Blessed or Cursed Rebuttal

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Original 119 Ministries Article text is in BLUE.  The rebuttal is in BLACK.

How many of modern evangelical church-goers are just going thru the motions of church and worship, feeling that something is missing or a general apathy toward worship and church? Far too many.
I will attempt to show that this apathy and emptiness is a result of the practices of the modern church which are in direct contradiction with scripture, and as a result; the Church is reaping a Curse.
Stephen was stoned to death because of False accusations of blaspheming the Temple and the Law.

Act_6:8 KJV And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

C.H. Spurgeon called by many – one of the greatest Preachers of the 19th century, preached extensively about the role of the Law in the Church:

“Now, what has our Lord to do with the law? He has everything to do with it, for he is its end for the noblest object, namely, for righteousness. He is the “end of the law.” What does this mean? I think it signifies three things: first, that Christ is the purpose and object of the law; secondly, that he is the fulfillment of it; and thirdly, that he is the termination of it.” Christ the End of the Law – A Sermon No.1325 Delivered on November 19th, 1876, by C. H. SPURGEON

Do Spurgeon’s statements align with Scripture?

The Bible is clear that Stephen was stoned because of False accusations: Act_6:13-14 KJV And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: (14) For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

The False witnesses said these things; Stephen never spoke against the Law, customs of Moses or that Jesus did away with the Law.

Stephen was falsely accused according to Acts 6.  But what does that mean?  That all of what the accusers said was false?  A complete fabrication?  Or was is very near the truth instead?  We really cannot say for sure what Stephen said or did not say.  If what he said was completely according to the customs and laws, what were they all upset about?  If he wasn’t advocating departure from the law or customs of Moses, he should have never created a ripple at all.  But, he infuriated them.  So much so, they needed to kill him in order to keep him quiet.  But, we don’t know exactly or actually what he said at all.  All we have is his long speech which certainly infuriated those authorities who were willing to allow him to prove his innocence, those who asked him if what the false accusers said was true. The best lies are those that closely resemble the truth but change it slightly.  So, to say Stephen never said any of those things, not only can we not say that (because the Bible does not give us what he did say) but that is not a likely thing at all.  If is was such outlandish testimony, it would have been entirely ridiculous for anyone to believe.  And further, if was so far from the truth, and if Stephen never stated anything like this in the first place, I ask again, what were they so upset about?  More likely, Stephen said some of these or similar things, perhaps taken out of context or exaggerated, and they threw in blasphemy for good measure.  Do we know this for certain?  No, but we also don’t scripturally know for certain that he didn’t.

Paul was also falsely accused while in Corinth: Act_18:12-13 KJVAnd when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, (13) Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

Paul was again falsely accused at the Temple: Act_21:27-28 KJV And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, (28) Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

The verses in Acts 18 never say anything about Paul being falsely accused.  They merely say the Jews rose up against him and brought him before a judgement seat.  The assumption being made my 119 Ministries is that, because they believe Paul would not persuade men to worship contrary to the Law, Paul was obviously being falsely accused.  However, it doesn’t say in Scripture that he was falsely accused at all.  That is a very dangerous assumption to make when Scripture doesn’t indicate lying or misrepresentation of the facts in any way.

In Acts 21 Paul is also not necessarily falsely accused.  They thought he brought a Greek into the temple, but beyond that, there is nothing in the text suggesting their other statements were lies at all.  It is important to not assume things that are not there.  And, while the text does seem to infer that Paul did not bring the Greek into the temple, there is not 100 percent clarity that he didn’t.  Maybe they thought he did and maybe he really had.  The text can read fine either way.

What the Bible recorded as the false accusations of Stephen and Paul; Spurgeon and all modern evangelical preachers have taken these false accusations and twisted them to be accepted as truth – and the basis for hundreds of denominations.

The Bible is very clear about such teachings: 2Pe_3:15-17 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you; (16) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable twist, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (17) You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.

2 Peter 3:15-17 is very likely referring to what Paul himself cautioned believers on: grace.  We have it, but why in the world would we misuse it and treat it as a license to sin?  This is the biggest and most likely area for the undisciplined and unlearned to err.  The unlearned & unstable are those who would take the scripture and make it say what they want to hear, i.e. that because we are freed under grace, we can do anything we want (true!), but the following is where they get it wrong: and so we SHOULD do anything we want! (not true!)

Also, this passage does not refer to teachers at all.  This passage refers to those who are doing things leading to their own destruction, not to the destruction of others.  However, their doing all manner of things can easily cause those around them to stumble and follow their wicked example.  Still, referring to this text as a warning about “such teachings” is erroneous.

This is a warning to all believers, not to follow such teachings, or teachers. These same types of teachers are spoken of in Matthew: Mat_7:22-23 KJV Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Matthew 7 is entirely an interesting passage to quote in context of what 119 Ministries hopes to explain, i.e. that we are bound to the Law still.  This passage indicated lots of “doing” and doing of “wonderful things.”  These are external things, casting out demons, prophesying, doing wonderful works…things like the keeping of the Law which deals almost exclusively with external doings, sayings, and performances in the form of feasts & rituals.  The problem Jesus had with this is it was devoid of relationship.  He didn’t KNOW them.  They were checking off their list and doing all the externals, but not even knowing the reason it was all intended in the first place…to know God, heart to heart, soul to soul, spirit to spirit and to share Him with others.  Now, the Matthew 7 context applied to those of us who believe we are not bound by the Law, just doesn’t work.  Supposedly we are not Law keepers anyway, so what good works would we even be TRYING to do?  We live on grace like cheap wine…not really, but the point is that as being no longer under the Law, we have freedom to do or not do, but because the focus for those no longer under the Law is love, we are overwhelmed with the love of God and long to please Him, not with the old list, but with our hearts.  We are not focused on doing, we are like Mary.  Focused on being with and knowing Him.  What is produced? Good fruit!  The will of God.  The will of God is not to be confused with the Mosaic Law.  Interestingly enough, the phrase “will of God” or “God’s will” is only found in the New Testament and it often refers to things like going somewhere by the will of God or some specific person engaged in something which is of the will of God.  Which Mosaic Law is that?  It’s not.  Instead, it is the will of a living, breathing God whose plans are being carried out present tense in the context of the New Testament stories.  It’s like God making plans and those plans are His present will.  So doing the will of God will be doing relational things which are hardly ever definable (in contrast to the highly definable Mosaic Law) and usually so minutely detailed they cannot be measured (like the Mosaic Law can) except by the intricately discerning mind of God.

