The Narrow Gate to the World to Come
There is strong evidence in the Apostolic Writings to suggest that the observance of the laws in the Torah plays a crucial role in one’s standing before YHVH Elohim. This is contrary to what is widely believed and accepted in the Christendom that the “Law of God has been abolished, superseded at the cross or in some way set aside by dispensation. But that compels us to consider the question: if that is the intention of the Creator, why is that not made explicit in the context of the Torah and the Prophets? Because this is quite astounding that the Torah has failed to mention this detail?
Moreover, those theologians who advance this view are under the necessity and obligation of explaining the plain meaning of Yeshua’s words in Mat 5:17-20. In series of articles (i.e., Has the Messiah abolished the Law of God?), we have already addressed this and the fallacy of such indoctrinations. But here in this introduction to our study, we would like to clarify two obscure passages from the Book of Revelation that have not been touched upon in the traditional commentaries. It all began with a few verses in the Sermon on the Mount.
Yeshua made two addresses to the nation of Israel during His ministry. In his first address to the nation, at the onset of his ministry, he laid down the rules before the people for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. This sermon consists of three parts: Chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew. The first part of the Sermon on the Mount is seen by the Christian theologians as an antithesis the Messiah made by the juxtaposition of contrasting words to give a feeling of replacement of what was “old” with what is now “new” or to contrast exact opposite of what is said in the Law. In his last address to the nation on the Temple mount (Matthew 23), the Messiah exposed the burden of the Pharisaic religious system just before the end of His ministry.
When kindness is shown to the undeserving, it corrupts them further. (The Sages)
In the last part of the Sermon on the Mount (Chapter 7), Yeshua made clear warning to his followers, saying,
Enter in the narrow gate, because the gate of destruction is wide and deep, and many are going through it. How narrow is the gate and grievous the way that leads straight to life and few are those who find it. (Shem-Tov Hebrew Mat 7:13-14)
Living by the Torah is a lifelong process whose accomplishment is rarely easy. The one who walks Elohim’s path strives to control himself wherever His Word instructs him to abstain from or to do something. He continually seeks to fully submit to YHVH in all matters. Most people however do not see it that way. Apostle Luke recorded that someone asked Yeshua,
Lord, are there few who are being saved? And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I say to you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able”. (Luk 13:23-24)
The world is full of fake and counterfeit religion that imitates the Word of the Creator. Yeshua compares this strife of the faithful to entrance by a narrow gate and walking on a narrow path to the World to Come. The way of religiosity of exaggerated piety and religious zeal begins through wide open gate that ends in destruction. The entrance into the world to come is by a narrow gate and straight way, but the gate to destruction is wide open to all.
After Yeshua warned his disciples against false prophets of the counterfeit religion, who had come to them in sheep’s clothing, but inside they are as savage wolves, he gave them the sign by which the “wolves” could be recognized. He said to them,
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruits you shall know them. (Mat 7:19-20)
If the Messiah had not informed us otherwise, we may have thought these words were meant for the wicked. But it is not accidental that on the same line of thought, Yeshua suddenly referred to those he meant. Perhaps, the last thing we would expect the Messiah to say would be to link the false teachers with those who were professing loyalty to him. But this is what he indeed did. He went on to say,
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord”, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many shall say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name and do many things in Your Name?” And then I will say to them: “From everlasting I never knew you. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity“. (Shem-Tov Hebrew Mat 7:21-23)
What exactly is being described here? Understand this according to what it literally implies. It is not difficult to conceive that those who say “Lord, Lord” are the ones who claim the Messiah as their lord. But to them he will say: “Depart from me all you workers of iniquity”. Why? Apostle Yochanan said it very plainly what iniquity is,
Everyone doing sin also transgresses the law, for sin is the transgression of the law. (1Jn 3:4)
The two verses from the Revelation of YHVH, to which we now turn, perhaps, have been intentionally omitted from the religious doctrines.
Walking the walk
“If you have practiced Torah much, claim not merit to yourself, for to that were you created.” Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai
But if the gate to the Kingdom of Heaven is narrow, who will be able to enter through it? The Book of Revelation explicitly speaks of two things one needs to possess to find the narrow gate in the first place.
Revelation of Yeshua the Anointed, which Elohim gave him to show His servants what has to take place with speed. And He signified it by sending His messenger to His servant Yochanan. (Rev 1:1)
YHVH Elohim gave Yeshua, through His messenger, what was about to be revealed to them. Everything we read from verse 1 and on is the word which YHVH had spoken. So, which are the two things one needs to possess to find the narrow gate? We read thus in Chapter 12,
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to fight with the remnant of her seed, those guarding the commands of Elohim and possessing the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah. (Rev 12:17)
Since a verse never leaves its plain meaning, it says that the remnant spoken of in Revelation is a small part of the faithful who guard, that is to say, those who do the commandments of Elohim and have kept the testimony of the Anointed. Which commandments of Elohim have they kept? The commandments in the Torah Mosheh received and which were handed down through many generations of prophets. And further we read in Chapter 14 likewise,
Here is the endurance of the set-apart ones, here are those guarding the commands of Elohim and the faith of Yeshua. (Rev 14:12)
In Rev 12:14-17 the faithful are called “the remnant” who have kept the laws of the Torah. Here in Rev 14:12, they are called “the set-apart” or “saints”. That is to say, those who have set themselves apart from the wickedness of the world to do and guard the commandments of the Creator are the remnant of YHVH. If Yochanan had only written “those guarding the faith of Yeshua”, we would not have known how important for YHVH the Torah is. But in order to make this clear to the reader, it is said, “those guarding the commandments of Elohim” before “and the faith of Yeshua”. Is this choice of words significant for how the verse is understood? The answer to this question has been spelled out in our verses, and the wording is deliberate and bears its significance. The message is understood without difficulty as meaning, that YHVH requires both observance of the Torah and faith.
