The Center for
Messianic Learning 

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)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”
 

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Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Robert M. Bowman, Jr. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, p. 18.]
 

An Introduction to the
Science of Theology

Lesson 3: Counterfeit Religion and the Last Days

In this lesson:

But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:8, NAS)


Yeshua Said There’d be Days Like This!

Before He left earth to return to the Father’s throne room nearly 2,000 years ago to prepare for the final establishment of His Kingdom, Yeshua HaMashiach warned us in unmistakable language that before His return there would be many who would come in His name with claims of a special “anointing,” who would lead many away from the Truth, and that their teaching would be attested to with many signs and wonders (miracles). Although their activity will certainly be greatest during the Tribulation (Matt. 24:4-28), we should expect to find them active in the last days of the current age, just before Messiah returns to claim His Bride.

Likewise, Rav Sha'ul tells us that there will be a great apostasy (a defection from true Biblical faith) before the Anti-Messiah (Antichrist) is revealed (2Thess. 2:1-5), and that there will be a period of ever-increasing lawlessness (literally, “without Torah”)[1] in the “later times” (1Tim. 4:1-5) and in the “last days” (2Tim. 3:1-9).

The “Personal Salvation Gospel” Defined[2]

The “Personal Salvation Gospel” (i.e., “the gospel … by which you are saved”) is “of  first importance” (lliterally, one of the first things I taught you) and is defined in 1Cor. 15:3-6:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; (1Cor. 15:3-6, NAS)

Notice that there are six critical elements to the “Personal Salvation Gospel”:

  1. It was the Messiah (Christus, the Anointed One, the Son of God) Who died, not just a carpenter or even a great rabbi.

 2. Messiah actually died, He didn’t just seem to die. The spear thrust through heart by an experienced, expert executioner provided the absolute proof of His death. The further medical evidence presented by a physician (Dr. Luke) forever establishes the fact of His literal death.

 3. He was buried in a sealed tomb for three days as absolute proof that He was truly dead. If He were not already dead, the burial would surely have killed Him.

 4. He was literally and bodily resurrected on the third day. This resurrection was in the same identical body in which He died. Though the nature of that body may have been changed by its glorification, it is now and will remain through all eternity the same body in which Rabbi HaMelech Yeshua of Nazareth lived and died.

 5. The testimony of three eyewitnesses was sufficient under both Jewish and Roman law (2Cor. 13:1; Deut. 17:6, 19:15; Matt. 18:16) to establish the fact of any matter. After His resurrection, Yeshua HaMashiach appeared to over 400 eyewitnesses. The fact of the resurrection is forever established beyond question by the rules of evidence according to the jurisprudence of Israel.

 6. All of this was in direct literal fulfillment of the prophetic Word of God recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Tanakh (erroneously called the “Old Testament” by most Christians.)

Any so-called “salvation gospel” that deviates from these six critical elements is a false gospel, and no further discussion or “proof” is required.

The False Prophets Are Here

Look around you. The false prophets that Yeshua and Rav Sha'ul (the Apostle Paul) predicted are here! They are on our high school and college campuses, on our radio and television stations, and in the pulpits of our churches, and even sometimes in the bema our Messianic Synagogues. They are in our Sunday School classes, in our home Bible studies, and they knock on our front doors with annoying regularity.

Their Characteristics

Yeshua said that they will lead many astray, and if were possible, they would even mislead the elect. But Yeshua has not only warned us to be on the lookout for the false prophets, He and the Shliachim even told us specifically what to look for.

Some will look like “Christians” (or Messianic Believers), but will actually be savage wolves.

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matt. 7:15, NAS)

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. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31, NAS)

Some will look very religious while denying the power of God.

… holding to a form of Godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. (2Tim. 3:5, NAS)

Some will claim a special anointing.

For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ (Messiah),” [literally, “I am the anointed one” — claiming to have a “special anointingֲ] and will mislead many. (Matt. 24:5, NAS)

Some will do great miracles.

