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Grace versus Law II

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Question #1: 

[question about the Law]

Response #1: 

This is a very large subject, and I have written a great deal about it. I will say a few general things here and give you some links below – and do feel free to write me back about any aspect of this question.

Believers have been released from the Law (Rom.7:6), and either a person belongs to the Law OR to the LJC (Rom.7:4).

You either follow Moses or Christ (Jn.1:17)

Our Lord instituted the "new covenant in My blood" thus replacing the old covenant in animal blood which was a mere symbol (Heb.9:7-14)

One could go on and on. Any of these points is sufficient in and of itself to show that desiring to keep the Law today is virtually impossible to disaggregate from an essential rejection of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Galatians 5:4 NKJV

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 9:15 NKJV

As Paul says, "the law is good if one uses it properly" (1Tim.1:8). The whole Bible is the truth and none of it can be disregarded. But the Old Testament taught the truth through shadows, looking forward to the time when Christ would be revealed; the New Testament gives direct and unveiled testimony to Jesus Christ and what He did in dying for us on the cross. The two testaments are the same truth (see the link), showing that God would solve the sin and death problems through providing a Substitute for us, and salvation has always been the same, believing this truth and trusting in Him and His Sacrifice (cf. Rom.3:31). In terms of those who have trusted Him, the Old Covenant chronicles the calling out of a special people who were to demonstrate their holiness through collectively following a perfect standard which differentiated them from the other nations of the world; the New Covenant shows that all peoples may come to God through Christ, and transforms that perfect standard of rules into one of power in the Spirit. Both have rules; both have the Spirit; but the emphasis has shifted just as in the case of the emphasis shift after the revelation of Christ on the issue of salvation. Misunderstanding or misusing either side of these equations is what causes the trouble. So if I want to be saved by keeping the Law, I am misunderstanding it and not using it properly. If I want to achieve holiness through the Law, the same thing applies (Gal.2:21): we can only pursue sanctification effectively through the Spirit.

I am always careful to say that for those of Jewish heritage, it is not my place to tell them what they can or cannot or must or must not do in regard to the traditions in which they have been reared. It is for this very reason that the 144,000 evangelists of the Tribulation sent to restore Israel to the truth will be of Jewish blood and tradition. It is, however, appropriate for me to warn off any non-Jewish believer from "playing at being Jewish" . . . as so many Messianic type churches and groups are wont to do. There is no spiritual growth down that path, and it is fraught with spiritual peril.

Arguments are one thing; scripture is another. It is impossible to read Romans, Galatians, Hebrews and the other epistles of Paul and get the idea that believers should be "keeping the Law" – in fact of course things are just the opposite in those epistles.

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17 NKJV

The Law is blessed, and "if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law" (Gal.3:21b NIV); but the purpose of the Law is to show us that we are sinners (Rom.7:7-13), and thus is our "teacher" to lead us to the faith that saves (Gal.3:24):

Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Galatians 3:7 NKJV

So we Christians accept the whole Bible and that includes the Law; but we are careful to note that when it comes to the sacrifices and festivals of the Law, these have been superseded by the cross (Rom.10:4), the Sacrifice they anticipated having been already accomplished by Christ's victory, so that it would be wrong to continue in these rituals (that is the main point of the book of Hebrews; see the link), and in fact since no temple now stands it is presently impossible to do so.

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:10 NKJV

What we are left with, therefore, in terms of "carrying out the Law" today, is simply the attempted adherence to a small portion of the dietary and other rules in the Law – we cannot even of course carry out the collective legal rules since we are not the nation state of ancient Israel (rules about slavery, rules about stoning, rules about the kingship, etc., etc.). So I find it interesting that many people think they are following the Law when in fact, 1) they are only following their own interpretation of it; 2) they are being selective about the things that are theoretically possible to do; and most importantly 3) they are in fact neglecting the vast bulk of what the Law has to say, and could not possibly address all these things even if they truly desired to do so.

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:35-40 NIV

As I say, there is much to discuss about this and much written at Ichthys. Here are those links I promised, and do feel free to write me back:

Grace versus Law

The Law, legalism and Rome

Paul and the Law

The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism

The Trinity and Messianic Legalism II

The Trinity and Messianic Legalism

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV: Unclean and Impure?

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Hello, I have question about sabbath. Must we still observe sabbath? And going every week to church?

Response #2: 

As our Lord told us . . .

"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached."
Luke 16:16 NIV

The cross and our Savior's death for us is the great dividing line in human history. After the cross, we have a New Covenant in His blood.

The fourth commandment is the only one not repeated in the New Testament – and for good reason: we are to observe a moment by moment Sabbath of "faith rest" with our Lord (cf. Hebrews chapters three and four); our holiness is to be true and embraced at all times, not merely symbolic and manifested by a one day a week ritual observance. See the links:

Sabbath Observance

The Sabbath

Should Christians honor Sunday as the new Sabbath?

Sabbath Questions

The Sabbath Rest in Hebrews

As to "going to church", associating this with the Sabbath is incorrect, even if the pattern for most local churches involves a main focus on Sunday (which of course is not the Jewish Sabbath) or even on Saturday. That appropriation of Jewish paraphernalia and falsely incorporating it into the Church is the same thing the Roman Catholics have done (priests, temples, censers, altars, holy water, etc., etc.). In fact, the whole purpose of "church", that is, the assembling of actual believers in Christ, is for the purpose of mutual encouragement through the Word of God – in other words, Bible teaching. But that is something that is rarely to be found in any church these days, so that for most of them, Paul's criticism of the Corinthians applies: "your meetings do more harm than good" (1Cor.11:17; cf. Is.1:11-12; Amos 5:21; Mal.1:10). See the links:

Finding a Church – or Something Better? II

Finding a Church – or Something Better?

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality

The Meaning and Purpose of True Christian Assembly

Find a good source of truth and try to engage with it / learn from it every day, not just on Sunday (or Saturday). That is the only way to grow up spiritually and win the eternal rewards the Lord wants you to win.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Dear Bob,

Again your brother in Christ from the Dominican Republic bothering you again with a silly question (s). I have been somewhat disturbed by something I read about the proper name of God. In one place it is said that praying to God was actually calling Him by a generic name that could be construed as calling the god of this world…is it Yaweh or Jehova (another misnomer, according to some Bibles, like the one published by the Institute for Scripture Research, which actually prints His name in Hebraic). The same question I have concerning the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which they say is Yeshua. Am I praying to satan when I say God in my prayers? Or should I use His name as He gave it to us, YHWH? I'm confused and worried, as my prayer life has exploded exponentially for the first time in my life, and I don't want to offend my God nor Jesus!

Please take me out of this agony that is driving me nuts.

Thank you once again for your guidance and support!

Response #3: 

Good to hear from you as always, my friend.

As to your question, it is hardly a silly one because this is another very common satanic attack that the evil one is pushing through his minions and other silly people – nonsense which if accepted can distort a person's entire spiritual life and approach.

The short answer is that calling God "God" is perfectly fine. The best proof of that is that in the New Testament He is never called YHVH or 'elohiym; He is called kyrios for the former and theos for the later, that is, the generic Greek words for "Lord" and "God" respectively.

If this were really important or an issue in any way, namely, for Him to be called upon and referred to only by His Hebrew names, then the writers of the New Testament – inspired by the Holy Spirit, after all – would not have done exactly what we do in English, that is, use the words appropriate to the language in which they were writing/speaking/ministering.

