament.” For perhaps the same reason, most modern translators refuse to correct the error. [RETURN]

Originally posted on Wednesday, 03 June 2020

Page last updated on Tuesday, 29 June 2021 04:43 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!