Thursday, January 17, 2019

Ger Back to the First Century: TORAH: All for one...


TORAH: All for One, and One for All

To say that the Torah (Law) is bondage, as many Christians so readily and easily do; then what sense does it make for God to deliver Israel from physical Egyptian bondage only to put them into a spiritual type of bondage called the Law! It makes absolutely no sense! That would make God out to be cruel and sadistic. It would be equally as cruel for God to lay upon them rules they in no conceivable way could keep. It would mean God set them up for failure. “I’m going to give you a set of Laws that is impossible for you to keep, and yet when you fail miserably, I will punish you for something you can’t help.” That’s insane and illogical. That’s not God. Again, that would make God out to be cruel, sadistic and twisted.

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (KJV)

12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

ADOANI told Israel that these Laws were good, not a bondage.

 

Deuteronomy 30:10-14 (KJV)

10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

Nor did God say it was impossible for Israel to keep His Laws. Will they? No. Why? Because they, like us, are fallen human beings, fallible and prone to sin. And what is sin? I John 3:4 tells us that sin is disobedience to the Law. Together all this simply means that we will fail to always obey the Law, but it does not in any way mean it is impossible to keep and preform it.

To say the Torah is only for the Jews is ridiculous.  When the Torah was given, yes, it was given to the Children of Israel, but remember, there was the mixed multitude that went out with them during the Exodus. (Exd. 12:38)  The mixed multitude was there when the Torah was given.  And they, like Israel, agreed to obey and live by the Torah. 

It is in my opinion (and some Sages will agree with me) that in the mixed multitude there was a representative from all seventy nations of the world at that time.  For everyone present, even the mixed multitude, said, “Yes, we will obey!” (Exd. 19:8), Even BEFORE they heard all that was expected of
them!  In essence, God said to the people, “I want you to become my Bride.” And before He could tell them what the marital vows were they said, “I do!” And this is exactly how Jews view the Torah, not as a burdensome load of rules and regulations to follow, but as marital vows one is more than happy to keep because they love the Groom so much.

“…Christians said they loved their Husband, but yet they rejoiced at the thought that they had been set free from doing those things He had said would please Him.”- Norman B. Willis, Nazarene Israel: The Original Faith of the Apostles, pg.53

Marriage and its vows are founded and based on love, and so too the Torah, because they express God’s best for us physically, spiritually and mentally if we obey them. And like with any marriage we keep our vows because we love and are dedicated to our spouse. When one keeps ones marital vows and doesn’t sleep around, they are considered, “faithful” to their marriage. Likewise, when we obey the Torah we are being, “faithful” to our God.

“When properly understood, the Torah should be viewed not as some negative legal system, but as God’s instructions for living a life blessed by Him...” Barney Kasdan, Voice of the Lord, Tishri 23

In Exodus 19:16 it speaks of “thunders” which comes from the Hebrew word “kol” which also means, “voice,” and the Rabbinic writings say that the thunders was God speaking the Torah in the 70 voices or languages of the world so that all present, Israelite and mixed multitude could hear and understand and accept the Torah, His Laws, in their own language. Mankind agreed to obey the Torah through those ancestors who were at Sinai when the Torah was given.

One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord. One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. – Numbers 15:15-16

The nations are to keep Torah if they choose to submit to and worship the God of Israel.

1.    Because their ancestral representatives, in guise of the “mixed multitude,” symbolizing the 70 root nations from which the world sprang, accepted the Torah on their behalf along with Israel.
2.    Because of exiles and the diaspora of Israel, you never know who of them that come to God through Yeshua today is actually a descendant of a Lost Tribe of Israel, who is obligated to submit to and obey Torah.
3.    Repeatedly in the Scripture it says there is, ONE LAW for you (Israel) and the stranger (70 nations) that are among you. God only has ONE standard of LAW for ALL peoples. It’s just that Israel is the primary recipient and caretaker of the such a covenant and is why:

A.   Yeshua first sent His disciples to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel (Matthew 10:6, 15:24) and then to the rest of the nations.
B.   Paul reaffirms this when he said, “to the Jew first then also to the Greek/Gentile” (Romans 1:6, 2:10).

