by Brad ScottThis word will begin to shift our focus from this point on. I have prayed that what we have defined so far will give you a grasp of how the New Testament should be understood. Going back to the beginning and defining all the words and phrases spoken in it gives us a better, if not a proper, understanding of what the writers meant when they used these words. So many students of Scripture teach these concepts by starting in the middle of the book. As you can see, this omits the very foundation. Many recent scriptural creation ministries have been trying to tell Christians, and non-Christians alike, this same thing. You MUST go back to the beginning to understand what is being taught in the middle and the end. So it is with the next word that we will tackle.
I am going to, very bluntly, tell you that without a scriptural understanding of repentance, you are not redeemed or reconciled back to YHVH. To put it more perfectly, as Sha’ul would say, you are not saved. Repentance, as we will see, is the starting point of your salvation. This is the perfect place for hasatan to deceive. Pervert the beginning and all the rest of the house is on sand. I am sure that you have wondered why so many people answer altar calls and go right back to their vomit, so to speak. You saw them seek Him with tears, and still their lives did not change. Could there be a difference between sorrow for your sins and true repentance? Is scriptural repentance more than changing your mind? Is it different from just turning away from sin? When Yeshua‘ and Yochanan (John the baptizer) said to the P'rushim (Pharisees), "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" what did they mean by repent? Do you really believe that the meaning of repent in the English or the Greek is what they meant? Do you believe that all 23,214 verses of teachings in the Tanakh (Old Testament) about this word is irrelevant? In the Tanakh, the Father teaches us His ways and sets the foundation for us. In Luke 2 verse 49, when they find Yeshua‘ teaching in the temple, He says to His parents, "Knew ye not that I must be about my Father's business?". In other words, my Father has taught me His ways and I am doing what He has taught me. He will carry on His father's profession. This only makes sense when you can see that this was Yeshua‘’s bar mitzvah. A Jewish boy's father spends 12 years teaching his son what is right and wrong. He teaches him Yah's ways. He teaches him his profession. Yosef was a carpenter, and Yeshua‘ was taught how to be a carpenter. When people watched Yeshua‘ build things, they saw the very nature of Yosef, as well. When he carved out the wood, they saw the skilled hands of Yosef in him. When his time came (bar mitzvah) and he was now a "son of the commandments", he was now responsible to continue His father's ways Himself. He was directly responsible to YHVH Himself. We must understand this father/son teaching in order to understand the Messiah. The Tanakh is replete with teaching on the fact that the Messiah will observe and follow His father's ways. He would not break one single commandment and not teach anyone else to break even the least of them (Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:19). In verse 52 of Luke 2, we see this confirmed when Luke says that Yeshua‘ increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with ’Elohiym and man.
The English word repent can begin to be understood by the Greek word that it is translated from. This word is metanoeo. Greek lexicons generally define this word as a changing of one's mind or sorrow. The New Englishman's Greek concordance goes on to say that it is "a change of heart and mind away from self and sin, and towards God and holiness." This is getting much closer, but too many students and teachers stop right there and try to apply that definition to our present day lifestyle. Many commentaries on the subject are quick to mention that this turning away from sin also concludes with a turning to YHVH. But, as I have said so many times before, this means virtually nothing to us today. We have not been taught scripturally what it means to turn to YHVH. To modern Christians, this means acknowledging that Jesus is Lord, the devil is bad, the Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult, and Bill and Hillary are responsible for our moral decay! So, we must take this very important word back to its origin, to see how the Father has already defined it. Then we will know what Yeshua‘ means when He says it, as well.
The comparable word used in the Tanakh and the Hebrew culture is teshuvah. This word is generally translated 'to return', or to 'go back'. This is borne out from its verbal root shoov. The first use of this word sets the standard for how it is to be understood. In Bere’shiyt (Genesis) chapter 1 and 2 we have the creation and making of all things. Man is created perfect and without sin and given only ’Elohiym's word. He has no knowledge of good or evil. His instructions are only the word of ’Elohiym, and he is told to not eat of the other tree. When he does, he now is doomed to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and banned from the tree of life. This tree of life, the pure word of YHVH (Mishlei (Proverbs) 3:13-18, 11:30) is in the paradise of YHVH (Hitgalut (Revelation) 2:7). Adam is taken out of the garden and put in the place that he was taken out of, i.e. the ground (Bere’shiyt 3:23). This is because the garden of Eden is a place of living eternally. Had he remained in the garden and eaten from the tree of life, he would have lived eternally in a fallen state. ’Elohiym removes him from this place and puts him back from where he was taken and bans him from entering the garden. This also teaches us that Adam's physical body is not made from material in the garden but from the earth outside the garden, which was not created in the image of ’Elohiym but in the beginning. This means that Adam cannot live eternally in the garden, but can receive the Tree of Life IN him and have eternal life IN him. This brings Adam back to access to the Tree of Life (YHVH's word). Notice that the other tree (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) never appears in scripture again. Why? Because it is in all of us by inheritance. There is no need to reach out and take of this tree, it is there by nature. Keep in mind however, that the tree is there by nature, not necessarily the fruit. This is why the believer has two natures struggling inside of him. Ask Sha’ul. He will tell you. Okay, now back to repentance. It is no coincidence that the word shoov shows up so soon after Adams' rebellion. In chapter 3 we see the deception of Chava (Eve) and the transgression of Adam (more on this later). Adam and Chava then set the standard for the response of man to ’Elohiym's call for the rest of human history. ’Elohiym searches for him and calls him on the carpet, and man denies personal responsibility for disobeying Him. Chava quickly follows with the same denial that she has personally done anything wrong. Hasatan, being a serpent, hasn't a leg to stand on and says nothing. YHVH ’Elohiym will now spend His time drawing man back to His tree. He dramatically illustrates this in Adam's curse.
"... cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
There are a bunch of neat things here, but lets stay with our subject. The word return, used twice here, is the first occurrence of the word for repent. This is dovetailed with the 'fall' of Adam. The foundation of repentance is the return to where you came from. Adam came from the dust, and that is where he will teshuvah, or return to. The root of repentance is to go back to something. It is what we are to go back to, that is critical. Ponder this for awhile. Is not this repentance the constant cry of YHVH to His people always? When you read of all the terrible judgment poured out in the last days, is this because the nations did not acknowledge that Yeshua‘ was Master, or is it because they turned (shoov) from His ways? Do you seriously believe that YHVH created a whole new tree (Christianity) designed to go their own way, as well? Or can you see that YHVH grafted us into a set apart, righteous tree that has been here all along, and that the natural branches can return to that tree?
We will continue to clearly define this word next time.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