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Friday, 04 June 2010 22:22

Midrash and Jacob Prasch

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SORTING FACT FROM FICTION

What does the Word of God Actually Say About Midrash?

"Now the remainder of the deeds of of Abijah, and his ways and words are written in the 'MIDRASH' [ מִדְרַ֖שׁ ] of the Prophet Iddo". (2 Chronicles 13:22)

(Directly from the God-given text of original, divinely inspired Hebrew canon.)

"As to his sons and many oracles [burdens] against him, and the reconstruction of the House of God, behold these are written in the 'MIDRASH' [ מִדְרַ֖שׁ ] of the Book of kings. Then Amaziah his son became King in his place". (2 Chronicles 24:27)

(Directly from the God-given text of original, divinely inspired Hebrew canon.)

Yes friends, it is a fact; it is there in Scripture. "MIDRASH" is plainly taught in the Word of God. It is cited as a valid historical source and as a theological source of a prophetic interpretation of scriptural events and biblical history. GOD PUT IT IN HIS WORD "“ NOT JACOB PRASCH OR ANY MAN.

There are examples of pseudo-Scripture such as the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas, etc. and non-Apostolic pseudigraphical Epistles. We are even told in Scripture that there were forged and counterfeit Epistles circulated in the 1st Century by heretical deceivers in the early church who tried to deceive believers into believing they were authored by the actual Apostles (e.g. 2 Thessalonians 2:2). So too there are later post-apostolic rabbinic mishrashim (midrashic writings of later rabbis) having no more to do with scriptural references to Midrash than the later Gnostic forgeries of the Gospel have to do with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Those today who reject Midrash out of hand normally do not even know what it is. Those rejecting Midrash and those citing its inclusion in God's Word because of later rabbinic distortions of Midrash are no different than the later Marcionite heretics who wanted to throw out Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as corruptions in a time when Gnostic literature was becoming rife in the early church; they do and say the same precise things today. Such so-called "scholars" and "experts" are dangerous because they do not know Greek and Hebrew but rather pretend to have expertise where they have none. (Much like the Jehovah's Witness cult founders Charles Tase Russell and Judge Rutherford and home economics teacher Gail Riplinger of the King James Version-Only Movement who also cannot read biblical languages. She is also a categorical fraud misrepresenting herself as knowing things she has been publicly proven not to know).

Such dishonesty, pseudo-academic pretense, and phony scholarship is particularly true of ultra-Calvinist Peter Glover and Richard Engstrom, Barbara Aho, Wendy Howard, Wendy Buester, Tom Lamb, and Victoria Dillen of the cultic Ruckmanite extreme axis of the KJV-Only lunatics who lift up a 17th Century translation of a translation above the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic autographs which God inspired.

God's Word itself however, teaches plainly that the authority and priority is on the original languages of the original divinely inspired manuscripts (Nehemiah 8:8) and not on a translation of a translation produced between 17 and 23 centuries later after initially God breathed His Word and inspired its authorship.

It is not that we have a problem with the KJV itself or with the legacy of godly men like Tyndale and Coverdale. As we have written multiple times, the KJV is a valid translation that God has used and is superior to most modern translations in its accuracy. We say this despite the fact that King James himself was an Anglo-Catholic homosexual son of the Roman Catholic Mary Queen of Scots who, like his mother, murdered born again Christians and drove the Puritan Pilgrims out of Britain and into Holland or across the Atlantic on the Mayflower. These persecuted Christians, of course, rejected what they saw as a Roman Catholic 1611 KJV that included the Apocrypha as Canon and listed Roman Catholic feasts of Mary as holy days and so forth. They preferred the Geneva Bible to the KJV for bringing the Gospel to America. Yet we still respect the KJV, but have no respect for KJV Only-ism or the proven charlatans who propagate it such as Gail Riplinger.

It is little wonder that most of the disinformation about Jacob Prasch regarding what God's Word says about Midrash are from this Ruckmanite camp. They must hold up their 17th Century translation of a translation above what God breathed for the same reason that Rick Warren's followers use Eugene Peterson's The Message or some other twisted paraphrase. If they dislike or disagree with something that God placed in His Word they simply mis-translate it out of His Word and remove it.

