Category Archives: Torah

One Law

The traditional Gentile Christian says that we are no longer under the Law. Or sometimes they say the Law was never intended for us to begin with. They can’t seem to get their story straight. It’s pick-and-choose. Don’t worry about the Law of Moses – that was given only to the Israelites. Oh, but don’t kill anyone. That’s not right. Keep the 10 Commandments. Those were intended for everyone. Oh, well, except the sabbath day; don’t worry about that one. You know what though? You really shouldn’t get a tattoo or cut yourself. Only rebellious people do that. Oh, and if you commit homosexuality, you’re a reprobate. That’s an abomination. What? So is eating pig? Well, Deuteronomy doesn’t count anymore. Setting up a Christmas tree in your house is okay though. (I know that originated with fertility worship, but God shouldn’t care as long as we use the tree to worship Him.) Forget about the feast days. Yeah, He says they’re perpetual, but since they’ve been fulfilled, it would be sacrilege to keep them anymore. Oh, but you had better pay your tithes!!!!!

No wonder atheists and Jews think we’re crazy.

The Jews that I talk to say that the Law of Moses was never intended for Gentiles at all. But let’s see what their own Torah has to say about that:

“Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 24:22

“One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.” Exodus 12:49

“One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.” Numbers 15:16

“Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” Deuteronomy 27:26

The above passage is interesting in that it specifically doesn’t mention foreigners. However, it is referring to a future event, one that actually takes place in Joshua 8, after the fall of Jericho and Ai. Read the whole chapter, but take special note of the last verse:

“There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them” Joshua 8:35

Why would it be a sin for a Gentile to disobey Hebrew Laws? Because they are first and foremost Yahweh’s Laws. They are the very definition of righteousness itself.

Psalm 119:142: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.”

Psalm 119:172: “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.”

And the righteousness of God did not morph somehow with the coming of Christ: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4

Could our Father be any more clear? All of these apologetics you’ve been reading your whole life are merely that – man’s method of explaining away the things they don’t understand.

We seem to think that God and His righteousness and His Law are three separate things, but they aren’t. Since Jesus is the Word made flesh, we should realize that the Torah and the Messiah are inseparable. All of the following verses relate to the pre-incarnate Christ: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

Read the whole chapter to see what I’m talking about.

Food for thought – how would you suggest that a Messianic Jew live? Should he throw out the perpetual commandments? What does “perpetual” mean to you?

What if you are among the ten lost tribes? What if you are Hebrew and you don’t know it? Most of us probably are: Genesis 48:19. What then?

What about an adopted child? Is he excluded from the laws of the family, or is he treated as a natural-born son? Galatians 3:29

Listen, if you really want to know what’s going on, read the entire Bible. Let it challenge your misconceptions, then dig until you find the answers. Then read it again. You will understand more the next time through, and expose the next layer of misconception. Rinse and repeat – it’s an incredible journey!

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The Miraculous Language

I know next to nothing about the Hebrew language. 501 words, or so my Duolingo app tells me. That’s not very much from a language that has 45,000 words, not including compound words. The Bible alone has over 8,000 Hebrew words in it. Oy vey, I have a long way to go…

I once had a Jewish acquaintance try to dissuade me from studying her language: “It is a lifelong pursuit.” She must have thought I was presumptuous to think I could even begin to understand something that still dazzles the rabbis. And she’s right! It is a bit presumptuous.

As I study, I am discovering that the Hebrew language is mysterious, amazing, and deeper in meaning than I ever imagined. I am persuaded that it would take a thousand years to unravel its mysteries, and even then, I fear I would have barely scratched the surface.

If my efforts are so futile then, why do I insist on pursuing it?

Because it is mysterious, amazing, and deeper in meaning than I ever imagined.

I have always wanted to be able to read the Bible in its original languages. In fact, during 9th grade, I remember memorizing the Greek alphabet symbols, along with their names and sounds. A couple of times, I even wrote phonetically in Greek in my diary so that no one else could read it. But that wasn’t enough.

I wanted so badly to learn more than just the alphabet!  In 10th grade, I went so far as to have my parents purchase a Greek language curriculum and a Greek New Testament. But I didn’t have the drive to complete more than the first few pages. The curriculum collected dust for a few years before I got married and left it behind for my mother to throw away. I hung on to the New Testament for a while, telling myself I’d learn someday, and then finally gave it away to someone who could actually use it.

