God's appointed times vs. Man's traditions (audio)

From Godcast.org, Messianic Rabbi Rick Gozhanskij asks the question, "Why are we ignoring God's appointed times -- Passover, Pentacost, First Fruits, etc. -- and instead celebrating man's traditions, such as Lent, Easter, and Christmas?" (podcast below)

At the bottom of this blog post is the Rabbi's podcast. I found his style a little rigid, but it is short and easy to understand. Enjoy, and I hope you all learn something from it. Before you listen, a quick commentary on some of his teaching:

Which would you rather observe, traditions of men or God's appointed times? What is wrong with Passover, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Shavout, and Succot? Why is it that the majority of believers in God have pushed these commanded times aside and have opted for man's traditions?


Sounds like he's firmly grounded in Tenakh ("Old Testament") and Brit Chadasha ("New Testament"), as he gives evidence from both for the support of the belief that both Jews and Gentiles in Messiah should honor God's appointed times.

˝To put it plainly, whether you're a Jew or Gentile, Christians should be celebrating the Feasts of the Lord.˝


To put it plainly, whether you're a Jew or Gentile, Christians should be celebrating the Feasts of the Lord, e.g. Passover. Why? Because the Feasts are God's appointments with his people. We've missed God's appointments for the last 1,900 years or so. Ouch.

The first followers of Messiah, including his apostles, honored God's appointments, even after Messiah's death and rising (Acts 2, Acts 20). What's more, Messiah himself honored God's appointments as well (Luke 22, Matthew 26). Finally, God showed Zechariah that when Messiah comes, everyone will go to Israel and celebrate one of God's Feasts, with Messiah, in Jerusalem!

So, what's the hold up, Christian folks? Let's celebrate God's appointed times, looking forward to the time when we will all celebrate them, together with Messiah in person, in Jerusalem.

At end of each Passover, it's customary for Jews to say, "Next year, in Jerusalem!", as we look forward to the time of living back in the land God gave to us. Perhaps as followers of Messiah we should now say, "Next year, with Messiah in Jerusalem!", as we look forward to that time prophesied in Zechariah.

Rabbi Rick Gozhanskij - Appointed Times teaching.mp3




101 comments:

  1. I don't want this to sound unkind, so please insert the proper emotional tone to your reading of this comment.

    Romans 14:5 totally refutes the point of your blog post. It seems like your sliding deeper into the thinking that the apostle Paul fought against when the Judaizers were threatening the spiritual well-being of the Christian Gentiles.

    Please read through (and understand) Galatians a few times before simply discounting this comment.

    John Fisher

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  2. Hi John,

    The point of Galations is that being saved cannot be accomplished through the Law. I agree with that.

    Consider this: if I'm wrong, and you're right, that would mean Paul is against following God's Feasts.

    If that's true, then Paul is a false teacher who goes directly against Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5:17-21:

    "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks 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 practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

    Also, doesn't it seem silly that Paul would say, "Don't celebrate the Feasts", when in fact, he himself celebrated them, as did the apostles -- even after Jesus' death -- not to mention Jesus himself?

    Looking forward to your reply.

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  3. A few verses before Romans 14:5 Sha’ul chooses his words carefully in order to pinpoint the sin of each. The one who eats anything might take pride in having thought the matter through and freed himself from his fears and compulsions; therefore he might look down on his duller, weaker brother, with his self-created fence around his self-created law. But the abstainer is more likely to develop a “holier-than-thou” attitude and pass judgment on the other as careless or a libertine. Now in verse 5, One person considers some days more holy than others. The reference is not specifically to Jewish holidays but to any days that any believer might have come to regard as especially holy. This is because the “weak” are not specifically Jewish believers, but any believers attached to particular calendar observances.

    Levi Yisrael

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  4. Hi Levi

    Thanks for stopping by and posting.

    Yes, Paul is very careful in choosing his words in Romans.

    Had he said, "God's Feasts are equal to man's holidays", he would've been a false teacher, going against the words of the very Messiah he's preaching.

    In the end, I suspect Paul is cautioning more against causing other people to stumble by your own prideful attitude than, say, abolishing the Law, which would be contrary to Messiah's teaching and the rest of Scripture.

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  5. Hey Judah, most seem not to understand when it comes to G-d's instructions, the Torah or as the english puts it (Law), it is dual and not singular. People need to understand Judaism 101 The Law as it is known in the King James Version of the Bible consist of two parts, The written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral Torah (man made rules or teachings passed along for a few thousand years and put together in written form during the 2nd century C.E. called the Talmud). When reading the New Testament you have to understand that when you see Law it is Dual not singular. Yeshua and Paul were against the man made regulations that were added by the Rabbi's. Most people forget that the Scripture says Paul kept the Torah (law) in Acts 21:17-24, verse 24 says: Take them with you, be purified with them, and pay the expenses connected with having their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to these rumors which they have heard about you; but that, on the contrary, you yourself stay in line and keep the Torah. Any way we could so more and more about this but the original post were about the holy days which when seen in the Tanach G-d continue throughout all generations and He did not say do these only until the Messiah comes. Paul kept the holy days and I am sure because he loved G-d, he wanted to keep them.

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  6. Judah, I forgot to sign my name to the last post, sorry about that. Also about Rabbi Rick Gozhanskij, what do you mean by ridgid? I will have to listen to see what you mean.

    Levi Yisrael

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  7. Hi there Anonymous,

    Thanks for stopping by and posting. I'm both surprised and happy to see other Messianics reading this blog.

    You're absolutely right: when we read Law, we often think of the first 5 books, but in reality, Paul is often referring to Oral Law, e.g. rabbinical laws, what became the Talmud. This is especially true when Paul talks about the "works of the Law" - ma'asim haTorah. More often than not, Paul's reference to works of the Law are Oral Law; man's traditions, not God's instruction.

    Same goes for the term "Judaizers" - Judaizers were not those people who told people to follow God's instruction, but people who said without Judaism's oral law traditions, one couldn't be saved. Those Judaizers, like the Pharisees, had little intent in keeping the weighty matters of the real Law, God's Torah, his loving instruction. They instead wanted to weigh down and control believers in Messiah with man's traditions in the form of Judaism's oral laws.

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  8. Rigid...I guess I mean his audio teaching was rather "too much reading from his notes" and not enough speaking freely. Just a little nitpick. :-)

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  9. Ok Judah, I see what you mean.


    Levi Yisrael

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  10. Shalom Judah, So you think I am too stiff, he he. Hey, sometimes it too hard to be natural when all you are speaking to is a computer and a dog, oy! Anyway I like your blog. Keep up the good work.

    Blessings B'Shem Yeshua

    Rabbi Rick Gozhanskij

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  11. Ah! My blog is graced with a visit from the Rabbi himself. Thanks for stopping by, Rick.

    Hey, I can understand it's hard to be natural when just talking to the machine. :) Anyways, I thought the teaching was easy to understand and to the point, so it was good. :-)

    Do you have any comments for the first commenter above, who quoted Romans 14 and Galatians as "totally refuting" the point of this blog post? I'd love to hear what you have to say on that.

    Blessings in Messiah,
    -Judah

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  12. Judah, I see the comments that Levi and you have made and that is true. Those who do not understand Judaism cannot understand the fact that there are two parts to it (The written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral Torah (man made rules or teachings). It is very simple to understand Paul's writings when you understand Judaism. If one says that Paul was doing away with the Law (Torah), then there is a contradiction. Paul tells us in Romans 7:12 So the Torah is holy; that is, the commandment is holy, just and good. He also tells us in Romans 3:31 Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah. There is no contradiction, it is just our misunderstanding of the writings. The Bible gives one place for the definition of Sin, 1John 3:4 Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah. Look what Yeshua says in Matt. 7:22 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?
    Matt. 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Many will not look at the word (iniquity). In the Greek it is (anomia) transgression of the law. Yeshua is saying in verse 23, Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness! Makes you kinda wonder why He mentioned transgression of the law if supposedly it was done away with. I could go on and on but look at these last two in: (Rev. 12:17 The dragon was infuriated over the woman and went off to fight the rest of her children, those who obey G-d’s commands and bear witness to Yeshua. Rev. 14:12
    This is when perseverance is needed on the part of G-d’s people, those who observe his commands and exercise Yeshua’s faithfulness.) These last two verses show us that there is still commands and a witness or faithfulness to Yeshua. But I thought the commands were done away with, hummmm, should make one think. I end this with (1John 5:3 For loving God means obeying his commands. Moreover, his commands are not burdensome.)

    Rabbi Rick Gozhanskij

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  13. Excellent! I see you write as simply as you speak, so easy to understand. Thanks Rick.

    John, how does all this sit with you?

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  14. Judah,

    Summarizing Galatians isn't quite the same as seeing reading it through to see what it specifically says about a Christians relationship to the Old Testament laws.

    In your reference to Matthew 5:17-21, Jesus was speaking to people who were still under the law, so his statements were 100% true. However, He changed things completely when He died and rose again. He accomplished / completed / fulfilled the law! (Verse 18 indicates that there would be a time when the law was accomplished. That time could only be at Christ's death and resurrection.)

    In case you think that I'm reaching, here are a few quotes to get you started: (If you think Paul is a false teacher after this, we can talk about that.)

    Galatians 3:24-25, "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." (tutor = law)

    Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (redeemed from [bought back from or out of] the law)

    Galatians 4:9, "But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?"

    Galatians 5:1, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [the law]. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. " (Remember that the Law, not tradition, demands that males be circumcised. Lev. 12:3)

    Galatians 5:18, "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law." (Can't get much clearer than that!)

    John

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  15. Shalom John, Remember you have to look at the Law as two parts (The Torah and Oral). Paul stayed in line and kept the Law (Torah).

    Look at (Acts 21:24 Take them with you, be purified with them, and pay the expenses connected with having their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to these rumors which they have heard about you; but that, on the contrary, you yourself stay in line and keep the Torah).

    This clearly shows that Paul kept the Torah. What else is also interesting is that he was going with four other men to take a voluntary vow; the terms are set forth in Mishna Nazir. Here you have four men who believe in Messiah Yeshua that are taking a vow and going to the Temple to be purified, hummm, so if I wanted to take this vow, I could. Why, because they did it after Messiah has come and gone.

    Paul taught the Corinthians Jewish Traditionary Law. Look at 1Cor. 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

    Ordinances is Jewish Traditionary Law in the Greek, check the Greek Strongs.

    Paul praised them for keeping the Jewish Traditionary Law.

    Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    So what you are saying John is that Matt. 5:19 was only valid while Yeshua was here?

    Rabbi Rick Gozhanskij

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  16. Judah and others,

    I though I would toss in my two cents. You keep referring to Acts 21:24, but you need to keep reading a little farther. In verse 26, Paul goes as far as allowing a sacrifice to be offered on his behalf. I hope that none of you are suggesting that we are still under the Jewish sacrificial system. So, why would Paul allow this? I think that the answer lies in the context of the chapter.

    Paul was in great danger if he went to Jerusalem and many begged him not to go. But Paul remained faithful to God's will and went anyway. The disciples in Jerusalem recognized the danger as well and I believe that they came up with this plan to placate the Jews and insure Paul's safety. It didn't work, however as the Jews nearly killed him.

    As far as Galatians goes, it isn't written to non-believers, it is written to Christians. Galatians 3:1-3 makes that clear:

    You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

    I also don't see an implicit distinction anywhere in Paul's writing between the written law and the oral law.

    OK, maybe that was three cents worth.

    In Christ,
    Gary

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  17. Me again,

    I should read what I write a little closer before I hit the post button. I meant to say:

    I also don't see an explicit distinction anywhere in Paul's writing between the written law and the oral law.

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  18. Shalom Gary,

    Acts 21:24 shows Paul kept the Torah, and if he did not then he should have spoken up at the council, otherwise this was a big lie. As far as the sacrifice being offered, what makes you think it was a sin offering? If you look into the Torah you will see there are many other offerings, peace offerings, thank offerings etc. which would include grain as an offering not just an animal. But this should make you think a bit because these four men were believers in Yeshua and still went to the Temple and made a vow offering.

    As far as you not seeing an explicit distinction anywhere in Paul's writing between the written law and the oral law. Within Judaism its a given, there is Torah and Oral. What do you do with this verse?, Rom. 3:31 Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah.

    1John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (King James Version)

    What does 1John 3:4 mean to you Gary?

    Also what are the commands in the New Testament referring to? 1John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

    What commandments is he talking about here, I thought we did not have to keep anything?

    The Torah is now written on our hearts and the Holy Spirit now guides us in how to walk as Yeshua walked. And because of Yeshua, we now have the strength to obey G-d's instructions and if we sin (1John 3:4) we are now not under the curse or punishment for sinning. Yeshua took away the curse for not obeying G-d's, not the Torah.

    Paul says in 1Cor. 11:1 ¶ try to imitate me, even as I myself try to imitate the Messiah.

    What does it mean to imitate someone?

    Rick

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  19. Rick,

    You said it right here:

    The Torah is now written on our hearts and the Holy Spirit now guides us in how to walk as Yeshua walked. And because of Yeshua, we now have the strength to obey G-d's instructions and if we sin (1John 3:4) we are now not under the curse or punishment for sinning. Yeshua took away the curse for not obeying G-d's, not the Torah.

