While reading through Psalm 37 verse 31 stood out to me. Ps. 37:29-31 - 29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. 30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. 31 The law (Torah) of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
Dispensationalism is the main reason God’s people have had such difficulty in seeing the Scriptures as one unified whole. (The concept of “OT” and “NT” as separate and distinct from each other, has created an unnecessary misunderstanding.) To make the New Testament “Church” something unique/new/different (since the “Church” isn’t in the OT), a system had to be developed to make that preference “fit” into the Scriptures. The Scofield Reference Bible (which came out in 1909) was a major catalyst for a whole new generational mindset for understanding the Scriptures. This mindset was born out of the heretical theories proposed by Westcott and Hort.
I find it very interesting that, in this Old Testament passage, it makes mention of the Torah of God being in the heart of the individual.
My intent isn’t to be exhaustive here. My intent is to get you to think — to think beyond any preconceived interpretations and understandings you have.
Consider the five following things.
1. “Yeshua did away with the Torah” - Did He really do that?
If Yeshua came and did away with the Law/Torah, what happened to those OT saints living during the time of Yeshua? They had the Torah in their heart. Ps. 37:31 says they did.
Did some of it get deleted from their hearts like files wiped from a hard drive?
If so, when exactly did that happen? Was it slow or fast? Did they sense something was torn from their hearts? Did they now proclaim what parts Yeshua came to do away with?
Can you really accept that the Word/Torah/Yeshua made flesh came to do away with part of Himself? What part? Whack off an arm, a toe, three fingers, an ear, an appendix? We have to think logically and practically.
Some might say (and do say) the OT saints didn't have the Holy Spirit because He hadn’t come yet and therefore wasn’t living in them.
So … can a person (OT or NT) have the Torah in their heart without being saved and possessing the HS? Impossible.
2. Yeshua talking to Nicodemus
Jn. 3:7-10 - 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Here you have the Torah made flesh telling Nicodemus he should have already had an understanding of being born-again (saved) and being indwelt/born of the Holy Spirit. This would have been the perfect time for Yeshua to let Nicodemus, a “master of Israel,” in on this new thing that was going to be happening, don’t you think? But He didn’t, did He?
3. Yeshua’s baptism
Matthew 3:16-17 - 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Psalm 40:6-8 6 — 6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Hebrews 10 makes it plain that Ps. 40 is a Messianic reference to Yeshua.)
Was the the Torah and Holy Spirit already within Yeshua prior to His baptism? Or, can you accept that He had neither? Or, how much did/didn’t He have? This gets sticky, doesn’t it? I contend Yeshua had the Torah and the Holy Spirit in His heart prior to His baptism.
So, what’s going on in this baptism passage?
As Yeshua entered into the period of His earthly ministry (wrapped in the flesh as He was), He was empowered for that stage of His life’s service. As examples: His testing by Satan which follows; the many encounters He would face; the many miracles He performed. None of which occurred prior to Yeshua’s entry into His public purpose in ministry.
4. Pentecost — Acts 2.
Was this the first anybody personally new about and possessed the Holy Spirit? No. So why did the Holy Spirit “come” then, at that particular time? The Holy Spirit came at that moment in time for the salvation and the enabling of those for service outside the land of Israel.
The people would soon be dispersed abroad, without a High Priest (the book of Hebrews addresses this) or Temple. This (other than the captivity) will be the first time the Gospel is to go outside of Israel into the nations. As such, it is a new stage in the fulfillment of the restoration of Judah and Ephraim.
5. Our understanding of what verses mean is clouded by the predisposition we already have when we approach them. And much (if not most) of our predispositions are from the late 1800’s and the Westcott/Hort mess.
Here’s a challenging verse to consider. John 7:39 — But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
Benson’s (1749–1821) Commentary note sheds some basic, simple perspective. He says:
“Accordingly the evangelist adds, by way of explication, this spake he of the Spirit — Of the Holy Spirit’s gifts and graces; which they who believed on him should receive, were about to receive, namely, after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, according to his promise, John 14:16; and John 16:7. The extraordinary gifts of the Spirit had, in a great measure, ceased since the death of Zechariah and Malachi. They had been faintly manifested in the approach of the Messiah, as to Zechariah and Elizabeth, to Simeon and Anna, and especially to John the Baptist, who is said to have been filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb; but the full effusion of these gifts, foretold by Isaiah and Joel, took not place till after the ascension of Christ, and was yet to come. On the day of Pentecost, and not before, these extraordinary gifts were communicated to the apostles, evangelists, and many other believers, to fit them for converting the world. The universality, however, of the invitation and promise here given, makes it evident that, on this occasion, our Lord had the ordinary influences of the Spirit in his eye, which the evangelist’s remark, that the Holy Ghost was not yet given, will not exclude; because, even these might at that time be said not to have been given, as they had been given but sparingly, in comparison of the plentiful distribution which was to be made of them to all believers after Christ’s ascension.”
Why don’t the minds of our modern theologians think and conclude like his (and others of his time period) did? Benson had no need to come up with any other interpretation than what was plainly evident. His mind hadn’t yet been influenced by the changes in theological influences that developed after the late 1800’s.
We need to wipe our personal “hard-drives” of the varied theologies that have been uploaded into the system of theology we’re comfortable in. We need to realize that there’s nothing wrong with coming to the Scriptures free from as many of our biases as is humanly possible. I’m not saying to check your mind at the door. But, I am saying to come with your theological biases checked at the door. Don’t be afraid. It is a little frightening at first, but you might be surprised what you’ll discover.
Unless we’re hungry enough to let the Scriptures speak for themselves minus the filters we automatically use, we will remain stuck in the same recycled information we’ve been programmed with.
Acts 17:11 — These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
We love to talk about the believers of Berea, but I’m not so sure we, in all actuality, want to be like them.