To claim otherwise is not just benign nonsense. It suggests that there is "magic" of some sort in the "correct" pronunciation of "the Name". And indeed many Jewish sects believe that – absolutely wrongly, of course. For one thing, since "the Name" is never ever pronounced, no one really knows how to pronounce it. Going down this false path leads a person into all manner of Gnostic mysticism which will only destroy faith in the long run. In short, people who make such claims are involved in some sort of cult or cult-like church. The question is just how far they have estranged themselves from the faith. I have had to combat this heresy a number of times and will give you the links below, but first let me paste in an important footnote from BB1 Theology:

Jehovah and Jahweh are the two most well-known English vocalizations of what is often called the "tetragrammaton", i.e. the four consonant name for the Lord explained in these verses. In Hebrew, yhvh, (יהוה) is traditionally vocalized as 'adonai. The divine name "Lord", explained in these verses as based on "I am/shall be", can potentially be derived from either the Hebrew verb "to be" or the verb "to become" (the two verbs being very close in the Hebrew). Likewise, the form יהוה is a unique form which appears to be a cross between an imperfect (indicating repeated action irrespective of time as in "I shall be/I am") and an infinitive absolute (summing up the meaning of a verb at one throw: i.e., the very essence of "being/becoming"). Thus it is clear enough from the Hebrew context and verbal forms that "the Name" is a declaration that the Lord is the very definition of being and existence without regard to time or phenomena. Q.E.D.

Here are those links:

Changing the Name of God?

The Divine Name

"I AM"

The transliteration of the name Jesus

The name 'Jesus'

How do you pronounce Jesus' name?

p.s., the same sort of thing applies to Jesus and Christ and Savior, the first of which words is transliterated loosely in the NT into Greek instead of using a Hebrew pronunciation, the second two of which words are given Greek equivalents which translate them (but which bear no phonetic resemblance to the Hebrew originals whatsoever).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Dear Professor,

I am currently listening to a great Messianic Rabbi in Georgia and I am learning so much but he says that "keeping Torah leads to Sanctification" (sabbath, holidays, feasts, fasts etc.). Can you please give me your opinion–and how do you keep Torah if your have a Christian family that WILL NOT buy into it?

Thank you so much for your time.

Response #4: 

Good to make your acquaintance.

Here is what I read in the Bible about this:

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 [elementary shadow] 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

Paul knew more about actual Judaism than anyone alive today, and he is very clear about the fact that the Law has been fulfilled by Christ. Going back to the Law is a dangerous mistake.

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Galatians 5:4 NKJV

To answer your question directly, it is impossible to keep the Torah because the temple does not exist. The only thing anyone can do is keep 10% of the Law and that is not keeping the Law.

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:10 NKJV

There is a fascination for many gentiles with all things Jewish, and I certainly understand and appreciate that. But falling into this milieu you mention has caused the shipwreck of faith on the part of many. For one thing, while I don't know anything about your rabbi, I do know that most Messianics have a very "squishy" understanding of the deity of Jesus Christ – Jesus is God, as well as a man (since the incarnation), and denial of that essential truth is a denial of the Father as well.

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
1st John 2:22-23 NKJV

Acknowledging the Son includes acknowledging His coequal deity with the Father. Denying His deity is denying Him – just as denying His humanity is denying Him (that is a different heresy more prevalent among other groups). Only accepting who He is – the God-man – and what He has done for us – dying for all of our sins on the cross, being judged for them all in the darkness (His spiritual death) – is acceptable to God the Father.

For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
Hebrews 7:12 NKJV

We have a new high priest, Jesus Christ, and so we are under a new law, the Law of love. Loving God and loving our brothers and sisters is Christ is our Law. That is the Law under which we are priests of God most high (Rev.1:6). Going back to the shadows of the Law of Moses never leads to any good. Here are some links on this if you'd like to know more:

Should Christians celebrate Jewish festivals?

The Trinity and Messianic Legalism II

The Trinity and Messianic Legalism

The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism

Paul and the Law

Grace versus Law.

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV: Unclean and Impure?

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Hello Professor,

I have a quick question. Is this scripture talking about keeping the law?

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:31 NIV

Response #5: 

Good to hear from you, my friend.

As to your question, Romans 3:31 is not talking about keeping the rituals of the Law. Rather, here Paul is affirming that by believing in Christ we fulfill the true spiritual reality of the Law -- which is far more important, obviously, since the ritualistic part of the Law is only meant to lead to faith and to teach the underlying truths of salvation and spiritual growth through belief in that truth (Gal.3:24; cf. Rom.7:7). If "keeping the Law" (which no one aside from our Lord has ever come close to actually doing) is divorced from faith, then it is an entirely pointless exercise -- and if a person has faith and especially if love is added to faith, then there is no reason for that person to try and keep the rituals of the Law since through faith we have entered into the family of God and through love we can fulfill the true purpose of the Law (Rom.13:10; cf. Rom.10:4). Paul felt it necessary to add this verse to his discussion because any and all hard-case Law-keepers might assume from his discussion of this issue in Romans that he was teaching against the Law (which in fact he loved: Gal.3:12). But in fact, Paul recognized that the point of the Law was to teach the underlying truths of the universal need for salvation and God's provision of that salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In other words, the purpose of the Law is to teach grace, but anyone who tries to use the Law for justification flips things upside down and makes it (erroneously) about works instead. Thus Paul tells us here that it is really he who is the true defender of the Law – by teaching its true purpose and by helping to fulfill that purpose in preaching the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ.

It's important to remember that as believers in Christ we are all "holy" (qadosh), by virtue of being in Christ, and thus in Him we already have had the purpose of the Law fulfilled in us through Jesus our Lord (e.g., Lev.11:44-45).

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:1 NIV

As such, we who are sanctified, made holy (qadosh) by the blood of Christ, have a new law to follow, the law of faith and love.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
Romans 3:27 NKJV

Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:10 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

We are interested in learning the Hebrew language. Can you refer us over to a book or website that would be good for self learning...if that's even possible?

Also of interest is learning the history of Hebrew before learning how to read, speak and write. Are there any really good history books on Hebrew that you can refer? We were googling Hebrew last night and we ended up watching a video on Dr Larry Ollison. Do you know of Dr Larry Ollison? He spoke about the Hebrew language and to make things short he was mentioning there are Hebrew words in the bible that they do not know what they mean and now they have come up with Aleph Tav. He also claims Jesus didn't say Alpha and Omega but Aleph Tav. Do you know anything on Aleph Tav.? If this is true why would things be hidden? Why would it be so difficult to understand. It doesn't make sense to me.

Your friends in our a Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Response #6: 

It doesn't make any sense to me either – since I know Hebrew. I hear this sort of nonsense all the time. There are a lot of people who are "on about" Bible codes and the like. Omega is the last Greek letter, tav the last Hebrew letter in their alphabets. But alpha and omega is what is in the Greek of the New Testament. God could have arranged to have the NT written in Hebrew easily enough, but He did not. Greek is Greek and Hebrew is Hebrew; the OT is the OT and the NT is the NT – it's pretty simple, but some people like to think they are smarter than everyone else and end up only demonstrating their stupidity. I do not apply this to the person you mention because I am not familiar with him and have not seen his material (but the report is not encouraging, to say the least).

As to the "history of Hebrew", this sort of work is possible to produce for Greek or Latin because we know a great deal about the origins of the languages back before their classical periods – though not nearly as much as we would like. Mostly even with these two languages "the language is the language" and only a small amount of enlightenment can be gained by considering the evidence for their antecedents and development before that "floruit". However, there is nothing known of the Hebrew language before the book of Genesis, and very little known of it throughout the millennium and a half in which the Old Testament was written apart from what is in the Bible itself. If one did find such a history, it would of necessity be highly speculative, based upon so-called evidence from comparative Semitics (i.e., making wild guesses based upon what we know of other Semitic languages), and inevitably have a low view of inspiration (i.e., not believing the OT is inspired or written when and by whom it claims to be). So I don't think that is a fruitful path.