    But I take it one step farther. It expressed in John 15:5

    "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

    The Christian life is not lived in the effort or our flesh. It is lived by abiding (resting) in Christ. If I abide in Him by faith, then He will live His life in me and through me.

    When I surrender my life to Christ, He takes control of it and begins to work in me “both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. He changes me from the inside out.

    When I say that we are no longer under the Law, I mean that, as you say, God’s Law’s have been written in my heart and their name is Christ, for He is the fulfillment of the Law. If I abide in Him (trust and surrender), then He will live His life through me and I will keep the law. Not through my own effort, but through His mighty power working in me and through me. Which law? Why this one, of course:

    And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

    In the Christian life "what counts?"

    For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6

    The law hasn't been done away with. It is still a tutor that leads us to Christ, but after we received His Spirit it was replaced by a higher law, the law of Love. The law was a cold impersonal thing carved in stone. The law of love is a living moving force that captures the spirit of all that the law encompassed and it is embodied in the person of Christ. It is only through His power working in us that we can live the life He has called us to live. He is the author and finisher of our faith.

    What does it mean to imitate Christ? It means that we should live our lives the same way He lived His; in complete dependence upon the Father. Look what it says in John chapter 5:

    Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.” (v19-20)

    Jesus did what He saw the Father doing, or how about this also in Chapter 5:

    “I can do nothing on My own initiative As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (v 30)

    Jesus sought only to do the will of the Father. And finally, Jesus only said what the Father wanted Him to say. Look at John 12:49-50

    “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."


    In Christ,
    Gary

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  20. Rick, that's absolutely brilliant, thanks for posting responses here. I'm usually on my own debating everyone; it sure is nice to have an ally for once! :)

    John, in addition to Rick's responses, I'd like to respond to a few points you made. You said,

    "In your reference to Matthew 5:17-21, Jesus was speaking to people who were still under the law, so his statements were 100% true. He changed things completely when He died and rose again. He accomplished / completed / fulfilled the law! (Verse 18 indicates that there would be a time when the law was accomplished. That time could only be at Christ's death and resurrection.)",

    For clarity's sake, I'm going to post the actual verse here for everyone to read.

    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. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks 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 practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    John, He didn't say, "After I die, the Law is abolished."

    You have to ask yourself, if Jesus abolished the Law or otherwise made other people to disregard it after his death and rising, why were the Apostles still keeping it after Jesus' death and rising (Acts 2)?

    How do you reconcile Jesus' teachings here with Paul's? I can reconcile them, but I suspect you can't: either Paul is against Jesus, or you do not understand Paul. I can show you with certainty that it is the latter.

    You quoted Galatians several times. I want to comment on those:

    "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." (tutor = law)

    Yes, we aren't under the penalty of the Law -- that is, death -- because Messiah has interceded on our behalf, as was prophesied in Isaiah 53. Even though we deserve death, as prescribed by the Law, we have life because of this Special Intercessor, who is Messiah Y'shua, who you call Jesus. We are justified to God by Messiah's sacrifice.

    That does not we are free to break God's loving instruction; that would be akin to trampling on the very blood Messiah shed for us.

    Remember, Paul himself says that the Law tells us what sin is:

    "But I can hear you say, "If the Law was as bad as all that, it's no better than sin itself." That's certainly not true. The Law has a perfectly legitimate function. Without its clear guidelines for right and wrong, moral behavior would be mostly guesswork. Apart from the succinct, surgical command, "You shall not covet," I could have dressed covetousness up to look like a virtue and ruined my life with it."

    1 John explicitly says that sin is breaking the Law:

    "Whoever commits sin breaks also the law: for sin is the breaking of the law."

    Think about it for a moment: if Jesus shed his blood so that our sin punishment under the Law is cancelled, why are we then saying we're now free to continue sinning?

    John, you also quoted this piece:

    "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (redeemed from [bought back from or out of] the law)

    John, we're redeemed from sin, not redeemed from God's loving instructions nor God's definition of sin.

    If the Law defines sin, as Paul and 1st John states, why would Messiah redeem us from the definition of sin? That would mean He's made it so that we can do anything we want without calling it sin, e.g. you could go out and commit adultery with a clean conscience.

    Finally, John, you quoted Galatians again,

    Galatians 5:1, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace."

    Paul is talking about being *justified* by the Law, he says this explicitly, just as he did in the first verse you quoted.

    We're not justified by the Law, or by circumcision. He's addressing this because Judaizers were saying you had to do both Oral Law and Torah in order to be saved.

    But on the contrary, we're justified by faith in Messiah, not by the Law or any other form of works. I think you'll agree with me.

    Suppose, for a moment, Paul was saying circumcision automatically makes one severed from Messiah. If that were true, then Paul himself was severed. Also, he personally severed Timothy from Messiah by circumcising him. Silly, ain't it? :)

    In reality, what Paul is saying is this: if you're following the Law or circumcising yourself to be justified in God's eyes, you're completely lost and are severed from Messiah.

    I heartily agree with him, and I think Messiah would too.

    Gary, I'm going to post a separate reply here in a sec to your excellent post.

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  21. Getting back to the original posting. Would you say we don't have to observe the appointed times G-d has set for us?

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  22. Gary and John, I want you to ask yourself these questions honestly and let's see where it leads. I've bolded and numbered the questions to make it clearer what I'm asking.

    1. Are we free to sin now that we have Messiah?

    If yes, then you're as lost as the Galatians using the Law to be justified.

    If no, then I ask you,

    2. What defines sin? How do you know what sin is?

    Gary, if imitating Messiah means living as he lived, let's follow that to an ultimate conclusion:

    3. Why aren't we celebrating Passover like Jesus did?

    Jesus lived that way, why aren't we? If we're supposed to imitate Jesus, shouldn't we do this? Jesus even hinted at a new commandment about Passover, saying "When you do this, do it in remembrance of me." Please realize he was not talking about man-made, Roman Catholic rituals like communion or mass.

    The biggest question to ask ourselves:

    4. Are we disregarding the commandments and telling others to do so?

    If so, doesn't that make us least in the kingdom of heaven, as Jesus said in Matthew 5?

    I'd love to hear your answers to these questions.

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  23. Gary, You posted, Gal. 5:6 When we are united with the Messiah Yeshua, neither being circumcised nor being uncircumcised matters; what matters is trusting faithfulness expressing itself through love.

    So what do you do with this: 1Cor. 7:19 Being circumcised means nothing, and being uncircumcised means nothing; what does mean something is keeping God’s commandments.

    This means the Sabbath, Holy days etc.

    When you love G-d you want to do those things, that is what is meant by Jeremiah 31:32 KJV Write it on our hearts is an idiom. It means we will love his law (instructions). This happens when we accept Yeshua and receive him "into our hearts."

    But that does not mean his instructions are done away with.

    Rick

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  24. Judah,

    I am not sure what you mean by your first question, so in an attempt to clarify it I will ask you a question:

    Judah, do you sin?

    If so, what are the consequences of that sin? If not, read 1 John 1:8

    In Christ,
    Gary

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  25. Rick,

    I won't get into what 1 Corinthians 7:19 means in context.

    But look at the two verses and apply the Multiplication Property of Equality

    If a * b = a * c then b = c

    You end up with:

    faith expressing itself through love = keeping God’s commandments

    Which was the point of my previous post.

    In Christ,
    Gary

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  26. Gary, I'll answer your questions in good faith that you'll answer mine. Fair? :)

    To answer your first question, yes, I sin. Even though I know what sin is -- the Law tells me what it is -- I still sin sometimes.

    To answer your follow-up question, the consequence is that I need to turn back to God, t'shuva, or what gentiles call repenting. Moreover, I need the shedding of blood to atone for sin, just as it was with the first covenant that defined sin. Messiah interceded on my behalf (Isaiah 53) and did it for me. Combined with a repentant heart, I'm forgiven of that sin.

    Does that answer your question?

    Now that I have answered you in good faith, I'd like to hear your answer to my questions.

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  27. Ok Gary, I know Yeshua says to love and to love sums up the whole Torah. When Yeshua said to love you neighbor, he was quoting from Leviticus 19.

    Yeshua says:

    John 14:21
    Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me, and the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

    John 15:10
    If you keep my commands, you will stay in my love — just as I have kept my Father’s commands and stay in his love.

    What are the commands? Here you have love and commands.

    Ezek. 36:27
    I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them.

    If you never read the Torah, will you know what laws and rulings to obey? Will the Spirit let you know if you never read the Word?

    Gary, I am an Israeli and Jewish (Messianic) and I know Judaism as it was in Paul's day, Torah and Oral. So I guess we could go at this for a long time. I am glad though that you have Yeshua as Messiah! The rest of the issues, one day we will all see where we have all been wrong and I include myself in that bunch.

    Rabbi Rick Gozhanskij

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  28. Judah,

    You speak of good faith, but you ask me a question, then tell me that unless I answer it correctly then I am lost, which to me is to say that I am not a Christian. Or maybe I am not reading your meaning correctly. Saying things like that tends to degrade friendly discourse.

    In any event, what does it mean to be free. One definition might be that of unrestraint. When you sinned, you obviously weren't restrained from doing so. So, in that sense you were free to sin. Or maybe freedom is defined by consequences. What were the consequences of your sin? If you are in Christ, then all of the consequences have been placed on Christ.

    He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

    Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

    So, I have to ask what your mean by "free to sin?" Do we have a license to sin? No! We have freedom to live! To live for Christ! We are free to live and love and share the endless, matchless grace of God without fear and condemnation.

    Free In Christ,
    Gary

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  29. Rick,

    I appreciate you taking the time to have this discussion. I hope I didn't come on too strong. I guess that I am passionate about what I believe. You are right about these types of discussions going on and on. They don't ever seem to converge to anywhere but, "let's agree to disagree." Like you say, by the grace of God it will all be made clear someday.

    It is easy to forget that, despite differences in doctrine, we are brothers in Christ. I don't claim that I am right about everything. I don't believe some of the things now that I believed even three years ago. By faith I will keep believing what I believe until God changes my mind. If we keep our focus on God and not on the "failings" of our brother, then we we will be one in practice and not just in Spirit.

    Your Brother In Christ,
    Gary

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  30. Gary,

    Num. 6:24-26 ‘Y’varekh’kha ADONAI v’yishmerekha. Ya’er ADONAI panav eleikha vichunekka. Yissa ADONAI panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom.

    Blessings B'Shem Yeshua

    Rick

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  31. (This is John again.)

    Boy! I wait less than 24 hours, and now there are more comments than I can possibly hope to read, let alone properly address!

    I think my best effort would be placed in pointing out some of the assumptions that are causing our differences.

    1) Judah said, "If the Law defines sin, as Paul and 1st John states..."

    It sounds like you're referring to I John 3:4. So, let me quote a really good translation to point out a major discrepancy here. (NASB) "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness." Lawlessness does not have a one-to-one relationship with the Torah. Instead, it means a rejection of whatever set of laws you ought to be subject to.

    Also, if you stick to the principle of "sin doesn't exist without The Law", then how do you explain the sin of Adam and Eve? Cain? The total wickedness punished by God in the Flood? Etc.? These were all pre-Law, but clearly sin.

    2) Judah said, "John, He didn't say, 'After I die, the Law is abolished.'"

    The possibly hidden assumption you have here is that you must make a choice between "abolished" and something akin to "binding". But, that's only possible if you ignore the fact that Jesus DID say he came to FULFILL the law. Now, what does that mean exactly? If I fulfill my debts, that means that they are paid for and have no more power over me. Hmmm...

    The fact that the law has no more power over us does nothing to impact its goodness, value, or holiness. Please consider that.

    Consider the fact that "law" is a general word. It does not always refer to the Ten Commandments and the rest of the OT laws.

    3) Rick said, "Remember you have to look at the Law as two parts (The Torah and Oral)".

    Actually, I disagree. I know next to nothing about the oral traditions of "the law" (apart from the New Testament references to it). Instead, my exposure is almost solely to the Old Testament itself - the law as given directly by God.

    *) Now on to other comments.

    Judah said, "How do you reconcile Jesus' teachings here with Paul's? ..."

    I'm busy showing you right now. :)

    Judah quoted Galatians 3:24-25 (the part about the law being our tutor). Then said, "Yes, we aren't under the penalty of the Law -- that is, death ...".

    If you look closely at this statement, you may realize that you've just completely altered the meaning of the verse in order to make your point. The verse says nothing about the "penalty" of the law. Instead, it describes the law as a tutor. A tutor is someone who teaches you until you have learned what is needed. Once you have learned it, you don't need the tutor any more. The tutor doesn't have the same job, though he may remain a friend. THAT is what Paul was saying. (Reading it in context should help you see that.)

    Judah said, ".... That does not we are free to break God's loving instruction; that would be akin to trampling on the very blood Messiah shed for us."

    So, we're back to a question I asked several weeks ago. If you were right, then every Christian who does not participate in the sacrificial system proscribed by the Law of Moses is sinning (trampling on the very blood Messiah shed for us). However, that can't possibly be right! The New Testament couldn't be clearer that Jesus has completed, fulfilled, finished, done away with the sacrificial system (until it's reestablished during the millenium).

    So, Jesus says he came to fulfill the Law. He then fulfills a large part of the law by completely removing any need for further sacrifices. What pieces of Scripture support your position that the other portions of the law aren't treated the same was as the sacrificial system?

