Recently I got asked about “theology”, and it got me to thinking that whatever that means, it is NOT the same as studying YHVH and His Scripture. Why? Because ‘theology’ is derived from the Greek words ‘theos’, meaning “gods” and having to do with ‘study’, which does sound a bit different that just studying what He Wrote down for us. The Greek language assumes a lot of ’em, and no shortages of books about them, either.
It’s a bit like the realization there there are lots of “religions” but that the Bible has nothing good to say about the concept.
And that in turn got me to thinking about just HOW we might be able to explain similar differences to most Christians. What about “Sabbath”, and what difference does it make? And the perennial favorite: If we’re “saved by grace” and by “faith in Jesus” – what does that mean, what does it look like, and why, oh, why, would any of us care about all that nasty ole “Old Testament” stuff? Isn’t it all just “legalism” anyway?
And perhaps the best way to address that set of issues is head-on. Just which “Jesus” are we talking about, anyway?
The one who “did away with The Law,” and then “nailed it to the cross,” or the One Who was actually described in prophetic and legal detail in that same “Old Testament”? Put differently, “another jesus”, that the Apostle Paul, aka Shaul, in II Corinthians 11:4 warned us about, and said we might be fooled by, unless we learn to rightly divide the “Word of Truth”.
Since Paul/Shaul was advising people who, as he reminded them, already KNEW that the Messiah foretold by Moses would have to conform to the prophetic guidelines already laid OUT by Moses, it stands to reason that if such a person were to “do away” with the very instruction given by God to identify the One He would send, we have a problem.
So it’s instructive to note that in the very first “public address” that Messiah Yahushua ever gave, recorded in places like Matthew chapters 5 through 7, and often referred to as the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, He addressed those concerns up front:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
And He followed that up by saying that so long as “heaven and earth” still existed, not the SMALLEST part of His “Torah” would pass away. (Matthew 5:17-19) So, no doubt about it, “all” is not yet fulfilled.
Check it out for yourself. They still exist. If we believe Him (as opposed to just “believing IN Him”) then when we hear that He “did away with the law” – we know that SOMEONE is lying. Either that, or just maybe they’re talking about “another jesus, whom we HAVE NOT PREACHED.”
Furthermore, ALL of those who come in the Name of YHVH, the Most High, including His Annoined Meshiach, the Torah Made Flesh, must speak His Truth consistently, or they are NOT of Him. (Deuteronomy chapter 13, and many others.) So it should be clear that Yahushua can thus be distinguished from “another jesus,” by that undeniable and unchanging criterion. He IS, in fact, “the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, repeating Malachi 3:6. And check out the end of that Book, too!)
At this point the distinction between what I thus refer to as “xtianity” and what is Written in Scripture should be increasingly clear.
If ‘jesus’ had, in fact, “done away with” the Torah of Moses, (the so-called “Law”) then he, by his own admission, would not only have been a liar, but could NOT have been the “prophet like unto Moses” spoken of by the prophets, much less the ‘son of YHVH’. Yahushua, however, (to hammer home the important difference) went on to make a series of very important related distinctions in that same first speech. Over and over He said, “what you have heard it said” is NOT what is Written. And that He taught them, “as One having Authority”. (Matthew 7:29)
In many later teachings, from Mark chapter 7 to the 23rd chapter of Matthew, and similarly, He made it clear that men’s TRADITIONS and rulings and ‘interpretations’ (“theology,” perhaps) were not the same as “law” – even when “hypocrites” said they were. “By …teaching as doctrines the commandments of men…” they had, “made the commandments of Yah of no effect.” (Mark 7:6-13)
No doubt this is why Paul also advises us to not only “study to show yourself approved,” but to be like the Bereans, who confirmed what they were being told daily – in the “Old Testament”, obviously! – to find out whether what they were being told was True or not. (II Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11)
NOT ONE of the statutes, judgments, and commandments that He gave to us in His Word has been “done away with”, from His Sabbaths (plural), to what He told us is “food”, to His instruction about His Covenant, which we broke, and for which reason He came.
All of those we changed by men, by “adding to,” and “subtracting from“, in violation of His Word. (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, and the “last command in Scripture”, at the end of Revelation.) As several other commentators throughout Scripture have said, in more than one way, “are we to obey God, or men?”
And, “therein lies the rub”.
Yahushua says in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Why would He say something like that, if they had been “done away with” anyway? (And for those who answer something about the ‘law of love’, the follow-up question is obvious: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Since the most common prophetic metaphor throughout the Bible has to do with whoring, and idolatry, and adultery, and how we, repeatedly throughout history, have been “put away” from Him for that very act…the question can be rephrased, even if perhaps a bit bluntly: does a whore really know what love is, anyway? ESPECIALLY if the “law has been done away with.”)
Theology can be about lots of gods. The Bible, as Written, is about only One. And He does not change.
“As for me and my house,” said Joshua, “we will serve YHVH.” I can’t help but agree. After all, I’ve never been very big on theology.