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The Dangers of Messianic Legalism I

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Question #1:   What is the scriptural position on food? Pork for example: should Christians eat pork according to scripture?

Response #1:  In Eden, Adam and Eve were restricted to plant life and to what the trees of the garden produced (Gen.1:29-30). After the flood, God allowed mankind to eat animals, but not with the blood still in them (Gen.9:2-4). The Mosaic Law, given to the children of Israel, contained a wide variety of dietary restrictions. No animal that did not "chew cud" (as cows notably do) or that did not have split hooves (as rabbits notable do not) could be used for food. Pigs have split hooves, but do not "chew cud", and so were excluded as unclean under the Mosaic Law.

It is important to note that the underlying reason for all the different provisions of the Law (and there are many which have nothing to do with diet) were to mark Israel out as separate, that is, to show by way of clear outward signs that she was unlike any of the other nations on earth, a "holy people", "sanctified" to God by God. Of course, true sanctification has always been an inward rather than an outward thing, and that has always been true of those belonging to Israel as well to every other person who has ever lived. That is why Paul can say "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Rom.9:6 KJV). For it is the spiritual seed of Abraham who are truly sanctified to God, holy before Him having been cleansed and made righteous by faith, not by any sort of ritualistic behavior or works no matter how perfect the standard may be (this is the whole argument of Romans chapter four).

"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")
Mark 7:18-19 NIV

As this passage demonstrates, our Lord Himself has shown us that no food is spiritually unclean, and if that was the case for His true followers before the Law had been fulfilled by His death, it is certainly now the case for us after He has fulfilled the Law (Rom.10:4), so that we are no longer under the Law but under grace (Rom.6:14-15).

So don't let anyone judge you in regard to food or drink, or in the category of festival observances, be it of new moons or Sabbaths. All these things are shadows of what was to come, but the reality has to do with Christ. Let no one gain control over your life, desiring to [enslave you to himself] through a show of false humility and the adoration of angels, basing his approach on what he has [allegedly] seen while puffed up by his own fleshly thoughts, yet not embracing the Head [Christ]. For it is from this Source that the entire body [the Church] is [truly] supplied and instructed through [all] its joints and sinews, and [thus] produces the growth that God has given. If you have died with Christ to these false [pagan] principles [belonging to] this world, why are you letting yourselves be [wrongly] indoctrinated as if your life were of this world? In accordance with the commandments and teaching of [mere] men [these false teachers tell you] "Don't handle! Don't taste! Don't touch!", even though [we know] that all these [are only] things [which] decay with use.
Colossians 2:16-22

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
1st Timothy 4:1-5 NASB

As these passage tells us, advocating abstention from any sort of food for spiritual reasons is not only unauthorized by scripture, but we are not to allow ourselves to be bullied into abstention by others. Furthermore, the 1st Timothy passage tells us that such behavior (i.e., strict dietary regimens incorporated into religious behavior) will be a hallmark of the satanic religion instituted by antichrist (see the link: The Beast's Prophet and the Worldwide Anti-Christian Religion).

There are, however, several other issues here which any believer should take into careful consideration. First, as the 1st Timothy chapter two passage tells us, attitude is of extreme importance in this regard. Whatever food we eat has to be accepted with thanksgiving towards God who provided it. It is our prayer of thanksgiving, demonstrating our attitude of faith, which sanctifies whatever we eat in keeping with the Word of God. But if, for whatever reason, we have qualms about the "rightness" of eating something or other, then we are not eating "in faith", and all that is not of faith "is sin" (Rom.14:23). So while it is improper for those who wish to refrain from some type of food not to attempt to force to do likewise those who do not think the same way, it is also improper for those who have qualms about partaking to eat anyway something they are uncomfortable eating, just because their brothers and sisters in Christ are doing so. They have to believe these principles of the Word first, and only partake after they really do believe; otherwise, they are violating their own consciences.

It is also important to note that just as it is improper to pressure others to refrain from what they have no biblical reservations about eating, so it is equally improper to pressure others to eat what they have reservations about eating. More than this, it violates the "law of love" to do anything that may lead a brother or sister in Christ astray. Romans chapters 14-15 (see also 1Cor.8 & 10) makes it quite clear that we are to refrain from eating meat if our doing so causes our fellow Christians to stumble. In Paul's time, the meat markets of the Hellenistic world were closely connected to idolatry, because the sacrifices made at pagan temples were then sold by the priests et al. to the adjoining markets. Thus, the meat found at market in any given Greek city had most likely been "sacrificed to idols". Paul is very clear in the chapters cited above that pagan "gods" do not actually exist, so that there is no absolute restriction on eating meat even if such pagan sacrifice is its ultimate source. However, he is also very clear that since this connection was potentially troubling to some, the law of love dictates not eating such meat in front of a fellow Christian who has qualms about it (lest his conscience be weakened and his faith jeopardized).

As is often the case with areas of personal behavior, scripture gives us the two extremes and shows us thereby how to best navigate our course. On the one hand, we are to be grateful for whatever God provides, knowing that everything has been cleansed by our Lord, and that we have the true righteousness of God within us by means of faith, not through adherence to any dietary code. On the other hand, we also need to take into consideration that others may not be at the level where we are spiritually, and we should avoid damaging another's faith by the liberty we have in Jesus Christ. We should not teach abstention from any food, but we should not pressure others to eat things they have reservations about eating. We should, in short, not make an issue of food nor accept such stipulations from others nor allow ourselves to be coerced into conduct we know is not scriptural, but we also should not put our own freedom above the spiritual well-being of our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. We cannot yield to legalism at any point. But we should not seek confrontation on issues which are of very small moment in truth and about which we have no qualms, if some of our fellow Christians see these things as of paramount importance. As a Bible teacher, I am responsible to teach the truth (without advocacy of some behavior which may be optional); as a Christian, I am responsible to live in a way which sets a good example, avoiding any harm to my brothers and sisters in Christ, even if it means foregoing some things I would otherwise do, yet not out coercion (which is evil and must be resisted), but rather out of love for those who have not yet accepted some principle of truth.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1st Corinthians 10:31 NIV

I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to write me back about any of this.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Two weeks of tongues, wow. Seems a lot of people still try to make scripture say what they want rather than adjust their life to what it says. Studying about the trib and demons is interesting and important but learning the mind of Christ by studying about the basics or Peter takes much more effort; at least it does for me. Substantial bible study is like learning mathematics; it ain't easy but it is necessary. But that learning is what gives a person the resources to deal with adversity. It is one thing to recognize a storm is coming; however, the most important knowledge is to know how to and to be able to deal with it when it hits. We've been given the fat years to prepare. Training, training, training. Thanks for helping make the food available.

Response #2:   

Yes, there are a lot of people out there with "itching ears"; and a lot of people who are "ever learning but never able to come to an understanding of the truth" (at least it seems so from my perspective). I suppose this is because they are unwilling, as you point out, to put any serious effort behind learning everything God has to tell them (as Paul says, "I did not refrain from telling you the whole will of God": Acts 20:27). It is also, of course, because they are reserving judgment when they hear the truth – and as you well know, only what is believed (becoming epignosis) can be of any use in the Christian life (link: Epignosis, Christian Epistemology, and Spiritual Growth). This growing problem is a result of a disease I call "Smorgasborditis", the phenomenon prophesied in 1st Timothy 4:3 of Laodicean era believers "heaping up a great number of teachers for themselves". When a person collects authorities and makes them all subordinate to their own authority, never getting around to putting their heart into the teaching of any of the various and sundry ministries they find (in church-hopping, on the internet, on radio and TV, etc.), there is no hope of spiritual growth, only hopeless confusion (cf. Heb.13:9). A certain amount of informing oneself is beneficial; endless collecting of questionable sources without ever believing the truth is a pointless exercise. Colonel Thieme was very good about making this issue clear in stressing the need for sticking to one good, reliable source (maybe too good). As in many things in life, a healthy balance is salutary. From my particular "perch", however, I see rather more of the former than the latter.

One of the current dangers of "ministry surfing" without a solid foundation of truth in the heart is susceptibility to the "new legalism". This is an incipient movement which is beginning to curdle into a disturbing trend at present. I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't the core around which antichrist's soon-to-come religious movement will coalesce.

Thanks for your encouragement as always. It is great motivation to keep pressing on with the next major posting project: part 4B of Bible Basics: Soteriology.

Yours in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

 Yes Bill, another example of something so bad it is beyond sending up...these guys parody themselves. This is a serious attempt to get people to tithe (at a megachurch). I repeat, it is serious and not a skit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg9jPv-UAao&feature=player_embedded#!

Response #3: 

That is pretty scary. Tithing is an unauthorized and legalistic yoke placed on the necks of credulous, immature Christians with the purpose of fleecing them. Apart from that, I'm always tempted to ask such people how they plan to give their 10% "to God"? It seems to me that even for the hyper-uninformed it ought to be very clear that there is a big gap between "God" and a church that would put something like this on in His Name.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Yes, agree on all counts...in some ways, tithing is postmodern evangelicalism's version of the Medieval Catholic Church selling indulgences. Pathetic...sad...and, yes, scary at how credulous people are...it is, unfortunately, so easy to see, from this kind of thing, how people will be fooled into seeing the Antichrist as the Messiah ("There's a sucker born every minute" - the Book of P.T. Barnum, Verse 1, Chapter 1). I can see the AC as the ultimate neo-pagan prosperity teacher (selling the idea we can be just like God and remain gods of ourselves).

Response #4:   

Well put! Here are some links on that eventuality and on tithing:

Characteristics of Antichrist's religion

The persuasiveness of the antichrist's false religion

The Anti-Christian Religion and its Worldwide Expansion

The false prophet's administration of antichrist's false religion (in CT 4)

Is Tithing net or just "gross".