    Thanks for being civil and careful about the scripture. I've been in discussions where people (sometimes me too) get all caught up in their "rightness", denying the possibility that they need to alter their understanding. You appear to be willing to change your mind if the Scriptures justify it. Thank you for that. (I will too, if you can show me from the Scriptures clearly.)

    Oh, and thanks for the good comments Gary!

    John Fisher

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  32. John, Question. Would you have a problem with me if I come across a certain Scripture that talks about wearing tzitzit and I am convicted to wear them? G-d moves on my heart and I want to wear them.

    Would there also be a problem with someone reading that same Scripture and feeling conviction but pushing it aside and not obeying G-d?

    I see it as if you are convicted then you should listen to G-d, and if you are not convicted, then it is between you and G-d not you and I, yes or no?

    Rick

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  33. Rick,

    The best possible answer would be 2 Peter 1:20 "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation"

    John Fisher

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  34. John, 2 Peter 1:20 just has to do with prophecy.

    Rick

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  35. Judah, Since John brought up a Scripture in 2Peter, I have a question. Here is how it was during the time of the disciples and Paul etc. There was no New Testament and if any person asked these individuals a question or to back up what they were preaching about, they would have showed them the Tanach. Peters says in:

    1Pet. 1:14 As people who obey God, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant. 15. On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life;
    16. since the Tanakh says, “You are to be holy because I am holy.”

    Peter is quoting a direct command from Lev. 19:2 “Speak to the entire community of Isra’el; tell them, ‘You people are to be holy because I, ADONAI your God, am holy.

    Since the Torah (law) is null and void at this point when Peter is quoting this, if someone asked Peter what does it mean to be holy and show me where that is in Scripture, where does Peter show this person what holy means?bsopbj

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  36. Gary, when I asked are we free to sin, I was asking whether we have license to sin now that Messiah has come.

    I'd still like to hear yours and John's answers to those questions I posted earlier (the ones in bold). I answered your guys' questions best as I can; I'd appreciate the same favor.

    John, first I must say, I find your understanding of these Scriptures all too convenient for your position: where the Law is mentioned favorably, you assume it's any old law, not the Torah. But where the Law is mentioned negatively, assume it's God's instructions in the Torah! Too convenient!

    While you might be able to squirm out of 1 John 3, James 2, and other places that mention "the law"
    there are other places, such as Romans, where Paul explicitly talks about the Law, with the 10 commandments, being a definition of sin. He says in one place,

    "The Law has a perfectly legitimate function: if it weren't for the succinct and sugical command, 'You shall not covet', I could dress up covetousness to look like a virtue and ruin my life with it."

    We know for certain that the Law defines sin. If it didn't, we'd be in quite the predicament, since the New Testament is not a book of laws, nor does it explicitly list rights and wrongs.

    How was there sin before the Torah, before Moses, you ask? Simply, God's standard of sin always existed, it just had not yet been written down or given to Israel, since Israel didn't exist yet. I find it no small coincidence that the shedding of blood as an offering -- a trademark of the Old Covenant -- was carried out right after Adam. Ditto for sacrifices -- Cain and Able both offered them. This knowledge of sin and atonement for sin was passed down orally until just the right time when it was needed in written form for Israel.

    John, regarding fulfilling Torah and the Prophets, Jesus said in the very next sentence that the Law *is* binding, and that if anyone teaching that it isn't binding, that person will be considered least in the kingdom of God. How do you answer that?

    Regarding sacrifice, there's no Temple or Tabernacle, without it, the commandments regarding most sacrifices are impossible to carry out.

    We don't ignore the commands about sacrifice. We simply have a substitute sacrifice: the perfect Passover Lamb, Messiah Yeshua, whom you call Jesus. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Temple was destroyed shortly after Messiah's death for this very reason.

    You ask, "since you're not doing the sacrifices, why are you following any of the law?"

    My answer is, because the Law is God's sane and holy counsel (That's Paul speaking! See Romans 7), every commandment is issued by God for the physical and spiritual health of humanity. Because of this, we should do whatever of God's commandments we can. Not out of some desired to be justified by works, as the Galatians were doing, but out of a desire to do God's commandments and his loving instruction.

    Moreover, Jesus said if you follow the Law and tell others to do so, you'll be considered great in the kingdom of heaven. He said this will be the case until heaven and earth pass away. Ouch - that's a tough one for you guys to get around, something ya'll haven't addressed directly thus far. :-)

    John or Gary, would either of you care to answer these questions I posed earlier? I haven't got a response to all but the first. Here they are again:

    1. Are we free to sin (that is, have license to sin) now that we have Messiah?

    2. What defines sin? How do you know what sin is? For example, how do you know that murder is wrong? Adultery? Promiscuity? Homosexuality?

    3. If Jesus celebrated the Feasts, such as Passover, why aren't we?

    4. Are we disregarding the commandments and telling others to do so?

    I really think there's contradiction in any view that denies the Law is good and ought to be followed; too much Scripture, and too much of Messiah's own words rely on this issue. Unless I hear some direct answers to the above questions, I'm left to assume you have none and there remains contradictions in your theology.

    I realize I won't convince you no matter how vehemently I argue and no matter how many Scriptures I show you which I believe to be supporting the "Torah is good and should be followed" position.

    So with that, all I can say is, I'm in agreement with Gary and Rick that, despite all these theological differences, we're brothers in Messiah nonetheless. We can look forward to the day when Messiah shows us the ways of God, correcting the theology of everyone of us.

    Rick, great point about quoting of Torah in the New Testament! If the Torah is null and void, fulfilled and done away with, there is no way for the disciples to define sin, or what it means to be holy. Of course, they *did* use the Torah and the whole Tenakh heavily to give evidence of and prove Messiah and the things he accomplished.

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  37. Here's another great one for you guys:

    When the Pharisees asked Messiah what was the most important commandment in Torah, he said all 613 commandments in the Law hang on just 2: love God with all your heart, and love others as much as yourself. Both of those are from Torah, of course.

    Notice a common theme of those 2 commandments: love. If Messiah says the whole Torah boils down to these 2 commandments, which are love, doesn't that tell you something about the goodness of the Law?

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  38. Judah, So true when you said, "How was there sin before the Torah, before Moses, you ask? Simply, God's standard of sin always existed, it just had not yet been written down or given to Israel, since Israel didn't exist yet."

    Interesting point about that is: Look at Noah, some think that the definition of clean and unclean animals where defined only in the Torah when given to Israel. But you can see in Noah's day it was already a given. So who told that to Noah? The Torah was at the very foundations of the earth. Who are what told Cain and Able about sacrifices? You think they just said, Oh I think I will burn something here for G-d?

    Rick

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  39. Rick said, "John, 2 Peter 1:20 just has to do with prophecy."

    What is prophecy? I dare say a proper understanding of the Old Testament would clearly show that prophecy is as simple as saying what God wanted said, not foretelling the future. When seen properly, this verse describes ALL of scripture.

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  40. Rick said: "if someone asked Peter what does it mean to be holy and show me where that is in Scripture, where does Peter show this person what holy means?"

    God gave gifts of apostles, prophets, etc. for the founding of the church. This is exactly how we got the New Testament. God did not leave his church helples when they needed new revelation in order to behave in their new relationship with God.

    John Fisher

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  41. About 2 Peter 1:20, If then this verse is about ALL Scripture, then what are we doing trying to show what we mean about different verses etc.?

    Rick

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  42. Judah said, "where the Law is mentioned favorably, you assume it's any old law, not the Torah. But where the Law is mentioned negatively, assume it's God's instructions in the Torah! Too convenient!"

    This sort of argument is pointless, normally offered because the one offering the argument doesn't have a coherent way to deny the truth. If you really think my analysis of these passages is incorrect, the show me, from the context, that I'm wrong. Also, pay attention to the actual translation. I didn't "conveniently" say that "law" refers to whatever I want. I read the work of people who carefully translated the actual words of God.

    Answers to previous questions:

    1) Of course not. Do you really misunderstand us that mouch?

    2) God's Word, understood in light of the New Testaments clear teachings. (And don't forget that aside from the Sabbath, all of the Ten Commandments are essentially restated in the New Testament. This is not true for the rest of the OT law.)

    3) Jesus told us to live by the Spirit, and promised to send the Holy Spirit who would "guide us into all truth" -- because we'd need the new revelation in order to understand our NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. We're sons now, not just special servants.

    4) Not at all. I'm telling people to follow God's current direction for Christians. You're telling Christians to follow God's previous instructions for Jews. There is a distinction. Colossians 3:10-11, "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."

    It sounds like you might need to learn about the doctrine of Dispensationalism. God told Abraham to offer his son on the mountain as a sacrifice. He told Noah to build an ark. He told the Jews to obey the Mosaic law. He told Christians to listen to his apostles, which were accessible immediately upon the start of the new church.

    Are you building an ark just because God told someone else to do it? The same concept applies here.

    Please don't forget God's revelation to Peter just before Cornelius' servants requested Peter to come visit. God purposefully and repeatedly told Peter that (at least part of) the Mosaic Law was no longer in effect. If you say that some of it IS still in effect, then what scriptures do you use in order to draw the line?

    (If you don't answer anything else in this post, please address that last question.)

    John Fisher

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  43. John, G-d did not leave his people without a guide. We already had the Torah, oh but wait, that is the Law and is now done away with. Because Torah is the Law (First Five Books of Moses) so I wonder what Bible Paul preached from? It was not until after the 300's that there was a New Testament Canon. Sure you had these letters floating around but the Tanach was here. Also do you know that the Old Testament as you have was not fully put together until after 90CE. These Rabbi's who met for the purpose of finalizing the canon, did not even believe in Yeshua and yet you carry it with you. Just something to chew on.

    Getting back to what you said, "they needed new revelation in order to behave in their new relationship with God."

    They already had that, 2Tim. 3:14 But you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, recalling the people from whom you learned it; 15. and recalling too how from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which can give you the wisdom that leads to deliverance through trusting in Yeshua the Messiah. 16. All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living;

    The Holy Scriptures are talking about the Tanakh (Old Testament including the Torah) There was no New Testament at the time of this writing. This tells me that Timothy all ready had what he needed for right living etc.

    Timothy was guided toward trust in Yeshua the Messiah from childhood by his Messianic Jewish mother Eunice and grandmother Lois. What a blessing to have such a head start in life! How few Jewish believers today have that advantage! Most of us discovered only as adults the unfortunately too-well-kept secret that the Holy Scriptures, which means, of course, the Tanakh, can give the wisdom that leads to deliverance through trusting in Yeshua the Messiah.

    Rick

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  44. John, What are the commandments in this verse?

    John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    Rick

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  45. John, I hope you are not saying that the vision Peter had was something to do about food? Peter still ate kosher after Yeshua had gone, why else would he have said Not so Lord, I have never eaten anything common or unclean. Peter spent time with Yeshua and would you think that if the food issue was going to be done away with after Yeshua was gone, that Yeshua would have told him. Surely it came up in conversation. This vision was about calling Gentiles unclean and Peter tells you that in Acts 10:28.

    Acts 10:12-14
    Leviticus 11 specifies that only those four-footed animals that chew the cud and have split hoofs are kosher (“fit”) for Jewish people to eat. No reptiles are allowed, and permitted birds are listed by name. In Peter’s vision all kinds of creatures appeared, including those that are non-kosher or treif. The word “treif ” means “torn” and actually refers to animals slain by predators and not slaughtered in accordance with Jewish practice; modern “Jewish English” extends its meaning to include food that for any reason is not kosher.

    Acts 10:17-19
    Peter was still puzzling over the meaning of the vision he had seen.... Peter’s mind was still on the vision. What could it possibly mean? Would God, who established his covenant with the Jewish people and gave them an eternal Torah at Mount Sinai, and who is himself unchangeable (Malachi 3:6), change his Torah to make unclean animals kosher? This is the apparent meaning, and many Christian commentators assert that this is in fact the meaning. But they ignore the plain statement a few verses later which at last resolves Peter’s puzzlement, “God has shown me not to call any person unclean or impure” (Acts 10:28). So the vision is about persons and not about food.

    Rick

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  46. Rick, I am utterly amazed at your misinterpretation (or misstatement) of Peter's vision.

    You said, "the vision is about persons and not about food." BUT, in the vision FOOD came down in the sheet. It describes the food, and gives details about the food.

    The vision was about food. God said, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." Peter heard this three times from God, and the only context Peter had was FOOD.

    Now, clearly, the lesson included teaching Peter and the apostles that Gentiles could be saved. But to say that God's flat-out, obvious, crystal-clear statements are not truth seems nothing short of heretical.

    John

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  47. John, I am amazed also. Its amazing how we can see two different issues in the same context. I see Peter answer his vision in Acts 10:28. Oh well, G-d will show us one-day.

    But John, I am still going to eat kosher and I know I will be with Yeshua in the resurrection. :)

    Blessings B'Shem Yeshua

    Rick

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  48. Rick,

    According to Romans 14:14, I would encourage you to keep eating kosher. But, not until the Lord returns. Instead, let it be until you can agree in your conscience with God's own words, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." :o)

    John

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  49. John, You would have to put another verse up, oy!

    Romans 14:14 (koinos) is different than (akathartos).

    I also will agree not to call any Gentile unclean.

    Rick

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  50. John,
    It is everything to the understanding of the Brit Chadasha ('New Testament') to know the symbolism of the Tanakh ('Old Testament').

