“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Is Torah observance a requirement for born again Christians?
There is a growing movement in body of Christ that claims to be a true, Holy Spirit-led return to God’s law. Some have even dubbed it an “awakening” (as if it is a true revival among Christians), but in reality it is an old deception that the Apostles battled in the beginning of the New Covenant Church. This so-called movement has become a big part of the end-time apostasy/falling away.
Like any Christian cult, it does proclaim some Bible truth and it preys on unlearned or dissatisfied believers who have a genuine desire to do all they can to please God. It also uses the shortcomings and errors within more traditional Protestant churches to legitimize itself as a “better way” or for some “the only way” to walk with Jesus the Messiah (oops..I mean Yeshua Hamashiach...if you have trouble with the English version of His name).
For many in this deception, it all started with a legitimate desire to better understand the Jewish/Hebraic roots of the Bible. For others, they want to do everything they can to please their involvement began with a but sadly, much of it has devolved into a new legalistic cult. This new “Torah cult” is really not new (it can be traced all the way back to the first and second centuries AD), but it is really more diabolical and deceptive than the alien deception, the Zeitgeist lie, or the cults of Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses. It is the deception that a born again Christian (or anyone for that matter) must obey the Old Testament laws and rituals to be righteous before God. Some of them even state that keeping the Old Testament laws, rituals, Sabbaths, and feasts are REQUIRED to be saved from the consequences of sin and make it to heaven. They take verses in the New Testament about “doing His commandments” and twist them to mean the Old Testament commandments. They simply refuse to put those verses in the proper context of New Testament commandments and what the New Testament says is no longer required for the true born again believerl in Jesus Christ.
As the Holy Spirit through Solomon stated, As the Holy Spirit through Solomon stated, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).
There was a sect called the Ebionites that broke away from the Apostles after the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 which clearly stated that Gentile believers were not required to keep the law of Moses or the Sabbath. This group believed Jesus was the Messiah, but taught that “...observance of the ceremonial law was necessary for salvation and that no one could be saved by faith in Christ alone....They practiced circumcision, and observe the law of Moses, and the Judaic style of life. Some of them, ‘...refused to acknowledge that Jesus was pre-existing being God, the Word. They observed strictly the bodily worship of the Law of Moses and reproached Christians for eating unclean meats. They stated Isaiah‘s prophecy of a ‘virgin conceiving’ should be translated ‘young woman’ instead and they rejected all the epistles of the apostle Paul, whom they called an apostate from the Law. Eusebius says Ebionite doctrines were spawned by evil demons” (Eusebius’ Church History 6:17 and Irenaeus’ Against All Heresies 1:26, 3:11, & 5:1 as quoted by Dr. Ken Johnson in his book The Ancient Church Fathers).
Some may claim that Eusebius and I are too extreme to say that the Torah Observant movement is a cult of demonic deception, but the Apostle Paul declared the same thing in Scripture:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised (a requirement of the Law), Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the WHOLE LAW. Christ is become of NO EFFECT unto you, whosoever of you are justified (made righteous) by the law; ye are FALLEN FROM GRACE" (Galatians 5:4).
"Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?" (Galatians 4:21)
"Cursed [be] he that confirmeth not [all] the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen" (Deuteronomy 27:26).
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith" (Galatians 3:10-11).
"But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is NOT JUSTIFIED by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and NOT BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:14-16).
He also called these law dogs false brethren: “And that because of FALSE BRETHREN unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:” (Galatians 2:4).
And all of these passages in Galatians were preceded with and thus in the context of Paul's statement in Galatians 1:6-7:
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be ACCURSED. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL unto you than that ye have received, let him be ACCURSED."
Thus, the Apostle Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), called this “gospel” of guilting Christians into returning to Torah observance a Thus, the Apostle Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), called this “gospel” of guilting Christians into returning to Torah observance a “...perversion of the gospel of Christ.” He called it “another gospel” and anyone who preached it was to be “accursed.” The word “accursed” in the original Greek is anathema. The Strong's Greek Dictionary defines it like this: ἀνάθεμα anáthema, an-ath'-em-ah; from G394; a (religious) ban or (concretely) excommunicated (thing or person):—accused, anathema, curse, × great. The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines anathema as “...a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if an animal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction.” So this is VERY serious to say the least.
I guess this is why the teachers and zealots of this "Torah movement" will try to dismiss, diminish, or explain away the writings of Paul in the New Testament. However, the Apostle Peter called Paul’s writings Scripture and Paul called his letters the commandments of the Lord:
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in ALL HIS EPISTLES, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also THE OTHER SCRIPTURES, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
“For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:2).
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
And Paul was very careful to let the churches know when he was not speaking by the commandment or direction of the Lord:
“But to the rest speak I, not the L