Tithing

Tithing and the Book of Life

Question #5: 

Dr. Luginbill,

I have found a good website, radio podcast that you and your subscribers may find of interest. It is by a Messianic Jew and he thinks much of the way that you do about scripture. He always has the most recent three radio cast for free, as well as many others and only if someone wants to support his ministry would they need to sign on. Please check him out and let me know what you think. His site is: Tsiyon.org

Response #5:   

Good to hear from you. I did check out this site and it does look interesting. I'm always a little reluctant to recommend ministries of which I have no deep experience, however. In terms of the Messianic movement, there are some dangerous and very legalistic strains out there. If you are interested in this sort of thing, my money would be on Dr. Fruchtenbaum's "Ariel Ministries". I don't agree with everything he has to say, but he comes out main-stream evangelicalism (Dallas Seminary trained), and he does have some unique, Jewish perspectives on the interpretation of the gospels.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Hi Dr.--If you can stomach more from ___; here is his take on the meaning of "believe'

Does PISTEUW only mean "believe" or does it imply more in the original language?

"16 For in that way God loves the world, that He gives the uniquely begotten Son, so that everyone committing to Him should not perish but shall have eternal life." (John 3:16)

1. In the last 1900 years the Church has watered down the meaning of commitment so that it now is only translated "believe". But that is not what it means. Here is a little concordance of all the uses of in the Apostolic writings. I will throw some comments in. The Lexical meanings are at the end of the post.

In these two texts, a fact is being supported:

Mat 8:13 as thou didst affirm, so be it done for thee

Mat 9:28 Affirm ye that I am able to do this? They say

In this text a person, Yeshua, is being supported.

B. The KJV translates the term "commitment" a number of times.

pisteuw= !mia/h, give support, Judeo Greek, commit to, support or affirm a fact (believe), or commit to, support or affirm a person (be loyal to, be faithful to, faithfully entrust oneself to). pisteuw+eij= commit to. pisteuw+ epi. = commit oneself = pisteuw+ b, i.e. depend on, or to commit to the care of (support oneself on).

Clearly then God's people have been robbed of the depth of true biblical meaning by the translation "believe", at the top level. No more important word could have been corrupted by tradition. Yet here it is.

"Let's try BDAG, 3rd edition:

"2. to entrust oneself to an entity in complete confidence, believe (in), trust, w. implication of total commitment to the one who is trusted ...() (those) who made their commitment " (BDAG, 3rd, 817). (cf. Liddell & Scott, -, "committed to one", pg. 1408). This is all the more so tied to Gen. 15:6, = make firm with, confirm with, be in support of. The Greek and Hebrew words include "firming" a promise, but are by no means limited to the idea of believe. The biblical requirement to repentance refutes the "believe only" interpretation (cf. Gal. 5:16-25). In Judeo-Greek idea is "so that everyone firming to Him". The prepositional construction with the personal object, , gives not only the sense of affirming a promise [which is not the object in this text], but of direct fealty to Messiah, i.e. loyal commitment.

He uses the 3rd edition of the BDAG to back him up. Funny, he thinks it is right when it agrees--or seems to--with him. But when it disagrees with him, as to the "first (day) of the week," he says that it just bowed to ecclesiastical pressure to translate in the traditional way. As to his "committing" I think HE should be "committed" but I won't say where! If I did on the boards, I would be censured as making a personal insult. He also wrote this:

If Dr. Just is a scholar he would have known that the Passover lambs were not slain in the "evening", and that all translations of such in the English are mistranslations, since the biblical texts mean the afternoon."

And he wrote this:

Exodus 12:6 says 'between the settings', which means between noon and sunset. It does not mean "twilight". "Twilight" in English is always after sunset. Hence, since the passover had to be pepared and killed before the 15th of Nisan, which was the first day of unleavened bread, it is impossible that the disciples could have waited till past sunset to do it! The last supper was on Tuesday evening, and the resurrection was on the Sabbath. The Passover holy day was Wed. sunset to Thursday sunset. Messiah died to pay the penalty for sin, not to get us declared righteous -- that comes later after we learn to obey the Torah. That's the real reason you can't accept what I say -- because you have an unbiblical doctrine of righteousness.

What do you think?

Response #6:   

This is a topic I am asked about all the time and have written about extensively in the past. To boil things down a bit, in the preceding material there are doctrinally important things, and there are doctrinally unimportant things. The latter only become an issue when people try to infuse them with an importance they do not rightfully have. As Christians, Jesus Christ is our Passover. Worrying overly about what day of the week He was crucified is fairly far down the list of important issues . . . until people start telling me that the issue is important to my salvation or spiritual growth, or begin to draw people away to follow them (usually into all sorts of "importantly wrong" false teachings). I think on the question of 'erebh in the plural there is no doubt that your correspondent is on an island with this fanciful interpretation (that the lamb was sacrificed "at evening on the first day" is beyond question: Deut.16:4). That is his business. But we see the problem with his method in that he is willing for the sake of some arcane belief to begin twisting scripture to support it. Ideally, those of us who love Jesus will let scripture twist us instead. Here is a section of what I have written on this at the links from the Satanic Rebellion series. From part 2:

Just as the Passover lamb, that poignant type of Jesus Christ dying for us, was commanded to be slaughtered "between the evenings (pl.)", (i.e., at a time neither clearly day nor night: Ex.12:6; 29:39-41), so Christ's death on behalf of all mankind was destined to be accompanied by an analogous, yet supernatural darkness. The three synoptic gospel writers all record this darkness (lasting approximately three summertime hours: Matt.27:45-54; Mk.15:33-39; Lk.23:44-49), with Luke adding the important detail that "the sun gave out" (literally "eclipsed"). Immediately following this period of unprecedented darkness, the veil of the temple is split miraculously in two, and our Lord breathes His last – until His resurrection. Thus the supernatural darkness of the cross is likewise a sign of divine judgment – our Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf submitting to the Father's judgment upon all our sins and dying in our place. He endured this terrible darkness and all that it entailed that we might forever live in the light with Him.

From SR part 5:

It is, in fact, difficult to imagine a feast more closely symbolic of the death of Jesus Christ on behalf His people than Passover is. This is especially true when we add to the above discussion the fact that Passover, symbolic of the crucifixion and occurring on Friday, is followed on Sunday by the First-fruits, a feast illustrating the resurrection of our Lord as the first-fruits of all whom God will resurrect (see below).

See also the following links:

Wednesday Crucifixion?

The Three Days (in BB 4A: Christology)

Friday vs. Wednesday

Friday versus Thursday Crucifixion.

This brings me to the question of "belief". I would have no great problem with much of what your correspondent says about the idea/concept/notion of belief. For one thing, as Christians we all should understand very well indeed that the faith we have in Jesus is so much more than some mere intellectual understanding of His existence. Before we believed, we were in the dark. When we accepted Jesus, the lights came on, and everything became clear. We were truly blind; now we really do see. We love Him more than life itself, and we call this faith, belief, etc., because that is the way the scripture describes it and that is the English vocabulary reasonably chosen to render the Greek and Hebrew words which express our complete commitment to the Son of God, accepting His Person, human and divine, and His work, in dying on the cross, with all our heart and mind and soul and might. We also know that faith without works is dead; that if we believe that Jesus is Lord it means so much more than just knowing He is Lord. For He has become our life, and following Him has become our main joy and our life-long profession.

How dare anyone suggest otherwise by reverting to a controversy about words?!

What comes next is truly disturbing. The Messiah has already come, and His Name is Jesus Christ. He gave us a New Covenant in His blood; the Old has been fulfilled and replaced, just as the Levitical Priesthood has been replaced by His High Priesthood of which we are a part in Him, just as we are now anchored to the true Holy of Holies and the old model has been destroyed, just as we now rest in a moment by moment Sabbath and the old has been discarded. We now live by the Law of Freedom (Jas.1:25; 2:12; cf. Rom.8:2; Gal.6:2); the Old Covenant has been done away with (Heb.8:13; 10:9). These are basic, essential things that all Christians know (or should). To turn back to the shadows which the Light of Jesus Christ has obliterated with a wondrous new reality is to become enslaved with Hagar and her progeny all over again. To commit to the shadows of the Old Covenant and practice them is to "crucify the Son of God afresh" (Heb.6:6). Righteousness comes by faith; as Paul proves in Romans, that was both true of Abraham and of us who are of the faith: we who believe are Abraham's true progeny. Attempting to enslave the Church in a yoke of legalistic bondage is the new threat that seems to be springing up from all quarters these days (not just from the likes of your correspondent). But if we who are truly followers of Jesus Christ would be spiritually safe, we need to adopt Paul's attitude to all such legalism of every stripe and form: "We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you." (Gal.2:5).

In Him who is the truth fulfilled, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Question #7: 

I put down on the boards what you said about how these legalists are getting all "het up" over stuff like this, and how legalistic it is. Well, ___ wrote this about what you said:

I'll only address the misuse of Scripture.

Gal 4:10 likely pertains to the sectarian calendar of the third sect of Judaism: the Essenes -- which was very unlike the biblical calendar and like the calendar of the Roman Church in its features. But it is not really relevant to the Sabbath resurrection. The Sabbath resurrection proves more than the Sabbath resurrection. It also proves the Roman Church LIED. And hence probably lies about a lot more. There is no love in that.

Heb 6:6 -- by using this text this way the Dr. is anathemetizing Messianic believers. See Jer. 33:17-22; Ezek. 40-48 for Millenial perpetuity of the Levitical Service. See Revelation 11 for reference to the Temple as being the Temple of God. See Lev 4, 5, 6 for the atoning virtue of the Levitical offerings. If Hebrews destroys the Levitical system, then we reject Hebrews as canonical. Of course, the Dr. is right that the Sabbath resurrection leads directly to Leviticus. The "first of the Sabbaths" is based squarely on Lev. 23:15. Do we turn away from it because of threats that it would invalidate the atonement of Yeshua. By no means. It is a necessary foundation for the atonement of Yeshua. Perfect love casts out fear.

1Tim 6:4. (NASB).

3 If anyone a advocates a different doctrine and does not 1 agree with b sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine c conforming to godliness,

4 he is a conceited and understands nothing; but he 1 has a morbid interest in b controversial questions and c disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,

5 and constant friction between a men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who b suppose that 1 godliness is a means of gain.