    If you don't understand the Hebrew thought and Hebrew symbolism of the Tanakh, you won't understand it in the Brit Chadasha, because it's all over the Brit Chadasha! Like Kefa's (Peter's) vision.

    Even if you don't understand the symbolism - look at what happened right after he had the vision, it explains everything.

    The first step to realizing Christian lies is to realize that Christianity has been trying to view the words of Yeshua and his followers in the Brit Chadasha through Greek, pagan glasses. The only way you can understand the truth of the Brit Chadasha is to look through Torah-observant, Hebrew glasses.

    And also, Rick and John, I will call goyim (gentiles) unclean, because they are. Goyim who become Israelites through the blood of Yeshua and a walk of Torah observance are made into Israelites, and are made clean, no longer to be called goyim.

    Are Christians real followers of Yehsua? Do they really know Yeshua?

    1 Yochanan (John) 3:4-6
    "Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah (Law/Instruction) - indeed, sin is a violation of Torah. You know that he (Yeshua) appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. So no one who remains united with him continues sinning; everyone who does continue sinning has neither seen him or known him."

    No one who walks the path of Torah observance, the small, narrow path remains united with Yeshua! Goyim are not Israelites. Israelites are Israelites. And if Christians or any goyim want to become Israelites, they must accept Yeshua in his entirety and walk the walk of an Israelite.

    -Aharon HaLevi (Judah's brother)

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  51. Let me correct myself:

    "No one who doesn't walk the path of Torah observance, the small, narrow path remains united with Yeshua!

    -Aharon HaLevi

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  52. Aharon, I like your music. Keep up the good work!

    Rick

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  53. "Then Peter, after having seen this vision, went out of the house and started eating every unclean thing."

    Oh wait, that's not Scripture, is it? :-) No, instead, Peter went out preaching to the gentiles. This is what the vision was about, John.

    John, I'm glad we agree on point #1 - we agree we shouldn't sin. So, the next question is, what is sin?

    Your answer to that question, #2, is that it is Scripture that defines sin. Great, be more specific: what tells you that, say, coveting is a sin? The New Testament rarely covers specifics here, and instead only re-iterates the Law.

    You didn't answer #3 at all. If Jesus celebrated the Feasts, why aren't we? I'd still like to hear a direct address of this question, or I'm left to think your theology is incomplete and inconsistent.

    You squirmed out of #4 by saying God has new instructions. Jesus said the "old" instructions are not passed away at all! He said that if you don't do them and tell others that they are passed away, you're least in the kingdom. John, you need to change your view on this, brother.

    ------------

    Regarding dispensationalism, it is a man-made doctrine, mentioned nowhere in Scripture, invented to accommodate the lawlessness abounding in our modern religion.

    Prove it to yourself: God's covenant with Adam didn't pass away, did it? We're still working by the sweat of our brow.

    God's covenant with Noah didn't pass away, did it? God hasn't since destroyed the earth with a Flood.

    God's covenant with Israel hasn't passed away, has it? No, Paul says in Romans God's covenant with Israel will never be canceled, never rescinded. If it had passed away, God would have been a liar, for he said of the Mosaic covenant: "this is to be a covenant between you and the Lord your God perpetually, a permanent statute, in all your generations."

    The fact remains, John, that you are not keeping the commandments and that you are telling others to do the same. Jesus warned us about that theology - just change your theology, brother.

    What we need to do is this: recognize that God's definition of sin hasn't changed. We then should do our best to not sin -- that is, follow the Law best we can. Not out of some desire to be justified, but out of a desire to follow God's instructions and a desire to live as a Godly people without confusion about what sin is.

    Without the clear, concise definitions of sin found in Torah, we're left with the confusion the modern church has on issues like homosexuality and sexual sin.

    John, you asked, "how do you draw the line [as to what commandments to follow]?" My answer is, follow all that you can. The apostles had a good recommendation:

    After Jesus' death, the apostles got together and decided that new believing gentiles should follow at least some parts of the Law.

    They're call the Noahide laws: don't consume blood, abstain from sexual sins define in Torah, stay away from idols, don't eat meat from strangled animals. Let me post that here for you, Acts 15:

    "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses [the Torah] is preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."

    By Paul and the apostles' reckoning, even gentiles should follow at least parts of the Law when they're saved, as they'll then pick up the rest as Torah is taught every Sabbath in synagogues. Man, how times have changed, look how far we've strayed.

    So, Messiah said we should keep the commandments (Matt 5), and the apostles, including Paul, said we (including Gentiles!) should at least keep some of the bigger commandments (Noahide Laws) -- John, by whose authority are Christians exempt from these?

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  54. Judah said, "Regarding dispensationalism, it is a man-made doctrine, mentioned nowhere in Scripture, invented to accommodate the lawlessness abounding in our modern religion."

    I assume that you never learned Dispensationalism, then. (Or you learned it from someone who thoroughly twisted it.)

    Dispensationalism is simple. God gave rules to Adam and Eve that don't apply to us anymore. (Can you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?) God commmanded Abraham to do things that he never expected anyone else to do. Over and over and over and over, we see God commanding certain people to do things that He does not expect or even want others to do. This is the heart of dispensationalism. Simply realize who God was talking to and who He was including in the statements.

    Here's another example: before the flood, they were not supposed to eat meat. But after the flood, God changed dietary laws, making meat "clean".

    You cannot Biblically deny that God distinguishes between groups of people, treating them differently. That is dispensationalism.


    To Judah's question 3: I don't celebrate the feasts because I don't really know how, and God doesn't expect me to. (I actually believe what God had Paul write down in Romans 14:4-6, rather than rationalizing it into a pre-concieved system of beliefs.)

    Judah said, "You squirmed out of #4 by saying God has new instructions. "

    On the contrary, I'm explaining my viewpoint. If by now, you think I'm merely squirming out of answering, because it's not what you believe, then I've either done a horrible job of quoting the right verses, or you're not attempting to truly understand what God is saying in the verses I'm quoting.

    It's rather scary for me to look at how many verses I've quoted, then analyse the "answers" in these comments. The most powerful, most direct Biblical statements have received no comment from Judah, Rick, and others. Instead, you take the less obvious ones and twist them to fit what you already believe.

    Now really, HOW can you twist and squirm out if Galatians 5:18, "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."

    I'm afraid for anyone who ignores what this verse says in order to fit it into something they really want to believe. God's words cannot be ignored without penalty of some kind.

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  55. Judah, I forgot to address your last question: "John, by whose authority are Christians exempt from these?"

    Christians are not exempt from any of the things that God taught through the apostles after the death and resurrection of Christ. This list includes almost everything you're trying to uphold so vigorously. The problem is that you don't seem to see this. If you think we must obey the law in order to obey Christ, you haven't really checked to see what all the apostle's doctrine says. The new covenant with God is even more restrictive in some ways, while still being more freeing. If we manage to live "in the spirit", it won't matter what set of laws we know, because God Himself will be guiding every step.

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  56. John, if I've failed to respond to one of your questions, please point them out. I've tried my best to answer all your questions.

    You said it's scary to see, despite direct pieces of Scripture, people going against your view. I totally agree. I think it's scary that you reject God's instructions in the Law, despite the clarity of Jesus' words in his fundamentals of the faith sermon in Matthew 5.

    Dispensationalism is man-made -- a point you didn't refute -- and is a convenient way to accommodate the lawlessness in our modern religion. It does not explain God's covenants, including the Mosaic covenant which God said was a perpetual, everlasting covenant!

    John, Galatians 5 says we're not under the Law. I agree! If we were under the Law, I think we'd all have a death sentence. Agreed?

    Now, how you can explain away Jesus in Matt 5 is beyond me. Here he tells us straight up, follow the Law and teach others to do so. It's eternal. I find it interesting that you're more likely to follow a vague, short quote from an apostle, than a straight, clear command from Messiah our master.

    John, you said, "Christians are not exempt from any of the things that God taught through the apostles after the death and resurrection of Christ."

    I'm curious - does that include or exclude Jesus' own teachings during his lifetime (including his teaching others to follow the Law, e.g. Matt 5)? I mean, here you're quoting Paul in Galatians, and I'm quoting Jesus in Matthew -- seems odd, don't it? Either you have a misunderstanding of Paul (which is likely, since you're a gentile with little knowledge of Torah or Oral Law, which Paul was speaking of), or I'm misunderstanding Jesus because...?

    But let's follow that for a moment, you say we should follow what the apostles taught after Jesus' death. The apostles *kept* and encouraged others to keep the Feasts of the Lord, even after Jesus' death. John, you should too.

    What's more, all the apostles agreed that new gentile believers should at least keep the Noahide laws from the Torah. Let's follow the apostles teaching here, sound good?

    As a Jew, we've had to give up religion and practices we thought were right and instead follow Messiah. Yourself being a gentile, I only ask the same of you: there are things in your religion that aren't of God, and I'm pointing them out and hoping that you will see them for what they are.

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  57. John, also, you mentioned one reason you don't celebrate the Feasts is because you don't know how. I can point you to resources if you're interested.

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  58. Judah, I can see that it's getting difficult to keep all of my points straight. You see one of my unusual viewpoints and can't correlate it with the other supporting points because they are also unfamiliar. Let me try to summarize for clarity.

    1) Dispensationalism is not "man-made". It is a realization of the way God deals with people. Every command he ever gives is to a single person or a group of people. Occasionally, that group includes everyone, but by no means does it always include everyone. Studying God's Word to see who he was talking to and about is all the dispensationalism. It certainly isn't "man-made". How else would you explain that you don't have to offer sacrifices any more? You have a different set of rules than the Old Testament saints did.

    2) It is clear that we have some variation in the rules (law) that God expects us to live under right now. *) Gentiles can now be clean. This was not possible under O.T. law. Though Gentiles could be marginally accepted, they were never allowed all the way in until now. *) God never gave the Holy Spirit freely as he does to all Christians now. *) Christians benefit from a vastly improved relationship with God (sons, co-heirs, etc.) The OT saints didn't get this sort of priviledge. *) There are plenty more differences between OT saints and NT saints.

    Then we have Paul teaching that another part of the OT law is no longer in effect. 1 Corinthians 7:18-19, "Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God." (Apparently "keeping the commandments of God" means something other than obeying the OT law which states that the males must be circumcised!)

    3) Based on the above two facts (not opinions!), we can see the need to figure out HOW much has changed since Jesus death and resurrection. There only appear to be two possible choices. a) Keep every part of the law that we can, only letting go when the NT tells us we must. b) Release our hold on the OT law, knowing that it is still very valuable for teaching God's eternal principles, but looking primarily to the new revelation from God to guide us in our new relationship with Him. You have clearly chosen (a), while I am convinced that (b) is the Biblically accurate choice.

    4) Galatians 5:18 means something. (I can hear you saying, "Duh." ;o) But, what does "under the law" mean? You keep inserting the word "penalty" in there. Why? God didn't say "under the penalty of the law". He said, "under the law". Remember that adding to God's words is just as wrong as taking away from them. Unless there's a really good reason from scripture to insert "penalty" in there, I'm going to have to reject that insertion.

    Please address either how you can insert "penalty" in there, or somehow reconcile the concept of not being "responsible to obey the law" within your framework.

    5) You indicate the the apostles kept the feasts (and normally they probably did, except for Paul). You also indicate that they encouraged others to keep the feasts. But, in their own words, "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)

    Where does an apostle ever say that we must keep the feasts? You seem to think that they did, but where is it? (I should point out that keeping the "ordinance" of the last supper may qualify as a feast in your viewpoint. If so, then I do keep one of the feasts, and that because it is clearly taught that we should do so until Jesus returns. Though, I'm sure you wouldn't look at it and think of it as anything like the way Jesus probaly did it. This is what I believe 1 Corinthians 5:8 is talking about, especially since Paul provides further clarification on the subject later in that same book.)

    Against being required to keep the feasts, we have Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 9:20-21, "To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law."

    Paul says he can act as though he is without the law (though not being disobedient to God). According to the way I understand you, that would be sin. God wouldn't have Paul teaching others to sin.

    6) Jesus statements before His death are in the same category as all of God's statements in the OT. He was speaking to Old Testament people (even though these books are part of the New Testament). So, he told them of the way God expected them to behave at the time that He was speaking. After His death and resurrection, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to His church to provide them with the new revelation they needed (primarily through the authority of the apostles).

    7) I dare say you've spent the same amount of time reading and replying to these posts as it would have taken to prayerfully read through Galatians 10 or 20 times. These letters were meant to be read all at once, not a verse at a time. I firmly believe that you'd change your opinion (at least slightly) after reading Galatians through several times. It would then color your understanding of Romans, which would possibly create a domino effect that would help you understand and even accept what I believe the Scripture teaches.

    John Fisher

    P.S. Judah, did you know that I work in the Twin Cities area too?

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  59. John, The way I see 1 Corinthians 9:20-21 is this way:

    Paul did not play charades in “becoming as” the people around him. What he did was empathize with them. He put himself in their position. He entered into their needs and aspirations, their strengths and weaknesses, their opportunities and constraints, their ideas and feelings and values — in short, he tried to understand “where they were coming from.”

    Having established common ground with those he was trying to reach, he could then communicate the Good News in patterns familiar to them, using rabbinical teaching methods with Jews, philosophical thought-forms with Greeks.