Iniquity is an unfamiliar term to most of us. Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament terms defines iniquity as: “lit., “lawlessness” (a, negative, nomos, “law”), is used in a way which indicates the meaning as being lawlessness or wickedness.”
1Jn_3:4 KJV Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. When the modern church accepted what Spurgeon preached: “that he (Christ) is the termination of it (the
Law)” the Church has adopted the doctrine of iniquity – lawlessness.

Whoa there!  1 Jn. 3:4 in the more accurate translation NASB says it like this: “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. ”  Where the KJV indicates THE law which I’m sure followers of the Mosaic law would plead actually indicates the Mosaic law, I would offer a look at this more literal translation and further look at the context of 1 Jn. 3.  Love, love, love …at the conclusion of 1 Jn. 3, John makes clear what he’s talking about all this for: “23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”  Clearly, 1 Jn. 3 refers to the law of love which we are now under, not the Mosaic Law.  More about that later…

What is the logical conclusion to this lawlessness doctrine? Here is the logical progression of this type thought: 

According to the New Testament, a lawless doctrine (in terms of the Mosaic Law) is actually the Law of Christ or the Law of Love (1 Cor. 9:20-22).  Therefore, the progression of this is (in black):

1 Christ terminated the Law.

1. Christ fulfilled the Law.

2 We are under grace, only.

3 We aren’t under the Law.

3.  We aren’t under the Mosaic Law; instead, the laws are written on our hearts and we live under grace.

4 Without the Law there is no Sin.

4.  Without the Mosaic Law, sin is revealed in the heart of the indwelled believer by the Holy Spirit at the point of the sin’s inception.

5 Without Sin all things are permissible.

5.  With grace, all things are permissible; but not all things are profitable.

6 All things are forgiven – we are under Grace.

This is borne out in the culture of the modern church:

• General disdain for families with over 3 children (the birthrate in the church is the same as the general population)

This general disdain is in the general American population, especially in those who live an urban, busy, career-climbing lifestyle.  The church is made of all believing people, including those who feel this way.

• Segregation of families (nursery, children’s church, youth ministries, college ministries, young adults, senior adults)

Again, this is in our public institutions…schools, sports teams, classes, etc.  It’s not at all isolated or created by the church.  And again, the church is made of all believing people, including those who believe segregation is best.

• Children and youth who do not respect their parents.

Children & youth do not respect their parents because we live in a culture that encourages this.  Is it in the modern church?  Yes, because our modern churches are in our current culture.

• Youth ministries that supersede parental authority and go against scripture.

Most youth ministries strive to encourage parental authority and work hard to instill scripture and precepts into the youth.

• Teens and youth leaving the Church (over 85% of “church youth” who are college freshmen stop attending church)

They are leaving the church because of all kinds of reasons; the number one reason is because they are unbelievers.  There was a fall and the fall has led to our current state, not the lack of following the Mosaic Law and being under the curse of God.

• Teenage promiscuity

• Out of wedlock pregnancies

• Couples choosing not to marry.

Again, problems in the church are because people in our current culture are in our current churches.

• Marriages that end in divorce. (the modern church’s divorce rate is Higher than Atheists)

I would contend that the marriage rate among Athiests might be much lower than those in the church, so it makes sense that their divorce rates might be lower.  Pretty hard to divorce when you’re not even married.

• Church leaders with public moral failures… (Jimmy Swaggard, Jim Baaker, Ted Haggard, plus
hundreds, if not thousands of others that are not public)

Moral failure is the result of choices, not curses.

• Tolerance of homosexuality

• Embracing homosexuality

• Homosexual Marriage

• Homosexual Clergy from the Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian and other denominations

Homosexuality is not a curse, it is a result of the fall and is the result of worshiping the creature rather than the creator. In the church, we have sin because people are in our churches and people sin.

• Catholic Priests accused of molesting thousands of boys.

Again, moral failure is the result of choices, not curses.

If lawlessness is left un-checked it leads to Anarchy. – WordNet by Princeton University defines anarchy as:“lawlessness (a state of lawlessness and disorder (usually resulting from a failure of government))”.
Joh_17:17 KJV Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Jesus is praying to the Father, and prays for US to be sanctified thru the Father’s truth – His Word. At the time His Word was what we call “The Old Testament” the “New Testament” was years away from being penned.
If “His Word is truth” how could Jesus do away with any part of it? If we do away with the truth what are we accepting? Untruth, Lies. Does The Father or Jesus ever accept Untruth? No. Could they accept lies?
No.

In Jn. 17:17, Jesus is not at all referring to the Mosaic Law.  He is referring to that which He spoke while He was on earth, that which He gave to them…Jn 17:13-14a says, “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.  I have given them Your word;”  He was also very likely referring to Himself as the Word as this is the Gospel of John which begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  The Mosaic Law is part of the Word, it is not the whole Word.  And as much as it has originated from God, it is limited by both the language through which it is expressed and by the finite minds of those who attempt to understand the Word of an infinite God.  The Word only becomes synonymous with God when they are interpreted by God.  But this I mean the indwelling Teacher.  Without the Living Spirit, the letters lie stale on the page.  That is why the written law can contain “Do not murder”, yet Jesus while He was on this earth was able to come along and “change” it to include being angry at your brother in your heart.  But did He actually change it?  Not at all.  It never meant ONLY “Do Not Murder”, it always meant not being angry at your brother in your heart as well.  However, to communicate this required a living God to be present with us to address it on a heart level.  Fast forward to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit…He is now able, since we no longer are under the Mosaic Law, but are now under the Law of Christ or the Law of Grace, to take the always-intended law of LOVE and teach us on a personal level what it means to obey Him.  But our obedience is not to a list or system of laws, it is to a Person whom we love because He has loved us.  Out of that love, we will obey His will…present tense, for this moment, in the current culture.

Pro_28:4 KJV They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

Pro_28:9 KJV He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

What else does Scripture have to say about ignoring the Law?

Deu_27:26 KJV Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Deu_28:15 KJV But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

Deu_28:41-46 KJV Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. (42) All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume. (43) The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. (44) He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. (45) Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: (46) And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.

Joh_7:49 KJV But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. By adopting a “grace only” doctrine, the church has forsaken the warnings throughout scripture and is
reaping the curse. 

Gal. 3: 10-14 makes is clear that we are no longer under the law and no longer under a curse, for those who are in Christ: “10 For as many as are of the works of [o]the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11 Now that no one is justified [p]by [q]the Law before God is evident; for, “[r]THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12 [s]However, the Law is not [t]of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE [u]BY THEM.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A [v]TREE”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might [w]come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.10 For as many as are of the works of [o]the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11 Now that no one is justified[p]by [q]the Law before God is evident; for, “[r]THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12 [s]However, the Law is not[t]of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE [u]BY THEM.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A [v]TREE”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might [w]come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Isa_5:20-24 KJV Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (21) Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (22) Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: (23) Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! (24) Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, sotheir root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Woe unto the Modern Evangelical Church!

