Why don’t Christians observe the original Sabbath?

Thanks for asking!
This issue has been a sticking point between sabbatarians and the rest of the Body of Christ for some time…but it shouldn’t be. The Bible is very clear on this subject. Let’s forget for a moment about Constantine, or that the Sabbath was a sign between God and the Israelites of their covenant (and so completely out of date) and focus on God’s purpose for the Sabbath.
Let’s start in Genesis…
The word “sabbath” means “rest”. This isn’t the kind of rest we need after a good workout. The word literally means ‘the ending of activity’. God didn’t rest on the seventh day because He was tired. God had finished creating the world, and so He stopped. He didn’t pick up where He left off when the weekend was over…He was done.
Let’s move to Exodus…
God’s covenant with the children of Israel included a lot of religious activity, including the creation of a tabernacle, sacrifices of animals, and so on. This activity only stopped on the Sabbath. Now, remember: the Sabbath isn’t about being tired…it’s about being finished with your work. The priests couldn’t stop working the way that God did in Genesis. They took a day off and went right back to it the next day. Why? Because the work wasn’t finished. They did the same things day after day, year after year. They were even forbidden to have chairs in the tabernacle because sitting down would suggest that their work was done!
Let’s keep going to the New Testament…
The Exodus Sabbath was a symbol of God’s rest in Genesis. It told the children of Israel that they would someday be able to stop working…to stop sacrificing for their own sins. When Jesus died and rose again, that day had finally come. In Hebrews 10:11-12 we see the comparison between the Jewish priests and Jesus:
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Jesus finished His work and rested, just as we see God doing in Genesis.
What about us?
How then should we view the Sabbath? God rested when His work was done, and Jesus rested when His work was done. The ancient Jews never enjoyed that rest, but it’s available to us today, as Hebrews 4:9-10 tell us:
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.
Let’s look at Colossians 2:16-17, which should erase any doubt about the nature of the Sabbath:
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
From all of these verses we can see that the Sabbath clearly isn’t a day of the week. It’s neither Saturday nor Sunday! We enter into the Sabbath rest when we stop working, and that only happens when we accept that Jesus’ sacrifice was for each of us. His work is done, and He invites us to join Him.

81 Responses

  1. God rested on the 7th day and made it holy… He made THAT day holy…
    It doesn’t say he temporary made that day holy, but that day (Also translated as “sanctified it”).

    So if this is true, why would it suddenly not be holy now? Jesus was holy, he was always holy, no change. Same concept here.

    Jesus rested on the Sabbath (Saturday) when he died. He died on Friday, rested through Saturday, even his disciples that were preparing his body for burial quit preparing him all Saturday and rested on the Sabbath (not working). Jesus rested on Saturday and rose Sunday…

    The list goes on and on…

    1. Thanks for your question, Joe!

      Look in Exodus 20:8-11, to which you refer:

      Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God…For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

      To make something holy, as you point out, is to “sanctify” it. That literally means ‘to set it apart’. The implication, whether it’s a person or a tool or money, is that it’s set apart for a specific purpose. God did set apart the seventh day, of course.

      The command to remember the Sabbath day is directly tied to God’s rest in Genesis, right? God ‘set apart’ that day…but for what purpose? If you look in Colossians 2:16-17, you’ll see the nature of the sabbath:

      …do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

      See? The sabbath day was a SHADOW of things to come. God’s people no longer perform animal sacrifices because Jesus fulfilled them. They were done to point us to Him. The sabbath is exactly the same, Joe. The observance of sabbath in Judaism pointed to Jesus, who is the true and real sabbath.

      Is Jesus holy? Of course. Do we remember (observe) the sabbath? Christians should, of course…not a day, but what the day meant: Jesus finished our spiritual work for us, and we can rest in Him.

    2. You’re making a big mistake ! You have to study the OT again ! Colossians 2:16 is talking about the ritual sabbaths not the sabbath holy day ! God has a sign between Him and His people. Jesus said that He is the Lord of Sabbath not from Sunday and I’ve a document from Vatican that proves that they changed it because (they say) that the church has the power to do that. Are you keeping just 9 commandments? Because the 10 commadments are still remaining in our days. See also Exodus 16:16-30
      And don’t say that it is not valid just because it is in the OT ! God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow. And just because it says Old doesn’t say that it is not to do! The bible never mention the sunday as the holy day. And by the way you will keep the sabbath in new earth as Isaiah says in the chapter 66. And the sabbath is a specific day ! God was not tired on the seventh day ! He was giving us the example! And we must do the same. Blessings to you

    3. Rui:

      I’m willing to listen to your argument. Please provide a reason – from Scripture – to believe that Colossians 2:16 is talking about “ritual sabbaths” and not the regular sabbath.

    4. Sure I can do that,
      The bible mention two kinds of sabbaths : Sabbath seventh day the comandment and the anual sabbaths. The anual sabbaths they are connected with the history of Israel. Col 2:16,17 says quoting from KJV : Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath {days}: {in meat…: or, for eating and drinking} {respect: or, part}Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body {is} of Christ. Also Hebrews 10:1 connects the law of shadow with the animal sacrifice. Paul quoted Ez.45:17 in the same way as used in Col.2:16,17 e it is connecting to the cerimonial system Lev.23;3 presents the sabbath seventh day and Lev. 23:5-32 the cerimonial sabbaths. God bless you

    5. Rui:

      Let’s look closely at Colossians 2:16-17, okay?

      1. The word “sabbath” is SABBATON. Grammatically, it refers to any kind of sabbath. Because there’s no indication in the text that Paul is talking about only special sabbaths, or “high sabbaths”, you can’t draw the conclusion you’ve drawn from the text itself. Instead, you are inserting your preferred interpretation into the text, which is a mistake.

      2. Your use of Hebrews 10:1 to LIMIT ‘the law of shadow’ to animal sacrifices is simply not supported by the text. Paul explains that the law is insufficient for making us righteous, and then – pay close attention – tells the believers to not stop meeting together, as some had done. Why would they stop meeting together? Quite obviously, they recognized that the weekly sabbath (the reason they had been meeting) was no longer in effect. Paul wanted them to continue to meet regularly, to encourage one another. Had the sabbath still been in effect, Paul would have addressed not meeting together in a different way.

      Were you to speak with a Jew and ask them “what is the law?”, you would undoubtedly be told that it is the law given to Moses, and everything that comes from it. The distinction that you and others make between ‘ceremonial law’ and ‘spiritual law’ doesn’t come from the text, or from any serious study of the text. It’s an idea that’s been overlaid on Scripture, not one drawn from it.

      The New Testament is clear, and adamant about the law: we are no longer under law. Paul wrote about it all the time, encouraging believers to not use their freedom unwisely. Were we not free to ignore the law, we would not have these instructions.

  2. Thank you for your response. I was taught that the bible reference you quoted talked about Jewish Sabbaths (holidays and Old Testament practices), not Saturday Sabbath.

    If we no longer need to keep the Sabbath, do we no longer need to keep any of the other 9 (of the 10) commandments either? “jesus came to fulfil the law not abolish it.”

    1. Joe:

      In discussions like this one, it’s easy to use words that cause confusion. I don’t observe the sabbath as they did in the Old Testament. Why? Because Jesus fulfilled the Law! What is the sabbath for Christians? Look at Hebrews 4:9-10…

      There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

      I don’t observe the sabbath on Saturday, or on Sunday. I observe the sabbath every single day, because I have entered into God’s rest. It’s a spiritual rest, just as the priests performed spiritual work in the Temple. I don’t have to perform religious ceremonies over and over, doing never-ending spiritual work to please God. Jesus has completed the work, and our rest is in His finished work.

      It’s sometimes difficult to say these things clearly. I don’t fail to observe the sabbath. I observe it all the time! I rest in Christ all day, every day…that is the true sabbath.

  3. The Sabbath is the 7th day of the week.It was Paul’s custom to keep the Sabbath .Now if the Sabbath was done away with then Paul preaching on the Sabbath was vanity.We are still living in the new testament.Also scipture says lawlessness is sin.So besides Gods commandments what law are you keeping?

    1. Ya’kar:

      The Sabbath is, for the Jews, the 7th day of the week. Paul, being a Jew, grew up observing the Sabbath. This much is obvious.

      What’s less obvious is what you call “Paul preaching on the Sabbath”. Could you point to some specific Bible verses where Paul is preaching on the Sabbath, so we can look at them together? I’ve noted Colossians 2, where Paul tells us that the Sabbath day was a ‘shadow of things to come’, and that ‘the reality is found in Christ’. I’m not sure how he could be more clear, but I’m open to correction. Thanks, in advance, for posting the Bible verses that will help me see your point. You might start your research project with a few of Paul’s verses listed here: Should Christians Follow the Old Testament?.

      You asked, “besides Gods commandments what law are you keeping?”. That’s a good question. I’ve answered it, at least in part, here: Should Christians Live by the 10 Commandments?. Let me know what you think.

      Thanks!

  4. Matthew 5:17-19
    17- Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. (This verse alone proves that Jesus didnt’ destroy any law, or take away any law, when he died on the cross.)

    18- For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (This verse is saying not even one jot, smallest hebrew letter, or one tittle, smallest hebrew word, can pass from the law of God.) God says not even one jot can pass from the law, and your telling me that the sabbath, one of the laws, is no longer necessary and out of date? That’s a very dangerous thing to say since God has said nothing can pass from the law, especially one of the very commandments.

    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 before you deny what I’m saying, take these verses into consideration. You can see God is very serious about his law. Anyone who changes it will have to have an answer to God.

    1. KCM:

      I have indeed taken these verses into consideration. Let’s look at it closely.

      Before we do, however, let’s admit something important. The “old covenant” was between God and the children of Israel. Right? This covenant didn’t include, for example, the Egyptians or the Persians or the Greeks. Those of us (like myself) who have no Hebrew heritage have no part in this covenant at all. We never have, and we never will. So Jesus’ words about the Law are only meaningful in the context of the Law, which was part of the covenant that God made with the Jews.

      Moving on. You say that Jesus didn’t destroy, or take away, any law when He died on the cross. You’re EXACTLY RIGHT. He did not. What He did instead is FULFILL the Law. How do we know this? From what Jesus’ earliest followers taught. Here’s a good verse (one of many) that shows us this is true:

      So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. (Galatians 3:24-25)

      How about this one?

      But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:6)

      Seems pretty clear to me. I can show you a bunch more, if you’d like. The plain and simple truth of the New Testament is that Jesus fulfilled the Law…in fact, the Old Testament is all about Jesus. Most of the regulations in the Mosaic Law pointed to Jesus. Where did I learn this? Among other places, in Colossians 2:

      Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)

      I hope that explains things a bit. You’re wise to use ALL of Scripture…I sincerely appreciate you bringing those verses to the conversation. Matthew 5 is as true as Romans 7 or Colossians 2, of course. They don’t contradict each other. In Matthew 5, Jesus is not explaining that the Law would never go away…only that it wouldn’t go away until it was fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled the Law, so we see this:

      Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. (Galatians 3:19)

      Let me know if there’s more I can do for you. Have a great day!

  5. – Yes Paul was a Jew. But he converted didn’t he? Aren’t Christians those who believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior and follow Christ? Is that not what Paul did? Paul was a convert and he still kept the Sabbath.

    -Yes, God made a covenant with the nation of Israel. But today we still keep those commandments. Do you not withhold from murdering, or worshiping other Gods, or stealing, or coveting other people’s things, or keeping statues or images of Jesus and God? If you do, why not keep the other commandment listed among these, which is keeping the Sabbath day? James 2:10

    – Jesus kept the Sabbath day. Except in those instances where he did not he was doing God’s work and healing people. But that is different than not keeping Sabbath all together, and engaging in activities such as watching TV, or cooking, or doing other worldly things.

    – Also, God made the Sabbath holy, and there are biblical examples of how the Sabbath can only be on THE Sabbath day, and not any day we choose. There is a bible passage that tells of how Moses told the people of Israel not to collect more grain than a day’s worth. However, some people disobeyed and collected twice as much so they would not have to return the next day, I believe. Then their food became rotten. But when they were picking their food on Friday, the day before Sabbath, Moses instructed them to pick twice as much so that they would not work on Sabbath. And the food did not rot, because it was for the Sabbath day. Sabbath is not about setting any other day of the week for God. It is doing it how God commanded it. We cannot do things our way, as God has shown with Cain and Abel. Abel brought the proper offering, while Cain chose to bring fruit. The fruit was the best, BUT it was not what God had asked for. God made the Sabbath day holy, and therefore we should keep.

    Another example of how disobeying God’s way of doing things is dangerous: Leviticus 10: 1-2. The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu died because they presented to the Lord a strange fire that he did not command them to.

    Also, in the book of Revelations, it says that we should pray that we do not have to flee during winter time, or Sabbath day. Why does he keep mentioning it, if we are not commanded to keep it anymore?

    I do not say these things as if to judge. I myself am guilty of not keeping the Sabbath and I have to pray earnestly for forgiveness.

    1. ES:

      Yes, Paul was a convert. No, Paul did not keep the Sabbath. Sabbath-keeping involved much, much more than simply going to synagogue on Saturday. It involved a great number of restrictions, guidelines, and instructions. To suggest that Paul kept the Sabbath after becoming a follower of Jesus Christ is to ignore both Acts 15 and much of Paul’s own words…especially those words about the law.

      Yes, God made a covenant with Israel. No, we should not run around breaking the Ten Commandments. Putting the two together and suggesting that the Mosaic Law is binding on Christians is more than a stretch…it’s an error. The Law says that violating the Sabbath was punishable by death. Jesus violated the Sabbath (as outlined in the Mosaic Law) and yet was innocent. Why? Because He knew the REAL PURPOSE of the Sabbath. It was an ancient ceremony that pointed forward in time to His own life, death, and resurrection. As Paul pointed out: why observe the shadow when we have the reality?

      Yes, Jesus kept the Sabbath…but not in the way the Law was written or understood. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Let’s also not pretend that gentiles were EVER part of the covenant that God made with Israel. They were not. So gentiles (non-Jews) never had a Sabbath in the first place.

  6. From the text you pointed out in Colossians, I am guessing I can also practice any religious festival pertaining to any religion?

    1. Jessica:

      What a great response! I laughed when I read it. =)

      Context is important. If you can read Paul’s letter to the Colossians and conclude that, you have an amazing imagination. No, that’s not what I’m saying. From the text I pointed out in Colossians, “these” (the religious festivals that Paul refers to) were clearly Jewish religious festivals that pointed to Christ. They – specifically – were a shadow of the things to come. Now that Christ has come, we no longer need to observe the ceremonies that pointed to him. After all, the reality is better than the shadow it casts, right?

      If we’re going to take the Bible seriously, it’s important to actually take is seriously enough to read more than a few words at a time. Let me know if you have any further, or funnier, questions.

  7. The Sabbath was and is to rest from physical work so one can focus on become closer to God Spiritually.

    1. Danielle:

      Thanks for visiting GodWords! I appreciate hearing from you.

      Let me encourage you to think a bit more about this subject. You say that the Sabbath is for resting from physical work. That’s a common idea, but it doesn’t match what we read in Scripture. Here are some verses for your consideration:

      And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. Genesis 2:2

      Why did God rest? It certainly wasn’t because he was tired! The Hebrew word SHABATH is translated into English as “rest”, but it’s not the kind of rest we do when we’re out of energy. Think of it more like a musical rest…it more literally means simply “to stop”. God didn’t rest from His labor because He was tired, but because he was DONE.

      Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.'” Exodus 31:12-13

      The Sabbath wasn’t put in place because people need a day off. It was to be a SIGN to the Hebrews to remember God, who provides for us both physically and spiritually.

      God created very specific guidelines about how the Sabbath should be observed, to make sure they got the point.

      Fast-forward around 1500 years, and see what Paul wrote in Colossians 2. Remember that…
      1) this is as true as Genesis 2:2,
      2) Paul was a Pharisee and an expert in the Law, and
      3) Paul is providing information about the nature of the Sabbath:

      Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

      See it? The Sabbath is a shadow of things to come. It’s not the reality, but it points to the reality. The reality that the Sabbath points to is REST…not to physically recharge, but to rest like God rested. Before Jesus, spiritual work was required to be in good standing with God. There were all kinds of sacrifices and observances, and they were only in place temporarily. Now that Jesus has come, we find our SHABATH – rest from our spiritual labors – in Him.

