The Yoke and Burden of Messiah – The Torah or Calvary?

A commentator referred us to this link The Yoke and Burden of Messiah, and Moses | The Jerusalem Council, and I think it reasonable to see what they have to say.

In response to Acts 15.10, they say

Contrary to popular opinion, the “yoke” that neither we nor our “fathers” could bear refers not to the halacha itself (that is, the way of walking out the Torah), but rather is the responsibility for deciding and learning and knowing halacha for oneself, and learning and teaching the Torah for oneself…alone, as an outsider, with no one to help you.

Fine, but we must first go to Matthew 11.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 RSVA)

They offer,

Yeshua offers himself (at the time then, and even with us now), to come alongside us and teach us halacha, and to teach us Torah (and in that order too!). Yet even then we are not called to be alone, as Moses himself shared the burden of deciding halacha and the teaching of Torah, with others.

So what is Yeshua’s (Jesus’s) burden? The same as Moses! To decide halacha (way of walking out Torah), and to teach the Torah to the people! This burden that he shares with us through his yoke, is the same burden as expected for everyone else to share! We are to know halacha and know the Torah with others (who meet the Torah’s qualifications for who we should be yoked with)! The burden is to know how to walk out the Torah, and teach others how to do the same! If this is Yeshua’s burden, then what is his yoke? The act of helping you walk with him, helping you stay obedient to the Torah, helping you to know halacha so that you may do it.

It seems to me that they miss the entire meaning of ‘yoke’ and of Christ. A yoke was the Rabbinical school of thought. Remember, each of the Gospels appeal to a different community, and Matthew is the most Jewish of them all. In the words of Christ, we find an echo of another Rabbi, three centuries removed,

Draw near to me, you who are untaught, and lodge in my school. Why do you say you are lacking in these things, and why are your souls very thirsty? I opened my mouth and said, Get these things for yourselves without money. Put your neck under the yoke, and let your souls receive instruction; it is to be found close by. (Sirach 51:23-26 RSVA)

What the author of the piece is attempting to do is to demand that the Torah be taught, properly, but in this he creates problems,

After making a disciple, if one refuses to teach people how to keep the Torah, one effectively places a burden on the disciple to learn Torah for himself and to determine the burden of halacha on his own. This is wrong!!! In fact, according to the Torah, and to Jesus, and to Peter in Acts 15, one truly is not able to bear this responsibility alone. One truly is not able to decide halacha, and teach himself Torah alone. That is the point of knowing what the burden is, and why we need a yoke and why we need to be yoked to someone who will help!

Returning to a previously mentioned point – Christ was not to relay the Law or to create a new halacha, but to give Himself for our sins. It would seem that this discussion of the Torah has clouded their minds to this. What the burden of Christ really the teaching of the Law? Or was it Calvary. When you return to Judaism, as Hebrews warns us, you must give up Christ. The writer of the above piece is well on his way.

This post is meant only as a start of a discussion, not a rebuttal of their mistakes. Christ did not come to reteach the Torah, but to fulfill it and watch it pass away. A yoke is  school of thought concerning the Torah, but Christ says that His school (The Church) is the easy way, the right way.

It seems to me, just from several readings of this, that they are attempting to make Christ to be a mere teacher, equal with Moses, yet Christ gave the Law to Moses. It was all the additions, yokes, that helped to destroy it.

Now, do we bare the understanding of Scripture alone?

No, which is why we have Pastors and Teachers, and why God has given us His Spirit, as promised by Christ.

Again, this is not meant to be a full rebuttal, but a start of a discussion.

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226 Replies to “The Yoke and Burden of Messiah – The Torah or Calvary?”

  1. Feel free to bring this discussion to our site. It appears we come from two entirely different theological and hermeneutic paradigms.

    Our paradigm is that the Torah can not be added to nor taken away from, and all that Yeshua did, taught, and told his disciples to do and teach, is to be found within the Torah. Therefore, when Yeshua taught on “burden” and “yoke,” we go to the Torah to find what he’s talking about. You do not hold this paradigm, and only limit yourself to the immediate context – which is a good start, but without the light of Torah, you will miss what the Messiah teaches from it, for the Messiah can not add to or take away from the Torah either.

    “A yoke was the Rabbinical school of thought. ”

    Where in the Torah do you ever derive this concept? A yoke according to Torah is a reference of walking in obedience to something, together with another – the first reference is obedience with Israel to Messiah as Esau was told that he would break off the yoke of his brother – which means Esau would cut himself from Israel and walk away from Messiah; and the second reference is that of being yoked with Egypt – being obedient with Egypt to sin.

    You said, “Returning to a previously mentioned point – Christ was not to relay the Law or to create a new halacha, but to give Himself for our sins.”

    You are correct that he was not to create a new halacha. Yeshua was to clarify halacha. Like Moses (since he is the “prophet like Moses”) he came to teach Torah, and correct halacha – as it is said he said “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). Yeshua calls us to repentance – to Torah. Since he is our perfect example in how to walk out Torah, Yeshua calls us to yoke with him, and learn from him his easy burden – why is it easy? Because he actually teaches us, and equips us to walk in obedience with Him, and with others, and he’s no hypocrite; especially since he is the living Torah who walks among us, and lives through us.

  2. Actually, when we use the term “Torah,” we mean Genesis through Deuteronomy. Nothing can add to it or subtract from it. The rest of scripture is inspired commentary, on the Torah.

    It’s not a splitting of hairs. One application exonerates obedience to Torah halacha, while the other application implicates it. If “yoke” means a rabbinic school of thought, then if it’s outside of the Torah, feel free to post your reference for stating such.

    Messiah is like Joseph, Moses, and King David. He is the Davar HaShem (Word of the LORD), the Beit El (House of God), the King, Redeemer, and Savior of Israel (and we have no other King, Savior, or Redeemer than HaShem). He is the fullness of the godhead dwelling in bodily form. To say “Christ is fully God,” though ideologically correct (since I understand what you mean by it), it is an overly simplistic, and dogmatic – a statement that HaShem in his divine wisdom never sought to spell out of us in such precise terms (whereas I know many human beings who would love to add that one in for Him). Such a simplistic position derails our focus of him being the agent of HaShem that carries out His will, diminishes the very nature of his being the “seed” of the woman of Gen 3:15, and brings us dangerously close to idolatry – a position for which Judaism at large is right to condemn once that line is crossed.

    Regarding where in scripture Christ calls us to Torah, I already gave it:

    When Messiah calls us to repentance in Mark 1:15, he is calling for a repentance unto what? The Torah. The only standard for right and wrong, modeled by Yeshua himself. There is no other standard. If you want to know what Yeshua taught, then look no further than the Torah. The red-letter edition of the bible should start with highlighting all of Genesis through Deuteronomy, but sadly most publishers do not see it that way. I, however, invite you to do so.

  3. There is no punctuation in the Greek manuscripts. “God and Savior” can just as easily be “God, and Savior.” Perhaps you would have a case if the Greek word for word translation read “Our God Jesus Christ” but there is a Greek participle kai, meaning “and,” between “God” and “Savior Jesus Christ,” which could indicate separation (and this seems to be the case contextually and historically to Judaism as well). Judaism recognizes the appearance of God, and the appearance of the salvation of God separately. This is also true according to John. But it is not my intent to hijack your post here into a discussion on how the scriptures instructs us how to approach the divinity of Messiah.

    You said, “We are called to repentance to God, not to the Torah.”

    I ask: Care to define repentance apart from the Torah?

    The Hebrew word, teshuvah, from from the root word “shuv” which means to return, and in all contexts it means a turning from evil and a turning to good. The Torah, according to Paul, is “good.” It defines good and evil. Nothing else does. Nothing else can add to it or subtract from it’s definition of what is right and wrong.

  4. “JCoun, I do not make it much of a point to debate something with someone when they are in error from the key doctrine of the Godhead.”

    Find your position concerning the godhead from the boundary of the Torah (Gen-Deut), and then we’ll talk. Otherwise, your position isn’t any better than Mormons who knock on the door claiming to have another “new” testament, and you make the apostles into adding to or subtracting from Torah.

    As I said, without punctuation, the Greek “theou kai soteros Iseou” can mean both “God and Savior” or “God, and Savior” or else one would have to start eliminating the comma after every translated “kai” in the writings of the apostles, which could produce some interesting results in the English.

    Keep in mind that we both can be grammatically correct, but that being grammatically correct does not make you or me theologically correct. For if it was written that “Peter and Jesus slept together in the tent” – you’d have every right according to the rule of grammatical interpretation, to infer they had homosexual sex. However, there is more to interpretation than just grammar, since it is the context of Judaism and that of Torah that the scriptures are framed. Since we know the Torah does not allow for God (Eloheim) to be a man (Num 23:19), then either Paul is contradicting Torah when he says “God and Savior Jesus,” or is communicating a concept found within Torah “God, and Savior Messiah” – just as we know the Torah does not allow for anyone claiming to be the Messiah to be a homosexual (or any other sinner for that matter).

    We know Messiah is God’s son for it is written, “Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?” (Deuteronomy 32:6).

    We repent to HaShem, yes, the result being our obedience to Torah, as it is written, “and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today,” (Deuteronomy 30:2).

    Please define for me, what it means to repent, apart from obedience to doing what is right; and then please define for me right and wrong, apart from the Torah.

  5. “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46).

    If you have missed Moses, you have missed Messiah entirely.

  6. Hey Polycarp-

    Not to interrupt a very interesting discussion, but I have a couple of questions for you.

    Do you believe that Jesus came to abolish the law?

    What laws are written on the hearts of those who believe?

    Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

    -The Orange Mailman

    P.S. Messianic friends, the psalms prophesy that Messiah would be God in the flesh, Psalm 45:6-9, 50:1-6.

  7. Yes, Jesus is God.

    Colossians 2:8-9

    8 See to it that no one takes you captive through (U)philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

    John 5:18

    8 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

    John 10:30-33

    30 “I and the Father are one.” 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

    John 8:58

    Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, (CW)I am.”

    and perhaps the best evidence, when asked if He was Jesus, He replied, “I am” (the word ‘he’ is not in the original) and the people fell to the ground.
    John 18:6

    As soon then as he had said unto them *, I am he, they went backward *, and fell to the ground.

    And the great passage John 1:1-18.

