TORAH, GOD’S ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM
TORAH is what part of the Bible Scripture? What is the real purpose of TORAH?
Listen to what Yesha’yahu [Isaiah] has to say to the Christian Church:
Chapter 28: Can no one be taught anything? Can no one understand the message? Must one teach barely weaned toddlers, babies just taken from the breast so that [one has to use nursery rhymes]? — Tzav la-tzav, tzav la-tzav, kav la-kav, kav la-kav z`eir sham, z`eir sham [Precept by precept, precept by precept, line by line, line by line, a little here, a little there]. So with stammering lips, in a foreign accent, Yahweh will speak to this people. He once told this people, “It’s time to rest, the exhausted can rest, now you can relax” — but they wouldn’t listen.
So now the word of Yahweh for them comes “precept by precept, precept by precept, line by line, line by line, a little here, a little there,” so that when they walk, they stumble backward, and are broken, trapped and captured!
Precept ministries, along with all Christian Pastors, stop short and do not include verse 13b, and then reverse the meaning of the passage, so that they can make money by scripture twisting tactics in order to suit their biased agenda of creating new ministries and new teachings out of thin air!
You can become involved in a lifetime of serious study of Scripture, as many have, but when you begin to investigate the real TORAH ROOTS of the Bible; It will be a time fraught with suffering and attacks by the religious crowd just as YESHUA was attacked, which was followed by attacks on His Set-Apart Emissaries and those who suffered the fate of the Hebrews chapter 13 saints. You may well join that illustrious crowd of witnesses, if you persist in following YHWH’s TORAH pathways of Instruction, as Yeshua did!
When Yeshua, our Messiah returns will He find faith upon the Earth? Is our present way of “doing Church” follow the Biblical Torah model, or does it follow the traditions of man, which put the things of God to naught? Are the desires of those believers who seriously want to study and teach the Scriptures, being starved by Christian leaders who have a different agenda? Does the democratic form of Government in the Churches today agree with YHWH God’s Biblical form of Torah led Government, or is it of the world? Serious study of all the Scriptures cannot be found in most Christian Churches in America today. It has been replaced with Social Club entertainment and the consumption of vast amounts of food, games and “fellowship” with the notable exception of those who spend long hours preparing food and washing dishes rather than participating in Scripture study. These Martha’s, recruited by Pastors, are not even allowed to hear the endnotes of sermons, but must repair to the kitchens instead. WHY? Is food preparation of more importance than worship, praise and prayer? Do the Church leaders assume that the recruited “Martha’s” are so spiritually mature that they can be released early from Services to be kitchen attendants? Do they not understand what Yeshua said, “That Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken away from her”. I have had Pastors tell me to my face that folks will not come unless food is offered! SO WHAT!
Amos 8 says:
“The time is coming,” says YAHWEH ELOHIM, “when I will send famine over the land, not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of YAHWEH. People will stagger from sea to sea and from north to east, running back and forth, seeking the word of YAHWEH; but they will not find it.
The Torah pattern shown to Moses on the Holy Mountain of the Torah is this: Yahweh has chosen Israel and their companions as His set apart people and Israel has accepted the election. Yahweh gave Israel 613 Mitzvoth [commandments], which they are to learn and observe as best they can. Obedience is rewarded and disobedience os punished. In case of failure to obey, however, man has recourse to divinely ordained means of atonement; in all of which repentance is required. As long as man maintains his desire to stay in the covenant, he has a share in Yahweh’s Torah covenantal promises, including life in the world to come. The intention and effort to be biblical obedient constitutes the condition for remaining in the Torah covenant, but the included men and women do not earn it. This pattern, given by Yahweh to Moses on the Holy Mountain, the Har El Laws, is eternal for all believers who include themselves as a part of the Israel of Yahweh Elohim.
Today, there are those who would tell us that the Ten Commandments of the Torah are just for the Jews. That’s because most Christians do not realize who they really are in relation to YHWH God’s Covenant Israel.
The Old Testament book of Hosea tells us that one day people who were not considered to be the people of YHWH God would one day be called his children – sons of the living God. The instructions and blessings intended for Israel, as specified in the Old Testament and fully explained by Yeshua, were not “just for the Jews. “ Based on the fact that most Jewish people rejected Yeshua, [Jesus Christ], as the Messiah, some would persuade us that “The Church” has replaced “the Jews” as God’s chosen people. That idea is most commonly referred to as “Replacement Theology,” a confusing ideology that separates Christian believers from Israel. It is a theology that supposedly creates two distinct groups of people, the children of Israel to whom the law was given and “the Church” to whom grace was given.
Here is an unprecedented and bold statement as the PREMISE of this short essay.
THE ENTIRE BIBLE IS TORAH!
In the introduction to the “Welcome Page” found on my website, I made a bold statement that “ALL of the Bible is Prophecy and is inspired by the Spirit of Prophecy” and then proceeded to expound on that premise. This essay will deal on the same premise with the word, TORAH.
Scripture 101; The foundation:
Until we understand the basics of the entire body of Holy Scripture, it is largely unproductive to read them and think we know what they say and are about.
For instance: studying New Testament as defined by Christianity and believing that is the only part of Scripture that applies to us; that salvation is only of the New Testament OR conversely, studying Torah, as defined by the Jews as the first five books of Moses and believing this is the only important part that is necessary for our understanding; then either view is partial and consequently leaves us without a full understanding of scripture and in only partial compliance to Yahweh’s will.
Deuteronomy 19: 15, A single piece of evidence will not stand to establish anyone’s guilt or to bring punishment for any error that he commits; upon the word of TWO WITNESSES, or upon the declaration of THREE WITNESSES, shall a matter be CONFIRMED.
I am not even sure where to begin with this. No wonder our nation leads the world in all the immoral issues of the day. The Christian divorce rate is HIGHER than the general population. Christians watch the child in its mother’s womb slaughtered by the millions and are mostly silent or feel “uncomfortable” if asked to cry out. Our major Christian religious systems are leading the way in this toilet of ethics. Right and wrong has become so blurred that it is increasingly difficult to trace back to where we used to see a marked distinction between holy and profane things. It is this writer’s opinion that even the preachers and ministries that cry for a return to the Bible have very little clue as to what they are calling this ‘Christian’ nation back to. It is this kind of theology that dissects Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, like a frog in a biology lab that has been right in the forefront of our moral collapse, by creating confusion in the hearts of pew sitters. I say to all Christian and religious organizations that teach that ANY commandments of our Master have been done away with, that YOU are the very reason for the moral and ethical implosion of this nation. YOU have led us down the Darwinian path of self-destruction, and YOU will answer for every self indulgent, idle word that has proceeded from your biased pulpits.
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 4:36-39
“Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that YHWH, he is Yahweh in heaven above and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which YHWH “thy Elohim giveth thee, for ever.
This word TORAH means to instruct, discipline and correct. You can find this word most used in Mishlei or the Proverbs. It is used in context with the judgments, statutes and ordinances throughout scripture. As you can see, this word is even used before Mt. Horev (Sinai). In the book of D‘varim this word is used to describe the words from our Masters’ mouth AND as it was given to Moses and to the children of Israel as you can see in D’varim 4:36-39. One of the cognates (family words) of this word is masor, which is the Hebrew word for traditions or something handed down. There is a direct relationship here between discipline and tradition. Paul clearly alludes to this in 1 Corinthians 11:1-2 when speaking of the ordinances that were handed down to him from the Messiah. We should keep in mind that Yeshua/Jesus kept all the statutes and ordinances that He wrote in the first place. It might also be noted that this is the root word for the Massorites that were responsible for maintaining these things handed down by their introduction of the vowels into the written Hebrew text.
The Government of TORAH, by YESHUA, and for the People of restored YISRAEL.
The good old USA states that its laws are based upon Roman law and its Constitution is based upon Biblical principles. Is that a true assessment and is it good? Do Roman law and its companion, the pagan US Constitution have anything to do with Yahweh’s Torah instructions for living? Let us look at the results and the implementation of these two opposing and different systems over time.
