Debating Fulfillment Theology

This “logic” is plainly presented in Galatians 3. God had a very good reason to institute the Law of Moses and it has nothing to with “bait and switch.” It had to do with point and lead until the fulfillment of its goal. The emphasis of the salvation that was to come for all of mankind goes back to the promise made to Abraham.

-Eugene Adkins
in his January 27 comment on my blog post
The Lord’s Sabbath

This understanding of the function of a paidagogos clears up Galatians 3:23, where Paul says, “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed” (Galatians 3:23). The paidagogos was the child’s guardian, not his jailer. When we understand that the paidagogos was responsible for protecting, supervising, and directing a child, then we have a better understanding of how the Greek text of Galatians 3:23 should be rendered in English. The Greek word which the English Standard Version translates as “held captive” has a different connotation. It can also be rendered as “protected,” “kept safe,” or “guarded.” The word should be understood as speaking about how a pedagogue kept a child safe and out of trouble. Similarly, the Greek word which the ESV translates as “imprisoned” (the same word appears in 3:22) can be rendered as “kept in” or “enclosed” in a positive sense. The word should be understood as speaking about how a pedagogue kept a child inside for his school lessons. He did not allow the child to run off and follow his friends into trouble. He kept him shut up inside for the purpose of education and protection.

-D. Thomas Lancaster
“Sermon Eighteen: The Pedagogue (Galatians 3:19-26), pg 182
The Holy Epistle to the Galatians
First Fruits of Zion
August 2011

Ziesler, “Role of the Tenth Commandment,” p. 50, makes the important observation in Rom. 8:4 of the use of the singular…(“requirement”) in Paul’s conclusion: “having talked in 7.1-6 about dying to the Law, Paul now in a notably bald statement appears to bring us back to life again in relation to the Law, if not under it. We died to the Law in order to keep it better.” He further suggests that this singular reference keeps the singular sin of covetousness in perspective (pp.50-51).

Snodgrass, “Spheres of Influence,” p. 107 states: “If the law is not involved in salvation, then sin is a victor because it defeated God’s law which was for life (7.12.10). But now the law is placed within the sphere of the Spirit (cf. 8.4), where it belongs (7.14). The law in the right sphere frees us from the tyranny of the law in the sphere of sin. I do not think we can ignore a reference to the OT law. It is through the law that Paul died to the law.”

Footnotes 55 and 56
from “Summary and Appendix I,” pp 365-66
in the Mark D. Nanos book
The Mystery of the Romans
Fortress Press (1996)

Important Note! Please read the first comment made by Eugene Adkins below, as he corrects some mistakes I made about his background and role. I apologize to Eugene and to everyone reading this for my errors.

I’ve been debating with Pastor Eugene Adkins in the comments section of my blog post The Lord’s Sabbath regarding what he refers to as “fulfillment theology” and what I consider supersessionism or “replacement theology” (see our series of comments on the aforementioned blog post for full details of this discussion and specifically Pastor Adkins’ comments submitted on Jan 27, 2012 @ 17:31 hours).

In response to some of Pastor Atkins’ points, I’ve quoted from both Lancaster’s recent Galatians book and the classic Nanos tome on Romans (or rather, some footnotes contained within the Nanos book). I’m doing this for several reasons. The first is that, unlike Pastor Adkins, I do not have a post-graduate degree in any form of religious studies (I assume as a Pastor that Adkins is so educated) and thus do not have skill sets equal to his own as far as debating the scriptures. In order to support my arguments, I must rely on the scholarship of external sources, namely the previously mentioned Lancaster and Nanos books.

Secondly, I want to introduce valid and scholarly sources that refute or at least bring into question the traditional Christian view that the Torah was only temporary for the Jewish people (and I have never said that the Law was intended to apply equally to the Jewish and Gentile disciples of Jesus in any equal fashion) and that once Christ lived, died, was resurrected, and ascended, that the Law became null and void (or “fulfilled” in the sense that its temporary purpose as completely satisfied and then ended), and wholly replaced by what Pastor Adkins refers to as Christ’s “international covenant” that applies uniformly to Jewish and non-Jewish disciples of Jesus. I’m trying to point out here that perhaps Pastor Adkins’ interpretation of scripture (which seems to be the interpretation of the church in general) is not the only possible way to understand what Paul was saying to the congregations of Rome and Galatia.

Finally, I want to be fair. There is a tremendous tendency for me to simply dig in my heels, say “you’re wrong,” and base my subsequent responses on my emotional states, particularly those that have to do with Christian supersessionism and its terrible (and often fatal) effect upon the Jewish people across 2,000 years of church history. But that’s not the right thing to do. I want to respond based not only on my spiritual “understanding” of God’s relationship with both Jews and Gentiles (which is completely subjective and therefore, unable to be objectively demonstrated) but on Biblical scholarship as well. The problem here is that I’m like Woody Allen trying to go a few rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson as far as our relative educational backgrounds go (well, probably not that bad).

I have two undergraduate degrees and a post-grad degree, but none of them are in subjects relevant to this conversation. Given my job, my book writing, and my family commitments, I don’t have the time or other resources to go back to school and take another degree, or to perform the necessary research to adequately respond to all of the specific points being brought up in this discussion in order to sufficiently represent my point of view. I believe I’m right based on everything I’ve learned thus far, but belief isn’t enough. I must have proof beyond what I have already demonstrated, both online and in print. Also, assuming that I can be wrong (and I know I can be), I need to either confirm or refute my current belief system using concrete evidence (or as “concrete” as anything gets in theological debates).

That’s where you, dear readers, come in. I’m calling for backup. Or I’m willing to be presented with irrefutable proof that the New Testament writings can be interpreted in one and only one, single manner, and that the one and only interpretation is held under lock and key by the 21st century evangelical Christian church. I personally don’t think it is, but like I said, I want to be fair.

I want to say to you personally Eugene, that I’m not writing this to try and be mean or unfeeling or offensive in any way. I know you are sincere and are representing the truth based on everything you’ve been taught and everything you believe, both intellectually and through your faith. I don’t have a problem with any of that. None of this is motivated by any dislike of or anger toward you. I respect your service to God and thank you for continuing to participate in our dialog rather than summarily “writing me off” as some sort of “religious nut.”

My problem with the traditional Christian position on supersessionism is that, even clothed in a pleasing and benign exterior, this “fulfillment theology” is a nearly 2,000 year old artifact that was first created when the schism between Jewish and non-Jewish believers began to develop and then exploded across the early history of the church, in order to artificially justify the ascension of the Gentiles over the Jews in Messiah, and to literally re-write the nature and character of Christian vs. Jewish “Messianism,” as we see in part here:

The destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the subsequent expulsion of the majority of Jews from what would be called Palestine marked a disastrous shift in the Jewish authority over the Messianic community. Up until that time, the head of the Jerusalem leadership of the Messianic community, otherwise referred to as “the bishop of the church”, had always been Jewish. Once the Jews were expelled from Jerusalem by Hadrian, for the first time a Gentile had to be elected into the role. As events moved forward from that point in time, the Gentile presence in the Messianic community grew dramatically while the Jewish leaders and worshipers of Yeshua struggled under the heartbreak of the loss of the Temple and the ejection from their land. Scant decades later, the failure of the Gentile “church” to support the Jewish revolt of Bar Koshba drove another significant wedge between the Jewish Messianic community and the body of Gentile believers.

With the Jewish population now scattered, humiliated, and fearing destruction at the hands of the Romans, the Gentile Messianics continued to secure their dominance and control of the worship of Yeshua. The self-identity of the Gentile Christians shifted from grafted-in to the root of Judaism through Abrahamic faith to the new inheritors of the Messiah, replacing Israel on a spiritual level. Origin of Alexandria and Justin Martyr were the earliest authors of this tradition and among the first to declare that the church had superseded Israel. Attached to this belief was the rise of Christian blame against the Jews for the murder of Jesus. The Jews became unworthy of their own Messiah and were pushed out of the worship of Yeshua by the Gentile disciples they had once taught and nurtured.

-James Pyles
Excerpt from “Origins of Supersessionism in the Church” (pp. 33-34)
Messiah Journal
Issue 109/Winter 2012

I previously said that I don’t have an advanced degree in religious studies, but as a published author, I do know how to do research, including delving into the history of how “the Way,” which started as a sect of Judaism inclusive of non-Jews but administered and guided by Jewish mentors who understood God and Messiah in a completely Jewish religious framework, into a newly created non-Jewish religion which found it necessary to eliminate any aspects of Judaism from its background.  In my review of the early church, I could see the early “church fathers” virtually reframe the letters of the early Jewish disciples, principally written by Paul, into words that would ultimately be used to discount and eventually all but exterminate the Jewish people.

I’m opening this blog post up for debate on the pros and cons of “fulfillment theology” and asking for those who are far wiser and much better educated and I in religious subjects to enter into the conversation. I do insist however, that this conversation remain polite and respectful. Disagreement is absolutely no excuse for undue emotionalism or any personalizing of conflict. Any apparent “attacks” on someone who differs from your point of view will not be tolerated and I, as the blog owner, reserve the right to edit or delete any offensive comments at my discretion.

This debate is specifically focused on the pros and cons of “supersessionism,” “replacement theology,” “fulfillment theology,” or whatever else you want to call it. It is NOT about One Law or Two House perspectives, so I am not inviting statements on those viewpoints to be presented here. If you find it necessary to disregard my wishes in this, your comments will be removed. Thank you.

With those disclaimers out of the way, please feel free to refer back to the full stream of comments on the “Sabbath” blog post, then return here and discuss how you support or refute my statements and Pastor Adkins’s statements. Please cite specific Biblical or other sources to support your arguments. I am asking for information, not unbridled passion.

One last thing before we begin. Eugene, you previously said:

How is lighting candles a confirmation of Jesus’ grace if that person doesn’t believe in Jesus to begin with?

Shabbat candlesI do have faith in Jesus, as you do Eugene. Watching the lighting the Shabbos candles is a beautiful and unique way of inviting him into my home and to experience something of a preview of his return to us, may it be soon and in our days. If perhaps, your comment were meant as a remark toward my wife who is Jewish but not a believer, I can only ask that you try to consider her with the same compassion and love that God has toward His am segulah; His “wondrous and treasured people” (Exodus 19:5). I can’t tell your attitude toward Jews and thus toward my wife and children through our “text-only” conversation, but if you cannot see them with the same compassion as God does, and believe God has discounted if not completely destroyed them, then I suppose my argument has already been made for me.

With that, I look forward to everyone’s contribution now and in the days ahead. I hope to learn a lot.

141 thoughts on “Debating Fulfillment Theology”

  1. James,

    You wrote: “This debate is specifically focused on the pros and cons of “supersessionism,” “replacement theology,” “fulfillment theology,” or whatever else you want to call it. It is NOT about One Law or Two House perspectives, so I am not inviting statements on those viewpoints to be presented here. If you find it necessary to disregard my wishes in this, your comments will be removed. Thank you.”

    This is very disappointing. I won’t be following your blog any more since you are not allowing people from different perspectives to participate.

    Shalom,

    Peter

  2. Peter, for the purposes of this one conversation, I want to keep things focused, rather than introducing multiple different streams of conversion on different topics. I’m not banning people who *believe* in One Law or Two House, I just want to make sure we all stay talking about the subject at hand.

    I’m sorry you took my comment differently than I intended and hope you’ll reconsider. If not, I hope you’ll one day be able to accept that people can have different points of view and still be brothers i the Messiah.

  3. Hello again James,

    Please allow me to make a few “clearing the air/clarifying” statements in regards to myself when you said, “I’m doing this for several reasons. The first is that, unlike Pastor Adkins, I do not have a post-graduate degree in any form of religious studies (I assume as a Pastor that Adkins is so educated) and thus do not have skill sets equal to his own as far as debating the scriptures.”

    In regards to a “a post-graduate degree in any form of religious studies ” I have none at all…not even what some would consider anything close to a “formal” education. I have taken literally “a handfull of about 10-15” classes at a local setup but nothing in-depth as far as “schooling” goes.

    I have been a Christian for about 8 years and have been preaching for about 4/5 at the same congregation at which I obeyed the gospel. Please don’t think I’m being “knit-picky” but I do not serve the congregation where I preach as a “pastor.” There are two men who fulfill that role due to me not being able to fulfill the scriptural requirements to be a pastor at this time.

    As far as your ending statement is concerned, I don’t have a hateful “attiude” (and I don’t think – or maybe I should say hope – that you’re saying I do) towards Jews or anyone else who is not a Christian. This reply is being made for the sake of others who may read your post.

    I do hope that people who choose to make remarks towards me would first read the entire conversation that you and I had and not just “snippets” that have been presented or that I’m associated with believing all that the “scholars” you quote wrote and believed themselves.

  4. Then I have to apologize, Eugene. I made some assumptions about you that weren’t correct. I’m sorry to have made such mistakes and hope we can still dialogue. I have redirected people to our conversation on the other blog post via a link in this one, so that they have the opportunity to see our exchange to date.

    I know this is probably a great inposition on you and I’ve probably put you on the spot, but I believe this topic and a debate on it is very important. We may not “solve” anything in a global sense, but sometimes just talking and airing differences of opinion and belief provides both education and illumination.

    Thank you.

  5. You asked for “backup,” James, so I will share what I know. Don’t be discouraged about not being “schooled” enough or having impressive credentials. God makes men who they are, and all men are the sum of their experiences. If scholarly knowledge were all that is needed to understand God and Scripture, then there wouldn’t be any debate, would there?

    One thing you’re overlooking is that every single one of us is incapable of fully understanding Scripture or God’s living guidance without having His mind to interpret for us (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). The church has forgotten how to let God interpret, which has brought her to be a people divided under hundreds of flavors of Christianity. That isn’t God’s plan for the future of His Kingdom.

    Watch my documentary about our destiny as a people and many misconceptions the church and world have that are blinding them to the full truth. Understanding the mystery will help you understand God’s laws and therefore whether your theology is correct.

    We must rely completely on God, through His Spirit, to understand His Word (Scripture or otherwise) if we are to avoid the misinterpretations and shadows of truth that come from using our carnal minds to understand things.

    Walking In Righteousness: http://tinyurl.com/7s2mtze

    God Bless,
    Ty

  6. I think Acts 15 is fairly straightforward in extending the idea that following the Law of Moses is not necessary for salvation in Jesus. I also think that there is a great deal of semantic difficulty involved in the discussion here. The question of whether Gentile believers should follow the Law of Moses, or whether they are obligated to do so, kind of misses the point. The real question is: how is sin defined in the bible? As mentioned earlier, Rom 7:7 states that without the Law we would not have known what sin is. 1John 3:4 states the idea even more clearly, sin is violation of the Law. Sinners have salvation through grace, thank you God! But he question we have been pondering really boils down to the question: is it ok to sin? If sin is defined by the Law, and sin is the violation of the Law, then should we not try to sin as little as we can?

  7. James,

    Good post.

    Usually I am weary of people who coin new terms to advance their “theology” (BE, comes to mind).

    Eugene seems to think thas if he will coin terms like “fulfillment theology” or “International covenant,” it will mean that such theology do exists, or now he ownes a covenant. Eugene is warried that there is not enough emphasis given to the spiritual rest on Shabbat, omiting, of course the fact that Jesus Himself rested physically on the Shabbat.

    It looks like that for Eugene the term Fulffilment means “to do away with.” I also like to ask him, why he conveniently omits Matt. 28:20 “teaching them to observe all I commanded you…?” Was Matt. 5:17-20 not included in what He commanded them?

    I think that Christians like Eugene cannot escape supersessionism, they grow up with it and it is natural for them. But the fact is, that according to Scripture the New Covenant just like the Mosaic covenant is made with Israel only….Gentiles, in faith can join, faith manifested by obeying the commands that apply to those who are in covenant.

    What Christians like Eugene are trying to do, is say that the NC is made with Jews and Gentiles, but this is not what Scriptures teaches, it is a fabrication and a lie. Gentiles are joining and taking upon themselves a covenant and comands that apply to israel, joining the commonwealth of Israel, and becoming fellow heirs. Despite what Eugene believes, Gentiles don’t get their own covenant and their own commands and their own entity….

  8. @ Dan

    Hello Dan,

    As far as your comments, “Eugene seems to think thas if he will coin terms like “fulfillment theology” or “International covenant,” it will mean that such theology do exists, or now he ownes a covenant. Eugene is warried that there is not enough emphasis given to the spiritual rest on Shabbat, omiting, of course the fact that Jesus Himself rested physically on the Shabbat.” If you actually read my conversation with James would have seen that I didn’t try to “coin” any terminology but what I said was in response to what I was being told concerning my beliefs.

    As far as the “international covenant” goes listen to what Jesus said about the gospel…

    “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of ALL THE NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;” (Matthew 28:18-20)

    “And He said to them, “Go into ALL THE WORLD and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15,16)

    “Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name TO ALL NATIONS, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)

    Does that sound “international” enough for you? I said what I said to James to compare the gospel of Christ for all nations to the law of Moses which was for one nation.

    I didn’t conviently omit anything. You do know that Jesus followed the law because he was born under and lived under it right? (Galatians 4:4) It was death that changed the covenant, not his life in and of itself (Hebrews 9:15-17) And for your comments concerning that I should do everything that Jesus did or commanded other to do…should I bring gifts to the levitical priesthood (Matthew 8:4)…should I be baptized in the Jordan River (Matthew 3:13)…you’re point has no point. Jesus lived under the law of Moses and I do not.

    You said, “I think that Christians like Eugene cannot escape supersessionism, they grow up with it and it is natural for them.” and you also said, “Despite what Eugene believes, Gentiles don’t get their own covenant and their own commands and their own entity….” You don’t even know me and you’re making assumptions about what I grew up believing! How can you say that? It’s not true.

    You also said, “But the fact is, that according to Scripture the New Covenant just like the Mosaic covenant is made with Israel only….Gentiles, in faith can join, faith manifested by obeying the commands that apply to those who are in covenant.” To be perfectly honest you sound quite hostile for no reason. I don’t see how you can say that with the letter’s of Paul in mind. Let me remind that anyone, including Jews, who is a member of the New Covenant is a member by faith so I don’t what point you think you’re proving. Even more, have you not read that the gentiles were apart of God’s plan for the New Covenant?

    “And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the GENTILES who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.’ “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” (Acts 15:13-18)

    ““And OTHER SHEEP I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be ONE FLOCK and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

    ““The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And ALL NATIONS shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, “ Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:1-3)”

    ““…And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 29“ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 Which You have prepared before the FACE OF ALL PEOPLES, 32 A light to bring revelation to the GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:27-32)

    ““Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the GENTILES. 2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. 4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” 5 Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: 6“ I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As A LIGHT TO THE GENTILES,” (Isaiah 42:1-6)”

    ““Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL PEOPLES to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” (John 12:30-33)

    If you think that God is a respector of person simply because they are born of the lineage of Abraham, then please read the scriptures again (Matthew 3:8-10; Acts 10:34,35; Romans 1:16,17; 2:28,29; 10:11-12).

    Dan – did Jesus fulfill the law of Moses or didn’t he? And how do you reconcile Hebrews 10:8-10 where it plainly says the first Covenant was “taken away” so the New Covenant could be established? Or Colossians 2:16,17?

    The blessings of salvation from God to the gentiles was answered through the promise made to Abraham and not through the law of Moses – “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith…For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” (Galatians 3:14,18)

    I think you’re missing the point of the promise that Peter talked about when he said, “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39) This promise was answered for the Jews (those near) and for the gentiles (those afar off) in the same way when, as Paul said, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who ONCE WERE FAR OFF have BEEN BROUGHT NEAR by the blood of Christ.14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you WHO WERE AFAR OFF AND TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:12-20)

    Peter’s point along with Paul’s is that salvation by faith is for all of mankind through the gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26-29). The household of God that contains Jew and Gentile is the church that contains all of the saved from every nation (1 Timothy 2:14-16).

    I regret that my reply is so long but you said several things that just weren’t honest or fair. If you have any other questions about me just ask instead of assuming things.

    Take care Dan and God bless in the studies of his word.

  9. Hi Eugene,
    Good response 🙂 I am curious, however. Sin being defined Biblically as violation of the Law, are we not supposed to try to not sin? If we have died to sin, does that not mean that now we may follow the Law more fully? If we are not obligated to follow the Law, does that not mean we may sin all we want? Sin is defined by the Law, so not following the Law is sin, right?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  10. @ Steve

    Good morning Steve,

    On the other post Peter asked me if I thought Jesus came to abolish Torah. Here was my response:

    “No, I do not believe that Jesus came to abolish law that holds men accountable to God. If that were true there would be no sin to need forgiveness of. Now, if you are asking me if I believe that mankind is responsible for keeping the Law of Moses then my answer would be no due to the fact that are no indications in the New Testament that this is true. I addressed that in the Acts 15 reference…particularly verses 5-11. The apostles, the elders and the rest of the church made the ruling of God’s Spirit concerning the issue clear in verses 13-29.”

    I believe the New Testament contains the law of God to which people will be held accountable to (2 Corinthians 5:10,11; Mark 16:16 – there is no condemnation unless there is something to be condemned).

    “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. ” (John 1:17) The “truth” mentioned there is an objective truth that has a standard of right and wrong to which all are held accountable to, but God be thanked that grace came with it too.

    “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith…For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 3:27; 8:2)

    “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)

    “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

    I know that there are some in the religious world who teach that Christianity is “all grace and no law” but I do not agree with that idea nor do the scriptures teach that to be true. Sin still kills today as much as it has in the past (Romans 6:23) and it is something that we must be very careful of (James 1:14-16; 1 Corinthians 10:12,13; and especially 1 John 1:6-10).

    Thanks for your kindness Steve; I hope this answers your question clearly enough.

  11. @Eugene: The basic debate I’ve tried to create here is this one:

    Did grace replace the Law for all disciples of Jesus so that both Jews and Gentiles are free of the Torah commandments in all respects and are united with no distinctions and identical responsibilities to God? Fulfillment theology would say yes but I am suggesting the answer is no. I’m suggesting that Jew and Gentile believer are united under the Davidic (Messianic) covenant that allows the whole world equal access to God and His love and grace, however I’m also suggesting, as you outlined just above, that we Gentiles are not responsible for observing and fulfilling the Torah commandments, but the Jews still are

    This isn’t a “salvational” thing, which Paul confirms, but it is a “specialness” that the Jewish people, the inheritors at Sinai, retain.

    When you were quoting yourself to Steve a little while ago, nothing in what you said contradicted what I’m suggesting. I know the Internet is a terrible place to have a conversation as it promotes so much misunderstanding, but to me, when Jesus “fulfilled” the Law, he was just saying that was the living embodiness of how to live it out correctly (which is why no one could find fault against him when he was tested by the various religious authorities).

    In other words, there are parts of “the Law” all believers must obey, such as feeding the hungry, and so on. However, the Jewish people retain additional responsibilities (my point of view) based on, among other things, Christ’s own statement that not one “jot or tittle” of the Law would pass away until heaven and earth passed away (and last time I looked, they were still here) (see Matthew 5:18).

  12. This morning, I read a blog post called I Don’t Know Anything written by a guy named James Altucher (it was something someone shared on Google+). It doesn’t address the specifics of this debate, but it does address the nature and character of about 98% of all Internet debates. I thought it would be something good to inject here, just to provide us with a little extra focus as our conversation continues.

    Thanks.

  13. Hi Eugene,
    Let me rephrase the question a bit because I am still somewhat confused. If sin is violation of the Law, then isn’t not sinning following the Law?
    Be Blessed,
    Steve

  14. @ Steve

    I think you maybe confused in that this discussion isn’t about whether or not a “Law” exists for God’s people. It does. Sin isn’t only the violation of the law of Moses as I think you may be saying. Correct if me I’m wrong though. When you say “Law” are you referring exclusively to the law of Moses? A person today lives under the Law of Christ and therefore is ammenable to it and capable of sin against God (see the scripture references above).

    @ James

    Good morning James. I will answer you question later – it’s time to go to worship 🙂

  15. Hi Eugene, I hope you had a fulfilling service,
    OK, so are you saying that somewhere in the New Testament, after the Gospels, “the Law” changed from being the Law of Moses to being a new Law of Christ? So the definition of sin changed? Certainly Paul in Romans 7 is referring to the Law of Moses, so is 1John. Peter in Acts 2:38 is referring to sin regarding the Law of Moses. So, at what point in the timeline did the definition of “the Law” change?

    Be Blessed,
    Steve

  16. I told James that I wanted to put my 2 cents worth in, and so, for what it is worth, I’m going to. First of all my credentials: I have served Christ for almost 40 years. I have read the bible many times, and continue to read it.. I keep finding new stuff in there. I actually attended Christ for the Nations in Dallas, and had I bothered to apply for a degree it would have been an Associates in Practical Theology. I lived in Israel for 2 years (and worked in Lebanon part of that time). My family has Jewish roots, but as far as I know, I’m the only one who “reverted”, that is I’m the only one in my family who actually attempts to practice Messianic Judaism…and I’m not very good at it. I did notice while in Israel that as a culture, I was far more familiar with how the world looks to them. That taught me that even though my family had “left the faith” as it were, there were lots of leftover “ways of doing things” that were definitely Jewish. All the males in my family are circumcised.

    So my comments here will be based upon these things. Also, I’m taking time out of studying for work to do this, so it will be done on the basis of what I know (have memorized mostly), I won’t be quoting a lot of scholars, though as an avid reader, I have read a lot of scholarly works–but I don’t have time to get them out and look up quotes, and so I won’t. My chickens are probably hungry already. 🙂

    First of all, the fact is, when God says “forever”, He means unto all eternity. I think we can all agree on that.

    Based on that first statement, then what did God mean when He said “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, not like my covenant which they broke.” Did this mean that the everlasting covenant was gone? No, it meant that it had been broken on our side. Which by the way, was no surprise to God, and a plan was already in place to fix it.

    When we talk about the law and grace, we are not talking about 2 different things. We are talking about the goal and how to get there. If anyone reading this thinks for one second that when we get to Heaven we will not be perfectly obeying the law, please contact me–we need to talk. . The point I made however is this, since we are heading to heaven, and what happens in our lives is preparation for getting there, how do you really think we’re going to turn out? In this, I think we’ll have to agree, when we live perfectly, we automatically live according to the law. So living according to the law, is the goal. Someday, we will all live according to the law perfectly. And I will tell you right now that it will look different than what we think here on earth. In this we truly do “see through a glass dimly” I Cor 13.

