With this article, having laid a proper foundation and alerted the read what to look for as we examine specific texts and how they have been misused and misapplied in the various places in the New Testament, let us continue our quest for truth in earnest. We will at this time begin to examine point by point doctrines as taught in the Jewish Old Testament and then compare them with teachings on the same topic from the New Testament, especially from the writings attributed to Paul. Let us look for similarity, assurance of truth by the witness of Scripture confirming previous Scripture, or replacement doctrines in the New Testament by blatant contradiction of the Old Testament by the writings attributed to Paul in the New Testament.
Answer for yourself: As we proceed I would ask you to keep this simple question in mind: Can the writings of Paul be true if they contradict Moses, the Prophets, or Jesus?
One of Paul's fundamental doctrines is the importance of faith The term he used in Greek is pistis, which means trust or belief and refers to the indispensable need to trust in God's word. Paul alluded to his precept repeatedly throughout his writings. Like a man with an obsession he saw examples of his belief wherever he looked. Virtually every book in the Hebrew Bible supplied Paul with passages which, which, according to Paul, could be cited as illustrations that faith (or trust) had replaced and was better than deeds (obedience). Many of the topics in these forthcoming articles, therefore, deal with those Biblical verses cited by Paul as proof of his dogma. After reading them, and comparing Pauls ideas with the original verses taken in context, I only ask that you be the judge to what I will show you.
In his Epistle to the Romans, which is the most elaborate development and presentation of his doctrine, Paul endeavored to establish the significance of faith in the new religion he was preaching. He offered numerous passages from Hebrew Scriptures as proof of his thesis that faith or trust was more important than deeds and that belief in Jesus as messiah (or Christ Jesus, as he expressed it) had superseded the Torah.
Answer for yourself: Does God desire that you believe that faith has superseded the Torah as Paul maintained?
Answer for yourself: Was Paul correct; has belief in Jesus replaced the Torah and obedience to commandments of God for eternal life and salvation? Or is Paul wrong?
Answer for yourself: And if Paul can be proven wrong, what does that say about the average believer today who believes in Jesus but has led a life as a Gentile Christian not concerned about the numerous commandments, therefore living without the knowledge of required obedience to the Torah?
Answer for yourself: Does it not stand to reason that such a one is ignorant of many, breaks many, or neglects many, because of the improper teaching he has inherited? Remember that there are 613 of them.
According to Paul and his gospel, faith (or trust) had replaced and was better than deeds (obedience). Paul began his reasoning by quoting in Rom. 1:17 a beautiful sentence from Habakkuk, popularly translated as, "The righteous shall live by faith. He uniquely and predictably invested this statement with the meaning that people must have faith in "his gospel" Paul's gospel . which will then bring them salvation. This is a total perversion of the context of which Habakkuh spoke. Faith in God as the only Savior was replaced by Paul by "faith in Jesus". This is not the same to say the least and definitely not in the heart of Habakkuk when he penned this verse.
Answer for yourself: How much influence has Pauls doctrine of faith in Jesus, "faith in Jesus being the Messiah of Israel", and faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus done harm to the believer in God in contributing to his misunderstanding of his responsibility to have faith in God only and to obey Gods commandments thereby making his life more pleasing to God? It is incalculateable.
Let me give you one example. I dare say that few have broken the commandment: Thou shall not kill (premeditate murder). However, the vast majority in Christian churches today are guilty of violating the commandment unaware, for the commandment equates failure to feed and clothe the poor with murder. This is something few of you have heard in your churches because we focus on faith in Christ instead of learning to study the commandments and their nuances and thereby make sure you live like Christ.
What we lack in Christianity today is the basic knowledge that faith responded in obedient actions, and the absence of such action is not faith.
Answer for yourself: If such obedient actions are lacking in our lives, regardless if we believe in Jesus, can we be pleasing to God? We can have faith in Christ all we want, but if we live lived totally ignorant or and disobedient to the Laws of God we sin. Ignorance of the Law is perpetuated by the Pauline doctrine .all we have to do is believe in Christ. This is a cosmic error the proportions of which cannot be fathomed.