For false Christs [false messiahs] and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (Matt. 24:24, NAS)

Some will teach a false Christ.

Then if anyone says to you, "Behold, here is the Christ," or "There He is, do not believe him. (Matt. 24:23, NAS)

Some will teach that Jesus Christ is not God come in the flesh.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1John 4:1-3, NAS)

Some will teach a false Gospel.

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (Gal. 1:6, NAS)

Their Doctrine

These are some of the specific characteristics of the doctrine of the false prophets.

1. They will teach a different doctrine which does not agree with the sound teaching of Yeshua HaMashiach and the Shliachim.

If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to Godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that Godliness is a means of gain. (1Tim 6:3-5, NAS)

2. Some will “secretly introduce destructive heresies,” even denying the Lordship of Messiah.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2Pet. 2:1, NAS)

3. Some will teach the doctrine of demons.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (1Tim. 4:1, NAS)

4. Some will try to take away our liberty as Believers and place us under a form of legalism.

But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. (Gal. 2:4, NAS)

Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day — things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. … If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with the using) — in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Col. 2:16-17; 20-23)
[Please note that Rav Sha'ul is speaking specifically about “the commandments and teachings of men,” not about what Torah says about food, drink, Sabbaths, or Rosh Kodesh. We are to obey the commandments of Torah regarding these things, not the traditions of men. Rav Sha'ul never taught against being obedient to Torah!]

5. Some will forbid marriage and require abstinence from certain foods.

men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (1Tim. 4:3, NAS)
[God defines “food” in Leviticus 11; if an animal is not on this list, it is not “food.” The false prophet will forbid the eating of the “food” on this list that God has declared “clean” for human consumption.]

6. Some will teach “worldly fables fit only for old women.”

But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness; (1Tim. 4:7, NAS)

7. Some of their teaching will have a special appeal to weak women (women who are not educated concerning the Scriptures).

For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, (2Tim. 3:6, NAS)

8. They will openly oppose the truth.

And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected as regards the faith. (2Tim. 3:8, NAS)

9. They will be of a depraved mind and full of immoral practices.

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; … And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected as regards the faith. (2Tim. 3:2-4,8, NAS)

… suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but he received a rebuke for his own transgression; for a dumb donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. (2Pet. 2:13-19, NAS)

10.They will despise authority, especially God’s authority, and have no fear when they revile the power and authority of angels.

… and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. (2Pet. 2:10-11, NAS)

Yet in the same manner these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. (Jude 1:8-10, NAS)

How to Tell Truth From Error

The study of sound doctrine provides us with spiritual nourishment and the teaching of sound doctrine makes us good servants of the Messiah.

In pointing out these things to the brethren [that is, teaching the Apostles' doctrine], you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. (1Tim 4:6, NAS)

The Bible clearly teaches that the time will come (and that time is now here) when false teachers and their false doctrines would abound. Yeshua told us about them, and He said that we would be able to recognize them by their false teaching:

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. (Matt 7:15, NAS)

The beloved Apostle Yochanan told us to test the spirit of the prophet to see whether his teaching is from God:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1John 4:1-3, NAS)

Rav Sha'ul spoke at length of the false apostles and false teachers of both his day and of ours:

But what I am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds. (2Cor 11:12-15, NAS)

But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. (Gal 2:4-5, NAS)

Near the end of his life, Rav Sha'ul again warned:

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. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31, NAS)

In His "letters to the seven churches" recorded in the Book of the Revelation, Yeshua praises the church at Ephesus because they tested and rejected false apostles:

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: "I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; …" (Rev 2:1-2, NAS)

Put Them to the Test

The only way that Believers can “put to the test those who call themselves apostles”—or rabbis, or pastors, or preachers, or prophets, or evangelists, or missionaries, or teachers, or bishops, or elders, or deacons—is to carefully and systematically compare what they teach and the way they conduct their lives with the standards set forth in the Holy Scriptures. And the only way that a Believer can be equipped to do that comparison is for him or her to know what the Scriptures teach concerning every major subject of doctrine. And that knowledge comes only from a faithful, consistent, regular, and concentrated study of Bible doctrine.

