Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Paul said what?!

To keep or not to keep the Torah?  That is the question.  Most of Christianity today says that the Torah was nailed to the cross.  And some go so far as to say if someone was to keep the Torah (for any reason) that they would be trampling on the blood of Yeshua.  Most of this comes from misunderstanding the letters of Shaul(Paul).  How do I know that the teaching that Shaul said that Believers should not keep the Torah is false?  Easy.  Kepha(Peter) told me.

2Kepha(Peter)3:15 And count the patience of our Master as salvation, just as our beloved brother Shaul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Master and Savior Yeshua HaMashiach. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

The first thing we see in this passage is that our salvation only comes from the patience of Yeshua.  Obviously Kepha is talking about His death on the cross.  Second,  we notice that this is what Shaul was teaching in his letters.  The third thing we see is that there are some things in Shaul's letters that are hard to understand,  which ignorant and unstable people twist to their own destruction,  as they do the other Scriptures.  And finally we see that Kepha warns us how these ignorant people,  are twisting Shaul's writings.  He simply calls them lawless.  Here we have Kepha himself telling us not to listen to people that teach that Shaul taught not to keep the Torah!  Those of you that have discussed this issue with others know that if one can't use Shaul's letters it becomes extremely difficult to defend not keeping the Torah.  Kepha makes it clear that whatever you get out of Shaul's letters you can't get that you do not have to keep the Torah without being ignorant and/or unstable.  Sadly most of Christianity just ignores Kepha's warning,  marching on blindly with Shaul remade into their own image of lawlessness.  There is a saying.  Talk is cheap.  Apparently the Believers in Jerusalem had a similar saying because when they heard rumors spread about Shaul teaching not to keep the Torah they confronted him about it.  And made him put his true belief and teachings into action.

Acts21:18 And the day following Shaul went in with us unto Yaakov; and all the elders were present.
19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things Elohim had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
20 And when they heard it, they glorified YHWH, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the Torah:
21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moshe, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the Torah.
25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
26 Then Shaul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

Here we see that there were thousands of Jewish believers in Yeshua, and that they ALL were zealous for the Torah.  We also see that there were rumors about Shaul.  Specifically that he was teaching the Jews in the diaspora not to circumcise their sons,  nor to keep the Torah.  Sounds like what most of Christianity teaches today.  Lastly we see that these rumors are false and that Shaul himself keeps the Torah!  He proves his devotion to the Torah by going to the temple and fulfilling a strictly ceremonial aspect of the Torah!  Showing that not just the moral but ceremonial aspects of Torah still apply after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Yeshua! And the pouring out of the Ruach HaQodesh!  Now some people admit that this passage proves that the Torah still applies to Believers with Israelite ancestry,  but (because of verse twenty five) they insist that Gentile Believers are different and only those four commands of Torah would apply to them.  By the way three of the four commands are dietary in nature clearly putting them in the ceremonial part of Torah.  If it is true that only these four apply to Gentile Believers,  what about the greatest and second greatest commandments?  Do they not apply to Gentile Believers?  What about murder,  or lying,  or stealing?  If this passage is to be interpreted to mean that only those four commands apply to Gentile Believers what of the ten commandments?  Do they not apply to Gentile Believers?  I know that some do in fact argue that the Shabbat does not apply to Gentile Believers.  Have they never read these passages of Scripture?

Shemot(Exodus)20:10 But the seventh day is the Shabbat of YHWH thy Elohim: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

It's safe to say if a Gentile that is in Yisrael's gates has to keep Shabbat, then a Gentile that has been grafted into the commonwealth of Yisrael itself would have to keep it too.

Yeshayahu(Isaiah)66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Shabbat to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith YHWH.

Notice ALL FLESH shall keep the Shabbat in the thousand year reign of Yeshua.  This is a prophecy of the thousand year reign by the way.  Read the context.

Yeshayahu(Isaiah)56:2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Shabbat from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to YHWH, speak, saying, YHWH hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

Yeshayahu56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YHWH, to serve him, and to love the name of YHWH, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Shabbat from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

In verse two the phrase "son of man" in Hebrew is "ben adam" which means son of Adam.  So in this verse it says that if a son of Adam keeps the Shabbat he will be blessed.  And look at verse three!  People that say they don't have to keep Shabbat because they as Gentile Believers are "separate" from Yisrael are saying exactly what YHWH told them not to say!  Finally we see in verses six and seven that Gentiles that join themselves to YHWH,  and serve Him,  and love His name,  and take hold of His Covenant,  keep the Shabbat.  And we see what blessings they receive.  Pretty good if you ask me.  So if Shaul really taught that Gentiles don't have to keep Shabbat he disagreed with Moshe, Yeshayahu and even YHWH Himself.  I don't think there is anyway that Shaul would disagree with YHWH or any of His prophets.  So I have only two choices.