  8. Gen 12 the promise was given to Abram. We know he followed God’s commandments, ordinance and statutes. Gen. 26:5 (given before Mt. Sinai even). In Gen. 15 Abram wanted a guarantee, He gave it to him, walk between the pieces now there is a death penalty attached to breaking it. Exod 19:3 God gives proposal, v. 4 they accept (“I do”) Exod. 19:4-24:11 is the Book of the Covenant. In v. 19:3 He was going to make them a nation of Kings and priests. They broke that Covenant that’s when they were given the Book of the Law. Attention to detail is everything, God wrote the Book of the covenant with his own finger, both sets of tablets. Moses wrote Book fo the Law with his hand. Deut. 10 and 31, respectively. The Book of the Covenant was in the Ark fo the Covenant and the Book of the Law was on the outside of the Ark. The Book of the Law was a witness against them and is what was nailed to the cross in Colossians. The Book of the Covenant is what was written in the First tablets AND in the second set. First set broken, picture of broken first Covenant. They were under the Book fo the Law/tutor/schoolmaster until “*Shiloh come” *Gen 49:10. Now instead of being a nation of kings and priests, they are a nation with priests. God was gonna kill them and start over with Moses until Moses mediated on their behalf. Hebrews and Galatians is very easy to understand once you grasp this. “r if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.” 2 Cor. 3:11. The Book of the Law (the Levitical priesthood) is what was fading away and it was glorious because it kept them from being wiped out under Yahweh’s wrath. That which remains is the Book of the Covenant, those include His dietary laws, Sabbaths (day 7 per scripture, it is a sign FOREVER, scripture say’s forever, without end) and His feasts. If one would just look up the history of where the Christian holidays come from they will find with absolute certainty that they are of pagan origin. Mixing unholy and putting God’s name on it is what broke the Covenant in Exodus 32..the Golden Calf…they called it by His name and were having a feast for Him the next day….just what Christianity is doing today. The second Book of the Covenant, which contained the same thing (Deut. 10 same writings) are put in the ark of the covenant, which is a picture of His Torah/Instructions/law if you must call it that, IN OUR HEARTS Jer. 31:31. The Sabbath was changed to Sun – day by the Catholic Church in honor of the ‘venerable day of the sun” Sun god worship. He gave us such a pretty picture within the scriptures, just in case you don’t want to spend time actually looking up the original words. We sinned, he spared us, shed blood to bring us out of sin (Moses brings them out of Egypt/picture of our Savior). HE then brings them to Mt. Sinai at Shavuot (Pentecost) and gives them a wedding contract/New Covenant/Instructions. The sin, He spares them and gives them a New Covenant, containing the same things because they are from the promises to Abraham in Gen 12 and since He swore by Himself because there was none higher, we can’t break that. We’re not a party to that, Only He is. Yahshua comes and puts the blood on their heart in order to allow us to enter into the New Covenant and follow Him as He has always intended. We are all responsible to study for ourselves, don’t take mans’ word for it or follow religiosity, man’s doctrines, theology written by men….He gave us His word and you don’t require a theological degree to be able to understand it. If you are basing your eternal salvation on it, doesn’t it warrant studying this out.

    1. Sylvia:

      I appreciate you taking the time to write so much. I also appreciate your desire to understand the whole of Scripture. There are a few points on which we disagree, to be sure. I’ll outline a few here, and await your reply.

      1. A covenant only applies to the involved parties. When God made the covenant with Abraham, it did not include the Chaldeans (for example). When God made the covenant with Israel, it did not include the Hittites (for example). I see no Scriptural reason to insert myself into God’s special relationship with someone else. Therefore, I see no Scriptural reason to live by the covenants that don’t include me. You may claim that everyone is bound by the Abrahamic covenant, but that’s not Scriptural.
      2. A good bit of evidence that we’re not under the Law is the Sabbath. Sabbatarians claim that the sabbath is permanent, yet Paul (in Colossians 2) clearly tells Christians to not let anyone judge us with regard to Sabbaths. You appear to be judging others in contradiction to this clear passage, which is a pretty good reason to reject your logic about the Sabbath in general. No offense intended, of course…but if we’re going to trust Scripture, we need to trust it all.
      3. You say that dietary laws are part of what remains. I have no problem with people who want to eat wisely. I do have a problem with people who tell me that God says to eat one thing and not another. After all, doesn’t 1 Corinthians 10:25-26 say to eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”? Of course it does. Remember that Corinth wasn’t Jerusalem, and was a port city…there were undoubtedly meats in the market that would have been prohibited under the Law. With respect, your claim is invalid.
      4. The early church met on the first day of the week to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection. I’m not Catholic, so I have no reason to defend them…except that Scripture and history tell me that you’re wrong. The Sabbath wasn’t changed by Rome to honor any sun god.

      Again: I heartily appreciate your interest in living for God. Let me recommend that you do a little more homework, to make sure you’ve understood the whole of Scripture. It appears that you’re only including the parts with which you already agree. If you include every part, and change your beliefs to match, you will undoubtedly be better prepared to live as God intends. Let me know if you have any other questions. I wish you well. =)

  9. The Sabbath, yes, it was a day of rest. The 7th day was set aside, sanctified and made holy. Also, it is a sign between God and Israel forever. New Testament believers have to ask themselves, who was the New Covenant made with? Jer. 31:31 “Behold the days will come when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel (northern tribes, scattered) and the House of Judah (northern tribes, scattered)see Hosea 1, they are scattered and intro to James, to the 12 tribes in the diaspora..). The Sabbath is like wearing our wedding ring, it is an ‘owth’ aleph vav chet Strongs #H226 “a sign, a signal, a distinguishing mark,..” (hmm, a mark.. could the Beast’s ‘mark’ be that of moving God’s holy day to Sunday, that part is just conjecture, but worth consideration since the enemy plagiarizes God’s work) and and comes from root H225 which means “to consent, to agree” to a Covenant perhaps. So the Roman Catholic church moved the Sabbath to Sunday without any scriptural authority, the admit to it, just look it up. It is not just a matter of ‘rest’. Also, Isa. 58:13-14 gives us a little more insight, “If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable,And honor it, desisting from your own ways,From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, Then you will take delight in the LORD,And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” All things we need to consider. Blessings to you all and Happy Berean-ing

    1. Sylvia:

      Thanks (again) for writing.

      >> could the Beast’s ‘mark’ be that of moving God’s holy day to Sunday, that part is just conjecture, but worth consideration since the enemy plagiarizes God’s work

      Nope. I’ve read plenty of SDA literature on the subject, and had numerous conversations about it with SDA friends. This idea comes from a stunted view of Scripture. First, we are not limited to worshipping God on one day each week. In fact, while the first believers met specifically on “the Lord’s day” (the first day of the week, which is Sunday), Acts 2 tells us that they met every day! The idea that God has a “holy day” ignores Jesus’ finished work on the cross. The Sabbath pointed to Jesus, and is not a legal restriction for believers.

      >> the Roman Catholic church moved the Sabbath to Sunday without any scriptural authority, the admit to it, just look it up.

      See above. This is a silly argument, to be honest. Even a tiny bit of homework, looking in Scripture alone, undoes this conspiracy theory.

      I wish you well.

  10. In Matthew 24 when Jesus predicts the end times He says something very interesting : Matthew 24:20 And pray that your flight may not be in the winter or on the Sabbath. (NKJV)
    So the Sabbath is still valid because even in the end times when we have to run for our lifes Jesus says pray that it won’t be on the Sabbath.

    1. Alexandra:

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply! I appreciate it when my readers check me against Scripture. Let’s do a little digging, okay? Jesus is talking with His disciples, answering their questions. When He said, for example, No stone will be left on another, was He talking about some far-future event? Nope. This isn’t addressing ‘the end times’ as in ‘the end of the world’. This speaks of what happened in 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. When Jesus told His disciples to watch out, to not be deceived, to pray, and to be skeptical of false Messiahs, He’s actually warning THEM.

      When Jesus said that He would ‘come on clouds’, He isn’t talking about riding a blob of water vapor…He’s using established imagery from the Old Testament. For example, we see this imagery in Isaiah 19:1. Coming on clouds speaks of God’s judgment, not Jesus’ second coming. If we read further in Matthew (2 chapters ahead) we see in verse 64 that Jesus repeats this prediction of judgment, saying to Caiaphas and those who condemned Him that they would see God’s judgment.

      The typical modern interpretation of the verses you cited is that Jesus was talking about “the rapture”. This is where Jesus comes back to earth on a cloud, but doesn’t actually touch the ground. The theory is that He would then take Christians to Heaven…and then come back at another time to judge the world. This isn’t the historic position of the Christian church. The idea that Jesus’ second coming and the end of days are two different events is relatively new, having been taught in the mid-1800s for the first time. Before that, Christians believed that Jesus would come back once, and that He would judge the world at that time.

      If you read Matthew 24-26 with these things in mind – Jesus’ audience, the historic position of Christians, and God’s judgment in the form of the destruction of Jerusalem, you may come to agree with me. If Jesus spoke of something that happened in 70 AD, He was addressing Jews who would still be alive at that time and still be observing the Sabbath. That doesn’t mean that we are to live by the Mosaic Law and observe the Sabbath in the way that ancient Israelites did.

      What are your thoughts? I wish you well.

  11. The belief that Jesus, or Joshua, which was most likely his real name, is based on a virgin birth in Isaiah. However, in the original Hebrew/Aramaic text the word virgin does not appear. There were two words in that language, alma and betula, one meaning virgin and the other young woman. The word in the ORIGINAL text before the Greeks translated it was “young woman” and was referencing the coming of the child of the prophet Isaiah. But it was later changed to make Jesus’ birth a virgin one thus proving he was the Messiah. Many other Old Testament chapters were also changed by the Greek translation . I have read both and have seen the differences.

    1. Harriet:

      Thanks for writing! I’ll try to do your comment justice.

      >> The belief that Jesus, or Joshua, which was most likely his real name, is based on a virgin birth in Isaiah.

      I’m sorry to contradict you right away, but this isn’t the case. The belief that Jesus was born due to the miraculous circumstance of Mary being a virgin comes from the eyewitness accounts of those who knew Jesus and His family. Specifically, this is written in passages beginning with Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:26. While it’s clear that Jesus’ disciples considered His birth to be the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14, that’s not where Christianity gets the idea. Take note of Luke 1:34, where Mary asks this question after hearing that she will give birth to the Son of God:

      “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

      The question would make no sense if she wasn’t talking about virginity, would it? Of course, I haven’t dealt with the Isaiah passage, have I? That seems fair, since you haven’t dealt with Matthew and Luke. =) Keep in mind that Matthew was an eyewitness to Jesus’ family and ministry, and that Luke was a doctor.

      >> The word in the ORIGINAL text before the Greeks translated it was “young woman”…But it was later changed

      If you’re going to refer to the original text, you need to be honest and do some homework. The Hebrew word is ALMA, and it was never changed. In that culture, a young woman was normally a virgin…so there would be little need to make the distinction. I’m not saying that ALMA means virgin. I’m saying that the implication of virginity is likely. Context is important.

      >> Many other Old Testament chapters were also changed by the Greek translation.

      I’d love for you to point these out. The Jews who painstakingly translated the Septuagint might disagree with you. In other words: show me.

  12. What I’ve come to understand through lots of prayer and studying is that Jesus fulfilling the law didn’t mean that it wasn’t applicable anymore. Instead, it means that Jesus was filling a gap that we simply can’t fill on our own. Without Jesus we can’t be forgiven of our sins. There is no room in the law alone for the fact that we are imperfect creatures and we do make mistakes and we do fall away. With Jesus this missing link is fulfilled and now through Jesus we are able to have access to the Holy Spirit which can guide us and show us HOW to obey the law and give us the DESIRE to obey the law.

    As we grow in our walk with God we come to a place where we simply DESIRE to do what pleases Him. We’ve been specifically told in the commandments (and many other places throughout the Bible) that the Sabbath day is a holy day to commune with God and that it is (specifically) the 7th day of the week.

    I think of it like this: If my husband has a favorite meal that he absolutely loves and I know he does then I will make this for him, especially if he asks me to. Not because I feel OBLIGATED to, but because I love him and it makes him happy.

    So going into the Sabbath I remember that God views the 7th day of the week as something special and we know that to be the case from the creation, not from the 10 commandments. I love God and I know He doesn’t change so nothing has changed as far as that goes. He still views the 7th day of the week as a special and sacred day.

    Now, as I’ve started observing the Sabbath I’ve come to understand much more about it. When Jesus came and did certain things on the Sabbath that the Pharisees viewed as dishonoring he was trying to CLARIFY what the Sabbath is really about because the people had gone completely out of left field with it. What He clarified is that the Sabbath is a day in which we are to commune with God (Jesus) and not a day to set specific rules and regulations that you think about more than God. By focusing more on the rules and regulations than you do on God you’re doing the very opposite of what God wants you to do on that day — which is to remove as many distractions as you’re able to from your life on that day in order to focus on God.

    What I’ve been lead to by the Holy Spirit in the time I’ve been observing the Sabbath is that this doesn’t mean that if you have to change your kids diaper you’re not observing the Sabbath. What it means is God is giving you THE GIFT of setting all the earthy things aside for ONE DAY, one very special (and specific) day per week. These are the things that don’t matter in eternity, the things that are superficial and the things that we simply don’t NEED to do that day but can put off for another day. It’s a gift because it is SO FREEING to have that day with God. I grow so much in God on the Sabbath day it’s amazing. I can’t attribute it to anything but the fact that that day has been made (and will remain) holy because God said it was so and nothing can change that.

    All that being said you can worship and commune with God any (and hopefully every) day of the week! The more the better! But, nothing can remove replace the Sabbath being the 7th day of the week BECAUSE GOD SAID SO and that’s enough for me to continue observing it (and truly treasuring it) every week.

    1. Sarah:

      Thanks for commenting. It’s important to think carefully about such things, to make sure we haven’t misunderstood. We should be like the Bereans, who didn’t just swallow what Paul taught them. Instead, they went to Scripture to double-check him. I always appreciate it when others, like yourself, do the same to me. It’s very encouraging!

      The Mosaic Law was given as part of a covenant between God and Moses, who represented the Israelites (Exodus 24). I’m sure you would agree that this covenant did not include the Babylonians, or the Edomites, or the Chinese. Do you have some reason for presuming that God included you and me in that covenant? I see no reason.

      What do you think Paul meant when he wrote 2 Corinthians 3:7-11?

      Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

      Paul contrasted the Law (the 10 Commandments, written on stone, and all of the other regulations that went with the covenant) with the ministry of the Spirit. Note that he wrote of the Law as transitory, bringing condemnation. Not only did God’s covenant with the ancient Israelites not include you or me, it no longer includes Jews. God has a new covenant with His people, and it’s more glorious than the previous covenant.

      You can claim that you’ve been led to your conclusion by the Holy Spirit, but I’m not buying it. I mean no disrespect, of course…only that what you claim as revelation contradicts what you and I read in Scripture. There’s a reason that first-century Christians worshipped on Sunday, rather than on Saturday. The Sabbath had been fulfilled, and their actions show that they understood this. While there’s nothing wrong with setting aside one day per week to focus on God, there is indeed something wrong with the suggestion that God demands it, or expects it, or has even asked us to do so. I’m pleased that you celebrate a sabbath, and that you find it spiritually beneficial. Others might want to do so as well, and I would recommend that they give it a try. What I don’t recommend is contradicting Scripture to say that Christians are to observe a weekly sabbath because God says to…because that’s clearly not what has happened.

      What do you think?

  13. Tony,

    Thank you for your reply!

    As far as 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 goes you need to really look at the entire chapter before drawing conclusions. I really dove deep into that chapter last night with my husband and prayed about clarity on it. Because here’s the thing, like you said, our conclusions can’t contradict the scripture and scripture can’t contradict scripture. I’m looking at Matthew 5:17-19 and our understanding of 2 Corinthians 3 simply CANNOT contraction that scripture. I know you’re going to say that by fulfilling the law Jesus abolished it, but doesn’t that mean that He’s contracting himself when he says “For verily I say unto you, TILL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS, one jot and one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” He’s not talking about the fulfillment of the law on the cross, he’s talking about the fulfillment of GOD’S ENTIRE PLAN, meaning to the end of time here on earth.