    Now I will get to David, who we can all agree lived during the “Old Covenant” which lives forever. I use David as a prime example of what I’m trying to explain here about law and grace. David deserved to die according to the law, but he wrote most of the book of Psalms (which remains the most popular book in the bible), and he was called a “man after God’s own heart.” How can this be? According to the law he was a murder and an adulterer (and probably many other things besides), and yet he not only lived, he continued to live for God. Remember now, this is “Old Testament”, Jesus hadn’t even come to the earth yet (well, at least wasn’t born yet as a man). From this example, and many others I could point out, I would have to say that the same grace we tout as Christians, was already at work. Nobody keeps the law…not then, and not now. The only way to relationship with God is through grace.

    Human beings have the hardest time with this, which is why the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament writers to especially emphasize this. The gentiles were for about the first time coming into relationship with God. (Actually the first time was during Esther…remember many became Jews because of God’s great salvation and victory at that time…or perhaps Egypt was the first). That being said, they had no clue, and I mean no clue about the goal or the way to get there. They needed to be taught, and I think that the example of the Pharisees really hammered home to the disciples that you can’t get to righteousness through trying to keep the law.

    I do contend that if the goal is to live like Jesus, then the goal is to live according to the law. However, we are not there yet. We all have a long way to go, and we all start from different places with different backgrounds, different understandings, different ways we learn, different types of intelligence…you see what I mean. This explains why people who are following the Holy Spirit and living in grace, will show very different “stages” of living according to the law. This is natural. Before this turns into beating a dead horse, I think I will turn to the question of the Jews as having special requirements.

    They do.

    According to the Abrahamic covenant, the Jews are to inherit the land of Israel. This means the Jewish people only. This seems to arouse a lot of jealousy in many gentiles, and I’m sorry for this, but it’s the truth. It doesn’t make the Jewish people more loved by God, so be comforted with that fact and be who you are.

    It is the Jews who were given the temple with all the laws pertaining to it. It will be the Jews who provide the Priests for that temple both in the past and in the future when the Temple is rebuilt according to Revelation. It will be the Jews who live in the land of Israel during the millennial reign of the Messiah.

    Please consider history, why does the enemy of our souls work so hard to completely kill off the Jewish people? Because there are still promises to be fulfilled concerning them and if he can kill them off, then those promises from God won’t be fulfilled.

    But they will be fulfilled.

    They will be the ones, who, when the Messiah returns, repent and turn to salvation as a nation. By they way, they will be the only nation to do so.

    Whether we like it or not, the Jewish people have a special place in God’s plan both in the past and in the future. I believe this means that they are special right now. I also believe that they can only live the law by way of grace, just like the gentiles.

    🙂

  17. Well said, Dree. Thank you for coming by and contributing to the discussion. I also agree that grace and the Law (Torah) are not polar opposites. Anyone who cannot see the grace of God being enacted in the lives of the Children of Israel in the Old Testament (Tanakh) isn’t looking very carefully. God’s mercy is His “signature” all over the Bible, and His behavioral expectations are His “Torah”. The “Torah” for Jews and non-Jewish believers is somewhat different (I believe), but He does expect us, as recipients of His mercy and redemption, to conform our lives to His standards.

    I also am quite willing to take God at His Word when He said His covenant with Israel that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and established through Moses at Sinai is “forever”, He means “forever”. Just as Jesus said that,

    “For, amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one yod or one thorn will pass away from the Torah until all has been established.”Matthew 5:18 (DHE Gospels)

    I know I said that just recently, but I’m not sure how we can get around this teaching of the Master when we attempt to subsequently substitute the “Law of Moses” with the “Law of Jesus”. My understanding is that the Davidic covenant builds upon and ratifies the Mosaic covenant (the conditions of which are exquisitely spelled out in the Torah). If we do away with Torah, the teachings of Christ lose all their power and meaning, since they are supposed to be woven with threads that can be traced all the way back to Eden and encompass everything God has done between the creation of the Universe and the condition of humanity to this very day.

  18. Eugene, thenks for the reponse.

    1) Matt. 28:18-20; 16:15-16; Luke 24: 46-47

    Where is the word COVENANT in these passages? You are reading your agenda into Scriptures.

    2) Hebr. 9:15-17
    See Jerem. 31:33. It is the same Law. what gives you the right to change it?

    3) ” Jesus lived under the LOM and I am not.”
    Then, why are Christians like you advertising that they are walking in Jesus’ steps? Kind of hypocritical, don’t you think so? This claim sounds hollow….Just because you cannot keep parts of the Law does not give you the right to jettison ALL of it. You can stop eating a ham sandwich, can you? Is there any reason for you not to do any work on the Shabbat beside your blatant refusal to obey the Law?

    4)”You don’t even know me and you’re making assumptions about what I grew up believing! How can you say that? It’s not true.”
    Well, you could have fooled me…your comments throughout the blog reeks supersessionism.

    5) New Covenant.

    Please show one, just one scripture that says the NC was given to the Gentiles, can you? All the passages you quoted only show that the Gentiles joining an existing covenant that was given to Israel, and that is exactly what I said. Stop reading your agenda into Scriptures…..

    6) ”
    If you think that God is a respector of person simply because they are born of the lineage of Abraham, then please read the scriptures again (Matthew 3:8-10; Acts 10:34,35; Romans 1:16,17; 2:28,29; 10:11-12).”

    This is not at all what I think. You are saying this because you know that you cannot counter the fact that the covenant was given to Israel, not to the Gentiles. Gentiles are grafted it by the blood of Yeshua.

    7)”Dan – did Jesus fulfill the law of Moses or didn’t he? And how do you reconcile Hebrews 10:8-10 where it plainly says the first Covenant was “taken away” so the New Covenant could be established? Or Colossians 2:16,17?”

    Which first covenant you have in mind? The Nohachide? The Abrahamic? Or did you ever considered that the passage you quoted speaks of the change in the priesthood? after all does not the context speaks of sacrifices? Were not the Levitical priests the ones who offered the sacrifices?
    I also wonder why did Paul say: ” things which ARE shadows of things to come…” In Col. 2:17. According to you he should have said: “things which WERE shadows of things to come,” since he said it 30 after Jesus died, and you said that everything changed after His death?

    8) ”

    The blessings of salvation from God to the gentiles was answered through the promise made to Abraham and not through the law of Moses – “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith…For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” (Galatians 3:14,18)”

    Well, let’s look deeper and see WHY God chose Abraham to have the blessing and the promise…
    ” And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; BECAUSE ABRAHAM OBEYED ME AND KEPT MY CHARGE< MY COMMANDMENTS< MY STATUETS AND MY LAWS." You need to spend more time in the Tanach.

    9) Ephes. 2:12-20

    I wonder why you forgot verse 11? But, thank you for affirming my point. What were the Gentiles far off from? The covenants (note the plural), and the commonwealth of Israel. what were they brought near to? The book of Cinderella?

    May God bless you Eugene to open you eyes to His word.

  19. Did I put grace against the Law? If I did, I didn’t mean to. I meant that grace and Torah exist side-by-side, Dan. You don’t really have one without the other.

    It’s interesting you bring this point up though, since I’m starting the outline for my next “supersessionism” article for FFOZ’s Messiah Journal. I’m presenting how different traditional doctrines in the church, including the doctrine of salvation, can be supersessionist. Of course, my article won’t be available to the public until April.

  20. James,

    sorry, I did not mean you, not at all. I am saying that Christianity does this. Christianity on one holds to the creed that salvation is through Yeshua only, but on the other they teach that since the Old testament people did not have the Holy Spirit they were not saved, but on the third hand they agree that King David, Moses and other are saved, how?

  21. Christianity on one holds to the creed that salvation is through Yeshua only, but on the other they teach that since the Old testament people did not have the Holy Spirit they were not saved, but on the third hand they agree that King David, Moses and other are saved, how?

    That one drives me a little crazy too, Dan. I once heard it explained to me that the pre: New Testament Hebrews were “saved” because they anticipated the time of the Messiah’s coming, even though they didn’t know him by name. Supposedly, this gives the church the right to condemn all of the Jews across the past 2,000 years who refused to be forcably converted to Christianity, even upon pain of torture and death, because they “should have known better.”

  22. Thanks for this opportunity to share, learn, etc James. I’m going to have a go at this.

    @ James Keeping people on track i.e. discussing the topic rather than what they would prefer to discuss and encouraging everyone to disagree agreeably and so keep the peace looks like a tough job. My heart goes out to you and my prayers to Heaven.

    @ Eugene

    On international covenant. Yes the commission is global in scope and hence international but this in no way negates the fact that Scripture quite clearly states that the covenant is made/renewed with Israel (Jeremiah 31: 31f/Hebrews 8:8) and thus is only ever effective for the nations when they join with Israel (Romans 11: 16/Ephesians 2: 11f) taking upon themselves the blessings of the covenant. One of the many blessings of being part of the covenant community of Israel is that one then gets to serve the Lord Jesus/Yeshua through the commission with integrity.

    @ Eugene

    This “logic” is plainly presented in Galatians 3. God had a very good reason to institute the Law of Moses and it has nothing to with “bait and switch.” It had to do with point and lead until the fulfilment of its goal. The emphasis of the salvation that was to come for all of mankind goes back to the promise made to Abraham.

    -Eugene Adkins
    in his January 27 comment on my blog post
    The Lord’s Sabbath

    One of the problems of this kind of thinking Eugene is that it ignores both Biblical and personal evidences of the sheer forgetfulness of man – i.e. both witting and unwitting forgetfulness – and hence the very real need for there to be timely reminders i.e. a constant pointing and leading towards Messiah, even for the ‘saved’. This is perhaps one of the reasons why we should be grateful for appointed times i.e. as timely reminders about who our God is, who we are and how we ought to conduct ourselves as an appropriate response to our knowledge and status. Incidentally, this supports the veracity of arguments which want to say that the gracious teaching and instructions that we call law are still very much operative and rightly so. Thank the Heavens for this. Why would anyone want to play football without a referee or drive without a highway code or live with other people in community without teaching and instructions to ensure quality of life? They wouldn’t and that’s because at their best, humans can clearly see the value of them and how much more then does our God!

    @ Eugene. Sorry, you’re getting most of this.

    Dan – Did Jesus fulfil the law of Moses or didn’t he? And how do you reconcile Hebrews 10:8-10 where it plainly says the first Covenant was “taken away” so the New Covenant could be established? Or Colossians 2:16,17?

    It all depends what you mean by fulfil here Dan, and I believe that I know what you mean but disagree with you on this point. Regards Hebrews 10: 8-10. Given the context of the whole book of Hebrews, the local chapters and then the whole Bible and indeed the life which has emanated from this classically – thinking here of the Torah directed Temple practices and sacrificial system – what makes you think that God is making the whole eternal covenant obsolete Dan rather than just the means or mode of atonement? Now this makes far more sense in my view. Consider that Jesus/Yeshua certainly fulfils the Law/Torah in the sense I think you understand, concerning atonement and the forgiveness of sins.

    In the service of Messiah and His Church.
    – Andrew

  23. @ Steve

    Hello again Steve,

    I’m not really following your logic when you say,

    “OK, so are you saying that somewhere in the New Testament, after the Gospels, “the Law” changed from being the Law of Moses to being a new Law of Christ? So the definition of sin changed? Certainly Paul in Romans 7 is referring to the Law of Moses, so is 1John. Peter in Acts 2:38 is referring to sin regarding the Law of Moses. So, at what point in the timeline did the definition of “the Law” change?”

    Are you saying that sin did not exist before the law of Moses? I’m sure that you would believe that sin existed before the law of Moses was given correct? So why would you have such a hard time grasping the fact that sin cannot exist beyond the law of Moses?

    As to your question of when the did the law change from Moses’ to Christ’s? Simple – At the death of Christ when he shed his blood.

    “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.” (Hebrews 9:15-18)

    @ Dan

    I’m tired of talking to you already. Every statement you make towards me is full of cynicism, arrogance and condescension. You are not willing to discuss nor be cordal as I have been. You make assumpitions about me so I will let you continue to do so (as I’m sure you will due to my current statements and it feeding your obvious ego) without me replying to you any more.

    Take care.

  24. Hi James,
    Thought I would toss in a comment. It was easier to copy and paste something I had already written. I hope you don’t mind.

    Excerpt from Torah and Grace blog, “Ephesians- the new body of believers”.
    …Nevertheless, it is hard to miss Sha’ul’s exuberance and joy at being able to tell the nations that Messiah Yeshua had broken down the wall of separation between the two people groups and made the formation of one new body, containing both groups, a spiritual reality.
    Ephesians 2:13-16 “But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Messiah. For he is our shalom, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in the flesh the hostility, the law of mitzvot contained in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man of the two, making shalom; and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility thereby.”
    Sha’ul uses the word “both” twice in those verses. He made both one and reconciled them both into one body as a new man. Much has been made about how the Gentiles were brought near to the covenants made with Israel, giving them hope. But what about the other part of the “both”? If the Gentiles were, through trusting in Messiah, moved closer to YHWH and His people, Israel, what movement was required on the part of those who were considered to already be part of Israel? In this case the Jews.
    Gentiles were to give up their pagan lifestyles and become separate from the world so as to qualify for being included in the promises made to the people of Israel. What were the Jews being asked to give up in order to qualify for the promises? Messiah had purposed to make from the two groups one new man. This new man, created from both groups of people, would then, by the favor granted to them through trusting in Messiah Yeshua, have access to the Father through one Spirit. This obviously means that neither group had that type of access before and therefore both had to give up something to be part of this new body that was to be constructed according to the spiritual reality that now existed in Messiah.
    Yes the high priest could enter into the presence of YHWH once a year on behalf of the people, but it was not an open invitation to just anyone. That changed with Yeshua.
    Perhaps we could put together a short list of the things which no longer applied to either group as far as obtaining salvation in Messiah is concerned.
    • Circumcision of the flesh
    • animal sacrifices
    • Levitical priesthood to perform the sacrifices
    • strict observance of rabbinical rules, whether based in Torah or not
    • a correct genealogy
    Looks a little one-sided doesn’t it? Seems as if the Jews would be having to lay down most of what had made them unique in all the world. But then pagan Gentiles didn’t have much going for them along those lines. True there were some YWHW-fearers who did the best they could, but the list for the nations would be more “don’ts” along the lines of sinful behavior than having to abstain from some type of legalistic Torah observance.
    The object of Messiah was to have shalom between the two groups, after having set them both free from the constraints of this present world, so that they might serve YHWH together without strife and confusion.
    I find it difficult to imagine that if the requirements for obtaining salvation became the same for both groups, Jews and Gentiles, that the requirements for the two groups would be substantially different after having obtained the promise through faith in Messiah Yeshua.
    We all come in through the same door and then are separated into different classrooms for the duration? Jews learn to serve YHWH one way and the rest are instructed to serve Him based on other requirements? Whether more or less is required is not, at least to me, the point of this current exercise. It is the fact that some to hold to the idea that there should be any difference at all.
    Israel was chosen to be the vehicle for bringing salvation into the world. Which is why they were not completely destroyed as a people prior to the arrival of Messiah. Now that He has come, all the descendants of Jacob can avail themselves of the promised new covenant just like everyone else. They are joined to the covenant through faith. The nations are joined to the covenant through faith. And that faith is in Messiah Yeshua.

    Good discussion. Good points being made.

  25. Eugene,

    They all say that when they don’t have answeres. Killing the messenger is always easier than facing the truth.

    Be well.

  26. @Russ: you said,

    The object of Messiah was to have shalom between the two groups, after having set them both free from the constraints of this present world, so that they might serve YHWH together without strife and confusion.

    I find it difficult to imagine that if the requirements for obtaining salvation became the same for both groups, Jews and Gentiles, that the requirements for the two groups would be substantially different after having obtained the promise through faith in Messiah Yeshua.

    I agree that the object of the removal of the partition between the Jews and the non-Jewish disciples of Jesus was to remove hostility and to promote peace between them, however it is possible for two groups to be dissimilar and still have peace between them. The traditional Christian teaching on this matter is that the Law was stripped out from the Jews (and not required for the Gentiles in the first place and so, not imposed on them) so that the new Jewish and Gentile “Christians” were exactly the same except for their actual ethnic and national origins (A guy born in Jerusalem was still an Israeli and a guy born in Greece was still Greek).

    However, let’s look at this differently. You say in the second paragraph above that the point of breaking down the partition (and please correct me if I get this wrong) is to create the same requirements for salvation for both groups. I’d have to agree that both groups would have to have the same requirements for salvation, but that doesn’t mean that covenant responsibilities couldn’t be different. Whether a Jew fails to wear tzitzit as required by the Law of Moses may mean that he violates the Law, but it doesn’t mean that he loses salvation, anymore than if a Gentile Christian fails to feed a hungry person. That each group (in my opinion) have different or at best, overlapping covenantal requirements to God doesn’t mean they can’t have equal access to God and an identical access to salvation through the Messiah.

    @Dan and @Eugene:

    You both are adults and I don’t want to micromanage what happens between you two, so I’ll just offer a reminder (especially to you Dan, since I know your “engine” can “run hot” from time to time) that we can and will act in a civil manner in this conversation, even when we disagree with each other completely. I don’t care if one of you says the sky is blue and the other one says it’s purple with pink polka dots, disagreement is not an excuse for hostility and personalizing conflict. Thanks.

  27. “Perhaps we could put together a short list of the things which no longer applied to either group as far as obtaining salvation in Messiah is concerned.
    • Circumcision of the flesh
    • animal sacrifices
    • Levitical priesthood to perform the sacrifices
    • strict observance of rabbinical rules, whether based in Torah or not
    • a correct genealogy

    well, let’s see….

    Circuncision in the flesh
    “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:1-2)

    Animal sacrifices

    See Ezek. 42:13; 45:17; 43:19 and 21.

    Strict observace of rabbinical rules

    agree!

    Acorrect genealogy

    ? ? ?

  28. @ James

    The New Testament draws a very clear distinction between the law of Moses and the law of Christ. When you say that Jewish Christians are still required to keep certain parts of the law of Moses but the gentile Christians are not that sounds a lot like separate but equal which is the EXACT opposite of what Paul was talking about in Ephesians 2:14-16.

    “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity (the law of commandments – see above).”

    What law of commandments is Paul referring to if not the law of Moses?

    The law of Moses and the law of Christ come from two different moutains:

    “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all…Now we [Paul along with gentile Christians], brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.” (Ephesians 2:21-26; 28-31)

    If a person wishes to go backwards instead of forward by living under the law of Moses I suppose that’s up to them. It would be as Paul told the Galatians:

    “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. ” (Galatians 4:8-10)

    Now before you a person goes and tries and to say the “weak and beggarly elements refer to paganism” and not the law of Moses I would remind the reader thatr Paul wasn’t concerned about the Christians at Galatia reverting back to paganism but rather going backwards by going backwards toward the law of Moses. The days and months and seasons and years are the samething Paul referred to when he said, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16,17)

    The law of Moses was “weak” in that it couldn’t take away sin (Hebrews 10:3,4) and “destitute” in that it was without the riches of the assurance of blessings and mercy of Jesus Christ (PLEASE READ Ephesians 1:7, 2:4,5; 3:8-10) and “elemental” in that it went backwards to the first things (the Old Covenant) instead of moving forward into the gospel of Christ. Paul was urging the Galatian Christians to not leave the light of the gospel that delievered them from paganism for the law of Moses. It would be like taking two steps forward and then taking one back. The light of the law of Moses has “nothing” on the light of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 3).

    The law of God (the New Covenant) for today now proceeds from Mt. Zion and not from Mt. Sinai – “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:18-24)

    The above was written to Hebrew Christians; not gentiles.

    Again, I will go back to what I said in my first reply on the original post. If a person of Jewish heritage wishes to celebrate the law of Moses in light of its fulfillment in Christ I suppose I cannot say anything against it as long as that person is not practicing or binding anything on another that is contrary to what Jesus came to accomplish. But to say that a person of Jewish or gentile descendant MUST observe something in the law of Moses the New Testament simply does not teach this – “So let NO ONE JUDGE you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, ” (Colossians 2:16)

    “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”” (Galatians 2:19-21)

    God “special” people today are the Jews and gentiles who in the body of Christ – the church: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” 7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. ” (1 Peter 2:4-10)

    Finally 🙂 As to your comment which said, “In other words, there are parts of “the Law” all believers must obey, such as feeding the hungry, and so on. However, the Jewish people retain additional responsibilities (my point of view) based on, among other things, Christ’s own statement that not one “jot or tittle” of the Law would pass away until heaven and earth passed away (and last time I looked, they were still here) (see Matthew 5:18).”

    You didn’t quote all of Matthew 5:18 that says, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law TILL ALL IS FULFILLED.” Jesus fulfilled the law (Luke 24:44-47; John 19:28-30) so I honestly don’t understand your point. If Jesus didn’t fulfill the law then every jot and tittle – including animal sacrifices, recognition of Levites and the priests of God, etc. – is still in effect.

    How does a person come to believe that they “pick and chose” what parts of the law of Moses to follow as you seem to be saying the Jewish people can do today. Again, as I said earlier, what you seem to be teaching when it comes to Jewish Christians and gentile Christians is that we are “separate but equal.” That’s not what the gospel or the church is all about.

    I know this reply is long but I didn’t have much of a choice (it could have been longer 🙂 !)Have a great rest of the day James. If I reply anymore it may be quite a while becuase something else that you don’t know about me is that not only am I not a “properly educated preacher” but I also work a “regular” 40+ hours during the week too but I will see what I can do. Take care.

  29. “I find it difficult to imagine that if the requirements for obtaining salvation became the same for both groups, Jews and Gentiles, that the requirements for the two groups would be substantially different after having obtained the promise through faith in Messiah Yeshua.”

    Here is another example of teaching two ways of salvation…..

  30. Eugene said: I know this reply is long but I didn’t have much of a choice (it could have been longer !)Have a great rest of the day James. If I reply anymore it may be quite a while becuase something else that you don’t know about me is that not only am I not a “properly educated preacher” but I also work a “regular” 40+ hours during the week too but I will see what I can do. Take care.

    That’s quite a “mouthful” you “spoke” just now, Eugene, and I certainly can’t digest and respond to it very quickly. 😉 Believe it or not, I also work a regular day job, am finishing writing one book and starting two more, and am writing my second article for Messiah Journal, so I can sympathize with what it’s like to be busy. No worries if you can’t pop in very frequently. I appreciate your input, even when I don’t agree with it.

    Cheers.

  31. Hi Eugene,
    I did not say sin did not exist before Sinai, I said it was not defined before Sinai. As for the definition of “the Law” changing after Jesus’ death and ressurection, there are multiple examples which indicate otherwise. I listed several examples before, Peter in Acts 2:38 refers to turning from sin, he was saying follow the Law. Romans 7:7 says that the Law (of Moses) defines sin, and 1John 3:4 clearly is referring to the Law of Moses when it says “sin is violation of the Law.” There does not seem to be any indication that the Law of Christ is any different than or means anything other than the Law of Moses.

    If the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ are the same, it seems these inconsistencies disappear. From examples you set out already, there certainly does not seem to be anything in the Law of Christ that is not contained in the Law of Moses. Likewise there does not seem to be anything in the Law of Moses that is inconsistent with the Law of Christ. If anything, the Law of Christ reiterates the Law of Moses in a generalized fashion.

    Regardless, we are still left with the Law of Moses being the definition of sin in both Romans and 1John.

    Be Blessed,
    Steve

  32. @ Russ

    You said much of what I’ve been saying, only with different words. I appreciate the way in which you said some of what you presented in your point revolving around Ephesians 2 and the ONE new man created through Christ.

  33. @ Steve

    I understand what you’re saying but have you read, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as[f] weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

    This definitely sounds like there’s a distinction between the two laws to me. To bind the law of Moses upon a person today is using the law “unlawfully.”

    “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, HAVING STRAYED, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:5-11)

    You have mentioned Romans 7 a couple of times now. Romans 7:3,4 says, “So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God”

    The Old Law (the dead husband) has given place to the New Law (the new husband). Listen to the distinction being made about sin and the law that Christians will held accountable to, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-29)

    Hear the distinction that was being made to the Hebrew Christians? There are two different laws being compared while a discussion about sin is being had. The two cannot be the same law or there would be no distinction to be made (John 1:17).

    Again, Romans 3:27,28 says, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”

    The law of Moses will always have the ability to point out sin (Romans 7:12), but so did God’s command to Adam to not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in Eden and obviously Cain and Abel knew what right and wrong was too (Hebrews 11:4). The ability to point out sin and a person being held accountable to that specific law isn’t the same thing. People today will be judged by the words of Christ (the New Covenant) and not the words of Moses (the old Covenant) when it comes to sin and salvation (John 12:48; Romans 6:15-16, 23)

    Time to go back to worship services. Have a good night Steve.

  34. For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (ESV)

    This passage has a lot of twists and turns and can be viewed in a number of different ways. When Paul says, “To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews,” it almost sounds as if he means he’s not a Jew, which, if he were being literal, would be ridiculous, because he was Jewish (well, tribe of Benjamin rather than Judah, but you get the idea). The whole passage doesn’t mean that Paul was being an ethnic, cultural, and religious chameleon, but rather, someone who could tailor his message to his audience (something any communicator worth his salt knows how to do well).

    “To the Jew…under the Law” could well mean that he could talk to the Jew who had not come to faith in Jesus as Messiah from a perspective that would make sense and would enable that Jew to understand Paul’s words and perspectives. Of course, if that were how he approached the Gentiles in the diaspora, they not only would miss most of his religious and cultural references, they’d be unlikely to listen to him and come to faith in Jesus. Thus Paul says, “I became as one outside the law…that I might win those outside the law,” tailoring his message to the Gentile in terms they could understand (Paul periodically used “sports metaphors” in his messages since many Greeks could relate to those terms, much as some Pastors will use “sports metaphors” today to speak to a primarily male audience in the U.S.).

    The phrases “I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law)” and “I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ)” are very hard for me to understand, I must admit. If Paul is saying he no longer obeys the Torah, then those who accused him in Acts, of disobeying the Law of Moses and teaching others to do the same were right, and Paul was lying when he denied the charges (do we want to believe this?). But what does it mean when Paul says he is *not* outside the “Law of God” but under the “law of Christ?” If the “law of God” means the Torah (I know, a big “if”, but let’s roll with it for a moment), then he’s saying he’s *not* outside of Torah *and* that he’s under the law of Christ, meaning that the two are not inconsistent in his life.

