Torah Observance by Christians – Part 2

[See also Part 1]

The Law of Moses in Relation to Contemporary Christians

The discussion above [see Part 1], principally from Hebrews, raises an important question. NT scholar Harold Hoehner says: “Does this mean that there are no laws in the Mosaic law that the believer of today is obligated to obey? Only those that have been reiterated in the NT. We are under the new covenant, and the old covenant has been done away.”[1] For example, murder is prohibited in both the Law and the New Testament, but the dietary regulations of the Law were not reinstituted under the new covenant (Acts 10). We are required by God to obey the commands given in the New Testament.

Many scholars believe this question of required Christian obedience to the Law of Moses was settled forever in Acts 15 when a similar controversy disturbed the church in Antioch. Luke said, “While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: ‘Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved’ ” (Acts 15:1, NLT). Paul and Barnabas strongly disagreed, and the matter was referred to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem (Acts 15:2). In Jerusalem some believers who were Pharisees said, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5, NLT).

However, Peter led in a different direction by saying, “Why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10, NLT).

In the end, the elders in Jerusalem wrote to Antioch saying: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:28-29, NLT). The Law of Moses was not required of the Gentiles.

Although the Law of Moses separated Israel from the nations, it proved unable to achieve righteousness because that was not its purpose. The author of Hebrews says that the law received through Moses was but a shadow of the good things brought by Christ because it was completely unable though its continual sacrifices to perfect those who came to worship (Heb. 10:1).

The Greek verb for “to sanctify” [better “to set apart as holy”] is hagiaz?, and it occurs 28 times in the New Testament. For example, sanctifying (Greek hagiaz?) Christians does not take place through keeping the Law but did take place through the one-time sacrifice of Jesus (Heb. 10:10). The author of Hebrews also says, “For by a single offering he [Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified [Greek hagiaz?]” (Heb. 10:14). In fact, only judgment and punishment await those who reject the blood of the new covenant that sanctified [Greek hagiaz?] them (Heb. 10:29).

The above ideas lead to a conclusion: Sanctifying Christians does not take place through keeping the Law but instead took place through the one-time sacrifice of Jesus (Heb. 10:10).

Indeed, rather than sanctifying us, the Law kept us enslaved until Christ redeemed us and gave us full rights through our adoption as sons of God with the Spirit indwelling us (Gal. 4:1-7). Going back to keeping the Law has a disastrous effect. Paul says that taking on the obligations of the Law is rejection of freedom in Christ in favor of slavery (Gal. 4:21-5:1).

It is ominous to say, but anyone who puts themselves under the Law is obligated to keep the whole Law (Gal. 5:3; James 2:10). For reasons discussed below, the only way for a contemporary Christian to keep the Law is through a large number of reinterpretations and excuses (e.g. “we don’t need to make the required sacrifices when no Temple exists”).

Some Reasonable Expectations

If some Bible teachers were correct in thinking that all Christians are required to obey all the laws given by Moses, then it seems reasonable to expect we would find certain things in the New Testament:

  • A New Testament command to keep the Law received through Moses; there is none!
  • A New Testament statement that keeping the Law is essential for sanctification or growth in Christ; there is no such statement!
  • Statements in Acts and elsewhere in the New Testament that Christians were going to the Temple — still standing until 70 AD — to make sacrifices according to the Law received by Moses; there are no such verses!
  • A New Testament command to keep the festivals of Israel; none exists.

There is just one way for those who believe in Torah observance by Christians to overcome this lack of evidence supporting their view, and that is to say that we are obligated to imitate Christ, who kept the Law.

The idea of imitating Jesus in all things has been popular in certain parts of Christian history, but it has some serious limitations. Just to pick a few easy ones, who among us can be born of a virgin or die to atone for the sins of the world? Are you able to create the church or send the Holy Spirit? Which of us can stand up and say, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18)?

It should not surprise you that imitating Christ in all things is not put forth in the New Testament as the method for Christian sanctification. Instead, New Testament authors occasionally call on believers to imitate Paul or their spiritual leaders (1 Cor. 4:16; 2 Thess. 3:7; 3:9; Heb. 6:12; 13:7), to imitate God in terms of love (Eph. 5:1-2) or to have the save self-sacrificing attitude as Jesus (Phil. 2:1-11). The sanctification of Christians is not based on keeping the Law or imitating Christ but on the finished work of Christ on the cross (Hebrews 10:10).

What Jesus Knew

One reason that Jesus did not command the keeping of the Law given to Moses may be that he knew that Jerusalem, including its Temple, would soon be utterly destroyed (Matt. 24:1-2). The Roman general Titus carried out these terrible acts in 70 AD, when the church was in its infancy.

The idea that Christians must keep the Law runs headlong into serious problems. There is no Temple or priesthood to support required sacrifices; nor is there any provision in the Law saying that it is okay to lapse on those parts if no Temple or priesthood exists.

Consider too that no one other than Jesus ever was able to satisfy the requirements of the Law. To say that Christians must keep the law to be sanctified is setting them up to fail. The new covenant operates on a completely different principle than keeping the law — grace.

The Law of Christ

Paul says of himself that “I am not free from God’s law but [I am] under the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21, NET). He also says, “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). James 2:8-13 is also worthy of close study in regard to the centrality of love for one’s neighbor. There is no doubt whatever that the Holy Spirit is central to living under the new covenant (Romans 6, 8).

Christians today are not required to obey the laws of Moses in Genesis to Deuteronomy (so-called “Torah observance”). For instance, we are free from dietary restrictions and are not required to celebrate the Jewish feasts. We summarize with Paul’s ringing words to the Galatians: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1, NET).

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide.


[1] Harold W. Hoehner, Ephesians (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002) 376.