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

    3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

    6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

    10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is n the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

    As for whether the Law is abolished, no – it was fulfilled. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. But in fulfilling it, He fulfilled the prophecies in Law and the Prophets concerning him, and so fulfilled the debt sinners incur by being sinners. Thus, the effect is the same as if He had abolished it, but the cause is different- we are no longer under the Law. As Paul wrote in Romans 7:6, “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. .” I wrote something on this: http://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/what-do-abolish-and-fulfill-mean-in-matthew-5-13-20/

  8. Shalom Polycarp. Hope this finds you well.

    I wanted to offer a few thoughts that pertain to this thread, specifically on your comment here…

    “Returning to a previously mentioned point – Christ was not to relay the Law or to create a new halacha, but to give Himself for our sins. It would seem that this discussion of the Torah has clouded their minds to this. What the burden of Christ really the teaching of the Law? Or was it Calvary. When you return to Judaism, as Hebrews warns us, you must give up Christ. The writer of the above piece is well on his way.”

    It seems there is an unnecessary dichotomy made in this statement: “Christ was not to relay the Law or to create a new halacha, but to give Himself for our sins.” Why couldn’t Messiah very well have done both? Surely he came to show us the way to love, and where else is love more clearly defined as in Torah – both toward YHWH and man.

    I think there is also an unnecessary dichotomy made in this statement as well: “What [sic] the burden of Christ really the teaching of the Law? Or was it Calvary.” It would be anachronistic to suggest that when Jesus made the statement he did in Matthew 11 that he was referring to his death. His lingo is rich with rabbinic overtones. Plus, it clearly is an allusion to Jeremiah 6:16. This doesn’t mean that Calvary wasn’t a burden for Jesus. It was a burden he carried on our behalf. However, I wouldn’t say that it was light!

    I agree with you that too much focus on Torah “has clouded their minds.” Clearly “Messiah is the goal of the Torah for righteousness to everyone who believes” [Romans 10:4]. In light of this, however, it would be equally legitimate for one to say of you that too much focus on the cross has clouded your mind on the significance and importance of the way Jesus lived and what he taught.

    The point I wish to make [to all involved in this conversation] is that there is no need to be unbalanced in one’s perspective on these matters. Jesus’ death would have meant nothing had he not faithfully obeyed Torah; his Messiah-ship would be invalid had he not taught, rather promote, correct Torah obedience [Deut. 18.15-22; Matthew 5:17-20]. Moreover, Jesus’ death would have meant nothing without him being raised up! All three of these realities are of equal importance. To give any one more focus takes away from the others’ importance.

  9. Polycarp-

    What about my second question? What law is written on the hearts of those who believe? I’m thinking of Jeremiah 31:33, where it is stated that the house of Israel will have God’s law written on their hearts. What law would that be? If the New Covenant in Messiah’s blood is the New Covenant with the house of Israel referred to in Jeremiah 31:33, how does that affect Gentile and Israelite application of the law being written on our hearts?

    “Once fulfilled, it was due to be old” ?????????

    Based on the answer to the question above, I hope you can see how I raise an eyebrow at your statement. If the ten commandments (for lack of a better tangible expression) are written on the hearts of those who are part of the new covenant, then they are certainly not old, but fulfilled since the Holy Spirit quickens us to be able to obey the laws freshly written on our hearts. If they are old, then you would say they are outdated. The ten commandments outdated? Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word (including the ten commandments) will never pass away. It will always be a sin to lie.

    Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

    -The Orange Mailman

  10. If you can’t preach “Jesus Christ is God” from the Torah, then you have a false Messiah, and your Jesus doesn’t matter.

    But to head off the discussion entirely, remember that I said I agree with you ideologically on the matter. I just disagree on how the divinity of Messiah is presented by you. I choose to stay confined to the text of scripture concerning this matter. You seem to be comfortable to go beyond it. And that is only really where do disagree.

  11. You wrote, “Col 2:14 – Christ abolished the curse against us (by becoming a curse for us). The promises remain. Forever. For if the Torah is abolished, then according to what Torah does Messiah have eternal life, a life of which we too can inherit only through him?”

    But that is not what scripture said. Colossians 2:14 says that God cancelled the written code with its regulations.

    Col 2:13-14

    13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

    You wrote “Rom 10:4 – teleos is better translated “goal” – that Messiah is the goal of the Torah. ”

    And when that goal was met, there was no further need for it.

    You wrote, “Gal 3:25 – The Torah has multiple functions towards us depending on our relationship to God. Before, when we were unbelievers, the role of the Torah was to condemn us – to lead us to Messiah. Now that we have faith in Messiah, the Torah no longer condemns us, but now its role takes on an entirely different function (once the curse is removed). ”

    Gal 3:25 says,

    25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

    Scripture is useful for training. But do not confuse following the letter of the law with the spirit of God.

    You wrote, “Eph 2:15 – the code that is canceled is the man-made enmity of the oral tradition that commands separation between Jew and Gentile (there is no such separation commanded in the written Torah) .”

    But Ephesians 2:14-16 actually says Christ destroyed the barrier between Jews and Gentiles, and between man and God by abolishing the LAW.

    14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

    Scripture said Christ abolished the LAW.

    You wrote, “Romans 7:6 – If we are serve in the new way of the Spirit, then serve in the way of Torah, for Paul calls the Torah “spiritual” a few verses later in Romans 7:14: “We know that the Torah is spiritual.””

    But serving in the way of Torah is serving in the OLD way.
    Romans 7:6

    6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

  12. wbmoore, greetings, this is Joel.

    Quick question. What verse, or reference do you have in mind here:

    “Second, fulfill means the debt is no longer in force because it has been met. Thus since the debt has been met, the requirements to pay the debt are no longer in force. Abolish means the debt is cancelled and so the requirements to pay the debt are no longer in force. The effect is the same, the requirements for the debt are no longer in force. But the cause is different.”

  13. wbmoore, I appreciate the quick reply – Thanks.

    It seems that this subject is one that you’ve spent significant time looking into [i.e. the relationship of Torah to the follower of Christ]. I can appreciate that due to the fact that this subject is, unfortunately, widely neglected. I’ve done quite a bit of research and searching out of this relationship as well. As much as it’s the case I have many questions to find answers for, I would like to extend some thoughts that would hopefully provoke further contemplation and consideration of this matter.

    You said:

    “So what is the difference between abolish and fulfill? Abolish means cancel, destroy, or terminate (ie. I no longer have to pay a debt if the debt is abolished/cancelled). Fulfill means complete (ie. I no longer have to pay a debt once the debt has been completed/met).”

    I totally agree with you when you say that abolish means “cancel, destroy, or terminate,” and that fulfill means “complete.” I agree that in the context of which these words are found Jesus has in mind these descriptions. However, I’m not quite sure how you then conclude that these words are in reference to any kind of “debt.” I understand and agree that Christ payed [fulfilled] the debt incurred by us from our sin; thus, the debt has been abolished. But, to correlate the two concepts [our sins and Jesus’ legitimacy as a prophet] would be anachronistic. Moreover, immediately following this statement, Jesus, as a good Rabbi, then extended his “yoke,” or interpretation of Torah, giving evidence of his advocacy of Torah obedience.

    [Note as well that when Jesus says, “You’ve heard that it was said…” he was not referring to the written Torah – he was referring to what the “tradition of the elders” [oral law] had to say on a matter. If Jesus was referring to the written Torah in those statements, the Scriptures would have said, “It is written,” like it does in every other part where someone quotes Scripture.]

    What Jesus is alluding to in this statement is Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:15-22. The Sermon on the Mount has to be understood to be within the bounds of God’s Torah [instruction] if Jesus is to be considered a legitimate prophet, which he is. As much as you may agree, you must take the logical steps and conclude that Jesus would have had nothing to do with any abolition of God’s instruction for righteous living – whether directly or indirectly. [In fact, because Christians suggest that he did the Jews have wanted nothing to do with him because Messiah cannot do that.]

    Now, to ease your expected frustration resulted from hearing the same thing which you may have heard before, let me say that the main influence that causes one to see Torah and its relationship with the follower of Christ the way you’ve dispalyed is a belief that God gave Torah to somehow “save,” or have something to do with “making one righteous until salvation.” This was never a part of God’s intention. It’s a false premise in any argument. God redeemed his people before he gave them them law. The same is true for those in Messiah. Law is necessary for Kingdom living.

    God gave Torah to his people for many reason [more than one], of which you seem to know some; but it was never to “save” them.

    Therefore, the question is not “Is Torah applicable for the believer?” Rather, the question is, “How can I obey God.” Not all the commands are applicable to everyone. I’m not a priest, a woman, I don’t have kids, I’m not a Levite, etc.

    If we presuppose certain things about certain matters we will obviously conclude certain conclusions. My intention here is simply to challenge your presuppositions. I really do hope that challenge can be received in love, from one trying to encourage and edify.

    shalom in Messiah.

    [P.S. To throw you for a loop, in Hebrews 8:13 the word “covenant” is not in the original Greek.]

  14. The Torah is all about Messiah. Every sentence, word, jot, tittle, phrase, book, from the whole Torah to the minutest detail. As faithful followers of Messiah, when we read of anything in the Torah, we should ask “what does this have to do with the Messiah?” If you visit our site, you will see that Messiah is all over the Torah, not just the bits and pieces you’ve found on the web.

    If you are a believer, then Messiah Yeshua desires to live through you, for he is still obedient to the Torah (he never sins). The same standard of righteousness that condemns the unbeliever still is the same standard for righteousness for the believer. There is only one standard for sin. Not two, and not none at all. Paul includes the Torah (and it can be argued that it is only the Torah) when he says all scripture is available to the man of God to instruct him in doctrine and right living. This means there is no defunct parts of the bible, including Torah that is not part of that function towards the believer. Again, I refer you to a clear understanding of Romans 7 – the link was provided above.

  15. wbmoore, thanks for the comments in return.

    It would be anachronistic, out-of-its place, to suggest that Jesus had in mind his death and resurrection when he said what he said in Matthew 5:17. Before Jesus shared his “yoke” of Torah he was telling his listeners his intention of fulfilling it, or living it out how it was supposed to be lived out [e.g. “to the full” – he was going to obey Torah perfectly.] And, yes, he was the only one who has, ever. There’s no need to hijack this verse by implying that Jesus had in mind his payment for sins.