However, something has changed for me in the last few years. I have discovered that things are not what they seem to be. This thing we call Christianity has at least got the basics right – Jesus Christ, Son of God, crucified to save the world. But that’s about all they’ve managed to keep straight. I’ve discovered that today’s man-made doctrines are every bit as worthless and misleading as they were back when Jesus ridiculed the Pharisees.

Mark 7

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

When it comes to sorting out the truth from the traditions, Christians have a lazy go-to excuse: “If it’s not important to the doctrine of salvation, then it’s not worth my time or effort.” The problem with that reasoning is this: it’s the spirit of truth that draws people. If we are running around promoting a bunch of lies, what is to distinguish Christianity from the man-made religions?

For instance, creationism is not a “salvation” issue. However, I know a man who got saved as soon as he discovered how ridiculous the theory of evolution really was. Anything can be a salvation issue if it’s holding you back from seeking the true Creator.

I digress. My motivation for learning Hebrew is pretty simple and compelling:

  1. I am tired of depending on modern prescriptions for how one should go about interpreting the scriptures.
  2. I am tired of all the lies that are buried under hundreds, even thousands of years of tradition.
  3. I want to see what the believing Jews saw in Christ’s day, to know what they knew, to have the proverbial scales fall from my eyes as they did from Paul’s. Torah plus Christ is a wondrous revelation to behold!
  4. I want to see how it all fits together – the Old Testament and the New – into one harmonious whole, whose sum is greater than its parts.
  5. Most intriguing to me is the miraculous combination of Hebrew letters into their words. I want to learn as much as I can about the language whose words are made up of individual letters whose individual meanings combine to define the word created by them. See the explanation below.

The ancient Hebrew is both phonetic and pictographic. I copied and pasted the following from Jeff A. Benner’s website so you can see what I mean:

The Hebrew word (av) is spelled with two Hebrew letters, (aleph) and the (beyt). In Hebrew, the word “aleph” means “ox” and the original pictograph of this letter is an image of an ox head, which represents the idea of “strength.” The beyt, a Hebrew word meaning “tent” or “home,” is an image of a tent, the home. When the meaning of these two letters are combined we have the “the strength of the tent” and is descriptive of the tent poles which provide strength to the tent. As the beyt can also represent the home, this word also means “the strength of the home,” and is the Hebrew word for “father.”

Begin to look more deeply into this, and you will discover that the Hebrew language is full of words that are constructed like this. It’s beyond amazing; it is miraculous.

Benefits of studying a language I will never have time to master:

As I learn the meanings of a few letters, combinations, and root words, I am finding that I can interpret some of the names and places I come across while reading the scriptures in English. Some of these interpretations lead to a greater understanding of the Creator and His plan.

Take Beer-sheba, a word I have read and heard over and over throughout my lifetime. This time, when I came across it, I had to stop and think. “Beer” means well, as in a water-well, and “sheba” means “seven.” But “sheba” also means “oath.” So Beer-sheba is the Well of Seven or the Well of the Oath. In a miraculous language like Hebrew, where the word is made up of letters whose definitions lend meaning to the constructed word, an indisputable, unbreakable relationship is established between the words “oath” and “seven.” The seventh-day sabbath is God’s first covenant with mankind. It is His oath of rest to us, made on the seventh day of history. Before man ever sinned, God said, “I have already established a way to save you from your sins and a way to allow you to enter into my rest.”

Exodus 31:

16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

These deep meanings and sublime understandings just explode out of nowhere during the course of learning this beautiful language. Some of these epiphanies add to an underlying infrastructure that I am building in my head. I’d like to call it “The Big Picture,” but I can’t quite put any of it into words for you. I just know that it makes me who I am, makes me believe what I believe, and informs my understanding for every verse. Occasionally I find something that conflicts, and then a reassessment of what-I-think-I-know becomes necessary.

On the other hand, I sometimes see something clearly enough that I can articulate it and pass it on. In fact, yesterday I wrote a short blurb about the connection between the Hebrew words for “seven” and “sabbath.”

In conclusion: I won’t ever learn it all, but one could use that excuse to avoid any pursuit. I’ll tell you this much: I am immensely enjoying myself, and I won’t be stopping any time soon.