 

52 thoughts on “Torah Observance by Christians – Part 2”

  1. Barry, excellent analysis of an ancient heresy resurrected again, unfortunately. Why does “law” have such a strong pull against grace? Perhaps we want to prove to God, ourselves or someone that we can be righteous. Perhaps we struggle to accept the radical message that Another has fully met the righteous requirement of the law (Rom 8:1-8) in our place so that there is no condemnation.

    You have a header “the law of Christ.” Are there laws that we should keep today as Christians under the New Covenant, even though we are free?

  2. Hi Bruce! I think your theory is correct. People want a way to prove themselves worthy before God, and the Law offers explicit ways to do that; grace is a bit less specific and thus offers less psychological satisfaction.

    You rightly point out that by focusing on the Law, people overlook or avoid the more important issue: Christ has fulfilled the Law in our place! What we should do is focus on Christ and what he wants of us, but it is tempting to deal with the Law instead.

    Something I have observed about those who are getting into Torah observance is that they want to do things like keeping Old Testament feasts, but they ignore the hard parts such as offering the required sacrifices!

    You point out that we are under the New Covenant, which involves “the law of Christ.” I think the clearest answer to your question about what we should do with our freedom in Christ was answered by Jesus when he said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (John 14:15, NET Bible). Pleasing Christ is the key!

  3. Hi Barry,
    Great articles! really enjoyed the entire article…the ten Commandments come up repeatedly…so how do they compare as part of the law or not? My understanding is that they are foundational to human existence but cannot be a part of our justification.
    And Jesus covered them all by quoting two (Matt 22).
    So…otherwise how do Christians relate to the Ten Commandments?

    Many thanks!
    gb

    1. Hi Garland,
      I would say that Christians relate to the Ten Commandments the same way they do to the rest of the Law, because these commandments are certainly part of God’s covenant with Israel. The sweeping moral nature of the Ten Commandments leads to the application of all but one to Christians.

      Note that the Ten Commandments were given to Israel, not the church. But when you consider the nature of the individual commandments ? no murder, no stealing, no lying, no idolatry and so on ? they fit New Testament teaching with ease. The only commandment not repeated in the NT is keeping the Sabbath. The church worships Christ on the first day of the week to celebrate his resurrection.

      Even though we as Christians are not under the Law, the commandments give us an excellent idea of what kind of behavior pleases God and what does not. That kind of information is frequently what a Christian can learn from the Old Testament.

      Thanks for taking part in the discussion!

    2. Garland,

      I have always found that the 2 commands quoted by Christ, (Love God and Love Your Neighbor) encompass the essence of the 10 commandments. If we practice those 2 items perfectly, we will keep the 10.

    3. Hi Barry and Garland – I’m also enjoying your new blog and the articles! My take on the 10 commandments application for Christians today follows the logic Jesus used in Matthew 5 where he amps up the definitions of murder, adultery, divorce, and love for others to a degree people had never even considered. I would argue that this same logic would extend to all of the commandments.

      The previous understanding allowed for ‘excuses’ and ‘explanations’ to creep in and almost allow for a ‘letter of the law’ misreading that completely missed the ‘sprit of the law’ understanding (divorce is a good example). Jesus explains that meeting the law is SO MUCH MORE (we can even look at the whole section of mt 5:17-48 to understand where he’s coming from). And through Him of course is the only way that we can satisfy the law.

      So if we read all of the law in this way, as we get to the Sabbath, I would argue that we should be resting in Christ all the time, not just one day of the week (Jesus also tells us in Mt 5 to come to him if we’re weary and burdened and he’ll give us rest). Holiness is not just for 1 day a week, but we are TO BE holy (perfect – mt 5:48). How is that possible apart from being in Christ.

      Of course the flip side of this is that people will say we can just do anything, but I think Paul covers that in Romans 6, right :-)

      Just my $.02.

      1. Welcome, Jay! I certainly agree with you that the religious experts in Jesus’ day tried to water down the Law, and Jesus blew that view away.

        In a future post I’ll have some things to say about Matt. 5:48. Stay tuned!

  4. Hi Jay,
    I also think that adhering to the principles of the law takes on a new perspective… or not?
    By following Christ we are free from the law as a means of salvation but not free from adherence as principles to live by. And as you point out Jay, the principles we live by are more revealing. Our connection to God now has a firm foundation through Christ and it is clearly revealed in how we live. The spirit of the law reveals the Spirit within. Part-time worship, or part-time living is not a reality for Christ followers. But I wonder if there wasn’t a misrepresentation from the beginning. Paul makes the case that Abraham’s life with God was from the beginning, a life of faith.

  5. Hi Barry,
    misrepresentation is probably a bit strong. My thought is that there has always been only one way of relating to God…and that is by faith. To me that is what Paul says about Abraham. Before the law, before circumcision, Abraham’s faith (or the faith given to Abraham…a little arminianism vs calvinism thrown in!) connected him to God and was the basis for his becoming a father to many people.
    So keeping the law was never intended as the way to God but was intended as a way of identifying God’s people…of showing how lives of God’s people are to be lived.
    The progressive elements of God’s revelation is in relation to our understanding i.e. God hasn’t changed..He’s leading us thru change to a fuller understanding of life on His terms.
    Anyway Barry…”on Christ the solid Rock I stand..all other ground is sinking ground”!
    :)

    1. I take your point, Garland, and certainly agree about “Christ the solid Rock”! You also make a good point in suggesting that relating to God by faith has always been the only way to go. The content of the revelation to which faith responds has changed over time, especially after the coming of Christ, but a faith-response has always been God’s way for us. The law was simply one phase of that revelation, and it gave Israelites a chance to demonstrate their faith (or not).

    1. Olson has written hundreds! In 2006, Roger E. Olson published Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (InterVarsity Press, ISBN-13 978-0-8308-2841-8), which Christianity Today said was one of the most important theology books for that year. Those who discuss that whole theological issue should read his book. It was not written in the attack-mode that so often spoils discussion of Christian theology.
      I’ll have more to say on this subject another day, but not in relation to the Law. Stay tuned!

