Four Distinctions We Need To Make To Understand Scripture

2 Timothy 2:15 - Study to show yourself approved before YHWH, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of emet. RSTNE

Rightly divide the word of truth. This little verse has enormous ramifications. If you can rigthly divide that means you can also wrongly divide. And that since you have to study that means most of Scripture isn't readily understood in a cursory reading. And if you don't divide Scripture correctly you have good reason to be ashamed. 

These simply explanations will change your understanding of Scripture! | Land of Honey
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These distinctions I'm sharing with you today are just that: distinctions. They are different from the way most read Scripture. If we don't make these distinctions we will be left with huge passages of Scripture that are baffling and contradictory. But we know that YHWH's Word is true and when we learn to divide correctly we find more of the treasures YHWH has concealed in His Word (Proverbs 25:2).

Israel vs. Judah
While the twelve tribes were united through King Solomon they split into two separate kingdoms under the reign of his son Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12. Ephraim was the strongest of the ten northern tribes and had been given the birthright to the name Israel (see Beresheet 48 when Jacob/Israel blesses Joseph's sons) so the Northern Kingdom was called Israel and the southern tribes banned together under their strongest tribe, Judah.

The Kingdom of Israel strayed from YHWH having only evil kings that led the people into idolatry. The Kingdom of Judah did somewhat better at serving YHWH. Both Kingdoms eventually were exiled as punishment from YHWH; Judah was captive 70 years in Babylon before returning. The House of Israel has still not been regathered, its people scattered amongst every nation on earth (Micah 5:8).

Hebrews 8:8 - The day comes, says the Master YHWH, when I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah.

Restoring the two Houses of Israel and Judah back into one is a foundational theme of Scripture, and something all believers should long and pray for. But if we don't make the distinction of the split it is impossible to see.

Book of the Covenant vs. Book of the Law
The Book of the Covenant contains the instructions on Feast Days, Shabbat, and clean eating, while the Book of the Law is mostly instructions for the sacrificial system under the Levitical priesthood. Most translations lump these together under "law" creating much confusion.

Galatians 2:16 - We are declared righteous by emunah in Moshiach and not by the works of the law.

This verse is stating that the Levitical sacrificial system is inferior to Yahusha's sacrifice and cannot make people righteous. It is not saying that we are not to honor YHWH's instructions in the Book of the Covenant. If we don't treat these books as different we get Covenant and priesthood very mixed up with terrible consequences of sin against YHWH.

Melchizedek Priesthood vs. Levitical Priesthood
Under the Levitical system only Aaron's descendants were allowed to serve as priests. No special exception was made for our Cohen Hagodol Yahusha. Psalm 110 says that his priesthood is of the Melchizedek order. This is not a carbon copy of the Levitical system with a new high priest. While the Levites needed the blood of bulls and goats the Melchizedek priesthood's sacrifice is Yahusha.

1 Peter 2:9 - You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a kadosh nation.

Melchizedek means 'King of Righteousness' so when Peter penned, 'a royal priesthood' he wrote 'a Melchi priesthood.' He was talking about the Melchizedek priesthood, which is not limited to the tribe of Levi. YHWH calls all believers to participate in the priesthood under Yahusha.

Unclean vs. In Sin
A major theme of the book of Vayikra is clean and unclean. These are the world's oldest instructions on hygiene. A house could become unclean if there was a certain type of mold. A woman on her period was considered unclean. Cooking pots were unclean if a forbidden animal fell in. Touching a dead body made a person unclean. But please note, it was not a sin to be in an unclean state!

Matthew 8:3
- Yahusha touched him and said, "I am willing; be clean." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Yahusha became unclean to heal this man with leprosy, but that was not sin. Yahusha did not sin or bend the rules of Torah to heal this man. While you certainly could choose to sin in an unclean state, being unclean didn't make you to sin. YHWH was not creating worthless hoops to jump through, but giving instructions on healthy living for His people. Yahusha upheld the Torah's instructions regarding cleanness (see Luke 17, went he sent the ten former lepers to be pronounced cleaned by the priest, as per Torah), just as he upheld the rest of the Tanakh.

What about you? What distinctions have you made that have given you a better understanding of Truth? I'd love to hear your comments below!


  1. This was great! What tools and resources do you use to study the Word?

    1. Thanks Ashton! A couple of my favorites are the Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition and the Aramaic English New Testament, both have a lot of really insightful commentary. I don't necessarily agree with all of it but it is thought provoking and pushes me back into Scripture. I also listen to/read Matthew Nolan, Eddie Chumney, and Brad Scott. I may post on more resources sometime down the road too! :)