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Analytical Commentary on Romans


Copyright © BRI 2017 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“In whatever way a person chooses, therein is he led” (Makkos 10b). We tend to disown those thoughts, feelings, and actions that we dislike. Something we saw, read, or heard upset us, we like to think, and caused us to think, feel, or act in a certain way. We forget that we have considerable say in what we choose to see or hear. Psychiatry and psychology have contributed to this abdication of responsibility. Their emphasis on the impact of early-life events on our emotions has been taken to mean that these factors determine our psyche, and that we are but helpless victims of our past. We forget that if someone puts trash on our doorstep, we do not have to take it in; even if it was put into the house and filled it with an odor, we have the option to throw it out and clean up. Similarly, even if early-life experiences have an impact, the effects are not cast in stone; we can take steps to overcome them.

“A man once complained to his rabbi that alien thoughts were interfering with his prayer and meditation. The rabbi shrugged his shoulders. “I don't know why you refer to them as alien,” he said. “They are your own.” If we stop disowning feelings and actions, we may be able to do something about them. Today I shall... try to avoid exposing myself to those influences that are likely to stimulate feelings and behavior that I think are wrong” – Rabbi Abraham Twerski

“If a man hasn't got something worth dying for, then his life isn't worth living”
Martin Luther King, Jr

Some have wondered along with the Jews “Well, there was a righteousness that Abraham did have because it is written that Abraham was circumcised, and that must have helped towards his righteousness or justification.” But we answered that objection in our past lecture. But so strong is that belief it again has raised its head.

Back in the Second Temple period Paul anticipated the argument from the rabbinic sector. Did circumcision have any place in the obtaining of Abraham's righteousness? Paul says absolutely not! “How then was it reckoned? When he (Abraham) was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? NOT IN CIRCUMCISION but in uncircumcision!” (Romans 4.10). And why is this the case? While I have already approached this subject let me state the facts in another manner so the matter will be cleared up once and for all.

Look at Genesis 16.16. Abraham was “fourscore and six years old” when his Egyptian concubine Hagar (Sarah's Egyptian Princess) gave birth to Ishmael. Back in Genesis 15 we read of Abraham receiving his righteousness. Then further on, after Genesis 16, in Genesis 17.25,26 it is recorded that he was 99 years old when he was circumcised. That's a full 13 years after Ishmael was born! Alva McClain rightly observed, “Abraham already had his righteousness thirteen years (according to the Jews' own Scripture), probably fourteen years before God required the rite of circumcision.”

He adds, “Because the rite [of circumcision] was not what secured righteousness for the man did not mean that it was excluded from any place in the plan of God. “And received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised” (Ro 4:11). Though circumcision does not secure righteousness, it is a seal of righteousness already received” (McClain, op.cit., 115).

Abraham believed God. Abraham believed against hope. Abraham believed in spite of circumstances. Abraham believed without staggering. And Abraham believed God could perform. As a consequence of this faith, this belief, this trusting Abraham freely received justification, God's own righteousness. Abraham most certainly was and IS a representative of all humanity. There is only ONE way God saves human beings in all ages – it is by trusting, apart from works.

Now, I have personally had objections raised to me concerning the receiving of justification as a major blessing from God received by faith. The mentality seems to be that some of us are programmed to acknowledge blessings from heaven only by effort exercised in cooperation with the Ruach HaKodesh – a sort-of “cause and effect” mindset. Obey God in “this” and God will give you “that.” And we are assured in this argument that this stand takes FAITH. And of course, I readily admit, there are innumerable Scriptures to back up such a position. There are also very important self-help books available which can aid us in our pursuit of material blessings. The works by Napoleon Hill come readily to mind (“Think & Grow Rich” (1937) and his The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons (1928) in two volumes) as well as The New Master Key System (1916; updated 2008) by Charles F. Haanel. There is little doubt that “patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”

There are spiritual blessings that are available from God Himself through the exercise of our FAITH. We must direct our confidence toward Him. There is no other way, certainly not by works, to receive them. Paul makes that fact candidly clear indeed. BUT to receive material blessings we are dealing with another kettle of fish entirely. There is a cause for every effect. By utilising a working knowledge of biblical principles, they can work for us and give us rich dividends in a variety of beneficial ways. But spiritual blessings (such as justification) can only ever be received by faith (Rom 3.28). Consider also, that we have access to Grace only by faith (Rom 5.2). When there are a variety of options we can take, and only ONE will suffice, “whatsoever is not of faith is SIN” (Rom 14.23). God wants that we should take this life very seriously. I cannot help but wonder how many of us really do.

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, let us continue to have shalom with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom as an entree we have obtained permanent access to this Grace in which we permanently stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our turbulent troubles, knowing that turbulent troubles produce endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts flooding them through the agency of the Ruach HaKodesh that has been given to us.”  

“For while we were still helpless, at the right strategic time the Messiah died for the ungodly. Indeed, very rarely will anyone die for an individual who is legally exact and precise in his observance of the customs and rules of the society in which he lives —though perhaps for a person who is generous of heart always accomplishing good for other people someone might actually dare to die. But God constantly proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners the Messiah died for us.

“Much more certainly then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by the life he possesses. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5.1-11).

I have often resorted to lecturer Alva McClain's fine works as collected, compiled and edited by Herman Hoyt (1973) and admit free access to the studious works of Kittel, Vincent and Wuest among others in a pursuit of the truth relating to Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians. I make no apology for it. Of course, the conclusions I arrive at are peculiarly my own – and those of the holy Spirit.

There are immense blessings that accompany Justification by Faith. These are not physical blessings or accoutrements but spiritual advantages. What are these spiritual blessings concerning which we already have in our possession? You need to know what they are so that you can take immediate advantage of them!

McClain states: “A good many people think of justification as the first or initial blessing of the Christian life, its value ending at that point. But while justification is the initial blessing, it is more than that in the Christian life. Justification is not only the first or initial blessing, but justification carries with it every other blessing of the Christian life, and when a man is justified, he has everything that God has to give.

“So, let us never think of justification as being a small thing. It is the greatest thing in the Christian life, because it carries with it everything else. There are a great many Christians who are not enjoying every blessing. There may be some Christians who do not know what they received when God justified them and of course can't enjoy what they are ignorant of. But that does not change the fact that when God gives justification by faith, He gives with that justification everything that He has to give” (Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace, 1973, 121).

With Alva McClain, I can count TWELVE blessings associated with the receipt of justification. But before we look at those twelve spiritual blessings we need to consider two vitally important things.

Firstly, justification by faith was poured out onto the world 2000 long years past! The world was justified at the bloody death of Messiah. The Greek for “justified” indicates it as a past event – it is an accomplished fact. When it is activated by our faith it is something that takes place instantaneously. None of us therefore can ever grow into justification! This was the great Roman Catholic error! It was a gross absurdity which Martin Luther combated with ferocious intensity. None of us can experience justification as something that can be perceived as a continuous process or a work in progress. Such a conception is an utter impossibility.

Secondly, Paul writes in such a way as including two key phrases which occur twice in this section of Romans 5.1-11... “We have” which orients around the present and is indicative of the fact that we possess something of value RIGHT NOW, and “we shall be...” or “we will be” which clearly augments something THAT WE SHALL BE in the future.

What are the twelve spiritual blessings we possess as a consequence of our activating our justification by faith?

[1] Being justified by faith WE HAVE “peace with God.”  Justification is the ground of peace or shalom. Sin no longer has the power to prevent us from experiencing and ENJOYING the intimate Presence of the emanation of utter holiness before God. There are books in Christian book outlets that are written on just this subject of having peace with God, and they mostly concentrate on our feeling (emotion) of peace or tranquility as a psychological STATE of mind. But this is not what the apostle Paul had in mind. After all, I have known – and YOU have also known – folk who work with self-hypnosis at creating a peaceful, tranquil state of mind and who believe they are ONE with God in their experience of physical and psychological calmness and they are not even converted! [N.B., I am not saying that I believe self-hypnosis is wrong to engage in or to practice, as both the Rebbetzin and myself have utilised similar, if not the same, PMA techniques like auto-suggestion which we have found to be most helpful.]
Having said this, such persons certainly APPEAR to have peace within themselves yet do not actually have peace – shalom –  with God. Contrariwise, as McClain rushes to articulate, “A Christian who is untaught and does not know the truth may have peace with God [in actuality] and yet not feel at peace in himself” (ibid, 123).

Paul is speaking from the point of view of what God has done for the sinner. It is penned from a God-perspective in relation to man and not the other way around. In Romans 5.10 Paul notes “When we were enemies.” A sinner unrepentant is an ENEMY of God and an ENEMY of the cross of Christ. How can it be otherwise? Unsaved men and women have hearts that are hostile toward God: “They are not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be” (Romans 8.7). They have “enmity toward God” (same verse). When at last that enmity is curtailed and broken there happens a result of PEACE between sinful man and God. And when that person realises he is forgiven there is an experience of peace that floods the soul and spirit within. Yes, THAT is a foregone conclusion. HOWEVER an emotion of peace deep inside ought not be confused with “the external relationship of peace with God, which is the subject about which the apostle is now talking” (McClain, 124, emphasis mine).

Concerning this peace or shalom with God, Professor Wuest assures us: “The context [of Romans 5.1] is didactic. It contains definite statements of fact. It is highly doctrinal in nature. It has to do with a sinner's standing before God in point of law, not his experience... Furthermore, there is a difference between having peace with God and having the peace of God in the heart. The first has to do with justification, the second with sanctification. The first is the result of a legal standing, the second, the result of the work of the Holy Spirit. The first is static, never fluctuates, the second changes from hour to hour. The first, every Christian has, the second, every Christian may have. The first, every Christian has as a result of justification. What sense would there be in exhorting Christians to have peace when they already possess it? The entire context is one of justification...” (Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol.1, Romans., 76f, emphasis mine).

Yes! The ENTIRE context is one of justification. Sanctification – and I mean positional sanctification (which is a term I will explain when we get to it) – is pursued by Paul from Romans 5.12-21 and further in Romans 6.1-8.27 where he deals extensively with progressive sanctification.

Greek scholar Vincent agrees when speaking of this peace of Romans 5.1. “Not contentment, satisfaction, quiet [which is what Philippians 4.7 concentrates on]; but the state of reconciliation as opposed to enmity [referencing Rom 5.10]” (Marvin Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 1887, Vol.III, 57).

Certainly in Romans 5.1ff Paul has the writings of the prophet Isaiah in his mind. Isaiah had written, “He was wounded for our transgressions... the chastisement of our peace was upon him” (Isa 53.5). He suffered for our sins. He was punished for our sins. He died for our sins. The result was PEACE between us and God the Father and as a consequence God is no longer angry at this time – He certainly is not angry with us!

Paul takes up this same theme when he pens the Messianic Community residing in Ephesus. He writes, “He IS our peace” (Eph 2.14). Christ is not interested in making us “feel” peaceful, but rather Christ brought peace between us and God. In other words what Christ has done for us is to make peace in our relationship with God. He took away the enmity and then – as a consequence – made peace. For, “having slain the enmity, He came and preached peace to you that were near [the Jews] and to them that were afar off [Gentiles]” (Eph 2.17).

When we all stand before the Messiah Yeshua at his second Advent there will be no need to experience a subsequent trembling with horror in the Presence of such awesome and extreme HOLINESS because we have peace IN Him!

[2] Being justified by faith WE HAVE “access, by faith, into this Grace.”
Knoch has well written that “peace is a favour infinitely beyond justification. God's affections are not satisfied with clearing us from all guilt. He craves our love and our adoration. Righteousness alone does not give us a passport into His presence, but this further grace of reconciliation urges us into full and affectionate fellowship with Him. And we are aware that He will not rest in having us clothed in forensic righteousness only, but will make us all that He desires, to satisfy His own love. His way of winning our response is to pour His own love into us first, as exemplified in the death of Christ for us while we were most undeserving of His favour. The grace of it lies in the entire lack of anything in us to draw out His affections toward us” (A.E. Knoch, Concordant Commentary on the New Testament, 1968, 234).

Our word “access” is from the Greek prosagoge which is made up from two words pros or “facing” and ago “to bring.” From secular documents of the time it speaks of a person who brings another into the presence of a third party. Moulton and Milligan in their Vocabulary of the Greek Testament refer to a second century ms in which we read, “Cronion, who now happens to be in Alexandria, will bring them before his highness the high-priest.”

Marvin Vincent tells us that literally “access” is “the act of bringing to.” Hence, introduction. He thoughtfully adds, concerning Paul's wording “access into this Grace,” that Paul is picturing “Grace... as a field into which we are brought. Compare Gal I.6; v.4; 1 Pet v.12. The state of justification which is preeminently a matter of Grace” (Vincent., op.cit, 58 emphasis mine).

Kenneth Wuest reflects on his understanding of pros'agog as speaking of a person who secured for his friend an audience with a king and who brought him properly attired into the Royal presence and favour. The French have a word for this, entree. Wuest utilises this term in his expanded translation of Romans and I have done so as well. For that is precisely what Yeshua has done for each of us. Yeshua clothes us with His own righteousness, cleanses us in his own previous blood, and ushers us into the FULL favourable presence (Grace, charis) of FatherMother God.

Therefore, due to ALL that Christ has legally accomplished on our behalf it remains that we are the beneficiaries of a complete and continuous access to the Throne of God's Grace. We are very welcome to be there. McClain shares with us that “peace and access in the Bible always go together.” Or, as Paul would put it (and did so in Ephesians 2.18) “We both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

[3] Being justified by faith WE HAVE a standing in Grace.
How can any sinner stand in the Presence of a HOLY God? The Psalmist asked the same question: “If you, LORD, should mark all our iniquities, O LORD, who shall stand?” (Ps 130.3). Its a very appropriate question indeed, for WHO can stand righteously before the Throne of God's immeasurable Grace? The answer is one that brings us to our spiritual senses: Those forgiven by God can. God's “Firstfruits” can. The “just” can. The “righteous can.” We can. And how is this possible? Because we have been justified by the Faith of Christ. And we have personally activated our faith in God's righteousness and judgments and loving acceptance of us in His Son Yeshua, and we KNOW God has applied the life of Christ directly to us.

But there are some who cannot stand before God. Again, the Psalmist utters terrifying words of warning to those who rebel against God and who have not known His ways to Life. “The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment” (Ps 1.5). The ungodly cannot hope to STAND before God on the Last Day – they will be reduced to wrack and ruin before Him and His Messiah. (See also Rev 6.17: “Who shall be able to stand?”)

But on a very positive note “being justified by faith, we have [a standing].” Let us recognize once and for all, that we stand IN Yeshua the Messiah! As McClain stresses so accurately, “We stand, and our standing is in Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus is the only place any man will ever be able to stand. How is that standing maintained? By Grace. Any man who tries to stand in his own works, his own character, his own righteousness [and sense of inner purity] will fall. Grace is the only thing that can maintain his standing. I praise God for His Grace this day, and you ought to, too” (McClain., op.cit., 126).

[4] Being justified by faith WE HAVE joy (“we rejoice”) “in the hope of the glory of God.”
When we were promised eternal life we were promised “the glory of God.” Look up any Concordance of the New Testament! Look at how often “glory” is mentioned in direct connection to our future inheritance of everlasting life. We are promised GLORY. And not mere glory, but the GLORY OF GOD. We are promised eternal life (and yes, we already possess that everlasting life in essence but we are yet still flesh and blood) so the full complement of LIFE which we will all embrace (“be clothed upon”) will be GLORIOUS SPIRIT. And the Scripture says “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15.50). Therefore, our Tripartite Being – our “spirit, soul and body” – is destined to be CONVERTED from this temporary vessel into PURE SPIRIT AS GOD IS SPIRIT. Yes, we surely can REJOICE.

But most Christians have no idea of what awaits them when that change comes with the advent of Yeshua and our appointment with heavenly Destiny. God's GLORY happens to be precisely WHAT God is in FACT. God's very own glory is what God happens to be in CHARACTER – in essential POWER – in APPEARANCE. Why haven't biblical teachers emphasised this great TRUTH? And why is it that over the last century this knowledge has been LOST to the masses of believers who wonder what their calling has been all about?!? The reason they have not heard THIS Gospel of what pertains to our eternal life WITH Our Lord Yeshua is that there has been a defection from right knowledge in the churches of this world, and a true, authentic, trustworthy and genuine Teaching Ministry is extremely rare to locate! Oh, there are some teachers with the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh alright, but you have to journey miles (or spend untold hours on Google) to find them. And then one has to be cautious, discerning, questioning. A Messianic Christian is not spelled “MUG.” There are false lying spirits abounding in our society today, and they are linked directly to the world of the Occult from which they proceed to beguile and deceive as “angels of light.”

Remember, we are assured by God Himself that we are called to become “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8.29). Yeshua is the “brightness of God's glory” in Hebrews 1.3 and that “brightness” is from a Greek word meaning “OUT-SHINING.

We are commanded to rejoice in that which we are destined to become.

Make no mistake! There are believers who are so woefully and negatively transfixed on their own sense of destitute being, their own worthlessness, their weariness, body size, their little stature (or oversized growth) and other defects illustrating that which nature has granted them, that they are so stuck with their nose in their navel they cannot see what is being offered by God. But this is not something that is being offered – it is in fact THE REALITY THEY WILL INHERIT. THE ACTUAL GLORY OF GOD.

Some of us really need to use our creative imaginations more wisely.


[5] Being justified by faith “WE GLORY in trials.”
When Paul uses the word “tribulations” or “trials” in Romans 5.3 the Greek word is thlipsis – meaning “a pressing, pressing together, pressure, oppression, affliction, distress, straits” (See W.E.Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 1940). Professor Wuest tells us that thlipsis is preceded by the definite article “marking these out as things naturally expected in a Christian's life.” We can ONLY enter the Kingdom of God through MUCH tribulation and MANY severe trials (Acts 14.22). McClain is even more pointed: He notes,

“Let me emphasise the verb, we rejoice in them! The unbeliever is unable to do that. To the unbeliever this life is all he has. He has no prospect of joy or happiness hereafter. He doesn't even know whether there is another life. If, in this life, his joy and happiness is marred by tribulation and affliction, he is miserable, because he has lost all he had.

“But it is not thus with the Christian. No matter how dark it may be, he knows the morning still comes. There is not an experience nor a tribulation, no matter how hard it is, that will take away his hope. He can actually take a tribulation, look it in the face and say, “I thank God for this! I rejoice in it!”

“(But what Paul wrote is often mistranslated to mean) we rejoice in spite of tribulation. But it does not mean that “I thank God in spite of my tribulations.” Paul says in effect, “I thank God for my tribulations” (McClain, op.cit., 127).

I well recall my wife and I attending for a short period an Anglican Church – this was many years ago. One Sunday morning service the rector was giving his ordinarily dull meatless sermon when he asked his parishioners to participate in it by publicly thanking God for blessings they had received in the last month. Some timorously put up their hands and offered, when they were chosen, to articulate that for which they were thankful.

“I'm happy to have received a blessing of a new Bible.”

“I got from my doctor a clean health report when I thought all was lost.”

“My dog ran away from home but he was returned by a kind lady who lived a mile away.”

“My hubby discovered his college ring he thought he had lost. It was in my underwear drawer. I don't know why it was in there.”

It came to be my turn. My hand had been up for about five minutes. “I thank God for trials we have been enduring.”

There was an instant gasp, and the Rector nearly fell out of his elevated pulpit. After he recovered from his own shock, he choked out a response of disbelief in my audacity.

But biblically I was correct in my attitude to trials. Oh, I know full well that when the floor falls out from beneath you there is a compelling initial sense of being well and truly gutted. Of course there is. We would not be human if we were continually stoic in our feelings and observations concerning life and all it has to offer. We live in a Wild Kingdom of our own. We worship a Wild God, too. Never forget that fact. Don't believe me? Take a close look at our chaotic universe, ordered in some ways and extremely untamed and wild in others. And take a glance at nature here on our planet's Wild Kingdom. Take a look at some cable channels if you have cable TV. Discovery channel or any wildlife channel and you will see what I mean.

Brethren, God is the Nature of nature itself. The planet may be ruled over by haSatan, and it may well have been raped and ruined by a stupid humanity, but it belongs ONLY to God.

Paul wrote, “If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we also may be glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY which shall be revealed IN us” (Romans 8.17,18).

[6] Being justified by faith WE HAVE a hope that “makes not ashamed.”
Professor Kenneth Wuest writes that “Paul did not exult because of the tribulations themselves but because of their [eventual] beneficial effect upon his Christian life. This the saint must learn to do. He must look at these trials and difficulties as assets that develop his Christian character. Paul says that [trials] work patience. “Work” is katergazomai “accomplish, achieve, to do that from which something results.” One could translate “tribulation generates patience” or “produces patience.” “Patience” is hupomone “steadfastness, constancy, endurance.” Thayer says, “the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.” The verbal form is hupomeno “to remain under,” thus, to remain under trials in a God-honoring way so as to learn the lesson they are sent to teach, rather than to attempt to get out from under them in an effort to be relieved of their pressure” (Wuest., op.cit.,78,79 emphasis mine).

Romans 5.4 in many versions reads “patience leads to experience.” According to Marvin Vincent this is dead wrong. The Greek dokimen, he notes, does not mean “experience” at all. Rather it ought to be translated as pertaining to “the process of trial, proving... or, the result of trial, approvedness... tried integrity, a state of mind which has stood the test. The process has already been expressed by tribulation” (Vincent, op.cit.,58).

So, fiery trials generate patient endurance as we await God's deliverance. That exercise of patient endurance brings forth the result of approvedness which in its turn ushers in a powerful sense of hope – and this is a hope that is not worldly but rather a hope that never “disappoints” (in our modern English tenor) or in the meaning of ancient Greek, a hope that “does not disgrace or dishonour.” (For proof of the latter see Vincent, op.cit., 59.)

How can this be the case?

Allow me to tell you how this can be the case!

Because we already know and are fully convinced that “all things work together for good to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8.28).

Christian scholar Denney stresses, “The experience of what God can do, or rather of what He does, for the justified amid the tribulations of this life, animates into new vigour the hope with which the life of faith begins.” And again, “All these Christian experiences and hopes rest upon an assurance of the love of God. That the love of God to us is meant, not our love to Him, is obvious from verse 6 and the whole connection: it is the evidence of God's love to us which the apostle proceeds to set forth.”

McClain shares with us these encouraging and enlightening thoughts: Paul starts with hope, “Here is a beautiful circle! It started with hope, “Hope of the glory of God.” Then tribulation worked steadfastness, and steadfastness proved to us that we are children of God, and when we were proven children of God, we were encouraged in our spirits and we completed the circle with “hope of the glory of God.”... Paul is not talking about hope in any abstract sense. Some of our hopes have made us ashamed. Some of our hopes have disappointed us. How many there have been in my life and in your life! A father may stand by his son, a dissipated wretch, and say, “I had hoped.” A mother may stand by the casket of a loved one that has gone and say, “I had hoped.” Or a man may look upon the fragments of his fortune when it has been distributed to the winds and is gone and say, “I had hoped” but his hopes did not issue in fruition. They failed, and that failure made him ashamed.

“He is not talking about all hope here, because many a hope there is that has failed utterly. He is talking about a certain, specific hope – a definite hope. This is the way it reads in the original – the little article the is before the word hope. “And the hope makes not ashamed!” Not any kind of hope – not hope in the abstract, but “the hope” – a certain hope, a Christian hope. That hope will never make you ashamed. It will never fail you. It will never disappoint you. That little article the points back to the second verse. What is “the hope?” Hope of the glory of God!”

[7] Being justified by faith WE HAVE “the love of God... shed abroad in our hearts.”
“The hope makes not ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Romans 5.5). What does this mean? Let me tell you what it means – it means that Christ dwells in our hearts, in our minds, and in our conscience by the Ruach HaKodesh and therefore the Spirit of the living Messiah makes us victorious in all we put our hands to accomplish, even in the selfless sacrificial forgiveness when others oppose us and cause us to stumble. A battered and bleeding Christ nailed to the cross asking the Father to forgive his murderers because they “know not what they do” is the SAME LORD who indwells each of us by His holy Spirit. That same sacrificial unconditional love he had for humankind back then will be the same identical sacrificial unconditional love that will ultimately triumph as a consequence of being shed abroad in our hearts even if and when we try to resist it!!!

It is said by the same apostle, “Christ in you is the hope of GLORY” (Colossians 1.27).

McClain exclaims, “If God loved us so much as to come into us and live in us, and if our body is the temple of the holy Spirit, can that hope ever be disappointed? Certainly not! There is a hope that makes not ashamed!”

That love is “poured in and still floods our hearts” is the perfect Greek tense of “is shed abroad.” Carnality in us runs deep, but in our tribulations and sorrows we are reminded of the words of Yeshua through Paul that continue to live in us and which penetrate into our consciences to the effect that “the love of God is poured into us and still floods our hearts.” When that love is recognised and released outward in a torrential flood toward others who have harmed and wronged us we can identify in an experiential way God's own love for sinners.

[8] Being justified by faith WE HAVE the holy Spirit.
In Rom 5.5 we have the first mention of the holy Spirit in Romans, and it is the same verse in which we find the love of God also first mentioned by Paul in this letter. If we have the holy Spirit we must do the works of the holy Spirit. “Greater things than I have done, shall you do,” said Our Lord Yeshua (Jn 14.12-14). We have failed to take him seriously.

[9] Being justified by faith WE HAVE proof of God's love because “Mashiach died for us.”
Why did God the Father raise Yeshua from the dead? Was it because Yeshua was His Son? Was it because He was sinless? Was it even because God had prophesied through the prophets that Christ would see life after dying for the sins of the world?

It was none of these things. God raised Yeshua from the dead precisely BECAUSE he went to his own death on our behalf and paid the supreme penalty for our transgressions and sins on our behalf. Because he paid the penalty of death in full on our behalf God raised him from the dead AND “because he lives we shall live also” (Jn 14.19). If Christ had not paid the full penalty on the bloodied tree of Golgoleth, on our behalf, he would have remained DEAD.

“He that spared not His own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8.32).

Now THAT'S security!

[10] Being justified by faith WE WILL BE “saved from wrath [to come].”
Please note now that we have passed from the phrase “WE HAVE” to the “WE WILL BE.” None of us need fear the Day of the Lord. We have immunity from wrath at the conclusion of the age. In the “Day of the Lord” God has promised to provide shelter for His saints. But there is also coming a period of Satanic wrath and we need to be prepared for that time. The only issue will be with those of us who have become more worldly minded than we ought to be. It will be Christians (Messianic believers) who are ONE WITH SATAN'S KINGDOM during the “end of days” and whom God Himself labels “Laodecians” who will face that dreaded wrath of Satan – the three-and-a-half-years of the rule of Antichrist – and we should be reminded of this promise of travail that some of the saints will have to endure in order for them to get their heads right with God (Rev 3.14-22).

All of us need to take hold of ALL of the accompanied blessings of justification by faith.

[11] Being justified by faith WE WILL BE “saved by his life.” We were saved when we first believed. We shall be saved when Mashiach returns and glorifies us into SPIRIT as God is SPIRIT. A dead Christ never saved anybody. The Saviour is no longer on a cross (or impaled on a tree) – he was resurrected to GLORY and he is coming again to receive us to himself. “Because I live,” he said, “you shall live also.”

[12] Being justified by faith WE (WILL) “rejoice in God.”
We are no longer “afraid” of God in the sense of being terrified. We see God, and we know God, as our AB'BA – our Dearest Darling Daddy and even more so as FatherMother God Anochi I-Source.

In closing this section of Paul's writing we are reminded that he began with “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through Our Lord Yeshua the Messiah,” and now he concludes this section of his letter with the same emphasis: “We rejoice in God, through Our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

“No man has any hope apart from the Son of God. There is no approach to God the Father, save through the Son of God” – Alva McClain.

So we now know what the twelve blessings are that accompany justification by faith. We may all know them, but some of us may be new to their availability for them personally.

As McClain has put it so succinctly, “If any one of them is new, may this be the day you begin to enjoy it. It is yours, so enjoy it, and especially your tribulations.”


 on: May 14, 2017, 08:55:44 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans


Copyright © BRI 2017 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture22.MP3

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“It is hardly too much to say that the Greek mind has in no word uttered itself and all that was in its heart more distinctly than in this... It is hardly too much to say that God has in no word uttered Himself and all that is in His heart more distinctly than in this” – Archbishop Trent discussing the Greek word charis in Romans 5.20 from which we transliterate Grace.

“The Greeks were lovers of beauty, in nature, in their architecture, their statuary, their poetry, their drama. Anything which called out of the heart wonder, admiration, pleasure, or joy, was designated by this word. The word came also to signify the doing of a favor graciously, spontaneously, a favor done without expectation of return but arising only out of the generosity of the giver” – Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest commenting on Archbishop Trent's observation concerning Grace.

"Faith is the defeat of probability by the power of possibility"
– Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, let us continue to have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom as an entree we have obtained permanent access to this Grace in which we permanently stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our turbulent troubles, knowing that turbulent troubles produce endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts flooding them through the agency of the Ruach HaKodesh that has been given to us.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right strategic time the Messiah died for the ungodly. Indeed, very rarely will anyone die for an individual who is legally exact and precise in his observance of the customs and rules of the society in which he lives —though perhaps for a person who is generous of heart always accomplishing good for other people someone might actually dare to die. But God constantly proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners the Messiah died for us.

“Much more certainly then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by the life he possesses. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread into and throughout all humankind because all have sinned — sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion as a king from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a prefigure or type of the One who is to come.

“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the Grace of God and the free gift in the Grace of the one man, Yeshua the Messiah, will abound for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion as a king through that one, much more certainly will those who receive the abundance of Grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life reigning as kings through the one man, Yeshua the Messiah.

“Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, Grace superabounded with more added to that, so that, just as sin exercised dominion as a king in death, so Grace might also exercise dominion as a King through justification resulting in eternal life through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord” (Romans 5).

The first great truth we can glean from Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians is the revelation that we need righteousness. Many of us at this place in the International Messianic Community of Faith (IMCF) are Jewish, and we also have our Gentile brethren (Black, Bronze, White and probably Brindle as well and they all have their own individual sexual expressions, and may God bless them all SUPERABUNDANTLY) in close association with us. All of us NEED righteousness. That is a fact, though there are specific anti-Yeshua Jewish organisations and agencies that promulgate the view that WE can attain God's righteousness and maintain it by our own strength and if we fail at any time our repentance can justify us in the sight of a HOLY God. If you doubt my sanity at this point (because of my assessment) then please travel sometime during your spiritual journey to aish.com and see for yourself WITH YOUR OWN EYES what these characters actually teach.