The highest doctrine of Scripture is God's Covenant with Israel, expressing God's faithfulness in Messiah Yeshua and requiring our faithful response. Paul means rejecting the covenant. Everything said by me concerning the Sabbath Resurrection is said in defense of the covenant, which the Lutheran Church and the Dr. clearly reject.

NASB:

14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly a charge them in the presence of God not to b wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.

15 Be diligent to a present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling b the word of truth.

Paul does not mean one should not dispute a translation that is a lie supported by a system that rejects Torah. The Sabbath Resurrection is clearly supported by the normal meanings of Greek words. It is the Dr. who is "wrangling" to support his argument with questionable Greek, sabbaton=week? opse = after? preparation=Only Friday. sabbath = never a festival.

So, now you are using "questionable Greek," eh? Gee, I didn't know that. :) And I didn't know that you and my church reject the "Covenant." That is news to me....

Take care and thanks again.

Response #7:   

While it's all very tempting (e.g., it will be news to 20 generations of biblical scholars that Paul was talking about the Essenes in Galatians 4:10, a "sect" whose very existence outside of Josephus is greatly debated!), I will resist going further on account of this comment by your correspondent:

"If Hebrews destroys the Levitical system, then we reject Hebrews as canonical. "

It is my policy not even to correspond with those who reject the authority of scripture outright. There is no point in it, since all we can know about the truth comes from scripture, and if one is willing to reject it, one has become a "maker of 'truth' unto oneself". Against such there is no argument or evidence, nor any possibility of edification: rejection of the authority of scripture is a big step on the road to apostasy (if not a declaration of arrival).

That's it for me in terms of any direct interaction with this particular correspondent short of repentance.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hello--Just one more thing, about ___. I agree wholeheartedly about him and his idea about taking out Hebrews. The depth of some people's apostasy. What really gripes me is his...arrogance, that HE alone can translate the Bible properly; that everyone else has done a half-baked job of it.

This is something I found recently that he wrote. Talk about a perversion of the gospel. You don't have to comment if you don't want to. Just read and groan:

1. The way to take care of Blume is to get rid of Hebrews. The Church removed books from the canon before. So I think the precedent has been set. Now its our turn to follow their example.

2. Yeshua's offering does not "perfect" anyone.

3. Yeshua's resurrection life will cleanse and perfect us AT HIS RETURN.

4. The Levitical service cleanses the earthly sanctuary.

5. The Levitical service pays the penalty for minor sins. (ignorances).

6. Yeshua's offering pays for major sins that are repented. (Pesha, Avon)

7. Yeshua's offering may cover/pay for minor sins in absence of the Temple, but it was not God's intention to do it this way. The temple will be restored so that it can be done the way God wanted it.

Messiah died to pay the penalty for sin, not to get us declared righteous -- that comes later after we learn to obey the Torah. That's the real reason you can't accept what I say -- because you have an unbiblical doctrine of righteousness

Jesus' death covers MAJOR sins, but can't cover "MINOR" sins???? What kind of absolute drivel is THAT??? Anathema!

Sigh. The world is full of self-made megalomaniacs like this guy, who think they alone have the answers. God bless you for putting up with all of this for so long.

Also, a question on your links on the day of the crucifixion and the celebration of the Passover which preceded it. Are you saying that most people would have celebrated it on Friday night, but Jesus did it Thursday night? But they wouldn't have crucified Jesus on the Passover, would they? Or do you mean they would have had it Friday NIGHT, after sundown, which would be the Sabbath? Making it a HIgh Sabbath? But I thought the Feast of Unleavened Bread started on that Sabbath, the one after the crucifixion. And THAT was the High Sabbath, since the first and last days of the Unleavened Bread were sacred.

I did run across this idea on another website--that Jesus deliberately celebrated it a day early, knowing that His arrest and crucifixion were coming up on Friday. Would that be a viable explanation? If so, it would answer a lot of questions. But these guys still believe that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, which I think is foolish.

As for ___ not believing Hebrews is canonical, that is ONLY if we were to believe it throws out the entire sacrificial system. Which of course, it does! Why do we need animal sacrifices, when they can't atone for our sins, not permanently? It's like spitting on Christ's sacrifice on the cross. It's not good enough, but animal sacrifices are???? Oh, I forget what ___ said--Jesus' sacrifice was for one thing, but not another, but can't find where he wrote what he believed. I asked him to clarify, but so far, he hasn't. Not surprising.

Strange...anyway, thanks for your thoughts on this.

Response #8:   

Pretty strange stuff, alright. From point one below his opposition to Hebrews sounds pretty clear. Jesus is from the house of David of the tribe of Judah, and yet He is our new High Priest, though originating from "a tribe about which Moses said nothing in regard to priests" (Heb.7:14). And of course "when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law" (Heb.7:12). The whole point of Hebrews is to explain forcefully that the Mosaic Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant whose blood is not the literal animal blood of shadow but the penalty paid by our Lord in bearing the sins (ALL the sins) of the world. So it is not surprising that this book is "uncomfortable". Not that Hebrews is the only place correspondent's theses are opposed (his exegesis requires all sorts of stretches at every point as we have seen), but the whole theme of Hebrews stands in violent opposition to all attempts at reasserting the Law of Moses in place of the New Covenant of grace in Jesus Christ.

As to the calendar and the two Passovers, I think of this as akin to "Easter and Greek Easter" wherein, analogously, we have two different traditions celebrating the same festival but on different days. This idea of two calendars, Galilean and in Jerusalem, is not original to me; and I think that if Jesus was celebrating Passover early there would be some indication of that in the gospels (whereas to the contrary they describe the procedures as entirely normal; it is only from the context of what happens on the morrow that we see the conflict). So this hypothesis seems best to me: it is the simplest way to resolve all of the evidence, and it is founded upon known external factors (i.e., intercalation in the lunar calendars being necessary but having no set method, and the difference in the way things were done in Judea and the north respectively, since they were under different political administrations). In this case, the "first" Passover would be celebrated after sundown (i.e., the last supper), and the Passover the religious crowd of Judea was wanting to celebrate would occur on the following day according to their calendar (where one additional day had been intercalated at some point in the past).

Thanks for all your good words and good work,

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Hi Dr Luginbill,

I found something in the book of Hebrews that really jumped out at me recently. I was talking with that legalistic fellow, and showed him this verse. First he said "take away" probably wasn't what it said in the original Greek, and then had to admit that it was indeed "take away" but that it only applies to Temple sacrifices, not the "letter of the law" . The verses in question:

Heb 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Heb 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

In ch 4 of Hebrews the writer talks about finding "that rest" that the sabbath pointed to, and now we see the law was taken away to establish the second.

He says ch 4 of Hebrews is saying we still need to find our rest in sabbath worship....which isn't what the OT said about the sabbath at all, the OT said they weren't to "leave their place" "do any work" they couldn't even light a fire, which today means no heat, no cooking, and no turning on a light, because that is what fires accomplished in those times, and if we follow the letter in the spirit of the law like Jesus said where even thinking an angry thought makes one guilty of murder, that would also apply to the sabbath where even thinking of turning on a light would break the rule.

Could you direct me to where you explain the first part (Hebrews ch 10 "taketh away") and the second parth (Hebrews ch 4 "that rest")

Thank you,

YSIC,

Response #9: 

Very good to hear from you. I have some things on the Sabbath-rest in Hebrews chapter four:

Sabbath Questions.

Combating Legalism III

More Combat

Sabbath Observance

The Sabbath-rest in Hebrews 4:9

Day 7

Should Christians honor Sunday as the new Sabbath?

The Sabbath

As to Hebrews 10:9, I don't believe I have ever expounded on this passage. It is completely straightforward as you have observed: God replaces the Old Covenant with the New. This same replacement of Old for New is made clear throughout Hebrews (and in the rest of the New Testament), e.g., Hebrews 7:12 NASB: " For when the priesthood is changed (i.e., from Aaron to Christ), of necessity there takes place a change of law also."; and Romans 10:4 NASB: "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."

One could go on. But, really, it is impossible to read Hebrews and the other New Testament epistles and think that the Bible continues to teach that we should follow the Mosaic Law. Not even in the early days of the Church when these matters had still largely not been understood were gentiles enjoined by the heavily Pharisaical Jerusalem council to follow the Law (cf. Acts 15). I think a large part of the reason why the Roman Catholic church forbid anyone outside of the priesthood from having or reading the Bible was precisely because their religion is really a re-institution of the Law (new priesthood, new high priest, new temples, new altar, new sacrifices, new regulations for diet and everything else, etc.), and the New Testament scripture explodes any authority for this sort of thing on virtually every page.

As to the Sabbath, the fourth commandment is an important part of this discussion, because it is perhaps the clearest dividing line between legalism and grace. The purpose of the fourth commandment was to sanctify God in the heart, setting aside a day to learn about Him and to think about Him. That is the "rest", the "peace", into which we are now to enter at all times (Heb.4; cf. Gal.5:22; Eph.2:14-17). That is the peace Jesus left us (Jn.14:27), the opportunity and the obligation to walk with Him in the power of the Spirit at every moment sanctifying Him in our hearts, looking to Him and not to the world. Great Old Testament believers did this to a degree most of us with the indwelling Spirit have not approached (e.g., Heb.11:27b). But it certainly is the case that if believers today choose to abandon the true teaching of the moment by moment walk with Jesus for the sake of an incorrectly applied ritual that hearkens back to the Law, well, they have hamstrung themselves from any chance for serious spiritual growth. The thought of them dragging others down that horrid path of legalism is something that makes me shudder at God's reaction.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NIV

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
Colossians 3:15 NIV

Keep on fighting the fight!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Dear Bob,

I'm writing concerning your blasphemous article at http://www.ichthys.com/mail-festivals.htm in which you said the following:

That said, from a biblical perspective I would generally advise against such participation in any of the biblical festival, although for the reasons advanced above and to avoid conflict and offense I am careful not to be overly overt in my expression of this point of view. One entire book of the Bible, Hebrews, is largely devoted to the issue of believers participating in Jewish ritual, and Paul most certainly is emphatic in his condemnation of it. This is not because of any ill-feelings toward his fellow Jews who had not believed in Christ (for he said elsewhere that he would gladly be "cursed" on their behalf if it would mean their salvation: Rom.9:3), but because of his concern for the spiritual health and safety of those who had believed.