Yahweh has given to mankind His perfect instructional law; the Torah, but mankind has rejected this perfect set of instructions and substituted his own flawed attempt to govern his fellow travelers. Ever since Cain, this attempt has failed and mankind has suffered from that day to this and will continue to do so until Yeshua returns to earth to establish His righteous, Torah based rule from Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
The Government of Man vs the Government of YHWH God
The U.S. Constitutional Republic form of government is touted by Americans to be the most righteous form of government on earth, the one offering the greatest freedom and liberty to its citizens. They have not read or understood Yahweh’s Torah? Let us consider. If the constitution does not allow the government to infringe upon a persons right to behave as he chooses behind his closed doors; then he is free to enslave those inside and to abuse them and subject them to his own corrupt and abusive will. If one’s privacy cannot be invaded, how can the rights of the lawful captive be enforced? How can anyone be prevented from manufacturing drugs that will destroy countless lives for the purpose of making money for the criminal? Just cause, you say? It is always a judgment call, is it not, but by whose judgment? The activist judge, perhaps? By the gun-toting cop or the liberal braindead ostrich? Some would argue that it is not a judgment call; but time after time, it has proven to be the case. Does one trade one form of hidden slavery, especially in the name of religion, for another form of slavery practiced in the light of day? Is another Exodus of Israel required in order to achieve freedom?
So, all governments of man’s invention leave us on the horns of a dilemma, do they not? Some come down on one side of the fence and some on the other side. There is no balance point on the razors Occam edge. Neither side can solve this problem because it comes down to a matter of the evil heart of mankind attempting to establish justice and righteousness by his own effort, apart from Yahweh and His loving Torah instructions for life and his teachings for righteousness. It did not work in the Garden at the beginning and it never will. Yahweh’s Torah based righteousness expressed through the Living Torah, Yeshua, exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to it.
The word, TORAH, what is it and what is the meaning of it?
The reason that many people have been misled is that modern Bible translations/ transliterations have replaced the Hebrew word Torah, given in the original languages and written in Bible Scrolls, with various incorrect, confusing words such as the English generic indefinable words, such as ordinances, legalism, statutes, curse of the law, works of the law (manmade) or just “law’, creating confusion in the minds of readers as to what Yahweh is really saying.
Torah does NOT MEAN LAW! It means the loving instructions and teachings (the Tree of Life) from Yahweh, the Father as expressed through the Son, Yeshua/Jesus who is the Living Torah. The “curse of the law” is the sin of lawlessness [Torah-less-ness] and not the “Law of YHWH God” itself. (1 John 3:4) Those who would denigrate Yahweh’s Torah as the generic word “Law” (Greek: nomos); make liars out of both Yahweh and Yeshua, who both agree on the Torah as loving instruction and eternal. Yes, this is a divisive statement, but someone must say it, even if no one agrees with it except the Father and the Son. So I say it with the understanding that, in doing so, I will be called a “troublemaker” by the anti-nomian dispensationalists, Most Pastors and all replacement theologians; as Rabbi [Sha’ul] Paul was called by religious leaders in his staunch defense of YHWH’s Torah.
Hopefully, this study; if read with love and a humble spirit, will break through the murderous internecine, denominational feuding among Christian believers and create a humble attitude of acceptance of YHWH Elohim’s Halacha (ways).
Romans, chapter 2, verse 10 begins this Midrash on Pauls proven and passionate defense of YHWH God’s Torah Law:
“But glory and honor and shalom to everyone who keeps doing what is good [The Torah of YHWH God], to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. All who have sinned outside the framework of Torah will die outside the framework of Torah; and Torah will judge all who have sinned within the framework of Torah. For it is not merely the hearers of Torah whom God considers righteous, rather, it is the doers of what Torah says who will be made righteous in God’s sight. For whenever Gentiles, who have no Torah, do naturally what the Torah requires, then these, even though they don’t have Torah, for they are themselves Torah! For their lives show that the conduct the Torah dictates is written in their hearts. Their consciences also bear witness to this, for their conflicting thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend them on a day when God passes judgment on people’s inmost secrets (According to the Good News as I proclaim it, he does this through the Messiah Yeshua). But if you call yourself a Jew and rest on Torah and boast about God and know his will and give your approval to what is right, because you have been instructed from the Torah; and if you have persuaded yourself that you are a guide to the blind, a light in the darkness, an instructor for the spiritually unaware and a teacher of children, since in the Torah you have the embodiment of knowledge and truth; then, you who teach others, don’t you teach yourself? Preaching, “Thou shalt not steal,” do you steal? Saying, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? Detesting idols, do you commit idolatrous acts? You, who take such pride in Torah, do you, by disobeying the Torah, dishonor God? — As it says in the Tanakh, “For it is because of you that God’s name is blasphemed by the Goyim.” For circumcision is indeed of value if you do what Torah says. But if you are a transgressor of Torah, your circumcision has become uncircumcision! Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the Torah, won’t his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? Indeed, the man who is physically uncircumcised but obeys the Torah will stand as a judgment on you who have had a B’rit-milah and have Torah written out but violate it! For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical. On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual and not literal, so that his praise comes not from other people but from God.”
Will the Christian religion ever get this right? Faith in Yeshua brings us back home with Israel and establishes Torah for all.
“Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah.”
The Book of Romans is TORAH including Pauls defense of it through chapter 8!
God’s Torah vs my flesh
“For when we were living according to our old [fleshly] nature, the passions connected with sins worked through the Torah in our various parts, with the result that we bore fruit for death.”
The flesh [mine and yours] sought loopholes to avoid Torah, and thus led to sin. The flesh and the Torah fighting one another are a deadly combination, whereas the Fathers Torah and the Moshiach, Yeshua, the living Torah, together, bring life.
It comes down to this. The Torah and the flesh are a deadly combination, for the flesh seeks a violation and loopholes. The Spirit and Moshiach in us seeks obedience not loopholes, and as such the Torah appeals to the flesh until that flesh is destroyed by Moshiach, and thus Torah can become helpful and a blessing again. So YHWH’s challenge was removing us from our fallen condition – not removing the Torah from fallen man, it is universal.
“For we know that the Torah is of the Spirit, but as for me, I am bound to the old nature, sold to sin as a slave [lawful captive]. I don’t understand my own behavior — I don’t do what I want to do; instead, I do the very thing I hate! Now if I am doing what I don’t want to do, I am agreeing that the Torah is good.”
Therefore the sin nature needs to be impaled – not the set-apart Torah itself.
Are we a lawful captive and if so, to what?
The battle is between the Torah in humankind’s heart and mind, versus the law of sin and death in the flesh. The battle is between these two factors, and not between law and unmerited favor, since walking in Torah is a life full of unmerited favor, and walking in unmerited favor is a life full of the Torah laws of YHWH God.
He cries out for deliverance from the wretched body, and not the “wretched
Torah” as some has tried to teach.
“No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the one who has loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Master.”
BIASES destroy the Torah truth of Scripture.
Bias: a leaning of the mind, propensity, presupposition, not leaving the mind objective; that which causes the mind to lean, incline, or be prejudiced, etc.
Human biases destroy TORAH, parse it and bypass it in favor of such heresies as John Nelson Darby’s ‘Dispensationalism’, which is dispensing with Torah truth in favor of twisted teaching.
Biases incline the strong of the world to use and take advantage of the weaker members. This control is practiced by all governments and by pagan individuals. Usually, the stronger claims that his actions actually benefit the weaker. The premise is that they (the stronger) must rule over the weaker that are unable to rule their own affairs. There is usually a pseudo structure in society that claims a PC “mutual” benefit of this arrangement. The credo “from everyone according to his ability, to everyone according to his needs” (communist manifesto) does not work as has been proven. The fallen nature of man does not make it even remotely possible.
Though the Hebrews received Yahweh’s instructions, they were intended to teach them to others by reference. In the first part, they did obey in part. They observed the Torah (Father’s instructions) in part, plus by misusing parts as a way of oppressing their fellow man. In the second part, that of evangelizing the rest of the world, they failed miserably. They took every liberty they could, in that, every action that was not specifically addressed in detail in Torah as forbidden, they chose to indulge in, pretending they did not understand the broader principles. Instead of seeking the will of Yahweh and applying moral principles, they added extra rules of their own invention.
What does all this tells us? Is it not a graphic illustration of the true nature of fallen human beings? In any situation where one person can gain an advantage over another, the advantage is used to increase the benefit of the stronger at the expense of the weaker.
There are those who read these Scriptures and maintain that all that the Patriarchs did was holy, righteous and Torah obedient. Does this bias agree with the words of Yeshua, or the words of Paul who exhorted us to “prefer one another”, “esteeming others better than ourselves”?