    Knowing that, it simply cannot contradict what Paul is saying in 2 Corinthians. That scripture also can’t contradict what Paul says in Romans 3:28-31 where Paul tells us that yes we are justified by faith, but NO that does not mean the law is made void. So after really diving deep into that piece of scripture it has become clear that it actually is talking about the veil being removed from the law. Here’s what I mean…

    The law was basically given before they were told HOW they were able to fulfill the law. They NEEDED to understand in all the time before Jesus that they simply cannot fulfill God’s law without God. Period. Here they are begging for a king, begging for law and order, practically begging to go back to Egypt because it was better in their eyes. And God says, Okay, sure you want law, I’ll give you what I expect of you. You simply can’t do this on your own, but you’re going to try because you’re a rebellious people. lol

    So what changed when Jesus died for our sins was that we were first of all covered by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus so that if we should make a mistake and disobey the law we would be forgivven (there was no room in JUST THE LAW for that). We were also finally able to received the Holy Spirit, God’s internal guidance on everything in life, including the law.

    So in 2 Corinthians 3 Paul is describing how the law COULD NOT be followed on it’s own. There was a veil over it which the people could not see this (2 Corinthians 3:13-16). So they scrambled around making assumptions on how to obey the law and they were basically running in circles because the law wasn’t made for unbelievers, it was made FOR BELIEVERS IN CHRIST. This is why in 2 Corinthians 3:3 he talks about this law now being written not in stones anymore, but ON OUR HEARTS.

    All that being said yes, I believe the law is for us because we are told that God is for not just the Jews but also the Gentiles (Romans 3:29). We are God’s children, we’re adopted into the family! 🙂

    But here’s the thing. I don’t believe that anyone is going to hell for not observing the Sabbath. The Bible says if you’re a follower of Christ and are truly saved then you are covered by faith. But these are just things that we do because we know they’re right and God has given us a precious glimpse into what He doesn’t like and I personally am going to try to steer clear of those things. We also now have the natural DESIRE to do these things as the Holy Spirit works on us.

    I do think, however, that so many Christians are missing out on something really special by not spending time with Our Heavenly Father on that day. Sunday was actually a Roman Catholic invention that spread down over time to the Protestant side of it. Am I going to do something just because the Pope said it was true? Ha! Have you seen anything that the Pope has been saying lately? Things like Jesus failed on the cross and that it doesn’t matter if you’re Buddhist or whatever because all roads lead to God. Do I want to do something just because someone that says those things said so? Absolutely not, quite the opposite. I want to know what his intentions are in changing the day of worship to Sunday, and frankly I think I’d take God’s Word over his.

    But thanks for your reply, it’s much appreciated. I do hope you will at least pray about this. I’m not sure if you already have. But it never hurts to ask God directly. 🙂

    1. Was hoping for a reply from Tony :(. This guy has a counterpoint for everything somebody posts about the Sabbath and I love learning! He seems very knowledgeable. But I’m still left confused.

      I have started this journey recently, so with the little knowledge that I have, I do agree and feel the same way you feel though. I observe the Sabbath not because it’s a law that MUST be followed but because I know God is pleased with it. By pleasing God, I’m *not* earning my grace or getting any special treatment, but it’s just something extra that I do to honor Him.

    2. Fernie:

      I’m sorry for being absent. I’ve been sick for much of this year, and haven’t been able to keep up. Yesterday’s flurry of activity sure caught my attention, though! =)

      I don’t know if I can clear up your confusion, but I will try. It’s really very simple: I’m not Jewish. Because I’m not Jewish, God’s covenant with the Jews does not include me. Never has, never will. I’ve never made a wave offering, never been immersed in a MIKVAH, etc. I don’t wear a phylactery. My bathrobe has no tassels on it. I don’t tithe to feed the Levites. I don’t do any of the things that God commanded the Jews to do in the context of His covenant with them, because I have no part in that covenant.

      I am, instead, a Christian. Like Titus, I have never been a Jew. Any discussion of whether I should observe any part of God’s covenant with the Jews is simply out of bounds. Inserting myself into God’s relationship with someone else isn’t how to please Him. Instead, I should (a la Matthew 28:18) obey everything that Jesus commanded. Quote simply, I do not believe that God is pleased by our observance of Jewish Law. He is surely pleased by our desire to please Him, but – for example – not wearing a garment made of two kinds of fabric is no way to honor Him. A fair amount of the New Testament was written to counter the notion that Christians should observe any part of the Mosaic Law. Discussing HOW we should follow that Law is silly when we see that it need not be followed at all.

      Does that make sense? The Laws that God gave the Jews are largely irrelevant to followers of Jesus.

    3. @Fernie,

      Thanks for your reply. It can be confusing when we as the Body of Christ are so torn on these topics. 🙁 But praise God that none of these issues are salvation issues, so long as we have Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

      I think of the Sabbath as a gift of rest from our weekly grind. God is giving us permission to set aside the work we do each week to focus on Him. I think that’s such a blessing.

      I will say though that one thing God has led me to recently concerning all of this is that He is the BEGINNING and the END, right? How symbolic is it that Jesus came to fulfill that in view of our week too? He is the BEGINNING (Sunday, as many consider the Lord’s Day) and the END (Saturday, Sabbath). I think that’s pretty beautiful. One Pastor I met put it in a way that I think is how we all need to look at it: “Saturday is the Sabbath, the day of rest; but Sunday is the Day of Work FOR THE LORD.” I love that!

      So as my family grows to learn more I’m starting to see that the best way to observe the Sabbath (for our family, it may be different for others) is at home with our family. We have just started to observe communion together at the start (Friday evenings) which is a wonderful way to remember Jesus is the reason we are all here. Since talking to the pastor I mentioned above we are considering also searching for the right church to attend on Sunday. So we can rest and fellowship with God and each other on Sabbath and then fellowship with others on Sunday. It’s a new idea for us so we’ll see how it goes, but it’s a fresh perspective. I believe God led us to this revelation about Him being the BEGINNING (of the week) and the END as well. We’re still praying on and exploring the idea as of now, but it sounds pretty God-honoring to me. 🙂

      If you have any questions, Fernie, I’d be happy to help you with what I can. I know I don’t have the same perspective as Tony, but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. Our family has only just been observing the Sabbath for less than a year so we are very new to it and still learning how best to honor God and keep it holy. But I’ll do my best to answer any questions. 🙂

      Another excellent resource is Michael Lake of Biblical Life TV. He has an amazing way of connecting the Old Testament with the New and showing how God has foreshadowed Jesus from the very beginning, from each prophet and Old Testament apostle to the Biblical feasts and how each of them point to Jesus and how he fulfills them. It’s amazing. We love to watch his sermons on the Sabbath too. The Biblical Feasts series isn’t on Youtube, only on audio.

      I hope that helps and may God bless your walk with Him Fernie!

    4. Sarah:

      I very much appreciate your kind attitude. It’s very refreshing. Most who comment here are kind, but I thought it worth mentioning. Thank you. =)

      >> I think of the Sabbath as a gift of rest from our weekly grind.

      That’s not how God thinks of it. Here are God’s words, explaining what Sabbath is:

      Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. (Exodus 31:12-13)

      We should want to do all that God asks of us. It makes sense that, before doing so, we should first understand what He asks of us. Scripture is our friend in this regard. The Sabbath was never about being tired from working. It was about being done working. God was done working after six days, so he stopped (SHABATH). He wasn’t worn out from his labor…He was simply finished. The instructions in Exodus 31, that the Israelites must observe God’s Sabbaths (plural, not singular) as a sign between them and God, had nothing to do with regaining strength after working hard. That may be a by-product, but that’s not the purpose. The purpose was so that the Israelites would know that they belong to God. As I mentioned in the original article, priests in the Temple could not sit down. That would be ‘sabbathing’. They stood all the time because their work was never finished. Jesus, who is our High Priest, sat down at the right hand of the Father because His work was done.

      It’s not just Paul who explains that “we” are no longer under the Law. God Himself explained it in Exodus by explaining that the Law was part of a covenant between Himself and the children of Israel. Christians aren’t the children of Israel, we are the children of Abraham…people who live by faith. We see these same principles throughout Scripture, including in the New Testament…places like the Gospels, Acts (written by Luke) and Galatians (written by Paul) and Hebrews (author unknown) and attested by others like James and Peter.

      While there’s nothing wrong with taking a break, it’s a mistake to read Exodus 31 and pretend that it ever applied to anyone but the Israelites, and it’s a mistake to suggest that believers today should observe those sabbaths as an act of obedience.

  14. I have to share one more thing that came to me just this morning. Then I’ll stop bugging you about it! lol

    I was reading Exodus this morning and came to the part in 39:35 and 40:3, 20 where the ark of the covenant is referred to as the ark of the testimony (KJV). In this the 10 commandments stand apart from the rest of the law because they are placed in a special and holy box to bear testimony of them.

    Now the Holy Spirit is referred to as bearing witness for Jesus Christ or bearing the testimony.

    The ark of the testimony represents what is now the Holy Spirit within us.

    Here’s an analogy of how it works: Let’s say I’m going to a friend’s house for dinner. I make up a list of all the things I don’t like to eat for her to make sure she doesn’t make them. She takes a look at the list but doesn’t really memorize it and she sets it aside. Let’s say that hypothetically green beans are on the list. If I’m not there in the room when she’s making dinner then she could go ahead and make green beans without remembering that I don’t like them. Now, let’s say I get there before she starts making dinner. As she starts dinner I notice she’s pulling out green beans to make so I remind her that I don’t like green beans. She says, “Oh yeah! I forgot” and goes ahead and makes something else. I stop her in her tracks from making something I don’t like because I’m right there with her.

    This is what the Holy Spirit does for us. This is why the testimony is written on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3), because we have the ACTUAL person to remind us what they like and don’t like and NOT JUST THE LIST.

    Back to the analogy: Whether I am in the room with my friend as she makes dinner or just the list I gave her doesn’t change what I like and don’t like. The only thing that changes is that I’m there to REMIND her in person.

    Likewise the what God likes and doesn’t like doesn’t change, but now he is right there within us to remind us when we are about to go astray.

    1. Greetings Sarah, I like your replies about Sabbath keeping altho I am not fully convinced yet. What do you believe scripture says about hell? Destruction or everlasting torment? What is your interpretation of the mark of the beast and the “rapture”? Thanks, Ed Edwards.

    2. @Ed Edwards

      That’s a lot of questions to answer in a comment! 🙂 But, to answer as concisely as possible…

      I am honestly a bit torn on what to believe about hell as far as it being eternal or not. When I read scripture I see many cases where it talks about things like the body and soul being DESTROYED in hell (Matthew 10:28) and that those who don’t believe will PERISH (John 3:16) which are words I associate with having an end. But then there are verses like Matthew 25:46 where Jesus says there are those who will go into everlasting punishment that does make it sound eternal. Is it possible there are different outcomes for different unbelievers? I really don’t know. It’s a topic I haven’t quite been able to understand entirely and I haven’t been led to anything in particular by the Holy Spirit yet, so I just don’t know.

      For the Mark of the Beast that’s one my husband has a few theories on but I don’t personally have too many theories on what exactly it will be. One thing I have noticed about the Mark of the Beast though is that the Bible says that “he [the second beast] causeth ALL, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads.” (Revelation 14:16). This makes it sounds like something we can’t avoid. HOWEVER, we can HAVE VICTORY over it (Revelation 15:2). And I know that we have victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Could this be connected?

      When it comes to the rapture I do not see the pre-trib rapture portrayed in the scriptures. A lot of pre-trib believers use 1 Thessalonians 4:17 as really the only verse they can point to “prove” pre-trib. But when you read that in context it’s really just a means of giving comfort to those who have lost loved ones and re-assuring them that they will meet them again one day. There are parables about wheat (believers) and tares (unbelievers) which clearly describe the tares being destroyed first (Matthew 13:30) and then Matthew 24 Jesus describes us going through a tribulation period in the end. I will tell you one thing I’m sure of though. Whether it’s pre-trib, post-trib, post-wrath, God will protect those who are covered in the blood of Jesus, just as He did for Passover, He will do the same for those who are His children. Will it be easy for us? No, but we are covered by the blood of Jesus! Praise God! So, as my husband would say…”pray for pre-trib, but prepare (spiritually in particular) for post-trib”. 🙂

      I hope this helps. What are your thoughts, Ed?

  15. Interesting post. Allow me to posit my own viewpoint for consideration:

    First we need to understand the nature, and timing, of the new covenant. In Hebrews 8:13, we read:

    [Heb 8:13 ESV] 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

    This verse is frequently used by Christians to assert that the new covenant has come and the old has passed away, including the Torah associated with the old covenant. Oddly enough the word covenant isn’t even in the original greek here—it was added by translators. Beyond that even when the old covenant passes away, it does not mean the Torah will pass away, as we shall see.

    Let’s look at the passage from Jeremiah 31:

    [Jer 31:31-34 ESV] 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

    This passage, unfortunately, completely destroys the argument of Hebrews 8:13. There are three major points to note from the passage:

    1. The party to the new covenant is the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It is not with gentiles, not with the “church”, not with Christianity!

    2. Torah (God’s law or instructions) is still central to the new covenant. The hebrew word behind the english word law in this passage is Torah. In fact, the Torah will be written on our hearts such that we observe it naturally.

    3. The conditions for the new covenant are not met, indicating the new covenant is NOT IN EFFECT yet. Note that people will no longer need to be taught to know the Lord, because EVERYONE will know him, from the least to the greatest. This is something that will happen in the messianic age, still to come. In fact, read some of the surrounding context in Jeremiah to see that this is absolutely descriptive of the messianic age.

    Thus, simple logic shows us that the quote of Jeremiah in Hebrews 8 was misappropriated. Christians seem to, whether consciously or subconsciously, equate the “new testament” to the new covenant, but that is clearly a mistake. The new covenant is still in the future.

    This passage informs us that whether current covenant or new, Torah is vital.

    Now, Christians like the author of this blog will also say that Torah wasn’t given to them. That is correct. There is perhaps an argument to be made that non-Jews aren’t bound to observe the Torah. However, if you believe Paul’s writings to have been appropriately included in the Christian canon, then you have to take him at his word when in Romans 11 he describes gentile believers as being wild olive branches grafted into the cultivated olive tree of Israel. If this is so, what sort of fruit will those grafted in branches produce? Bananas? Nope, the same exact fruit as the native branches. If one is grafted in, one because as much a part of Israel as the native Israelites, and thus should follow Torah as well.

    That’s tough for Christians because they don’t seem to love God enough to obey him. (Or have been taught they don’t need to and simply accept that without doing their own research.)

    This would include Sabbath, the topic of this article. For the Sabbath is everlasting:

    [Exo 31:14-17 ESV] 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'”

    1. Thank you for your input! Now I am more confused! Heheh I guess I need to learn more.

      Can’t wait for Tony’s input on your comment

    2. I still have a question that I hope you can help me understand.

      In Exo 31:14-17 ESV that you quoted (and in verse 13), says that the Sabbath to be used as an instruction to be given to Israel and that they should keep from generation to generation. This still is pointing to Israel and not everyone.

      So you are saying that we (assuming you are Christian :P), Christians, should follow the Torah (commandments and all the other “613” commands)?

      If so, how can we explain these verses?
      Colossians 2:16-17
      16So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.17For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality

      Romans 7:6
      But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

      Romans 3:28
      28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

      Galatians 3:24-25
      24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

      Sorry in advance for the pasting of the verses, I’m still trying to learn all of this and I keep verses of “pro” vs “con” for whether we should keep the commandments and commands or not ^^

      Hope you can shed some light! Thank you for the time 🙂

    3. William:

      Thanks for your comment. I’ll try to be brief.

      >> covenant isn’t even in the original greek here—it was added by translators.

      Yes, that’s true. The word for covenant – DIATHEKE – doesn’t appear in verse 13. It does, however, appear in verse 6, verse 8, verse 9, and verse 10. Translators obviously included it in verse 7 and verse 13 for clarity. Let’s not make any suggestion that might be understood to mean ‘this idea isn’t in the text, but translators inserted it anyway.’

      >> The party to the new covenant is the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

      Reading Scripture in context is fun, isn’t it? =)

      >> Christians like the author of this blog will also say that Torah wasn’t given to them. That is correct.

      Aye.

