Since starting a TWTY facebook page, I've had a few people message me on there asking some questions.
I shall be using this topic to post some of them (that I've asked permission to do so), and to let other people comment, as there are some great questions asked, that I've attempted to answer
I have a few scripture related questions that I desperately need help solving. Unfortunately, I can't use the forum or email to communicate with you so facebook is really my only option now. I recently encountered your website and have found it extremely informative! After researching on your website, I stumbled upon Yada Yahweh and the works of Craig Winn. I have since spent hours upon hours pouring over his material in an attempt to understand it. Long story short, it made me realize I need to consult someone well versed on Scripture, such as yourself.
I have spent about the last 4 years of my life trying to understand how the Torah/Law of Moses relates to the life of a believer in the Messiah. I also have feverishly searched for an explanation of how it applies to the life of Gentile/Jewish believers, respectively. So finally, I hope to ask you a few questions I have been seeking answers to for a very, very long time. I would first like to know your stance on Torah observance in a Believer's life and with regards to salvation. What is your interpretation of Acts 15? Is circumcision a very crucial requirement for gentiles as Craig Winn stresses? Also, what is the proper translation of Acts 15:5? I've read that the greed "te" (and) is periphrastic, making the issue really only about circumcision and not about Torah also (http://thedustylibrary.org/Law/acts15_1.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;). Secondly, if circumcision isn't a requirement, than how does that fit in with what Matthew 5:17-20 says? Are "these commandments", referred to in Matt. 5:19, simply a reference to the commandments Messiah is discussing, to the Ten Commandments, or to ALL of the Law of Moses? If none of the Torah changed, how could Messiah say the law on divorce was altered, "eye for an eye" was altered, and other "but I say..." statements?
What does "greatest" vs "least" in the Kingdom of Heaven mean? My third question is with regards to prophecy. Craig Winn claims to have calculated the date of Messiah's return. I want to know your stance on knowing the "day and hour". Do you feel any man can truly know? Winn claims this passage (in Matt 24) simply states no man knows when the rapture will be, but we can still know when Messiah's return is. Finally, what are your thoughts on CW's works in general? I've spent a significant amount of time trying to understand his book Yada Yahweh, but I just can't seem to follow most of what he says. I'm not an expert in Greek/Hebrew. Do you feel I should continue trying to study his works? Do you think he is reliable? I'm sorry if I've made this message too long and confusing, I just desperately need some help. I'm eighteen and have been racking my brain trying to understand how The Law of Moses relates to a believer for years. I've just grown extremely frustrated and depressed looking for answers and am very grateful for your help. I hope to communicate more in the future.
Firstly, my apologies for complete missing this message. For some reason Facebook had shoved it in "other" rather than my Inbox, so when I looked to see whether I had any new message, my 'Inbox' was blank.
You've asked quite a few questions, so I'll attempt to answer them the best I can here
1. “Torah oberservance: is it a requirement for 'salvation'?”
Well, no, not specifically. One can't observe the Torah and expect that that will "save" them - that's not the Torah's point (it's point is to show us just how much we need a saviour - Yahushua). However, realising that the Torah contains Yahuweh's instructions for our life, it is imperative that if we say we love Yahuweh, then we should follow His commandments/instructions. We can't say that we love Yahuweh, and then ignore what He says we should do to live a long, healthy life.
2. “Circumcision: is it a requirement for gentiles as per CW?”
No; emphatically and absolutely not. 'circumcision' is for the Israelites/Jews with regards to having Israel as their homeland. There's quite a long discussion on this on TWTY forums in the following two topics: http://forums.thewaytoyahuweh.com/viewt ... ?f=16&t=10" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and http://forums.thewaytoyahuweh.com/viewt ... ?f=10&t=26" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; . As I mention in both of those, the only times I can find physical circumcision being mentioned in Scripture, they always come attached with the Land of Israel, and it being an eternal possession of the Israelites. Gentiles, not being Israelites, are therefore not required to be circumcised as most of us aren't in Israel. However, if you wanted to, there's nothing wrong with being circumcised; as long as you realise that you're essentially telling Yahuweh "Yup; I want you to consider me a physical Jew/Israelites", and therefore do everything that that requires: moving to Israel and being a "performer", not a beneficiary. CW is dead wrong on this one.
3. “Acts 15: what is the correct translation and meaning?”