  6. This is a very interesting topic. It is one that Paul struggled with in the early congregations and wrote much about. As one who observes the Torah (Instruction) to the best of my ability, from Genesis through Revelation, I can offer some insight into this question. We are justified by faith in our Messiah. We are saved by the grace of G-d, the same way everyone who has ever lived has been saved by including Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But the Torah or Instructions of G-d are HIS standard of righteousness. No one but our Messiah has ever lived them to perfection. Thats why Paul says “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of G-d”. The term sin (Chet) is an archery term. It means to miss the mark. Y’shua commanded us saying “if you love me you will keep my commandments” He is G-d, is he not? As John says ” In the beginning was the word, and the word was with G-d and the word was G-d” The entire bible is Y’shua (Jesus) word. But I do not keep the commandments I am able to because I have to, I keep them because I love G-d and want to be a witness to the world of Him and His ways. Y’shua can be your saviour, but He should also be your Lord. Our Lord and master has the right to order us around, changing us little by little to conform to His image.

    As far as the Feasts of the Lord go, I have found the Sabbath to be a wonderful time to spend with Y’shua and my family. G-d set the Sabbath (Saturday) apart and made it Holy. Do not treat as common somethig G-d has set apart as Holy! I worship Him 24-7 but there is something special about the Sabbath. Also the other feast days are rememberances of what G-d has done and will do. Y’shua died on Passover, was resurected on Firstfruits, The Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost. The fall feasts all look forward to His second coming. I think believers are missing out if they miss G-d’s appointed times. They were never just for the Jewish people. G-d said “These are my appointed times”. Again, these times G-d has set apart as Holy.

    The whole argument can be summed up in this… You cannot be saved by Torah observance but it is G-d’s standard of how we should behave. He gives all of us the choice of whether to obey Him or not. The choice is yours.

    1. Ah, some opposition! Thank you for your comment, Stacy.

      For those not familiar with the beliefs of Torah-observant Christians, several terms may need definition. “G-d” means “God,” but —like the Jews before them — Torah-observant Christians do not think it respectful to pronounce the name of God. For some reason, this rule does not apply to either “Jesus” or “Messiah.”

      As Stacy points out, “Y’shua” means “Jesus,” and it represents a transliteration of the Hebrew word for “Jesus” into an English alphabet. However, the name Jesus does not occur in the Hebrew Old Testament, because Jesus is never named there.

      Stacy rightly says that “Torah” means “instruction” in Hebrew, and she follows the custom of others in this movement by using that generic definition to stretch “from Genesis through Revelation.” However, “Torah” is more frequently used in a more limited sense to refer to the Law of Moses, a subset of the covenant between God and the Israelites.

      By carefully noting that she keeps the Law voluntarily, Stacy steps around the issue of whether Torah-observant Christians are required to keep the Law. Nor does she address the biblical references in my post such as these: “Paul tells us that all believers in Jesus Christ have died to the Law in order that they might serve in the new life of the Spirit (Rom. 7:4–6; Gal. 2:19). He later says that Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness for all who believe (Rom. 10:4). In Galatians, Paul explains that the Law served as a guardian until Christ, but now that faith has come we are no longer under a guardian (Gal. 3:23–25).”

      Stacy closes by calling all Christians to obey God, and we certainly agree on that. However, the New Testament teaches that Jesus has fulfilled the law and become our high priest forever (contrary to the Aaronic priesthood taught by Moses).

      In Jesus, times have changed, and now we obey God by obeying all that he commanded through the apostles Jesus sent to teach us what we must do. Our law is to please Christ in all things.

  7. I would love to comment on those issues. The first presumption is that Scripture cannot contradict scripture.
    In Romans, Paul is making a point, not stating dissolution of the law. He says in Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Rom 6:2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

    The law is how we know what sin is. Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.” So either Paul is contradicting himself or your interpretation is wrong as is your understanding of Galatians. Even Peter says in 2 Peter 3:16 “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” Did Paul obey G-d’s law all of his life? Yes he did. Did Paul have arguments against the oral law otherwise known as the traditions of the elders? Yes he did. Most of his letters are addressing those issues.

    As for Rom 10:4 – “Christ is the end (The Greek word is Telos , Strong’s word #G5056 meaning GOAL) of the law for righteousness for all who believe.” Well that certainly changes the meaning of that a bit doesn’t it. You cannot fully understand the New Testament scriptures without a thorough understanding of the old and Hebrew culture.

    The promise of the New Covenant
    Jer 31:33 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
    Eze 11:19-20 “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, “that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. “
    Isa 56:1 Thus says the LORD: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed. Isa 56:2 Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Isa 56:3 Do not let the son of the foreigner Who has joined himself to the LORD Speak, saying, “The LORD has utterly separated me from His people”

    At salvation, we are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel.
    Eph 2:12 “that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

    Isa 59:21 “As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.”
    Psa 40:7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
    Psa 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”
    Exd 12:49 “One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”
    Num 15:16 ‘One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.'”
    Pro 28:9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.

    Y’shua’s own words….
    Luk 16:17 “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
    Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. Mat 5:18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Mat 5:19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
    Matt 8:4 – Y’shua tells the healed leper to go and show himself to the priest and offer the sacrifice as Moses commanded.
    Matt 12:8 Y’sua says He is L-rd of the Sabbath.” Is he L-rd over something He did away with?
    Matt 12:50 Whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is My brother and sister and mother.
    Matt 15:2-3 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?

    I could go on and on with examples. I think we agree on some things. Most good Christians obey about 80% of the Torah. But we could all be more obedient, couldn’t we? All believers should strive to be more like Our L-rd and Master every day. It is our reasonable service…

    1. First, Stacy, I concur that “we agree on some things.” As my sister in Christ, you and I share a great deal, but we don’t always agree on how to understand our heritage or the responsibilities that go with it. But we do agree that Scripture does not contradict itself, when properly interpreted, and that all believers should strive to be more obedient and more conformed to Christ.

