What Is Sin?

There is much debate on whether one should follow the full Torah, the Ten Commandments, or just to love others. Each side puts up verses that supposedly contradicts the other. I say supposedly, because I believe the Bible does not contradict itself nor does it correct itself. One topic that I rarely see discussed is what is sin. Maybe through defining what sin is we can see what we shouldn’t do and therefore see what we should be doing.
The Hebrew word for sin is chet and means to miss the mark. The Greek word for sin is hamartia and also means to miss the mark or to fail in hitting the mark. Whether one looks at either the Tanach or the Gospels/Epistles, sin is missing the target that one is shooting towards. Whether in archery or in life, missing the mark is not good.
The disciple John wrote about sin as well and said “Everyone who sins breaks the Torah; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). John understood the mark, the target, was Torah. Some people will state what is sin has changed and it no longer means breaking the Torah, but just the Ten Commandments or some other list of commandments.
Before we continue looking at 1 John 2, let’s dig a little deeper into what is lawlessness from verse 4. The Greek word for lawlessness is anomia and means without law either due to ignorance or violating it. The root of the word anomia is anomos and means destitute of the mosaic law. This is the same word Yeshua (Jesus) used in Luke 13:27 and Matthew 7:23 – “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ “ Those who may call on Yeshua’s name and do things His name, but practice rebellion against the Torah, God does not know you. Is this harsh? We might think so, but they are His words. Nonetheless, sin is destitue of the Torah.
As we continue looking at 1 John 2, I think it will become more apparent what the target is in regards to verse 4.
V5 - You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 
I am pretty confident in saying that just about every believer agrees that Yeshua was sinless. Hopefully, everyone agrees the target for Yeshua was the Torah. The same Torah God gave to Moses and His people at Mt Sinai. Yeshua did not come to take away the Torah, but to take away our sins. From here it is pretty clear the definition of sin is what we looked at previously, transgressing the Torah is sinning.

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G-d Knows My Heart?

Rabbi was speaking about G-d knows my heart in Parashat Shemini and spoke about Aaron sons who were burnt up for either bringing strange fire or being drunk in the Tabernacle or both. Who really knows, but the fact was they loved G-d and yet they did something they were not supposed to do.
So when someone says to us, “G-d knows my heart” what that person is really saying is, I have an excuse for disobedience. However, what they may not know, is that G-d addressed this issues in His word:
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. Jeremiah 17:9-10
The Torah was never meant for salvation. It was given so that those who follow it can be closer to G-d. Be more like Him. It is said that David was a man like G-d’s own heart. Why? He loved the Torah, see Psalm 119 which is the longest chapter in the entire Bible.
Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the L-rd your G-d, which He commanded you, for now the L-rd would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The L-rd has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the L-rd has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the L-rd commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14
You see G-d wanted a leader who would lead His people into following Torah. Saul wasn’t leading people into following Torah therefore he was removed. This is the verse Acts 13:22 was referring to when it says David was a man after G-d’s own heart. G-d wants people obedient to Him. Man’s ways only lead to death.
Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 16:25 – There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
We are to love G-d right? What is loving G-d? Scripture defines loving G-d like this:
And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. 2 John 1:6
You might be thinking this means the 10 commandments, but I ask you, where does Scripture state it is only the 10 commandments we are to follow? Who violated Torah and subtracted from the commandments? What did Christ follow?
You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the L-rd your G-d which I command you. Deut 4:2
There was no “New Testament” during the 1st Century. That is when the Gospels and all the Epistles were written. It did not exist as a canonized book until a couple hundred years later. You might say well I love others as G-d said for me to and the Law is summed up in that one commandment. Loving others is following Torah:
By this we know that we love the children of G-d, when we love G-d and observe His commandments. For this is the love of G-d, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:2-3
Those who are continuing to justify not following Torah right now, but say you know G-d, John has something to say to you:
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6
The truth is Torah. When John says the truth is not in him, I think John is saying the Torah is not put in your heart yet. This is the “new” covenant per Jeremiah 31:33. It says G-d will put My Torah in your inward parts and write it in your hearts. Psalms 119:142, 151, and 160 tells us the Torah is truth. So, if you say you know Him and don’t keep the commandments, the Torah, then you are called a liar and the truth is not in you. We are to walk as Yeshua walked. We are to imitate Paul, who imitated Yeshua. They both followed Torah.
Friends, this may be hard to accept. I understand. It is a lot to think through, but please think long and hard about this. Love G-d above all else. Seek Him with all of your heart, soul, and strength. Nothing else matters!
Shalom and until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!

