The Law Stands
and more of
Paul's Doctrinal Errors
"Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first
corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus."
Thomas Jefferson From a letter to W. Short published in The Great Thoughts by George Seldes (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985, p.208).
Paul was anti-Law
Now we need to look at some more of Paul's errors in doctrine... especially those that suggest that one is not expected to live by God's Law. We have seen that Paul's doctrine concerning the sovereignty of God and predestination is wrong, and his use of Scripture to prove his doctrine is lackluster at best... if not outright abusive. Paul has told lies, and he is without a doubt the very false apostle that Yeshua commended the Ephesians for rejecting.
Still, Paul did make some pro-Law statements along with his anti-Law statements. He never did reconcile the contradiction, indeed he couldn't! Either God expects us to live by His Law or He doesn't. There is no in-between. But to be fair, I must make mention of the fact of his pro-Law statements, because among the growing sects of Messianic believers, there is a small number who call themselves "observant" Messianics. They continue to believe, as Yeshua taught, that the Law stands today. But in their endeavor to try and maintain some semblance of credibility with other Messianics, who themselves are really nothing more than Christians with a Jewish twist and an umbilical cord to main stream Christianity, these observant Messianics will engage in bend-over-backwards apologetics for Paul and do everything they can to argue he was pro-Law. Apparently they continue to feel the need to embrace the picture of an infallible New Testament. But we shouldn't at all be surprised about the fact that Paul made both pro, and anti-Law statements because of some other telling-statements he made.
"...to the Jew I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without Law, as without Law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without Law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak, I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 1Corinthians 9:20-22
At the very least, it is apparent that Paul was a chameleon who blended with his surroundings whatever they were at the time! Paul clearly taught contradictory messages for the purpose of making everybody happy... something you would never find Yeshua doing. As long as there are numerous, clearly anti-Law statements made by Paul, Christians and non-observant Messianics alike will always point to them and rest their case against the poor "legalistic" observant Messianics. There is no simple misunderstanding about it. Even Paul's contemporaries accused him of encouraging others not to practice the Law of Moses. This is nothing new. It is a significant issue in much of the book of Acts. They even had him there in the flesh to explain himself and straighten out the misunderstanding if indeed it was so simple. But the obvious seems to go unnoticed... the issue is never settled in the book of Acts. James, the leader of "myriads" of Messianic Jews, never does come to Paul's rescue when everyone would naturally think he certainly would have if it all were just a simple misunderstanding of Paul's teaching.
You will see shortly as more of Paul's anti-Law
doctrines are exposed, the
observant Messianic's endeavors might be better termed appaulling apaulogetics!
These would be better off facing the fact that Paul was a false apostle, call him
on the fact, and suffer the ostracism of Christianity. They aren't having any
convincing Christians that Paul was pro-Law anyway.
The book of Romans
The book of Romans is considered by many Christians to be Paul's masterpiece argument against justification by the Law of Moses in favor of justification through faith by grace. In trying to deal with Paul's errors in logic one can quickly become bogged down in the terribly convoluted string of arguments he makes. In dealing with his logic, it is not just a simple matter of untying a series of knots in a long string. His logic is more like one big twisted ball of knots made of knots made of knots! Many of those who believe Paul was a true apostle have an extremely difficult time following his rambling flow of logic. To deal with all of Paul's nonsensical logic in the book of Romans alone would take an entire book. I'm not going to take the space to do that here. But what I will focus on are the fundamental premises on which he bases his doctrines, and most importantly his ongoing blatant abuse of Scripture in support of them. In doing this alone Paul should be totally discredited as an apostle. His entire building will come crumbling down when these foundations of his doctrine are shown to be built on sand. For this chapter, I will deal with only the keystone portion of his nonsensical logic.