AND their drivel is not limited to anti-Yeshua pro-Judaistic associations. We find them in the Messianic Movement as well. I will have somewhat to say about one individual in particular in a moment – and the reason I have chosen him out of an entire overripe bunch of putrid bananas is due to the fact that I have had somewhat personally to do with him. Not a close relationship, mind you, but still far too close for comfort! I will explain in a moment.

“Righteous” appears a total of 91 occasions in the Messianic Scriptures and 35 of these occur in Romans. It sort of makes us acutely aware of how important Rav Shaul considered “righteousness.” His entire thesis in Romans can be assessed in four themes:

[1] righteousness needed

[2] righteousness supplied

[3] righteousness unattained

[4] righteousness applied in the life of the believer.

There is another great truth concerning the source of Life. Very early in Romans Paul declares of the pagan world, as we have seen in our journey through his Letter to the Roman Christians, “They... are worthy of death” (Romans 1.32). He adds later, “The ration of sin is death” (Romans 6.23). That's the ration as it is in the Greek. Its not “wages” at all because the Dark Lord does not pay wages, but only rations out enough to perpetuate your personal starvation in service to him. In the latter section of Romans, and we shall eventually find our way there, the Rabbi considers Israel and reflects: “What shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11.15). He then speaks of Messianic believers being offered on a daily basis as “living sacrifices” (Romans 12.1). Life, and the need of life, runs throughout the entire letter of Romans. We do not have life, in its quantified and qualitative experience, so God supplies it; Israel herself is to one day have that life. Ultimately, the believer is to be a living sacrifice on the altar of Grace. And why not? After all if Christ is living his life out through us then that life will be reflective of the same surrender and sacrificial love expressed in Yeshua's life 2000 years past in one form or another.

Righteousness and life are bound closely together: “the just [righteous] shall live [experience life].” Again, “The gift of righteousness shall reign in life” (Romans 5.17). Moreover, “As sin has reigned unto death, even so might Grace reign unto eternal life through righteousness by Yeshua the Messiah our Lord” (Romans 5.21).

Before we go any farther along this route, note please, that Grace cannot reign to eternal life unless it is through righteousness. Such knowledge ought to make us all repent, considering and assessing in self-awareness and self-judgment concerning what we are. Yet God's righteousness provides a way for Grace to reign with the resultant outcome of everlasting life. Paul links life to righteousness once more in Romans 6.13. “Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” He adds, “The Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Romans 8.10). But whose righteousness is he discussing?


Rav Shaul is often twisted to say things he never ever intended. There are many Christians of the antinomian kind who insist that the Jewish Rabbi divided – jettisoned – righteousness from life and said that people could live any way they wished and they would still end up possessing life. What astonishing filth is this! What aberration is this! The apostle to the Gentiles makes is candidly clear that FIRST a man must be given righteousness – a STATE of righteousness and be treated by God as righteous, and AFTER he receives it he can then live RIGHT. For, he is alive from the dead and able in resurrection victory to present his bodily members as instruments of righteousness. (1) Righteousness, (2) life, and then (3) righteousness and life together.

There is another great truth presented to us by Paul in Romans. It is the absolute necessity of faith!

The words faith and belief and trust occur a total of 55 times in the entire letter. Paul begins with faith (Romans 1.5) and ends with an emphasis on “obedience to the faith” (Romans 16.26). The Greek in both instances is precisely identical – Romans begins and ends with faith.

“The just [righteous] shall live by faith.”

And so they shall.

Now we can better understand why it is that if all men (the entire world and all who have ever lived) have been justified, as Paul made clear in Romans 5.10, why the whole world has not yet experientially partaken of that salvation. John Owen (The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, 1852, reprinted 1989) should have returned to the Jewish roots of the Bible to properly comprehend salvation! All are presently justified, but not all are saved now at this time. For, in God's plan, intention and purpose for the universe the Messianic Community (the ekklesia) comes first. For the Messianic Community (ekklesia), this is OUR day of salvation. This is A day of salvation. It is not THE day of salvation. Today is not the only day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6.1 Gk cf Isaiah 49.8 Hebrew). We are the firstfruits of God's general harvest of all who have gone before and who will eventuate here on earth after us and who are not included in that especial “firstfruit” or “elect” harvest. We read that the apostle Peter said we were “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Peter 1.2).

And while WE may well understand and comprehend this truth there are some in the Messianic Movement who have demonstrated (again and again) how shallow is their stultified thinking. They are stultified because they are essentially legalists.

And, like the enemies of the apostle Paul, they seem to generate from Jerusalem.

A few short years ago I refused to permit a particularly zealous Jewish man from addressing our IMCF members here at HQ. I refused to allow him to share ANYTHING with our brethren at this place. It is high time I explained the reason why I took the steps I did. I share this information, not because I need to – far be it from me to even desire to recall this gentleman – but his influence stretches these days far and wide. And his message is satanic to the core.

His credentials are admirable and his force of personality magnetic. A Sephardi Jew by birth, Bradley Marcus early insinuated himself into the Messianic Movement with a gospel about a renewed Covenant, and bequeathing to the Movement a classic reinterpretation on the great Pauline work, the letter to the Galatians. Not a NEW Covenant, but a renewed one. And Galatians? All of Christianity, including its academics and other scholars, had wrongly understood for 2000 years what Paul had been writing about in the Second Temple period. Misunderstood until now... with his arrival!

Marcus now feels the need to call himself Avi ben Mordecai and he has influenced countless thousands of sincere believers with his distortions concerning the Grace of God and the purpose and role of the Messiah, Our Lord Yeshua. His volume on Galatians has destroyed the lives of possibly hundreds of thousands of Messianic believers who once trusted in the Lord Yeshua and his love.

I readily admit that I have never ever had any contact with this individual, I have never addressed an envelope to him, and I have never shaken his hand. I have never done any of these things and quite frankly I would not desire to do so in line with the exhortation of the apostle John in relation to greeting people who bring with them a false Gospel. But I had done my own research concerning him and his activities.

In 2012, I rejected outright an intended visit to our home and Yeshiva of this man who had been invited to teach a BRI/IMCF class by a Jewish legalist who used to attend our meetings and who created agitation, imposed distress, and generated upset among our local members. Originally known by the name of Elaine, she changed her name to a more appropriate (!) Hebrew one and became the root cause of “little ones” new in the Faith leaving our once-sweet fellowship. She had it in her mind that God had raised her up to put everyone else right about His will for their personal lives. And she confided this to a number of our members.

This Jewish racist – she and a Sinai-oriented wealthy homophobic admirer who also attended our Yeshiva, circulated disgusting negative email cartoons disparaging the Australian aboriginal people – started introducing dress codes, and pontificated where people sat who were attending our Yeshiva. She was a “control freak” afflicted with Borderline Personality Disorder, and Special Person Misconception (along with a deeply-ingrained Jezebel spirit). She disconcerted the Rebbetzin Glenys on more than one occasion and had our young impressionable daughter Miriam in tears and on the verge of a nervous breakdown with the pressures that were exerted on her by this damnable woman from Jerusalem. Indeed, she would have made a staunch “Armstrongite” leader had she ever heard of Herbert W. Armstrong and had the chance to do so (imo). Rejecting my counsel and gentle correction in her life, refusing to adhere to my instructions regarding respect for other brethren, and finally insisting that gays ought to be executed and presumptuously attempting to invite this Sinai adherent to our meetings brought the axe down abruptly upon her head – and then I got judged by a few believers who thought I should have handled her dismissal in a more appropriate “nicer” “Christian” fashion. Paul would never have let her go as long as I did. I had to learn the lesson that we can be far too nice to some people.

Within days of her dismissal from the BRI/IMCF Student Body, she had contacted Avi ben Mordechai and begged him to allow her to become his disciple. I have copies of her correspondence with ben Mordechai – which she foolishly forwarded to me – and a copy of his reply to her basically calling me a renegade Jewish apostate, a child of Rome, and a member of the “Mother Church Heresy Police Department.” I began to realise then just how spiritually immature and stunted he actually was showing himself to be, and since then have discovered so many ill-conceived ideas he has entertained about the Gospel that there is NO WAY I could ever consider him a “brother in the One (Messianic) Faith.”

AbM has a number of works bearing his name, but his mammoth analysis of Galatians is his most profound. In fact, within its exhaustive 500+ pages there is much included concerning which I totally agree – including his view on forgiveness and atonement (228) –  but I must share some of my disagreements right here and now. It is quite relevant to mention as we progress through Romans.

For any who wish to obtain a copy of this disturbing work, its published as Galatians. A Torah-Based Commentary in First-Century Hebraic Context, 2005, and was proudly “Written in Jerusalem, Israel; the City of the Great King” and “Printed in Israel.”

AbM in his Preface betrays his essential ignorance of the teachings of Yeshua including essential Sinai reversals under the New Covenant when he states the following “criteria” as vital in his opinion to grasp this letter to the Galatians (on the assumption that Paul wrote the epistle in Aramaic and not in Greek) – and all my students are well aware of the issues I also already happen to have re: Galatians. But my issues with Galatians are not his. He notes: “A tradition must not break a commandment of the written Torah” (Preface ix).

While I happen to be very sympathetic to much of what is penned in AbM's Galatians I must take exception to his overt and acute legalism (as apposite to legal views) and insinuation of mere opinion as dogmatic assertion. Especially is this the case when he constantly interjects his authoritative nuances with constant repetitive qualifications such as “in my opinion,” “it seems as if,” and the occasional nauseous “my belief is,” and “I think” when arguing an articulated (to him) “truth.” We literally have to wade through innumerable phrases as “it would appear to me,” “it seems probable,” “I am suggesting,” “leading me to believe,” “it is not inconceivable,” and along with these uncertainties other phrases such as “it appears,” “presumably,” “it is likely,” “quite candidly I will say [speculate],” “if I have this idea correct,” and “what I think was in the mind of Paul.” Ad nauseum.

To my mind this is extremely shaky ground on which fragile foundation to build such an imposing edifice to ego as we locate all throughout his 500+ pages of the Galatians commentary. Then he more than suggests “this synopsis now brings us to what the gospel is really all about” (129).

Shades of the cult of Armstrongism! Herbert is risen from the dead and has taken the physical form of AbM!!!

But this is not all. He further admits the following: “So what if we cannot prove.” And, “so what if we cannot find.” And, “I think,” “I think,” “I think” with “So, I suppose we could say” (146).

He got one thing correct, well sort of. Mordechai rightly rejects the “cross” as the implement on which Christ died – but ignores the tree in the orchard of Golgoleth in favour of the Armstrongite, JW, and Stern rubbish of “a stake” (147, 158).

Sadly as well as surprisingly AbM seems equally uninformed of the Second Temple rabbinic expectation of a Messianic Torah that would be newly introduced on the basis of the New Covenant with the coming of the Messiah (Galatians p.4) and he is every bit as dumb when it comes to Paul's animosity toward Peter, James and John who to the great apostle “appeared to be pillars” but with whom he had enormous conflict (5). He prefers a kehilah as a reference to the Messianic congregation (6) whereas Josephus finds the Greek word ekklesia – which is the Greek choice of word in the NT – as quite appropriate. He speaks of “Messianic Christianity” as Romish (xiv) and the message of Paul to the Galatians as “a freedom to do the law of Moses” (1).

I could not help but be quite astonished that AbM has preconceived notions in relation to Galatians written in Aramaic (which he cannot prove) to Gentile Gauls whom he thinks are remnants of lost Israel! (Galatia/Gaul from galut, exile... 237) In fact he links the lost tribes of Israel with Galatian language similarities in his “Associated Word Plays” but we can accomplish the same by locating apparent Hebraisms in the Mayan tongue, and the Japanese language! We can also find similarities to Hebrew in some Native American tribal words and expressions (See Adair's History of the American Indians, 1775 especially the 1930 Samuel Cole Williams [Editor] edition; also the works of Garcia, Las Casas, Thomas Thorowgood, and the Puritan “apostle to the Indians” John Eliot. We should also include Antonio Montesinos and Manasseh ben Israel, Cotton Mather, Roger Williams and William Penn). But quoting Henry George Rawlinson “19th Century Professor of History at Oxford University” as impressive as it first sounds, won't cut it. Neither will referring to the speculations of E. Raymond Capt – a noted Anglo-Israelite! And, although he seems to want to distance himself from any taint of British-Israelite teaching, he has the audacity to exclaim, “Paul... must have known that large numbers of the Galatians were physical descendants of the Israelite ten tribes, known by other names such as the Celts, Cimmerians, and Scythians...” (196).

Further, AbM is oblivious to the fact that YHWH tore up the failed marriage contract – the Sinai Covenant (355). He writes, “Within the written Torah itself... passages... revealing in no uncertain terms the eternality of the divine [Sinai] Torah... a perpetual contract...” (10). He strives throughout the book to make his case that ol'm means “the idea of unto eternity, forever, perpetuity, permanence” (9). At this point it was confirmed that this “scholar” was being very economical with the truth. He KNOWS better!!! “Forever” (ol'm) can be altered, changed, made redundant, eclipsed and brought to a termination point, and THIS is the verdict of Scripture itself.

Not content with being economical with the truth relating to the Hebrew word ol'm translated often as “forever” he speaks highly of Jacob's character in this manner: “Contrary to Jacob's character, Laban was shady and deceptive” (210). Um, am I missing something here? Wasn't Jacob's nature one of deception according to the biblical revelation? AbM's promulgation of the Nietzsche doctrine, adopted by the Nazis, of the Superman (214ff) – Jews are extremely special in his opinion and his followers (like the Jewish woman from Jerusalem mentioned earlier) follow suit! Critical of Gentiles, speaking in a derogatory way about them yet when I speak the truth about this sense of racial superiority I am seen to be guilty of unleashing lashon hara – an evil tongue, evil speech, scandal mongering. Hypocrites – evil masquerading as “righteousness.” As it was in Yeshua's day, so it is now. I am not speaking thus of Jews generally, for I am one. I speak of those who wear the Sinai Torah about their person and who look down on Gentiles as “dogs.”

Interestingly enough, he enthusiastically muses “According to this eternal Law [he means the Sinai Torah/Covenant] YHWH was in a bind... By His sheer nature, Yehovah could do nothing but to remain faithful to His own Law” and then implies “all Israel must return to the Covenant” and implies that this is to occur as a consequence of restoring an already torn up and shredded original marriage agreement. In writing the way he does AbM sets the stage for the idea of a RENEWED Sinai contract called the “New Covenant.” At this point he adds, “Perhaps now, you are getting a glimpse at what the “Gospel” is all about...” (142).

“Paul was able to say with boldness that the house of Israel could now return to YHWH in a renewal of contract” (148) and he repeats the charge with “Paul was a modern-day messenger of this renewal agreement” (149) followed on the same page with contemplative “it seems that,” “perhaps,” “I believe,” “I think,” and the classic comment of all comments “If this theory of mine holds true” and moreover “I cannot say this interpretation is sure... it is plausible...” (193).

Referencing Romans 7.4 he speaks of the body of Mashiach as “the [Sinai] Torah” (144) and this is again verified by AbM in these succinct words: “But, through the body of Yeshua, which represents the written Law of Moses” etc.

AbM is dead-set against any idea that the Lord Yeshua was God incarnate in human flesh. He is decidedly against “singing hymns and songs to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit” (131) and we have met his disciples at our Yeshiva who have insisted that the NT itself should be “thrown out in the trash can.”

I will leave this man now to the judgment of God and of the Lord Yeshua – God in the flesh. In his own words AbM condemns himself as one unenlightened by the Ruach HaKodesh. I do not know what spirit he possesses, but it is not the Spirit of God's Righteousness – THAT IS A FACT.

“Righteousness is attainable only by walking in the commandments as they were handed down to us at Sinai” (219) and he tries to establish this position by utilising Hebrew texts that correctly associate “righteousness” with the ideal notion that we must “live in them” – that is, in the commandments (Deuteronomy 6.25; Psalm 119.142; Ezekiel 18.9). AND WE SURELY MUST LIVE IN GOD'S COMMANDMENTS. This is also Paul's position, the position of James, Peter and John. It was the position of Yeshua, and it was the position of the prophets. Of course we must live out our lives in accordance with God's expectations of us. Nobody in their right mind would argue against such a proposition! But the righteousness that we must possess which guarantees GOD'S righteousness (which is higher than any Torah given to humankind) is a RIGHTEOUSNESS (received) BY FAITH and decidedly NOT righteousness received by being faithful to the law of Moses or any other law for that matter. AbM wants to establish his righteousness through obedience to the law of Moses. He rejects the righteousness which is by the faith of Yeshua the Messiah. AbM knows ZERO about justification (righteousness) by faith. He may speak as though he knows all about it. But as I have taught on myriad occasions had Abraham lived in Moses' day would have been dragged into a field and there suffered death by stoning because he was a sinner and married to his half sister. No mercy would have been shown to him.

AbM has displayed the crassest cognitive content of the Word of God that I have ever come across in over 40 years in ministry. But his crowning award comes with this utterance – and I will conclude this analysis of his destructive Galatians thesis with his own words.

He merrily transfers the CHARACTERISTICS of the Ruach HaKodesh – the characteristics of GOD HIMSELF, of “love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, honesty... and the characteristics of YHWH” to “the written Word” (the Sinai law as the bedrock of the Antiquated Covenant) which he thinks will “produce” these fruits (177).

The Scripture speaks of “The stone which the builders rejected… the chief corner stone... he who falls on this stone will be broken in pieces” (Matthew 21.33-46) which is none other than the LORD YESHUA the Mashiach.

What says AbM? “That stone IS “the written Mosaic Torah” as opposed to rabbinic oral traditions (105).

THAT says it all. And from his own mouth. What a scurrilous assertion. THAT tells the whole story of a darkened, unenlightened SINAI-BOUND mind.

In his Volume III of Word Studies in the Greek New Testament Professor Wuest states,

“God's Grace is that matchless, wonderful, marvelous, act on His part when He out of the spontaneous infinite love of His heart steps down from His judgment throne in heaven to take upon Himself the guilt of our sin and the penalty which is justly ours, doing this not for His friends, but for His enemies. Here the word “Grace” goes infinitely beyond its meaning in pagan Greece...”

And specifically on Romans 5.20 he notes: “The word 'abounded' is from a different Greek word than that which is translated 'abound.' The word means 'to exist in abundance.' But the second word which meaning also 'to exist in abundance' carries with it the added idea that the abundance is more than enough. The thing exists in superfluity... In addition to that, Paul prefixes a preposition to the word which means 'to be over and above.' Thus the translation [of Romans 5.20] reads, 'Where sin existed in abundance, Grace was in superabundance, and then some more added on top of that.'”

“God created the sun to give light and heat to the earth upon which we live. But only a very small fraction of that light and heat ever reaches our globe. The rest is lost in space. We need never be concerned that the light and heat of the sun will fail us. God has made an oversize reservoir to serve us.

“There is enough Grace in God's heart to love to save and keep saved for time and eternity, every sinner that ever has or ever will live. And then enough left over to save a million more universes full of sinners, were there such, and then some more. There is enough Grace available to give every saint constant victory over sin, and then some more. There is enough Grace to meet and cope with all the sorrows, heartaches, difficulties, temptations, testings, and trials of human existence, and more added to that. God's salvation is an oversize salvation. It is shock proof, strain proof, unbreakable, all sufficient. It is equal to every emergency, for it flows from the heart of an infinite God freely bestowed and righteously given through the all-sufficient sacrifice of our Lord [on the bloodied tree of Golgoleth]. Salvation is all of Grace. Trust God's Grace. It is superabounding Grace.”

While God IS Grace in His Person, His Nature, and His character, Grace did not appear in the Scripture prior to Sinai, nor after it. God has a variety of Administrations and GRACE has never been expressed as one of them. It did not come in the days of Moses, nor did it come through the Writings or the Prophets. It came ONLY when Yeshua embodied GRACE in an earthly form as a human being (anthropos) to suffer and die and to rise again as perfect GOD. It never came by the Rabbis, and never will. In fact I have stated on numerous occasions that the rabbins freely use the term “Grace” (by which they mean mercy and loving kindness) in competition with its use in Christianity in which Grace was originally expressed through Yeshua. Make no mistake! While “salvation is of the Jews” (John) and “Grace and Truth came by Yeshua the Messiah” (again, John) this DOES NOT MEAN that the rabbis have the truth. They crucified the TRUTH 2000 years ago and they ignorantly and in blindness await their own salvation by and from the Source of ALL Salvation –  the Jew and Son of God, Yeshua.

Salvation never comes by obeying law, whether that law is a written code on parchment like that of Sinai (originally hewn in rock), or the LAW (TORAH) imprinted on the human heart. Law will not save you nor anybody else.

First we are justified by faith and then God Himself treats us accordingly which means in effect that we are recreated into His SPIRIT and made, clothed, enveloped in and without with the very CHARACTER AND NATURE OF ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF: “The Many-Breasted One” so that we may nurture and nourish untold billions who have yet to make their justification an activated reality.

May Bradley Marcus be one of them.


 on: May 01, 2017, 08:01:17 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans


The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture21.MP3

Copyright © BRI 2017 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know” – President Harry S.Truman

“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten” – Marie Antoinette

“Truly it has been said that there is nothing new under the sun, for knowledge is revealed and is submerged again, even as a nation rises and falls. Here is a system, tested throughout the ages, but lost again and again by ignorance or prejudice, in the same way that great nations have risen and fallen, and been lost to history beneath the desert sands and in the ocean depths” – Paracelsus

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says... I'm possible!” – Audrey Hepburn

“What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For assuming that Abraham was justified by legalistic observances, he has something to boast about, but not when facing God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ [Genesis 15.6] Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as an undeserved gift but as a legally contracted debt. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. So also David speaks of the spiritual prosperity of those to whom God reckons righteousness irrespective of legalistic observances: ‘Spiritually prosperous are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; spiritually prosperous is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.’ [Psalm 32.1,2]

“Is this spiritual prosperity, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, ‘Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.’ How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the attesting sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by trusting while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the trust that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.

“For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants [Genesis 15.3,5] through the law but through the righteousness of trusting. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings divine wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on Grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have appointed you as the father of many nations’ [Genesis 17.5])—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls the things that are not in existence as being in existence. Being beyond hope, on the basis of hope believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ [Genesis 15.5] He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the deadness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ [Genesis 15.6] Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Yeshua our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4.1-25).

Paul's great argument of “Justification by Faith” is constructed on the foundation of Abraham. Paul has argued that God now justifies the ungodly, a proposition which goes right against the Sinai understanding that he who justifies the wicked has created an “abomination.” Paul has turned the entire Second Temple Jewish cultic system on its head.

The Jewish authorities would have been aghast that the learned Paul propounded his argument on the foundation of Abraham because in their eyes the Patriarch was a just and righteous individual, and the opposite of what Paul was suggesting. But what was Abraham really like – especially prior to his name change to Abraham?

When we think of Father Abraham, what do we conjure up? A Godly man of strength and mighty faith. A man obedient to death. One who followed the LORD all the days of his life. Trusting. Leaving Chaldea and all his previous prestigious life behind him in faithful obedience to the Lord. Well, sort of.

SARAI: Before Abraham had his name changed, history informs us that Abram was a ruthless warrior. He pursued life with all it offered without second thoughts – his only goal was an ultimate success as a mighty War Lord with a taste for the finer things of life including the collection of a wide variety of fascinating, beautiful women. Not just ordinary women... princesses. Why princesses? Because Abram was a Prince (Genesis 23.6) – a Blood Royal. And the women who surrounded him?

His first wife was known as Sarai which simply means “Princess.” Later, she was known as Sarah. This is a title not a personal name. The title Sarah invokes that of a woman in total command of all she puts her hand forth to achieve in all aspects of life – nothing less than a high priestess. In Hindu mythology she can be identified as Saraisdati (Saraswati) meaning “Lady Sarai.” Abram is Brahman. Intriguingly, when God appears before Abram it is in the guise of “El Shaddai” – often translated as “Almighty God” but which in fact actually means “The Many-Breasted One.” This, of course, would accord with the matriarchal age that preceded the patriarchal period and which latter aeon has basically extended right down to the present day.

The Jewish historian Josephus informs us that Abram was also a scientist who discovered the truth of the existence of a singular Almighty God and had to ultimately flee from Chaldea because of his promulgation of this great understanding as an educator among the nations of the region. In the Vedic Scriptures and commentaries this God is known as Brahma – the Supreme Soul of the Universe, Creator – after whom the “Father of the Faithful” is called. In the Vedic texts Brahma married his half-sister exactly like Abram.

Sarah was a most exalted figure in ancient history and her fame was widespread throughout the known world. I have insisted for over 40 years that Sarah lived during a time when the world was still largely matriarchal, not patriarchal. The original world, from the dawn of time, was matriarchal following in the footsteps of Eve. This was an age in which Princesses and Queens were also demi-goddesses, or priestesses. We know absolutely that Sarai was both princess and priestess (See, Miki Raver, Listen to Her Voice: Women of the Hebrew Bible, 1998, 35f). Abraham always has deep reverence and respect for Sarai. In fact, Jewish scholars go so far as to say that Abraham was little more than her “consort.” It was the more powerful Chaldean princess Sarai who conferred on Abraham the status he enjoyed as a “prince” (Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, Vol.1.,1909, 203ff). Not only so, it is a little known fact that Sarah is called by God “a mother of nations” (Genesis 17.15,16).

KETURAH: I have mentioned Sarai. There was also Keturah who was one of a number of personal concubines. Yes, Abram had wives (plural) and concubines (plural – See Genesis 25.5,6). A concubine was really a mistress or sensual feminine “sex toy” for a man with a huge sexual appetite. That was Abram! He wasn't satisfied with just one woman or even one mistress. He had a number of them and the biblical revelation also mentions children (plural) of whom we know absolutely nothing.

: Then there was the Egyptian Hagar the mother of Ishmael, Abraham's firstborn son. In Sanskrit Ishmael is Ish'Mahal – “Great Shiva.”

Hagar was the personal assistant to Sarai but that never bothered the Prince. In fact, it was a broadminded Sarai who suggested her husband might have children in a surrogate sense through her handmaid (Genesis 16.1-3). So neat and tidy was their “open” relationship that Sarai actually married Hagar to her husband. So, Hagar became Abraham's second wife and Ishmael was Abraham's first child. But he was not the child of promise. That was to be Isaac, Sarah's first child. In Sanskrit, Isaac/Yitzchak is Ishak'hu or “Friend of Shiva.”

Rabbinic authorities are well aware that Hagar was acquired during Sarah's brief stay in Pharaoh’s Egyptian court. The following Midrash explains the outcome.

R'Simeon ben Yohai said: “Hagar was Pharaoh's daughter. When Pharaoh saw what was done on Sarah's behalf in his own house, he took his daughter and gave her to Sarah, saying, 'Better let my daughter be a handmaid in this house than a mistress in another house'” [Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 45.1).

Moreover, “Hagar would tell (other women): 'My mistress Sarah is not inwardly what she is outwardly; she appears to be a righteous woman, but she is not. For had she been a righteous woman, (she would have conceived) see how many years have passed without her conceiving, whereas I conceived in one night'” [Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 45.4]

So we have here the background details of the somewhat sketchy Genesis account.

SUSANNAH: We are told by Diodorus Siculus that Horus (who lived at the time of Abraham and who was plotting to kill the patriarch) had a half-sister named So’sannes or Sosanes (See Bibliotheca Historica of Diodorus Siculus, Vol.1, Liber Tercius., 144.13) which is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Susannah. So’sannes was an Assyrian princess and daughter of Ninus ll. Philo Judaeus calls Abraham “a king” who must needs “learn to govern and not to be governed” (On the Migration of Abraham, ll, 8]. Abraham’s son by Susannah is named in history and in the Austrian Chronicle as Achaim and from this man the royal house of Austria is descended.  

MASHEK: Another wife of Abraham. Apart from the fact that she was a slave who stemmed originally from Damascus, we know very little about her. It appears from the LXX Genesis 15.2 Eliezer was her son born to Abraham.

When we seek to study any aspect of ancient history, we can go to the available records. If they no longer exist we can turn to legends associated with that particular historic personality or event, or we can examine the early mythology associated with them. And on such an admittedly precarious structure we may build an impressive (or, unimpressive) edifice. History, of course, is penned by those who conquer others. To the victors belong the spoils, literally. Despots burn entire libraries and always have done so throughout the centuries. Modern nations largely exclude even the recent records of competitive political ideologies. We will always seek to put ourselves, our nation, our politics in the brightest possible light. Will Durant is quoted as saying, “History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice” and the anti-Semite Henry Ford can cry “History is more or less bunk” and both celebrities can be quite correct in such an articulation.

Will Durant went on to say, “History reports that the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all” (The Lessons of History). Again, “You can’t fool all the people all the time,” but “you can fool enough of them to rule a large country” (ibid).

But there remains a fact that cannot be denied when it comes to a documented analysis of history. The further back we travel to the dawn of historical time the more we think we are looking at the last decades of the 20th century and into the 21st!

Frankly, it is only NOW – at the end of the age – that many of the antediluvian texts and Scriptures of various nations can be read with any understanding of what was being conveyed in these ancient manuscripts.

Solomon, the wisest of the kings of Israel agreed. “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc 1.4-11).

Consider the following: “The earth is round and it revolves around the sun” (Aniximander c.610-547 BCE)

“The earth is a globe” (Pythagoras  6th century BCE)

The earth travels in an orbit around the sun rotating on its axis at the same time. All the planets spin around the sun. (Aristarchus of Samos 310-230 BCE) This same gentleman promulgated the heliocentric theory eighteen centuries before Copernicus.

“The earth spins on its axis once in 24 hours” (Heraclides of Pontus 4th century BCE)

“Our Brahmins believe the earth to be a sphere” (King Chandragupta Maurya 302 BCE)

The Indian classics speak of aircraft and their knowledge indicates manned flying craft in a prehistory of aviation.  

The Mahabharata describes in detail nuclear warfare and the destruction wrought by monstrous death weapons thousands of years in the past.

Democritus worked out atomic theory 2500 years before Rutherford.