Others who read these passages begin to see the Patriarchs as evil and completely devoid of human kindness. Objectively, we should be able to see that these stories describe people who were very human, who made serious errors in understanding and actions while trying to fulfill the commandments but often falling short.
The scholars and teachers of that day questioned Yeshua in an attempt to justify their own errors. People today still do the same. Our biases often prevent us from seeing the unvarnished truth of Scripture.
Without doubt, we all have much more to learn from all of Scripture, including Torah, but basic loving treatment of our fellow human beings and a reverence for our Creator are not obscure. The problem is that obeying His Torah commands clashes with the nature of the flesh. All people acquire biases as they mature, cultural, family and gender biases, etc. Everything seen, heard, read and experienced is viewed through the tinted lenses of these biases. Judgments are made from flawed perception.
In some areas, these biases only cause opportunity for debate and are relatively unimportant, sometimes seen as interesting and informative viewpoints. However, when viewing all of Scripture, while attempting to determine the Father’s will for our lives, the human biases can be of monumental importance. The centuries of religious persecution and wars attest to the fact of human arrogance and pride and that the desire to “lord over” others has wrought exactly the opposite effect intended by Yahweh who clearly and distinctly commanded us in Torah law to “love our neighbor as (we do) ourselves.”
Again and again, Scripture shows how Yahweh can work to establish His will and carry out His sovereign plan in spite of man’s errors and human failings. He is not limited to only one strategy, but can accomplish by His permissible will as well as His highest and best.
As a result of these early teachers-leaders-writers, much of the Father’s Command and instruction was abandoned by religion and pagan traditions were substituted and are practiced by the Christian church to this day.
These are the dangers of allowing personal bias and prejudice to color our understanding of so important an endeavor as studying all of Scripture as Torah. Because the majority of church denominations have followed certain viewpoints and taught from these doctrines for centuries, most church followers have believed them to be true, even though many of these teachings are contrary to Scripture. Some Scriptures can be misconstrued without careful word study.
As Jeremiah 16:19 says, “…Our ancestors inherited nothing but lies…”
The forefathers inherited lies and passed them on to succeeding generations because of their biases against Israel, Judah and Hebraic worship.
For centuries, Yahweh has tolerated and even blessed the church in spite of their mistakes. He has been merciful just as He was in ages past toward the Children of Israel when they missed the mark. Yeshua came to teach the full meaning of His Father’s Torah so there would be no more excuse for disobeying and making man’s own rulings to replace Yahweh’s Commandments.
For example, the church never had permission to abandon Sabbath and meet on Sunday, to stop observing Yahweh’s Holy Appointed Feasts and substitute Christmas and Easter, the principal pagan holidays of the sungod and sungoddess. How much longer the Father YHWH will tolerate this disobedience, we cannot know. We know He is long-suffering, patient and merciful, but it would be much wiser to begin today to repent and live according to His Torah instructions than to follow our man made traditions and our own church biases. Whether they are gender biases, religious biases or any other kind, they only do damage instead of producing blessings from YHWH God.
As we read and research writings of church fathers, Jewish and Christian teachers’ commentaries, it is shocking to discover the depth of entrenched biases, human inventions and outright fiction presented as Biblical truth and understanding.
When commenting on the narratives of life in Biblical times and the events and relationships of family members, these writers have some very convoluted reasoning to explain details that seem troubling.
For example, passages of Scripture that show the subjugation of women and treatment of slaves are viewed by male writers as justified on the part of the oppressors and thus, blamed on the victims. Many of these teacher/writers go to great lengths to invent scenarios, which would “explain” why events happened because of the evil and wickedness of the nature of women, everything from stinginess, laziness and contemptuous jealousies to stupidity and filthiness. It seems never to occur to them that females were generally forbidden any opportunity to be schooled. Lack of education does not equal stupidity. See Islam as a proof text. Likewise, prohibition of ownership does not equal stinginess. Subjugation and oppression hardly promote enthusiasm for life and productiveness.
A daughter in early days (and in some cult religion countries to this day) sometimes lived her life in fear that she might be sold by her father as a slave to some stranger if he were short of money and hadn’t found a husband to take her off his hands by the age of twelve.
If one cannot read Scripture aside from his or her personal biases, there is a serious danger of arriving at some very erroneous beliefs, which lead one away from Yahweh’s simple Torah truth. He has given us clear instructions for righteous living, but unfortunately, from the beginning man has chosen not to comply with Yahweh’s Torah commands and instead, has followed Satan who commands hatred and contempt for one’s fellow man and prompts the basest instincts of his demon-controlled population to abuse one another.
When we view the lives of the patriarchs and matriarchs, we are neither called upon to condemn or commend them for their inexplicable actions. Rather, we should examine the events of their lives as straightforwardly as recorded in Scripture, analyze them in light of Yahweh’s Torah commands and instructions and let their lives instruct us either by following their examples or avoiding their errors. When we read of their actions, we can clearly see what the results were. In many cases, there was judgment, trouble and grief. This should warn us not to follow in their disobedient ways. Neither should we add our own rules and doctrines as some of the Rabbis were prone to do (Matthew 23:1-4), burdening the people, or decide to ignore Yahweh’s Torah rulings and substitute the ways of pagans as modern churches are doing.
When those who approach with misogynistic biases read Scripture; the conclusions drawn are much skewed, and increase the hatred of women and Torah compliant people with each reading. When read by those with feminist biases, hatred of men is the result. The ability to gain wisdom and understanding of Yahweh’s Kingdom is lost in the quicksand of confusion and very aberrant doctrines are formed. Some very outrageous conclusions are reached which lead people ever farther from the truth of Torah based Scripture.
Unfortunately, the great apostasy is bringing more and more of the Christian church into agreement with the world, even though Scripture tells us that favor and agreement with the world is enmity with Yahweh.
The emerging church has bought Satan’s lie that the way to reach the unchurched is to be non-threatening (in other words, no mention of their sinfulness and need to repent). Instead of boring them with straight Scriptural preaching, they must be entertained and befriended.
Human reasoning and biases create error always and promote extremes and excesses away from Torah. Note Yeshua’s words to the Pharisees in Mark 2:23-27. The Pharisees were criticizing Yeshua’s followers for picking grain to eat on Shabbat. He told them Shabbat was made for man, not man for Shabbat. Also note, they were not on their way to Sun-day church, but to a synagogue for 7th day Shabbat worship. Yeshua neither disobeyed Torah nor insisted on keeping the Pharisees’ extra-Biblical rulings. Again, in John 5:17, 18, Yeshua healed a man on Shabbat and was criticized by the Pharisees. His answer was that He was doing the work of His Father and went on to say in Chapter 9:4 that we must continue to work while it is day, because the night is coming when no one can work. In other words, we are to do all we can to serve Yahweh and our fellow man for the good of His Kingdom at every opportunity, on any day or occasion, putting the higher good above religious rule keeping for its own sake. Satan can use legalism as well as lawlessness to sidetrack the work of the Father. One whose heart is right as Yeshua’s heart is has spiritual discernment concerning the difference between obedience to Yahweh’s Torah and the hyper-legalism in the churches.
Matthew 9:13 “as for you, go and learn what this means, ’I will have mercy rather than sacrifice.” A twisted mind-set had grown out of what had been meant as Torah commandments to teach reverence for the Creator and love of His creation. Mankind, in the fallen state, managed to pervert the intention of the Torah and instead used it to unrighteously judge their fellow man. It stems from pride, a desire to elevate one’s self to judge and rule over others. This has been, throughout the ages, the cause of strife between various religions, cultures, and creeds, and the misunderstanding and division between the sexes and is a bias that damages family life immeasurably.
By whose authority do God’s Torah Laws exist?
Who does away with them and by what opposing authority?
Christianity and its heretic wild child, “Replacement Theology” in particular, seemingly gives the Apostle Paul the authority to do away with God’s Torah, limited to the first five books of the Bible by religions, with the exception of 9 of the 10 Commandments [#4 is verboten in Christianity], of Exodus chapter 20, and by using the teaching letter to the Galatians as their base example of this assumed theological authority.
Is this so, or is it heresy?
