Rabbi Schneider - Understanding the New Covenant through Paul
We're starting a brand new series today entitled: Identity and Destiny, from the Book of Ephesians chapters 1 through 3. In the past, you've heard me teaching out of the Tanakh, which we call the Old Testament, but today and for the next several weeks, I'll be teaching out of the New Testament. I wanna say at the onset beloved, that there should be no separation in our thinking between the writings of the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament and the writings of the New Testament, which we call in Hebrew, the Brit Chadashah, which means the New Covenant Scriptures.
You see beloved, the Lord never intended us to have two different bibles. The Old Testament and the New Testament are part of the same revelation from the same God, it's just that it's progressive. As time has gone on, the Father has made his will more and more clear to us until it finally culminates in the person of Yeshua. This is why the Scriptures tell us in Hebrews chapter 1 that in times past, God spoke to us in many portions and in many ways through the fathers of the Hebrew Bible and through the prophets of the Hebrew Bible. But in these last days, he's spoken to us through his Son, who's the exact representation of his nature.
So in times past, the Lord was speaking, but he spoke to us in full measure in the person of his Son, but it was all moving towards the same end. It's called beloved, progressive revelation, and I need you to hear that the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament fit together, listen now, like a hand in a glove. So what I'm trying to do is convey to you that as we go to the Book of Ephesians, it's not that we're no longer in the Hebrew Bible. We're still in the Hebrew Bible beloved, because the New Testament was also written by Israelites with the possible exception of Luke. And some people tell us the old corny joke: we're not sure whether Luke was a Jew or not, but we think he is, cause he was a physician. I've heard that times, it's really not funny. The point is beloved, that the New Testament as well was written by Jewish people.
I wanna consider the Apostle Paul for a moment, the writer of the Book of Ephesians, which we're gonna study now, and I wanna make the point of how Hebrew, how Jewish, how much of an Israelite he was so that when we read the Book of Ephesians, we don't so Christianize it that we lose beloved, the Hebraic context of it. In the Book of Philippians chapter number 3 verse 5, Paul tells us a little bit about who he was. Let me read now from the Book of Philippians chapter 3 verse 5 and 6; catch the Hebrew feel of this. I want you to understand beloved, that when we read the New Testament; we can't view if from just our own lens. We have to understand it from the prospective of the person that wrote it. And the people that wrote the New Testament beloved, were writing it out of a very Hebraic context.
That's why Jesus said in John 4:22 to the woman of Samaria, he said woman, we know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews, and that's why Paul said we're gonna see in Ephesians chapter 2 that Gentiles have been grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel. So reading the Book of Philippians chapter 3 verse 5 and 6, Paul tells us a little bit about who he is. He says he was circumcised in verse number 5: The eighth day of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, and then he calls himself, listen to this now, a Hebrew of Hebrews.
Did you know beloved, that the at the end of Paul's life, at the very end of his life, when he was on trial for his life beloved, after he had witnessed for Jesus all these years, after he had been thrown in prison for the Lord; do you know at the end of his life, you know what Paul said? He said to him in the Book of Acts chapter 23 verse 6, he said: I am a Pharisee. Acts 23:6, at the end of Paul's life, he was still identifying himself as a Pharisee. He never saw himself as someone that stopped being Jewish beloved. He saw himself as a follower of the promised Messiah of Israel.
And so Paul describes himself in the Book of Philippians chapter number 3 verse 5: From the tribe of Benjamin, and again get the next phrase, a Hebrew of Hebrews, and then he says: As to the law, he calls himself in verse number 5 of Philippians 3, a Pharisee. So notice that Paul was still very much identifying himself as a Jew, as an Israelite and as a Pharisee. I'm gonna read that whole verse in its context now: Circumcised the eighth day of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee. And so do you, are you starting to see how Jewish this is? A lot of times Christian people disconnect Jesus and the New Testament from its Hebraic foundation, but we can't do that beloved, that's why the Apostle Paul said in the Book of Romans chapters 9 through 11, that we need to be very careful about disconnecting ourselves from the root, from the, from the olive tree, which is the God of Israel, the covenants of Israel, the Scriptures of Israel, and the Messiah of Israel.