Paul said in Romans 2:13 “For not the hearers of the Law (Torah) are just before God, but the doers of the Law (Torah) shall be justified.” He was speaking to Gentiles here. One Law for Jew and Gentile.

Romans 11 Paul talks about the Gentiles provoking the Jews to Jealousy. How can this be done unless they not only kept the spirit of the Law but the letter of the Law as well? Jews couldn’t care less about Gentiles who are not Torah obedient and therefore would have no reason for jealously!

It is said of the Torah in Scriptures (too numerous to mention) that it is forever, for all generations.  Nowhere does it say that one day it will be done away with or annulled by the coming of the Messiah.  On the contrary, Yeshua, our Messiah, said in Matthew 5:17-20 “Think not…”  Some people stop there and fail to read on “…that I’ve come to destroy the Torah (Law) and the prophets, I didn’t come to abolish, but to fulfill.”  The Greek and Hebrew word for fulfill does not mean to complete or stop, but to fill up, to bring it to full and complete meaning and understanding.  Yeshua showed us how to live Torah appropriately.  Some say that the “Law of Christ” supercedes the Law of ADONAI.  When has it ever been proper for a son to tell a father what to do, or the command of a son to overrule the command of a father?  Since when did sons make the rules to be followed and obeyed?   What sense does it make for Yeshua, the Living manifestation of the Written Torah, and God in human form to say, “You know all the Rules my Father laid out for you to obey?  Well, forget about ‘em. I’m calling the shots now; it’s a whole new ballgame.”  That would make ADONAI:

1.    A Liar – It is impossible for God to lie. (Num.23:19, Titus 1:2) He is always and forever the same. (Mal.3:6, Heb. 13:8) 
2.    Double minded. The Scriptures talk about one who is double minded is unstable in all he does. (James 1:8) 

Is our God a liar? Double minded? Unstable? If I may use an old catch phrase, “NOT!”  ADOANI and Yeshua are “Echad” one in plurality (John 10:30, John 17) and Yeshua said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).” He is referring to the Torah. Yeshua’s commandments are no different from the LORD’s.  A couple of my personal mottos are, “If you don’t have Torah, you don’t have Messiah.” And, “A Messiah without Torah is no Messiah at all.”  Yeshua the Messiah is the Living Torah, the Light of the world.  A Messiah without the Torah is like a flashlight without batteries.

“The Christian doctrine that Yeshua was sent to abolish the Law is confusing, when one considers that it directly violates His own Words…

Ironically when confronted with Yeshua’s Words, many Christians will search through Shaul’s (Paul’s) letters, searching for something that can be used to explain Him away. When asked why they would use the words of a mere mortal to explain away the Words of the Son of Man, they don’t have an answer; but still they believe Shaul’s (Paul’s) words to be superior to Yeshua’s.” – Norman B. Willis, Nazarene Israel: The Original Faith of the Apostles, pg.46

Interesting, I’ve seen this very thing too; Christians using Paul to explain away the plain words of Messiah Himself. If Paul’s words contradict Messiah’s, either Paul is a heretic or we are misunderstanding Paul’s words, which Peter said that that is exactly what people do!

2 Peter 3:15-17

15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.

The word “Torah” has been translated “Law”, and rightly so, but the root meaning is “Teachings” and “Instructions”. Therefore, does it make any sense to say that Yeshua came to do away with ADONAI’s Teachings and Instructions!?  Absolutely not!  If you went through survival training you would not get out there and say, “I’m not going to obey my survival instructor’s teachings, I’m going to pick and choose what I like that he taught and wing the rest.”  NO! Survival instructions are as LAW to you, it is your life!  You obey and live, or you ignore and die!  Didn’t God say to Israel that the Torah was their life (Deut. 32:47)!?