    I think that you are confused to what we [all humans] were bound to prior to being redeemed by God’s grace. You seem to suggest that it was the Law and Jesus released us from it. We were bound to sin, which found it’s power in the Law. Therefore, when we are forgiven of our sins through Messiah, the Law can no longer condemn us. We are no long “under law” but “under grace.” Does this mean we ought to neglect the Law’s righteous instruction? Let alone think it’s been abolished!? Does this mean then we must “rely” on the law for righteousness? Yes, BUT NOT a “saving” righteousness – rather a “righteousness” that pertains to how I ought to treat my fellow man.

    You need to be careful not to read Patristic/Reformed/Protestant/Evangelical theology into these Scriptures. You are using Paul’s idioms to mean something entirely different then he meant. To be “under” the Law meant to be in a position to where the Law can condemn you. So, if you are free from sin, the Law no longer condemns you. You are set free to abide by the “law of liberty” [James 1:25].

    Also, no body can love God or their neighbor by doing anything that the Torah hasn’t already suggested, either by explicit command, or implicit command. That’s what Paul has in mind when he says we must follow the spirit of the law. To suggest that one can love God or neighbor in any fashion that Torah doesn’t describe would be to say that we thought of something God hasn’t, pr better yet, we are more capable of establishing a way to love than God is. Think about it.

    I’m not Jewish by the way. Nor am I am Judaizer. I believe with all my heart that God’s Son Jesus paid the ransom for our sins, Jew and Gentile alike. I believe once we’ve been redeemed from our sins and made a part of God’s people through Messiah we are given the privilege to partake of all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who has called us to his own glory and excellence. I’ve come to see that God’s instructions on how to do life, or his Torah, is a significant piece to the “things that pertain to life and godliness.”

    There is absolutely no innate negative aspect of Torah – it is holy, and righteous and good. The negative things attached to it only come when you add the sinful person.

    Perspective is key.

  16. wbmoore, thanks for the comments in return.

    It would be anachronistic, out-of-its place, to suggest that Jesus had in mind his death and resurrection when he said what he said in Matthew 5:17. Before Jesus shared his “yoke” of Torah he was telling his listeners his intention of fulfilling it, or living it out how it was supposed to be lived out [e.g. “to the full” – he was going to obey Torah perfectly.] And, yes, he was the only one who has, ever. There’s no need to hijack this verse by implying that Jesus had in mind his payment for sins.

    I think that you are confused to what we [all humans] were bound to prior to being redeemed by God’s grace. You seem to suggest [by implication] that it was the Law and Jesus released us from it. We were bound to sin, which found it’s power in the Law. Therefore, when we are forgiven of our sins through Messiah, the Law can no longer condemn us. We are no long “under law” but “under grace.” Does this mean we ought to neglect the Law’s righteous instruction? Let alone think it’s been abolished!?

    You need to be careful not to read Patristic/Reformed/Protestant/Evangelical theology into these Scriptures. You are using Paul’s idioms to mean something entirely different then he meant. To be “under” the Law meant to be in a position to where the Law can condemn you. So, if you are free from sin, the Law no longer condemns you. You are set free to abide by the “law of liberty” [James 1:25].

    Also, nobody can love God or their neighbor by doing anything that the Torah hasn’t already suggested, either by explicit or implicit command. That’s a part of what Paul has in mind when he says we must follow the spirit of the law. [Surely I don’t need to build a parapet around my roof, but I do need to shovel the snow off my sidewalk so someone doesn’t slip and fall.] To suggest that one can love God or neighbor in any fashion that Torah doesn’t describe would be to say that we thought of something God hasn’t, or better yet, we are more capable of establishing a way to love than God is. Think about it.

    I’m not Jewish by the way. Nor am I am Judaizer. I believe with all my heart that God’s Son paid the ransom for our sins, Jew and Gentile alike. I believe once we’ve been redeemed from our sins and made a part of God’s people through Messiah we are given the privilege to partake of all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who has called us to his own glory and excellence. I’ve come to see that God’s instructions on how to do life, or his Torah, is a significant piece to the “things that pertain to life and godliness.”

    There is absolutely no innate negative aspect of Torah – it is holy, and righteous and good. The negative things attached to it only come when you add the sinful person and especially misunderstanding [read Galatians].

    Perspective is key.

  17. Joel U.,

    Sorry it took so long to reply.

    You wrote, “It would be anachronistic, out-of-its place, to suggest that Jesus had in mind his death and resurrection when he said what he said in Matthew 5:17. Before Jesus shared his “yoke” of Torah he was telling his listeners his intention of fulfilling it, or living it out how it was supposed to be lived out [e.g. “to the full” – he was going to obey Torah perfectly.] And, yes, he was the only one who has, ever. There’s no need to hijack this verse by implying that Jesus had in mind his payment for sins.”

    I will give you this: It is not necessarily the case that Christ was referring to His death and resurrection in Mt 5. However, given that Jesus Christ knew his role in life, I do not think it out of place to think He knew, when He gave the Sermon on the Mount, that His end on this earth as a human would result in his suffering, death, and resurrection. In fact, I think that is what He was alluding to when He said, “until everything is accomplished” (Mt 5:18; cp. Jn 19:30, Lk 24:43-45). He knew in Jn 3:14 that He would suffer, die and be resurrected. Why would He have not known and referred to it in Mt 5? I think it makes sense, given that He was speaking of the need for righteousness.

    You further wrote, “. We were bound to sin, which found it’s power in the Law. Therefore, when we are forgiven of our sins through Messiah, the Law can no longer condemn us. We are no long “under law” but “under grace.” Does this mean we ought to neglect the Law’s righteous instruction? Let alone think it’s been abolished!?”

    I agree we are no longer under law but under grace. I am not saying to ignore the Law’s instruction, I am saying we are not required to follow it. There is a difference. I think we serve by the spirit, rather than the letter of the law.

    You went on, “nobody can love God or their neighbor by doing anything that the Torah hasn’t already suggested, either by explicit or implicit command.”

    But you see, you are now reading into scripture by stating implicit command. I would understand this to be being led by the spirit, rather than the letter. Your example is an example of reading out of the Law what is not there – though I would agree with you. I think Jesus’ example of the good Samaritan was an example of living by the spirit as opposed to the letter.

  18. Israel,

    I am combining all your three posts to me into one response. This will probably be my last comment on this topic for now, as it is taking up way too much time and nothing new is being said and no one is convincing anyone. But I am responding out of courtesy.

    You wrote, “Paul never taught them to “love the LORD your God?” or “love your neighbor as yourself?””

    Teaching one or two specific instructions, which summarize the Law does not mean Paul taught people to follow the Law.

    I wrote, “But we know from Paul that the purpose of the law was to lead people to Christ (Galatians 3:19,24). Once that purpose was met, we were freed from it (see previous discussion).”

    You responded, “The mistake many make, is to assume the Torah only has one purpose. It has multiple purposes, for Paul himself attests to this in 2 Tim 3:16-17 when he says it “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Obviously Paul is referring to the same Torah but two entirely different purposes to two entirely different people: to bring the condemned sinner to Messiah in Galatians 3:19,24; and to teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness the “man of God” to do good works in 2 Tim 3:16-17. Two different people, two entirely different purposes.”

    The verse you partially quoted does not say the Law was useful in such training, but ALL scripture, which would include the Law.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17

    16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    Yes, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” But this does not mean follow the Law, any more than it means to do what Eve did. Find the principles found in scripture and use them to train people.

    I wrote, “It is evident in Galatians 2:5 that Paul was teaching against adding anything to Christ, including following the Law.”

    You responded, “Although you are theologically correct that one is not not add anything to Christ (including one’s works), that is not what Paul was teaching against. ”

    You are mistaken. Paul was writing to people who were getting circumcised, so he was writing to Gentiles who were being affected by Judiazers. He was clear there was no need to be circumcised. He did not want people adding to Christ.

    I wrote, “Paul did not want the Galatians to follow the Law, when they became righteous through faith, not by following the Law.”

    You responded, “Again, true theology, but a false premise. No one ever in all of Jewish history has believed that a Gentile became righteous by following the Torah given to Israel.”

    But Paul was not writing to Jews, he was writing to Gentiles who were turning to the Law.

    I wrote, “Paul wrote the Galatians were turning back to weak and miserable principles in Galatians.”

    You responded, “Answer me this: how can Gentiles TURN BACK to a Torah”

    I did not claim the Galatians were turning back to the Law. I wrote (which you ignored), “Paul did not want people to follow either the customs of the pagans or the Law.”

    “In fact, rather than pointing people to the Law to indicate how to act, he pointed to internal characteristics which have external evidences in Galatians 5:22-23.”

    You wrote, “Define love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, apart from the Torah. The Torah defines all of these.”

    The Torah gives concrete examples of how to express these traits, but not all examples of such traits are found in the Torah. Take the principles and teach them.

    You wrote, “the fruit of the spirit is more than just an emotion. They are actions.”

    The fruit of the spirit are internal traits which are expressed through actions. Not all expresisons of those traits are found in the Torah.

    You wrote, “Do you believe that love of God is just a feeling, or actions, or both? If actions or both, who defines it?”

    I believe it is an emotion that is expressed through actions. The Torah provides some concrete examples of how to express the love we are to have.

    You wrote, “define love God and love your neighbor. The Torah gives you the answer. ”

    But the idea is to take the principles found in the Torah and apply them, for not all expressions of the principles taught in Torah are found in it.

    I wrote, “The summary of the Law is to love God and love your neighbor. This does not mean you should murder someone because they do not keep Sabbath on Saturday.”

    And you responded, “According to whose standard? Your own? Or God’s? ”

    Again, you missed the point. That statement was made in response to your wanting to argue the division of the Law. God does not want us to murder. And Paul was clear about following the laws of the governments.

    “If the spirit of the law was “more important” than the letter, and the letter can be disobeyed, then why did Moses follow through with following this commandment to the letter?”

    Ah, but that was before the New Covenant. The Law was given then and there to those people, but all believer have the New Covenant.

    I wrote, “(The Command of the Cities of Refuge) did not apply during the exodus because it was not given at that time.”

    You responded, “Actually it was. The entire Torah was given to Israel before Moses died, and Moses dies, if you recall, outside the Land before Israel crosses the Jordan with Joshua.”

    Ok, you are correct, don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that. Thanks.

    I wrote, “Please provide scripture to support this idea (that Israel could not do certain commands except in the Land) .”

    In brief, you responded, “Lev 19:23, and Lev 25:2 (as examples).”

    Thanks. I was trying to figure out what you meant. That clarified it for me.

    I wrote, “Second, the spirit of that instruction was not to take as many wives as desired, but to take only one wife.”