    But he never condescended by imitating or feigning ungodliness or legalistic compulsiveness or “weak” scrupulosity, for the degree to which he would change his behavior to make them feel at ease was always constrained by his living “within the framework of Torah as upheld by the Messiah”

    Rick

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  60. Rick, I understand that you think "the degree to which he would change his behavior to make them feel at ease was always constrained by his living “within the framework of Torah as upheld by the Messiah”"

    But, where does Paul say that? It's really tough to argue something Biblically without any references.

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  61. Wow, what a list of posts!

    There seem to be two camps here (or at least they are being viewed that way). One view is that the "Law" is still required for those who have come to faith in the Messiah. The other view is that there is no more sin and that we are free to do as we please since the price has already been paid.

    Well, enter the third camp ;) I do not fall into either of the two previous views completely. John has pointed to many passages that would say we are not under the Law. That does not mean however that the "Law" has been done away with, it is as valid today as it was when it was first given. If someone can follow the "Law" by the letter and not transgress it and walk perfect before God, they have no fear of judgment. I know of one that has done that, but no other.

    There are clearly passages talking about sin and how we must not sin. In Galatians and other places it shows lists of sins we can do in the flesh and says that people who do these will have no part in the Kingdom. Some (not of this thread) say that just means those sins will keep us from having any part here and now in this earthly kingdom. I believe it is talking about the Heavenly, not earthly, that that is another topic another time.

    So, we have some passages referring to the “Law” being fulfilled and other ones still talking about sin and the law. It would sound like a contradiction. We have read in this thread about two types of the “Law”, but I will bring up a third type, “The law of liberty”. It is this simple, God has written the law on our hearts, not in letter, but in deed and if our hearts convict us, we have sin, regardless if God views that action as sin, if our heart does it is sin. Why would something that is perfectly okay before God be sin to us? Because God judges by our heart, by what we know, by understanding when we go against what we believe is right, that is Sin, not some list of ordinances.

    Well then, what about the Law? As mentioned in this thread, it is a tutor. A tutor teaches. If it teaches what does it teach? It is not the text of the Law that is taught, it is the meaning of the Law.

    What did circumcision teach? Col 2 tells us what the point is among other passages. It is not in the letter of circumcision, but now in the circumcision of Christ.

    Posted earlier in this thread was the passage about the Law hanging on two commandments, which was Love for God and for man. Yeshua said this was the fulfillment of the entire Law. Did not mention circumcision nor feasts, nor Sabbaths, He said if you follow just these two you have fulfilled all the Law. Of course, some will say that if you Love God, you would follow every line of the law, so to some it will not matter anyway.

    As mentioned earlier, in Galatians it says that if we are led by the Spirit then we are not under the Law. And in Romains, if we walk after the Spirit then there is no condemnation. Again, some might say that if we are led by the Spirit, we will follow every part of the Law. So, again, it is an “agree to disagree” point.

    My belief, as I read the Scriptures is that we are under the “Law of Liberty”, not without laws or rules, but of Liberty. That Liberty is by what is written in our hearts. Once we are born again, we receive the Holy Spirit and He will lead us (as long as we listen, which is what I view as “walking after the Spirit, not after the flesh”) and if we listen and follow we have no reason to worry about judgment. If however we do not listen He will grow quiet and our flesh will lead us. When we feel His conviction though, if we repent and begin to listen again, those sins (not listening to Him when He says something is wrong, a transgression against the Law He has written in our hearts) will be forgiven never to be brought against us.

    If that means you are convicted to eat kosher, then that is exactly what you should do or anything else your heart convicts you about, because to you it would be sin. The Law is now in our hearts, not the “letter” of the Law, but the meaning of the Law, what it was trying to teach us in discipline and values.

    What about the feasts, are they right or wrong? My view on this is also simple, when Yeshua comes back most of the Jewish traditions will be reestablished in the new Kingdom and I would imagine the feasts will also and we all will partake of them as will Yeshua. Does that mean it is required, not at all, but hey, we will sooner or later anyway, so maybe it is best to get a head start :)

    Jew, Gentile, Male or Female, does not matter, the only thing that does is that we are believers in Yeshua and should be lovers of God and of mankind.

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  62. Fact: One thing a person who is not Jewish must understand. If you were to tell me years ago before I new Messiah Yeshua, that the Law was done away with, you just told me to rip up the first five books of Moses because the is what the Law (Torah) is. Sometimes it could mean the whole 24 books. Law in English is the first five books of Moses, the Torah. So for me as having had my family hand down to me 3000 plus years of Torah, it is very hard to understand when you say the Law is done away with. Messiah has come and paid the sin sacrifice. So if you ever get to witness to a Jewish person, never tell them the Law is done away with, you just lost him or her.

    Rick

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  63. Rocky Moore said, "the other view is that there is no more sin and that we are free to do as we please since the price has already been paid."

    Who is expounding that view in these posts?

    John Fisher

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  64. Rick,

    Thanks for that last post. I've been operating under the assumption that you understood what I meant by saying that we are not under the law. Obviously, I was wrong to assume that anyone would just automatically know. So, here's a quick summary (and I really do mean quick).

    The law is still useful for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness -- even though we are not bound to obey each individual command. It can and does teaches us about God's character, which informs any sincere Christian in his efforts to know and please God.

    When God tells the church through His apostles and prophets that they need to obey something, that is binding. When God tells OT Israel to offer sacrifices, circumcise their sons, celebrate certain days, and avoid certain foods, this is not binding because of several NT passages that clearly teach this.


    John Fisher

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  65. John, You said, "When God tells the church through His apostles and prophets that they need to obey something, that is binding."

    So who then is Yeshua, when He says in
    John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me, and the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

    Yeshua said MY Commandments (plural) and did not say to obey any new commands the apostles would say.

    What is neat here in this verse is you have HaDavar (the Word speaking) Yeshua was and is the Word. He spoke in the beginning to obey Him, not man and then He comes in the flesh and says to obey Him again.

    Man hates to be told to do anything. Look what happen to Adam and Eve.

    Yeshua is my role model and I can imitate Him. I therefore can celebrate the days He said to celebrate because He did also. Paul did too. So is there anything wrong with that?

    Rick

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  66. For everyone (especially the anti-nomian Christians), check out this Hebraic understanding about the goal of the commandments in belief and how it relates to the fruit of the Ruach (Spirit):

    http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=15334792

    Shalom,
    Aharon HaLevi

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  67. I'm sorry, the above link won't work, it was cut off short. Hopefully I can use html and link to it. Click here.

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  68. Rick said, "Man hates to be told to do anything. Look what happen to Adam and Eve."

    Man also loves to think he is righteous by clinging to rules. Look at the Pharisees. Also, remember Jesus conversation with the woman at the well, where he said that worship would be different than that proscribed by the law.

    --

    Rick said, "Yeshua said MY Commandments (plural)..."

    Well, let's analyze your stated viewpoint to see whether you really believe it. Here are a very few of Jesus commands (and since He's God, I can go to the O.T. too).

    - "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils" (Matthew 10:8)
    - "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it" (Jonah 1:2)

    You probably don't obey all of these, and you probably don't think that you should. The question is "Why not?" These are commands directly from God. According to what I can read of your position, you ought to be obeying these as well.

    However, you are likely following the same thought processes that I've been trying to present to you. (Be careful there! You're thinking like a dispensationalist!) The difference is that you don't follow that same logical, consistent thought process when it comes to the Mosaic Law and the New Testament teachings.

    Here's another one:
    - "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 10:5-6)

    After His death and resurrection, he told the same group of men:
    - "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:14)

    Which one are you going to obey? Why? Does one set of commands *really* override the other? Or, does historical context *actually* make a difference in determining whether the command applies to us?

    --

    Then Rick said, "... and did not say to obey any new commands the apostles would say."

    Then, what about these verses?
    - "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." (2 Cor. 12:11-13) God routinely used signs and wonders to show people that they were to listen to someone He sent.
    - "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;" (Ephesians 2:20) Are not the words of the apostles and prophets the same as the commandments of God?

    Also, are not the apostles messengers from God? Doesn't the OT tell use over and over that we are to listen to God's messengers, because their words are from God Himself?

    ---

    Maybe it's just me, but your objects seem weaker. Am I coming across as an ignorant know-it-all who wouldn't change no matter what the Bible said, or are you seeing some truth in what I'm trying to present? (I try to use lots of verses, since that's the best and only support for any Biblical position.)

    John Fisher

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  69. Aharon HaLevi, if you believe that I'm anti-nomian, please re-read my posts. Our differences lie not in the question of obedience, but in the question of what we are to obey.

    John Fisher

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  70. John,
    You said "if you believe that I'm anti-nomian, please re-read my posts. Our differences lie not in the question of obedience, but in the question of what we are to obey."

    Is 1 John 3:4-6 not good enough? Is the Scriptural, historical, and religious context of the Brit Chadasha not good enough? Is the base of Torah and the Hebraic understanding of the Scriptures off or wrong?

    You're rejecting the rock that we are to build our house upon! You're building your house on sand. "Get away from me, you workers of Torahlessness" -Yeshua
    If you keep it up, you will be surely swept away by the storm coming soon and will not make it into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Nomia is the Greek word. It is the same word also used for Torah in the Greek Septuagint. It is the word translated for Torah in Greek. It's no secret, no mystery, no misunderstanding to what Yeshua and many others talked about....

    -Aharon HaLevi

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  71. Well John, I obey G-d and it is not just rule keeping, Oy! You so miss it. I love to obey G-d. You will not bring me over to your side, which means replacing the Sabbath, easter or christmas. That is that. No more from me on this matter unless you are seeking to get away from the traditions of men.

    In Messiah Yeshua

    Rick

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  72. I'm sorry you think that way Rick. But according to 1 Timothy 4:1-5, it looks like you ought to be the one trying to "get away from the traditions of men". (It's also too bad that you gave up on me, without using very much scripture.)

    1 Timothy 4:1-5 (emphasis mine, of course)
    "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and ...

    ***advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.***"

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  73. Aharon,

    Thanks for the solid scriptural reference, but where are you getting your greek word definition? I looked, and Strong's definition says, "illegality, i.e. violation of law or (genitive case) wickedness". While the Law of Moses definitely is a law, do you honestly believe that this word is restricted to only that law? If so, how would Paul have written anything that talked of governmental laws not in the Torah?

    I am trying to "keep up" a hermeneutically sound understanding of the Scripture. If you show me something clear from the scripture, I will change. Thank you for trying, but that word definition doesn't seem to mean what you were thinking it meant. (You shouldn't have trouble finding other passages, if this is as clearly taught as Rick indicated.)

    John Fisher

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  74. Just curious, but for those that believe we are still under the "Law", or at least a portion of it, what laws exactly do you believe all followers of Yeshua should obey?

    Another question is, what is the outcome for the 95% of Prodestant believers who never have and continue to not obey the "Law"?

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  75. Rocky, Why do you want to know this?

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  76. Rick, why not? Just curious for the most part. I have noticed a number of messianic believers seem to think we are still bound to the Law or that only Jewish believers are bound to the Law. Recently, on a show I watched called "The Jewish Jesus" on NRB, said that Jewish believers must follow the law but not non-Jewish believers.

    From what I can see so far though, most who do believe we are under the "Law" seem to vary on exaclty what part of the Law or how much of it. Most seem to say the punishment part is dealt with through Yeshua, but what about the parts that declare death of a sin, how is that applied or removed from the list? What about all the animal sacrifices for things other than sin? What about the Sabbath, do those who believe this way actually not do any work nor cause others to from Friday evening to Saturday evening? Now work at all, no going out to eat, no shopping, etc?

    I cannot imagine going 24 hours without working on my computer...

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  77. Rocky, If you wish to understand this point, look up my site (Powered By HaDavar) then email me and I will give you my home number.

    Scripture says keep the sabbath holy. So what does that mean to you? What does no work mean to you?

    If G-d is pricking you heart to understand this, then look up my site and we can talk over the phone.

    Rick

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  78. John, I'm glad you keep bringing up dispensationalism. It gives me ample opportunity to thoroughly debunk that nonsense. You said,

    "[Dispensationalism] is a realization of the way God deals with people. Every command he ever gives is to a single person or a group of people. Occasionally, that group includes everyone, but by no means does it always include everyone. Studying God's Word to see who he was talking to and about is all the dispensationalism."

    Problem is, the Torah is given to all of Israel as a perpetual statute, an eternal covenant. If you think only the Jews make up Israel, you're both physically wrong (Jews are about 1/3rd of all Israel) and spiritually wrong (Paul says gentiles are grafted into Israel in, Romans 11).

    I must say, with all this "it was given to a particular people, not all of us" kind of thinking, you sure don't apply it to Paul's letters to Galatia, Corinth, Rome, and so on, despite those letters being written to very specific people groups at specific points in history.

    It certainly isn't "man-made". How else would you explain that you don't have to offer sacrifices any more? You have a different set of rules than the Old Testament saints did.

    It is man made; people invented it in recent history. It's nowhere in Scripture. It was created to accommodate the lawlessness of our modern religion.

    We don't ignore the sacrifice Laws as you ignore the whole Torah - instead we know that a substitute sacrifice was made which was perfect, thus continuing in God's righteous commandments.

    John, you said,

    "It is clear that we have some variation in the rules (law) that God expects us to live under right now. *) Gentiles can now be clean. This was not possible under O.T. law."