      >> grafted…fruit…Torah

      This is what’s known as a non sequitur. The phrase means “it doesn’t follow.” First, grafting. Yes, Gentiles are grafted in. Yes, healthy grafted branches will bear fruit. Your understanding of the analogy is problematic, though. A wild olive branch will only ever bear wild olives. It can never bear domesticated olives. When you graft a branch onto a tree, it doesn’t change its nature. It is what it was before, but connected to a different trunk. The olive tree can be a symbol for the people of Israel, but it is not only that. It also is used in Scripture to represent peace, righteous people, and more. Being grafted into the olive tree does not necessarily mean that Gentile Christians are a part of Israel, but it certainly means that we are a significant part of God’s plan to save humanity. Second, fruit. What kind of fruit was Israel intended to bear? Not observance of Torah, certainly…that could only be a means to an end. Israel’s fruit is to be a blessing to all nations. Why were some branches cut off? Because they were disobedient. Why were Gentiles grafted in? Not because of obedience, but to do in the world what the disobedient branches did not do. The idea is not to be Jewish, but to be a ‘child of Abraham’…that is, to live by faith. Finally, Torah. Paul makes it clear in Galatians 3 that the Law is a curse. He wrote, “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” In the last verse, he concludes his explanation of the Law with these words:

      If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

      Note that we are not Moses’ heirs. We are heirs of the earlier promise. Gentile Christians were never part of the covenant with Moses, but we are children of Abraham because we live by faith.

  16. One thing I apparently failed to do clearly in my original comment is to point out that Hebrews 8:13 was the conclusion provided by the author after quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 8:8-12. Sorry about that but hopefully anyone who actually looked at Hebrews 8:13 saw the quote from Jeremiah just before.

    Here’s the bottom line, as far as I am concerned. The Jeremiah prophecy proves that Torah is central to both the old (Sinai) and new (Future) covenants. Thus, if Paul is really teaching that Torah has been abolished, he was simply wrong.

    The early followers of Jesus continued worshipping in the synagogue. They were called Nazarenes and/or Ebionites, were simply another sect within Judaism, and many or most of them actually rejected Paul’s writings completely. By the fourth century however, the Roman gentile churches greatly outnumbered them, had abandoned Torah, and were practicing things that had no basis in the teachings of Yeshua. These people determined the Christian canon, and Paul was NOT unanimously included. The way I see it, the HAD to include Paul because he was the only one who could be twisted to justify their current antinomian practices.

    As I see it, there are only two possibilities when it comes to Paul, and I believe it is very easy to prove it:

    1. He is misunderstood and was NOT teaching against Torah.

    2. He was a false apostle and WAS teaching, incorrectly, against Torah.

    If we agree that Christianity has its root in Judaism and we accept the “old testament” (I hate that term), then we have to accept the simple truth of Jeremiah 31, that Torah is central to both the old and new covenants. That *should* be enough to prove Paul is either misunderstood or wrong, but it is rarely enough because Christians read their new testament back into the old rather than reading it as a continuation of the old. If you learn the Tanakh first and then let it inform your interpretation of the NT, then you would naturally come to different conclusions.

    So, let’s show from the new testament how logically Paul cannot be teaching that Torah has been abolished:

    First, consider the definition of sin. What is sin exactly? Here’s a simple definition from the NT:

    [1Jo 3:4 ESV] 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

    Sin is lawlessness. Simple, but profound to a Christian who has been taught that the law has been done away with.

    Paul himself echoes this in Romans:

    [Rom 5:13 ESV] 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

    What he is saying is basically “there is no sin without a law to define it.”

    So at this point it should be clear that sin is breaking God’s law (Torah).

    Now consider this verse from Romans which is another popular anti-law verse used by Christians:

    [Rom 6:14 ESV] 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

    Christians key in on the “not under law” part to abolish Torah, and yet Paul follows this up with:

    [Rom 6:15 ESV] 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

    Paul says we don’t have a license to sin under grace. If we shouldn’t sin, and sin is braking the law, then obviously this is a mandate to follow the law. Logic allows for no other conclusion here.

    In fact, the ONLY author in the entire NT that anyone can interpret as having justified the abolishment of Torah is Paul. (And maybe the author of Hebrews if it wasn’t Paul, but many attribute it to Paul.)

    There were 12 apostles who actually walked with Yeshua during his ministry. They all continue to observe Torah and teach others to do so. In acts we have recorded an example of conflict between the Apostles and Paul because rumors were circulating that he was teaching against the law:

    [Act 21:18-24 ESV] 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.

    The believers in Jerusalem were all zealous for the law but were hearing that Paul was teaching against it. They insisted Paul take part in a Nazarite vow in order to dispel the rumors. (Read further and you’ll find that Paul couldn’t even get that right and it was part of the reason for his detention.)

    The bottom line is that the entire Tanakh (old testament) is about Torah from Exodus onward. The Israelites accepted it and said they would do what God asked of them. God promised blessings for observance and curses for disobedience, and that set the stage for everything that occurred from there on. Nowhere is there a hint that Torah would ever be abolished, and Jeremiah 31 shows Torah to be a continuing vital component of a future new covenant.

    Then Yeshua comes and is perfectly Torah observant, and clearly teaches it to others in Matthew 5:17-20. So you have complete Torah continuity up to and including Yeshua, but Christianity places Paul above Yeshua and says the Torah no longer applies because Yeshua fulfilled it. Ask yourself, if fulfillment of something means it no longer applies, what is the difference between that an abolishment? Nothing! Yeshua said he wasn’t coming to abolish the law and prophets, and yet that is what Christianity has done!

    Think about it in modern legal terms. Whether a law is overturned (abolished) or expires (fulfilled and no longer applies), what is the difference? The law no longer needs to be followed, and there is no consequence to not following it. There is no difference.

    Yeshua says clearly in Matthew 5:17-20 that the law and prophets will remain unmolested until heaven and earth pass away and ALL (meaning all prophecy, much of which is still to come) if completed. He then follows that up by stating that anyone who breaks the least of the commandments and teaches others to do so will be least in the kingdom of heaven. There is no getting around the clear meaning of his words.

    Once you wrap your head around all of this, and believe me it was excruciatingly painful and took a long time for me to accept, then you are left with the question of what to do about it. I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t quite figured that all out yet. There are those who say Torah was given only to Israel, and that gentiles who want to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can observe the instructions given by God to mankind in the scriptures before Sinai. Personally this does not resonate with me, but it is logical so I haven’t ruled it out. I am personally drawn to learning to observe Torah.

    Your response contained the phrase “assuming you are a Christian”. At this point I would no longer claim that label for myself, primarily because I believe 1) Christianity to be far from the truth, and 2) Yeshua did not come to establish a new religion. I don’t know what to call myself at this point, but I actually worship in an orthodox synagogue on Shabbat for the time being (been attending for only a couple months). Unfortunately I learned the truth, and it carried me right out of church, through hebrew roots/messianic judaism for a bit until I realized that wasn’t the answer either, and now the synagogue is sort of my only option 🙂

    That probably seems radical and bizarre to a Christian, but given enough time I could explain my journey and how it has taken me there. Feel free to contact me offline at wtl at outlook dot com.

    1. I just have to follow up here, especially for Fernie, because while William has a lot of wisdom here that is very helpful, I think there’s some things that are way off base.

      First of all, to abandon Jesus in order to follow Torah is exactly the opposite of what you should do. In no way CAN you fulfill Torah without Jesus. He (and with guidance of the Holy Spirit that Jesus has sent to us) gives us the strength and discernment to be able to know right from wrong. Following Torah is good, but we simply CANNOT do it without Jesus. That was what Jesus meant by saying he came to fulfill the law. We needed something more than ourselves to be able to follow God’s law, and that something was Jesus and only Jesus.

      Also keep in mind that many of those laws in Torah had to do with preparation of their sacrifices, which is fulfilled when Jesus became our Perfect sacrifice. The laws which Aaron and his line had to perform to prepare the offerings obviously can’t be performed now since we don’t make physical sacrifices anymore because: 1) Jesus became ALL OF our atonement offerings and 2) God was very clear that there was ONE PLACE where these offerings could be made and that place no longer exists.

      Following God’s law does not provide salvation, only Jesus can do that. But following God’s law does enable us to be closer to God because sin draws us away from God because He is so holy and perfect, and sin was defined in the Torah.

      Also I firmly believe that Paul is greatly misinterpreted, NOT a false prophet. The Bible we have today (I use KJV) is inspired by God entirely but it cannot be understood properly if we look for what we want in it, take snippets that fit our needs, and in turn contradict other portions. Our understanding with the New Testament has to fit with what God ordained in the Old (Old not meaning done away, but meaning of-Old or been around a long time). So when we are trying to find the truth, remember that the pieces MUST FIT TOGETHER. It’s a life-long journey, which is how God designed it — so we would be continually seeking Him out. It wasn’t to confuse us, but to draw us nearer to Him. Not only that, but false teachers are out there whose intent IS to confuse us. We need the Holy Spirit to discern that, and like I said above we can only have the Holy Spirit through Jesus.

      And yes, we ARE a part of Israel because we are grafted on to the tree of Israel (Romans 11:16-21). When branches from a fruit tree are grafted onto another tree, are they still two trees? No. They are ONE tree.

      The term Christian simply means follower of Christ and is not a bad term to use, it’s even used in the Bible; although it is used quite loosely now, that doesn’t mean it can be taken from you. Those who are grafted onto the tree the only way they can be, through Christ (Christians) are now apart of Israel, and therefore are apart of the covenant with God. You will also notice in the Romans passage above that God does not spare even the native branches (those who are born by blood into Israel) when they do not follow Him (Christ), which means those who do not follow Christ are no longer apart of SPIRITUAL Israel (God’s chosen people). To be clear, those who are born into Israel and DO follow Christ are still apart of God’s chosen people, of course. Things look differently now that Jesus has fulfilled the sacrifice as our Perfect Lamb. But that needed to happen because sin is so prevalent, there weren’t enough ordinary lambs in the world (and enough time to sacrifice them) to atone for all the sin in it.

      I hope that helps a little more. I know it’s not an easy thing to accept, since so many have been led astray with this doctrine, and now those who are Christian and chose to follow the law are in the minority. But you are doing exactly what God wants you to do, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not just accepting something you’re told. So really and truly, while talking to other Christians is important, talking to God about it is the most important thing you can do when it comes to these convictions you feel.

    2. William:

      >> Here’s the bottom line, as far as I am concerned. The Jeremiah prophecy proves that Torah is central to both the old (Sinai) and new (Future) covenants.

      That’s great for Jews, but what about us Gentiles? Remember your claim that the New Covenant doesn’t include non-Jews…so what’s your point? You seem to be inconsistent here.

      >> Thus, if Paul is really teaching that Torah has been abolished, he was simply wrong.

      You’re certainly entitled to your opinion…but your opinion of Paul’s writings conflicts with Peter’s perspective on Paul’s writings. Peter clearly and plainly considered them to be Scripture. When one of Jesus’ original disciples explains that something is in accord with what Jesus Himself taught, I’m going to take that as the truth. Therefore, if – as you suggest – Paul was wrong, then Peter too was wrong. I mean no disrespect when I say that your opinion on Paul’s teaching about is simply bad.

      Paul wrote this in Galatians 3: So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. Clearly, we – that is, those who are in Christ – are no longer under the Law.

      Furthermore, your understanding of the early church’s relationship to the Law is seriously flawed. Yes, many of the believers in Jerusalem (and in some other places) continued to be Jewish, and to observe much of the customs of Judaism. However, you fail to include Scripture in your analysis. Paul’s letter to the Galatians (you know, the letter where he explains that Christians are not under the Law) was written in part because they were sometimes considered less than righteous because they, being mostly Gentiles, did not observe those Jewish customs. Paul wrote to them to explain that this was not a moral failure on their part, and that walking by faith made them as righteous as Abraham. Note that Abraham did not have the Law, yet he was considered righteous. Peter wrote that Jews and non-Jews alike were saved in the same way: by believing God. Your theory that Christians need to follow Torah is contradicted again and again and again throughout Scripture…from Genesis to Revelation. It simply cannot withstand scrutiny.

  17. I composed my last comment rather hastily, and apologize for the typos! I also feel that perhaps I did not explore one of the questions as much as I should have, that being the question of whether gentile believers need to observe Torah.

    Christianity by and large says nobody needs to follow Torah, even Jews, because Jesus fulfilled it and put it to rest. I am firmly opposed to this idea based on Jeremiah 31:31-34, Matthew 5:17-20, and many other passages where Yeshua teaches and demonstrates the need for Torah. Matthew 7:23 for example is a good one that I haven’t yet mentioned, or the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is a really good example (I think that’s in Luke 16).

    However, whether gentiles are obligated to Torah is a question I haven’t yet answered for myself. I personally am drawn to Torah. After spending 40 years as a Christian, confused by the tangled mess of Christian theology, I finally got off my lazy rear and started really seeking the truth, and it has led me to places I never imagined I would go. As a result, my love for God has been strengthened immensely, and I am seeking to know exactly what He would have me do.

    I find this passage in Isaiah particularly interesting:

    [Isa 56:1-8 ESV] 1 Thus says the LORD: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant– 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 8 The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.”

    The “foreigner” in this context refers to non-Israelites. Isaiah speaks of Non-Israelites who seek to know God, who are afraid they have been separated from God because they are not part of His people, being assured they have a place amongst His people that SURPASSES that of the native born: “I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

    Further, we must consider that the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom who were exiled to Assyria never returned to the land. God promised to make Abraham into many nations, and those ten tribes migrated throughout the world. I do not subscribe to the typical two house theology of the hebrew roots movement, but there is no denying the fact that there are people in the world with Israelite heritage that aren’t aware of it. Who is to say whether a gentile today is truly a gentile?

    For these reasons I am drawn to full Torah observance, because my love and devotion to my Creator encourages me to be obedient to Him to the greatest extent possible. Hope that helps!

    1. William, you know… When I read Jeremiah 31:31 that you quoted, I understood that it was describing exactly the Holy Spirit.

      I started watching a video on YouTube about Jesus in the Old Testament, and this Israelite said the same thing that I thought! https://youtu.be/PVItBigi7xs?t=1995

      Doesn’t the last part of verse 33 rings a bell?
      “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.”

      Who are the neighbors and brothers of Judah and Israel?
      “And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest”
      Don’t you think it’s all of us, brothers of the same Father? From the least of them to the greatest.

      Also the last sentence of verse 34,
      “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
      Doesn’t that sound like Jesus to you?

      At this moment I can’t see how this excerpt did not come to fruition when Jesus died for our sins and gave us the Holy Spirit.

      What are your thoughts?

  18. Sarah I have nowhere advocated abandoning Yeshua! It is my belief that you can believe in Yeshua as messiah, and still be acceptable in the synagogue, as long as you don’t elevate Yeshua to the place of YHWH.

    I think you have made an assumption that going to synagogue means I have abandoned Yeshua.

    1. William,

      I apologize if I misinterpreted your comment. I think I gathered that from your comment on not considering yourself a Christian but rather attending an Orthodox synagogue, who do not teach that Jesus is the Messiah. I just think there’s a danger with going to a non-Messianic synagogue because you start veering more towards the law being more important than Jesus. Do you know what I mean, or am I completely off base?

      My family is having a hard time finding a Sabbath and Torah keeping congregation as well and so I completely sympathize with that. We just recently found a Messianic congregation we are going to try next Sabbath so I can definitely understanding being led in that route. But this particular congregation we found doesn’t seem to believe (according to their website) that the Gentiles have been grafted on to the tree of Israel through Christ, which I wholeheartedly do. So it’s still not just the right fit for us. :-\ But it might be better.

      My husband and I are also starting to wonder if God is driving more of us in these (what appear to be) last days who have been led to this truth to planting churches/congregations that won’t be afraid to teach the truth. What do you think? There’s so few out there but I’m seeing more and more people waking up and craving the truth rather than just having their ears tickled.

      Thanks for understanding, sorry for misunderstanding your comment. I’m glad that i misunderstood you though and that wasn’t what you meant. 🙂

    2. I’m sorry, I also missed your comment on not elevating Yeshua to the place of YHWH. Do you not believe in the Trinity? Or do you believe that YHWH is the Father rather than the name for God as all three persons of the Trinity?

      I understand YHWH to be One God but presenting Himself in three persons as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Kind of how I am one person but have a Spirit, Soul, and Body. Is that how you see it too, or no?

    3. >> It is my belief that you can believe in Yeshua as messiah, and still be acceptable in the synagogue, as long as you don’t elevate Yeshua to the place of YHWH.

