The correct priority of Scripture is sequential. We should start at the beginning. Paul tells us that a later covenant cannot contradict an earlier covenant. Neither can a later scripture contradict an earlier one. If there were such a contradiction, it would mean that one of the scriptures was wrong (in which case it isn’t Holy scripture) or that God had changed His mind (in which case He is inconsistent and fallible). The correct priority of Scripture starts with the Torah.
D. Thomas Lancaster, Restoration, Pg. 52
Christendom’s opinion is precisely opposite the above quote from Lancaster. I can’t tell you how many times it has been expressed or implied that ‘we can’t understand the Old Testament without the New.’ In fact, the very structure of seminary courses, the pattern of preaching habits and the plethora of theological books reveal that Christendom spends roughly 85% of their time in the last 1/3 of the Bible with little or no understanding of the first 2/3rds apart from a few prooftexts.
Yeshua on the other hand, spoke nothing of Himself, but continually pointed to the Tanak (“old” Testament). Paul and all of the other Apostolic writers used the Tanak to prove everything they said. In fact, I cannot recall any of them quoting Yeshua. (I’m sure there are a couple quotes, but I can’t think of any right now.) Seriously! Have you ever considered that they didn’t quote Yeshua? Now, they do point often to his resurrection as validation, but continually use the Torah and the Prophets as evidence of who the Messiah is.
See, when we look through the wrong end of a microscope or telescope, we get a warped or miopic view of the object we are looking at. Why? Our perspective is all wrong. Oh, we may see pieces, we may understand parts, but we cannot get the full picture because we approach from the wrong point of view.
Lancaster’s choice of illustrations is an exact example of this very point. He cites Paul, saying, “a later covenant cannot contradict an earlier covenant. Neither can a later scripture contradict an earlier one.”
I had to look up the footnoted verses and laughed when I found they are in Galatians 3:15-17! Let’s read,
15 Brethren, I speak [a]in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s [b]covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds [c]conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.
The great irony is that Galatians is the book “christendumb” likes to use to invalidate all previously given commandments. Yet, these verses expressly state that this is not possible! Rich!!
[Some might answer, ‘What about the change in High Priesthood or better sacrifices… i.e. Hebrews?’ I answer, ‘The prophecies are in the Tanak! How does the author of Hebrews make his case? He uses the Tanak!’ Thus, validating the point of this post.]
God bless Gideons International, I really appreciate their work. In fact, I carried a handy desert camo New Testament in my pocket in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. And, I understand the financial savings, but what is the message we send when we hand out only the New Testament, or preach only the New Testament?
As Lancaster aptly puts it, it is like building the second story of the house before the foundation or the first floor. Kinda difficult to fix the mess and make it fit properly after the fact, dontchathink? Honestly, the Torah is the foundation of ALL Scripture. It is the breathed Word of God. It is His instructions in righteous living. It is His dictionary defining all terms and concepts later expanded.
What Scripture was Paul referring to in 2 Timothy 3:16-17? He certainly was not arrogant enough to refer to his own letters of instruction as ‘scripture.’ In fact, most of the ‘new Testament,’ including the Gospels had not even been written!!
Of course!! Paul was talking about the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings (Wisdom/history)!
What Scriptures did the Bereans check Paul against?
The Tanak! And, most specifically, the Torah, the foundation! The base from which we measure ALL Scripture going forward.
A quote from Pastor John MacArthur has been making the rounds in the last couple days. It is referred to in a Judah Himango post I reblogged two days ago and showed up again yesterday at another favorite hangout, James’ Morning Meditations.
The quote says,
When Jesus came, everything changed, everything changed.… He didn’t just want to clean up the people’s attitudes as they gave their sacrifices, He obliterated the sacrificial system because He brought an end to Judaism with all its ceremonies, all its rituals, all its sacrifices, all of its external trappings, the Temple, the Holy of Holies, all of it.
Both Judah and James use this quote well to make different points: Himango demonstrates that MacArthur’s thesis does not line up with first century praxis, attested in the Book of Acts; and James, that we can search the Scriptures and find what we want to validate our opinion.
Because this quote comes from a sermon on the Sabbath, I would add that if Mr. MacArthur would begin his study of the Sabbath in the Torah he would find that is it explicitly defined at least seven times and given as an everlasting sign/covenant (Exodus 31:16-17) just as the rainbow is that he cites. Because Mr. MacArthur doesn’t view Scripture from the foundation, his ‘second story’ does not fit either the evidence of the Tanak or the praxis of Acts. His paradigm is incorrect. Or, as James puts it, ‘He sees through a glass darkly.’
The first and third books reviewed yesterday would help MacArthur (and the rest of us) to understand the importance of viewing Scripture from its proper perspective.
Lancaster continues (pg. 53),
The Apostolic Scriptures are also built on the same foundation. Throughout the Gospels, Yeshua proclaimed a message of repentance. He called people back to the simple truth of Torah and offered His life as payment for transgression against the Torah. To validate His teaching, He continually quoted the Hebrew Scriptures. He forbade His disciples from imagining that He might do away with the Torah and even encouraged them to keep the smallest commandments.
The Epistles are an extension of Yeshua’s teaching, but they rest on the foundation of Torah. They are solidly Torah-based. Throughout the Epistles, the Apostles rarely quote Yeshua to prove a point or to introduce a new teaching; instead they cited passages from the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah. Paul continually spoke of the Torah, citing passage after passage from the Torah and the Hebrew Scriptures to make his case for the Gospel. His source of authority was the Torah.
