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Blind Faith vs. True Faith

By cbb1962, 09 October 2013 · 2,755 views

New Testament Pauls Letters Denominations and Disciplines Context Acts
The book of Acts is the “umbrella” that covers all of Paul’s writings. Any doctrine that Paul teaches should be consistent throughout Acts and Paul's letters. I believe that any true doctrine should be consistent throughout the entire Bible. My problem is not that Paul said: "we are not under the law," it is the assumption that he meant “we are not under the law of Moses.

Please help me reconcile “We are not under the law of Moses,” with the discrepancies that I see in Acts and Paul’s letters:


The writers of the Old Testament never speak against the law and they ONLY speak positively about the law. Paul confirms this: He has never offended anything against the law of the Jews (Act 25:8); he believes all things in the Law and prophets (Acts 24:12-14); I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers (Acts 28:17); we establish the law (Romans 3:31); the law is Holy Just and Good (Romans 7:12); He delights in the Law of God (Romans 7:22); in the law, blameless (Philippians 3:5-6.) How can Paul mean “We are not under the Law of Moses”?


It was said that Jesus “would change the customs handed down to us from Moses” (Acts 6:14) If Paul meant: “We are not under the law of Moses.” (Romans 6:15) Both of these statements lead to not keeping the Law. Why aren't these statements equivalent?


There were many thousands of Jews that believed and were zealous of the law. (Act 21:20) James and the Jerusalem Counsel told Paul to pay for himself and four others to complete the Nazarite vow (Acts 21:23-24), which involved animal sacrifice. (Numbers 6:2-21) If Paul meant “We are not under the Law of Moses.” Then at best, aren't Paul, James and the counsel hypocrites? Or at worst aren't they hypocrites and orchestrating a massive deception for the benefit of the believing - zealous for the law Jews in Acts 21:20? Either way this is a big problem.


If Paul meant “We are not under the Law of Moses.” Then why does Paul’s testimony to the crowd, the High Priest, Felix, Festus, King Agrippa and the Jewish leaders in Rome say: “taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers” (Act 22:3); “believing all things in the Law and prophets” (Acts 24:12-14); “Neither against the law of the Jews… have I offended anything at all. (Act 25:8); “saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:” (Act 26:22); “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?..."(Act 26:27 ); “though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers..” (Act 28:17); “persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets…” (Act 28:23) These don’t appear to be statements of someone that believes: “We are not under the Law of Moses.


It appears that the presupposition “We are not under the Law of Moses.” Has forced these inconsistencies to be ignored. “Blind faith” is not “true faith” when it overlooks these types of inconsistencies and discrepancies. That’s willful blindness.

To me there are only two conclusions that can be reached:
  • Paul was a liar and a hypocrite to teach “We are not under the Law of Moses” then lie about it and deceive others that he wasn't against the Law of Moses.
  • Paul didn't mean “We are not under the Law of Moses” Perhaps some other law? the "commandments of men" perhaps?

  • Mat_15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.


  • Mar_7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.


  • Col 2:21-22 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?


  • Titus 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

The commandments of the LORD and the commandments of men are not the same thing.

Clint





 

Many of the moral commandments are repeated in the NT exhortations.  You are making a serious error by trying to put Christians under bondage to keep the feasts, the Sabbath, and whatever other commandments you choose from the OT law.  You cannot pit the teaching of Jesus against the teaching of Paul.  You are making serious errors in your interpretations of the Words of Jesus.

 

You are free in Christ to keep whatever you wish to, but you are in serious error to try to convince others of these things.  Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind (Rom 14:5).  

 

The issues that I stated above with Acts and Paul's writings cannot be reconciled by the “We are not under the Law of Moses” interpretation.  Can this doctrine be considered true with all these discrepancies? If you choose to be honest with yourself there is no other choice than to discard the "“We are not under the Law of Moses” doctrine.

 

That led me to look at what was being followed and what CAN reconcile Acts, Paul's Writings, the Entire New Testament, and the Old Testament. For Christians to keep the law of Moses, without man made additions and receiving "grace" when we stumble does this.  Doing what I had done all my life not matter how comfortable it was didn't matter.  