P.S. If you have always wanted to pick up a second language, Duolingo offers all its languages free of charge. It’s fun, interactive, and addictive. And, no, I’m not getting paid to say so, lol. Just passing its usefulness on to you all. I have been using their Spanish course for years, and I have learned way more from them than I ever did in college. They have both Hebrew and Greek if you would like to gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word.

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Sunday Sabbath?

Did you know that the Hebrew word “seven” [שבע] is built into the word “sabbath” [שבת]? Yeah. God did that on purpose to help seekers unmask the lies about the change to the first day of the week.

Are you aware of what the sabbath signifies? Rest.

Believers, know that rest is coming for us. And it’s coming at the end of all this mess. The end of the week, not the beginning. Who would even want to rest before the work is finished?

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9

photo credit: Mars Hill Church <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/46161602@N00/8606727674″>Portland</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

I am one of them, and so are you.

“Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you, so let’s just praise the Lord.” Is this children’s-church song scripturally sound? I tell you, it is more sound than much of what you will hear coming out from behind the pulpit nowadays. But what does it mean? And what does it mean to you?

Are you listening to theologians who tell you that the Law was only valid for the Israelites?

They have been misled: “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 24:22

“One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.” Numbers 15:15-16.
“One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.” Exodus 12:49. This particular passage is specifically referring to eating the Passover lamb, which foreshadows salvation. Any foreigner who wanted to partake in eating the lamb had to become circumcised first, joining himself to the Hebrew nation.

Today, there is no physical lamb to eat because there is no temple. Jews do not even partake of a lamb anymore because God warned them in His Law not to do so without a temple. There is, however, a spiritual Lamb to partake of – that is Christ. To eat the spiritual Lamb, you must be spiritually circumcised – that is the act of coming to Him for salvation.

You will hear many preachers preach against circumcision and against keeping the Law. They use Galatians to make their case. I would encourage you to read the entire book. It’s very short. Paul was angry with the Jews in Galatia who were demanding that the gentiles be circumcised in order to gain salvation. In fact, he makes this very strong statement: “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” Galatians 5:3. However, note that his problem was not with circumcision itself (read Romans 3:1-2), but in the requirement to perform an act to obtain salvation.

It’s perfectly okay to be circumcised because of health reasons or because it is the lawful thing to do. Most who are circumcised don’t even have a choice in the matter. Paul isn’t saying that any circumcised person cannot attain salvation unless they keep the Law perfectly.  He is saying that you can’t hinge your salvation on it (or anyone else’s, for that matter). If your salvation were to depend on circumcision, then it would also depend on the whole Law.

The Jews themselves never lived up to the perfection set forth in God’s righteous Law. “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:3, quoted in Romans 3:10. Not that the Law is difficult – it is easy. “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.” Deuteronomy 30:11, ESV. The Jews failed to keep the Law because they were human, sinful, rebellious – the same reasons all of us fall short. How could their consciences allow them to put a requirement on the Gentiles when they couldn’t live up to God’s requirements themselves?

The Jews were saved by grace alone. They knew it. Why did they believe that the gentiles would be saved through any other means? “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Galatians 2:14. The Law cannot justify you unless you are perfect, unless you have always been perfect. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:4.

Some folks believe that if we follow the Law to the best of our ability, we are trying to earn salvation. This would be like suggesting that any time you do something righteous, you are attempting to earn salvation. We know better than that. If it has become a sin to follow the Law in circumcision, Sabbath days, and dietary restrictions, then it would also be a sin to avoid adultery, stealing, and murder. In fact, if it were a sin to perform the Law to the best of our abilities, then the entire definition of sin would have become the opposite of what it always was, and is! “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. “ 1 John 3:4. (Notice how inseparable sin is from transgression of the Law. It works both ways. If you are sinning, you are transgressing the Law, and vice versa. John wrote it that way on purpose to help us avoid confusion.)

However, keeping the Law cannot make you righteous, unless you keep the whole Law – that is, never sinning, even once. This is precisely what Christ did for us. His righteousness became our righteousness. It was attributed to us, as though we were the ones who had kept the entire Law – which is the only way to Life. (Sin equals death, Law equals Life – Romans 6:23, Deuteronomy 32:46-47) “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:21.

