We now live in a world which denies the Truth of SO much of Scripture that the promised “curses” for rebellion should be undeniable. A fake “money” that He calls “abomination” (Lev. 19:35-6; Deut. 25:15-16; Prov. 11:1, etc, etc) is in the process of a literal world-wide meltdown. Plagues associated with eating that which is “NOT food” abound. Other things He called “abomination” are even being licensed as “marriage” – with the same bitter consequences. And yet some who claim to “believe” in Him, and call Him “Lord, lord,” still do not DO what He says. (Luke 6:46)
Recently I read a column by an on-line friend and columnist who has generally been a reasonably thorough Bible-scholar, even though we clearly differ on some major aspects of our walk (like Xmas and Easter!) But because the errors he makes, and the logical trap into which he fell, is so pervasive today, others may benefit from taking a look at them, and one set of rebuttals.
The responsibility of Christians to obey the Law of Moses is a subject that comes up from time to time, which always surprises me because the Bible is perfectly clear on the matter…it is absolutely bizarre that some Christians are still under the impression that they have an obligation to abide by Jewish Law.
Christians are not Jews. Christians are not obligated to follow Mosaic Law. Ask any Jew, he should be able to confirm it. As will the Bible, in Acts 15…
whereupon he proceeds to SKIP OVER the key element to the whole story: that the disciples agreed that new, non-Torah-literate converts to the Messiah should start with four things (avoid eating blood, and “foods” polluted by idolatry or strangulation, and from sexual immorality) and then proceed to LEARN the REST! How do we know that? Because the Torah, or instruction of Moses, is taught “in every city” and is read on “every Sabbth“! (Acts 15:21)
And Who “Christians” SHOULD be asking about that is He Whom they proclaim as Master, Teacher, and Savior!
But this author then even goes on to distort the obvious rebuttal to his error, from the very first major public address Yahushua ever gave:
The fact that Jesus Christ did not abolish the Law says nothing about its continued inapplicability to those who are not Jews. In fact, to claim it now applies to non-Jews when it did not before on the basis of Matthew 5:17-20 is clearly self-contradictory, for the obvious reason that making it applicable to people to whom it did not previously apply would be changing the letter of it.
Unless, of course, we ignore everything else He said, about who it applies to…
…ALL of those who choose to “come unto Him”! And that included not only “the Jews” (whether that means only descendents of the tribe of Judah, or those who were formerly of the Biblical southern kingdom of Judah, or something different today) but even the Canaanite woman who came to Him in faith. Most importantly, however, His reply to her in Matthew 15:24 shows clearly just how misguided and uninformed that claim is:
“But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
And just who is THAT? The “lost sheep” of the “house of Israel” — at a MINIMUM — are those who were “scattered” by YHVH, exactly* as He promised! ALL of that “mixed multitude”; not ONLY the descendents of every one of the tribes of the children of Jacob/Yakov, which included peoples who not only never called themselves “Jews” but never even KNEW their own heritage, because by the time He came, they were obviously already “lost”! And, just as Caleb was “grafted in” even though he was not a genetic descendent of Jacob, YHVH has allowed those of us who are not even “sons of Israel” (or simply don’t know) to be ADOPTED into His house, and become His. The reference to “lost sheep” who were “scattered” in Ezekiel 34 is undeniable (as is the “why”, for those with ears to hear!)
And those who still claim that means His message of obedience to His Instruction applies ONLY to “the Jews” have a real “theological problem” on their hands!
So how can the implications of one of the most important “messianic” promises in Scripture – to the lost and scattered sheep of Israel - be ignored?
“Thus saith YHVH; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come… I will even gather you…and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof…
…And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.“
And do NOT overlook the fact that He says there, just as He does in John 14, that they will obey His statutes (‘chuqqim’ in the Hebrew) and ordinances (“mishpatim”).