 

As far as me "choosing" what to follow: 

I follow the ones that apply to me: I'm not a woman; I can't keep those laws. I'm not a Levite Priest; I can't keep those. There isn't a Temple; It is impossible to sacrifice without a temple. I eat Biblically clean foods. (A Rabbinic Blessing isn't neccessary for this.) I observe the LORD's Biblical Feasts to the best of my ability. I keep the Sabbath. I help widows and orphans when possible. I keep the laws for a Man, a Father, a Husband, and all the others that apply to me. I lead my family to follow the laws that apply to them. I don't worship on Sunday that is the first workday of the week. I don't keep pagan celebrations like Easter, Christmas, or Holloween.  Christianised paganism is still paganism.
 
Some call what I do legalism, that's incorrect.  Legalism is following what "some man" claims God wants us to do.   What I do is my attempt to be obedient to ways the Father said to be worshiped and loved, nothing more.  
 
Do I keep everything perfectly?  Absolutely not! that's where Grace comes in...  But at least I'm trying...
 

 

You are making a serious error by trying to put Christians under bondage.

 

John takes issue with that statement:
 
1 John 5:2-3  If we love and obey God, we know that we will love his children.  (3)  We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow.

 

You are free in Christ to keep whatever you wish to, 

 

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  (Gal 5:1)
 
Please refer to Paul's quotes to the crowd, the High Priest, Felix, Festus, King Agrippa and the Jewish leaders in Rome.  He is contradicting himself if in Galatians 5:1 the Yoke of Bondage is Moses' Law...
Clint,

Your position has been nuked. You have no leg to stand on. I have already clearly illustrated how Christ, as High Priest, has officiated a new law.

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

And I reiterate, without a Temple in Jerusalem, and a Levitical priesthood - you CANNOT keep the Law of Moses.

Also your logic is flawed. If the verses that say we are not under the Law are not talking about the Law of Moses (as you say), then how can you be sure that the verses you cite are referring to the Law of Moses. Both sets of verses only say "the Law." Therefore, I assert, as you do, that your verses are not referring to the law of Moses.

This is silly. You quote Rom. 3:31 above to support your position, but let's look at the context - which you apparently never do.

Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatsoever things the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Clearly, we are justified by Faith, not Law. Verse 19 says the Law only makes us guilty. Verse 20 says NO FLESH shall be justified by your Law. Verse 21 says God's righteousness comes apart from the Law and that the Law is a witness of this fact!! It's right there, yet you can't see it! Is this a comprehension problem? Perhaps pride?

The passage goes on toward verse 31 - again, which you quote above to support your case. Let's see how that goes.

Rom 3:25 Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.
Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. ***(This is the law of the New Covenant)***
Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Rom 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Rom 3:30 Seeing it is one God, who shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Now, you are either incompetent as an exegete or you are dishonest - because verse 31 clearly says FAITH is what establishes the Law - and yet YOU dare use it to make your false case. Propitiation is by faith. Justification is by faith. Righteousness is by faith. I fulfill the Law by faith. What seems to be the problem?!

This is the irrefutable context of a passage YOU have used. Faith is what enables us to live the revelation of God Himself contained in the Law. As I said, grace teaches us to obey the Holy Spirit who indwells us BY FAITH. I have no need of an external law - I have His Spirit within me, conforming me to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).

There's no need for this drivel you're spewing. You're asking us to go backwards - away from God - not to Him. You're like Apollos - you need to have the way of God explained to you more accurately.

May God silence your falsehoods,
Bill

I have a problem with how you are interpreting what Paul said, yet you keep quoting Paul.  IF your interpretation of what he said is correct; use other sources to back it up other than Paul! You haven't addressed  any of the other discrepancies:  You focus on Romans 3:31 you have no clue what "the deeds of the Law" are and have ignored 17 other statements that you can't twist to fit your meaning.  

 

I purposely didn't include the quotes anywhere else other than Acts and Paul's Letters to show it is hardly a "slam dunk!" My position is hardly "nuked" when you haven't addressed 17 passages stated above; and  there are many other passages that are in direct opposition to what you THINK Paul said:

 

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  (1Jn 2:3-4)

 

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  (1Jn 3:4)

 

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  (1Jn 5:2-3)

 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Rev 22:14)

 
So according the these passages: You and "your Paul" are Liars, Sinners, don't love God, won't be Blessed, won't have the tree of life, and won't enter into New Jerusalem.  Not my words the writer of 1 John and Revelation.
 
According to Jesus in Matt 5:19 You and "your Paul" will be least in the kingdom.
 