One of Christianity's favorite Pauline passages that clearly suggests we ought not bother trying to keep God's Law comes from the first part of the book of Romans. Right off... in chapter 1, Paul tries to establish some fundamental premises on which to continue building his doctrine. He says;
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith". Romans 1:17
This was a favorite passage of the Christian reformer Martin Luther. He believed, as Paul clearly lays out later in Romans and Galatians, this faith that the "just" are supposed to live by, is as opposed to living by the Law. Paul eventually turns it into an either-or... mutually exclusive incompatibility of faith and Law. Notice again that Paul feels compelled to prove his doctrine by quoting Scripture. This observation alone should make it go without saying that the Scripture he quotes had better paint the same picture, or his premise is groundless. Here again Paul misquotes Scripture albeit slightly.
"Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him, but the just shall live by his faith." Habakkuk 2:4
In this passage's context, and more accurately translated, it is obvious that what God is saying here is that the just person (someone who is righteous) shall live (as opposed to dying) "by" (literally "because of") "his" (personal, as opposed to general) faithfulness: (literally, "steadfastness", ) to righteous living. Let me shorten this up for better understanding. It is this: The righteous person will live if he is steadfast in his righteousness! Nowhere in this picture is the idea: If an unrighteous person wants to become righteous, he must operate in faith.
one subtle abuse of Scripture by Paul is only the beginning. From here, he
builds on his doctrine by continuing to make more blatant abuses that end up
taking him and his doctrine into extreme error. It's like an astronaut's rocket being off in
trajectory by only a couple of degrees when he begins his journey to the moon.
He will eventually find he missed it by thousands of miles. By the end of the
book of Romans, Paul is so far off it's hopeless! Now watch where he goes from here
in Romans chapter 3.
When someone suggests to an evangelical Christian that the Law of God still stands today, one of the first defenses to refute the suggestion comes from Romans 3. We are quickly informed that no one is able to keep the Law, and all are guilty of breaking it and are therefore forever unrighteous.
As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one". Romans 3:10
This verse is part of Paul's quote from Psalm 14 that he used as proof that man cannot keep the Law to become righteous. Here is the entire piece of Scripture that Paul uses in Romans 3.
As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seek after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes." Romans 3:10-18
This is Paul's apparent direct quote from Scripture that is supposed to prove to us that no one is righteous, but all are full of evil. Now guess what? No such passage exists! What Paul quotes is a compilation of no less than six separate passages that have been jerked out of their original context from the Psalms and the book of Isaiah, given an interpretation that cannot be found there, and strung together to appear as one quote. We have seen this deceptive practice of Paul's before when we looked at Romans 9 where he pasted together two short passages from Genesis and Malachi concerning Jacob and Esau!
Paul's accuracy in quoting from the Psalms is no better. The first passage he quotes in verses 10-12 comes from Psalm 14. Here is his version again.
As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one." Romans 3:10-12
Now here is the passage quoted accurately, and in its context.
The fool has said in his heart, "there is no God". They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call on the Lord? There they are in great fear, for God is with the generation of the RIGHTEOUS. Psalm 14:1-5
Guess what? In David's picture there are no atheistic fools who do good! This passage is obviously not speaking of every human being, but of a distinct group of people whom David describes as fools, atheists, workers of abominations, corrupt, ignorant, and workers of iniquity. Of course, not one of them do good. And these evil people are contrasted with a second group of real people known as "my people" and "the generation of the righteous". Right there in this very Psalm that Paul quotes from, there are obviously those whom God calls "righteous"! This is hardly the picture Paul wants us to get from this Psalm. Notice also Paul's embellishment of this passage. He would have us believe the phrase, "no, not one" is used twice when it is only used once. The first time Paul uses the phrase is where it doesn't exist, and it is coupled with the word "righteous". This word does not exist in this part of the Psalm, or anywhere near the words "no, not one". The word "righteous" only shows up later in verse 5, and there it directly implies that there are those who are righteous! So much for "no, not one".
In Paul's string of quotes, he continues to take snippets of Scripture out of their context from Psalm 5:9, Psalm 140:3, Psalm 10:7, Isaiah 59:7,8, and Psalm 36:1. In each and every case, the unrighteous individuals spoken of in these passages are specifically evil men, and in the greater context of these passages, the evil men are contrasted with those who are called "the righteous", "the upright", and "the innocent". Please check for yourself. Not only is there no support for Paul's picture in these passages, but in their proper context, the exact opposite is firmly established.