Even the Book of Revelation is Torah-based…. etc.
Case closed! If one is to have the same mind as Yeshua and clearly understand what the Apostles are talking about, then he will have a firm grasp of the Torah and the rest of the Tanak. If not, his paradigm is wrong and needs correcting.
Invest yourself in studying and firmly grasping the foundation (Torah) and everything else will make MUCH more sense. Prophecy is ‘de-mystified.’ The story-line is suddenly unraveled. Messiah Yeshua and Paul both become infinitely more understandable. And, here’s the biggie, suddenly Scripture will be a living well that will be like a whole new book… Just as I could not/cannot get enough, neither will you! But then, Lancaster tells you all about his experience in chapter one.
I pray this has blessed or challenged you. Please consider sharing it with a friend or three.
11 thoughts on “Correcting Our Paradigm”
Reblogged this on hebrewofyhwh and commented:
I like this article. I wish my Christian friends would read this. I have had so many conversations with good meaning Christians yet they hold this doctrine that is tottally unsupportable by the Scripture. I do have one issue though with this article and that is the version of the Scripture that is used. For my readers I want to point out the King James Version of the Scripture, ( and I will type it right here) So that the words used can be distinguised from the words in the article. “Galatians three, verse fifteen though eighteen: Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Thought it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. No 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. And this I say, that the covenant, tht was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should be of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” The word Human is not used, Please see the “Power of Words” page, by guest author to distinguish between the words that God uses and the words that man uses. Thank you.
One thing I think we forget is that everything in the “old covenant” is only there to point to Yeshua. From the foundation of the world His role as Savior was already set in motion. Everything from the first word in Genesis is designed to bring us into an understanding of Him and to bring us into His kingdom. All the sacrifices, the temple, all the covenants are there to point to Him and designed by Him so to say that somehow His death did away with anything just doesn’t make logical sense. I believe it is correct to say Yeshua existed before the “old” and everything fits perfectly together in this beautiful mosaic that more and more reveals His heart, His character and most of all His love for us.
Amein. Well stated.
Additionally, if everything points to Yeshua and He ‘pre-existed the written Word,’ then the the written Word has to perfectly reflect His eternal existence, or it is a lie. If He is the same, yesterday, today and forever, (Heb. 13:8) then the Word revealing Him is, as well. He wasted no words or commandments in the beginning and has no need of changing or annulling them later. Great thoughts!
Thanks for referring to my blog as a “favorite hangout,” Pete.
You touch on an issue that I continually explore, both on my blog and with my Pastor. The plan of God starting in the Torah and Prophets cannot “jump the tracks” in the Gospels or Acts 2 and take a different course going forward in history. Everything that happens later in the Bible must map back to what happened earlier. If modern Christian interpretation of the New Testament must either refactor what was written in the Tanakh or dispense with it, then something is wrong with our understanding of the NT.
By the way, I admire your ability to review three separate books in a single, brief blog post. I can only review a single book by writing three or more blog posts about it (though I’m trying to keep that number down in my review plan for Mark Nanos’ book “Irony of Galatians,” which I’m currently reading).
Thank you so much for commenting and for the ‘follow.’ I have been a reader of yours for a while!! I am humbled.
Yeah, I can’t call what I do ‘book reviews,’ as I do read and wrestle, but not so publicly as you do!! LOL! One thing I have really been trying to do is be an ‘educational doorway,’ particularly for the ‘church,’ and one aspect is helping the seeker find quality reading that will encourage and ‘arm’ them.
I’m looking forward to your Nanos comments as your continual wrestling with Galatians is fun to watch, and elucidating. Galatians may be the most challenging book in all of Scripture. Lancaster had an interesting thought on pg. 154:
I though that an interesting ‘take’ on Paul’s non-addressing of many Torah observant matters that often get discussed for the non-Jew. Essentially, he intentionally avoided them knowing if they were in the synagogue on Shabbat learning Moses, they would eventually follow all of it… Elsewhere, Lancaster even implies, if I understand him correctly, that the Gentiles would come to circumcision, but for the right reasons (obedience and recognition of the covenant), and not for salvation.
Anyway. Thank you again for dropping by. Shalom to you and your bride!
I’m humbled that you’re humbled. Really, I’m just a guy…nothing special.
I don’t always agree with Lancaster’s take on Galatians, especially with how he characterized the letter’s audience, and after more conversations with my Pastor than I can count over Galatians and Lancaster’s book, I hammered out a review to “overwrite” my original take on the Lancaster work. I think it goes to show that Galatians is a very multi-layered document and especially after nearly two-thousand years, it’s very easy to misunderstand.
Of course, Nanos says that the current Christian apprehension of this letter hasn’t changed very much since the days of the early Church Fathers and certainly not much at all since the Reformation.
I’m looking forward to fresh perspectives.
Just Glad your here…
Thank you. We learn together.
Wow! I never paid attention to the fact that Yeshua was never quoted in the epistles!! Thanks for another arrow in my pro-Torah quiver!
He may have been, but I cannot think of a single instance. The point is, Torah is what was quoted! Torah is the standard against which even Yeshua was judged.
Yeshua had to uphold Torah to be the Mashiach… So, we would expect Paul &Co. to cite Torah, not Yeshua… exactly what it seems they did.
Fascinating, no? Definitely a nice arrow.