Woe to the one who is found outside of Jesus Christ…Gal. 3:24  shows the relationship we now have through Jesus Christ alone: “24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a [ai]tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is [aj]neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you[ak]belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s [al]descendants, heirs according to promise.”

Deu_11:26-28 KJV Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; (27) A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: (28) And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

Again, read carefully Galations 3 and you will see we are no longer subject to the Law or the curses once associated with disobedience to that Law.

Ask yourself the hard questions. Ask others. Ask the Word. Test your faith. Challenge yourself. Test everything.

The rebuttal is concluded.

Here are other thoughts to consider regarding the Law of Moses:

This interpretation that followers of Jesus must still obey the Mosaic Law is the skeleton on the outside.  With the tearing of the veil, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, we now have the skeleton on the inside.  The law is moved from externals to internals.  Complete with the Teacher to interpret every nuance tailored for the understanding and implementation of the written-on-the-heart law….NOT for the sake of everyone doing exactly the same things, performing the same “commands”, but for everyone to be conformed to the image of the one true God, Jesus Christ.

No two people are the same.  My struggles against self look different than yours.  What it takes to conform me to the image of God may be something that would lead you astray.  That is why the laws are on our hearts now with the Teacher internal to teach them.  And just as another facet to wonder about in this great mysterious indwelling of God, maybe the fact of the Word being God and the law being part of that Word, maybe the indwelt Teacher is teaching us about himself, and how to walk and talk and think and feel and do, just as he himself would in every moment of our current lives.

Another look.  The Mosaic law, given at a time where, in general, the Holy Spirit was also external (not indwelling people), the laws were truly external.  They were a skeletal framework for how to live.  However, as unindwelled people would do, they would find the loop holes.  And this is how it might proceed:

My children know they are not permitted to hit one another in anger.  However, my boys developed a game where it was the object to hit one another for fun.  Inevitability,  one child hit too hard and then it was no longer a game.  So, I, the parent made another rule: no hitting for any reason, including for fun.  They then proceeded to tag each other, which I then also outlawed.  From there, they went to touching each other, which I then also outlawed.  Now, do I really mean for them to never physically touch each other?  No.  In this particular case and in this particular setting, that is what was required to have them treat one another well.

For every rule I gave, they found a way around it.  Why?  Because their HEARTS were bent on disobedience.  What I really wanted them to do is just to love one another and treat each other with kindness.  But the only way to communicate that to them externally, was to legislate external behavior to achieve some sort of kind behavior.  However, these rules did nothing to train their hearts to love each other.  To do that, I would need to get inside their hearts to the inner workings and divulge the wideness of loving behaviors and attitudes and the many nuances that can shift slightly to make love the outcome.

If later, I come back to them and suggest one son hug the other, am I changing my rules?  My character?  My intent?  Not at all!  You see, it was never my intent that they should refrain from touching each other.  My intent all along was to teach them to love each other.  Did I err in my words by telling them not to touch each other?  Was I confused?  Again, not at all!  My words/commands were specific & intentional with the specific goal in mind of producing loving behavior in my sons.

If it failed, was there a flaw in my commands?  Were they incomplete or inaccurate?  No, the flaw lies in the hearts of the sons who obeyed the letter of the law but completely missed the spirit.

If only there were a way to communicate heart to heart, to teach from the inside out…

This is exactly what Jesus did in the person of the Holy Spirit.  First he paid our way for us to be restored in relationship to him; then, having cleansed us so we were fit to be indwelled, he internally teaches us not, do not taste, do not touch, but love God and love your neighbor as yourself….to each person individually.

Jesus did not spend long discourses discussing the details of the law;  He talked much of the heart and of loving God and loving others.  As God-with-us, He explains his always-intended spirit of the law…no longer is do not commit adultery sufficient, now it is not lusting in your HEART.  That place where only God can see and know and where He has written his always-intended law.  So no longer do we hear the external commands ringing through our beings, we hear a much simplified, much personalized law.  The law of Christ.  We are like the sons who are no longer required to “not hit, not tag, not touch.”  We are taught something for that moment in that moment by the indwelling Teacher and we can choose obedience or not.  And no longer do we all have an external, measurable standard…

The problem we have with this is that God does not include us in his reasoning for his timing.  It happened, in the fullness of time.  It seems unfair to us that we should happen to live in this time of the indwelling with such privileges, while the non-indwelt Hebrews had to work so hard to keep every miniscule letter of the law.  Since we cannot find the justice in that, we use our minds to conclude that surely we are also then required to still follow the external rules.  We must not taste, touch, handle.  We must not hit, tag, or touch.  That is required.  Only, that was never what was required…instead it was always meant to be a law of love.  Loving God and loving others.  Internally taught by the Word himself.

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19 responses »

  1. “Stephen was falsely accused according to Acts 6. But what does that mean? That all of what the accusers said was false?’

    Stephen (and all of his fellow followers of The Way) were Messianic Jews. That is to say that they were not Christians. The gentile followers of The Way were members of Jewish/Messianic Jewish Congregations, so you cannot call them Christians, either.

    The point of departure in the theology of the dominant practices of Judaism of the first century (there were up to 27 ‘denominations’, depending on who is counting) and the Messianic Jews (Peter, James, John, et. al) would have been one thing: The identity of Messiah.

    That was (and still is) The Main Thing. No other theological or halalachic debate point would have warranted the death penalty. Everything else that the Messianic movement would have been saying would have been in line with ‘mainstream Judaism’ of the time.

    The blasphemy that would have been punished by death was that of claiming that his rabbi, Yeshua ben Yousef bar Nazarete was the Messiah. The objection of ‘the Jews’, then (and now) was that he did not fulfill the prophecies just as they thought he should have.

    Key points:

    1) Stephen (and all of his ‘brothers’) were Messianic Jews.
    2) Painting with a broad brush, Messianic Judaism had/has only one point of disagreement with Second Temple Judaism that would garner such a harsh punishment: Identifying Our Rabbi the Messiah.

    • Doesn’t fly. If the only departure was the i.d. of the Messiah, all the false accusers were unnecessary. They could just bring out their top dog lawyers and pharisees like Saul and argue eloquently and in large number how Jesus could not possibly be the Messiah. They could have “proved” blasphemy very easily without any extra accusations.

