“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 believer 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 Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and sh
e be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away...Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful” (1 Corinthians 7:12, 25).
So any attempt to diminish, side-step, or explain away the writings of Paul in the New Testament is an attack on the Word of God and the foundation of the New Covenant. But the Torah pushers have to try to diminish or dismiss (through convoluted arguments) the letters written by the Apostle Paul because he did not mince words about their error. He spoke and wrote plainly about the great danger of perverting the gospel of Christ by making the Old Testament laws, rituals, Sabbaths, and feasts a requirement for New Covenant Christians. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit through Paul destroys their argument that we must keep the law of Moses to be right with God. Some, in their movement, even go so far as to label the Apostle Paul a false teacher and the New Testament as corrupted and unreliable. This is an example of how deep this error can take a person. The New Testament has more ancient manuscript evidence, historical references from first, second, and third century Christians and even non-Christian historians than any ten books from antiquity. For instance, archaeologists and experts in history state that the Apostle Luke was a top-notch historian of his day referring to the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts he penned. But for many of the "Torah folks," these things are ignored.
However, if the grievous error of denying parts or all of the New Testament as unreliable was not enough, many of also now deny the Biblical doctrine of the Triune nature of God (one God with three distinct parts recognized as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Some in the Torah observance movement also deny that Jesus Christ is the fullness of the Godhead bodily even though Isaiah 9:6-7, Colossians 2:8-9, and John 1 (to name a few) plainly teach that Jesus is God the Creator in the flesh. Sadly, I have witnessed this falling away from the truth of God’s Word in numerous Facebook discussions and comments by Torah Observers. So for those who have gone into these areas of deception, they are now blaspheming the Lord Jesus Christ and operating in the spirit of Antichrist (which brings to light why Jesus would say this to a Gentile church in Revelation, However, if the grievous error of denying parts or all of the New Testament as unreliable was not enough, many of also now deny the Biblical doctrine of the Triune nature of God (one God with three distinct parts recognized as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Some in the Torah observance movement also deny that Jesus Christ is the fullness of the Godhead bodily even though Isaiah 9:6-7, Colossians 2:8-9, and John 1 (to name a few) plainly teach that Jesus is God the Creator in the flesh. Sadly, I have witnessed this falling away from the truth of God’s Word in numerous Facebook discussions and comments by Torah Observers. So for those who have gone into these areas of deception, they are now blaspheming the Lord Jesus Christ and operating in the spirit of Antichrist (which brings to light why Jesus would say this to a Gentile church in Revelation, "...I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (Revelation 2:9b). This is not to say that there are not well-intentioned, sincere and good moral people in the Torah movement, but there are many well-intentioned, sincere, and “moral” Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, New Age-Yoga-Oprah “Christians” who are still deceived and teaching a false gospel.
Sadly, these Torah terrorists are very good at avoiding the passages that debunk their "law keeping for righteousness." But they are even better at talking out of both sides of their mouths. In other words, they practice a lot of double-talk to make it difficult to pin down what they believe. For example, I have heard their leaders say, "We don't believe you are saved by keeping Torah. We believe you are saved through faith in Yeshua." Sounds legit at first, but then I heard the same teachers say, "If you don't keep the Torah, you are a lawless antinomian who will hear Jesus say, 'Depart from Me, you lawless one...I never knew you' on Judgment Day." So you can see that they are making the keeping of the Old Testament laws and rituals a requirement to make it to heaven (I will address what New Testament lawlessness REALLY IS later in this message). Nevertheless, this tactic of “double-speak” has been very successful on many newer Christians or those less knowledgeable of the Bible. They take advantage of weaker Christians that have a true desire to love and obey God. They also point out the problem that many churches celebrate pagan holidays like Halloween and Easter and they use that lure Christians away from balanced grace-teaching churches into their Torah law-keeping movement.