The fact is, there is no one work that you have to do to “earn” salvation because it cannot be earned. There is no one act that you can do that will erase your past, present, and future sins. Doing something righteous, such as circumcision, does not atone for all of the wrong you have done. Once you have committed one sin in your life, you are doomed to experience the curse of disobedience (death), and there is no act you can perform to undo it. That is, you are doomed unless your sin can be atoned for – and it can! By the blood of Jesus Christ. This is the very reason that non-Christians will not experience eternal life. They are doomed by the curse of the Law. If the Law has become void, as modern-day theologians claim, then there is nothing by which to judge the unrighteous, nothing by which to separate those who will live from those who will not. (Read all of Deuteronomy for a more perfect understanding.)

The Law is the mirror by which we are judged, reflecting the perfect righteousness of God. In it, we can see what righteousness looks like. In Christ, we have an example of what it would look like for a human to continually abide in righteousness because He walked perfectly according to the Law. It is not the Law that is unrighteous. It is wholly righteous – it is the very definition of truth and righteousness itself. (Read Psalm 119:142&172). The only problem with the Law is that is makes no provision for redeeming yourself – except through your own death. “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:7, Romans 7:2. But a dead person still cannot experience the eternal life that he never earned, unless Christ’s righteousness is imputed to him. So you see, the Law is not the problem – sin is. Read this: “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” Galatians 3:21. In this hypothetical scenario, Christ would not have had to die for us.

Maybe you are still convinced that the Law was given only to the Israelites. I don’t see how you would reach that conclusion, but okay. Don’t you know that once you have entered into salvation, you have entered into the covenant that God made with His people? Any stranger who wanted to follow the true God would do so by joining themselves to the Hebrew people through circumcision. That’s what salvation signifies. Like it or not, if you are a saved person, you are an Israelite. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. We are grafted into their family; we are heirs of their inheritance. The entire Word of God is all about Him, His Law (aka, His righteousness), and His people.

We hear that the church is the bride of Christ, and that any Jewish person wanting to get saved must do so by becoming part of the church. However, “church” just means congregation, and the congregation is spoken of over and over again in the Old Testament – it is not a new thing. This isn’t the “church age.” The congregation refers to His people. It has always been His people. If you don’t believe me, read Psalm 22:22, and Hebrews 2:12 which quotes it. Read Acts 7:38. Old Testament = congregation, New Testament = church. Congregation = church.

In regards to the church being the bride of Christ – that is also referring to Israel. Paul was familiar with Isaiah, chapters 50-54. The doctrine of the bride of Christ comes from those passages, and others, such as Hosea. You see, Israel was divorced for her unfaithfulness (chapter 50). In chapter 54, she is remarried to Christ. The death of God, Israel’s first husband, freed Israel from the law of her husband, allowing her to enter into marriage again, legally, without breaking God’s holy laws concerning marriage. (Isaiah 54:4 refers to her widowhood, just before her remarriage in the next verse.)

Salvation was offered to the gentiles almost as a side effect – but that’s just my way of looking at it; I’m sure God doesn’t see it that way. You see, it was too easy for the Messiah to save only Israel, so He made a way to save all of us: “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6. Salvation became available to the Gentiles while Christ was in the process of saving Israel.

Read all of Isaiah, and you will see how God is going to save the 10 lost tribes of Israel in spite of the fact that they turned from Him and walked in rebellion for thousands of years. They don’t even know who they are, yet God is going to gather them from the 4 corners of the earth, and they will once again become His people. In this process, He also made a way of salvation to every nation. We are saved by being adopted into the Israelite family. We are called to obey the Laws given to them – because they are us, and we are them. We are the seed of Abraham because of our faith. If none of this makes sense to you, I would encourage you to read the whole Bible. If that seems like too much of a chore, start with Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews.

One more question, in parting: If the Sabbath day and feast days are perpetual ordinances, the way that God says they are so many times (read the first 5 books of the Bible), what would you suggest to Jewish people who trust in Christ? Would you suggest that they can stop keeping them now, that “forever” doesn’t really mean forever? What if someone told you that your eternal life gained through salvation wasn’t actually eternal, that it could be superseded by something new? And if you think that they should still be keeping them (you know, because forever really does mean forever), what would you suggest to the lost 10 tribes of Israel? These people have lost track of their lineage. They don’t know who they are. And how do you know you aren’t one of them? The Prodigal son, the lost sheep, the lost coin, the wheat and the tares: all of these parables point emphatically to the salvation of Israel, and our own salvation by extension.