Paulinists like to refer to this practice of gluing a number of passages together as "pearl-stringing". Considering the fact that each part is given what is a lie for an interpretation, a more fitting metaphor than "pearls" should be used to describe what Paul is actually stringing together!
God calls some, "righteous"!
Paul wants us to believe that no one
becomes righteous through the works of the Law. But there are many whom God
called "righteous". From Genesis 7:1 where He says to Noah, "I have seen that
you are righteous before Me in this generation", all the way
through to the New Testament where Yeshua says, "many prophets and righteous
men desired to see what you see, and did not see it...", there are many
references to "righteous" men. Take an exhaustive concordance and look
under the word righteous.
Paul's greatest lie
Now, after deceptively quoting Scripture to try and convince us that no one can become righteous under the Law, Paul is left to find for us a good working reason why God gave man the Law in the first place! Here is his logic.
"Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, that (for this purpose) every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:19,20
This begins to defy words to describe the blasphemous lie that it is. But hey! Paul has to come up with some reason for the Law's existence after demolishing the truth! Are we really to believe now that it is God's purpose to make man guilty before Him? If God intentionally made His Law impossible for man to keep, that would make God the author of unrighteousness and guilt!
Here is God's version of why He gave the Law.
"Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that (for this purpose) it might be well with them and with their children forever!" Deuteronomy 5:29
"And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that (for this purpose) He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us." Deuteronomy 6:24,25
This blasphemous lie that makes God out to be some kind of pathological tyrant who commands people to obey Him when He knows they can't... just to keep them filled with guilt, humiliated, and begging for grace and mercy, is by itself more than enough to finish off Paul and nail his hide to the wall as a false apostle. Yeshua never taught anything remotely close to this. But we are still long from being finished with Paul's doctrinal errors. He goes on to mention some fringe benefits that go along with his evil picture of God. The logic flows that if no man is capable of doing God's Law, and salvation is instead granted as a free gift of grace, then no one can brag about keeping the Law anymore!
Where is boasting then? It is excluded, By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law. Romans 3:27,28
Never mind the fact that it is an important part of the Law for man to know his place and humble himself! If people kept all the Law they wouldn't be boasting anyway.
"He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
Notice also what it says about the man who gave us the Law.
Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3
God has never been in the business of making it impossible for man to boast. He just makes it not worth the while for those who do. The irony is, in the real world, Paul's doctrine is the source of far more pride and boasting than any other doctrine! One only need look at Paul himself and notice how he lifted himself above the very apostles who followed Yeshua (2Corinthians 11:5, Galatians 2:6,9), and how he even lifted himself above Moses by belittling him in 2Corithians 3:11-13. Anyone who believes that God actually destined before creation some vessels for honor and some for dishonor (Romans 9:20-23), and also believes he just happens to be one who is destined for honor, cannot avoid thinking way too highly of themselves, because they actually have grounds on which to boast!
From the presupposition that God intentionally made the
to keep, Paul's flow of logic now becomes totally absurd. Since, in Paul's world no
one can keep the Law, man must therefore be justified by "faith-alone" apart from the deeds of the
At this point, he
uses Abraham as proof-precedence.
Abraham justified by faith?
Abraham's supposed justification by faith is Paul's ace-in-the-hole argument for faith apart from the works of the Law, both in the book of Romans and the book of Galatians. The following passages are from Romans and Galatians and contain his supposed direct quote from the book of Genesis.
What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something of which to boast, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Romans 4:1-3
...just as Abraham "Believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness". Galatians 3:6
So fundamental is Paul's use of Abraham as a proof-text example for his "apart from works" doctrine that James becomes fully aware of it and refutes it in his epistle.