Unfortunately the KJV, otherwise a very good translation overall, in this particular case mistranslates what God inspired as "Midrash" into "stories". (Other versions use "treatise"). We take issue with how the Hebrew has been translated for this particular word, not with the quality of the KJV overall.

God warns us of those who subtract from His Word. The translators of the KJV themselves certainly did not have this aim; most were heroically martyred for the name of Jesus and were faithful to the best manuscript record available to them at a time of upheaval and persecution. Those with their anti-Semitic Jew-hating agenda who simultaneously and hypocritically claim to worship the God of the Jews and believe in the Jewish Messiah reject what God originally breathed by rejecting Midrash. Hence, they need a translation that does not accurately translate or footnote the places the term occurs.

Jesus (Yeshua) is still rejected by most of His own people due to the lie of Talmudic Judaism invented by rabbis, but God has not rejected them (Romans 11:1), will graft them in again (Romans 11: 25), still loves them as a nation and a people for the sake of the Patriarchs (Romans 28:29) even in their lost state of unbelief, and has never withdrawn His elective or prophetic calling of them (Romans 11:29). To them moreover still belong "the oracles of God" (Romans 3:2) and the New Covenant was made with them (Jeremiah 31:31, Romans 9:4). The tense of the Greek word "belongs" is present continuous active "“ the covenants and Scriptures still belong to Israel; non-Jews are merely grafted in and unbelieving Jews are cut off until and unless they accept Christ.

Those rejecting that Midrash is found in the Scriptures boast against the natural branches "“ which Christians are commanded not to do (Romans 11: 18), for the covenants with Israel and patriarchal promises are the '"reza" or "root" of the church. They seek to turn what was given as a Jewish book into a non-Jewish one; they Hellenize a Hebraic faith and are as wrong on one extreme as Judaizers seeking to place believers into bondage to Mosaic Law and compulsory Torah observance are on the other.

Secondly, because "Midrash" is in there, they remove content from the Word of God. (Deuteronomy 4: 2, Revelation 22: 19) God warns that such people doing this will be proved to be liars (Proverbs 30: 6). That is exactly what God calls such people: "liars". But what does the New Testament teach us about Midrash? What are the differences between scriptural and rabbinic Midrash? What does Jacob Prasch and Moriel think of Talmudic Judaism?

1. Talmudic Judaism is not the Judaism of Moses and the Prophets; it is a false religion mixing truth and error, camouflaging both error with truth and elements of truth with error. It is a fabrication of the rabbis predicted in Jeremiah 2 that rejects its own Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) who is the promised "fountain of living waters" (Jeremiah 2:13, John 7). It replaces what God gave Moses with a distortion largely invented by Yochannon Ben Zakai, Rabbi Akiva, the Gaonim, Rashi, Rambam, Railbag, Isaac Luria, and later chassidic mystics like Baal Shem Tov. Caballah and its arch work Zohar is occult in origin and nature and is a pseudo-Judaization of Babylonian Gnosticism. Much as Liberal Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and cults such as Mormonism distort and re-write Christianity into a system that is unbiblical, the rabbis did the same with Talmudic Judaism. Jacob Prasch and Moriel have never once taught or believed anything else although some of the aforementioned KJV-Only personalities falsely claim we have.

2. Concerning Midrash itself we simply recognize what is found in Scripture regarding it as we do with any other scriptural truth that God placed in His Word. As with typology, Midrash is a truth and an exegetical reality that God uses to illuminate and illustrate, but we never base doctrine on it.

3. At least since the era of Puritan Scholar John Lightfoot to the 19th Century German scholars Bilderbeck and Strauss, various conservative Evangelical scholars have often maintained that the Apostles used Midrash in authoring the New Testament and in their hermeneutical interpretations of Old Testament formula citations. Since the discovery of  The Dead Sea Scrolls it has been shown that the New Testament exegetes the Old Testament along the same lines as the Qumran literature. This has produced an avalanche of interest by mainly conservative scholars from the Evangelical axis who have taken up this investigation agreeing (with such as the renowned Evangelical scholar T. David S. Dockery - Dean of The School of Theology & Associate professor of New Testament at Southern Baptist Seminary who puts it) that the New Testament is not mainly "Midrash" but "midrashic". From Professor Daryl Boch's recognition (originally pioneered by Jacob Prasch in a non-academic format) that prophecy is pattern, to Dr. R. N. Longenecker to Moises Silva to Dr. E. E. Ellis, the ranks of Evangelical theologians accepting the Midrash proposition have swelled hugely "“ mainly precipitated by the Qumran Scrolls, especially Q 10. There has also been a recognition of New Testament uses of Midrash by Jewish scholars academically sympathetic to Evangelicals led by Dr. David Daube.