Is it Hard to be a Witness?

My whole life, I’ve been told that Christians must witness to others. If you really love others, really care about their souls, you’ll do it. If you don’t do it, you’re not a good Christian. That’s what I’ve been told.
Well, in spite of loving the Lord and following Him to the best of my ability, I have always had trouble sharing my faith. I have suffered a great deal of guilt for this over the last 25 years or so. I guess I always figured that when I finally loved the Lord enough, or when I finally loved people enough, I’d do it.
Something has changed in me, but not for the reasons I expected. Lately, I have been absolutely fearless in sharing my faith. I don’t believe that I love people any more than I ever have. However, something did provide the catalyst I needed for change, and that was the realization that the whole Word of God is in complete harmony with itself. I’m talking Old and New Testaments. I’m talking about the Law and God’s grace.
This realization has worked two distinct changes in me. The first is obedience. The more I submit to His unchanging will, the more I realize that He only ever intended the Law for our good. I feel protected, counseled and disciplined by a perfect, loving Father. I have never felt so secure in my entire life. His Law works love in me. When lawlessness (iniquity) abounds in our lives, our love waxes cold (Matthew 24:12). Love is a direct result of obedience, and obedience is a direct result of love. Actually, there is no other way for us to show Him love outside of obedience. We can say we love Him, but words are meaningless without actions.
The second change is this: I have always felt unsure about expecting others to believe something just because I do. That is flat-out the number one reason I have found it so difficult to witness to others. If they were to ask me why I believed, I feared I wouldn’t have an answer for them outside of personal experience. Experience that I cannot pass on to the listener, no matter how sincere I am.
However, when the scales fell from my eyes, and I saw the beauty of the Law revealed in Jesus Christ, and realized that it perfectly foreshadowed His redemptive work on the cross, and that His work fulfilled every righteous requirement of the Father, I discovered that the entire Bible made perfect sense, and that anyone with an open heart could understand that something this perfect couldn’t have been faked. When the OT is understood in light of the New, and when the NT is understood in light of the Old, every supposed contradiction withers up and dies. Now, all that remains is to prove that His Word is perfect. That’s my mission.
All throughout the Law and prophets, the Father drops hundreds of hints concerning the work of the Messiah. These are the things I have been writing about. He guides history in such a way that every story points to Christ. He sets up seemingly impossible requirements for salvation. Then, in one man’s lifetime, He ties up every loose end with such precision that it could only have been by the hand of God. Coincidence can’t even begin to account for the harmony between the testaments. They were authored by the same God, and that God does not change.
This is what has emboldened me. I feel that I can prove that Jesus is who He says He is – our Messiah. Every time I find just a few more minutes to study, it seems I find another amazing proof – one I never saw coming. His amazing love, His great big plan, His holiness – everything about Him leaves me in astonishment. I have to share Him with you.

Today’s Religious Leaders

In yesterday’s post, I called out Islam, Catholicism, and modern Christianity for exactly the same sin: a stubborn defiance in the face of Deuteronomy 4:2.

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

I qualified that by noting that I was not condemning the followers of these religions, but issuing a warning. Today, I want to talk about that a little.

Jesus Christ was constantly on to the religious leaders of His day. They had made it their business to study the Law, yet they were guilty of both adding to it and taking away from it. “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” Mark 7:7-8

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were in big trouble: Read Matthew 23.

Just as they were in trouble, so are the leaders of today – for the same reasons!

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” I Timothy 4:1-3 (“Meat” in the KJV means “food” – I just want to clarify that the unclean animals do not qualify as food. If they did, God’s Law would be changeable, which is precisely what Jesus preached against.)

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus knew ahead of time that religious leaders would claim the abolishment of His Law. By making such a claim, today’s religious leaders have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. II Timothy 3:1-7 says,

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

This is what I refer to as fluffy Christianity – the suggestion, implicitly or explicitly, that there is no right or wrong, or at the very least that there is no enduring standard by which to judge right and wrong. However, we do have an enduring standard, and that is the Torah. (Read Psalm 119.)