As to learning Hebrew, it's pretty hard to do without face-to-face teaching. That is because language is learned by ear 90% only 10% by eye; that is a lesson I always try to hammer home to my university students. Without face-to-face instruction, learning how to pronounce the letters, words and syllables correctly is very difficult if not impossible for most of us mere mortals, but that is the quintessential first step without which no true progress can be made. So while there are a great many books that are "doable" self-study texts, this is not something I recommend anyone doing unless the person is convinced he has the gift of pastor-teacher – for such a person, hard or not, mastery of the language is very, very important. Nevertheless, I do have correspondents who have managed it or are trying it, men and women both. If you are still interested anyway, you might check out the "Hebrew Language Resources" page at Ichthys at the link; I confess it is a bit out of date and I haven't gotten around to working on it for a while, but it will give you some preliminary ideas. Here is another Ichthys link that fields this question and gives some recommendations on books you might use (and it will also lead to other links): "Tools for Studying Hebrew".

Hope you and your family are doing well!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hello Dr. Bob,

I am enjoying your observations.

May I ask you a question that is not trivial? What is the basis of the Law in the eyes of YHVH and Yeshua HaMashiach)? The Oral Tradition Jewish Talmud the Law as given to Moses by YHVH himself or the Oral Law of the multitude of Churches on the planet? It appears to me this is a central question. Why? Deuteronomy 13 and Matthew 5:18.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Amen, I say to you that until Heaven and earth will pass away, one Yodh or one Taag and will not pass away from The Written Law until everything will happen.

That is the context of how faith should be understood. It is therefore, interesting that the world we live in, particularly in the modern sense, has another sense of what is true. What we believe is true, shapes our real-ity. For Jesus this is the bedrock. What disturbs me is that our world is twisted by this flaw in our understanding. Jesus rejects the oral tradition of the Talmud and I believe he would reject the oral tradition of the what has come to be known as the Church. Both depart from the Written Law in thousands of ways. Jews reject Christ when the law is replaced by the idea of grace only, and Christians who say the law is no longer important are also wrong. It has to remain for both or the other half is rejected. Oral traditions are man made but what Moses received was from YhVH direct. Jesus was telling the religious leadership to do away with their mode of operations...which created a religion that no longer is a faith but a religion. The wall referred which prevented faith in God was the need to Convert to Judaismus. This is the tradition of the Talmud in Judaism as practiced Jerusalem after the fall of the Temple but not so in Qumran. I like this analysis of how Jesus attacks the ideas of this oral law. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Jesus-Rebukes-Pharisees-Scribes
When one sees how much of what is passed off as church belief, much of it is also not elevated or defendable.

What do think?

Response #7:

Very good to make your acquaintance.

As to the primacy of the written word, there I agree wholeheartedly. Not for no reason is our Lord Jesus Christ called "the Word of God" (Rev.19:13), and without that Word being written, we would know nothing certain about it. That is why God has magnified His Word even above His Name (Ps.138:2); that is why Peter tells us to pay attention to that Word as our guide as to a light shining in a dark place, giving it even more attention than we would to personally experienced divine revelation of the sort Peter had been given (2Pet.1:19).

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105 KJV

The Word of God is the truth, and we can only know the truth through knowing the Word of God. Every bit of the Word of God is therefore important and critically so, from the first word of Genesis to the last word of Revelation, and all who add to it (Rev.22:18) or subtract from it (Rev.22:19) are objects of cursing.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.
1st Timothy 1:8 NIV

The Mosaic Law is a special case because ever since it was first given to Moses most of those who have had anything to do with it have misunderstood it and/or used it not properly but improperly. The Jewish people before the Babylonian captivity largely ignored it; the Jewish people after the Babylonian captivity largely converted it into a system of self-righteous works-salvation. Neither Law-keeping Jews nor gentiles today seem to have the slightest clue that the Law was always meant to lead to Christ by showing our inability to be saved apart from His sacrifice. If Jesus Christ is taken out of the Law, it really has been made into an instrument of damnation rather than of salvation: those who take this route are self-condemned.

Paul spends a tremendous amount of time and effort explaining these things (in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews in particular), and while it may be true that therein there are "some things hard to be understood" (2Pet.3:16 KJV), nevertheless the basic points of the Law being a guide to Christ (e.g., Gal.3:24-25), a means of condemnation not justification (e.g., Rom.3:20), with the Law's symbolism now having been fulfilled in the cross (e.g., Heb.7:12) are easy enough for anyone approaching them with an open heart to see.

There is much to say about these matters – and much which has been written and posted at Ichthys about them – but I will leave you with this for now.

Please do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #8: 

Hello Robert,

Your words are very encouraging. I see something you are not addressing. Jesus did not come to form a new Religion. He and all of the Apostles were Monotheists: Jews. Jesus was not seeking People for himself. He was saying do as our heavenly Father said to do. He was not talking Church talk. He was speaking Jewish belief not Christian. He did not teach Christianity. He is saying follow God not men. No Jew with believe Christian if we say that the old Covenent is not valid because of the new Covenant. It is totally illogical to say grace replaces observing What YHVH himself we should do. The Holidays God commanded are from God himself. Christmas and Easter are wonderful celebrations but have pagan roots that the Emperor of Rome and the Pope used to create Religion Substitution. Not a word of it is directly from YHVH. Checkout 119 Ministries. Read Psalm 119.

Response #8: 

I'm not sure if you meant to send this to me? It doesn't seem to correspond to what I wrote you.

Of course the Old Covenant is important. What is usually not properly understood is that the New is the fulfillment of the Old and therefore the replacement of the Old.

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:13 NKJV

The two covenants are actually one and the same in this respect: the Old looks forward to the coming of the Sacrifice while the New affirms Christ come in the flesh and having died for our sins.

As to the truth of God being three in one, the Bible is quite clear:

And God said, Let us make man in our image . . .
Genesis 1:26 KJV

Even right from the beginning in the Old Testament, it is clear that God who is one – in essence – is also three, in person: "us / our".

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, He who is both God and man.

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Read his own words. He is God's son but not Yahveh, which Jesus says not I. John 10:30 is very exact. God is pure spirit and ever present. Because he is not limited by time or the physical matter of creation, which bis Elohim es created until his name appears upon the 6th day of creation, Jesus is making a point. The Body of Jesus Ben Joseph was mortal. As the Messiah his appearance was prophesied before his birth. He was born to a young and flawless woman who had to say to him what happened before he was born. The parents kept it from him during his early years in Alexandria. They were hiding... Not showing off. Sent there by Joseph's dream to leave. Both parents knew. The story of Jesus in Luke 2:41-45 shows he went there. Why? He had to understand what happened in Bethlehem. They didn't tell him he realized that what made him different from the others is that he is YHWH's son. This is the first time Jesus says Himself he's his Father's son. The Archangel Gabriel in 1:31-35 states the Spirit of God connect to his Momma. But he dies a bloody death. YHVH doesn't. Even the Disciples didn't understand. Hunted they denied him. His darling woman Mirjam from Mandala even rises in the morning dews and runs with herbs to annointed his dead body. Martha chases after her. She loved Jesus so much... As women's hearts do for the man they love. But even she only understood his death. God understood it all. Jesus is in the word aligned with the old and new covenants as is his heavenly father as the Lord of Hosts Zeva'ot. When he returns again he is the Boss over the Angels. Therefore Yahweh's son is one with his Father and has a context to the existence We who are. His context is God's Love for humanity. He gave us the owners manual to understand his Father's will and law and love. I love him because without him I cannot understand YHVH. Because of him I do. Remember the midpoint of the Bible is Psalms 118:8. He is the boss with his father...but he is the greatest....I often wonder if he didn't give Jacob his thorn personally. Jacob learned to do as Jesus did...he made himself small and became the megaphone of our God YHVH. Judge not Robert...it is not your place. I note your observation but wash my hands of the shame visited on others who say they know better but do not follow the law of YHVH and his son Yeshhua. They love us above all. We need no Rabbi...God is our only Rabbi...not even Jesus shall be called so...those are his very own words. Amen The Bereans "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11).

