Ask The Messianic Rabbi:What do you think about spiritualizing many doctrines of Scripture?
Read the transcript below, or watch a video of the teaching by Joseph Shulam.
'm Joseph Shulam. I'm the retired director and founder of Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, and we receive all kinds of questions, and I try to answer those questions from time to time. This question is a very challenging question.
The question is, why do Christians spiritualize everything and make it none real?
In other words, make it fictional. Make it anybody's dog that will go hunt with it, because when you take something and you spiritualize it, you take it out of reality and make it abstract.
And with the abstract, you can make anything you want out of it. And I've seen it happen. Just a moment before we go to answer your questions, I ask you to share with friends, with people who are in contact with you on the internet our broadcasts, our videos, our answers, and let's spread the word of God from Jerusalem to the ends of the world.
The Bible, first of all is historical book, an ancient book. It's a book that deals with events that are real, situations that are real, and there is no spiritualization in the Bible at all. We have four senses, four instruments to understand literature and especially biblical literature.
The first one is who is speaking? When we say who is speaking, we are talking about also when it was speaking and to whom is he addressing what he says in writing or in person? And under what circumstances? What is happening around the event or the message that is being delivered? And what are the expectations of that text or those words from the reader?
Now, when you spiritualize something you are actually destroying three things. You're destroying the historical background, the real event that is going on, and whether the prophet, or the writer, or Moses, or King David, or Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or Elijah is speaking.
So you are taking something that is historical, that is real, that has a date, and a place, and a circumstance, and you're making it abstract. Well, when you do that, like I said, you make the word of God anybody's dog that will go hunt with him. It can mean anything. And I've seen it happen.
I've seen it happen where people read the text that speaks about a real event, a real circumstance, and make a Mickey Mouse out of it, because you have detached it from the reality of the historical moment, and the historical event, and the historical people who spoke it in order to deal with a real historical circumstance. It's a pagan thing to do. And like I said, it's very, very pagan thing to do, because you can make words mean anything. You can make words mean anything. If I go to the Bible now, and let's see, I'll just roll the text in the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah, what chapter am I in? Chapter 42:1,
"Behold, my servant, whom I uphold, my elect one in whom my soul delights. I have put my spirit upon him and he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles."
Okay, Isaiah lived in the 8 century BC, and he is writing about somebody that he already started writing about it early, but now I want to spiritualize it. Well, I have my favorite pastor, pastor Gary.
And I take that text that is talking about the nation of Israel, about Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, and I say, behold my servant, pastor Gary, of whom God upholds, my elect one, I've chosen pastor Gary, and my soul delights in him. He will bring for justice to the Gentiles. He shouldn't have anything to do with the Jews, 'cause he's going to bring justice to the Gentiles, and God delights in my pastor.
I've spiritualized it. I've taken it out of its time, out of its setting, out of its historical context, and applied it to pastor Gary from Podunk, Kentucky. Okay, spiritualize, you want another example? Let's go to same chapter verse three. "A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench, he will bring forth justice for truth, he will not fail nor be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth, and coastlands shall wait for his law."
Okay, also a gentile, but a gentle person. He doesn't break a broken stick and he smokes flax, which is grass, and he never has enough of it, and he will bring forth justice with the flax that he is smoking, and he will not fail to encourage people to do the same. I got it right out of the text. I applied something that doesn't apply to the text. Yes. Okay, I'll give you as many examples as you want. It's a very dangerous thing to do. It is wrong thing to do.
The Bible is a book that deals with history, with specific events, with specific people, with specific nations, and under historical circumstances, and not just text that is like, you know, an ouija board that you can make it mean whatever you want. Be careful, read the Bible as real, because it is real, and God intended it to be understood as real, Dear brothers and sisters, please feel free to ask questions. We have a wonderful staff here and others around the world who are associated with Netivyah that can answer your questions. Please feel free to ask and to share our answers with your friends, your family, and your brothers and sisters wherever you live. God bless you, shalom from Jerusalem.