Peter’s Vision – Acts 10

Have you ever wondered why in Peter’s vision in Acts 10 the vision include beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air?

The meaning of the vision has long been debated and it is clear that verse 28 shows what Peter thought the vision meant – but G-d hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Nonetheless, many people argue that this is all about food. If v28 was not enough to persuade you otherwise, if chapter 11 is not enough to persuade you otherwise, then this might. The nations of world…the gentiles were called the beast of the fields or similar titles many times in the Tanakh.

And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. Deut. 7:22

Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour. Jeremiah 12:9

And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. Jeremiah 27:6

And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. Ezekiel 34:5

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. Daniel 7:3

And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. Hosea 2:12

At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. Job 5:22-23

All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. Isaiah 56:9

Peter was shown the beasts of the fields, b/c the Tanakh uses them to symbolize the nations. G-d had dispersed the Northern kingdom b/c they wanted to be like the nations and seek other gods. They were given over to their enemies who were call the beasts of the field. The nations were to devour Israel. Basically, the nations were to envelope them and they were no longer to be different…they were going to be assimilated.

So what did Peter’s vision instruct him to do…devour and eat. Assimilate the nations into Israel. Be the light that Yeshua was and is. Be the light that G-d always wanted you to be to draw in the nations.

If you still think Peter’s vision is about food and the vision was saying G-d’s people can eat whatever we want how can you come to this conclusion?

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!

Who is Paul?

Sha’ul or you may know him as Paul has a certain way of writing. His letters cause all sorts of confusion. 2 Peter 3:15b-16 says just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,  as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Peter tells us Paul is hard to understand and the untaught and unstable distort not only Paul’s teachings but all of Scripture. Yet so many believe they can read Paul’s letters and understand what he is saying without any effort. The purpose of today’s message is about Paul and who he was and what did he practice.

Paul tells us in Acts 23:6 that he is a Pharisee. Take notice this is not right after his vision on the road to Damascus. This was 25, 30 years later. He called himself a Pharisee and is a son of Pharisees. What do you think this implies?

In Acts 22:3 Paul tells us he was born in Tarsus, but grew up in Jerusalem. He was educated under Gamaliel, which if it was not the best it was second best Yeshiva at that time. To be accepted in the Yeshiva he would have had to display a knowledge and understanding of the Torah beyond the average person. It is similar to be accepted to Harvard or MIT today. Paul was well educated in Judaism, more than likely from a wealthy family, and at least considered himself a Pharisee.

Now that we understand a bit of his background, let’s look at a few of his actions. In Acts 25 Paul defends himself and says “I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” In other words Paul is saying he has not transgressed against Torah. In Acts 18:18 we are told he had his haircut for he was keeping a vow. What kind of vow would this be? It is logical to believe it was a Nazarite vow based on Acts 21. Let’s take a look.

Starting in Acts 21:17, we are told Paul met with James and all the elders. They discussed Paul’s ministry and say see how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed and they are all zealous for the Law. Here it is clear that Paul is still teaching Torah. Paul is then told of a rumor that he does not teach the Law. So they devise a plan to show that he still kept the law. This plan included purifying himself (mikvah), pay the expenses for 4 others so they can shave their heads. Then in v26 they go to the temple and offered a sacrifice. All part of the Nazarite vow.

I did skip over one verse that I think is important. The verse is 24b which says “and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.”   This was Paul’s opportunity to state that he does not teach Torah. Did he? No! Some say this was Paul being all things to all people. I ask you, does that sound like Paul? A man who was arrested, beaten almost to death, and stood up to Peter, an elder. Paul does not sound like a man that is wishy washy or is trying to please people. The verse where Paul says he is being all things to all people is taken out of context. In Acts 24:14, Paul says that he believes everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets.