      This is unfortunate. Yeshua is YHWH. He is not simply a man, by whom God would save Israel. He is God Himself. Anyone who does not believe that Jesus is God is in error, ignoring the truth of Scripture for their own preference. Even the Jewish leaders of that day understood that Jesus was claiming to be God.

  19. Sarah:

    I feel like my response will be very lengthy. I almost hate to post it here as we’re veering off-topic. But, since at least one other person (Fernie) is following the discussion, I feel anyone who might be observing should benefit from it. I almost wonder if we should somehow take it off site. I sort of feel it might be disrespectful of this blog’s ownership to hijack his article for this discussion, but then we ARE discussing things that stem from our viewpoint on the original topic of the article, which we see much differently than the blog author.

    I’ll start composing a response offline and see what you and Fernie think about continuing here. Anyone else lurking feel free to reply as well.

    What I will say for now is this–I think it’s fantastic that so many people seem to be waking up to Torah. I kick myself every day for taking so long. I first got my glimpse into Christian error 30 years ago, when I dug into the origins of Christian holidays and lack of Sabbath observance. I unfortunately did not follow through and continue seeking the whole truth, and spent another 30 years drifting through Christianity knowing I wasn’t quite in the right place. I hate that I took so long to really dig, but am thankful that I eventually have.

    My understanding today is much different than it was when I started my current journey a couple years ago. I am nobody, and completely underserving of any sort of attention from God, but yet I feel as though he has distinctly led me in a very orderly path, confronting me with truths I was able to handle when I was able to handle them. There are things I have come to believe today that I would not have been able to handle in the early stages of my journey. That makes me somewhat hesitant in a way to start throwing out ideas that I remember I wouldn’t have been able to accept without taking the long journey through each new truth. But then I’m also not one to hide something just because I think it’s controversial. I would just ask that you be sensitive to the fact that the journey to truth can be a gradual one, with one truth building on another in a progressive fashion. I might say something you can’t accept right now, but may come to later. That has happened to me countless times along the way.

    When I talk about my journey with others, I start with the definition of sin. It was that simple truth that allowed me, after months of sleepless nights wrestling with Torah vs. Paul, to accept that lawless Christianity is far removed from the truth. For a long time I was obsessed with coming to grips with exactly what Paul meant–so much of what he wrote seems clearly anti-law that I felt it would take years for me to be able to come to terms with it all. I literally woke up in the middle of the night one night with an epiphany–I had already been over scripture which easily proved that Paul couldn’t be teaching the abolishment of Torah, (or if he was he was wrong), and suddenly I realized I didn’t really need to figure Paul out after all. From there each step forward has come in its own time. It’s really been very strange.

    I commend you and your husband for being like me and seeking the truth. What I have constantly told myself is that I have to follow the truth wherever it leads, and I must avoid cementing my mind solidly on any particular aspect of my understanding prematurely, and even when I’ve pretty much proven something solidly to myself, I remind myself that if someone smarter than me comes along and disproves me, I have to be open to being wrong and reforming my understanding.

    So, as I compose some thoughts offline, let me at least get you thinking with this:

    I have discussed above Jeremiah’s prophecy of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). I think the passage clearly indicates that conditions have not been met for the new covenant to be in effect. Clearly the passage describes a future state where everyone knows God, from the least to the greatest, and nobody needs anyone to instruct him on how to know God. This obviously has not happened. (I do think that some of the writers in the NT believed that it was imminent, but here we are nearly 2,000 year later and obviously this new covenant is still in the future.) When the Messiah rules from Jerusalem and the entire world is forced to acknowledge God, is when I believe the new covenant will arrive, and when we will obey God completely and naturally. (How else will the universal peace of that future time be possible?)

    That leaves the Sinai covenant still in place between God and Israel. If so, the same conditions still apply today as did some 3300+ years ago when it was accepted, and no new requirements have been or can be introduced. How can one say that a Jew following his covenant with God is condemned without faith in Yeshua? Where in Torah is the requirement for a Jew to have faith in a/the messiah for one to be righteous before God?

    1. First to address Paul. I do not believe what he says is anti-law, but rather it is how people have interpreted it because it’s what they want to hear. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but Michael Lake has been given a real gift for research and connecting the dots between the Old and New Testaments. You should check out a few of his sermons; in particular his Eating God’s Way book/DVD talks a lot about the scripture that supposedly contradicts the law. I think it’s very helpful. It’s mainly about clean vs unclean, but it’s also helpful for a lot of the scripture that can sound contradictory. He also dives deep into WHO Paul was talking to in context and it helps to gain a better understanding of what he meant by various things he said.

      The one thing I think did happen with Paul and the other apostles in the New Testament is that they elevated LOVING GOD (Jesus being apart of that Trinity based on verses such as John 10:30 and 1 John 5:7) above following the law. As we grow in our walks it’s been my experience that wanting to follow the law seems like a natural progression the more you love God. Even those Christians who don’t believe the law is still valid typically know right from wrong based on God’s law (even if they won’t admit it).

      As far as Jeremiah 31:31-34 I will have to pray and meditate on it more. I can see how it sounds like future-tense in verse 34. However, I do believe that the law has been written on our hearts when we have the Holy Spirit (Romans 2:15). Is it possible that this new covenant could happen in phases? Perhaps verse 33 is the first phase where we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), and phase 2 happens in verse 34 where we are in New Jerusalem? Just a theory.

      You might say that it can’t be written on our hearts yet if so many people don’t appear to be drawn to observing the law. But more and more people every day are feeling that conviction and just because some people choose to IGNORE it, doesn’t mean it’s not there (God gave us free will and I believe we always will have that). For many years I always felt this stirring in my heart, wondering why the law wasn’t followed anymore, in particular the Sabbath on the surface, since I was more exposed to the 10 commandments than the rest of the Torah. Just because people don’t obey what their hearts tell them, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

      Now, for the topic of being condemned without faith in the Messiah (Jesus). First, the Torah isn’t the only Word of God. While I do agree that the law isn’t abolished and it is important, you have to look at more than just the Torah, you have to look at His Word as a whole for the answers. I do believe you do that, but I’m just saying because of your asking “Where in Torah is the requirement for a Jew to have faith in a/the messiah for one to be righteous before God?” Even those Jews who do not believe in Jesus have the Tanakh as a guide, not just Torah.

      Here are a few verses in only the Old Testament which I believe point to it being a requirement to have faith in Messiah (Jesus). I won’t quote the whole verses, just point to them and why I believe they’re important:
      – Isaiah 9:6 – Tells us that this Son that is given IS The Mighty God and The Everlasting Father
      – Psalm 2:12 – Tells us if we don’t “Kiss” the Son that we will perish.
      – Psalm 41:9, Psalm 22:14-17, Zechariah 12:10 – Examples of the prophecies sounding First Person, as if God himself is this Messiah.

      Now…if God is the Messiah, the King, the Everlasting Father, how can that NOT condemn those who don’t believe in Him? Those who don’t believe in this Messiah that the Old Testament speaks of, also don’t believe in the one true God because this Messiah would be God essentially sending HIMSELF to save us from ourselves. No one else would do.

      Not only that, but in the Torah it does command that it’s necessary to atone for your sins and transgressions with specific sacrifices. Without these sacrifices you were condemned to not go near the temple (or near to God). In some cases, you were even cut off from Israel altogether. Is this not a shadow of what was to come with those who reject salvation through the Messiah? Those whose sins are not forgiven simply CANNOT be close to the Almighty and Holy God. Since the temple was destroyed there is no ordained place for this to happen. I don’t believe this is any coincidence of course, since the only sacrifice God will accept has already been brought to the altar.

      Thanks for hearing me out and I do thank you for sharing your views as well. And yes, I also apologize to Tony for veering off topic here on his page. Not sure where else to continue the conversation though! lol

    2. Sarah:

      There’s no need to apologize for discussing such important ideas anywhere on my website. =)

      >> First to address Paul. I do not believe what he says is anti-law, but rather it is how people have interpreted it because it’s what they want to hear.

      Paul certainly wasn’t anti-law. He was, however, pro-clarity. He understood why the Law was given, its purpose, and its duration:

      1. Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.
      2. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
      3. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

      I’m not sure how anyone can misinterpret this. If Jesus is the Christ, then the Law – a temporary guardian – no longer applies. How else might read Paul’s words?

    3. >> Where in Torah is the requirement for a Jew to have faith in a/the messiah for one to be righteous before God?

      I know of no place in the Torah that explains specifically that one must believe in the Messiah to be righteous before God. However: the entirety of the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 3, points to Messiah. Everything from the Temple to the vestments to the sacrifices to the Sabbath were physical realities pointing to a future spiritual reality. This is why Jesus explained that the Law and the Prophets spoke about Himself. Torah is not an end in itself…it is a means to an end. That end is what people of faith – those listed in Hebrews 11, for example – looked forward to. Torah observance was preparation. As Paul explained (you know, Paul…the guy that Peter claimed wrote Scripture), the Law was a tutor or guardian, designed to be temporary until the coming of Christ (Messiah). Believe what you wish, but let’s not pretend that your beliefs in any way line up with Christianity as it’s outlined in Scripture, or as it’s been understood by faithful believers since Jesus’ death. To be blunt: Torah doesn’t say to believe in Christ…but it does say to believe God, who explained that there would be a Christ.

      >> How can one say that a Jew following his covenant with God is condemned without faith in Yeshua?

      For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)

    4. Sarah:

      Tony has seen our discussion! If he’s cool with the ongoing discussion here on his article, as it seems, I’ll keep it here.

      The new covenant is said to NOT be like the one made at Sinai which Israel broke. I believe this indicates perfect Torah obedience is the hallmark of the new covenant. If the Torah is written in our innermost parts we shall live it perfectly. If the holy spirit writes the Torah on our hearts today, why is Christianity such a fractured mess of differing doctrines and virtually NO acknowledgement or regard for Torah. There is most definitely more breaking of Torah in Christianity than observance. No, during the new covenant ALL will know him, from the least to the greatest, and naturally be perfectly obedient. I don’t think it can be a gradual thing. I do, however, believe that people awakening to Torah is an indication of progress toward the eventual new covenant. Whether it is near or still far off I don’t know.

      So if the Sinai covenant still stands, nothing has substantially changed relative to how Israel should live or have a relationship with God. Further, they do have a solid belief in the Messiah. They just don’t acknowledge that Jesus was that Messiah. Christians who do believe Jesus is Messiah base that partly on the expectation that he will return to set up the messianic kingdom. It’s not a belief in a Messiah who has accomplished all of the messianic prophecies, but a belief that he WILL at some point do so. Jews have that same expectation, they just largely aren’t convinced it will be Jesus. Part of that is the abominations the church has perpetrated under his name. If Jesus returns today and fulfills those messianic kingdom expectations, what observant Jew on earth will refuse to accept him then?

      And yet if you believe that there is a requirement to have faith in Messiah in order to be redeemable, the Messiah who you have named, even though he hasn’t fulfilled all of the messianic requirements, then you make practically all of Israel to be doomed. In fact, you have to believe that there was a day in 30 a.d. where a Jew who loved his God and obeyed him to his fullest ability woke up that morning with a place in the world to come, but went to bed that night damned to hell, without ever changing a thing about his faith.

      Regarding the indications of required faith in Messiah in the Tanakh you have proposed, let’s look at those:

      [Isa 9:6-7 ESV] 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

      The first thing I would draw your attention to is verse 7. The accomplishments of this mentioned individual is he will rule and establish peace, on the throne of David and over David’s kingdom, and this kingdom will be everlasting. Regardless of what you understand verse 6 to mean, Jesus has not yet fulfilled the expectations provided along with it. So if this is a prooftext, to someone who is a member of the community which has been Torah observant for millennia now it is a prooftext against Jesus as Messiah (for now at least.)

      Beyond this, there are other problems with the Christian interpretation of Isaiah 9:6. For one, assuming that the naming indicated is proof that the Messiah is God is problematic. Hebrew names are significant. Elihu for example is a Hebrew name meaning “My God is He”. Does that make all people in scripture with this name Deity? Nope.

      If you really want to get in depth in this text, look at the Strong’s data for the word “el” which is here translated as God. It is a shortened version of the word “ayil” meaning ram, pillar, door post, jambs, pilaster, strong man, leader, chief, mighty tree or terebinth. Strong’s gives the definition of “el” as “strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity):—God (god), × goodly, × great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong. Compare names in ‘-el.’” Further, throughout scripture the term “god” is applied to men of strength or authority. It is not a term exclusively used of the one true YHWH.

      [Psa 2:12 ESV] 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

      This is the last version of Psalm 2. It doesn’t specifically mention belief, just a vague kiss the son lest he be angry. I don’t see any particular faith or belief implied here either explicitly or implicitly.

      Further, in Psalm 2 we have the same problem of expectation of accomplishment, for we see:

      [Psa 2:7-9 ESV] 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

      Here again, Jesus has not yet fulfilled these expectations.

      [Psa 41:9 ESV] 9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

      I don’t get the messianic implication in the above verse at all.

      Psalm 22:16 doesn’t actually say anything about pierced hands and feet. The key hebrew word in the verse is Kaari (like a lion). I believe there is one fragment (and just a small partial fragment), where this word looks like it could read Kaaru rather than Kaari. That fragment is used to justify changing “like a lion” to “pierced”. However, there are two problems: 1) The hebrew word they want it to be is actually Karu, not Kaaru, and 2) Karu means to dig or excavate, and there are other words much better suited to denote pierced.

      Zechariah 12:10 has some issues as well.

      [Zec 12:9 ESV] 9 And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

      The preceding verse and others before it indicate the future battle before the messianic era. Armageddon if you will.

      So basically in these verses you see as potentially requiring faith in the Messiah, (which personally I don’t see), you also see conditions attached that haven’t been met.

      Can you see how to the unbiased mind the Jewish position might look a bit more thoughtful than the Christian one? 1) They absolutely do have faith that a Messiah will redeem them, but 2) Jesus hasn’t yet fulfilled the expectations attached to this Messiah so they can’t name him as said Messiah (yet.)

      Yet Christianity condemns them to hell for this.

    5. William:

      >> So if the Sinai covenant still stands

      The Sinai covenant no longer stands.

      >> And yet if you believe that there is a requirement to have faith in…the Messiah who you have named…you make practically all of Israel to be doomed.

      This is a reasonable thing for a Christian to believe.

      First: how can a Jew be forgiven of their sins without a temple? Leviticus 17 clearly indicates that a sacrifice is required. Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God…so how, in Judaism, are sins forgiven? The answer is that they simply are not forgiven, because they cannot be. Of course, Christians believe that Jesus’ death paid the full penalty for the sin of all mankind, so we believe that the sins of Jews are paid for. What do you believe?

      Second: Jews don’t really believe that they need to be saved from anything, or to anything. Their Scriptures have little about any afterlife, and they generally consider forgiveness of sin to be accomplished by balancing sins with good deeds. This, of course, was contradicted by Peter in his sermon at Pentecost:

      Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. (Acts 2:36-38)

      Clearly, Peter – a Jew – taught other Jews that one must be a follower of Jesus to be saved. This is echoed, of course, in other passages of Scripture like John 1:9-13:

      The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

      There are other passages, of course, but these should suffice. You seem to believe that Jews don’t need to believe in Jesus to be saved. Clearly, Peter and James and John and Paul and the rest of the apostles would disagree with you…or they wouldn’t have bothered sharing the gospel with their friends, neighbors, and relatives.

    6. Tony:

      In response to Sarah you quote Paul. Paul is the ONLY NT writer who can be interpreted to say the law has expired, or no longer applies, or any number of similar ideas that all effectively abolish the law as Jesus said he was NOT doing.

      Yet going back to Jeremiah 31 and the promise of a new covenant, which has been quoted probably more than once by me here already, we see that said new covenant is still Torah centric, and that it is not yet in effect (it’s still future.)

      Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). If the law no longer applies, there is no more sin. The 10 commandments don’t apply to us any longer. All we need is faith in Jesus and it really doesn’t matter what our lives look like.

      This runs contrary to the entire revelation of God to mankind when you read the bible from front to back. The OT is all about Torah from Sinai forward, and the blessings for obedience, curses for disobedience, and the pleadings of the prophets for the people to hold up their end of the covenant. Then comes Jesus who specifically says he isn’t here to abolish the law, and that anyone breaking the least commandment or teaching others to do so will be least in the kingdom of heaven. The apostles have problems with Paul when they hear rumors that he is teaching against the law.