    You responded, “If the spirit of the law was for him to only take one wife, then why does the law say “wives?”

    He did not have to say take one wife because God had originally laid out the model for marriage – one man and one woman (ie. Adam and Eve). He said it in the negative, specifying to not practice what the nations practiced.

    Paul was clear we have no need to follow the Law.

    Colossians 2:13-14

    13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

    You wrote, “Paul was not a Platonist, but a Hebrew Torah Rabbi. When he spoke of “shadow” he refers to the biblical concept of “pattern” as in the Earthly Tabernacle being the pattern of the Heavenly. Both co-exist. Both are good. One is simply better, but both are desired. Notice that it is written “these ARE a shadow” not “these WERE a shadow.” The “good” “pattern” still exists, yes the “better” “pattern” is what the believer has access to (even if one judges you for keeping the “good” “pattern” too). Why? Because God’s word never changes, and never ceases, and our privilege is greater than those who only have access to the “good” “pattern” and not the “better” “pattern.””

    As I said, you are free to follow the Law, so long as you do not deny grace. I am free in Christ and have no need to follow the Law to the letter.

    As I wrote at the beginning of this comment, this will probably be my last comment on this topic for now, as it is taking up way too much time and nothing new is being said and no one is convincing anyone.

  19. “Teaching one or two specific instructions, which summarize the Law does not mean Paul taught people to follow the Law.”

    If Paul doesn’t mean for you to follow the Torah, then please explain to me, in clearest terms, how one loves God and others?

    “I wrote, “But we know from Paul that the purpose of the law was to lead people to Christ (Galatians 3:19,24). Once that purpose was met, we were freed from it (see previous discussion).””

    If Paul calls the Torah (as well as the rest of scripture) “good” for equipping the “man of God” to do “good works,” are you saying then that when one becomes a believer, they are freed from doing what is right?

    “The verse you partially quoted does not say the Law was useful in such training, but ALL scripture, which would include the Law.”

    That’s the point. All of the Torah, including the rest of the scripture, is useful for equipping the man of God to do good works. Do you believe this, or do you only believe that part of the Torah (and thus not ALL scripture) is useful for equipping the man of God to do good works?

    “But this does not mean follow the Law, any more than it means to do what Eve did.”

    Adam and Eve were given the Torah to serve and keep in Gen 2:15 (“it” refers not to the garden, but to the Torah; this is proven through Hebrew gender association rules of Hebrew grammar, furthermore the Targumim which were written in Yeshua’s day and earlier confirm this as well).

    “Find the principles found in scripture and use them to train people.”

    And this conclusion is based on what hermeneutic? Does God only intend his principles to be carried out, or his specific instructions as well? And since when are God’s instructions not the principle itself?

    “You are mistaken. Paul was writing to people who were getting circumcised, so he was writing to Gentiles who were being affected by Judiazers. He was clear there was no need to be circumcised. He did not want people adding to Christ.”

    So every American male who is circumcised from birth, has added to Christ and their salvation is at stake? Since when is doing circumcision for the right reason (out of obedience to God, rather than out of securing one’s place in the world to come), wrong? Since when is any obedience to God’s Word, wrong? Is that what you’re saying? Are you saying that when one obeys God, they are committing a sin? Are you saying anyone who keeps God’s commandments, are losing their salvation? What then do you promote? Torahlessness? If I recall correctly, that’s what the Man of Torahlessness, otherwise known as the Anti-Christ, promotes.

    “The Torah gives concrete examples of how to express these traits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control), but not all examples of such traits are found in the Torah.” and “The fruit of the spirit are internal traits which are expressed through actions. Not all expressions of those traits are found in the Torah.”

    Which of the traits above are not found in the Torah? Name just one. If Paul added a description of God (the Spirit) not found in the Torah, then he’s a false prophet according to Deut 13 and you should tear his writings out of the bible if that’s the case. Otherwise, you just gave the Mormons reading this post a great case for them to preach the same about Joseph Smith and the god teaches, for if one great man (like Paul) can add to the Torah the description of who God’s Spirit is (the traits of the Spirit), then so too can a man like Joseph Smith.

    “Take the principles and teach them.”

    This sounds good, but what is this teaching based on? Did God only mean to have his principles followed, but not his specific instructions?

    “But the idea is to take the principles found in the Torah and apply them, for not all expressions of the principles taught in Torah are found in it.”

    I agree and disagree. I agree with your premise that the Torah gives us specific examples to apply to other areas of our life, this is true, but there is not a single area of life that is not covered by the Torah. All examples and “expressions” are thus contained therein. The rabbis even make a point that the entire Torah, with all its letters, contains every single expression of obedience and disobedience to HaShem that has or ever will exist, and thus all of history, past, present, and future are contained within the Torah as it is rolled into a three dimensional scroll. Yet I do welcome any challenge from you to prove to me that Paul writes something that is not found in the Torah, or any biblical writer for that matter.

    “The Law was given then and there to those people, but all believer have the New Covenant.”

    The Law was given after the Promise of eternal life through Messiah, or do you not believe this? Abel, Abraham, and yes even Moses, if you recall in Hebrews 11, were believers. What then was the purpose of the Torah, which came after their faith in Messiah (and thus their salvation), to them? Tell me if you know. If not, I will be glad to tell you. It was to “equip the man of God” for “good works.” The purpose of the Torah changed for them – they were no longer condemned by it, but now continued in being instructed into good works by it – just as it still does today for all those who believe in Messiah – for “every” man of God.

    “Paul was clear we have no need to follow the Law. ” and “I am free in Christ and have no need to follow the Law to the letter.”

    No need for what? Salvation? Of course not. For love of God? You bet. Otherwise, are you then saying that you have no need to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? (Deut 6:5)”?

    “As I said, you are free to follow the Law, so long as you do not deny grace.”

    I don’t think the topic of justification by grace is disputed by anyone, Jew, Messianic, or Christian. It’s a strawman to believe that one keeps the Law in order to be saved, since no Jew believes this. So once we’re done burning that strawman of “Salvation-through-Lawkeeping” together, we can get on to what is most important: loving God and others with our obedience and desires submitted to his Word, and not to our own arbitrary standards; not because we are striving to gain salvation, but because we already have it.

    Shalom.

  20. Israel,

    I am not going to address each point in your post again. We have talked about love for God. We have talked about the Law and whether we are free from it. We have talked about applying scripture. We take the idea of applying theprinciple of scripture to our lives rather than just the letter from the idea seen in scripture where Paul applies the spirit but not the letter.

    This all boils down to whether we are free from the Law or free from the law for justification. We know we are free from the Law, period. If we were not free from the Law, then Paul would have told the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 6 to kill the man who had his father’s wife, but they were not told to kill him. The principle applies, but not the punishment.

    And no, the Torah does not directly address everything, but the spirit of the Torah does.

  21. “where Paul applies the spirit but not the letter.”

    If anyone preached against the letter of God’s Word, are they not by definition then preaching disobedience?

    “If we were not free from the Law, then Paul would have told the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 6 to kill the man who had his father’s wife, but they were not told to kill him.”

    With all due respect, but your analysis of what they “should” have done, is ignorant of the Torah that explicitly calls for due process, in the Land, with capital authority, otherwise what you describe here is nothing more than vigilante justice which the Torah describes as murder. Your example goes completely against God’s Torah, and any congregation would doing what you describe should have been done, would not have been walking in love, but in hate.

    Since all the Torah hangs (or comes from) “love God,” and “love your neighbor,” which means all Torah is instruction in how to love God and your neighbor; and if one refuses to obey God’s instruction in the Torah in how to love God and one’s neighbor, such a refusal to do so would be by definition, be hate.

    Let me restate it for all those who read this: Do not obey God, is to hate him. To not obey God to love him as he instructs, is to hate him. To not obey God to love others as he instructs, is to hate him and them. If one truly loves God, and truly loves their neighbor, they will cease from acts of hatred as defined by God, and submit to his Word, the Torah he gave to Moses, that “hangs” from “love God, and “love your neighbor.”

    Shalom.

  22. And may our fruit be proven true by God’s Word, and not by our own feelings.

    “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:18).

  23. “So much emphasis is there in the Torah on exonerating the guilty, that the behavior engaged in was supposed to be warned against first, and the warning had to be witnessed by two qualified witnesses as well. ”

    What about Deuteronomy 22:25-27?

    25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, 27 for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

    “The letter of the law, if followed, is not the nightmare vigilante justice system you propose.”

    Actually, I am not proposing any such thing. I am saying scripture tells us we are free from the Law. Period. I can find no caveat to be found in scripture that says we are free from it for justification but we are still do follow the letter of the Law. Please provide scripture supporting this idea.

    Scripture says all food is clean (Romans 14:14), yet the letter of the Law says that is not the case. We’ve already argued this, and you disagree that food includes all animals, but it does ( http://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/should-christians-keep-the-jewish-dietary-laws/ ). The letter of the Law says to not eat certain foods, but the spirit of it is to be holy.

    I have a Messiah who came through the promised branch of mankind. He was Jewish, but He was more than that – He was human. He is the Messiah for all who believe. Faith in his redeeming work makes me a member of God’s chosen family. Adam was not Jewish, and neither was Abraham – it was not until after Jacob was named Israel that the tribe of Israel came to be. The best you can say in this area is I am a spiritual Jew (which is what Romans 2:29 says). But I am not Jewish by blood, nor would I ever want to be Orthodox Jewish. I am a follower of CHRIST, and trust in Him solely. And because of that, I have freedom in Christ, thanks to the grace and mercy of Our Lord Christ Jesus. I am made clean by faith in Christ. Nothing from outside me makes me unclean (Mark 717:23), unlike what the Law says (Leviticus 5:2). Scripture says physical circumcision does not matter (Romans 2:25-29) and to NOT be circumcised if you are not already (1 Corinthians 7:17-19). In fact, Paul was clear He was not teaching circumcision (1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 5:6-11).

    I agree we are to do what is right. We disagree on what that is. Scripture says we are freed from the Law, there are no caveats to that statement found in Scripture. But I agree if we have faith, then God has written His Law upon our hearts. As we grow close to God, He will make clear the things HE wants us to work on.

  24. “I can find no caveat to be found in scripture that says we are free from it for justification but we are still do follow the letter of the Law. Please provide scripture supporting this idea.”

    First of all, I would think you’d have to be the one to prove from Torah that God doesn’t intend anyone to follow the letter.