    I admit, I can’t say in absolute terms that he means what I’ve just said above, but if he does, then it certainly is consistent with my opinion that the Messianic covenant ratified and worked alongside the Mosaic covenant for the Jews, rather than the Mosaic covenant being disintegrated by the Messianic covenant for the Jewish people.

    One thing to keep in mind folks, is that my goal for this conversation is not to establish that one side is “right” and the other side is “wrong”. I have no hope of everyone being convinced of a single solution to this discussion by the end. My goal is rather to introduce a “reasonable doubt” as they say in criminal trials. The church presents “Fulfillment/Replacement theology” as fact and as the only reasonable way to interpret the New Testament. I say that it’s not and I want to introduce enough “evidence” of reasonable alternate interpretations of the NT to create “reasonable doubt” in the minds of those who say that the Christians *must* have replaced the Jews in all of God’s covenant promises.

    That’s all.

  35. Hi Eugene,
    Ok, I think I understand. The Law of Moses points out sin. But Gentile Christians are not held accountable for sin that is defined by the Law of Moses. But since sin is defined (pointed out) by the Law of Moses (Romans 7, 1John 3), then Gentile Christians are not held accountable for sin.
    Is that right?
    Be Blessed,
    Steve

  36. James,
    I agree with you if we are talking about function in the body of Messiah. I disagree with you if we are talking about requirements.
    We may certainly function differently. I believe that we all do to some degree. And due to the different functions how we perform our responsibilities would also be different. But I am only referring to the responsibilities that are directly related to those functions.
    And if we unintentionally mix up individual function and responsibility with corporate function and responsibility it will seem as if we are arguing against the very things we stand for.
    We as human beings all have some cultural attachments that we carry along with us as we go through this life. Most of them are harmless enough and do not pose a threat to our life and faith or the life and faith of others.
    Cultural attachments may be religious in nature and therefore constitute a part of our form of worship and service. Again, these attachments are usually not harmful. But if the cultural attachments we uphold, especially the religious ones, cause a separation between believers, then those individual attachments can bring about unnecessary strife and discord.

    Yeshua was very specific when He described to His disciples what would mark them as His in this world. And it was not any of the widely popular cultural, societal or religious affections we tend to observe. There has always been quite a number of those type of things that we can observe in our own strength, which when we do does not separate us from the rest of the world.

    Rather it was the bearing of fruit that would be the result of abiding in Him. And that the fruit we bear would bring esteem to His Father who had authored our salvation.

    I would argue that the (rules, requirements, responsibilities, instructions, laws…etc., pick one) for establishing an abiding relationship with Yeshua and His Father and bearing the fruit Yeshua was referring to on His final night on earth are the same for you as they are for me.
    Neither of us could maintain that relationship if we continued in sin. Therefore we are both required to keep the righteousness of Torah.

    Does the righteousness of Torah look different for you than it does for me?

    Perhaps it might. But it is hard to imagine since that righteousness is defined and generated from YHWH and not from man..

    Have a good week. I look forward to further discussions.

    Russ

  37. Russ, I know we have specific disagreements on how the Law of Moses is specifically applied to Jews vs. Gentiles, but the primary focus of the current conversation is whether the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the Davidic/Mosaic covenant obliterated the Mosaic covenant/Torah and did away with the Jewish people as a distinct people group who were established and “chosen” by God as Sinai. I’ve noticed that people from different perspectives (One Law/Two House/Messianic Judaism) all seem to (more or less) agree that the Torah/Mosaic covenant didn’t suffer a terminal injury because Jesus was crucified, so I think we can agree somewhat in this area.

    As far as drilling down into the covenant differences between Jew and Gentile (or lack thereof, depending on your perspective), that’s a related issue, but not the main point of our conversation. I think that the Jewish people do represent a subset of humanity that functions corporately in a different role than Gentile Christianity. I know my opinion, even among those who might otherwise agree with me given the focus of this talk, is in the minority.

  38. 1 Cor. 9:19-23
    If we look at the immediate context of this passage it is clear that Paul is teaching that one must be willing to give up his freedoms in order to establish the priotity of the Gospel within the community of faith.
    The text begins with the word “for.” which liks the passage directly to the preceding contex, and forms the conclusion to 9:1-23, a description of Paul’s own example of forfeiting freedoms for the sake of the Gospel. Paul is not describing what he is free to do, he is describing the freedoms he has given up in order to further the success of his work as an Apostle of Yeshua.

    As James noted, the phrase “to the Jews I became a Jew” leaves us with a question. Paul was obviously Jewish and never ceased from identifying himself as such. It therefore makes no sense for Paul to write that he “became as a Jew” unless the Jewish group to which he refers is made more specific. He makes it more specific by adding “those under the Torah…” Which defines this Jewish group as those who comprise the Synagogue community of unbelieving Jews.

    The same with the designation “those outside Torah.” At first reading it looks like that this group are pagans or transgressors. But would Paul engage in transgression and lawful act just because he wanted to reach this group? But Paul is further defining what he means by “without the Torah.” he is describing Gentile believers who were viewed by the unbelieving Synagogue as outside of the covenant defined by Torah, and who therefore considered weak or incapable of covenanr status before God. It was the unbelieving sinagogue that labled the Gentile believers as “without the Torah” and “weak.”

    Paul is describing his membership status in two groups of people: the wider Jewish community, marked by their rejection of Yeshua as Messiah, and the community of The Way, comprised in the majority of Gentile believers. These gentile believers were technically considered “other” by the traditional synagogue, but were viewed as within the wider circle of Judaism by the Roman society in general.

    This understanding matches Paul description in 10:23 “give no offencse either to Jews or to greeks or to the church of God.

  39. @ Dan

    Me “killing the messenger”? That’s the exact reason why I said what I said. You’re full of hostility and you have chosen to make things personal, not I. Have you been reading your assumptions about me and can you not see your arrogance toward me? Attitudes like yours is what lead Paul to say:

    “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:45,47)

  40. @ James

    Good morning James,

    Let me share with you some more scripture that shows what I mean by Jesus “fulfilling” the law of Moses.

    “From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus…“Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. 28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. 29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead. 31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus…Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:23, 26-33, 38-39)

    Like I said earlier, either Jesus fulfilled all the law of Moses before he left the earth to sit at the right hand of the Father or he did not. Everyone who comes to the kingdom of God must be “born-again” regardless of race or nationality (John 3:1-5) and when one is born again they become apart of spiritual Israel, the spiritual priesthood, the spiritual temple of and God’s own special people (1 Peter 2:1-9).

    Have a great day James and God bless in your studies.

  41. Eugene, you might want to bypass the response from Dan from yesterday at 2:41 p.m. and focus on the one he wrote at 9:01 p.m., which is much more focused and does not make things personal. Unfortunately, by quoting Acts 13:45,47 in the present context (and I know the scripture records this as the response of some Jews to the message of the Gospel, but obviously not all Jews, since many thousands came to faith in Jesus) could be interpreted as the classic attack of Christianity against Judaism for Jews not accepting the traditional church viewpoint of Jesus (which is not a very positive part of the history of the Christian faith and denies the Jewishness of Jesus).

    The door swings both ways.

  42. @ Steve

    Your last repsonse to me looks/sounds a little bit like a braid 🙂

    The law of Moses stands as an example to Christians of what sin can do and how can God react to it without a doubt (1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Romans 15:4). To be completely honest I’m not sure what you’re asking. Sin existed before the law of Moses was given and yet Paul mentions situations as Christian doctrine that happened before the law of Moses was given (1 Timothy 2:11-14). Are there parts of the law of Moses that were included in the law of Christ? Sure. But to say that a person (whether Jew or gentile) is sinning because they do not follow the law of Moses is not true (Colossians 2:16,17; 1 Timothy 4:5.6).

    I honestly am answering your question the best I can so if I am not I apologize, but this is what the scriptures concerning sin and it existing without the law of Moses to reveal it.

    If you reply I will do my best to keep an eye out for it – the posts are getting rather crowded now. Take care Steve.

  43. @Eugene: The prophesies that said Jesus the Messiah was to suffer and die and be raised from the dead were fulfilled, but the verses you quoted don’t have to be interpreted as the Law being fulfilled (ended). In fact, it takes a little interpretative “slight of hand” in order to see this scripture as fulfilling (doing away with) the Law. Yes, the corrupt religious leadership in that place and time (which, like in many nations occupied by a foreign power…think about the Nazi occupation of France during WWII…had many of the religious leadership in the Roman’s pockets as collaborators) were able to whip up many in the crowd to condemn Jesus, but think about how this worked.

    The Jews were a subjugated people in their own country, which had been conquered and occupied by the Romans. A lot of people of course, lived in fear of what the Romans could do to them and so it was probably easy for a corrupt religious system to convince a crowd of people to condemn Jesus (since it was claimed Jesus made himself King over Caesar), especially those who had not heard or had heard but not been convinced of the Message of Christ. The Gospels are full of stories of the Jewish population being split between those who accepted his message and those who rejected it. This is not an excuse for condemning every last Jewish person, either in the first century, or in the current age, as is preached in some churches.

    The prophesies were fulfilled in that the Son of Man was handed over by his own people to sinful men, tortured and murdered, and then raised on the third day. I don’t read the Torah being brought into this context at all. How does everybody else see this?

  44. “Fulfillment” theology seems to be a replacement of what used to be called promise theology. The stress on fulfillment takes the meaning of Ple’re’o to mean completed rather than to have filled up. THe former stresses finished, where as the latter stressed expanded the meaning. You might rephrase it to be over and done with theology. The other thing that is problematic, is the quoting of scripture as your point. Scripture is scripture, but quoting a verse in or out of context says what the scripture says, but doesn’t tell us what you think it means. If you are going to quote scripture you have not achieved your goal until you tell us what YOU think it means. What you think it means is actually what you are basing your agument upon, so just say what you think it means or you have proven nothing.

  45. Hi Eugene,
    Yes its getting crowded! LOL! I think you are right, we are talking past each other somewhat, but with the patience we are using, I think we are gettin closer in understanding. OK, the fact that the Law of Moses defines sin does not mean sin did not exist before Sinai. Sin was defined at Sinai. he Scriptures you indicated do not seem to have anything to do with sin. For instance, Col 2:16-17 is about not letting others judge you about food and drink. This is about judging, not about sin. For instance, this does not mean it is ok to eat animals sacrificed to idols. What I do not understand is where the definition of sin changed. If it changed when Jesus died, as you say, then why do Scriptures throughout the New Testament continue to point to the Law of Moses as defining sin?

    The terms ‘requirement’ and ‘obligation’ we see tossed about in these discussions rather confuse the issue. The Law really is the Instruction. There is no requirement that one follow the Instruction, but if you don’t, you will be off track (sin.)

    If I understand you correctly (please correct me if I have it wrong,) you are saying that the ‘Law’ being referred to in the Scriptures is the Law of Christ after Jesus’ death and ressurection, where it is the Law of Moses before Jesus’ death and ressurection. But the Scriptures continue to say that it is the Law of Moses that defines sin. Wouldn’t 1John say that sin is the violation of the Law of Christ to distinguish it from the Law of Moses that he is talking about in the rest of his letter if the Laws were different?

    Have a Blessed Day,
    Steve

  46. James,

    I just wanted to drop a comment in here and say well done. Replacement theology is one of the most grievous errors of the church over the past 2,000 years and I think the more blogs like this one the better. We need to be tackling this head on. Once again great job!

    Shalom,
    Toby

  47. If “fulfill” means to “do away with,” Then why did Yeshua say: ” …I did not come to abolish, but fulfill.” If Eugene is right shouldn’t He have said: ” I did not come to abolish, but to do away with?”

    In Matt. 3:15 Yeshua said to John who did not want to baptize Him: “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to FULFILL all righteousness.” Does anyone believes that Yeshua wanted to do away with righteousness?

  48. In my opinion, N.T. Wright’s insight is brilliant but meets one limitation: he continually thinks that Paul’s creative applications of scripture to his congregations (of gentiles) cancels the earlier meaning. That is, the new people of God replaces the old (church replaces Israel, Jesus replaces Israel, etc.). Generally, in midrash the derived meaning does not cancel the plain meaning. Or another way of saying it: if the Abrahamic promise has relation to the nations, this does not annul the aspect of the promise that is to Israel. And the New Covenant contains the Sinai and Abrahamic within it. It is not replacement, but expansion, that we see in the New Covenant.

    So how does Paul use the Bible?

    -Derek Leman
    “Paul & the Hebrew Bible”
    Messianic Jewish Musings

    Derek’s blog post today is very illuminating in terms of my arguements that the church has engaged in a certain amount of misunderstanding as far as Paul’s letters go, specifically the lack of insight into late Second Temple period Jewish midrash. I think pausing for a moment to read Leman’s analysis (link above) of N.T. Wright’s book Paul: In Fresh Perspective might be helpful.

  49. @ Steve

    Sin was defined before the law of Moses because if it were not then a person could not have know whether or not they were sinning…

    “There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and SIN against God?” (Genesis 39:9) All a person has to do is get a concordance and look at how many times the word “sin” is used in Genesis. A person must know what sin is before they can call it such as is shown in Genesis.

    The reference to judging in Colossians 2 meant that people would say that eating or drinking a certain something was wrong, i.e. that it was sinful to do such; this may have been true under the law of Moses but things had changed. The same goes for the religious observance of a Jewish festival or Sabbath day. People would try to say that not observing them was sinful. but Paul says let noone judge (condemn/call you sinful) because their behavior did not line up with the law of Moses.

    Again, like I said earlier, are there things that were sinful under the law of Moses (which was for the Jews) that are still sinful under the law of Christ (which is for all nations)? Absolutely! But not everything that was sinful under the law of Moses is sinful under the law of Christ.

    Just because a previous covenant included something that doesn’t mean the next covenant automatically does or does not. For example, during the time of the Patriarch’s who made sacrifices to God for sin? It was the head of the house and that was acceptable and not sinful. Now, if the head of the house made a sacrifice for sin under the law of Moses, but they were not a Levitical priest then were they sinning? Yes. Why? Because things changed when the law of Moses was given. Did everything change when it came to sin? No way. In the same way the law of Moses was replaced by the law of Christ but that doesn’t mean everything under the law of Moses became useless/worthless or that whatever it condemned isn’t condemned today, but still yet everything that it did condemn (called sin) is not called sin today.

    To be honest, I think this is about as plain as I can say what I’m saying.

    Have a good night.

  50. @ James

    Hello again James,

    James, a few times you have mentioned the persecution of Jews by “Christians” and others. I don’t know why you keep bringing that up becuase I have not persecuted any Jews because of my beliefs. Just because someone abuses the truth of God does not mean the turth is any less true. May I remind you (as is recorded in the book of Acts) that many Jews persecuted Christians and they used the law of Moses as their support to do so, BUT that did not make their use of the law okay or the truth of the law of Moses any less truthful. Do you see what I am saying? To blame someone’s hate on a “particular theology” even though not all who hold to that “particular theology” shows that is not always the theology’s fault – IT’S THE HEART OF THE PERSON.

    My comments toward Dan with the quote from Acts was a reflection on his attitude that he has showed me since his first comment. It had nothing to do with, “the classic attack of Christianity against Judaism”. When a person is bound to “perceive” something they don’t like they’re going to do it no matter how plain the language used is. In no way did I say anything negative about Jews nor did I call for violence. It was a reflection upon Dan’s attitude. Read the verse again. That verse was spoken by a Jew towards Jews who had bad attitudes.

    Again I will repeat what I said earlier which didn’t get much attention:

    “How does a person come to believe that they can “pick and chose” what parts of the law of Moses to follow as you seem to be saying the Jewish people can do today. Again, as I said earlier, what you seem to be teaching when it comes to Jewish Christians and gentile Christians is that we are “separate but equal.” That’s not what the gospel or the church is all about.”

    “The New Testament draws a very clear distinction between the law of Moses and the law of Christ. When you say that Jewish Christians are still required to keep certain parts of the law of Moses but the gentile Christians are not that sounds a lot like separate but equal which is the EXACT opposite of what Paul was talking about in Ephesians 2:14-16.

    “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity (the law of commandments – see above).”

    What law of commandments is Paul referring to if not the law of Moses?

    The law of Moses and the law of Christ come from two different moutains:

    “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all…Now we [Paul along with gentile Christians], brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.” (Ephesians 2:21-26; 28-31)

    If a person wishes to go backwards instead of forward by living under the law of Moses I suppose that’s up to them. It would be as Paul told the Galatians:

    “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. ” (Galatians 4:8-10)

    Now before you a person goes and tries and to say the “weak and beggarly elements refer to paganism” and not the law of Moses I would remind the reader thatr Paul wasn’t concerned about the Christians at Galatia reverting back to paganism but rather going backwards by going backwards toward the law of Moses. The days and months and seasons and years are the samething Paul referred to when he said, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16,17) – – – (side note due to an eariler comment made: “are” and not “were” because they still “are” a shadow that point to Jesus)

    The law of Moses was “weak” in that it couldn’t take away sin (Hebrews 10:3,4) and “destitute” in that it was without the riches of the assurance of blessings and mercy of Jesus Christ (PLEASE READ Ephesians 1:7, 2:4,5; 3:8-10) and “elemental” in that it went backwards to the first things (the Old Covenant) instead of moving forward into the gospel of Christ. Paul was urging the Galatian Christians to not leave the light of the gospel that delievered them from paganism for the law of Moses. It would be like taking two steps forward and then taking one back. The light of the law of Moses has “nothing” on the light of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 3).

    The law of God (the New Covenant) for today now proceeds from Mt. Zion and not from Mt. Sinai – “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:18-24)

    The above was written to Hebrew Christians; not gentiles.

    Again, I will go back to what I said in my first reply on the original post. If a person of Jewish heritage wishes to celebrate the law of Moses in light of its fulfillment in Christ I suppose I cannot say anything against it as long as that person is not practicing or binding anything on another that is contrary to what Jesus came to accomplish. But to say that a person of Jewish or gentile descendant MUST observe something in the law of Moses the New Testament simply does not teach this – “So let NO ONE JUDGE you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, ” (Colossians 2:16)”

    Paul observed many things in the law of Moses after he became a Christian because it was a part of his heritage, but when something violated the law of Christ Paul would not support it.

    “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”” (Galatians 2:19-21)”

    “…but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.” (2 Corinthians 3:5-11)

    I think much of the talk being done is really missing the point about the Gospel of Christ which is what Jesus told his disciples to preach to all the world. The gospel is the law of Christ and the fulfillment of the law of Moses becuase the gospel is salvation for the whole world based on faith and not the law of Moses and it is what saves a person today whether they have any knowledge of the law of Moses or not. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16,17).

    Everyone who comes to the kingdom of God must be “born-again” regardless of race or nationality (John 3:1-5) and when one is born again they become apart of spiritual Israel, the spiritual priesthood, the spiritual temple of and God’s own special people (1 Peter 2:1-9).

    Have a great night James. It’s been nice discussing the topic with you. This may be (not a promise 🙂 ) my last reply as it seems that things are coming and going in circles. Take care.

  51. “My comments toward Dan with the quote from Acts was a reflection on his attitude that he has showed me since his first comment. It had nothing to do with, “the classic attack of Christianity against Judaism”. When a person is bound to “perceive” something they don’t like they’re going to do it no matter how plain the language used is. In no way did I say anything negative about Jews nor did I call for violence. It was a reflection upon Dan’s attitude. Read the verse again. That verse was spoken by a Jew towards Jews who had bad attitudes.”

    Affirmation to what I said before. People are anti-semitic without even knowing they are.

  52. ” I think much of the talk being done is really missing the point about the Gospel of Christ which is what Jesus told his disciples to preach to all the world. The gospel is the law of Christ and the fulfillment of the law of Moses becuase the gospel is salvation for the whole world based on faith and not the law of Moses and it is what saves a person today whether they have any knowledge of the law of Moses or not. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16,17).”

    Nonsense….

    The gospel was preached to Abraham (Gal. 3:8)

    The gospel was preached to the generetion in the wilderness ( Hebr. 4:2)

  53. “(side note due to an eariler comment made: “are” and not “were” because they still “are” a shadow that point to Jesus)”

    Hope the writer did not hurt his back with this stretch. the fact is, that 30 years after Jesus died the assembly still kept the Shabbat and appointed times…..

  54. @Eugene: I’m not accusing you purposely of persecuting anyone. Unfortunately (and I’ve done my research), in the long history of the church, “fulfillment theology” has been used at the foundation upon which to abuse and persecute the Jewish people over the past almost 2,000 years (I provide a brief summary of that history in the article I wrote for Messiah Journal). I know you don’t see the issue from my point of view, but if you were to spend any time within a Jewish community (and for all I know, you do), you would begin to see “the other side of the coin” so to speak.

    As far as Jews persecuting Christian, such as Saul persecuting “Christian” in the book of Acts, a careful reading of the text will show that one sect of Judaism was persecuting another sect of Judaism, “the Way” in the early days of the Common Era. The Jews had no interests in a non-Jewish religion but Saul and many Jews like him were deeply offended at a Jewish sect that (from their point of view) promoted a “Messiah” who died and who may even worship him as God (Jesus subsequently changed Saul’s mind, of course).

    I’m sorry if you thought any of this was aimed at you personally, but it’s very difficult for me, especially as I’m in the middle of writing a series on this topic, to separate this aspect of church doctrine from its historical effect on the Jewish people.

    How does a person come to believe that they can “pick and chose” what parts of the law of Moses to follow as you seem to be saying the Jewish people can do today.

    I must have missed this, Eugene. When did I say that Jews “pick and choose” which portions of the Torah to obey. About the best I can say on this topic is that without a currently functioning Sanhedrin, levitical priesthood, and the existence of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, there are a great many of the commandments that cannot currently be obeyed, but it doesn’t negate the entire Torah.

    As far as the wall of hostility broken down in Ephesians 2:14-16, I have a different interpretation. Previously, we Gentiles were alienated from God because we didn’t have a covenant relationship with Him as the Jewish people did. The lack of covenant *was* a barrier to drawing close, not only to God but to the chosen people. I don’t think this was directly intended by God since Israel was supposed to be a “light to the nations”, but as we saw in the Gospels and in Acts 10, the Jews had come to believe that even associating with non-Jews would make a Jew “unclean” and as we saw in Peter’s vision [which was about people, not food], God had to break down the point of separation…and bringing the Messianic covenant allowed Gentiles to come close to God as the Jews had done, breaking down the inequality between us.

    I realize my interpretation is a radical idea compared to traditional Christian thought, but it better fits with the other parts of scripture (from examples brought by some of the other commenters as well as me) that don’t seem to show the “Law” being done away with. Even Jesus (and I’ve mentioned this before) said that not one little bit of the Law was going away until Heaven and Earth went away. If he didn’t abolish the law but fulfilled it (in the way one fulfills a prophesy, which doesn’t invalidate the prophesy but rather reveals how it is lived out in actuality), then it must still be around, at least for the Jews.

    The reason I don’t apply the Law equally to Gentiles (and there are plenty of folks who will disagree with me here, believing at all Christian Gentiles are obligated to the Torah) is Acts 15, not only the content of the Jerusalem letter, but the immediate result which showed the Gentiles being much releaved that they didn’t have to take on the full yoke of Torah, but only certain aspects (it’s a little more complicated than that, since the letter didn’t contain commandments about not stealing or murdering, but since Jesus taught those laws, I believe we Christians are bound by those commandments, too) of it.

    Think of a Nazir (one who took a Nazarite vow…see Numbers 6 for details) who was temporarily separated from the “regular” Israelite community (although Sampson and Samuel were both lifelong Nazirs…probably John the Baptist, too) by having more specific restrictions on their behavior in order to experience a greater holiness and closeness to God. Also, the levites had specific restrictions above and beyond other Israelites, as did priests and as did the high priest. It’s not so unbelievable to consider that while Jewish and Gentile believers are equally saved and have equal access to God, that because of the Mosaic covenant given to them (but not the Gentiles) at Sinai, they too may have elevated responsibilites beyond the Gentile Christian. This does not make Jews “better” and it doesn’t make Gentile Christians “second-class citizens”, it just means that God didn’t annul the Mosaic covenant with the Messianic covenant, he ratified the former with the later.

    Referring to Ephesians 2:21-26; 28-31, the response to this would be about a chapter long. Fortunately, a guy named D. Thomas Lancaster did write a response consistent with what I’ve been saying in his most recent book The Holy Epistle to the Galatians (which I reviewed last summer).

    Since I’m not Jewish, the Torah doesn’t specifically apply to me, but in seeing the spiritual wonder, beauty, and amazing depth of Judaism, I don’t see it as “backwards” or a burden at all. Most Christians tend to see Judaism as sterile, rule-bound, and works based, but nothing could be further from the truth. For instance, I’ve just about finished reading Rabbi Daniel Gordis’ book God Was Not in the Fire, which explores the spirituality of Judaism and how it permeates every part of a Jew’s life. Rabbi Gordis wrote his book primarily for a Jewish audience who had never experienced Judaism as a religious and spiritual expression but I think it also can be educational for Christians who have been taught that at best, Jews are spiritually dead. Those Jews who have come to faith in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and not been compelled to give up being Jews (and after all, Jesus, Peter, James, Paul, and the other Jewish apostles show no evidence in scripture of having abandoned being Jews and practicing Judaism) are as close to Jesus as you or I and are also able to continue worshiping God as Jews have for thousands of years.

    I’m not trying to convince you that the Law of Moses is for the non-Jew. I don’t believe that is and I don’t believe the obligations a Jew has to God are also obligations for Gentile Christians. I do believe that we can learn a great deal from our “Messianic Jewish” brothers and sisters and come alongside of them, as the early Gentile Christians did in the days of Paul, in unity and brotherhood, breaking bread together and sharing our oneship in Messiah. Jesus himself said (Matthew 8:11) that one day, Christians from the nations (non-Jews) will sit down at the feast of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob together.

    I’m not promoting separation and inequality or going backward. Jesus was describing a time that has not yet come, so I’m going forward to a point when all of these disagreements will be at an end and we will all *know God*, Jew and Gentile alike.