Let us remember that Paul, in developing his doctrine of faith is quoting the Prophet Habakkuk in Romans 1:17 and that his reference to faith in Romans MUST carry the same idea as expressed by the Prophet Habakkuh.
There a laws to language and the use of language. When quoting another source, in order to arrive at the original meaning and be true to the text it is necessary to retain the same context as the original writer. If we use the original writer and his language in another way entirely different from what he intended, understand that this is not a quote but a completely new idea by the second writer. Paul gave a lot of new ideas in the New Testament but used enough Old Testament verbiage to make it sound like he had the authority of the Old Testament Prophets and Moses in doing so. Such could not be further from the truth.
Answer for yourself: What was the thrust of the message of Habakkuk when he said "the just shall live by faith" and did Paul represent it accurately or inaccurately in the New Testament?
Answer for yourself: Does Paul in Romans 1:17, when quoting Habakkuk, carry the same meaning that Habakkuk intended his readers to have? Remember if not, then Paul is leading us astray by quoting a Prophet yet distorting his message. Let us investigate and you make up your own mind.
The name Habakkuk may come from a Hebrew name that means "to embrace." In his book, he comes to grips with serious problems and lays hold of God by faith when everything in his life seems to be falling apart. His love for and obedience to God is not dictated by his surroundings or his environment. Regardless of the situation one may find himself in, much of which is temporary, the important thing that Habakkuk stresses is that one maintain their faith in God regardless of your situation good or bad.
More precise and to the point, Habakkuk saw the impending Babylonian Invasion, and he wondered why God would use a wicked nation to punish His chosen people. The key text is 2:4, "But the just shall live by his faith and is quoted in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrew 10:38. The theme of Romans is "the just" and how to be just before God.
Habakkuk saw the wickedness of God's people in Judah and prayed for God to work repentance though His people, but the Lord didn't seem to hear. The prophet longed to bring revival to the land, but his prayer went unanswered, or so he though. God told His servant that his prayers would be answered in a way he never expected, for God was going to bring Babylon against Judah and chasten people for their lack of faithfulness and steadfastness to obey His Word. From the human point of view, the invasion of the land and the captivity of the people would seem a tragedy, but it was God's work just the same. Notice if you will the issue is faithfulness to continue to love God and obey the commandments regardless of impending invasion. In other words, dont give up on God. But be not mistaken, obedience to the commands of God as a consequence of faith is the subject of Habakkuk and not isolated faith in a dogma or doctrine isolated from obedience.
Yet God is faithful. Habakkuk was reassured that Gods people can trust Him because His character never changes and His Word never fails. It may not seem that way now, but one day His glory will be revealed in all the earth. Meanwhile, God said He was at work so the prophet asked Him to keep on working but to be merciful to His people. Habakkuk reviewed God's work in the past and recalled His greatness and power. In every era of history, God was there to work for His people; He would not fail them now and His people should no longer fail Him as well and would once again become obedient to Him. The Babylonian invasion and captivity would be painful experiences, but God would use it for His glory and the good of His people. Being reassured of Gods faithfulness to His people in spite of the consequences and situations they find themselves in, then His people are to be renewed in their faithfulness to Him and to obedience to His word.
Having understood the background for the passage the just shall live by his faith let us continue to contrast what God intended we know and what we have come to know through the preaching of Paul.
Answer for yourself: To what kind of faith did Habakkuk refer: faith in and recognition to an abstract fact, or faithfulness to Gods Word exampled through their obedience?
Paul began his reasoning by quoting in Rom. 1:17 a beautiful sentence from Habakkuk, popularly translated as, "The righteous shall live by faith." Paul gives this passage from Habakkuk a completely different meaning than what the Prophet intended. Paul predictably invested this statement with the meaning that people must have faith in the gospel which Paul himself taught which was, as Paul not taught, was the only teaching which will will then bring them salvation.
The Hebrew word, emunato, which is referred to in Habakkuk, is more accurately translated as "his faithfulness" or "his steadfastness. The phrase in Habakkuk 2:4 is better rendered, "The righteous shall live by his faithfulness."