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah all speak of sacrifices, the Sabbath, the Feasts, and the Law being practiced in the millennial kingdom.
 
There are hundreds in the Old Testament that are directly in conflict with your interpretation of Paul.
 
If Paul taught what you THINK he did - then according to Deuteronomy 13 he would have been guilty of being a false prophet and could have been stoned by the Sanhedrin. No one ever accused him of that! If the High Priest or Tertullus had any inkling he could have charged Paul according to Deu 13 they would have. by the way Deu 13 was the framework of the false charges against Stephen, which you conveniently didn't address.
 
So I'm guessing from the vehemence of your argument that you are one of those that believe that the only true way to understand the Old Testament is thru the lens of the New Testament...  
 
You can keep quoting Paul all you want, and declare a nuclear victory all you want.  The discrepancies are there.  You hatred of God's perfect law has you blinded.  
 
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  (Psa 19:7-8)
 
Please explain when something that is Perfect, Pure and Enlightening became Vial, Detestable and Falsehood?  
 
May the perfect, pure commandments of the LORD enlighten your eyes, and convert your soul.
 
Clint
 

 

Hi Clint,

 

It's nice to finally be talking with you and not at you.  I appreciate your response.  I especially enjoyed the quip about declaring nuclear victory - great humor.  I had a good laugh several times today as I pondered all of this.

 

Let me correct a misconception you have before addressing the specifics.  I don't believe the Law to be "Vial (vile), Detestable and Falsehood".  No Christian does.  Psalm 19 is one of my favorites.  As I've said at least twice before: grace does not mean lawlessness.  The Holy Spirit indwells Christians and compels us to obedience.  This is another straw man.  Christ's sacrifice saves me from sin, not to sin.  Christ has set me free - sin is bondage, not freedom.  I agree with Paul that the Law of Moses is holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12).  And, I also agree with Paul that "a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified ( Gal. 2:19).

 

 

You focus on Romans 3:31 you have no clue what "the deeds of the Law" are and have ignored 17 other statements that you can't twist to fit your meaning.  

 

 

I'm going to address your response to me first, and in a separate post I will address the all of the "17 other statements" in your original post.

 

I focused on Rom. 3:31 because you used it out of context.  I put the entire verse back into its context - a context which has much to say pertinent to all "17 other statements."  The issue is not whether or not the Law is holy, the issue is whether it can "justify" a man.  Paul says it can't:

 

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Rom 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 

Don't just skim over those verses - read them!  The "deeds of the law" are fulfilled in those who put their faith in Christ, not those who seek to justify themselves by their own obedience.  Sin requires propitiation - which leads me to the verses you quote from I John.

 

 

 

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  (1Jn 2:3-4)

 

 

So let's look at the context of these two verses and see if they actually support your case.

 

1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1Jn 2:3 And by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1Jn 2:4 He that says, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1Jn 2:5 But whoever keeps his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: by this we know that we are in him.

1Jn 2:6 He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1Jn 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard from the beginning.

 

When it speaks of "his commandments," the antecedent is Jesus, not Moses.  This passage is not talking about the commandments you think it is.  Jesus elevated the Law every time He said, "You have heard it said..., but I say unto you..."  Christ's commandments are greater than the Law of Moses (Heb. 1:1,2).  By the way, the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written by Paul - and the entire epistle (written by a Jew to Jews) teaches that the New Covenant in Christ is much better than the Old.

 

Back to the context above: Jesus is my propitiation.  Surely you know what propitiation is - this is what happened each year on the Day of Atonement.  The New Testament says throughout that Jesus is my atonement because He propitiated the Father.  The debt of my sin has already been paid - and out of gratitude I "walk even as He walked" - not in lawlessness.  Verse 7 above mentions commandments again.  I wonder if the context has anything to say about that...

 

 

 

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  (1Jn 3:4)

 

 

Let's put this verse back where it belongs and see what we see...

 

1Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1Jn 3:3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.

1Jn 3:4 Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

1Jn 3:5 And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

1Jn 3:6 Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither known him.

1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

1Jn 3:8 He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1Jn 3:9 Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his nature remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

 

Those who hope in Christ live pure lives - not lawless lives.  Verse 5 (after the verses you quote) says Christ has taken away my sin.  The verses about not sinning need to be understood in light of Hebrews 3.  So, does I John 3 say anything else about commandments?  Hmmm, let's see...

