Messianic Learning Feature Articles
(A Scripture Study from Pastor ObadiYah)
"Teach me, O'YAHUAH, the way of Your statutes. I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding. I shall keep Your Law (Torah). Yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of Your commandments. For, therein do I delight." (Psalm 119:33-35)
This article continues the series on Yahushuah's commandments. The last article in the Shofar (Volume 607) discussed adultery (sexual infidelity between a husband and wife). We read of Yah's command that prohibits adultery (Exodus 20:14) and how it preserves unity in the marriage bond between a man and a woman. We also read Yahushuah's warning that adultery can occur through a person's thoughts and/or deeds. "You have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)
We also learned that in scripture being unfaithful to a spouse is likened to being spiritually unfaithful to Yah. The consequences of adultery are so serious that Yahushuah goes on to admonish disciples (students of Yah's Word) that they are better off losing a lusting eye, or a wayward limb that reaches toward another in sin. "And if your right eye shall cause you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. And if your right hand shall cause you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish and not that your whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29-30)
Is Yahushuah saying to chop off physical body parts that cause us to sin? Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) isn't to take His words literally as He speaks, not of our physical body, but rather His spiritual, many-member Body (Church/Ecclesia). "For as the body is one and has many members, all the members of that one body, being many, are one body. So also is Messiah. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we are Yahudim or Gentiles, whether we are bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member but many. If the foot shall say, 'because I am not the hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the ear shall say because I am not the eye, I am not of the body, Is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where is the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where is the smelling? But now Elohim has set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased Him. If they were all one member, where is the body? But now they are many members, yet but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you. Nor, again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body that seem to be feebler, are necessary. Those members of the body, which we think less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For, our comely parts have no need. But Elohim tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. Whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Messiah and members in particular. And Elohim set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." (1 Corinthians 12:12-28)
To understand this last verse of scripture remember that its subject is the many-member Body of Yahushuah. Now with this in mind, let us rightly divide the word of Elohim. When Paul (Sha'ul) refers to members of the Church, he says "first apostles." According to Strong's Concordance, "apostles" is derived from "apostolos" (G652), meaning "a delegate, specifically an ambassador of the gospel, he that is sent." Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon similarly defines an "apostle" as "a delegate, messenger, and one sent forth with orders." Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, a Greek-American Bible scholar, explains "apostolos" means "sent forth, meaning one sent, apostle, ambassador."
The first things that you come to on the human body are eyes. Since the apostles are sent forth with orders to act as Yahushuah's ambassadors, they are the "eyes" of His Body as they see, perceive or understand the whole plan of Elohim. Then He opened their understanding so that they might understand the scriptures and said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Mashiach to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:45-47) "We know that the Son of Elohim is come, and has given us an understanding that we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, even in His Son Yahushuah ha'Mashiach. This is the true Elohim and eternal life." (1 John 5:20)
After "apostles," Sha'ul refers to "secondarily prophets." Strong's says the English word "prophets" comes from "prophaytes" (G4396), which pictures a "foreteller, an inspired speaker." According to Thayer, a "prophet" is "one who, moved by the Spirit of God ("Elohim") and hence His organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of Elohim and to human salvation." Zodhiates also says "prophaytes" is "one to whom and through whom Elohim spoke. It is clear that what really characterized the prophet was immediate communion with Elohim a divine communication with Elohim of what the prophet had to declare." Because prophets commune with Elohim, in other words, they hear from Him, they represent the "ears" of the Body of Yahushuah.
After "apostles" and "prophets," Sha'ul refers to "thirdly teachers." "Teachers" is translated from "didaskalos" (G1320), which Strong's defines as "an instructor." Thayer's says a "teacher" is "in the New Testament one who teaches concerning the things of Elohim and the duties of man." Zodhiates further explains, "Teachers are to be viewed like the scribes as being acquainted in a special sense with the word of Elohim and are interpreters of Elohim's salvation." (Matthew 13:52) 'Then He said to them, "Therefore, every scribe who is instructed to the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old."' Upon them rested the duty of giving progressive instruction concerning Elohim's redeeming purposes." Thus, teachers interpret scripture.