    • Furthermore, in every gospel, Jesus is on trial and condemned for acknowledging that He is the Son of God and King of the Jews. He claimed and said both. This “blasphemy” was enough to seal His fate. Why is this not so with Stephen and Paul?

      By this I mean, why is Stephen accused of blaspeming Moses, God, this holy place, and the law. Nothing of Jesus calling himself Messiah, only that Jesus would change customs handed down by Moses. Clearly devoid of accusing Stephen of preaching only Yeshua as Messiah. Why fiddle around with peanuts when you have accurate proof and countless witnesses to Stephen claiming and trying to prove Yeshua is Messiah. That’s all they needed right there…and that testimony Would have been provable by being true.

      And in Acts 18 & 21, Paul was only accused of trying to change the law or customs. Nothing at all about claiming Jesus is Messiah. Again, if Paul truly only preached and proved this, go with that and nail him on blasphemy. But…he didn’t And in this case we have a collection of letters that explain ever so accurately what he did say.

      • Rabbi Sha’ul was NOT preaching against following the Torah.

        Those were FALSE accusations.

        Here are the facts:
        1) Rav Sha’ul was in J’lem to celebrate Shavout, as commanded by The Word.
        2) James and Peter (actually Yak’hov and Kefa) told Sha’ul that a bunch of people were accusing him of teaching others to not follow Torah.
        3) They directed Sha’ul to take a Nazarite vow (and pay the fees of 4 others guys, too) as a public display of Sha’ul’s commitment to following God’s “Useful Instructions For Living”
        4) Sha’ul followed Yak’hov’s advice and obeyed God’s Instructions.

        No one with in the “Yeshua Movement” (Messianic Jewish (and Gentile) Community, “Followers of The Way”…) was preaching against Torah observance.

        Nobody, not one person.

  2. “Jesus did not spend long discourses discussing the details of the law;”

    Ummm, have you ever read Luke chapter 2?

    Yeshua was in the temple, discussing Torah for THREE DAYS!!!

    (Even Spurgeon could not preach that long!)

    • When I wrote that statement, here is the context of what was in my mind…I examined the spoken, recorded words of Jesus as a collection and asked myself what was resounding in them. What come through as thematic. I found that in general, (not never), he did not talk about obeying specific laws and delving into how each law relates to the other or how certain laws serve a certain purpose in the grand scheme or how to better obey the laws or tips to understanding what a particular law meant or how it was to be performed. If I only had 3 adult years on earth in which to expound on something, I would choose that which was fundamentally important and speak, do, give examples , quiz&question, etc. hammer it home, clearly.

      What do we get from Jesus…not a review of the law. We get stories, many almost like riddles. We get healings, no condemnation for those caught in the vilest sins, deep & harsh condemnation toward those who studied & knew the law best, speakings with sinners about true worship no longer being on this mountain but being in spirit and truth. We get love, one another, your neighbor , your enemy, your God. The law is not the point. HE is the point.

  3. “The law is moved from externals to internals. ”

    Do you have a reference to support that?

    It will have to explicitly state that followers of Messiah are no longer to be Torah observant in their outwardly visible actions and are to only obey YHWH’s commands within their minds/hearts.

    Dan-“Ready-to-‘paste’-the-entire-book-of-James-as-a-reply” Nafe

    😉

    • The law being moved from externals to internals means identifying what the laws are and has moved from external, written Mosaic law, to internal, Holy-Spirit-written & taught.

      Jer. 31 is the reference to begin with. And then in Hebrews it repeats the Jer. 31 text. It describes a new covenant UNLIKE the one given when they were led out of Egypt (Mosaic) and discusses writing the laws on their hearts.

      Instead of having an external written code of law, we now have a Holy Spirit indwelling us who is the source of our NEW instructions for living. Holy Spirit gives it, teaches it, and empowers us to live it out (dare I say “Obey” it. *snicker*).

      Now, the OT law is insufficient to be our guide because its focus is on external behavior. Whereas the Holy Spirit focuses on the heart’s leanings or fluctations.

      We are no longer required to keep an external set of rules; we’re now under the law of Christ. Can we do anything we want? We can.

      How it that even possibly true? Because of grace. period. Grace is extended to us when we’re sinners separated from God. It is what allows God to allow Jesus’ sacrifice to cover our sin. His sacrifice covers the sin of the whole world whether anyone acknowledges it or not. It’s still paid for. ALL of it.

      If grace covers pre-salvation sin, it also covers post-salvation sin. It is totally, entirely, infinitely covered by Jesus’ powerful innocent sacrifice.

      So can you do whatever you want? Yes, because it is covered by Jesus’ blood.

      But does that mean we SHOULD do whatever we want? No! To quote Paul “by no means!”

      Why if we can, should we then not?

      Because as regenerated, new creations, we have a totally entirely new nature where Jesus is the head and we are under that Head. We have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit. We are the new temple of God. Given our new nature & status, it is goes against that new nature to engage knowingly in sin. Not only is it unprofitable, it is also contrary to who we have now become.

      This is where freedom in Christ comes in. Because we’ve been indwelled by the Holy Spirit with laws written on our hearts, we now have a new instruction guide for living. Are your instructions like mine? No.

      How can this be possible? Because, my make up is different than yours. For one person, having a nice house & car might lead them to be proud and feel superior to others. For another person, having a nice house & car might not make them feel proud at all; they may see them as tools to share with others. So for the first person, God may ask him to sell his nice house & car and get something that will not cause him to stumble.

      What Mosaic law can accomplish what the Holy Spirit could do in this situation? Another example of this…Jesus in the NT interacted with the rich young ruler. The RYR said he had obeyed all the laws from his youth. Jesus said he did well and lacked only one thing. The thing he lacked wasn’t in the Mosaic law. The young man having obeyed these laws was not enough to please God. Instead, Jesus put his finger on the thing that was in error, the man’s heart. It was tied to his wealth in such a way that he could never please God and keep it too. So he informed the RYR…sell all you have and give it to the poor. The Mosaic law couldn’t touch this man’s heart because the law focused on externals.

      The indwelling Holy Spirit catches us at our heart’s inception of sin and instructs us at that level. HS also leads us into acts & heart attitudes that please God. For example, we may see someone we do not know and sense the HS telling us to go to the person and give them some money or say something specific to them.

      What Mosaic law is this? It’s not. However, having the Holy Spirit inside gives HS the opportunity to teach us in the moment what we are to do. This kind of obedience pleases God. How much greater faith does it take to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go to someone you don’t know and do something, than to obey a written order. It doesn’t take much faith to follow written orders. And it also is a distraction to these inner promptings. If you’re focused on did I do this today, and this, and this, and oh I still have to perform this and that…how distracted will you be to even be paying attention to someone around you to whom God might want to send you?