    Second:

    From the hand of Solomon:

    “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (haAdam).” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

    From the Red Letter edition of the Torah:

    “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

    “Keep my commands and follow them. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 22:31).

    “Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always(chal haYamim – all the Days).” (Deuteronomy 11:1).

    All the days means forever. As long as it is “Day.” Without ceasing.

    And in the words of Paul:

    “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” (1 Corinthians 7:19).

    Whether or not one is Jewish, keeping God’s commands is what counts.

    Messiah says:

    “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)

    and his disciple, John says:

    “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,” (1 John 5:3).

    You said: “Scripture says all food is clean (Romans 14:14), yet the letter of the Law says that is not the case.”

    I am sure you’re already familiar with the counter to your understanding of Romans 14, so I won’t bother repeating in detail that it’s talking about “food” offered to idols. What is “food” and “not food” is already defined in the Torah, and Paul has no authority to contradict it. If newer scripture contradicts older scripture, according to proper hermeneutics, one must reject the newer scripture as even being scripture. Or else what prevents you from accepting the Book of Mormon as scripture? Since I hold Paul to be inspired by the Spirit to write Romans, I can’t throw his writings away, but rather if I am honest to the foundation of Torah for truth and doctrine like the Bereans, I must throw out any understanding of Paul’s words that would contradict the Torah. I hope you would too.

    Messianic Apologetics is pretty simple. No matter what teaching or theology or doctrine you get from the writings of Paul, if it contradicts the Torah by adding to or subtracting from it, or nullifying it, or tells one to walk in a different way contrary to it, then that teaching, theology, or doctrine one came up with from Paul’s writings, is false.

    Now, I notice many refer to Peter’s vision as proof that God changes his scripture (but somehow the Book of Mormon isn’t allowed to by those same people). For a Jewish understanding of Peter’s vision, read: http://jerusalemcouncil.org/articles/commentaries/peters-vision-clean-unclean/

    You said: “Nothing from outside me makes me unclean (Mark 717:23), unlike what the Law says (Leviticus 5:2).”

    Again, if what Yeshua meant ever contradicted what the Torah taught, then he added to and subtracted to Torah, which a clear violation of the command to not do so, and thus would be a sinner, and not the Messiah.

    You said: “Scripture says…NOT be circumcised if you are not already (1 Corinthians 7:17-19)”

    If so, then why did Paul circumcise Timothy? Isn’t that then a good enough reason to be circumcised?

    You said “Scripture says we are freed from the Law, there are no caveats to that statement found in Scripture.”

    If anyone comes saying to no longer walk in the ways that God commands, then according to Deuteronomy 13, such a person is a false prophet. Do you agree?

    You said: “As we grow close to God, He will make clear the things HE wants us to work on.”

    Absolutely agreed! I pray that the Spirit reveal to you the truth of all these matters in his own time, to you. I agree that not everyone of us becomes a saint overnight, and I agree that none of us is perfect, no matter how hard we try. The Spirit works with each one of us to convict us of that which is more important to Him for us. For one, the Spirit may be working on them to stop committing adultery, or dishonoring parents. For another, he convicts them to observe the Sabbath, and keep kosher. But as God’s children, we are all called to obedience, and not to stagnation. I encourage you to not give up learning and maturing in the love of God, and your love for Him and others. I only hope that maybe I’ve shined a light on the part of our bibles that has been sitting in the dark ages far too long.

    Shalom.

  25. TJC,

    You wrote, “First of all, I would think you’d have to be the one to prove from Torah that God doesn’t intend anyone to follow the letter.”

    Actually, no. I use the whole of scripture, not just the Torah. Paul was clear to not be circumcised. As you quoted from Paul, ““Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” (1 Corinthians 7:19).”

    Now the question comes what was meant by God’s commands. I think this means to love God and love your neighbor.It does not mean following the Law, from which we have been freed, because the Law was fulfilled.
    See previous discussion, or for more detailed discussion, see
    http://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/what-do-abolish-and-fulfill-mean-in-matthew-5-13-20/ .

    Therefore, while the Law gives some evidence of external expressions of love, of who we are to be, of the attitude we are to have, it does not contain all expressions of said love and attitude. The New Testament speaks to the internal attitudes we must have. If we have these in increasing measure, we will express them in increasing measure in ways God desires, as He writes upon our hearts. It is what is inside us that makes us unclean – at least that is what Christ said.

    But this does not mean follow the Law. We have been freed from the Law, why be burdened with it again? You are free to burden yourself with it if you choose and can do so without replacing grace.
    For more discussion, see http://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/christians-and-the-law/ and http://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/christians-following-jewish-traditions/ .

    You wrote, ” What is “food” and “not food” is already defined in the Torah, and Paul has no authority to contradict it. ”

    But you see, originally, food was all plants, then it was all animals. Then for the tribe of Israel, it was limited to show the separation of the people from the surrounding nations. But just a Moses wrote of divorce, Jesus said it was not that way originally and He set the matter straight. In the same way, He set the matter straight concerning what makes one unclean. In fact, Paul said to eat anything sold in the markets (1 Corinthians 8; 1 Corinthians 10), so long as you do not cause your brother to stumble. For further discussion of food, see http://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/should-christians-keep-the-jewish-dietary-laws/ .

    You wrote, “I must throw out any understanding of Paul’s words that would contradict the Torah.”

    Or you can throw out a misunderstanding concerning the Torah and accept what Jesus said and Paul wrote as being something meant to clarify and reveal what had been a mystery. It is obvious most of the Jews of Jesus’ and Paul’s day did not understand the purpose of the Law or that it had been fulfilled. Why continue in their confusion?

    Circumcision of the flesh means nothing. Paul did not have Titus circumcised (Galatians 2:1-5). That should be good enough reason not to do so. Timothy was circumcised to make it more likely to win Jew to Christ, as he circumcised Timothy “because of the Jews,” not because Timothy was to follow the Law.
    See http://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/should-believers-in-christ-to-be-circumcised/ for more discussion on the matter.

    You wrote, “if what Yeshua meant ever contradicted what the Torah taught, then he added to and subtracted to Torah, which a clear violation of the command to not do so, and thus would be a sinner, and not the Messiah.”

    This would be the case if Jesus did not understand what God meant when He wrote them and if Jesus had not fulfilled the Law. But He did – in both cases. Thus, your argument fails. It is not Jesus or Paul who contradicted scripture, it is those who want others to follow the Law that do not understand the freedom they have in Christ.

    You wrote, “If anyone comes saying to no longer walk in the ways that God commands, then according to Deuteronomy 13, such a person is a false prophet. Do you agree?”

    Except that the purpose of the Law was fulfilled, therefore it is not necessary to follow the ways of the Law.

  26. “Now the question comes what was meant by God’s commands. I think this means to love God and love your neighbor.It does not mean following the Law, from which we have been freed, because the Law was fulfilled.”

    Did Yeshua fulfill the laws of the Torah to love God and love your neighbor? If so, then by your logic, we don’t have to love God or love our neighbor since he fulfilled those too. Correct?

    “Therefore, while the Law gives some evidence of external expressions of love, of who we are to be, of the attitude we are to have, it does not contain all expressions of said love and attitude.”

    Name just one expression of said love and attitude that is not found in the Torah, and I will believe you.

    “You can throw out a misunderstanding concerning the Torah and accept what Jesus said and Paul wrote as being something meant to clarify and reveal what had been a mystery. It is obvious most of the Jews of Jesus’ and Paul’s day did not understand the purpose of the Law or that it had been fulfilled. Why continue in their confusion?”

    Where in the Torah does it prophesy its own fulfillment leading to nullification as a standard for right and wrong? Your logic is the same as one who says “you can throw out a misunderstanding concerning the Bible and accept what Joseph Smith got from Moroni as being something meant to clarify and reveal what had been lost. It’s obvious most Christians do not understand the real purpose of the everlasting Gospel, and that it has been restored. Why continue in their confusion?” If you remove scripture that came before as the logical test for any scriptural claimant that comes after, what logical defense at that point do you have?

    “Timothy was circumcised to make it more likely to win Jew to Christ,” is not that alone sufficient for all those who are called to the Jew first (which should include all of us)?

    “It is not Jesus or Paul who contradicted scripture, it is those who want others to follow the Law that do not understand the freedom they have in Christ.”

    Please show me what in the Torah I am not understanding. If you point to something outside of the Torah, then you have no case, other than to preach another testament like the Mormons, or another bible like the Muslims.

    “If the purpose of the Law was fulfilled, it is not necessary to follow the ways of the Law.”

    How else can a prophet come, according to Deut 13, in order to deceive people and get them to turn away from the way the LORD commands us, except to cast doubt on the Torah, or call it nullfied (which is what you mean by fulfilled)? If your position is that “the Law is fulfilled, no need to follow it,” then what difference are you to a false prophet in Deuteronomy 13?

    Keep in mind, the commands to love God, and love your neighbor are part of (and foundational to) God’s Torah, and that if they were fulfilled, according to your logic it’s then “not necessary to follow” “love God” and “love your neighbor”; right?

    I look forward to your response to the questions above. I’m trying to work out your logic, but it’s not jiving with scripture, and certainly not helpful against Mormons and Muslims.

  27. “Did Yeshua fulfill the laws of the Torah to love God and love your neighbor? If so, then by your logic, we don’t have to love God or love our neighbor since he fulfilled those too. ”

    Jesus fulfilled love in all forms. Yet, He said to do these things. He did not say to follow the Law.

    “Name just one expression of said love and attitude that is not found in the Torah, and I will believe you.”

    To my knowledge, the Torah said to love each other, but it does not say for the husband to clean the house when the wife is tired, as an expression of love. It does not tell us to watch the television show she would prefer rather than not watching TV at all or watching your preferred show. These are both expressions of love. The spirit of the law leads us to do these things.

    “If you remove scripture that came before as the logical test for any scriptural claimant that comes after, what logical defense at that point do you have?”

    But I am not removing scripture. I am only saying that certain parts do not apply today because of what Christ has done.

    “If you point to something outside of the Torah, then you have no case, other than to preach another testament ”

    But God GAVE another covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). The people did not keep the first covenant, so God made a new one.
    Hebrews 8:8
    But God found fault with the people and said : “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

    Jesus poured out His blood for the New Covenant.
    Luke 22:20
    In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

    We are ministers of the new covenant.

    2 Corinthians 3:6
    He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    Hebrews 8:13
    By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    I believe the Old Covenant disappeared when the temple was destroyed. Because we have a New Covenant, we are not under the old one, which is obsolete.