It is clear from Scripture that Paul was Torah observant. To observe the Torah you cannot teach not to observe the Torah. Therefore, we know Paul was not only Torah observant, but taught Torah observance. When looking at Scripture it is best to know about the writer to get a better understanding of the writing. When looking at Paul’s letters one must understand Paul’s mindset and that it is thoroughly Jewish.

Next time we will dive into Galatians 4.

Acts 15 – Does James Really Say….?

Acts 15.  This is a hotly debated chapter of Acts.  Many believe this chapter shows the Torah is no longer binding.  Many believe they only have to do the four things stated in v20.  Yet, there is a lot missing in those four things, namely love.  Most believers who know something about this chapter also conveniently do not mention v21.  So let’s take a look into what is going on.  Also, this passage does have to do with food, which is why I chose it next.

v1 – Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Some were teaching you cannot be saved unless you are circumcised.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Judaism does not teach this.  Judaism is not about works salvation.  While some may believe this, it does not make it true.

On the next couple of verses, it speaks of the debate among them and Paul and Barnabas going to Jerusalem.  We know they were coming from the Galatia area from the epistle of Galatians.

v5 – But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”

A couple of things about this verse.  One, notice it is a sect of the Pharisees and not all of them.  Since the collection of Pharisees belonged to several different schools they would have believed differently.  Second, this is a continuation from verse 1.  These Pharisees are saying in order for the gentiles to be saved it is necessary to circumcise and to observe the Law.  It is the same argument and the same with whom Paul and Barnabas were debating back in Galatia.  Circumcision had become a conversion ritual by the Pharisees just as baptism is often misused today as a means of joining a particular church.  This sect of Pharisees wanted to make these gentiles proselyte’s.  Yeshua warned them in Matthew 23:15 – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”  This sect of Pharisees were heaping not just the Torah, but all these other rules/commandments on them called fences.  These fences were built to protect people from violating Torah.  The unfortunate thing is they started following more the fences and not the Torah.  They were requiring people to follow the fences, raising the fences above Torah.  So when the term Law of Moses is mentioned above, I do not believe Luke meant Torah.  In few verses I will show you why.

In the next few verses there is a debate and then Peter gets up to speak.

v10 – Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

Many believe Peter is speaking about the Torah when he says by placing on the neck a yoke no one has been able to bear.  As we just finished discussing the yoke is not Torah.  We are told in 1 John 5:3 that His commandments are not burdensome.  The yoke is the extra rules this sect of Pharisees were requiring.  Yeshua said this in Matthew 23:2-4 – “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”

After this James gets up to speak.  He quotes verses from the Tanak and then provides the 4 things (I say 5) the gentiles should abstain from.  They are:
1.  things contaminated by idols
2.  fornication
3.  things strangled
4.  from blood
5.  ?

Before I provide the 5th item, let’s get into the 4 items.

The first 2 items are interesting, b/c they are 2 issues that are held against 2 of the assemblies in Revelation 2:14 & 20.  Things contaminated by idols means anything associated with idols including food.  For instance, we you go to certain Asian restaurants and you see a little statue with food at it, all the food served that day has been dedicated to that god and we are forbidden to eat at that restaurant.

Fornication.  Many believe this has to do with sexual sins, but I do not think so.  It being placed next to things contaminated by idols is a clue.  The word in Greek is porneia can also mean associating pagan items with the things of G-d.  This was an issue with the Galatians, for Paul warned them in Galatians 4:9-11 – 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?  You observe days and months and seasons and years.  I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.

Things strangled and from blood.  Improperly killed animals.  The Greek word used is pniktos and means an animal deprived of life without the shedding of blood.  The Torah says we shall not eat blood (Deut 15:23 & Lev. 17:10).  Yet many will eat meat not properly killed and blood is all in the meat.  Some even go out of there way to eat “bloody sausage” and things like it.

Please notice these 4 items do not tell us to love G-d, our neighbor, we should not murder, etc.  this means this list was not meant to be complete.  Since loving G-d is the greatest commandment. These 4 prohibitions are things the gentiles were coming from and needed to be addressed as they came to worship the true G-d.  The gentiles could not be bringing these pagan practices into the synagogue.

