Torah (tö’rá, Hebrew: instruction, law) — divine law; the Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible); the entire Jewish scriptures.
The Big BOOK: Can we grasp It?
Alam na marahil ng marami na ang kilala nating Bible ngayon ay nanggaling sa mga Hudyo, na ang malaking bahagi nito ay ang kanilang kasaysayan at ng bayan nilang Israel.
Ang Bibliya ay nahahati sa dalawa: ang Lumang Tipan (Old Testament) at ang Bagong Tipan (New Testament). Nasa Lumang Tipan lang ang Torah ng Judaismo (relihiyon ng mga Hudyo); hindi sila naniniwala sa sinasabi ng Bagong Tipan na si Hesus (Yeshua) ang ‘Messiah’ (anointed one) o Kristo.
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
— John 1:11
Wala daw ang first o second advent of Christ na yan. Mukha nga namang illogical ang konsepto ng isang suffering Messiah; paano nga naman makapagsasalba ang isang tagapagligtas na ipinako at namatay “na” sa krus? Isang reigning Messiah na agad maghahari pagdating ang inaasahan nila; isang makapagbibigay ng world peace (utopian dream?) na inaasam-asam ng marami. Para sa mga Hudyo, ang hinihintay na Kristo ay hindi pa dumarating.
Mahirap ma-appreciate at maintindihan ang Bible kung basta babasahin lang. Mas makatutulong ang isang panoramic view o buod para makita ang buong istorya mula umpisa (Genesis) hanggang katapusan (Revelation). Huwag lang masyadong ma-engrossed dun sa hindi pa nangyayari, hane? 😉
Duon sa mga nagpapalagay na myth lang ang Bible (in part or as a whole), kuhanan ng mga kowtabol kowts at inspayreysyongs, saklay ng mga “hopeless” at trip lang mag-emo 😆 ay nasasainyo yun (maraming skeptics nang mga nauna nuon). I-share ko lang ito, tutal National Bible Week naman ngayon.
Bahagi lang ito ng isang “How to Study the Bible” booklet na sinulat ni Richard W. de Haan (copyright January 1971, Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501). Pasensya na po at hindi ko na nagawang isalin sa Tagalog.
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
A verse often quoted to encourage Bible study is Paul’s exhortation, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). These words admonish the believer to seek diligently God’s will, and to master His Word as a skilled craftsman does his tools. Even as a mechanic must know exactly when and how to use each implement at his disposal, so the Bible student must know the Scriptures to apply in any given situation. He must have a correct concept of Bible history, and he must be able to recognize the various stages in God’s revelation of himself and His salvation. He must understand how God made himself known to men before the Bible was written, and how He saved people before the actual coming of Christ into the world. He must also know why we no longer observe some of the rules of the Old Testament, and why we are not under the law of Moses.
One cannot really understand the Scriptures unless he realizes that God has progressively revealed himself in seven distinct stages which we call dispensations.
The Bible opens with the story of creation and tells us that the first human pair, Adam and Eve, were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). They lived in the garden of Eden, knew God, communed with Him, and were holy in thought, word, and deed. Their sinlessness was not the result of a CHOICE, however, and so they had to be subjected to a test. God told them they could eat of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He then permitted Satan, a mighty angelic being who had sinned and become an enemy of the Lord, to tempt the innocent pair by urging them to eat of the forbidden tree (Genesis 3). Our first parents yielded to Satan, and God drove them out of Eden, sentenced them to physical death, and pronounced a curse upon the earth. Had they stood when tested, they would have passed from the state of innocence into that of confirmed holiness, and they would also have gained an experiential knowledge of good by doing right. Instead, they obtained this knowledge through sin, and their NATURE became evil. They were separated from the Lord, and this separation is called spiritual death in the Bible. As a result of their DISOBEDIENCE, every child that is born into this world is a sinner, spiritually dead and under the sentence of physical death.
The dispensation of conscience began immediately after Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden (Genesis 4). They continued to be morally responsible creatures. God had taught them the principle of blood sacrifice when He clothed them with the skins of animals after their sin, and had promised that the seed of the woman (that ‘seed’ is Christ) would someday destroy Satan. Adam and Eve and their descendants possessed the assurance, therefore, that their sin could be covered by sacrifice, and that God would someday provide a Redeemer for their race. The Lord apparently gave no additional special revelation, but showed them His will primarily through conscience and nature. In the years that followed, the deep depravity of human nature made it clear that mere knowledge of the truth and the voice of conscience cannot lead men to a life of spiritual peace and victory. The human race gradually became so corrupt that God destroyed everyone except Noah and his family in the great flood (Genesis chapters 6, 7, and 8).
The third dispensation, called human government, began immediately after the flood. Everything God had revealed about blood sacrifice, a coming Messiah, and moral responsibility continued to be valid for Noah and his descendants. Genesis 9 indicates that the Lord authorized the establishment of government for the punishment of wrongdoers, even authorizing the death penalty for murder. He also gave man the right to eat animal flesh, forbade the consumption of blood as food, promised that the natural order of the seasons would be preserved, and declared that a flood would never again destroy the earth.
The age of human government, like the preceding dispensation, was corrupted by the deep depravity of mankind, and man’s wickedness took a new direction — that of rebellion and oppression. In the tower of Babel incident (Genesis 11:1-9), men organized a revolt against the worship of the one true God, and powerful leaders like Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10) formed strong kingdoms that they might make slaves of others. Thus God demonstrated that sinful men could not be trusted with power, and that salvation for the human race was impossible without further revelation and provision from God. The great civilizations which arose in Egypt, Chaldea, and Haran began with a high concept of God, but gradually degenerated into gross idolatry and heartless oppression. Because of man’s sin, the dispensation of human government had to be superseded by another revelational disclosure from God.