Christianity’s Jesus defends his Father’s Torah throughout the Gospels, so these revisionists must turn to Paul’s letters that were written to the various Messianic Jewish and Messianic Israel believers in the Diaspora among the pagan “gentiles” in order to support their “theory-logical” position. The extreme position in this regard is found in the “Jesus only” and in the “Paul only”, Pauline churches in America. Having never read the Torah and/or creating self-limiting biases in their theology, they throw out the Hebrew Roots of the Bible as being from Satan as I have heard from them many times, while creating in their minds, an “evil, judgmental god” of the “Old Testament”. The letter to the Galatians is turned on its head; verses are pulled out of context and then turned into numbered soundbites to justify, after their biased worldview, this heretical doctrine.
Matthew 12:22-37, Yeshua says:
Then some people brought him a man controlled by demons who was blind and mute; and Yeshua healed him, so that he could both speak and see. The crowds were astounded and asked, “This couldn’t be the Son of David, could it?”
But when the P’rushim heard of it, they said, “It is only by Ba`al-Zibbul” — the ruler of the demons — “that this man drives out demons.”
However, knowing what they were thinking, Yeshua said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not survive. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself; so how can his kingdom survive?’
There are about 4,000 divisions in Christianity today living as divided multiple houses. They are diminishing in numbers as we speak and are becoming irrelevant in America. The fault is theirs alone. By parsing and dividing scripture to suit their biased worldview, they commit religious suicide, as did the Pharisees.
Scripture twisting either borders on, or is actually BLASPHEMING the Holy Spirit of God, especially if that church doctrinal position results in reversing the holy text to do away with or denigrate any portion of the Scriptures, such as by their dumping of the Almighty’s eternal Torah Laws! This is exactly what the modern church is doing by twisting the letters to the Galatians and turning on its head the Apostle Paul’s Torah defense in his letter to the Romans that I have already written on in “The 8 Codicils of Romans”, and “Paul’s Roman defense of the Torah.”
The Grace versus Law argument goes like this:
1. “Were not under the Law. We are under grace.”
2. “If you keep the law, you have fallen from grace.”
3. “Don’t you know the Law has been done away with.”
4. “We’re not saved by the works of the Law, but by faith.”
5. Now that Christ has come, we’re no longer under the Law.”
The Gnostic Ghost of Marcion, the heretic, is resurrected today and is alive and well in modern Christianity and is related verbatim in sophomoric statements such as these.
From my many years of experience in studying the doctrines of evangelical Christianity, I can say with confidence that far to often, the writings of Paul are placed over and above the words of Yeshua and over the writings of James, Peter and John. In fact, you can see a demonstration of this by checking the established Christian order of your Christian New Testament. You will notice that Paul’s writings are placed before Peter, James and John, even though Galatians 3:9 says that these three men are considered to be pillars in the body of Yeshua’s faithful. Therefore, one would expect Paul’s writings to rest on the 3 PILLARS and not the other way around.
Bishop Marcion, in the second century, established Paul as church doctrine, with Yeshua’s words and the writings of the other Apostles were then decreed to be subservient to Paul and de-emphasized as lesser doctrines that are lower in authority to Paul. This is why Marcion was condemned as a heretic, by forcibly making all other scriptures as subservient to Paul’s letters. But Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Messiah.”
Yeshua said in John 7: 14-19:
“Not until the festival [Sukkot/Tabernacles] was half over did Yeshua go up to the Temple courts and begin to teach. The Judeans were surprised: “How does this man know so much without having studied?” they asked. So Yeshua gave them an answer: “My teaching is not my own, it comes from the One who sent me. If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or I speak on my own. A person who speaks on his own is trying to win praise for himself; but a person who tries to win praise for the one who sent him is honest, there is nothing false about him. Didn’t Moshe give you the Torah? Yet not one of you obeys the Torah! Why are you out to kill me?”
If the Marcionites and their apologists say that Yeshua “Did away with the Torah of God”, then why did he rebuke them in the Gospels? Yeshua did not teach his own doctrine, but the Torah of his Father. The Tanakh [OT] are the only scriptures that He used to PROVE that he was who He said that He was! Paul confirms this as Yeshua’s truth in Galatians! Marcionite Torah deniers, hide under your desks.
The Law, Introduction
In English or Greek, it takes a great deal of reading and rereading the full context of Paul’s words to figure out what type of law Paul was addressing, because according to Paul, “law” can man the “law of sin and death”, the “law of works”, the “oral law”, the “law of faith”, the “law of life”, or the Torah [Mosaic] Law of YHWH God.
Generally speaking, antinomian (anti-Mosaic Law) theologians and church Pastors, with an almost myopic focus on teaching from the Pauline Epistles, will rarely take the necessary time to think all of this through, nor are they sincerely interested in learning about the context of Paul from a first century Hebraic legal perspective, and so for lack of interest (or whatever motivates them), they simply lump Paul’s use of the term “law” into one category, and only one, the Law of Moses, and they leave it at that. This is one reason why we have so much misapplication and misunderstanding of Paul’s words defending Torah.
In my reading and studying of the Hebrew Scriptures, I have yet to find one place that requires us to submit to any authority of those that:
1) Add to, delete from or change the teachings of Yahweh’s written Torah in defiance of all of Scriptures admonitions not to do so, and:
2) Refer to the Law given to Moshe (Moses), not as an authoritative code of instruction and teaching of believers; but as a mere “source of law” for the purpose of deriving and enacting new laws such as Ecclesiastical or Rabbinical Oral Enactments, Takanot, Geserot and Ma’asim.
Furthermore, I have yet to find one written Scriptural source (written Torah/Tanach and the written Gospels/Renewed Covenant) that says that we can only receive the Spirit of Elohim (Holy Spirit) on condition that we live according to the exacting standards of Pharisaic or religious Takanot and Geserot (Rabbinical decrees, regulations, church doctrines and prohibitions added to Moses written words), and Ma’asim (Precedents of the Rabbis and religious authorities that justify a basis for the making of new decrees and doctrines), warmly called by those same Rabbis and religious leaders as, “Mitzvoth d’Rabanan” (Oral Commandments/laws of the Rabbis/ Theologians/ Elders/ Boards/ Traditions) as taught in the Sefrei Deuteronomy, Section 154 (11) and in the Midrash Rabbah Exodus, Section 47 (1) which states:
(Concerning the Rabbis and their authority), “even if they tell you that right is left or left is right, you must listen to them” (Sefrei Deuteronomy, Section 154 (11) and in the Midrash Rabbah Exodus, Section 47 (1).
I don’t think so, nor does Yeshua in Matthew 23: 1-3. Listen and do what Moses says and what the Rabbi’s say, only if they agree with Moses written Torah.
Yesha’yahu 5:20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
(Concerning the transmission of the oral law from Sinai), “even that which a student asks his Rabbi, did the Almighty tell over to Moses at that time.” (Quoted from Sefrei Deuteronomy, Section 154 (11) and in the Midrash Rabbah Exodus, Section 47 (1)). This essentially gives the Rabbis a blank check to say whatever they want to say and has been taken up by Denominations; including Roman based religions to justify their extra Biblical, Scripture twisting proclamations and man made doctrines.
“Are you that stupid? Having begun with the Spirit’s power, do you think you can reach the goal under your own power?”
Stupid is what stupid does. Israel, both in the land and in the Diaspora, has drifted away from the written word of god, and its eyes are now glued to the laws and teachings of the rabbinate. Hello, church! For a brainwashing of this magnitude to take root, the Written Torah of Elohim had to have a professional marketing spin put upon it, compliments of the scribes and Second temple rulers in those days. Did they do a good job? Certainly. By adding fences to the unvarnished truth of the word, they gave themselves the authority to change it, parse it, and make it over to suit their traditions by Takanot and Ma’asim of the Elders, in other words, inherited lies and the doctrinal fences of men. The same is true of us today in that, if we make a fence around the Torah, it would cause us to misinterpret and misapply the Divine Instructions for life. True spirituality (which comes from the Holy Spirit) is directly from the Tree of Life in God’s Garden, and it id nothing more than having faithful, faith filled trust in YHWH, which results in keeping His Commandments, as it is written:
“The one who despises the Word will be in debt to it, but the one who fears the Commandment will be rewarded” (Proverbs 13:13).