    Sorry not to answer your other points, but I’ve written a longer missive than I had intended to in one setting. I know I’m not going to convince you of my point and you’re probably not going to convince me of yours (since I once attended a church and once believed what you believe now). That’s not the reason I created this discussion. I created it in order to illustrate that there’s more than one way to understand all of these scriptures and that how we interpret them defines our point of view. I created it to show that there is at least one other, valid and reasonable explanation for the Gospels and Epistles as well as Torah, the Writings and the Prophets that doesn’t require the Jewish people disappear in order for the Jewish Messiah to be worshiped by all.

    If I can create even the tiniest bit of “reasonable doubt” in the absolute concrete certainty that fulfillment theology must be the only interpretation of the NT and must absolutely be fact, then this discussion will have accomplished its goal. Even if all I do is stimulate civil dialogue on the pros and cons of our points, I will have at least kept the issue alive between us and communication if very important if the different parts of the body of Jesus are to stay connected.

  55. @ James

    I understand your points James, but what I don’t understand is how you can’t (or it seems as if) bring your self to say that the Jews persecuted Christians when you said, “As far as Jews persecuting Christian, such as Saul persecuting “Christian” in the book of Acts, a careful reading of the text will show that one sect of Judaism was persecuting another sect of Judaism, “the Way” in the early days of the Common Era.”

    Peter didn’t say if anyone suffers as a “sect of Judaism” – he said, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” (1 Peter 4:16) This is the same letter that refers to Christians (both Jew and gentile) as God’s royal priests, holy nation and special people because of their faith in Jesus in being the chief cornerstone of God’s spiritual house (1 Peter 2:4-10).

    I am well aware of the shameful fact that Jews get persecuted under the guise of “Christianity” even today, but please do not act like Jews (and I’m not saying all) do not persecute Christians as well.

    When you said, “I must have missed this, Eugene. When did I say that Jews “pick and choose” which portions of the Torah to obey.” What I was saying/asking is since I’m not “seeing it” what difference does a Jew’s belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins make in their worship of God and use of the law of Moses in their life. What I am asking simply is what difference/change did the New Testament make to the Old Testament? Did it make no change at all? If it “changed anything” how do they know what it changed (set them free from)? How does a Jewish Christian chose what to follow and what not to follow from the law of Moses since the law of Moses is still in effect because they are a physical Jew but they believe that Jesus was the Messiah? Do they still, or maybe I should say should they still offer animal sacrifices to God because the law of Moses says to, do they follow the diet restrictions of the law of Moses, do they wear clothes made of mixed linens? I hope you understand my question/point more clearly now. I’m asking with sincerity in respect to your stanze, and not because I’m “attempting to set a trap” or because I’m being facetious.

    Also, I know it’s not your repsonsibility to watch everything that comes out the mouth’s of others on this post, but I would appreciate it if you would correct people when they start calling me a racist. I would at least do no less for someone else on my blog.

    Thanks for your time James.

  56. James,
    My previous comment was meant to be over-arching and not overflowing with a multitude of specifics.

    But if specifics are what we need, then, instead of copying and pasting an entire article into your blog space, I would like to refer you to my blog and the article entitled: “Torah of Messiah-is it different?” You had asked previously where my blog is and it can be found at http://www.torahandgrace.com

    What I believe about the very subject you are discussing here can be found there.

    Thank you for making a space and giving your time to this important subject.

    Russ

  57. @Eugene:

    Let me try to answer your first question by painting you a picture. When Jesus walked the earth and drew Jewish disciples to him, most of the people around him didn’t automatically assume he was the Messiah. As you recall, he even asked people, including Peter, not to let it be generally known as the time for him to reveal himself had not yet come. He behaved just like many other Rabbis who taught in the traditional discipleship manner.

    For the first 15 years after the ascension, all or most of the disciples of Jesus were still Jewish. They believed correctly that he was and is the Messiah and his Jewish disciples worshipped him as such, expressing their worship as a separate sect of Judaism, most closely associated with the Pharisees. There were a number of different sects of Judaism operating at that point in history, so this wasn’t incredibly unusual. None of the Jews felt that they had left Judaism and entered into a completely different religious structure that we would call Christianity today.

    Today, right now, traditional Christianity and Judaism have almost nothing in common, but that wasn’t the case when Paul was trying to persecute those people you call “Hebrew Christians” in the book of Acts. The church has long taught that the Jews were persecuting the Christians, but Paul was persecuting the Jewish believers because they, from his erroneous point of view, were denying the Law of Moses. Paul (called Saul back then) was wrong but he didn’t understand and his misunderstanding and his zealousness led him to do terrible things. It took quite a shock to bring him around and meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus was just the beginning.

    Later on in the book of Acts, Paul himself is accused (falsely) of doing some of the things he originally persecuted others before, such as teaching against the Law of Moses (and remember, Paul denied these charges) and taking a non-Jew into a part of the Temple reserved only for the Jews (which again, he denied).

    I know we have been taught that the Jews persecuted the Christians but from his point of view, he wasn’t persecuting an alien culture’s religion. He’d have no reason to do that. It would be, again from his point of view, like persecuting the one of the religions of the Greeks or Romans, which Jews just didn’t care about. His only logical reason at that point in history for assaulting disciples of Jesus is if they were Jewish disciples, much like he became later.

    As history progressed and the schism between the Jewish and Gentile believers grew wider, animosity came into the picture and both groups believed that the other was in opposition to them. However, it was when early Gentile Christianity came into ascension in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and beyond, that the Jews began to suffer at the hands of Christianity.

    Christianity suffered greatly at the hands of the Romans and later the Muslims. In the beginning, during the time of Paul, Jews in the diaspora did persecute Jewish and Gentile Christian congregations because they believed the congregations Paul had planted were teaching against them. Also, while Rome recognized Judaism as an official religion, it didn’t recognize Gentiles worshiping Jesus and Rome did persecute these congregations.

    No one has clean hands if you look hard enough, but the story isn’t as simple as “and then the Jews persecuted the Christians,” as if that encapsulates thousands of years of history.

    I’m not trying to offend you, but Christianity didn’t become a wholly separate entity from Judaism for decades or even centuries after Jesus ascended into heaven. It took a long time and many events for make the separation complete and today, the church behaves as if Christians completely split from any and every Jewish practice the instant Jesus was resurrected or at best, by the time the Second Temple was destroyed. But it wasn’t that quick and clean.

    As far as your other question is concerned, it would probably be easier for you to read a blog post that already answers your question: Derek Leman’s article Why Yeshua (Jesus) has a perspective that should fill in the important details.

    I appreciate you hanging in with this conversation and understand if you’re feeling frustrated or fed up. Frankly, most Christians would probably have walked away long before this, simply because I and the others here, don’t fit the traditional mold. I consider myself a Christian rather than “Messianic”, but I don’t adhere to the stereotypical doctrines of the church in the areas we’ve been discussing. Perhaps you think I’m misguided but I hope you don’t think I’m being antagonistic.

    You’re right, I don’t always have the time to manage each and every message someone posts as well as I should, but when I can, I’ll go back and address the “racist” name calling.

    You mentioned that you probably won’t be around much longer, and I understand. While dialog is important, I never expected to “solve” anything. I just hoped that I could create a forum to show other ways of looking at the text that aren’t the comfortable interpretation usually offered in Sunday school. I have a feeling that when you and I finally get to really meet Jesus and Paul and Peter, they won’t be quite the same people we imagine them to be. I think we’ll have to get used to them looking and acting like Jews and I believe how they’ll interpret their own words and actions will be different than we’ve been imagining, too. JMHO, tho.

  58. @Dan:

    Good morning. Please cool the accusations of “racism” toward Eugene (or anyone who may support the traditional Christian theology of supersessionism). It’ is extremely unlikely that he is actually a racist. Millions of Christians have been taught a particular point of view regarding the New Testament and what it means and, since it’s the only perspective on the topic they were taught, it stands to reason that they believe it is the only possible perspective. That doesn’t make them racists, it makes them people who believe this is an intregal part of their faith.

    The idea here is to encourage diaglog and an exchange of ideas and viewpoints between people who don’t understand the New Testament the same way, in order to get them to at least consider that long-held opinions are not necessarily “facts”. How do you expect anyone to listen to your arguments with an open mind if you start calling them “racists?” Name calling may make for a good spitting contest, but it’s a poor method of getting someone to listen to you. Please keep that in mind. Also, go back to the body of this blog posts and review the “rules” I laid out.

    Thanks.

  59. @Russ:

    Sorry, but you’re referring to an exchange we had several days ago and a lot of comments are stacking up here. Can you briefly refresh my memory as to what we were talking about and how I misinterpreted your comments? You could also just refer to the date/time index for your previous comments and my response. I looked at the most recent exchange, but I couldn’t really tie it in to what you just said. Also, It’s early and I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.

    Thanks.

  60. James,

    I know you your wife is Jewish and you might have a Jewish heart, but still i will tell you what I tell many people when the subject of Anti-semitism comes up: Until you and yours are on the receiving end, you are not qualified to determine what is or what is not anti-sematism.

  61. I can’t fault what you’re saying Dan but I do believe that if you and Eugene were having this discussion in a Starbucks over a couple of lattes, it might sound a little different. At least I hope so.

  62. Hi Eugene, Yes, I agee you have said it about as plainly as anyone could. I continue to bring up Romans 7:7 and 1John 3:4 because they directly contradict the theology you have eloquently laid out. Both Scriptures indicate that sin is defined by the Law of Moses and is indicated by the Law of Moses. Yes there was sin in Genesis but that has nothing to do with the fact that both Paul and John tell us that sin is defined by the Law of Moses. “Let no one judge you by food and drink…”, you restated your idea that this meant the dietary rules in the Law of Moses no longer applied. But, not eating meat sacrificed to idols was a dietary restriction just given to the Gentiles. Obviously dietary rules are not being thrown out with the statement. Since the two rules are not separated out, the verse means something else other than the idea that we are free to eat anything we want without concern for sin. The scriptures you have used, by and large, are connected to salvation and not sin. Salvation is not attainable throught the Law of Moses, only through faith in Jesus our Messiah. The Scripture clearly states, however, that sin is defined by the Law of Moses. That is why I bring up Romans 7:7 and 1John 3:4.

    Be Blessed,
    Steve

  63. @ Steve,

    Hello again,

    The reference to Colossians 2:16,17 was to point out that what was sinful to eat under the law of Moses is no longer sinful today. I said nothing about the restriction against the eating of meats offered to idols because that wasn’t what we were talking about and I don’t see the logical connection. Even more so you have just showed by your own statements that the New Testament has given a command that reveals sin that’s not included in the law of Moses so I really don’t see how that helps to explain/support your point.

    When Paul said, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5) there is no way that this can be reconciled with the law of Moses which did not allow this. The context of this verse is not discussing meats offered to idols, but rather the attempt of some to make certain foods “unclean/sinful” dispite the fact that it went against God’s will and truth.

    The reference to the law of Moses being used to show what’s sin in Romans 7 and 1 John doesn’t go against anything I said. Like I stated earlier – Paul used the truth found in Genesis before the law of Moses was given to show the sinfulness of a woman having authority over men when it came to the public worship of God (1 Timothy 2:11-13). Where is that pointed out in the law of Moses? But does that all of the commandments given to people during the time that Genesis records are still valid? No it does not.

    I have argument against the fact the law of Moses points out what is sin when it agrees with the law of Christ. What I am saying is that all that is condemned in the law of Moses is not condemned/considered sinful by God today.

    Romans 7 plainly shows that the law of Moses which is represented by the “dead husband” has been replaced by the authority of the “new husband” (Romans 7:1-3)

    “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been DELIVERED FROM THE LAW, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:4-6)

    “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.But now the righteousness of God APART FROM THE LAW IS REVEALED, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe…” (Romans 3:20-22)

    “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel[a] is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is THE END OF THE LAW for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:1-4)

    You said, “Salvation is not attainable throught the Law of Moses, only through faith in Jesus our Messiah.” I agree 100%. The law of Moses could ONLY point out sin but it could NOT offer salvation from the sin it revealed! The law of Christ points out sin and offers salvation at the same time which is why I say that the law of Moses was replaced by the law of Christ regardless of whether or not the law of Moses can point out/reveal sin. I hope you understand what I am saying clearly. It has nothing to do “with hating the law of Moses or Jewish people” – it has to do with the salvation that is only found in the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16,17).

    Maybe you can answer a question I asked James when it comes the existence of the law of Moses and the law of Christ being simultaneously followed – “When you said, “I must have missed this, Eugene. When did I say that Jews “pick and choose” which portions of the Torah to obey.” What I was saying/asking is since I’m not “seeing it” what difference does a Jew’s belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins make in their worship of God and use of the law of Moses in their life. What I am asking simply is what difference/change did the New Testament make to the Old Testament? Did it make no change at all? If it “changed anything” how do they know what it changed (set them free from)? How does a Jewish Christian chose what to follow and what not to follow from the law of Moses since the law of Moses is still in effect because they are a physical Jew but they believe that Jesus was the Messiah? Do they still, or maybe I should say should they still offer animal sacrifices to God because the law of Moses says to, do they follow the diet restrictions of the law of Moses, do they wear clothes made of mixed linens? I hope you understand my question/point more clearly now. I’m asking with sincerity in respect to your stanze, and not because I’m “attempting to set a trap” or because I’m being facetious.”

    Good talking to you again Steve and thanks for the cordialness that you have used in our conversation although it seems that we disagree. Have a good night.

  64. @ Steve

    “I have argument against the fact the law of Moses points out what is sin”

    I meant to say, “I have NO argument against the fact the law of Moses points out what is sin”. Sorry 🙂 I sometimes leave out words without going to back the correct them but I thought this time my mistake wasn’t as easy to understand properly without me clearing it up.

  65. Eugene,

    If I may jump in here,
    “The reference to Colossians 2:16,17 was to point out that what was sinful to eat under the law of Moses is no longer sinful today”.

    Because the verses in Col. chapter 2 that you referenced are unqualified as to which side of the current argument they fall on, they cannot be used to support either position.

    If I were to say to you, “do not let anyone judge you in these matters”, and then provided you with a short list of things not to be judged on, how could you know what I meant unless I explained which way you were not supposed to let yourself be judged?

    I could mean, “do not let yourself be judged for doing these things”, or I could mean, “do not let yourself be judged for not doing these things”.

    Unless the previous verses give us a clue as to what Sha’ul was referring to we could use those verses either way, depending on our personal preferences.

    You could say that Sha’ul was saying that anything goes and I could say that Sha’ul meant that I am to be observant of the commandments given to Israel and to not let anyone judge me for doing so.

    I think it would be prudent to examine the previous verses in order to get some perspective on why Sha’ul gave this strong admonition to the believers in Colosse.

    Would you care to do that? I am interested in your frame of reference to the context.

    thank you and I look forward to your considered opinion.

    Russ

  66. Wow. Can’t turn my back for a minute… 😀

    When we read the Gospels, we read late-temple era Torah teachers debating. I hope we can agree on this. When we read the Acts, we are at least reading people who were steeped in the teachings of these same Torah teachers. At times, we see interactions directly with Torah teachers. That means that when we read their sayings, we must read them as if they were late-temple era Torah teachers. There are technical terms here. For example, “food” is defined by Moses, not Henry VIII.

    To “fulfill the Torah” is to give a teaching which explains it. To “destroy the Torah” is to give a teaching which confuses it. So, yes, Yeshua “fulfilled the Torah”.

    @Eugene, circumcision was never necessary for a man to be acceptable to G-d, only the descendants of Abraham (and their slaves). @James–Abraham’s slaves, and the “souls he made” were the first Gentiles to have contact with the covenant of Abraham! As for the requirement for a Gentile to circumcise (his males only), that only affected their ability to take part in the annual Passover sacrifice. These are the same ones who were to be thrown out if they had any hametz during the week of Passover. If they did circumcise, however, they were to be considered Jews. I really have to wonder, however, why you brought up the question of female conversion? What was your point? You seem to be casting aspersions on something–what was it?

    Paul is the one that calls the Torah “holy, just, and good”, but also “weak”. If it is “weak”, that means that it has a purpose, but that it is insufficient to the purpose? What is that purpose? To point out sin? Seems to work pretty well. David answers the question, “The Torah of HASHEM is perfect, restoring the soul.” In other words “I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.” … “Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.” In other words, if you seek to obey Torah as a way to indebt G-d to you, “cursed is everyone who does not continue to obey all of the words of this Torah”. If you claim that your faith will save you without works, “Can such faith save him?”

    But, if your plan is “to fear the LORD your G-d, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your G-d 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”, then for any obedience, you are to proclaim “I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them.”

    For Israel, it is the love of G-d that motivates obedience to Torah. For me, the question of being required to obey the Torah is not the issue. I want to please the Heavenly Father. I see that obeying Torah brings him pleasure. That is enough.

    You challenged me to take on the entire saying regarding the fulfilling of Torah. I challenge you. Are heaven and earth passed away? Then why do you say that Torah has?

    @James, speaking of which, there is an understanding in Judaism that we will have a new Torah in the World to Come. It seems likely that he was referencing that teaching.

    @Eugene, I would also like you to address the issue of arousing the jealousy of the Jews. I can assure you, of the many emotions towards Christians that I have observed of Jews, there is no jealousy! Jews are completely secure in the uniqueness of their relationship to their G-d vis-a-vis Christians. Folks like me … not so much. How do you propose that Christians are or should address their failure to fulfill G-d’s plan?

  67. Actually, coming from my point of view, circumcision is the demarcation line as far as those with an obligation to the Torah of Moses and those who are not. Paul was very much against the non-Jewish disciples of Jesus in Galatians becoming circumcised (his “shorthand” in that letter for converting to Judaism), but he went out of his way to have Timothy circumcised because Timothy had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. Apparently, having a Greek father and living in the diaspora, Timothy was not raised a Jew and did not undergo the brit milah (or bris…ritual circumcision) on the eighth day (even Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day of his life). Paul found it necessary to have Timothy circumcised but not the Gentile disciples of Jesus.

    Doesn’t that make anyone curious? If, as Eugene says, both Jews and Gentiles were under the “law of the Messiah” which replaced the Torah of Moses (as opposed to ratifying it), then why bother with the circumcision at all? If it was still in force (with the Mosaic covenant destroyed but somehow with the Abrahamic covenant still in place), then why, if Gentles were considered “children of Abraham,” were the non-Jews forbidden by Paul to be circumcised as a matter of justification before God? As Nathan pointed out, Abraham had his non-Hebrew slaves circumcised. Why not the Gentiles in the church at Galatia?

    I can only come up with one reasonable answer. There *was* a difference between Jews and Gentiles among the disciples of Jesus which as signified in Jewish males by the bris and that “mark” indicated a person who had a different set of obligations to God than the Gentile disciples, as defined by the Torah. Again, remember that Paul said in Galatians that if the Gentiles were to be circumcised in order to be justified, they would come under the full yoke of Torah, so you cannot logically untie those who must be circumcised from those who must be obligated to the Torah of Moses.

    Timothy was a Jew because he had a Jewish mother (for those of you who aren’t familiar with the dynamics of racially and ethnically mixed families, no one is a “half” anything. You aren’t a “half-Jew.” You are either Jewish or not. In present day halacha, anyone with a Jewish mother is Jewish, regardless of the background of the father), therefore, Paul had him circumcised and therefore, Paul considered Timothy obligated to the Torah as a Jew, even though he was also a disciple of Jesus. Paul forbade the Gentiles in Galatians from being circumcised in order to be justified by God. If they did, not only would the sacrifice of Jesus be useless to them, but they would be under the full yoke of Torah (I know I’m repeating myself, but this point is important). Those who are not circumcised are not under the full yoke of Torah and yet still under the Messianic covenant and still disciples of Jesus. Those who are circumcised, are circumcised because they are Jews and in addition to being under the covenant of Messiah, they are under the covenant of Moses.

    Can you see how well all this is mapped out? It’s very simple and logical once you look at it from the perspective of who Paul felt needed to be circumcised, who he didn’t feel needed to be circumcised, and the similarities and differences between these two groups relative to covenant.

  68. I know someone brought up the issue of women. If men are signified as Jews and obligated to the Torah by circumcision, what about women? Why don’t they have to undergo a minor surgical procedure? I don’t know. I only know that, at least in ancient times, they didn’t have to do anymore than Rehab and Ruth did in order to convert and be counted among the children of Israel. If that’s not a sufficient answer for you, please take it up with God. Thank you.

  69. @ Russ

    Good morning. Sure I see your point but I also see the context of Colossians 2:8, 16-23. The point in each of the verses is about what others (not Paul) were telling the Christians at Colosse that they should do – not what they shouldn’t do. Particularly verse 8 where Paul said, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” The only person who said they shouldn’t do what was being discussed was Paul and it was because of their of realtionship with God through Jesus…i.e. no observance of Mosaical ordinances of diets or worship; false humility in worshipping things that were not meant to be worshipped; or other restrictions placed upon them not given by God all because of the true freedom given to them in Christ (Colossians 2:6, 10). So the conclusion by Paul is don’t let others judge/condemn/call you sinful because you do not observe these things despite what others may say (Colossians 2:4).

    Have a great day Russ.

  70. @ Nathan

    Good morning Nathan,

    You said, “Eugene, I would also like you to address the issue of arousing the jealousy of the Jews. I can assure you, of the many emotions towards Christians that I have observed of Jews, there is no jealousy!”

    I don’t rememver mentioning jealousy one time unless I’m mistaken…there has been a lot of replies on here towards several different topics addressed to me at once by several different people, but if I’m wrong please show me my quote and I’ll address it. The conversation me and James (or James and I – which ever it is 🙂 ) was about hostility and violence. Violence of “Christians” who use the truth of God as a lie toward the Jews and the violence of “Jews” who use the truth of God as a lie toward Jewish/gentile Christians…both of which are sad. I suppose jealousy can lead to that but that wasn’t what our conversation was about…at least not from my perspective.

    When you said, “How do you propose that Christians are or should address their failure to fulfill G-d’s plan?” To be honest I’m not 100% sure what you mean by this. I have an idea of what you mean, but I would appreciate it if you could clarify it more for me.

    Thanks and have a great day.

  71. Hi Eugene, no I don’t believe you hold any animosity toward me or the Jewish people. It is rather sad that you feel you need to clarify that , but given the tenor of some of these discussions, I understand completely. Actually, I think, from your last post, we agree on the basics. 1) Sin is pointed out throught the Law of Moses, and 2) salvation is only achievable through the loving sacrifice of our Messiah. Much of the rest is just semantic difficulty. Clearly the Bible tells us that the Law of Moses has not gone away, it is still used to define sin. It seems to me that the Law of Christ is a reiteration of the principles of the Law of Moses. Again the word ‘replace’ is often misunderstood to mean that the Law of Moses is gone and no longer valid. Since the Law of Moses is still used to point out sin, in fact it has the same purpose it always had since Sinai. That is what Jesus meant when he said, ” until Heaven and earth pass away, not one yud or vahv…”

    It is always nice to make a new friend 🙂
    Be Blessed,
    Steve

  72. Hi Eugene, To address your question, What difference did Jesus make in the Law of Moses for the Jewish believer? The difference is huge. We no longer have to try to attain salvation through the Law of Moses. We have salvation through Jesus, our Messiah. Now we are free to follow the Law of Moses because of our love of God and with the help of the Holy Spirit. When we stumble, we are forgiven through the sacrifice of our Messiah. We are free indeed, and in our freedom we try our best not to sin.

    Have a blessed day,
    Steve

  73. James,

    Paul was not against circumcision for Gentiles as the Abrahamic sign of the covenant. According 1st century halacha, it is doubtful that timothy would have been considered Jewish. The Mishnah Kiddushin 3:12, indicates that Jewish lineage could only be determined in marriages ruled valid. The “marriage” of a Jewish woman to a Gentile would not be considered valid, and so the children from such a union would not be considered Jewish. (See Shaye J,D, Cohen “Was Timothy Jewish? {acts 16:1-3} JBL 105?2; 1986 P. 251-268) Cohen presents conclusive evidence that timothy would not have been considered jewish by the halachic authorities of Paul’s day.) The only exception would be if the husband were a proselyte. It is clear the Timothy’s father was not a proselyte from the statement that he was known as Greek.

    Since as I said, circumcision was a sign of the covenant, I believe, that it is possible that Paul was convinced of Timothy’s genuine understanding of justification by faith alone, and that circumcision is not the means to gain any status with God. That is why Paul circumcised Timothy.

  74. I can see your point, Dan but am confused as to why he would insist Timothy be circumcised but be so adamant that the Gentiles in the church at Galatia *not* be circumcised. Here’s Acts 16:1-3 (ESV) so everyone can see the relevant scripture:

    Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

    There are two pieces of information presented here that are supposed to be the reasons why Paul had Timothy circumcised.

    1. Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek man.
    2. Paul had Timothy circumcised because he wanted Timothy to accompany him but the Jews where they were going knew Timothy’s father was a Greek (and presumably knew his mother was a Jew).

    In the current context, addressing the two points above, and given what you said, why single out Timothy for circumcision?

  75. James,

    1 Cor. 7:18-19

    Paul did not want Gentiles to think they needed to become Jews nor that they even could become Jews. Neither did he want Jews to think that they needed to cease being jews nor that they could. Paul expects both Hew and Gentiles to keep the commandments. It seems very possible, then, that paul would have had no problem with a Gentile remaining a Gentile, yet being circumcised. What he would never allow was a Gentile undergoing the Rabbinic ritual of a proselyte with the notion that such a ceremony would gain him a status od “righteous.” This is what Paul meant by “another gospel.”

    So, since Timothy was a Gentile, doesn’t it seem odd to you that the first action of Paul following the Jerusalem Council edict of Acts 15 is to have Timothy circumcised, and this so that Timothy could accompany him as he distributed the edict of the council on the very subject of circumcision of Gentiles. so my presumption is that Paul was sufficiently confident of Timothy’s understanding of salvation by faith, that to have him undergo circumcision would not in any way change his perspective. Having Timothy circumcised could be viewed as simple obedience to the Torah commandment without considering it a means of covenant status.

  76. Having Timothy circumcised could be viewed as simple obedience to the Torah commandment without considering it a means of covenant status.

