This week in our review of Isaiah Decoded we’ll begin looking at Chapter 1 – The Ladder to Heaven. Dr. Gileadi gives us an overview of Isaiah’s Gospel through the convention of a ladder to heaven or a sequential process that takes us into God’s presence. The first topic that we see in chapter one is his discussion with a teaching on a higher and lesser law suggesting that a lesser law leads us to a higher law but is that really the message of the Bible. When we step away from the religious tradition we know and look the Bible as one cohesive narrative, what is the message that we should see? When our mother Eve partook of the fruit of knowledge to be like God, isn’t that really our context!
A Higher and Lesser Law
Dr. Gileadi opens chapter one indicating that by keeping a lesser law we would be prepared to keep a higher law. “By keeping the one, they could prepare to receive the other”. He continues with a discussion on kabbalists who attempt to find a higher law by decoding a secret embedded in Hebrew law but have been unsuccessful. From there he launches into a discussion of Old Testament patriarchs and prophets who walked and talked with God who had achieved a level of perfection who lived a higher law. One such prophet who has seen God is Isaiah. As a scholar of the writings of Isaiah, Dr. Gileadi suggests that Isaiah teaches a higher law that is “an expression of God’s love in its purest form”. He goes on to observe that Isaiah uses literary devices to decode God’s message of a higher Law – “By unscrambling these literary devices, one could decipher Isaiah’s encoded message of a higher law and the earth’s future destiny”. One such literary device that Isaiah employs is Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven – “Around that idea, Isaiah builds a theology – a way we define humanity’s relationship to God”. Dr. Gileadi summarizes his discussion of a higher and lesser law with Figure 2, p.11.
The Higher Law Becomes a Replacement Theology
The huge mistake Christianity makes with this higher and lesser law view is that they skip over the lesser law and think they can achieve perfection without overcoming sin. In other words, they have effectively replaced the lesser law with a higher law.
Supersessionism, also called replacement theology or fulfillment theology, is a Christian theology which describes the theological conviction that the Christian Church has superseded the Jews and the nation of Israel, assuming their role as God's covenanted people, thus asserting that the New Covenant through Jesus Christ (higher law) has superseded or replaced the Mosaic covenant exclusive to Jews (lesser law). – Supersessionsim, Wikipedia
This is the danger with the higher/lesser law view - it leads to a rejection of the Law.
Becoming Perfected is a Process
A better approach for achieving perfection is to see it as a process – a series of steps or stages of being recreated. Indeed, the quest to be like God is a process to be transformed from our fallen natures into the full measure of the stature of Messiah.
A primary theme of becoming perfected is to overcome sin. Indeed, if we are to become like the Messiah – a sinless sacrifice for sin, we too must become sinless. The Bible sets out three types of sin that we must overcome to become like God – Universal Sin, Personal Sin, and Inherited Sin.
Universal Sin is the sin that we all became subject to because of Adam and Eve’s transgression. Their sin brought eternal spiritual and physical death into the world. Man would have been eternally lost without the redemption of Yeshua Messiah/Christ.
Personal Sin are those sins that we commit because of our own actions and choices for which we alone are responsible. Central to the Law that Yehovah gave to Israel is a code of law that defined Personal Sin. Yehovah sought to sanctify Israel so they could enter His presence. The point of this law was for them to obey it and not to become subject to its judgments and punishments. In so doing, they would overcome personal sin, end animal sacrifice for personal sin, and enter into Yehovah’s presence. Moreover, much of what we see in Yeshua’s teaches of loving one another is a matter of application and not a matter of law.
Further, the Burnt Sacrifice represented Yeshua’s redemption from Universal Sin.
Our last and final category of sin are those sins or dysfunctional behaviors which are passed down because of the sins of ancestors. Though by and large we are not responsible for these sins, the residual effect causes imperfections in our character for which we will need to overcome.
18 The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. – Numbers 14:18
We overcome these imperfections as we objectively evaluate our behavior, make changes, reach the full stature of Messiah, are exalted and qualify for the presence of the Father.
Our System of Threes and the Process of Transformation/Recreation
We can now see how our system of threes summarizes this process of transformation to become perfected.
The Fullness of the System of Seven
You might think that we could stop here with our three stages, but to reach a fullness of understanding the process of transformation we need seven stages/recreations since the number seven represents completion, fullness and perfection in the Gospel. That pattern is represented in the Scriptures in our summary table.
One thing we need to remember as we evaluate these seven stages of transformation/recreation, is that since we are the offspring of Adam and Eve, their experience is our experience!
Isaiah's Ladder to Heaven and Recreation
Moreover, we'll see how these stages of transformation/recreation apply to Isaiah's spiritual categories of humanity as we review each chapter in Isaiah Decoded.