Unfortunately, like most christians, you have totally MISUNDERSTOOD the writings of Paul. And even if you hadn't, ask yourself this: WHICH ONE IS GOD, Yeshua or PAUL??? Therefore, WHO should you believe?

Please check out my website and educate yourself on Yahweh's TRUTH: http://therefinersfire.org/challenging_christianity.htm Here's an article I just finished that counters someone else just like yourself: http://therefinersfire.org/steve_lumbley.htm

Same God, same rules!

P.S. By the way, your ichthys is a PAGAN symbol. Don't take my word for it; look it up.

The Refiner's Fire (therefinersfire.org)

Revealing Biblical Truth in a world of myth and fiction

We teach that "Mercy and Grace" do NOT invalidate Torah!

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Yeshua did. (1 John 2:6)

Response #11:   

Dear Friend,

The rituals of the Law have been fulfilled by the life and work of Jesus Christ. Continuing in them is essentially "crucifying the Son of God afresh". The whole purpose of the book of Hebrews is to teach this essential principle to believing first century Jews who were proving unable to turn the page and were having their spirituality undermined as a result. I stand by the quote you include.

I am open to criticism. However, it is not my policy to respond in depth to generic attacks like "You're wrong; read my article", unless there is some indication given of precisely what is felt to be non-biblical and why.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord.

Question #12: 

Thanks for your response - which happens to be the typical christian gibberish that shows you not only DON'T know what you are talking about but that you're not even interested enough to check out my article wherein you and your ilk have been proven wrong. The answers to ALL your christian questions and bogus assertions about God are on my website - and many are in that ONE article I pointed you to. I created my site solely to take on people like yourself, but if you're not interested enough to read an article to find out how you are wrong, then so be it. Not my problem. Tell it to God on Judgment Day.

I didn't send you generic attacks; I specifically pointed you to an article that shows how you are wrong. As a matter of fact, I'll even tear apart that paragraph from your site and include it....

Look at it, or not, but I promise you, others WILL see it and know how and why YOU are wrong!

Response #12:   

I take your phrase "typical Christian gibberish" to mean that you are not a Christian.

If that is the case, there really is no point in discussing these matters.

Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.

We ask you in God's love: Be reconciled to Him through faith in the Son, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Please see the link: "Salvation: God's Free Gift"

Written in the hope that you may attain unto eternal life through Him who died for you, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Bob L.

Question #13: 

No, I'm not a christian; I am a Netzarim/Messianic rabbi. I AM saved by the blood of the Lamb. But the Lamb was never called "Jesus" - His given Hebrew Name was Yeshua which means Yahweh is Salvation. What does Jesus mean?

When and where are you told to ignore the commanded SEVENTH DAY Sabbath and God moedim (Appointed Times/Feasts) and come up with your own "holy days" of Christmas and Easter, both of which are steeped in paganism. Show me the exact verses!

Yeshua was our final SIN Sacrifice, not someone who came to abolish His FATHER's Divine Instructions in Righteousness, without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living. Sin is transgression of the Torah!

Ask yourself this, Mr. "Jesus-who-came-to-abolish-the-law" - Can GOD die? Yeshua was an ARM of Yahweh (Isaiah 53:1), not someone who came to abolish the Father's Torah. As a human who was born and died, He didn't have that right! He came to DO EVERYTHING THE FATHER SAID!

With WHOM did Yahweh make His New Covenant? Not with the christians! Check Jeremiah 31:32....Yeshua didn't come to bring a religion; He came to proclaim the Kingdom of YHWH!

Where does the Bible tell us Gentiles have the right to change the rules? You are GRAFTED-IN; not the Natural Branches! As such, the rule is, SAME GOD, SAME RULES!

But hey, you're right, there really is no point in discussing these matters.

Regardless, I am exposing you and your ilk on my website because you people are keeping people from the TRUTH - whether you choose to read anything on there, or not.

Response #13:   

I am not familiar with your movement, but you also seem to be somewhat misinformed about the teachings of this ministry. For example, I do not believe nor do I teach that there is any biblical basis for Easter or Christmas. Not only that, but, unlike most Christian groups, this ministry has always emphasized the priority of Israel in the Church (i.e., the ekklesia, a Greek translation for both קהל and עדה). Israel is the foundation of the Church; she is not something apart from the Church.

There is much in your recent email worthy of comment, but some things are more important than others. You say "I am saved by the blood of the Lamb", but some of your other comments seem inconsistent with a recognition of our Lord's divinity ("Can God die?"; "No, I'm not a Christian.").

Apologies in advance if I have misunderstood, but this is a critical issue. Salvation requires accepting the work and the Person of the Messiah, His sacrifice on the cross in dying for our sins, and the reality of who He is: the God-Man (since the incarnation). Accepting His deity and His humanity are equally essential parts of responding to the gospel.

As I say, I am happy to have this discussion – between believers – for the edification of Christ's Church.

In the One whose Name is the only Name by which we must be saved, Lord Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Robert,

My faith/belief is not a "movement." I teach what the Bible actually says, which is that "Jesus" did not abolish ANYTHING except the need to sacrifice innocent animals for our sins. I teach that YESHUA is Yahweh's Son; not "Jesus" who supposedly came to abolish everything His Father ever commanded and whose death supposedly negated the need to OBEY Yahweh's "forever" commands.

According to your teachings, you believe that if a person is part of a group that keeps even a part of the law, that person should come out from that group. Are you advocating disobedience to even the ten commandments? That is what you are teaching...

What that leads people to believe is they can murder, lie, cheat, commit adultery, covet, etc. You insist that Jesus never mentions Sabbath or the ten commandments. However, you fail to see that all through the Tanakh (the so called 'old testament') Yahweh constantly speaks of keeping HIS seventh day Sabbath and obeying HIS commandments. Do you really think it was necessary for Yeshua to mention them again and again? Do you think Yeshua broke the seventh day Sabbath? Do you think that anywhere in the Apostolic Scriptures He told people to begin observing Sabbath on the first day of the week? He is our example. We are to do just as He did. He never violated any of His Father's commandments. If He kept the seventh day Sabbath, then those of us who love Him are to do the same.

Just why do you think Yahweh gave His people rules and commandments to live by? To make them miserable??? Of course not. He gave them instructions and teachings because He loved them. He wanted them to be secure and happy. If there were no boundaries, no rules, chaos would reign. Please read Proverbs 28:9. It says that if a man will not listen to Torah, even his prayer is an abomination.

From what I see on your website, you are a typical Christian....perverting the Word of Yahweh and promoting a Torahless church. Because you break the least of the commandments and teach others to do the same, the most you can expect is to be least in the kingdom. Yeshua only taught what His Father taught. Nowhere in the Tanakah do I see any Scriptures where Yahweh comes out and says we don't have to obey this commandment or that commandment.

The Jesus you believe in is a changing 'god'. The Yeshua I believe in is the same yesterday, today and forever. Your Jesus abolished and annulled the teachings of His Father. He promoted man made traditions. My Yeshua taught me to be obedient to the Father's teachings. You are the one who needs to "come out of her and be separate" (meaning get out of the apostate church!)

Once again, you, like most Christian teachers, have misunderstood, misinterpreted and maligned Paul. You present him as a Torah breaking apostle. However, in Romans 7, he says that the Torah truly is holy, righteous and good. In Romans 2 Paul says that "not the hearers of the Torah are righteous in the sight of Elohim, but the doers of the law will be declared right." Then there is the book of James.....chapter 1 vs 22......"And become doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (Just what Word do you think James was referring to?) James 2:17....So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead." (And James is NOT talking about the works of the flesh! He is talking about doing what the Torah teaches.) James calls the Torah perfect...he says it gives us freedom; he says if we become a doer of work, we will be blessed.

I have never seen one Scripture where Yeshua came right out and told people they did not need to be obedient to the commandments because He had fulfilled them for us. That is absolute foolishness to teach that to Believers. I have never thought that I could earn favor with Yahweh by being obedient to the Torah. I am well aware that it is the shed blood of Yeshua, who is God in the flesh, that saves me. My faith is in Him and His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

How about reading the entire 119th Psalm? It is all about David's love for the Torah. You cannot say that the OT was only for the Jews and that the NT is for the Gentile Christians. The Bible is one continuous truth. Nothing changed between the "testaments" except now no animal sacrifice is needed for forgiveness of sins. That is the ONLY thing that differs from the Tanakh. How does the Bible define sin? 1 John 3:4 says that sin is violation of Torah, so if you continue to violate, break, and teach disobedience to the Torah, you are continuing in sin. Intentionally sinning has dire consequences. I urge you to reconsider your teaching against Yahweh's law (Torah). You are in a dangerous place.

Shalom,

Response #14: 

In writing this reply, I am assuming that you believe in the Trinity, in the divinity of Jesus Christ, and in the absolute authority of the Word of God, Tanakh and New Testament both. I have to say "assume" here, because I am still not precisely clear on these points from the things you have said. If you do not believe in Jesus' deity, it is hard for me to see how you could be saved (and I am puzzled and disturbed by your refusal to acknowledge the name "Christian). If you do not accept the authority of the New Testament, then there is little point in having a discussion, since the entire Bible forms the basis for all the teachings of this ministry.

First, I do call my Lord "Jesus", because that is what the New Testament calls Him (Iesous: Ἰησοῦς).

Second, gentiles have never been required to keep the Law (Act 15).