      A maid has a list of things she is required to do to please her employer. She must cook his favorite meal on a certain day, have a certain suit pressed for another day, etc. She may have a deep care and love for her employer and want to please him.

      However, a wife does not have a list of things that she is required to do for her husband. She will probably cook his favorite meal and press his suit, but she is not required to. There is no list. For her to even ask for a list from her husband is going backward. He loves HER, not what she does for him. Can she not do anything to please him? Certainly she can do lots to please him. Can she do nothing to upset him? Certainly she can displease him or make him angry. So, he should provide her a list so she can be sure to do the things he likes and not do the things he doesn’t like and know how to approach him when he’s had a bad day or know how to approach him when he wants to celebrate. She must have a list or she will not know what to do…

      Or will she? She will! Because she loves him, she will know him better and better over time and begin to see what is in his heart and what he enjoys and loves and what he despises and is annoyed by. She doesn’t need a list at all. She only needs to know him, become one with him. And she will be able to please him so much more deeply because she DOESN’T have a list. She can look into his eyes and see what he wants or hear how his voice sounds and know what to do next. If she were to rely on a list, she would try everything on the list and hope that one of the things would be the right response or would keep him happy with her. But all he wants is a wife, not a maid.

      I’d like to introduce you to…your Husband.

      • Depending upon how you count ’em, there are at least five covenants between God and Man, starting with Adam in the Garden, going on through Noah, Abraham, Moses… all the way up to the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31.

        No covenant given by God cancels out or abrogates the previous covenant.

        Each one builds upon the foundation laid down by the previous covenants.

        There is ample support from the text(s) to support this principle, but lets just look at one aspect: If God can abrogate (break) any of His covenants , then He can break His covenant with YOU.

        I will not serve a god that does that, because that god could not be trusted.

        The god of Abraham, Issac and Jacob is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not break His covenants.

      • This is in reply to God never breaking a covenant…1 Sam. 2:30 Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the LORD declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming when I will break your [q]strength and the [r]strength of your father’s house so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 You will see the distress of My dwelling, in spite of all the good that [s]I do for Israel; and an old man will not be in your house forever. 33 Yet I will not cut off every man of yours from My altar [t]so that your eyes will fail from weeping and your soul grieve, and all the increase of your house will die [u]in the prime of life. 34 This will be the sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them will die. 35 But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always. 36 Everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a [v]piece of silver or a loaf of bread and say, “Please [w]assign me to one of the priest’s offices so that I may eat a piece of bread.”’”

        He changes the terms. Instead of Eli’s house walking before the Lord “forever”, He strikes all of them down except for “A” faithful priest who will one day…

        One priest is a far cry from a whole house.

        So, was God unfaithful to Eli and not to be trusted? O Contrair (sorry, don’t know how to spell that one!)…rather a covenant has two agreeing & bindable parties. If ONE breaks it then the covenant is not longer in force.

        Eli is the one who broke the covenant, along with his wicked sons. God is being merciful to even allow him one priest. And God expresses why he’s doing even that much…so that Eli will not be grieved beyond what he can bear.

        So it goes with all the covenants…when ONE party break them, they are null and void. This is not just how our terms in the human world work, this is a legal system set up by God.

        HUMANS broke the covenants, never God. He is never the One not to be trusted!

        This new covenant is UNLIKE the ones before. How? If we break them, are we not right back in the same position as the other covenant parties?

        Actually we’re not! Because this NEW covenant is based ONLY on the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice, we can never break it if we have been covered by that blood. He is blood has satisfied all the terms & requirements of the contract, once and for whosoever will.

        So one huge and beautiful difference with the NEW covenant is that it is no longer dependent on what I do or do not do. It is only dependent on whom I know and have believed upon. period.

      • Leah,
        While I admire the talking points on which I was raised I do have to wonder the following simplistic notations…
        Our Creator took the time to notate that homosexuality was/is an abomination tow`ebah (please research the actual word) . He also took the time to note that swine/pig’s flesh was tow`ebah . If we are to believe that having same sex relations is an “abomination’ then we must accept the same for eating swine. Unless you are OK with men/men relations then you are the epitome of hypocrisy. Please take the time to expound upon why one (eating pork) is “under grace” while the other “being gay” is magically condemned under that old fashioned law…
        I would also value your comments on how we are “obligated” to “tithe” while at the same time have zero obligation to obey the Torah command to honor/keep/observe the Sabbath. Truly bewildered at the logic unless it is is the notion that “tradition trumps truth”… on this point I agree to disagree. Hold fast to Rome at all costs vs. hold fast to scripture… exactly where I am having a debate with the “church”. I am saddened that there is no biblical dialogue and that instead I am handed sermon notes and Roman-Catholic doctrinal talking points/statements. What changed in the “New Testament church” and when? From all I can gather we are living/breathing and abiding by traditions that emanate NOT from scripture and our Messiah but from man-made traditions which were initiated hundreds of years later… happy to provide FACTUAL evidence of how/where/when/who/how this took place IF you are willing to face the truth.
        Paul Tanner

      • Paul,
        I will respond to your initial rebuttal and to your second questioning. It will not be until next week or possibly the next at the latest. Thank you for your input and comments. I appreciate your views and questions.
        Thanks,
        Leah Norton

      • @Paul…let’s look at Moses:

        Moses killed an Egyptian (in anger, I might add, which according to Yeshua does constitute murder) and he broke the first set of God-written commandments (in anger). He doubted God and didn’t trust Him, causing God to become angry, when he decided he knew better than God that he couldn’t speak to the Pharoah about freeing the Israelites. These are all examples of sinful behavior. However, God did not punish Moses for these things. Moses, in anger, struck a rock (instead of speaking to it), and it cost him his entire reward of leading the Hebrews into Canaan.

        I would have thought that murder was a much greater offense than striking a rock. However, God is not me. His reasons and standards are unlike mine. This is one of the things that make Him God and above all.

        Progress to your question of homosexuality and eating pork.

        First, let’s look at homosexuality. In the Old Testament, it’s condemned. It is also condemned in the New Testament. However, in the NT, it is explained why it is condemned. They loved the creature more than the Creator…so GOD gave them over to a depraved mind causing them to crave the same sex. Idolatry, I believe. So the sin of homosexuality really has its roots in idolatry. Loving something as god other than God.