    It could be Dan, but it ignores the reasons that Paul actually had Timothy circumcised as stated in Acts 16:1-3. It seems like there is a link between Timothy having a Jewish mother and a Greek father, the fact that the Jewish people they would encounter on their journey together knowing these facts and Paul’s decision of having Timothy circumcised. It seems as if part of the condition of Timothy accompanying Paul on his trip and encountering other Jewish people was to be circumcised, because the Jewish people knew about Timothy’s mixed parentage. This doesn’t seem like a simple matter of Timothy having a sufficient “understanding of salvation by faith” in order to take circumcision as a matter of conversation.

    Of course, there’s the radical thought that the circumcision *was* an indication of Timothy formal converting to Judaism. Even in modern times, when a person has one Jewish and one Gentile parent, they will undergo a formal process of converting to Judaism to avoid any suggestion by other Jewish (probably the Orthodox) that the person of mixed parentage isn’t really Jewish. I know you’ll probably disagree with my suggestion and it is just a suggestion, but it happens to fit the scripture just a little better.

    You said that it could have been “very possible, then, that paul would have had no problem with a Gentile remaining a Gentile, yet being circumcised.” If that’s the case, why don’t we have a record of Gentiles remaining Gentiles and yet being circumcised? That would go a long way to supporting at least part of the One Law proposition, and yet I can’t think of one place in scripture where such a thing actually took place. When Gentiles became disciples of Jesus (such as Cornelius and his household in Acts 10), they were “baptized” by the Holy Spirit and by water, but they were not circumcised, either at that point or, as far as we know, any point in the future. Nor do we see any examples of Gentiles remaining Gentiles and also taking on all of what some folks call “Jewish identity markers.”

    I think the early Gentile disciples probably looked more “Jewish” than today’s Christians as far as worshiping on Shabbat, keeping a kind of kosher in order to have table fellowship with the Jewish disciples, and praying at the same fixed times as their Jewish mentors, but I’ve never seen a full-blown example in the New Testament of a clearly Gentile believer totally emulating a Jewish believer in every single aspect of worship and lifestyle.

  77. James,

    How could the Apostles, on one hand, make sure that the Gentiles understood that their covenant standing was entirely a matter of God’s grace obtained through faith apart from the works of the torah, while on the other hand expect them to integrate into the Jewish community in which they would be taught and mature in the things of God? The answer to this question lies in the teaching that the Gentiles were to be received as though they were circumcised even before they underwent the physical cutting of the flesh. before they could receive physical circumcision, they had to be well grounded in the truth that their covenant status was based upon their faith, not a declaration of Jewishness offered by the rabbinical ritual of proselytism.

    Look at Col. 2:11. in verse 10 Paul said :” and in Him you have been made complete…” but then Paul makes the categorical statement that the believers were to consider themselves as circumcised: “In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Messiah; having been burried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.’ (11-12).

    even though they had not submitted to the ritual of circumcision as part of a conversion process, they were to be received as thogh they had. for paul, the fact that God had received them apart from circumcision (evidenced by their reception of the HS and their consistent life of faith) meant that the community should receive them in like manner. circumcision of the flesh could come later, when they were firmly established in the truth that they were “in Messiah” by faith, not by work of the Torah.

    Your claim that we don’t have a record of gentiles remain Gentiles and being circumcised, is an argument from silence.

  78. First let’s have a look at the text, Dan.

    In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…Colossians 2:11-13

    Now it seems fairly obvious that Paul wasn’t speaking of a physical circumcision for the Gentiles but rather metaphorically. He also said that his letter readers were “buried with him (Jesus) in baptism,” but he didn’t literally mean his Gentile audience had been physically dead and buried. He was talking about the state of their spirituality, before and after coming to faith. Before coming to faith, they were “dead” spiritually. What does he mean that they were uncircumcised before and subsequently circumcised? Here’s where I think the answer is.

    Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.Deuteronomy 10:16

    And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.Deuteronomy 20:6

    No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.Romans 2:29

    Paul is obviously not cancelling the Jewish requirement for the brit milah, but he is saying that in and of itself, physical circumcision does not bring spiritual awareness to God. Since the Gentiles were not under the requirement for physical circumcision (that I can see), they were still responsible, like the Jews, for having their “hearts” circumcised, which in this case, was done by Jesus when they became believers. In more plain language (and I’m reading into this last part just a bit), when the Gentiles came to faith and trust in Jesus and received the Holy Spirit, their uncircumcised hearts, which indicated a state of spirital deadness toward God, became circumcised and they became spiritually alive and aware of God.

    I can see you are saying that the Gentiles were supposed to consider themselves spiritually circumcised and as such, they were equally obligated to the full Jewish/Torah lifestyles as their physically circumsized Jewish mentors. Here’s where we part company in terms of our interpretation. I don’t think Paul was loading Torah onto the Gentiles because of spiritual circumcision. I believe the “circumcision of the heart” for Gentiles meant what it meant for the Jews…a spiritual awareness of and connection to God and *that’s* where Jewish and Gentile disciples of the Master are equal. However, the additional physical circumcision of the Jews is an indicator of additional responsibilities to God in relation to the Torah from Sinai.

    I know you don’t agree with me, but to may way of thinking, it makes so much more sense than to try and add on more spiritualization and symbolism than Paul already had.

  79. James,

    “Now it seems fairly obvious that Paul wasn’t speaking of a physical circumcision for the Gentiles but rather metaphorically.”

    Then, you have also to agree that in Gal. 5:2-4 Paul means the same thing. Do you?

  80. That’s a completely different context. In the case of Galatians a group, either of Jews who did not believe a Gentile could become a disciple without converting, or Gentiles who had already converted to Judaism, were apparently trying to convince the Gentiles at the church in Galatia that they had to convert to be justified before God. Paul was correctly refuting that claim, saying that the sacrifice of Jesus was sufficient and that they didn’t have to convert (be circumcised). In this context, Paul was using the term “circumcision” as a sort of “short hand” to mean conversion (and as I understood it, there was a formal conversion process of some sort available at that time). He was not speaking spiritually but opposing Gentiles from conversion to Judaism as the only path of reconciliation to God.

  81. Didn’t you just agree with me that Col. 2:11-13 says the same thing? So here is my point:

    Paul is not against circumcision as a simple act of obedience to God. He says so plainly: “For in Messiah Yeshua, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.” (Gal. 5:6).

    If circumcision means nothing, then it cannot, in and of itself, condemn anyone. But in another sense, Paul recognized the value of circumcision as a mark of covenant membership (Rom. 3:1-2). what he means in Galatians is that circumcision is a non-issue when it comes to entering the redeemed people of God. Whether Jew (who would be circumcised as a baby) or non-Jew (who would not have been circumcised), enterance into the realm of salvation for both is through the faith in Yeshua. Circumcision (Jewishness) neither qualifies a person as saved, nor does incircumcision (being a gentile) disqualify a person from being saved. For both, faith is the key.

    The original purpose of circumcision, given to Abraham after his failed attempt to bring the promised seed through his own fleshly efforts, was to be a symbol of how God would bring the promised son (and ultimately the promised Messiah) through above-human means. The cutting away of the flesh of the male organ of procreation signaled that the siccess of the covenant, based upon the coming of the Promised Son, would be from God, not man.

    This, in fact, is precisely how Paul intrpret the sign and the commandment of circumcision given to Abraham. the ritual of circumcision was not the means by which Abraham entered the covenant, but was a seal of the covenant status he already had, a covenant status gained by faith (Rom. 4:9-12). Read this passage in detail.

  82. OK. This is becoming more complicated than it has to be (and yes, I read through all the scripture you cited before writing this response). In terms of faith and redemption, circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing. In terms of covenant markers, they do. Paul is trying to explain to his Gentile audience that just because they aren’t circumcised (Jewish) doesn’t mean they’re second-class citizens as far as God is concerned. Access to God, justification, redemption, the whole shooting match, belongs just as much to the Gentile, through Messiah, as they do to the Jew.

    But in Galatians, Paul does say there is a difference. Is he contradicting himself? No. He’s talking about two different things. He’s saying that it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile as far as the love of God and your redemption and salvation are concerned because Messiah has resolved that point of separation for us. However, he did say in Galatians that anyone who *is* physically circumcised is obligated to the full yoke of the Torah. The Torah doesn’t save and circumcision doesn’t save, but they do indicate a difference in responsibility to God based on the fact that the Children of Israel were chosen at Sinai and based on God’s promises to Abraham. The Messianic covenant does not “undo” the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. The Jews and only the Jews will inherit Israel, as God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If you are right, then we Gentiles all have aliyah rights (and it doesn’t matter if we’re circumcised since God’s promises associated with circumcision don’t matter), just like the Jewish people do, but I don’t believe that’s God’s intent. Otherwise, why choose Israel in the first place? God would be saying to the Israelites, “You are important to me temporarily (which was Eugene’s and most of Christianity’s point) but when I send the Messiah, you will become unimportant and blend into the crowd of the rest of the world.”

    Yes, Jewish and Gentile disciples of the Master are equal in access to God, redemption, prayer, love, and life in the world to come. No, they are not universally equal in terms of the specific promises God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If we were equal, then those promises would mean nothing, and any Tom, Dick, or Harry goy would have just as much right to Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the Negev, as any of the Jewish tribes.

    Spiritually, you and I are equal and on a level playing field. God makes no distinction between us in terms of His love for us and His desire that we should both have a place with Him in the world to come. In terms of certain covenant promises and covenants, not the least of which is the right to a physical inheritance in Israel, we most certainly are not equal. You have a right to live in the Land, the rest of us, not so much (though I’m sure we could visit, especially on Sukkot).

    You might want to read Tsvi Sadan’s comment on my review of his article for Messiah Journal and see his perspective on Jews, Judaism, and the Messiah. Again, I know you won’t agree with any of this, which is fine since I’m not actually trying to get you to change your mind. I just want you to see that some Jews view “One Law” as another form of supersessionism and removing God’s promises to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob from the Jewish people and redistributing them to the everyone “just for giggles.”

  83. James.

    Gal. 5:2-4

    What does Paul mean by the phrase “receive circumcision?” Does he mean that cutting the foreskin has sime kind of eternal consequences? What about the thousands of baby boys in America who were circumcised without any religion sense? Is Messiah of no benefit to them? obviously, Paul is speaking about something more than the physical act of circumcision. To “receive circumcision” for Paul, means to trust in the ceremony of becoming a proselyte as means of entering the covenant rather than trusting in the work of Yeshua.

    And I, too, don’t intend to change oyur beliefe with this conversation. I appreciate you input, but not Sadan’s, since I have to consider the source, which is that MJ, UJMC style will do or say anything in order to become a part of mainstream Judaism. That is of course impossible.

  84. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.Galatians 5:2-4

    My understanding is that Paul is talking about being circumcised in order to convert to Judaism. This has nothing to do with the millions of baby boys who have been circumcised at hospitals as a matter of policy or for health concerns. As you know, there is more to a Bris than just circumcision. You’re being way too literal on this point.

    To me, Paul is saying to the Gentiles that if they have accepted Jesus as Lord and Messiah, that is all that needs to be done in order to be justified. If they believe the lies they’ve been told by others, and think the Messiah isn’t enough and that they have to convert as well, then the sacrifice of the Messiah was all for nothing.

    *If* a Gentile had or has a compelling need to convert above and beyond the desire to have a covenant relationship with God (such as being intermarried, for example), that would be one thing, but converting just because you feel that being a Christian is not enough for God is a waste of time and basically throwing the crucifixion of Christ back in his face.

  85. “My understanding is that Paul is talking about being circumcised in order to convert to Judaism.”

    Thank you for agreeing with me.

    So, we go back to the starting point, why did Paul circumcised Timothy, a Gentile, right after the edict of the Jerusalem council?

  86. I’m getting dizzy from all the circles this conversation is taking. Didn’t think we were agreeing. 😉

    Anyway, I previously suggested that Paul may have had Timothy circumcised in order to convert him to Judaism, since he had a Jewish mother but a Greek father. Apparently, Timothy’s parentage was going to be a big deal to the Jews he and Paul were going to meet on the trip they were about to take. There are even people today who have one Jewish and one Gentile parent, but to satisfy the requirements of one group or another, will undergo conversion so there will be no doubt that they are a Jew.

    Maybe this is what Paul had in mind, but that’s just speculation on my part.

  87. Like I said, it’s speculation. However, I said that Paul opposed Gentiles converting to Judaism if the Gentiles felt that they weren’t acceptable to God as non-Jews who were joined to Him through the Messianic covenant. There seems to be a different reason that Paul had Timothy circumcised and it had something to do with contact with other Jews on their trip together.

    The scripture doesn’t go into exquisite detail, so we can only speculate at this point.

  88. ” The scripture doesn’t go into exquisite detail, so we can only speculate at this point.”

    I think, this statement alone should make you retract your claim that “One Law” is a form of “supersessesionism.”

  89. ” The scripture doesn’t go into exquisite detail, so we can only speculate at this point.”

    I think, this statement alone should make you retract your claim that “One Law” is a form of “supersessesionism.”

    What does my comment on Acts 16:1-5 have to do with how One Law could be viewed as a form of supersessionism?

  90. @ Steve

    Hello again Steve, I have a question for you in realtionship to your statement, “From examples you set out already, there certainly does not seem to be anything in the Law of Christ that is not contained in the Law of Moses.”

    Are you familiar with Matthew 19:1-9? As I’m sure you’re probably aware there is a situation here where something is given as a command from Jesus that differs from what the law of Moses allowed…my point in mentioning this is due to my previous question presented to James and you and anyone else interested in answering it.

    The question/statement was, ““When you said, “I must have missed this, Eugene. When did I say that Jews “pick and choose” which portions of the Torah to obey.” What I was saying/asking is since I’m not “seeing it” what difference does a Jew’s belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins make in their worship of God and use of the law of Moses in their life. What I am asking simply is what difference/change did the New Testament make to the Old Testament? Did it make no change at all? If it “changed anything” how do they know what it changed (set them free from)? How does a Jewish Christian chose what to follow and what not to follow from the law of Moses since the law of Moses is still in effect because they are a physical Jew but they believe that Jesus was the Messiah? Do they still, or maybe I should say should they still offer animal sacrifices to God because the law of Moses says to, do they follow the diet restrictions of the law of Moses, do they wear clothes made of mixed linens? I hope you understand my question/point more clearly now. I’m asking with sincerity in respect to your stanze, and not because I’m “attempting to set a trap” or because I’m being facetious.” This section of my previous statements hasn’t gotten any attention from anyone as far as the last 2/3’s of it goes.

    This question is also in relation to my point presented with Matthew 19:1-9. Does a Jewish Christian follow the directions of Moses or of Jesus? Jesus pointed out a sin that exists today that did not apparently exist under the law of Moses because of the intents that God had for marriage from the beginning before the law of Moses was given. If a person chooses to follow the law of Moses in this situation in regards to divorce and remarriage instead of the law of Christ are they sinning? I hope my question(s) is clear enough; and may I reiterate that this question is not being asked “to set a trap” but simply to continue the conversation we were having about the law of Moses being replaced by the law of Christ and the differences that the two have.

    Take care Steve; talk to you later.

  91. Well, For one, you did not give a clear reason. Speculation can go both ways. You live an openning for me to say that BE and DI are forms of racism, and I know you don’t want that to happen……

  92. Hey, I am # 100 commenter,,,Do I get a prize?

    You win a restful Shabbat in the bosom of your own congregation. Oh wait! 😉

    Well, For one, you did not give a clear reason. Speculation can go both ways. You live an openning for me to say that BE and DI are forms of racism, and I know you don’t want that to happen……

    I have to spectulate on the passage in Acts 16 because I don’t have enough information to make a definite determination as to exactly why Paul had Timothy circumcised.

    Referencing both my in-person and conversations with Boaz, DI was never to have taken on a life of its own as a theology, so I’m not worried about that. Also, in reading Toby’s latest article for Messiah Journal, FFOZ is saying that there is a lot more Torah involvement for the non-Jews than we may have previously realized.

    The issue of how OL can be considered a form of supersessionism takes a little explaining and I’ll probably have to create a separate blog post for it at some point. I know I’ll probably include some content about it in my third article for MJ’s supersessionism series as well. I don’t consider it a form of racism but rather a method of devaluing the covenant uniqueness of the Jewish people in relation to the disciples from the nations. Kind of like, when everyone is special, then no one will be.

    This doesn’t (and most of the time isn’t) have to be intensional. I know based on what he writes that Eugene isn’t a racist and apparently he has no animosity towards the Jewish people, but everything he has been taught in a traditional Christian setting leads him (sorry to talk about you like you’re not here, Eugene) to believe that the covenant “specialness” of the Jewish people has come to an end. I don’t believe that’s what Jesus taught and I certainly don’t believe that’s what Paul taught, but that’s how their words have been interpreted for so long in the church, that Christians stop thinking of it as an interpretation and believe it is fact.

    All I’m trying to do here is to open up the possibillity that other interpretations are just as valid, if not more, than fulfillment theology or other supersessionists beliefs.

  93. @James

    No problem I understand. At least we agree that I’m not a racist…I really do thank you for allowing what I have written/said to speak for itself.

    I guess as far as the comments you made (which is your actual premise and reason for your original article 🙂 ) the truth is that when it comes to the New Testament gospel God reveals he still has a special people on the earth…

    “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14)

    “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as NEWBORN babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:1-10)

    Who are these special people that belong to God now that the New Testament of Jesus Christ has come according to Paul and Peter? Is it the Jewish nation alone? No. Is it the gentile nations alone? No. It’s the Jews and gentiles who have come to God through the gospel of Jesus regardless of nationality (Romans 1:16,17). The new birth (John 3:1-5) that places one in Christ (Galatians 3:26-29) is more important than any emphasis placed upon a physical birth that places one in any particular fleshly nation rather than the spiritual nationality emphasis desired by God (Galatians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 2:28-29, 10:1-13; Galatians 4:28 + Romans 9:6-8).

    Good to talk to you again James – have a great night and I do appreciate your willingness to discuss the issue. I know up to this point we do not agree but I have learned much from reading your responses and the responses of others as far as the issue of dialouge and tact is concerned.

  94. James,

    “Paul responded to the bid of Gentile conversion to Judaism by forbiding the Galatians to circumcise. He may even gone so far as to discourage all Gentiles believers from circumcision as long as the commandment of circumcision was being misunderstood. ( 1 Cor. 7:18). in the case of Gentiles with authentic Israelite heritage, however, he does not hesitate to circumcise. In fact, Paul personally oversaw Timothy’s circumcision. Gentiles without Israelite bloodlines, like Titus (Gal. 2:3) or the Galatians, he encouraged to remain uncircumcised, at least as long as circumcision is understood as the ticket into the kingdom. GENTILES with Israelite blood, LIKE TIMOTHY, He circumcised without hesitation.”

    Don’t need to explain this, it speaks for itself. If I would have wrote it, you would not have agreed, but maybe you would agree with the one who wrote it? His name is D. Thomas Lancaster….
    He agrees that Timothy was a Gentile, Unless of course he changed his mind at the same time he changed his theology.

    He wrote this too:
    ” But Paul was not preaching against Gentiles keeping the Torah, He wasn’t even preaching against Gentiles becoming circumcised. He was preaching against gentiles undergoing the conventional conversion into Judaism in order to achieve salvation.”

    Both quotes are from: “The mystery of the Gospel, Jew and gentile and the eternal purpose of God.” (Page 165).

    Lancaster says some interseting things that I am sure if I said them, you would disagree, like, Gentiles are part of Israel of God, and gentiles have a place in Israel. You should read the book….

  95. Good to talk to you again James – have a great night and I do appreciate your willingness to discuss the issue. I know up to this point we do not agree but I have learned much from reading your responses and the responses of others as far as the issue of dialouge and tact is concerned.

    No worries, Eugene. I’m glad you’ve “hung in there” and continued this conversation, even though you’ve had many people disagree with some of your basic points. I’m not denying that each of us, as a disciple of Jesus, isn’t special or that the entire body of believers, both Jewish and Gentile, aren’t unique and have a unique place in God’s plan. I’m only saying that by accepting discipleship of the Master, a Jewish person does not have their Jewish identity deleted and replaced by a Gentile Christian identity.

    I’ve said before that I believe the Messianic covenant ratifies the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants that came before it rather than replacing them. This is true of the Jewish believer as well. Coming to faith in Jesus as Messiah and Lord does not erase the Jewish person from the face of the earth nor from the heart of God. The Law has always pointed to its perfect expression in the Messiah. Once accepted as Messiah, for the Jew, Jesus…the wholly Jewish Jesus, becomes the example of what it is to be truly Jewish. For the Gentile, Jesus becomes a doorway allowing us to also enter into a covenant relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.

    Ultimately, no one comes to the Father except through the son, for Jew and for Gentile. But Paul said all of Israel would be saved and saved they will be, but not by ceasing to be Jews. Israel, as Israel, will be saved as they have always hoped…by the acceptance of the Moshiach of God, who for the Gentile, is called Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the “amen” for us all.

  96. OK, Dan. I’ll concede the likelihood that Timothy was considered a Gentile but that Paul had him circumcised because he had a Jewish mother and that was relevant somehow to accompanying Paul on a trip where they would encounter other Jews. I still think Paul had Timothy circumcised in order to eliminate any ambiguity about his identity and to establish him as Jewish, but that’s just my opinion.

    I’m sure Lancaster would be pleased that you’re quoting him. 😉

  97. Eugene,

    Since you brought this up I thought I might make a comment about the scripture you mentioned. You said:

    “Are you familiar with Matthew 19:1-9? As I’m sure you’re probably aware there is a situation here where something is given as a command from Jesus that differs from what the law of Moses allowed…my point in mentioning this is due to my previous question presented to James and you and anyone else interested in answering it.”

    The conversation between Yeshua and the Perushim was regarding the bill of divorcement that Moshe had provided for the people due to the hardness of their hearts towards their wives. If you’ll notice, Yeshua did not tell them to ignore the statute, He simply told them that it was not the preference of YHWH to allow men to divorce their wives. He was providing them with a choice, the same choice they had back when Torah was first given to them, either do what was right in the sight of YHWH or take the offered divorce procedure and have your own way. He did not issue a commandment to them. He simply gave them His preference in the matter of marriage.

    And Yeshua said this, “I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries her when she is divorced commits adultery.”

    And the response from the disciples, “His talmidim said to him, “If this is the case of the man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.”

    They immediately saw that the instruction from Yeshua was impossible to keep and decided that it would be better not to marry if such strict guidelines were in place.

    And so here is an example of the mercy of YHWH built into Torah. Knowing that marriage would be a very large part of the Israelite culture, and that their hearts were hard and not yielded to the instructions they had received, He provided a way to prevent men from doing something even worse to their wives in order to have another. You could look at it as a protection for the women of Israel.

    I you think about it logically, why would Yeshua seek to undo His Father’s commandments concerning righteousness, justice, mercy and peace? He knows that people’s behavior will be affected by what He says. And Yeshua knew full well that He was here to bring the promised new covenant into effect through His sacrifice. Opening the way of salvation to all the people in the world did not, and would not, negate the the righteousness that Torah demanded. But it would provide a way for us to receive the power we needed to walk in that righteousness.

    As Sha’ul said to the congregation in Galatia, if someone walks in the Spirit they will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

    And is that not what the commandment to love your Elohim and love your neighbor as yourself all about? Keep those two and you are keeping Torah. Does that have anything to do with wearing tzitziyot on your clothing? I suppose that would be up to the individual and their relationship to Messiah Yeshua. Would it cause any harm to wear them? No. Would it cause any harm not to wear them? No.

    If neither circumcision nor uncircumcision mean anything in regards to salvation then I’m sure that attachments to our clothing would not matter either. Certainly not in the context of receiving salvation in the first place.

    But the discussion here seems to be centered around the difference of how people see salvation.

    Is it an event, or is it an ongoing process?

    If it is an event, then how we live after the event is of less concern than if it is viewed as a process. In other words, if it doesn’t matter what I eat or what I wear or any of the other multitudes of things we do as human beings, as far as receiving salvation goes, then it shouldn’t matter what I eat or wear or whatever I do, other than outright sin, after being saved.

    But if it is a process, then what I do after receiving salvation is vital to maintaining the relationship I have been afforded through Messiah Yeshua. Again, in different words, if I come to Him with empty hands and humble myself to receive His great gift, then I must realize that it is His work alone and not mine that has accomplished my salvation. But then having received His gift my next question should be, what do I need to do to please Him who has given me so great a salvation?

    His answer defines my “obligation” to Him. While we may be kings and priests in some spiritual sense, we most certainly are servants first in a very real, right here now on earth sense.

    And now for the controversial question, “Is there a difference between a “Jewish” servant of Messiah and a “non-Jewish” servant of Messiah when it comes to doing the will of our Father in heaven?

    I think the answer as to how we should, as believers, walk out our faith is in large part based on how we view our salvation experience. How many definitions of obligations are there for believers in Messiah Yeshua? Some say one, some say two, some think that there are as many definitions as there are people in the world.

    I look forward to your, or anyone’s, response.

    Shalom

    Russ

  98. @ Russ,

    Hello Russ. Well right off the bat I would like to say something concerning your comment, “They immediately saw that the instruction from Yeshua was impossible to keep….”

    I disagree 100%. Difficult to keep? Yes, depending upon the individual person and especially in comparison to what the law of Moses afforded when it came to marriage and divorce and remarriage. But “impossible” to keep? Absolutely not. I’ve been married to my wife for over 8 years with no plans of ending it with divorce. My in-laws have been married for almost 55 years! Everyday there are couples whose marriages are ended by death that made it beyond 50 years so unless I’m completely missing your intended point you really have no point. Are there no Jewish marriages that make it that long? There has to be.

    I am well aware that women have not been treated fairly by all men in marriages and that the “exception” in the law of Moses was there for the benefit of their protection. But the simple point and truth that can be seen in Matthew 19 is that Jesus is well aware of what the law of Moses said but what Jesus was saying was that was used to be was not what was going to be. God’s intentions for marriages since “the beginning” was going to be what Jesus expected for marriages today – the law of Moses changed that temporarily due to sin…a sin that must be repented of today if it has been commited.

    The reason I mentioned this to Steve is because he said the law of Christ included nothing that the law of Moses did not contain as far as sin is concerned…but the simple fact is that when it comes to marriage and divorce and remarriage, Jesus said adultery would be the result if his word was ignored in place of the law of Moses when it came to this situation. I think that we would all agree that adultery is sin. My point concerning the original point of the post was and still is presented in this question: Does a Jewish Christian who is still bound to the law of Moses due to them being a physical Jew (as is what is proposed by those with whom I’ve talking to here) listen/adhere to the law of Moses or to the law of Christ when it comes to this commandment of marriage, divorce and remarriage?