    “If your position is that “the Law is fulfilled, no need to follow it,” then what difference are you to a false prophet in Deuteronomy 13?”

    Because God made the old covenant obsolete, and as such, we are not under the old covenant.
    God loved us before the Law was given (1 Kings 10:9; 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 89:2; Psalm 100:5; John 3:16; Romans 5:8) and continues to love us – so much He sent Christ to suffer and die for us. Because of His love and the disobedience of the people the first covenant was given to, we are free from the first covenant and while it is useful for instruction on righteousness as a guide, we are not required to follow it.

  28. “Jesus fulfilled love in all forms. Yet, He said to do these things. He did not say to follow the Law.”

    The entire Torah is instruction in how to love.

    “To my knowledge, the Torah said to love each other, but it does not say for the husband to clean the house when the wife is tired, as an expression of love.”

    It is written “If you see your enemy’s donkey burdened by the side of the road, you shall surely help him.” How much more so we should do this for one who is more valuable to us than our enemy or our enemy’s donkey?

    “It does not tell us to watch the television show she would prefer rather than not watching TV at all or watching your preferred show.”

    “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Actually, the Torah teaches that it is proper for the wife to submit to the husband, not the other way around. This verse also shows that our desire is to be for Messiah our husband, and the Torah promises he will rule over us (in eternal life). Yet the Torah also teaches that husbands are to love their wives and give themselves up for her, as God himself sends the Promised Seed in Gen 3:15 who gives up his life for all of us who are “living” (have eternal life) since Eve is called “the mother of all the living.”

    It is further written in Exodus 34:6: And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,”

    A husband is to be slow to anger, compassionate, and gracious.

    Exodus 4:20
    So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.

    The Torah teaches us that we are to prefer our wife and children to our own comfort. By showing that Moses, like the Messiah, prefers his wife and children more than his own comfort, shows us that we are to do the same with our wife and children. This passage also proves that Messiah himself will come riding on a donkey (alone, without wife or children) when he comes to deliver his people Israel.

    “These are both expressions of love. The spirit of the law leads us to do these things.”

    As I just explained, the law itself teaches us to do these things. There are many other teachings, as these are just a few off the top of my head.

    “But I am not removing scripture. I am only saying that certain parts do not apply today because of what Christ has done.”

    Or parts of the bible don’t apply because of what Muhammed got, or what Moroni teaches.

    “But God GAVE another covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). The people did not keep the first covenant, so God made a new one.”

    It’s the same covenant, renewed. The only difference between the two? One is broken by us, the other is kept by us. That’s the only difference in context. Please read http://jerusalemcouncil.org/articles/teaching/old-and-new-covenant-defined/

    The “new” covenant has existed since Gen 3:15. The “old” covenant of Gen 1:28 was broken by Adam and Eve (we were unfaithful). It is the Messiah who keeps the Covenant on our behalf, and by that credit, HaShem allows us to share in his eternal life which is the Messiah’s inheritance for keeping the Covenant perfectly. The “Torah” is still written on hearts in the renewed Covenant. There is only one Torah.

    “I believe the Old Covenant disappeared when the temple was destroyed. Because we have a New Covenant, we are not under the old one, which is obsolete.”

    The Temple has been destroyed before, and then later rebuilt. It is presumptuous to assume that if the Temple is destroyed, the Covenant ceases, since if the Temple is rebuilt, what then of your theology relying on its destruction? After all, prophecy does say the Messiah will bring sacrifices in a rebuilt temple.

    The “old covenant” is a term referencing unregenerate sinful man, and “new covenant” is a term referencing the regenerate spiritually-born saint. This has ever been the case since at least Gen 3:15.

    “Because God made the old covenant obsolete, and as such, we are not under the old covenant.”

    I agree we are not under the “old” covenant. What does this mean? Deuteronomy 29:20 tells us:

    “The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will FALL UPON him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.”

    If the curse of the Torah is over you to fall on you, then you are UNDER the curse of the Torah. As believers, we are no longer UNDER the curse of the Torah. This is where Paul gets his use of the term “under law.” Yeshua alone remains UNDER the Torah, for if he sins, he too will be blotted out. But as such, he still is obedient, perfectly, and for our sake. It is because of HIS obedience that we who were once dead in our sin, now live to eternal life. To say we are not to follow the Torah, is to say we are to keep adding to the cost that Messiah had to pay. If you truly love Messiah, is this really your desire? Is it is not better to submit to his rule, if our desire is truly for him?

  29. You wrote, “It is written “If you see your enemy’s donkey burdened by the side of the road, you shall surely help him.” How much more so we should do this for one who is more valuable to us than our enemy or our enemy’s donkey?”

    Now you are speaking of the spirit of the law, not the letter. You make my point for me.

    “the Torah teaches that it is proper for the wife to submit to the husband, not the other way around. ”

    Selfishness is not love. Yes, there should be submission of the wife to the husband, but there should be thoughtfulness of one spouse for the other. THIS is what love is. All the examples you provided are of the spiritual esscence, not the letter.

    “The Temple has been destroyed before, and then later rebuilt”

    But the Law had not been fulfilled when the temple had been destroyed before. Now it has.

    “The “old covenant” is a term referencing unregenerate sinful man”
    Now you are reading into scripture. The old covenant is the covenant God made with Israel and which they broke.

    “To say we are not to follow the Torah, is to say we are to keep adding to the cost that Messiah had to pay. If you truly love Messiah, is this really your desire? Is it is not better to submit to his rule, if our desire is truly for him?”

    The price has been paid – no one can add to it. Christ paid the price for all sins, and this is effective for all who have faith in Him. By Christ paying the price, we have been removed from the curse of the Law, so why go back to it? Paul is clear we are not to follow the Law to the letter. Christ fulfilled it.

  30. “Now you are speaking of the spirit of the law, not the letter.”

    Oh I forgot. You assume the letter of the law is anything that is “thou shalt.” Whereas to a Jew, the letter of the law is quite literally the teaching (Torah) of even the smallest jot or tittle derived from it. You assume the spirit of the law is anything that is meant by the law. Whereas to a Jew, the spirit of the law is HaShem himself. I forget in these conversations the clash of mindsets, forgive me. If you are looking for “thou shalts” in the letter, then you will find a great number of commandments “missing” – most notably lesbianism. That is why such a hermeneutic is false and extremely blind to the totality of the Torah as being a hermeneutic system unto itself.

    You will find that the entire letter of the Torah is “spiritual” meaning, it’s all of HaShem and his character. If one fails to do the letter, one transgresses God’s character, and by doing so, if one claims to be of Him, they profane his name (identity) to him and others by literally claiming (through one’s actions of disobedience) he is not who he says he is.

    “But the Law had not been fulfilled when the temple had been destroyed before. Now it has.”

    Does one engage in sacrifice after the Torah is fulfilled (whatever that means), or does one have to wait until the Temple is destroyed? We find the apostles, including Paul still offering sacrifices in the Temple, well after even Galatians is written. And what in the Torah says that it would be fulfilled, and after its fulfilled, it would be done away with?

    “The price has been paid – no one can add to it.”

    I believe Paul wrote “do we keep sinning that grace may abound?”

    “Paul is clear we are not to follow the Law to the letter.”
    You mean to say that Paul says we are not to follow the “thou shalt.” Including “love God?” What warped thinking is this? How can one follow the spirit of the law as you say, and NOT do the letter from which it is based? Is obedience to God up to, but NOT including the letter? Does Christ promote disobedience? Is Paul telling you to sin? If God commands you to not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, is it then ok to give money to your pastor to support him, while you muzzle a real ox while it treads grain?

  31. ” You assume the letter of the law is anything that is “thou shalt.” ”

    This is where I come back to my earlier statement about not understanding what each means by certain statements. I think I made it in a comment to a different blog entry of Ploycarp’s, so maybe you dint’ read it.

    I think we are in a agreement much more than not. But I think you are right that our mindset are different. We understand ‘letter’ differently. And I am sure there is more we understand differently.

    As for sacrifice, Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us, we have no need to do so.
    Hebrews 10:10
    And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    It is not sacrifices at a temple that that God wants – He wants us to trust Him and love Him and others, THAT is the sacrifice God wants us to give.
    Hebrews 13:15-16
    15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

    1 Peter 2:5-6
    5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

    James 1:27
    Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    1 Peter 2:5
    you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

    1 John 4:10
    This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

    As for sin, no, we should not go on sinning. I think the teachings of how to treat others show us concrete ways to love others. But the need to follow the civil or religious or dietary teachings is no longer in effect, since Christ has paid the price and we are a holy nation apart of the nation of Israel.

    1 Peter 2:9
    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

  32. Keep in mind that Messiah is the Lamb slain since the foundation of the world, and that his blood was not offered in the Temple on earth, thus his offering is the ONLY sacrifice for sin. The sacrifices in the Temple don’t.

    One of the issues with understanding the scriptures from the apostle’s perspective, is that we often arrive at them from a Western mindset that demands logical linear conformity. We are not satisfied with apparent contradictions.

    Yet in the Hebrew mindset, we find the understanding that the services of the Temple on earth coexist in unity with the service of the Temple in heaven, and that there is no competition between the two. After all, it is reasoned, the sacrifices on earth only are offered in the earthly Temple, whereas the offering of Messiah is only offered in the timeless heavenly Temple. The mindset further understands that as one interacts with the earthly Temple, they are by implication also interacting with the heavenly Temple – because both are echad – one, united. intertwined. One is the physical manifestation of the other, much like Messiah is the interaction of HaShem with us.

    Thus, though the Temple exists on earth and we can interact with it, it really has no meaning if the heavenly Temple doesn’t also stand (for the earthly is made in the pattern of the co-existing heavenly).

    “But the need to follow the civil or religious or dietary teachings is no longer in effect, since Christ has paid the price”

    Need for what? Salvation or right living, or both? If Messiah paid the price for our moral failings of the Torah as well, not just our failings of what you call the “civil, religious, or dietary” laws, then are you saying that the morals of the Torah too are “no longer in effect” by that same logic that if he fulfilled the civil and ceremonial, you don’t have to do them (for right living)?

    There is a fundamental disconnect happening here. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t say that we are to obey God, yet say that this does not mean to obey his laws. You can’t say that because Yeshua fulfilled “keep the Sabbath” that because he fulfilled that we can now break the Sabbath, yet then say that Yeshua fufilled “love the LORD your God” and say we too must love the LORD our God.