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." James 2:21-23
James' logic here is far superior to Paul's, but the disappointing thing about James' rebuttal is that he could have done a better job and perfectly squashed Paul's pet argument forever! One reason it is obvious that James is directly addressing Paul's doctrine is by virtue of the fact that James' quote from Genesis is identical to Paul's quotes... and in error, again! My guess is that James had copies of Paul's letters in front of him when he wrote his letter and he mistakenly assumed Paul had quoted Genesis accurately, probably because it sounded very close to what he remembered of it. So he used Paul's quote and went about refuting Paul's doctrine on other logical grounds. But in doing this, he appears to have agreed with Paul that Abraham was justified by faith. After all, that's what Paul's quote from Genesis appears to indicate. But James goes about arguing that Abraham's faith was a faith made of works, as opposed to Paul's faith without works. If James had gone down to the local Synagogue and scrolled through the book of Genesis to see if Paul's quote was perfectly accurate, there is little doubt he would have dealt with Paul's doctrine differently. The difference is subtle in appearance at first, but Paul's version is none the less extremely misleading. The accurate quote from Genesis is in the following passage.
Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." And he believed in the Lord, and he accounted it to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:5,6
Notice the difference that here it says, "and he accounted it to him", as opposed to Paul's, "and it was accounted to him". Paul's quote rearranged the phrase and left out the pronoun "he". You may be thinking, "What's the difference? Aren't they still saying the same thing?" Answer; not at all! The question at hand is, to whom is this pronoun "he" referring?
Because Bible translators work from the assumption that Paul knew what he was talking about, they assume the particular pronoun here in Genesis is in reference to God. So they capitalized it to indicate that it was God who accounted something to Abraham. But in the Hebrew text there are no such distinctions made, nor are there any indicators in the word itself as to whom the pronoun refers. The Hebrew language makes much use of pronouns this way, and at times it can be confusing for English speaking people. We prefer to have the person identified more regularly. You may have noticed in the short passage above there are seven pronouns and Abraham isn't even named! We only know it's Abraham from two verses earlier! The Hebrew language assumes intelligence upon its readers to figure out to whom the pronouns refer from the context in which they are used. The first key to understanding the identity of the person this pronoun refers to comes from the fact that the sentence this phrase is found in begins by changing the subject of the sentence, from God to Abraham. Read the entire passage again and notice how it changes at "And he believed in the Lord..." Obviously this passage is not suggesting that the Lord believed in Himself! Therefore, at this point the subject changes and begins to refer to Abraham... and he believed in the Lord. Would it not be prudent to assume that the subject of the first clause of the sentence, Abraham, follows through as the subject of the second clause as well? This is proper Hebrew, as well as English, syntax. The experts agree. In Professor Victor P Hamilton's New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Eerdmans 1990), in Vol. 1 page 425 we read:
The second part of this verse records Yahweh's response to Abram's exercise of faith: 'he credited it to him as righteousness.' But even here there is a degree of ambiguity. Who credited whom? Of course, one may say that the NT settles the issue, for Paul expressly identifies the subject as God and the indirect object as Abraham (Rom. 4:3). But if we follow normal Hebrew syntax, in which the subject of the first clause is presumed to continue into the next clause if the subject is unexpressed, then the verse's meaning is changed... Does he, therefore, continue as the logical subject of the second clause? The Hebrew of the verse certainly permits this interpretation...
Now these are the honest and objective insights of a man who is unquestionably pro-Paul! Another excellent in-depth article concerning the "he" being in reference to Abraham and not God can be accessed at Jewish-Christian Relations website, article: www.jcrelations.net/en/?item=752
Therefore, the most accurate translation of Genesis 15:6 should read: And he (Abraham) credited it to Him (God) for righteousness. Or in other words, Abraham praised God for His righteousness in giving him the promise. Abraham had walked in God's Law and actually merited God's favor in this way, and he praised God for His righteousness in recognizing it and giving him the promise! This concept of meriting God's favor is something many Christians, especially Calvinist Christians, choke hard on. Merited favor implies works again. But this is exactly what happened here with Abraham. I will prove this is the truth, but first we need to note something God said in the same scene where He promised to multiply Abraham's descendants.
On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates..." Genesis 15:18
Now comes the proof. Let's look at something God said to Abraham's son Isaac a number of years later. Notice that God makes reference to everything promised to Abraham on that same day in history, and most importantly, notice why God said He gave Abraham the promises.
"Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; BECAUSE Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My Laws." Genesis 26:3-5
Nowhere does God say anything to
Abraham's faith! The promises were all given because of Abraham's works! God gave Abraham
the promises because Abraham was a righteous man and had merited
the promise. Abraham was not justified by faith as Paul
would have us believe. He was justified by works! God could not have made that
fact more plain to Abraham's son Isaac.
Grace and mercy versus Law and works?
In the book of Romans, Paul goes on to try and drive home his picture of grace versus works with more nonsensical, as well as non-Scriptural, logic. The remainder of Romans is sprinkled throughout with this picture... based on the assumption that he has established it as truth in his previous arguments, namely, that no one can become righteous under the Law, because God made the Law impossible to keep for the very purpose of keeping man humble and reliant on His good graces. We have also seen his twist of Scripture taken from the story of Abraham. Another one of his statements that ultimately makes God responsible for man's sin is this gem.
"Moreover the Law entered that (for this purpose) the offense (sin) might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:20
Again he draws the mutually exclusive picture of Law versus grace in the following.
"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law but under grace." Romans 6:14
Later on in Romans, Paul uses an analogy from the time of Elijah to make his grace-versus-works point.
But what does the divine response say to him (Elijah)? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant (of Israel) according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. Romans 11:4-6
Paul's logic is so stood on its head, and his proof demonstrated with smoke and mirrors here that it's almost humorous. It would be if so many didn't actually believe this is the infallible word of God! The only thing that Paul derives from what God said to Elijah is that He had reserved a "remnant" for Himself. Nothing more! Never mind the fact that these seven thousand men had themselves remained true to God's Law and not bowed their knee to Baal! Sounds like works to me! But then, to keep the illusion going, Paul states that this new remnant of saved Israel is "according to the election of grace". This he bases on the assumption that he firmly established the concept of predestination and the election by grace earlier in the infamous passages of Romans 9. This detestable doctrine is itself based on numerous misquotes of Scripture as I have shown. But now Paul continues to build lie on top of lie with the flow of logic that if salvation is by grace, then it is no longer by works; otherwise grace is no longer grace! What utter nonsense! Where is it written that grace and Law (works) are mutually exclusive concepts... other than in Paul's writings? Paul had previously tried to establish this principle that the two concepts cannot go together with this slight-of-hand.
"Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt." Romans 4:4
This slight-of-hand is accomplished by renaming elements in the equation much the way an abortionist would never call an unborn child "a baby". If Paul can get away with calling obedience to God "work", then he can get away with calling the benefits of that work "wages", and if we continue to follow him down this road we find out that wages are really a "debt"! Oh no! Who would want to be accused of being so presumptuous as to bill God for grace?!! Phew! Let's back up and start over. What Paul calls "work" is really obedience to God. God is the One with the bill! He made us and demands the payment of obedience. His grace and mercy are benefits (not wages) of doing business with Him. No one, no matter how obedient, can presumptuously demand payment of anything from God. To do so would involve disobedience to the Law concerning walking humbly with God! Anyone who is obedient and walks humbly with God can have all the faith in the world that God will provide the benefits He promised. This is where true faith exists! Now doesn't this sound so much more simple and right? Even a child can grasp this picture. But one has to spend many years in seminary before they can even pretend to comprehend Paul's convoluted mess.
Now let's look at Scripture and take notice of whom God deems most worthy of His benefits of grace, and mercy. Let's start with Noah.
So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I regret that I have made them." But Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:7-9
Then the Lord said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, BECAUSE I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. Genesis 7:1
No one else on earth found grace or mercy from God except one man and his family because he was "just" and "righteous"! Contrary to Paul's doctrine, becoming a beneficiary of God's grace has everything to do with works. Grace and works are not mutually exclusive. They are inextricably connected to one another. There is more.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20: 5,6
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them. Psalm 103 17-18
And the list goes on. Paul's concept of the separation of grace and works is as unscriptural as it can be. Absolutely nothing concerning grace and Law has changed since Yeshua... or Adam for that matter. Men who lived before Yeshua were no less treated to God's wonderful grace and mercy, and man today is under no less obligation to obey God.