Third, requiring Sabbath observance of gentiles would be placing a restriction upon them which even the Jerusalem council did not place. As Peter said,

Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
Acts 15:10

Fourth, Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and while it does not say that He "broke the Law" in so doing (which our perfect Lord who fulfilled the Law perfectly never did), scripture actually says that He "loosed the Sabbath" (Jn.5:18). That shows me very clearly that there is a deeper meaning to the Sabbath than was understood by the legalistic generation of Jesus day (cf. Heb.10:1 NIV: "The law is only a shadow of the good things that are comingnot the realities themselves"), and that we should do as Jesus did: we should fulfill the reality behind the ritual, now that the ritual has been fulfilled and has been replaced by that reality. The Old has been fulfilled and replaced by the New, and it is in that Freedom that we should ever walk as Christians.

[God] has made us competent as ministers of a new covenantnot of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2nd Corinthians 3:6 NIV

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2nd Corinthians 3:15-17 NIV

Paul, in the book of Hebrews, makes it very clear that the ritual Sabbath has been replaced by a reality of a moment by moment Sabbath Rest into which we all should enter and abide (Heb.4:1-9), not thinking about our Lord and serving Him only one day a week, but at all times. The fourth commandment, introducing as it does a principle of application second only to that of the group of the first three (honoring the Lord in how we think [#1], act [#2], and speak [#3] about Him), thus means far more than a one day a week ritual: properly understood and fulfilled in the brilliant light of the Son of God come in the flesh and resurrected following His death for us on the cross, it introduces a whole new way of life wherein the Christian sanctifies himself by walking in our Lord's rest at all times, ceasing from our own "works" (as in the "works" of the Law; cf. Gal.2:16), and relying on God's work instead.

For we who have believed enter that rest.
Hebrews 4:3 KJV

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works (i.e., from here on in), as God did from His.
Hebrews 4:9-10 KJV

By teaching the reality of the moment by moment Sabbath, the Law is not broken; it is fulfilled by the principle of the continual rest of faith:

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
Romans 3:31 KJV

On the other hand, for those who seek to justify themselves through keeping the Law, please consider that merely calling animals "innocent" does abrogate God's Law requiring ritual sacrifices. Keeping the Law is keeping the Law, and partial efforts mean nothing.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:10 KJV

It is inconsistent in the extreme for you to proclaim parts of the Law with which you agree and excuse yourself from other parts which you find inconvenient (Matt.5:19-20). Do you and your males present yourselves before the Lord three times a year at Jerusalem? Do you tithe to the Aaronic priesthood? Do you call a priest to your house when mildew or mold is spotted? If you fail in the observance of the Law on these and many other points, how can you feel justified in criticizing others who have never voiced a criticism of you? Is this loving your neighbor? I believe that is also in the Law.

As with all my genuine brothers and sisters in Christ, I rejoice for everyone who is saved. I personally reserve a double portion of joy for all those saved of Israel, and, as I have already mentioned, I am acutely aware of the priority of those who are of the seed of Abraham over those of us who are gentiles saved by God's great mercy. The day is swiftly coming when Israel will resume her rightful place of leadership in the Church. That will happen in Spirit and in Truth. It will not happen through self-willed misinterpretation.

Perhaps the Lord sent you to this ministry for a reason. The Law is good – if a man used it lawfully (1Tim.1:8). As a brother in Jesus Christ I urge you take care that your zeal for God be according to knowledge (Rom.10:2). Whatever may be legitimate for Netzarim, I would urge you not to foist upon gentile believers the false notion that keeping the Law is required for them, for that is in clear violation of the New Testament scriptures.

Written in the lover our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Dear Bob,

Thank you for your comments. My intent was not to make you an enemy, but to challenge Christianity which is steeped in paganism, yet insists that we who have chosen to OBEY Yahweh, are wrong. Below are my responses to your questions:

YOU SAID: In writing this reply, I am assuming that you believe in the Trinity, in the divinity of Jesus Christ, and in the absolute authority of the Word of God, Tanakh */and/* New Testament both.

MY RESPONSE: No, I absolutely do not believe in the trinity because is there no such thing. (Not to mention, how could the "person" of the Holy Spirit get inside of another person/people?) Please see why here: http://therefinersfire.org/trinity.htm Yes, Yeshua (which is what His mother called Him, which is Hebrew for "Yahweh is Salvation") was divine in that He had a Divine Qnoma/Nature. After all, He walked on water, raised the dead and turned water into wine. But that in no way means He came to abolish His Father's DIVINE Instructions in Righteousness (Torah). Yeshua was the SON, not another god who came to usurp His Father's powers and start a new religion. Please see http://therefinersfire.org/proclaiming_torah.htm.

I believe that only the Tanach ("OT") is "God-breathed" because it is the only part of the Bible that contains the "thus saith the Lord" comments. You don't see those in the "New Testament" unless an OT passage is directly quoted. What did Yeshua quote when tempted by the devil? TORAH!

However, God DID continue to reveal Himself beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation. Unfortunately, the writings of Paul have been grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted as you can see in my short article here: http://therefinersfire.org/book_of_romans1.htm

Every Christian I've ever met will ALWAYS refer you to the writings of Paul in order to contradict EVERYTHING GOD ever said. Paul said this, Paul said that....This is because Gentiles are viewing the things Paul said through a Greek instead of a Hebrew mindset: http://www.therefinersfire.org/hebrew_mindset.htm

Even as a "baby Christian" I was smart enough to recognize that many of Paul's writings seemed to contradict each other and I asked my pastor, who couldn't answer my questions as to why this was. Once I found my way to my Hebrew roots, I got ALL the answers to my questions! Paul, like his Master Yeshua, was totally Torah observant and his writings are often hard to understand because he was trying to explain HEBREW concepts into foreign languages that had no real equivalent words for the deeper Hebrew meanings. He NEVER spoke against Torah!

The problem is, Christianity has skewed many concepts and ideas and words and made the words of Paul more important than those of Yeshua Himself! The Aramaic English New Testament (of which I had the privilege of being editor) restores the original words and concepts. Case in point, Yeshua never said, "I tell you it is easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle"....He said, "I tell you it is easier to put a ROPE through the eye of the needle." Nor did He refer to a rooster when He said, "You will deny me three times before the cock crows." "Cock crows" was an Aramaic slang term for "when the town crier blows his shofar." See what I mean? Those are just two SMALL examples. It would blow your mind to see "the rest of the story".....

YOU SAID: First, I do call my Lord "Jesus", because that is what the New Testament calls Him (/Iesous/: ??s???).

MY RESPONSE: Yes, but He NEVER once heard that name in His life, and no one ever called Him that until the pagan Catholic Church came along to twist the Scriptures.

YOU SAID: Second, gentiles have never been required to keep the Law (Act 15).

MY RESPONSE: WRONG! Please reard my article very carefully: http://www.therefinersfire.org/should_gentiles_keep_torah1.htm. Same God, same rules. Do you have separate rules for your natural and adopted children? Can your adopted children stay out all night and drink and do drugs and whatever they want, while your natural ones have to toe the line?

YOU SAID: Third, requiring Sabbath observance of gentiles would be placing a restriction upon them which even the Jerusalem council did not place. As Peter said,

Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the

necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our

fathers have been able to bear?

Acts 15:10

MY RESPONSE: Why shouldn't Gentiles be "restricted" by obeying Yahweh's "forever" command? Aren't you, as GRAFTED-IN, part of Israel? Let's go to the Aramaic English New Testament for the answer:

Acts 15: 10. And now, why do you test Elohim so as to place a yoke[1] upon the neck of the disciples that which not even our forefathers nor us were able to carry?

[1] This yoke is clearly referring to the Oral Law, not the Written Torah of Moshe. The Oral Torah (Talmud) has put many additional burdens on Jews, and greatly limited the ability of Gentiles to join with Israel. Why would YHWH's Divine Instructions in Righteousness NOT refer to the Gentiles who chose to accept YHWH as their God?

YOU SAID: Fourth, Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and and while it does not say that He "broke the /*Law*/" in so doing (which our perfect Lord who fulfilled the Law never did), scripture actually says that He "broke the */Sabbath/*" (Jn.5:18).

That shows me very clearly that there is a deeper meaning to the Sabbath than was understood by the legalistic generation of Jesus day (cf. Heb.10:1 NIV: "The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming not the realities themselves"), and that we should do as Jesus did: we should fulfill the /*reality*/ behind the ritual, now that the ritual has been fulfilled and has been replaced by that reality.

MY RESPONSE: Let's take a look at what AENT says again:

John 5: 18. And because of this the Yehudeans were seeking all the more to kill him, not only because he had loosed[1] the Shabbat, but also concerning that he would say that his Father was Elohim and was equating[2] himself with Elohim.

[1] Y'shua did not break the Shabbat according to Torah; rather, he restored the observance of Shabbat as YHWH intended, without the burden of religious tradition. In so doing, the traditions of the Pharisees had been violated, but certainly not the Torah of Moshe.

[2] To consider oneself "equal" to YHWH is a very serious matter. Y'shua spoke of himself as being about his Father's business, of coming in his Father's Name; he spoke and taught with authority and performed healings which made him a formidable opponent to religious tradition. The charge here of Y'shua making himself equal to YHWH is simply Pharisee tradition projecting itself onto Y'shua. The Ruach haKodesh in Mashiyach is "equal" to YHWH, but the Pharisees supposed that Y'shua and his followers equated his humanity with YHWH; they didn't understand Isaiah 11:1-2, that Mashiyach has the Ruach haKodesh (another name for YHWHPsalm 51:1-11, Isaiah 63:1-11) within him. YHWH spoke through the Spirit of Mashiyach, rather than through his human component! Y'shua maintained that his nefesh (soul) would die, but that YHWH would resurrect it! Y'shua believed his own nefesh was mortal. Zechariah 12:10 the Spirit of YHWH is "pierced" but they mourn for him (Y'shua) as an only begotten son. YHWH cannot literally be "pierced"; therefore, this refers to Mashiyach who has the Spirit of YHWH in him. The matter of the Father raising the dead is confirmed in verse 21, but we also see in this verse that the Son takes on the role of His Father as His Firstborn, for both Resurrection Power and Judgment.