    Have a great night Russ and thanks for your reply.

  99. @ James. Great post and thank you very much for this learning opportunity. Incidentally, I posted the below message yesterday 03/02/11 but it didn’t post for some reason – or more precisely, it posted but then dropped off the site overnight. Anyway, I’ll try again.

    @ Eugene

    You’re doing a fair old job of representing your perspective here and good for you. Just wondered if you’d please say something about a very different perspective to your own separately presented by Dr Schiffman and Nathan Ha Goy and also a related question that I have for you below?

    Dr Schiffman, January 30, 2012 at 6:27 am said:

    “Fulfillment” theology seems to be a replacement of what used to be called promise theology. The stress on fulfillment takes the meaning of Ple’re’o to mean completed rather than to have filled up. THe former stresses finished, whereas the latter stressed expanded the meaning. You might rephrase it to be over and done with theology. The other thing that is problematic, is the quoting of scripture as your point. Scripture is scripture, but quoting a verse in or out of context says what the scripture says, but doesn’t tell us what you think it means. If you are going to quote scripture you have not achieved your goal until you tell us what YOU think it means. What you think it means is actually what you are basing your agument upon, so just say what you think it means or you have proven nothing.

    Nathan Ha Goy, January 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm said:

    To “fulfill the Torah” is to give a teaching which explains it. To “destroy the Torah” is to give a teaching which confuses it. So, yes, Yeshua “fulfilled the Torah”.

    Moving onto my question now Eugene
    Against this background vs. your own different perspective on the concept of fulfilment, here’s a question from me concerning your reference to Matthew 19:1-19 made February 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm as a response to Steve.

    If I understand you correctly Eugene, I think that you are using this text to support the argument that the Law of Christ now replaces the Law of Moses and in so far as it goes, I think that your conclusion is logical given your premise. However, there is a very different interpretation of this text which is at least equally logical when the assumption or basic premise is that the term fulfil in the Biblical text is used not in the sense of completion or ended but rather in the sense of making clearer, filling up and thus deepening our understanding and potential application implications of the Biblical text. Please let me try to explain.

    Considering the Matthew 19 text that you quote, what I think that Jesus is actually doing here is quite similar to what we see Him doing in John 8 and story of the woman caught in act of adultery. Here, He’s acknowledging what the Law of Moses says and simply doing what Jews and Christians have been doing with the Biblical text ever since, interpreting and applying the living word to a real life specific situation.

    Yes the Law of Moses should be interpreted literally wherever possible and yet it has rarely been the practice of Jews to stone a woman caught in adultery for Gods attribute of mercy working through His people more often than not far outweighs His attribute of Justice. The King of the Jews demonstrates this to us through the John 8 text also. (Incidentally, do we actually have any recorded evidence of anyone ever being stoned for adultery?).

    Notice in the Matthew 19 text that Jesus says that Moses gave them this law to divorce their wives because he knew the stubbornness of their hearts. Just because He gave it, doesn’t mean that we are to implement it exactly as it is written. After all, we should be acting in quite an unmerciful way if we did. So why give it? My thought is that the law is meant to fulfil quite a different role here. Again, please let me try to explain.

    I remember being in a school at a time when boys were regularly caned who transgressed certain school rules like talking during meals or fighting in the school yard. Yes the rules where very strict and yet they were also very clear and generally had the desired effect. Significantly two things happened. Firstly, very few of the boys knowing the penalty actually broke the rules and thus received the cane. Secondly and significantly, very very few of the masters actually used the cane when the rules said that they should have done. Instead, they used the slipper (or sneaker), a harsh word or word to the wise. It’s worth remarking that the school context was 1960’s – 1970’s England where the cultural context was still largely Christian and a goodly portion of the school masters were Christians of some kind.
    I’m trying to draw an analogy here between the way that the school rules worked and were applied by Christian men and women in my old school – not really a unique institution – and the way in which the law works and is applied by Godly people. I’m doing this so that when examining a Biblical text like Matthew 19:1-19, one can begin to see how the concept of fulfilment in the sense of making clearer, filling up and thus deepening our understanding and potential application implications of the Biblical text rather than of completing or ending is at least, a valid interpretation and significantly works for a number of other reasons.
    Think about it; isn’t such an interpretation entirely consistent with the heart and teaching of Jesus that we find throughout the Sermon on the Mount, to wit, you have heard is said, but I say to you? Through this teaching sequence, He is certainly about the business of helping His disciples to get a clearer, fuller, deeper understanding of the Biblical text and its applicability in life rather than teaching them that He has somehow completed and ended the teachings of Moses.

    Now if your argument and the basic premise that you have around the concept of fulfilment relates to the law as it references the mode of atonement only, then one can certainly start to consider the merits of your argument given that the sacrificial death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus does indeed fulfilling the law in the sense of completing and ending it. Indeed not very many years thereafter His ascension, the Temple was raised to the ground by the Roman, Titus, thus ensuring that the only Temple and mode of atonement available to anyone anywhere hence forward was through the new and living way provided through faith in Messiah.

    Given this and concerning your reference to Matthew 19:1-19 made February 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm as a response to Steve, given the above very different perspective to your own; do you see how fulfilment in the sense of making clearer, filling up and thus deepening our understanding and potential application implications of the Biblical text may be applicable here Eugene?

    Every blessing,
    – Andrew

  100. @Eugene,

    Yes I did have a point and yes you either missed it, or it doesn’t fit with what you are trying portray and therefore would be dismissed.

    I’ve been married for almost 30 years and so I do know that marriages can and do work. The disciples knew that as well. My question is, then why did they say what they said if they were convinced that marriages would not suffer under such a strict guideline?

    And Yeshua did not say anything new or different than what had already been established for what He considered to be a proper marital relationship.

    Do we really need specific text to prove that a spiritual concept of righteousness is in play for the people of YHWH?

    Russ

  101. Hello Andrew,

    I’m sorry but my reply is going to be “a little long” but the flow should make it a quick and an uncomplicated read to follow.

    As far as your comments, “Considering the Matthew 19 text that you quote, what I think that Jesus is actually doing here is quite similar to what we see Him doing in John 8 and story of the woman caught in act of adultery. Here, He’s acknowledging what the Law of Moses says and simply doing what Jews and Christians have been doing with the Biblical text ever since, interpreting and applying the living word to a real life specific situation.”

    Concerning Matthew 19 the context is too plain; what the law of Moses said/allowed is not the same as what Jesus was saying/would allow. The two were being contrasted and to be contrasted they cannot be the same.

    Concerning John 8, the Jews who brought the woman to Jesus weren’t even following the very law that they wanted “Jesus to obey” because they “somehow” managed to leave out the man who was just as guilty as the woman (Deuteronomy 22:22). They were committing an injustice at the exact same time that they were calling out for justice! Hence, Jesus ignored them as they deserved to be.

    Never have I said in this conversation with anyone that grace was not shown to people under the law of Moses but rather that the purpose of the law was not to give grace. Its purpose was to reveal sin (along with pointing God’s people to the Messiah who is Jesus) as Steve and I were discussing. My point to Steve is that what wasn’t sinful under the law of Moses because of the allowance of divorce and remarriage will be sinful if it is still chosen over what Jesus plainly said he expects when it comes to divorce and remarriage today.

    I understand and aprreciate many of the points you made from the Sermon on the Mount. I preached through it a few years ago and I loved the section where Jesus begins to say, “…but I say unto you.” There were actually times when the people were being told to do something that wasn’t even taught in the law of Moses! (Matthew 5:43c; Proverbs 25:21) But regardless the main point Jesus was getting across to his listeners was that he knew and understood what they HAD BEEN told, but now they were being told to LISTEN TO HIM.

    It’s very similar in many ways to the conclusion from the mount of Transfiguration – “And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:3-5) It also goes with Hebrews 1:1,2 – “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”

    Despite what some have tried to infere concerning my beliefs about Matthew 5:17,18 I do not believe/teach that Jesus came to overthrow or to “put down” or to do harm or violence to the law of Moses as verse 17 points out, but rather to bring it to the only end that it was ever meant to have and that’s to bring people to Him as verse 18 points out. So verse 19 and 20 was directed to those who talked a good game about the law but they didn’t really play by its rules. The law is still extremely valuable to God’s people today (Romans 15:4) but we are not accountable to it as far as what it defines as sin when it does not agree with the law of Christ.

    Now as far as the main premise of James’ post and the main reason I say what I say concerning Matthew 5:17,18 goes is that Jesus Himself said that until the law were fulfilled that EVERY jot and tittle would remain in power spiritually speaking. Now here’s the simple point that I was pointing out with my question to James and Steve and to anyone who wanted to answer it – does not every “jot and tittle” include the sacrificing of animals? Does it not include gifts to the Levitical priesthood? I can go on and on, but I think you should get my point. Now, is a Christian expected to sacrifice animals? No! Why not? Because we (Jewish and gentile Christians) don’t live under the law of Moses – we live/are ammenable to the law of Christ. If Jesus DIDN’T FULFILL (or complete/fill up the righteous requirements) the law then we are still expected to sacrifice animals because as James and others have pointed out – “the Earth is still here” but if the law of Moses is still in power then the animals sacrifices and the others details, jots and tittles included, that are being ignored are still here.

    The “schoolmaster” has brought us to the the faith in Jesus Christ, hence we are not “under that schoolmaster/tutor” anymore (Galatians 3:19,25). The law of Moses and the law of Christ cannot be co-equals for the very reason that I have just pointed out.

    “Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He TAKES AWAY THE FIRST that He may ESTABLISH THE SECOND. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:8-10)

    If a person does not sacrifice animals are they following the law of Moses? No. They listened to the law of Moses because the law pointed to Jesus, but they are not living under its authority any longer (Romans 7:1-4)…if they were they would HAVE TO sacrifice the animals, support the Levitical priesthood, etc.

    I agree with you that Jesus did help others to see and understand the law of Moses better and more clearly, but that’s not the same as the law of Moses still being “in power.” To say that the law of Moses is still in power with the exception of the sacrifices is to say something that they scriptures do not. The sacrificial system was a pivotal and essential part of the law of Moses and without it a person does not have the law of Moses. How can we have the law in power without having the law in power? Without the sacrifical element to the law there would be a huge a “hole in the middle” with the absence of Leviticus as well as the absence of the many the ordinances and commandments in Exodus and Deuteronomy.

    All of this being said, we get back to my question that Steve made an attempt at answering. I will give it again with the contextual response to James included –

    ““[James speaking] When you said, “I must have missed this, Eugene. When did I say that Jews “pick and choose” which portions of the Torah to obey.” [My response] What I was saying/asking is since I’m not “seeing it” what difference does a Jew’s belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins make in their worship of God and use of the law of Moses in their life. What I am asking simply is what difference/change did the New Testament make to the Old Testament? Did it make no change at all? If it “changed anything” how do they know what it changed (set them free from)? How does a Jewish Christian chose what to follow and what not to follow from the law of Moses since the law of Moses is still in effect because they are a physical Jew but they believe that Jesus was the Messiah? Do they still, or maybe I should say should they still offer animal sacrifices to God because the law of Moses says to, do they follow the diet restrictions of the law of Moses, do they wear clothes made of mixed linens? I hope you understand my question/point more clearly now. I’m asking with sincerity in respect to your stanze, and not because I’m “attempting to set a trap” or because I’m being facetious.””

    Now my question to you in light of our conversation about the change of the “sacrificial aspect only” when it comes to your estimation and agreement with me of what it meant for Jesus “to fulfill the law” when it comes to “completing/ending it” would be, “Where does it say in the law that the only thing that Jesus would do away with would be the sacrifical part as you seem to be saying?”

    The law of Moses prophesied that a new law would take its place (Jeremiah 8:7-12) but I don’t see how a person could interpret that to mean “only” the sacrifical requirements of the law of Moses would change. The truth is that the whole of the law of Moses was replaced by the whole of the law of Christ/the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:13; 2 Corinthians 3:6-16), not just part of it.

    I think that what I have said should be very easy to understand but if not, by all means let me know and I will do my best to clarify for you. Thanks for your reply Andrew and for the tone in which it was given. Have a great night.

  102. @ Russ

    Hello again Russ.

    You asked, “My question is, then why did they say what they said if they were convinced that marriages would not suffer under such a strict guideline?”

    I think the proper response would be that they were more worried about “themselves suffering” than they were marriages suffering and that they simply didn’t like what Jesus was saying at the time. I think the Pharisees managed to get the disciples a little “frustrated” even though they failed with their original target in Jesus. At times the disciples didn’t always agree with or understand what Jesus was teaching but that didn’t change what he taught or expected even with divorce and remarriage…after all, if a person doesn’t like it they can remain single and not worry about it (Matthew 19:10,11). As I’m sure you know, Peter took Jesus off to the side one time to rebuke him because Jesus said he was going to go to Jerusalem and that he would be killed…it didn’t change what Jesus meant though and it didn’t change what happened (Matthew 16:21-23).

    I agree that Jesus was emphasizing God’s intent for marriage from the beginning, but please recognize that the context says that what Jesus was saying isn’t the same as what the law of Moses allowed and the “beginning” Jesus referred to actually predated the law of Moses. It’s really that simple: No divorce and remarriage except in the case of fornication/adultery or a person is living in adultery which is unlike what the law of Moses allowed (Matthew 19:8,9). Please remember the context that my comments were given in with my conversation with Steve as far as the differences of sin according the law of Moses and sin according the law of Christ.

    I am glad to hear that you have made it to 30 years though! I hope and pray that my health and my wife’s health and the guidance of God allows us to see that many years together…actually we’re shooting for the standard that her parents continue to set for us – 50+ years! But maybe you and your’s will make it that far too. If a husband and wife would but follow God’s desire for our marriages today (Ephesians 5:22-33) there would be no need for divorces as adultery would not enter the picture nor would the hardness of heart toward one another. This is all true but it actually is getting away from my original intended meaning with Steve.

    Take care Russ.

  103. @Eugene,

    “I think the proper response would be that they were more worried about “themselves suffering” than they were marriages suffering and that they simply didn’t like what Jesus was saying at the time.”

    I don’t get that at all from their statement. If they were only concerned about themselves then why speak in general terms about marriage and all those who may now be or could be involved in a marriage in the future?

    As far as Yeshua issuing new commandments to replace the existing ones, He didn’t. For a command to be “new” in the true sense of the word He would have to generate a command that had zero connection to any of the commands found in the Torah (which includes all the books in the Tanach, not just the first five).

    Could you point us to one?

    Russ

  104. @ Russ

    Sure. We’re talking about one.

    “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”” (Matthew 19:9)

    Not new you say? Then show me where this is found in the law of Moses. I don’t really understand how such a simple statement can be so hard to understand.

    My point still remains the same: under the law of Moses it was not sinful to divorce and remarry for reasons other than adultery, but under the law of Christ it is. The disciples “spoke up for all men” in general because Jesus spoke in general terms about all marriages. Look at the context Russ. The “testing” question from the Pharisees was about what “men” could do and Jesus just simply said that according to him (not the law of Moses) there would be things that “men” could not do when it came to divorce and remarriage.

    Whether or not Jesus’ answer bothered the disciples does not change what Jesus said. The disciples were simply displaying some of that “hardness of heart” that Jesus mentioned about the law of Moses…it wasn’t the first time they displayed such and it wouldn’t be the last time. Jesus was cleary giving a specific commandment that was not included in the law of Moses or else he would not have said what he said.

    Hope you have a great day and God bless in your studies Russ.

  105. @Eugene,

    I was asking for a commandment that was not a derivative of any of the commandments of the the Torah of Moshe. Yeshua bringing the Torah to its logical completion in terms of righteous behavior is not the same as producing a new commandment from whole cloth.

    To say that the intimate relationship between a man and a woman in the context of marriage was not covered to the extent that Yeshua took it is to say that YHWH was not concerned about righteous marital relations until Messiah arrived on the scene. I’m sure you don’t hold to that view.

    Of course the Perushim tested Yeshua in regards to the Torah. They were not keeping it and in their hypocrisy were only trying to discredit Yeshua. Yeshua then using their hypocrisy to take the Torah to the next obvious level was completely logical. The fact that the Perushim, and many others, were exploiting what they thought was a loophole in the specific text of Torah did not mean that the loophole was actually there. Yeshua told them that it wasn’t. Read chapter 18 of Leviticus. Could you study those commandments and come away thinking that rotating wives would be pleasing to YHWH?

    And notice that Yeshua did not contradict what Torah said, He only pointed out the obvious, which those who were seeking their own pleasure could not see. And since you mentioned it, the same applies to the woman caught in adultery. Yeshua did not contradict the Torah or say that it was null and void and no longer applied. He simply took it to its logical conclusion and then let their conscience do the rest. You do not see anyone arguing with Yeshua as to the application of the mercy shown towards the woman (or the man for that matter although he does not enter the scene).

    Torah is the foundation of the righteousness that Yeshua told His disciples to practice. Torah contains the specifics of the behavior that YHWH expected His people to embrace. Had they done so they would have understood what Yeshua was saying, as they probably would have reached some of the same conclusions on their own.

    Look at John 13:34&35. Most English translations have the word “new” for the commandment that Yeshua gave that night, to love one another. Was it “new”. Had it not ever been issued before? Or is it in the Torah of Moshe? Was it “new” or was He “renewing” what had already been commanded of the people of Israel?

    Look at Jeremiah 31:33. What was the new covenant to consist of? As you can see from the text, YHWH would write His Torah (instructions) of the hearts of the people. His people. He did not say that He would write “new” commandments on their hearts, “new” commandments that would contradict and nullify the previous ones He had already given to Israel.

    I assume that you attend a church on Sunday. Do you have a “new” commandment that says that those who put their trust in Messiah Yeshua should meet on the first day of the week? Or did someone interpret certain events they saw in scripture and drew a conclusion for which they had no commandment? Would that be any different than someone drawing an erroneous conclusion regarding the events depicted in Torah? I don’t think so.

    Using the divorce proceedings outlines in the Torah of Moshe may not have been sinful, but it was certainly not looked upon with approval by YHWH or Yeshua.

    Kind of like going to church on the first day of the week and declaring that it is the “Day of the Lord”.

    You have a good day too. May YHWH bless you explorations of faith.

    Russ

  106. @ Russ,

    Hello again Russ. The more you type the further you get away from my point.

    First off you said, “And notice that Yeshua did not contradict what Torah said, He only pointed out the obvious, which those who were seeking their own pleasure could not see. And since you mentioned it, the same applies to the woman caught in adultery.”

    As far as the woman caught in adultery goes, I didn’t mention it, it was mentioned to me by Andrew. And Jesus did bring the conversation about divorce and remarriage back “to the beginning” which predated the law of Moses.

    I strikes me odd how the stance of so many is that the law of Moses was perfect becuase nothing is found in the New Testament that’s not found in the Old Testament. If it was so perfect and contains “everything” that is contained in the New then why, why would a NEW COVENANT even needed to be given?

    “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.” (Hebrews 8:6,7)

    The way you present the law is that there was nothing imperfect about it. There is nothing better in the New that wasn’t already in the Old. What then is Hebrews 8:6,7 talking about? How is the convenant and the promises better?

    I guess there was nothing new in the Old Testament (law of Moses) either – nah, nothing new about the Passover Lamb becuase after all God had required the sacrifice of lambs in the past. If something has already been present in the past then there is nothing new about it…at least that’s your position concerning the difference of the law of Moses and the law of Christ when it comes to divorce and remarriage.

    I’ll use you own argument against you. You said, “Look at Jeremiah 31:33. What was the new covenant to consist of? As you can see from the text, YHWH would write His Torah (instructions) of the hearts of the people.” Russ, I’m sure you’re familiar with Deuteronomy 6:4-6. There Moses said God’s word (the law of Moses) was to be in their heart…so according to you there’s nothing new about the New Covenant. It’s “just restating a principle already found” in the Old Testament. I guess accrording to your logic, somehow you would find a way to say that preaching the gospel to “all the world” isn’t a new commandment either…or do you even think that preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is a commandment?

    I was wondering how long it would take someone to get to the “Sunday topic” even though it has nothing to do with the post’s topic…at least not till now. I know according to your thinking that nothing in the New Covenant can go against anything in the Old (which makes me wonder why its even called the NEW if that’s completely true) but let me again remind you about Colossians 2:16 and me keeping the Sabbath, which is what I suppose you’re actually getting at. You’re a man and I won’t left you condemn me for not keeping it according to the law of Moses…it’s that simple Russ.

    The only time a person finds Christians, and Christians alone, gathering together in the New Testament is on the first day of the week. Now I know that you, like Adventists’ and others do, can go and find Paul going into the synagogues to preach and at times there were gentiles there too, but where those people Christians? Nope. Show me where a group of Christians, and Christians alone, who met together in the New Testament on the Sabbath day for worship and we’ll talk.

    In clsoing you said, “Using the divorce proceedings outlines in the Torah of Moshe may not have been sinful, but it was certainly not looked upon with approval by YHWH or Yeshua.” Russ, you’re 100% right – it was displeasing to God and that’s why it’s no longer valid under the New Covenant.

    Russ, the simple fact remains that the law of Moses requires the sacrfice of animals…now if a person does not sacrifice animals anymore then how can that person say they are living under the law of Moses??? For a person to not present a sacrifice in the form of an animal and still be pleasing to God that person must live under a NEW LAW because the OLD LAW required animal sacrifices. So my question remains – WHERE DOES IT SAY IN THE OLD LAW THAT ONLY THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES WERE GOING TO BE DONE AWAY WITH WHEN THE NEW LAW CAME INTO EFFECT? What does your point of God’s New Covenant being written on a person’s heart (which I’m not arguing against) have to do with animal sacrifices being taken away and only animal sacrifices as far as the law of Moses is concerned?

  107. @ Eugene.
    Hi Eugene,
    It’s good to hear from you. Trusting that you’ve enjoyed a refreshing weekend. The LORD is good.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my contribution. I appreciate this. There is much of merit in what you have said and I am very much enamoured by your zeal. Alas, I will not have time to respond in-depth to what you have said until at least tomorrow. Not to worry, until then, may the LORD bless you and yours with His precious presence in your lives afresh. Amen.
    Blessings,
    – Andrew

  108. @Eugene,

    “If it was so perfect and contains “everything” that is contained in the New then why, why would a NEW COVENANT even needed to be given?”

    I am thinking that you, as most churchmen are predisposed to think and do, have not studied the covenant previously given. And it is obvious at this point that you have not studied the prophets either. If you had, then you certainly would not have made that statement.

    Please find out for yourself why a new covenant was desired by YHWH. Use the scriptures that are available to you and see if you can let go of the Christian rhetoric long enough to express the truth of the matter.

    Until then I must resign myself from this conversation.

    Thank you for your time and commitment to exploring the foundations of our faith.
    May you be blessed in your continued efforts.

    Russ

  109. @Russ

    Good morning Russ.

    As to your comment, “I am thinking that you, as most churchmen are predisposed to think and do, have not studied the covenant previously given.”

    I’m not trying to be smart or anything but you’re “thinking” is wrong. Would I call myself a “scholar” or even an expert? Nope. But I have done a lot of studying throughout the books I have mentioned to you.

    The reason I made my comments is because your “sum solution” to whatever I presented was, “Yeshua then using their hypocrisy to take the Torah to the next obvious level was completely logical.” You didn’t use these words everytime but it was your basic premise everytime and yet at the same time the “next level” is never really anything “new” according to you. So why then Russ is the New Covenant called the “New Covenant” if there’s not anything “new” in it? Are you saying it should actually be called the “renewed” covenant instead of the “new” covenant? I don’t see how such a simple question reveals my “churchmen ignorance” or my “Christian rhetoric” as you say.

    At the end of the day my point with Andrew and with everyone else remains the same – if a person does not perform animals sacrifices they ARE NOT following the law of Moses. They LISTENED TO the law of Moses if they have followed it to Jesus and have come to his truth and grace through the new birth (John 1:17; John 3:1-5) but they are not living under the authority of the law of Moses if they are NOT offering animal sacrifices and ALL of the other “jots and tittles” than I have been reminded about from time to time on this page. Where in the law of Moses does it say that ONLY THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES were going to be “completed/fulfilled/done away with” which is something that I have been told repeatedly that Jesus did not come to do in his relationship with the law of Moses during my conversations.

    No one has answered my above question with scripture yet or even some form of logic. It’s not a long or a complicated question at all. I’m only asking it because everyone keeps telling that not “one jot or tittle has passed from the law” even though those “jots and tittles” included animal sacrifices. Is a Jewish Christian still required to offer animal sacrifices? Or even gentile Christians for that matter?

    Enjoyed the conversation while it lasted though Russ – take care.

  110. Where in the law of Moses does it say that ONLY THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES were going to be “completed/fulfilled/done away with” which is something that I have been told repeatedly that Jesus did not come to do in his relationship with the law of Moses during my conversations.

    Greetings, Eugene,

    Pardon the odd question, but where in the Law of Moses does it say that the Law of Moses were going to be done away with? It’s difficult for me to reconcile God creating the Torah, saying that it was His Law, saying that the Children of Israel were to be His people forever, and “forgetting” to tell them that it and they were all temporary.

    If indeed Jesus said that not a jot or a tittle (the smallest marks in Hebrew lettering) would not be changed in the Torah until Heaven and earth had passed away (which hasn’t happened yet), then how did it pass away (as apparently described in Hebrews, for instance)? I think I asked that question before and it never got answered.

    Depending on which part of the New Testament you read, there are portions that seem to indicate the Law is no longer valid (at least for Gentiles, but then the Law never applied to Gentles) and other parts that indicate that it never passed away for the Jews. We can see that Paul, Peter, and the rest of the Jewish disciples continued to follow the Law of Moses, well after the ascension of Jesus. If Jesus had done away with the Law, then why did they continue with it? Also (and I’ve asked this before but I don’t believe you replied to my query, Eugene), in Acts, Paul is accused point blank of teaching against the Law of Moses (and i believe most Christians would agree that he did), however he denies these allegations totally. Was Paul lying? If so, that’s a pretty shoddy thing for the Apostle to the Gentiles to do. If not, then he never taught against the Law of Moses. But if the latter is true, then how could he have made all those statements that seemingly indicate he did teach against the Law of Moses?