    Read Numbers 15, John. I'll post it below from the NIV:

    For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do. The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is an everlasting ordinance for all your generations. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD : The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.' "

    Ouch! That kind of ruins the false theology right there. "An everlasting ordinance for all your generations" -- excellent! No dispensation here. :-)

    The reason there is no difference between Jew and gentile now is that gentiles are grafted into Israel through Messiah (Romans 11), making them equals as the Torah had it.

    John, you said,

    "God never gave the Holy Spirit freely as he does to all Christians now. Christians benefit from a vastly improved relationship with God (sons, co-heirs, etc.) The OT saints didn't get this sort of priviledge."

    God sent His Spirit to believers in Messiah on the Feast of Pentecost - no strange coincidence! It was part of the fulfilling of that Feast. (That isn't to say what is fulfilled should be abolished!)

    But you're right - we have a better covenant now. That's what was prophesied in Jeremiah 31: a better covenant with Israel (who are now gentiles) and Judah (who are Jews). What we are contending is this: the new covenant does not cancel or abolish the old.

    John, you said,

    "Then we have Paul teaching that another part of the OT law is no longer in effect. 1 Corinthians 7:18-19, "Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God." (Apparently "keeping the commandments of God" means something other than obeying the OT law which states that the males must be circumcised!)"

    I read that differently. He's saying circumcision and uncircumcision is only keeping God's commandments; it can't bring salvation as some were claiming. I just checked out a literal translation of the Bible -- Young's Literal -- and I see that reinforces that position.

    Remember, in both Corinth and Galatia, there were those who said you must be circumcised to be saved. This is why Paul intentionally did not circumcise Titus. On the other hand, he *did* circumcise Timothy! So either Paul was flip-flopping, or you don't correctly understand the above passage.

    John, you said,

    "Based on the above two facts (not opinions!), we can see the need to figure out HOW much has changed since Jesus death and resurrection. There only appear to be two possible choices. a) Keep every part of the law that we can, only letting go when the NT tells us we must. b) Release our hold on the OT law, knowing that it is still very valuable for teaching God's eternal principles, but looking primarily to the new revelation from God to guide us in our new relationship with Him. You have clearly chosen (a), while I am convinced that (b) is the Biblically accurate choice."

    I'm all for what Jesus said, whereas you're all for what Paul said. Jesus said this: If anyone claims we don't need to follow even the least of the commandments, he will be least in the Kingdom of God. Messiah's words. You're doing exactly that, something Messiah explicitly warned us against.

    John, you said,

    "Galatians 5:18 means something. (I can hear you saying, "Duh." ;o) But, what does "under the law" mean? You keep inserting the word "penalty" in there. Why? God didn't say "under the penalty of the law". He said, "under the law". Remember that adding to God's words is just as wrong as taking away from them. Unless there's a really good reason from scripture to insert "penalty" in there, I'm going to have to reject that insertion.

    You believe in the Trinity, yes? Are you aware the word Trinity is not mentioned anywhere in Scripture? You believe it, though, from context: the talk of the Father, His Spirit, and Messiah.

    Likewise, Paul talks in Romans and Corinthians that we are free -- not under -- death. This is plastered all over the gospels as well: that death (the penalty for breaking the Law) has lost its sting.

    We agree the Law has no ability to save sinful man. Paul declared that "by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight". All the law is capable of doing is condemning us and showing us that we've sinned by its clear, concise definitions of sin. We know that "the wages of sin is death": If I commit a crime and am executed, yet I happen to rise from the dead, the law has no more jurisdiction over me because I satisfied its penalty. In Messiah, believers have already died, and so the law cannot exact its penalty from us.

    This is the same reason Paul is using all this "dead to the Law/alive in Messiah" talk in Romans 7 and elsewhere. Death and life: the Law prescribes the former, Messiah brought us the latter. In short, he saved us from the penalty for breaking the Law: death. I'm sure you actually agree with this point, you just contend Jesus saved us from, apparently, keeping the Law.

    John, you said,

    "You indicate the the apostles kept the feasts (and normally they probably did, except for Paul)."

    Probably kept them? Ha! Certainly kept them is more like it. We have record in all the gospels of the apostles keeping them (Acts 2). We have record in Acts of all the 11 apostles gathered together for the Feast of Pentecost, after Jesus' death.

    "except for Paul"

    John, you are misinformed, brother. Let me prove to you that Paul kept the Feasts and encouraged others to do so:

    Acts 18: "Paul bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus."

    Acts 20:16: "Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost."

    1 Corinthians 5: "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth." (Passover, of course, is the festival where you eat bread without yeast, or Matzah.)

    John, do you still believe Paul didn't keep the Feasts?

    John, you said,

    "You also indicate that they encouraged others to keep the feasts. But, in their own words, "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)"

    John, read the first verse in the chapter. What does it say? The Pharisees were saying you had to be circumcised to be saved. This is what the disciples are addressing!

    What's more, you so conveniently omit the next few lines, where Paul, Barnabas, and the disciples all agree to make new gentiles believers follow a subset of the Torah -- the Noahide Laws. Ooops! You also forgot the last bit in that chapter, which says the gentiles will simply hear the rest of the Torah preached in the synagogues every Sabbath.

    John, you said,

    "Where does an apostle ever say that we must keep the feasts? You seem to think that they did, but where is it?"

    I just pointed you to Paul saying we should. But the best way is to lead by example, which all the apostles, including Paul, did just that. Even a fool can see this has been proved thoroughly from Scripture.

    John, you said,

    "I should point out that keeping the "ordinance" of the last supper may qualify as a feast in your viewpoint. If so, then I do keep one of the feasts, and that because it is clearly taught that we should do so until Jesus returns. Though, I'm sure you wouldn't look at it and think of it as anything like the way Jesus probaly did it. This is what I believe 1 Corinthians 5:8 is talking about, especially since Paul provides further clarification on the subject later in that same book.)"

    Let me pull out my trusty Bible and quote that here for us,

    "And Jesus gathered them together and said, 'Verily, verily, I am creating a new religion. Since new religions must have new holidays, I am making a new one called the last supper. The first sunday of every month you must dring the juice of grapes in little plastic cups, and pretend it's my blood.'"

    Oh wait, I apologize. I must be reading from the Western Gentile's Lawless Reinterpreted version of the Bible. ;-) Excuse me while I pull out the old NIV,

    "Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."

    "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked.

    He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'"


    Ah, there it is, Jesus and his disciples once again keeping the Feasts, this time Unleavened Bread and Passover.

    John, you said,

    "I firmly believe that you'd change your opinion (at least slightly) after reading Galatians through several times. It would then color your understanding of Romans, which would possibly create a domino effect..."

    Yes, a domino effect that leaves no Pillar of Scripture standing. Without the solid bedrock of Torah, upon which all the rest of the Scripture is built, there is no foundation to stand on. In the end, we're left with the mass moral confusion evident in the modern Church; we can't even decide if homosexual ministers are a bad thing, because we've thrown out Torah as null and void.

    What you are proposing is silly: read Paul and reinterpret the rest of Scripture from him.

    John, I challenge you to look at it from the opposite perspective: Paul's apostolic writings do not override the gospels, Jesus, the Prophets, or the Torah. On the contrary, Torah is the foundation upon which the prophets are built. The gospels are validated by the prophets. And sitting at the wee top is Paul's apostolic writings, which must be validated against the gospels.

    John, if you answer just one question from this post, answer this: If you're alive when Messiah comes back and invites the whole world to celebrate the Feasts with Him in Jerusalem, will you still proudly claim you are not under the Law?

    p.s. John, I didn't know you worked in the Twin Cities. Software dev? (I assume you're from CP?)

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  79. p.p.s. John, here's a book and free audio teaching on Galatians from someone with more knowledge of Law, Oral Law, and Mishna than you can shake a stick at: Avi Ben Mordechai - Galatians.

    If one approaches Galatians as built atop the gospels, the prophets, and the Torah, its meaning becomes far clearer, especially to gentile minds with little knowledge of Torah, Oral Law, Talmud and Mishna.

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  80. Judah said, "gentiles are grafted into Israel through Messiah".

    That's not quite true. Gentiles are grafted into Messiah, the vine -- not into Israel. Read this more closely, please. Romans 11:17-18, "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you." Also, keep in mind John 15:5 where Jesus says, "I am the vine, you are the branches..."

    Judah said, "you sure don't apply it [dispensationalism] to Paul's letters to Galatia, Corinth, Rome, and so on"

    I assume that you're assumption is based on the difficulty in seeing my whole position at once. It is an incorrect assumption. Paul wrote to Christians when he wrote those letters. I'm a Christian. He also gave instructions in some of those letters that they be read in the other churches, more Christians. It's rather obvious that they apply to all believers.

    "[dispensationalism is] nowhere in Scripture."

    I've shown you places where it exists already. Remember Noah? He wasn't supposed to eat meat, but then God told them they could after the flood. Killing was totally out of the question before the flood as well (even Cain wasn't punished by death). However, God changed the laws so that capital punishment was instituted after the Flood. This is dispensationalism.

    If that isn't clear enough, read these verses:
    - Ephesians 1:10 (KJV) "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times..."
    - Ephesians 3:2 (KJV) "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:"

    The word dispensation (greek=oikonomia) means an administration (of a household or estate) or stewardship, which I'm sure you understand a little better from the scriptures. God distinguished between different
    administrations / stewardships / dispensations, making Paul a primary steward of one dispensation.


    Judah, you quoted part of Numbers 15 as a comment on my statement that Gentiles couldn't be clean under the OT law. While what I wrote was not accurate in the way that everyone read it, my intent was correct -- that Gentiles were not fully clean under OT law, like the Israelites were. The women were in a similar, but "less unclean" situation. They were not allowed into the parts of the temple that the men could enter. Neither could the non-priests enter the holy place, and only the high priest was "clean enough" to enter the holiest place (but only once a year). NOW, even Gentiles Christians are allowed to come "boldly before the throne of grace" any time they want. Definitely different!!

    Then Judah said (after quoting part of Numbers 15), "'An everlasting ordinance for all your generations' -- excellent! No dispensation here."

    Thanks for this verse. It made me think hard. So, let's do a word study on that Hebrew word translated "everlasting".

    - Genesis 13:15, Genesis 17:8, Genesis 48:4, Exodus 31:13 -- The land would belong to Israel forever. Here you have two issues to address. 1) The were a couple of times where the Israelites did not posses the land that God had promised them. Applying this to our current topic, that allows for a temporary lapse.
    2) God will totally destroy this universe in the future. Clearly, there is an end to the ability of the Israelites to possess that land. Applying this to our current topic, it allows for an end of the indefinite period of time that the word implies.

    - Genesis 49:26 -- Israel was blessing his sons and described the hills as "everlasting". That certainly doesn't mean "never-ending", if you believe God's word in 2 Peter 3:10-13. (Speaking of which, would you argue that the Law is still in effect during eternity with God in the new heavens and earth?)

    - Genesis 17:13 -- Circumcision isn't going to last forever either, since it is no longer required during this "dispensation of grace" that Paul talked about. Judah, you said you read 1 Corinthians 7:18-19 differently than I did. I think you missed the key part: "Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised." Wouldn't "let him not be circumcised" mean that Paul believed it was perfectly acceptable for Christians to remain uncircumcised for life? Yup. So, in Genesis 17:13, the word translated "everlasting" doesn't equate to our understanding of never-ending.

    - Exodus 21:6, Deuteronomy 15:17 -- A servant who loved his master could choose to remain with his master after the seventh year. In such a case, he could have a hole bored through his hear and he would serve his master "forever". This word again has an obvious cutoff point (death of the servant or the master). The meaning of the Hebrew term should be getting clearer at this point.

    - Leviticus 25:43-46 -- God says that the heathen around the Israelite were to be their bondmen "forever". Do you know of any Israelites that keep Gentile slaves? Do you believe that it is still their (your?) right to do so?

    - Numbers 18:23 -- The Levites were to bear the iniquity of the people "forever". The Messiah wasn't a Levite, and the Levitical priesthood has been laid aside in favor of a higher priesthood (very clearly taught by Hebrews). Numbers 25:13 has the same limit. Phinehas was given the priviledge of the priesthood "forever" because of his zeal for God. That priesthood is not currently in effect.

    This post will get way too long if I keep going. In summary, the term translated "everlasting", "forever", etc. appears to more properly indicate an indefinite period of time, not a required understanding of "never-ending".

    -----

    Judah said, "Jesus said this: If anyone claims we don't need to follow even the least of the commandments, he will be least in the Kingdom of God."

    If you really believe that, then why do you feel free to disobey the commandments to sacrifice animals? They are some of "the least of the commandments". I hope you can see my point that even you have drawn a line that says you don't have to obey some of the laws in the Torah.

    Judah, you quite excellently described the NT teaching that we are free from death and the penalty of the law. I agree wholeheartedly (as you stated). However, those comments don't really answer the question why you can restrict the meaning of "not under the law" by making it mean "not under the penalty of the law". In context, considering Paul's analogy of the law being a tutor, "not under the law" would mean that we are not required to obey the tutor (the law) any more. (We can certainly gain useful advice, though.) Inserting "penalty" into that statement distorts the contextual meaning of the verse.

    Later, Juday said, "The Pharisees were saying you had to be circumcised to be saved. This is what the disciples are addressing!"

    That's true, but your statement doesn't address my point. They countered the Pharisees statements by effectively saying, "Don't get circumcised."