        Looking at it from a new testament standpoint, it is the heart…out of the heart come all sorts of wicked things. Why it is a sin is because God labels sin at a heart level. Granted, acts can be wicked, but the heart is, the majority of the time, where the sin is found. I.e. Is killing a sin? Well, God commanded all kinds of killings. Even killings as a punishment for certain sins. So, are the ones who killed another as their punishment also guilty of murder? It was intentional and premeditated, so shouldn’t it also be called murder? No, because God looks at the heart. In light of this, murder is sin because of where it begins in the heart, not because it results in the death of a human.

        Now let’s look at pork.

        Lev. 11:1-8 “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”

        Gen. 1:29 “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” He further goes on to also give all the beasts the plants for food.

        In Genesis, man was to eat veggies and fruits. God adjusts this in Leviticus and gives them certain animals to eat as well.

        When we get to Acts, Peter has a vision about previously unclean foods. He is told to “kill and eat” repeatedly. If this were referring to Gentiles…is he to kill and eat the Gentiles? Emphatically, No! God was not confused about what His vision to Peter was all about. God wouldn’t tempt Peter to sin…James 1:13 “13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted [a]by God”; for God cannot be tempted [b]by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” The sheet with animals came down & Peter was told not once, but 3 times to kill and eat. The voice from heaven even said in Acts 10:15“What God has cleansed, no longer consider [m]unholy.” If it were not about food, then God was tempting Him. But, we know God does not tempt us to sin, so then we can conclude Satan is tempting Peter. No, because Peter clearly recognized it as the voice of God. So, if there is no tempting, clearly, God was telling Peter, “Kill & eat” because God had truly cleansed the food.

        So it is possible then for God to cleanse things that were once ritually unclean or unholy (depending on your translation). And if you need more proof that He can cleanse things that were once unclean, look at yourself. (And I’ll look at myself!!). He cleansed us through Jesus’ blood. It doesn’t say this in scripture, but it’s not impossible…maybe the same blood that makes us clean also cleansed all foods and made them also clean. Again, the WAY God cleansed the food is not told to us in Scripture, but whatever way He did it, you can be sure He did it legally, just as Jesus’ blood legally cleanses us. (i.e. it’s not God being a nice God and saying, that’s okay I forgive you for everything…He settled accounts legally with Jesus’ death. So, I’m sure He also had a way to settle it with the unclean animals, legally.)

        Further, Jesus explains even prior to the Acts episode in Mark 7:14-23 that it is not what is outside that defiles a man, rather what come from inside.

        Rom. 14:1-3 “1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. ”

        Clearly this refers to food and goes so far as to say “all”. If it were referring to clean food, it would have said so, because Paul is not known for speaking succinctly. He explains things in detail and goes to extreme measures to be understood.

        Gal. 2:11-21 “11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he [i]stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from [j]James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing [k]the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not [l]straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? [m]
        15 “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of [n]the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of [o]the Law; since by the works of [p]the Law no [q]flesh will be justified. 17 But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! 18 For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through [r]the Law I died to [s]the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and [t]the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through [u]the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

        This passage has LOTS of important things in it. First, we see Cephas (Peter) eating with the Gentiles. What were they eating? You can be sure it was something against the Law because Paul addressed the Law. If was merely that he was eating WITH uncircumcised company, then that would be a custom of the Jews, not a Law. However, if he was eating whatever they were eating, now he would be indeed living like a Gentile, as Paul had said he was.

        I want to quote this same passage again because it’s important…Paul said, (v.14) “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

        I’ve already talked about Peter living like a Gentile. If you still believe it is in regard to Peter simply eating WITH Gentiles, not WHAT he was eating, he’s how you can be sure…

        The second portion of that verse says, “how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Obviously, Gentiles would NOT no longer eat WITH Gentiles…they are one. They were being compelled by Peter to no longer eat “unclean” foods and possibly to wash ceremoniously before hand, so Peter would look good to his fellow Jews and not get flack from them.

        Paul did not call him guilty of living like a Gentile; instead, he called him guilty of “rebuilding what [he] had once destroyed” and “prove[-ing himself] to be a transgressor”. v. 18.

        Now, what did Cephas once destroy? Living under the Law. And if he again rebuilt that by suddenly living under the Law which he had just not been living under, he proves he is a transgressor of that law.

        How strange that Paul did not condemn him for destroying the Law. Rather, he condemned him for trying to rebuild it.

        Col. 2:16-17 “16 Therefore no one is to [n]act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath [o]day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the [p]substance [q]belongs to Christ. ”

        In this passage, we see that the food & drink regulations, festivals, new moons, & Sabbaths are shadows. Shadows are not real, they are a non-descript outline of what the real thing is, i.e. Jesus. These things had value until now, when we now have something NEW. The reason we have the NEW is because of JESUS who has brought the real, who IS the real.

        Eph 2: 11-22″ 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, [i]excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off [j]have been brought near [k]by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the [l]barrier of the dividing wall, 15 [m]by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might [n]make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, [o]by it having put to death the enmity. 17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the [p]saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy [q]temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”

        Jesus abolished in His flesh the enmity between Jews & Gentiles. What is that exactly? The Law of commandments. But that’s not all, his put to death that enmity, the Law. Not just setting it aside or doing away with it. He put it to death (v.16). But that, too, is not all! He did this to ESTABLISH something.

        Before I go further. Contrast this whole idea with what Law-Keepers believe. Please understand that I say “believe”. Believing it doesn’t make it true. People who believe that a Christ-follower must keep the law believe that when Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 “17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” You want the word fulfill to mean “establish”, not satisfy or complete.

        But as Paul explains the legality of what happened on the cross, we see that Jesus indeed did not come to abolish the Law at all. I.e., He did not come to set it aside or throw it out per say. In His life He fulfilled the requirements of the Law perfectly. In His death, He fulfilled the requirements of the Law perfectly for all mankind, once & for all. If in Matt. 5:17, Jesus had come to abolish the law, He would have been free to live outside of the Law and not abide by it. He didn’t do this, as we know.

        However, in His death, He fulfilled it to death. So to speak. It was so fulfilled that is was no longer able to be used. It is an old wineskin that has burst and can no longer hold anything. In the death of His flesh, He abolished the Law. He did not establish it. But, back to what I said before, He did ESTABLISH something.

        What is that? Peace. Eph. 2:15 “15 [m]by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might [n]make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, ”

        He ESTABLISHED peace by making both groups in Himself into one NEW man! Not putting both groups into the old wineskin…it’s burst and cannot hold the NEW!