YOU SAID: Paul, in the book of Hebrews, makes it very clear that the ritual Sabbath has been replaced by a reality of a moment by moment Sabbath Rest into which we all should enter and abide (Heb.4:1-9), not thinking about our Lord and serving Him only one day a week, but at/* all */times. The fourth commandment, introducing as it does a principle of application second only to that of the group of the first three (honoring the Lord in how we think [#1], act [#2], and speak [#3] about Him), thus means far more than a one day a week ritual: properly understood and fulfilled in the brilliant light of the Son of God come in the flesh and resurrected following His death for us on the cross, it introduces a whole */new way of life/* wherein the Christian sanctifies himself by walking in our Lord's rest at all times, ceasing from our own "works" (as in the "works" of the Law; cf. Gal.2:16), and relying on God's work instead.

MY RESPONSE: Since YOU are part of Israel, you have NO CHOICE but to follow Yahweh's "forever" commands! The Seventh Day Sabbath was NEVER changed! He even said the Sabbath is a SIGN between Him and His people FOREVER! Please see http://therefinersfire.org/true_sabbath_day1.htm and http://therefinersfire.org/resurrection1.htm

Since when do Christians "enter into rest" at ALL times??? Most barely manage to warm the pews on Sunday (the FIRST day) and then they've done their weekly duty for God. Please! I used to be a Christian!

YOU SAID: For we who have */believed/* enter that rest. Hebrews 4:3 KJV

MY RESPONSE: You stopped too soon! NOTE THAT ELOHIM RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY, SO WHY SHOULDN'T YOU???

Hebrews 4: 3. But we who have believed do enter into rest. But as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath that they will not enter into my rest: for behold, the works of Elohim existed from the foundation of the world. 4. As he said of the Shabbat, Elohim rested on the SEVENTH DAY from all his works. 5. And here again, he said, They will not enter into my rest.

YOU SAID: So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

For the one who has entered His rest has himself also

/*rested from his works*/ (i.e., from here on in), as

God did from His. Hebrews 4:9-10 KJV

MY RESPONSE: You missed the point:

Hebrews 4: 9. For there remains a Shabbat for the people of Elohim. 10. For he who had entered into his rest has also rested from his works as Elohim did from his.[1] 11. Let us, therefore, strive to enter into that rest; or else we fall short, after the way of those who did not believe.[2]

[1] While "rest" certainly has metaphoric attributes, it is clearly meant here as the very literal Seventh Day Shabbat. Paul says Shabbat was established from that Seventh Day of Creation when YHWH Himself rested (Genesis 2:2). Shabbat is extremely relevant to Netzari (Nazarenes) and "Elohim fearing Gentiles"; it could not possibly have changed during this period or any other period, as Christian theologians posture. It was not the followers of Y'shua who changed the day of rest from Shabbat to Sun-day, but Pagan philosophers skilled in syncretism who melded sun worship with early Roman based religio-political "Christianity." Jewish and Gentile followers of Y'shua are well acquainted with Isaiah 56:1-8; (verse 3-5 relates to Gentiles); Isaiah 59:8-21; Isaiah 66:22-24; Ezekiel 46:1-4; Isaiah 42:1-4. Shabbat is a rehearsal of the 7th millennium; it is a sign between YHWH and all His people, both Jew and Gentile. Shabbat is a day which is commanded by YHWH that we cease from the mundane and enter into His rest in preparation for the Olam Haba. This letter from Rav Shaul was written for the benefit of Jewish followers of Mashiyach who were being enticed back into Rabbinical Judaism. Paul would most certainly not attempt to diminish the Seventh Day Shabbat to Jews who have Torah Consciousness. The Seventh Day Shabbat is the fourth of the Aseret HaDibrot, "the Ten Commandments" written by the finger of YHWH upon stone and transferred in Mashiyach to the hearts of His People! See Shabbat in Appendix.

[2] Strive to enter into "that" rest, or be "after the manner of them who did not believe." In other words, according to Paul, there is no difference between those who are spoken of in Psalm 95:7-11 and us who press into Mashiyach, if we don't strive to enter. In other words, don't be anti-Torah like "unbelievers" and don't follow "dispensationalist" or "replacement" theology like the "unbelievers"!

YOU SAID: By teaching the reality of the moment by moment Sabbath, the Law is not broken; it is */fulfilled/* by the principle of the continual*/ rest of faith/*:

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never

be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

Romans 3:31 KJV

MY RESPONSE: I KNEW you would eventually get to that one! Read http://therefinersfire.org/book_of_romans1.htm

YOU SAID: Merely by calling animals "innocent" does abrogate God's Law requiring ritual sacrifices. Keeping the Law is keeping the Law, and partial efforts mean nothing.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend

in one point, he is guilty of all.

James 2:10 KJV

MY RESPONSE: Let's read James 2:10 IN CONTEXT, shall we?

James 2: 8 If you truly attain the goal of Kingdom Torah, in conformity with the passage that says, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. 9 But if you show favoritism, your actions constitute sin, since you are convicted under the Torah as transgressors. 10 For a person who keeps the whole Torah, yet stumbles at one point, has become guilty of breaking them all. 11 For the One who said, "Don't commit adultery," also said, "Don't murder." Now, if you don't commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the Torah. 12 Keep speaking and acting like people who will be judged by a Torah which gives freedom. 13 For judgment will be without mercy toward one who doesn't show mercy; but mercy wins out over judgment.

What will the people be judged by (verse 12)? Torah! HaShem wasn't "cursing" man when He gave us some guidelines to live by. ALL of His commandments were given for a reason. ALL of His commandments taught man right from wrong, and how to obey God and to worship Him properly. Mashiyach (Messiah) redeemed us from the "curse of the Torah," by becoming accursed.

It's time the world became aware of the fact that YHWH handed down many more requirements besides just the Ten Commandments, and that He never, ever said to disregard His Torah. Yeshua came to establish and confirm Torah, and also to expose the man-made opinions and traditions that had become entangled in God's teachings. Paul verified this when he said: Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah (Romans 3:31).

YOU SAID: It is inconsistent in the extreme for you to proclaim parts of the Law with which you agree and excuse yourself from other parts which you find inconvenient (Matt.5:19-20). Do you and your males present yourselves before the Lord three times a year at Jerusalem? Do you tithe to the Aaronic priesthood? Do you call a priest to your house when mildew or mold is spotted? If you fail in the observance of the Law on these and many other points, how can you feel justified in criticizing others who have never voiced a criticism of you? Is this loving your neighbor? I believe that is also in the Law.

MY RESPONSE: I don't excuse myself from ANYTHING. There are simply parts of Torah that cannot be kept today and they were never meant to be kept today: For instance, why stone to death our children for disobedience or for someone breaking the Sabbath, since Yeshua has become our Final SIN Sacrifice? All those who disobeyed God WILL stand before Him on Judgment Day to be judged on their actions....BUT THERE WERE SOME FOREVER COMMANDS AND FOREVER HASN'T ENDED YET!

YOU SAID: As with all my genuine brothers and sisters in Christ, I rejoice for everyone who is saved. I personally reserve a double portion of joy for all those saved of Israel, and, as I have already mentioned, I am acutely aware of the priority of those who are of the seed of Abraham over those of us who are gentiles saved by God's great mercy. The day is swiftly coming when Israel will resume her rightful place of leadership in the Church. That will happen in Spirit and in Truth. It will not happen through self-willed misinterpretation.

MY RESPONSE: No, it certainly won't happen through "the church" because Yeshua didn't come to bring "Christianity" which is steeped in paganism with its insistence on christmas and easter and first-day Sabbath. Christianity worships "another Jesus" - someone who has forever been depicted as hanging dead on a cross. CAN GOD DIE???? Catholicism placed Mary over and above Yeshua, and Christianity has placed the HUMAN "Jesus" over and above Yahweh, who is GOD, the "Head Honcho."

YOU SAID: Perhaps the Lord sent you to this ministry for a reason. The Law is good -- if a man used it lawfully (1Tim.1:8). As a brother in Jesus Christ I urge you take care that your zeal for God be according to knowledge (Rom.10:2). Whatever may be legitimate for /Netzarim/, I would urge you not to foist upon gentile believers the false notion that keeping the Law is required for them, for that is in clear violation of the New Testament scriptures.

MY RESPONSE: No, "the Lord" didn't send me to your ministry to be corrected - I mean, how arrogant of you to suggest God is a moron because His Laws you consider "a curse"! On one hand you say "the law is good" and on the other, you condemn it! And again, you keep ABUSING the scriptures because of your misinterpretation of the Torah! Let's check the scriptures you used IN CONTEXT!

1 Timothy 1: 8. Now we know, that Torah is a good thing if a man conduct himself in it according to Torah; 9. he knowing that Torah was not established for the righteous but for the evil and the rebellious, and those without Elohim, and the sinful, and the perverse and for the impure, and for smiters of their fathers and smiters of their mothers, and for murderers, 10. and for sexual sinners and for copulators with males, and for the stealers of free people, and for liars, and for violators of oaths, and for whatever is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 (namely) that of the glorious Good News of the blessed Elohim with which I am entrusted. [1]

[1] In other words, Torah was not made to confirm the righteousness of man, but to set the boundaries of the Kadosh (Set Apart) as good, and the profane as evil. It is only through the boundaries set by YHWH that the Good News can proceed into the hearts of those who seek the Kingdom of Elohim. The Good News is the advancement of Torah, not its destruction as taught by the majority of Christian theologians.

Romans 10: 12. And in this, it discriminates neither Jews nor Gentiles. For there is one, Master YHWH, over them all, who is abundantly generous towards every one that calls on him. 13. For everyone that will call on the name of Master YHWH[1] will have life.

