Changing Words; Changing Ways; Changing God…

A recent article in the BBC news is about body scanners being used in some Los Angeles (USA) subways.  Subway officials apparently touted the new scanners as ‘voluntary,’  but those refusing to go through the scanner won’t be allowed on the subway.

I don’t know about you, but to me that is a complete changing of the meaning of the word ‘voluntary.’  It has been made into its exact opposite: ‘required.’

This isn’t the only example of words having their meanings drastically changed recently.  It’s happening somewhat frequently, especially by special interest groups wanting to spread their philosophy of life and its rampantly done in politics.

Isaiah 5:20 states, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, …” (ESV).

So what should believers in God and followers of Yeshua (Jesus) do about this?

First, learn to recognize when, where and how this is happening.  Then learn the truth.

Why, you ask?  Because, over time, the new definition of word will become the accepted norm, even when it is against God’s word, or at the expense of a group of people.

Take the onslaught against Israel as an example.

Israel is called ‘apartheid’, yet nowhere in Israel’s laws or culture do you find a people group discriminated against.  That is what ‘apartheid’ means, such as what one had in S. Africa where it was encoded into law that one group of people was lower then another.  We all know that ‘apartheid’ is bad, so when a group accuses Israel as being an apartheid state because of the Palestinian situation, you, as a reader, immediately associate a negative thought with Israel even if there is no truth to it.  (If you want to claim that Israel is an apartheid state because of the lot the Palestinians are in, you desperately need to read about real apartheid, such as what was happening in S. Africa some decades ago.  That was apartheid.  And also about the history of the Palestinians.)

Another example is how we redefine words in the Bible to fit what we want to hear.

Paul writes, in a negative fashion, about people observing different days, seasons and years.  A typical reader, who has heard and is perhaps even knowledgeable in Christian theology, will immediately associate this reference as Paul speaking against observing God’s sabbath or feast days.  ‘Days, seasons and years’ is changed to “Sabbath, feasts, and other ‘Jewish’ observances.”  The whole context of who the letter is being written to, Paul’s beliefs, and Paul’s actions is completely ignored.  The letter is written (mostly) to Gentiles, and the Gentile world back then was full of all sorts of observances of days and times and season.  That was a normal part of gentile life!  And Paul himself is seen observing both the Sabbath and some feast days in the book of Acts!  If he really meant to speak negatively about those things, then he disqualifies himself as someone to be listened to.

Lastly there is Yeshua’s use of the word ‘food’ in the gospel of Mark, where it is written, “…by this he declared all food clean.”  Ignored is the immediate context of what is being written about.  Ignored is also the fact that Jews back then weren’t sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for someone to tell them that pork was to be eaten!  They didn’t even consider it food, just as I don’t consider worms, ants, or insects as food even though others do.  When someone says ‘food’ to me, I don’t start thinking about those things at all.  Not even a smidgen.

In the same way, when the word ‘food’ was mentioned to the ancient Jews, their thoughts were about those things they considered food (which were those things God called clean)!  They would have immediately understood that Yeshua (Jesus) was stating that the washing of hands before eating had no impact on whether a food was clean or not clean, as the Pharisees were claiming.

So, be it in every day life, politics, or reading our Bibles, be aware of changing what words mean!

Shalom,

  • Yosef

 

Forgiveness and Offense

The following was written in reply to a great post by the blogger “Tancy” titled, “You will be offended“.   Her post deals with a topic that has been twisted or ignored in the churches.  Here are my comments to her post.  Read her post to get the full picture.


Thanks Tancy for the timely words, as in our day, and in our churches, it has become vogue to ‘not forgive’, though this is behavior is buried behind other words. You make the comment, ” If you do not learn to forgive, … you won’t be eligible for God’s forgiveness either.” I know few Christians who would recognize your comment as Christ’s words immediately after he gave “the Lord’s prayer” (Mat. 6:9-15). They are words, however, that we need to remember at all times.

It seems that Yeshua’s (Jesus’) words are slipping away from the churches and our daily lives. Who remembers, and practices, Yeshua’s words where he states that we are to forgive (without exception) even up to “seventy times seven” times (and if you’re counting, you are missing the point). And what about the apostle Paul’s words where he exhorts us to bestow even greater honor, and treat with modesty, those that we deem ‘unpresentable’. (1 Cor. 12:22-24).

I like your comment, Tancy, of, “forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.” I’ve seen people’s live get eaten up and ruined simply because they were unwilling to let go of resentment and hurt.

Perhaps some of the problem is the teaching around ‘forgiveness’ that one finds today. It is an unfortunate fact of life that sin has consequences, even after one repents or is forgiven. Forgiveness does not mean an unconditional restoration of a relationship. One needs to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16). Some things take time to heal, but they will never heal as long as one does not ‘let go and forgive.’
When one finds oneself caught by unforgiveness, and can’t even bring oneself to forgive, one can start by asking God to help. But in the end, the step has to be taken, and the offender forgiven.

I’ll close with these words of Yeshua, “judge not, lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged, and by your standard of measure, you will be measured.”

So, keep proclaiming His word, even when it seems others aren’t. Thanks for your post.

  • Yosef

Truth! Does it exist anymore?

After this recent presidential election (President Trump) the news media is buzzing with the idea that we are now in a ‘post truth’ era.  Social media is making the idea of truth nebulous.   According to Stephan Lewandowsky (via BBC Future) of the University of Bristol, “There is a large proportion of the population in the US living in what we would regard as an alternative reality.  They share things with each other that are completely false.  Any attempt to break through these bubbles is fraught with difficulty…”

This attitude started several decades ago in the Christian church, and has spread throughout society.  Christianity, in the western cultures such as in the USA, decided that the Word of God was subject to individual interpretation and truth could be redefined.  Now we not only do not know what truth is, but there is opposition to the idea that there is a truth.

On the flip side, there is a movement within Christianity to return to God’s word, and a movement in society to figure out what is true (fact checking is becoming more known).

It is written that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Yeshua (called Jesus), is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  His word is as true today as it has ever been, and it does not change.  We need to repent and return to God’s ways.  Turn from all the traditions and interpretations that have been built up around God’s words, obscuring and even nullifying His word.

God has said that we are neither to add to nor subtract from His word (Deuteronomy 4:2).  Judaism loves to add to His word.  Christianity loves to subtract from His word.  Repentance is needed.

-Yosef