    There is an importance of realizing that simple logic unravels the traditional Christian standpoint of the Torah’s role in the life of a believer, that I think is fundamental to going further. If the Torah is the guarantor of Messiah’s eternal life because of his perfect obedience, then it guarantees our eternal life as well, since we rely on his inheritance of eternal life according to promise of the Torah for one who does not sin. By saying that what the Torah says is wrong, is now right; or saying that what the Torah says is right, is now wrong; we therefore make Messiah himself into a sinner because now we’re changing the standard for which he walks perfectly, and is judged to receive eternal life for the rest of us. We make Messiah out to be a sinner when we say he broke the sabbath, changed the times and seasons, and made Torah-defined unclean food somehow clean. We make Messiah out to be our slave and not our Master, when we say “we don’t have to imitate him” since then we increase the burden of our sin further, and thus increase the price he paid at Calvary.

    We only agree because we both are believers, and we have appropriated Messiah’s work for our eternal life. We disagree over how we are to walk after the fact, only because our hermeneutics are different. I truly do include the entire bible, not just the apostolic writings. I have to therefore include in my hermeneutic “do not add to or take away” and this therefore shapes all the questions of later scriptures, that may follow in my mind as I read them. I hope if anything out of this interaction, that you get that and run with it. We have a life or death need to understand scripture as it was meant to be understood – and this begins with an understanding that the Torah is the foundation of all scripture, and the boundary and definition for all right living, modeled by the Messiah who desires to live through us.

    Shalom.

  33. “After all, it is reasoned, the sacrifices on earth only are offered in the earthly Temple, whereas the offering of Messiah is only offered in the timeless heavenly Temple. The mindset further understands that as one interacts with the earthly Temple, they are by implication also interacting with the heavenly Temple – because both are echad – one, united. intertwined. One is the physical manifestation of the other, much like Messiah is the interaction of HaShem with us.”

    The sacrifice, made as sin offerings, were made in the temple by the high priest. But they did not clean the conscience of sin; they were external regulations until the new covenant was given.

    Hebrews 9:7-10
    7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

    Now we have a NEW high priest who does not have to continually make sacrifice. Christ’s offering was not made in the physical temple, but it still was made for all sin – once for all. There was a change in preisthood and a change in law. And His priesthood is forever, with no need to return to the old law. We have the new covenant and are free from the old. This does not mean to not teach the principles of the old (what I would call the spirit of the law), but it DOES mean we are not subject to the law or its requirements.

    Hebrews 7:12
    For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.

    Hebrews 7:24
    but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.

    Hebrews 7:26
    Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

    Hebrews 9:15
    For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

    Hebrews 9:25
    Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.

    Hebrews 10:5-10
    5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, O God.’ ” 8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    I am not adding, nor taking away from scripture. Christ took away the need to follow the Law to the letter, when He paid the ultimate sacrifice and made us holy through faith in Him and what He has done.

  34. “The sacrifice, made as sin offerings, were made in the temple by the high priest. But they did not clean the conscience of sin; they were external regulations until the new covenant was given.”

    Not “until.” The new covenant was given in Genesis 3:15. The sacrifices always are co-existent, never competing with the work that Messiah did, otherwise Paul would have had an issue with shelling out almost $10,000 (equiv) for sacrifices in the temple for himself and a few others in late Acts.

    “Now we have a NEW high priest who does not have to continually make sacrifice.”

    Yeshua has always been the High Priest of Heaven. Always. Thus his work does not, never did, and never will compete with the earthly Temple. Ever.

    “There was a change in priesthood and a change in law.” On in relation to the observer. Not in time and space. This is a change from one ministry to the other: from the earthly to the heavenly. Keep your Jewish hat on – the earthly still exists. The heavenly co-exists. In heaven there is a different priest that ministers, just as on earth there is a different priest that ministers (and Yeshua is not a high priest on earth since one already exists, as the author of Hebrews points out to make this point).

    “And His priesthood is forever, with no need to return to the old law.”

    Actually, his priesthood is established in accordance with the Torah, so if the Torah is done away with, so too is his priesthood.

    “Christ took away the need to follow the Law to the letter, when He paid the ultimate sacrifice and made us holy through faith in Him and what He has done.”

    Messiah’s work makes our perfection unnecessary unto salvation. Again, please state what you mean by “need” – justification or sanctification, for salvation or right behavior? I ask you, does the Torah define sin? If so, how then does that definition change? What the Torah calls wrong in one generation, is wrong for all generations. Nothing can subtract from it. Not even Joseph Smith. The same standard for sin (the Torah) that condemns the unbeliever, STILL REMAINS the same standard for sin that teaches the believer how to walk rightly, the Spirit leading convicting one in accordance with his Word (never contradicting it), or do you disagree?

    Shabbat shalom. I will pick this up next week.

  35. I wrote, “The sacrifice, made as sin offerings, were made in the temple by the high priest. But they did not clean the conscience of sin; they were external regulations until the new covenant was given.”

    You wrote, “Not “until.” The new covenant was given in Genesis 3:15.”

    Interesting, so now you argue with scripture itself.

    Hebrews 9:10
    10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

    And the New Covenant was promised in Genesis 3:15, but not actually given until Christ came and paid the price. In so doing, He ushered in the New Covenant – of which He is the mediator.

    Hebrews 9:15
    For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

    you wrote, “Yeshua has always been the High Priest of Heaven. ”

    Christ came as high priest.

    Hebrews 10:12
    But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

    But His sacrifice was not made until He came to earth to suffer and die for our sins. At that time, He finished what needed to be done to bring us the New Covenant. And when He had made sacrifice, He sat down at the right hand of the Father.

    Hebrews 10:12
    But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

    If the New Covenant had been given in Genesis 3:15, Christ would not have had to come to earth and die, nor would God have said ‘New Covenant’. No, the Old Covenant has become obsolete, being replaced with the New.

    Hebrews 8:13
    By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    When the Old Covenant was made obsolete, when the new priesthood came to earth, the law was changed.

    Hebrews 7:12
    For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.

    It is no longer necessary to be bound to the laws and ordinances of the Old Covenant, since its purpose has been fulfilled (Galatians 3:19) and we have been freed from it (Romans 8:2; Ephesians 2:15). As I have said, the old law teaches us good things, but we are to seek out and teach its principles, not follow it to the letter. We are not the nation of Israel, we are a new royal priesthood who offer spiritual sacrifices to God – not physical ones.

  36. “which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed UNTIL a time of reformation.”

    “The Present Time” refers to Hebrew concept of “Olam Hazeh” as opposed to the “Olam Haba,” the World to Come. (This is after all, the Letter to the Hebrews, not to the Greeks) In this world we are not perfect, and externals the Torah teaches, exist to conduct our behavior UNTIL the World to Come when such conduction will no longer be necessary, not because they will cease to exist for those who sin, but because we WILL be perfect and never sin! The expectation is that one day we will received perfected “reformed” bodies that will never sin. Until then, we still sin, and we only deceive ourselves when we believe we don’t. What the Torah defines as sin never changes. What does and will change, will be our natures when it comes to sin.

    I ask you a very good question: when did the new Covenant begin? From a Western mindset, it began in time and space for all mankind after a certain point of time. From a Hebrew perspective, it begins whenever someone submits to the Lordship of Messiah Yeshua. Please examine http://jerusalemcouncil.org/articles/teaching/old-and-new-covenant-defined/

    “Christ came as high priest.” To Heaven. Not to Earth. For where is it written that Messiah came as High Priest of the Earthly Tabernacle? Hebrews 8:4 makes it clear: “Now if He were on earth, He would NOT be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law.”

    “If the New Covenant had been given in Genesis 3:15, Christ would not have had to come to earth and die, nor would God have said ‘New Covenant’. No, the Old Covenant has become obsolete, being replaced with the New.”

    This assumes a linear Western mindset yet again, and that somehow God changes over time. To a Jew, God does not change, when he says something, it is as good as done for all time. It doesn’t matter when in this world it takes place. The fact is, his declaration of the new covenant is immune to time, and existed to Adam and Eve, just as much as it does to us today. Thus this is why the writer of Revelation could declare of Messiah that he is the “Lamb Slain Since the Foundation of the World.”

    “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”

    Keeping in mind that This World vs the World to Come is what the author of Hebrews is referring to, what is obsolete and aging, quite literally is our bodies that are prone to sin in this World, as well as This World. This World will “disappear,” again, as the author of Revelation also believes, “the old heavens and old earth have passed away.”

    “As I have said, the old law teaches us good things, but we are to seek out and teach its principles, not follow it to the letter.”

    So we’re to seek out and teach the principle behind the command to “love the LORD your God” but not follow it to the letter?

  37. “This assumes a linear Western mindset yet again, and that somehow God changes over time.”

    No, actually it does not say God changes. It recognizes that the old covenant was given and the nation of Israel did not keep it. It recognizes that God said He would create a NEW Covenant – not has created (which would be the case if He were speaking outside of time), but WILL – something indicating it would occur in the future.

    Yes, from God’s perspective, everything is complete. But we, who live linearly through time, have things happen to us and through us in a time line, and as such, from the human perspective, some things have yet to occur. God (who created language), because He chooses to interact with us, also chooses language to indicate if something has occurred in the past, is occurring in the present, or will occur in the future so we may understand Him. God does not say the nation of Israel has kept the Law and the nation of Israel is His holy nation (which would be the case if He were speaking in a way meant to be understood outside of time), but that IF the people keep His commandments (speaking in a way meant to be understood as working through time, not outside it). The nation of Israel did not keep the commands. They failed. As such, He created a New Covenant. This does not indicate God changes (for He does not), but that God knew what would happen, what has happened, and what will happen, through time. It indicates He knows, in His infinite love, wisdom, mercy, and grace, that we have difficulty communicating outside of time. As such, He chooses to communicate with us using terms we can understand.

    Deuteronomy 28:9

    9 The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways.

    God did not say He HAS created a New Covenant, but that He WILL, in Jeremiah 31:31

    31 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

    And in fact, He said it would NOT be like the old covenant (compare with Hebrews 8:7-12):

    Jeremiah 31:32

    32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.

    So from the perspective of someone who lives within time, it had not yet happened.

    It actually was made manifest when Jesus poured out His blood for us. From God’s perpective, who is outside time, it had already occurred and He still had to enter time to do is. But for those who live in time, it happened at Calvary.