      Let’s consider your thoughts about Romans 10:4, which says, “For Christ is the end [Greek telos] of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom 10:4, ESV). Alternatively, NIV2011 translates it by saying, “Christ is the culmination [Greek telos] of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

      You indicate that Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible gives the meaning “goal” for the Greek noun telos. I’ll take that as true; however, Strong’s was never meant to be a definitive guide to New Testament Greek word meanings. The standard Greek lexicon (BDAG-3) gives five meanings for telos, and the one in Strong’s roughly matches the third of the five. BDAG-3 gives the primary meaning as: “a point of time marking the end of a duration, end, termination, cessation” [emphasis in the original]. This is the meaning they assign to Rom. 10:4, although they note it is also possible that meaning three applies as well.

      BDAG-3’s third meaning is: the goal toward which a movement is being directed, end, goal, outcome” [emphasis in the original]. Under meaning three, the lexicographers say, “Perhaps this is the place for Rom. 10:4, in the sense that Christ is the goal and the termination of the law at the same time, somewhat in the sense of Gal 3:24f.” Of course, Gal. 3:24–25 says: “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” (Gal 3:24–25 ESV). So, I don’t think that helps your case. Rather the reverse, actually.

      You also state, “At salvation, we are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel” and quote Ephesians 2:12, which says, “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12 ESV). However, you should read a bit further to find Ephesians 2:14–15:
      “For he himself [i.e. Jesus] is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.” (ESV). We did not become Israelites when we trusted in Christ; instead, the death of Christ made believing Israelites and Gentiles into something new (“one new man”). That part about “abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances” is not easy on you either.

      Finally, you cite many things said and done by Jesus, who perfectly fulfilled the Law. The key here is that these events all took place before Jesus died on the cross in satisfaction of all that God required. His death changed everything profoundly, and we live after his death not before it. Jesus obeyed the Law of Moses because that was what was required of him. It does not logically follow that all that was required of Jesus is required of us as well. For example, Jesus died for the sins of the world. Must we do so as well? Jesus lived in Nazareth. Must we do so as well? Being like Jesus has serious limits.

      I doubt I have changed your mind, Stacy, but the church has not been wrong on these issues for the last two millennia.

  8. I think you go out of your way to excuse your theology. Y’shua himself spent 3 years changing his disciple’s theology. They thought certain things like, “it makes you unclean to eat with gentiles”. That is not in scripture but it was taught in His day. It took an act of G-d and a sheet from heaven to change Peter’s mind about that one. That is just one example. I have studied church history and I would disagree with your last statement. The first century believers went to the synagogue and heard the law the Law of Moses there every Sabbath. Acts 15:21 “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

    The church fathers writings are filled with pages of “trouble” with people that kept the Sabbath and the feasts. The Catholic Church did everything in their power to separate themselves from our Jewish roots. The protestant reformation did good in throwing off some catholic theology, but not all. The Hebrew roots movement is an act of G-d, restoring His people back to their covenant roots.

    There is so much joy in celebrating the Feasts of The L-rd. They are a cycle of sanctification, moving us closer to a fuller understanding of The Father and The Son. G-d has changed my theology and it was quite painful but I am so thankful now. My family is closer than ever, we spend Erev Shabbat (Friday night) all together, have a big meal and a Bible study. Then on Shabbat (Saturday) we go to synagogue, worship the L-rd, fellowship, more Bible study, more family time. You don’t know what you’re missing.

    G-d has taught me much over the past 5 years. My family and I abide by The Word of G-d and nothing more. We celebrate G-d’s appointed times, not man’s celebrations. I have studied where the Catholic holidays come from and they are NOT Biblical.

    We can’t be Y’shua as in your argument, but we are to be His disciples. Discipleship is the art of imitation. What CAN we do that He did, not what can’t we do. I will celebrate what He celebrated and all the disciples celebrated. He is My L-rd, so He can tell me what I should and should not eat, what to celebrate, etc. He created me; He knows what’s best for me.

    I grew up catholic. I have been “saved” for well over 20 years. Spent 10 of those in MCFBC. I have been following Hebrew roots for 5 years. I have grown more in the last 5 than all the other years.

    Here is what I think about the scriptural arguments that you put forward, Our G-d is a G-d of details. Very specific details were given to Noah in how to build the ark, what to put in it, etc. Very detailed instructions were given to Moses in building The Tabernacle. He gave detailed instructions to the priests, in the law, to His prophets, etc…. If He came and changed everything from what holidays to celebrate, what food to eat, what laws to obey…Don’t you think He would be equally as detailed?

  9. I forgot one thing. After Y’shua was resurected in Luke 24 on the road to Emmaus He was talkiing with some disciples and they didn’t know him. Then He finishes with them in V27 “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Interesting HUH! When you study Torah from a Hebrew perspective, you see what He was talking about. The only way I can describe it, “It is like being born again, again.”

    1. I can appreciate the spiritual journey you have been on to this point. When I attended Dallas Theological Seminary, I liked Hebrew better than Greek, so I wrote my master’s thesis on the prophecies of Joel. At one point I even considered joining the staff of Jews for Jesus. My point is that I know it is important to understand the Old Testament, and certain parts of the church have not drawn the right conclusions.

      Because I believe the church needs to better understand the Old Testament (OT), I drew about 80% of the biblical material for the new book I just published from the OT.

      I am also aware that the Roman Catholic Church has some theological issues. But just because the name of some church event such as Easter has pagan associations does not mean that every church which worships Christ and celebrates his resurrection on Easter is off the deep end. Similarly, Christmas has many pagan/secular trappings, but many Christians are quite clear on the difference between those distortions and the real meaning of celebrating Christ’s birth. We talk about it every Christmas.

      Whatever you voluntarily do about the feasts is between you and the Lord, but I doubt that following in your steps would be equally beneficial for other Christians. Can you let them go their way just as you intend to go yours?