Remember Bishop MARCION, the cursed heretic? Marcion, a ‘church of the West’ ordained Bishop was a teacher of Pauline theology with a really good twist. Marcion, who lived in the ‘Asia minor’ Province of Gaul-a-tia [Turkey] during the early second century, rejected the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) and the “Old Testament” Creator as an “evil god”, believing Him to be a God of harsh judgments and strict law, which was something that Marcion could not tolerate with his distorted views of New testament theology. For Marcion, Paul was the only “true Apostle”, and that no other disciple of Yeshua had the same authority and unique revelation that Paul had. Consequently, Marcion published his own version of the New Testament, which included Lukes gospel and ten of Paul’s letters, which he edited to remove what he called their “Jewish corruptions,” the so called Hebraisms and Tanakh (OT) references. Even though Marcion was considered to be a heretic by the church fathers of his day, it is nevertheless known well that many of his doctrines crept into the Roman Catholic Church of the West, but had no direct influence on the church of the East, the Orthodox church and its Peshitta scriptures. Among Marcion’s ideas: The New Testament was a replacement “Scripture” and that the “Law of Moses” is a teaching that is opposed to “Grace”. But most noticeably, it is known that Marcion hated the Law of the “Old Testament” as most Christian Pastors do today and preach such on a regular basis. Now, read what Paul said in the bold text in verse 10 above! “Are you that stupid?”
Marcion COMPROMISED the 10 letters of Paul and made them into a false gospel! The Marcionite “New testament” is very skinny and the “new Testament” used as the only scripture today in many churches is nearly as skinny, both in size and in doctrine. Thomas Jefferson took scissors to his bible and wound up with a sliced up Marcionite look alike book. O, Foolish Galatians? Foolish Christians? Why do you pervert the gospel of Messiah?
Today, as then, there is a permanent filter installed over the Written Torah of God. The Jewish Rabbi’s call it the “oral law” and Paul calls it the “WORKS OF THE LAW”. This results in the heresy of replacement theology and Darbyite Dispensationalism in the church.
Today, “works of the law” is very much alive in Judaism. Each of us has a choice to follow either the one revelation of the written law, the Torah of God found in the five books of Moses, or to follow a second revelation of what is now written in the books of the Mishnah, the Gemara, the Midrash, the Talmud, the Shulchan Arukh, the Kitzur Shulchan Arukh, the Mishnah Beruah, and whatever else the Rabbi’s want their Talmidim to obey. The Rabbi’s absolutely forbid anyone from following the teachings of the written scriptures apart from the teachings of their “second revelation”, the oral law. The same is true of Roman Catholicism and to a lesser extent, Protestantism. Paul understood this one thing. If one chooses to submit to the authority of those that make revisions or add to the words of the Torah, then one is automatically considered as a servant or slave to SIN and a lawful captive of Satan!
Yeshua said in John 12:49-50:
“For I have not spoken on my own initiative, but the Father who sent me has given me a command, namely, what to say and how to say it.
And I know that his command [His Torah] is eternal life. So what I say is simply what the Father has told me to say.”
Why was the ‘Mosaic Law’ given? The simple answer is that it was because of apostasy and transgressions! Thus, the ‘written Torah’ was never to be subjected to an interpretation that runs contrary to sound biblical doctrine Because Yeshua was and is the Light of the Torah, he was able to say with full authority to both Houses of Israel who were and today still remain guilty of nullifying the written commandments and even prostituting themselves to the nations and their customs, that it is not a good thing for one to take a light (the Torah) and hide it under anything so that it is concealed from the eyes of men. This is what rabbinic Halacha and Ephraim’s idolatrous customs both do to the Torah Law, by concealing truth under multitudes of man-made traditions, additions and legislated enactments.
“Does this mean that the legal part of the Torah stands in opposition to God’s promises? Heaven forbid! For if the legal part of the Torah, which God gave, had had in itself the power to give life, then righteousness really would have come by legalistically following such a Torah. But instead, the Tanakh shuts up everything under sin; so that what had been promised might be given, on the basis of Yeshua the Messiah’s trusting faithfulness, to those who continue to be trustingly faithful.”
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” is Torah.”
The New Testament confirms this.
“Now before the time for this trusting faithfulness came, we were imprisoned [as lawful captives] in subjection to the system which results from perverting the Torah into legalism, kept under guard until this yet-to-come trusting faithfulness would be revealed. Accordingly, the Torah functioned as a custodian [a Tudor] until the Messiah came, so that we might be declared righteous on the ground of trusting and being faithful. But now that the time for this trusting faithfulness has come, we are no longer under a custodian.”
I believe that the use of the term “law” used in Romans and Galatians applies not to the Law of Moses, but instead applies to a “law of slavery” arising as a result of disobedience to the Law of Moses. A person is a “lawful captive” to one or the other as they are mutually exclusive, and not inclusive! This is clear from context alone, which shows us that Paul is comparing two ideologies, one of faith (doing the written Law “as is”) and the other of “law” (obeying the Pharisees). Let me show you. Paul began by saying, “But BEFORE faith came, law was guarding us, while we were confined (as lawful captives) FROM the FAITH about to be revealed.” I can assure you that this was not the Law of Moses, but was the law of slavery ruled by the rabbinical traditions of men. The Law of FAITH moved us out of that prison and into the Mosaic Torah teachings of the Almighty.
So, what is a Tudor? A child custodian is a Tudor, for example, who leads us toward a better life by causing us to loathe our captivity to sinfulness and thus, to lead us into repentance, the first step to salvation. The Greek copyists miss Romans and Galatians altogether, but the Aramaic text makes it compliant with Yeshua’s teaching such that the meaning is simple. The Greek text may appear to say, out of context, that the law of the “Old Testament’ has been done away with, thereby making a liar out of Yeshua in the Gospels. Not so, it does not say that at all. Watch this! The Aramaic says, “We are no longer under “TUTORS”, using a plural pointing not noticeable in Greek. The plural word “Tutors” addresses a spiritual servitude to the scribes and Pharisees, with similar results just as Yeshua said in Matthew 23:13:
“But woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! For you are shutting the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces, neither entering yourselves nor allowing those who wish to enter to do so.”
Spanning millennia, this concept has now grown larger and more menacing to now include the hobbling tenants of Orthodox Judaism law and the fettering dogmas of the church “fathers”, which will someday come under the burden of an end-times judgment of God! Their leaders are simply mortal souls including the Rabbis of Judaism, the Popes of Catholicism, and the Pastors and teachers of Christianity. They are mostly guilty of twisting the Hebrew Torah and confusing the definition of truth for huge numbers of men, women, and children. The Pope wants the world under the authority of the Catholic Church. The Pastors and teachers want to “save” the world to the anti-nomian “Christ” that they serve. The Rabbi’s want to make the written Torah complicated enough so that their rabbinic authority remains firmly in place. Unfortunately, they all refuse to recognize the Holy memorial name of the Almighty Elohim, YAHWEH [YHWH] that is written nearly 7,000 times in the Scriptures! They also do not see His absolute authority defined through only the Torah Law as written down by Moses and confirmed by His Son, Yeshua, the LIVING TORAH!
I would estimate that Catholicism and its daughter, Christianity, are quite satisfied with the status quo of their customs and traditions, which is why they so strongly oppose any teachings to obey the Law of Moses.
According to Yeshua, the religious leaders of His day were like the Egyptian taskmasters and their Tutors; sentry guards watching over all of the rich possessions belonging to the spiritual crime bosses of the day; those in cahoots with Rome. They worked hard to instill their authority and to keep all of Israel from approaching too close to the written Torah, which would set them free. They believed in keeping all Israel locked up, as you can read from Acts 4:17-21:
“But to prevent it from spreading any further among the people, let’s warn them not to speak any more to anyone in this name.” So they called them in again and ordered them under no circumstances to speak or teach in the name of Yeshua. But Kefa and Yochanan answered, “You must judge whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God. As for us, we can’t help talking about what we have actually seen and heard.” They threatened them some more but finally let them go — they couldn’t punish them because of the people, for everyone was praising God over what had happened,”
BAD MEN, NO COOKIE!
Galatians, chapter 4:
“What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a minor he is no different from a slave, even though he is the legal owner of the estate; rather, he is subject to guardians and caretakers [Tutors] until the time previously set by his father.
So it is with us — when we were “children” we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe [NOT THE TORAH],”
Some of the people in the midst of Paul’s Galatian Community had fallen for the lie of another golden calf, a lie that had them believing that the traditions of the pharisaic elders were more genuine to “Torah true” Judaism than Yeshua’s teachings from the Torah of Moses. Like their forbearers at Mount Horeb, the Galatians allowed a little leavening to creep into the hearts and minds of some in their ranks. The teachings of Moses had been replaced with some “better” sourdough ideas. In any case, when the Galatians abandoned Moses, they abandoned YHWH and thus was born another religion, one that the Almighty Creator did not authorize for Israel.