The next verse is the 5th item.  v21- For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

Do you see it?  The Sabbath.  The 4 prohibitions was the beginning of having a relationship with G-d.  The rest of the Torah will be heard as they attend the synagogue each Sabbath.  In case you did not know, a portion of the Torah is read every Sabbath in every synagogue across the world.  A majority (if not all) of them read the exact same passage across the world on the very same day.   James was not saying they only have to do these 4 things.  No. That does not even make sense.  They start by removing these pagan practices out of there lives and the rest they will hear and start following throughout the year.

If, James and the other leaders, proposed doing away with the Torah, there would have been an uproar of major proportions.  The whole city would have went mad.  Yet, there is nothing said about this.  Also, Paul would not have taken the Nazarite Vow in Acts 21 to prove that he still followed and taught Torah.

After going through Acts 15, do you really think it is saying no circumcision?  Do you really think it is saying you do not have to follow Torah?

Next time, we will dig into didn’t Paul say we could eat foods sacrificed to idols and declare all foods clean.

Do you disagree with anything written above?  Do you agree?  If you believe differently, stand up and discuss.

Acts 10 – Food or Gentiles?

I referenced Acts 10 and Peter’s vision.  Some believe all foods were declared clean here.  Wait, I thought it was Mark 7 all foods were declared clean.  Ah, yes, Mark 7 had nothing to do with food, yet the translator’s decided it should be.  What was Acts 10 about?  Let’s take a look.

Acts 10 starts out with a vision by Cornelius the centurion, a gentile.  Scripture says he was a devout man who feared G-d.  His vision told him to send for Peter in Joppa.  The commentary breaks from Cornelius and goes to Peter.  The next day he sees a vision.  His vision was an object like a white sheet with all kinds of animals, birds, and insects.  A voice told Peter to kill and eat.  What was Peter’s response?

“By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything common and unclean.”  Common and unclean is two different things.  Food that has become common is food that was considered clean, but become defiled.  How?  A clean animal that died of natural causes or a defect was found in the animal like an abnormal growth.  There are few other ways that a clean animal can become common.  Now, an unclean animal is one designated unclean by G-d in Leviticus 11.  We know the designation of clean and unclean was given much earlier than to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai.  We know Noah knew the difference between clean and unclean, since there were 7 pair of clean animals and only 2 pair of the unclean animals.

v15-16 – Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.

It is easy to take these last several verses to say all food was declared clean.  One has to think about we are told that G-d does not change.  G-d said the one who eats pig was an abomination to Him, but people say now it is ok.  They base their opinion on passages like this.  Let’s continue…

v17a – Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be

If Yeshua had really declared all foods clean in Mark 7 then why would Peter be so perplexed here?  If Yeshua had come to do away with the Torah, one would think Peter would know.  Yet, he was perplexed by this vision.

v18-27 – these verses are showing the ones Cornelius sent to Peter and there exchange.  Then it shows Peter entering Cornelus’ house.

v28 – And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet G-d has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.

Here Peter is speaking of the Oral Torah.  I do not like to speak of the Oral Torah negatively since the perception is already so negative of the Oral Torah.  But no where in the written Torah are the Jews told to not associate with foreigner’s.  In fact, the Torah says the opposite.  We are to go out of our way to be hospitable to them.  Remember Avraham and how he was always inviting foreigners to eat with him?

The second half of v28 Peter tells us the meaning of his vision.  G-d showed Peter that he should not call any man unholy or unclean.  One can argue all they want of what the visions mean, but Peter clearly tells us the meaning of the visions.  Peter then tells us that is why he did not delay in coming to Cornelius’ place.

v29 – that is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.

The rest of the passage is them conversing and Ruach Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit) coming upon Cornelius.

Again, many take Mark 7 and Acts 10 to show that all foods were declared clean yet contextually one cannot come upon the same meaning.  As we are told in 2 Peter 3:16 about Paul’s letters –  as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

I hope this helps you understand Acts 10 a little better now.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know.  If you think I am wrong, please show me.

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!

Mark 7 – To Eat Or Wash Hands?

As I mentioned in the last post, the next few posts will deal with food.  Should Christians eat kosher or were all foods declared clean?  Mark 7:19 in many Bibles state all food was declared clean.  There is a problem with this verse though.  One, in the oldest manuscripts the verse does not exist and this is why some version do not include the statement which is usually in parenthesis “Thus He declared all foods clean.”  The second problem is the context.  In Mark 7 the issue is not of food, but of ritually cleansing the hands.  Let’s take a look:

V1-2 – The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed.