    Judah said a bunch of stuff that was difficult to read, since it appeared condescending an insulting. I find it hard to Biblically address arguments that seem to be rooted in emotion. If you want to bring up those points, again, go ahead. But please word things more carefully. (Hopefully, I misinterpreted your tone.) (I've probably come across that way to you too. Sorry.)

    Yup. The apostles (and Paul) did observe the feasts. They also travelled to places you and I have never been. The fact that they did something doesn't mean we are commanded to do it, too. But, a more direct answer is this: Acts 20:7 "On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight." The apostles were having church on Sunday!

    Judah said, in comment to my request that he read Galatians, "Yes, a domino effect that leaves no Pillar of Scripture standing." -- Um... What? I ask you to understand things the way the scripture describes them, while quoting scripture, and urging you to read the words God spoke because they are to be interpreted correctly in order to give Him the most glory. You somehow twist that into leaving "no Pillar of Scripture standing"? When you're arguing that way, it would be horribly difficult to "rightly divide the word of truth" were it to conflict with what you already believe.

    Judah asked, "I challenge you to look at it from the opposite perspective".

    Well, Judah, I have and I would again, if you could actually address the scriptures I presented as problems. I know you think you're addressing my point. But from my perspective you're just bringing up different verses to uphold your already stated positions without actually telling me how each quoted passage in Galatians can be reconciled with your viewpoint. You may think that I'm just trying to "shake your faith" or something. That's the furthest thing from the truth. I want to interpret God's Word as accurately as humanly possible. Debating with someone who desires the same thing allows us to tune our understanding of God's Word. This ought to bring both sides closer to Him.

    Judah asked, "If you're alive when Messiah comes back and invites the whole world to celebrate the Feasts with Him in Jerusalem, will you still proudly claim you are not under the Law?"

    Well, that would be awfully weird. I definitely want to be where Jesus is, so why wouldn't I go if He asked me? (Of course, if he asked me what I believed, I wouldn't lie to Him!)

    P.S. Judah, Yes! You and I have argued for Creation on CP together before. :o) (I haven't been on there for quite a while now. I moved from the La Crosse, WI area just over a year ago and my job has kept me awfully busy.)

    P.P.S. Here's another interesting tidbit about me. My grandfather was about 1/4 Israelite (the rest was Dutch). So, I've always had a greater-than-average interest in Jewish things. None of the family practices seem to relate to Jewish traditions, though. I've wondered before whether my infinitesimal amount of Israeli-ness would qualify me as any sort of Israelite in today's current Jewish understanding.

    John Fisher

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  81. Judah, I started listening to that audio. He indicates that he wants to get the Hebrew translated right, and gives a bunch of credits and summary. Then he says, "Instead of using the Greek texts, we use the Aramaic Pashita" (sp?).

    Before I spend a lot of time listening, could you tell me if I understood that right? Does that really mean that he is trying to clear up such a potentially issue without looking a the original language?

    John Fisher

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  82. John, I am not much into this blog thing because I feel we miss each others point and it is really hard to convey what we mean.

    But I will tell you how I see what you said about:

    Acts 20:7 "On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight." The apostles were having church on Sunday!

    First, you have to throw out the word "day" because that was added and not part of the original.

    Motza’ei-Shabbat in Hebrew means “departure of the Sabbath” and refers to Saturday night. The Greek text here says, “the first day of the sabbaton,” where Greek sabbaton transliterates Hebrew Shabbat and may be translated “Sabbath” or “week,” depending on the context. Since Shabbat itself is only one day, “the first day of the sabbaton” must be the first day of the week.
    But what was meant by “the first day of the week”? Were the believers meeting on Saturday night or on Sunday night? (It is clear from the verse that the meeting was in the evening.) A Saturday night meeting would fit more naturally with Jewish Shabbat observance, wherein the restful spirit of Shabbat is often preserved into Saturday evening, after the official end of Shabbat itself, which occurs after sunset when it gets dark enough to see three stars. It would be natural for Jewish believers who had rested on Shabbat with the rest of the Jewish community to assemble afterwards to celebrate their common faith in Yeshua the Messiah.

    In more simple terms, Paul did not speak for 12 or more hours on Sunday. If so that would mean Paul came to Sunday service (by western standards) in the morning at about lets say around 9 a.m. and then continued to speak to about midnight. No way. What happened is that they were meeting at the close of the Sabbath, evening. Then when the sun went down, it now becomes Sunday. That is why Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep, fell from the loft. He had been up all day on the Sabbath and was tired because it was Saturday night as the U.S. would call it or Sunday but not daylight yet. So yeah, Paul did speak on Sunday but not as you would understand it to be, it was on Saturday night after they had rested on the Sabbath.

    Rick

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  83. John, Also how do you know what the original language was? Can you know for sure?

    Rick

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  84. John, you were able to explain away "enternal" and "everlasting" as something other than their meaning. Wow. You either ignore or explain away Jesus' teachings on the Law. That's just not Scripturally sound.

    John, if dispensationalism addressed covenants, I'd be more inclined to listen. Can you tell me how many covenants God made with men which he later broke by his own will? Where is an example of this in Scripture? Finding the word "dispense" in the King James Version does not validate the man-made doctrine of dispensationalism.

    John, your point about the sacrifice commandments are moot; they are physically impossible to accomplish right now, if God would have us keep them. This is in contrast to your position where the Law is null and void.

    What it comes down to is, we simply follow as many of God's commandments as we can out of a spirit to live a lawful, Godly life before Him. That's all. 1 John says we know we love him if we keep His commandments, and I dare say Jesus' commandments do not differ from the Father's.

    John, I'm not asking you to take my position. I'm asking you to look at Scripture not as an upside-down pyramid, with Paul at the base. I'm asking you to look at Scripture in its proper form: the Torah is the base upon which the prophets spoke, then the gospel, then Paul. Paul must be reconciled with Torah, not the other way around.

    John, we both have Scripture to back up our positions, as is evident in these posts. You feel I haven't addressed yours, as I feel you haven't addressed mine.

    In such cases, we're left to the possibility that one of us is misunderstanding the Scripture we're quoting. As a Jew with insider knowledge of the Law, Oral Law, Talmud, and Mishna, I look at Paul's writings and understand them fine, with no contradiction between him and the rest of Scripture. You, on the other hand, as a gentile with no such knowledge and understanding, attempt to make the rest of Scripture work with your understanding of Paul's writings. I think that's where you're currently wrong. It doesn't take much to change, though, it's just theology. I encourage you to change that theology.

    Regarding your quote on Paul meeting for Church on Sunday...that's just so far off theologically, I hardly know where to begin.

    First off, the Sabbath wasn't changed to Sunday until the Roman Catholic Church changed it by its own authority over 400 years after Messiah. They did this because the first Pope, the Holy Roman Emperor Constantine, was a sun-worshipper who merged his sun worshipping beliefs with Christianity; going so far as to meet at sunrise each Sun-day at the foot of the Church in Rome to bow to the sun, thus instituting the first sunrise services on the day of the Sun. If you don't believe me, look it up on any Catholic historical website; Catholics freely acknowledge this sad fact.

    Meanwhile, Constantine's hatred of Jews is what drove him to suppress anything "Jewish", including the Feasts of the Lord (which aren't Jewish, they are the Lord's! Lev 23). Anyone caught celebrating these feasts or the Biblical Sabbath would be put to death as an heretic.

    Furthermore, Constantine merged the pagan religions composing his empire into the state religion of his version of Christianity. His successors, excluding Julian the Apostate, continued in this tradition of merging pagan things with belief in Messiah, to the point where the modern Roman Catholic Church and its Protestant offspring would be unrecognizable to any of the early believers.

    This mess is what we've inherited: man-made, pagan holidays of Lent, Easter, Christmas -- all relabeled as Christian -- a new man-made sabbath occurring on Sun-day (no coincidence), a calendar with days of the week named after false gods (Sun-god day, Thor's day, Friya Day, etc.), the months named after false gods and pagan rituals (Janus, Februa, etc.)

    We've inherited those things and replaced God's things with man's.

    Your defense of them is only natural because you're tied to your religion. That's understandable.

    Myself and Rick have taken the leap of faith to rebuke the man-made things from both Judaism and Christianity. John, I hope someday you'll be able to do the same.

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  85. Rick, thanks for the explanation of Acts 20:7. I had the same bits of information you had, but I needed the clarification you gave. (It did sometimes puzzle me that they would have been preaching for a whole day, and then into midnight. But that problem isn't necessarily gone, just because it happened to be Saturday night.)

    Oh. Related question. Do all the Jews consider the evening to be the beginning of the day, as God seems to define a day in Genesis 1?

    John Fisher

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  86. Rick asked, "Also how do you know what the original language was? Can you know for sure?"

    I assume you're talking about the New Testament, and more precisely about Paul's epistles.

    Seeing that Paul wrote primarily to Gentile believers, who didn't have a lot of Hebrew background, it makes loads of sense that he wrote to them in Greek, which any of the Israelites would have been able to read also. Besides that, I haven't come across any references to ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the New Testament which anyone claimed were the actual originals.

    I have more assurance that most of the New Covenant was written in Greek than assurance that I will safely navigate through traffic tomorrow morning.

    John Fisher

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  87. Judah said, "John, you were able to explain away "enternal" and "everlasting" as something other than their meaning. Wow. You either ignore or explain away Jesus' teachings on the Law. That's just not Scripturally sound."

    How can you say that? I quoted Scripture to show you the way the word was used. How cany you simply ignore actual Hebrew word usage in favor of your preferred understanding?

    Judah said, "Finding the word "dispense" in the King James Version does not validate the man-made doctrine of dispensationalism."

    You have it backwards. Men saw the word translated as "dispensation" and figured that God was teaching them something.

    About the sacrifices, Judah said, "they are physically impossible to accomplish right now, if God would have us keep them."

    Where in the law does God give you permission to disobey, just because it's hard to do something??? (Remember, I'm trying to understand your viewpoint, here.)

    Judah said, "we simply follow as many of God's commandments as we can out of a spirit to live a lawful, Godly life before Him. That's all."

    Amen. If we could agree on the best way to please God (i.e. which way to interpret His will about the OT laws), then this discussion would be unneeded.

    Judah said, "Paul must be reconciled with Torah, not the other way around."

    Would you say that Paul's epistles are not Scripture if you couldn't reconcile them with the Old Testament? I don't believe that either of us would, which is why we have both attempted to reconcile them, but in obviously different ways. I don't believe that God gives priority to His Words in any way but that taught in the Old Testament - the most recent revelation takes precedent. You can see this when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mountain. Before Abraham could complete the task, God changed his orders. If God wanted us to operate on "oldest is most important", then Abraham should have killed his son. But, God wants us to use his most recent set of commands when there is a difference. That is why I've chosen to read Scripture the way I am.

    Judah said, "As a Jew with insider knowledge of the Law..." and "...You, on the other hand, as a gentile with no such knowledge and understanding..."

    I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but can you see the arrogance in that statement? It also happens to be true that I have plenty of OT knowledge. In fact, it may just be that since my exposure is to the OT itself without all of the traditionals wrapped around it, that I may be able to understand it better than you in some ways.

    Judah said, "I encourage you to change that theology."

    I'd be happy to, if you could reconcile the verses from Galatians that I quoted for you quite early in this series of comments.

    Rick very successfully address the Sunday/Saturday thing. However, you must admit that there's something unusual when it comes to early Christian worship. They actually met every day (Acts 2:46). I'm sure that neither of us lives up to that example.

    Judah said, "Your defense of them is only natural because you're tied to your religion."

    Please quite assigning wicked motives to me. I have done nothing like you are suggesting. In fact, without counting, I'd guess that I've quoted more OT verses than you have in this thread. That means something to me -- I'm trying to come to a proper understanding of the scriptures. Please use the Spirit of God next time you post, rather than what appears to be your own slightly vengeful spirit.

    Judah said, "Myself and Rick have taken the leap of faith to rebuke the man-made things from both Judaism and Christianity."

    Interestingly, I believe that I'm doing the same -- much the same as Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for all the man-made rules wrapped around the OT law.

    On that note, can you explain what you and Rick mean by "kosher"? I imagine there are plenty of variations, but the popular one is on vary shaky ground when it comes to scriptural support for them.

    John Fisher

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  88. John, You asked, "Do all the Jews consider the evening to be the beginning of the day, as God seems to define a day in Genesis 1?"

    Most secular Jews do not, but if you are in Israel you might not have a choice especially when it comes to Friday night, the beginning of the Sabbath. Then stores and shops open up again on Saturday night. Then also all the celebrated holy days begin the night before.

    John, You said, "They actually met every day." You know, we should seek HaShem everyday, but do we. I myself fall short on that. What else is there in this world then to seek Him daily? What else matters? Nothing but Him.

    You asked, "Where in the law does God give you permission to disobey, just because it's hard to do something???"

    After we crossed over the Jordan, G-d wanted us to do it this way as He says in:

    Deut. 12:10 But when you cross the Yarden and live in the land ADONAI your God is having you inherit, and he gives you rest from all your surrounding enemies, so that you are living in safety;
    Deut. 12:11 then you will bring all that I am ordering you to the place ADONAI your God chooses to have his name live — your burnt offerings, sacrifices, tenths, the offering from your hand, and all your best possessions that you dedicate to ADONAI;
    Deut. 12:12 and you will rejoice in the presence of ADONAI your God — you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves and the Levi staying with you, inasmuch as he has no share or inheritance with you.
    Deut. 12:13 “Be careful not to offer your burnt offerings just anywhere you see,
    Deut. 12:14 but do it in the place ADONAI will choose in one of your tribal territories; there is where you are to offer your burnt offerings and do everything I order you to do.

