I was asked recently, “Is he a believer?” Who is a “believer”? What is “unbelief”? The Messiah and the apostle Paul spoke about “unbelief.” But what did it mean 2,000 years ago?
The beginning of the future reign of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) on Earth (Rev. 20:4–6), memorialized in the appointed times of Sukkot (Festival of Booths or Tabernacles) and Shmeni Atzeret (Convocation of the Eighth Day). Consider: During the 1,000 year-reign of Yeshua, if someone “walks” the wrong direction, the errant person will hear a voice, “Turn neither to the left or to the right; walk straight!” (Deut. 28:14; Josh. 1:7; Prov. 4:27; cp. Zech. 8:20–23).
Right now, that voice is hard to hear, but during the Millennial reign, that voice will be very clear.
There are several questions posed in Luke 18 on faith, which as we’ve seen in verses 1–8 is better translated as trust. Do we trust in God’s justice or our own vengeance? Do we trust in God’s righteousness or in our own righteousness?
In Luke 18:8, Yeshua (Jesus) said that before the Son of Man’s return that “the faith” would be scarce on Earth. From the Greek word for “faith,” πίστις pistis (Strong’s lexicon No. G4102), we learn that we need to seek God’s strengthening of the “pillars” that supporting our role as “temples” for God on Earth: trust in God’s promises and justice.
How do we explain to others about being “under grace” and still obey the Torah? Are we “under grace” or “under law”? Paul explains this in his letter to the Romans.
Prayer is one of the ways we communicate with God and this communication is a two-way street. We check what we hear from God and what we say to God via what He’s already said to us through His recorded words in Scripture.
Passages: Luke 11:1–13; Matthew 6
In the secular world, when we send emails to each other, the servers that route these messages around the world have error-checking methods to make sure that the pieces of information received make up the same message that was sent.
On other hand, we are to be persistent in humility, asking the Lord to give us good things and not treating Him like a safe with a stubborn lock to be picked.
As noted in the first part of this discussion, from historical references of rabbis teaching their students a prayer that encapsulates the teacher’s instructions, using that with other prayers such as the Shema, we can see that “don’t babble/use meaningless repetition like the Nations” (Matt. 6:7) does not necessarily refer to liturgical prayer. Some claim praying from a prayerbook is not real prayer.
“Babble” is a good translation of βατταλογέω battologeo (G945), used in Matt. 6:7. Lexicons trace the origin to stammering Cyrene king Battus, a tedious, long-writing poet with the same name or onomatopoeia. Common Roman culture pagan worship involved “‘formulaic repetition of either intelligible or unintelligible’ names of gods, magic words and petition formulas.”
Conversely, early loyal students of Yeshua haMashiakh prayed the “Our Father,” aka Lord’s Prayer, three times a day, likely paralleling the three times a day of prayer found in Psalms and Daniel. Here’s a reference to such use of the prayer from a late first century Hebraic Christian writing:
“[L]et not your fastings be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and the fifth day of the week; but do keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation (the sixth) day. Neither pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: ‘Our Father….’ three times in the day pray so.” (Didache 8:1–3)
In Luke 18:1–18, Yeshua tells us a parable of a wicked judge who reluctantly performs a righteous judgement because of the persistence of a widow. The point of the parable is that if a wicked judge can be worn down to do the right thing, then certainly God, Who is the standard of righteousness, will incline to fulfil the request of those He loves.
Notice that parable ends with a question: Will Yeshua find “the faith” on the land at the end? The “faith” the Son of Man will be looking for when He returns is not assent to doctrine or Scripture but trust in God expressed through continual communication that results in action.
Some of those who believe in Yeshua — who put their trust in Him as God’s Anointed One to heal the rift of human rebellion against God — view faith and belief as a somewhat passive endeavor. The Greek work for faith in the Luke 18 passage is πίστις pistis (G4102), which is communicates “conviction of the truth of anything” and “the character of one who can be relied on.” A companion word to πίστις is πιστός pistos (G4103), communicating “trustworthy, faithful, dependable”, i.e., “persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands or the discharge of official duties.”
In the advertising world, it’s commonly known that if they can present an idea to you three times, that idea can change your perceptions. Even the devil believes in God and shudders because he knows what God is capable of even more than we understand. Yet we know that the devil’s end is destruction.
A great example of actively trusting faith is the healing of the centurion’s servant:
“And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. ‘For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.’ Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith [πίστις] with anyone in Israel. ‘I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed [πιστεύω].” And the servant was healed that very moment.” (Matt. 8:5–13)
Πίστις and πιστός come from πείθω peith0 (G3982). The noun form communicates “the gift or art of persuasion, persuasiveness,” and the verb, “to cause to come to a particular point of view or course of action,” “ be so convinced that one puts confidence in something,” “to be won over as the result of persuasion” or “to attain certainty in reference to something.”
Πείθω, πίστις and πιστός are used in various forms 362 times in the Apostolic Writings. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures and Apocrypha, those words appear 303 times to translate:
אָמַן ʾaman (H539), faithful
“ ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful [אָמַן] in all My household; 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the Lord.’ ” (Num. 12:6–8)
From אָמַן comes אָמֵן ʾamen (H543), which means “verily, truly” or just “yes, let it be that way.”
אֱמוּנָה ʾemuna (H530), faithfulness
“ ‘The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness [אֱמוּנָה] and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.’ ” (Deut. 32:4)
בָּטַח batakh (H982), trusted
The first occurrence of πείθω or its derivatives in the Septuagint is in Leviticus:
“ ‘You shall thus observe My statutes and keep My judgments, so as to carry them out, that you may live securely [בָּטַח] on the land. 19 Then the land will yield its produce, so that you can eat your fill and live securely [בָּטַח] on it.’ ” (Lev. 25:18–19)
“The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust [בָּטַח] in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psa. 9:9–10)
אֱמֶת ʾemet (H571), faithfully
A group of Levites, just after celebrating the first Sukkot after the return from Babylonian exile, prayed the following while confessing the past sins of Israel. This prayer is somewhat heart-rending when you understand the context:
“ ‘Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness, Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You, Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day. However, You are just in all that has come upon us; For You have dealt faithfully [אֱמֶת], but we have acted wickedly. For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them.’ ” (Neh. 9:32–34)
If you believe that parts of God’s word no longer apply because the Jewish people or other human beings broke their promises, then you can’t possibly have the simple profound, child-like faith that Yeshua is encouraging us to have (Luke 18:17).
If God changes His mind and fails to fulfill His vows just because human beings don’t fulfill theirs, then how trustworthy and dependable is God? Trustworthiness and faithfulness isn’t just for one period of time but they are to influence how we behave all the time and we become dependable. Since God is always trustworthy, faithful and dependable, we can stand firm on all the prophesies He gave His prophets in the TaNaKh (Torah, Prophets and Writings; Hebrew Scriptures) and look forward to their culmination.
When you say, “amen,” you aren’t just saying you agree with something. It means that you accept it, and you will do it.
God tells us that since He has been there from the beginning He knows how to guide us to the end. We can depend on His words about His coming. This is good news for those who love God or would want to and bad news for those who are in rebellion.
Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.