Hebrew Words Defined
Faith Part 3
by Brad Scott
I thought about calling this section, "Faith - The Conclusion", but the simple fact is that there is no conclusion to Scriptural faith. As defined in the Tanakh, faith is not something you get. It is something you are always doing. It is always in context with ’Elohiym's commands and teaching. It is fully realized and expressed in Yeshua‘ our Messiah. One of the many things that Scripture has to say about the nature of the Messiah is that He always listens to the Father, says and does what the Father does (Yochanan (John) 5:19, 8:28, 8:55, 12:49). This is true faith - to hear and do. So, because Yeshua‘ listened to the Father 100% of the time, He was "successful" in all that He did 100% of the time. The problem with His followers is that we, mostly because of pride or silly teaching, will not admit that we do not listen to Him always. Just like children.
One of the greatest examples of the "flow chart" of faith is in Mattityahu (Matthew) 8:5-10. In this account, a centurion comes to Yeshua‘ because his servant is sick. Yeshua‘ agrees to come and see the sick servant. But the centurion, understanding authority, says to Yeshua', "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." Then comes the neat part, "For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it." Now Yeshua‘ marveled at this and replied, "Verily I say unto you, I have not found so GREAT faith, no, not in Israel." This centurion is commended over all of Israel at the time because he understood something about authority, faith, and even Yeshua‘ himself. In the Mattityahu and Luke versions of this incident, the Greek and Aramaic (Peshitta) texts translate verse 8 as, "For I also am a man under authority ..." This centurion knew that Yeshua‘ could do what He did because He was also under the authority of His Father. The centurion recognized that Yeshua‘ was operating under the command of a higher authority. Now, we are speaking positionally here, not with respect to essence or nature, OK? The centurion was teaching all of us that his soldiers listened to him because he listened to the one who was over him. In other words, faith flows down hill, so to speak. There must be a trusting obedience. Faith is not invisible or unseen or blind. It is recognized action in a flow of order, beginning at the top.
Many times in the epistles we see this same teaching being passed on. In 1Corinthians 11:1 Sha’ul states, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of the Messiah." Then he goes on to say "Now I praise you brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you." WOW! What a wonderful verse. Sha’ul is talking about something that was very well understood in Hebrew thought. One of the reasons that YHVH, in His foreknowledge, chose Israel is that He knew that they would preserve His words and ways. That passing His ways from one generation to the next was sacred to His people, Israel. This is in one way expressed through the Masorites. The Masorites were those who, in the sixth through the ninth centuries, preserved the Hebrew language by developing a written Hebrew text with vowels, Cantor, and punctuation marks. Their very name indicates what they do. The word Masorite is from the Hebrew word massor (משר). This word means to pass down or transmit. The Greek word used here is paradoseis (παράδοσις), which is usually translated as traditions (Galatians 1:14, 2Thessalonians 2:15). In other words, these are things which are handed down from one generation to the next. Sha’ul was not teaching anything new. He was simply teaching that the Messiah had come, and this is what it means to the Jew and the Greek.
So, getting back to the centurion. Faith is ascribed to this man because he knew what it was, plain and simple. He knew that true faith is manifested when obedience to a higher authority is exercised. The Pharisees and Sadducees had circumvented Yah's ways and went about establishing their own. Yeshua‘ never scolded the Jewish leaders for obedience, but rather for disobedience. They were not teaching the traditions of their Father, but rather another father (Yochanan 8:39-44). This is why Yeshua‘ could commend the centurion's faith above all of Israel.
Let me give you a few more New Testament verses that employ this very Old Testament word.
Acts 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Romans 1:5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name;
Romans 3:31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.
Romans 4:12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father, Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
Colossians 1:23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature that is under heaven, of which I, Paul, am made a minister.
Ivrim (Hebrews) 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
So, I think it would be a good idea to continue this discussion. Ivrim 11:6 is very hebraic and very revealing about the nature of faith as it is defined in the Tanakh. We will be back very soon. So hang in there.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