    Luke 22:20

    22 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

    We see that this has occurred by the time we read in Hebrews 8:13 that it was made obsolete

    13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    In fact, we see the setting aside of the old law in Hebrews 7:18-19

    18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

    There are times when it is appropriate to read something as occurring outside of time, or before time, such as the fact that we had the promise from before time as we see in Titus 1:2

    2 a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,

    But this does no indicate that we should read when in time the New Covenant was made manifest as being outside of time, for it had a distinct beginning, just as the Old Covenant had a distinct end.

    I have noticed some Messianic Jews do not believe we are in the New Covenant yet. Others believe we have been in the New Covenant since Adam and Eve, when it was first promised. Both are incorrect, because neither wants to recognize that while God is timeless, we humans are not. As such, God chooses to interact with us within the thing He created called time. He did so when He sent Christ. From His perspective, it was a done deal the moment He thought it, but form a perspective dealing with time it had not occurred yet when Jeremiah 31 was written. From Christ’s perspective, it was occurring when He offered Himself as the Passover Lamb (Luke 22:20). From the perspective of the writer of Hebrews (and our own), it OCCURRED in the past, when Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice.

    In the same way that is what occurred to the Old Covenant – it had a time when it had not been made manifest. Then it had a time when it was being manifested. Then it had a time when it was obsolete. In the same way, the New Covenant had a time when it was promised (before it was in effect), a time when it was being made manifest, and a time when it was in effect.

    I agree that before Christ, people who trusted God looked forward to His coming. Those who lived with Christ were greatly blessed in my opinion, but those who came to Christ afterwards are still blessed. But there IS a time component in each of those events – even though from a divine perspective it occurred outside and inside of time.

    The priesthood changed from being a physical one to a spiritual one when Christ offered His sacrifice physically. he became a priest of a better covenant, according to Hebrews 7:20-25. It does not say He has always been a priest, but He BECAME one. Granted, because He lives forever, He is a priest forever.

    20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
    “The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind:
    ‘You are a priest forever.’ ” 22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

    23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

    Hebrews 8:1-2 tells us that Christ SAT down at the right hand of the Throne – language indicating something occurred in time. Again, from God’s perspective, it is something which has always been, but from our perspective, it is something which occurred AFTER He presented Himself as the sacrifice.

    1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.

    We see this even more clearly in Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:12, and Hebrews 12:2.

    Hebrews 1:3

    3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

    Hebrews 10:12

    12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

    Hebrews 12:2

    2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    So yes, there was a time when the New Covenant was not yet in effect, though people looked forward to it. There was a time when the New Covenant was made effective. And there was a time when the New Covenant replaced the Old Covenant. At that time, the old law was made obsolete in favor of the new law of the Spirit.

  38. “No, actually it does not say God changes. It recognizes that the old covenant was given and the nation of Israel did not keep it.”

    It does not say “old” covenant. The word for “old” is not used at all in Jeremiah 31. It’s the same covenant “renewed.” The “renewal” is what happens in the future, not at Messiah’s death, but at the End of the Age, as it is written,

    “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me.” (Jer 31:34)

    They will not teach again, telling one another to know HaShem. If the New Covenant in its fullness has come, as you assert, then why do you still evangelize telling people to “Know the LORD?” My friend, the Day when this happens, is after the End of the Age, when there will be no need to evangelize, for all (Israel and Judah, notice no gentiles are listed here) will “know” HaShem. This is a day in the future, even to us now.

    As we find in Jeremiah, the New Covenant is:

    “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

    On the day that the New Covenant is realized in full, the Torah is written on our hearts, not just certain parts, but the entire Torah, nothing lacking. In addition, it will not be like the Covenant which we broke – meaning, we won’t break it! So if the Torah is on our hearts, and we don’t break it, when is that? In this life? No. In the World Come when there truly is no more sin (because we won’t sin, we will be perfect) and it is said “I will remember their sin no more.” It is there that as perfect, sinless people, we will not have a need to tell other people to know HaShem for they will all know him.

    Yet we realize the -reNewed Covenant in partiality today, just as Abraham did. Our new man desires to do what is right, to keep God’s Torah. Our sinful man desires to lust after the things of the flesh – to reject God’s Torah for selfish purposes. One day we will receive transformed bodies that do not desire to sin, and will not. On that day the reNewed Covenant will be fully realized.

  39. sigh… this argument is old. Nothing new is being said. We do not agree with each you. It is evident neither of us will convince the other. We have already discussed all this. at least once.

    You wrote, “It does not say “old” covenant.”
    No. In Jeremiah 31:31, it mentioned the existing covenant, and then spoke of the new covenant He would make. You are trying to make the word translated as ‘new’ to be renew’. No lexicon I can find makes this case. At best, I think you are choosing a minor alternate translation. At worst, I think you are reading into scripture what is not there. I dont know which is the case.

    Chadash (my cut and paste did not show the Hebrew well, so you get the transliteration) is defined in the NAS Hebrew Lexicon ( http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=02319&version=nas ) as:

    new, new thing, fresh

    Nothing about being renewed.

    Hebrews 8:13

    When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

    The term translated in Hebrews 8:13 is defined in the NAS NT Greek Lexicon
    ( http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=2537&version=nas ) as

    new
    as respects form
    recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn
    as respects substance
    of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of

    Again, nothing is mentioned about renewed. It is fresh, new.

    The first covenant was obsolete. The people did not keep it. So there is now a second covenant.

    Heb 9:15

    For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

    The New Covenant has begun. It began when Jesus died for our sins. It will be completed when we are in the new heaven. But God has already begun to write on the hearts of men who love Him. The Old Covenant is obsolete and no longer in effect. With the changing of the priesthood came a changing of the law. We are not under Torah, but under Christ. The Holy Spirit leads us to love God and our brothers and to express that love in ways that are different for each person. Perhaps for you it is through the following of the Old Covenant Laws. That’s fine. I dont feel or believe that is what God wants. He writes in our hearts what is sin. We should avoid sin. But this does not mean follow the letter of the law.

  40. Friend, dig a little deeper. You posted 2319, but did you read at the top where it says:

    Chadash: from (02318)

    So when you click on 02318 you get:

    02318:
    http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=2318&version=nas

    to be new, renew, repair

    1. (Piel)
    1. to renew, make anew
    2. to repair
    2. (Hithpael) to renew oneself

    The re-Newed Covenant is just that. Renewed. Jeremiah can’t add or take away from Torah (or else he’d be a false prophet). If Joseph Smith came and said there was another new Covenant, he can’t be true because he too would be adding and taking away from Torah.

    “The New Covenant has begun. It began when Jesus died for our sins.”

    If that is true, then why are the worshippers gathering daily at the Temple for prayers during the morning and evening sacrifice, and why does Paul spend nearly $10,000 to pay for the sacrifices he and a few brothers completing a vow were offering?

    “But God has already begun to write on the hearts of men who love Him.”

    Write what according to Jeremiah? Torah.

    “The Old Covenant is obsolete”

    If you mean the body that sins, yes.

    “and no longer in effect.”

    In effect to condemn the saint? Yes. In effect to teach men how to live rightly, no – that never ends. God doesn’t change his standard for sin. Ever.

    “With the changing of the priesthood came a changing of the law.”

    A change from earth to heaven, yes. Not a ceasing of one priesthood to the next. On earth Yeshua is not a high priest. The High Priest on earth still must follow the Torah. The High Priest in Heaven follows a different set of rules from the Torah since his service is in heaven. That is all this means. It doesn’t mean the Torah ceases to exist. Yeshua has been High Priest forever of the Heavenly Temple, even as the earthly Temple exists, and both services co-exist, one doesn’t cancel out the other as you suppose here. Does not the Heavenly Tabernacle co-exist with the Earthly Tabernacle that was made in its pattern? Yes or no?

    “We are not under Torah, but under Christ. ”

    Correct, as believers in Messiah, we are not condemned to die for our sin.

    “The Holy Spirit leads us to love God and our brothers and to express that love in ways that are different for each person.”

    According to what scripture does it say that God’s standard of love is arbitrary to the individual? Are you saying the Holy Spirit can lead brothers to express love in ways contrary to the Torah?

    “He writes in our hearts what is sin.”

    He’s already given us the full guidebook on defining what sin is. Why must we wait until we “feel like it” to be obedient?

    “We should avoid sin. But this does not mean follow the letter of the law.”

    That’s like saying “we should love our neighbor, but this does not mean to follow the letter of to help our enemy’s overburdened donkey.” Oh no, God forbid we “follow the letter of the law and so transgress the law.” What weird thinking is this? You haven’t yet answer the question I’ve asked now three times: Since when is the letter of the law NOT of the Spirit of the law, and thus the letter can be disobeyed?

  41. Ok, so Chadash comes from a word which means repair or renew. That would make sense as the writer of Hebrews said there was something wrong with the first covenant (Hebrews 8:7). The second one is superior to the first (Hebrews 8:6). so He made a new one and so made the old one obsolete and it was passing away when Hebrews was written (Hebrews 8:13).

    “If that is true, then why are the worshippers gathering daily at the Temple for prayers during the morning and evening sacrifice,”

    Because they had not trusted Christ yet.

    “The High Priest in Heaven follows a different set of rules from the Torah since his service is in heaven. ”

    We are all under a different law.

    The Law exists, but those who trust in Christ are not required to follow it.

    ” and why does Paul spend nearly $10,000 to pay for the sacrifices he and a few brothers completing a vow were offering?”

    Because Paul was trying to reach them with the truth.

    “Are you saying the Holy Spirit can lead brothers to express love in ways contrary to the Torah?”

    Since we are not under the Law, we are not contradicting it whenever we choose to not enforce it or are unable to make sacrifice at the temple (since CHRIST made the only sacrifice we ever need).

    “Since when is the letter of the law NOT of the Spirit of the law, and thus the letter can be disobeyed?”

    I have replied multiple times in different ways. I’ll try again. The letter of law provides multiple things that are inapplicable and we are not required to follow them. The letter of the law requires enforcement of the Law, when we do not do this. The letter of law requires sacrifice, when it is CHRIST who made the only physical sacrifice that matters, our sacrifice is to be entirely different than the letter of the law would have us do. We are unable to follow the Law for various reasons (i.e. God had the temple destroyed in 70AD to prevent unneeded and unwanted sacrifice)) but no where in scripture does it say to follow only the ones that you are able to.

  42. Joel,

    TItus 3:9

    But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

    Thank you for the reminder. I’m done.

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