Confronting Evil

“Then Pilate went back into the palace, and called יהושע, and said to Him, “Are You the Sovereign of the Yehuḏim?” יהושע answered him, “Do you say this from yourself, or did others talk to you about Me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Yahuḏi? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What did You do?” יהושע answered, “My reign is not of this world. If My reign were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Yehuḏim. But now My reign is not from here.” Then Pilate said to Him, “You are a sovereign, then?” יהושע answered, “You say it, because I am a sovereign. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Yehuḏim, and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.” Yoḥanan (John) 18:33-38

“He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me. And the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Master, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan falling out of the heaven as lightning. “See, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and none at all shall hurt you. “But do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names have been written in the heavens.” Luqas (Luke) 10:16-20

Truth.  Many claim to possess Truth, but, like Pilate, few actually know Truth.  For most, the truth they believe in is nothing more than what has been handed down to them through religious tradition.  Tradition has overwritten scripture with the artificial insertion of this Latin name ‘Lucifer’ into the text of the Original Hebrew Writings.  Armed with this information, a sincere seeker of Truth would have to ask: if the Latin name ‘Lucifer’ can appear in a Greek translation of a manuscript originally written in Hebrew centuries before there was even a Latin language – is it possible a similar type of error might also occur in a Greek to Latin through three versions of English translations regarding the name ‘Satan’ in the Messianic Writings?  We have to continually be reminded that the Hebrew letters of the Messianic Writings were written by Hebrews out of a Hebrew culture through a Hebrew perspective and primarily addressed to a Hebrew audience – there were no ‘Christians’ around when these letter were penned.  The religion co-opted by the Roman Empire that became ‘Christianity’ does not even begin to appear in history until roughly 250 years after the Resurrection spoken of in scripture.  All of the proof texts referred to in support of the views asserted in the Messianic Writings came from the Hebrew Original Texts written in Hebrew.  Part of the problem we have with understanding the Hebrew perspectives handed to us in our modern English translations of scripture is that they have been ‘sanitized’ by Greek concepts filtered through myriads of cultures, thus, the original Hebrew nuances found in those perspectives have been obscured.

So, if we can recognize that the influences of men have altered the scriptures we have to support their theology – how are we to know what is Truth and what is not?  The answer lies in understanding Truth to be a Who, not a ‘what’.  Truth is found in a relationship with the Father of Truth.  Truth is found in the Fulfilled Promise contained in the Words of YaHuWaH – not moral imperatives.

“The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are right-ruling, An Ěl of truth and without unrighteousness, Righteous and straight is He.” Deḇarim (Deuteronomy) 32:4

“And crying out with a loud voice, יהושע said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” And having said this, He breathed His last.” Luqas (Luke) 23:46

“Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O יהוה Ěl of truth.” Tehillim (Psalms) 31:5

“And I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “See, do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who possess the witness of יהושע. Worship Elohim! For the witness of יהושע is the spirit of prophecy.” Ḥazon (Revelation) 19:10

YaHuWaH IS Truth (Deuteronomy 32:4 and Luke 23:46 quoting Psalm 31:5).  Revelations 19:10b tells us that the spirit of prophecy, the Word of Spirit, IS the testimony of the Life found in the Messiah Yahusha.  The Life of the Son is the benchmark by which everything is to be measured – including other scripture.  If what we have come to believe as Truth is not found in His Life and His Words from His Hebrew perspective; at the very least, it should be held highly suspect until Spirit gives us understanding.  Yahusha said, “You search the scriptures for Life and it is the words of scripture which speak to Me’ (John 5:39); and, ‘This is eternal Life, to know YaHuWaH and the One Who He sent” (John 17:3).  This is what Yahusha meant in the verse above when He said those who are ‘of the Truth’ hear His Voice, His Words – because His Words did not originate with Yahusha but with His Father, the Elohim of Yisra’El –  YaHuWaH. (John 14:23-24, Exodus 20:1-17)