Kindly yours,

Response #9: 

Jesus wants you to be saved, but you have to want to be saved. He was God and was with God before He created the universe, and you have to accept who He is – the God-man – and what He has done for us – standing judgment for our sins as only One who was both God (so as to be able to stand it) and man (so as to have a body to bear them) could do.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1 NKJV

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
John 8:58 NKJV

Only a human being could bear sin.

Only God could not be destroyed in so doing.

Only One is both God and man could be our Savior.

Jesus died for all of your sins, paying the full price for them in the darkness. If anyone refuses to honor what He has done in dying for our sins, or who He is, God and man, necessary to do so, that person denies the truth and dishonors Him. And it does no good claiming that the Father's honor is the objective:

"Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him."
John 5:23b NKJV

"We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God" (2Cor.5:20 NKJV).

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Read very cleanly both what he spoke in the argument with his own Israelis...John 10:30. He lets the word association with the Schma Yisroel upset the Pharisees. He does not defend himself. He associates himself in service. That is what his son and every son of God and man must do. Jesus never defends himself...he defends God, his creation, his law and the faith in his father. He is the Messiah...his Mother did not lie to him. His father's dream was true. I honor him above every living creature except the Father himself. Remember YHVH took Enoch, Elijah and Moses into heaven to be with him personally. Jesus was the most blameless person who ever lived and his death the most unfair. God knew this and let things happen. Some of what happened when the faith wandered into the world is different from that which Jesus, his disciples practiced and believed. That is my point. Jesus said no one could come to the father except through him because only Jews knew his father and the making a religion out of a faith in YHVH through the Talmud and Rabbis becoming more important than God himself. Read John 8:58 It is a word play on God's name and his name. Yah.... Jesus is sublime. his heart, his mind, his soul all reflect God. Even his choice of who to watch out for to show the way to the upper room...a man carrying a waterjar...an Essener from Qumran...the place in the desert made straight for our God. Not the Rabbis or city folk. Faith in one God is still the way. Jesus is a part of God as is the Elohim Ess (the Holy Spirit). The word play is palindromic. That is how God reveals himself...YHVH and Jesus spoke in Palindromes...that is a secret of understanding that God and he share. The world went from Bab-EL to YHVH, Jesus should remind us of that everyday. Be clear that when you attempt to rebuke me, I read the word exactly and test everything. The reason I reached out to you was not to be drowned in oral tradition but to see how you study. How you preach is an open book. How you think was my question. It is the question I ask myself everyday. We all can learn that Jacob learned his lesson by accepting the rights of others rather than by trampling them when he could easily have done so in word or in deeds. Have a nice weekend. Sabbath peace.

Response #10: 

If you had read the Word carefully, you would see that "I AM" in Greek at John 8:58 is precisely the same as at Exodus 3:14. Jesus is God, and He very clearly claimed to be God – for all who would listen.

The Bible very clearly teaches that Jesus is God (see the link). You have clever answers for everything, but they do not meet the test of a simple reading of the Word of truth. Your defenses are defenses of clay, and they will mean nothing when you stand before His Great White Throne to be judged on that day.

Please humble yourself to accept Him for who He is and what He has done.

That is the only way to be saved.

In Jesus Christ, "My Lord and my God" (Jn.20:28).

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Hi and thanks for caring about my soul. It is already in Jesus and YHVH's hands. John 10, 14-18 says it all. He takes his command and commandments from YHVH directly!!!! He is the voice that our soul knows. Dead are all who do not know his voice and do not dwell IN HIM. He is Lord. We are in total agreement. The points I made about the law are still valid. Jesus said to the Jews...you build a wall. Jews require a conversion to the faith which did not exist under Moses. Rabbis changed the law through the Talmud. God punished them for setting themselves above him. So shall we be divided by Truth or United in Error?
We are in the modern era Robert and can benefit from examining our situation. The eyes, ears and voice of Jesus in the context of the world -2018 years ago is the point. I have problems and think every believer should. According to Acts 11:19-26, the Christian community at Antioch began when Christians who were scattered from Jerusalem because of persecution fled to Antioch. They were joined by Christians from Cyprus and Cyrene who migrated to Antioch. It was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were first referred to as Christians. A main point of interest, however, is connected with the progress of Christianity among the non-Jewish believers. Tradition holds that the first Gentile church was founded in Antioch, Acts 11:20-21, where it is recorded that the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians Acts 11:19-26. It was from Antioch that St. Paul started on his missionary journeys. But how should our faith be practiced? How was it practiced then. I would bring to you attention that Paul spent nearly 3 years in Qumran before his missionary work began. John the Baptist was a member of the community in Qumran. Jesus could have visited it too because it is in the vicinity of Galilee. It is the location of the Isiah roll...which foretold of his coming. This knowledge has practical import on how we should live and practice the faith. It is not trivial pursuit we are playing. 30,000 Christian denominations allow themselves to be divided by truth with thousands of errant doctrines. There is a learning lesson for the dozens of Messianic/Hebrew Roots/Christian Roots and unnamed home congregations who do not have a single doctrine to pursue the Truth in practice and thereby divide themselves away from the false truth of this world rather than keeping what God himself asked us to do. I like 119 Ministries approach. It makes sense from a Judeo-Christian perspective.

Kindly yours

Response #11: 

If by Lord you mean God, then we agree; if by Lord you mean something less than God, then we couldn't be farther apart.

Jesus Christ is YHVH just as the Father is YHVH just as the Spirit is YHVH. God is three in Person, One in Essence.

The plan of God in this creation has the Father as the authority, the Son as the instrument of the plan and the Spirit as the One who empowers it. One member of the Trinity had to become a human being as well as God for us to be saved. That is because only a human being could bear the sins of the world, but only God was capable of doing so – so only One who was God and Man could be Mediator between the two and accomplish our salvation. This is what the Law taught in every single animal sacrifice which was ever carried out under its auspices. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn.1:29; 1:36; Rev.5:6, etc.), something only God could be and something only a human being could be – reconciling God with mankind through His death as only One who was party to both could do.

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.
Hebrews 2:14 NIV

In carrying out the plan of salvation, in becoming a human being, in taking on flesh and blood to share our lot, our Lord humbled Himself and responded to the Father as the perfectly obedient Son of Man who was also the Son of God. In doctrinal terms, this is often called "kenosis":

Since He already existed in the very form of God, equality with God was [certainly] not something He thought He had to grasp for. (7) Yet in spite of this [co-equal divinity He already possessed], He deprived Himself of His status and took on the form of a slave, [and was] born in the likeness of men. (8) He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even [His] death on [the] cross [for us all].
Philippians 2:6-8

The word "Christian" is actually a later development – it does not occur in the Bible (only in later mss. which corrupt the original text; see the link: "The Name Christian".

FYI, it is also the case that "soul" is not correct biblically; the immaterial part of man is the human spirit. "Soul" in English refers to the entire person – it is not a tertium quid. As with all false doctrines or misunderstandings of scripture, this mistake leads to a number of other mistakes as well.

As for Qumran, neither Paul nor John the baptist had anything whatsoever to do with the Essenes. There is nothing in the Bible about that (that sect's territory in southern Judea was never called "Arabia"), and the esoteric teachings of the Essenes, as far as can be garnered from the texts they left, have nothing in common with John's words or Paul's letters.

I certainly agree that denominations leave little to hope for. They are all dead in regard to the truth to one degree or another. But their deadness is not a mandate to throw off all restraint and believe / teach whatever one wants to speculate about. Only the Bible is the touchstone of truth.

If it is in the Bible, it is true.

If it is not in the Bible, it is not true.

Yours in Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world.

Bob L.