Clearly, these two verses set the stage for the topic at hand.  No pun intended.  Notice the Pharisees and scribes accused only some of His disciples with unwashed hands.  They did not accuse all of them, nor did they accuse Yeshua of doing so.  This leads one to believe that Yeshua and some of the disciples did wash their hands.  Not important to this topic, but something to take notice of.

The next few verses is Yeshua condemning this set of Pharisees and scribes for setting aside certain commandments for their own tradition.  Most people have nothing to argue about in these verses.

v14 – After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.

Here in v14 Yeshua, is explaining to them the heart is defiled by the words and actions that come from it.  Not by having unclean hands.  Unclean does not mean dirty here.  They are talking about spiritually unclean.  This practice of ceremoniously/spiritually washing the hands came from the priests in the temple. The priests were commanded to wash their hands and feet before approaching the alter to offer sacrifices (Exodus 30:17-21).  We are a kingdom of priests and are supposed to be holy (Exodus 19:6 & 1 Peter 2:9) therefore some decided everyone should want to ceremoniously wash their hands.  Obviously, this was not a commandment for all, yet some of the Pharisees were more concerned about this than the actual commandments.

V17-19 – When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.).

Up to this point in the chapter, food was never a point of discussion.  Yet, for some reason someone decided to insert all foods were declared clean.  It just does not fit.  If G-d did declare all food clean, then why does Peter approx. 15 years later state his lips have never touched anything common or unclean?  Some have said, well he just continued that b/c that is what he had done all his life.  I also want to point out, Peter still calls the food unclean.  If he chose not to eat it, that is one thing, but he is still calling these animals unclean.  Why does Isaiah 66, which still is prophesy, state in v17 – Who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things and mice, Will come to an end altogether,” declares the Lord.

Yeshua goes on to show what is defiling a man, his actions, his words.  This chapter has nothing to do with food and everything to do with defiling the heart.

I hope this was beneficial to you.  If you have any questions about this verse or other ones, please let me know.

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is the L-rd!

Romans 14:5 – To Eat or Not To Eat

The next verse is going to start off a series about food. Many think the dietary laws given by G-d were abolished or fulfilled or somehow Christians do not need to follow them. One of the verses used is Romans 14:5. What is interesting they also use this verse to state the Sabbath no longer has to be followed, yet they believe the 10 Commandments do? Go figure.

Romans 14:5 – One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

It is easy to see where one might show this verse is about the Sabbath than the dietary laws, but when you see the rest you will understand. I think this verse is dealing with the same thing 1 Corinthians 8 dealt with. Foods sacrificed to idols. Let’s take a look:

v1 – Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

The first clue we have as to what is going on is in this verse. The last word is important – opinions. We are not dealing with facts here. The fact is we are to eat kosher…meaning for one no pork or shellfish. Really and truly we cannot be dealing with anything in the Torah since it is not opinion.

v2 – One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.

Remember we are not in Jerusalem or even in Israel. This is a letter to the Romans and so eating meat was a concern for many. You never know if meat is tainted or something else had happened to it. Many did not eat meat b/c of this concern. Remember we are dealing with opinions here, so the first part of the verse could not mean one thought they could truly eat all things. This was an issue in Paul’s letters in Corinthians, so it very likely could be coming up here in Romans.

v3-4 – The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand

Nothing much here, but I want to remind you that we are dealing with opinions per v1 and not facts. There is no way v3 is saying we can eat anything and others should not judge you. If the issue was not eating pork vs eating pork then vegetarianism would not be the answer. There must be something else going on. .

v5-6 – One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

It is easy to think this is saying the Sabbath day is something you must be convinced in your own mind. Again, we are dealing with opinions here. Also, the letter of Romans does not deal with the Sabbath in the entire letter. It is well known that Pharisees fasted twice per week, usually Monday and Thursday. This is confirmed both by Luke 18:12: “I fast twice a week.” as well as the Didache (an early church document dated by most scholars to be from the late first century AD) which states, “Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays” (Didache 8:1). Interestingly, from the Didache, we see not only that Pharisees fasted on certain days of the week, but that fasting among the early Christians was also a common practice, and that certain days (Wednesday and Friday) were set aside by some for the purpose of fasting. Thus, these days were “esteemed.” Is this activity fact or opinion? Opinion of course.

