Some things you will learn are:
- The difference between Torah and Traditions of Man (Takanot).
- The History of our Scriptures and how they have come about...and He makes a very strong case of the possibility of the Gospels, Acts and Revelation first being written in Hebrew, by his understanding of the syntax and culture of the language.
- Learn things you never knew about the book of Matthew.
- Learn about the root languages our Scriptures have been written in and the complexities of the translators through the ages.
If you want to see his oral presentation of this material I found it on You tube! It runs 2 hours and is worth your time. He goes through it pretty quickly, but you can always watch it again. :-) or get the book to take your time with it. If you watch it, or read this material, I would love for you to come back and give your comments below. Here is the video presentation: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7948003226656941071
Additional comments added 9/6 --
We posted this info and then a friend brought to our attention a couple of articles critiquing Nehemia's position. We had a very busy week of serving, and pulled this post until we had a chance to effectively read the articles. We did not want to be posting bad resources. If you are interested in the articles the links are at the bottom of the page.
Tim raises some question as to Nehemia's agenda, which I did not see before and is worth paying attention to. Any man's motive influences his fruit. Being a Karaite Jew, and a former Orthadox (which was plainly stated) not only gives him the authority to share the weaknesses of their Philosophy, but it should also be recognized as a motivation to disprove it. I can relate to that position. Having come from the other end of the Christian Doctrines...the additions of man which I see as a great detriment and obstacle to the Truth of the Scriptures, we quickly associate with Nehemia's position. However, later in Tim's article Tim shows how this motivation kept some relevant information "out of the spotlight". It is an age old story isn't it???!! We still think that much can be learned from Nehemia's book/talk on this topic. We just think it is best viewed with the understanding that it is being filtered through his motivation. Since Nehemia does not profess Messiah, Messiah is not his motivation. Does that make sense?
Are we defending Pharisees? NO and yes. Let me explain....It is not as black and white as we would like it to be. The beginning of Mat 23 being a fine example of that. We are learning to read Scripture in context. We read the whole chapter, the one before the one after and measure it against all of Scripture to see how it fits. We are learning to see patterns and make Torah the benchmark by which to measure things, just like the writers of the NT Scriptures did. We could not do this until we studied the old testament with people who understood it in its historical context (www.torahclass.com/lessons, http://www.wildbranch.org/ to name a couple of good resources). We will continue too as long as we have breath! While we have accepted that we are never going to "figure Yahweh out", we are learning to see patterns and threads from the beginning to the end. We are seeing things about our Creator that we were blinded to before, and also better realizing what our part in the whole thing is...according to His Word. As we learn the finer points of the context of Yahshua's time here on earth before He was hung on a stake...we see how much MORE sovereign Yahweh is, and how much more AWESOME the works of Yahshua were/are. In other independent studies, which help us to understand the Hebrew culture better, we are learning that Yahshua observed many cultural traditions that were NOT specifically given in Torah. It is not so black-and-white as to say that any tradition not specifically written in Scripture is bad...because Yahshua seemed to practice some of them without explanation and He was sinless. (That's a whole other can of worms!) Yes, HE railed against the Pharisees in many ways, but along with that, we see that He used some of the other traditions to glorify Himself and The Father. Yahshua Himself seems to have practiced traditions that seemed to glorify YHVH. (Yes it would have been so much easier to draw a thick line we could not cross - that certainly would have been our preference--but, YHVH is not that simple. (We are...but HE is not.) SO what we are trying to say is, that our "initial reaction" is to cut out all things "extra" in Judaism for fear that we would be swayed to other forms or man made doctrine that would distort Pure Torah. As a matter of fact that is where we are bent. Because we see that Yahshua did in-fact give us many many warnings as to this danger. We want to heed these warnings with great care and discernment, and not jump from the pot (the former Christian traditions we have come out of) and into the fire (the former Judaic traditions Paul came out of). Instead with much study and prayer we try to discern the difference between the doctrines of man that glorify HIM and the ones that don't. We desire to stay true to PURE TORAH, as best we can in the time and place which Yah has placed us. I thank Yahweh for His never ending grace that allows us to search out these mysteries, question things, and Trust in Him fully through it all.
The heart of the matter is this: As we walk with our Messiah--If we pursue Him and His ways with passion and if we can walk in humble adoration (No small task in itself!!) then what we understand now will be very different than what we understand this time next year...we will tread more lightly on the opinions of which we hold fast to today because Yahweh will have given us greater understanding than we had the year before (and so on). We will measure things carefully and remain ever teachable and ever humble. It is when we strive to find specific formula's that are black and white that we enter into a great place of danger. One which often results in a stagnant spiritual condition or a place of un-teachability because we "know all we need to know" and are quite comfortable with it. The fact is, that Yahshua warned us is his teaching and parables in various ways that this walk is neither comfortable nor black-and-white. We put our trust in HIM as we try to sort out the details in Scripture and manage the convictions He has put in us. If we put our trust in the actions (i.e. rules, method, philosophy, works, doctrine, application of our faith) above our trust in the Living Elohim, the action (even if clearly ordained by YHVH) now becomes our obstacle, our idol, our "religion", our barrier to recognizing His truth.
Having said all that....We decided to re post this information in its entirety, because we learned a lot from the experience. I pray it has brought us one step closer to understanding the teachings of our Messiah, and the difference between doctrines of man and Divine Torah, Writings and the Prophets. It is not our position to be "right", rather it is our desire to search out the truth - no matter the cost to our personal desires and comfort.