Question #12: 

God is not a person. Persons are flesh and blood. He can not die because he is immortal and not limited. The Trinity teaching that the Holy Spirit is a separate person is a false and erroneous teaching. The words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 12:32 are: “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” A similar statement is found in Mark 3:28-29. Imagine these words told to a people who as Jews, believe in only one God. Jesus is clarifying his relationships. He makes clear that he is one with the father and then clarifies the relationship of believers to both his heavenly father and to himself. Why does Jesus do this? God has a special relationship with us. Another saying of Jesus clarifies this great principle: Mark 2:27 And Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The principle is that the Sabbath is only a means towards an end—man’s highest good. Ask yourself when a person is dead. Dead to God...not in the material sense. Someone with insufficient knowledge of Jesus who may have been adversely influenced by biases, false accusations and the claims of jealous leaders may have looked on Him as a mere man. They might have stated things about Him that were untrue and disrespectful. Some without understanding of God the Father and Jesus Christ might even have made vile statements against them. Jesus says these sins would be forgiven on repentance. But in the context of Matthew 12, the Pharisees were confronted with a miracle clearly demonstrating the power of God. Jesus had banished a demon from a man. They dismissed it as Christ having done this miracle by the power of Satan. But Jesus explained clearly that only by the power of a greater Spirit—that of God—could a demon be cast out. They remained unmoved and hardened in their hearts. For them to see a clear demonstration of God’s power through His Spirit, yet still reject it, shows their attitude of willfully resisting the Holy Spirit, and this is why Jesus rebuked them with this grave warning. The Holy Spirit is the means through which God acts on and within our hearts and minds to change us into the kind of people He wants us to be. Blasphemy against the Spirit involves a refusal of that power that allows us to change. So this is very specific principle Jesus is teaching, and the Spirit of God is his words. Therefore we are at a different level of being IN connection...a part of the vine...bound with YHVH and Jesus through this connection. Call it what you will, but denial of it is an unforgivable separation. Denial of the spirit is death. Relationship is the point and love.

Response #12: 

God is a person – actually three persons. Persons do not have to be flesh and blood. The important thing about being a person – for us – is having free will. That is the image of God.

The Holy Spirit is God (see the link), sharing the same divine essence as the Father and the Son.

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness".
Genesis 1:26a NIV

How can God say "we" unless God is more than one person; the creation of mankind was undertaken by all three members of the Trinity.

Finally, this is a Bible teaching ministry, and a big part of it consists of answering questions from believers in Jesus Christ – and I mean BELIEVERS in Jesus Christ, who He is, God and man in one Person forever. I do defend the teachings of this ministry, but I do not participate in pointless correspondence ad infinitum.

If you want to be saved, I'm happy to help guide you to that – God is the One who saves through faith in the Son of God (see the link: "God's Free Gift").

But here are two irrefutable facts: 1) you're not going to convince me that the truth is not the truth; and MUCH more importantly 2) you're not going to convince God that the truth is not the truth.

It won't do you good to have all these arguments which seem sound to you when you stand before Him on that day. That is what you need to think about, repent of your unbelief, and throw yourself on the mercy of our dear Savior. And He is merciful. He wants you to be saved. But you have to want to be saved.

In Jesus Christ, "My Lord and my God" (Jn.20:28).

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Three were not mentioned. Elohim under and Elohim Ess until day 6, when YHVH fist appears. -im is plural. El=god, oh- oftentimes means spoken. Ess=essence. God's creative Essence - His name in service. Alone himself. The 6th day that from which all goes out and to which all returns

Response #13: 

That etymology is patent nonsense to anyone who knows Hebrew.

The Bible says "us / our" = more than one.

Question #14: 

Robert...let me clarify something for you. What we believe is true shapes our reality. What is true, if unexamined, may be accepted as true by a person but in the end be imperfect. What I have pointed out to you, is that your intent is good but you do not test everything. You make claims that are your own reality. I am saved and it is the Holy Spirit that asked to advise you. Do not be weary of the love of God. God's Blessing, Love, Light, Strength, Courage and Good Health I send you for your path. Kindly yours,

Response #14: 

Things are either true or they are not true.

We can only know something is true if the Bible says it is.

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is God.

The Bible says that Jesus is God as well as man.

The Bible says that we are saved by believing in Jesus, that is, the truth about Him, that He is God and man, and what He has done in dying for our sins.

So how can anyone who deliberately rejects His deity – a critical part of the message of good news – be saved?

You tell me.

But it doesn't matter if you think you've won an argument with me.

Tell it to the Father.

"Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him."
John 5:23b NKJV

Question #15: 

God Bless you Robert. Repeating What you have said before is still repeating. Read a book or two and open yourself up to seeing that Jesus was not creating a new Religion. He was opening the world to his father and that is what we all Need to do. Thank them both for loving us and forgiving us. It is about love and having a relationship. I love God with my heart mind and Soul. I do not Need nor did I ask for you endorsement. So Keep your mouth off my faith. I do not Need nor will I ever ask a man or woman for forgiveness because it is not theirs to give. YHVH is my God, Jesus is Immanuel and the Elohim Ess is the Spirit that moves from them to move us. I will not deny them. Their mysteries are many. I pointed out a few to interest you to go deeper. Now I will say it has been a pleasure. I have not learned a single new Thing from you. You have Little interest in anything you do not say yourself. I have a humbler Approach. I will stand on that. I want to learn as much as God is willing to teach me. Everybody is blessed in different ways. The greatest among us must be the servant of all – Jesus I hope I Can move in that direction every day. It is the example of Noah, Moses, Elijah and above all Jesus. Blessing for your efforts. Lets move on. A mind is a terrible Thing to waste.

Response #15: 

I agree . . . that it is time to move on.

The Lord prompted you to contact this ministry for some reason (I can guess: your salvation); but I am not able to help you because you are not willing to listen. As our Lord said,

"But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life."
John 5:40 NKJV

As to books, I read the Bible.

One piece of advice, since, as Paul said to those who were spurning the gospel, "since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life" (Acts 13:46), it would be prudent of you NOT to share your philosophy born of hardness of heart with others. Otherwise you risk making yourself like the Pharisees who only contributed to their proselytes damnation (Matt.23:15). I know that the Lord is zealous for the salvation of the innocent, so I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to take your "ministry" down off of the internet. No good will come of it for you, only cursing. And since you have only this life to enjoy (absent repentance unto salvation – for which I pray for you!), punishment from Him for false witness would be doubly regrettable.

In Jesus Christ the LORD, the only Way of salvation.

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I read an article regarding the Sabbath Day and have some questions reconciling some passages with what I believe. It reads:

"Actually, as far as scripture is concerned, there are only two times mentioned with regard to anybody getting together on the first (day) of the week - John 20:19 and Acts 20:7. There is never any mention of them ever again being together on the first. The John reference has them together in a closed room after the crucifixion because they were afraid of their fellow Jews. Nothing is said about a worship service or day of rest. And it couldn't have been in recognition of the resurrection because at that time they didn't even believe that the resurrection had taken place. The Acts reference has them together very likely because Paul happened to be in town and he wanted to talk to them before he had to leave again. The "breaking of bread" could simply be saying that the disciples got together to eat a meal on this particular first day of the week . The phrase, "to break bread", does not have to refer to a religious service - unless it is specifically stated - but to dividing loaves of bread for a meal. "It means to partake of food and is used of eating as in a meal...... The readers [of the original New Testament letters and manuscripts] could have had no other idea or meaning in their minds" (E.W.Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, pp. 839,840" I don't see any reference of believers worshiping any other day for the purpose of corporate worship. Acts 20 seems to indicate that it was a common thing to meet when Paul was there the first day and to break bread and meet with believers. This seems to be an act of the Lord's Supper. Everything about this indicates an assembly of believers for worship. But there seems to be some confusion on my part because nowhere as I can see is that they used the first day as a day if rest, Not to say they didn't, but I don't think it says so. Can you help reconcile this for me? I'm trying to understand if I have the Sabbath correctly. I'm tired of even Christians saying that the Sunday Sabbath is a Catholic invention. Mat 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. Sabbath and first day are quite clearly different. Joh 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. Jesus met with the disciples who were all gathered on the first day, and did nit rebuke them for their meeting that day. In fact.... 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. now if the day spoken of before is the first day of the eight, then they were meeting the next Sunday and Jesus appeared to them again. And once again didn't rebuke them for meeting on a day other than the Sabbath. And: Act 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. It seems that in this case they met on the first day of the week for the express purpose of hearing the preaching of the Word of God. And, 1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. Without getting into what was being laid by, it is noted that again this was done on the first day, with the express purpose that there be no gathering when he came. Written to a church, with the intent that this happen on the first day, indicating a gathering at least for that purpose. Now there are other passages that show that these Christians met on all sorts of days, but the Bible is quite plain that organized meetings were absolutely definitely held on Sundays. There is no biblical command for Christians to meet officially on any day, but by example we see that if a specific day of the week is nominated, it is Sunday. Sunday worship is in the new Testament clearly. That should be enough, but in any case historical record shows Sunday worship also occurred BEFORE the Catholic so called church existed. Ignatius recorded "If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death. "The quote continues on, but you get the idea. Ignatius died around 107AD, Constantine didn't start the travesty of the Catholic system ill about 200 years after Ignatius died, and didn't make his decree about Sunday worship until 321AD. So Sunday worship can't have been a Catholic invention, primarily because the New Testament records it, and history agrees....

