Investigating the Contexts and Themes of the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament.
Left to Right, or Right to Left, Which is Right?
Jesus taught from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Tanakh, his Bible. The Disciples and Apostles (including Paul) taught the same. They did not invent their message; their foundation of revelation and teaching came almost exclusively from the Hebrew Bible (and occasionally various other ancient Hebrew documents such as the Pseudepigrapha etc.), which most Christians today call the Old Testament. (I am not negating the fact that the Spirit of God was upon them). I am not saying that God didn't inspire these men with further insight into the message of the Torah, Writings and Prophets, specifically in their relation to Jesus during the later part of the first century when the testimony of those who were closest to him was being recorded. These accounts and narratives were gathered into a collection of writings that most Christians call the New Testament. A good portion of the New Testament is direct quotation or indirect reference to the content of the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh, Old Testament). Armed with this knowledge, in order to have a proper Textual worldview concerning the covenantal God of Israel, the people of Israel, the promise of restoration, rejuvenation, kingdom and king (of which the Hebrew Scriptures speak), we cannot read the first century collections and expect to come away with a correct interpretation as to the nature of their message without an understanding from where it originated. The NT is the story of the arrival and inauguration (in their opinion) of the King of God’s Kingdom (which of course is “good news” - gospel). Everything contained within those later pages must be carefully filtered and interpreted through the lens of their origin, namely the Hebrew Scriptures. Those who reported stories and content regarding the historical Yeshua of Nazareth frame their declarations only within this construct. The writers assume complete familiarity (by their readers) not only with the content of the Hebrew Scriptures, but also of its theological, idiomatic, liturgical, literary devices and nuances. It is ludicrous to make our interpretations and theories after stepping outside the confines of the Hebrew Scriptures, from which the first century writer’s definition derives. It is also equally ridiculous to start in the first century writings (with possible misrepresentations of the authors intent) and superimpose our presuppositions into earlier Texts pertaining to any number of details we imagine. For instance, when we take dogma from the third, fourth and following century councils of gentile clergymen endowed in extended traditions of Greek Philosophy, and eisegete it back into the pages of record and revelation, we come away with an understanding that is unrecognizable, completely foreign to the Text and distorted at its core. It has even impaired our ability to mathematically count and add properly. Our core frame of God’s divine revelation must start at the beginning, without misconstruing and applying later philosophical abstractions and jargon to it. Then and only then can we see the Sun emerge from behind the dense smog of man-made religious rhetoric.