Some may not be aware of there being a list of seven laws that Jews claim are the only ones that Gentiles must follow. They are called the Noachide Laws, claiming that God gave these laws to Noah after he departed from the ark but such a listing is not found anywhere in Canonical Scripture. These laws are a Rabbinic invention to keep Gentiles away from keeping Torah too, because they, like Christians, claim that the Torah is only for the Jews, which we clearly established that it is for all mankind.

“The Torah (as explained in the Talmud - Sanhedrin 58b) presents seven mitzvot for non-Jews to observe. These seven laws are the pillars of human civilization, and are named the "Seven Laws of Noah," since all humans are descended from Noah. They are:
1.    Do not murder.
2.    Do not steal.
3.    Do not worship false gods.
4.    Do not be sexually immoral.
5.    Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
6.    Do not curse God.
7.    Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.”
-        http://www.aish.com/jl/jnj/nj/The-7-Noachide-Laws.html

There is no evidence that such laws, as a means for Gentiles to be righteous before God, were recognized in the pre-destruction Temple era or in very early Rabbinic literature. Again, these Noachide laws were a Rabbinic invention to keep Torah exclusively for the Jews.

Yes, God chose Israel to covenant with and be the primary receivers and caretakers of His Laws, but this does not mean that His Laws are exclusively for physical descendants of Israel and no one else. Are we going to believe what man says of what God Himself has said?

There is ONE TORAH (LAW) for the native-born (Israelite) AND for the stranger (Gentile/Mixed Multitude) who sojourns among you.” (Exd. 12:49) (emphasis added)

There is a Christian in name only group who think that belief alone is enough. If I got bit by a venomous snake and held the vial with the antidote in my hand and yet didn’t use it, but I sincerely believed it would save me, I’d still die. Why? Because belief is not enough. I have to take the antidote in order to survive the poisonous snake bite, In other words, I have to back up my belief with actions that prove I believe.

These “in name only” Christians who claim they are Christians because they believe in Jesus, but do not live according to His teachings (Instructions, Laws, Torah), which is what he heard from the Father (John 5:19, 12:49-50) and as we’ve established, God does no change and is the same yesterday today and forever (Mal. 3:6, Heb. 13:8) and that his Torah is forever and that He and the Father are One (John 17).  This means Yeshua’s teachings are Torah. These “in name only” Christians who believe Jesus is the Christ but does not live obedient to His teachings (Torah) will hear those fateful words from this Jesus whom they claim to believer in.

21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Didn’t we believe in You!?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
No, because you didn’t do what I said. – Matt. 7:21-23 (italics mine)


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Get Back to the First Century: The Law! The Scary 3 Letter Word


THE LAW! The Scary Three Letter Word.

THE LAW! In Christian circles this word can be scarier than the word, “devil”. After all, we can just plead the blood of Jesus and satan will scatter. But this Law… Oh my, it was given by the angry and wrathful God of the Old Testament until Jesus came along and cooled His Father’s temper. We just can’t dismiss the Law like we can the devil. Not that it will be brought back upon us or anything, but nonetheless it is like the disciplinary paddle hung ominously on the wall to remind us of what we were delivered from and to fly straight or else!

Many visualize a dirty, sweaty, big burly, leather clad, masked medieval dungeon master standing before us with thick, rusty, heavy chains and shackles, ready to put us in the stocks in a dark, dank, lice and rat infested dungeon when we hear the words, “THE LAW!” And when ministers flail their arms behind the pulpit and exclaim, “You don’t want to be under the bondage of the LAW do you!?” Like a wide-eyed, frightened little kid we silently and slowly shake our heads, “No.”

These are nothing more than satanic lies, misconceptions about what the Law really is. A satanic lie, because satan is a legalist, and he knows if he can get Believers to dismiss and even break the Law (aka: SIN, I Jn. 3:4), this silently gives him permission to do anything he likes to us. Because in dismissing or breaking the Law we forfeit the protection obedience to the Law provides.