What are your thoughts on this?

God Bless,

Response #16: 

In terms of words, the Sabbath is the seventh day, our Saturday, while the "Lord's day" (Rev.1:10) is the first day of the week, Sunday in our terms, the day our Lord rose from the dead.

What custom was followed in the early days of the Church is neither here nor there absent a biblical command to meet on a particular day or to rest on a particular day. The latter is part of the Law whose symbolism has been replaced by the reality of Jesus Christ – so that we now "rest in Him" at all times, not just on one particular day . . . or at least we should do so (see the link: "Faith Rest in Hebrews"). Groups which want to mandate a day of rest, whether Saturday or Sunday, do so without a biblical mandate in either case.

As to the book of Acts, it is a historical book which tells us what happened; that does not mean that we can take "what happened" and say that it is God's will for us to do things the same way. That is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which because 1) it was a period of transition from the Age of Israel to the Age of the Church, from the Law to the administration of grace; 2) there were apostles directing things as they changed and developed at that time; and 3) there were miraculous spiritual gifts being given at the time, something which is no longer the case today (for a link which will lead to others on this important issue see "The Historical and Transitional Nature of the Book of Acts").

The book of Acts does reflect the flexibility of local church administration and practice which the Lord did mean to be the rule in our Church Age. That is why the Bible is actually mostly silent about local church governance and practice. I have no doubt that if it were more convenient to have meetings on Tuesday evening than any other time for whatever reason, the Lord would be fine with that – since there is no day-specific mandate for us. The key thing is the PURPOSE of assembly: teaching and learning the truth and the mutual encouragement which comes from sharing the truth. Since most local churches do not teach the truth as their reason for existing – and in fact for the most part what little they do teach is usually either wrong or seriously flawed – it doesn't matter if they meet Sunday or Saturday or every day. For most, Paul's stricture against the Corinthians applies: "your meetings do more harm than good" (1Cor.11:17; cf. Is.1:11-12; Amos 5:21; Mal.1:10).

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Good Morning Professor,

I just have one quick question. If the laws are done away with how are Christians supposed to know what’s right and what’s wrong?

Response #17:

What "laws" are you referring to? The NT is very clear that we are to obey the laws of our country – just as long as they don't prevent us from doing what we are supposed to do (as in Daniel praying in spite of the prohibition against it) or tell us to do something we are not supposed to do (as in taking the mark of the beast). Add to that the fact that every human being has a conscience that tells us what is right and what is wrong (that is the heritage of eating of the tree of knowing good and evil; cf. Rom.2:14-16). Believers "fine tune" that conscience through spiritual growth (Heb.5:14) and by learning to respond to the still, small voice of the Spirit. Finally, in terms of behavior, there is plenty in the New Testament in terms of specifics to tell us what we ought to do and what we ought not to do as believers – far more than what we find in the Law of Moses and much more specific too (if we except the rules and regulations which are merely symbolic of the holiness Israel was supposed to manifest by its dietary and other such laws).

So between secular law and the New Testament and our natural consciences fine tuned by the truth and the witness of the Holy Spirit, I don't see any area where we are lacking guidance. I will note that many Christians have gotten precisely the wrong idea about many things through recourse to the Mosaic Law without understanding it and without understanding the force and the meaning of the New Covenant – e.g., false teachings on tithing, divorce, diet, Sabbath observance etc. But I can't think of a single area or even teaching where without the Mosaic Law we would have a problem such as the one you are contemplating.

Feel free to write me back on this one, however.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

What do you think?


Response #18: 

This is a rambling article which appears not too well thought out. Clearly we don't throw out the OT; clearly also we no longer sacrifice animals in Jerusalem. Christ fulfilled the Law (Rom.10:4), so the Law is now fulfilled along with its purpose and symbolism. We are under a New Covenant, the Old having been replaced by the New as scripture very clearly demonstrated (cf. Heb.7:12; 7:22; 8:6-10; 8:13; 9:15; 10:8-9; 12:24). The Law is good – if one uses it correctly (1Tim.1:8). That doesn't mean, however, picking and choosing which parts one thinks ought to be kept – as in Sabbath observance, a command not repeated in the NT and specifically replaced with a moment by moment rest in Hebrews 3-4 – when there is no mandate for them in the New Testament (the Sabbath was for Israel specifically and violators are to be put to death: Ex.31:12-17).

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
Hebrews 7:18-19 NIV

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:13 NKJV

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
Hebrews 10:8-9 NKJV

It would be helpful for me if you could delimit your question and ask about specific points here which you feel may have validity.


Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Hi Bob,

There are ten commandments, but let me be honest with myself: I am never going to follow them. So I have decided to reduce them to three and exactly three commandments:

1. Don't kill anyone.
2. Don't become demon-possessed.
3. Don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit

If I obey these three commandments throughout my entire life, I will consider myself a smashing success.

Response #19: 

Two are better:

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:35-40 NIV

Question #20: 

Thank you for your response.

I have been watching video's from this website, it is interesting to get a perspective of Israeli, Jewish believers who are using the internet to reach other Jews. The Jewish testimonies are especially interesting. The Holy Spirit is at work in Israel and I think this is going to accelerate in coming years. I wonder if this isn't the initial start of preparing the Jews for the formation of the 144,000.......these two young guys, Moti and Eitan, take apart Rabbinic Judaism using the Hebrew Bible, calling out the false religion embodied by the Talmud and showing the New Testament and Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. I feel the Holy Spirit in their work.

Jewish Evangelism Archives - ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry

Just thought you may find this interesting as a prophecy watcher.

Response #20: 

You're very welcome.

I've been asked about these two individuals before and invested some time on some of their videos.

I have to say, even though the English descriptions of the videos make it sound as if these two are typical evangelical Christians (with all the good and all the bad of that genre), nothing I was ever able to hear either of them say convinced me that they are actually even Christians. Rather, their discourse is very much in the vein of hyper-Messianics in this country (see the link), where Jesus "is a good guy" but when you scratch the surface you find out they don't believe that He is God – which of course He is as the Bible very clearly teaches (link).

The 144,000 will be summoned / organized by Moses and Elijah, and these "two witnesses" won't be brought back to life until the Tribulation begins. So while I am sure that it is true that many if not all of the 144K are alive today (based upon the likely date of the commencement of the Tribulation), they have not yet been sealed, many or most have probably not yet been saved, and they certainly haven't been summoned to Jerusalem, gifted, organized and dispatched by the two prophets who will run the ministry. So these two you ask about might be potentials. They certainly fit the profile. But like so many "seem to fit" pieces regarding the end times, we cannot know for certain before they begin.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.
p.s. please see the Addendum below

Question #21: 

Hi Bob,

Today I learned that the ten commandments are heavy on the soul and so they do offend people. This is why movements to erect the ten commandments are attacked so heavily.

