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Tefillah, Teshuvah, Tzedakah (1 of 6)

Shane Willard

Page 1 of 12
Tefillah, Teshuvah, Tzedakah (1 of 6) Pictures from Hebrew hieroglyphics are used like a comic strip, to illuminate the word. Tefillah/Prayer: turn the head, in order to face the one, who can bear the burden. Teshuvah/Repentance: change your thinking.
Tzedakah/Generosity: Righteousness revealed; to be generous. The desire of your heart opens the door to humility.
I want to start out tonight by talking about faith. Of all the ethnic groups of people in the world, and all the different types of cultures and races and stuff, I have a rule. I can only make fun of those that I am… So I can make of white people okay - because I'm white.

We have a certain way. If I was to take a survey of people who come from Europe; and we're talking about good-hearted people, on their way to heaven, saved as saved can be. If I was to ask them: why, if you died today, would you go to heaven? Some 90% would give me the same answer: I would go to heaven; because I believe in Jesus.

Now there's a problem with that, isn't there? Is there anybody in hell, who believes in Jesus? Yeah, there are lots of people in hell, who believe in Jesus - particularly demons! I won't say people, because it's not my place to put people there, but yeah, we'll say: demons. There are lots of demons in hell, who believe in Jesus; and they don't just believe in Jesus - they actually are scared to death of Him! They actually have a certain respect for who He is, and yet they still find themselves in hell.

So obviously then, a ‘belief in Jesus’ is not enough to save us eternally. We're talking about salvation here. It's got to be Faith; so I met with my mentor, and we started fleshing this thing out about faith, and I want to show you what faith means.

Now there are three steps to faith, in a Hebrew concept, from a rabbi. The first step is: Tefillah; the second step is: Teshuvah, and the third step is: Tzedakah. So if you asked a First Century Hebrew teacher, what it means to have faith, they would’ve said: Tefillah, Teshuvah, Tzedakah. Doesn’t it have kind of a da-da-da da-da-da da-da-da; has this sort of ring to it.

So when Paul makes statements like: “for by grace you've been saved, through faith and that not of yourself, this is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast”. In his mind, as a First Century rabbi, he'd be thinking: Tefillah; Teshuvah; Tzedakah.

Now the Hebrew language, originally, was pictures (hieroglyphics). So every Hebrew letter is a picture; so a word is like a cartoon strip. It makes sense doesn't it; because where did the nation of Israel come from? Egypt right! They were a group of people that started out as a family, and ends up in a place in Egypt; they grow and grow and grow and grow and grow. So it stands to reason, that as they develop their own way of thinking, that they would have had a language similar to the Egyptians, which was hieroglyphics.

So the Hebrew language originally was pictures, all the way up to Babylon. If you look at the history of the Hebrew people, they were in slavery to Egypt for 430 years; and then a guy named Moses comes in, and he rescues them out of that slavery. Then they were out of slavery for 430 years; and then they get re-enslaved. We're going to talk about that later this week, why they got re-enslaved.

Part of the reason was because this group of people who were slaves, and God freed them from that, eventually started enslaving people again. Solomon had forced labor building the temple of God! So this God, who hates slavery so much that He got this whole group of people out of it - the very group of people that He got out of slavery into freedom, they turned around and enslaved people.

So then they get enslaved into Babylon. From the slavery in Babylon to the time of Jesus was exactly 430 years; so to the Hebrew people, the Hebrew people were waiting on a new Moses, to come and kind of ‘save the day’. So when Jesus comes along the scene, the writers and people are proclaiming things like: “peace on earth, and good will to all men”. In other words, what they were saying was: Caesar is not the answer, this guy is. This guy is. It was all a political thing.

So anyway, back to this group of people in Egypt. They developed this language in pictures, so every Hebrew letter is a picture. Every Hebrew word then is a comic strip. For example, the Hebrew word for inequity, is the word Avon. Yes, all the old school Pentecostal say Amen? Even the word for make-up is sin - I told you Mildred, I told ya!