 

1Jn 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

1Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

1Jn 3:24 And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

 

Clearly, he is referring to different commandments.  Not gonna beat a dead horse - but this doesn't support your case either.  Next...

 

 

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  (1Jn 5:2-3)

 

 

Let's look at this one in context...

 

1Jn 5:1 Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and everyone that loves him that begat loves him also that is begotten of him.

1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not burdensome.

1Jn 5:4 For whoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.

1Jn 5:5 Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

 

Looking at the references to faith and going back to 3:22, these are clearly different commandments.  As I've illustrated AGAIN, context is key.  You can't just pluck a verse - or part of a verse - out of context to make your case.  The whole epistle needs to be taken in to account.  The whole New Testament preaches Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sin.

 

 

 
So according the these passages: You and "your Paul" are Liars, Sinners, don't love God, won't be Blessed, won't have the tree of life, and won't enter into New Jerusalem.  Not my words the writer of 1 John and Revelation.
 

 

Are you saying you are not a sinner?  Have you ever lied?  What about your sin?  You say you keep the Law?  How many animal sacrifices have you offered so far this year?  God needs to be propitiated!  The Law of Moses was never primarily about obedience - otherwise there would only be requirements and punishments.  But a large percentage of the Law of Moses deals with the priesthood (mediators) and the sacrificial system (propitiation).  As I have said over and over, without a Temple and a priesthood - you are still in YOUR sins.

 

In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable about two guys who were praying in the Temple, a Pharisee who trusted in his law-keeping, and a repentant tax collector.  You call me a sinner?  Yes, I'm a sinner.  But praise be to God who sent His Son to be the propitiation for my sin - a perfect sacrifice.  My sin has already been atoned in Christ and because of my redemption I now enjoy reconciliation with the Father.  Jesus said all the Law and the Prophets spoke of Him.  He has indeed fulfilled the Law of Moses by being the Prophet Moses predicted and by being the perfect Day of Atonement.

 

You mention Rev. 22:14 above.  You know, Jesus is worshipped as God in the book of Revelation.  I wonder...  Do you, Clint, worship Jesus as God?  Do you believe He has atoned for sin?

 

I will deal with any and all passages you have listed - especially the Acts 16 (Stephen) passage - which happens to be the most interesting one.  That one was your best argument - this other stuff is easy to nuke.  The EMPs are starting to affect my computer.  Funny thing is, it took more than one nuke to end WWII as well.

 

May God open your heart,

Bill

Firstly, Clint, I completely concur with Bill. And secondly, I think (fact is I know) you're totally off this planet; that you're wrong. In fact you are so wrong that if you were to present this argument to David H. Stern, author of the Complete Jewish Bible and the Complete Jewish Bible NT Commentary, I reckon he would whack you over the head with both books and knock out this garbage out of your head.

 

When it comes to the law, of who is under it, and who is not under it. Or perhaps the best way to put it, is who is obligated to it and who isn't, I think I would be more prone to take David Stern's approach and perspective than yours any day of the week. My reason for this is because David is a Jew. Was a Jew before coming to salvation, still is a Jew after Salvation. He is now, what he calls, a Messianic Jew.

 

More importantly, his understanding of Hebrew would totally eclipse yours, and his understanding of Greek would make you look like a total novice. And its for this reason that I tend to respect his interpretation of Scripture from a Jewish perspective than I would have for yours.

 

So, with that said and gotten out of the way, let's see what David Stern had to say in regards to us Gentiles (Goys, non-Jews) in relation to the Law (of Moses). If ever I am going to be hated, it is now. So, here goes ...

 


Galatians 5:2-4

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the message of these verses is directed to Gentiles, specifically to Gentiles who have been told by the Judaizers that they not only must believe in Yeshua but also must become Jews in order to be acceptable to God. A Gentile who heeds them and gets circumcised loses the advantage of the Messiah and has fallen away from God's grace precisely because he is trying to be declared forensically righteous by God (Gal_2:16, Gal_2:21) through legalism (literally, "by law"; see Gal_2:16).

The truth, says Sha'ul, is that now that the Messiah has come, a Gentile becomes part of God's expanded people, the Messianic Community, through trusting in God and his Son. This entails his turning from sin, seeking God's forgiveness, and being immersed into the Messiah (Gal_3:27). But it does not entail his becoming Jewish. So if he turns back to the earlier procedure for joining the people of God, he is denying the Messiah and the new procedure which he has inaugurated. What a tragedy that a Gentile believer, already declared righteous by God on the ground of his trust alone, by becoming dissatisfied and heeding the Judaizers' mistaken preaching that his trust is insufficient, would lose everything God has freely given him!