Today, we are similarly plagued, believing that it is the Gurus of Eastern Greek philosophy and Buddha meditation, Gnostic thought, the Rabbis of Judaism, the Pastors and teachers of Christianity, and the Babylonian Priests of Catholicism that supposedly possess the truth that will set us free, when in reality these groups of supposed spiritual leaders are the problem and not the solution. YHWH disciplines us in order to bring forth in us the peaceful fruit of Torah obtained righteousness. He does this to His children by allowing the “basic elements of life itself” to teach us its lessons, most of which are not pleasant at all. However, some never seem to “get it”. As a result, these kinds of people always end up in a mode of learning of sorts, but never come to knowledge of the truth.
“But when the appointed time arrived, God sent forth his Son. He was born from a woman, born into a culture in which legalistic perversion of the Torah was the norm…”
Paul was stating specifically that the Pharisaic sect of Judaism had no right or authority to enact new religious laws and add them to the written Torah Laws of God. Neither does the church have any right or authority to follow suit.
“… So that he might redeem those in subjection to this legalism and thus enable us to be made God’s sons. Now because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of his Son, the Spirit who cries out, “Abba!” (That is, “Dear father”). So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son you are also an heir. In the past, when you did not know God, you served as slaves’ beings, which in reality are non-gods. But now you do know God, and, more than that God knows you. So how is it that you turn back again to those weak and miserable elemental spirits? Do you want to enslave yourselves to them once more?”
A lot of people, primarily Christians and Messianics, will tell you the verses 8 and 9 validate only the “grace of God’ and if one should return to any ceremonial observances of the Law of Moses, for whatever reasons, then it is equivalent to “returning to weak and beggarly elements”. Have you ever heard this? I have, and if you believe and practice doctrines like this, you will jeopardize your inheritance in the land unless there is repentance from such theological nonsense. Also, from out of this teaching, some are quick to judge those who observe the Torah Law, as if in a state of cross-examination, with the sophomoric question, “Do you know the Lord?” What they are really saying is, “Do you know that you will lose your salvation by putting yourself under the bondage of the law? ‘Christ’ freed us from the law by fulfilling it for us!” They have never read the law fully or perhaps even in part, but cling to what they have been taught without questioning the source by Marcionite followers and NT only Gnostics.
The house of Judah speaks eloquently about the Torah, they dance around it on holy days, they elevate it, dress it and undress it with dignity, they publically parade it around with glitter and glory, but afterwards, they retire to their Yeshiva’s and ivory palaces of study, where they bury themselves in the scrutiny of Talmudic oral law – takanot, halachot, ma’asim, and minhagen, while all the while continuing to push the policies of their ancestors, which is to try to maintain control over all religion and conversions in Israel. That was a long sentence, but it needed to be said in that manner. That is what Paul saw and reported on. It is the same today, 2,000 years later.
In Pharisaic law, written scripture is like what raw material is to a manufacturing plant. As in manufacturing, raw material is always mixed with other ingredients to produce a final product. Many Messianic Israel “Ephraimites” and (this is very unfortunate) most of the Christian world church, consider Paul’s “yoke of servitude” above teaching as a refreshing release from a commitment to use only the raw material of all “Old Testament” ceremonial doctrines such as male circumcision, Shabbat observance, dietary laws, purity laws, holiness laws, and things like this. Many Christians, like the Pharisees of old, feel compelled to filter their religious life through rabbinic or church traditions. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics and a lot of theological misunderstanding to come up with an antinomian worldview, but multitudes of Pastors and Christian teachers feed weekly on this false doctrine, and then like mother birds feeding their young, they regurgitate this nonsense and cram it down the throats of their church attendees, leading them into confusion and massive doctrinal errors.
If we are a true written Torah obedient people as YHWH intends us to be, we would not have the problems and fractures that exist today, as 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 says:
“Yahweh appeared to Shlomo by night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the sky, so that there is no rain; or if I order locusts to devour the land; or if I send an epidemic of sickness among my people; then, if my people, who bear my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”
I agree, nuff said.
A fresh look at I Timothy chapter 1: Paul instructs Timothy to “order” people to stop teaching different doctrines, those that distract or detract from the simplicity of the gospel of the kingdom, which is based on trust in Messiah alone as our redeemer and the atonement for sin. He says, “Some …have wandered off into fruitless discussion.”
He points out that the Torah is good, and in the life of the believer, it is written on the heart and need not become grist for the mill of legalism. Once we are born again and begin our journey of following Yeshua, we know these things and need not engage in endless discussion and debate. We need to progress and grow up into the life and thought of Messiah; our aim is to emulate Him.
To this day, the orthodox Jews are doing what Paul did prior to his confrontation on the Damascus Road. Before we exonerate those who say they are children of Yahweh, but believe they are not obligated to keep His commandments, re-read Romans 3:31 where the converted Paul assures us we do not do away with the Torah by trusting in Yeshua. Heaven forbid, he exclaims; “on the contrary, we confirm Torah”
The Holy Torah is written in our hearts at the moment the Holy Spirit inhabits our being and we begin to grow in righteousness and understanding. We find our thought patterns changing and our worldview has a totally different focus. Where we were formerly selfish and self centered, we find ourselves becoming compassionate and caring. Seeing others in need, we feel compelled to relieve their suffering. We no longer need a Torah teacher to delineate by command our every response to our fellow man or our desire to obey Yahweh.
This does not negate the need to study all of Scripture from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, certainly including Torah, and to understand that it is one integrated message.
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living” (and this is the purpose of Torah) Thus anyone who belongs to Yahweh may be fully equipped for every good work.”
It is the Holy Spirit who equips us to live according to knowledge of Yahweh’s instructions after we have been converted.
As Paul says in Colossians 1, as he speaks to the new believers so that they may grow and be equipped to bring forth fruit; ”…we have not stopped praying for you, asking Yahweh to fill you with the knowledge of His will in all the wisdom and understanding which the Spirit gives. So that you may live lives worthy of the Lord…being fruitful in every good work.”
II Timothy 2:14 “Keep reminding people of this. Remind them solemnly before the Lord not to engage in word battles. They accomplish nothing useful and are a catastrophe for the hearers.” V.19 “…Let everyone who claims he belongs to the Lord stand apart from wrong doing.”
Religious arguments, differences, and disagreements are one of the major stumbling blocks to unbelievers who observe the fractured body of Messiah. We are to be known as Yeshua’s disciples by our Ahava love for one another.
Restudying multiple times on any subject wearies the soul. For instance, the Baptist church stays mainly on the topic of salvation consistently. After a couple of years, the congregation gets it, but they never move from that bible elemental topic and do not grow as a result. Pastoral Alter calls cease to bring new converts into the church, as there is no one listening but the seated saints to the repetitive message. The sophomoric New Testament commentary ‘Quarterly’ booklet written by NT apologists, is used by Christians in most church bible studies and is designed to keep readers in preschool Christianity and bears no fruit but that required in order to retard biblically mandated growth. The saints do not require salvation over and over again. The Jews study Torah only repetitively according to an annual weekly guide determined by the Rabbinate and never progress to the entirety of scripture, thereby denying Yeshua as Messiah. No scriptural and spiritual growth is guaranteed in both instances.
One does not have to study Torah only, week after week, and year after year, once salvation has written it on the heart. It should be read and studied with diligence, as all Scripture should be, that is in a balanced way, giving equal attention to the entire Bible, cover to cover. As Paul instructed Timothy, endless discussion and dispute over semantics, genealogies and the like are fruitless. Concentration on one subject only tends to encourage excessive dispute. Each person engaged in an argument is determined to be proven right, and the person with the opposing viewpoint will be equally entrenched. This is a situation that is ripe for offense.
Once offended, and no resolution found, the offence becomes a stronghold, and bitterness shuts off even one’s openness to Yahweh. This is one of the main strategies of Satan.
II Timothy 2: “Stay away from stupid and ignorant controversies- you know that they lead to fights and a servant of the Lord should not fight. On the contrary, he should be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and not resentful when mistreated (and we might add, misunderstood). Also, he should be gentle as he corrects his opponents, for Yahweh may perhaps grant them the opportunity to turn from their sins, acquire full knowledge of the truth, come to their senses and escape the trap of the adversary after having been captured alive by him to do his will.”