Penicillin was utilised by the Egyptians 4000 years before Fleming.

Space travel was described by the ancient Chinese 5000 years prior to our own Apollo flights.

And the list goes on... almost endlessly. There can be little doubt we Earthlings have been devolving over the last 6000 years, more than evolving.

In the days of the black tyrant Nimrod (Tammuz/Osiris) and the Tower of Babel God had said, “Now nothing will be restrained from [human beings] which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11.6).

Jewish legends tell us that Nimrod was still alive in the days of Abraham, and that Horus (Gilgamesh) the son of Nimrod, had attempted to assassinate the “Father of the Faithful.” Nimrod and Horus wanted to wipe out the Abrahamic line completely. Cutting a very long story short, war was finally declared as Nimrod invaded Abrahamic territory in Chaldea. But this was not a period, incidentally, of Arab-style war lords riding on donkeys and camels and wielding swords and screaming “Allahu Akbar!” at each other. Rather humankind had developed technological weapons of mass destruction and the further back we go in our reading of the literature and carvings of that time period the more we are convinced that there is a monumental gap between our accepted scholastic consensus theories on the history of humankind and the obvious alternative reality that stares us starkly and plainly in the face.

Abram's response to the nvasion by the Nimrod-Horus Alliance was to call down from the skies an “immense sun-darkening cloud of gnats which proceeded to devour Nimrod's [troops] to the very bones” (Lewis Spence, Myths & Legends of Babylonia & Assyria, 1916, 2010, 53; cf H. Polano, The Talmud, 1876). The descriptions given during this nuclear holocaust are identical to eye-witness reports of the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. (I will have more to share on this dark period of man's history in another series of lectures.) Suffice to say, Abram never flinched when it came to the taking of human life. Consider his immediate obedience when the “Sky Man” Yeho'vah demanded he take his firstborn son – the son of promise through Sarah – to Mount Moriah and there to slash his throat in a bloody sacrifice to him. Make no mistake, this action gave Sarah a coronary and she died of a broken heart never knowing that Isaac was spared. Scholar Miki Raver suggests Sarah died of “shock” (op.cit., 38).

But God blessed Abram in a mighty way. First God changed his name to Abraham because he was to be the father of many nations. And in Abraham the entire world would find blessing. The major mystical eastern religions of the world are based on Abraham. Buddhism, Taoism, and Shinto – all are Abrahamic Faiths. It is for this very reason we can locate modern scientific concepts in their ancient holy writings, as well as correlation's in their sacred texts with the teachings of the Kabbalah. Abraham's faith was indeed a universal one. Later Jewish influence on these religions can be seen in admissions even by the present Dalai Lama who perceived Buddhism as itself originating from Judaism. Wandering Jews also heavily influenced Japanese Shinto, called by some scholars “ancient Judaism in modern Asian dress” and “Oriental Judaism.”

The great Jewish scholar, Rashi (see Rashi's comments on Gen 25.6 and also Sanhedrin 91a), grasped that Abraham's gifts included “the secret wisdom.” He had fled Chaldea for his life, having revolted against Babylonian idolatry, stirring up strife by publishing his monotheistic findings (Judith 5; Jubilees 12; Josephus, Ant., 1.7.1). Josephus records that Abraham the Chaldean scientist was schooled in an astounding “scientific knowledge” and Feldman (Yeshiva University) adds he was “the ideal statesman, possessing skill in persuasion, [and] the power of logical deduction” (Louis H. Feldman, Abraham the Greek Philosopher in Josephus, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol 99, 1968, 143-156). Indeed, Professor Feldman goes on to state that in contrast to rabbinic portrayals of him, Josephus paints a portrait of Abraham “as distinctly original in his sophisticated inversion of the teleological argument for the existence of G-d, in his broad-mindedness, including a willingness to be converted if defeated in argument, and in his unselfishness in sharing his scientific knowledge with Egyptian philosophers and scientists.”

But Abram, until his classic meeting with Yeho'vah, was as carnal as a mule. And THIS was why Paul insisted on using Abram (Abraham) as one for whom “God justifies” as an “ungodly” individual in mammoth need of salvation. And in being justified by faith Abraham became (as the Jews are fond of calling him), “the Father of the Faithful.”
A far as Paul was concerned, Abram was in dire need of salvation. So he approaches his final arguments concerning “Justification by Faith” from this perspective but, brilliantly, without specific claims of Abram's original lack of righteousness. Paul was a master psychologist – Second Temple style. Small wonder God chose him to be the apostle to the Gentiles, sidelining all Yeshua's chosen representatives.

The Gospel of God as understood by Paul, dispensing justification, takes us all the way back to Abraham. Recall that there was a covenant made between God and the Father of the Faithful to bless all the families and tribes of the earth. (As grasped by a number of universalist authorities, and this Messianic lecturer, the far greater Grace of conciliation goes further back in time to Adam and his offense – see  A.E. Knoch's Concordant Commentary on the New Testament, 1968, 233). Knoch states, “As this gift of justification was first given to Abraham and he is its great example, the apostle takes up his case at length to show its absolutely gracious character.”

Gracious righteous character? Indeed. When Yeshua died God's righteousness was manifested. Seven observations can, and must, be made. In essence, these are the seven points Paul has made in his argument thus far concerning the righteousness of God. For our student's meditation purposes...

(1) This righteousness is of God

(2) This righteousness is absolutely apart from the Torah

(3) This righteousness is witnessed to by the Torah

(4) This righteousness of God is manifested

(5) This righteousness is by the faith of Yeshua the Messiah (Greek).
It is distressing in a spiritual way to realise that even the great Greek scholar Professor Kenneth Wuest argues – in agreement with church tradition – that “faith IN Jesus Christ” is the same as the “faith OF Jesus Christ.” He argues: “'Faith of Jesus Christ' is a common idiom for 'faith in Jesus Christ'” (See his Romans in the Greek New Testament, Vol.1 of Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, 59). Tragic!

(6) This righteousness is unto all and upon all. There needs to be a clarification and qualification at this juncture because “hell-fire” Christians want to believe that while all men are justified at the cross – and we must insist that not all “believers” believe that ALL men were justified at the cross for most insist that only those who choose Christ can be counted as righteous – all must activate that justification at this time or else be damned because of their rejection of such an “offer.”

This is predicated on the view that today is the only possible day of salvation.

But this is not the only day of salvation. It is, as attested to by both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Messianic Scriptures, “A DAY of salvation”!

The truth, of course, is that there exists a “Firstfruits” regiment, and ONLY THOSE CALLED BY GOD AT THIS TIME are capable of activating their justification! The rest of the future harvest will activate their own justification during the Great White Throne Judgment in an aeon to come.

(7) This righteousness is now activated on all who believe.

Paul now anticipates the typical Jewish responses to what he has written thus far. And he answers these objections ahead of time – literally. Clearly, Paul realised that his Letter to the Roman Christians would have been read by a much wider audience than those whose addresses were on the envelope, for the Jerusalem rabbinic authorities would have had their scouts in hot pursuit of anything that the controversial Rabbi said or wrote.

And so Paul poses the great question of Romans 4.1. “What shall we say then about Abraham?” The entire verse is often wrongly translated as “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found?”

This is corrected by Greek scholars including Professor Wuest as: “What then shall we say that Abraham our forefather found with reference to the flesh?”

Alva McClain adds, “Paul is using the word flesh to stand for human activity, fleshly activity, works. The Jew, of course, held that justification and salvation must come by the works of the law, and so Paul is going to discuss that point. What has he found? What did he get?”

Well, as I have pointed out in so many previous lectures, Abraham expected (and received) essentially three things for his obedience.

[1] Righteousness. This is the very essence of justification. The justification of God, the righteousness of God.

[2] An Inheritance. “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it” (Genesis 15.7).

[3] Posterity. “And you shall be a father of many nations” (Genesis 17.4).

In Romans 4.3-12 Paul takes up the theme of Abraham's righteousness.

In Romans 4.13-16 Paul takes up the theme of Abraham's inheritance.

In Romans 4.17-21 Paul takes up the theme of Abraham's posterity.

The fourth chapter of Romans then closes with the application of personal implications for those to whom he was writing the letter. And so much of it applies to us today.

Paul tells us specifically that Abraham received the righteousness of God. We may well ask how he got that righteousness. Paul is direct on the question: He received it by FAITH. “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

McClain is emphatic about the words counted, impute, reckon. He says, “all three of these words are one word in the Greek, not different words.”

But you will find if you look at different versions of Paul's letter, that oftentimes all three words are used interchangeably. This confuses the reader. Admits McClain, “The men who translated the King James Version were seeking to produce a good English version, and they thought the translation would become too monotonous if the same word were used too often. The same Greek word is used eleven times. The rendering is either count, impute, or reckon all the way through, which means “to put to one's account”” (McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace 113).

That Greek word is logizomai.

The Jewish objection remains that works have something to do with receiving righteousness, justification. Paul responds with “To him that works not, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness.”

McClain recognises that there are two ways to receive your righteousness: someone might give it to you or you might earn it. The rabbis believe you can earn it by the keeping of God's mitzvot. The Messianic rabbi rejects the very idea of earning justification. “If it is a reward for works, it is not from Grace at all, but out of debt” (Romans 4.4).

McClain: “That verse, and especially one phrase in that verse, is without doubt the greatest presentation of free grace and righteousness by faith in all the Word of God. God justifies whom? 'The ungodly.' That is a strong word. He does not merely mean a sinner, but a man whose sin is ungodly. God justifies that kind of man. He declares him righteous and treats him as righteous, and He does it on the ground of faith” (ibid, 114).

McClain: “That was a new thought to the Jews about their father Abraham.”

It most certainly was! Abraham – Avraham Avinu – as an ungodly figure justified by faith? Indeed!!

We have already seen how ungodly he was in his role as a war lord and sexual profligate. Recall too that it was not only Sarah who laughed at the heavenly prediction that she would have a son the following year for ABRAHAM LAUGHED SO MUCH HE FELL ON HIS FACE with hysterics. This was not “joy” but utter faithlessness (see Genesis 17.17). He was also cowardly for did he not grant the impression – to save himself from death on more than one occasion (Genesis 12.10-20; Genesis 20) – that his wife Sarai was his sister? Of course, this was only a half-lie (if such there be) as Sarai was a half-sister, the daughter of his father (Genesis 20.12). And she was complicit with him. (It should be admitted that rabbinic authorities in Sanhedrin 69b make the claim that Sarai was actually Iscah Abraham's niece, the daughter of Haran, Abraham's dead brother. This is an attempt to collect brownie points for “righteous” Abe. However, this would then make Abraham an absolute outright liar out of necessity because he definitely referred to her as his “half-sister” and not niece.)

Yet this is not all. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, unto a land that I will show you; and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and you be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12.1-3).

Quite a covenant (contract)! If Abraham complied with the commandment of God in its three sections, wonderful blessings would be his! And what were those three requirements of God concerning Father Abraham (Avraham avinu)?

, he had to leave his country which was in the region of Chaldea.

Secondly, he had to depart from his relatives.

Thirdly, he had to renounce his father's house, and all it stood for.

Comments Rashi – the great Jewish rabbinical scholar and commentator – on this section of Abraham's call, “In this land of idol worship thou art not worthy to rear sons to the service of God.”

In other words the evil surroundings would contaminate them. The Midrash takes pains to explain that this jettisoning of his past would be for the benefit of all Abraham would meet. “When a flask of balsam is sealed and stored away, its fragrance is not perceptible; but, opened and moved about, its sweet odour is widely diffused.” Abraham had “to cut himself adrift from all associations that could possibly hinder his mission” (Pentateuch & Haftorahs, III, Lech Lecha, Chapters XII-XVII, 45).

Abraham is called by Paul “the Father of the faithful” for the period prior to the inauguration of the Mosaic economy. The great Apostle aligns Messianic believers with him. Yet, and here is the point, Abraham was far from obedient to the Lord's command! For, in verses 4 and 5 of chapter 12 it is written, “So Abram departed, as the Lord has spoken to him, and Lot went with him... And Abram took Sarai his wife... and Lot his brother's son.”

Not only did Abraham disobey God in regards his nephew Lot, Stephen tells us that when God first called Abraham and told him to depart from his relatives (and thus from his father's idolatrous house) that Terah his father went with his son (Acts 7.2-4).

Not only was this the case, Abraham's life was one huge mistake after another. On the other hand, in an overall sense Abraham was obedient to the heavenly vision. But that obedience was most assuredly an incomplete obedience. Nevertheless, the record states flatly that God did bless Abraham, and in a mighty and wonderful way. It is written, inspired by the Spirit of God, “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen 26.5).

In a word, God was accommodating to Abraham's humanness. But when Abraham believed God “it was counted” THEN, AT THAT TIME, “as righteousness.”

God declared the ungodly Abraham righteous.

What a BLESSING for all of us. We were all sinners, dead in sins and transgressions. We who, like Abraham, were ungodly – the whole point of Paul's use of the example of the “father of the faithful” (Avraham avinu) – are declared to be otherwise in the sight of God. We who were sinners and now AS CHRIST, AS THE MASHIACH – righteous in the sight of Anochi I-Source. And, not just declared righteous, but treated as righteous by God in His estimation of us (although we see ourselves as we really are: deplorably carnal and morally sinful).

The JOYFUL fact is that while Christians are forgiven their sins and are washed in Christ's blood – and this is a most wonderful thing indeed – the truth of the matter is that we have gone far beyond forgiveness (or, if you prefer more correctly, “pardon”) and we have moved right out of the bounds of ATONEMENT! This may at first be difficult for some of us to grasp, but atonement was an act of a priest who covered the sin of the GUILTY by a blood sacrifice. Like pardon or forgiveness this was the action of one exercising executive clemency under the law (Torah). But we are not under the law (Torah). Rather, JUSTIFICATION stands as a COMPLETE ACQUITTAL from every stain of guilt – in other words the pronouncement (declaration) of a judicial verdict of “not guilty” at all, of anything. Atonement only covers sin from God's sight – it fails to REMOVE it.

Let us therefore not degrade Christ's WORK by referring to it as a mere “atonement” or simple covering of sins. Atonement is surely brought about by the cross of Mashiach but justification is far more a satisfactory station for any of us to experience.

By being declared righteous we are looked upon by God the FatherMother of us all as RIGHTEOUS in God's sight. We are considered righteous and are treated as such. And that righteousness is as if God is looking at each of us and seeing only His Son Yeshua the Messiah – the very image of God. Indeed, as Paul stated further in Ephesians 5.30 we each are members of His Body, and you cannot differentiate His BODY from the Messiah Himself. (Incidentally, if your version includes the words “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh” please delete these additional ascriptions as they were added later by an uninspired hand who wanted to force the meaning far too literally. The additions have been rejected as spurious by Nestle and also Westcott and Hort.)

Knoch says rightly, “The fact that Abraham was justified while still uncircumcised opens the door of justification to the Uncircumcision [the Gentiles]. They, too, may claim him as their father, for they have the reality of which circumcision was but the outward sign” (Koch, op.cit., 233).

We shall pursue the rest of Romans 4 in our next lecture.


 on: April 27, 2017, 09:26:26 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans


Copyright © BRI 2017 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture20.MP3

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

God “reckons righteousness to them, not because he accounts them to have kept his law personally (which would be a false judgment), but because he accounts them to be united to one who kept it representatively (and that is a true judgment)” –  J. I. Packer, “Justification,” in Walter A. Elwell [ed]., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 1984, 596

“My soul is my counsel and has taught me to give ear to the voices which are created neither by tongues nor uttered by throats. Before my soul became my counsel, I was dull, and weak of hearing, reflecting only upon the tumult and the cry. But, now, I can listen to silence with serenity and can hear in the silence the hymns of ages chanting exaltation to the sky and revealing the secrets of humanity” – Kahlil Gibran in Mirrors of the Soul, 1965

The story so far...

God's “Emissary” or “Ambassador” to the Gentiles, the apostle Paul, desires greatly to travel to Rome the capitol of the world. He has, in fact, manipulated his election and calling in order to do so. Told by the Lord Yeshua that he would eventually witness to Caesar, Paul has done all in his power to bring about events that would usher him into the presence of “the Beast,” the mad ruler of millions. Instead of flowing with the Spirit in order for this prophetic word to be fulfilled, the headstrong self-willed rabbi attempts in his flesh to bring about fulfillment in the Spirit. This is the testimony of his personal doctor, the proselyte Luke, in his Acts. God, however, responds by overriding the force of self-will and, in this case, free will. Trials and tribulations follow Paul in all his decisions and fill his life with plagues of mental anxiety and melancholic negativity.

The Jewish apostle has even demonstrated his zeal to the whole world repeatedly by going against the holy Spirit's repeated warnings in relation to God's timing –excelling himself to obtain “the prize” by attempting to force the hand of God in respect of the heavenly timetable God had set out before him. If anyone came to know human nature it was the Jewish rabbi and in his later letters he spoke a great deal on the necessity of surrendering the inclination to control life.

The rabbi is a very well-educated individual – an academic intellectual – and has close family ties with his relatives: the family of Herod (Romans 16.11NOTE! As an interesting exercise, and as an important aside, check out all your books on Paul, if you possess any, and if not visit your local library and access them there. In the back of your books locate the Scripture Index if one is available and check out Romans 16.11. I am of the opinion that almost invariably you will locate EVERY SINGLE VERSE in Romans and you will be given EVERY SINGLE PAGE where each verse has been mentioned in passing. But it will be no surprise to me if the ONE SINGLE TEXT THAT IS IGNORED in your volumes on Paul will be Romans 16.11. It's as if biblical expositors, and other scholars including notable theologians, have shaken hands to create a virtual conspiracy of silence on the contents of this text, and I will attend to an explanation when we reach that final section of Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians. Of course, “conspiracy” may well be a stretch of my own imagination but I really do wonder why it is that almost nobody wants to touch on the admission of Paul in relation to “his kinsman” Herodion.)

As a relative of King Herod he is viewed with the utmost mistrust by the early Messianic Movement in Jerusalem and surrounding areas and that deep suspicion by the Christians is not without due reason. Nevertheless, God used Rav Sha'ul to further His purposes and intentions for the primitive Messianic party and even as late as the 19th century the School of Higher Biblical criticism – I mean the German scholastics – treated the apostle with immense contempt casting upon him the most indignant and ignoble of motives and intentions. Today, Paul is treated with disdain and imputed carnal clandestine agendas by not only Christ-rejecting rabbis but by many Christian sectarians (Messianic) as well.

Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians is the first well-thought out theological treatise in the NT corpus. Paul happens to be the first Christian theologian who looked at the cross and asked “Why?”

Again, Paul is well-versed in pagan as well as Jewish literature, and has no peer when it comes to his expounding of the Sinai laws of God – and, intriguingly, he is the ONLY Pharisee to have left us ANY written material from the Second Temple Period. Rabbis ought to be united, not in contemptuous hostility toward Paul, but rather in their collective appreciation of this one fact alone!

Josephus, despite Jewish rabbinic claims, cannot be accepted as a staunch Pharisee and a number of Jewish scholars can agree with my assessment. But Paul's scholarly biblical and theological grasp and understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures is considered admirable even by the vilest of skeptics – either Jewish, Gentile Christian or secular. Add to this fact the undeniable truth that Paul created a new inventive literary form – the epistle.

In any event, his Letter to the Roman Christians outlines in a deep and thorough way the Jewish Christian Gospel – and he takes pains to contrast self-righteousness with that of God's righteousness. Indeed, the first few chapters of his epistle make it patently clear that God in His righteousness has condemned the entirety of the world to utter destruction BUT Paul knows that God has effected this before and realised after the Noachian Deluge that such a planned destruction of humankind in heavenly wrath and fury (and in the wholesale oblivion of all other forms of life for that matter) in the event accomplished absolutely nothing. God “repented” (Hebrew) of this violent and tragic act (Genesis 6.6,7 cf 8.21; See also 1 Samuel 15.11,35; 2 Samuel 24.16; 1 Chronicles 21.15; Psalm 106.45; Joel 2.13; Jeremiah 15.5,6; 26.19; Amos 7.3-6; Jonah 3.10; 4.2; Hosea 11.8; Exodus 32.14; Judges 2.18).

Paul comprehends that God is unlimited, free, and at liberty to do anything He wishes – and God DOES! –  and this freedom is not limited in any way or manner. God, Paul realises, is entirely free to alter and change even His own decreed administrations (see the texts listed in the paragraph above for evidence of this assessment) and this view is substantiated in God's reversal of administrative functions in relation to what were considered “abominations” under Sinai. I will not list these again at this place as they are treated delicately in my lectures on the Covenants, but suffice to say Paul overturns yet another consideration relating to an all-encompassing “abomination.” Grasp it now:

As Paul comes to grips with the implications of the NEW WORLD ORDER of Messiah he does (almost) the unthinkable as a rabbi. Paul in a sweeping and pointed argument demolishes God's previous administrative position concerning a legal justification.

In the Sinai Torah it is written: “If there be a dispute between men, and they enter into litigation, and the judges decide between them; then they shall justify the righteous and condemn the wicked” (Deuteronomy 25.1).

This is virtually repeated in the Solomonic Proverbs. “He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are ABOMINATION to Yehovah” (Proverbs 17.15).

Paul's new found revelation – which turns the entirety of the Second Temple Jewish religious worldview on its head – is that God justifies the ungodly. Yes, God could have destroyed the world a second time – but God has decided a better course of action was to reverse an administrative procedure: instead of oblivion God chose to JUSTIFY a hostile godless world of humankind and to seek PEACE with those who would destroy Him had they the chance and opportunity to do so. After all, that's precisely what God's enemies actually did in 30 CE at Golgoleth.

In the death of His Son, God declared all of humankind RIGHTEOUS! To “justify” is a legal courtroom term that actually means to declare “righteous” a guilty man or woman. That's DECLARE, and not MAKE. Inwardly, nothing has changed. We remain sinners, but God considers/determines/pronounces us “righteous.” We remain morally corrupt, dominated by the yetzer ha'ra – the inclination to be and to do evil.

At this juncture, we all ought to acknowledge the fact that Roman Catholics hate the Protestant view of justification: they call it “a legal fiction.” Even though I am not personally a Protestant or a Catholic, in a way I understand how they see this picture that Paul has painted. I can both understand and grasp why they feel this way. Rabbis are no different to their Catholic counterparts when it comes to “Justification by Faith.” But “Let God be TRUE and EVERY MAN” – Christian or Jew or otherwise – “a LIAR” (Romans 3.4; Psalm 116.11).

Basically, the Roman Catholic (or, simply “Catholic” as they prefer now to view themselves) need to learn to differentiate between “justification” and “sanctification” because JUSTIFICATION was brought about by Christ's extrinsic act on the bloodied tree of Golgoleth while SANCTIFICATION occurs by the inward (intrinsic) act of the working of the Ruach HaKodesh within the heart of the Christian convert. First comes the activity of the Son of God in his sacrificial death accomplished on behalf of all humanity. So, justification – a legal declaration relating to GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. Justification is a “one-off” event. Secondly, the holy Spirit begets us in our own spirit intrinsically. And so, sanctification – an ongoing principle of spiritual growth as Yeshua the Messiah outworks his life again and anew through the lives of his converted brothers and sisters. It is not a “one-off” event, but is an ongoing procedure involving the building of spiritual character: the CHARACTER OF ANOCHI I-SOURCE.  This growth relates to GOD'S HOLINESS.

Our begettal period of conception will culminate in being actually BORN AGAIN (in real terms) by the “first resurrection” of the RIGHTEOUS dead at Mashiach's second Advent. If Messiah Yeshua was the “FIRSTborn from the dead” by a resurrection to SPIRIT BEING as in Colossians 1.18 then we are guaranteed to follow by virtue of his being the “first.” In the meantime, we are known by God as His “sperma” – located throughout the epistles – in connection with our conception (“concept of Zion”) and growth in the Womb of Mother God. The Greek sperma is the SEED that creates always NEW LIFE and by extension a NEW AND CREATIVE AND DISTINCTIVE NATURE in the Christian. This nature does not desire SIN – albeit the old nature often experiences a form of resurrection! (Romans 7) – but is in perpetual pursuit of God's HOLINESS accompanied with a driving desire to eagerly merge that inward growth in holiness with God's already declared STATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS appropriated by the believer.

This platform Paul has labored to build and upon which he stands – and on which platform Luther also stood: “Here I stand, I can do no other!” –  is the launching pad for the remainder of this apostolic epistle.

And Paul does not, for this important section of his letter, start with Moses. Oh no, in no way. He forgoes Moses and extends his argument way back to the “Father of the Faithful” – to Abraham!

“What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For assuming that Abraham was justified by legalistic observances, he has something to boast about, but not when facing God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ [Genesis 15.6] Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as an undeserved gift but as a legally contracted debt. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. So also David speaks of the spiritual prosperity of those to whom God reckons righteousness irrespective of legalistic observances: ‘Spiritually prosperous are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; spiritually prosperous is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.’ [Psalm 32.1,2]

“Is this spiritual prosperity, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, ‘Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.’ How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the attesting sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by trusting while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the trust that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.

“For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants [Genesis 15.3,5] through the law but through the righteousness of trusting. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings divine wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on Grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have appointed you as the father of many nations’ [Genesis 17.5])—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls the things that are not in existence as being in existence. Being beyond hope, on the basis of hope believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ [Genesis 15.5] He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the deadness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ [Genesis 15.6] Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Yeshua our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4.1-25).

Abraham is pivotal to Paul's argument about humankind being “righteoused” – if there be such a word. In my view to be “righteoused” is what “justification” really means. I make no apology for creating such a word as this.

God justified us, according to Paul, “Freely!” He did this by His Grace. Grace is the unmerited and undeserved favour of God. Whereas an act of mercy can be repaid in like manner by us, God's Grace can never be repaid. Grace is an English word which is translated from the equivalent Greek word charis. Paul chose a Greek word – for there were no words in Hebrew that could reveal the depth of the heart of God in this matter of God's Nature, in His dealings with sinners, believe it or not – to demonstrate the deep inner character and Salvific RIGHTEOUSNESS [justice] of God toward His beloved creations.

Intriguingly, Charis was the personal name of a minor goddess in Greek mythology – one of the Charites, charis basically means “grace, kindness, beauty, creativity, fertility and life” – ALL in ONE. The educated Paul is always full of surprises. Here he does not hesitate to borrow from the Greeks a personal proper noun and applies it to the essential Salvific feature of God the FatherMother of us all in whom dwells grace, kindness, beauty, creativity, fertility and Life.

God freely declares us righteous. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his Grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 3.23,24).

Even though humanity has done absolutely nothing to gain justification, and it is given freely, it was extremely costly. Justification cost us nothing, but it cost God everything – even the sacrifice of the Logos in whom all creation had its origin, the Logos who was God's own dear Son Yeshua.

“Redemption” like “redeem” is a “slave-market” word. We have no choice in the matter of salvation. Salvation involves redemption. No slave chooses to be purchased by his buyer! Not only is this the case, but Paul elsewhere informs us that we were all rotting corpses, dead in our sins, when we were purchased (saved) by the Lord Yeshua. We were all cadavers before our spiritual resurrection. We had to be made alive in Mashiach's resurrection life. God rescued us in His SALVIFIC WILL. Instead of destroying us God justified the entire world. This was the diametric opposite action taken during the days of Noah! We are all RIGHT NOW legally RIGHTEOUS in His sight. Those who are now “Firstfruits” have activated that justification and made it intimately their own. God liberated us by the paying of a HUGE price. God set us free from our sins because of the price He paid. As it is written that price was through Yeshua the Messiah for redemption was “through him” (Romans 3.24) Paul said.

I have talked in past lectures about the English poet William Cowper (refer to Gospel of John Lecture 5 in which I speak of his various attempts to end his life). Lecturer Alva McClain has written, “Cowper, the poet, was a lost man. He began to realise that he was a sinner and came to the point where he was… ready to take his life. He was in despair because he knew he had no righteousness of his own. He said, “One day when I was walking the floor, I decided to pick up the Bible and see if there was anything to help me. Me eye fell on Romans 3:25. I saw the light in that verse and it saved me”” (Alva McClain, Romans, 1973, 108).

There are three words for “redeem” in Greek.

(1) agorazo “to buy or purchase in the slave market” (1 Corinthians 6.20; 7.23; 2 Peter 2.1).We have been purchased by Messiah from the slave-market of sin by his own blood. Those who believe in Yeshua have become his “bond-slaves.”

(2) exagorazo meaning “to buy out of the slave-market” (Galatians 3.13; 4.5). The redeemed are never to put up for sale in any slave-market again.

(3) lutroo carries the meaning “to set free by paying a price” (Titus 2.14; 1 Peter 1.18). Comments Wuest, “The believer is set free from sin and free to live a life pleasing to God in the power of the Holy Spirit. The redemption price, the precious blood of Jesus, makes it possible for a righteous God to justify a... sinner on the basis of justice satisfied” (Kenneth Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament (1955) in Vol.1., Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, 60).

Tertullian gave us a number of new words which were useful (or otherwise) in New Testament studies. One of these was the Latin word “justice” which meant “payback.” This was the diabolic opposite of the Hebrew word for justice which was the equivalent of God's salvation. But another addition was “propitiation.” This word was carried over into the English versions of the New Testament but it carried a meaning alien to what Paul was suggesting. As a Jew Paul would have penned kapparah – the “mercy seat” which formed the cover over the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies in the Temple.

Again, Kenneth Wuest explains the importance of jettisoning Tertullian's Latinised “propitiation” from Romans 3.25. He writes,

“The word translated 'propitiation' is exceedingly important, and demands a careful treatment. It is hilasterion. The word in its classical form was used of the act of appeasing the Greek gods by a sacrifice, of rendering them favorable toward the worshipper. In other words, the sacrifice was offered to buy off the anger of the god and buy his love. Such a use is not brought over into the New Testament, for our God does not need to be appeased nor is His love for sale. The English word 'propitiate' has the meaning of the Greek word as used in classical Greek, namely, to appease and rendered favorable. It is therefore not the correct word to use when translating the New Testament meaning of this word which it has accrued by its usage in the contexts in which it is found.