But none of this applies to Jewish believers. Sha'ul himself circumcised the Messianic Jew Timothy (Act_16:1-3). His actions during his last visit to Jerusalem were directed specifically at disproving the false charge that he told Jewish believers not to have their children circumcised (Act_21:20-27). The New Covenant through Yeshua no more cancels b'rit-milah, the "covenant of circumcision" established by God with Avraham (Gen_17:9-12), than the Sinai covenant through Moshe cancels God's promises to Avraham (Gal_3:15-18).

Thus it is any Gentile man who gets himself circumcised as a result of heeding the Judaizers who is obligated to observe the entire Torah. It is interesting that even though Sha'ul disagrees with the legalistic system which non-Messianic Judaism made of the Torah he nevertheless respects the integrity of its initiation process.

When Sha'ul wrote, a Gentile initiated into God's people Israel had to (1) immerse himself in a mikveh for ritual purification, (2) offer a sacrifice at the Temple (a requirement which ended when the Temple was destroyed) and, if a man, (3) be circumcised. In other words, circumcision is part of an initiation rite which makes a Gentile part of the Jewish community. At that point he ceases to be a Gentile, becomes a Jew and voluntarily obligates himself to do everything a Jew is expected to do. And what is a Jew expected to do? Obey the Torah. In fact, at his initiation a Gentile convert to Judaism undertakes to observe the Torah even before he fully understands what his commitment means! (Compare Luk_20:18.)

But this raises an interesting question. In a world containing more than one stream of Judaism, which version of the Torah is a proselyte expected to obey? For in the first century there were several streams of Judaism, just as there are today. Today if a Gentile becomes an Orthodox Jew, he obligates himself to obey the Torah as expounded in Orthodox Judaism, with the details of halakhah as developed in the Oral Torah. A Conservative Jewish proselyte is expected to obey halakhah, but with the interpretative variations developed in that movement. Reform Jews do not expect a convert to observe halakhah at all, since Reform Judaism grants its members freedom to follow or not follow specific customs. Likewise, it is reasonable to suppose that in the time of Sha'ul, if a Gentile was converted by Pharisees, they expected him to keep the "Tradition of the Elders" (Mar_7:3) as set forth by the Pharisees. But Sadducees or Essenes would naturally have expected a Gentile converted by them to follow their brand of Judaism.

In the light of the above, I want to raise a question which has implications for today. Could a Gentile believer, one not influenced by Judaizers or attempting to gain favor with God through legalistic works but sincerely wanting to join the Jewish people, convert to Messianic Judaism, get circumcised, and obligate himself to follow the Torah as Messianic Judaism expounds it without falling away from God's grace? In principle, I believe he could, although such a person would be the rare exception and not the rule. The following discussion of the issue, up to the final paragraph, is adapted from my book Messianic Jewish Manifesto, pp. 175-180.

Given that no Gentile needs to become Jewish in order to be saved (Act_15:1-29), why would a Gentile Christian want to convert to Judaism? One can imagine conversions of convenience for the spouse of a Messianic Jew, or for a Gentile Christian living or wanting to live in the State of Israel; but no religion, Judaism included, looks favorably on converts with ulterior motives. Judaism rightly considers yirat-HaShem, "fear of God," as the only legitimate reason for converting. If a Gentile Christian's fear of God includes not only commitment to the Messiah, but equally a commitment to the Jewish people, including the desire to serve God and his Messiah as a Jew, does the New Testament allow him to convert to Judaism?

The main texts on the subject are 1Co_7:17-20 and Gal_5:1-6 here. For years I understood them as absolutely prohibiting Gentile Christians from converting to Judaism, but the Orthodox Jewish philosopher Michael Wyschogrod wrote an article which changed my mind ("Judaism and Evangelical Christianity," in Marc H. Tanenbaum, Marvin R. Wilson and A. James Rudin, Evangelicals and Jews in Conversation, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1978, pp. 34-52). In it he notes that rabbis are required by halakhah to discourage potential converts in order to winnow out those who are insincere and suggests that Sha'ul's remarks are of this character, not absolute prohibitions.