One thing I noticed is that people, in order to remove the weight of the ten commandments or the Sermon on the Mount, is to try to rewrite them as "the ten suggestions." But these are obligations--they are obligatory and cannot be devolved into suggestions.

Response #21: 

Not so in the case of #4 – or rather it has been replaced in a way not obvious from reading the text of, e.g., Exodus 20:8-11 (see the link: "moment by moment Sabbath"). Also, the first three commandments are deeper than a cursory reading suggests – and so is #5, while #10 covers MUCH more ground than most people understand. In fact, like all scripture, the commandments have to be understood through the Spirit and in context with all other truth (see the link). So setting up monuments is of dubious value. It tends to become a political act (as is the opposition to it). And once it becomes political, people stop concerning themselves with the spiritual content altogether.

In Jesus who is the truth,

Bob L.

Question #22: 

God bless you buddy, thanks for keeping in touch.

ps: recently traveled to hear Herr Fruchtenbaum, and had an itching question for him about his interpretation of Heb. 11.26 which maybe reads Moses understand did what he did because of the reproach or death of Christ.

Put your messianic rabbinic hat on and guess what he said.

Response #22: 

On your riddle, we know that the "gospel, promised through the prophets" is all about "His Son, Jesus Christ" (Rom.1:2-3), so you are indisputably right, regardless of whatever "hat" I or anybody else is wearing.

I know you are a fan of F., so I'm assuming he thinks the same sort of thing, even if it is put in OT terms or rabbinic lingo. I have lots of contact with various flavors of Messianics, however, about half of them gentile wannabes and about half actually Jewish – and the majority of them are not saved. "Jesus was a nice guy" = not saved.

Hope you are doing well, my friend.

Your pal in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23: 

Well the Frucht does have the context in his favor as the Jewish nation was under reproach, and although nation is neuter in Greek I believe, goi is masculine in Hebrew, so it could work, but Fruchtenbaum's background also is his opinion that the body of faith for salvation has not always been the same, i.e. Abraham did not have to believe in Messiah's death but just believe what God says in that passage...I think from the time of Adam, the ProEvangelium is that the seed of the woman would provide salvation--a man of God would sacrifice himself for all sin--this I thought was the "reproach of Christ" for which Moses looked to the reward--it seems to me as I read it again now that Moses looked forward to something much greater than the Exodus....what thinkest thou?

Response #23: 

I agree with you. In Hebrews 11:26 "considering" (as in "considering the reproach of/for Christ) is masculine singular and grammatically refers back to Moses, a single person (like everyone else in this long list in Hebrews) who is being held up as an example. So Moses, personally, "considered the reproach of/for Christ of greater value . . . ". That is what Paul wrote and meant, regardless of Hebrew grammar (no Hebrew in this context). And "Christ" means "Christ" here, just like it does in ALL of the other very many places the word occurs in the book of Hebrews. In fact, the word always means Jesus Christ, the Messiah, everywhere else in the NT. Also, if my lexicons are correct, it's never used of "the Jewish nation" anywhere, neither the Greek word in the LXX nor the Hebrew word in the MT. So this is a VERY inventive rabbinic-style (by which I mean spiritualized) interpretation, but there is nothing here for those of us who believe words means something.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24: 

Shalom! I have a comment about your statement that the New Testament was entirely written in Greek! I disagree! The New Testament was written by Hebrews to Hebrew People, whether in Israel or in the diaspora, and there is still a very early scroll of Matthew in Hebrew. Another thing that is not known by many outside of the Hebrew Faith, if a scroll is damaged or too old, or dirty, a copy is made, then the older one is burned, or buried with a Righteous person, so there would not be old ones just laying around. The Jewish faith has done all it can to remove and ignore the New Testament/Covenant. There was also a concerted effort by non-Hebrew converts, like Constantine and his mother Helena, to remove ALL Jewish content from the Bible, and to bring in their pagan feasts and customs! As in changing the celebration of Chanukah to the "Feast of Dedication". There are "Hebraisms" in the New Covenant that only make sense when you translate it back to the Hebrew, not the Greek! The Old Testament has been preserved by the Jews, with a very strict discipline for copying the Scripture, even to counting the number content of the letters on each row of the Scroll, but the Church has tried to say that the Old Covenant is no longer relevant for today. It is totally relevant, if we don't know what's in the Old Covenant, we can't understand many of the things in the New Covenant! It is a HEBREW BOOK! I don't claim to be a scholar, but I am a Messianic Jewish Rabbi and have studied the Hebrew Roots of Christianity for more than 20 years. The Church is very anti-Semitic, white-washing our Hebrew history out of the faith of the Patriarchs, and the Apostles. The Apostles kept Torah all their lives, kept the dietary laws, and the Feasts in Leviticus 23, which, by the way, are Adonai's FEASTS, not Jewish Feasts, they are Appointments set up by GOD, time for us to stop and meet with HIM, His Time Table, His Calendar! As I said, the New Covenant was written to the Hebrew People by Hebrew People, who spoke Hebrew in their Synagogues wherever they lived. Doesn't it make sense they would write in their language!!

Response #24: 

The New Testament was written entirely in Greek – with the exception of a few phrases in Aramaic (e.g., talitha, qum!). That is a historical fact for which there is a mountain of hard evidence, with fragments of text dating back to the within only a few years of the writing of the New Testament.

I am not familiar with the "very early scroll of Matthew in Hebrew" and would be grateful for a reference / more information. I have never heard of such a thing. I do know that there are some very late forgeries.

As to destruction of Hebrew scrolls, the custom of the time was to preserve the fragments in the genizah at least temporarily, and that has resulted in some ancient "finds" of such texts (the Cairo genizah in particular). Much of the early papyrological evidence for the New Testament is likewise found in seemingly unlikely places. But while there has been a tremendous amount of that recovered, I'm not aware of any definite evidence for a Hebrew exemplar – none at all, in fact, not a single scrap of paper or parchment or inscription.

Our Lord and the disciples were tri-lingual. Hebrew was spoken at the time mostly in Jerusalem, with Aramaic being the preferred tongue in the north (cf. Matt.26:73). And everyone (almost) had to speak Greek, because that was the language of law, culture and commerce throughout the eastern Mediterranean world at that time (e.g., it is fairly certain that Pilate didn't speak fluent Hebrew yet he could address the crowd). The New Testament was not written exclusively to and for the "Hebrew people" but for everyone, and that is no doubt one reason why it was written in Greek, the universal language of the day.

To be sure, the Jewish people – those who are saved – are the foundation of the Church (cf. Eph.2:20), the actual Church, all who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, true God and true man in one Person forever who died to save us from our sins, bearing them in His body on the cross. After all, it is very clear from Paul's letters that he is writing to mixed congregations, for while some of the Jewish people of his day did respond to the gospel, many did not, and, as he says, their "loss" is the riches of the gentiles (Rom.11:12). And as Paul told the Jewish leaders at Rome, "Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!" (Acts 28:28 NIV). Yet there is always a remnant, God be praised (Rom.11:5)!

Moses and Elijah will soon return (the Tribulation is very close), and will again re-institute the temple worship in preparation for the Messiah's second advent. Their ministry will bring many Jews back to the Lord (though not all), and this will be accomplished through the 144,000 specially sealed Jewish men who will speak to the hearts of their fellow Jews in a way that honors Jewish tradition. The Jewish people are special to the Lord, "beloved on account of the patriarchs" (Rom.11:28), and when the Lord returns all Israel will be regathered and reclaim her birthright of first place in the family of God.

The old covenant and the new are actually one and the same (link). The "agreement" (covenant) is one of eternal life given by grace to all who accept the offer, paid for by sacrifice – not ours, but God's. The old looks forward to the cross through shadows; the new looks back at the cross in the revealed face of Christ, but there is no dividing wall of separation except in the blindness of human hearts. I read my Tanakh every day and I benefit spiritually from the entire Bible in the work of this ministry.