When we think of the Law, we think of all the, “can’t’s.” Can’t eat bacon, can’t eat lobster, and can’t shop on “Sunday.” The, “you better, or else,” scares us too. You better tithe and fast! But Jesus came so we don’t have to do that stuff anymore and we can eat whatever we want, after all we are now living in the age of Grace thank God! The Law has been done away with right!? At least for the Gentiles anyway. I mean, the Law was given to the Jews after all and they still have to obey it.

To be delivered from Egyptian bondage, only to be put into bondage under the Law makes no sense and makes God look cruel.

 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession. – Deut. 14:2

When you have a child, don’t you want the very best for your baby? Baby Einstein DVD’s, all natural foods with no GMO’s. Gotta baby proof the house to keep the little tike safe! Only the latest, greatest baby gadgets and technology to keep our little treasure happy and safe will do!

When you fall in love, you will sacrifice to get your love that engagement ring she wants. You will wine and dine her like no other before her! She is your treasure after all! You would lasso the moon and give it to her if you could.

Who was birthed as a nation coming through the birth canal of the Red Sea? It’s the shady cloud protecting from the desert heat by day and the fire to ward of the night time desert chill. It was food that came down from heaven like rain, it was water from a rock! Nothing was to be held back for God’s Bride!

The Law which is more accurately translated, “Instructions,” is God’s best for us physically, mentally, spiritually, morally and socially.

Deuteronomy 4:6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”

It’s a guide to set us up for success in life and how to have the best personal relationship with God and our fellow man. Not to shackle us and bog us down.

If it were such a scary thing as we’ve been led to believe, then why was King David head over heels about it and droned on and on about it in the longest Psalm (119) in the Bible!?

We desperately need to clear up our gross misconceptions regarding the Law and see it for the beautiful, divine love letter that it is.

First Fruits of Zion says about the Israel and the Torah in its Ha Yesod Student handbook, Introduction, Pg. xv:

“They are the most ancient guardians and protectors of the Scriptures, and it is extremely difficult to interpret the Scriptures properly without comprehending them as the Israelites would have understood them.

…God did not give the Scriptures (and covenants) to Israel to be their sole possession. Rather, He revealed His heart, mind, and will to Israel so that it would share His Word with the rest of the world… we are saying that all Scripture which God gave to Israel have application and meaning for all believers, regardless of whether they are physical descendants of Israel or not.”



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Get Back to the First Century: Difficult Passages


Acts 2: Pentecost

This chapter in the Renewed Covenant is touted to be the documentation of the birth of the church. However the church was birthed at Mount Sinai.

Acts 7:38
This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

Yes, it’s Pentecost, the event when the Holy Spirit showed up in a mighty way and kicked off a revival for the Nazarene Jewish Believers. Many forget that Pentecost wasn’t an invention of the early church, but has its roots in Torah and Judaism. The Disciples of Yeshua were keeping the “Old Testament” Law by celebrating this Feast! Clearly, if the Law had been done away with and Yeshua taught His Disciples so, then they wouldn’t have met to observe this Biblical Festival.

Let me give you a little bit of background regarding Shavu’ot (Pentecost)

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the Lord. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. – Lev. 23:15-21

Biblical Month: Sivan

Secular Month: May/June


Shavu’ot (Pentecost) also known as the Feast of Weeks. It is a High Holy Day, but it doesn’t seem to be as well-known or as popular as Passover or Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), but it is in some ways the central Feast, because without Shavu’ot, there would be no Sabbath, or Passover, or Yom Kippur, because Shavu’ot is first and foremost the commemoration of the giving of the Torah which tells us about and commands us to celebrate the High Holy Days as recorded in Leviticus 23. It also commemorates the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) who shows us how to live out the Torah (Law) correctly. 

Pesach (Passover) through Shavuot (including the Feast of First Fruits) should be seen as a continuous process. If you have accepted the true Passover Lamb (Jn. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7), you are promised resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-23) because He, Yeshua, is the first fruits of the greater resurrection harvest, and you are part of the body of the Messiah (Acts 2;1 ; 1 Cor. 12:13).