Well, the most accurate translation I've done of the verse is found on TWTY website: http://www.thewaytoyahuweh.com/translat ... #chapter15" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. I translated verse 5 as following: "On the contrary, however, some certain specific persons who had their start and origin in the sect and party, school and division of the Pharisees, who had come to trust and rely, obey and place confidence, certainty and guarantee, assurance and dependence in the Trustworthy One, were caused to stand upright and firm, steadfast and established, fixed and unmoveable, upheld and sustained, maintained and authorised from among others, saying and teaching, maintaining and exhorting, advising and directing, affirming and pointing out, “Concerning these certain things, that there are Gentiles among us, it is necessary and behoves, right and proper, inevitable and binding, fitting and destined, ordained and prescribed, suitable and beneficial to strictly enjoin and order, divide and separate, define and charge, admonish and command them to be circumcised, cutting off and removing their foreskin, as well as to keep and guard, hold on to and retain, attend to and maintain, keep an eye on and watch over, preserve and protect the Law, the teachings and precepts, instructions and commandments of the Torah of Moshe." - I would agree with the assessment that the main issue was circumcision gentiles, and not whether the Torah should or shouldn't be observed. As far as this with regards to Matthew 5:17-20, then I refer to the above two topics. Circumcision is for Israelites; not for gentiles. In fact, getting circumcised and NOT going to live in Israel is actually breaking the Torah - not observing its instructions.
4. “The 'greatest' and the 'least' in the kingdom of heaven?”
Tough question, and one I actually can't answer for you in so little words. I would say it's more a difference between being considered "very insignificant" or "highly esteemed" rather than between "least" and "greatest". This requires a fuller explanation for you, which I shall do for a future Blog post on TWTY
5. “Can we know when the Messiah returns?”
I do actually agree with CW on this: Matthew 24 is with regards to the Trumpet harvest, not with the Messiah's return to rule for 1000 years. CW's reasoning for when the Messiah will return (2033) is sound. Nevertheless, I personally am not concerned with either the harvest or the return of the Messiah: they're going to happen when they're going to happen, and I've seen far too many people get completely obsessed with trying to figure out exactly when, where and how. I am more concerned with the present time, especially as we don't have all that much time left.
6. “What do you think of CW and his works?”
Interesting, but not all that accurate (especially the translations); I've done two pieces of work critiquing his 'translations' of the Renewed Covenant, and no one has yet pointed out to me where I've gone wrong in my critique. He does waffle a lot, and he likes to force his own opinion on what Scripture says, rather than just letting the words speak for themselves. So no, I don't consider CW reliable, and I would not recommend that you continue to "study" his works. Read them by all means, but don't waste your time "studying" anything they say.
As far as I'm concerned, if we want to know what Yahuweh says, we should spend our time studying HIS works and words - not someone elses.
Well, I hope that answers your questions Anon. Feel free to message me again, or email me at either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org - I'm much more likely to see emails rather than Facebook messages it seems
In Yah's blessing,
First off, I want to thank you for tackling my questions. You've helped to put things into perspective, escpecially about CW. I should have more faith in my own research instead of pouring over his or someone else's for hours on end. It is evident there is more research to be done on my part. I'm looking into how the RC relates to the Torah and also Paul's writings. I believe Paul was a true follower of God and his letters contain valuable information. Still, he becomes almost idolized and that is wrong. Suffice to say for now, thank you for putting my mind to rest about CW and other things. I may have more questions in the future. -Much thanks again, Anon
It was my pleasure to answer your questions Anon. I'm glad I've put your mind at ease with regards to a few things.
I agree with your assessment on Paul: He indeed followed God, and did his best to explain to a mainly gentile audience how a Jewish man was their saviour.
Feel free to ask as many questions as you want as often as possible: I will always try to answer them. Plus if I don't have the answer, I will always tell you what I don't know. We don't know everything, unfortunately
Furthermore, I would indeed encourage you to trust your own research - we really shouldn't get caught up in reading what other people say, because it becomes a serious distraction from our quest: to find out for ourselves what Yahuweh wants of us
Hope you have a good Sabbath,
Anon here again. I started to do my own research but somehow found myself reading more CW stuff and Questioning Paul and need some help with some questions. Not sure how familiar you are with QP but I need to get a few things straight...
1. While skimming over the "Bondage" chapter of QP, I came across CW interpretation and translation of the Hagar-Ishmael allegory. His argument is that what Paul is saying has no foundation in Genesis (Hagar was never at Sinai, no covenant formed with Hagar and Ishamael etc,.) summarized on pg,17. My question is ,assuming for the sake of argument Galatians was written by Paul, is CW's translation and interpretation correct. Is there really no foundation for what the author is saying here in Genesis, even allegorically speaking? I've read your review of CW's Galatians translation and need a little extra help with this verse.