Unfortunately there have been those who do not appear to grasp even the fundamentals of Midrash such as liberal John Shelby Sponge (who did not accept the offer by Jacob Prasch to public debate in Adelaide, Australia). Sponge attempts to argue that Midrash negates literal meaning which reveals a convoluted understanding that midrashic peshet interpretations of Scripture depends upon the literal meaning and historicity of the peshet. Sponge would likely be laughed out of any serious academic symposium or forum examining New Testament uses of Midrash.

Another such personality is self-professed midrashic Bible teacher John Young from Manchester, England. Mr. Young is not fluent in Hebrew. To claim to teach Scripture midrashically without a high level of competence in Hebrew is akin to misrepresenting oneself as a physician who is not expert in anatomy or an architect who is not expert in blueprints. It amounts to nothing short of pure theological quackery. The John Sponges and John Youngs are sad exceptions. The scholarly tradition of academic inquiry into conservative Evangelical midrashic hermeneutics dates back to the 17th Century to the era of John Lightfoot. Yet unfortunately in an age of non-accredited online degrees and phony credentials, we can probably expect more of the same instead of less.

4. Formula citations (such as the way Matthew 2:15 handles Hosea 11:1) have allowed anti-conservative Evangelical liberal scholars such as Oxford Professor James Barr to enjoy a field day in undermining doctrinal orthodoxy as evangelically interpreted and defined. The effective response to Barr and his ilk is the apologetic use of Midrash, demonstrating that with the use of midrashic exegesis of such interpretations as found in the Gospel narratives or in Galatians 4, Jude's Epistle, etc. are logically coherent and in exegetical context once Sitz im Leben is not separated from the hermeneutic. The New Testament authors were 1st Century Jews using the hermeneutics of that time and culture and, with this in view, the New Testament handling of the Old Testament makes total sense without resorting to the extrapolated argumentation attempted by Dr. Walter Kaiser (an otherwise apt and worthwhile scholar in our opinion). If we ignore what Scripture reveals with reference to Midrash and what Midrash reveals from Scripture, we throw away a powerful, logical, and scriptural weapon in the defense of doctrinal orthodoxy and divine inspiration.

5. The Apostle Paul cum Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus makes it clear he was from the Pharisaical School of Hillel, a disciple of Gamaliel (the grandson of Hillel per Acts 22:3, Acts 5:34). While Paul counted efforts to be justified by the Law as "dung", we see repeatedly the use of his education that would have been largely predicated on the Seven Midoth of Rabbi Hillel. Paul's ability as a rabbi who had been saved precisely fulfills the teaching of Jesus as to what happens when a "scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven...brings out of his treasure things new and old". (Matthew 13:52) This was recognized by Peter who understood Paul was better geared than he to explain more complex doctrinal issues (2 Peter 3:15-16).

A classical portrayal of St. Paul writing midrashically is Galatians 4:21-31. As with the Matthean formula citations in the Nativity Narrative, there is no other way to make scriptural or logical sense of why he interprets Scripture as he does. It is pure Midrash.

These are the scriptural facts. As hermeneutic, as literary genre, and as prophetic interpretation of history, Midrash is found in and taught in God's Word. If rabbis distorted it, tell me what does false religion "” be it Christian, Jewish or otherwise "” not distort? It is not reasonable to reject the validity of something that is true just because it is counterfeited.  It is a poor scholar or teacher who would tell us to do so. Anyone who has ever suggested that I have even once ever maintained we must look to extra-scriptural rabbinic sources to interpret God's Word is lying or never actually read my teachings on using Midrash. Likewise, anyone who suggests that Midrash is not found in God's Words is also a liar or uneducated. God's Word is true and if it says "Midrash" I believe and accept it. To reject one bit of God's Word is to reject all of it.

In Jesus,
Jacob Prasch

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Read 6587 times Last modified on Tuesday, 19 October 2010 07:06

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