The reason this transliterated Hebrew word, satan, which means ‘adversarial opposition’ has become associated with a persona called ‘Satan’ in the Greek translations is because satan was translated using the Greek word diabolos (meaning ‘devil’) which was then assumed to characterize a persona.  But the Hebrew word, satan, is never found to be an entity in the Original Hebrew scriptures and is certainly not characterized as ‘devilish’ – this is solely a Greek invention.  Most who read the ‘Old Testament’ in their modern bibles are not aware that the English translation they hold comes from the Septuagint – the Greek translation from the Original Hebrew.  When compared alongside the actual Hebrew words contained in a Hebrew Interlinear Version, however, it quickly becomes apparent where many of the Greek influences of the translators were inserted – i.e., the Latin name ‘Lucifer’ and the arbitrary capitalization of satan not found in the Original Hebrew language.  Secondly, there is no developmental line from a non-entity in the Original Writings to a fully developed entity in the Messianic Writings that warrant such an assumption – as there is with, say, the Messiah.  Here again, we find the theological influence of the translators overwriting the Original Hebrew perspective to support a replacement theology not traceable any further back in history than 150 to 200 years after the Resurrection.  ‘Satan’ does not appear as an entity in any literature until the writings of Origen (184/185 – 253/254), some 200 years after the Resurrection.  In ‘Contra Celsum’, vi. 43, Origen identifies the fallen angel Azazel in the Book of Enoch 8:1 as ‘Satan’.  The Book of Enoch, found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran where the name Azazel occurs in line 6 of 4Q203, was written around 200 BC and is considered part of Hebrew literature – validated in Jude 1:14-15.  This account in 1 Enoch is also described briefly in Genesis 6:2-8.  In Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 however, the Hebrew word azazel is found to mean ‘scapegoat’ – most probably the connection Origen found to link these disparate fragments together into a theology.  Origen is also credited for the introduction of the idea of pre-existence and transmigration of souls, and apokatastasis, or universal reconciliation into the Christian lexicon – ideas which were discussed among some patristic writers but which were later rejected as heretical.  This theology of an entity called ‘Satan’ evolved to become interwoven throughout the doctrines of Christianity which openly rejects the Hebrew influence and the Hebrew Elohim spoken of in scripture.  In Hebrew, the word, satan, is projected as an opposing force to the Words of YaHuWaH with all of the following meanings: divide, set at odds with, accuse, slander, reject, deceive, oppose, be adversarial – but not once in the Original Hebrew language is it distinguishable as a persona.

Matthew 6:13 actually says, “…deliver us from evil – not ‘the evil one’ as religious tradition teaches.  The Greek word, poneros, translated as ‘evil’ in the English version of this verse, means ‘full of labors, annoyances, hardships’ and says nothing about an entity named ‘Satan’.  It is the same word used for ‘evil’ in Matthew 5:37 – again, no mention of Satan.  Can you see how the tradition of replacement theology has overwritten the meaning by inserting its own doctrine in the choice of words as pointed out above?  In Matthew 16:23, you have to ask – who is Yahusha speaking to?  Does He mean a person named Satan physically entered Peter’s body and took him over, forcibly making him say things he did not want to say which openly contradicts the English translation of 1 John 5:18?  Or, rather (as the context indicates), could it mean that Yahusha was rebuking the person, Peter, for the opposing force his words presented as a temptation that would seek to change the course of what the Father’s Words to Yahusha were?  The same is true of Yahusha’s supposed encounter with an entity in the wilderness. Strangely, this Greek word, peirazo, translated as ‘the tempter’ in Matthew 4:3, is the same Greek word used to describe the significance of the actions the Pharisees had on Yahusha in Matthew 16:1, Matthew 19:3, Matthew 22:18, which means ‘to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality or how he will behave himself’ – again, no distinctively separate entity.  In each case, the temptation given Yahusha was the same as it is for any man – to follow his own will and determination instead of the Words of the Father (Hebrews 5:8).

Brood of Vipers

So, then, where does evil come from?  Yahusha said it comes from the hearts of men and to the hypocritical religious of His day He said, “You brood of vipers! How can you being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).  His allusion in calling them serpents harkens back to the self-determination Adam chose to embrace in the Garden be defining for himself what is good and what is evil apart from the Word of YaHuWaH (remember, the Hebrew word, satan, does not appear anywhere in the entire book of Genesis).  There is no mystical, ethereal, unseen ‘evil force’ found in the original words of scripture except that which proceeds from the heart of man.  Like the Pharisees, when we employ what we consider to be a ‘good thing’ for purposes which are in opposition to the Words of YaHuWaH found in Exodus 20:1-17 by qualifying them – then our ‘good thing’ becomes an occasion for evil.  The traditional definition of ‘enemy’ as having a persona lies in conflict with YaHuWaH’s definition of His enemies as those who hate Him be serving something or someone other than the Set-Apart Elohim of Yisra’El.  If YaHuWaH is the good found in Exodus 20 – then, whatever force opposed to that good is considered evil.

“Guard yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other mighty ones and bow down to them.” Deḇarim (Deuteronomy) 11:16

“But if you turn away and forsake My laws and My commands which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other mighty ones, and bow yourself to them, then I shall pluck them from My land, which I have given them, and this house which I have set apart for My Name I shall cast out of My sight and make it to be a proverb and a mockery among all peoples.” Diḇre haYamim Bĕt (2 Chronicles) 7:19-20

“And יהושע answering him, said, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it has been written, ‘You shall worship יהוה your Elohim, and Him only you shall serve.” Luqas (Luke) 4:8