Lev 23:15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 

 16Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. 

 20And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 

 21And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 

 22And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. 

 Num. 19:10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, 

 11And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. 

 12And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: 

 13There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. 

 14And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. 

 15And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. 

 16And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 

 17And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 

 18And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 

 19And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 

 20And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. 


Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 

 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 

 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 

 5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 

 6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 

 7And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? 

 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 

 9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 

 10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 

 11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 

It is traditional to hear the reading of the 10 Commandments, and it is also traditional to read the Book of Ruth which is all about harvest, but also hints about Acts, when Gentiles would be welcomed into the Body of Messiah because Ruth was a Gentile, who converted to Judaism, and married Boaz, a Jew, and is also in the linage of Messiah Yeshua (Matt. 1:5).

Because Torah is seen as our spiritual food that was given to the fledgling nation of Israel in the Wilderness, it is seen as milk given to a baby and so it is traditional to consume dairy products on this day as well, in commemoration of the Torah.

Since it’s about first fruits, it is also traditional to decorate the home and synagogue with flowers and harvest-y type things.

Three days prior to Shavuot, it is traditional to abstain from sexual relations and carries some of the restrictions of Yom Kippur, because God commanded the Israelites to purify themselves 3 days before He came and gave the Torah (Law) at Sinai. The night before, it is traditional to stay up all night and study the Torah with friends, since the Holiday is focused on the giving of the Torah.

Yeshua Messiah is the first fruit of the resurrection; He is also the Living Manifestation of the Written Torah. These are some ways Shavuot teaches us a little more about the Messiah. 

You see, Pentecost is a Harvest Festival, but also the celebration of the Giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. So what happened at Sinai? In Exodus 19 we see a mighty blast of the shofar (rams horn/trumpet) which represents the mighty wind in Acts. We also see the Mount blaze with fire, and did not fire rest on the people in Acts 2? And finally, Rabbinic tradition states that Israel and the mixed multitude (a representative of the 70 root nations of the world) with them heard the Torah in their own language and in like manner the Jews/Israelites from all over the world, speaking all different kinds of languages heard God’s Holy Spirit inspired Words from the people in their own language!

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:41-47

Notice here that the people gladly received the word that Yeshua was the Divine Promised Messiah that as to come (v.41). They continued in the Apostle’s doctrine, which as we have already established was the correct way according to Messiah Himself, how to live out the Torah and signs confirmed this (v.42-43). They continued worshiping at the Temple in Jerusalem where sacrifices were being offered (v.46). This means if they even though the Law had been done away with and the Temple and its services obsolete, why would they even be there!? Secondly, they still mingled with, and were accepted by mainstream Judaism, if not they would have been ban from the Temple area. They met in their homes for fellowship and Jews were coming to Messiah daily (v.46-47)!

So we see, The Apostle and the Jewish Believers in Acts 2 continued observing the Law.

Acts 10: Peter’s Vision

Here’s a passage that practically all of modern day Christianity believes it is dealing with the Divine renunciation of the Levitical Dietary Laws when in fact the passages has nothing to do with food.

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.
15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. – Acts 10:9-16

First off, Peter’s time of prayer, the sixth hour, which is around noon, which would be the tradition time for Jewish Afternoon (Mincha) prayers. Here we see Peter being and living as a traditional Jew and as such, not believing the Torah, especially the dietary laws, in any way had been abolished by Messiah.

Secondly, the sheet, lowered down by four corners resembles a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl worn by Jews during Morning, Afternoon and Evening prayers. Just another indication that Jewish custom and tradition was being follow and observed by Peter.