2. Did Paul quote Dionysus in Acts 9:5 and 26:14 as CW asserts? What's the background on these verses?
3. In the "Convicted and Condemned " chapter of QP, spec. pgs. 6-15, CW gives a translation and interpretation of 2 Peter 3. What do you think of his interpretation? Based on your knowledge of Greek, do you feel Peter is really saying we should ignore Paul's letters because they are confusing and convoluted, as CW asserts. I'd appreciate your input on this verse.
4. My fourth question might be a bit too broad. What are your thoughts on the reliability of the RC? Do you believe it has been edited to the point where it is no longer valuable? Did early editors, such as Marcion, edit Luke, Peter, and Paul's works so much that what we have today isn't reliable? If letters such as these were corrupted, were they ever recovered? We really don't have an original copy of any book in The Scriptures, including the TPP. So are the Dead Sea Scrolls even reliable? Looking at a list of RC papyri such as this http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/text ... -list.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , I wonder where later portions of the RC come from (such as 3rd and 4th century onward). So what is the source of certain verses that we only have papyrus from the 3rd century afterward and are they reliable? I have a hard time believing that they are all interpolations, because many verses even in current English translations condemn practices of Constintinian beliefs. It just seems that the RC we have today wasn't as edited as some people say because it contradicts so many of the beliefs of the supposed editors (Roman Catholic Church, Marcion, Constantine, etc..) But what are your thoughts?
5. My last question is a little off topic, but how do you interpret the Second Commandment. Is it speaking of honoring your earthly mother and father, The Heavenly Father and Spirit, or both. I find it interesting that in Matthew 19:18-19 divine placeholders are used for Mother and Father. Still, this commandment may have a dual meaning...
Sorry if I went on too long again. I'm open to the idea that Galatians was forged, as you present. I feel we may as well get the record straight on verses such as the "Hagar-Ishmael" allegory. One last thing, is it true Polycarp cited the Epistle of Galatians? I saw a link on your forum about this but it didn't work. Are there any other mentions of Paul and his Epistles by the "Church Fathers"? I see Paul as being Torah observant in his letters, and more against legalistic works from the Torah and Pharisees, so I don't really agree with CW on this at all. If Luke and the other Apostles didn't agree with Paul as CW asserts, they had plenty of chances to say it in Acts. If they enabled him to spread false doctrine, as CW asserts...then they would be guilty. His interpretation of Acts doesn't make much
sense to me. Yah's Blessings, Anon.
Unfortunately, I've quite familiar with QP. As you've seen, I've done two reviews of CW's Greek within QP, which required me to read it (much to my disgust). So yes, I have answers to your questions
1. No, CW's translation is not correct in the slightest. Without a correct translation, then his interpretation can't be correct either. As the author states that he's taking thing "allegorically", then it really doesn't matter whether Hagar was at Sinai or not (and a covenant of sorts was actually made with Hagar - Genesis 16:10-12), because that's what "allegory" means: "a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another" – using an example of something as an example of something else. Nevertheless, as I will argue that Galatians wasn't written by Paul (hence The Great Galatians Debate), I personally don't care whether CW's interpretation is correct or not - his translation isn't, so don't expect the interpretation to be, either
2. It's been asserted that Paul "quotes" Dionysus in Acts 9:5 and 26:14. However, the oldest manuscript to contain Acts 9:5 in full (Papyrus 45, dated to the early 3rd Cent CE, contains only two words from Acts 9:5; Codex Sinaiticus, mid 4th Cent CE, contains it in full) doesn't include the "kick against the goads" reference.
The earliest manuscript to contain anything from Acts 26 is Papyrus 29 (200-225 CE), which unfortunately doesn't contain Acts 26:14.
We again have to look to Codex Sinaiticus (http://www.codexsinaiticus.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) for Acts 26:14, which does indeed contain the words "kick against the goads".
So, is Paul "quoting" Dionysus? Well, firstly, it would be better to say that he is possibly quoting Euripides' play Bacchae, in which Euripides’ character Dionysus says in lines 794-795: "I would sacrifice to the god rather than kick against his spurs/goads in anger, a mortal against a god". However, the Greek of this is θυοιμ αν αυτω μαλλον η θυμουμενος προς κεντρα λακτιζοιμι θνητος ων θεω/Thuoim an auto mallon e thumoumenos pros kentra laktizoimi thnetos hon theo; the Greek in question in Acts 26:14 is σκληρον σοι προς κεντρα λακτιζειν/skleron soi pros kentra laktizein. As you can see, there is very little similarity between these two lines.