Since Wyschogrod is a philosopher and not an historian, I had doubts. This "normal discouragement" is known from third-to-fifth century sources (Ruth Rabbah 2:16, Yevamot 47a-47b), but Sha'ul was writing in the first century, when Yeshua spoke of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim who "go about over land and sea to make one proselyte" (Mat_23:15). That is the opposite of "normal discouragement"!

Was there any first-century precedent for discouraging Gentiles from converting to Judaism? Yes; according to Josephus, Izates, King of Adiabene (near the Persian Gulf) from 36 to 60 C.E., was convinced of the truth of Judaism by a Jewish merchant named Ananias (Chananyah); his mother Helena, however, feared that if he got circumcised the people would not submit to his rule. Chananyah reassured him "that he might worship God without being circumcised, even though he did resolve to follow the Jewish law entirely; which worship of God was of a superior nature to circumcision." He was persuaded for the time being, but he had not lost his desire to convert completely; so when another Jew named El'azar (who evidently was more missionary-minded) saw him reading from the Torah and chided him for not doing what the Torah says, he had himself circumcised. This took place before he became king in 36 C.E. (See Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 20:2:3-4; Encyclopedia Judaica 1:267-268, 924; compare Genesis Rabbah 46:10.)

This evidence convinces me that if a Gentile Christian wants to identify fully with the Jewish people, the New Testament in principle would permit him to become a Jew. He should accept the whole Torah as understood in the form of Judaism to which he is converting (this is implied by Gal_5:3, where "Torah" evidently includes the Oral Torah), except where it conflicts with the New Covenant.

Most non-Messianic Jewish converting agencies have, at the very least, grave reservations about accepting into Judaism a Gentile who continues believing in Yeshua. Nevertheless a number of Gentile Christians have undergone Orthodox, Conservative or Reform Jewish conversion while retaining their faith. Sometimes this has been possible because the officiating rabbi simply did not ask whether they "still believe in Jesus"; while in several cases with which I am acquainted, the rabbi knew that the candidate retained his belief in Yeshua but permitted him to convert anyway. I know of an instance in which a Gentile Christian studied Orthodox Judaism for over a year; when he was about to enter the mikveh for the conversion ceremony he informed his rabbi that he still believed Yeshua is the Messiah. The rabbi was taken aback but allowed the ceremony to continue and eventually (after an unusual delay and several requests) mailed him a conversion certificate. A Jewish believer commented that even though this man had not concealed his faith, the rabbi had probably not understood him; instead of realizing he was serious, the rabbi had probably thought he was making a casual remark and that in the light of his year of Jewish study and practice his vestigial concern for Jesus would soon drop away. In other words, the man spoke, and the rabbi heard, but there was no real communication. I will leave the discussion here, unfinished as it is, adding only that while some Jews would regard any Gentile Christian conversion to Judaism as fraudulent if the convert continues to believe in Jesus, others respect whoever voluntarily and sincerely throws in his lot with the Jewish people, even if he does retain his faith in Yeshua.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum has pointed out another problem Messianic Judaism has with regard to conversion of Gentile Christians by non-Messianic Jewish rabbis, namely, that if we honor their conversions we are implicitly recognizing their authority in our own community. Doing that is something which ought to be discussed, not assumed.

In principle there is no reason why Messianic Judaism could not perform conversions. But the practical difficulties make it impossible at present. First, until Messianic Judaism has a clearer idea of what being Jewish in a Messianic setting means, it seems premature to convert Gentiles, enjoining them to observe the entire Torah before we ourselves have reached some consensus about what the "entire Torah," understood from a New Testament viewpoint, is! Second, no institutional arrangement exists whereby a Gentile could be converted and have his conversion recognized either by the Jewish community or by Christians-since the Jewish community does not regard Messianic Judaism as Jewish, and most Christians believe these verses prohibit conversion by a Gentile believer to any form of Judaism, even Messianic.

For Messianic Jews there is one final point, a sociological one: if many Gentile Christians were to convert to Judaism (whether through Messianic or non-Messianic rabbis), their numbers could overwhelm the born Jews in the movement, adding another problematic dimension to the relationship between Messianic Jews and the non-Messianic Jewish community.