      As I’ve said over and over again, not just hear but anywhere I discuss this, either Paul is misunderstood to be teaching the law no longer applies, or he’s simply a false teacher. For if sin is lawlessness, and yet Paul tells us grace doesn’t give us a license to sin (Rom 6:15), then he is most certainly upholding the law’s ongoing applicability. When he later says the law is a curse, or a schoolmaster we no longer need, he’s either dead wrong or misunderstood. I find it a bit hard to misunderstand some of those assertions he makes, but they cannot stand in light of the entire rest of the Canon which takes the opposite view.

      Psalm 119 is a beautiful tribute to the Torah and includes refrains such as:

      [Psa 119:151-152, 160 ESV] 151 But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. 152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. … 160 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

      You may want to argue, as many do, that Paul is speaking to gentiles who aren’t bound to Torah. It is true that Torah was given specifically to the descendants of Jacob, and not to anyone else. However, there are real problems with this including:

      1. If Paul is speaking exclusively to gentiles, the law NEVER applied to them to begin with. There is no need to explain that it was a schoolmaster that is no longer needed, because it was never needed in the first place. There is no curse from the law on the gentile, because the gentile was never subject to the law. It makes absolutely no sense for Paul to do away with a law that never applied to start with.

      2. Paul does away with any sort of jew/gentile distinction in Romans 11. The wild olive branches grafted into the cultivated olive tree of Israel are not going to bear different fruit than the original branches. If they are one with Israel, they are bound to the same covenant as Israel. See also Galations 3:28 where he again abolishes any distinction. Thus he is abolishing the law, if that is what he is doing, for all.

      3. There are passages such as Isaiah 56 that clearly show how God accepts gentiles into his covenant, because they follow his commandments.

    7. William:

      >> Paul is the ONLY NT writer who can be interpreted to say the law has expired…

      I’m sorry to be so contrarian, but you are wrong. Aren’t Peter and James and Luke New Testament writers? Of course they are. What’s that got to do with anything, you might ask? Simple: they, along with the other brethren, heard and approved of Paul’s message. Luke records, in Acts 15, that God had chosen Paul Himself. Did God make a mistake in choosing someone who would be so wrong about the Law? The Holy Spirit spoke to Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, and Saul and told them that Saul and Barnabas should be set apart for His work. Peter considered Paul’s writings to be Scripture…that includes Galatians, which you dispute. In most of his writings, Paul calls himself an apostle, appointed by Jesus Himself. If what Paul taught wasn’t accurate, the early church would have rejected him outright. In fact, Jesus Himself would have rejected Paul. You may remember that Paul founded the church at Ephesus, and taught them much. Look in Revelation 2:2 and see that Jesus commends that church for being discerning, and not tolerating false apostles. Your claim that Paul is the only New Testament writer who believed that the Law had expired is entirely without merit. Everyone who heard Paul’s message, including the leaders in Jerusalem and the entire church at Ephesus and Jesus Himself also approved of what He wrote. That’s the very reason that some of his writings are included with the other inspired writings that make up the New Testament.

      >> The 10 commandments don’t apply to us any longer. All we need is faith in Jesus and it really doesn’t matter what our lives look like.

      The 10 Commandments never applied to Gentiles. They were given to Israelites as part of God’s covenant with them. Of course, your claim above is a non-sequitur to Christians. It doesn’t follow that how we live is irrelevant. We have the Holy Spirit, dwelling in us, to guide us in all that we do. Paul wrote this in 2 Corinthians 3: You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. He went on to write this:

      He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

      The covenant that Paul taught about – that was approved by virtually everybody in the early church – is a covenant of the Spirit, not of the letter. Christians are not antinomians (as the New Testament makes clear)…we are not without law. We are simply without the Mosaic Law. There’s a huge difference, and Peter and James and John and the rest agreed with Paul and considered his word to be God-breathed. You should consider it God-breathed as well.

    8. Tony:

      Let’s deal with one thing at a time. First, you say the Sinai covenant no longer stands. Please explain how the context of Jeremiah 31:31-34 allows for this to be the case.

      Even the writer of Hebrews, in 8:13 says “And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” as if it hasn’t vanished yet, but soon will. I believe the writer was fully expectant to see the return of Jesus and the institution of the messianic age which is a condition of the Jeremiah 31 passage he quotes immediate beforehand.

      And regardless, Jeremiah 31 clearly shows Torah is central to both the old and new covenants. In other words, Hebrews 8:13 doesn’t say Torah is passing away, but that the old covenant is. The new covenant is ever bit as Torah-centric per Jeremiah 31 as is the old. (Not to mention it is made with the two kingdoms of Israel, and NOT with gentiles or the church.)

    9. William:

      Okay, let’s deal with one thing at a time. I’m not going to dispute with you about Jeremiah. Commentators have struggled over the very items you’ve outlined, and I’m not fully resolved on my understanding of it either. Let’s deal with the one thing that I keep bringing up, that you keep rejecting: Paul. I’m not sure how anybody could read Galatians 3 and come away with any other conclusion than that Paul taught the Law no longer applied to anyone. Here it is again:

      Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

      The Law – the Mosaic Law, as verse 17 makes abundantly clear – was our guardian until Christ came…and we are no longer under a guardian. If you have another interpretation, I’m all ears. If you reject Paul’s words as inaccurately explaining the Christian’s relationship to the Law, no other discussion is necessary. Unless we can agree with Peter and James and the rest that Paul taught the truth, we have no common ground on which to continue. What do you believe about Galatians 3?

    10. I start with Jeremiah 31 because it’s the promise of the new covenant, and it very clearly denotes that Torah is still central to said new covenant, and that there are conditions associated with it which haven’t been met.

      You want to start with Paul, but if Christianity is founded in a continuing revelation of God’s plan that began with the covenant at Sinai, then Jeremiah 31 is crucial and informs us about the new covenant. This new covenant comes well before Paul, and thus Paul cannot contradict it without being wrong.

      We can talk about Paul but you need to deal with Jeremiah which precedes Paul. I find Jeremiah very easy to understand. Why should we dive right into Paul without understanding the initial promise of the new covenant?

    11. The “old covenant” is the Mosaic Law. Gentiles were never a part of that covenant. The “new covenant”, according to you, hasn’t happened yet…so Gentiles aren’t a part of that either. Do I understand what you’ve already written?

      I don’t really start with Paul. I end with Paul. He was the apostle to the Gentiles…which is me. Certainly all of Scripture was written, and has been preserved, for our benefit…but not all of it was written to us. The Mosaic Law never included the Chinese, or the Egyptians, or the Chaldeans, or the Americans. Only the Israelites. I have no business inserting myself into a covenant that God made with someone else, and neither do you.

      >> This new covenant comes well before Paul, and thus Paul cannot contradict it without being wrong.

      1) Which is it? Has the new covenant arrived, or not? Earlier you said no, but you keep suggesting that it has. Could you clarify? 2) No, Paul doesn’t contradict anything. If he had, the rest of the apostles (you know, those people who approved of what Paul taught and wrote) would not have approved of what Paul taught and wrote. Who was in a better position to catch Paul’s supposed errors than Jews who traveled with Jesus throughout His entire ministry? Who better to tell Paul that he was wrong about the Law than Peter and James and John? Not me, and not you. No, Paul was not wrong.

      >> Why should we dive right into Paul without understanding the initial promise of the new covenant?

      I have no problem dealing with any passage of Scripture, of course. However: because your understanding of Jeremiah seems to be a bit unorthodox, I sought to avoid going down a rabbit trail. One of the key principles of biblical interpretation is that the clear verses should help us interpret the unclear ones. If you and I differ on Jeremiah, which I personally haven’t settled for myself, it seems better to deal with another passage. Galatians 3 seems very cut and dried, so I thought it would be easiest to spot our differences there. Regardless of what you and I think about the New Covenant, Paul was approved by everybody who counts…so I’d like to hear you explain your conclusion. Was Paul wrong when he wrote that we are not under the Law, or was Paul right?

      For the record, in case you had any doubts: I love this stuff. At no point should my disagreement with you be mistaken for animosity, or dislike, or anything negative. I appreciate you being here.

    12. Tony:

      Okay, lots of stuff to address here, so this will probably take some time to compose, and will be long.

      To start with, let me start with this statement from your response:

      ——
      >> This new covenant comes well before Paul, and thus Paul cannot contradict it without being wrong.

      1) Which is it? Has the new covenant arrived, or not?
      ——

      The above was simply a typo. Unfortunately I am not immune to them. My statement was meant to communicate this:

      This new covenant PROMISE (Jer 31:31-34) comes well before Paul, and thus Paul cannot contradict it without being wrong.

      I was not saying the covenant arrived before Paul, rather the promise. Thus Paul has to build on this foundation along with everything and everyone else, rather than contradict it.

      Imagine you’ve never read the Bible, so you sit down to do so. You get to Exodus and you read of the Sinai covenant. You understand that the covenant was given to a specific people, and that it contained God’s instructions for living a righteous life.

      So then, you continue reading, discovering various words of wisdom and song, some of it prophetic. You discover a history of God’s chosen people alternately describing their prosperity in the promised land while they upheld their covenant with God, and their exile and punishment when they did not. You discover the prophets who continually exhort the people to return to obedience, along with many prophecies of a messianic kingdom to come during which there will be universal peace, restoration of Israel to the promised land forever, universal knowledge of God, etc.

      So then you come to Jeremiah, and in chapter 31 you encounter yet another prophecy of this coming kingdom. Along with it is a promise of a new and better covenant, one in which God’s instructions (Torah) are written on our hearts. The universal peace of the messianic kingdom is the outcome of perfect obedience to God. This new covenant is NOT LIKE the old one which Israel broke, because it will be unbroken. Nobody will need to be taught to know God, because everyone from the least to the greatest will know Him, because he will be present in the rebuilt temple, and his messiah from the live of David will rule his kingdom.

      This passage is not at all difficult to understand if you read the scriptures chronologically. It is very clear when this new covenant comes, and that date is still in the future.

      So then we read on, and Jesus enters the picture. He says things like:

      [Mat 5:17-20 ESV] 17 “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. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

      This is in perfect harmony with everything encountered chronologically in the Bible so far. Everything so far has been about Torah. The clear meaning of the above passage is that Torah is still in effect. Break the least commandment and teach others to do likewise, and you are the least in the kingdom of Heaven. The Torah will be unmolested until ALL is accomplished. The messianic mission has not been accomplished, for there is plenty of prophecy that remains yet to be fulfilled.

      There is simply no reason for the reader who hasn’t yet encountered Paul to twist the word fulfill into something that literally does not fit the context of this passage, for the definition you propose for fulfill is effectively the same as abolishment, which Jesus clearly states he was not doing. In legal terms, whether a law is overturned (abolished), or expires (no longer applies), the end result is exactly the same: there is no more need to obey, nor consequence for disobedience.

      The context, which includes the exhortation to avoid breaking the least commandment or teaching others to do so, doesn’t allow for your definition of fulfill. The proper definition of fulfill which fits in this context is:

      “to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands.” (Dictionary.com definition #2)

      We can see this echoed in many other of Jesus’ words, such as:

      [Mat 7:21-23 ESV] 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

      Okay, so at this point, with a chronological reading, everything is in beautiful harmony, and is crystal clear. The expectation of obedience to God’s law could not be more obvious.

      Let’s talk about the jew/gentile distinction for a moment. First of all, despite the fact that Israel is specifically the descendants of Jacob, there have always been people who are part of Israel who are not related by blood. There was a mixed multitude who came out of Egypt. They were not all native Israelites. Torah specifically states more than once that the same law applies to the native born and the stranger/foreigner among them. Isaiah 56 clearly discusses non-Israelites receiving the same promises for obedience. There is a distinction between God’s people and the nations, but God’s people are not all direct descendants of Jacob.

      Further, Paul himself obliterates the jew/gentile distinction with the olive tree illustration in Romans 11 as well as in Galations 3:

      [Gal 3:28 ESV] 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

      So Paul is effectively teaching that we are all one, whether native jew or not, and thus whatever standard there is applies to everyone. Thus, if he is truly teaching the law is done away with, and he is actually correct, then the law is done away with for everyone.

      But if he is in fact teaching against the law, it flies in the face of everything I have read so far chronologically. And in a big way! Not just some minor sort of conflict, but a complete 180 degree departure from everything that has preceded him.

      A reasonable person would at this stage question Paul, not embrace him and then try to re-evaluate everything he has already discovered in God’s Word in light of these drastic changes.

      Suppose Jesus, a devout Jew, perfectly Torah observant, born into the community of God’s people who had been living for some 1300+ years under their covenant with God (at times righteously and other times not so much), was, as you assert, come to do away with the law. You’re talking about a major sea change for the Jews. I mean for over a millennia they’ve been living Torah, and now comes a Jew, a teacher, to basically overturn their way of life and replace it with a new faith-only lifestyle. How does he ease them into this? He tells them to obey even the least of the commandments! Yep, that sounds like the most logical way to teach of the impending momentous change that will free his people from this 1300+ year old curse. (I say curse sarcastically because Psalm 119, the longest book in the Bible, is nothing but one long song singing the praises of Torah. It obviously was not considered a curse.)

      I’ve had people try to tell me that in Matthew 5 he was teaching Torah observance because it still applied, until his death and resurrection. Okay, so not only was he focusing his teaching on Torah observance within maybe a year or two of it passing away, but then during the 40 days he spent with his disciples after his resurrection, where exactly is his teaching them to stop living under the curse of the law? Did he forget? Perhaps he did, so he had to convert Paul so he could go back and rectify his critical omission?

      So you see, while you may assert that you do not start with Paul, you absolutely do. He is the one and only writer who can be interpreted to be teaching against the law.

      We have historical attestation that many of the early followers of Jesus rejected Paul:

      “Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates. They use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavor to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practice circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God.” (Irenaeus, about 180 A.D. in Against Heresies 1.26.)

      I was honestly a bit taken aback that you presented Revelation 2:2 as a defense of Paul. When I work through Paul throughout the NT writings, I draw the exact opposite conclusion from Rev 2:2.

      Here’s how I see it:

      [Act 1:21-22 ESV] 21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us–one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”

      First off, here are the requirements for being an apostle. These were discussed when replacing the departed Judas with Matthias. They chose between candidates who had been disciples of Jesus from his baptism onward.

      [Act 9:26 ESV] 26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.

      Clearly there was distrust here. And for good reason—Paul had been persecuting and murdering believers.

      [Act 19:1, 8-10 ESV] 1 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. … 8 And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

      Here we have Paul arriving at Ephesus, the largest city in Asia at the time, and attempting to preach in the Synagogue for three months. He was rejected there, and moved to an academic environment for two years. So, at a minimum, 2 years and 3 months he was at Ephesus, and all of Asia heard him. Thus he was widely known throughout Asia.

      [Act 21:18-24 ESV] 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.

      Paul returns to Jerusalem and meets with James and the elders. After politely hearing of Paul’s success, they dive straight into the problem they have with him. They point out the tens of thousands of believers in Jerusalem who are all zealous for the law. What? Wait, the law was done away with, why do they care about it? But they do, because the problem they are confronting is this rumor that Paul has been teaching the Jews amongst the gentiles to forsake the law. (And obviously he has!) They insist that he take part in a Nazarite vow in order to demonstrate to the believers in Jerusalem that he is still observant of Torah. Interestingly, as you read on you find that Paul proceeds to do so, and sponsors the sacrifices that are part of the Nazarite vow. What? How on earth are Jesus’ disciples participating in any sort of sacrifice since Jesus was the ultimate and final sacrifice?

      Okay, so far we see the disciples were afraid of Paul and didn’t think he was a true disciple, then Paul goes off to Ephesus for an extended period of time and all of Asia hears his teaching, then he comes back to Jerusalem and is confronted by the local assembly about this rumor he has been teaching against the law, and is required to take action to dispel such rumor.

      What happens next?

      [Act 21:27-30 ESV] 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut.

      Wow, the Asian Jews, the people who know him very, very well because he’s just spent 2+ years teaching amongst them, see him in the temple and cry out for help because here is the very man who has been teaching them against the law, defiling the temple in Jerusalem. Further, they accuse him of bringing a gentile (Trophimus) into the inner courts were by law he is not allowed.