Third, it shocked Peter that God would say to kill and eat the unclean, the unkosher animals within the tallit, seeing as Peter declared he had never ate anything that the Torah prohibits as a food source. If Yeshua came to do away with the Law why would Peter, years later still be eating kosher if Yeshua “freed” us from that!? The vision bewildered (Acts 2:17) Peter in much the same way I’m sure it shocked Abraham when God told him to perform a human sacrifice and kill Isaac. Both, eating unclean animals and human sacrifice is prohibited by God. It was a test of faithfulness, trust and obedience. Also, it was a shock value lesson to bring across a very important point that God didn’t want Abraham or Peter to forget. In Abraham’s place, that God keeps His promises and provides and in Peter’s case we will soon see.

The vision Peter had, had nothing to do with his diet, but with how one viewed Gentile’s, either non-Jews or Hellenized Jews who lived as Gentiles. Note that the vision was given three times and three Gentile men showed up at the door looking for Peter. For issues regarding ritual cleanness Jews and Gentiles didn’t chum around and never kept company at each other’s houses. This was not a Torah command but a Pharisaical tradition to separate and not have relations with Gentiles. But, because of the vision, when the three Gentiles showed up at the door wanting him to come with them to Cornelius’ house, he went. Why? Because it clicked for Peter what the vision meant and he declared such when he was speaking in Cornelius’ home. Peter never mentions the Levitical dietary Laws being done away with as being the meaning of the vision, such an interpretation isn’t found anywhere in the Scriptures. This interpretation has been made by people outside the context of Scripture based on their assumption and bias that the Torah has been done away with by the advent of Messiah Yeshua.

28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me (in the vision) that I should not call any man common or unclean. – Acts 10:28 – (italics mine)

Peter then is questioned by the Jewish brethren regarding his excursion to the house of a Gentile, and Peter recounts the vision and AGAIN confirms the interpretation of the vision to be dealing with people and not food.

And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. – Acts 11:7-9

This shows not only Peter continued to eat kosher years after Yeshua ascended into heaven but the other Jewish brothers did also!

The Jewish brethren confirmed and also concluded that Peter’s vision was about people and not food.

18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. – Acts 11:18

This cannot be any clearer and definitive that Peter’s vision was not a Divine changing of the dietary Laws.

This vision is not unique to Peter. Hosea prophetically had a similar vision symbolically identifying Gentiles as unclean animals and that one day they will lie down peacefully together with God’s chosen people, symbolized by clean animals, symbolizing fellowship and inclusion.

18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord
23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. – Hosea 2:18-20, 23


Acts 15: The Jerusalem Council

This chapter in Acts is often used to declare that the Law has been done away with and is not applicable to the Gentiles coming to the Faith. We will see this is not true.

The argument is based on the false notion that one has to be circumcised in order to be saved. These were unbelievers from outside the Jerusalem Council who believed in a salvation based on works. This issue was taken by Paul and Barnabas to the Jerusalem Council to be discussed and hashed out.

And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. – Acts 15:1

Again, circumcision as a means of salvation and keeping Rabbinic customs are the issue here, not keeping the Law itself. There were some Pharisees a part of the Jerusalem Council, (yes, Pharisees who accepted Yeshua as the Divine Promised Messiah) they were the ones who agreed that circumcision was a necessary requirement in obedience to the Law, but not as a means of salvation. The Pharisees also mentioned the necessity to teach Gentiles to obey the Torah, again, not for the purpose of salvation, but for the purpose of obedience to God`s Laws.

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. – Acts 15:5

Peter pipes up and agrees that the Gentiles are to be included and welcomed and are saved into the Faith by faith and not works and refers back to the vision God gave him in Acts 10.

And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. – Acts 15:7-9

James, the leader of this council confirms Peter’s vision regarding the inclusion of the Gentiles and uses Scripture to back this up.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: - Acts 15:13-19

So, what of this “yoke” that is mentioned in verse 10? And what of, the troubling of the Gentiles in verse 19?