The correctness of this view is placed beyond all doubt by the contents of the Sermon on the Mount and these two statements in Revelation: there are two requirements to enter the world to come, and they are (1) guarding the commands of Elohim and (2) the faith of Yeshua the Messiah. Notice that these two verses in Chapters 12 and 14 are in fact one with one message. Notice also that this is a both-and, not either-or, statement. The plain meaning of the verses is obvious and not hard to understand: both, guarding the Torah and the faith of the Messiah are necessary for the final redemption, not just one of them. This is stated simply to be understood simply. The plain wording “those guarding the commands of Elohim and the faith of Yeshua” is not capable of two interpretations. Those who guard the commands of YHVH and do them will be called “remnant” and “saints”, and their names will be found written in the Book of Life. Sir Isaac Newton wrote that those who keep the commandments of Elohim and all those that turn aside from those commandments to keep the commandments of the false prophet, are related in the Book of Revelation to one another by way of opposition and therefore are used in the same context and sense.
Here, however, we would like to present one more thing for the reader’s consideration. A careful reading of both verses in Revelation explicitly refers to “faith of Yeshua”. What does this mean?
Faith in or of Yeshua?
Yeshua is a Hebrew personal name. In the article His name is Yehoshua, we explained its meaning. Our verses read from Greek: “faith of Yeshua”. Now, in Hebrew a proper name does not come in the construct (i.e., emunat Yeshua, “one of”, assuming the “of” within the word itself). Therefore, in Hebrew the phrase should read emunah shel Yeshua, wherein shel means “of”. Hence, emunah shel Yeshua means “faith of Yeshua”, as in “Habsora hakedoshah shel Yeshua haMashiach kefi Luka, “The Good News of Yeshua, the Anointed, according to Luka”. Thus interpreted, our phrase emunah shel Yeshua, “faith of Yeshua”, means “faith of (shel) Yeshua”, not “faith in Yeshua”, which will be a different expression: emanuah b’Yeshua. In plain words, emunah shel Yeshua means “faith of Yeshua”. The YHVH’s use of words is never incidental, which compels us to ask why He has said: “faith of Yeshua”.
We have the strong reason to suggest (as we argued in other places) that the Book of Revelation is translation from Hebrew to Greek done by Hebrew speaking person(s), who had limited knowledge of Greek, given the numerous grammar errors in the Greek text. Had the text been rendered by a Greek speaking person, the existence of such errors would have been impossible to conceive. The opposite comes to explain that if the rendering has been done by a Hebrew speaking person (as it appears to be), he must have properly read and translated the Hebrew emunah shel Yeshua as “faith of Yeshua”, not “in Yeshua”, which was not hard to render. Thus, the question that is almost forced upon us to ask is: What is the difference: faith of Yeshua or faith in Yeshua?
Treating this phrase as if it were written “faith in Yeshua” would be obviously motivated by theological rather than linguistic perspectives, because grammatically speaking, the Hebrew emunah shel Yeshua, “faith of Yeshua”, in its simple reading means the faith Yeshua possessed in his Father. Hence, the verse states that the saints are those who have kept the commands of Elohim and had the faith Yeshua has had in his Father. The other notion (which we excluded) would have stated that the saints were expected to have faith in Yeshua, i.e., to have held their trust in Yeshua (like in a deity), as opposed to trust in YHVH only. Since, even Greek reads “faith of Yeshua”, we will leave it as is and undisputed.
The love for Elohim
And one more thing is left for us to explain in the remaining portion of this study. We read,
By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands. For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy, because everyone having been born of Elohim overcomes the world. And this is the overcoming that has overcome the world: our faith. (1Jn 5:2-4) See also 2Jn 1:6 and Joh 14:15.
If someone asks, “Do I have to keep the Torah, the commands of YHVH?” The answer is, “No, you do not have to. Only if you love Him”. YHVH asked us at Mount Sinai to love Him and guard His commandments (Exo 20:6). This love is not in an emotional sense (Greko-Roman concept), but in a sense of our actions (Hebraic concept) actuated by the parallel use of “love” and “guarding His commandments”. If one has faith in the Messiah, this is great. Then, believe what the Messiah has said in the Sermon on the mount and do the commandments in the Torah, for Yeshua did not come to abolish them but to fill them up with meaning.
From all the above we learn that those who guard and do the laws in the Torah and the faith of the Messiah, are called the remnant and the set-apart ones. But those who call, “Lord, Lord” and claim that they have prophesied in the Lord’s name but have not done what they were to do, to them it will be said: “From everlasting I never knew you. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity”.
By laying out these factors, we hope the reader will become more convinced that the observance of the Torah is important for growing to maturity and faith. Amein and amein!
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May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days!
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