“The word is used in the Greek... Septuagint (LXX), in the sense of an atonement or reconciliation. It refers to the act of getting rid of sin which has come between God and man. Canon Westcott says, “The scripture conception of this word is not that of appeasing one who is angry with a personal feeling against an offender, but of altering the character of that which, from without, occasions a necessary alienation, and interposes an inevitable obstacle to fellowship.” The word hilasterion is used in Leviticus 16:14 (LXX) to refer to the golden cover on the Ark of the Covenant. In the Ark, below this cover, were the tablets of stone upon which were written the ten commandments which Israel had violated. Before the Ark stood the High Priest representing the people. When the sacrificial blood is sprinkled on this cover, it ceases to be a place of judgment and becomes a place of mercy. The blood comes between the violated law and the violaters, the people. The blood of Jesus satisfies the just requirements of God's holy law which mankind broke, pays the penalty for man, and thus removes that which had separated between a holy God and sinful man, sin, its guilt and penalty. The is a far cry from the pagan idea of propitiation which appeased the anger of the god and purchased his love. The words, “an expiatory satisfaction” seem to be the words rather than “propitiation” to adequately translate hilasterion” (Kenneth Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament (1955) in Vol.1., Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, 61).

Yeshua the Messiah “whom God has set forth to be an expiatory satisfaction, [NOT a propitiation] through faith, in his blood to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3.25).

Here Alva McClain and I differ in relation to the idea of propitiation. So I am substituting the Latinised “propitiation” with the phrase “expiatory satisfaction” and “kapparah” – where necessary – in his otherwise excellent grasp of what Christ actually accomplished. I believe if McClain were still living today he would be in agreement entirely with my adjustment of his writings. With this in mind, he writes:

“But there are two other things there: “Through faith” and “in his blood.” There ought to be commas after “an expiatory satisfaction” and after “faith” because the expiatory satisfaction is in His blood and not through faith in his blood. An expiatory satisfaction cannot be had without blood, yet an expiatory satisfaction is not operative without faith. An expiatory satisfaction may be made, but it avails me nothing until I believe, and so the two elements must be present to have an expiatory satisfaction and to have it operative. First, the kapparah, Jesus Christ; He must be slain, His blood be shed. Then there must be faith in Him.

“Why did God make Christ an expiatory satisfaction? Why was it necessary for there to be a cross? Why did Christ die on the cross? A quick answer might be that He died to show God's love. Thank God, He did die to show God's love, but that is not the primary purpose. “To declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (v.25). To declare His righteousness, not His love. But why did God's righteousness need to be declared? Doesn't everybody know that God is righteous? “For the remission of sins that are past.” That is a poor translation for the Greek word rendered remission. The sins of the Old Testament were never taken away until the cross of Christ. This word remission means that His judgment was suspended. God “winked” at sin, as the word is translated in Acts 17:30. In the Old Testament God's character was under a shadow. Psalm 50:16-23 explains the situation: “These things hast thou done,” and God says, “I kept silence.” God did not do anything about it. Then what happened? “Thou thoughtest that I (God) was altogether such an one as thyself!” Man went on and sinned, and because God did not do anything, man said, in his estimate of God, “God is just like I am. He does not punish sin: He is indifferent.” And God says, “I will reprove thee and set them in order before thine eyes.” ….

“In order therefore to show that He is righteous, He set forth the cross of Christ, and there, in Christ, He punished every last sin that man has committed. God's righteousness in this way is cleared and vindicated.

“That is the first reason for the cross. It was a moral reason. God cannot forgive sin apart from the cross. If Christ had not died on the cross, the Old Testament saints would be compelled to come back from heaven. As someone has said, “Elijah and Moses were only there on credit.” They could not have stayed there. God sets forth Christ as an expiatory satisfaction to show that He is righteous. “To declare... at this time His righteousness” (v.26). It is important when He says it twice. “That He might be just.”

“There was another way that God could have been just. He could have punished sin on the spot. When a man sinned, He could have destroyed him. That would have proved that He was just. But think for a moment of the alternative. Not a soul in the world could have been saved that way. Never! But God did not show Himself to be righteous in that way. He wanted to do something else, namely, “That He might be just, and the justifier of him that that believeth in Jesus.”....

“God could be just, holy, and righteous on His throne, punishing sin, upholding His law; and yet at the same time He can take a sinner like me, pronounce me righteous, and treat me like a righteous man! There is not a man in all the universe that can find fault with God for doing it. God, in Christ, came down and suffered for our sins, and He is righteous because of that. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Ps 85:10). Mercy has all that is coming to her, and the law has all that is coming to it... we establish the law. It is done by God in satisfying holy demands of the law in the infinite penalty inflicted on His son, therefore making possible for any man, Jew or Gentile, to appropriate the benefits of the cross by faith” (McClain, ibid, 108-111).

Adds McClain, Paul “asks in the thirty-first verse: “Do we then make void the law through faith?” Paul answers again: “God forbid!” We do not make it void but we establish the law. It is done by God in satisfying holy demands of the law in the infinite penalty inflicted on His son, thereby making possible for any man, Jew or Gentile, to appropriate the benefits of the cross by faith.

“There is only one religion in all the world that can save men and still establish, exalt and honour the law: Christianity. All other systems that are based on legality, on salvation by works, dishonour the law, because nobody ever kept it. The inevitable result is that they pull the law down a little bit so that man can win his salvation by keeping it. But God punished Christ, His Son, for our transgression, and in so doing, He not only saves us, but at the same time He also establishes His throne in the heavens as a throne of justice and mercy” (ibid, 111).

Paul has a great deal to share with us in the matter of justification and he does so as he leads us into a deeper appreciation of the ongoing progressive sanctification to which we are called, and which ultimate sanctification we must all grow into.

After all, we are not so much saved from sin, as saved from ourselves. Only as we enter INTO Christ can we experience that which is TRUE FREEDOM and AUTHENTIC LIBERTY. “We are called to liberty” writes Paul (Galatians 5.1,13). He did not write “We are called to licentiousness.”

Paul had reason to pen his Letter to the Roman Christians to outline his profound understanding of the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah. Most have not read it properly. Had they done so we would not have had to experience the Protestant Reformation and the terrible fourth century apostasy would never have occurred.

But Rome's “Babylonian Captivity of the Church” is a fact of history admitted these days by all knowledgeable Catholics. The tragedy is that the global Messianic Movement is, because of its ignorance of the authentic message of Paul, tottering on the very precipice of its own devolution and rejection of biblical knowledge. The Messianic Movement is facing the same issues that so troubled early Catholicism and which are recorded in the primitive chronicles of ecclesiastical history.

As we progress we shall consider some of the facts of church history. In the meantime, in our next lecture, we shall tackle what Paul had to say about Father Abraham. We shall see that modern Judaism has not progressed any further than the Second Temple Period in its total ignorance of God Almighty's intention and purposes in salvation.


 on: April 26, 2017, 11:42:59 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans


The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture19.MP3

Copyright © BRI 2017 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“Get on fire for God and men will come and watch you burn” – John Wesley

“Leadership is Influence: Nothing More, Nothing Less” – John C. Maxwell

October 31, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Roman Catholic monk, Martin Luther, came to an enlightened knowledge of the Pauline article of “Justification by Faith” and in his newly discovered freedom in Christ nailed his “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, October 31, 1517. This action (largely in a rejection of indulgences) launched the Protestant Reformation and changed the world forever. And, without the Protestant Reformation it is highly doubtful that the world would have ever rediscovered the Messianic Faith.

We Messianic Christians all know well enough that Martin Luther was an old rabid anti-Semite. Messianic rabbis and teachers remind us often enough of this fact. And, yes, he certainly was such an ignominious individual. A product of his times and culture, his personal hatred of Jews followed him through centuries until those same antagonistic views blossomed anew under the Nazi regime – where his thoughts found welcome European “intellectual” soil – which plunged the Jewish people through a horrific Shoah: a “calamity” foreshadowed by God even in the Torah as well as in the Prophets.

His contribution to Jewish history was in a word “horrendous.” But having said that, his sincerity toward God is often overlooked or purposely ignored by Messianics with an agenda. That is, focus on the anti-Semitism of Luther and so take their “followers” eyes off the Grace of God in the principal act of Justification by Faith and concentrate attention on the necessity of observing the bondage of the Mosaic Law – and brethren it IS a form of bondage! While keeping the 613 regulations of the Sinai Torah has its advantages in a physical way (and I for one do not decry it as such; although the 613 are radically reduced when we take into account mitzvot associated with the rituals of the Temple) the Messianic Torah with its 1050 commandments (mitzvot) deal with the Spiritual Man and his character inwardly. [I am in the preparation stages of putting together those 1050 regulations in 800 categories with textual references, but please be patient as it is soon to be released.]

We ought also to add that Luther was not a lone voice in his opposition to the practice of priestly indulgences. While a Catholic priest known as Johann Tetzel quipped the refrain “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from Purgatory springs” the selling of indulgences was considered theologically dubious by many Catholics and finally Pope Pius V abolished the practice in 1567. Needless to say the practice survived in real terms even in this country (Australia) with pressure placed on certain Catholic families we knew who had lost loved ones and whose souls were deemed by the priest (I have a particular man in mind) to be released from Purgatory with payments collected weekly over a period of some years. Shocking and revolting but true!

Susan Verstraete has written, “It was the moment [Luther] had been waiting for. His father was in the audience watching, as were his fellow monks. It was time for Martin to offer his first mass, and he was overwhelmed with the solemnity of the event. He led the congregation, saying, “We offer unto Thee, the living, the true, the eternal God.” Suddenly Martin froze. He couldn’t go on. He later wrote:

“At these words I was utterly stupefied and terror-stricken. I thought to myself, ‘With what tongue shall I address such majesty, seeing that all men ought to tremble in the presence of even an earthly prince? Who am I, that I should lift up my mine eyes or raise my hands to the Divine Majesty? … For I am dust and ashes and full of sin and I am speaking to the living, eternal and true God.'” This glimpse of truth about the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man changed Luther forever” (Susan Verstraete, By Faith Alone. The Conversion of Martin Luther, 2017., Christian Communicators Worldwide Inc.).

She adds, “He was already a monk, and spent his days in prayer and service. Still, as he looked at his life closely, he found sins in thought, word and deed. In the monastery, Luther spent up to six hours a day confessing his sins to a priest. But later, he would always remember sins he had forgotten to confess. Questions nagged at him. If only confessed sins were forgiven, what would happen if he forgot one? What about all the sins he might have committed in ignorance? Luther began to see that his sinful actions were like smallpox pustules — nasty, external manifestations of the internal, systemic disease of sin” (emphasis mine).

Six hours a day in the Confessional confessing his sins – hours relating every sinful act and sinful degenerate thought and motive – that is a definite reflection of a profoundly abysmal abiding disease of spiritual narcissism. At the very least it's a lot of deep-seated navel-gazing. If nothing else such a record reveals that Luther was a very troubled individual. Not only is this the case, it is said that when priests saw Luther coming to the Confessional they would bribe other priests to take their place to hear his confessions. And really, who would blame them?

Susan Verstraete continues, “He fasted for days and refused blankets at night, believing that he earned merit with God through self-imposed suffering. One day he would proudly say, “I have done nothing wrong today.” But on reflection, he wondered if he had indeed fasted enough, prayed enough, suffered enough and served enough. During a visit to Rome, he climbed a staircase on his knees, saying a prayer on each step. The Catholic Church promised that this was a means of grace. But when he got to the top, he wondered aloud, “Who knows whether it is so?” Luther later described this time: “I was myself more than once driven to the very abyss of despair, so that I wished I had never been created.” He was in torment.

“Luther threw himself into study, hoping to distract himself by preparing a series of lectures on the Psalms and Romans. And there, in the Word, he found the answer” (end of quotation).

The answer Martin Luther sought was a solution to his own spiritual crisis of faith. How can a sinful man be right in the sight of a holy God? The thought of an eternal hell created a grovelling spiritual leper who had no place anywhere in God's love. Indeed, in Luther's own words: “I greatly longed to understand Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, “The justice of God”… Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that “the just shall live by faith.” Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace... GOD JUSTIFIES US THROUGH FAITH. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise” (Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, 1950, emphasis mine). With the penetration of a powerful statement in Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians Luther's heart was suddenly set free.

“For therein [in the Gospel] is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written [in Habakkuk 2.4], The Just shall live by [his] faith” (Romans 1.17).

In a flash of conversion the holy Spirit emphasis on the finished Work of Christ alone swept aside Luther's doubts and sensual pursuit of rites, sacraments, penances, pilgrimages, vows, and papal expectations that failed utterly to spiritually satisfy the sincere hearts of a Catholic laity searching eagerly for a peace with God. Armed with Romans 1.17 with a hammer and a singular nail Martin Luther single-handed launched the Protestant Reformation.

“Between 1515 and 1519... [Martin Luther] found the peace of soul that he had not been able to find in rites, acts of asceticism, or in the famous German Theology of the mystics... A reading of Romans 1:17 convinced him that only faith in Christ could make one just before God... it was his study of the Bible that led him to trust in Christ alone for his salvation” (Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through the Centuries, 1996, 282).

There can be absolutely no question as to whether Almighty God used Martin Luther to restore the lost Pauline article of Justification by Faith. And, further, God used Martin Luther to actually add a word to Scripture for a qualification and a clarification: “Alone” – “Justification by Faith Alone” – for such is indeed the case for each and every one of us who name the Name of Christ as Our Lord and Saviour.

The fact of the transmogrification of Christ should make us all very confident in that our salvation is centered entirely in him. Christ IS our salvation! In the CRUCIFIXION event, as Yeshua became Reprobate Man, we and our sins have perished. In the RESURRECTION event we and our new Nature have also arisen. Christ as our future Man has become us and we are following where Yeshua leads us, as his disciples, into his Rest.

I have spoken with many men and women (including ex-Christians) over the past 4+ decades who have bemoaned “the Judgment Seat of Christ.” I have witnessed the terror of some for that inevitable (and for them) frightening period and I have sat stunned at the belligerence of others who have scoffed at the way they may yet feel as they stand before the Lord of All Glory at His return.

The truth is that if we carry the Salvific Name of Christ within our hearts WE HAVE BEEN JUDGED ALREADY at the cross. Our carnal selves no longer exist as far as God the father is concerned. Our sins – and our PAST IDENTITY (as theologian Barth explains) – have been washed away in the shed blood of the Messiah who died for each and every one of God's children (called at this present time). Yes, the entire world was justified at Golgoleth, but it remains true that the vast majority of those now alive and who have lived since the dawn of time are NOT a part of the “Firstfruit brigade” and their justification will not be activated until the Great White Throne Judgment period still future to us now.

I recall one man writing to me in a response to a lengthy correspondence I had shared many years ago with a universalist association on the Internet. He wrote: “When I get there and sit on his knee I will grab hold of his old white beard and pull it hard and scream into his face and poke out his eyes because of all his hatred for me!!!” Due to his reputation in that particular circle of “faith” nobody on that Discussion Board had the nerve to challenge him in any way. Some tried to encourage him but to no avail. I finally wrote a simple reply. “Dear M., When you stand before the Lord of All Glory you will not pull His beard, and you will not scream into His face. Rather, you will simply see your own face looking back at you, and you will behold His scarred wrists and riven side and you will melt at His loving smile.”

There was zero response. This silence, however, may have been quite deliberate in a positive way.

Notes lecturer Alva McClain, “In a human court, when the charge has been made and the prisoner is given a chance to speak for himself, sometimes (when he feels greatly the tremendous burden of his guilt and his sin) he will only bow his head and say, “I have nothing to say” (Alva McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace, 1973, 98,99).

“Nothing to say.” That was and is and remains the honest view of each and every one of us who names the Name of Christ: yet if we believe in Christ, adhere to Christ, cleave to Christ, trust in Christ, rely on Christ, and have faith in Christ as Our Lord and Our Saviour – summed up in the text “Believe on the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and you shall be saved” which is what the Greek word pisteuo actually means – then the great and the wonderful fact happens to be that none of us will ever face the judgment seat of Christ. Our “Firstfruit” judgment was at the cross two-thousand years ago. (The Greek for  “Judgment seat” in 2 Corinthians 5.10 and expressed in 1 Corinthians 3.13-15 concerns only rewards at Messiah's bema. Contrary to all expectation, we shall not appear before the “Judgment seat of Messiah,” for we have ALREADY passed from judgment to “THE Life” as in John 5.24. Rather, we shall appear as immortals after the resurrection at the return of Our Lord Yeshua when we shall have been “changed” from corruptible flesh into glorious spirit before the bema or dais of the Lord where our works are tried and tested in our characters – see Romans 14.10-12. The works are tried but not the person. Please cf Romans 8.1 Greek.)

McClain continues: “When the apostle Paul brings the whole world before the judgment bar of God (Jew and Gentile), it is not a blustering, noisy world. It is a silent world! Mark the words [in Romans 3.19]: “That every mouth may be stopped!” The mouth of the heathen idolater, the mouth of the man of exemplary morals, the mouth of the proud Pharisee, even the mouth that was full of cursing and bitterness; every mouth is stopped!

“There is a foregleam here of the day of judgment. There is no defense! Men have wondered what that day will be like. Some men have been so presumptuous as to declare when that day comes they will stand before the throne of God and make their own defense. The great French infidel Rousseau, a man who shunned wedlock and sent his children to an orphanage said, “I will stand before God and defend myself.” When I hear a man say that, I think, “Poor fool!” When men stand before that dread bar of God, there will be no defense, no alibi, no excuse. Their mouths will be stopped!

“There is only one reason why human courts permit a defense. That is to protect against a mistake. Therefore, in order to protect everyone, we say, “You have an opportunity to make your defense.” But when God brings a charge against a man, He makes no mistakes! There will be no defense in that day; the day of judgment will be a day of silence! Only one voice will speak, the voice of the Judge. Every mouth stopped! That is guilt! God will not stop the mouth. Every man will be free to talk but will know in his heart that he is guilty!”

In the crucifixion of Christ – and in the transmogrification of the Messiah – God's JUSTICE provided lost sinners with a righteousness that is and was apart from God's Law, God's Torah. The righteousness of the Torah would kill us all. We would stand no chance of escape.  But this righteousness is from our God. This righteousness is God's GIFT – a righteousness that is entirely FREE. And make no mistake! This righteousness is an ACTUAL righteousness that God gives through the Gospel and outworks through the traumatised, crucified Messiah nailed in twisted, grotesque fashion to the bloodied tree of Golgoleth. God is righteous at the same time that He gives freely righteousness to humankind.

Paul tells us that this righteousness from God as God's GIFT to human beings is “without the Torah” – without the law.

“But now, quite apart from Torah, God’s way of making people righteous in his sight has been made clear — although the Torah and the Prophets give their witness to it as well — and it is a righteousness that comes from God, through the faithfulness of Yeshua the Messiah, to all who continue trusting. For it makes no difference whether one is a Jew or a Gentile, since all have sinned and come short of earning God’s praise. By God’s grace, without earning it, all are granted the status of being considered righteous before him, through the act redeeming us from our enslavement to sin that was accomplished by the Messiah Yeshua. God put Yeshua forward as the kapparah for sin through his faithfulness in respect to his bloody sacrificial death. This vindicated God’s righteousness; because, in his forbearance, he had passed over [with neither punishment nor remission] the sins people had committed in the past; and it vindicates his righteousness in the present age by showing that he is righteous himself and is also the one who makes people righteous on the ground of Yeshua’s faithfulness. So what room is left for boasting? None at all! What kind of Torah excludes it? One that has to do with legalistic observance of rules? No, rather, a Torah that has to do with trusting. Therefore, we hold the view that a person comes to be considered righteous by God on the ground of trusting, which has nothing to do with legalistic observance of Torah commands. Or is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, he is indeed the God of the Gentiles; because, as you will admit, God is one. Therefore, he will consider righteous the circumcised on the ground of trusting and the uncircumcised through that same trusting. Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah” (Romans 3.21-31).

The word “without” in the Greek means “absolutely apart from.” Law, Torah, commandments, rules, regulations and such like have nothing to do with this righteousness. This righteousness has nothing to do with the Law... BUT it is witnessed by the Law and also in the Prophets.

Writes McClain: “The whole sacrificial system bore witness to the righteousness of God in Christ. When a man took his sacrifice as a sin offering to the Temple, laid his hand upon the animal, confessed his sin, then killed the animal, he witnessed by that very act to the fact that he had faith in a righteousness that was not his own; and by faith he looked forward to the cross of Christ where the righteousness of God was manifested.

“How do the prophets witness? The prophet Isaiah says, “All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). So the prophets as well as the law bear witness to this righteousness, though they have nothing to do with bringing it. It is without the law.

“In Romans 4:3 Paul proves that this righteousness is without law. “For what says the Scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” We read about Abraham in the law.

“The sixth verse in the same chapter refers to David, one of the prophets: “God imputed righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD will not impute sin.” As one of the prophets, David knew something about this righteousness, just like Abraham did in the law. Paul proves what he is talking about” (ibid, 103).

We shall come to our Father Abraham in our next lecture. But right here we need to contemplate the fact that God pronounced the world guilty before Him and could have obliterated our entire planet with the hot breath of His lips. After all, there is evidence from NASA that God has destroyed entire galaxies in the past, and only recently we have witnessed two galaxies colliding in space. What an awesome “incident” this is. But instead of destroying the planet, God justified a sinful humanity. And why?

Because God is by nature JUST, and equally God is by nature SALVIFIC. The whole world, as we have seen in Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians, was (and is) subject to the JUST VERDICT of God. God in His wisdom knew from eternity that the only way any of us can become just before Him is by becoming partakers of His righteousness.

And, the channel through which we may obtain this righteousness is the faith of Yeshua the Messiah. Only the Lord Yeshua, out of all of teeming humanity, observed God's Torah the way it was intended to be kept, and only the Lord Yeshua BELIEVED God even when the Lord smote him for OUR sins. Just as Yeshua was David's Greater Son, so also was he Our Greater Job – for it was the suffering servant Job who uttered those frightening words: “Even though He slay me yet I will trust and hope in Him” (Job 13.15 Hebrew).

You see, it is out of His faith for our faith (Romans 1.17).

When Martin Luther penned his hymn A Mighty Fortress he did so basing his choice of words on Psalm 46 and while the tune is reminiscent of some of the Gregorian chants we also owe to Luther our rhythmic modern style-hymns and sweet choruses heard each Sabbath meeting or Sunday church service. We have them because Luther was later exposed to circles of hidden Messianic Faith in such non-Catholic Christians as the Bohemian Brethren (Unitas Fratum) and he brought many of their delightful songs and tunes back to Germany proper with him. Any volume on the history of music will tell you this.

Whatever the case in relation to the sweetness and loveliness of the songs of the Bohemian Brethren in direct contrast to the colourless and depressing chants of the Roman Church, Luther's Mighty Fortress exudes his intensity of character, sincerity and faith.

1. A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

2. Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.

3. And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

4. That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.

Finally in this particular lecture let me share a secret which very few believers have understood. I am not suggesting its something only I know, for that would be arrogant and facetious. It would also be a lie. But in the entire argument about justification by faith most Christians (i.e., those who even know anything about the subject of justification by faith) focus on their justification. And, shouldn't they do so?

Listen! Listen! Listen! In this letter Paul is stressing that it is not OUR justification which the apostle has primarily in mind – but GOD'S! How can this be the case? Simply due to the fact that it is GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT WE RECEIVE.

Notes Knoch, whom I am usually hesitant to quote: “In Israel He had made provision for atonement, or a shelter from sins. This was not strictly just, for the penalty for these sins was still due. The answer to this, as well as the answer to His present work is found in the blood of Christ. That settles for sin, past, present and future. That vindicates God's justice and makes it possible for Him to be the Justifier of all who are of the faith of Jesus. Such a deliverance, entirely on the ground of grace, bars all boasting, unless it be in Christ and in His God, Who has become our Justifier” (A.E. Knoch, Concordant Commentary on the New Testament, 1968, 233 Emphasis is Knoch's).

Bottom line: We cannot be saved unless we are firstly justified. Justification means receiving THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT BELONGS TO GOD ALONE.

Without the cross, God's unleashed JUSTICE or RIGHTEOUSNESS upon humanity as a whole would have exterminated each and every one of us. And rightly so. But with the cross a Place has been provided for humanity as a consequence of God's loving GRACE – God has shown Himself JUST by justifying the world. As we as “Firstfruits” of the Greater General Harvest have responded NOW we have made our justification A MATTER OF ACCOMPLISHED FACT. Humankind ought to have been condemned by God, and so it was. But the verdict of guilt was transferred to the IMAGE OF GOD (even Yeshua His Son) and IN HIM that sentence was executed, and the Lord Yeshua died, perished in ignominy, shame, disgrace. “Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree.” On Yeshua was the ENTIRE RAGE, FURY AND ANGER OF GOD unleashed. It was truly the death of God. For, was not the Lord Yeshua the human form of the JEHOVAH within? Jehovah was IN Messiah (God's very own Image) reconciling – and not alienating –  the world unto Himself. God in the cross event turned His righteous indignation and anger and wrath into His own heart and inward into Himself... for you and me and for all sinners who have ever lived and who will ever live.

All will be created new in accord with God in righteousness and authentic holiness (Ephesians 4.24) for our old humanity (which theologian Karl Barth identified as our original selves before our renewal in Christ) was crucified together with Him (Romans 6.6).

In other words, put quite simply, the salvation of the sinner will JUSTIFY God.

And, being COMPLETELY justified we can now go on into sanctification, the quest to develop stable moral character by being transformed from this state and condition of carnality into the SPIRITUAL dynamics of GOD'S OWN EXTRAORDINARILY BOUNDLESS MIND. Justification is the first stage of our ongoing spiritual development.

Lecturer Alva McClain is justifiably emphatic when it comes to understanding the meaning of justification. In concluding this present lecture let me quote him freely. “Justify means to pronounce a man righteous and to treat him as such... justify means to pronounce and treat as righteous. It is vastly more than being pardoned; it is a thousand times more than forgiveness. You may wrong me and then come to me; and I may say, “I forgive you.” But I have not justified you. I cannot justify you. But when God justifies a man, He says, “I pronounce you a righteous man. Henceforth I am going to treat you as if you have never committed any sin.” Justification means sin is all past and gone – wiped out – not merely forgiven, not merely pardoned; it means clearing the slate and setting the sinner before God as a righteous man, as if he had never sinned, as if he were as righteous as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself” (Alva McClain, op.cit., 107).

We are prepared now to read what Paul had to say about Abraham.


 on: April 19, 2017, 11:21:14 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans


Copyright © BRI 2016 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture18.MP3

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“Transmogrify... to change in a surprising or magical manner. Example of transmogrification: caterpillar becomes a butterfly” -- Dictionary definition.

“The indwelling Glory of God embraces all worlds, all creatures, good and evil. And it is the true unity. How can it then bear in itself the opposites of good and evil? But in truth there is no opposite, for evil is the Throne of good” (Baal Shem Tov, [Martin Buber, trans.], Instructions in Intercourse with God, in Hasidism and Modern Man, 208).”

“I am reminded of the story of a dinner-table conversation in an English country house, where the guests were discussing their ideas of what would happen to them after death. Among those present was an elderly and somewhat stuffy gentleman, who happened to be a prominent layman in the Church. He had been silent throughout the conversation, and at last the hostess turned to him and said, 'Well, Sir Roderick, what do you think will happen to you after death?' 'I am probably certain,' he replied, 'that I shall go to heaven and enjoy everlasting bliss, but I wish you wouldn't discuss such a depressing subject” – Alan Watts

My opening text today is 2 Corinthians 5.21: “For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

The world races toward its self-destruction and nothing can stop it. The fascinating diversity and delicate balance of this blue planet we all call home is being severely threatened by humankind as we continue to rape the earth of its forests and pollute the oceans and seas with our oil-spills, non-degradable plastics, poisonous chemicals, refuse and detritus. Politically, humankind has sharply turned “right” of centre. We are watching with an immense sense of gravity as Islam conquers Europe from within. We are more than apprehensive over the rapid moral (and morale) decline of the West. Militarily, we are heading for disaster on a mammoth scale as we race each year to keep abreast of the menacing spread of global nuclear expansionism as our people suffer economically and homelessness spins out of control. With global warming and the melting of the polar ice-caps resulting in the rise of water levels, within two decades populations located in major cities that are located on the edges of oceans and seas will find themselves facing a new territorial and/or continental outline. The accuracy of this prediction and reality stares us daily in the face despite delusional antagonism toward any mention of “global warming.” Economically, though, we are overdue for a respite as the present Axial Age offers new technological advancements in science and medicine and in relation to alternative forms of fuel. Our gains will be short-lived. But one thing remains glaringly constant.
Basic human nature never changes. “It is of the spirit,” articulated General Douglas MacArthur, “if we are to save the flesh.” John the Seer was in total agreement with MacArthur. He records the applaud of angels announcing with ecstatic glee that Messiah Yeshua is determined “to destroy them that destroy the earth” (Rev 11.18).

The answer to the human problem is Our Lord Yeshua. Yeshua the Mashiach is not unaware nor unconscious relative to our human condition. He has already not only paid the penalty for our sins and transgressions but he has understood perfectly the depth of man's spiritual agony.

But here at this point we come to an impasse in Christian dogma. Christians are divided in the matter of the question of that which Yeshua the Messiah underwent in the cross event.

Understand! Some say that God imputed to Christ the sins of the world and that he bore them externally on his shoulders as he went through the final crisis of mental, spiritual and physical agony of crucifixion. They thus translate what Paul wrote in 2 Cor 5.21 to be a “sin offering” rather than “sin” itself (See Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; New Living Translation; Mounce's Reverse Interlinear New Testament; Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB); Tree of Life Version; Concordant Literal New Testament; Jonathan Mitchell's The New Testament and others. Furthermore, the Amplified Bible Classic Edition translates harmartia as hamartia). The great Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest sadly does a soft-shoe qualification in this case for obvious reasons and translates it as “He who did not know sin in an experiential way, on behalf of us and instead of us, was made [the representative of] sin...” as he follows Marvin Vincent who notes “Made to be sin... Not a sin-offering, nor a sinner, but the representative of sin. On Him, representatively, fell the collective consequence of sin, in His enduring 'the contradiction of sinners against Himself' (Heb.xii.3)...” (Marvin Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol.111, 321).

Unashamedly, The Living Bible has the courage to render this portion of 2 Cor 5.21 as “For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins” (emphasis mine).