The remainder of Paul's errors I will set aside for now. They naturally
come crashing down with the fact that their foundations have crumbled. So now the question is, if the
Law stands, what laws are
we expected to observe.
Which laws stand?
If one were to ask the average Christian if it were acceptable to murder someone because Christians aren't under the Law according to Paul, you would be told: "Of course not". Then it would be explained that God still expects Christians to live by the moral code as embodied in the ten commandments. How this supposedly fits with Paul's either/or... grace or Law doctrine is never satisfactorily reconciled. But nevertheless, they are quite adamant that we must still keep the ten commandments. When asked about the forth of the ten commandments, which is to honor the Sabbath day, we are told that Paul dealt with that particular commandment in his letter to the Colossians.
"Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ." Colossians 2:16,17
So I guess there are really only nine commandments that Christians need to observe! But then, if you listen to Christian teachers and especially televangelists, it becomes apparent that there is another commandment that continues to stand. It seems that they are most adamant about this one. The one law that you will continually hear reinstated is the commandment to give a tenth (the tithe) of one's income to support the ministry of the Gospel! Isn't this an interesting re-inclusion? I guess maybe this one commandment is to replace the one concerning the Sabbath... so we are back at ten again! This re-inclusion of tithing law should be seen for the convenient institution-serving thing that it is. Preachers will quote from the Law over and over again to guilt their followers into giving to the church. One favorite Scripture passage is the following.
"Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it..." Malachi 3:8-10
When these words hit the ears of the faithful, the wallets and checkbooks spring out everywhere. Who wants to be guilty of robbing God... and being cursed for it? And who doesn't want God to bless them so much they can't contain it? When it comes to which of the laws of God are applicable today, it should go without saying that the individual is responsible before God to keep only the laws that God expects an individual to keep. God gave numerous laws to the nation of Israel and to the priests that no individual is capable of carrying out today. For example, I cannot prepare myself and go walking into the Holy of Holies on the day of atonement and make atonement for my home nation... for many reasons. It was the sole responsibility of the High Priest to make atonement for Israel alone, and only then when there is a temple and Holy of Holies in existence in Jerusalem in the first place. Likewise, the Law of God concerning the tenth of one's income is very clear. It was given as a command to the nation of Israel for the purpose of supporting the tribe of Levi, the priests, because they were given no other inheritance in the land of Israel. (See Deuteronomy 14:22-29) God Himself was their inheritance, (See Numbers 18:20-24) so in commanding the remaining tribes of Israel to give a tenth to the Levites it was considered a debt to God. That is why God saw withholding the tithe from the Levites as robbing Him and took it personally as He spoke through the prophet Malachi. Guess what people? We don't have a Levitical priesthood today! To claim that the leaders of the modern Christian church are today's priesthood is nothing more than convenient nonsense in light of Paul's false apostleship and the fact that God does not officially recognize any religious institution on earth today. Religious institutions today are bad enough about applying the screws of guilt to their followers, but televangelists are the worst. They have made a complete mockery of the small amount of truth they do carry.
There certainly is a place for giving, and it is good to give. If a person still desires to give and wants to have true reward in heaven, they should do as Yeshua taught and give it directly to help the poor. Matthew 19:21 Luke 19:8,9 Forget the institutions of Christianity. It's money to the wind, and it will not come back.
The point to be made is that there
is no consistency to Christianity's rejection of the Law. It has obviously
become a pick and chose whichever law suits the best interests of the institution
at the time.
Every "jot and tittle"
Yeshua fully endorsed the Law and the Prophets. To reiterate His say-so...
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (give official sanction). For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all (heaven and earth) is fulfilled (come to pass). Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19
Yeshua's reference to "jot" and "tittle" of the Law is of utmost significance here. At that time in history, there were two distinct groups of laws. There was the written Law, and there was the oral law. It was taught by the Jew's, particularly the Pharisees, that the oral law was also given by Moses to detail how to carry out the written Law. This was supposedly handed down through the ages by word of mouth to special people like the Pharisees. This nonsense is disprovable in light of Israel's history as recorded in 2Kings 22, and 2Chronicles 34. There it is recorded that Israel found the written book of Moses that had been lost for some time. When it was read, it was obviously something those who heard it hadn't heard before. If Israel had lost and forgotten the written Law, how can we be expected to believe there was an ongoing oral law that gave details on how to carry out the written Law?