  10. Hi Stacy,
    I too am a messianic believer. You have to remember that there are only 2 types of people, Jews and gentiles. Christians always like to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, but that is Old Testament spoken to Israelites. I am one of his children because of Romans 11:19. What have I been grafted into is the same belief system Yeshua was in. He was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died as a Jew. The Bible was written by Jews, for Jews, about a Jew. When Yeshua was in the temple teaching what was he teaching, it certainly wasn’t New Testament. The term Christian didn’t come around until the church at Antioch; the first church was primarily Jews living a Jewish faith system. I tell people I don’t keep Torah for salvation but because of salvation . We are called to be a peculiar people; well keeping Torah makes us peculiar. I don’t know everything yet and won’t until I get to heaven, but I do what I know is right and when I learn some more I do that. The Bible was never written in Greek, it was translated into Greek, and a greek linguist will even tell you it is a bad translation. Go back to original text and you will get a new perspective. You will also have to study as a Jew would.

  11. Good conversation Barry. We are all free to choose our own path. I would just encourage everyone reading this to be like a Berean who will research everything through the scriptures, don’t be like the Greeks who just love to argue about things. We ALL must stand before G-d one day and give account for everything we have done and said. And as Paul said in 1 Cor 10:12″ Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
    May The L-rd bless you and keep you! Stacy

  12. Welcome, David!

    When you say, “The Bible was never written in Greek,” I understand you are talking about the Old Testament. You are correct in saying that it was translated from Hebrew to Greek, and the translation (the LXX) was uneven in quality. Studying the Hebrew text is crucial to understanding the OT. Of course, the New Testament was written in Greek.

    As to the early church being Jews living a Jewish faith system, they must have found out times had changed when they read Galatians and Hebrews. The Jews had many advantages due to their covenant with God, but if they were such rocket scientists, how come they got shipped to Babylon and then missed their own Messiah?

    I admire the Jews in many ways, both then and now, but the answer is not to study the Bible like a Jew or even to keep Jewish feasts. The answer is to follow Jesus and listen to his apostles, who wrote the New Testament for our instruction. We should also study the Old Testament, which instructs us in many ways (1 Cor. 10:11), but it does not turn us into Israel. We are the church that Jesus promised in Matt. 16:18. The term “Christians” may have first been used at Antioch, but that was a long time ago.

    Thanks for your post!

  13. In a reply about shabbat you said it was changed to the first day if the week to commemorate the resurrection, the shabbat is about resting after a weeks work. Adonai didn’t say let’s work seven days and then start the week off with a day of rest. What gives man the right to change the shabbat to the first day of the week. Didn’t yeshu ( Jesus) rest on the seventh day, wwjd. I believe it says in Revalation something about changing what the word of G-D says down to the last jot and tittle.

  14. This is an important discussion. The issue of the law in Galatians is more than justification. It’s a blessing that it appears all in this conversation agree that salvation in the sense of justification comes by grace through faith apart from the law (Eph 2:8-9). The issue then is what God requires of his children. Here again I see agreement in that all are saying God requires that we obey him; that is obey his commands. We also agree, I imagine, that his commands are summed up in the two great love commands. Further we agree that we should obey the commands given by Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. So the difference boils down to whether today God’s children are required/commanded to keep the laws given by Moses which are not repeated in the New Testament. It seems the focus often turns to celebrating the festivals and keeping the dietary laws; although, there are many others. At issue is not the freedom to celebrate certain days nor keep a certain diet; rather is it a sin, disobedience, NOT to celebrate all the Jewish festivals and eat certain foods such as those in the sheets that Peter saw in his vision? To be specific do I need to confess my eating bacon for breakfast as sin? Have I broken a commandment of almighty God?

    1. Bruce,
      It is interesting you mention eating bacon, as I have known folks that are a part of Messianic Fellowships that will not eat bacon, but will eat other meats that are not prepared Kosher. It is my understanding that this is not acceptable under the Torah. David, Stacy, or Rabbi Marty please correct me if I am wrong.

      1. Hi Scott: The Bible speaks of clean and unclean meats and of eating blood. Messianic’s follow what G-d says. Rabinnical Judasim has many more rules regarding Kosher than just these. That is where you see a difference.

        1. Stacy,
          Thanks for the clarification, that this is a rabbinical teaching not directly from the Torah. Based on your explanation of this, I do not understand why you do not use all of the letters when spelling G-d? Since, (as I am sure you know) Hebrew had no vowels in the earliest writing this could not have been done before the points were added. This was a rabbinical teaching to help insure the Jewish people would not inadvertently say the LORD’s name in vain. A practice that surely is overturned by Jesus when he tells his disciples to call God abba father, and Paul likewise in the book of Romans. I appreciate your willingness to engage in the discussion as it appears others are not.

          1. I am always willing to engage in conversations of this matter. I spell G-d like this as a show of respect for HIS name. The Jewish community takes the 3rd commandment very seriously. YHVH is the Biblical transliterated way to write His ineffible name. But we never try to pronouce it. The correct pronunciation has been lost through time. Y’shua taught us also not to use it, He says to pray to Our Father in Heaven. And the name Y’shua is the name above all names, another reason to never pronounce it. And you are correct about the vowel points. They are never written in an actual Torah scroll but they are written in the Tanak. So, I use it out of respect for G-d.

          2. Stacy,
            Again I thank you for engaging me in this dialogue. 3 things come to mind in reading your response:
            1) You did not address Paul’s use of abba Father in Romans 8, in relationship to the believer. He definately does not not use Adonai here when addressing our father, and in fact goes to the Hebrew to illustrate his point. Do you discount Paul’s teaching on this?

