Sorry it’s been a while, since my last entry. I recently had my life turned upside down, and it’s taken a while for me to adjust. I’m still adjusting, getting used to it. Initially I was going to title this “Repentance”, but I’ve already written at least one article on repentance. Repentance is such a big topic, that I’ll have to do a series on it, to begin to come close to doing justice to the topic. I’ve spent months meditating on this subject, going back to before my life was turned upside down. While I was intending on focusing on a particular group of people, I realized it applied to everyone in general, and to me personally.
I got the idea to write about this back around May of 2017. I was thinking about sin and it’s definition, and subsequently repentance and what it means. 1 John 2:2-6; 1 John 3:4-10; 1 John 5:2-3; 2 John 1:6; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; 1 John 2:24; Rom 7:7-13. I could go on listing scriptures, chaining throughout the entire Bible, but hopefully these few have made their point. Sin is breaking the law, Torah. Christians often say that we are freed from the law, that they are under grace. So first off, let’s put this concept to the test. If the law, Torah, is done away with, then we no longer have a definition for sin and there is no judgement. Think of it like a speeding citation. An officer of the law pulls you over for speeding. You have broken the law, and he has every right to cite you for this violation of the law. If he instead decides to extend you grace, and give you a warning, does that then mean that you are no longer under the law, but grace? Do you see how ridiculous that logic is? Christianity does teach that repentance means to turn from, to do a one eighty. Some might even go so far as to turn from sin and to follow God. The problem is when you remove the law, Torah, from the concept, then “following God” becomes open to interpretation, and subject to what one thinks that means.
On the Torah observant side of things, it’s often said that repentance is t’shuvah. T’shuvah comes from the root shoob, meaning to turn, and can be translated as repentance, but even this is incomplete. The Yale Anchor Bible Dictionary says the following; “Repentance 1. OT Background. In the LXX both metanoia/metanoeō and metamelomai translate the Heb nāḥam a total of 35 times, again emphasizing the elements of a change of thinking and regret. It has been commonly held that the NT concept of ―repentance‖ follows the meaning of the frequent Heb verb šûb (TDNT 8:989; NIDNTT 1: 357). However, such a view cannot be sustained from LXX usage because šûb, which is used over 1,050 times, is always translated by epistrophō (―to turn, be converted‖) and its kindred terminology (TDNT 8:726–29; NIDNTT 1: 354). Thus, any possible shift in meaning took place during the Intertestamental Period, perhaps under Hellenistic influence (TDNT 4:989), though such a conclusion lacks fully persuasive proof (Wilkin 1985).” You can really get a feel for epistropho by looking in the LXX, Septuagint. Metamelomai has three equivalent Hebrew words; asham, naham and nacham. These three Hebrew words give a better concept of the Greek metamelomia, which is often translated as repentance. It’s to, not just be guilty, but to also be “sorry”, to feel regret and remorse, that leads to a turning away, a conversion. In this case, a conversion to enter into covenant with God, which would mean following His rules, law, Torah.
So while Christianity gets it simply as to turn away from sin, they may even include being remorseful and regret with the turning away, because they have removed Torah as the definition for sin, then the Christian concept of repentance is incomplete. It’s only when we get that it was the violation of His Torah that caused Jesus, Yeshua, to come and die for us, so that we could be restored. Why would restoration be so important? Because we were always meant to live by the Torah. The Torah was just supposed to be the minimum requirements. Jesus, Yeshua, called us to live better, to restore us to before the fall, when we were walking in covenant with God.
One thing that God has been showing me, in recent months, is how prideful and arrogant I am. It has been a very humbling and painful time. While I could justify it, to do so would be to negate the work that God is doing. The time to go into details is not now. For now, just be content with what I’m sharing.
There are eight hundred and seventy eight texts, in Sefaria, that include not just the TaNaKh, but also rabbinical texts and commentaries. There is just so much to this subject. I can only hope that I have wet your appetite for more on this subject. We do need to be guilty, remorseful, sorrowful, and to be converted, so that we come into covenant with God and His Torah. Most of you reading this would already consider yourself to be in covenant with God, to which I say “great”. When we look at it biblically, it’s just like a marriage. So if we aren’t abiding by His rules, Torah, then we are not being faithful. In fact, God considers adultery and idolatry to be the same thing. So clearly, abiding in Him, following His Torah, is a big deal to Him and the minimum requirements for what He considers being faithful to Him.
I called this entry, “Seeing what we want to see” because in the toldot Torah portion, Rabbi Chiam Richmond of the Temple Institute was speaking about Esau and Jacob and Isaac. He showed how that in Gen 27 when it describes Esau as a hunter, it’s really a bad translation, and perhaps it’s better translated as “trapper“. We really get a concept of what it’s talking about when we think about verbally trapping someone. It’s this sense that this portion is talking about. Esau knew what to say and how to present himself, so that he appeared as a good boy. Isaac, as the text says, loved Esau. Isaac, saw what he wanted to see. He saw Esau as a good boy, even though Esau only cared for himself and not his birthright or blessing…Until Jacob got it. Then he cared. He married the local Canaanite women, which is another example of how he didn’t care for what his father and family thought, or the legacy. Yet Isaac, it says, loved Esau. We too, are like this. We see what we want to see. One of the biggest problems with biblical interpretation, today, is that we read our culture, our world view, into the text. Instead of looking at it as, it wasn’t written to us, but for us. Moses, when he was writing this, was addressing the six hundred thousand that came with him out of Egypt. He wasn’t addressing us, but it is certainly for us. As a result, we wont understand what the text is saying until we understand what was being said to those who came out of Egypt. We need to take off our glasses, where we see what we want to see, and see the truth. Once we see the truth, then we can repent.