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Sunday, December 23, 2007

What's the Difference

I have been asked lately (man, you guys keep me hopping with the questions! That's a good thing ;) what the difference is in all these different terms, like why I said it would be more accurate to call myself a Messianic Fundamentalist than a New Testament Christian. So here's a little explanation of some of these different words and what they mean.

Fundamentalist: one who adheres to the fundamentals of the faith. We accept no authority on God's Word than God's Word. We are the 'literalists' who understand the Bible to be serious where most people believe it to be allegorical, such as an actual six day creation, a real hell, and an immanent Tribulation. But this word does not describe any certain denomination per se. There are fundamentalists in many different congregations. The reason that is possible, since a fundamentalist will not accept doctrine that does not come directly from the Bible, is that different biblical translations and interpretations are applied.

Messianic: One of the Hebrew faith root who understands Jesus (Yeshua) to be the prophesied Messiah. This is different than just saying the Jewish faith because the Rabbinical Jews do not believe Yeshua was the Messiah.

Christian: Literally, one who follows Christ. This is different than a Messianic believer, though, because Christ is the Greek derived translation of Yeshua's title and along with the Greek influence comes the establishment of a new kind of faith community. So something called Christian or Church is not usually a replication of the original Semitic religion established by Yahweh. 'Christian' is more Gentile than Jew.

New Testament: Well we all know this term referrs to the books of the Bible that begin with the birth of Yeshua and end with the Revelation of John and the warnings of the coming trials. Generally anything that is labeled 'New Testament' has an underlying meaning of throwing out the Old Testament. In other words, the OT is good history and nice backdrop, but all a person needs in order to understand the way to salvation is the NT.

Sadly, I used to believe the 'New Testament' theology. I was one who followed the replacement theology (that after the Jews rejected Yeshua as Messiah, he chose to establish His church through the Gentiles, and so everything 'Jewish' about the Bible became obsolete). I was reading of the New Covenant and stopping there, not checking to see what the new covenant entailed.

Malachi 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I change not..."There is a real danger with assuming Yahweh changed His mind. Here are some examples:

1. Old Testament: "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." Deuteronomy 7:6

New Testament Theology: When the Jews did not accept Yeshua as Messiah, he established his church with the Gentiles, beginning with the apostles and prophets who had converted.

Scripture against this idea:

"For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee FOR EVER: and thou, LORD, art become their God." 2 Samuel 7:24

"For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?" Romans 11:24

"And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren." Acts 15:3

"At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:1

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." 1 Corinthians 5:7-8

Jesus was a Jew, his followers were Jews, they observed Jewish festivals. The Gentiles who became believers were GRAFTED into the Jewish tree. The danger of believing otherwise is twofold: either you do not take Yahweh at His word that he does not change, or you make the assumption that he did not know the Jews would reject Yeshua, and any god who cannot see what will come is worthless.


2. Old Testament: "The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name." Psalm 111:8-9

New Testament Theology: Jesus did away with the law when he was crucified and we are therefor no longer forced to observe it.

Scriptures against this idea:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19

"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Romans 3:31

"For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." Psalm 119:89

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4

"I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him." Ecclesiastes 3:14

"The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." Isaiah 24:4-5

"And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect." Galatians 3:17

The law is the foundation of the New Testament story, because it is through the eyes of the Old Covenant we understand the reasons we are sinners, what sin is, and how to deal with the problem of our depravity. Calling oneself a New Testament Christian means you have no regard for the ordinances and words that Yahweh himself spoke and said would stand forever. You are, in essence, saying you are wiser than He.


3. Old Testament: "And he said, LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." Genesis 15:8-18

New Testament Theology: If you accept Jesus into your heart, he will give you joy, peace, prosperity, and when you die you'll go to heaven.

Scriptures against this idea:

"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:31-33

"They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field." Hosea 10:4

"Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful." Romans 1:31

"Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:29

Romans and Hebrews are both great books for understanding that Yahweh was establishing a covenant. Many people's understanding of this word is in error, especially since the scriptures compare our covenant to Yahweh to the covenant of marriage, and we live in a time and culture where divorce is common, even in the 'churched'. When the covenant was made with Abraham, animals were split in two and the parties walked between them. It was a very serious affair. It was more binding than a contract. But by making the 'church' so anti-Semitic, we have lost the meaning and depth of a greast many important thing, covenants being at the top.

The modern gospel tells people of the benefits and all they must do is agree to accept them. They do not understand the weight of the agreement and that it has costs and parameters. It is no wonder that in Romans 1:31 above the word covenantbreakers comes directly after the term 'without understanding'. People have no idea the magnitude of the covenant they are entering into. And the results should be immediate and permanent. If one were to become married, their life would change instantly and forever, right? It is the same when we make a covenant with the True and Living God. He is all-consuming. (This is why the Bible study I shared had the profound effect it did on me- to see that why so many seem to 'fall-away' is because they either do not have a covenant to begin with or they break the covenant because they think it is something on their own terms rather than Yahweh's).

The danger in assuming that God has slackened his requirements of us is the loss of our soul in eternal damnation. It is clear that many who believe that they are saved will be surprised to find they are not.

These are just a few of the many examples of why I no longer hold to the term 'New Testament Christian', because the Old has not been done away with. Yahweh did not change his mind about any of it. What he required before (perfection) he requires now (perfection). The difference is that he gave us the way to actually attain it. He did not abolish the law: he fulfilled it.


Anonymous said...

I have found it interesting too that some believe that the OT was thrown out when Christ came when it fact scriptures say otherwise. I have found the book by Martha Zimmerman" Celebrate the Feasts" to be a wonderful aid in helping those of us who still believe in the OT and NT laws and wish to still celebrate those feasts. All in due time I know the Lord will bring His children to HIM in the rightful place.

Audrey said...

WONDERFUL explanations! You said it perfectly!

a soldier's wife said...

hmm...another post to get all my gears turning in my head :) I am going to have to get myself a Blessed Motherhood Binder to keep all my notes and your posts that really get me to dig down deeper.
Thank you!
I hope you and your family have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

I also wanted to add something to this as well, I do not think it is a mistake that each of us are on this journey to seeking TRUTH, is it not something the Lord commands us to do. I do not think its a coincidance that the Lord has moved me in such a way these past two years within my soul that I would be questioning everything that I ever grew up to believe, in and out of the Church, and realizing that GOD's WORD is the only truth that I need to hear, do I struggle with comprehending the Bible at times and not being 100% diligant in my devotions, YES, and I am still learning to deal with that. I am different than I was also 5, 10 even 2 min ago, why because the Lord isnt done pruning me yet. You have such wonderful and insightful posts here, and I am so glad I was able to play catch up on some of them really good ones...