He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Matthew 13:52 NIV

To do a good job, a teacher of the Bible cannot ignore either the old or the new – their literal texts and what they actually mean.

I would never presume to tell my brothers and sisters in Christ who are of Jewish heritage how they are to worship the Lord. I do know the scriptures, however, and I do strongly encourage gentile believers not to become involved in trying to "keep the Law" – which of course is precisely the same advice as the biblical position (in Acts, the Pauline epistles, indeed everywhere in the NT). It's not really possible to keep the Law, moreover, as I hope it is needless to point out (Acts 15:10; Rom.7:7). Moreover, because there is at present no temple standing where sacrifices may be made or festivals attended, e.g. (again, that will have to wait on Moses and Elijah), there are huge swaths of the Law which cannot even be approached. And only by keeping it all perfectly is it kept at all.

For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
James 2:10 NASB

Finally, with all due respect, I think you have confused me (or conflated me) with members past and present of the humanly organized, created and administered "church visible". I am not in any regard a "traditional Christian" in the sense of putting a tradition (as that of the Roman Catholic church) above what the scriptures say. They are my guide in the Holy Spirit, and the Church to which I give heed is the collective Body of Christ, actual believers in the world, regardless of race, heritage or geographic locale.

Anti-semitism is a horrible evil (link), and the church-visible has certainly been a party to it in the past. I have great reverence for the Jewish people, and I earnestly desire the salvation of them all. I also acknowledge from the bottom of my heart the debt the whole Church has to them who are its foundation. We gentiles who believe are only wild olive branches that have been grafted into the ancient tree whose root stock is Jesus Christ (Rom.11:1ff.).

However, I also desire the genuine spiritual growth of all my brothers and sisters in Christ, Jewish and gentile, and I know for a fact that this can only occur through attention to the whole truth of the Bible, both testaments, containing all of the Words of God meant for His Church. The Bible is the basis for everything – which is also why it seems to me unimaginable that the Lord would leave us with only a translation of the most critical part of it (that sounds more like the "book of Mormom").

As mentioned, it is not for me to tell my Jewish-Christian brothers and sisters how they are to feel about Hanukkah, for example, any more than I would dream of lecturing my gentile brethren about Christmas: neither one is biblical, and neither one is of any spiritual moment in any case.

In short, I have no problem with what Jewish Christians wish to do, but they too need the Word, its truth, all if it, both testaments, leaving nothing out (though it is a trap for gentile Christians to go down the "Law-keeping" road as scripture everywhere affirms: e.g., Gal.6:13). What I would warn against is denigrating or turning away from the truth of the New Testament on the basis of whatever rationale or altering its very clear teachings out of either an overly Jewish focus (which is just as detrimental to correct interpretation as an overly gentile one), or a misguided appreciation of its origins, meaning and importance.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Galatians 5:1-4 NKJV

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ, "my Lord and my God!" (Jn.20:28)

Bob Luginbill

Question #25: 

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I read one of your posts earlier about not knowing of any believing Jews in Israel; I thought maybe you would be interested in something. There is a Jewish evangelical ministry called One For Israel in Israel. It is a group native Jewish Israelis engaging in evangelism and apologetics to other Jews. I don't want you to feel like I am pressuring you to look into this group, or watch their vids. I am just showing you, and please feel free to ignore. Here is one video:


They are a bit modern church-like for my taste (taking after modern style), but they apparently get a good chunk of traffic in Israel.

Response #25:

I've kept a pretty good "ear to the ground" vis-à-vis the present nation state of Israel in the past. As I say in the post you mention, I don't KNOW (personally) of any believers who are citizens of Israel, the present secular nation. I'm sure there are some – seems like there have to be; but the point is that if someone who keeps up with things finds a pattern of mostly only unbelief, it's unlikely that this is not the situation generally. From what I can tell, believers in Israel are about as rare as Bible-teaching ministries in the USA, maybe rarer.

To take the analogy a step further, sometimes appearances can be deceiving even in the case of "look-like" Bible ministries and believers: Anyone who has truly searched for a genuine, in-depth, Bible teaching church in this country has no doubt found dozens in their general area which look the part – but which upon closer examination are not really providing sufficient spiritual food to grow, and which are usually also dead wrong on the few key doctrines they do espouse (or at least critically "off"; e.g., tongues, rapture, dispensationalism, hyper-calvinistic teachings, OSAS, water-baptism, tithing, etc., etc.). That is what I find in most Messianic groups as well. That is to say, they seem highly motivated and fervent, and altogether zealous. But zeal is not the same thing as actually believing the truth (as Paul pointed out: Rom.10:2).

The two individuals in the videos you linked to do certainly seem highly motivated, and they do seem committed to defending the honor of Jesus; but for all the world I could not get any sort of clear signal that they understand / accept / believe that He is true God as well as a human being. That is something I find in many of these groups, both genuinely Jewish ones and wannabe gentiles ones – and that is dangerous and disturbing. So if these two fellows really are believers (the same two are featured in all the videos I bumped into), perhaps there are at least two believers in Israel – but nothing I saw convinced me that these two are actually born again. They may be (I certainly hope so and said a prayer for them). And as I say, it seems highly unlikely that in that whole country there wouldn't be SOME believers. Then again, it seems hard to believe that here in the USA with a church literally on every major corner at least SOME of them wouldn't be teaching the truth from the scripture as their reason for being – and that is true in far less than one percent of cases.

Finally, the point in making the observation I made was to demonstrate that there has been no biblical "return" to the land of Israel – not one of God's making, at any rate, since the Lord will bring ALL of Jewish blood back, and only believers will be allowed to enter the Messiah's homeland (see the link: "the Regathering of Israel").

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.
p.s. please see the Addendum below

Question #26: 

Hi Professor,

They do seem to portray the situation as a small persecuted community in a larger secularized state. It does look like they do believe the Lord Jesus is God though. Here one of their videos of them defending from rabbinic attacks on our Lord's deity (about 7 minutes):
PS: You of course don't have to watch, but here is Moti's testimony (only if you are interested): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQdRRd_y40w&t=71s

Response #26: 

On the videos, I had seen the one that supposedly proclaimed that "the Messiah is God" – I got another impression entirely from watching it however. I also watched the testimony. He is a nice fellow, and I said a prayer for him and his family. It is possible that he is saved, but I didn't hear anything that convinced me of it (I have heard stirring testimonies from Mormons who also don't believe Jesus is God); at the very least, this is a confusing approach – for anyone who wants to know the truth. I'm certainly not criticizing him/them; it may be that this is the best way to reach fellow Jews in Israel in their opinion. But I've never been a fan of reducing / watering down the gospel – as if people couldn't handle the truth, or of "beefing up" / adding to the gospel – as if the truth needed help.


Dear Teacher

I enjoyed today's posting...as I do all of them really. That's hardly news. But I think the bit about Jews - believing or not - was very exciting to me for some reason. I checked out one of the YouTube videos in the last question just to see and that eventually took me to the website where Eitan and the other man share their work.

I found this link: https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/the-untold-reason-why-jewish-people-do-not-believe-jesus-is-the-messiah/

There, Eitan said this (the last sentence of the article, in fact):

"This God who created, upholds and loves all of his creation loves so much that he revealed himself to humanity and gave his life in the person of the Messiah, for Jews and Gentiles."

Then, in this link, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=55MVA2BD0_M

they both appear to be making a very strong Jewish case for the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This video too:


seems to me to be speaking to their belief that the Lord Jesus Christ is God.

I am always thrilled by eschatology so when I read that part of your response, I think it was what motivated me to check them out. And I have been rewarded with joy at finding more believers who appear to actually know what is going on.

I just thought to share that with you, Sir.

How have you been, Sir?

Your student in the precious Lord Jesus Christ

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