I'm trying to help you to understand beloved, that when you read the New Testament, you're still reading a very Hebrew portion of God's Word. That's why in the Book of Revelation, we read about going to heaven, and the heavenly city is called what? New Jerusalem, right? Whose gates are inscribed with, with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. You starting to see this in a new light? A very Jewish and a very Israeli feeling to it. We continue in the 6th verse, Paul continued to describe himself, and he says: And he says as to, as to his zeal, he says he was a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness, which is in the law, he was found blameless. So what he was saying: I'm yeah, I'm a Jew he said, I'm a Hebrew of Hebrews, and he begins to say and I was really against this Jesus person, I was persecuting the church until Yeshua revealed himself to me, and showed me that he is indeed the Messiah of Israel.
I'm gonna go now to the Book of Acts, and I'm gonna go to the 23 chapter and I'm gonna read the 6th verse there. Paul was on trial here and it says in Acts 23:6: But perceiving that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, see because the Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection from the dead, but the Pharisees did believe in the resurrection from the dead. Some of you again have heard that corny joke that the reason that the Sadducees were called Sadducees was because they didn't believe in the resurrection; that's why they were sad u see? I know it's not funny, but I don't have that many jokes so I got a throw those in that I do have.
So once again, Paul was saying, Acts 23:6, as he was on trial: He says perceiving that one part were Sadducees that didn't believe in the resurrection, and the other part Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the council: brethren, listen to this, this is the end of Paul's life, listen what he cries out: I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees, and I am on trial for the hope of the resurrection of the dead. Are you seeing how Hebrew this is and how Jewish this is? I want you to also know beloved, that we sometimes hear the erroneous teaching that when Yeshua met Paul, that Yeshua changed his name from Saul to Paul, that there was a name change.
I want you to hear that Yeshua never changed Saul's name to Paul, but rather, Paul was a Roman citizen with a Roman name, Paul, and he was also an Israelite and a Jewish person with a Hebrew name, Sha'ul or Saul. So he had two names. It's like my, my sister. My sister's English name is Susie, but all her Jewish friends call her Simcha, which means joy; that's her Jewish name. So Paul never had his named changed from Saul or Sha'ul, to Paul. It's just that he had a Hebrew name Saul or Sha'ul, we would pronounce it in Hebrew, and he had a Greek name, Paul. We hear him being referred to more by his Greek name, Paul, because he was the ambassador, Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, the Book of Galatians tells us. And because he was an apostle to Gentiles, he used his Gentile name or his Roman name, Paul. But you know when Yeshua appeared to Paul, and, and brought him into the faith; Yeshua called him beloved, by his Hebrew name.
And so I'm once again looking at Paul's life in the Book of Acts, and in Acts chapter 22 verse number 7, we read that when Yeshua appeared to Paul and starts actually in the 6th verse, Acts 22:6, and it came about, Paul's describing his conversion experience: It came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed around from heaven, all around me. And Paul says in verse 7: And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, listen now: Saul, Saul, or Sha'ul, Sha'ul, why are you persecuting me? And I answered, who art thou, Lord? And he said to me, I am Jesus, or I'm Yeshua the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.
And listen, he speaks about this same event in the 26th chapter of the Book of Acts, and listen what he says in the 14th verse, as he was describing the same experience as he was before the king. He's giving his testimony to the king, and he says in the 14th verse of Acts 26: And when we had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me, listen what Paul says there. Sha'ul says in the Hebrew dialect. I'm gonna read it again: And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, Sha'ul, Sha'ul, or Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It's harder for you to kick against the goads. And once again he said: I said, who art thou Lord? And the Lord says I am Jesus, Yeshua, whom you're persecuting.
So do you see, this is very Jewish; Paul's a Jew, he's a Pharisee, he never saw himself as becoming un-Jewish, he never felt like he had converted from Judaism, to some other religion. Instead he said to the Pharisees and the Sadducees we just saw earlier, that he said: I am a Pharisee, he said, and I'm on trial for the hope of the resurrection from the dead, hallelujah. We read that Paul continued to celebrate the feast beloved, he never lost his Jewish identity, he never stopped living like a Jewish person. He was not under the law, even as we're not only the law, but he still saw the beauty of God revealed in the law.