Starting in v14 you will see the exact argument in 1 Corinthians 8, which is beyond this post. I have an answer to this as well, but not for today. I hope I have helped you see that Romans 14:5 does not tell us to celebrate the Sabbath or any other
G-d ordained festival whenever we want and neither does it tells us to eat whatever we want.

If you have a questions or disagree please speak up.

Until next time…Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh is HaShem!

Shalom Aleichem!

Colossians 2:16-17

Often times people ask me questions as to why I think the Law (Torah) should be followed today. They will point out a verse or two as to why the Torah is no longer relevant in the church today.

So, I am going to start a series of posting verses that many believe say one thing, but in actuality says something else. If you have a verse or two in mind, let me know.

The first one is Colossians 2:16-17. This seems to be a favorite of many as to why the church or gentiles or New Testament believers do not follow Torah. What some don’t understand is Paul is warning the Colossians to stop listening to the Gnostics. Let’s take a look:

16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (NASB)

Reading this one passage with no other context seems to say don’t let others judge you as to what is a Sabbath day or food or drink, etc. In other words, you don’t have to follow them.

Let’s go back to v8 – See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Paul is warning them not to be taken captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men….. Is the Torah related to philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men? No. The Torah came from G-d. Not men. Therefore, Paul could not be talking about Torah or Judaism at this point. But he could be talking about the Gnostics, we need to read more to be sure.

V11 speaks of being circumcised in the heart (Deut 30:6, Ezekiel 44:9, Jeremiah 4:4) This is not a new and has always been a prerequisite to be in covenant with the Lord.

v14 – having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Many believe the Law was nailed to the cross, but if you read carefully, the debt we owed for sinning against the Torah was nailed to the cross. The debt was hostile to us.

I contend that nothing thus far as been against the Torah or Judasim. I also contend verse 15 needs to be read along with 16-17. Paul is saying don’t let anyone judge you for following these things…15When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Since Christ triumphed over them do not let anyone judge you in regard to those things. I also want to point out the word mere is not in the original Greek but inserted by the translators.

v18 – Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

Self-abasement and worship of angels. Again nothing from Judaism. There is nothing within Torah telling people to self-abase themselves and nothing about worshiping angels. These are practices of the Gnostics.

v20-22 – If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?

Again, principles of this world…do not handle, do not taste, do not touch – all from the commandments and teachings of men. Many believe when it mentions commandments it has to be talking about commandments from that old thing…the Tanakh (what you call Old Testatement). Again, nothing in the Torah tells people to not handle, taste or touch and everything in the Torah is from G-d. This teaching is from the Gnostics.

The last verse v23 – These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Clearly, Paul shows he cannot be talking about Judaism, the Pharisees, or Torah. The Gnostics were coming in and telling the Colossians that they could not take joy in a festival, Shabbat etc. They must self-abase. Paul was warning do not listen to those teaching from teachings of men. The festivals and Shabbat are a time of joy and lots of celebration.

I hope you see this verse differently now. If you have a questions about this passage let me know.

I hope you will continue to read as I do more of these. Again, if there is a particular verse or passage you want to take a look at please let me know.

Until next time, kadosh, kadosh, kadosh…is HaShem!

But Paul Said….Dietary Laws

But Paul Said….we could eat anything set before us.  Many Christians believe the dietary laws set out in the Tanakh were done away with.  Yet in Matthew 5 Yeshua said the Torah would not go away until heaven and earth pass away.   Hmmm.  There are many verses Christians use to say believers can eat whatever is set before us.   The verse in Mark 7:19 tells us that Yeshua thus declared all foods clean.  It cannot be both.  Peter tells us in Acts 10 that his lips have never touched unclean food.  Yet, this vision in Acts 10 occurred well after the events in Mark 7.  Certainly Peter did not forget what Master Yeshua said did he?

I was going to write a great blog on this topic, until I read the article contained in the link I provide below.  I could not really add to much to it so I thought I would just post the link to the posts.  There are 3 parts to the article.  Let me know what you think!