Therefore another view claims (and we are presently amongst those who hold to this notion) that Christ actually underwent a transmogrification in that he took within himself the sins of the world and became actual sin itself as Rav Shaul seems to say explicitly.

When Yeshua shared his parable of the “Prodigal Son” in Luke 15.11-32 his disciples finally grasped the general meaning of the story. But there is, upon refection, an even deeper understanding that we need to realise and appreciate. In the final analysis we have the story of Christ himself coming to earth, far away (in effect) from his Father and the heavenlies and becoming reprobate by experiencing what it is really like to be an actual fallen human being. This is why so often Our Lord Yeshua gave a preference to his self-styled title of “Son of Man” or cf Lk 18.19). If people had properly come to terms with this parable they would have had no reservations or conflict in themselves about the transmogrification which occurred in Our Lord for us and the entirety of the universe as he defiled that which was pure and at the same time purified that which was defiled. In Christ we locate the ultimate Reprobate Man (substituting and representing each of us) and the ultimate Cosmic Man.

The bottom line is simply this: can we have faith in a Saviour who only ever understood our need of salvation from sin through a technical judicial “imputation” of our sins or did Yeshua as the “Son of Man” gain the capacity to understand and grasp FULLY what it really is like for a lost humankind to EXPERIENCE the horror of sin and the agony of possessing the yetzer ra (or, yetzer ha'ra) – for THAT IS THE REAL QUESTION.

On the subject of justification Karl Barth has somewhat to say. Of course, Karl Barth – for anyone who has not read Barth on anything he has written – always has a great deal to say and what he writes is always valuable to contemplate. In his Church Dogmatics Barth states concerning a Biblical justice (or, righteousness), judgment, and justification that these terms can only be understood when they are seen as what happens in Yeshua the Messiah. Breaking into a thought on righteousness, Barth notes:-

“But this righteousness, this judgment of God, this justification by God which comes to man, is something which has taken place concretely in Jesus Christ. It had to take place in Him because in His person as the Son of the Father He is Himself both very God electing and creating man and very man elected by God and as such ordained from all eternity to fulfill all the righteousness of God. It could take place in Him, because as very God and very man He was competent and qualified to accomplish and suffer the contest between God and man, to be both the Judge and the judged in this conflict. It could take place only in Him, because only He as this one person could be both subject and object in this history, UNITING THE ANTITHESIS OF IT IN HIMSELF: Himself the full end which is made in it; and Himself also the new beginning which is made in it; and both in the place and therefore in the name of all other men, for them and in their favour. It took place in Him in that He as the true Son of God became true man, and in this unity of His person became the Judge of all other men: their Judge as the one who was judged in their place – delivered up in His death, and reinstated in His resurrection from the dead. As it has taken place in Jesus Christ this is the justification of sinful man” (Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, Vol. IV/I, 550; cf II/I, 396-399; II/2, 758-763).

Writes Catholic theologian Hans Kung. “What happens in justification is that God powerfully puts Himself in jeopardy. The sinner is, of course, in no way fit for the inescapable conflict with the holy, neither as active nor as passive co-operator, neither as subject nor as object, since in this judgment it is a matter of the death of man and of his life out of this death. In this judgment man emerges holy and alive, only because God Himself puts Himself in his place, because God jeopardises Himself in a death where God, the Lord, Judge, and Helper, is simultaneously man, servant, judged, and helpless. This is how man can, and does become, actively and passively, a partner.”

The brilliant mind of Kung adds an associated thought, and what he has to share is awesome: “The justification of the sinner as God's putting Himself in jeopardy in Jesus Christ means first of all the turning away from injustice... that is, the annihilation of human injustice and the elimination of man as wrongdoer. This did not happen in us, because we certainly do not cease to be the sinful men of yesterday. This turning away is not discernible in any experience of our lives. It has come about through Jesus Christ. In Him our injustice is truly and finally wiped out and has become a thing of yesterday as we as wrong doers are killed and buried, and become ourselves a thing of yesterday...” (Hans Kung, Justification, 1964, 58f).

Truly, God in Christ takes into himself our sins – he does not merely “bear” them on his spiritual shoulders – by becoming each human tragedy since the dawn of time itself authentically experiencing what it actually is and what it actually means to be a human being.

What Yeshua actually accomplished on the bloodied tree of Golgoleth, by taking into himself the sins of the world, was an actual transformation of unholiness into holiness. To ensure that humanity could be declared righteous by God (it was not only our unholiness that was dealt with in this event but humankind's unrighteousness as well) Christ transformed our unrighteousness – by taking it individually and collectively into himself as God's pure, righteous Elect Man. After all, the One who brought into an existence both good and evil (Isa 45.7) originally did so for THE SALVATION of His own MIRRORED IMAGE. This was the ultimate purpose of creation! Humankind was to be transformed from a physical image of creatureliness into the SPIRITUAL IMAGE of God's very own character and Nature in a massive Salvific Intention. God's only plan for the human race is a plan of salvation. To be saved one first has to be “lost.” To experience good one first has to be confronted by that which is not good – evil. And so, in effect, the Gospel message involves a redemption through sin.

My expression “redemption through sin” may at first startle most of my students but I intend no heresy on my part.

The Baal Shem Tov, whom I have quoted in our previous lecture and in the introduction to this present address has told us: “The evil thoughts come to man even in the midst of prayer. And they come to him as to their redemption. When an evil or alien thought arises in a man, it comes to him in order that he may redeem it, and let it ascend.” Again, the Baal Shem Tov stated, “The indwelling Glory of God embraces all worlds, all creatures, good and evil. And it is the true unity. How can it then bear in itself the opposites of good and evil? But in truth there is no opposite, for evil is the Throne of good” (Martin Buber [trans], Instructions in Intercourse with God, in Hasidism and Modern Man, 208).”

This conception spreads itself out as in a broadsheet in the revelation which God gave to us via the prophet Isaiah in his Isa 45.7 text (already mentioned) which states: “I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and I create evil. I the LORD do all these things.”

In our inherited western culture its sometimes difficult to form new ideas and concepts – even truth itself – unless we take the step of experiencing a proper focus to create new neural pathways by our thoughts and thus to inculcate Jewish thoughtform (this thoughtform is actually eastern not western) which God utilised by the Ruach HaKodesh to inspire the writings of both the Hebrew and Messianic Scriptures.

Example of a new way of thinking? How often do we visit a zoo and consider that it is not the bars of a cage that keep us safe from otherwise wild and ferocious creatures but the space between the bars which is really the issue for our welfare. Its all a matter of perspective.  Again, consider the ram's horn, the shofar. We are informed in the Talmud that as impressive as it is in the rites and rituals of Judaism, it is actually so profane that it can be used as a funnel for feeding a baby. We are in fact attracted not to the shofar (as we think we are!) but rather to the blast – the sound – that issues from it. One of my rabbinic mentors has penned, “We follow the sound, not the horn of a dead creature that makes it.” He's right (again).

As we open our Bibles and expand the parameters of our ignorance and as we read the inspired Scriptures of GOD we all need to become acutely conscious of the fact that these words are SPIRIT and they are LIFE ITSELF (Jn 6.63). In the crucified Messiah we find the UNITY of OPPOSITES: The HOLY becoming UNHOLY to take the place of sinners. The RIGHTEOUS becoming UNRIGHTEOUS to substitute for sinners. Christ REPRESENTING sinners to God and REPRESENTING God to sinners. This is what GRACIOUSLY grants to us sinners, SALVATION.

The biblical requirements of the sacrificial rites of the Red Heifer grant us a spectacular example of the union or unity of opposites in the methods of God. This can be ascertained when carefully reading the laws regulating the slaughter of the Red Heifer in Numbers 19.1-10. The red heifer had to be purely bred and purely red, with a total absence of white, black or gray hairs anywhere on its body. It had to be entirely “without blemish.” When it was selected for the Yom Kippurim sacrifice it was led out of the city of Jerusalem (in Herodian times it was led through the eastern Gate and across the Kedron [alt., Kidron] Valley via a double tiered arch bridge and up to the heights of Mt Olivet) where the Miphkad Altar was located and there it was killed and its corpse burnt to ashes. The ashes were then taken up and spread out onto the flowing spring waters at the base of the Altar. The ashes would then descend through a conduit water system into the Kedron Valley below. All the inhabitants of Jerusalem would drink of that water containing the ashes of the burnt heifer.

Intriguingly, on the Day of Atonements (Lev 16.27ff) ALL animals sacrificed had to be slaughtered in the Jerusalem Temple at the Altar of Burnt Offering and then their corpses were taken out of the eastern gate to the Miphkad Altar on Mt Olivet and there burnt to ashes (see Lev 4). The Red Heifer was the exception to the rule. It had to be slaughtered “outside the camp” where criminals would be executed by stoning.

In analysing the Torah requirements involving the sacrifice of a suitable red heifer there is an amazing paradox. Those who are involved in the preparation of the ashes of the heifer become ritually impure while the sprinkling of water with those same ashes removes contamination! In other words, the ashes of the red heifer defile that which is pure, and purify that which is defiled. Recall the great truth that if it were not for sin there would be a complete absence of salvation. Yeshua IS our Red Heifer.

Yeshua is our Atonement and he fulfilled the ceremonies that were kept on this day to the exact letter, including being led like the red heifer across the Kedron and up to the Mount of Olives where he, again like the red heifer, was sacrificed (Heb 13.10-13). Recall, too, that when he was being tortured the Romans wrapped Yeshua in a cloak of scarlet and he probably was wearing this cloak or tunic on his way to the Miphkad Altar.

Furthermore, the Rabbinic sage Maimonides expressly stated that there have been only nine red heifers used in sacrificial ceremonies at the Miphkad Altar on the Mount of Olives on Yom Kippurim since the beginning of the Tabernacle up until the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. When the tenth red heifer arrives the Messiah will come. The countdown to that event is well and truly on.

But the point I am making here is essentially that God uses the red heifer to illustrate or demonstrate the idea of transmogrification – to be transformed in a remarkably surprising or magical manner.

There are 14 counts in this indictment.

1.   “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom 3.10)

2.   “There is none that understands” (Rom 3.11)

3.   “There is none that seeks after God” (Rom 3.11)

4.   “They are all gone out of the way” (Rom 3.12)

5.   “They are together become unprofitable” (3.12). I must comment here for the Greek intends “to make useless, to render unserviceable.” Taken back into Hebrew and thence into English we have “to go bad, like sour milk.”

6.   “There is none that does good, no, not one” (3.12). “Good” here is chrestotes –  “moral goodness, integrity, benignity, habitual kindness.”

7.   “Their throat is an open sepulchre” (3.13). The sepulchre or grave is open. An exhumation is taking place with the result that the very air is filled with the worst odor of decay and rotting flesh. The full import of this, says Wuest, “can only be appreciated in hot climates like the Middle East.”

8.   “With their tongues they have used deceit” (3.13)

9.   “The poison of asps is under their lips” (3.13). The asp here is the Egyptian cobra which possesses its deadly poison in a bag under its lips. Scholar Denney notes, “Wherever they go, you can trace them by the ruin and distress they leave behind” them. He adds, “It does not mean [that] they have failed to discover the way of salvation, but they tread continually in paths of violence.”

10. “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (3.14)

11. “Their feet are swift to shed blood” (3.15)

12. “Destruction and misery are in their ways” (3.16)

13. “The way of peace they have not known” (3.17)

14. “There is no fear of God before their eyes (3.18).

Here we have a list of the perverse self-serving issues that predominate humanity, and brethren it predominates in Christian (Messianic) communities. All of these descriptions can be denominated in all our hearts at one time or another. Without Messiah we are well and truly lost. These aspects of carnal human nature as Paul has delineated and designated as 14 legal courtroom indictments were absorbed by Yeshua the Messiah, in dying for the sins of the world, as he took upon (and into) Himself on that terrible bloodied tree of Golgoleth all universal discordance. He did so to purify a rebellious humanity and to obtain a LEGAL JUSTIFICATION enabling humankind to stand RIGHT before the throne of God. But that Throne, while it is the Throne of JUDGMENT is very much the Throne of GRACE.

Let Barth and Kenneth Wuest conclude this lecture.

Wuest: “Our Lord cried... 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' The Greek word “forsaken' is a composite of three words, “to leave,” “down,” and “in.” The first has the idea of forsaking one. The second suggests rejection, defeat, helplessness. The third refers to some place, or circumstance. The total meaning of the word is that of forsaking someone in a state of defeat or helplessness in the midst of hostile circumstances. The word means “to abandon, desert, to leave in straits, to leave helpless, to leave destitute, to leave in the lurch, to let one down.” All these meanings were included in that awful cry that came from the lips of the Son of God as He was about to die for lost humanity... He was abandoned and deserted by God the Father, and for the reason that God “appointed Him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21) [N.B., not merely “on” him]. A fellowship had been broken that had always existed, a fellowship that had continued all during our Lord's earthly life. But now the Father's smiling face was turned away. Understand the “how” of it we cannot. Feel the awfulness of it, we may not. Believe the fact of it, we must. Our Lord said His God had abandoned Him, deserted Him.

“No words came from the skies in answer to the prayer of our Lord. He answers it Himself in Psalm 22:3 when He says that God abandoned Him because He was holy, whereas the Son was laden with the sin of mankind. This unanswered prayer of our Lord was predicted in type in Leviticus 5:11, where an offerer too poor to bring two turtledoves or two pigeons for a sin-offering, could bring the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour, just enough to bake one day's supply of bread, the giving up of the flour typifying the giving up of life, thus pointing to our Lord's death. But he was forbidden to include frankincense with the flour. Frankincense is a type of answered prayer. Flour without incense speaks of our Lord's death and His unanswered prayer... when He needed the help of the Holy Spirit most, in the moment of His direst need, the Holy Spirit left Him helpless, destitute. He left Him in the lurch. He let Him down in a set of circumstances that were antagonistic, frightful, terrible. He was abandoned by Heaven, spurned by earth, laden with man's sin, suffering the excruciating agony of crucifixion. He suffered all alone. The same sin offering that forbade the inclusion of frankincense, forbade the provision of oil. Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit. No oil in the flour, speaks of the withdrawal of the holy Spirit's sustaining presence at the cross. The Holy Spirit left our Lord. This fact will help us understand 1 Peter 3:18, where our Lord is spoken of as being put to death with respect to the flesh, but quickened or made alive with respect to the spirit, His human spirit, from which the Holy Spirit had departed when He left our Lord helpless on the cross. That is, our Lord died with respect to His human body, but in His human spirit, made alive again by the Holy Spirit after He had abandoned our Lord...

“Not only did God the Father... and the Holy Spirit abandon the Man Christ Jesus... but the Son now turns against Himself. It was as if a man of high ideals who had lived an exemplary life, should at its close be guilty of a loathsome deed. From the exalted position of his high idealism, he looks down upon himself, loathes and repudiates himself. Our Lord as the Son of God, holy, spotless, repudiated His own humanity now laden with sin not His own. “The moral sense of His own deity revolted against His own humanity as the representative of sin.” Hear His own words, “But I am a worm” (Psalm 22:6). “Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me so I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head: therefore my heart fails me” (Psalm 40:12). In Him as He hung on the cross, was the fullness of Deity. That is the meaning of that terrible cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies From the Greek New Testament, Vol.3., 87-91).

Barth: “In Him our sin and we ourselves have perished. In Him we all start at the divine No which has been spoken with such power and carried through with such effect; it the liberation which is an accomplished fact in this No because it is spoken and carried through in Jesus Christ. This liberation which has taken place in Him is the presupposition of our future. And the freedom given to us by this No is our present. In Him our wrong and we ourselves as the doers of it are behind us. He has taken it away from us. He has taken us away from it. He has set aside and cancelled our existence as the doers of it... In Jesus Christ, the very man which as such is the eternal Son of the eternal Father, this future man, the new and righteous man, lives in an unassailable reality. In Him I am already the one who will be this righteous man and live as such, just as in Him I am still only the unrighteous man, to the extent that I was once this man.  In this positive sense, Jesus Christ lives in our place, for us, in our name. As our wrong and death are our past in His name, in Him, so our righteousness and life are our future” (Church Dogmatics, Vol. IV/I, 553f; 555).

Christ has become us and we have become – in Him – Christ.

We are now prepared for our next step of enlightenment on this journey of progress through Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians.


 on: April 08, 2017, 10:12:19 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans

Copyright © BRI 2016 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture17.MP3

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“The great Rabbi Gamaliel had among his disciples one who, according to a passage in the Talmud, gave his master a good deal of trouble, manifesting 'impudence in matters of learning.' But his name is not given; he is remembered simply as 'that pupil'” (F.F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame, 1958, 81. See also J. Klausner, From Jesus to Paul, 1944, 310f; Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 30b).

“God speaks first in one way, and then in another, but not one notices. He speaks by dreams, and visions that come in the night, when slumber comes on humankind, and men are all asleep in bed. Then it is he whispers in the ear of man, or may frighten him with fearful sights, to turn him away from evil doing, and make an end of his pride; to save his soul from the pit and his life from the pathway to Sheol” (Job 33.14-18)

“The world is new to us every morning – this is God's gift; and every man should believe he is reborn each day” – R. Yisroel ben Eliezer (The Baal Shem Tov & Founder of Hasidism)

“Being on the right track is not enough; one must be on the train”
– Rabbi Shraga Silverstein

The startling event that changed history took place in 30 CE. It is written that “God was in Messiah reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor 5.19). The coming of God in Christ, as the great apostle articulated, was for the purpose of conciliation. When the Messiah died a transmogrification – an extreme change – transpired which SAVED you and me. For, after intense time-consuming interrogation at the hands of Jewish priests, ruthless bashing and humiliating rape by Roman thugs, and a terrifying scourging, a beaten and bloodied Nazarene King was taken across the Kidron to the place of the Miphkad Altar, on the Mt Olivet, and there nailed to a tree in an orchard owned by a disciple, surrounded by a number of crucified Zealots. There, struggling for his every breath in excruciating pain Yeshua was further subjected to mocking and ridicule and horrendous assaults from the flint-throwing “super-righteous.” The Torah prescribed death by stoning as the punishment for blasphemy. Crucifixion was Rome's choice for revolutionaries and others who had committed treason.

The plan, intention and purpose of God was finally launched after untold aeons of scrupulous and assiduous preparation. But with his final forgiving breath EVERYTHING changed.

Howard Snyder served as distinguished professor and chair of Wesley Studies at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario, from 2007 to 2012. Prior to that he was professor of history and theology of mission in the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky from 1996 to 2006. In his thought-provoking book Wineskins: Church Structure in a Technological Age (1975) he penned the following....

“In contrast to traditional views, the Bible describes the church in the midst of culture, struggling to maintain its fidelity while tainted by the corrosive acids of paganism [on the one hand] and Jewish legalism [on the other]. This view is sharply relevant for the modern age... The Bible sees the church in cosmic-historical perspective. Scripture places the church at the very centre of God's cosmic purpose. This is seen most clearly in Paul's writings, and particularly in the [letter to the] Ephesians. Paul was concerned to speak of the church as the result of, and within the context of, the plan of God for His whole creation (Eph 1.9,10, 20-23; 3.10; 6.12). What is this cosmic plan? Based on the first three chapters of Ephesians we may say it is that God may glorify Himself by uniting all things in Christ through the Church. The key idea is clearly reconciliation – not only the reconciliation of man to God, but the reconciliation of all things, 'things in heaven and things on earth' (Eph 1.10)” (Howard Snyder, The Problem of Wineskins: Church Structure in a Technological Age, 1975, 154,155).

Snyder continues: “Central to this plan is the reconciliation of man to God through the blood of Jesus Christ... as mind-boggling as the thought is, Scripture teaches that this reconciliation even includes the redemption of the physical universe from the effects of sin as everything is brought under proper headship in Jesus Christ” (Snyder, ibid).

Again, “Paul emphasises the fact of individual and corporate salvation through Christ, and from this goes on to place personal salvation in cosmic perspective. The redemption of persons is the centre of God's plan, but it is not the circumference of that plan. Paul alternates between a close-up of personal redemption, but periodically switching to a long-distance wide-angle view that takes in “all things – things visible and invisible; things past, present and future; things in heaven and things on earth; all the principalities and powers – the whole cosmic-historical scene” (ibid, 155 emphasis his).

The universe (all that is contained therein) is in need of salvation because it is as lost as man is lost.

In his early writing of Romans Paul pens explicitly that there were, in his day, none righteous (Rom 3.10,11,12). Today we can more than echo his particular grief for humanity.

“What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that ALL, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin... ALL have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows habitual kindness, there is not even one...  Now we know that whatever the Torah says, it speaks to those who are under the Torah, so that every mouth may be silenced, and ALL the world may be held accountable to God” (Rom 3.9,12,19).

As I pointed out in our last lecture, three times Paul resorts to the inclusive “ALL.” None appears in Romans 3.10,11,12 four times, all three times. Add these numerals together and we have the numeral which designates completeness. God's indictment is a wholehearted complete one. Its sevenfold. As Alva McClain sums it up – “Paul brings the whole world to the judgment bar of God and leaves them standing there – trembling and silent” (Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace, 92).

The Lord Yeshua had made the way of salvation perfectly clear. To be saved one had to “keep the commandments” perfectly.

Become you therefore perfect [spiritually mature] even as your Father in the heavens is perfect [spiritually mature]” (Mt 5.48).

“If you will enter into life keep the commandments” (Mt 19.17).

Except your righteousness shall greatly exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees you shall in no case enter the Kingdom of the heavens” (Mt 5.20).

On the one hand, then, man is lost as the fractured Image of his Creator God. He is lost because of sin and the sinful nature. Not just sin. Recall please, that man is motivated by the yetzer ha'ra – the unconscious evil intention. As Yeshua made it plain: “Out of the heart of man proceed evil thoughts (and acts)” (Mt 15.19 cf Mk 7.21).

It seems then utterly impossible that man can in any way save himself. Yet we see Our Lord Yeshua demanding that our righteousness exceed that of the Jewish religious leaders of his day and age. It takes little acumen to perceive that Yeshua was posturing himself in these encounters as the ONLY answer available to a suffering humanity, and the only option, to solve the grave crisis of humankind. It is a spiritual crisis in the final analysis. A man of war, General Douglas MacArthur knew the solution to humankind's problem, for he noted in his acute perception that “It must be of the Spirit if we are to save the flesh.” Yeshua, as the Messiah, was in effect offering Himself to personally solve humankind's dilemma. Yeshua, whose very Name means (self-emptying) salvation, can in no way deny his creations for that would intend a denying of himself in the final analysis (2 Tim 2.13). In sacrificially giving of himself, in our place as our perfect Substitute and Representative Man, Our Lord Yeshua became for us “Christ OUR Righteousness” (1 Cor 1.30).

Did not the prophet portend in his grasp of God's intention for the salvific survival of the human race, that God Himself would enter into the human masses as a man? More than a mere mortal THE MESSIAH WAS TO BE GOD IN HUMAN FLESH, despite what Christ-denying rabbis would today admit! (Rabbis are well-acquainted with the role of Mashiach in the end of days and they agree that Jeremiah 23 speaks of the coming of the Messiah.) Note now what the prophet Jeremiah called the Messiah, and read the text in context with Jer 23.1-8.

“This is his name” – the Name of the Messiah – “whereby he shall be called, Yehoveh Tsidkenu [The Lord Our Righteousness]” (Jer 23.6).

It is quite a rare thing that in any way I would venture to quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) but in this instance I will not hesitate to so do. This is frankly because Spurgeon (in such an instance at this) says it better than I could even attempt to articulate. I have made emphasis in bold italics to ennoble some main points.

“Man sinned; he was therefore no longer innocent of transgression. Man did not keep the command; he therefore was guilty of the sin of omission. In that which he committed, and in that which he omitted, his original character for uprightness was completely wrecked. [The Messiah] came to undo the mischief of the fall for his people. So far as their sin concerned their breach of the command, that he has removed by his precious blood. His agony and bloody sweat have for ever taken away the consequences of sin from believers, seeing Christ did by his one sacrifice bear the penalty of that sin in his flesh. He, his own self, bare our sins in his own body on the tree. Still it is not enough for a man to be pardoned. He, of course, is then in the eye of God without sin. But it was required of man that he should actually keep the command. It was not enough that he did not break it, or that he is regarded through the blood as though he did not break it. He must keep it, he must continue in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. How is this necessity supplied? Man must have a righteousness, or God cannot accept him. Man must have a perfect obedience, or else God cannot reward him. Should He give heaven to a soul that has not perfectly kept the law; that were to give the reward where the service is not done, and that before God would be an act which might impeach his justice. Where, then, is the righteousness with which the pardoned man shall be completely covered, so that God can regard him as having kept the law, and reward him for so doing? Surely, my brethren, none of you are so besotted as to think that this righteousness can be wrought out by yourselves. You must despair of ever being able to keep the law perfectly. Each day you sin. Since you have passed from death unto life, the old Adam still struggles for dominion within you. And by the force of the lusts of the flesh you are brought into captivity to the law of sin which is in your members. The good you would do, you do not, and the evil you would not, that you too often do.

“Some have thought the works of the Holy Spirit in us would give us a righteousness in which we might stand. I am sure, my brethren, we would not say a word derogatory to the cork [19th century use of cork as that person or thing which surpasses all else] of the Holy Spirit. It is divine. But we hold it to be a great cardinal point in divinity that the work of the Spirit never meant to supplant the merits of the Son. We could not depreciate the Lord Jesus Christ in order to exalt the office of the Holy Spirit of God. We know that each particular branch of the divine salvation which was espoused by the [Divine] persons... has been carried out by each one to perfection.  

“Now as we are accepted in the Beloved, it must be by a something that the Beloved did; as we are justified in Christ it must be by a something not that the Spirit has done, but which Christ has done. We must believe, then,—for there is no other alternative—that the righteousness in which we must be clothed, and through which we must be accepted, and by which we are made meet to inherit eternal life, can be no other than the work of Jesus Christ. We, therefore, assert, believing that Scripture fully warrants us, that the life of Christ constitutes the righteousness in which his people are to be clothed. His death washed away their sins, his life covered them from head to foot; his death the sneaky [19th century use of sneaky meaning liar or one who is filled with pretense] to God, his life was the gift to man, by which man satisfies the demands of the law. Herein the law is honored and the soul is accepted. I find that many young Christians who are very clear about being saved by the merits of Christ's death, do not seem to understand the merits of his life.

“Remember, young believers, that from the first moment when Christ did lie in the cradle until the time when he ascended up on high, he was at work for his people; and from the moment when he was seen in Mary's arms, till the instant when in the arms of death he “bowed his head and gave up the ghost,” he was at work for your salvation and mine. He completed the work of obedience in his life, and said to his Father, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Then he completed the work of atonement in his death, and knowing that all things were accomplished, he cried, “It is finished.” He was through his life spinning the web for making the royal garment, and in his death he dipped that garment in his blood. In his life he was gathering together the precious gold, in his death he hammered it out to make for us a garment which is of wrought gold. You have as much to thank Christ for living as for dying, and you should be as reverently and devoutly grateful for his spotless life as for his terrible and fearful death. The text speaking of Christ, the son of David, the branch out of the root of Jesse, styles him THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS...

“Jesus Christ is the Lord our righteousness. There are but three words, “JEHOVAH”—for so it is in the original,—“OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” He is Jehovah. Read that verse, and you will clearly perceive that the Messias of the Jews, Jesus of Nazareth the Saviour of the Gentiles, is certainly Jehovah. He hath the incommunicable title of the Most High God. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  

“Oh, ye [who claim he was merely human] who monstrously deny the Lord who bought you and put him to open shame by denying his divinity, read you that verse and let your blasphemous tongues be silent, and let your obdurate hearts melt in penitence because ye have so foully sinned against him. He is Jehovah, or, mark you, the whole of God's word is false, and there is no noun for a sinner's hope. We know, and this day we testify in his name, that the very Christ who did lie in the manger as an infant was infinite even then; that he who cried, cried for very pain as a child, was nevertheless saluted at that very moment as God by the songs of the creatures that his hands had made. He who walked in pain over the flinty acres of Palestine, was at the same time possessor of heaven and earth. He who had not where to lay his head, and was despised and rejected of men, was at the same instant God over all, blessed for evermore. He that sweat great drops of blood did bear the earth upon his shoulders. He who was flagellated in Pilate's hall was adored by spirits of the just made perfect. He who did hang upon the tree had the oration hanging upon him. He who died on the cross was the ever living, the everlasting One. As a man he died, as God he lives. As Mary's son he bled, as the son of the Eternal God he had the sway and the dominion over all the world. In nature Christ proves himself to be universal God. Without him was not anything made that was made. By him all things consist. Who less than God could make the heavens and the earth? Bow before him, bow before him, for he made you, and should not the creatures acknowledge their Creator?

“Providence attests his Godhead. He upholdeth all things by the word of his power Creatures that are animate have their breath from his nostrils; inanimate creatures that are strong and mighty stand only by his strength. He can say concerning the earth, “I bear the pillars thereof.” In the deep foundations of the sea his power is felt, and in the towering arches of the starry heavens his might is recognized to the full. And as for Grace, we claim for Christ that he is Jehovah in the great kingdom of his grace. Who less than God could have carried your sins and mine and cast them all away? Who less than God could have interposed to deliver us from the jaws of hell's lions, and bring us up from the pit, having found a ransom? On whom less than God could we rely to keep us from the innumerable temptations that beset us? How can he be less than God, when he says, “Lo, I am with you always, unto the end of the world?” How could he be omnipresent if he were not God! How could he hear our prayers, the prayers of millions, scattered through the leagues of earth, and attend to them all, and give acceptance to all, if he were not infinite in understanding and infinite in merit? How were this if he were less than God? Let Atheists scoff, let Deists sneer, let the vain Socinian boast, let the Arian lift up his puny voice, but we will glory in this fact, that he that bought us with his blood is Jehovah—very God of very God. At his footstool we bow and pay him the very homage that we pay to his Father and to the Spirit.

“Blessings more than we can give,
Be Lord for ever thine.”

“But the text speaks about righteousness too—“Jehovah our righteousness.” And he is so. Christ in his life was so righteous, that we may say of the life, taken as a vehicle, that it is righteousness itself. Christ is the law incarnate. Understand me. He lived out the law of God to the very full, and while you see God's precepts written in fire on Sinai's brow, you see them written in flesh in the person of Christ.