    Confusing, eh?

    Here’s another puzzle. How can you have different groups of believers who are all intelligent, well educated and who have studied the same Bible come to such radically different conclusions regarding the Messiah (or Christ if “Messiah” is an uncomfortable word), the nature of Jews and Christians, and God? For that matter, even within traditional Christianity, there is a wide variance (but not as wide as between the Christian and Messianic worlds) of interpretation regarding the Bible (pre-trib, trib, post-trib rapture and other such stories…I use this as only one example). How can this be if we are all working with the same Bible and that (and the Holy Spirit) is our only source of information? If we have one Bible and one Holy Spirit guiding us into one correct interpretation, how come so many Christians, sometimes even in the same denomination (I’m not even bringing Messianics into it now) can come to different conclusions about the meaning of scripture? Shouldn’t all Christians everywhere have one and only one interpretation? Shouldn’t there only be one “denomination” under those circumstances?

    Eugene, you make it seem as if your interpretation of the Bible is the only interpretation, but the history and current functioning of “the church” (and the many, many different denominations it contains) says otherwise. You and the people you have been debating with here (including me) are all looking at the same scriptures and seeing different things in them. How can that be unless it is possible for intelligent, reasonable, educated people to interpret the Bible in more than one way.

    I’m not saying that any one of us has it completely right or completely wrong, but isn’t it possible that there could be more to the Bible than just your point of view? Isn’t there room at all to question even the smallest part of one of your conclusions? Have you never, ever wrestled with the Bible or with God?

  111. @ James. Thank you once again for this opportunity to continue learning.
    @ Eugene
    Hi Eugene,
    Thank you so much for your detailed response and for your very kind words. If we have to disagree about anything, then may we always disagree agreeably, for if we do this, we will hallow the father’s name.

    I’m going to respond to what you have said by selecting and presenting a few of the paragraphs that present your reasoning and questions followed by some thoughts, questions or answer from me as appropriate.

    Eugene said – Concerning Matthew 19 the context is too plain; what the law of Moses said/allowed is not the same as what Jesus was saying/would allow. The two were being contrasted and to be contrasted they cannot be the same.

    I say – To say that the Law of Moses and the teaching of Jesus is being contrasted in the Matthew 19 text is certainly one way to understand the text and this is consistent with your way of understanding what the term fulfill means. Another way to understand the text, which operates with a very different understanding concerning what the term fulfill means is to see Jesus providing a clearer, deeper understanding and potential application of the Law of Moses here and this, I submit, is entirely consistent within the context of the whole of His teaching as recorded in the Gospels.

    And so we simply disagree on what Jesus is doing based upon how we both understand the concept of fulfill. A question emerges. How do we arrive at our understanding of the concept of fulfill? Is it by examining the language used i.e. Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic etc.? Is it by way of contextualizing the Biblical text containing the phrase fulfill against the rest of the Bible? Is it by way of contextualizing the Biblical text containing the phrase fulfill against our own way personal of thinking, or of our traditions way of understanding the text under analysis and/or the rest of the Bible?

    The question here can be phrased differently and as follows: What lenses are you/we looking through to understand the Biblical text? And so, a yellow coloured lense will make the text seem very yellow and a blue coloured lense will make the text seem very blue. The fact of the matter is that we all have our own lenses on. A key question is, who has the lenses on which provide the clearest most honest understanding of the Biblical text i.e. through which lense is the text most clearly understood for current belief and practice?

    Ideally we should hope to look at things through the eyes of Jesus but then we are not Him. Perhaps we should listen to The Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth, but then this has not proved to be quite as simple as all that. Increasingly, the method suggested by a continually reforming Church has been to get back to basics in matters of faith and to let the Scriptures speak for themselves and this is good. But still, we still interpret what they say to us through 21st Century lenses of various kinds.

    One particularly fruitful approach of late has been to try to recover and understand the historical and cultural framework of 2nd Temple Judaism’s – i.e. the ideas, practices and beliefs current during the first-century – and with this lense, start to get a picture and better understanding of how things were understood back then.

    This endeavor however has yielded some quite shocking views for both Orthodox Evangelical Christianity and indeed the various non-Messianic Judaism’s that currently obtain. In a nutshell, this approach has started to reveal a radically different Jesus and Apostolic Messianic community and way of life than the one we all thought that we knew so well.

    For a start off, Jesus is not really Jesus but Yeshua and He was clearly a law abiding Jew albeit, one with authority to reform traditional ways of seeing and being after the truth. If He wasn’t in fact a law abiding Jew then no one will have taken a blind bit of notice of Him and not least because the Scriptures and the interpretative traditions which surrounded the Scriptures then and now teach that Messiah would come expounding the Law of Moses making it clearer for all and so on. Further, the heart of His ministry was to raise up many disciples/learners/students who would in turn do the same i.e. teach and live in accordance with the Law of Moses as He taught and lived it, whom the Messianic Scriptures teach us was without fault.

    There is so much more to be said on this but pertinent to our discussion and with a view to brevity, the picture that is rapidly emerging is that the religious life of Jesus and His disciples was radically different to the one which is generally taught now in Orthodox Evangelical circles, although there are subtle changes occurring here.

    Have you ever seen a game of English football Eugene? – I think that you may well call it soccer. The origins of the game are said to be in the Early-Modern period of England with an annual village to village ‘game’ which had one village trying to get a ball of sorts made of pigskin from one village to another by any means necessary. Unfortunately, people were often seriously injured in this ‘game’ and even killed and so as societies civilized, new rules were introduced that resulted is some very dramatic changes to the nature of the game so that by the middle of the 18th and 19th Century, the game had become almost unrecognizable from its original form in England. These changes were further increased when more recently, it started to become professionalized and refereed.

    The English took their beloved game wherever they colonised and it was planted into fertile soil globally, where it took root and came up for the most part looking considerably different to the original game. Compare for example the football played between the New England Patriots and the NY Giants on Sunday gone (05/02/12) and the football game between Manchester United and Chelsea in England on the same day. Consider both and their radical differences between the earlier pigskin scrap.

    What am I trying to say? I know its crude but it will serve to make the point. Using the analogy of a game of football for the Messianic religion – awkward term I know – that which we now play in Orthodox Evangelical circles is a radically different game to the one that was originally played village to village. Furthermore, I think that as the Reformation spirit continues, debates like this one will eventually be confined to the dusty pages of history in much the same way that the earlier Reformation debates between the early reformers and the Catholic apologists.

    A rather long winded way of responding to the question, who has the lense which gives the clearest most honest understanding of the Biblical text i.e. through which lense is the text most clearly understood? I have suggested that a very good lense would be to recover the ability to see as Jesus did during His sojourn on earth and indeed, as the people who He lived and ministered to did but that this lense necessarily will involve a complete revision on the part of the Orthodox Evangelical Church.

    Eugene said – Concerning John 8, the Jews who brought the woman to Jesus weren’t even following the very law that they wanted “Jesus to obey” because they “somehow” managed to leave out the man who was just as guilty as the woman (Deuteronomy 22:22). They were committing an injustice at the exact same time that they were calling out for justice! Hence, Jesus ignored them as they deserved to be.

    I say – From my perspective, Jesus didn’t ignore them Eugene, rather He lovingly and patiently taught them the right way to interpret the Biblical commandment given the specific situation to which it was to be applied to.

    Eugene said – Never have I said in this conversation with anyone that grace was not shown to people under the law of Moses but rather that the purpose of the law was not to give grace. Its purpose was to reveal sin (along with pointing God’s people to the Messiah who is Jesus) as Steve and I were discussing …

    I say – From my perspective, when God gave the Law, this was a supreme act of grace. After all, without it, we’re lost in a dark world (Psalm 119: 105). Its purpose was/is to reveal God, His faithfulness, His holiness and not least to detail the way of life that God expects His redeemed community to live by – then and now. Yes it also has the purpose of revealing sin and I think that we should always be thankful for this.

    Because of their zeal, traditions of poor teaching, misunderstanding and not least the adding of commandments that you reference Eugene, generally speaking, the problem that Jesus faced vs. a first-century teaching setting was not just that the people of Israel were not living as God expected them to live – they generally were not – but rather their actual lack of intimacy with the God of the Book.

    What they needed was someone to come along – ideally the author of the text – to help them get a clearer, deeper understanding of the Biblical text and its applicability in everyday life. Jesus fulfilled this role for them. What they also needed was a fresh revelation on the exact nature of God in order to be restored in relationship to Him. This Jesus fulfilled in an incredible way and I will have more to say about this below.

    Eugene said – I understand and aprreciate many of the points you made from the Sermon on the Mount. I preached through it a few years ago and I loved the section where Jesus begins to say, “…but I say unto you.” There were actually times when the people were being told to do something that wasn’t even taught in the law of Moses! (Matthew 5:43c; Proverbs 25:21) But regardless the main point Jesus was getting across to his listeners was that he knew and understood what they HAD BEEN told, but now they were being told to LISTEN TO HIM.

    I say – Have you ever considered Eugene that the person who had told them – Moses – had himself been told by God. Now Christians believe Jesus to be God and so what I think is happening here is that God has said something once through the intermediary, Moses, this has been misunderstood and misapplied and now He is saying it again, Himself, in person to clear the matter up.

    From my perspective, what is happening here is simply this, Jesus is saying to His listeners, what Moses gave you was good but you have lost the ability to comprehend it correctly and consequent to conduct yourselves correctly. I think that what Jesus is doing is restating the Law of Moses and then giving the correct way to understand and apply the Biblical text. To be clear, what He is not doing is giving a new Law for the Law of Moses is perfect and eternal.
    “The law of the LORD is perfect.” (Psalm 19:7a) / “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom.” (James 1:25) / “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” (Psalm 119: 160)

    Eugene said – It’s very similar in many ways to the conclusion from the mount of Transfiguration – “And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:3-5) It also goes with Hebrews 1:1,2 – “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”

    Despite what some have tried to infere concerning my beliefs about Matthew 5:17,18 I do not believe/teach that Jesus came to overthrow or to “put down” or to do harm or violence to the law of Moses as verse 17 points out, but rather to bring it to the only end that it was ever meant to have and that’s to bring people to Him as verse 18 points out. So verse 19 and 20 was directed to those who talked a good game about the law but they didn’t really play by its rules. The law is still extremely valuable to God’s people today (Romans 15:4) but we are not accountable to it as far as what it defines as sin when it does not agree with the law of Christ.

    I say – You say this very well Eugene but your perspective influences your interpretation massively on the Matthew 5:17f text.

    The first law of interpretation of the Biblical text classically agreed by Christians, Jews, lay or academic is whenever possible, let us simply hear what the text is saying by trying to understand the text literally. When we do this with this text Eugene, your interpretation is by no means permitted.

    The second law of interpretation classically is to attend to the various contexts and again, when we view this text through the lenses of first-century ideas, practices and beliefs, your interpretation is by no means permitted. To be fair, there is a context that permits your interpretation, it is the interpretative context which you use which might be called supersessionist, replacement or some other term. Every other context simply does not permit your interpretation.

    Please consider the text quoted above (i.e. Psalm 119:160) which starts to provide a Biblical context for understanding the Matthew text we are discussing (i.e. Matthew 5: 17f) and ask yourself the following question. What does eternal mean? And if you agree that it means what it says i.e. forever, then in what sense are we permitted to think and say that the Law of Moses has ended Eugene?

    Actually and to be crystal-clear my friend, the whole Sermon on the Mount that we reference was taught to first-century Israelite disciples of Jesus, none of whom will have given him a moment’s notice just in case He had ever suggested that He had a new law. The Scripture itself is clear, nothing may be added to it and this is because it is already complete in and of itself. (Deuteronomy 12:32)

    On the other hand, when He proceeds to make clear the Law of Moses – and He’s teaching them from it all the time; telling them how to live by it – they each know that here is a teacher of the Law who in the manner of such teachers is working to bring out the meaning of the text but in a largely unprecedented manner. (John 6:68)

    Eugene said – The “schoolmaster” has brought us to the the faith in Jesus Christ, hence we are not “under that schoolmaster/tutor” anymore (Galatians 3:19,25). The law of Moses and the law of Christ cannot be co-equals for the very reason that I have just pointed out.

    I said – From my perspective, the school master has brought us to the faith and indeed keeps us in the faith and continues to bring people to the faith. If the Law of Moses had somehow ended then it could not fulfill this particular function anymore Eugene. The Law of Moses is very much alive and well and continuing to do everything that it has always done, including, continuing to act as a school master in the sense of the teaching in the Galatians text.

    Eugene said – I agree with you that Jesus did help others to see and understand the law of Moses better and more clearly, but that’s not the same as the law of Moses still being “in power.” To say that the law of Moses is still in power with the exception of the sacrifices is to say something that they scriptures do not. The sacrificial system was a pivotal and essential part of the law of Moses and without it a person does not have the law of Moses. How can we have the law in power without having the law in power? Without the sacrifical element to the law there would be a huge a “hole in the middle” with the absence of Leviticus as well as the absence of the many the ordinances and commandments in Exodus and Deuteronomy.

    I say – Concerning the Law of Moses still being in place, I just simply disagree with what you are saying here Eugene and mainly based upon what I’ve already said. The reference to the sacrificial elements I will address below.

    Eugene said – Now my question to you in light of our conversation about the change of the “sacrificial aspect only” when it comes to your estimation and agreement with me of what it meant for Jesus “to fulfill the law” when it comes to “completing/ending it” would be, “Where does it say in the law that the only thing that Jesus would do away with would be the sacrifical part as you seem to be saying?”

    I say – Good question Eugene. I will answer this question below.

    Eugene said – The law of Moses prophesied that a new law would take its place (Jeremiah 8:7-12) but I don’t see how a person could interpret that to mean “only” the sacrifical requirements of the law of Moses would change. The truth is that the whole of the law of Moses was replaced by the whole of the law of Christ/the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:13; 2 Corinthians 3:6-16), not just part of it.

    I say – Nowhere in the Law of Moses does it say that a new law would take its place. You quote a Jeremiah text to support this statement Eugene, but I’m sorry, I just don’t see the connection here between the statement made and the text quoted. Did you mean to quote a different text perhaps?

    This said, I think that what you have said above captures your perspective in a nutshell, which is exactly what it is, a perspective, rather than The Truth. Thank you so much for making this clear Eugene. You know of course that my perspective is quite different to yours. Now let me please try to answer your main question.

    Eugene’s said: “Where does it say in the law that the only thing that Jesus would do away with would be the sacrifical part as you seem to be saying?”

    I say –
    “By calling this covenant new he has made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear.” (Hebrew 8:13)

    From my perspective, it is both logical, given the various contexts and also necessarily implied in the very nature of things i.e. the nature of God, His Holy Scriptures, His plans for His people now and in the future etc. Please let me try to explain. I will use a short personal illustration to help you begin to understand how I have come to this conclusion and then provide some brief reasoning to support my perspective.

    As a young Christian during the 1990s – I’d just finished reading the Bible through for the very first time – I sat and listened to a young Pentecostal preacher bring a message to his congregation from the Book of Hebrews about how the Christian faith was founded on better promises, a better priesthood and a better covenant and so on. Now as far as I could tell, he had done a fair job. However, in the last 10th of his message he said something which made the Holy Spirit in me groan.

    Firstly, he read the following text, “By calling this covenant new he has made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear.” (Hebrew 8:13) Then he proceeded to teach that the Law of Moses was consequently ended.

    Now aside from the sense of the grievance of the Holy Spirit, it just didn’t make sense to me. After all, many of the Scriptures which I had just read spoke of the Law of Moses being perfect and eternal and so on. Jesus Himself said that the Law of Moses would not pass from existence until all was accomplished and all was clearly not accomplished. Besides, the Book of Hebrews centralized the promised New Covenant to Israel and Judah which spoke of the Law of Moses being written upon a believer’s heart. What sense does it make for God to put something which is obsolete on the heart? Boy was I mystified and speaking with the young Pentecostal preacher didn’t help matters at all.

    Further, as a born again believer, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, I love the LORD with all my heart, soul and strength and I love His word. I believe His Word because my faith has been built up through His word. I receive salvation and Eternity into the heart of my life joyfully and my response is to earnestly seek to be a good disciple/son; true to His teaching, the Law within my heart and the in-dwelling Holy Spirit of God. Outside of any form of reasoning for or against holy living, nothing in my spiritual experience as a child of God tells me that the Law of Moses has somehow ended. On the contrary, everything in my spiritual experience tells me that the Law of Moses remains and I can say with the Psalmist:

    129 Your testimonies are wonderful;
    Therefore my soul keeps them.
    130 The entrance of Your words gives light;
    It gives understanding to the simple.
    131 I opened my mouth and panted,
    For I longed for Your commandments.
    132 Look upon me and be merciful to me,
    As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.
    133 Direct my steps by Your word,
    And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
    134 Redeem me from the oppression of man,
    That I may keep Your precepts.
    135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
    And teach me Your statutes.
    136 Rivers of water run down from my eyes,
    Because men do not keep Your law.
    (Psalm 119:129-136)

    Moreover, I am now finding that the very best of Orthodox Evangelical teachers confirm the eternal veracity and efficacy of the Law of Moses:

    “There is nothing more fatal than to regard holiness and sanctification as experiences to be received. No, holiness means being righteous, and being righteous means keeping the law. Therefore if your so-called grace (which you say you have received) does not make you keep the law, you have not received grace. You may have received a psychological experience, but you have never received the grace of God. What is grace? It is that marvelous gift which, having delivered a man from the curse of the law, enables him to keep it and be righteous as Christ was righteous, for he kept the law perfectly.” (Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Sermon on the Mount, Intervarsity press, 1959, Vol. 1, p.197)

    Something was clearly obsolete however and I needed to understand what it was. If it wasn’t the Law of Moses in its entirety then what was it? Through prayer and study I found that it was an aspect of the Law of Moses, albeit, a very important aspect of it i.e. the sacrificial aspects of it or the mode of atonement. Glory!

    Is this consistent with the Biblical text? Yes. Review the Book of Hebrews with this way of understanding the discussion in mind and you will find that it works very well. Moreover, it also fits with the broader Biblical context which in every instance – except in the case of the Messianic Gentiles – expects full obedience to every aspect of the Law of Moses, whenever possible. Clearly and as the Book of Hebrews clearly teaches, there’s no need to sacrifice animals now because of the greater sacrifice and atonement.

    Incidentally, whilst some will teach and preach that the Law of Moses has ended, someone neglected to tell the 1000’s of Jews spoken of in the Book of Acts who were extremely zealous for the Law, which clearly reflected general practice. (Acts 21:20) Further, non-Messianic Jews have continued observing the Law of Moses ever since the Apostolic age, many of them coming to faith in Messiah in this time and continuing to observe the Law of Moses. Amen.

    Concerning the concept of an aspect of the Law of Moses; please let me say something that will hopefully help you to understand what further persuades me to hold to this.

    Let us think about the phrase, Law of Moses. What does it mean? Does it actually mean the very same thing every time that it is used or does the meaning change as a phrase or technical term according to the context of used i.e. much as does the meaning of very many English words given use in variable contexts? In my view, the answer is yes it does change. Given this, we are then enabled to understand how the Law of Moses is seemingly ended in one text and yet continuing in another i.e. because the term used references an aspect of the Law of Moses rather than the whole of the Law of Moses and as I have said, the aspect that I have in mind specially is the sacrificial, atoning aspect.

    The Law of Moses is sometimes used to reference the teachings and instructions which are to guide Biblical Godly living. (Please see, e.g., Exodus 20). Other times it is used to reference the stories of Gods people and in particular the Passover sequence. (I will use the school master example here i.e. Galatians 3:24) Other times it is used to reference the sacrificial system. (Please see, for example, Leviticus chapters 1-16 and Hebrews 7:19; 10:1).

    I know that I have not developed this argument with exhaustive textual references at this stage but I am wearying. Besides, I think that it’s fairly clear that the term, Law of Moses, doesn’t always mean the same thing every time that it is used throughout the Bible – often acting as shorthand for different aspects of the totality of its various references. Consequently, this lends support to my argument that the only aspect of the Law of Moses which has actually come to an end has been the sacrificial/atoning aspects. Allied to the various other evidences presented – i.e. that the Law of Moses is both perfect and eternal; the continued observance by the early followers, an understanding concerning of the term fulfill which sees this as Jesus providing a clearer, deeper understanding and potential application of the Law of Moses rather than an ending in its totality – I think that we have a very strong argument here Eugene.

    Live it and prove it. Talk only about it and forever be searching for proofs.

    It’s great that we can fulfill the commandment to talk about the commandments together as we each journey along The Way. (Deuteronomy 6:7). It’s also just such a blessing to know that as we do/fulfill the commandments and also teach others to do the same that the Master has this to say about us, that we are great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5: 19) May we always seek to receive the Masters approval. Amen.

  112. @ James

    Hello again James,

    You said/asked, “Pardon the odd question, but where in the Law of Moses does it say that the Law of Moses were going to be done away with?”

    I don’t really get the “end all be all” being presented when it comes to the law of Moses. The law of Moses was added because of sin. Its design was to bring God’s people to the Messiah (no, I don’t mind the word “Messiah” so I don’t really understand your comment there James).

    Listen to the man who understood the law of Moses better than any of us – “What purpose then does the law serve? It was ADDED because of transgressions, TILL the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.” (Galatians 3:19)

    The law was an addition to God’s plan of salvation for all of mankind and it was meant to guide God’s people TILL the Seed came? Now James, did the Seed come? That answers your question.

    You said, “It’s difficult for me to reconcile God creating the Torah, saying that it was His Law, saying that the Children of Israel were to be His people forever, and “forgetting” to tell them that it and they were all temporary.”

    It seems like you keep trying to make me say that God doesn’t love the Jews anymore. That’s not true. What I am saying is that the Jews, or any other nation, aren’t “so special” that they can come to God in any other way other than the gospel. Is that what you are trying to say? If so you and Paul don’t agree.

    “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:1-10)

    Next you said, “If indeed Jesus said that not a jot or a tittle (the smallest marks in Hebrew lettering) would not be changed in the Torah until Heaven and earth had passed away (which hasn’t happened yet), then how did it pass away (as apparently described in Hebrews, for instance)? I think I asked that question before and it never got answered.”

    James, if “one jot or tittle” hasn’t fallen from the law of Moses then, like the question I’ve asked in my last several replies reveals, a person MUST perform animal sacrifices. Do you believe that a person must sacrifice animals today to God? You must James if you believe that “every jot and tittle” of the law of Moses is still in effect.

    If the law of Moses is described in Hebrews as “passing away” then why can’t you just accept it at that? The New Covenant is based upon the blood of Jesus the Messiah and when Jesus shed his blood he became the author of eternal salvation to everyone who obeys him (Hebrews 5:8,9; 9:14-18). The New Covenant has replaced the Old Covenant…not renewed, not revamped, not rededicated – but replaced.

    “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second…In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:6-7, 13)

    You said, “We can see that Paul, Peter, and the rest of the Jewish disciples continued to follow the Law of Moses, well after the ascension of Jesus. If Jesus had done away with the Law, then why did they continue with it? Also (and I’ve asked this before but I don’t believe you replied to my query, Eugene), in Acts, Paul is accused point blank of teaching against the Law of Moses (and i believe most Christians would agree that he did), however he denies these allegations totally. Was Paul lying?…” Nothing you said is confusing.

    James, do you really believe that Peter, and Paul (after his conversion) and the other disciples sacrificed animals according to the law of Moses? The disciples “didn’t continue with it” the way you’re making it sound. Did they use the law? Absolutely! They used it in the same way that Jesus used it to enlighten their eyes (Luke 24:44-49). They used it to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. Prove to me that continued in “every jot and tittle” because that’s your premise James. I have said on more than one occassion that they did do things through their Jewish heritage but they did nothing that went against the law of Christ.

    Paul rebuked Peter by saying, “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?” (Galatians 2:14) How was Peter living as a gentile James if he kept the whole law – every jot and tittle – of Moses?

    Paul used the law in accordance with the way that God meant for it to be used – to point people towards His salvation in Jesus. The people accusing Paul of breaking the law weren’t even following the law because they were rejecting THE Prophet that the law said would come. Paul accepted that Prophet and thus was not doing anything contrary to the law. Paul found freedom in the gospel – the New Testament.

    “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galatians 2:19-21)

    “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

    In a “small part” to represent the whole you said, “How can this be if we are all working with the same Bible and that (and the Holy Spirit) is our only source of information? If we have one Bible and one Holy Spirit guiding us into one correct interpretation, how come so many Christians, sometimes even in the same denomination (I’m not even bringing Messianics into it now) can come to different conclusions about the meaning of scripture?”

    Great question – sad isn’t it? Multiple, multiple times Paul had to deal with situations similiar to this because Paul had to deal with the people. It’s not that Paul wasn’t being clear or even that God’s word isn’t clear, but people have a great way of messing stuff up! Remember the discussion held in Jerusalem in Acts 15??? There was one conclusion given but more than one idea being purposed correct?

    It’s like Paul said to the troubled and pride filled congregation (at least some were) at Corinth – “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)

    Also Paul had to remind the Galatian Christians by saying – “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)

    John warned his brothers and sister about false teachers when he said, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God…” (1 John 4:1-3)

    Peter warned that some people would twist God’s word and will too – “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

    Finally you said, “I’m not saying that any one of us has it completely right or completely wrong, but isn’t it possible that there could be more to the Bible than just your point of view?”

    What is my point of view James? That Jesus died for the remission of our sins (Matthew 26:28) – that the church was purchased with his blood (Acts 20:28) – that all people whether Jew or gentile are God’s special chosen spiritual nation through the house of God built upon the cornerstone of Jesus (2 Peter 2:1-10)? Is it wrong for me to say that unless a person finds the Messiah that all of the Old Testament pointed to, even before the law of Moses was given, that they are missing the WHOLE POINT of the God’s plan to save all of mankind? Have I once put down the Jewish people? I have once put down the law of Moses? Why is it so wrong for me to say that God had a plan for saving man that went beyond the law of Moses…that is the premise of this post after all.

    I appreciate you James and thanks for allowing me to contribute. Have a great night.

  113. Hi Eugene,

    It seems like you keep trying to make me say that God doesn’t love the Jews anymore. That’s not true. What I am saying is that the Jews, or any other nation, aren’t “so special” that they can come to God in any other way other than the gospel. Is that what you are trying to say? If so you and Paul don’t agree.