      Paul is detained, for being a law breaker, and there is additional fascinating insight into his mind when he eventually stands before the sanhedrin, notes the mix of Sadducees and Pharisees present, and then exploits one of their most rancorous disagreements (resurrection of the dead), lying about the true reason he was detained in order to divide and conquer and escape to Roman protection. (And all this after insisting to his people in Acts 21:10-13, before coming to Jerusalem, that he was prepared to die at the hands of the Jews in Jerusalem for his faith.)

      At this point it is interesting to contrast Paul’s experience with the detention of the Apostles in Acts 5. When the apostles are detained, an angel sets them free and instructs them to return to the temple and continue teaching. They are re-detained, but Gamaliel (supposedly Paul’s teacher) releases them, arguing that they’ve done nothing wrong and will simply fade into obscurity along with other false messianic claimants, or they could be doing God’s work in which case the sanhedrin should not interfere with them. Wow, that’s powerful. How can they be released in this manner? Well, the simple fact is they weren’t breaking the law (Torah). They were observant, thus they hadn’t done anything wrong other than preaching that Jesus was Messiah, which wasn’t against the law but was simply something the Jewish leaders of the time didn’t want to hear.

      But Paul’s case goes completely differently. In fact we don’t know that he was ever released. The last thing we know of Paul is that he was languishing in prison.

      We also know the apostles didn’t come to his defense:

      [2Ti 4:16 ESV] 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!

      Even more telling, we also know that all of Asia abandoned him:

      [2Ti 1:15 ESV] 15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

      Interestingly, we have no recorded instance of the Apostles referring to Paul as an Apostle. Paul refers to himself as one many times, and his traveling companion and historian Luke once refers to both Paul and Barnabas as apostles. Paul and Barnabas were both at Ephesus interestingly, so we have apostles (plural) Paul and Barnabas at Ephesus.

      Just how many Apostles are there? Revelation 21:14 may give us a hint:

      [Rev 21:14 ESV] 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

      Hmm, so Paul and perhaps Barnabas are Apostles #13 and #14?

      So I get through all of the above, and then read Revelation 2:2:

      [Rev 2:2 ESV] 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

      Uh oh, who exactly fits this description of false apostles now? Who is it that we know couldn’t convince the Jews in the synagogue of Ephesus? Who do we know was rejected by ALL of Asia? Who was so indefensible that even the real Apostles wouldn’t defend?

      What is the evil in Rev 2:2? Sin! What is Sin? Lawlessness! (1 John 3:4). Who was teaching people to forsake the law in Ephesus? Paul!

      So you see, if you take in the progressive revelation of God to mankind from Genesis forward chronologically, Jeremiah 31 makes absolutely perfect sense. I come back to Jeremiah 31 because it utterly destroys the idea that the new covenant is Torah-free, or that it has even yet come. It is only when you get to Paul that problems and contradictions arise.

      Interestingly many Christian scholars agree that Jacob’s prophecy about Benjamin (of which tribe Paul was a member) applies to Paul:

      [Gen 49:27 ESV] 27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey [persecuting and killing believers] and at evening dividing the spoil [sowing confusion].” (Brackets contain my interjection.)

      I also love this type of discussion and do not bear any ill will toward those who disagree 🙂 Iron sharpens Iron.

    13. William:

      Yes, that was long. I appreciate you taking the time, but let me suggest that some critical editing for brevity might be helpful to other visitors who will read comments in the future. =)

      I believe I understand you to be saying this: Torah is a necessary part of the old covenant, and will be a necessary part of the new covenant (when it finally arrives). Here is my response to that: so? Gentiles were never part of the old covenant, so the Torah written on stone never applied to them. If the new covenant hasn’t arrived, then the Torah written on hearts doesn’t apply to them either.

      That being so, the only way I can imagine one would logically conclude that Gentiles need to observe Torah is that they believe Torah is the only path to salvation. You mention the Ebionites, to suggest that some early Christians rightly rejected Paul as a heretic with regard to the Law. That’s great…except that the Ebionites were considered heretical* by the early church for holding this very view! That means that early Christians did not reject Paul…only specific heretics did. Again I point you to Acts 15:

      Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

      This seems to be what you’re saying as well. That makes you – historically speaking – a ‘judiazer’ and in need of correction. Certainly you don’t need correction from me, but correction from Jesus’ own disciples seems fitting for one who calls himself a Christian:

      Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:7-11)

      Note as well that this entire section of Scripture was brought about by a discussion very similar to this one: Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. (Acts 15:1-2)

      You keep claiming that Paul is the only NT writer to teach that we are no longer under the Law. That’s a fiction, William, and Acts 15 proves it. Some claimed that we must follow the Law to be saved, so Paul and Barnabas went to see the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. According to Luke, here is the response that Peter and James and the “the whole church” wrote to the Gentile believers in response:

      The apostles and elders, your brothers,

      To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

      Greetings.

      We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul – men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

      Farewell. (Acts 15:23-29)

      That might not settle the issue for you, but it should. Paul is not the only NT writer (nor the only authoritative voice in the early church) who taught that Gentiles need not follow Torah. Along with Paul are – to name only a few – Peter and James and Luke and the Holy Spirit. I mean no offense when I say that if you don’t believe them, I would find it hard to consider you an actual follower of Christ.

      To put it simply: your view, that Christians should observe Torah, is decidedly unbiblical.

      Have a great day, William!

      * Your mention of the Ebionites, and of Irenaeus, suggested that you might be interested in my growing collection of ancient religious texts. You can, for example, read all of Irenaeus’ Against Heresies there, if you wish.

    14. Tony:

      There are two confusing responses running throughout your replies.

      1. “The Sinai covenant no longer stands.”

      2. “Gentiles were never part of the old covenant, so the Torah written on stone never applied to them.”

      (And might I add the Torah was not written on stone. Only the 10 commandments, a teeny tiny fraction of the Torah.)

      I’m primarily dealing with #1, which is disproven by Jeremiah 31. My entire emphasis on Jeremiah 31 is showing that Torah is central to both the Sinai and future covenants. Do you agree? If so, then we can avoid this particular part of the discussion, and agree that for Israel at least Torah is still central to the covenant, and the new covenant as well, which is still in the future.

      Hebrews (chapter 8 quotes Jeremiah 31 and then concludes that the old covenant is getting ready to pass away), then must only apply to Jews, because the covenant that is getting ready to pass away only applies to the Jews, as is the case for the new covenant to follow.

      Let’s presume perhaps the gentiles as you say aren’t bound by the Sinai covenant and God’s instructions. But let’s at least correct your assertion that the Sinai covenant no longer stands, since Jeremiah 31 clearly doesn’t support this.

      Let’s look at Acts 15. The summary of the debate reads thusly:

      [Act 15:19-21 ESV] 19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

      What is the point of mentioning Moses, mentioning that he is taught in the synagogue every Sabbath? It’s completely superfluous unless the idea is that the gentiles coming into the faith will learn Torah as they go along. They don’t have to be immediately circumcised, and expected to be fully observant without a learning process. These believers attended synagogue and learned Torah there. Why do I take this to mean such? Well, immediately before there are in fact four Torah-based stipulations made, so there are in fact expectations made of these gentiles. Why any stipulations if the law didn’t apply in any way? Just let them join by faith and forget any requirements! Torah doesn’t even apply to them!

      If there are no dietary laws binding upon gentiles, why on earth would they dream up this requirement to abstain from things polluted by idols, or from strangled animals and blood. Those are purely Torah laws. It seems to me they started with the most common sins practiced amongst the gentiles of their day. In essence they are advising the gentiles to start with the most problematic and widespread sins first, idolatry and sexual sin, and learn more Torah as you go.

      Let’s face it, they weren’t sinning if the law didn’t apply to them. But they were sinning indeed and needed to stop.

      Further problems arise when you factor in the already discussed passages from Rom 11 and Gal 3 where Paul eliminates any distinction between jew and gentile. If there is no distinction, why a distinction in covenantal expectations?

      Paul should have instead embraced the distinction and made it clear that he was teaching against Torah only to gentiles. However, we see in Acts 21 that wasn’t the case. The apostles confronted him because he was teaching Jews against Torah. The Asian Jews cried out against him because he was teaching Jews against the law.

      So the inescapable conclusion here is that even we allow that gentiles were not bound to Torah in any way, (which is unsupported by my analysis of Acts 15 above), we still have Paul teaching Jews against the law, in direct violation of the clear understanding that at least for Jews, Jeremiah 31 clearly shows Torah as central to both the Sinai covenant and the one to replace it.

      That still makes Paul a false teacher.

      As for your opinion of the early believers, it is known that the earliest followers of Jesus continued to worship in the synagogue and observe Torah, and it is known that there were a mix of Jews and Gentiles.

      However, let’s presume your jew/gentile distinction, and suppose that perhaps the believers in Judea were all Jews still rightfully under their covenant. The Ebionites were a Jewish sect, so why would Irenaeus label them heretics? They’re Jews! You’ve argued that gentiles were never under the covenant, which I’ll allow simply for the sake of argument, but Jeremiah 31 specifically details that Torah will ALWAYS be part of the covenant with Israel. Thus Israel following their covenant are not heretics! So Irenaeus clearly didn’t see this distinction. However, the church was already progressing well beyond the teachings of Jesus, who as we’ve seen clearly upheld Torah. Irenaeus’ heretics may just as well be my heroes.

      Any way you come at this results in problems. If we note the distinction and agree that Jews have a different covenant and different expectations, then Jews at least are still under their covenant as Jeremiah 31 shows, and cannot be heretics.

    15. William:

      >> My entire emphasis on Jeremiah 31 is showing that Torah is central to both the Sinai and future covenants. Do you agree?

      Nope…but I don’t believe that will matter for this discussion. If by “Torah” you mean “things that God says He wants us to do” then, certainly, we agree. If by “Torah” you mean the 10 Commandments and the civil and ceremonial and ethical laws and guidelines that surround them, then no…we do not agree. Your point seems to be that God expects the same from ancient Israelites and modern Gentiles. My point is that this is a direct contradiction of much in the New Testament. Paul is not, as I’ve abundantly shown, the only one who believed that Gentiles had no need to follow the Law. Certainly Acts 15 should be enough to convince you of this. You have yet to deal with Acts 15, opting instead to keep suggesting that Paul alone was wrong about the Law.

      >> What is the point of mentioning Moses…?

      Good question. Let’s say that I don’t know for sure, for the sake of discussion. What can be established with certainty is that there are no New Testament passages where Gentiles are instructed to (as you suggest) eventually learn and observe Torah. That’s not exegetical (a concept coming from the text) but eisegetical (a concept being inserted into the text by the reader). It’s worth noting that Peter and James and Luke and John say nothing to Gentiles about eventually observing Torah, when they’re mature.

      >> Let’s face it, they weren’t sinning if the law didn’t apply to them. But they were sinning indeed and needed to stop.

      While I have no doubt that the early Christians in question did sin, neither the dispute nor its resolution were in response to sin. They were in response to false teaching…the suggestion that Gentiles must be circumcised and obey the Law. The apostles and elders didn’t say “not yet, as they’re young in the faith” but “no, they don’t need to be burdened by the yoke that even we failed to bear.” You’re not reading and interpreting the text, William…you’re making things up to suit your own position. Your position is the same as the so-called judaizers. This position is directly contradicted in Scripture, and I’ve more than adequately shown this to be true. I understand that you might not like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that that’s what the Bible actually says.

      >> Paul eliminates any distinction between jew and gentile. If there is no distinction, why a distinction in covenantal expectations?

      Simple: context. Context is the key to understanding any communication, and it’s especially important for larger works like the Bible. In what context did Paul write that there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles? The context was that Jews considered themselves spiritually superior to Gentiles. With respect, it’s no surprise that you so easily misunderstand such simple passages…you seem to read only what you prefer to see. Again, I don’t say this to be insulting, but descriptive.

      >> The apostles confronted him because he was teaching Jews against Torah.

      That’s not what the text says. As it says, Paul didn’t only teach Gentiles that they didn’t need to observe Torah…he taught the same to Jews. It indicates that they were concerned about the response of the many zealous Jews who had been converted. What did they suggest that Paul do to make sure these new converts didn’t cause unnecessary problems? They suggested that he take part in sponsoring their Nazirite vows. In doing so, he would be ceremonially clean and not be seen by new Jewish converts as unfaithful to God. There was no correction of his teaching at all. In fact, during Paul’s speech in chapter 23, he claimed that he had fulfilled his duty to God in all good conscience. He didn’t say that he was wrong, and that the Jewish leaders had corrected his error about Jews and the Law.

      >> That still makes Paul a false teacher.

      Let’s pretend that you’re correct. That would make Peter a false teacher as well, and James, and Luke, and the rest of the apostles and elders who approved of Paul’s message. Peter especially, for he called Paul’s writings “scripture.” Of course, Luke and Barnabas and Silas and Judas attested that the Holy Spirit led them to approve of Paul’s teaching. John wrote in Revelation that Jesus approved of the Ephesian church, since they didn’t put up with false apostles. You see, William…what you propose is that the foundation of the whole of Christianity is false. For that reason alone, your opinions about what Christianity is and what Scripture teaches are more than suspect…they are faulty.

      >> The Ebionites were a Jewish sect, so why would Irenaeus label them heretics? They’re Jews!

      They may have been Jews, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t also hold to heretical teachings. You seem unfamiliar with the concept.

      >> Irenaeus’ heretics may just as well be my heroes.

      And there we stand. Paul taught that the guardian of the Jews – the Law – was no longer in effect. The Ebionites taught that observing Torah was the only way to be saved. Jesus’ own disciples, the apostles (those who witnessed His ministry personally), the elders in Jerusalem, and the entire church agreed with Paul and disagreed with the Ebionites. They disagree with you on the same matter as well, so let’s just go ahead and proclaim your view to also be heretical. Do you have any objection?

      Interesting stuff, indeed. =)

    16. Torah in the Tanakh is the first five books of the Bible. When Jeremiah 31:31-34 says under the new covenant Torah will be written on their hearts, that has a very clear and specific meaning to the Israelites to whom Jeremiah’s prophecy was directed. There is no basis whatsoever for not understanding or acknowledging this.

      Again, with respect to Jeremiah 31, there is no room for NOT concluding that Torah, with it’s single precise meaning, is central to the future new covenant.

      You say I have yet to deal with Acts 15, but I have. I’ve shown that the decision was made to require the gentiles to observe four laws based on Torah. This is proof that at least some Torah was applicable to gentiles, plain and simple. You cannot state the Torah was never applicable to gentiles in light of this. I may not be able to say this is proof that the entire Torah was applicable, but neither can you say Acts 15 proves no applicability whatsoever. The applicability of this subset of Torah law lends credence to the interpretation of the Moses verse as indicating additional Torah learning. And indeed the believing gentiles did attend synagogue, where the primary activities were prayer and reading/learning from the Torah scroll.

      You have a very creative view of the dispute between the apostles and Paul in Acts 21. It clearly reads that the apostles were concerned that he was in fact teaching improperly against the law, and needed to dispel those rumors. When he was eventually detained immediately after the nazarite vow for BREAKING THE LAW, due in part to bringing Trophimus the gentile into restricted parts of the temple during that very vow, the apostles didn’t come to his defense. The puzzle pieces here don’t fit your view. Especially considering the fact that James, the leader of the assembly in Jerusalem and part of this group who confronted Paul, penned statements like “[Jas 1:25 ESV] 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”, “[Jas 2:17 ESV] 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” and “[Jas 2:24 ESV] 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

      Was John writing to Jews only in Revelation? Doubtful since the first few chapters are addressed to various assemblies outside Israel. So when he writes things like:

      [Rev 12:17 ESV] 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

      or

      [Rev 14:12 ESV] 12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

      is he speaking to Jews only, or all believers?

      There are so many NT writings which uphold Torah. Did Jesus speak only to Jews or are his teachings for gentiles as well?

      [Mat 19:16-17 ESV] 16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

      Don’t be so quick to say Peter called Paul’s writings scripture. There are two problems with that:

      1. The passage reads:

      [2Pe 3:15-17 ESV] 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

      Sure there is a vague reference to “other Scriptures” that sort of sounds like the writer may be equating Paul’s writings to scripture, but if this is truly the case (unlikely as I will address in point 2) he also says Paul’s writings are difficult to understand and warns the reader to avoid being carried away with the ERROR OF LAWLESS PEOPLE as the result of reading them.