With Abraham (Genesis 12), God began an entirely new program. Until this time He had revealed himself to all men everywhere, but now He chose one man to receive special revelation, which contained promised blessings to him and his descendants. Therefore, the new age is called the dispensation of promise. God continued to love the other nations of the earth, and they still possessed the revelation He had already given mankind — the inner voice of conscience, the light of nature, and the restrictions of divinely ordained human government. But God called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that through them the light of His truth might shine forth to all men.
God’s covenant with Abraham had far-reaching implications. He assured the patriarch that he would have a numerous progeny, gave him and his descendants the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and told the patriarch that through his seed (Christ) “shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (See Genesis 12:1-3; 17:7,8; 22:18). The family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob became a great multitude in the land of Egypt during the next 400 years, were delivered from bondage by mighty miracles, but wandered in the wilderness 40 years because of unbelief.
The extent of man’s depravity was again revealed during the fourth dispensation. Though beautiful in its direct inward light of faith and sublime simplicity, the age of promise could not solve the problem of man’s deep sinfulness. Confirming man’s inability to do God’s will, even when living under Divine favor, it prepared the way for the next dispensation, that of law.
The Israelites had left Egypt and were on their way to the land of Canaan. At Sinai, God gave them the law in solemn majesty, accompanied by thunders and lightnings, a quaking mount, and blasting trumpet (Exodus 19:16-19). This new dispensation lasted 1500 years, and its end came at the death of Jesus Christ, signaled by mighty wonders — a quaking earth, splitting rocks, and the tearing of the temple veil (Matthew 27:50-56). Throughout this period the nations continued under the rule of conscience and human government. The people of Israel, however, lived under a detailed system of civil and ceremonial laws. The way of salvation was by faith alone, which was expressed in obedience to the many regulations of the law. The minute rules and the severe penalties for disobedience were designed to lead God’s chosen people to an exalted concept of His holiness, but again sinful men failed to learn the intended lesson.
The New Testament clearly declares that the law did not set aside God’s promise to Abraham, for Paul says it was “added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Galatians 3:19). God gave the Mosaic Law that through it men might obtain the knowledge of what sin really is (Romans 3:20), and recognize their complete inability to save themselves. Paul spoke of it as a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24), and James said it served as “a mirror” (James 1:23-25). The law revealed to men the extent of their depravity, told them of their need for repentance, and taught them that salvation can be received only through a humble trust in God’s forgiving mercy. It gave unmistakable proof that man can never save himself by works.
The dispensation of law was concluded at the ► death of Christ. The law as a system had to come to an end because of its very nature, for no one could perfectly keep its commandments, and the animal sacrifices themselves could not really pay the price of man’s sin. Furthermore, most of the Israelites had missed its real spiritual significance. Instead of seeing their inability to save themselves, and their need of God’s grace, they used the law as the basis for a works-system of salvation.
But in the fullness of time God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life in obedience to the law, and then offered himself as the sacrifice to pay for sin. The dispensation of grace, replacing the law, is grounded upon the ► finished work of Jesus Christ. It tells men they no longer are required to live in obedience to the law of Moses, and that no ritual or ceremonial system can help secure their salvation. True, the unchanging moral law of God is still in effect. The believer in Christ does not live in lawlessness and sin, but, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, his life is characterized by righteousness. He knows that his own good works in no way contribute to his salvation. He rejoices in the truth,
“ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God — Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
During this dispensation God is building the Church, made up of all who believe on Jesus Christ. This age of grace will end at the ► rapture when the Lord Jesus resurrects the true believers who have died, and instantly transforms living saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
God will once again focus His attention upon the chosen people Israel. The Lord will effect Israel’s conversion and bring about their final restoration to the land of Palestine through a period known as the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21). Under the personal rule of Jesus Christ, a righteous government will reign from Jerusalem (Jeremiah 23:5,6; Isaiah 32:1; Luke 1:32), peace and prosperity will be enjoyed by the nations (Isaiah 2:2-4), and all nature will be transformed (Isaiah 11:6-9; 35:1,2).
In the millennium, as in every previous dispensation, salvation will be by grace alone. Mere outward submission to Christ’s rule, therefore, will not mean that every individual who is born during this time will become a true believer. Many will appear to render obedience, but at the close of the millennial age they will join hands with Satan and his evil spirits in their final effort to conquer Christ and His kingdom. Fire from Heaven will destroy these rebels, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire, the earth will be purged, and the Great White Throne of judgment will be set up (Revelation 20:7-15). At this point, time will cease, eternity will begin, and everyone will be in either ► Heaven or Hell.
Without the knowledge of the dispensations, one cannot understand God’s Word. One must recognize the clear distinction between Israel and the Church: Israel is God’s earthly people with an earthly destiny in the millennial age, while the Church is a heavenly people. If you realize this, you will understand why you no longer live under obligation to keep Jewish feast days or sabbaths. You will also be able to distinguish between promises made to the nation of Israel and to the Church. But you must also see the glorious unity of the Bible, for in each dispensation God has always saved by grace and ruled by law. He never changes. His basic moral law abides. The way of salvation is ever by grace alone.
Speaking to unbelieving Jews of His time, Jesus said:
“ For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say,
‘ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
— Matthew 23:39
(In-update nila yung website; pati yung ni-link ko nuon nabago)