Nostrils perform a similar task for our body. For example, noses smell or detect milk, bread, fruit, etc. These are the foods that we put into our physical body. A nose serves our body in interpreting foods that are good or not good for us. Likewise, "teachers" are "noses" of the Body of Yahushuah in interpreting the Word which serves as the Bread of Life for our spiritual body. For, the bread of Elohim is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Then said they to Him, "Adonai, evermore give us this bread." And Yahushuah said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes on Me shall never thirst." (John 6:33-35)
The unleavened bread (manna) sent to Israel in the wilderness symbolizes Elohim's teachings. "He humbled you and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of YAHUAH does man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Teachers of the Body help explain the spiritual bread that comes from Yahushuah ha'Mashiach. "I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:48-51)
Sha'ul next writes of "miracles," which is translated from "dunamis" (G1141). It means "force, specifically miraculous power." In Thayer's, it pictures "strength, power, and ability." In scripture, "miracles" within the spiritual Body represent arms of power, strength, or force. "O' sing a new song to YAHUAH! For, He has done marvelous things. His right hand and His holy arm got Him the victory." (Psalm 98:1) "Who led them by the right hand of Moses with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make Himself an everlasting name?" (Isaiah 63:12) "He has shown strength with His arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts." (Luke 1:51) "The Elohim of this people of Israel chose our fathers and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with a high arm brought He them out of it." (Acts 13:17) Because miracles are done through the strength, power or ability of Elohim, those gifted with this ability represent "arms" of Yahushuah's Body.
Fifthly, Sha'ul writes of "gifts of healings" (divine healings). Strong's says "gifts" is translated from "charisma" (G5486), which means "a (divine) gratuity, deliverance from danger" and "healing," from "iama" (G2386), is defined as "a cure, healing." According to Thayer's, a "charisma" is the "favor one receives without any merit of his own; the gift of divine grace," and "iama" means "of healing, remedy, medicine; a healing." Because healing is often done by the laying on of hands, those who have this ability represent the "hands" of Yahushuah's Body.
Six on Sha'ul's list is "helps" from "antilepsis" (G484), and it means "relief, help" says Strong's. Thayer's confirms antilepsis means "to aid, help". Zodhiates elaborates, "literally the receiving of remuneration (payment for loss). It came to mean a laying hold of anything, the hold which one has, perception, apprehension, to receive in return for something, to denote a rendering of assistance, help."
The Holy Spirit (Ruach ha'Qodesh) is our remuneration/payment for giving our lives to Yahushuah. If, and when we receive Ruach ha'Qodesh, we should at some point bear spiritual fruit. "If it bears fruit? Well! If not, then after that you shall cut it down. (Luke 13:9) "Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be My disciples." (John 15:8) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." (Galatians 5:22-23) Those who are "helps" (i. e. bear fruit) represent the "loins" of the Body of Yahushuah.
The seventh on Sha'ul's list is "governments". From Strong's, this is the Greek word "kubemesis" (G481) that means "to steer, pilotage, (figuratively); directorship (in the church) government". Thayer's similarly defines kubemesis as "a governing (to control something), government."
Those who have received the Ruach ha'Qodesh and allow it to lead them in all their ways (i.e. walk therein) represent "legs and feet" of the Body of Yahushuah. "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:4) "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."(Galatians 5:25) "For, as many as are led by the Spirit of Elohim, they are the sons of Elohim." (Romans 8:14)
The Body's eighth "member" that Sha'ul speaks of is "diversities of tongues." "Diversities" is translated from "genos" (G1085). Strong's defines this word as "kin" (abstractly or concretely, literally or figuratively, individually or collectively), born; (country man), [diversity i.e. (Distinct being, as opposed to identity)], generation, kindred, nation, offspring, stock." "Tongues" is translated from the Greek word "glossa" (G1100). It can also mean "the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations."
Thayer's agrees, saying "genos" means "kindred, family, offspring, stock, tribe, i.e. nationality, a particular people" and the tongue is "a member of the body, an organ of speech." Based on these scriptural definitions, this verse can be better translated along the lines of "family tongue or language," which is a scriptural reference to prayer. "For he who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to Elohim. For, no man understands him; howbeit in the spirit he speaks mysteries." (1 Corinthians 14:2) Those that use their family tongue in this manner represent the "mouths" of the Body of Yahushuah.
With the above expounding (1 Corinthians 12:28), it's clear to see that when Yahushuah says "if your right eye offend you pluck it out" (Matthew 5:29) that He's not speaking of plucking out your literal eye, but the plucking out of an offensive apostle from amongst your "Ecclesia" (Body of Believers). And, likewise as to the subsequent verse: when He says "if your right hand offend you, cut it off"; He doesn't mean to literally cut off your right hand, but to "cut off" even a Healer from the Ecclesia, if he offends. This response of the Assembly upon those members, who are leading the Body into sin, is designed to preserve the spiritual unity of Elohim's people.
As BYA continues its spiritual growth in becoming the unified Body of Yahushuah, may we live according to our calling with humility, gentleness, patience and love; striving evermore to preserve our unity of Spirit through our bond of peace. He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Mashiach: until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Mashiach: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Mashiach: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the Body to the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)Shalom, pastor ObadiYah