Today in our Sabbath Gathering we had some great dialogue. I wanted to share a little segment of that discussion. I think it brings a new understanding and deeper appreciation for looking at Scriptures through the lens of the “Old Testament”, or the Torah, Prophets and Writings.
Say, for a moment, that you had a vision or a revelation from God. You thought it was from the Father but it contradicted what was written in the Word. As a believer in YHWH and in his Word you would have two options. First, you could reject the revelation as something not of God. Or, second, you could accept the vision as from God but would seek to interpret it in light of what God has already revealed in the Word.
As a faithful servant of God, one thing you would not do is believe that God was asking you to walk contrary to the Scriptures.
So lets go back in time to the apostles and the very first believers. How did they interpret their walk as a new creation, in light of the work of Messiah? I don’t think suddenly the gospel of the Messiah meant that the Scriptures no longer applied. Their Scriptures were not the “New Testament”, which wasn’t yet written, but only the Word that was given to Moses and the Prophets. Their new life was rooted in what was written hundreds of years earlier. The disciples would have interpreted every part of the gospel though that lens, not in a way that would have undermined the Word.
What about the apostles’ writings? At first glance it seems like much of Paul’s writings were contradictory to what had previously been given. And Peter’s vision seemed to be challenging Scriptures, too. What about the decision of the Jerusalem Counsel in Acts? Do all these passages point towards a new revelation of God’s Word?
We have a choice here.
We could believe that God gave the apostles revelation that negated the Word. We could rationalize that it is now acceptable that this new truth of God is not in accordance with the Scriptures. We could interpret the work of the Messiah as canceling the statutes of the Father, that were instated for every generation.
Or, we can look at the writings of the apostles in a more logical, and God-honoring way. The same way we would view it if we received a revelation. There is no possibility that a message would be from God if it were in opposition with the Scriptures. Period. We would, or should, never ever arrive at that conclusion. And I think most of us, who are true believers, would wholeheartedly agree.
God would not direct us in any way contrary to Scriptures.
I tend to think that Paul, Peter, John and others would have said the same thing. They would have rejected the revelations if they had been leading them away from the Word of God. As we read their writings we must view their words in light of the fact that the whole Word must be in one accord. There is no “old” and “new” Word of God. There is one truth for all people. We must choose to read the newer writings in a way that interprets them to be continuous, and not in opposition, to the truth of God.
We would never accept today that something is of God if it contradicted the Scriptures. Neither would the apostles or early believers. We must not interpret their words in a way that assumes they are abandoning what was written in the Torah. If we cannot understand how the words of the apostles echo God’s truth in the Torah and Prophets, maybe it is that our eyes are not open.
Let’s not be quick to assume that YHWH would send revelation that contradicts his own Word. Let’s seek to reinterpret that revelation in a way that is in line with the existing Scriptures. Maybe we need to reinterpret through different eyes, eyes that are open to see a God whose Word stands forever.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:22-25 (embedded quote from Isaiah 40)