[1] MarYah, as opposed to the Greek kurios, can only refer to YHWH, giving Aramaic a huge interpretive advantage. It is a critical fact, as is pointed out here, that Rav Shaul specifically tells believers to call on the name of YHWH, which is certainly not at all represented by the name "Jesus." John 17:11 tells us that the name of Y'shua is of the name YHWH. Before Rav Shaul came to believe, Y'shua had already ascended to the Right Hand of YHWH (Revelation 19:13). Prayer was being offered unto YHWH in the name of Y'shua. Y'shua stated that his mission was to bring glory to His Father YHWH. Y'shua's name (YHWH is salvation) is accomplishing the salvation of YHWH. It was also prophetic that the Gentiles would come to know the Name of YHWH, according to Jeremiah 16:19-21: "O YHWH, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto you from the ends of the earth and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is YHWH." And, of course, this is to be done according to the Perfect work of Mashiyach!

Before I leave, I'd like to draw your attention to your King James Version. Please click on this link and then either search on KING JAMES or scroll just past the halfway mark: http://therefinersfire.org/quick_bible_facts.htm  

Shalom,

Response #15:   

No offense taken. Paganism has long been a problem in the community of believers, and will be until the Messiah's glorious return. This ministry, Ichthys, is as opposed to the ritualistic practices of the modern day "church visible" (in contrast to those who belong to Jesus) as you are likely to find. No doubt one can find pagan associations for just about anything (fish included, as anyone who has wrapped fish in the astrology section of the local newspaper is aware); but the true import of symbolism cannot be divorced from the meaning imparted to it by the heart and actual use. The Ichthys symbol was used by believers nearly two millennia ago to represent the acronym: "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior". As such, it is a fitting name for this ministry, since by these names of my Lord I am happy to live and to die. I would no sooner abandon the name because some ancient pagans employed some sort of fish symbols than I would abandon the cross because ancient Egyptians employed a form of it for their own religious purposes (i.e., the ankh). There is a difference between compromising with paganism and being bullied by it into giving up otherwise good and godly things, and mature Christians know the difference (or should).

I do appreciate your responses to my introductory questions. They worry me deeply, however. In my reading of scripture, a saving faith in Jesus Christ requires a full acceptance of His work in dying for our sins, and of His Person, His humanity and His deity. The ineffable, mind-boggling fact that God in the Person of the Son has forever wed Himself to humanity by becoming one with us is fundamental to understanding the Father's plan and our importance in it. It is also an undeniable scriptural truth. Your rejection of the Trinity and your fudging on the point of Christ's deity (i.e., He is "divine" but "He's not a god", he only has "the Spirit of YHVH in him", "can God die?", etc.) bespeak an imperfect understanding of this fundamental truth. After all, Jesus created the world from nothing when there was nothing at the Father's behest (Col.1:16; Heb.1:2). Since Jesus was before anything existed (Jn.1:1-3), how can He not be God in every sense of the word?

This is, I suppose, pointless to argue with you, since you reject the authority of the New Testament scriptures. But let me point out to you that the only way you know anything at all about Jesus (by whatever name you call Him), is through those very scriptures, directly or indirectly (there is no contemporary, extra-biblical information in existence about our Lord). There is a certain, sad irony in the fact that you call for a careful and respectful following of the Tanakh (where the specifics of our Lord's coming are deliberately cloaked in shadow; cf. 1Pet.1:10-12), but reject the authority of the entire New Testament, the only revealed truth about the life, work, and teachings our Lord Jesus. It seems to me that you have strained out a gnat (perceived disrespect toward some aspects of the Law) and swallowed down a camel (the horrible heresy that the New Testament, the most concentrated source of revealed truth ever given by God to mankind, is somehow not part of the Word). I am not surprised that the result of this last decision has been the shipwreck of your faith. Obedience to the Lord is indeed the critical thing, but God wants true obedience from the heart, and for salvation that means accepting Jesus for who He really is and what He has done for us:

This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
John 6:29 KJV

On the other hand, scrupulous attention to the details of the Law apart from the power of its true meaning is precisely the sort of thing that our Lord battled throughout His earthly ministry. Such legalism constituted the primary obstacle to His teaching by contemporary adherents to the rituals of the Law, and it is a strange thing that you take comfort in that practice:

The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men."
Isaiah 29:13 NIV

The verse above is quoted by our Lord in His remonstrating with those who hypocritically put their own traditional understanding of the Law in place of its underlying truth (Matt.15:7; Mk.7:6). And not only are the gospels filled to overflowing with direct rejections of the attempt to nullify grace through a misapplication of Law, but entire books of the New Testament are largely devoted to that theme (e.g., Romans, Galatians and Hebrews).

Finally, before I get to your particular points, I see that the standard of what part of the Law to obey and what part to omit has now changed to "parts of the Torah which cannot be kept today". First, I am surprised that someone who puts such importance upon obedience is so quick to dismiss anything inconvenient as impossible. My guess is that if you were really as determined to follow the Law as you say, you would be closer to doing so – not that you could be perfect, and not that it would do you any good of course, but at least it would make your case more persuasive. As it is, you seem very eclectic when the standard is applied to yourself; very unforgiving when it is applied to others. A good case in point is circumcision. Circumcision is clearly not impossible. Circumcision predates the Law and is the fundamental sign of the Covenant. Yet gentiles are expressly exempted from this practice, even though some in the days of the apostles tried to teach that circumcision was necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1). Can we exempt gentile believers from circumcision? If yes, then perhaps your claim of the necessity for ritual Sabbath observance by gentiles (unarguably of less import than the sign of the Covenant) is also flawed. If no, then how are you not teaching something which is contrary to the scriptures which specifically do exempt them (Acts 15:28-29; 1Cor.7:18; Gal.5:3-5)?

1. The New Testament. Again, more fudging. "God revealed Himself through it", you say, but somehow it is not scripture. Of course Jesus quoted the Torah – the New Testament did not yet exist. Peter had a different point of view from yours. He specifically calls the letters of Paul scripture!

Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2nd Peter 3:15-16 NIV

2. Contradiction. Many people mistakenly find one part of the Bible contradictory to another. In fact, the Bible is a perfect whole – rightly understood.

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 perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2nd Timothy 3:16-17 KJV

3. No one is speaking against the Torah or any part of the Tanakh or the Law. What we are doing is understanding, interpreting and teaching what is right and true.

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
Romans 3:31 KJV

4. Hebrew versus Aramaic; Hebrew versus Greek mind-set. This is a completely false issue. God could have had the New Testament produced in Aramaic. He chose Greek. We have more than enough Greek extant in order to understand that language fully (and in all of its cultural aspects both inside and outside of Palestine). Aramaic is another story entirely. The Mishnah is late and the Talmud later, and their corpora are incredibly small compared to Greek. Even if all this were not the case, the idea that you are able to produce a translation based upon a supposition of what an Aramaic New Testament (which never existed) might have looked like, then interpret back from a product that is entirely the invention of your own mind is the most outrageous claim you have made. It is in fact the most disturbing thing that you have shared with me, because this is classic cult practice. The Mormons, the JW's, the RC's, all have their own unique "Bible" – in order to get rid of what they don't like and to put in what furthers their cult behavior. Accepting the New Testament for what it is, the Word of God, would be salutary (and would eventually turn you around). Throwing out the New Testament would at least be consistent. Making up your own "new-New Testament", having it say what you want it to say, and then reserving the right to pay attention to it or not even so . . . why not just tell us you have been talking to God personally? It amounts to exactly the same thing – except that your way sounds "scholarly" and is for that reason more likely to fool the feeble-minded. So I do "see what you mean" about "cockcrow" and "rope vs. camel" – you are making it all up (as any second year Greek student with a pocket Greek New Testament can see easily enough for himself, for these texts in the original language are entirely clear).

5. The Name Jesus. Jesus spoke Greek as well as Hebrew and Aramaic. Palestine was a cultural, political and economic crossroads, and multilingualism was the order of the day (as in Switzerland where everyone speaks at least three languages). This explains, for example, why the inscription on the cross was in three languages. The Bible calls Him "Jesus" (Iesous). That is good enough for me. I don't mind you using the Hebrew version of our Lord's Name. I find it legalistic in the extreme to make an issue out of some supposed need for everyone else to follow your practice.

6. Gentiles and the Law. I would rather read Acts 15 and Galatians and Hebrews (etc.) than your article. These are all completely inconsistent with the misguided and dangerous teaching that gentiles must keep the Law. Only by rejecting the New Testament could a person ever claim that such a position is biblical.

7. Yoke = "oral law". Your "Aramaic key" is merely a smokescreen. The whole reason for the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 is that legalistic Jews were teaching the gentiles in Antioch that they had to be circumcised to be saved. That was the fundamental written precept of the Old Covenant, but now with the New we find that even traditional Jews of that day realized that gentiles should not be held to the practices of the Old or to the necessity of keeping the Old (e.g., Paul tells the Galatians that if they accept circumcision, then they have to keep the Law: Gal.5:3). The Jerusalem council didn't say anything about oral or written law, but if it had spelled it out, there is nothing more "written" than circumcision which predates the Mosaic code or the Law which circumcision symbolized.

8. Jesus breaking the Sabbath. It is a very nice little thing to parse this out by saying whatever Jesus did that seems to disagree with your interpretation is really YHVH, but everything else is the Meshiach. This subdividing of our Lord is precisely one of the main reasons I despair of your salvation (cf. later when you say "can God die?"). Jesus is not divided: He is one perfect Person. Jesus is more than a man with God's Spirit in Him. He is God in His own right, now fully a human being as well since the incarnation. You are right about one thing though: He did restore the true meaning of the Sabbath: doing God's will at all times regardless of the day of the week, precisely as I have been telling you all along the Bible commands us to do now after the cross (that is the true meaning and significance of the fourth commandment as it is to be carried out by the Church).

9. Stopping too soon? Yes, the Father stopped on the seventh day. Application: once we stop, we stop. We do not stop and start and stop and start, week after week. Once we have "entered into that rest" by putting our faith in the Son, we are to endeavor to be at rest in Him at all times. It's not "warming the pews". You have the same misguided idea about what true Christianity is that many of my deluded brethren have. Christianity is a living, breathing relationship of love and obedience to Jesus Christ. And we aspire to make the most of that at all times.