In sum, Sha'ul in these verses is not addressing the Gentile believer who sincerely wants to cast in his lot with the Jewish people, but the Judaized Gentile, who undergoes circumcision because he thinks that by this legalistic work of his own he gains entry to God's "in-group" and attains a higher spiritual level of being. Gal_5:3 warns Gentiles influenced by the Judaizers that if they undergo conversion to Judaism, they obligate themselves to become Jewish completely, and at the same time they lose the benefits of having supposedly trusted in the Messiah. The Judaizers downplayed this obligation to obey the Torah because they didn't obey it themselves (Gal_6:12-13). But an instruction dealing with a specific problem cannot be generalized to apply to everyone everywhere throughout all time. Sha'ul does not absolutely rule out all Gentile conversion to Messianic Judaism, even though at present it is impractical. (Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern All rights reserved.  Published by JEWISH NEW TESTAMENT PUBLICATIONS, INC. e-Sword edition).

 

There were other things I was going to say, but I think Stern's commentary says it better than what I can say.

 

Blessings,

Autograph.png

Clint,

 

I have posted a reply above, I actually just posted it  (11pm - not sure why it says 5:59pm) - but since I had logged in earlier, it appears before Stephen's post.  Go back and check it out.  More to follow later - I gotta sleep sometime.  ;^)

 

I will also address the Millennium thing.

 

Bill

I get the fact that you think I am crazy.  
 
However neither you nor Bill have addressed any of the discrepancies.  You are too busy attacking the messenger rather than addressing the issues with how you interpret Paul.  
 
Since I’m “so off this planet.” Please educate me! - take a few seconds and explain: It was said that Jesus “would change the customs handed down to us from Moses” (Acts 6:14) If Paul meant: “We are not under the law of Moses.” (Romans 6:15) Both of these statements lead to not keeping the Law. Why aren't these statements equivalent? 
 
If I’m “so off this planet.” Why are these “blasphemous lies” in the New Testament?
  • And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  (1Jn 2:3-4)
  • Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  (1Jn 3:4)
  • By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  (1Jn 5:2-3)
  • Rev_12:17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 
  • Rev_14:12  Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 
  • Rev_22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
  • Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Rev 22:14)
Since I’m so obviously wrong – take a few seconds and educate me about the lie that killed Stephen and how it isn’t what you believe, and how these statements from 1st John and Revelation aren't lies.  
 
Why don’t you “whack me in the head” with an answer!!! 
 
P. S. I can’t wait to hear you try to explain away Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, and how the Law, the Sabbath, the Feasts, and Animal Sacrifice will all be practiced in the millennial Kingdom.  This should be entertaining.

 

Clint

 

I get the fact that you think I am crazy.  
 
However neither you nor Bill have addressed any of the discrepancies.  You are too busy attacking the messenger rather than addressing the issues with how you interpret Paul.  
 

 

I have addressed several "discrepancies" (so called) in each of my posts to you.  You apparently don't read them.  If you are going to ask for a response at least be courteous enough to give it due diligence.  And, by the way, the fact that Paul says "no flesh" will be justified through law-keeping (as I've pointed out, several times) IS a nuke.  Japan didn't realize she'd already lost either.

 

Bill

Bill 

When you said  "Japan didn't realize she'd already lost either." I immediately thought of these pictures of Hiroshima and Detroit 65 years later.  http://www.angelfire...aandDetroit.htm  and No I didn't see your replay until a few minutes ago.

Blind Faith versus True Faith. 
Clint, Please refer to the definition of Antinomian and Antinomianism. Antinomian teachers have thrown out the authority of the Law of God recorded in the five books of Moses. What Is Meant by the Works of the Law?, see http://www.cbcg.org/..._Appendix_N.pdf from The New Testament In Its Original Order, using Adobe Reader to see italic letters and Greek letters, which Internet Explorer or Firefox might not display. Understanding Paul’s Difficult Scriptures Concerning the Law and Commandments of God, including the introduction by Phil Neal, is found in Appendix Z from The Holy Bible In Its Original Order at http://www.cbcg.org/...Scriptures.pdf 
 
To see which phrases refer to the Torah and which to other law, in Paul's letters, view the text of these Bible references quoted in this blog from The Scriptures, (1998), and the Explanatory Notes, using http://www.biblesupp...riptures-1998/, and http://www.biblesupp...-notesdctxexe/.  
 