As Kohelet concludes in Ecclesiastes 12: “…one can write many books – there is no end to It., and one can study so much that it wearies the flesh. “Here is the final conclusion…fear Yahweh and keep His commandments…” this is the whole duty of man.”
Psalm 119: “I have hidden your Word in my heart so that I will not sin against you.” “I will find my delight in your instructions/ regulations (TORAH). I will not forget your word.”
Yeshua taught us “bless and do not curse, pray for those who persecute you.”
In II Samuel chapter 16 – David illustrates the point: During his exile from Jerusalem, in the attempt of his son, Avshalom, to usurp his father’s throne, a relative of Saul, Shimi, was cursing David and his companions as they fled. He repeatedly cursed David, threw stones and dust, while following the company from the opposite hillside. One of David’s followers wanted to go and kill Shimi. David, instead, said “let him alone, let him curse… maybe Yahweh will notice how I am treating him and will reward me with good instead of his curses.”
Words are important, and are not unnoticed by Yahweh. Yeshua warned us we would give account for every careless word, and that our words would justify or condemn us. Wasting precious time with endless debate over words while the world is on the fast track to hell is one of those useless exercises. Words that are worthwhile are those words that explain the gospel and the way into the Kingdom of Yahweh. These are words of wisdom and value.
He who wins souls is wise. This is the bottom line in evangelism.
Christian thinking has a tendency to regard the law of the “old” covenant as irrelevant because of the grace of Yahweh, which is revealed in the New Testament through Yeshua. Popular Christian theology, especially that of the dispensationalists and replacement theologians, often seemingly maintains that the divine character was transformed from a “God” of legalism and law in the Torah/Tanakh [Old Testament], into the “God” of grace and love in the New Testament. The “Old Testament” is characterized as a book which endorses “legalism” in order to bring each individual to faith. Moreover Judaism of the time of Yeshua is described as a works-righteousness religion where every individual is required to earn his or her own salvation through personal merit and good deeds. This fundamental misunderstanding of early Hebrew thought and the relationship between the Old Testament and the faith of the early Messianic church has so fouled the popular perception of Sha’ul [Paul], that to many what is true about Sha’ul’s opinion of the purpose of the law and faith in Yeshua sounds like heresy and confused conclusions.
The Yahweh of the Old Testamenthas not undergone a strange metamorphosis like a schizophrenic patient revealing different patterns of behavior. We must recognize that the Yahweh of the Old Testament is the Yahweh/Yeshua of the New. He is described as being full of grace and mercy in both testaments. Even when Moses received the Torah on Mt. Horev [Sinai], the Scripture says,
“Yahweh passed before him, and proclaimed, “Yahweh, Yahweh [Eyeh-Asher-Eyeh], an Elohim merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love…” (Exodus 34:6f.).
Here in the heart of the Torah law, on Mt. Horev itself, Yahweh is described in terms of mercy and grace. In fact, this is not the only place in the Hebrew Scriptures where mercy and grace are attributed to Yahweh. The same description appears in many other Tanach “Old Testament” passages. Consider for example the words of Psalm 103:8, “Yahweh is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” The Psalmist quite probably is hinting at Exodus 34:6 because he knew that his hearers would be acquainted with this verse and the grace message that is flowing through the words of Torah. The Eloah of Israel, Yahweh, loves his people and shows them compassion.
The Hebrew mindset of the Hebrew authors of the Bible was dominated by the concept of divine mercy and grace.
Not only is the Tanach (Old Testament) incorrectly deemed as legalistic but also the mainstream of Judaism is mischaracterized from the time of Yeshua until today. The misrepresentation of the Torah as preaching a “save yourself by your own good works gospel” contributes to a completely distorted view of Hebrew faith during the period of the New Testament. Late Second Temple Judaism, the Judaism during the time of Yeshua, was not a salvation by works religion! Most Hebrew teachers belonging to Pharisaic and later rabbinic Judaism emphasized Yahweh’s goodness and willingness to accept all sinners who repent.
When Christians misconstrue these elements of Hebrew theology from both the Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism, they fail to grasp Sha’ul’s intent. What did Sha’ul want? Did he desire to repudiate the law? Whom was he confronting with his argument of righteousness through faith in Yeshua? In this brief discussion it is impossible to deal adequately with all the problems surrounding these issues, but we will examine Sha’ul’s words in Romans and Galatians in order to shed light upon these penetrating questions. As a start, it is helpful to observe Luke’s description of the crisis which Sha’ul, Yoseph of Cyprus (‘Barnabas’) and later the members of the Jerusalem council addressed when a group of Rabbinical Oral law teachers from Judea began preaching to the non-Jews that without circumcision there is no salvation: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). Is circumcision a prerequisite of salvation for the Gentiles? This pressing question, which was legal, or halachic in nature dominated the discussion of the relationship between Jews and non-Jews in the community of faith. Should the Gentiles convert to Judaism before they are accepted as followers of Yeshua and received into the congregation?
Concerning the issue of salvation, Sha’ul was adamant that the observance of the Torah law was not the means by which the individual could become righteous. The redemptive act of Yeshua’s suffering provides the way of salvation. But does this mean that the law serves no good purpose? Sha’ul maintained that Torah provides an indispensable guide for a moral life, which Christians must follow. One is not saved by observance of the law and non-Jews are not required to convert to Judaism in order to be good Christians. In Hebrew thought, all of the commandments of Torah are required of Israel but Christians are taught that the (former) Gentiles are responsible only for its moral demands, which are epitomized in the covenant with Noah and his children as an ENTRY POINT into the full Christian grafted in to Israel life. The new former pagan (former gentile) believer is then expected to learn Yahweh’s instruction in righteous living detailed in Torah. This is basically the position endorsed by the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:28-29). Former Gentiles who have accepted the message of Yeshua and want to join the fellowship of the community will be responsible for this moral standard outlined in the Noachic covenant but they do not have to be circumcised and assume Israel’s entire covenantal responsibilities according to Acts 15. However, new former gentile converts are expected to grow in the knowledge of Yahweh’s loving Torah instructions for life by studying Torah and applying it as a new life pattern required to become pleasing to Him.
Like other Hebrew teachers, Rabbi Sha’ul desired believer’s conduct to be in harmony with the Torah laws of YHWH God. Sha’ul the Hebrew apostle to the former Gentiles [former pagans] teaches the second Great Commandment, the Va’ahvata, Leviticus 19:18, “The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” Similar summaries of the law are attributed to the eminent teacher Rabbi Hillel as well as to the famous Rabbi, Akiva. Rabban Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel would have filled his pupil Sha’ul with the teachings of Judaism. This law of love from Lev. 19:18 was considered to be a summary of the whole Torah. It embodied all the commandments. If one upholds this great command, the Va’ahvata, one will observe the rest.
Sha’ul teaches that faith enables a person to attain the righteousness of Yahweh and that there is no tension between it and the Torah law. The term faith is better understood in certain contexts as faithfulness, because the concept includes so much more than the English words belief or trust. Righteousness involves the redemptive work of Yahweh in the salvation process and in the renewed lives of the faithful. It is so much more dynamic and forceful than the motionless, actionless idea that one is declared righteous at a fixed time such as salvation time. Righteousness is rooted in Torah. It is active and powerful to bring about a transformation of ones conduct. For Sha’ul, faith, righteousness and Torah go together. With what seems to be great enthusiasm he argues, “Do we then overthrow the Torah law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the Torah law” (Rom. 3:31). After stating his case firmly, Sha’ul launches into a deep discussion about the righteousness of Abraham, which is based upon faith (Romans 4). Sha’ul’s interpretation of Gen. 15:6, “Abraham believed Yahweh and it was accounted to him as righteousness,” is in the form of a Hebrew Midrash, a distinct type of commentary on Scripture. Sha’ul uses Midrash here in order to penetrate the deeper meaning of righteousness in the Scripture. Sha’ul is not alone in interpreting righteousness with this sense but the interpretation is prevalent throughout scripture.
“Great indeed is faith before Him who spoke and the world came into being. For as a reward for the faith with which Israel believed in Yahweh the Holy Spirit rested upon them…And so also you find that our father Abraham inherited both this world and the world beyond only as a reward for the faith with which he believed, as it is said: ‘And he believed in Yahweh,” etc. (Gen. 15:6).