God has a major problem with religious leaders who make this claim and with people who desire to be lied to: “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LordWhich say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.” (“Iniquity” is “lawlessness.”)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23:27-28 (Again, iniquity means lawlessness.)

However, Jesus never condemned the common people, the sheep, the fooled followers. He quickly forgave the adulteress, the unethical tax-collector, the thief – those who even in today’s society would be judged guilty of sin.

“Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39

“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners…” Matthew 11:19

If you are a follower of Islam, Catholicism, the Talmud, or modern Christianity, I urge you to wake up: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1

I urge you to come out of Babylon: “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:2-4

Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed [menstrual] woman. Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land. But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.” Ezekiel 36:16-31 (How good is your memory? Do you remember what iniquity means?)

Isaiah chapter 49 is amazing as well. Please read your Bible. Every time I write a blog post, I just wanna quote the whole thing, and that’s obviously not possible.

Did God Change His Law?

I have been thinking for a long while about the Law of the Medes and Persia. What do we know about it? From the scriptures, we can see that it got foolish kings into trouble.

“Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.” Daniel 6:15

In the book of Esther, Ahasuerus was bribed into making a law that would extinguish the Jews from his domain.  Little did he know that his precious wife and her people were the folks he had hastily condemned to death. In the book of Daniel, Darius is advised to make a law requiring that every member of his kingdom make petitions to only the king for 30 days. He makes this decree and immediately regrets his decision. Upon reading these stories, I have often thought about how incredibly foolish these kings were. I have asked myself why they would make such laws, knowing that they couldn’t change their minds even if they wanted to.

Let’s break this down a little. I can imagine two reasons why a code of laws would work in such a way:

  1. Perhaps it was believed that these kings were deities, incarnations, or just so righteous that they could make no mistakes. In this case, to break their own decree would be a sign of pretending to be something they were not, or at the very least a sign of weakness.
  2. Perhaps it was considered fair that the king be subject to his own laws, to prevent an unrighteous king from showing favoritism or from getting away with murder.

Let’s talk a little bit about point one. If these kings had been gods, it would have made sense that they wouldn’t go around making up laws and then later changing their minds. Let’s consider our God for a moment. When He makes a decree, is it subject to change? Would he regret that He demanded righteousness from His people and later erase the Law, rendering it worthless? Or would He rather provide a way for mankind to somehow meet the requirements of His righteous Law?

Consider this problem in religion today. How do we know that Mohammed was not truly Allah’s prophet? One of the easiest ways is to take a look at the list of Mohammed’s inconsistencies. You can find an explanation and a list on this page. If Mohammed had truly heard from God, you wouldn’t expect him to be constantly changing his mind all the time.

How about Catholicism? They claim to have the power to change God’s ordinances at will. Just look into their history a little bit, and you will see how presumptuous they are. But can the righteousness of God be altered? Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and I have a perfect example for you. On Fridays during Lent, it is forbidden for Catholics to eat meat. Oh, except, well, nevermind if St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday. Just never mind. Go ahead and have that corned beef or whatever. It’s okay, but just for one day. We don’t want to ruin your party. (More like we don’t want a reason to excommunicate folks who would otherwise be paying tithes.)

Do you see? Is it clear? Inconsistency is key to determining whether a religion or a religious observance is legit. The Jews know this and have good reason to scoff at Christians when we tell them that the Law is no longer valid. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2 (Also see Deut. 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, and Revelation 22:18-19)

Note: I am not condemning Muslims, Catholics, Christians, or anyone else who has been fooled by a religious leader. I am issuing a wake-up call. See tomorrow’s post for more on that topic.

How about point two? Is it reasonable to expect that our righteous God would abide by His own righteousness? Or does He somehow exist outside of righteousness? Is He “above the Law”? What we sometimes fail to remember is that God and His righteousness are inseparable. They are not two different things – they are one and the same: The Law is the righteousness of God (Psalm 119). Jesus is the Torah, the Word made flesh (John 1) – the very righteousness of God revealed (Romans 1).

So, did God change His mind about His Law?

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.” I Samuel 15:29

“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” Psalm 89:34

I read this article about the topic, and thought you might find it interesting. The comments and responses are also worth the read.

I also found the second half of this page interesting, concerning Law-abidingness.