Readers here probably already understand why translating the word “torah” from the Hebrew into either “nomos” in Greek or “law” in English can be misleading: His “instruction” INCLUDES things like statutes, judgments, ordinances, and commandments – but is not LIMITED to them! After all, why did the Messiah say that He spoke in parables? And what is the point of stories like Adam and Eve in the garden, and the binding of Isaac by his father Abraham, Joseph being betrayed and sold into bondage by his brothers, and the exodus of the “mixed multitude” from Egypt, and so many others, if not to teach us about Him, and His promises?
But why were the children of Israel — ALL of ‘em, by the way, not just ‘the Jews’ — sent out of ‘the land’ and back into “bondage” to begin with? An answer to that question, obvious though it might be, exposes the rest of the “Big Lie” being promulgated here.
It’s the same answer – literally – that has applied since the Garden: Rebellion. To Him, Who created us, and made us, and warned us, and has “known the end from the beginning”, and promised us His “Yahshua”; literally the Salvation of Yah.
And, while that Truth is repeated over and over and OVER again in Scripture (we are all still evidently “stiff-necked”, and in need of the repeated lessons, reproof, correction, and chastening) one of the most poignant of all is Deuteronomy chapter 30:
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where YHVH Elohekah drives you,
and you return to YHVH and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,
that YHVH Elohekah will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where YHVH your God has scattered you.”
Although some in the Sunday church still try to claim that “all” has been fulfilled (in spite of the painfully obvious fact that the “new Covenant” prophecy of Jeremiah 31:31 to BOTH the house of Judah AND the house of Israel has not. Is there really any literate Christian who can deny that there are still some people SOMEWHERE who don’t know Him?)…
…it is equally clear that “all” of the lost sheep have yet to be regathered, and (Acts 1:6) He has not yet restored His kingdom to “Israel” (whatever some teach that may mean!)
The explanation for those facts are also contained in Deuteronomy 30, and serve as a prophetic antidote to the poisonous lie that He “did away with” His own instruction, lied when He said He ‘changes not’, or said “if you love Me, keep my commandments (“mitzvot”)” — nor that it was “too hard” to do what He asks of us (verses 11-14). It was, in fact, the “heavy burdens” of men’s traditions that He so rightly condemned…in places like Matthew chapter 23 and Mark chapter 7, which made His Word of “no effect.”
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live…” (Deut. 30:19)
His earthly ministry and perfect sacrifice dramatically underscore both the warning and the promise that He made in the first verses of that chapter! Those things which He said would happen have happened! And now, those who love Him, must “return” to Him and obey His voice, just as He says. This, I submit, is why He said that He is the “good shepherd” who came that we might “have life, and have it more abundantly!” (John 10:10-11)
And note, too, that “heaven and earth” are the VERY SAME “two witnesses” that He referenced in Matthew 5:17-19 when He said He would not change the smallest bit of His own instruction! They still stand as proof that His promises, and His instruction, for ALL of us whose choose life through obedience to His Word still apply! If we love Him, obey Him. Not only does it result in blessing, but it is, as Paul said, our “reasonable service”.
Choose life, “that you may love YHVH…that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…”
* Proofs from Scripture abound. See not only Deuteronomy chapter 30, but places like Esther 3:8, prophecies including Psalm 44 and 60, Isaiah 18, Jeremiah 30:10-11, 50:17, and famously chapter 31. Others include prophecies of Joel, and Zecariah. But perhaps even more undeniable is are the prophecies of Ezekiel (chapters 20, 28, 29, 36) in addition to the ones quoted above! If those references aren’t clear – then neither will be the introductions of both Jakov (James) and Kefa (Peter) in their own letters to the “scattered” sheep!
James 1:1 –
“Yakov, a bondservant of Elohim and of Yahushua Hamashiach, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings..”
I Peter 1:1
“Kefa, an apostle of Yahushua Hamashiach, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…”
“He who does not love Me does not keep My Word; and the Word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s Who sent Me.“ (John 14:24)