            2) It seems you pick an choose when you will follow the Torah alone, and when you follow rabbinical teaching. (Going back to your first response about kosher food). My Orthodox Jewish friends would use the same justification about eating food prepared on the same griddle that use you use when choosing to follow rabbinical teaching on vowels. My point is for all of the talk about following the Torah only, you pick and choose when to add rabbinical teaching into the mix. Also, technically you are incorrect in your assertion that the vowel points are in the Tanakh. the points were not added until the middle ages by the Masoretes. So this is definitely a rabbincal teaching not a Torah teaching. Before the middle ages Hebrew only used the matres lectionis (consonants acting as vowels).

            3) My last question is do you study the New Testament in Greek, since it is the original language for the New Testament? (I asked this to others in an early reply to another post but they did not respond).

          3. Hi Scott:
            1. I do agree with Paul. My prayers are directed to Abba in the name of Y’shua. For Y’shua taught us the same when He told us how to pray.
            2. I wont argue about when the vowel points were put in, it doesn’t really matter to me. I follow what G-d says in His word from Genesis to Revelation. I have found some of the traditions to be worthwhile and have incorporated them into my life. Some of the traditions are not good and I will not choose them. Rabbinical Judaism teaches many things about what is “kosher”. The Bible itself is very clear.
            3. I study the Bible all the time and I use blueletterbible.org to help with the Greek as I do not yet read Greek, I am learning Hebrew first. Rabbi Marty did not respond because he said in his post that he was not coming back to the discussion. But anyway, Yes. I want to understand the whole Bible in the language and context in which it was written. I do not want to rely on any man to teach me what it says and what it means. I study and the Spirit of G-d teaches.

  15. Some people obviously have their minds made up and will not be swayed by facts… Y’shua came NOT to abolish the Torah, but to make it full. “To fulfill Torah” was and is a common Rabbinic expression that means “to correctly interpret and to live correctly.” He gave several examples. But, if you follow some Christian teaching teaching about the word “telos” then adultery and murder are okay now!!! But this word is the source of telescope and other similar words which indicate clearly that the Torah was to point us to the Messiah. That is how and why, on the Emmaus road, He taught them all things from the Torah and the Prophets that spoke of Him.

    And as for changing the day of Sabbath; at no time do we read that Y’shua did so, nor did His disciples. Wouldn’t He have made a real fuss about this if it was His intention??? If we truly want to do what Jesus did, then we would keep the Sabbath and make it holy on the day that He established as His day of rest…

    1. Hello Rabbi Marty,
      For the sake of our blogging audience, I note that you are the leader of the Metroplex Messianic Fellowship in Bedford, Texas. This group does not believe a person becomes a Christian by keeping the Law, but they hold that keeping the Law is God’s plan for growing up in Christ. They express this in language that is extensively modified to make it more Jewish by using transliterated Hebrew words.

      In a previous post to be found here, I discussed the meaning of the Greek noun telos (“end, termination, cessation”) in Romans 10:4, which says, “For Christ is the end [Greek telos] of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (ESV).

      After rejecting the information I presented from the standard Greek lexicon about the Greek noun telos, you, Marty, made the astonishing claim that such a meaning would make “adultery and murder . . . okay now!!!” That claim is clearly false in light of New Testament declarations about the sinfulness of adultery (John 8:4 and 8:11, Rom. 13:9, James 2:11 and 2 Pet. 2:14) and murder (1 John 3:12, 1 Pet. 4:15, Rom. 13:9, and 1 John 3:15).

      Further, Christians have no reason to think that God tolerates murder since he condemned Cain for murder long before the Law ever existed (Gen. 4:9-12). Also, God condemned adultery by striking the household of Pharaoh, who had seized Sarai, the wife of Abraham (Gen. 12:14-17) long before the Law was given.

      Next you claimed that the English word “telescope” is derived from the Greek word telos; the dictionaries I checked seem to know nothing of that idea. Perhaps you could tell us where it came from. Even if it were true, which I doubt, the relevance is certainly obscure.

      Instead of presenting more such claims, how about explaining Colossians 2:6–17, which, in verses 16–17, label the Sabbath day “a shadow of the things that were to come.” The following quote of that passage and its context from NIV2011 seems quite opposed to your whole viewpoint. I think you advocate living in the shadow — under the Law — rather than in the reality found in Christ.

      Colossians 2:6–17: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
      8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
      9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
      13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
      16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

      So, Marty, what is your response to the Apostle Paul?

      1. The church in Galatia was comprised of mostly Gentiles who were brand new to the True G-d and to His ways. The ones who were giving them condemnation were the pagans from whom they had themselves come. These new Believers were, for the first time ever, following the instruction of G-d, detailed in His Torah. Their pagan neighbors were condemning them for it and Paul was telling them not to lose heart and to not be swayed BACK to the practices of those from whom G-d had saved them.

        A text out of context is a pretext; and trying to use this as a way to condemn following G-d’s path is certainly your pretext to foster rejection of G-d’s instruction and to keep people in darkness.

        I am not one to participate in chats such as this, and now that I have answered your questions, I will take me leave.

        1. I’m sure you meant “the church in Colossae” since I quoted Colossians 2:6–17 in my comment found here. That quote was over 10% of the entire book of Colossians! So, your assertion that I took “a text out of context” is plainly ridiculous.

          The fact is, Marty, that you never did explain what Paul actually said to the Colossians. You simply told a story that relates how every Christian in [fill in the city] was obeying the Law and trying to resist those who wanted to pull them back into error. Apparently, this one-size-fits-all story has worked well for you even though it has nothing to do with the biblical text.

          As you depart, my advice is to put Jesus back in the center of your theology, not the Law.

    2. I am afraid the debate has died down, before I could get involved. I did want to dig into tele- I am not always one to trust wikipedia but they have the following excerpt: The word “telescope” (from the Greek ????, tele “far” and ???????, skopein “to look or see”; ??????????, teleskopos “far-seeing”) was coined in 1611 by the Greek mathematician Giovanni Demisiani for one of Galileo Galilei’s instruments presented at a banquet at the Accademia dei Lincei. In addition dictionary.com states that although tęle (far) is akin to télos (end) they are different words. So far-seeing seems to have little to do with end other than similar spellings. In addition, telescopes do not point toward anything (they are not a compass). As the name implies they are used for seeing objects far away.