People make much of the “kick against the goads” (Bacchae Greek: προς κεντρα λακτιζοιμι/pros kentra laktizoimi/kick against his spurs/goads; Acts 26:14 Greek: προς κεντρα λακτιζειν/pros kentra laktizein/kick against the goads) without ever giving the full picture: “kick against the goads” was just a common expression of the times, and actually *predates* Euripides’ use in Bacchae. The Greek poet Pindar (522-443 BCE; compare to the Euripides’ dates of 480-406 BCE) for example says this in his Ode/poem, Pythia 2: ποτι κεντρον δε τοι λακτιζεμεν τελεθει ολισθηρος οιμος/poti kentron de toi laktizemen telethei holistheros oimos/”but kicking against the goads is the way of failure”. Pindar is 42 years older than Euripides, and Pindar is estimated to have written Pythia 2 in 475 BCE – when Euripides was merely 5 years old.
A contemporary of Pindar, Aeschylus (525-456 BCE) also uses the phrase in his play Agamemnon, line 1624 where he writes: προς κεντρα μη λακτιζε, μη πταισας μογης/pros kentra me laktize, me ptaisas/“Do not kick against the goads, lest you strike to your own hurt”. He also uses the phrase his play Prometheus Bound, with a slight variation of using κωλον εκτεινειν/kolon ekteinein/”stretch out a leg (aka: kick)” for the Greek λακτιζω/laktizo/”to kick”: ουκουν εμοιγε χρωμενος διδασκαλω προς κεντρα κωλον εκτενεῖς, ορων οτι τραχυς μοναρχος ουδʼ υπευθυνος κρατει/oukoun emoige xromenos didaskalo pros kentra kolon ekteneis, horon hoti trachus monarchos/”Therefore accept me as your teacher: do not stretch out a leg against the goads, seeing as though a horrid monarch rules”.
As you can see, Euripides was the *last* person to eventually use the saying in his play on the lips of Dionysus, with it being used almost 60+ years earlier, when Euripides was just a young boy. It is quite apparent that it was a well-known saying before Pindar quoted it in his Ode: it really wouldn’t’ve made sense to anyone listening to the ode if they didn’t already know what “kicking against the goads” meant.
So, no, “Paul” doesn’t quote “Dionysus” – he doesn’t even quote Pindar: Luke writes that the Messiah spoke to Paul and used a well-known proverb that’d been around for over 600 years, one that *everyone* at the time would’ve understood.
What mustn’t be overlooked however is that according to Luke, Paul specifically states that the Messiah spoke to him “in the Hebrew language” (Acts 26:14a), *not* in the Greek one! So whether it’s a “Greek” saying or not is irrelevant, nor whether there’s some supposed “literary” dependence on Euripides (which there isn’t anyway): the phrase was spoken in Hebrew (קשה לך לבעט בדרבנות), and is preceded by “It is hard for you,” which isn’t found in any citation that includes “kick against the goads”.
Just had a quick look at this again in QP; CW really hasn’t got anything right. Firstly, he incorrectly translates the Greek of the verse, saying that κεντρα/kentra, the *plural* form of the Greek κεντρον/kentron means “a goad” when it means “goads”. Then he states that the “phrase was first cited … of the Bacchae” when as I showed above, it *wasn’t* the first citation, neither does the Greek of The Bacchae agree with the Greek of Acts 26:14. He then makes a further error saying it was on “line 790”, when it was actually line 795. If one is incapable of getting something as simple as this right, how’re they going to get the far more important things right?
He then finishes it all off by stating that “This mythological citation from Euripides’ became a common Greek idiom”, which is just wrong: as demonstrated above, it was a common idiom before it was used in a play; and Acts 26:14 doesn’t quote Euripides.
I find this all very laughable when CW starts out saying that a “modicum” of research effort was all that was needed to find out this “revelation” regarding Paul, Dionysus, and Euripides. As demonstrated, CW needed to do a heck of a lot more homework before he produced the disgusting revulsions that are his words in QP.