        So, all this is to explain how, although God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He chooses in His wisdom what He qualifies as sin. In the garden, they ate no meat. Later, He gave them also meat, but not all meat. In Acts, because of Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law and subsequent death, the ordinances are dead.

        Not that there is no longer any sin. However, the ordinances are the Old. Jesus has brought both Jews & Gentiles together into something NEW. We now have a totally new way to approach God (through Jesus) and we have a new way to understand sin, the indwelling Holy Spirit.

        As such, as believers, we have become members of a new covenant totally dependent on Jesus’ blood and accomplishment on the cross. We no longer have a list of old laws, we have the laws written on our hearts and interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit.

        That is how for you, pork may be entirely offensive. To me, it may be a legitimate food which God has purified. Both are acceptable to God.

        And for now, that is enough food for thought, pardon the pun.
        🙂

      • Fully understand the talking points as I was raised fundamental Baptist, sat under a number of well known pastors and truly value this upbringing. In searching out the roots of “the church” and how we got to where we are today there are, however, some unavoidable issues. Anyone willing to invest the time can see where, when and why things began to take a turn away from the Hebraic roots (keeping the Sabbath and the feasts) and other ordinances were instituted (Sunday worship, Easter, Christmas).
        It is undeniable that the Sabbath was still reverenced and set-apart for hundreds of years after the resurrection. It is clear that the feasts of God were kept as Paul urged followers of Messiah to do (Let us keep the feast, Passover… and let’s do it in a renewed spirit). But within the first few hundred years post-resurection, many of those in power felt that this living out of God’s commands was far too “Jewish” and needed to be syncretised (poor grammar) for a society which wanted little to do with the Jews. This is clearly stated in the writing of the early “church fathers”. Read Eusebius, read Constantine at Nicea, read John Chrysostom’s sermons. What they began to do by edit and decree was to “teach as doctrine the commands of men”. The Sabbath was changed to Sunday and the Passover was changed to Easter. Come under the umbrella of “the church” or suffer fine, imprisonment and eventually death. To many of these men it mattered nothing that God “barak” blessed these days, that he “quadash” set apart, consecrated, hallowed them and he called them “everlasting” and he said this was to continue “throughout your generations”.
        Your explanation that “We no longer have a list of old laws” is fully understood as I am living proof that this is ALL the average Christian hears from many eloquent men and women. Certainly it is more universally accepted “go to church on Sunday” It is more energizing to “fight the good fight to keep Christ in Christmas”. There is much camaraderie in a practice that has been engrained into being a “good American”. But none of that makes it accurate. We can debate whether God CARES if we change the Sabbath and whether he CARES if we do away with the feasts in favor of days that are more in our comfort zone. On that point I would suggest that God demands being set-apart over syncretism as he instructed his children in Deut 12:29-30 NOT to take possession of a land and proceed to model their worship according to how they serve their gods.
        Even if you feel that we are “under grace” to the point that God doesn’t really care, I find it bewildering that observing Sunday, Christmas and Easter are not simply viewed by Christians as equal to the Sabbath and feasts but are heralded as superior practices even so far that Sabbath and Feast keepers are actually practicing SIN… this is a clear message from pulpits across the US. While I can agree to disagree with my Christian friends, I can not tolerate the notion that by choosing to order Chinese without the pork in the rice is “trampling on the blood of Jesus”. I can not tolerate the view that by building a sukkah with my family and illustrating the fact that God came a physically tabernacled among us in the form of Yahushua our messiah that I have transgressed the law which he initiated. I can not sit by and say nothing when we celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, eagerly anticipating the blowing of the shofar which will herald his return and are labeled as “Judaisers”. I am saddened by the mindset that Christians can listen to a sermon ABOUT “Pentecost” but I have “crossed a line” by actually celebrating Shavu’ot and the perfect timing of the outpouring of his spirit.
        Can you at least see where I’m coming from?

      • Can I at least understand where you are coming from?

        Absolutely! I would like to be the first to apologize if I have insinuated that it is a sin to keep Sabbath or any feasts. I do not believe that one iota. Several of the passages I quoted earlier (Romans 14:1-3 and Colossians 2:16-17) make it clear that no person is to judge what you eat, celebrate, etc. regarding your relationship with God. I would also apologize on behalf of any churches & church members who have stated that. They have not dealt accurately with the Scriptures and with the love among brothers/sisters.

        My whole post from before was an effort to explain how because Jesus has fulfilled the Law we are no longer OBLIGATED to fulfill it. If you believe God wants you to follow it, I will not try to convince you otherwise…unless, you insist that God wants every believer to follow it. And this, I believe is where we have the greatest divergence in belief and in interpretation of Scripture.

        I believe you are absolutely convinced that your views are correct. I also believe that mine are correct. (I do not believe I know everything & have full understanding of anything, but as far as the Holy Spirit has revealed the nature of Jesus to me and taught me truth through the Scriptures, I cling to what I see in those Scriptures.)

        When I have written my posts, I have rarely gone into other texts looking for “answers”. In fact, in my last post, I didn’t look outside for anything. I paused and prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me and help me articulate clearly. I was raised methodist, assemblies of God (speaking in tongues & dancing in the aisles!), & southern baptist. That was in my childhood. In my adulthood, I spent much time in all kinds of Bible-believing churches (and some that were not so much that).

        A time came in Tanzania where I picked up the book of Romans and despised every bit of it as if it were heresy. I was angry with God because of who He was. He claimed that He hardened some people’s hearts (Romans 9) when He was talking about raising up Pharaoh for that very purpose. As I sorted through, I questioned everything of my faith…every particle of it. I was at one point sure of only two things…that there was a God and I did not like who He was. I was unsure of what I read in the Bible and mistrustful of it.

        As I wrestled with Him, and I did, over a period of weeks & months, I came to a place where I knew He was asking me to choose to believe even when I did not understand. I made that choice and He then began to once again open the scriptures to me where they come alive. He rebuilt my faith into something stronger than it had ever been. I walked with Him again and He revealed Himself to me in my day to day life.

        All this to say, I am not clinging to things I was taught because I am afraid of what would be there if I chose to examine things from a different angle (i.e. the Law being obligatory). If there is one thing I have learned from my experience in Tanzania, it is that God is an incredibly patient and big God. His love extends to me even when I am angry with Him. And He is never afraid of my questions. So, yes, I do question everything. And I question them up one side and down another.

        The things I have written are written because I have examined the scriptures for myself and through the power of the Holy Spirit’s interpretation and teaching, understand the truth contained in them. The Holy Spirit has been faithful in helping me see quickly the errors of what I believe to be false teachings of 119 ministries (or at least incorrect teachings).