 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? - Acts 15:10

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: - Acts 15:19

Peter was making the point and implied that despite our fallen human nature we can obey the Law out of love and obedience, as we should, because it is doable and not a heavy burden (Deut. 30:11-16, I John 4:23), but not keep it perfectly without ever breaking it, and so circumcision would be pointless and is an invalid means of salvation. Because after you become circumcised and sin, as Paul states later in Romans, your circumcision would be like uncircumcision (Rom. 2:25). Circumcision (faith) of the heart is what counts. And so the unreasonable “burdensome yoke” Peter is referring to is the doctrine that circumcision saves you as well as obedience to the Oral Torah, the Rabbinic additions to the Law in the guise of customs and traditions based on the Law. Because who and or what sect you were circumcised under, you were expected to keep the Torah and its Rabbinic customs and traditions the way that particular group did, and not deviate from it one iota. Salvation via the Law is impossible, that’s why Grace is necessary.

So this “unbearable yoke” in Acts 15:10 is the same as, “…your tradition which you had handed down to you…” in Mark 7:13, again speaking of the Oral Torah and Rabbinic Jewish interpretation on how to live out the Torah. Yeshua said His yoke, His way for people to obey Torah was “easy” and “light” (Matt.11:30).

For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. – Romans 2:25-29

Now what of James’ words?

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: - Acts 15:19

Again, James agrees that the Law has not been done away with but that no one is to trouble the Gentiles with the false doctrine regarding salvation by circumcision and the adherence to the Oral Torah of the Rabbinic sects.

As confirmation, here is the follow up verse to what James brought up in verse 19.

Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: - Acts 15:24

So the verdict of this debate was that no one is to bother the Gentiles by falsely teaching that one has to be circumcised and keep Rabbinic edicts to be saved but that obedience to the Law would be taught as the Torah is read every Sabbath in synagogues and so they will eventually learn how to correctly obey the Torah. Because it is simply unreasonable to expect new believers to automatically know and keep all the Commandments. But in the meantime, because these Gentiles are come out of paganism and idolatry and need to make a clean break with such a past, they should immediately keep these four laws from what the Rabbi’s call, “the Heart of the Torah” so that there will be no conflict with Jews and Gentiles fellowshipping together at the table over a meal.

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. – Acts 15:20-21

Because all of these things were related to pagan worship; strangling a sacrifice, temple prostitution, drinking blood and worshiping idols.

We see John the Revelator address this very issue in Thyatira in Rev. 2:18-29.

Also, prior to Rabbinic Judaism, in Pre-Maccabean Judaism, conversion simply consisted of a Gentile simply attaching themselves to Israel through the People and the Land. Nowhere in God’s Word is there a ceremony for Gentiles to convert to Judaism. Rather the Torah states that all a Gentile has to do is attach him/herself to Israel and her God, meaning obeying the Commands of this God. Num. 15:16 states that there is to be ONE LAW for Israel and the foreigner that attaches themselves to Israel. Thus, no ritual is outlined to become a proselyte.

The Greek word “proselutos” where we get the word proselyte, came to mean, a Gentile who converted to Judaism during the Greco-Roman diaspora and not before. And so we see this Greek word used in the Septuagint (Greek version of the Tanak/Old Testament) referring to Gentiles who were not converts in Exd. 3:9, 22:21, Lev. 19:34, and Lev. 25:23.

This Hebrew word “ger” was translated with the Greek word “proselutos” and we see a Rabbinic translation bias emerge in Leviticus 19:34

“But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

The first and second half of the verse uses the word “ger” which is Hebrew for “stranger” and or synonym of the term, “gentile” and the first usage in the Greek they use, “proselutos” in an attempt to imply a Gentile convert to Judaism and in the second half they use the Greek word “avens,” to imply a simple foreigner, when in fact in the Hebrew they are one and the same word, “ger” stranger or foreigner, not convert.

However, in Isaiah 56:3:

Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

The Hebrew word for “son of the stranger,” is, “ben haneichar,” they use the Greek word, “allogenes” and not “prosolutos” when clearly the passage speaks of foreigners that are Torah obedient, but not converted through ritual circumcision.

So you see, one does not have to be circumcised to obey Torah.
For more information on difficult and seemingly antinomian (against the Law) passages of the Renewed Covenant (New Testament) please see Appendix C.