In His letters to Pergamum and to Thyatira, Yeshua indicates His displeasure with those who tolerate the teachings of false teachers:

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this: “… I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality. Thus you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. …” And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” (Rev 2:12-23, NAS)

Kefa tells us some of the things we can expect from these false prophets and false teachers:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. … and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way they have gone astray, …

For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” (2Peter 2:1-3,10-15,18-22, NAS)

Not only will there be false prophets and false teachers, but also false Messiahs:

And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ [Messiah, anointed — claiming to have “a special anointing],’ and will mislead many. … And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. … Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. If therefore they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go forth, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. (Matt 24:4-5,11,23-26, NAS)

And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many. … And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray. But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.” (Mark 13:5-6,21-23, NAS)

Yeshua was talking not just about the Anti-Messiah (Antichrist), who will declare himself to be a god during the last half of the seven year Great Tribulation, but He was talking also about those others who would claim to be the Christ (or Messiah)—men like Yogi Maharaj Ji, Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, David Koresh, and Barack Obama, all of whom openly claimed to be the Messiah—as well as those individuals and religious groups who would either claim to have a special anointing or present a different “Jesus” than He Who is revealed in the Bible. For example:[3]

• The “Jesus” of the Mormons is an extraterrestrial alien, the brother of Lucifer, born on a distant planet and exalted to godhood because of his good works.

• The “Jesus” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is Michael the Archangel, a created being.

• The “Jesus” of the Freemasons is just one of many “light bearers,” the equal of Buddah, Mohammed, and Moses.

• The “Jesus” of many of the in the “Word of Faith Movement” is not God from all eternity past. He is just a man from another planet who was just like Adam and Who never claimed to be God. Not only did He not claim to be God, He is fact not God, and, like all men, was and is capable of sin.

The Bible clearly teaches that when those false teachers have arrived on the scene, men will turn their backs on sound doctrine and turn to the false teachers, who will tell them whatever they want to hear. Those false teachers will teach myths instead of the truth.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. (2Tim 4:3,4, NAS)

We can clearly see from the millions of people who follow the teachings of the four groups we just mentioned that Rav Sha'ul was absolutely right in what he told Timothy! But those false teachers will not just teach myths, they will also teach not just false doctrine, but actually the doctrine of demons.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (1Tim 4:1, NAS)

The Elder’s Responsibility to Teach

In addition to the benefits of doctrinal (theological) study to the individual Believer, the Bible requires that those men who would be leaders in the local assembly be thoroughly versed in sound Biblical doctrine, and be both willing and able to oppose false teachers and their false doctrine.

For the overseer must be above reproach … holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.' This testimony is true. For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. (Titus 1:7-14, NAS)

The Believer’s Responsibility to Learn

The study of true Bible doctrine helps keep us safe from the deceit of those false teachers and their false doctrines and belief systems.

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; (Eph. 4:14, NAS)

The Bible also says that anyone who does not take the time to study and learn sound Bible doctrine is conceited and ignorant, and is a source of strife and friction.

If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to Godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that Godliness is a means of gain. (1 Tim 6:3-7, NAS)

Not even Yeshua HaMashiach Himself would teach His own opinion in place of the doctrine established by God the Father.

Jesus therefore answered them, and said, 'My teaching [doctrine] is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.' (John 7:16,17, NAS)

To men like those we have been discussing, those who instead of Biblical doctrine teach and practice mere tradition and their own opinions, Yeshua had this to say:

And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God [the Torah], you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. … thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” (Matt 15:7-9, NAS; Mark 7:6-10, NAS)

And Rav Sha'ul said about the same kind of men:

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil. And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Rom 16:17-20, NAS)

He instructed Timothy, and through Timothy all true Bible teachers, to correct their false teaching:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope; to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. (1Tim. 1:1-7, NAS)

In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but Godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Prescribe and teach these things. … Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1Tim 4:6-11,13-15, NAS)

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. … Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. (2 Tim 4:1-4, 14-15, NAS)

Rav Sha'ul taught that when the Anti-Messiah appears, those who do not have a clear understanding of and abiding love for Bible doctrine will be deceived, and cannot be saved.