That's why Jesus said in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5 verse 17 through 19, Jesus said: Don't think I've come to abolish the and the prophets for I've not come to abolish, but to fulfill, and everybody that teaches, teaches others how to live out of the concepts and the law of the prophets will be called greatest in the kingdom of God. We're not, we're not connected first to the law beloved, we're connected to Jesus, but the glory of God, and the beauty of God, the wisdom of God, the ethical nature of God is revealed in the law and it's prophetic. And so Paul for example, we read in the Book of Acts, chapter number 20 verse number 6, that Paul was still celebrating the feast.
So as I read Acts chapter 20 verse 6, I read this: Paul was speaking and he says: And we sailed from Philippi after the days, listen now, of unleavened bread. So he was, he was celebrating the feast of unleavened bread. We go down to the 16th verse in that same chapter of the Book of Acts chapter 20, and here's what we read once again: For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus in order that he might not have to spend time in Asia, get this now, for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem if possible on the day of Pentecost, which is called in Hebrew, Shavu'ot, it was a Jewish holiday, Shavu'ot. And so he was in a hurry to get to, to Jerusalem to celebrate beloved, Shavu'ot, as he had been doing his entire life.
It also appears as we look in the Book of Acts, to try to understand the, the life of Paul and to bring out the Hebraic emphasis of the books that he wrote, beloved in their connection to the Hebrew Scriptures. It appears that in the Book of Acts chapter 23, we glean that, that Paul or Sha'ul's nephew lived in Jerusalem in the 23rd chapter. Paul was not born in Jerusalem, Paul was born in Tarsus, but he was brought up in Jerusalem, and we read about this in Acts chapter 22 verse number 3. So as I read Acts chapter 22 verse 3, I'm reading this, Paul says here: I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, but he says, but brought up in this city, speaking of Jerusalem. And then he says he was educated, listen to this, under Gamaliel.
Let me read it again, Acts chapter 22 verse 3, Paul says: I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, he's in Jerusalem now, and he says, and educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today. Now this Gamaliel beloved, was his grandfather, was the leading sage of Judaism, his grandfather was Hiliel. So Paul was educated under the leading sage beloved, of his day. So I want I want you to understand how Jewish and how Hebrew the New Testament is.
And so as we're studying the Book of Ephesians, its not like Rabbi Schneider has suddenly gone from teaching out of the Hebrew Scriptures to teaching the New Testament, which isn't Hebraic. The New Testament is also Hebraic and we need to understand it beloved, from a Hebraic context if we're gonna understand it properly. Unfortunately today, because of the division that the devil has brought to the church by blinding the church to her Judaic roots, many have read the New Testament through the filter of their own eyes, without understanding the language beloved, from the heart of the one that, that wrote it. And the heart of the one that wrote most of the New Testament was the Apostle Paul, a Jewish person that wrote beloved, with the Hebraic mindset.
So to give you an example of this, many of us have heard I should say, of the Roman's Road. And what we mean by this; it was a way that people used to witness in years past, and they would go through the Book of Romans, they would point out Scriptures like: all have sinned, and falling short of the glory of God, how Jesus died in our place, and so on and so forth. And they would go through the Book of Romans to theologically show people that they had sinned, that they were guilty before God that they needed a Savior and that Jesus was the only way. And that's awesome, but listen beloved, we need to understand the Book of Romans, not just from the eyes of our contemporary theology, not just to lead people to salvation, but we need to understand the Book of Romans through the heart and the mind of Paul, who wrote it. And when Paul wrote the Book of Romans, one of the things that was forefront on his mind beloved, was the role of Israel and the salvation of Israel.
That's why Paul in chapters 9, 10, and 11 of the Book of Romans is focusing on Israel constantly. But many today when they read the Book of Romans, they don't understand the heart of Paul that wrote it. Listen to example, for example to the Book of Romans chapter number 9 verse number 1. Paul says in 9 verse 1, he says: I am telling the truth in Messiah, I am not lying. My conscience bearing witness in the Holy Spirit, listen to this now, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart, for I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Messiah, listen now, for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites. So Paul begins Romans chapter 9 by talking about how he's got a great burden in his heart for the salvation of Israel. And all of Romans 9 beloved, deals with the salvation of Israel.