10. Literal day. It was a literal day of ritual; it has now been fulfilled and expanded into an at-all-times experience of reality. The transformation of the Sabbath is therefore emblematic of the change from the Old to the New Covenant, out of the shadows which dimly foresaw the grace to come, into the bright blazing light of the reality of the truth and grace and mercy of Jesus Christ!

11. James 2:10. Indeed, James is quoting the Law. That is my point, and you have failed to answer what for your system of belief is an unanswerable criticism: the biblical criticism (Jas.2:10) of partial obedience. That criticism on its own is enough for any reasonable Christian to see that your approach is fatally flawed, and it speaks volumes that you have had to address it with this smokescreen instead of confronting it directly. Yes, the Torah is a perfect standard. That is never denied in the New Testament, nor has it ever been denied by me. What has been fulfilled, however, has been fulfilled. And what has been transformed has been transformed. The Old Testament has been fulfilled and replaced by the New Testament – something we celebrate whenever we take communion. The reality behind the shadow is more important than the shadow. The love for the Lord which is to consume us and the love for all our neighbors which is to guide our conduct is superior to all the teachings, written and oral, which have to do with the Law of the Old Testament. It is by the New Testament LAW of liberty from the written code and of mercy exercised in place of the "letter that kills" that Christians will be judged (as James himself tells us a little later in the same book):

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:12-13

12. "Another Jesus". Historical Christianity has had its problems. The Seven Churches of Revelation (see the link)  which are prophetic trends of the Church's seven eras show this clearly enough. Our current church-visible in this age of lukewarm Laodicea (see the link) is even more problematic than most of what has gone before. But beyond all question the Church is, in terms of numbers, predominantly gentile, for countless numbers of gentiles have entered the lists of the true Church over the last two millenia, becoming genuine members of the Body of Christ through faith in Jesus' Person and His work. To accept your view, one would have to conclude that the saved are very, very few in number, consist mostly of Jewish believers, and of only an extremely small number of these at that, since as far as I can tell your particular brand of theology is, well, pretty much unique to you: even were it "the truth", I know of no evidence in my studies of Church history to suggest that anyone held these particular teachings before you and your group. That sort of extreme exceptionalism is always a warning sign that something is not right.

13. "The Good News is the advancement of Torah, not its destruction as taught by the majority of Christian theologians". I couldn't agree more. That was my precise point in quoting 1st Timothy 1:8. My problem with your teaching is your redefining of the Good News to place the yoke of the shadows of the Law back upon the necks of those who have been called to freedom in Jesus Christ. That freedom we are to use to serve Him, not for license, true. But the liberty of grace we have as Christians is a fundamental teaching of the New Testament.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:14 TNIV

Turning back to the Law is not only not beneficial but it is also very spiritually dangerous (as all types of legalism are). This is what the Galatians were doing -- responding to legalistic teaching of the sort of which your epistle is full -- before Paul brought them up short.

14. Aramaic Mar-ya. Jesus is Lord, and that obviates the need for this discussion:

While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: " 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet." 'David himself calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?"
Mark 12:35-37 NIV

In this closing section of yours, the true meaning of your claim in your opening statement that you accept Jesus as "divine" seems to made crystal clear. He is somehow of YHWH, but He is not YHWH in your view. Therefore He is "a good man", "a special man", "an inspired man", "the Messiah", and even "divine". But He stops short of being God – in your view. The deity of Christ is indeed one of the if not the most difficult stumbling blocks for Israel, and I am very sorry to see that you have apparently tripped over it. I have deliberately refrained from loading up this email with links, but if you wish to see my best expression of the scriptural basis for the divinity of Christ, please see the following link:

Jesus is God.

I apologize for the directness of the tone in some of the prose above, but few issues are more important, for you or for me, or for all who are willing to wear the name "Christian".

Written in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, "my Lord and my God" (Jn.20:28).

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Dear Bob,

We're clearly at a loggerheads here because you truly do not see anything wrong with paganism. I already knew that you would reject anything I have to say. Most christians do because they are so blinded by their Greek mindsets that NOTHING sinks in, including BIBLICAL truth. So be it. I'm busy furthering the Kingdom and don't intend to argue with you, especially since your theology is obviously "etched" in granite. Your comments make absolutely no sense....Just one example:

3. No one is speaking against the Torah or any part of the Tanakh or the Law. What we are doing is understanding, interpreting and teaching what is right and true.

WHAT HOGWASH! Your entire website speaks out against it, you liar! If you aren't speaking against the Torah, then you would have wished me a Happy New Year, as today is Rosh Hashana! If you aren't speaking against the Torah then why aren't you keeping even the SEVENTH DAY SABBATH which is a SIGN between YHWH and HIS people? Why do you call Torah a "curse"? You're not "understanding" it at all; you have opted OUT of obedience by pretending all that "Old testament" stuff was just for the Jews. It's easier to believe that the Torahless MAN hanging on crosses around the world is god, than it is to realize He was "an arm" of YHWH (Isaiah 53:1) who cannot be separated from "the Father" and thus came to proclaim the Kingdom of YHWH, not bring some stupid religion called christianity wherein the son usurped the Father's powers and called them an abomination and a curse and instituted your pagan "holy days" of christmas and easter, neither of which have ONE THING to do with Yeshua....WHAT BLASPHEMY!

But you just go right ahead and continue promoting your Torahless belief that attempts to shove paganism down the throat of the God and world. That idiot Pastor Jones who is going to burn korans on 9/11 is going to help YOUR cause by making christianity look like what it really is: A paganistic religion to be avoided at all costs. Revelation 20:4 shows that many believers in Messiah would be beheaded for their beliefs. Who are the ONLY people to behead today? Muslims. Jones is in the process of making christians look stupid in the eyes of the world and driving people straight in to the arms of islam! So yeah, it won't be long before christians and many of us believers in Yeshua will end up beheaded. The world has a short memory; for the most part, christians are appearing to be weirdos and hypocrites, and islam is becoming "popular" because of it. It's no wonder you people aren't able to lead traditional Jews to "Jesus"! They KNOW better than to accept someone who supposedly abolished God's Divine Instructions in Righteousness!

Christianity has done just as much damage in the world as islam because it is a FALSE religion, based on the much-misunderstood writings of Paul whom you guys emulate over and above what Yeshua actually taught. Your Jesus in no way resembles the actual Messiah who walked this earth 2,000 years ago! But you just go right ahead and keep teaching what you THINK is truth....

This is my final correspondence with you because I learned a long time ago that you can't argue with the devil. Yeshua didn't, and I won't, either.

Response #16:   

This has been all about "biblical truth" from the beginning (as in your heart of hearts you no doubt know full well). Any one of the passages below refute all of your premises far better than my remarks could ever do:

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17 NASB

If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to comeone in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.
Hebrews 7:11-12

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.
Hebrews 8:7 NIV

By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
Hebrews 8:13 NIV

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 10:1 NIV

Honestly, I'm not sure how t o characterize what you are furthering, but it is hardly the kingdom of God. That kingdom is built upon the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, undiminished deity and true humanity in one perfect Person forever, the One who died in Calvary's darkness to wash away the sins of the world. In doing so, He fulfilled the Old Covenant with all its symbolic rituals and regulations. These looked forward to His coming and foreshadowed all He would do. He has now done it. Why do you persist in practices which look backward towards the shadows as if Jesus had never come, as if Jesus had never died, as if Jesus had never been resurrected?

I love the Old Testament. I read my Hebrew Tanakh every day (as well as my English Old Testament), and I strive to glean all the truth and meaning I can from it – constantly. But as with all scripture, my objective as a teacher of the Word is to understand the truth of God in its completeness, not in some partial or idiosyncratic way. Denying the truth of the New Testament has divorced you from who Jesus really is, because apart from it there is no way you can know anything about Him (unless you are receiving direct communications from God). More than that, by denying the New, you have only been led to completely misunderstand the power and wonder of the Old.

Sabbath, festival and special day observance is a form of works (along with all the other particular aspects of keeping the Law). We who love Jesus Christ have been made righteous in God's eyes not by our necessarily insufficient deeds, but by God's grace through faith.

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
Romans 3:19-22 NASB

We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
Galatians 2:15-16 NASB

Strive to enter by the strait gate, my friend, for the kingdom of heaven is only gained through a pure and undiluted faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God.

Bob L.

Question #17: 

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Response #17: 

Final observations for the reader:

It is hoped that publishing this conversation will be a good example of just why no Christian can be spiritually safe in this "information age" without committing to the process of spiritual growth in an aggressive way. The numbers and varieties of seemingly knowledgeable and passionate individuals and groups out there who at first blush might appear to "have a point" but who are really into one form of deadly heresy or another seems to grow by leaps and bounds every day. As the above discussion shows, such individuals and groups often go to great lengths to mask their true teachings and true agendas (and they can be devilishly difficult to pin down). It is also possible for them to "sound scholarly" in part because they concentrate on narrow, hobby-horse issues and have thus had time and opportunity to prepare their webs very carefully for poorly trained Christians who are wandering instead of learning. Both aspects of this tragedy, the rise of false-teaching and the rise of lukewarm "itchy-ear" syndrome, are predicted trends of the Laodicean era of the Church (see the link: Laodicea).

A job advertisement for a seasonal fishing job in Alaska read as follows:

"Hard work, long hours, low pay: serious applications only please."

As this author is well-aware, to master the Bible studies available at Ichthys (the Greek word for "fish"), is a very difficult and time-consuming process, offering no visible reward in this material life. But as with all those who devote themselves seriously to spiritual growth from whatever good and solid source, there is no better way to be safe in this life, to build a foundation of truth that honors Jesus Christ, and to earn a reward that surpasses anything this world of dust has to offer than living a life dedicated to the Word of God.

In Jesus the Living Word of God who has fulfilled the Law by dying on our behalf,

Bob L.

 

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