Yeshua also made these comments concerning the oral law.
He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men--the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." And He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandant of God, that you may keep your tradition." Mark 7:6-9
The idea that God gave Moses these oral laws and that they have been passed down is simply not true. Yeshua called them the mere commandments of men. On another interesting side note, the modern Catholic church has borrowed from this successful method of duping and controlling the gullible masses. It is taught that the secret doctrines of Christianity were given by Yeshua to his apostles who were the first bishops. And since the first century, "there has been an unbroken line of Catholic bishops faithfully handing on what the apostles taught the first Christians in Scripture and oral tradition." It is also referred to as "apostolic succession." These doctrines, like the perpetual virginity of Mary, the communion between living and dead saints, the eucharist, and so on, are taught by the church as though it says, "...just trust me and submit to me, because my authority has been passed down and comes directly from God." There is not a shred of truth to the church's claim to divine authority or the doctrines it promotes. Just like the notion that the oral law was passed down from Moses, there is not a shred of truth to the notion that Yeshua's secret teachings have been passed down orally by the bishops from the time of the apostles.
The only authoritative truth that we have today is found in the written words of Moses, the prophets, and Yeshua. Fortunately, all of us now have access to these words and can read them for ourselves. It was the policy of the church throughout the majority of its history to keep the average person illiterate, and the Bible out of the hands of the masses. Is it any wonder why it is now referred to as the "dark ages"? Even when more people were becoming literate, the Bible was kept out of the hands of everyday people. William Tyndale was burned at the stake by the church for translating the Bible into the English language for the average person to read. His pocket-sized translations were smuggled into England, and then ruthlessly sought out by the church, confiscated and destroyed. Tyndale was condemned as a heretic, and burned outside Brussels. This happened in history as recently as 1536. In this modern day and age, the Catholic church now keeps its literate masses who have access to the Bible in check by claiming that the most important doctrines were never written down at all, but are mysteries that have been passed down orally by authority and known only to the bishops! Can't seem to win... can we?
Many of the Pharisees of Yeshua's
time also intimidated and controlled every-day people with an air of superiority
based on their knowledge of the oral law. But
later in history, the oral traditions they taught became written down and today
are know as the Talmud. Most of modern Judaism is really Talmudism much the way
Christianity today is Paulinism. Back when Yeshua said, not one "jot or
tittle" of the Law would pass away, he was intentionally disenfranchising
the oral traditions of the Pharisees and speaking only of Moses and the prophets
that were in writing at that time. The words "jot" and
"tittle" are specific terms referring to something
What Part of the written?
As mentioned, only the laws that are applicable to the individual are the ones the individual is responsible to keep. The first and greatest Law being to love the Lord God with all one's heart. If one truly loves God, they will want to walk in all His ways in an effort to please Him and win His favor. Some of God's laws that are directed toward loving Him, as opposed to loving one's neighbor, include the laws of cleanliness, and honoring what He has honored. These would include dietary law, laws concerning apparel, physical cleanliness, and honoring the Sabbath and observing the feast holidays. The remaining laws come under the heading: Love your neighbor as yourself. These would naturally include laws against murder, theft, deception, adultery, and so on.
If one comes from a Christian background, and out of love for God desires to start walking in His ways, they can start immediately by beginning to observe His day... the Sabbath. This is seen by God as one of the greatest expressions of love for Him because it honors what He has blessed, and it is the ultimate expression of recognizing Him as the six-day creator of heaven and earth. All Christian creationists should automatically recognize the importance of honoring God's Sabbath.
One can also start following God's Law by cleaning up their diet and refrain from eating meat that God says is detestable and unfit to eat. Most Christians believe that God told Peter through a vision that all meat had been cleansed. This is a complete misunderstanding. Please see my articles in the appendix at Dietary Law (Peter's vision) To eat, or not to eat... part 1. And Did Yeshua pronounce all foods clean? To eat or not to eat... part 2
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