What we serve, what we give ourselves to is actually what we worship (2 Chronicles 7:19-20, Luke 4:8).  Defining for myself what is pure, what is set-apart, apart from what the Set-Apart One has declared set-apart by His Words is called self-determination – the worship of my own constructed values.  The enemy of YaHuWaH is anything that stands in opposition to His Words.  As Yahusha said, evil proceeds from the heart of men and the Hebrew apostle Sha’ul echoes Yahusha’s words in Romans 8:7 – “Because the carnal mind is enmity against YaHuWaH; for it is not subject to the instructions for living contained in the Torah (mistranslated ‘law’) of YaHuWaH, nor indeed can be.” Here, the Greek word, echthra, is in agreement with the definition of the Hebrew word, ‘ayvah (both translated ‘enmity’), to mean ‘hatred toward YaHuWaH’ – found I actions that are in opposition to His Words.  To the assembly in Corinth, Sha’ul defines ‘carnal’ as the determined actions of those seeking to create ‘division’ among the saints (1 Corinthians 3:2-3).

“I fed you with milk and not with solid food, for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is envy, and strife, and divisions among you, are you not fleshly and walking according to man?” Qorintiyim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 3:2-3

Christianity has given too much power to the invented person Satan in order to deflect the responsibility accountable in the actions of the individual and to support a replacement theology which says the Words of YaHuWaH are no longer applicable – the very words that speak to the actions of the individual.  The Hebrew word, satan, exposes the principal strategy of evil – opposition to the Words of YaHuWaH.  Yahusha’s Life is the testimony of the triumph of YaHuWaH’s power through submission to His Words – the power of vulnerability.  When Revelation 12:7-11 says there was “no place found in heaven for the accuser of the brethren” and, since heaven is YaHuWaH’s throne (Matthew 5:34 quoting Isaiah 66:1) located in His Kingdom ‘within’ (Luke 17:20-21), that passage is followed by the reason there was no place found for evil in heaven – because the saints (meaning those ‘set apart’ to the Kingdom of YaHuWaH’s Purposes) overcame the force of evil through acceptance of the blood shed by Yahusha as the Messiah for the redemption of YaHuWaH’s Family, Yisra’El; the testimony of the Life of Yahusha they embraced in their own lives; and by not loving their lives even unto death rather than BECOME the accuser of their brethren and thereby giving place to or embodying evil (Ephesians 4:27).

“nor give place to the devil.” Eph`siyim (Ephesians) 4:27

Are there spirits of darkness loose in the world which can occupy the vessels of men?  Yes, Yahusha dealt with them all the time – but not in the ‘faithful’.  The term ‘believer’ found in Christianity has its root in the replacement theology which says a mere verbal assent is all that is required to enter the Kingdom of YaHuWaH while, at the same time, separating the individual from the actionable Words of YaHuWaH.  Consequently, this is precisely why so many who call themselves Christians are found to be in need of deliverance form the effects of evil in their lives – because they are separated from the standards of living defining what keeps them free.  The Hebrew word translated as ‘believed’ which is counted to Abraham as righteousness in Genesis 5:6 is ‘aman, – the same Hebrew word translated as ‘faithful’ in Numbers 12:7 and Deuteronomy 7:9 meaning ‘to stand firm, to be established in, to stay, to sustain (as a workman), to support’.

The Beauty of Truth

It is interesting to observe that nowhere in the Messianic Writings are the faithful seen undergoing deliverance or healing.  Are any of the faithful sick?  James 5:14-15 says they will be healed with the forgiveness of their sin, which is separation from the Words of YaHuWaH. The Son gave His followers the same authority vested in Him to overcome evil in Luke 9:1.  The Greek word translated ‘authority’ in that verse is, eksousia, and is the same Greek word translated as the English ‘power’ in John 1:12 to mean the ‘power of choice’ – the power to choose faithfulness to the Words of YaHuWaH.  The English translated ‘wicked one’ or ‘evil one’ in 1 John 5:18 is the same Greek word poneros found earlier to mean ‘full of labours, annoyances, hardships’ – not a persona.  That passage says the person who keeps himself in YaHuWaH’s Words is not touched by the evil created from his own determination – because his determination has been realigned to the Purposes of YaHuWaH.  Evil is enabled or empowered by human disobedience to YaHuWaH’s Words.  Evil is defeated by those who submit themselves to YaHuWaH’s Words – in fact, when reading these verses from the Original Hebrew perspective they were written in, they tell us that evil actually departs from those who resist in this way.  It is an impossibility for Light and darkness to abide in the same vessel at the same time (Matthew 6:24, James 4:7).  1 John 3:9 says the one who is born of Spirit does not commit sin because he has chosen to be faithful to the Words of YaHuWaH.

“No one is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cleave to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve Elohim and mammon.” Mattithyahu (Matthew) 6:24

“So then subject yourselves to Elohim. Resist the devil and he shall flee from you.” Ya‛aqoḇ (James) 4:7

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rYm Covenant

To the Torah and to the witness! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no daybreak [light]. Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 8:20

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