      A question for Rabbi Marty, it seems even though your morphological typology is suspect that you agree that part of the Bible was written in Greek (Most of the New Testament). Is this correct? If so how much time do you spend studying the Greek New Testament?

  16. Hi Bruce: Good to talk to you. The Torah is G-d’s initial revelation of Himself. He describes how He created everything and it also describes the beginning of His people, Israel. It tells of their successes and their failures. Paul said in 2Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. What scriptures did those first disciples have? 2 Timothy is one of the latter letters to be written, but the New Testament was not put together as scripture until the 2nd century. So obviously, he was referring to the Tanak or Old Testament. Paul says that it is for training in righteousness. Torah defines what sin is, as I said in an earlier post, so if we don’t do what it instructs us, then we have sinned. Paul also says that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of G-d. We are all sinners and need a savior. Once we know the savior, we should do our best to no longer live in sin. G-d calls pork, unclean meat. He not only speaks of this in the Torah, it is also spoken of in the prophets, mainly Isaiah 66. Peter never did eat that stuff did he? He said, No my L-rd, I have never eaten of those things. It was a test to show him that gentiles are not unclean. I choose to follow my L-rd and not eat things He tells me not to. What is more important to you, your bacon or your G-d? Again as Paul says “Should we continue to sin? G-d forbid.

    Agreed that the commandments are summed up in 2. You shall love The L-rd you G-d with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your resources, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The Torah gives details on how to do just that.

    There are some who would say “You Must” keep the commandments but they are like those spoken of in Acts. There are some that say “We are free from the law”. The actuality is in the middle. G-d promises blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience, Life or death. We all must choose. Grace is not an excuse to sin. Here is an example of grace that has helped me to understand. If I am caught speeding 70 miles an hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. I have broken the law. The police officer shows me grace and just gives me a warning. Does that make the law go away? No it does not. If I speed again and get caught I will get a ticket or worse. Same with the laws of G-d. We broke them, we are guilty and deserve the punishment, but G-d showed us grace by sending His Son to pay the penalty that we deserved. Now that He has paid the price, we should go and sin no more. G-d never changes and His word never changes.

    1. Indeed he did, but Adam and Eve were not told to do anything about it. That would seem to illustrate that God tends to modify some things as time progresses.

  17. Another FYI If you contnue reading the Col passage you quoted in V22, you will see he is talking about the commandments of men, not of G-d.

    1. No, Stacy, you need look no farther than Col. 2:21 to find the human commands Paul was talking about in Col. 2:22. Col. 2:20-22 says, “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.” Paul was dealing with several kinds of error.

      But none of that deals with Paul’s express statements in Col. 2:16-17, which show the complete supremacy of Christ to all that has gone before, the Law included.

  18. I find it interesting that it is those with a Jewish tradition that find it hard to accept what Christ accomplished on the cross and that we are no longer slaves of the Law. That is God’s plan and he has revealed that clearly in scripture. It must be difficult for those individuals whe were raised as Jews and had the burdens of the Law placed on them for so many years and now to accept that it is no longer a requirement. But that is the case. Christ did keep the Law fully, but his death and resurrection changed everything. We live in a post-resurrection time period and the New Testament was written for the Jews and the Gentiles. We (those in Christ) no longer live under the condemnation of the Law. Romans 8:1-2.

  19. I’m just curious, if the Torah is to be kept fully, as some are insisting, what then do we do with Leviticus 20:10, as one example, which says, “‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” Or several other verses that require the death penalty for sin. Do those who wish to keep the whole law, wish to also keep these commands? But if we’re not to keep that part of the Torah, what other parts might not be necessary to be keep?

    It would seem that those who wish to live under the law also have a logic problem of consistency and coherence in requiring Torah observance today, to say nothing of the theological issue. Clearly, one would, at minumum, need to be arbitrary as to as how they lived out the law, on several levels today. And, such inconsistency leaves a flawed worldview at best.

    Or, rather should we say with Paul, “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set (us) free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2. I chose life in the Spirit who gives life, peace and righteousness, as well as conviction of sin. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17.

    Shalom.

    1. Hi Brian: The law that your referring to in Lev 20 can only be carried out if we all lived under the Law of G-d, as the children of Israel did at that time. Even Y’shua dealt with this law in John 8. The woman was brought. Where was the man? Lev 20 says they both shall be put to death. Y’shua knew there was no case against her because the man was not brought and only righteous witnesses could put someone to death. Thats why He said “He who is without sin may cast the first stone”. Context and understanding are very important.

      1. Yes, I agree, Stacy, context and understanding are very important. Please note however there is no Biblical evidence for your response that those who chose to live under the Law must not observe the entire Law because they don’t live in a community that keeps the whole Law. That is simply a pragmatic approach to life in society today, not God’s Law. In fact, during Jesus time, the Jews were subject to Roman authority but sought to maintain the Law regardless. So your reasoning falls short, if Torah observance is the goal.

        Now with respect to pericope adulterae, if the man was brought forward, with witnesses according to the Law, then would it have been okay to stone both the adulterer and adulteress? The problem is as you point out, the Law wasn’t being observed correctly. Jesus of course understood the Law in question but notice that Jesus didn’t condemn the practice of stoning but instead used it as an opportunity to teach mercy and grace. That is why He came, so that we would not be bound to the Law, which He knew we couldn’t keep and to provide the Holy Spirit through which we can live Godly lives.

        The problem, according to proper Biblical understanding, is that those who desire to live under the law must observe the whole law, not simply pick and choose those parts of the Law they feel meet some emotional need (Galatians 5:3, James 2:10). Therefore, the problem with Torah observance is that it creates areas of arbitrary selection, since it can not be observed fully.