The merit of the Hebrew fathers is a powerful concept in Hebrew thought. Here the concept of the merit of the Hebrew fathers is connected to faith and righteousness. In many ways, it is the example of the fathers that shows others the path to follow. The rabbis viewed Abraham’s faith as his benefit and his future reward. His faith in Yahweh produced obedience. Abraham actively believed the Almighty Elohim and followed him. It was credited to him as righteousness. Like the rabbis, Sha’ul employed a similar motif when he preached about Abraham’s faith as producing divine favor from Yahweh.
The tremendous challenge for us today is to read Sha’ul’s letters without being influenced by the multiplicity of opinions of ‘learned’ men in the past.
First and foremost among such men is the anti-Semitic “Catholic reformer”, Catholic Priest, Martin Luther. Luther, more than any other interpreter has erected a Roman stained glass window through which we view Sha’ul and his message. Instead of viewing Sha’ul against the background of first century Judaism, we see him through the eyes of later interpreters who knew little about early Hebrew thought. Even today, Luther’s Catholic ideas about Sha’ul continue to circulate widely as authority in Protestant theological discussion. Certainly, Luther’s anti Jewish influence reaches beyond his time and place in history and into modern Christianity. But Sha’ul’s concerns about Jews and non-Jews living together in the community of faith did not trouble the Catholic Priest, Luther. He faced radically different challenges and set other priorities, such as his three triptych books entitled “Against the Jews and their lies” which were the basis of Hitler’s murderous views toward Jews.
Interpreters of Sha’ul must ask the questions that Sha’ul asked before they apply his answers to their own problems or else they may find themselves coupling Sha’ul’s answers with the wrong set of questions. Beginning ones studies with a skewed or twisted presupposition guarantees a twisted Scripture, (2 Peter 3: 16). Luther developed an ambivalent attitude to the Scriptural Torah law because of his own Catholic based struggles which were essentially foreign to New Testament Christianity as it should be. For instance, his stance on the epistle of James implies that the Torah canceled faith. He also leaned too far in the opposite direction suggesting that genuine faith canceled Torah. In the end, had Luther had his way, he probably would have opted to drop from the New Testament these five troublesome chapters penned by Yeshua’ brother James. So uncritical acceptance of Luther’s twisted interpretation ultimately leads to questioning the content of the biblical canon itself. While Luther has made significant positive contributions to Christian theology helping many to understand divine grace and human need, his approach to faith and works was radically influenced by his own time. Students of Pauline literature must comprehend first century Judaism apart from later Catholic Church pagan Babylonian based controversies and Protestant dispensational heresies.
Students of Sha’ul must seek to understand the first century social and religious issues, which divided the early Messianic Christians. For Sha’ul, justification by faith united Jews and Gentiles in a rich cultural diversity, which paved the way for a righteous lifestyle.
Paul confirmed Yeshua’s words of Matthew 5:17-19 with his words in First Corinthians 15:52-54. Read these verses and ask yourself, “How much of this do I not understand?”
Matthew 5 says:
“Think not that I am come to weaken, or destroy the Torah, or the neviim: I have not come to weaken, or destroy, but to completely reveal it in its intended fullness. For truly I say to you, Until the current shamayim and earth pass away, not one yud, or one nekudah shall by any means pass from the Torah, until all be fulfilled. Whoever therefore shall break, or weaken one of the least Torah commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the malchut ha shamayim: but whoever shall do and teach the commands, the same shall be called great in the malchut ha shamayim.”
First Corinthians 15 says:
” In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last Shofar: for the Shofar shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality; then shall be brought to pass [fulfilled] the saying that is written in the Tanakh, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
In the final analysis, the conceptual values of grace and faith in Sha’ul’s teachings are riveted eternally in Torah. Faith leads to righteousness. Grace opens the door for the individual to experience Yahweh in the dynamics of every day life. Sha’ul boldly proclaims,
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of Yahweh, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of Yahweh is eternal life in Yeshua our Messiah.” (Romans 6:22-23)
The scriptures make no distinction between the moral and ceremonial Torah Commandments [Laws] of YHWH. How then, can mere men who call themselves Bible teachers do so and claim the supposed authority to change and parse YHWH’s Word to suit their personal biases and learned worldviews?
Whose Torah Covenant is it?
Jeremiah 31: “Here, the days are coming,” says Yahweh, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra’el and with the house of Y’hudah [not a lawless Church]. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them,” says Yahweh.
“For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra’el after those days,” says YHWH God: “I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, ‘Know Yahweh’; for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest; because I will forgive their wickedness’s and remember their sins no more.” This is what Yahweh says, who gives the sun as light for the day, who ordained the laws for the moon and stars to provide light for the night, who stirs up the sea until its waves roar — Yahweh-Tzavu’ot is his name: “If these laws leave my presence,” says Yahweh, “then the offspring of Isra’el will stop being a nation in my presence forever.” This is what Yahweh says: “If the sky above can be measured and the foundations of the earth be fathomed, then I will reject all the offspring of Isra’el for all that they have done,” says Yahweh.
The bottom line to this discussion on moral and ceremonial Torah law is that from the beginning there has only been one body of Messiah, one spirit, one family and one Echad [Yahweh]. Why do Christian religious systems stubbornly continue to refer to laws for the church and other laws for the Jews in the face of scripture plainly saying otherwise?
The Prophet Amos Speaks
“Surely Yahweh Elohim does nothing, unless He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets. ” (Amos 3:7)
The first lesson in TORAH is there are no surprises. From the beginning in the Garden of Eden, YHWH makes His plans known to the sons of men through His Prophets and Bar-Naba’s. Before YHWH acts, He is obliged by himself to inform mankind of His intentions. There have always been servants of YHWH who were required to preach a message for the people of their time and to the little flock of Yeshua in the End Time Acharit Hayamim.
YHWH called a nation to teach TORAH to this world, His chosen people, and the children of Israel. As a nation they were not given the Holy Spirit, but only individuals received the Spirit for ministry, and so they rebelled. A few were called as prophets, to warn of blessing or cursing, as YHWH reacted to the nation of Israel and their national conduct at various recorded times of rebellion during the period of the Tanakh.
“‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6 NKJV)
The Israelites failed many times in this purpose: “Because finding fault with them, He says:
‘Behold, the days are coming, says YHWH, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah’ “ (Hebrews 8:8; quoting from Jeremiah 31:31-37)
Therefore, YHWH moved on in His plan stated above and called the Jewish disciples to build a Quahal [Ecclesia], to preach TORAH to the lost tribes of Israel, and to the few former Gentiles, who were amongst the wandering Israelites. They later, first became known as Christians [little christs] in Antioch in the 2nd Century CE.
But He [Yeshua] answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ ” (Matthew 10:6-7 NKJV)
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)
Here is a scripture rarely quoted in any Sunday church service: “You are sons of the prophets and of the TORAH covenant which YHWH made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ “(Acts 3:25 is here quoting Genesis 12:3) The apostle Peter understood the role of the Israelite Ecclesia among the Gentile [pagan] Church. They are prophets and TORAH teachers of Yeshua, and are to give the understanding of the scripture to all who ask. This is EVANGELISM 101! Any ministry and this ministry in particular are to proclaim the knowledge of the Holy One of Israel publicly, and to explain what the prophets spoke of for our time.
In this 21st Century of the history of Christianity, with little time left until the Acharit Hayamim [end of days]; the Christian Church needs to clean up its tarnished image, cleanse itself of heretical doctrines, rediscover and implement its Hebrew roots, and try to present itself without spot or wrinkle before its Master, Yeshua.
The letter of Paul to the Galatians is his DEFENSE of the Torah of the Almighty, YHWH. This is obvious. The Ghost of Marcion, the heretic, is alive and well in today’s Christianity. Kill it without mercy.
In the last 100 years or so, the American Christian Church has experienced a self-defined and self-inflicted “train wreck”. After the great awakenings of the 1800’s, the denominational churches have descended via the second law of thermodynamics [Entropy] into a mud pit of PC pabulum, mediocrity and irrelevance in our society. The statistics from such studies as the Pew Foundation reports on religion in America bear out the facts enumerated in this article. No matter how many warnings are sounded from this website and others like it; the Christian Church leadership in this country continues on the blind downward path to religious suicide.
Only because of Yeshua Ha Moshiach,
Rabbi James and Erlene Talbott, the Wilderness Moreh on the Emmaus freedom road
Yeshua HaTikvah Yisrael Ministries