This week we will conclude our look at scriptural repentance. I have attempted to establish the background of this word and its connections to restoration as it was originally formed. One day we know that we, who trust and commit our lives to ’Elohiym, will be brought back to the paradise that began all this. We will be fully restored there. Many of the descriptions in the book of Hitgalut (Revelation) give us a glimpse of this eternal state. We will be praising YHVH and worshiping him quite a bit. I'm excited, as I pray you are as well. This cannot be accomplished until we repent and turn from our evil ways, so YHVH can bring us back to where we came from. However, if we have been convinced that repentance is merely a change of mind about our past, then we have not gone back to YHVH at all. Therefore, we have not repented at all. This is not just in respect to our eternal salvation but our daily living as well. This is the purpose of this ministry. We do not wish to focus on our reconciliation to YHVH, but our day to day life with Him. We believe that scriptural repentance is necessary for your eternal state and your present condition.
In the New Testament, Yeshua‘ addresses the subject of restoration, as well. Keep in mind that restoration is the purpose of repentance (Yo’el (Joel) 3:1). As I said earlier in this subject, the first words recorded in the gospels from Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) and Yeshua‘ are biteshuvah kiy qarevah malekut shamayim, - "repent for the kingdom of heaven [or ’Elohiym, same thing in the Hebrew] is at hand." He is speaking to the Jewish leaders. YHVH loves them very much. He, as He does in the Tanakh, pleads with His people to go back. Why? So He can restore unto them what they neglected to possess by obedience. David sins against YHVH and repents so YHVH can restore the joy of his salvation. YHVH wants to restore His people all throughout the scriptures. He will one day restore all things and put them all under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:26-28).
The Greek word used to best express the concept of restoration is apokathistaymi. This word literally means to 'bring something back'. Sound familiar?
Mattityahu (Matthew) 17:11-12
"And Yeshua‘ answered and said unto them, Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not ..."
In the next verse we are told that Yeshua‘ was speaking of Yochanan the Immerser. What was Yochanan's ministry? The baptism of repentance!
"Then said he to the man, stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored well like the other."
The man's other hand was like it should have been. It was whole.
The full restoration of YHVH's kingdom has yet to be accomplished. This is yet future, but the restoration has begun. It begins by YHVH calling out a people for His name. It begins by YHVH choosing those who are to be Yeshua‘’s body and the bearer of His good news and restoration of His word. These people, mainly gentiles, are to make the Jews jealous (Romans 11:14). All through history, YHVH is calling out to His people to come back. His people, at this time, are the body of Yeshua'. Most of those over the centuries, that have claimed to be His people, have not gone back to anything, but have proclaimed a whole new people and gone their own direction. They have not been grafted into a fully established tree and root, but have planted a whole new tree. A tree at enmity with the old tree.
I have probably heard Divre-Hayamim Bet (2 Chronicles) 7:14 quoted hundreds of times over the years, in seminars, books, revivals, testimonies, and prayers. Western Christians pleading with YHVH to heal our nation. We recognize that our nation is immoral and corrupt, and that He will judge us. So we pray to Him fervently to help us, but listen carefully to what we are asking.
"If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and heal their land."
First of all, "if my people", anywhere else in the Tanakh would be only Israel, according to modern Christian teaching. But since we are in a jam, we can now use this verse. I believe it IS speaking to YHVH's people at all times and prophetically of Israel as well. Most Christians would agree that we need to humble ourselves. How many do you think know what that means scripturally? Most would agree that we need to pray and seek His face. It is the next command that I believe most Christians will not acknowledge is speaking to. "Wicked ways"? We are not wicked. This must be speaking of satan worshipers, the Ku Klux Klan, or Charles Manson. The wicked, why that is Bill Clinton or Hillary! Wait a minute, that must be speaking of the New World Order, or the New Age movement. Some will say that the wicked is Hollywood, videos, Nintendo, or the World Wrestling Federation. Some of the more pious will assume it is the abortion clinics, the homosexuals and PETA. The religiously observant will insist that the wicked ways are those of the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Moonies. And then again some will blame it all on Rush Limbaugh or Laura Schlessinger.
There are two main points to be made about the Hebrew behind this text.
Veyashuvu middarikeyhem har'iym reads: turn back from your evil ways.
Veyashuvu, of course, is from shoov. To repent, i.e. to go back to something. Go back to what? The context is to go back to the ways of the One who created you and knows all things, not to simply stop doing evil things.
The most deceptive term here is har'iym. This word is from the root ra', and is commonly translated as evil, wicked, grievous, trouble. It first shows up as the latter part of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The literal translation of this word is something broken or to break. Something is not right, it is wrong. This is why Jewish commentators see this as the tree of the knowledge of right and wrong. This word is not understood this way in our culture. The concept of something being wicked or evil is that which is not the ways of YHVH. If it is not clean, then it is unclean, holy or unholy, righteous or unrighteous, a believer or an infidel, the temple of God or the temple of idols, light or dark, right or wrong, Godly or evil (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). From YHVH's point of view, a man is either for Him or against Him, gathering or scattering. From the scriptural perspective you cannot say, "Well, I may not be obeying the commandments of YHVH, but I am not doing evil either." There is no in between. If the 'church' is not doing the will of God, then she has turned unto her own ways, she is doing evil. God is calling her back to His ways. However, the paradigm has been shifted concerning this term. Many have been convinced that wickedness is all those other people I mentioned earlier. So we simply define ourselves out of the picture. This is precisely why our nation, in spite of our heartfelt prayers, continues to plummet into an abyss of immorality. The 'church' will simply not be convinced that she is guilty of any wickedness, so there is nothing to turn from or to, and the blame goes to anyone or anything other than herself. So, until judgement begins in the house of YHVH, judgment will be poured out on our nation.
The next time you read or study the Book of Revelation, check out the letters to the seven kehillot (churches) and see how many times 'repent' shows up. When you do, think about what YHVH is trying to say to His people. Does He really want us to just stop doing this or that, or is He crying out to us to turn back to His instructions for our lives.
Mizemor (Psalm) 19:7
"The law of YHVH is perfect, restoring the soul."
"REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF 'ELOHIYM IS AT HAND!"
Next week, salvation, and what it means scripturally.