And then that lawless one [the one without — or against — Torah) will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; {that is,} the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Thess. 2:8-12, NAS)

Test All Things

As Believers in Messiah, Scripture admonishes us in the strongest of terms to test all things by the Word of God and to hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21; cf. Acts 17:11). As Y'huda exhorts us, we must contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3).

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; (1 Thess 5:21, NAS)

Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11, NAS)

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3, NAS)

Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; … (Heb 13:9, NAS)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 1:7-11, NAS)

If you, dear reader, are not yet convinced of the importance of the careful and systematic study of Bible doctrine, my fear for you is that you may be among those who have so long rejected the truth of God and the call of Ruach HaKodesh that God has already sent “a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged [eternally lost].” I pray that is not the case.

But if you are one of those who thinks that the study of Bible doctrine is over your head, or boring, or not worth the effort; or if you are still of the opinion that the job of the Rabbi/Pastor/Teacher is to keep his teaching so simple that even the youngest Believer can absorb it without any effort … well, there’s simply no gentle way of saying it … the Bible says that you need to grow up.

… it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Heb. 5:11-15, NAS)

If, however, you feel that you might be interested in studying Bible doctrine with me, read on; this is where the fun just gets started! However, I must admonish you to “examine everything carefully [including the teaching on this website]; hold fast to that which is good.”

Continue to Lesson 4

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  1. If you have spent much time on this website, you will understand that this is one of my “hot buttons.” I am gravely concerned that the apostasy, that is the defection from true Biblical faith, and the time of lawlessness that Rav Sha'ul is writing about accurately describes the current state of the Christian Church. The  Hebrew word that is translated “lawlessness” literally means “without Torah,” and the Church has absolutely rejected Torah, claiming that Messiah Yeshua “abolished the Law (Torah) and nailed it to His cross.” Yeshua, all of His Apostles, and all of His followers for the first two or three hundred years after the Resurrection were deeply committed to a Torah-based way of life from which the modern Church has totally defected. See also Note 3, below. [RETURN]

  2. This is Rav Sha'ul’s gospel (good news) of personal salvation to the goyim (Gentiles) that explains — for the very first time — how goyim can come into a relationship with HaShem through Messiah and become full citizens in good standing of the Commonwealth of Israel. It is not the “gospel” (good news) of the Kingdom that was preached by Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptizer), Yeshua, or the Shlicahim (Apostles). The “Gospel of the Kingdom” that they preached was a simple 9-word message: “Repent [turn away from sin and disbelief back to HaShem and His Torah], for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand [now here].” For a further discussion of this principle, see The True Gospel. [RETURN]

  3. The “Jesus” of “the Church” (more often than not) is the “Gentile God” who is generally portrayed in movies as having light brown hair, fair skin, and blue eyes, speaking with a British accent, with absolutely no Jewish trappings. He rejected Judaism, spoke the Greek language, rejected obedience to the Torah, “nailed the Law (Torah) to His cross,” taught that salvation comes through faith in Him (whatever that means to the individual) plus nothing else, was the founder of a new religion called “Christianity,” and condemns to eternal damnation the Jews and the nation of Israel who (allegedly) rejected His claim to be the Messiah. Any person who matches this description would be immediately condemned by the Scriptures as a “false prophet” and totally disqualified to be Israel’s Messiah. See “Jesus Christ, a False Prophet?[RETURN]

 

Originally posted in 1995; content revised and updated on Friday, September 20, 2019

Page last updated on Tuesday, 09 February 2021 01:20 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)