The phrase in Habakkuk 2:4 is better rendered, "The righteous shall live by his faithfulness." This gives the sentence a completely different meaning. The idea conveyed here and in other passages in the Hebrew Bible where the term is used is that the person who remains steady and constant in observing his moral principles will eventually be vindicated, although he suffers in the interim. This was no call for abstract trust in an idea or person but rather for constancy in ethical behavior. That meant remaining loyal to Torah teachings. Habakkuk's message was very different from the one for which Paul was using it.
Answer for yourself: When quoting a previous Scripture, do we do injustice to the quote from the original meaning if we apply it different way without advising our readers we have done so? We sure do. Dear child of God, this is exactly what Paul did!
Understanding the original meaning of the Hebrew word and the prophet Habakkuks intention from the historical context of the passage, gives Pauls statement in Romans a completely different meaning than what we have been led to believe by others who failed to study thoroughly.
The original idea conveyed in Habakkuk and in other passages in the Hebrew Bible where the same term is used is that the person who remains steady and constant in observing Biblical moral principles of the Bible (which come from the teachings of the Law) will eventually be vindicated, although he suffers in the interim. Since your church most likely does not read from and study the book of Habakkuk, I suggest you read it for yourself and understand the message of the book for yourself, for without such an understanding, you interpretation of what Paul is saying can be faulty and you are likely to believe untruths represented to you as truths.
The concept of justification before God and the role of faith within justification has absolutely no connection to abstract trust in an idea or person or anothers actions (Jesus. It has no connection in what you believe about another and their identity (whether Jesus is Messiah or died for your sins according to Paul)), but rather for constancy and steadfastness in ones own personal ethical behavior in response to the commandments of God.
Answer for yourself: Do you now see that the faith of which Habakkuh was speaking of was not a faith directed in something apart from oneself (another, or his identity or accomplishments or a belief in a Messiah or his death), but rather a faithfulness in yourself to live obediently to God apart from your circumstances?
Answer for yourself: That is rather hard dont you think when you have been told your whole life that your are under grace and not under the Law?
Remaining loyal to Torah teachings and commandments is what God intended we demonstrate before Him in spite of our situation, and not a belief in Christ that is devoid of obedience or gives license and freedom from such commanded obedience to the law.
This is just one of Pauls perversions in the New Testament, and I have been warning you for months.
The tragic irony of the whole matter is this: It is in such demonstration of obedience to God and his commandments, regardless of our situations and circumstances, which reveal our faithfulness and steadfastness to Him, which ensures our justification before God. Nowhere in such an idea is room for a mental assent to a doctrine [identity of a man as Messiah or what his death accomplished], but rather it points repeatedly to ethical conduct and behavior based upon Gods standards.
Let me give you an example quickly. Todays Christians give their tithe to their church which uses the funds as they see fit. But if you have understood what I have been saying, then the commandments of the Torah regarding the Tithe is still in force today. That means if you contribute to such an institution, and the funds are used in other ways than what God has commanded, in reality you are violating the commandment and sinning. This is only the tip of the iceburg.
Habakkuk's message was very different from the one which Paul was preaching.
Answer for yourself: Now please be honest with yourself .which idea have you inherited in reading the New Testament and listening to your preachers ..obedience to the commandments of God for justification or faith in the identity and mission of Jesus for justification?
Answer for yourself: Can you see for yourself that Paul has used the passage from Habakkuk in such a way to give authority to what he wants to say which is diametrically opposite to what the original author intended?
The original intent of the Habakkuk is obscured in Pauls writings, but Pauls builds momentum for his doctrines by taking out of context and misquoting the Hebrew Scriptures, and who would notice? The Gentiles to which Paul went were not Old Testament scholars but rather heathens, and would not notice a verse taken out of context from its original source and twisted in such a way to bring a new meaning that destroys the original authors intention. Justification through repentance and obedience to God and His commandments, regardless of ones situation, for Paul, became justification in belief in Pauls idea of Yeshua's identity, accomplishments, and his function.
You now be the judge.
Answer for yourself: Was Paul honest in his portray of that verse in Romans?
Answer for yourself: Are there other instances were Paul distorts the original meaning of the Prophets? You bet .stay tuned.