1)  Shaul was just painfully ignorant of the Hebrew Scriptures.
2)  He did not teach what most of Christianity says he did, regarding Shabbat.

I'm firmly in the second camp.  But getting back to Acts.  It is obvious that there are more commands of Torah that apply to Gentile Believers than just the four mentioned in Acts 21:25.  But which ones?  Again moral vs ceremonial does not work because as I said before three of the four commands from verse twenty five are ceremonial in nature.  Acts 21:25 is talking about a decision made earlier in Acts 15.  Lets look at this passage to see what we can find out.

Acts15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moshe, ye cannot be saved.
When therefore Shaul and Barnaba had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Shaul and Barnaba, and certain other of them, should go up to Yerushalaim unto the apostles and elders about this question.
And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
And when they were come to Yerusalaim, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that Elohim had done with them.
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Torah of Moshe.
And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
And when there had been much disputing, Kepha rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago Elohim made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
And Elohim, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Ruach HaQodesh, even as he did unto us;
And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10 Now therefore why tempt ye Elohim, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Master Yeshua HaMashiach we shall be saved, even as they.
12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnaba and Shaul, declaring what miracles and wonders Elohim had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
13 And after they had held their peace, Yaakov answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14 Shimon hath declared how Elohim at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17 That the residue of men might seek after YHWH, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith YHWH, who doeth all these things.
18 Known unto Elohim are all his works from the beginning of the world.
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to Elohim:
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moshe of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Shaul and Barnaba; namely, Yehuda surnamed Barsaba and Sila, chief men among the brethren:
23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the Torah: to whom we gave no such commandment:
25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnaba and Shaul,
26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Master Yeshua HaMashiach.
27 We have sent therefore Yehuda and Sila, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
28 For it seemed good to the Ruach HaQodesh, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

The first thing we notice is that there were people teaching that the Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Torah of Moshe to be saved.  Shaul and Barnaba strongly disagreed with this teaching.  As do I.  So it was decided that They would go to the Apostles and Elders in Yerushalaim for a ruling on the issue.  There Kepha makes the argument that the only way both Jewish and Gentile hearts can be purified is through faith.  And that the only way to be saved is through the grace of the Master Yeshua HaMashiach!  Then Yaakov confirmed that Shimon Kepha was correct.  He then decided that the Gentiles coming to faith should keep these four commands.  But the verse that people tend to skip is verse twenty one.  "For Moshe of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Shabbat day."  Why would Yaakov say that?  He was making the point that the Gentiles coming to faith and that are keeping these four commands will not stop there but will continue to grow and even go to synagogue on Shabbat and learn the rest of the Torah.  This was before Believers in Yeshua were kicked out of the synagogues during the Bar Kokhba revolt.  The issue was never about if Gentile Believers should keep Torah or not.  The issue was do they need to keep the Torah to be saved.  The answer to that question is,  absolutely not!  Some will then ask about circumcision because it was talked about in this passage.  Should a Gentile Believer get circumcised not for salvation but simply out of obedience to YHWH, like Baptism?  I believe yes.  Here are some Scriptures why.

Bereshit(Genesis)17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

The covenant is everlasting,  and if a Gentile bought with money should be circumcised how much more so an adopted son of Avraham bought with the very blood of Yeshua?

Galatians3:29 And if ye be Mashiach's, then you are Avraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Yehezkiel(Ezekiel)44:9 Thus saith the Adonai YHWH; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.

This is a prophecy about Yeshua's thousand year reign on Earth.  And it appears that He will be enforcing the Torah of circumcision on any Gentile that wishes to enter His Sanctuary.  So why would I not believe in circumcision for Gentiles?  In summary,  it is a fine line between teaching not to keep Torah period.  And teaching not to keep Torah for Salvation.  It is my belief that Shaul taught the latter,  not the former.


  1. So what is your take on Titus? Seems in Galatians that Paul, Peter, James and John did not "compel" him to be circumcised. If it really was a commandment Titua was in violation of, wouldn't they have objected?