Now I flip the page and I go to Romans chapter 10. Listen to Romans chapter 10 verse 1. Paul says in Romans 10:1: Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. He's still lamenting beloved, the salvation of Israel. So all of Romans 9 is about the salvation of Israel. Now we come to Romans 10, the first verse in Romans 10 is about the salvation of Israel. Now we come to Romans 11, listen to Romans 11:1. Paul says: I say then God has not rejected his people, has he? He says may it never be, for I too am an Israelite. So you see Romans 9, 10 and 11 is all about the salvation of Israel. The point that I'm making Yedeed, beloved ones is that much of the Gentile church doesn't see the Hebraic nature of the New Testament, but when Paul wrote it, he very much saw it beloved, as a Jewish writing, he very much had a Jewish heart, and God is wanting to restore the church, to the church his love for Israel, and the church's understanding of the New Testament from a Hebraic prospective.
And so I'm speaking beloved, all these words to you now to kind of set the stage for our study in the Book of Ephesians, because when we go to the Book of Ephesians, I want you to understand it beloved, from a Hebraic perspective. So as we close this section, I want to just remind you once again that Paul did not have two names, he didn't have a Hebrew name, and then God, then God changed it. Let me say it again this way: God did not change Paul's name from, from Saul to Paul, but Paul had two names, he was Sha'ul or Saul to the Hebrew people, and he was Paul to the Greeks, and because he was the apostle to the Greeks or the Gentiles, he became more known as Paul, but he still retained his Jewish heart. That's why he got to the end of his life, and he said I am a Pharisee.
And he also said beloved, the last comment that I wanna make as Paul said that he was worshipping God in the same way; I'm reading now from the Book of 2 Timothy, chapter 1 verse 3, and listen to what Paul says about himself here: I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, and listen to what he says, the way my fathers did. He still saw himself as very much beloved, part of the Jewish community. And so as you study the New Testament now, I hope you'll understand that, that this is a Jewish thing, that God's not done with the Jews, but that rather you as a Gentile had been grafted in to covenants that God made with Israel as Paul talks about in Ephesians chapter 2.
Now with that said, we're gonna begin now our study in the Book of Ephesians. We're gonna just have some introductory comments to make. Please tell a friend about this broadcast. This series beloved, An Identity and Destiny, from the Book of Ephesians; this will bless your socks off, so get ready to hear the Word of God. The Scriptures begin in Ephesians 1 with these words, Paul says: Paul, an apostle of Yeshua HaMashiach, by the will of God to the saints who are at Ephesus, and then he says, who are faithful in Messiah Yeshua. He begins in verse number 2: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. You know every time God shows up in the New Testament, in the writings of the letters or the Epistles of Paul, you know what the first thing the Father always says to us is grace and peace. The first thing that Paul says, he introduces himself, and then immediately after that, listen what he says: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from Yeshua HaMashiach. Do you know beloved, that's what God's heart is towards us: grace and peace to you. God's not mad at you beloved. God doesn't have a stick hanging over you, to clobber you, but rather every one of Paul's epistles begins the same way. Every one of his letters begins the same way: grace and peace to you.
Father, I pray that you'll release right now, Father God, through your Spirit, a manifestation of your spirit of grace, and shalom, and peace to your people. Father, call them in, draw them in now to experience your heart of love, of grace and peace to them.
I'm gonna read once more: Grace to you and peace, shalom, wholeness from God the Father. This is Avinu Malkeinu, from our God and our Father, Avinu Malkeinu, our God and our King. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach. And then it says: Blessed be the God and Father of Yeshua HaMashiach. Beloved, why do we always begin by saying: blessed be the God and Father? Because God is beloved, the Blessed One. We begin all the prayers in, in the Jewish tradition by saying Baruch Ata Adonai. And what Baruch Ata Adonai means is Blessed art Thou O Lord our God. So you see, this is the way Paul starts out his letter here. Really it's a Hebrew blessing: Blessed be the God and Father, that's what we say, Baruch Ata Adonai, Blessed art Thou O Lord our God. Blessed be the God and Father of Yeshua HaMashiach.
Beloved, blessing comes from God. He is the Blessed One. Yeshua said if you seek first the kingdom of God, everything else will be added unto you, that he's a rewarder of those that seek him. So as we close today's broadcast beloved, we're gonna move into a much deeper territory next week, but I need you to hear this: if you wanna be blessed in your life, seek the Blessed One. There's only one Blessed One: Baruch Ata Adonai, blessed art Thou O Lord our God. Paul said: Blessed be the God and Father of Yeshua the Messiah. In Yeshua's name, God bless you Yedeed. Join me next week as we dig into the revelation contained in the Book of Ephesians and we find our identity and destiny in him.