        I do not claim this truth for everyone because it is Holy Spirit taught. (i.e. the example of a person owning a nice home & car and that causing them to be prideful & sin vs. another person owning the same home & car and sharing it and not being prideful of it at all…the Holy Spirit may nudge the first person to sell those things because they are leading him into sin; the second person the Holy Spirit may encourage to increase even more as a means to share with those around him. So, the Holy Spirit may reveal truth to one which is different from truth to another, but the same Holy Spirit….Spirit is not different, the people whom the Spirit indwells are different.)

        I do claim that there is freedom in Christ because I have examined the scriptures and find it clearly explained, Old Testament through the New. I have not blindly sat under pastors & teachers and taken things at face value. My husband & I are constantly flipping through our Bibles as our pastor preaches to verify or invalidate his talking points.

        I also do not believe the church in America is healthy. Does that mean I run away from that for whom Christ died? Not at all. It means I ask God what I can do to get her strong and to help her become that pure & spotless bride.

        If you choose to obey the ordinances & feasts outlined in the Mosaic Law, I do not condemn you. My only hope in our differences is that Yeshua is your Messiah. If that is the case than we are already of the same family, and from the truth I see in Scripture, you have complete freedom to worship Him in the ways you believe wholeheartedly He has asked of you. And by that same blood, I have the same freedom.

      • I had no idea who I was communicating with but learned from Dan that you are in Vero! I noted to a few people that I do appreciate your spirit and I rather enjoy the dialogue.
        I agree that salvation is of Yahushua our messiah and not of works but I am puzzled at times that the same people who would take offense if I quoted James almost exclusively to teach works-based salvation appear to be perfectly fine with quoting excerpts of letters from Paul almost exclusively to get to the point that the law is abolished.
        I do believe that those who choose to observe the commands of God and those who do not feel obligated to do so will be a part of God’s kingdom. I could not imagine my Father (one of the most God-fearing men I have ever known) would not enter because he sets aside Sunday vs saturday. Part of the kingdom, yes. Rewarded differently, I’m pretty certain. I also can not imagine any other way to explain the words that Yahushua spoke “”Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
        I get where both you and Dan are coming from. I understand how you both can be at different points in life. At times when you have made your views known I believe it’s OK to agree to disagree and still respect and love one another. Good discussion.

  4. This rebuttal displays just how many “hoops” one has to jump through to come up with the idea that the “Law” is abolished and not to be practiced. I would challenge the writer to examine the practice of his faith and answer these questions…
    Why do you “tithe” since it’s part of that “old law stuff”?
    Why not sleep around and do so with both male and female since the prohibition of such emanates from that “old law stuff”?
    It is foolishness to claim that Jesus came to initiate an entirely new religion which eliminated the instructions of YHVH when he stated emphatically he DID NOT come to do so.
    I understand it’s hard to imagine anything other than what you grew up knowing but instead of using the familiar talking points why not examine the entire scripture which happens to include more than just the letters of Paul. Why not start with what YHVH says about his feasts (hint- eternal) and about the Sabbath (hint- everlasting) and then move on to reading Jesus, James, Peter and John. The practices of those who penned the “New Testament” line up FAR more with 119 ministries than “New Testament Churches”. I believe if they were alive today they would rebut this rebuttal!

  5. Ok, it hit me:

    We have no disagreement on how grace and the mechanics of the forgiveness of sins.

    We agree that “God doesn’t like it when we sin”.

    Nor is there any disagreement upon sins in the past and/or sins that haven’t been committed yet being atoned for by Messiah’s perfect sacrifice. So lets not keep going over that, again and again and again.

    Here is the ONLY difference between our points of view:

    What acts are on “The Big List O’Sins”?

    In the beginning, there was only ONE item on the list: “Don’t eat from that tree.” More and more stuff got added to the list, including “Don’t eat the flesh of swine.” and “Don’t cheat on your wife.”, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    Nothing ever gets taken off the “The Big List O’Sins”.

    4,000 years later, Yeshua ADDS the commands “Don’t even look at another woman lustfully” and “Love your enemies”.

    He did not remove anything from the “The Big List O’Sins”.

    That is the only point of disagreement that we have.

    As (I believe) we have no major disagreements on anything else, may I ask that we keep the scope of this discussion limited to this one point?

  6. “We really cannot say for sure what Stephen said or did not say.”

    Yes we can.

    The assumption here is that Judaism as practiced then and now is the correct interpretation of Torah.
    Had Stephen come speaking against Judaism, and for the correct interpretation of Torah, he would have been seen as anti-Semitic; coming to change the laws and the customs of Moses. remember:

    1. John 5:45-46 (paraphrase) “don’t think it’s Me saying this, your accuser is Moses” Moses? is the first witness He calls against Pharisees? how can this be?
    2. when they arrive in the Promised Land, of those in the assembly having been born in the Wilderness, you’d think the Jewish males would be easily identifiable by, say, a board-certified urologist. Would the good doctor have been able to differentiate Jewish boys and men from surrounding pagan cultures? Joshua 5:4-8 has the answer. Point is, they were not following the instructions back then
    3. Isaiah 1 has a description of a population that follows sabbaths, festivals, new moons—all seemingly Torah-approved, yet they are being upbraided. Why is this? I thought salvation by works was the order of the day back then.
    4. Joshua 7:22-23 adds very interesting insight (and you have use something other than NIV which soft pedals the issue): “For I spoke not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” He didn’t command them regarding burnt offerings or sacrifices when they first came out of Egypt…??? that wasn’t the plan?
    5. The adultress caught in the act. According to the apparently widely-held view and the modern “eye-for-an-eye”, “vengeful God of the Old Testament” view of Torah, she should have been put to death. She walked away with her life. The world wasn’t “under grace” yet, according to modern teaching. So why did she live?
    6. Moses taught divorce but “from the beginning [the idea of divorce] was not so. What God has said is one flesh, man doesn’t get to come along and say that one flesh is now two. (Notice where we are today? not only do we routinely go about calling the one flesh “two” today in society, but further we have achieved the “wisdom” that says two which should never be one flesh [Adam and Steve, eg] can now be one. Such happy enlightened times we are in!)

    Yes Jews brought us the oracles of God, but Judaism as the vehicle for the corrct interpretation of the same? I don’t know so much.

    If Stephen was upbraiding the Judaism that sought to forge its own righteousness (Romans 10) then he would have been falsely accused as speaking “against the law”, certainly “against the customs of Moses” (which presumes the customs and traditions Judaism was following were given by Moses in the first place).

    So how do we know? The story is there. And this sort of thing happens even today.

    Make sense?

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