        Thankfully, the Torah doesn’t need to be observed, for in Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, “sin shall no longer be (our) master, because (we) are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14.) It is therefore the power of God living in us that enables us to live according to God’s righteous ways, not anything we do or don’t do.

        Shalom.

        1. Hello My name is Dan. I have dealt with this topic now for a few months and am ready to speak. I hope you will be able to follow my line of thinking.

          Jesus gave a new commandment. John 13 and also John 15. Apostle John reiterates this 1 John 2.

          The mystery is this. Romans 8. If we are “In Christ “, we are in effect Christ actualized.
          versus self actualized. Gal 2 “19For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
          20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

          Some background. My friend converted to this Hebrew Roots Movement. Two house deal. We have talked for hours, on several occasions. He told me God does not hear my prayers, because of my iniquity. He said that most Christians will be in for a rude awakening. He said, that the new testament, albeit highly rich and valuable, is not consider scripture. Torah is central. He said I might be saved,but that is the extent of it. Not only for me but for most of Christendom as history has know it. He seemed sound in his judgement. Almost cool. I felt very condemned. Rattled, for this came from a friend. A battle buddy.

          I had to go to my Father. I wept to my Father mercifully that night. I rose from prayer assured of a few things.

          Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love never fails. There is no fear in love.

          1 cor 13 ” 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

          8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

          1 John 4 “16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

          19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

          1 cor 4:3-5 “…3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” KJV

          Read Romans 14. What is the work here. law? liberty? Look deeper. It alludes to the new Commandment of Christ.

          It is this. My love for my brother takes precedence over law and liberty.

          If our hope in our Self has been sown. There is no hope of self-actualization. That person who is Christ actualized…that person bears much fruit. Gal 5: “18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

          We should bear fruit in which there is no law to judge or condemn the leaves, branch, or plant from which its source comes. Jew
          or Gentile.

          May we all be found in Christ.

          Dan

          1. Welcome, Dan!
            I must agree with you and not with your friend. The new commandment of Jesus, love, fulfills the law.

            You are right that our safety rests on being “in Christ.” We will not die for our iniquity, as your friend asserted, because Jesus has already died for our sins:
            ” 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Rom. 5:6-9.

            This issue has troubled the church ever since the death of Christ. The human heart longs for a way to earn salvation and overcome sin. The law seemed to many to be that way, but God had a better way in mind. In the fullness of time he sent his Son as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

            Dan, to help you in understanding these questions about the law, I recommend you focus on two books of the New Testament: Galatians and Hebrews. Both books speak to ways the New Covenant sealed by the blood of Christ is superior to the Old Covenant established by the law. Hebrews, in particular, is a very difficult book, but it will greatly reward careful study. Those books will add to your grasp of the New Testament. Jesus taught us to love God above all and to love one another. Paul explains how being “in Christ” is the key to our new life before God. You have found those profound ideas, and I am so thankful for that. Hang on to those ideas because they are from the Messiah who died so that both Jew and Gentile might come to him in faith and live.
            -Barry

          2. I have a few questions to ask. I you please.

            John 15 “22“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23“He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24“If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25“But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’ ”

            What is the sin in which our Lord speaks of here?

            A few more question.

            How does the Greek handle the difference between oral and written law (Torah and Talmud). ? Or if there is a way to discern the difference from any New Testament text?

            Another?

            Was the Torah widely available to the first century Christians. If I wanted to read the Law and the Prophets- Would I not have to go to the Synagogue on the Sabbath? Or was there written copies widely available?

            I have been told that Paul was not intending that his letters become scripture… nor the gospels. I don’t know if I am wrong, but what is revealed to me in the New Testament as a whole is this… A concerted effort to preserve the revelation given to Apostles of whom were eyewitness of the Great Apostle and our Lord. A great movement to expose and express that Revelation at cost of life and limb. Letters and Testimonies to document that experience through oral and written tradition. Am I wrong here.

            What of the parchments John Mark (Gospel of Mark)? 2 Tim 4 11-15

            Is there an effort to entrust this Gospel from Eye witness …to a Logos form. From an oral tradition to a written tradition. Luke wrote under Paul’s authority, and John Mark under Peter’s authority. Peter calls John Mark, a son in the faith. 1 Peter 5:13

            Christ entrusted to Paul. Paul entrusted to Timothy. This has happened until now, where it is entrusted to me. Was this not the intent? That the word and works of Christ would be faithfully entrusted until Christs glorious return?

            Thank you for your time and thoughts on these matters.

            Dan

          3. Hi Dan!
            The sin Jesus is talking about in John 15:22 is the sin of rejecting his witness. The Jewish leaders, in particular, largely rejected Jesus and his message (a few believed).

            The New Testament has nothing to say about oral law. It speaks volumes about written law, the law given through Moses. The Greek word used to refer to the law is nomos. It is best to determine its specific meaning by referring to the context, but it frequently refers to the law revealed through Moses in the first five books of the Bible.

            The Torah was not widely available in written form during New Testament times. Aside from literacy issues, reproduction of scrolls was both expensive and time consuming.

            It is my firm advice that you ignore what people say about Paul’s intentions or the intentions of the authors of the Gospels. No one has any way of knowing those things for certain, and it is foolish to rely overmuch on speculation. The same is true of the parchments referred to in 2 Tim. 4:13; we simply do not know what was in those documents.

            What we do have is the New Testament, and the Old Testament for that matter. You are right to focus on what we do have and to find in those writings the message Jesus gave to the apostles. Now we must spread the message.

            I recommend you look at http://www.ariel.org, a web site established by a Jewish man who trusted in Jesus as his Messiah. His name is Arnold Fruchtenbaum. The “downloads” page will offer you hours of resources that particularly deal with the Bible as seen by Jews who have trusted in Jesus for their salvation.

            -Barry

Do you have an opinion or a different interpretation? Let me know!