The apostle Paul differentiated in Greek between THE LAW, which is the Torah, and LAW without the article, which includes all other varieties of law incluing ritual and ceremonial varieties which follow the traditions of the Elders and many other pagan origins. Moral law and ceremonial are words from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which were adopted by NIV, and never occur in The Holy Bible translated from Byzantium Greek. Jesus trashed tradition but upheld all the Laws recorded by Moses. Just observe the sabbath days when God defined then to occur, in the Third Book of Moses, chapter twenty-three, being fifty-two annual Sabbath days in a solar year, plus four specific Sabbath days in the seventh lunar month of Hebrew calendar by calculation, and use the Hebrew calendar postponement rules to determine when these months occur, and from where the years and days are calculated on this planet. Details of Calendar are found on www.cbcg.org website. When we all do so, then we will fellowship with the Creator God and with Jesus Christ the Messiah on the days that they set aside to fellowship with humanity on planet Earth.
 
It is time that Orthodox Jews, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists and everyone else, including politicians and lawyers, begin to fellowships together with Jesus Christ on the day that He created, and on which He doubles the white cell production in the human body, on the preparation day for the next six days of labor. The laws recorded by Moses is the same as the Law of God, as Moses wrote all that he was instructed to record. If we remember that the Holy Bible has a Hebrew background, our problems that depend on reading only the English words of the KJV will be resolved.
Regards from Olaf.
Hi Clint,

This may be a dead horse, but I said I would answer the other references you've given - and so I shall - just been a bit busy lately.

If Paul taught what you THINK he did - then according to Deuteronomy 13 he would have been guilty of being a false prophet and could have been stoned by the Sanhedrin. No one ever accused him of that! If the High Priest or Tertullus had any inkling he could have charged Paul according to Deu 13 they would have.

They not only accused him of it, they DID stone him - and left him for dead. Acts 14:1-7, 19. And, they also tried to kill him several other times - Acts 9:23,24; Acts 9:29; Acts 21:31; Acts 25:3. Nuked. ;^)

For the majority of the references you've listed from the book of Acts (except for 6:14), I believe the following statement from Paul applies:

1Co 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;

1Co 9:20 and to the Jews 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;

1Co 9:21 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;

1Co 9:22 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.

When Paul keeps the law, he does so by grace, not compulsion. He illustrates this in Gal. 2:3 when he says "Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised." They we free to do it or not to do it. They freely chose to do it because they were trying to "win" the Jews.

Paul, in all of his epistles, speaks of being free in Christ. According to Rom. 14:4-8, I'm free to honor certain religious practices, or not to honor certain religious practices. You are free to keep the Law if you choose to do so. But, it won't justify you. And, if you choose to keep the Law, it's for you alone - you can't compel anyone else to keep it.

The issue is not whether I should behave myself or not. The issue is how do I receive justification in God's sight. The same sentiment can be found in the Old Testament as well:

Psalm 130:3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

Psalm 143:2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

Which brings us back to Acts 6:13-14. I agree that the witnesses were false. Jesus didn't come to change anything. He IS everything. If you follow Stephen's argument against his accusers, he accuses THEM of changing the customs Moses delivered. Stephen says there was a people of God before the Law (a people of promise), just as there was a people of God under the Law. Yet, even Moses and his Law were part of the same promise (7:17). But, the people of God under the Law couldn't keep it, so Moses spoke of another "Prophet." Stephen ends his speech when he gets to Jesus, "the Just One." Everything that had gone before was leading them to Jesus. Jesus is the point of the promise. Jesus is the point of the Law. This is when they stone him to death, because he had proven them guilty under the very Law they claim to champion. The Law has always been pointing to Jesus.

They couldn't keep it. No one can. Righteousness cannot come by the Law of Moses. The whole point of the matter is justification. Law-keeping cannot provide justification because it only manifests guilt. You haven't kept the Law any better than the Jews did. And, one thing is certain: the blood of bulls and goats cannot atone for your sin - especially without a Temple in Jerusalem. Apart from Christ, your law-keeping is an effrontery to the holiness of God. David was "a man after God's own heart," and he didn't want God to enter into judgment with him. In Psalm 51, David implores God's mercy and lovingkindness - not his own law-keeping - for forgiveness of his transgressions. David understood what you do not.

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6). The Just shall live by faith (Hab 2:4) not law-keeping. This is one story. New Testament Christianity is the next stage of development in this one story. The Old is a shadow of the New. This IS the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34. The next stage is the Millennium. The final stage is the Kingdom of God in the new heaven and the new earth. All of this is one story - the story of God putting away sin.

Mushroom clouds all over the place!

That's how I sees it,
Bill

I'll address offerings in the Millennium next time...

October 2019

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