      2. I don’t generally argue about the above passage because:

      The earliest certain reference to II Peter is in Origen (3rd century), whom Eusebius (H.E. vi. 25) refers to as having said that Peter left one acknowledged epistle, and ‘perhaps also a second, for it is disputed… .’

      The very earliest mention was long after Peter’s day, and the authorship was in dispute even then. II Peter had a difficult time entering the Christian canon due to this. I personally think the evidence is compelling that 2 Peter is not Peter’s writing. It wasn’t accepted into the canon without difficulty either.

      Outside of this vague reference in 2 Peter all references to scripture in the NT refer to the existing writings (the “old testament”).

      Again, Jesus clearly said:

      [Mat 7:21-23 ESV] 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

      Was he speaking to Jews only?

      The NT is actually full of instructions issued by various people, if we want to drop Torah and just look at those. I recall somewhere along the line reading an article where someone had extracted every single NT instruction and compiled a list of NT instructions that was at least 1,000 long! One can argue that the NT presents even more commandments to follow than Torah!

    17. William:

      With all due respect, I’m not sure there’s any reason to continue this conversation. I believe all 66 books in the Bible to be true, and I trust that God superintended their preservation through the witness of the early church. I believe Paul when he says that we are not under Law, and I believe the apostles and elders when they heard what Paul taught and approved of it. I believe Galatians 2 to be true, and believe that Peter, James, and John had nothing to add to Paul’s message to the Gentiles.

      You do not believe that. As a result, we have no common ground on which to stand. My theology comes from Scripture as I understand it. I do not seek to add to it, but to more fully understand it. Your theology comes from the parts of Scripture with which you approve, and from your own reasoning, and from other places you have yet to name. Just as it would be silly to compare my understanding of the Scriptures to that of my atheist brother, it would be silly for you and I to continue comparing our thoughts about whether Christians are to observe Torah. The matter is settled for me because it is settled in Scripture.

      I wish you well, William. I’m praying for you, and hope to one day be able to say that you are truly my brother in Christ.

    18. Tony:

      This really isn’t that difficult. We can go round and round about individual verses or passages, but the big picture is clear.

      First, Christianity absolutely appropriates the new covenant promise for itself, and believes that the new testament = the new covenant, when Jeremiah completely abolishes this idea and shows that the new covenant conditions have yet to be met.

      Hebrews 8:13, after quoting the Jeremiah promise, attempts to show that the old covenant is about to pass away, clearly acknowledging that the writer is expectant of a quick return by Jesus to set up the messianic kingdom. Nearly 2,000 year later that hasn’t happened, and it’s clear that the author of Hebrews was incorrect in his assumption. The new covenant has still not arrived. However, the author nowhere claims that God’s instructions are going to be passing away, only the covenant, and the replacement covenant according to the promise includes God’s instructions as a central part of it, very clearly.

      Jesus taught Torah. No way around this. There is no teaching of Jesus indicating the Torah is done with, passing away, etc. A chronological reading of scripture clearly shows a perfect Torah continuity from Genesis through the gospels.

      Sin is lawlessness. Law defines sin. There is no separating sin from the law. One cannot exist without the other. Whenever there appears an exhortation to avoid sin, it is by the very definition of sin an exhortation to uphold God’s standard of righteousness. Furthermore, many dozens of NT writings clearly exhort the followers of Jesus to obey the commandments—all the way into John’s Revelation. I have nowhere said that faith never plays a role, as you have subtly implied. Faith always played a role. There is no purpose in following commandments blindly. Faith motivates us to seek and to obey God.

      Jesus did not come to establish a new religion, nor to overturn Torah. His early followers, those who understood this, continued to be Jews, attended synagogue, and followed Torah. Marcion the Greek, in the second century, recognized that Paul could not be reconciled with the Hebrew scriptures, and embraced Paul and his idea of a lawless faith-only belief with an all forgiving God who needed no obedience from his followers, while rejecting the Hebrew God altogether. He was the originator of the terms “new” and “old” testament. He was labeled a heretic by the early “church”, because obviously this new religion had no leg to stand on without being able to establish some sort of continuity between the faith of the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and this emerging new religion.

      Already in the second century your cherished church fathers were disgustingly anti-semitic, with Justin Martyr penning this gem:

      “The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and you cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of your land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men…as I stated before it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observance of the sabbath as a mark.”

      Here’s a church father interpreting the Sabbath, made Holy by God at the dawn of creation, as a brand of shame on the Jews. Disgusting. God chose his people and said they were to be a light unto the nations, and then the “church” came along and abolished the Sabbath along with all of God’s instructions, persecuted God’s people, committed the worst kinds of atrocities against them and anyone who dared to stray from church teachings. The canon was established in the fourth century after this new religion was made the official religion of the state, after God’s holidays had been overthrown and new pagan holidays instituted, Sabbath worship outlawed, etc. Paul was not unanimously included in the canon, and yet he HAD to be because he was the basis for everything the church practiced.

      At the same time, the writings of church fathers discuss the Nazarenes or Ebionites, still observing the law, into the seventh century.

      And yet they, and I as you have not so subtly stated, are heretical. Nice.

      When I say that Paul is the only writer to abolish Torah, I don’t claim that there wasn’t a discussion of how to bring gentiles into the assembly of Jesus’ followers. You want to say that this discussion in Acts 15 proves that Paul wasn’t the only one who taught the non-applicability of Torah. That isn’t what I assert at all. I assert that Paul is the only one to completely abolish Torah, which completely contradicts the Jeremiah promise of the new covenant, and flies in the face of what Jesus lived and taught, and what the 12 apostles lived and taught, for they all continued to observe Torah. And Acts 15 proves that they began to require a beginning level of Torah to incoming gentiles. That Torah would be learned and followed is the natural conclusion one can reasonably derive from the nature of sin and the otherwise completely superfluous mention of Moses being taught in all the synagogues in the same passage.

      Shalom. I wish you well and as you are unwilling to continue this discussion, I submit this as my closing statement.

    19. William:

      I’d like to thank you for a rousing discussion. I sincerely appreciate both your intentions and the work you’ve done to express them. As this is my website, intended to express the truths of Scripture as I understand them, I’ll have the final word. Tens of thousands of people will read this discussion, and I pray that they will be better for it.

      At this point I cannot consider you a Christian. Your views contradict the views of historic Christianity, from the first generation of Jesus’ apostles through today. There’s a lot of room for debate and disagreement in the Kingdom of God, as I see it…but your perspective precludes me from being able to call you my brother in Christ. I do not make this charge lightly. I could be wrong, and I hope I am. I would not suggest that you aren’t a Christian based solely on our disagreement, of course. I base it on these indisputable facts:

      1. You claim that certain writers of Scripture were, on the topic of the Law, either misinformed or false teachers.
      2. Instead of agreeing with those whom Christ taught personally, you agree with heretics…those who challenged the apostles and elders and their teachings.
      3. Instead of looking in Scripture for the truth that God has revealed, you ignore His revelation regarding the work of Christ in favor of opinions that His revelation has proven false.

      If you are indeed a Christian, it is in spite of your beliefs, and not because of them. Please note that drawing this conclusion does not in any way please me, and that I bear you no ill will. I care about you, which is why I feel the need to express my perspective.

      To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus, the Christ…the Messiah of Israel and the savior of the world. To follow Jesus is to learn from Him and to live accordingly. Jesus taught thousands, counseled many, and discipled twelve. These men traveled with Him full-time for three years, and He accomplished in them what He knew that He must. This first generation of disciples, along with those they personally taught, wrote the New Testament as God inspired them. It is from them that we learn about Jesus, and about what it means to follow Him. If we doubt them, we have no reason to trust in Christ. If we cannot trust in Christ, we might as well embrace Judaism and wait for another Messiah, as Jesus would be found wanting.

      Instead, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth of the gospel: that Jesus is God become flesh, that He lived among us and taught us God’s ways, that He died to demonstrate God’s love for us and bear on Himself the burden of our sins, that He rose again in the flesh, that He returned to Heaven, and that He will return at the perfect moment to complete the divine plan of salvation and redemption for all who will accept Him. All of this comes from those men who were taught by Jesus personally, whose witness you dispute. Christianity is not Judaism. If it were, we would have no need of the New Testament. Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism, and much more…it is the fulfillment of the curse in the garden of Eden, the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, and the fulfillment of God’s covenant with the children of Israel, which points to Jesus in a thousand ways. Every one of Jesus’ disciples believed that Jews needed to trust in Jesus, and they spent their lives teaching what He taught them. I can do no less.

      This is the last word on this subject for now, William. That does not mean that we can’t have other discussions, of course. I will try at every turn to convince you to trust the Scriptures…not just the ones you prefer, but all of them. Why would I do this? So you can enjoy the same kind of relationship that I have with my heavenly Father – or better. Bad theology makes it harder to trust God, and good theology makes it easier. The early church didn’t consider Marcion and the Ebionites to be heretics on a whim…they considered their errors to be great enough to keep them out of God’s Kingdom. It’s my hope that you will see that the Law was a means to an end, and that end was the life, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. Now that Jesus has come, we no longer need the Law as a guardian…we have Jesus’ example and teaching, and we have the Holy Spirit.

      I wish you well, friend.

  20. Wow guys! Thank you so much for the time!
    I have lots to learn and read now! 😀

    By the way, if you guys (or anybody that is reading this) want to continue the discussion in another place, I have created a Google Group (a forum) where we can post topics, and reply to them. Here is the link, https://groups.google.com/d/forum/friendly-bible-discussions
    Just go to the link and join the group so I can accept people.

    Now I need to start to study a bit more. 😛

    By the way, Sarah, again, I know very little and this is a brand new journey for me, but the term “spiritual israel” is something that came from the Catholic church (together with the Sunday topic). We should be careful when using that term. I have learned that nowhere in the Bible we should substitute the name “Israel” to “spiritual Israel” so we can make something apply to us Gentiles.

    Can’t wait to learn! 😀

    1. Fernie,

      Sorry to be confusing. I never even knew that the Catholic church has said that. But what I was trying to convey was that grafting on to the tree of Israel. That’s what I meant by spiritual. Because we do not physically change race, but rather we are grafted on spiritually, at least that’s what I get out of that scripture when I read it (I know Tony will disagree lol ;)). Hope that make sense, but sorry it it was bad wording.

      I will head over to your Google group to join it too. Good idea! 🙂

    2. Let’s pretend that the phrase “spiritual Israel” was first uttered by a Catholic, or even by a Pope. So what? That doesn’t invalidate anything. I’m no fan of Catholic teaching, but let’s not pretend that when the Catholic church says something, that makes it wrong. What makes a theological idea right or wrong is whether it conflicts with Scripture.

      The Bible does not teach that the church is Israel, or that the church has replaced Israel, or that Christians are somehow spiritually Israelites. The Bible teaches that Christians, rather than being children of Jacob (Israel), are children of Abraham.

  21. I came across this because I have been troubled about my past life as a Christian not honoring the sabbath day. Now after reading everyone’s replays I am even more torn on what is right or wrong. All I can do is put my faith in God and let the lord guide me to the Lords will.

    1. Greg:

      >> All I can do is put my faith in God and let the lord guide me to the Lords will.

      That’s not “all” you can do, but it’s the first thing you should do. In the end, we must rely on the Holy Spirit, who guides us and helps us understand spiritual things. In the meantime, we should take the Bible seriously…not just a few small parts, but the whole thing. Do you own study on the Sabbath. Make a list of all of the relevant Scriptures. Keep in mind that the New Testament reveals more than the Old Testament does, and you should be okay. Pray and ask God for help. He will help you.

  22. This article is a really good article. It is true, Saturday is not the real Sabbath. It is actually the New Moon Sabbath. See the ultimate reason this is not being taught is we don’t study deeply into the bible that much. The Fourth commandment says keep the seventh day holy. Then What is the Seventh day? At approximately 400 BC, Pope Gregory XIII revised the calendar a few times, which makes Saturday not the right Sabbath. Well, as you check Isaiah 66:23, you shall find that it says according to the New Moon Sabbath/Feast.

    1. John:

      Thanks for writing. It’s nice that you agree with me, but that agreement didn’t last long.

      >> New Moon Sabbath

      Saturday can’t be the ‘new moon sabbath’. Saturday happens once per week, and a new moon happens once per month.

      >> At approximately 400 BC, Pope Gregory XIII

      Pope Gregory XIII lived in between 1502 and 1585…AD.

      >> revised the calendar a few times, which makes Saturday not the right Sabbath

      God’s Sabbath isn’t dependent on Pope Gregory’s calendar. Maybe you’re talking about the Gregorian Calendar, introduced in 1582…but maybe you mean the Julian Calendar, from 46 BC. Either way, your information is much more than incorrect…it’s silly.

  23. It is utterly amazing to me how you have misconstrued so much of Gods word. You say that you have no connection to Israel so you need not keep any commandments of theirs. How little you understand and have evidently missed, when it is as plain as the nose on your face. God only made covenants with Israel, what other people did he covenant with ? NONE. When you Take on the belief of Yashua our Messiah and The One and only God you become a Jew inwardly and are obligated under that covenant. Paul says this with utmost positivity. ( You who are wild olive branches have been grafted into the root of the Olive tree, the roots supply and keep you it is not the other way around. ) How could you miss this. You refer to his epistles so very much. I think you have completely even misunderstood him as well. We as believers are under the Jewish covenant in all regards, Yashua did away with nothing. The reason the sacrifices have stopped is because there is no Temple to sacrifice in. Granted Yashua is the ultimate sacrifice and the end of all sacrifice, but don’t you know that even in the new Heaven and the new Earth that the 7th day Sabbath will still be observed and some sacrifices made. How have you missed this ? In the very beginning God also outlined and proclaimed what marriage is, do you say that this is also for only Israel, or the whole world, as is also the Sabbath When Yashua returns what denomination will he be, do you know ? He will be even as he was then a Torah observant Jew only now the Lion of Judah. If you are confused by all of this go back and read the book of Ruth which is a perfect portrayal of gentiles and their acceptance of The Most High. Best regards and awaken you are asleep

    1. Raphael:

      I could agree with you, if I were ignorant about what Scripture teaches. Let me encourage you to keep studying, and to read the whole thing, rather than just parts. For example, you say that God only made covenants with Israel. That’s clearly not the case. Most commentators count seven covenants in the Bible. Some are with Israel, some are not.

      I could keep going about how your comment betrays your lack of Scriptural knowledge. How about your claim that Christians become Jews? The analogy is of an olive tree. Consider first that the olive tree doesn’t necessarily symbolize Israel…the “root” is Abraham (the people of faith) and not Moses (the people of the Law). Remember that some of the branches had been cut off. That includes disbelieving Israel. In your analogy, the whole tree is Israel…so Hebrews 11 must – in your view – mean that all of Israel is cut off. You clearly don’t believe that.

      How about the analogy? When a branch is grafted onto a tree, it doesn’t transform and become like the other branches. If you graft an orange branch on a grapefruit tree, it will NEVER bear grapefruit. It can only bear oranges. Gentiles do not become Israel when they’re grafted onto the olive tree…they become part of the community of faith, heirs to the covenant made with Abraham. How could you miss this?

      With regard to Paul, I must suggest that you’re unfamiliar with his writings. What else could I conclude when you suggest that Paul believed Christians to be obligated to the Mosaic covenant? No, a large number of passages – including (but not limited to) Acts 15, Romans 3, Romans 6, Romans 7, Romans 8, and most of Galatians – make it clear that Gentiles are not under the Law. Not even the Jews are under the Law at this time, so why should Gentiles be obligated to take part in a covenant that never included them? Look at Galatians 3:23-25…

      Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

      How could Paul make it any clearer? The Law was temporary, only in place until Christ came. Christ has come, Raphael…so the Law is obsolete.

      I could keep going, but I won’t. Until you begin to wonder whether what you’re being taught actually matches what Scripture says, you won’t listen to me. You have an incomplete and confused understanding of the Law, the Sabbath, and the witness of Scripture. I pray that you will abandon the traditions of men (faulty interpretations of Scripture) in favor of the truth (Spirit-given inspiration to understand spiritual things). I’m not asking you to agree with me…Heaven forbid. I’m asking you to agree with the Scriptures. Not my interpretation of them, but God’s. I don’t have all of the answers, Raphael…but I do have some. No Christian has ever been under the Law of Moses.

      I wish you well.

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