    I think we all are called to salvation under the Messianic covenant, Jew and Gentile alike, but the Torah has a different purpose than salvation. We know the Law never was able to save and I’m not saying it ever did. It points to the Messiah, but it is also the national constitution of Biblical Israel and contains many different specifications that identify a Jew’s unique relationship with God. You may say that the Torah is done away with because the Temple, the priesthood and the Sanhedrin don’t currently exist, but there will be Ezekiel’s third temple and Jesus will rule from there in Messianic days, so it seems as if significant portions of the Torah that cannot currently be obeyed will return.

    James, if “one jot or tittle” hasn’t fallen from the law of Moses then, like the question I’ve asked in my last several replies reveals, a person MUST perform animal sacrifices. Do you believe that a person must sacrifice animals today to God? You must James if you believe that “every jot and tittle” of the law of Moses is still in effect.

    Then what did Jesus mean? Assuming he wasn’t lying or mistaken, he must have meant that the Torah was still in effect, even though there would be times when the Jews couldn’t obey all of it. There was a time when the Jewish people were in exile after the destruction of Solomon’s temple and for decades could not obey much of the Law, but the Temple was eventually rebuilt and the sacrifices restored. I’m not saying that in the Messianic reign, every single sacrifice will return, but I’d love to give a Todah (thankgiving) offering. In the day of Jesus, Gentiles who desired could offer sacrifices (see “A Gentile Believer’s Obligations to Torah” by Toby Janicki in issue 109 of Messiah Journal) and Orthodox Judaism believes that not only will there be a third temple, but that righteous Gentiles will be able to offer sacrifices again.

    I know this all sounds very strange to you, but the Messiah may be more Jewish than most Christians realize and our western European idea that define modern Christianity may have a blind spot as to how Jesus will indeed rule and reign upon his return. I’m not saying it will be exactly the way I describe, but there is a distinct possibility it won’t be exactly the way you imagine, either.

    If the law of Moses is described in Hebrews as “passing away” then why can’t you just accept it at that?

    Passing (actively in the process of being removed rather than in the past tense) is different than passed away. By the very very end of the book of Revelation, there is no Temple, but then, by that time, Earth and Heaven will have passed away and a new order will finally be in place. That hasn’t happened yet and it won’t even happen upon the return of Jesus. It’s been 2,000 years and even though Jesus said he’d be back “soon” he’s not here yet. It’s quite possible that the “passing away” of the Torah will take thousands of years to accomplish before those little jots and tittles are finally ready to reascend into Heaven.

    James, do you really believe that Peter, and Paul (after his conversion) and the other disciples sacrificed animals according to the law of Moses?

    Yes, I believe they did. Acts 18:18 indicates that Paul had probably taken a Nazarite vow and Acts 21:33 records Paul paying the price for four other Jews under a Nazarite vow (see Numbers 6 for the details). Peter and Paul didn’t “convert” to Christianity and abandon Judaism. They, as Jews, came to faith in the Jewish Messiah and became his disciples, joining the Messianic sect in Judaism that became known as “the Way”. Why would a Jew have to convert to a non-Jewish religion in order to worship the Jewish Messiah who was prophesied by many different Jewish prophets. “The Way only became a “non-Jewish” religion after the fall of the Temple, the eviction of the Jews from Israel and when the first non-Jew had to be elected as “Bishop of the Church” for lack of a better term. I know this part of church history fairly well.

    Paul rebuked Peter by saying, “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?” (Galatians 2:14)

    Oh that. Peter had trouble letting go of the old prejudace of being around Gentiles. When it was just him and the non-Jews, he was fine, but when other Jews were around, he got uncomfortable and started keeping his distance from the non-Jews out of peer pressure. Paul was just calling Peter on his hypocracy.

    I could go on, but these comments are getting pretty long as it is. In any event, there seems to be more than one interpretation for each scripture or example you bring up which at least keeps the door open to the idea that the traditional Christian fulfillment theology may not be the only way to look at the New Testament. You still haven’t explained what Jesus meant by the law not passing away until Heaven and Earth passes away, you’ve just said that it’s not possible that Jesus could have been correct based on other scriptures. You also don’t seem to want to accept that Messianic Jewish (Hebrew Christians) would have remained Jewish and would have continued with all of the Jewish practices which indeed their Master Jesus would have performed as well, yet we see evidence that they did, at least as far as Paul’s actions.

    I’m not saying there are two paths to salvation: Torah for the Jews and Christ for the Gentiles. I am saying that the Messiah is the root of salvation for everyone. I’m also saying that the Jewish specialness and choseness remained after the ascension and remains today. I realize you disagree with me, but you aren’t able to answer all of my questions satisfactorily anymore than I seemed to be able to answer all of your questions. The problem is our different interpretations of the Bible and as I said before, there are many different sects, even within Christianity, that don’t agree on all the details. Perhaps you think I’m a “false prophet” (though I’ve never claimed to be a prophet of any kind, nor do I insist that I am right or incapable of error) but a great deal of Biblical interpretation was distorted in the first few centuries of the church as the violent schism between the gentle church and the Messianic Jews took place (see my article “Origins of Supersessionism in the Church” in issue 109 of Messiah Journal for details…or get a copy of Pastor Barry Horner’s book Future Israel and read the first two chapters).

    I’m suggesting (and you’re not going to like this) but that a great deal of the anti-judaism inherit in today’s fulfillment or replacement theology was created very early and as a specific attempt to remove Judaism from the Jewish Messianic faith, rewriting history from a non-Jewish point of view. I know that sounds strange and I agree Jesus is the source of salvation for everyone, but even Christ said “Salvation comes from the Jews.” (John 4:22)

    Have a good evening.

  114. Oh, one more thing, Eugene. My “morning meditation” for tomorrow (Tuesday) will be on another aspect of the relationship of the Torah and the Jewish people, that of “ketubah” or marriage contract. That might help explain why the Torah has been and remains such a vital element in the life of Jewish people, including those who have come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

  115. @ Andrew

    Good evening Andrew. It took me a while to reply because your’s was rather lengthy but here you go 🙂

    “I say – Have you ever considered Eugene that the person who had told them – Moses – had himself been told by God.”

    Moses said listen to THE Prophet of God and that’s Jesus (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 5:45,46; Acts 8:32; 7:37). Now, the law of Moses allowed for varying reasons when it came to divorce and remarriage – Jesus allows it for one (Matthew 19:9). How anyone can attempt to say that what the law of Moses in this situation says and what the law of Christ says is the same is beyond me.

    “To be clear, what He is not doing is giving a new Law for the Law of Moses is perfect and eternal.”

    Andrew, how can you ignore such plain spoken scripture?

    “Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a CHANGE of the law…For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made NOTHING perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:11-12, 18-19)

    “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.” (Hebrews 10:1)

    “For if that first covenant had been FAULTLESS, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 NOT ACORDING to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Hebrews 8:7-10)

    It says the NEW is not according to the OLD becuase the OLD was temporary. The law of Christ (the New Covenant) is written on a person’s heart when they hear, believe and obey the gospel of Christ. It’s as plain as Paul taught the Corinthians.

    “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter [law of Moses] kills, but the Spirit [law of Christ] gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-17)

    The law was perfect as far as God’s intentions for it were – the law was not perfect in that IT COULD NOT SAVE – it could only condemn our sins. Grace and law in the way you are presenting it is not the same thing or the apostle John would have never made a distinction between the two (John 1:17).

    When Paul was warning the Galatian Christians about the peril of observing the yoke of bondage that was Moses’ law he said, “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in BONDAGE? 10 YOU OBSERVE DAYS AND MONTHS AND SEASONS AND YEARS. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain…Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai WHICH GIVES BIRTH TO BONDAGE, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.” (Galatians 4:8-11, 21-26)”

    “The law of Moses was “weak” in that it couldn’t take away sin (I don’t think you’ll disagree) and “destitute” in that it was without the riches of the assurance of blessings and mercy of Jesus Christ (please read Ephesians 1:7, 2:4,5; 3:8-10) and “elemental” in that it went backwards to the first things (the Old Covenant) instead of moving forward into the gospel of Christ. Paul was urging the Galatian Christians to not leave the light of the gospel that delievered them from paganism for the law of Moses. It would be like taking two steps forward and then taking one back. The light of the law of Moses has “nothing” on the light of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 3).”

    The law of Moses is perfect in that it did not contradict itself (it came from God after all) but that in no way means it wasn’t going to be replaced/fulfilled as God’s plan for the salvation of all of mankind was revealed.

    “As a young Christian during the 1990s – I’d just finished reading the Bible through for the very first time – I sat and listened to a young Pentecostal preacher bring a message to his congregation from the Book of Hebrews about how the Christian faith was founded on better promises, a better priesthood and a better covenant and so on. Now as far as I could tell, he had done a fair job. However, in the last 10th of his message he said something which made the Holy Spirit in me groan.”

    I mean no disrespect Andrew but I do not believe that “groan” came from the Holy Spirit. There are a lot of people who have “felt the sway/moving/groaning” of the Holy Spirit in the Penetcostal church but that doesn’t it was the Holy Spirit. I have talked to many people who have felt that “groan” but I know that “groan” didn’t come from God.

    “Consequently, this lends support to my argument that the only aspect of the Law of Moses which has actually come to an end has been the sacrificial/atoning aspects. Allied to the various other evidences presented – i.e. that the Law of Moses is both perfect and eternal;”

    I know you prayed about it but you didn’t show me scripture as to how you came to this conclusion. What about the Levitical priesthood? Are they still necessary? Must they still follow the law of Moses? Maybe you can talk with James about this because it doesn’t make sense to him how God could tell his people that they aren’t special anymore. DId the Levites lose thier “specialness”? You still haven’t showed me where only the sacrifices went away when it comes to the law of Moses. I see how it fits your perspective but not the scriptures of the New Testament.

    “It’s also just such a blessing to know that as we do/fulfill the commandments and also teach others to do the same that the Master has this to say about us, that we are great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5: 19)”

    Remember Andrew, those commandments you’re referring to also included those sacrifices. Now, are you teaching others that they should break those sacrifical commandments?

    Listen closely…remember Andrew, Jesus said – “For assuredly, I say to you, TILL heaven and earth pass away, ONE jot or ONE tittle will by NO MEANS PASS from the law TILL ALL IS FULFILLED.” If you say that animal sacrifices have “passed” from the law that means ONE jot or ONE tittle has passed from the law and thus your belief is NOT consistent with your view, James’ view or anyone else’ view with whom I have been talking to (please correct me if I am wrong though) when it comes to what “FULFILL” MEANS. Maybe James will have something to say about this.

    The whole time I’ve been told I was wrong about my view of “fulfill” and now I’m told I’m right…but only when it comes to the animal sacrifices???

    Believe it or not I read all of your reply, thanks for your time. There are several other things I do not agree with you about but these “highlights” should suffice. Have a grear night Andrew.

    Also let me take this time to reiterate that when I place words in all caps, I’m not screaming only placing an emphasis on them. I can’t put things in bold or italics on here like James can. I’ve said this before but it has been quit some time since.

  116. Listen closely…remember Andrew, Jesus said – “For assuredly, I say to you, TILL heaven and earth pass away, ONE jot or ONE tittle will by NO MEANS PASS from the law TILL ALL IS FULFILLED.” If you say that animal sacrifices have “passed” from the law that means ONE jot or ONE tittle has passed from the law and thus your belief is NOT consistent with your view, James’ view or anyone else’ view with whom I have been talking to (please correct me if I am wrong though) when it comes to what “FULFILL” MEANS. Maybe James will have something to say about this.

    Oh, I see what you’re saying. You believe that if some of the Torah cannot be obeyed than all of the Torah has been invalidated. As I mentioned before, there were times in the past after Solomon’s Temple was destroyed that the Jewish weren’t able to offer sacrifices, and yet they still continued to obey those portions of the Torah that they could while in exile. The Temple was rebuilt and the sacrifices resumed. Just because a Jew can’t give sacrifices today doesn’t mean the law involving them has been permanently cancelled today anymore than it was permanently cancelled under similar circumstances in ancient days.

    I know this has been frustrating for you and I know we can’t continue this seemingly endless debate forever, but I hope that at some point you’ll begin to see that there is indeed more than one way to consider how Jews can (and in my opinion must) continue to be Jews in their worship of the Jewish Messiah. May God grant wisdom to you and me and open our eyes and then give us both the spirit and willingness to amend our understanding of Him and His ways.

    Thanks for hanging in there as long as you did. Be well.

  117. @ James

    Before I log off for the night let me quickly say a couple of things please.

    I asked and you said, “James, do you really believe that Peter, and Paul (after his conversion) and the other disciples sacrificed animals according to the law of Moses?Yes, I believe they did.”

    That’s not consistent with the New Testament scriptures James.

    “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins…Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:1-4, 8-10)

    Also we conversed in saying, [My statement] “Paul rebuked Peter by saying, “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?” (Galatians 2:14)

    [Your reply] Oh that. Peter had trouble letting go of the old prejudace of being around Gentiles. When it was just him and the non-Jews, he was fine, but when other Jews were around, he got uncomfortable and started keeping his distance from the non-Jews out of peer pressure. Paul was just calling Peter on his hypocracy.”

    Read that again James – Peter was living in the manner of Gentiles…how was he living in the MANNER of Gentiles? His other repsonse was a question about how could he make the Gentiles live like the Jews. Sounds to me there’s a lot more going on here than just “keeping company.”

    I have already told you about what I teach concerning Matthew 5:18.

    There is a difference between destroying a law and bringing that law to a close. Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. Matthew 5:18 is not saying that every jot and tittle will remain until heaven and earth passes. It says nothing will pass until it is fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled it and if a person says he didn’t then they must say as you did (and I appreciate your honesty) that animal sacrifices must be given to be pleasing to God. How can anyone say that in light of Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice? It goes directly in the face of preaching the gospel of Jesus the Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:44-47)

    “But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins….Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He TAKES AWAY THE FIRST that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL.” (Hebrews 10:3-4, 8-10)

    Take care James.

  118. James, I am going to offer my two cents and that is probably about all it is worth but here goes. It seems to me much of the problem with understanding the Scriptures involved about the Law (Torah) is because of context. The more I have studied these issues it seems that context is the big challenge we have in understanding the sayings of our Master as a Jewish rabbi and also understanding the writings of Sha’ul. Ever since the separation took place between Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua, the leadership of the Gentile movement seem to have imposed their cultural views on the text. This has gone on for about 1600 years and we generally continue to do the same thing today. Our challenge is not just to go back to the Greek or even the Hebrew language but to understand what was being said as someone at the time of Yeshua or Sha’ul would have heard and understood it.

    If I could suggest a few resources that have been of great help to me trying to understand the context it would be these (not in any particular order):
    1. “The Complete Jewish Bible” – David H. Stern (I would suggest reading the introduction that explains a lot of the problems of transferring the first century context to our time).
    2. “The Jewish New Testament Commentary” – David H. Stern (extensive notes that also help with context).
    3. “Restoration” and “The Holy Epistle to the Galatians” both by D. Thomas Lancaster.
    4. “Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus” and “New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus” both by David Bivin.

    Fortunately I believe there is more being revealed in our time than ever before about understanding the Scriptures in context than ever before and understanding the Jewishness of our Master and his primary messenger to the Gentiles. The books I have suggested are just a starting point.

    I believe putting Law and Grace in opposition to each other has created a false dichotomy. Legalism and Grace are opposites but not Law and Grace. If we base our understanding of grace only on New Testament Scriptures I believe we are ignoring the abundance of the revelation of grace in the Hebrew Scriptures.

    As has been pointed out in some of the conversations it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think that Yeshua said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (and then understand fulfill to mean abolish???).

    Some of the latest scholarship on this passage actually suggests the text would more accurately be translated ” ‘Do not think that I have come to nullify the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to nullify but to uphold.’ The difference between “fulfill” (as it is commonly interpreted) and “uphold” is immense. “Fulfill” tends to imply doing something to change either the Torah itself or the role that it plays. “Uphold is the exact opposite: to support and maintain the Torah’s unchanging message and its continued relevance.” (this quote is from the Translator’s Preface of the DHE (Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels).

    Besides what has been discussed about heaven and earth not passing away yet, it makes His following statements sound like nonsense (which we know it is not). If He fulfilled the Torah and by doing so did away with it, why would he go on to say “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” It would be irrelevant what someone taught about the Torah (Law) if He was going to cancel or abolish it. And notice He said “the least of these commandments”. I don’t really understand how anyone gets past these words of our Master in Matthew 5:17-19. It seems to me these words have to be the filter through which we understand all the rest of His words. If there are other sayings of His that sound like they disagree with these words, I would suggest the problem must be with our understanding of them. And as I said, I think the culprit in most cases is understanding the context.

    The same thing could be said of the writings of Sha’ul. If he seems to be saying something different than his rabbi (Yeshua not Gamli’el) again I would suggest there must be something wrong with our understanding. Also, after saying in Romans 3:30 that a believer (both Jew and Gentile) will be considered righteous through trusting (faith), he goes on in v. 31 to say “Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah.” (by the way, most of my Bible Quotations are from the CJB.)

    I mentioned earlier a couple of books by D. Thomas Lancaster that have been helpful to me for understanding context. I also have listened to a series of lectures that he taught on the book of Hebrews at Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship. I am really hoping that he will put these lectures into book form sometime in the near future. From this series and some more studies I have done it seems that this section of our Scriptures is as misunderstood as, for example, Galatians. Besides a number of other context issues that Lancaster points out, there is a statement that the writer of Hebrews makes in chapter 3 verse 5 that is easy to read over and ignore: “For it was not to angels that God subjected the ‘olam haba’ (the world to come) — WHICH IS WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.” (i’m not yelling either…..just for emphasis). If we miss that the writer is talking about the world to come, we misunderstand a lot of what is said in the remainder of the book. For example, a close reading of the discussion in the book about the priesthood (which I see as the main subject of the book) it can be seen that Yeshua’s priesthood did not replace the Levitical priesthood; his priesthood is in a different venue (in heaven). In fact it can be seen that the Levitical priesthood and the sacrifices did not cease with Yeshua’s death and resurrection but instead continued until the Temple was destroyed. And according to the prophets the Levitcal priesthood will function again when the Temple is rebuilt.

    Since I brought up sacrifices, someone will usually say in a discussion of the relevance of the Law of Moses that if we think the Law is still in effect we should be doing sacrifices. This is a misunderstanding of the application of the Torah. It would actually be against the Torah to offer sacrifices since there is no Temple in existence today. It is like saying all of the Law applies to everyone when there are clear distinctions as to what applies to men or women, priests, those living in the Land of Israel, etc.

    One more thing before I end this lengthy two-cents. I have noticed Col. 2:16-17 referred to several times as proof that we shouldn’t be doing anything connected with Torah. In my humble opinion, I think this is a Scripture that has been turned on its head, and again I think context is the problem. Instead of saying we shouldn’t be observing the things listed in these verses, I think Sha’ul is saying just the opposite. He is writing to a predominately Gentile audience and I think he is addressing those who have found value in the Jewish observances even though they are not obligated to do them. I think he is saying “Don’t let anyone judge you in regard to your observance in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” I believe he is actually telling them it’s ok to do these things because they foreshadow things to come (they are not only or merely shadows; those words were added by translators to minimize the importance). Messiah is the shadow-caster and the shadow of Messiah shows the shape of Messiah. Personally I desire to do these things for precisely that reason; not in any way to earn salvation or points with Heaven, but because if you are observing the shadow you are close to the one casting the shadow.

    I could go on but I’ll have mercy on those who might read this. Anyway, there you have it for what it is worth. Shalom to all.

  119. @Eugene: Regarding Hebrews: Certainly it is true that the blood of bulls cannot take away sins and I doubt that Peter and Paul believed that they could, but then not all of the sacrifices had to do with sin. As I already explained, Paul did fulfill a Nazarite vow as recorded in Acts, which is specified in the Law (Numbers 7). Why would Paul do that if Jesus “fulfilled” all the functions of the Temple? Jesus can be the high priest in the Heavenly court and his sacrifice of himself can forgive sins and redeem on a permanent basis, which is what Hebrews seems to be talking about, AND Paul can still apparently take and fulfill a Nazarite vow at the Temple.

    But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with (Z)the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Galatians 2:11-14

    Peter was eating with the Gentiles. Remember Acts 10 and Peter’s vision. God was telling Peter that eating with Gentiles would not make him unclean. At that time, a Jew believed that even entering a Gentile’s home let alone eating with him (even if the food were kosher) would make them unclean. That’s why the Roman Centurion refused to have Jesus enter his home to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5-13), because, even though Jesus was willing, the Centurion knew it was distasteful for a Jew to enter a Gentile’s home.

    Peter, after his vision and his encounter with Cornelius, was getting comfortable eating with Gentiles. However, when Jews came around of the “circumcision party”, that is, Jews who still believed that a Gentile had to convert to Judaism in order to enter into a full covenant relationship with God, Peter felt intimidated and stopped being so close to the Gentiles (in this case “living like a Gentile” meant eating with and associating with them, not actually “going native” so to speak and abandoning his Judaism). Paul saw Peter’s hypocracy and called him on it, which we have in the plain meaning of the text.

    Of those books Mel recommended (I’ve read them all years ago), I’d suggest you pick up Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus and Restoration. It will illustrate that people far smarter and better educated than I can still hold the same basic viewpoints and interpretations of the Bible and remain Christians (though Lancaster may refer to himself as a “Messianic”).

    I know there will be a huge tendency to resist doing a little research in this area rather than simply falling back on the traditional teachings of the church, but if you put a little reading and prayer into this, even if you don’t accept my point of view, you might begin to at least understand it a little.

    Oh, Stern’s translation of the New Testament is OK, but al he really does if substitute a few “Hebrewisms” for common English words to give the NT a bit more of a “Jewish” flavor. He also included some Yiddish, which I thought was over the top. His commentary isn’t bad, but it still tends to communicate a more “One Law” perspective. I think the set of Gospels that better recapture the language and thought of the Jewish writers of the Good news is The Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels, which were originally published in the 19th century for Jews and which have been restored by Vine of David/FFOZ.

    Most of the time, I use the ESV Bible since it is quite a bit more accurate than the NIV.

    Thanks again for continuing the dialog. I know I must seem like an awful person or at least an awful pest.

  120. @ James

    “Thanks again for continuing the dialog. I know I must seem like an awful person or at least an awful pest.”

    Nah, never said such and I really don’t think it either. If I did I would have said so. You have been respectful and relatively kind towards me and so I have tried to return the same to you even though we disagree….the same goes for Steven and Andrew and the others who were plain spoken but respectful at the same time. If the discussion turned into a big personal, mud-slinging sideshow there would be no reason to have the discussion at all nor would I have continued with it for as long as I have.

  121. @ James. Thank you once again for this opportunity to learn and more generally, for the care that you are taking with this.

    @ Eugene. Thank you for your response, time and consideration of my perspective. I can see that you have put a lot of effort into stating and defending your perspective and you have done a fair job.

    From today, I will be taking a break from the internet environment and so will not pose any further questions as I sign out of this debate, for now.

    May the Holy One, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is the Messiah, bless us each with ever increasing love for Him; with ever increasing knowledge and revelation of the Truth and with a spirit of obedience that we might live as Jesus lived, bringing glory to the Father. Amen.

    Blessings,
    – Andrew

  122. The Book of Hebrews is often used as an example of how the Torah is dead and that the Law of Grace has taken its place, with Jesus as our High Priest in Heaven. I sometimes struggle with the meaning of Hebrews myself, but I read something in the comments section of one of Derek Leman’s blog (written by Derek in response to another comment) that sheds some light on Hebrews. Thought I’d share it here since it’s relevant to this (probably now ended) conversation:

    I don’t believe for a second Hebrews 8:7 means that God gave a defective, inadequate Torah…It is a word to people thinking of abandoning Yeshua-faith and arguing that Judaism without Yeshua is enough. His point is simple, profound, and I am surprised you missed it — if the old er covenant (Sinai) was enough by itself, then why would God have promised a new one? There was nothing wrong with the Sinai Covenant. But once Yeshua is here, those who have shared in the blessings of the new cannot go backwards.

    As I said, the system I believe sees Yeshua as completing the beautiful, adequate, and eternal Sinai Covenant (not de-commissioning it) as Messiah of Israel and bringing to completion the promise to the nations as well as Israel in the Abrahamic Covenant.

    I see continuity in God’s beautiful plan. I do not think he gave defective first steps. Yeshua is not his band-aid on a broken Torah.

  123. James,

    The problem here is that the word “covenant” does not appear in Heb. 8:7. That makes Derek’s perspective circular. No covenant can be replaced. Derek’s assertion is valid (and I agree with it), but it cannot come from 8:7. The context is the priesthood.

  124. OK, Dan. How do you understand the larger context of Hebrews which seems to say that the Davidic/Messianic covenant actually replaced the Mosaic covenant? It’s one of the most difficult books of the NT in terms of refuting supersessionism, as far as I can tell (and I admit my education isn’t complete).

  125. James,

    Well, for me, it was hard first to understand that the book of Hebrews is a midrashing writing. After i understood this, I tried to attach to my understandindg the proper hermeneutic. At the time of the writing of the book, the torah had already been aroung for 1500 years. The book, as i understand it, makes a contrast between ” right here on earth” and the “future heaven.”

    Anyone who does not start from the begining, learn what the Torah says, and how to apply it, going through the Prophets to see how they pointed Israel towards Torah obedience, and then read the Gospels and the epistles visa-vi the rabbinic view that was already in development for hundreds of years.

    The book of Hebrews is not a replacement theology book. it does not deal with one covenant replacing another. Hebrews attempts to explain the relationship between trudt and sacrifice in light of an invalid priesthood. The writer of Hebrews wrote a midrash. we have to understand the metaphorical language of the book. Literal reading of a midrashic alegory will lead to nothing. the book is a midrashic interpretation of Torah text, not a textbook on scientific matters. The book does not discuss the Temple, but the tabernacle.

  126. James, I really recommend the messages on Hebrews that Daniel Lancaster gave at Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship in Hudson, WI. He goes through the whole book and it really helps to understand it in context. However, I don’t think they are on their web-site anymore. I just looked and couldn’t find them. But I have them the mp3’s on my computer and would be glad to send you a cd if you want them. Just send me an e-mail with your mailing address.

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