“My dear Redeemer and my Lord,
I read my duty in thy word,
But in thy life the law appears
Drawn out in living characters.”

“He never offended against the commands of the Just One. From his eye there never flashed the fire of unhallowed anger. On his lip there did never hang the unjust of licentious word. His heart was never stirred by the breath of sin or the taint of iniquity. In the secret of his reins no fault was hidden. In his understanding was no defect; in his judgment no error. In his miracles there was no ostentation. In him there was indeed no guile. His powers being ruled by his understanding, all of them acted and co-acted to perfection's very self, so that never was there any flaw of omission or stain of commission. The law consists in this first, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” He did so. It was his meat and his drink to do the will of him that sent him. Never man spent himself as he did. Hunger and thirst and nakedness were nothing to him, nor death itself if he might so be baptised with the baptism wherewith he must be baptized, and drink the cup which his Father had set before him.

The law consists also in this, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” In all he did, and in all he suffered he more than fulfilled the precept, for “he saved others himself he could not save.” He exhausted the utmost resources of love in the deep devotion and self-sacrifice of loving. He loved man better than his own life. He would sooner be spit upon than that man should be cast into the flames of hell and sooner yield up the ghost in agonies that cannot be described than that the souls his Father gave him should be cast away. He carried out the law, then, I say to the very letter he spelt out its mystic syllables, and verily he magnified it, and made it honorable. He loved the Lord his God, with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and he loved his neighbors as himself.  

Jesus Christ was righteousness impersonated. “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” he might well say. One thousand eight hundred years have passed since then, and blasphemy itself has not been able to charge him with a fault. Strange as it may appear, the most perverted judges have nevertheless acknowledged the awful dignity of his character. They have railed at his miracles; they have denied his Godhead; but his righteous character I know not that they have dared to impugn. They have hatched jokes about his generation; they have made his poverty a jest, and his death has been the theme of ribald song; but his life has staggered even the most unbelieving, and made the careless wonder how such a character could have been conceived even if it be a fiction, and much more, how it could have been executed if it be a fact. No one that I know of has dared to charge Christ with unrighteousness to man, or with a want of devotedness to God. See then, it is so. We do not stay to prove his righteousness any more than we did to prove his Godhead. The day is coming when men shall acknowledge him to be Jehovah, and when looking upon all his life while he was incarnate here, they shall be compelled to say that his life was righteousness itself. The pith, however, of the title, lies in the little word “our,”—“Jehovah our righteousness.” This is the grappling iron with which we get a hold on him—this is the anchor which dives into the bottom of this great deep of his immaculate righteousness. This is the saved rivet by which our souls are joined to him. This is the blessed hand with which our soul toucheth him, and he becometh to us all in all, “Jehovah our Righteousness.”  (Extract from a sermon delivered on Sunday morning 2nd June 1861 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.)

Spurgeon recognised that the coming of actual God in actual flesh to humanity was essential for our SALVATION and, indeed, for that same actual Creator God to take into His flesh the sins of human beings – even to become SIN itself.

Oh! The horror of such an outstanding but terrible truth!!!

There was no way Yeshua's flesh could take our sins into himself without becoming in that act filled with our sins.  There is no way the pure sinless Yeshua could not have been (become) a SINNER at that juncture, which is why God the Father severed Himself from His Son for a brief period of time. The most perfect human being on the face of the earth had become an obnoxious transgressor of God's law and the embodiment of sin itself. Yeshua had to be cut off from His Father. Can we now grasp the meaning of that awful cry into the darkness, and into the utter void of God? “Eli! Eli! La'ma sabach'thani?Our salvation, and the salvation of the entirety of the universe, came into a reality as a consequence of it.

And so to this end – to be the Lord Our Righteousness – Christ had to take our personal sins upon himself, and the sins of the entirety of the world from the dawn of time in order to truly be humankind's Substitute. Not only so, but I repeat HE HAD TO BECOME ACTUAL SIN ITSELF. The PERFECT and the RIGHTEOUS had to take upon itself the darkness fully. The great Carl Gustav Jung referred often to “the dark [side of] God” (C.G. Jung, Answer to Job, para. 746). Yeshua embraced it all lovingly.

There are those in the Christian Community who cannot accept such a doctrine as this. Their reasoning is very simple to understand but I cannot find myself in agreement over this issue. Here's why. But first...

One of the first principles of our (IMCF) Messianic Faith is one that acknowledges that originally there was no one united front in the primitive Messianic Movement when it came to understanding the plan of God for the human race and most certainly there was no general, let alone specific, agreement among bishops (overseers) concerning centralised formulation of doctrine even up to the fourth century. As I have written in my short series on Matthew, “one of the great myths of the Christian Church involves the altogether spurious notion that the original Messianic Community (or “church” if you will) was united on all fronts as [the old hymn Onward Christian Soldiers implies] “one in Faith and Doctrine, and one in charity.”

“In this view of a unified collective there were very few disagreements amongst the various cells of faith-obedience and there was certainly complete unison in the universal church's submission to the established Apostolic Authority initially headquartered at Jerusalem.

“This is not a considered view limited to... notorious sects... It's presupposed in the theologies supported by historic mainstream denominations and churches, and also by a myriad of Pentecostal assemblies. Such organic unity lasted essentially until the Reformation was ignited and launched by Luther.

“The truth of the matter is (as it invariably is when dealing with religious assumptions and presumptions) the exact opposite. This becomes more than apparent when we grasp that the original Jewish converts to Yeshua as the Messiah were extracted from a wide variety of religious backgrounds – from sects within the existing Judaisms of the Second Temple Period which were already in serious conflict with each other over a plethora of issues ranging from deportment to the calendar. Obviously, when they aligned with the Messianic Movement they brought their issues and conflicts and disagreements with them. It could hardly be otherwise.”

When one examines early Christian literature (i.e., Mt 16.18 and the very early chapters of the Lukan Acts) we find the apostle Peter ordained by Christ to shepherd the ekklesia which he most assuredly fulfilled – until the rivalry and ascendancy of James the brother of the Lord. Acts has an account of Peter's turbulent rule of the Messianic Assembly in Jerusalem at the beginning and then suddenly switches that role to James, and it does so without any account or explanation for the interposition of Yeshua's brother into the Lukan composition. Was this silence purposed by Luke or was there very early manuscript interference of which we have no actual record? While Matthew speaks loudly and forcefully for the role of Simon Peter in the Messianic Assembly, the Gospel of Thomas paints another picture entirely in its endorsement of James.

“The disciples said to Yeshua, We are aware that you will depart from us. Who will be our leader? Yeshua said to him, No matter where you come it is to James the Just that you shall go, for whose sake heaven and earth have come to exist” (Gospel of Thomas Saying 12).

Notes Christian scholar, Anglican priest, archaeologist and ecclesiastical historian W.H.C. Frend, “(Peter) was... no longer leader of the Christian community. For the next eighteen years, until 62, this office was the prerogative of Jesus' brother, James, and Jerusalem was the centre and directing arm of the Christian mission” (W.H.C. Frend, The Early Church, 1965, 37).

So there developed quite early in the congregations of God specific “circles of faith” or spiritual “cells” (or Christian synagogues, if you wish) which oriented around the teachings of individual apostles. There was a circle that constellated around Peter, another around James, another around Apollos and one about Paul (1 Cor 1.12). There may yet have been others.

With the advent of the Herodian Sha'ul to the Christian Community the Apostolic Council “wisely agreed that there should be two missions, one for the Jews under Peter and the other for the Gentiles under Paul” (Frend., ibid, 38).

That the Jerusalem Apostolic Council gave Peter the fundamental right to pursue converts among the Jewish people with the Gospel, and acquiesced to Paul with the same mission but to the Gentiles cannot be argued against. Paul's intelligent view had the Lord Yeshua himself create ONE evangelical MISSION with two racial/nationalistic programs. It's stated clearly in the composite letter of Paul to the Galatian assemblies.

“... When they [the Jerusalem Council] saw that the Gospel of the uncircumcision [the Gentiles] was committed unto me [by Christ], as the Gospel of the circumcision [the Jews] was unto Peter (for he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles) and when James, Cephas and John who seemed to be pillars, perceived the Grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go to the heathen, and they unto the circumcision...” (Gal 2.7-9).

Peter was adequately gifted to reach the Roman-hating Jews by virtue of his childhood and youthful background in the very hotbed of revolutionary subversive movements, namely “Galilee of the Gentiles.” He was most certainly associated with “Sh'mon the Zealot” and “Yehuda the Sicarii” and other revolutionaries who were called to be disciples of the Messiah. But Sha'ul had been called directly by Yeshua outside of the land of the Jewish Commonwealth which gave him his sphere of service among the Gentiles. Says Knoch, “He was not seeking God, but [rather] was His most implacable human enemy. He is saved by a display of Grace which had hitherto been unknown. Hence his evangel is the exponent of the unadulterated Grace of God. His first meeting with Christ was after His ascension and glorification. Hence he is concerned, not with his earthly life, but with His heavenly position” (A.E Knoch, Concordant Commentary on the New Testament, 196, 280).

[I have mentioned previously that it would be of benefit for all our IMCF students to obtain their personal copies of the Clementine Recognitions and the Clementine Homilies which are surviving contemporary Nazarene documents to read side-by-side (as it were) with the Lukan Acts in order to gain a more appreciable wider vision of the historical events that were taking place during the later Second Temple Period. One can “read between the lines” when it comes to disagreements between Luke's account and Clement's narrative as to the truth of certain matters obtaining to Paul and the other apostles – particularly James.]

The picture painted by Luke in Acts concerning the rise and influence of Paul on the Messianic Movement along with the musings of the author of the composite Letter to the Galatians shows Paul to be a headstrong rabbi unable to work in team situations and who has a definite choleric personality. Paul was an extroverted alpha but who at times bordered on sheer melancholia. While Luke, and even Paul himself in his letters, shows this to be the case, the Clementine literature – as biased as Luke's – reveal that James and Paul had previous violent clashes which were swept under the carpet by Luke as never having taken place. A balanced presentation is the order of the day when we compare the two narratives.

What these chronicles also unveil is the lack of unity, doctrine and purpose among the assemblies and congregations of the Lord in the first century Messianic Movement. It is the outstanding situation facing our modern world in relation to the churches of this world, all standing not “one in Christ” but in an alignment in defiance of each others doctrinal and theological assessments. It reminds me of the old joke in the 60s about a Tritheist Anglican (Episcopalian) being confronted by a Unitarian during the “God is Dead” movement that swept the western world during that short but revolutionary period. The Unitarian asks his nemesis, “So, you believe that God is dead?” The Tritheist responds with, “Which one?”

I stated that there are some today, as there were in the late Second Temple Period, who cannot accept that Christ became sin itself. They produce “proof texts” to bolster their position. And, once more, here we have further evidence as to the negative effects of doing so. [If you have not read my thoughts relative to so-called “proof texts” please refer to Repression of the Sublime (Romans Lecture 15.]

And what are these proof-texts in this instance used to reject the fact that Christ became a sinner on the cross and that he underwent a transmogrifying experience?

(1) “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3.6). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jam 1.17). “And as a vesture shall you fold them up, and they shall be changed: but you are the same, and your years shall not fail” (Heb 1.12). “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb 13.8).  

Therefore Christ, as God, is unchanging and unchangeable. He cannot become what He previously wasn't.

(2) “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4.15). Christ was “holy, innocent, [and] undefiled” (Heb 7.26) “who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth” (1 Pet 2.22). Judas cried out, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Mt 27.4). The Roman soldier testified at the cross, “Certainly this man was innocent” (Lk 23.47). Peter affirmed that we are redeemed not “with perishable things like silver or gold…but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet 1.18–19). John made it plain, “You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin” (1 Jn 3.5). The Saviour's’ essential nature could never actually became tainted or corrupted by sin.

Listen, please! Apart from the fact that Our Lord Yeshua possessed two natures – Yeshua was BOTH authentic Humankind and authentic God – Deity is not locked into a little tidy box of our own design and making. We are living with a Wild God who possesses a MIND that is WAY ABOVE our elevated human thoughts of morality and ethics. God is so far above any of us we need Yeshua as the human embodiment of God so that we can even begin to falteringly comprehend Him/Her/It. IF ANYONE WAS TO SAY TO ME THAT HE OR SHE COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDS GOD FORGIVE ME WHEN I LAUGH IN YOUR FACE.

Certainly we are on track in this life to understand God and to grow closer to God in our desire to comprehend Him and all His spiritual attributes. And we Christians love God because He first of all truly loved us. But how many of us have come to the point in our understanding to accept and activate the principle revealed in Job – the world's oldest volume – when the patriarch said, “Why should I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in my hands? Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless, I will argue my ways before Him. This also will be my salvation. For a godless man may not come before His presence...” (Job 13.14-16).

Students – take a deep breath as I speak with authority in this Place. The early Christians knew of God as “The ALL.” In the spirit of Isaiah 45.7 the prophet grasped that God creates good and God creates evil (Hebrew, ra). Satan is not a Creator and never was a creator. There are decidedly two sides to the Nature and Character of the living God “in whom we live and move and have our being.” And while God IS love we all need to occasionally tremble in our boots when we approach His throne of Grace to communicate with the OMNISCIENT (omni = Latin, meaning all, and science = knowledge. God knows everything), OMNIPRESENT (God is not confined to time and God is not confined to space. God created both. See Psalm 139.7-10; Jer 23.24; I Kings 8.27; Prov 15.3) and OMNIPOTENT (omni = all; and potent = powerful. Can any of us grasp the power that brought the universe into an existence and who in a microsecond can destroy the entire lot? God has done this many times before now. And, remember, omni = all). There is a real and urgent need for Christians of all persuasions – no matter their creed –  to get to the point where they can REALISE the awesome and terrible God they worship and adore. This is a GOD WHO CAN DO ANYTHING HE LIKES. That is what makes God, well... God. God is not bound by proof-texts of any sort. Paul understood that the Word of God cannot be bound (2 Tim 2.9). This is precisely due to the fact that God Himself is not bound.

I want to take you all back to the very beginning. Back to the Genesis account of the Creation. It is written: “In her head creates God the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and chaotic, and darkness was on the surface of the waters. And the Spirit of God moved over the surface of the waters” (Gen 1.1,2). Brethren, MEDITATE over this revelation. THINK about what it is you have just read. It states that the darkness that moved over the surface of the waters was THE SPIRIT OF GOD. “Darkness” is the Hebrew choshech (koshek) which we are told in the Talmud (Chagiga ch.2) is BLACK FIRE or dark energy. We are discussing, in modern scientific terms, black light. (See my lecture, How Old is the Universe? Part 2).

Darkness and light are all alike to God for He created both. There are some who like to suggest that darkness is merely the absence of light. But this is not a competely accurate assessment as scientists are now realising. Darkness is matter – space is FULL of dark matter, dark energy – koshek, black light. And its highly dangerous, destructive. And why not? Darkness is merely God's depression in manifestation. I have written elsewhere on the issue of God clothing Himself at “times” in a cloak of darkness. Solomon knew it, Paul felt it, and we have all experienced it in our lifetimes in one way or another.

In the very instance when God brought the corporeal creation into an existence, God FELL. This was an experiential grasp of a duality in His Nature that was being expressed. Of course, the absolute truth is that God is ONE. But God is dreaming the universe and HisHer creation of humankind as the MIRRORED IMAGE of Deity. God is dreaming that He has fallen into a duality. We are dreaming God as God is dreaming us. And its all very REAL to us – at least it appears all very real. Yet, scientists have insisted that in a real sense we are not actually here. For, we are trillions of molecules and atoms swirling around an invisible magnetic force granting us an appearance of something extremely tangible! But we are little more than a vibration of “existence.” We are all dream images of God. It's ALL going on in God's head (as it is written “Bereshith bara Elohim et ha-shamayim v'et ha-aretz” and in English “In her head creates God the heavens and the earth”).

This was the original “fall.” It was not an Edenic “fall of man” as much as it was the fall of God through the act (the Dream Image) of creation itself, the Sh'khinah bursting forth “from” God in creative activity as the Singularity imploded...

Paul notes the truth of the matter in the Greek of Rom 11.36: “For out of him, and through him, and toward him, are all things [all things = the universe]: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

God's birthing of the universe “out of Himself/Herself” will ultimately return to Deity in what scientists refer to as the inevitable “Big Crunch.” In the meantime the entire realm of illusion – that which appears as stark material, concrete, physicality in which WE are all “caught” – is the very opposite of SPIRIT.

It is a realm from which we must extricate ourselves at ALL costs.

This is the why behind the words of Our Lord Yeshua: “Seek you first the kingdom of God [the realm of God] AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS and all these things [material needs] shall be added unto you” (Mt 6.33).

To seek first God's KINGDOM and His RIGHTEOUSNESS involves producing the ability to sacrifice the self with all its inordinate passions and lusts and to creatively visualise through our converted imagination OURSELVES AT ONE WITH GOD in order to gain the true gnosis of – and IN – THE SELF. For, it is through MAN (the Mirrored Image and human heart of God) that God will be brought back into a ONENESS – relieved, healed, from His suffering (Dream)-exile from Himself. God's Sh'khinah – God's holy Queen – will be a fully integrated, intensified glorification yet, in Her return as Light to Him as His Lover. We are nearing a special occasion when the Name of God will again be ONE as it was originally (Zech 14.9). In other words this particular dream of God will be completed and God will “awake” into another of HisHer intentional purposive-driven dream states.

No rabbi would ever DARE to refute me in the mystical Jewish fundamentals of this matter. For, most if not all rabbinic authorities – whether they are Hassidic or not – know that what I am stating is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This is THAT which was intended by the Ba'al Shem Tov when he declared, “Pray continually for God's Glory that it may be redeemed from exile” and added “For man is a part of God, and the want that is in the part [man] is in the whole [God]; and the whole [God] suffers the same want as the part [man]. Therefore, let your prayer be directed to the want of the Whole [and not your own]” (Ba'al Shem Tov, Instruction in Intercourse with God [Maurice Friedman tr.] in Martin Buber's Hasidism and Modern Man, 1958 2016 edition).

In our next lecture in this series we shall identify the depths of Paul's fourteen indictments and discuss why Yeshua necessarily became – HORRIFIC as the thought is – each and every one of those indictments.


 on: April 02, 2017, 09:42:59 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans

God Reveals What He Thinks of This World... And it's Not Good!

The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture16.MP3

Copyright © BRI 2016 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“The great Rabbi Gamaliel had among his disciples one who, according to a passage in the Talmud, gave his master a good deal of trouble, manifesting 'impudence in matters of learning.' But his name is not given; he is remembered simply as 'that pupil'” (F.F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame, 1958, 81. See also J. Klausner, From Jesus to Paul, 1944, 310f; Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 30b).

“Organised Christianity is still in its infancy, as is the mind of man as he seeks to grapple with truths that could only come to him by revelation. The half has not yet been told and the full implications for human thought and action of the coming of God in Christ have as yet been only dimly grasped by most of us” -William Neil Nottingham University, Editor's Preface in W.H.C. Frend, The Early Church, 1965, 5,6

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn” – Gloria Steinem

Over the past 15 lectures in this present series, we have traveled with Paul the apostle through his step-by-step analysis of God's condemnation of the world. And God's Spirit has led Paul into an understanding of why it is humankind needs to be saved – and from what. And, Paul leaves nobody out of the equation in his inspired Letter to the Roman Christians. Even today in our modern technocratic civilisation we have two segments of society that claim they do not need “salvation” of any kind. One portion of humanity that feels this way is the atheistic humanist. He's ultimately OK and you'll be OK in his worldview.

Well, that's his opinion, and he's welcome to it. In another few short years his little secure world will literally tear apart at the seams and I cannot help but wonder when that occurs how many authentic atheists will still hold to such an optimistic outlook. I well recall a number of our students who resisted any mention of an asteroid hit on this planet and who desired to go their own “pleasure-seeking” way in life without the cumbersome thoughtful weight of dangerous reality hanging about their necks. This was as a consequence of my mention in an early lecture on the year 2028 as a possible date (and as the years go past its becoming more probable!!!) for an asteroid collision with our blue planetary orb – and all that we call “home” and “ours” here below. Now 2028 may or may not be set in concrete as far as I am concerned (and NASA as well). But one thing is for certain. Our planet will soon be in horrendous turmoil. Do your own research. And be prepared for findings that may well be somewhat unsettling if not utterly unnerving.

But a second element in society also claims to not be in any hurry for “salvation” – at least in the way the Messianic Scriptures emphasise salvation. And that happens to be the religious Jewish people. They believe they are saved already because [1] they are Jews and [2] they are bound to the eternal God by the Sinai Covenant and are thereby saved by that contractual relationship.

Paul in his Letter to the Roman Christians lambasts the philosophical and mystery religious organisations of the Second Temple period which had entered Rome as the capitol of the world and which were destroying the moral fibre of the normal, everyday Roman citizen. Other scholars of the time also denigrated these systems of thought along with their bizarre unnatural sexual practices involving non-human species. Rome in their opinion had become the sewer, cesspool and latrine of the world.

Then Paul proceeds to condemn the moralists and humanists of his day and, while in the Spirit, also fires his remaining ammunition at the Jewish people. They do not have a leg to stand upon. In a word, ALL the world stands condemned by God through the writings of Paul.

In the immediate past lecture I have wanted to stress that WE need God's salvation as never before. We need salvation from the Dark Lord's world wide web of various bondages, and from the evil political, educational, and economic system of this age, and from the perils of our own down-pulling dark nature – our yetzer ha'ra. I have attempted to lead our students into an appreciation of our already existing and unwavering STATE OF SALVATION, as well as our need to actually SEE our unconscious nature for what it really is. God is TRIPARTITE and as God's mirrored image we are equally TRIPARTITE. Our spirit needs salvation. Our soul (our fleshly appetites and will) needs salvation. And our body needs to be redeemed into SPIRIT as God is Spirit. As far as this world is concerned God tells us that their condemnation is well-deserved (Rom 3.8).

This brings us to the present text.

“What then? Are we any better off? [or, at any disadvantage] No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

“‘There is no one who is righteous, not even one;
there is no one who has understanding,
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned aside, together they have become worthless;
there is no one who shows habitual kindness,
there is not even one.’ [Psalm 14.1-3; 53.2-4 (1-3)]

“‘Their throats are opened graves;
they use their tongues to deceive.’ [Psalm 5.10 (9)]
‘The venom of vipers is under their lips.’ [Psalm 140.4 (3)]
‘Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.’ [Psalm 10.7]
‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery are in their paths,
and the way of shalom they have not known.’ [Isaiah 59.7,8; Proverbs 1.16]
'There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ [Psalm 36.2 (1)]

“Now we absolutely know that whatever the Torah says, it speaks to those who are within the sphere of the Torah, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For ‘no human being will be justified in his sight’ [Psalm 143.2] by deeds prescribed by the Torah, for through the Torah comes the full knowledge of sin. But now, irrespective of Torah, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the Torah and the prophets, the righteousness of God through the faith of Yeshua the Messiah for all who believe.

“For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his Grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua, whom God put forward as a sacrifice [or, place] of atonement by his blood, effective through trust.

“He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies us on the ground of Yeshua's faithfulness.

“Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. What kind of Torah excludes it? By that of works? No, but by the Torah that orients around trusting. For we hold that a person is justified by trusting apart from works prescribed by the Torah. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is One [Deut 6.4]; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of trusting and the uncircumcised through that same trust.

“Do we then overthrow the Torah by this trusting? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold [confirm, establish] the Torah” (Rom 3.9-31).

There is a reason, of course, for the availability of so many differing and contentious volumes explaining what Paul meant when he wrote on certain issues. A straightforward exposition of the Letter to the Roman Christians is a rarity indeed, due to the imposition of a millennium of Catholic theological discipline, and over four hundred years of Protestant theological illogicality, concerning the epistle. Its extremely rare to locate a Jewish view of Romans. The fact is, Paul writes his letters as a Jew with a Second Temple background and education, not as a Gentile. Again, Paul was neither a Catholic or a Protestant. But having said this, even Jewish scholars “sympathetic” to the Jewish origins of the religion of Christianity continue to parrot what they themselves have been conditioned to accept from the Yeshua-rejecting rabbinic authorities. Case in point: David Flusser – Hebrew University Professor on early Christianity – (and whom I admit has my ongoing admiration)! He writes with glaring Judaism bias:

“Paul, one of the most important of the founders of Christianity, is probably the most famous early Christian beside Jesus. Many regard him as the second founder of Christianity... Paul lived in a state of tension with the Christian community of Jerusalem, all the members of which were observant Jews... he... considered the core of Christianity  to consist of the act of salvation by Jesus the Messiah, who redeemed the whole of mankind and opened the gate, as it were to the Gentiles. Paul's attitude to the Torah and the commandments was in no way positive... Paul drew the conclusion that God's election was the only act of grace, and that there was no point in fulfilling the commandments of the Torah, since they did not lead to divine grace” (David Flusser, Jewish Sources in Early Christianity, 1987, 67, 71).

Doesn't this sound very familiar? It's Church doctrine through and through. Billions of Christians have swallowed this rot and rubbish for 2000 years.

Let me clarify my statement that Paul writes his letters as a Jew with a Second Temple background and education, and not as a Gentile.

There were four basic modes of Scripture interpretation used by the rabbis of the Second Temple period. They are called (1) P'shat (2) Remez (3) Drash or Midrash (4) Sod.

P'shat means simple; Remez means hint; Drash or Midrash means search; Sod is secret.

We find Paul utilising these four modes right throughout his letters. Understood correctly by Gentile scholars this would put new meaning into that which Paul composed.

David Stern explains it simply.

P'shat... the plain, literal sense of the text, more or less what modern scholars mean by “grammatical-historical exegesis,” which looks to the grammar of the language and the historical setting as background for deciding what a passage means. Modern scholars often consider grammatical-historical exegesis the only valid way to deal with a text...

Remez... wherein a word, phrase or other element in the text hints at a truth not conveyed by the p'shat. The implied presupposition is that God can hint at things of which the Bible writers themselves were unaware.

Drash... an allegorical or homiletical application of a text. This is a species of eisegesis – reading one's own thoughts into the text – as opposed to exegesis, which is extracting from the text what it actually says. The implied presupposition is that the words of Scripture can legitimately become grist for the mill of human intellect, which God can guide to truths not directly related to the text at all.

Sod... a mystical or hidden meaning arrived at by operating on the numerical values of the Hebrew letters, noting unusual spellings, transposing letters and the like. For example, two words, the numerical equivalents of whose letters add up to the same amount, are good candidates for revealing a secret through what Arthur Koestler in his book on the inventive mind called “bisociation of ideas.” The implied presupposition is that God invests meaning in the minutest details of Scripture, even the individual letters” (David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, 11,12).

This Hebrew word sod has no association or connection with the English expression “sod off.” As an English expression “s.o.d.,” could stand for “Shopping on Demand,” “School of Dentistry,” “Secretary of Defense,” “Skate or Die,” “Slaves on Dope” or even “Sheep on Drugs.” While nobody seems to have solved the origin of “sod” in the term “sod off” everyone is agreed that “sod” means a fool or idiot. I mention this as an aside to distance our thinking from English concepts into those of Hebrew.

In fact we find this Hebrew mode of technique utilised all through the NT corpus. Its not peculiar to Paul. Matthew 2.15 is a useful example. Matthew has examined a text of the prophet Hosea which says “Out of Egypt have I called my Son” (Hos 11.1). Obviously Israel is intended (Ex 4.22), and not the Messiah (and so, p'shat). However, Matthew perceives that we are dealing with a remez – a hint of the coming of the Messiah who will be found in Egypt in order to be called back into the Promised Land. Matthew was well aware that Yeshua as an infant, and his family, had fled into Egypt (probably to an Essene colony long-established in Alexandria) to escape being slaughtered by a mad king. After Herod's death Yosef brought the family safely back to their homeland. Matthew is clearly also utilising a form of midrash for he is reading Yeshua into the verse. And, in using p'shat, remez, and drash Matthew is revealing his rabbinic and scholarly approach just as other rabbis of the same period (and for that matter) even today. That Matthew was alert to the secret (sod) that was long-locked into the passage under discussion in Hosea can be attested to without concern for rejection by any rabbi worth his circumcision.

It almost goes without saying that we must be very cautious when reading biblical texts. As students of rabbinic authorities it is stressed: One Jew three opinions, and one text 72 interpretations. I will give you a prime example of a text where it is, at first reading, plainly simple (p'shat). Turn with me to Judges 21.25. It is written,

“In those days there was no king in Israel; each man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

This verse comes as a concluding statement after a scroll filled with violence and horror. The plain reading insinuates that when human beings think they are doing right it invariably turns out that they are self-deceived and creating havoc in their lives and in the lives of others. In Proverbs 14.12 and 16.25 (for emphasis) we are reliably informed “There is a way that seems right to a man but the ends thereof are the ways of death.” Fairly accurate and fairly conclusive I would assess.

So the normal reading of the Judges text gives us all a sense of the negative as a realistic outcome. That would be a p'shat rendering. However, when we take some time out to THINK on that text, we can come to an entirely different conclusion. The Hasidic Rabbi of Satmar declared that each of us as human beings possess common sense which can guide us to make right and positive decisions in our lives. How can this be the case? The Rabbi of Satmar bases his view on the Torah injunction, “Do that which is proper and good” (Deut 6.18).

QUESTION: How do we determine a differentiation between proper and good, and that which constitutes wrong-doing or evil? Clearly, by examining the Torah. BUT, and here's the point the Rabbi of Satmar was making. If the Torah avoids mention in any particular case of what is proper and good then we must of necessity turn to another source for understanding – the inner Man. Therefore WE MUST ALL POSSESS an innate common sense. We can now read back into the Judges text a more positive clarification. In other words we could paraphrase the text to read like this:

“In those days there was no king in Israel; therefore each man had to rely on his own common sense.”

According to Rabbi Abraham Twerski our world seems so unjust and it does so for a reason: “people do not act according to their own common sense, but rather according to what they think others might think of them. If people did what was good in their own eyes, we might have less injustice. The driving force behind the lusts for power, fame, and wealth – which themselves lead to corrupt behavior – may not necessarily be what people want for themselves as much as their desire to impress others. If we stop behaving according to what we wish others to think, we might give our common sense a fighting chance.”

He's right, of course, in this matter. It also enables us to look again at the Judges text and see beyond the p'shat surface rendering to a further remez, drash and sod implication.