    I don't think the Muslims would like for me to try an offer anything on the Temple Mount. he he.


    John, as for as the kosher issue, I follow what G-d says in the Torah.

    Rick

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  89. John, you said:
    "

    Aharon,

    Thanks for the solid scriptural reference, but where are you getting your greek word definition? I looked, and Strong's definition says, "illegality, i.e. violation of law or (genitive case) wickedness". While the Law of Moses definitely is a law, do you honestly believe that this word is restricted to only that law? If so, how would Paul have written anything that talked of governmental laws not in the Torah?

    I am trying to "keep up" a hermeneutically sound understanding of the Scripture. If you show me something clear from the scripture, I will change. Thank you for trying, but that word definition doesn't seem to mean what you were thinking it meant. (You shouldn't have trouble finding other passages, if this is as clearly taught as Rick indicated.)

    John Fisher"

    The root word is nomia/nomos. Which, as I said, is the same word used for the word Torah in the Greek Septuagint. Anomia is a combination of the prefix 'a-' meaning without, and nomia/nomos meaning without Torah = Torahlessness, Lawlessness, wickedness, sin, etc...

    If you honestly want to believe there is some other "law of christ" that has never been defined or has never existed, then you won't believe us, that's the thing preventing your belief in keeping Torah.

    Yeshua's words in Matthew 5:17-19 are in the Greek text the same word for Torah.

    It's asinine to think that Yeshua quoted the Torah and from it made his own law (which he clearly didn't because he CLEARLY explained the most important of the mitzvot (commandments) and showed us that all of the commandments are based on loving HaShem (God) and fellow man). Yeshua did not make his own law. Well actually he did at Sinai when the Torah was given to Israel. That is Yeshua's law, the Torah of YHVH, the God of Israel.

    -Aharon HaLevi

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  90. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  91. John, Here are some verses that Ezekiel is talking about a future event. Obeying laws in verse 27.

    Ezek. 36:24 For I will take you from among the nations,
    gather you from all the countries,
    and return you to your own soil.
    Ezek. 36:25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you,
    and you will be clean;
    I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness
    and from all your idols.
    Ezek. 36:26 I will give you a new heart
    and put a new spirit inside you;
    I will take the stony heart out of your flesh
    and give you a heart of flesh.
    Ezek. 36:27 I will put my Spirit inside you
    and cause you to live by my laws,
    respect my rulings and obey them.
    Ezek. 36:28 You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God.


    The Spirit should be causing us to live by His laws and obey them and no where in Scripture does it say we will obey Him perfectly. The laws that are spoken of here are not any new commands that you think you might see in the New Testament. These are the instructions on how to live that G-d has already given us in the Torah and that Ezekiel was very aware of. The one instruction the G-d has taken away is the sin sacrifice because Yeshua paid that for us and has now become our High Priest.

    Rick

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  92. Well said, Rick and Aaron.

    John, you were wise to avoid addressing the covenants in the man-made dispensationalism - I see no where in Scripture where God willfully breaks or absolves a covenant. Do you?

    John, you didn't show that "eternal and everlasting" mean something other than "without end". You interpreted that yourself by saying Israel didn't always occupy the land before the covenant was given. Yes, which is why "everlasting" is used, not "since the beginning of time". And you said God will destroy the world, at which point Israel won't occupy the land. Actually, when Messiah returns we know there will be a new heaven, new earth, and a new Jerusalem, in which we see from Zechariah that we will be celebrating the Feasts with Him there. So 'eternal' it is without end. :-)

    John, the sacrifices aren't just "hard" to do, as you say. The laws about sacrifice are impossible to do because they require them to be done in Israel in the Tabernacle or Temple, which is supplanted by a Muslim Mosque on the Temple Mount. They are impossible to carry out right now, should God lead us to carry them out. Therefore, saying "you don't do the sacrifices so I don't have to do *any* of the Law" is a bad argument.

    You called me out for arrogance about knowledge of the Law contrasted with gentile ignorance. I am not bragging, so I apologize, that wasn't the intent. I mean to say, isn't is possible that since most Jews have knowledge of Torah deeper than most gentiles, we may better understand when Paul speaks of Torah? After all, Paul himself was a Benjaminite Jew, a former Pharisee himself.

    [on changing theology]"I'd be happy to, if you could reconcile the verses from Galatians that I quoted for you quite early in this series of comments."

    I have, John. I've proven thoroughly from Scripture that Paul *cannot* be saying the Law is abolished, even point to places where Paul tells us we confirm the Law (Romans), we establish the Law (Romans), we should keep the Feasts (1 Corinthians), not to mention Paul himself kept both the Law (Acts) and the Feasts (Acts), and he agreed with the rest of the disciples that new gentile believers should follow at least a subset of the Law.

    "Interestingly, I believe that I'm doing the same -- much the same as Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for all the man-made rules wrapped around the OT law."

    Interesting! If that's true John, then praise God for that. In particular, which man-made rules are you rebuking?

    "On that note, can you explain what you and Rick mean by "kosher"? I imagine there are plenty of variations, but the popular one is on vary shaky ground when it comes to scriptural support for them."

    Just what the Scripture says. Most Jews have gone overboard with man-made rules built around Torah -- separate kitchens for dairy, no mixing of meat and diary, and other man-made rules -- these are not found in Scripture. God tells us that certain foods are not good to eat. I believe Him. :-)

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  93. Aharon asked, "If you honestly want to believe there is some other "law of christ" that has never been defined or has never existed"

    You lost me in some sort of context switching. We were discussing 1 John 3:4. Where did "law of Christ" come from?

    Aharon said, "Yeshua did not make his own law. Well actually he did at Sinai when the Torah was given to Israel. That is Yeshua's law, the Torah of YHVH, the God of Israel."

    So, you don't count the New Testament commands as part of Jesus laws for Christians? When they conflict (which I've already shown that they do, and which is why you don't sacrifice animals), what do you do?

    Aharon said, "It's asinine to think that Yeshua quoted the Torah and from it made his own law"

    Are you awar that you indicated that I believe something that I don't believe and then insulted me for it? This sort of thing has come from both you and Judah. Doesn't a condescending, insulting attitude constitute sin in your and Judah's reading of the New Testament?

    John Fisher

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  94. Rick said, "The laws that are spoken of here are not any new commands that you think you might see in the New Testament."

    Thanks, Rick, for quoting those verses. I agree with your statement that I just quoted. According to my best understanding of Biblical prophecy, Jesus will reinstate all of the Old Testament laws, even animal sacrifices, during the millenium. I believe that's what this passage refers to.

    Rick said, "The one instruction the G-d has taken away is the sin sacrifice because Yeshua paid that for us and has now become our High Priest."

    I almost want to congratulate you for admitting that, since I haven't heard anyone from "your side" admitting that any part of the law was "taken away".

    Given that you do agree that this one part of the law is no longer in effect, how do you look on me and others who believe similarly when, through honest reading of the whole Bible, they believe that other things have been taken away as well?

    John Fisher

    John Fisher

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  95. John, You asked, "how do you look on me and others who believe similarly when, through honest reading of the whole Bible, they believe that other things have been taken away as well?"

    I look on you and others has having filters placed over their eyes that were put in place by man over 1700 years ago. You can have honest reading, but reading thru a filter can affect your understanding.

    Are you going to celebrate any of the commanded holy days this year?

    Rick

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  96. Judah said, "I see no where in Scripture where God willfully breaks or absolves a covenant. Do you?"

    There are a bunch of hidden assumptions in this question, and most of them revolve around what I believe to be your belief in Covenant theology. If I'm guessing right, you believe that the church and Israel are the same basic entity during this timeperiod. Since I don't believe that, and it would take another 94 posts to discuss it, I respectfully decline to comment on it further.

    Judah said, "we know there will be a new heaven, new earth, and a new Jerusalem"

    Correct! The land God promised to Israel no longer exists!

    Then Judah said, "in which we see from Zechariah that we will be celebrating the Feasts with Him there."

    You didn't leave a reference, so I can't be certain which verses you're talking about. But, most of Zechariah's end time prophecy concernes the millenium, which takes place on this earth, not the new heaven and new earth.

    Judah commented, "Therefore, saying 'you don't do the sacrifices so I don't have to do *any* of the Law' is a bad argument."

    I didn't make that argument which you so nicely quoted. But, I'll answer your "impossibilities".

    1) "they require them to be done in Israel in the Tabernacle or Temple"

    You're a comparatively rich American. You could afford the cost of travelling to Israel a few times a year to observe the feasts properly and to perform the sacrifices.

    Also, your faith in God appears to be somewhat limitted. If were God's will that you perform sacrifices in a specific place, we could pray and move the mountain, or we could arm ourselves like Jonathan and his armor-bearer and clean the place out. Remember that nothing is impossible with God.

    We could rebuild the temple, like the Israelites did after the captivity in Babylon. Someone who believes he must sacrifice animals to obey God would not be trusting God enough or trying to obey as much as he should if he just sat around in America saying it was "impossible" to obey God.

    Can you see what I'm getting at? I mean, Jehoshephat and the Israelites defeated a huge army by singing and walking -- because the trusted God. Impossible is an awful weird word to hear from someone who believes that God can raise him from the dead!

    Judah said, "isn't is possible that since most Jews have knowledge of Torah deeper than most gentiles, we may better understand when Paul speaks of Torah?"

    Yes, it is possible. Which is one of the reasons I'm enjoying parts of this discussion. (And thanks for the apology, even though you didn't intend to sound arrogant.)

    Judah said, "I've proven thoroughly from Scripture that Paul *cannot* be saying the Law is abolished"

    I wouldn't agree to "proven thoroughly" since I have so many more questions for you. However, I think the bigger issue here is what you thing "abolished" means, and why you keep using that word instead of the ones I'm using (not under, primarily). Don't forget that I also referred to the fact that ALL scripture is useful for "doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness". In that sense, the law is clearly not "done away with" or "abolished".

    Judah asked, "In particular, which man-made rules are you rebuking?"

    Well, after already discussing Peter's vision, and 1 Timothy 4:1-5, I doubt that you'll change your mind about your eating habits. But I really think people who eat kosher foods *in order to obey God* have a problem. Even if I were to admit that the law of Moses still had authority over my diet, how does that affect which jar of pickles I buy when I go to the store? It seems like there are so many wrappers around a few minor verses that if those people devoted as much energy to clearly commanded activities, there would be a lot more spiritual growth. (I'm not really sure where you stand on this, though your last comment would seem to exclude you from this pickle. (What a convenient pun!))

    I just borrowed a book that will hopefully make it easier to explain my view. After reading it, if you are still posting comments here, I'll provide some meaningful quotes. Hopefully that will clear up some of the confusion between us, so we can possibly come to an agreement.

    John Fisher

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  97. Ok John, So now you say we have a problem.

    You said, "But I really think people who eat kosher foods *in order to obey God* have a problem."

    So with that statement in mind, are you saying that if I were a vegetarian, or someone who only eats vultures, or a person who could eat anything he chooses, has no problem?

    But since Judah and I want to adhere to a Biblical diet, we have a problem. Interesting.

    I never said you had a problem because you did not adhere to a Biblical diet. You asked me about Kosher, and I told you why I eat that way.

    John, Question for you: Within these different camps of thinking, which one will be raised to everlasting life with the Messiah?

    1. Judaism
    2. Catholics
    3. Torah plus Yeshua
    4. Baptist
    5. Methodist
    6. Lutherans
    7. Non Denominational
    8. Presbyterians
    9. United Church of G-d
    10. Protestants
    11. Groups that say if you only speak in tongues then you are saved.
    12. Any other denomination that believes in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


    Rick

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  98. John, I'm glad you're so inclined that you believe if we have enough faith, that God could make the 3rd Temple a reality.

    I agree. Until then, sacrifices cannot be done, should God have us do them.

    Blessings John, thanks for this debate, it has been interesting. I hope we've challenged you to look at God's commandments in a new light. I also hope there is no walls built up over our current difference in theology.

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  99. Rick, I think you slightly misunderstood my comment about "eating kosher in order to obey God".

    I meant something that I know you'll agree with. It is a huge problem if people pile man-made rules on top of God's commands and then treat obedience to them as obedience to God.

    John Fisher

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  100. Judah said, "Blessings John, thanks for this debate, it has been interesting."

    I agree. (I'm also glad that you're indicating it's time to end it. It has taken too much of my time each night to keep this up for long.)

    "I hope we've challenged you to look at God's commandments in a new light."

    You have, and I hope that I've challenged you to consider the New Testement teachings a little more carefully.

    "I also hope there is no walls built up over our current difference in theology."

    Well, I'm sure the walls will be there, but they should be about the size of the ones in my son's lego house. Not really a problem! (I hope the same goes for you, and it sounds like it does.)

    John Fisher

    P.S. If you ever feel like contacting me out of the blue, you can send me an email through CP. It's obviously simple for me to reach you, right here. Thanks.

    P.P.S. My absolute best friend in college was partly my best friend because we would debate things in a similar fashion to what we just did here.

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  101. Oops, forgot to sign that last one!

    John Fisher

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