3. I did an analysis of 2 Peter 3 in The Great Galatians Debate, pages 78-87. Give that a read if you haven’t been able to do so yet, and then ask me anything that you want me to clarify/expand upon - http://downloads.thewaytoyahuweh.com/pd ... at_gal_deb" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
4. The RC is the most reliable, ancient group of books that we have in existence. Nothing comes close to the extant text of the RC that we have. All the manuscripts dated to within the first three centuries CE are definitely the most reliable ones; however the great 4th Century codex’s such as Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are also reliable, especially as they share a very significant amount of verses paralleled in the early pre-4th century Papyri. You are right in presuming that people are over-exaggerating the “editing” comments, especially as they have no evidence at all that wide-spread editing happened – it hasn’t been shown in the early papyri. Things only start getting edited from the 5th Century onwards, where theological motivations and ideas had had enough time to develop, in that they started to either slightly change words, clean up the Greek of the RC, or try to add an extra verse here or there. Nevertheless, thanks to the early papyri, we know where these things occurred.
You also hit another nail on the head: if the RC is so unreliable as people state, then the Tanakh is in an even worse boat, as bar the DSS, the oldest Tanakh manuscripts we have date from the 10th-11th Centuries CE, nearly two-thousand years after most of the text was initially put down.
These people are trying to have their cake and eat it: stating that the RC is reliable, but the Tanakh is pure. They can’t have it that way: either they’re both reliable, or they’re both unreliable, with the Tanakh being even more unreliable than the RC.
Notwithstanding, as I don’t succumb to such stupidity, the RC is reliable, and so is the Tanakh. There may be a few things that would need to be ironed out so-to-speak (The DSS don’t have each and every single verse of each Tanakh book preserved), but there’s nothing that would affect our salvation, or the fact that Yahweh exists.
5. I would say that it’s both, as long as your own mother and father honour Yahweh as well. Regarding the placeholder for “mother” in Matthew 19:18: this unfortunately comes from one of those “unreliable” manuscripts that CW and the rest go on about – Codex Sinaiticus. You see, when it suits ones purposes, stuff in RC manuscripts are quoted like they’re 100% proof of ones doctrine; however when they contradict ones doctrine, they suddenly become unreliable sludge that are only there to take pot-shots at Christians.
I find it surprising that in the same Codex, the parallel passage in Luke 18:20 doesn’t use the placeholder for either father or mother, but instead writes them both out in full. Obviously, the use of certain placeholders/nomina sacra for names and titles changes between book, author, and scribe.
As for Polycarp quoting Galatians, I gave my thoughts on that in the thread in question: http://forums.thewaytoyahuweh.com/viewt ... ycarp#p576" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Essentially, Polycarp quotes a phrase that looks like it’s from Galatians in the English translation, but the underlying Greek is different, and Polycarp doesn’t state that he’s quoting anything from anybody there – he in fact uses the phrase in question (“whom is mother of us all”) in a complete and utterly different way from how the author of Galatians uses it, completely depriving the phrase of any reliance on anything other than possibly on what was going round, or was in fact an original of Polycarp, that the eventual author of Galatians incorporated into his text.
There are many mentions of Paul and his Epistles by the Early Ecclesia Fathers. If you can find an online version of the “Ante-Nicean Fathers”, there are a few thousand+ citations for you to go through
You’re also correct in asserting that CW’s interpretation of Acts is completely nonsensical – he has to bend, twist and distort it to make Acts say the opposite of what the words attest, to which he then goes to great lengths to do for the rest of the RC and even the Tanakh itself to promote his own self-convoluted doctrine, essentially butchering the words of the Messiah and Yahweh Himself.
I just wish more people were able to see it, like you certainly have the eye to behold.
Hope that answers your questions. Feel free to ask some more
P.S: With your permission, Anon, I’d love to be able to post our little correspondence on TWTY forum – I think there are some great things asked and answered that I feel many people would benefit from. If you don’t want me to, I’ll understand (although you’d remain completely anonymous) – I’d just have to finally do a blog post
Oh yes, You are more than welcome to post our exchange! You always have insightful answers. Your examination of Paul, the RC, and history are especially interesting. Look forward to hearing more from you! Yah's Blessings- Anon
P.S. I was under the impression the DSS were dated mostly to 100-300 CE written probably Essenes. The earliest are actually from the 10-11th century (1000-1100) CE? Lol just wanted to make sure I didn't misunderstand something...
Sorry, think I must've confused you. The Masoretic Hebrew (Google Lenningrad and Aleppo Codex) were the oldest known Hebrew Tanakh manuscripts before the discovery of the DSS. The Masoretic Hebrew is from the 10th-11th Centuries. The DSS however are dated to 300 BCE-50CE. They weren't written by Essenes though, as there's nothing in the DSS that mention anything to do with Essenes, but are actually an unknown sect that wrote them and hid them.
Hope that has clarified things