Our conclusion of the first section of Romans, along with Paul's assessment, answers the question “Is the world lost?” Now notice that in Rom 3.21 Paul introduces a new concept into his running text of absolute condemnation. He starts with two little words: “But now...

Paul has separately dealt with the condemnation of the Gentile, the moralist and humanist, and the Jew. In a sweeping classification he then brings all Gentiles and Jews together in a huge sinful lump in Rom 3.9. “What then? Are we (Jews) better than they (the Gentiles)? In no way! For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles THAT THEY ARE ALL UNDER SIN.”

Does he really mean “all”?

“There is no one righteous, not even one! No one understands..” (Rom 3.10).

No one seeks God” (Rom 3.11).

“All have turned away, and at the same time become useless; there is no one who shows habitual kindness, not a single one!” (Rom 3.12).

Got the picture? How many are there who are righteous? There is none (v.10), there is none (v.11), there is none (v.11), there is none (v.12). Four occasions Paul states the obvious.

“What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that ALL, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin... ALL have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one...  Now we know that whatever the Torah says, it speaks to those who are under the Torah, so that every mouth may be silenced, and ALL the world may be held accountable to God” (Rom 3.9,12,19).

Three times Paul resorts to the inclusive “ALL.” None appears four times, all three times. Add these numerals together and we have SEVEN – which marks completeness. God's indictment is a wholehearted complete one. Its sevenfold. As Alva McClain sums it up – “Paul brings the whole world to the judgment bar of God and leaves them standing there – trembling and silent” (Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace, 92).

McClain in his scholarly way adds something which the ordinary reader may have missed...

“In this section is a picture of a courtroom with a criminal on trial. The very terms that the apostle uses are legal. There are several elements involved in a human trial. First, a charge. Then, very often there is an indictment, written and carefully prepared, and it has perhaps one, two, three, four or a dozen counts. Then there is an opportunity given for the prisoner to make his defense. Finally, there is a verdict brought in specifying the guilt or innocence of the party. These four elements appear in this passage: (1) The Charge, verse 9; (2) The Indictment, verses 10-18; (3) The Defense, verse 19; and (4) The Verdict, verses 19-20” (ibid).

Now if your version or translation of the Bible has the word “prove” or “proved” in Rom 3.9 where it says “we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles” please remove it! The text ought to read, “For we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.” The Greek literally means “to lay a charge against somebody in court.” McClain states, “It does, however, include the idea of proving that charge, because Paul not only laid a charge against the world, but he proved the charge. So we might speak of it as a proven charge... What was the charge? “All under sin.” He does not say that all have sinned. He will say that later on. He does not say, “I charge Jews and Gentiles that they are all sinners,” but “They are all under sin.” This is a very striking phrase, especially in the original. It means that these people are not only under sin but they are under all that goes with sin. Sin has its guilt, sin has its power, sin has its condemnation, and sin has its doom! Paul is saying that every one of these people (both Jews and Gentiles) is under the guilt of sin, under the power of sin, under the condemnation of sin, under the doom of sin. All these ideas are gathered up in this statement.”

There are 14 counts in this indictment:

1.   “There is none righteous, no, not one” (v.10)

2.   “There is none that understands” (v.11)

3.   “There is none that seeks after God” (v.11)

4.   “They are all gone out of the way” (v.12)

5.   “They are together become unprofitable” (v.12)

6.   “There is none that does good, no, not one” (v.12)

7.   “Their throat is an open sepulchre” (v.13)

8.   “With their tongues they have used deceit” (v.13)

9.   “The poison of asps is under their lips” (v.13)

10. “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (v.14)

11. “Their feet are swift to shed blood” (v.15)

12. “Destruction and misery are in their ways” (v.16)

13. “The way of peace they have not known” (v.17)

14. “There is no fear of God before their eyes (v.18).

What a comprehensive picture of the human race is here drawn up by God through Paul.

The Rebbetzin and I have known people who claim to have been good all (or most) of their lives. They are saturated with a sense of their own innate holiness, righteousness and self-importance. Yet these 14 identification signs are glaringly obvious to any and all who come into contact with people bearing them proudly like so many badges of courage. I am sure our students have also bumped into them time and again, day after day. And these same individuals with their borderline personality disordered lives are overflowing with acute narcissism. They are a scourge of Satan himself.

Further, these 14 descriptions of rank human nature at its level of yetzer ha'ra need to be grasped by all of us who love and obey a Jewish Christ because we are right now seeing the peril of a society facing its death throes.

These 14 indictments are readily viewed on today's streets of your own home town. Our civilisation is in massive decline, and the brutal truth is that we are witnessing the utter oblivion of western civilisation as we have known it. Europe is indeed in crisis. Angela Merkel will rue the day if she hasn't already that she invited Islamic refugees on to European shores. Sweden has become the rape capital of the world and coverups by police of rape statistics involving Muslims has opened a gift-box to xenophobes. What is also remarkable, but right on point, is the emergence of German far-right neo-Nazi political extremism that wants to rid European soil of Muslims.

We ALL said in 1945, “NEVER AGAIN!” But oh, how the worm turns.

In Asia the Red Dragon of China is becoming what she was never known to be in all of its long history: expansionist. A West-threatening North Korea continues to flex its military muscles and nuclear capability despite continued US sanctions. The Philippines is severing US relations and wants Americans out. Oceania – primarily Australia and New Zealand – faces its own demons. And Russia is ruled by a megalomaniac as America is poised to rapidly become Amerika.

A picture of utter gloom? Just about!

The final groundwork is being laid by World Federalists for the coming of the Antichrist.

Westerners need a damn good reality check.

In our next lecture we shall examine biblically these 14 indictments. For, Romans was intended for our generation today. I have stated on many occasions over the past 40 years that our existence at this juncture of history largely parallels that of the Second Temple period in the first century of our era.

We are living witnesses of the WORD OF GOD preparing us for the next major event in human history prior to the Second Advent of Our Lord Yeshua to rule this world with a shepherd's rod of iron and to bring, finally, “peace on earth to men and women of good will.”


 on: March 29, 2017, 05:47:20 PM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans

MAN AGAINST HIMSELF (Part B) – “Repression of the Sublime,” Man in the Image of God, and a Reason Why Accidents Occur.

The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture15.MP3

Copyright © BRI 2016 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“The great Rabbi Gamaliel had among his disciples one who, according to a passage in the Talmud, gave his master a good deal of trouble, manifesting 'impudence in matters of learning.' But his name is not given; he is remembered simply as 'that pupil'” (F.F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame, 1958, 81. See also J. Klausner, From Jesus to Paul, 1944, 310f; Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 30b).

“Nothing said to us, nothing we can learn from others, reaches us so deep as that which we find in ourselves” – Theodor Reik

“We've been against ourselves ever since we put on our first fig leaf” – Rebbetzin Glenys Evelyn Gosling

Churchianity tells us that we have to fight against our human nature, and that we must root out sin from our lives. Well and good. But they fail to tell us exactly how this can be done. They take the active volition of the will out of the equation and refill that void with lovely platitudes of “believing in Jesus” and we shall have the victory.

Well, that's essentially true but the active engagement of troop warfare seems to be missing. The fact is we must fight not sin as such but the THOUGHTS that bring forth evil activity. That's what James insists upon when he says “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed, then when it has conceived it brings forth sin and sin when it is finished brings forth death” (James 1.14,15). It's called a “chain reaction.”

I'll return to James at the conclusion of this lecture.

I am today discussing that which constitutes a “curse” and in particular what it means to be “self-cursed.”

Let me start with the biblical view that Man was created in the IMAGE OF GOD.

We are the image of God.

But we stand as a fractured IMAGE.

Christianity certainly views man as fractured due to sin.

Judaism goes much deeper and sees man as fractured by a residing yetzer hara – the evil inclination, or animal soul (as derived from our proto-type genus homo). Once we respond to that inclination, or drive, in any instance or circumstance, we have diminished our God-like qualities.

Of course, the truth of the matter is ultimately discovered (or, better, uncovered) if we stand in front of a mirror and view ourselves for we will be confronted by the fact that our left side is actually our right side and our right side becomes our left.

It is wise to contemplate this fact because its ignored by Christians who want to play “church” and who do not like to tackle the harder realities of living as disciples. In fact, this is precisely what happened (by God's will) when we were created as the IMAGE of God. We became by virtue of our creation as an image of Deity and in the necessity of the case, the exact opposite of God. Like Him but contrary as well. So, from earliest times man became (as we have seen through Adam and Eve in the choices they made) a “god” (little “g”) in their capacity to exercise free will. But this fracture was the intent of a Sovereign God all along.

Yes... God wants us to be His children, both sons and daughters, but we need to use this present life to inculcate into our characters right THOUGHT and right ACTION – to “qualify” (as it were) to bear the NAME of God. This was understood by the early church Fathers but the astonishing concept was waylaid around the 4th century – even though its clearly stated in the biblical revelation itself if we have eyes to plainly see.

When humankind sinned – gave in to their inner Opponent the yetzer hara they forgot the God-connection and have been searching for their origins and speculating about their destiny ever since. This is what Paul means when he states that we were “darkened in our comprehension”! (Col 1.21).

“Having made peace through the blood of his cross [stauros] by him to reconcile all things BACK TO [Gk] himself, by him whether things on earth or things in the heavens, and you that were at one time alienated and enemies in comprehension [KJV: “in your mind”] by wicked works yet now has he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight...” (Col 1.20-22 Greek).

Paul is telling us that in his belief, man's separation from Deity was essentially a matter of perception or comprehension (Col 1.21).

OUR comprehension was darkened: WE lost the knowledge of who WE are, WE forgot who WE are – just as Adam forgot who HE was. Adam also was alienated by wicked works in his comprehension. His children were enemies of God in comprehension – separated from God in comprehension and blinded in comprehension.

Paul tells us more about this darkness in Eph 4.17,18 “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having their comprehension darkened, being alienated [Gk., SELF-BANISHED] from the life of God through IGNORANCE that is in them, because of the BLINDNESS of their heart.”

I concluded our last lecture by noting the following:

“The love of power, when it is transformed into the power of love, will usher in blessing which will flow from the all-encompassing Consciousness of Anochi I-Source straight into the collective consciousness of humanity like the crest of a breaking wave.

“This is what it means to BLESS. What then does it mean to CURSE? Do our students realise the depth of our judicial nature – do they realise just how far WE will go to condemn ourselves in this life? Many of us cry out to God for blessings not having comprehended the degree to which in life we stand self-condemned. That's SELF condemned... not condemned by God.

“Why do accidents occur? Could they be the outworking of our own negative natures? There exists plenty of evidence that we can be our own worst lawyer, jury and judge. For, we exist as judicial creatures made in the Image of God. When we see ourselves as “failures” – failing to measure up to some preexisting standard of acceptable behaviour [as expected from our own self or confidently anticipated by others] – we resort to punishing ourselves. We can be, and oftentimes are, far harsher toward ourselves than is God the FatherMother of us all.”

Let me commence this present lecture by announcing that the Bible tells us that “time, and chance [and we might add, circumstance] happen to us all” (Ecc 9.10-12).

Solomon's observation should be examined in its context. Even allowing for further expansion in biblical understanding relative to progressive revelation by God's Spirit in respect of the Afterlife, he notes:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might; for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the warriors, nor bread to the wise, nor wealth to the intelligent, nor favour to men of expert ability; but time and chance happen to them all. For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them” (Ecc 9.10-12).  

So accidents come (and they DO come) as a consequence of “chance.” But accidents can also come (and they DO come) because WE are our own worst lawyer, jury and judge when it comes to our unconscious drive to execute judgment and justice on ourselves for what we deem to be negative harmful thoughts toward others, actual active misdoings, and in issues concerning self-failure. Solomon got very close to the truth of the matter when he so particularly and eloquently articulated that “as a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Prov 23.7). He was well aware that he was discussing an equation of sorts... hence, “as” and “so.”

Having said this, we all need to be extremely astute when we read specific biblical texts and attempt to apply them invariably in one way and in one way only. The fundamentalist and often sectarian offerings of doctrinal “proof texts” – lists of Scriptural texts compiled to give evidence of so-called biblical authority to substantiate doctrinal belief systems and theological views – can lead us astray from a total balanced understanding of the entirety of the biblical revelation depending on the “authorities” and the motives of those same people in sharing those texts with their readers. I have accented this fact time and again, and have actually used the study of man's immortality/mortality as a valid case in point to illustrate this overused proclivity in Christian evangelism and so-called “education” (actually, indoctrination). You can access my arguments on the specific matter of immortality in my lecture series Is Man the Phoenix? A Study in the Biblical Doctrines of Mortality & Immortality, (1994).

There are even proof-texts compiled and devoted in some circles of “faith” to demonstrate that psychiatry is an evil of our times. One of the texts included in such a doctrinal list happens to be Eph 5.29.

The apostle Paul is on record for telling us in no uncertain terms, that “no man yet ever hated his own flesh” (Eph 5.29).  

Oh? Is Paul serious? Modern psychologists and psychiatrists would seriously question such a statement. Those who espouse such a position as this apparent disavowal of the great evangelist in matters of medicine (and who happen to conveniently overlook the fact that Paul had as a constant companion a qualified physician called Luke!) would then, of course, point their righteous self-opinionated fingers at such reactions to their so-called “Bible position,” and feel personally vindicated with the opposition of such evil men and women who have become their persecutors. That is how the mind of a delusional cultist fanatic functions and operates.

This is, of course, only one of a number of “proof-texts” that could be cited to establish that man's innate biological and psychological “normal” human nature is essentially sound. Of course, we need to be reminded that Paul lived in the later Second Temple period and his judgments and assessments concerning human beings were strained and restrained by the constraints of his day and age. I will go along with an infamous carnal 20th century sectarian evangelist who espoused his cultish dogmatic doctrines with the force of his extraordinary powerful personality but who nevertheless rightly stressed that “the Bible is the foundation of all knowledge” – which is also correctly emphasised in the writings of the Moody Bible Institute. But the holy Bible isn't the repository of all knowledge. It was not intended by God to be a modern scientific textbook, although it has interesting scientific, medical, natural and historical inclusions and disclosures which were way ahead of our time. Modern knowledge is finally catching up with the contents of the Bible. And these, my students, are facts.

Certainly, in the Ephesian context, the apostle Paul is focusing his attention on the need for husbands to love their wives. Love is not love unless it is revealed in action. We can all say we love our wives or husbands, but what do our actions say about that professed love? Do we say we love someone but then seek to control that individual to our way of thinking? If we do so we are not truly loving that person (See 1 Cor 13 for proof of this assessment). Such is not love but manipulation. It's carnal to its core.

Naturally we all care for our body even if it is (more often than not) at a very surface level.

And so, Paul is merely stressing that as we almost instinctively care for our body so we need to care for our wives (and of course the principle also applies to wives in relation to their husbands). The Christian life is about self-sacrifice.

“Husbands, love your wives even as Messiah also loved the ekklesia, and gave himself for it” (Eph 5.25).

One modern writer expresses Paul's obvious intent in Ephesians to instruct men about our love for our wives in this way, “Once again, comparison is made with Christ's relationship with believers [in Paul's letter to the Ephesians]. The standard is Christ, not some human relationship which is prone to failure. This includes the idea of continual learning and growth. There is never a point at which a husband can claim he perfectly loves his wife and has no room to improve. Loving one's wife is a lifelong pursuit that resembles the lifelong pursuit of personal spiritual growth.”

This being so, we cannot escape the obvious fact of Paul's constraints of his day and age and the fact that his judgments were entirely without a 21st century medical and psychiatric appreciation.  

The fact is we are torturous, complex creations of God. This is best described (in my opinion) by Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, currently the Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the Orthodox Union. He writes on just this subject of human complexity. I am quoting him at length but emphasis throughout is my own:  

“It was advertised as one symposium at a major psychology conference. It was to be a discussion about memory and forgetfulness. But it turned out to be one of the most intense and instructive days that I have ever witnessed.  

“The first speaker began by insisting that the fact that we remember things is obvious. What requires explanation, he argued, is why we forget. We are hardwired to recall every event that occurs in our lives. The mechanisms of forgetfulness are a mystery and call for a program of scientific research.  

“The second speaker took a position diametrically opposed to the first. He believed that it is only natural that we forget. It is one of nature’s wonders, he maintained, that we remember anything at all.  

“The third speaker took a middle of the road position. For him, the major challenge to the science of the psychology of memory was not why we remember. Or why we forget. Rather, it was why we remember certain things and forget others. And why we distort even those matters which we do remember, so that our memories are grossly inaccurate and unreliable.  

“It is the position of this third speaker that has kept my interest over the many years since that conference. And it was just recently, as we commemorated the tragic events of September 11, 2001, that my interest in this subject was revived.  

“Very many of my acquaintances were on or near the scene of the collapsed World Trade Center Towers on that fateful day. To this day, some have clear recollections of every moment of their experiences. Others claim that they only remember certain vivid episodes, fleeting ones, and can only draw a blank when it comes to the majority of the time they were exposed to the tragic scene.  

“Some have memories which are as accurate and as clear as the “flashbulb memories” that psychologists have studied as far back as World War II. For others, the memories have been partially, and sometimes substantially, repressed and can no longer be recalled. Their powerful and poignant emotional reactions have wrought havoc with the ability to accurately remember the events of that day.

“Remembering and forgetting are major themes in our Jewish religious tradition. We are commanded, for example, to remember the Sabbath, to remember the lessons to be drawn from the life of Miriam, and not to forget the enmity of Amalek. In this week’s Torah portion, Ha’azinu, there are at least two verses which relate to these themes. One reads, “Remember the days of yore, understand the years of generation after generation.” (Deuteronomy 32:7) and the other states, “You ignored the Rock who gave birth to you, and forgot G0D who brought you forth.” (Ibid. 32:18)  

“I have always been intrigued by the notion of forgetting G0D. Earlier in the book of Deuteronomy, we were admonished to be careful, lest “our hearts become haughty, and we forget the Lord our G0D.” (Deuteronomy 8:14) I can understand agnostic disbelief, and I can empathize with those who have lost their faith, but I have always found it puzzling to contemplate forgetting G0D. Either one believes, or one does not believe, but how are we to understand forgetting Him?

“Many years ago, I came across the writings of a psychologist named Robert Desoille, and it was in those writings that I’ve discovered a concept that helped me come to grips with the notion of forgetting G0D.  

“Desoille coined the phrase “the repression of the sublime.” He argued that we have long been familiar with the idea that we repress urges and memories that are uncomfortable or unpleasant. We repress memories of tragedy, we repress impulses which are shameful, or forbidden. It can even be argued that this power of repression is a beneficial one to individuals and society. If individuals would not be able to forget tragedy and loss, they could potentially be forever emotionally paralyzed and unable to move on with their lives. A society whose members act on every hostile impulse, rather than repressing them would be a society which could not endure for very long.  

“It was Desoille’s insight that just as we repress negative memories, we also repress positive aspirations. We are afraid to excel. There is a pernicious aspect to us that fears superiority and avoids the full expression of our potential. This is especially true in the area of religion and spirituality, where we dare not express the full force of our faith and, in the process, limit our altruistic tendencies. Perhaps it is the dread of coming too close to the divine. Perhaps it is a false humility that prevents us from asserting our inner spirit. Or perhaps it is simply that we do not wish to appear “holier than thou” to our fellows.  

“However one understands the reasons for this phenomenon, for me, the concept of “repression of the sublime” explains the notion of forgetting G0D. It is as if we have faith in Him, but do not have faith in ourselves to express our faith in him in our relationships and life circumstances. We repress our sublime potential.

“There are many impediments to thorough personal change and self-improvement. Desoille demands that we consider an impediment that never before occurred to us: we are afraid to actualize the inner spiritual potential that we all possess. We are naturally complacent, satisfied with a limited expression of our religious urges. We repress the sublime within us.

“As we now have concluded the High Holidays and their truly sublime liturgy, we have allowed our spiritual emotions full range. We have dared to express the religious feelings that welled up within us during the moments of inspiration that we all have surely experienced during this sacred season.

“Now is the season during which our faith demands that we loosen the bonds of the repression which limits us, take the risks of more fully expressing our religious convictions, and thereby no longer be guilty of “forgetting the G0D who brought us forth.”

“May we be successful in our efforts to free the sublime within us, to act courageously upon our religious convictions, and thereby merit the blessings of the Almighty for a happy and sweet new year.” [http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1016/weinreb_repression_of_the_divine_Haazinu.php3]

We are created in the Image of God. We are informed, in the mystical traditions of the Second Temple period, that God's character of justice (din) is balanced by God's character of mercy (hesed). Indeed, the beauty (tiferet) of God's character harmoniously exists half way between the extremes of both mercy and justice. A little reflection of the character of God recognises that the universe would cease to exist if it were founded only on God's justice or only on God's mercy. God is above all else a God of beautiful balance in all HisHer ways. Yes, we are made in God's image but we are necessarily a fractured image due to sin and therefore the beauty (tiferet) alludes us and it will continue to allude us until the resurrection at Messiah's advent. It is only then that we will be found to be permanently ashine and awash with the GLORY of God – true beauty indeed (2 Cor 3.18; Jn 3.1,2; Heb 2.10 etc).

And herein lies the reason for our daily struggle to find the balance in all we put our hands to achieve and to experience. And we will go out of our way to engage in establishing extreme justice at all costs in and for ourselves often with the negation of mercy (which is then aggressively subdued as a mental undercurrent).

In a series of lectures I conducted back in 2014 concentrating on Kingdom Authority I noted the following:

“The CAUSE of our anxiety is the way we think.

“Solomon said, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23.7) and he added, “As in water, face reveals face, so a man's heart reveals the man” (Prov 27.19). We can peer over the bank of a river and see our image in the water, as Solomon suggested, and we can more easily stand in front of a mirror and see our reflection in vivid detail. But we rarely, if ever, spend enough time looking into our subconscious mind, let alone attempt to see into our unconscious. The closest most of us come to reading our unconscious is remembering a dream that is most insistent in our memory long after we have experienced it because it hangs around long enough as a constant agitation for us to explore it more deeply. We have all had such dreams, but most of us simply ignore them or jokingly share a few details with others who may show an interest, until the details finally and inevitably dissipate.

“The “heart,” when spoken of in the Bible, is not simply representative of the emotional life of man. It is symbolic of the entire inner self, the unconscious – the seat of our personality.

“According to Solomon, our highest priority is to GUARD our heart. The heart, according to King Solomon, must be granted special attention. “Guard your heart with all diligence; for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov 4.23).

“There is nothing more precious than our heart or MIND. The heart of man is defined as being comprised and understood through the aid of artificial mental constructs, called the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind. Of course, there are no actual distinct divisions in the MIND. It's all one strangely indefinable THING concerning which all attempts at description and definition have failed and will continue to fail. The MIND is most certainly NOT the brain. The mind uses the brain like a computer. We associate it with the brain, but it exists in the head only as a means to utilise the brain. Its location may not even be in the physical body. We just assume that it has its residence somewhere inside our material being.

“So guarded should our hearts be that Yeshua himself stated that the “pure in heartshall see God (Mt 5.8) indicating, if it indicates anything, that the impure of heart shall not see God. In contradistinction, Our Lord Yeshua tells us that out of the heart of human beings proceed – naturally, as far as the flesh is concerned – evil thoughts and inclinations covering a multitude of negative traits (Mt 15.19). Jeremiah informs us that the heart of a human being is wicked to the point of desperation – it cannot wait to devise evil strategies to get the best of you (Jer 17.9).

Listen! God is not in the least interested in the conformity of the external outward appearance of humankind. God wants your heart. In fact, God goes so far as to write the New Covenant on the heart of men and women of faith – and by activating His Spirit within the heart God's internalised will is ultimately worked out in His finished production: the New Man (Jer 31.33).

WARNING: Sin is deceptive. Paul speaks of sin indwelling us in our “flesh” – the downward pulls of human nature which is created with two major instincts: the erotic instinct and the death instinct. The heart is deceptive. It is so deceptive it can convince us that black is white and white is orange, that wrong is right and right is wrong – especially is this the case when our emotions (the soul) are involved. This is the reason so-called “harmless distractions” can seduce the heart into leaving its first love: distractions occurring in business, in family relationships, in a wife or husband's needs, friends, parties, leisure, hobbies, recreations, sex – any host of things can take our hearts away from following God. This is just so true but many shy away from the truth of the matter with all sorts of self-justifications when they are distracted from accomplishing the things dictated by God's Spirit. Don't think otherwise! (Rev 2.4). An “evil heart of unbelief” can easily become “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3.12,13).

“Paul, an evangelist, was acutely aware of this disposition of the heart's intentions and he wrote that he was really terrified at being cast away – disengaged from – further Christian service (1 Cor 9.27). Being discarded from God during the rest of one's life after repeated efforts by God's Spirit to desire repentance within should make all of us a little apprehensive in a positive way. (And, I might pose the question, how long do we think we can remain on earth after being discharged from God's salvific work of continued service?)

“In my lectures on discipleship I have encouraged all my students to have our subconscious and unconscious will “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Rom 12.2) – that is, to create new neural pathways in order to facilitate new knowledge, ideas and purposes. We ought to be in a state of 24/7 renewal. Those things that are true and noble, of good report and pure, just and lovely (Phil 4.8) must “dwell in our hearts richly” (Col 3.16) which is another way of stating the same thing.” [End of quote]

Again, in my past lectures on the Gospel of John I wrote, “Brilliant psychiatrist Karl Menninger [1893-1990] grasped what most fail to understand: man is a judicial creature who will bring about, actually engineer, his own self-destruction as a punishment for his sins even in the form of self-perpetuating illness, and “accidents” (let alone suicide attempts) as adults in order to gain the love – in the comfortable form of sympathy and aid – that they experienced in their childhood, and for which their hearts yearn to return.

“His brilliant tome Man Against Himself reports incident upon incident of men and women bringing about their own disastrous self-judgment, in the forms of suicide, self-mutilation, and accidents. He also gives prime examples of self-induced illnesses. Let me quote a little of Menninger's findings. Speaking of mind over matter in psychological disorders prevalent amongst some of his patients he writes:

1. Hysterical lesions sometimes become chronic and structuralised.
2. Actual, visible tissue-destructive lesions can be and have been produced by suggestion
3. The same motives may be demonstrated to exist in both types of illness, hysterical and organic. Study of the personality often shows that the “organic” disease is only a part of the total personality disease and fits into a pattern which seems to have the definite purpose of destroying the self. It may even happen that a functional and an organic disease may exist side by side, both serving the same need as it were, or that one may replace the other as the malignancy of the self-destructive impulse waxes or wanes.

“These three facts destroy the comfortable illusion of the separation of mind from matter which prevails in popular and medical thinking, whereby a doctor feels relieved of responsibility if a symptom can be shown to have psychological roots. He likes to think that the “self-preservative instinct” would not tolerate biological mayhem; that whatever the “crazy” mind of the patient might do, the “sane” body processes can be depended upon to be corrective, constructive, and defensive against malignant environmental and psychological forces. He likes to think that the patient comes to him for help when overtaken by fate, ill-fortune, bacteria, or some other invader against which he is fighting single-heartedly in an effort to preserve his body intact. The doctor would like to shut his eyes to the fact that sometimes the foe with which the patient fights is not something outside of him but something inside, a part of himself, and that this part is willing enough to have the doctor assume the responsibility of the combat, and often does its best to oppose his efforts. Bacteria, bad food, and sharp corners do exist and do inflict injuries, but it is often observed that such injuries are invited.

“The foregoing remarks might lead one to the inference that the author is attempting to deny external reality in its contribution to human illness. This is not the case. My purpose is rather to call attention to the facility with which one may forget or neglect the unconscious purposes of the individual on one's efforts to evaluate his disease. We know that often what appears to be an accident is a definite intention of the victim; it will be recalled that even such a non-psychoanalytic body as the National Safety Council wonders if there are really any “accidents.” People elect misfortune – they elect misery – they elect punishment – they elect disease. Not always, not all people, not all diseases; but this is a tendency to be dealt with and one which is not ordinarily considered by medical science and which masquerades under various plausible but incorrect or inadequate explanations.

“Take, for example, that well-known type of local, organic destruction known as a boil. As physicians, we have been educated to think of disease in terms of physics and chemistry; hence if a patient presents himself to us with a boil on the neck, we think of all sorts of things that we have learned from research and experience. We think of the bacterial flora, the mechanical complications, the blood sugar concentration; we think of the participation of chemical forces of immunity and resistance; we reflect upon the leukocytes, the antigens, the hydrogen ion concentration of the blood; we consider the distension of the skin, the fever, the pain, and best time and method for relieving it. But I venture to say that the feelings, or wishes, or disappointments of the person whose neck bears the boil would never enter our minds (as physicians) as a practical consideration. No one, I suppose, seriously believes (offhand) that there exists a “psychology of the boil” or that emotional factors contribute to its existence.

Man Against Himself, 1938, 312-314).

“Page after page of this volume gives account after account in example form of Menninger's observations of self-induced illness – for a variety of reasons where hope had disappeared and the psychological coping mechanism had failed in relation to patient affliction with their associates, neighbours, family and enemies. The case he has cited shows how a woman had boiled inwardly with a severe affliction of an experience of in-laws who were to her a pain in the neck. Her internal feelings literally externalised boils on the neck.

“There is little doubt we all as human beings carry within us an Opponent, a satan, and we must be on our guard daily for its manifestation as anger, self-doubt, hatred, malicious malevolence, and depression or depressive illness... Menninger, the celebrated American psychiatrist, came to the conclusion that moral values constituted a vital aspect of the practice of psychiatry for he viewed mental health and moral health as identical. Menninger perceived, quite correctly, that “sin” has an “I” in the middle of it (Karl A. Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin?, 1973). Yet today some psychiatrists have not only dismissed codes of morality in relation to mental health issues, they have also become little more than “agents” of the pharmaceutical industry (James Davies, Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good, 2013). We are confronted by the practice of burying negative drug trial results; the push for even more antidepressants that are no better than placebos; and manipulated research for the love of Mammon and medical status.” [End quote]

Menninger also had a great deal to share with his students and his readers concerning “purposive accidents.” He writes,

“The paradox of a purposive accident is more difficult for the scientific-minded person to accept than for the layman who in everyday speech frequently refers sardonically to an act as done “accidentally on purpose.”

“Indeed, it is probably upon the basis of an intuitive recognition of this paradox that superstitious fears have arisen in respect to certain “accidents,” e.g., spilling salt, breaking mirrors, losing wedding rings... These have become conventionalised and hence no longer capable of specific interpretation although they are sometimes taken seriously. The philosopher Zeno is said to have fallen down and broken his thumb at the age of 98, and to have been so impressed by the significance of this “accident” that he committed suicide (from which we might guess the unconscious meaning of the accidental fall and injury).

“We must exclude from this category any conscious deception i.e., pretended accidents. But quite aside from this there exists the phenomenon of apparent (i.e.,consciously) absent intention in acts which gratify deeper hidden purposes.

“I recall that I was once seated at a formal dinner by a woman for whom I had some dislike, which, however, I resolved to blanket completely so as not to spoil the conviviality of the party. I believe I succeeded quite well until an unfortunate piece of clever clumsiness on my part resulted in upsetting a glass of water over her gown into her lap. My dismay was the greater because I knew that she knew that accidents [to quote from a recent insurance advertisement] don't happen; they are caused.

“In many of these accidents the damage is inflicted not upon someone else but upon one's own self. The body then suffers damage as a result of circumstances which appear to be entirely fortuitous but which in certain illuminating instances can be shown to fulfill so specifically the unconscious tendencies of the victim that we are compelled to believe either that they represent the capitalisation of some opportunity for self-destruction by the death-instinct or else were in some obscure way brought about for this very purpose” (ibid., 278,279)

Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis, informs us in his Psycho-pathology of Everyday Life (1914, 198-216) of the case of a young woman who gave an exhibition of dancing one night for a group of relatives. Her jealous husband was greatly annoyed and later reproached her by declaring that she had behaved like a common prostitute. “After the incident she spent a restless night and the next morning decided to go driving. She chose the horses herself, refusing one team and demanding another. She refused vehemently to allow her sister's baby with its nurse to accompany her. During the drive she was very nervous and warned the coachman that the horses were getting skittish and finally when the animals 'really produced a momentary difficulty she jumped from the carriage in fright and broke her leg, while those remaining in the carriage were uninjured'” (quoted from Menninger, 279 Note 2). As pointed out by Freud this accident prevented her for a lengthy period from dancing.

It is interesting that Menninger reflects on purposive accidents that the ego “refuses to accept the responsibility for... self-destruction... If one thinks of his own occasional hazardous blunders in street navigation, he is apt to ascribe them (if not to carelessness) to impulsiveness, absorption in other lines of thought, distraction, etc. But, after all, if one permits himself to so far relinquish interest in his own personal safety in favour of contemplating the stock market or the purchase of a new dress, one is certainly betraying self-destructive indifference to reality. And, as for impulsiveness, a volume could be written about the disastrous consequences of this symptom. It has ruined many a business, many a marriage, and many a life. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is, of course, a dramatic exposition of the way impulsiveness combines with hate to produce self-destruction. Romeo's impulsiveness lost him his sweetheart just before he met Juliet in the same mood. His subsequent impulsiveness first resulted in the death of his best friend (he started to intervene in the duel and did so in such a way as to allow his friend to be stabbed) and then, in the avenging of this death his own exile. Finally, had he not been so impulsive in jumping to conclusions after he observed Juliet in the tomb and so precipitous in resolving upon suicide, neither his suicide nor Juliet's would have been necessary” (280).

There can be no doubt that “impulsiveness arises from an ill-controlled, partially disguised aggressiveness. This is almost transparently so in certain individuals who rush at their tasks or opportunities as if to sweep everything before them and, as they themselves put it, “to tear into it” only in the end to abandon the task prematurely or to make a botch of it in some way. They often appear to have the best of intentions but friends come to regard these as inconsequential bluffings. In love-relationships viewed both from the psychological and the physical standpoint such prematurity is often extremely disappointing to both parties and its unconscious aggressive intent often suspected” (281).

There is little doubt in my own mind that the super-ego may dictate to an individual to evade and override his ordinary ego that finds it difficult to accept the responsibility for self-destructive tendencies worked out through purposive accidents. Succumbing to the super-ego's drive to outwork the self-destructive tendencies of an individual can be illustrated in the following true account of the outcome of a domestic quarrel between a husband and wife. I admit this report carries some humour with it, but the seriousness of the situation should not be lost on any of us.

“In Detroit, Mich., Mrs John Kulcznski said to John Kulcznski: 'I wish you'd go out and have an accident.' He was run over, lost part of a foot. Then Mrs John Kulcznski said to John Kulcznski: 'I wish you'd lose the other foot.' He did. To stop Mrs John Kulcznski from wishing a third wish, John Kulcznski is seeking a divorce.” (Time, March 26, 1934).

Theodor Reik (1888-1969) was an accomplished and prominent Jewish psychoanalyst who fled the Nazis and settled in New York. Reik trained under Sigmund Freud as one of his first students in Vienna, Austria, and was a pioneer of lay analysis in the United States.

He is much quoted, and a few of the more notables are...

“Women in general want to be loved for what they are and men for what they accomplish.”

“Work and love; these are the basics. Without them there is neurosis.”

“In our civilization, men are afraid that they will not be men enough and women are afraid that they might be considered only women.”

“The lover is a monotheist who knows that other people worship different gods but cannot himself imagine that there could be other gods.”

Reik penned over 20 books, but early in his career he brought forth a little volume that negatively stirred the entire medical fraternity. Yet it later proved to be invaluable in the pursuit of criminal cases. This book was called The Unknown Murderer (1925) and in it Reik insisted that society frequently sacrifices an innocent person or frees a guilty one due to our innate fear of facing our own suppressed criminal tendencies. But its core argument was that we can psychologically profile an unknown killer who unconsciously leaves behind even subtle clues to his identity because of his repressed feelings of guilt. It is this profiling that has been the most controversial feature of his works and yet which has proven to be an authentic gauge in the identification and arrest of hitherto entirely unknown criminals and especially serial murderers. Profiling criminals prior to their sometimes violent crimes and hideous acts has raised a blazing warning sign above the halls of moral and ethical justice systems and has been a major theme in a number of modern movies.

Whatever the case, a criminal often betrays himself and ushers in his own self-punishment by a convenient purposive accident. Again, I want to emphasise that we are talking here of the intention of the unconscious mind to bring about a self-judgment in the form of an accident. We are not discussing accidents that occur as a consequence of “time and chance” which “happens to us all.”

“Reik quotes the case of Franz Gal, who heard that his neighbour Varga had sold his oxen for 900 kronen. He waited till Varga and his wife had left the house, then he stole the money. Their little girl of six was alone at home and Gal determined to do away with the unwelcome witness. He tied a rope to a beam in the ceiling, made a noose, and asked the child to put her head into it. She asked him to show her how to do it, so he climbed a chair and showed her. Suddenly, the chair slipped from under him and he was caught in the noose. The frightened child ran out of the house. When the parents returned the man was dead. This... is an instance of a faulty act appearing as an accident, of suicide disguised as clumsiness” (Menninger, op.cit., 287, 288).

Again, Menninger describes psychoanalytically-studied cases in which anyone can see for themselves how “precisely [an] accident serves to punish the individual for guilty acts or wishes. In those cases which are not fatal... this punishment serves not only as the price of atonement but as a permission for further indulgences in the same guilty acts or fantasies... The guilty act stimulates the conscience to demand of the ego a price. In some instances this price is a (self-inflicted) death penalty. In other instances... it seems to be less severe and yet, curiously enough, to be an overpayment. This can only be accounted for in terms of psychological economy if we assume that the local self-mutilation is in some way or other a ransom and protects the ego against the imposition of the death penalty. This offering for a part for the whole, not alone for past atonement but for future protection, is as well known in American politics and racketeering as in the old Jewish religious rituals of sacrifice. The proprietor of an illegitimate business pays “hush money” or “protection” to the police in his district who, in order to retain this graft, pay a portion of it to the officials higher up, and so on. Occasionally... this entire system breaks down; for example, if the proprietor refuses to pay the price. In such a case the external forces of law and order are invoked and the illegitimate business is snuffed out” (289).

That the same mechanisms can be found in the ordinary affairs of men and women is substantiated by the following histories.

According to Time magazine (March 19, 1934) a particular gentleman (according to this report) was struck by lightning three times; had been buried alive in a coal mine; had been blown through the air by a cannon suffering the loss of an arm and an eye; had been buried alive under two tons of clay; next he fell thirty feet off a cliff; later he was thrown by a horse and dragged through a barbed wire fence. Then he fell from a speeding bob sled fracturing his skull. At the age of eighty he recovered from double pneumonia and at 81 he was downed by a paralytic stroke. At 82 he was run over by a horse and a wagon. At 83 he was run over by an automobile. The same year he slipped on the ice and fractured his hip.

That the “unconscious mental content of a personality that is forced into repeated contests with death but is able each time to emerge victorious, though at the cost of great suffering” expresses the reality of the depth of the depraved human mind when it comes to being subjected to the power of that judicious unconscious in terms of self-judgments that deliver their inner verdict of presumptuous guilt. I have said that we are our own worst enemy, and that is an incontestable absolute fact whether any of us want to readily accept it or not. How true the biblical axiom: “The heart [the unconscious mind] is deceitful above all things, and wicked to the point of desperation” (Jer 17.9).

Wicked? But why? For the simple reason that while we are made in the image of God because we are a fractured image (mirror) we are in constant rebellion against God “and the laws of God” – according to the apostle Paul in Romans 8 – and without the Spirit of God (the SPIRIT OF SALVATION) it is utterly impossible to obey Him (Rom 8.7,8). Moreover, rather than obey God and submit to His Atonement through the death of Christ we will take the position and power of our God and replace God's Kingdom Authority with perversions of our own self-estimation. Our inner Opponent delights in our carnal sinful measures to serve on ourselves the sentence of condemnation in one form or another... i.e., death or accidents. Indeed, it is on record in psychiatric journals that we humans can even become addicted to accidental self-destruction. (Read again the case I have quoted above and reported in Time magazine March 19, 1934.)

Another case in point: At the tender age of 11 days a baby fell from its crib and shattered the left arm. At age four he fell off a horse and broke his right arm. At age 6 “while trying to drive a stake with a hatchet, he cut his left foot to the bone. A year later a bull gored him so badly he was nearly killed, one arm, four ribs, a collar bone and both legs being broken. Then he had a few years of immunity. In his early teens he joined a circus. One of his tasks was to dive over three elephants – into a net. Once he fell while doing this and broke his much fractured leg again.

“His prize accident came in 1906 while he was brakeman on a freight train. Running along the top of a moving train, he stepped on a rotten footboard and fell to the track. Thirty-seven cars passed over him but none hurt him until the caboose came along, when his clothing caught in the wheels and he was dragged for three miles. His left arm was cut off, nine toes were severed, his skull was fractured, and his left side was crushed. But he lived.

“It was 1925 before another serious accident occurred. Then, riding in a passenger coach, he tripped in the aisle and broke a vertebrae in his spine, getting temporary paralysis. Recovering, he went for an auto ride. The auto went over a 45-foot bank into a river and he was nearly drowned.

“This year [1927] he again tripped in a Pullman aisle, wrenching his spine and spraining both ankles. Then he got scarlet fever and spent six weeks in the hospital. During his convalescence he got inflammatory rheumatism and did not walk for 19 weeks.

“This was followed by the explosion of a gas stove in a tent in a tourist camp. He was enveloped in flames and only prompt attention by friends saved him from being burned to death.

“Despite his many accidents he is cheerful.

“'You have to taste the bitter part of life to enjoy the sweet,' he says” (Topeka Daily Capital, Nov 21, 1927).

Menninger addresses the issue stating “more men die daily in accidents than from any single disease except heart disease... every five minutes someone is killed in the USA in an accident and a hundred others are being injured... from the time he is three years old until he is forty a man is more likely to die of an accident than in any other way... It seems to me that... the self-destructive element [is lurking] unseen behind many accidents” (Man Against Himself, 291-193).

I could go on bringing more and more stories of accidents into this lecture but I will refrain myself except for one very important account. And that happens to be my own. Here I was creating this lecture on Man Against Himself (Part B) “Repression of the Sublime,Man in the Image of God, and a Reason Why Accidents Occur, and I had almost completed it when my fingers inadvertently touched two keys by “accident” and I lost the lecture. Thinking quickly I did what I had to do and was able to retrieve it minus about an hours work which I had not saved. No matter, I thought, I will redo that section with little difficulty. And I did. But then as I typed in a flurry of moving fingers I actually repeated the same problem I had just experienced – but instead of shutting LibreOffice Writer down (long story why I presently use this system) as I previously had done, I responded to Libre's suggestion to save or discard by accidentally depressing the discard icon. Result? I lost it all! The entire lecture. And, I might add, all previous lectures I had done up to this juncture plus all the notes I had accumulated for future lectures on Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians. My entire file was GONE.

It took my son Reuben to save the day, losing precious time at his place of employment to rush over to see me and after he prayed earnestly and confidently that God would open a door to fix the issue he was able to restore the entire “lost” file. I was then faced with the task of rewriting entirely from memory about four or five hours of lost material.

I happen to know why it was that I behaved as I did and why the accident happened. And I do not mean my thick fingers depressing keys. I know the underlying nature of this incident because I know just how carnal my flesh actually is! With Paul I can say “I am sold under sin” (Rom 7.14). And you can also confess the self same thing. Most accidents do not “just happen.” Most are CAUSED by a determined carnal entity called SIN that inhabits our fleshly nature (Rom 7.17-20).

We can ALL REJOICE in the SALVATION of our God. We are saved from sin, we are saved from death, we are saved from haSatan and his evil world system, and we are saved from ourselves – from our carnal human mind which is at war with the purity of God. This is why we have been given God's precious holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, to fight for victory over the evil propensities of our unconscious wherein resides the yetzer ha'ra. After all, the normal everyday carnal human mind can come up with THOUGHTS that would embarrass a demon. Don't try to convince yourselves otherwise.

The holy Spirit is a down-payment of the MIND of GOD. It has merged with our own minds at conversion and God expects us to develop that MIND to the exclusion of our natural thought processes. In Peter's second epistle he speaks throughout of two minds, but the Christian is expected to choose one above the other. One mind is ACCIDENTAL in its impulsive and lustful lifestyle, and the converted mind is DELIBERATE especially in its capacity to be reminded and which mind is more than able to “recollect” or “remember.” This is why Peter can say powerfully to believers, “STIR UP your PURE MINDS by way of remembrance that you may be MINDFUL of the words which were spoken in times past by the holy prophets and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” (2 Pet 3.1,2).

Without Our Lord Yeshua living within us we cannot be saved from our own inherent filthy wretchedness, and this is part of the message Paul has brought to us in his Letter to the Roman Christians.  

There is only ONE way to be saved and that is through God's uniquely begotten Son, Our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. As it is clearly written in Jn 3.16 in the correct Greek tense of the text: “For God so loves the world that he gives his uniquely begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him, trusts in him, clings to him, relies on him, should not be perishing, but be having everlasting life.”  

His Son confirms it:  

“Yeshua says unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me” (Jn 14.6).

Yeshua spoke of people who would, by virtue of being cursed, find themselves eventually facing a terrible destruction by “fire.” Yeshua refers to them as “cursed.” But I have spoken of them as not cursed by God, for the Greek text just speaks of them as “cursed.” So, in light of Paul's later revelations, I have interpreted the statements of Yeshua as talking of these people as “self-cursed.” I stand on this interpretation because of what Paul wrote in Eph 4.18. There are some who have become self-cursed by virtue of being “self-banished from the life of God” (See the Amplified Version for evidence of this fact).  

I said at the beginning of this lecture that we would return to the letter of James the brother of Yeshua at its conclusion. My advice is for all my students to peruse again the entire letter from James and carry the thought with you that he is underscoring in almost every passage that it is our opposing thoughts that entice us. Therefore to conquer sin we must replace those thoughts with better uplifting and more positive thoughts before those thoughts are entertained as possible productions of a negative theatrical nature.

We are bound for GLORY. We are saved to inherit – to share – GOD'S very own GLORY. In our next lecture we shall pursue this dream-image of God and see how we can be brought closer together with Him.

Further Reading

Freud, Sigmund., Psychopathology of Everyday Life, 1914

Greenwald, Harold., Great Cases in Psychoanalysis, 1959, 1973

Kinderman, Peter., The New Laws of Psychology, 2014

Menninger, Karl., Man Against Himself, 1938

Reik, Theodor., The Unknown Murderer, 1925

Szasz, Thomas S., The Manufacture of Madness. A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement, 1970

Szasz, Thomas S., The Myth of Mental Illness. Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct, 1961


 on: March 26, 2017, 03:21:09 AM 
Started by Rebbe - Last post by Rebbe

Analytical Commentary on Romans


The Audio MP3 of this lecture is available via this link: http://www.bripodcasts.com/Romans/Lecture14.MP3

Copyright © BRI 2016 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)

CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

“The great Rabbi Gamaliel had among his disciples one who, according to a passage in the Talmud, gave his master a good deal of trouble, manifesting 'impudence in matters of learning.' But his name is not given; he is remembered simply as 'that pupil'” (F.F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame, 1958, 81. See also J. Klausner, From Jesus to Paul, 1944, 310f; Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 30b).

“In seeking wisdom the first step is silence. The second, listening. The third, remembering. The fourth, practicing. The fifth, teaching others” (Rabbi ibn-Gavrioel)

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions” – Stephen Covey (American educator, businessman, keynote speaker)

“When the student is ready, the Teacher comes” - Buddha

We have finally and painstakingly plodded to Romans 3. Now, at this stage in our progression through Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians I wish to return a little way to Romans 2. For, at our previous Yeshiva we were confronted by an attitude of hostility cushioned by a very deeply troubled and divided mind, one which both accused and excused, in inner conflict. Because of this disturbance I deem it timely and well to give some serious reflection on Romans 2.11-16.

“For God does not show favoritism. All who have sinned outside the Torah will die outside the Torah; and all who have sinned within the framework [sphere] of Torah will be judged by Torah. For it is not merely the instructed in Torah whom God considers righteous; rather, it is the doers of what Torah says who will be justified in God’s sight. For whenever Gentiles, who have no Torah, do habitually by nature what the Torah requires, then these, even though they don’t have Torah, for themselves are Torah! For their lives show that the conduct the Torah dictates is written in their hearts. Their consciences also bear joint-witness to this, for their conflicting thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend and excuse them in the day when God passes judgment on people’s inmost secrets. According to the Good News as I proclaim it, he does this through the Messiah Yeshua” (Rom 2.11-16).

There is no respect of persons with God. The Pharisees knew how to flatter with their lips and they tried it more than once with the Lord Yeshua even to the extent of collaborating with their religious enemies – and he refused to have a bar of them!

“Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel together on how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their students with the Herodians [Herod's secret police who were trained in loopholes in the Torah] saying, Master [or, Teacher], We know positively that you are true, and that you teach the Way of God in truth, and that you do not kowtow to anyone, for you do not show partiality to anyone because of his standing or appearance. So, tell us please, what do you think about....” (Mat 22.15,16).

Yeshua was God in flesh. And, as I have already emphasised, God (Yehoveh) is no respecter of persons. This was grasped not only by the religious leaders of his day but by the early Messianic Movement in all its spheres of apostolic influence. The great pity is that carnal churchmen and women DO show partiality. While this proclivity occurs in the historic church, this is especially apparent in sectarian circles and in personality cults. As those “elevated by Office” strut about an assembly like so many little strait-backed Napoleon's gazing down upon humble and sincere “Christian hostages” – to their manic and obsessive temperaments of these self-appointed dictators – certain more “pliable” sheep are singled out for subordinate duties which kindle their own religiously ambitious fire. And the cycle of this agonising death-dance drags on. Danse macabre!

“And, you [Christian] slaveholders, do the same things unto them [your servants: see vvs 5-8] forbearing threatening, knowing that your Master also is in heaven – neither is there respect of persons with him” (Eph 6.9).

“Servants... you serve the Lord Messiah. But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong that he has done. And there is no respect of persons” (Col 3.22,24,25).

James, who can be found at the opposite end of the Pauline theological spectrum, had this to say:

“My brothers, practice the faith of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, Lord of glory, without showing favoritism: for if there come unto your synagogue a man with a gold ring in splendid apparel, and a poor man also come in, in vile apparel, and you look upon him who wears the splendid apparel, and say, Take the best position, and then say to the poor, You stand stand over there, or sit here under my footstool: have you not made a difference among yourselves, and become judges having evil thoughts? Hear, my beloved brothers: Has not God chosen the poor as to the world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to them that love him? But you have despised the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and do not they drag you before the tribunals?And, do not they blaspheme the excellent name which has been called upon you? If indeed you keep the royal law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbour as yourself, you do well. But if you have respect of persons, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law and shall offend in one point, he has come under the guilt of breaking all” (Jam 2.1-10).

James, the alternative High priest of the later Second Temple Jewish nation, went on to elucidate his political orientation, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up for yourselves treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Master of Legions. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter” (Jam 5.1-6).

Clearly, from Genesis to Revelation, respect of persons – failing to be impartial – is a negative character trait that needs to be replaced with genuine humility and equality of appreciation toward all humankind. Small reason many scholars have recognised in James (Yaakov) the manifestation of an authentic socialist. This should not be a big surprise to any of our students at the BRI/IMCF. After all, James was rooted firmly and sternly in the Sinai Torah. Indeed, my own father Amos (after whom one of my sons is named) was himself a socialist instructed from the “Book of the Law.” And what does it teach?

Here are just a few of the biblical commandments, concerning which none of us should baulk.

“You shall not oppress your neighbour... but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord” (Lev 19.13,18).

“He [HaShem] executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Deut 10.18–19).

“When you reap in your harvest in the field, and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it... When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again... When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this” (Deut 24.19-22).

“It is God's gift to humankind that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil” (Ecc 3.13).

That's specifically humankind as a whole and “everybody” leaves none out.

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Ps 82 (81).3, 4).

“Spiritually prosperous is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!... He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honour” (Ps 112 (111).1, 9).

“Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall; who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music; who drink wine from bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!” (Amos 6.4-6).

“Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, ‘When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat’ (Amos 8.4-6).  

“The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth – except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, says the Lord... I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit” (Amos 9.8,14).


“Even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood... cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isa 1.15-17).

“He who loves gold will not be justified, and he who pursues money will be led astray by it. Many have come to ruin because of gold, and their destruction has met them face to face. It is a stumbling block to those who are devoted to it, and every fool will be taken captive by it” (Sir 31.5–7).

Yeshua himself identifies with the hungry, the poor, the sick, and with prisoners.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are [self-] cursed, depart from me into the aeonian fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “With all honesty I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into aeonian punishment, but the righteous into eternal life”  (Mat 25.31-46).

Basil was an early Greek church father (c. 330-379 CE) who penned a sermon entitled The Rich Fool in which he castigates the object of his derision. He writes,

“Who is the covetous man? One for whom plenty is not enough. Who is the defrauder? One who takes away what belongs to everyone. And are not you covetous, are you not a defrauder, when you keep for private use what you were given for distribution? When some one strips a man of his clothes we call him a thief. And one who might clothe the naked and does not – should not he be given the same name? The bread in your hoard belongs to the hungry; the cloak in your wardrobe belongs to the naked; the shoes you let rot belong to the barefoot; the money in your vaults belongs to the destitute. All you might help and do not – to all these you are doing wrong.”

There is a reason why God the Father/Mother blesses heaven's children. And it is decidedly not for the recipient to heap that blessing on themselves. Rather, and contrary to nature – recall that the wild kingdom is nothing more than an orgy of blood self-sacrifice for the survival of the greater ecosystem as one species preys on another species to satisfy hunger and/or to maintain territorial status and an ongoing progeny – humankind is created to share with others who have need. God blessed Abraham. Yes, that is very true. But God then told Abraham, the Father of the Faithful, that in receiving God's blessing of prosperity he was to BLESS in turn. Notice it now:

“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Gen 12.2 NRSVA).  

As the rabbis acknowledge, the latter expression “and you shall be a blessing” while acceptable, ought more properly be translated from the Hebrew as “and you be a blessing.”

Abraham was called to be a number of things, including the founder of many nations. And the “Father of the Faithful” did become the founder of many nations – as well as over a half dozen world religions, and numerous royal dynasties. But primarily he was chosen to become the medium of blessing to others. Certainly this procedure of blessing others has the approval of the One who became Yeshua the Messiah. Paul tells us that Christ once articulated the following quotation, drawn from a Yeshua-list of sayings that were circulating in his time. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20.35).

But its nowhere recorded anywhere in the four Gospels.

Remember that we are told by the apostle John in Jn 20.3: “And many other signs truly did Yeshua in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

Note, “but these are written” which by implication means that there were some things not written down until later (Jn 21.25) and were initially shared through oral tradition. These quickly became so-called “Jesus-lists” (or Yeshua-lists of quotations) which circulated throughout the assemblies in the Yeshua Messianic Movement.

Let me ask everyone a simple question. Are we afraid of freedom? Are we timid when it comes to taking responsibility for our own thoughts?

Understand this about discipleship, about following Christ. Discipleship involves a cost (Lk 14.25-33). Yeshua had 82 students at one time (Lk 10.1). But in one single instance he had something to say and as a consequence he lost all but the original twelve (Jn 6.66-68).

Kenneth Wuest, the Greek scholar, recognised these disciples as Yeshua's “pupils” (Jn 6.66) and noted it was “their manner of life” they did not want to change.

We cannot remain a disciple and keep doing the things we used to do. And the things we DO are the active elements of the way we THINK. With our thoughts we make our world (Buddha) and as Solomon later agreed “As a man thinks in his heart, SO is he.” Its an equation, you see. Our thoughts create our “manner of life.”

Our freedom of speech VOICES our THOUGHTS. If our thoughts are disciplined we can exercise and bring about – bring into fruition – enormous changes in our life (no matter how young or old we happen to be) and in the lives of others for GOOD.

Above all else our freedom of speech reflects our freedom of thought and in no way should we FEAR such freedom and liberty and shrink from exercising it.

The Constitution of the Word of God overrides all man-made ordinances. No husband or wife should curtail their partner's freedom of speech (which is really freedom of thought) and no “authority” – self-styled or otherwise, real or imagined – has the right to deny any of us the privilege of sitting and feasting and rejoicing at the banquet of God.

And, believe me students, some people have so acted in the lives of God's little children.

In Hebrews 3.6 in the Greek we read, “We are the House of that One, IF we make fast our hold on our freedom of speech and our boasting over the Hope firm unto the consummation.”

And again, in Hebrews 10.35 from the Greek: “Cast not away therefore your freedom of speech which has great recompense of reward.”

For any who would argue with me over translation of the Greek into English please refer to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance 3954 “parrhesia – all out-spokeness, ie., frankness, bluntness, publicity by imp. Assurance:- bold (X-ly), -ness, -ness of speech)...”

Discipleship is about changed lives, and it necessarily involves changed attitudes, changed motives, changed habits. From negative to positive, from corruption to deathlessness, from carnal to spiritual, and from spiritual poverty to the abundance of spiritual prosperity. Only by changing our thoughts to positive ones can we be enabled to BLESS.

According to the dictionary, to bless means:

“To make holy or whole by spoken words, by pronouncements.
To ask divine favour for some situation or condition, to glorify it.
To wish a person or situation well, to evoke divine favour.
To make joyous, happy or prosperous.
To extol and will to gladden, glorify, praise.”

In other words, to bless means to bring forth – or, to will forth – only GOOD in a situation, condition or personality whether there seems to be any good to be brought forth or not.

God can do these things. God can do anything. Can we do such things? Should we do such things? The answer is straightforward, according to Paul's Letter to the Roman Christians – a letter which is our passport to the Kingdom of God, and a vital section of our instruction manual pertaining to the principles of discipleship and the art of spiritual warfare.

Paul tells us simply, “Bless... bless and do not curse” (Rom 12.14).

This in itself ought to reveal something of God's patient love and Grace. For, it is the apostle Paul who never truly “put the brakes on” when it came to voicing curses. He is on record for pronouncing curses on others when he felt justified in so doing at times during his ministry. He was fragile like so many of us in this same training ground – our time NOW for affecting change and productive growth in authentic transformation of the natural man/natural woman.

John Wesley, although incurably Arminian in his theology, comprehended the truth of blessing as the force of Kingdom Authority. And look at what he achieved! He has been called “the most successful reject since Jesus Christ.” The Religious Establishment treated Wesley with utter contempt, yet in his lifetime he traveled an astonishing quarter of a million miles on horseback across Britain, armed only with his Bible, a handful of books, and a few songs. He single-handedly converted hundreds of thousands and changed the entire course of a nation. Concerning blessing, he exhorted fellow believers,

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."

Wesley wrote a great deal about the blessing of service to others.

He well knew that when we bless we make contact with, and tap directly into, the greatest power on earth – the living power of the ALL-GOOD GOD. That power will unleash from around us, and from within us. It is power directed toward the formation and materialisation of blessing that is uttered by our mouth.

But it is blessing in service to others. Ironically, as used today, the word “service” seems to indicate a freely given exchange between equals. But the roots of the word betray its significance: it is found in serf, servile, servitude and slave.

The higher blessing of God is expressed in these remarkable terms: “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the ground shall be blessed” (Gen 12.3). “And blessed... in YOU shall be all the families of the ground.” Truly, “All the families” constituting humankind shall ultimately enter into the enjoyment of this UNBOUNDED blessing.
The love of power, when it is transformed into the power of love, will usher in blessing which will flow from the all-encompassing Consciousness of Anochi I-Source straight into the collective consciousness of humanity like the crest of a breaking wave.

This is what it means to BLESS. What then does it mean to CURSE? Do our students realise the depth of our judicial nature – do they realise just how far WE will go to condemn ourselves in this life? Many of us cry out to God for blessings not having comprehended the degree to which in life we stand self-condemned. That's SELF condemned... no condemned by God.

Why do accidents occur? Could they be the outworking of our own negative natures? There exists plenty of evidence that we can be our own worst lawyer, jury and judge. For, we exist as judicial creatures made in the Image of God. When we see ourselves as “failures” – failing to measure up to some preexisting standard of acceptable behaviour – we resort to punishing ourselves. We can be, and oftentimes are, far harsher toward ourselves than is God the FatherMother of us all.

We shall explore this perversity in our nature in our following lecture.


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