The Sabbath & the Law of Moses
Are Christians REQUIRED by God to Keep the Sabbath, Feasts, New Moons and other Laws and Rituals of the Old Testament? This is not a new question and it was settled by ALL OF THE APOSTLES in the first century and that decision and doctrine was preached by the Apostle Paul the rest of his ministry. So let's restart this journey in Acts 15:1-6,
"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for TO CONSIDER THIS MATTER."
Therefore, the matters that the Apostles and elders addressed were the questions of the ritual/law of circumcision and are Gentile Christians required to keep the law of Moses. Thus, it could not more clear the context of Acts 15 and the council of elders and Apostles at Jerusalem. And after much disputing, the Apostle Peter was given respect and allowed to give his word on the matter:
"And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts BY FAITH. Now therefore why tempt ye God, TO PUT A YOLK upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they" (Acts 15:7-11).
Did you catch all that? First, the Apostle Peter sounds just like the Apostle Paul in his epistles. Secondly, the Apostle Peter calls putting the requirements of the law of Moses on the Gentiles 1) Tempting God 2) putting a yoke (of bondage) on the disciples that even the Jews could not bear. And then PETER reiterates that the Gentiles hearts were purified or made righteous by faith and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ...NOT BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW OF MOSES. Again, this message recorded by Luke shows that Peter and all of the Apostles AGREED with Paul's gospel recorded in his letters to the churches. So the Paul-haters or Paul-editors also have to throw out Peter, Luke, James, and the rest of the Apostles and elders of the early church.
The council meeting of the Apostles concluded with Apostle James agreeing with Peter and Paul. This was followed by an Apostolic edict sent by letters to the Gentile churches by a group of faithful men:
"Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, AND KEEP THE LAW: TO WHOM WE GAVE NO SUCH COMMANDMENT: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you NO GREATER BURDEN THAN THESE necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well" (Acts 15:22-29).
Did you notice that they did not even make keeping the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath a requirement? Did you notice that Feast Days and New Moons were not required? Did you notice that circumcision was not required? No...they commanded them to abstain meats offered to idols i.e. participating in idolatrous worship, and from blood drinking, from things strangled instead of blood drained out, and from fornication (which is a word that encompasses all forms of sexual immorality). Of course, some of the Torah keepers argue that because these practices in the law of Moses were carried over by the New Testament Apostles, then they were advocating for all of the law, but that is a ridiculous argument based on what we see in Acts 15 and the rest of the New Testament. Had that been the case, the Apostles would have just said, "Tell the Gentiles that they have to keep all 613 laws of the Old Testament to be REALLY right with God." But of course, they didn't do that and neither did Paul in his letters.
Some point to the Roman Catholic “change” of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday as being where the church went wrong. Some of the more extreme Sabbath zealots say that it is sin and even the mark of the Beast to go to church on Sundays. Their “proof” of this comes from when Emperor Constantine came to power in A.D. 313, he legalized Christianity and made the first Sunday-keeping law. His Sunday enforcement law of March 7, A.D. 321, stated: “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.” (Codex Justinianus 3.12.3, trans. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 5th ed. (New York, 1902), 3:380, note 1.) This “Sunday law” was officially confirmed by the Roman Papacy. The Council of Laodicea in A.D. 364 decreed, “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ” (Strand, op. cit., citing Charles J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, 2 [Edinburgh, 1876] 316).
Now, as much as I despise the Roman Catholic Church, the truth is that they were not the first group to reject Saturday (day of the god Saturn) as the day of week Christians MUST observe as the Sabbath. Whether he intended this or not, Constantine simply recognized and made “official” what the early church practiced for several centuries BEFORE Constantine started the Roman Catholic in 313 AD. Long before Constantine and the Papacy, the early church fathers who were discipled by the Apostle John like Polycarp and Ignatius stated that Christians met on Sunday and did not keep the Sabbath on Saturday. Here are several quotes from their writings:
The disciple of the apostle John, Ignatius, who lived from 30 AD to 107 AD wrote, The disciple of the apostle John, Ignatius, who lived from 30 AD to 107 AD wrote, “Christians do not observe the Sabbath, but the Lord’s Day” (Trallians 9).
Justin Martyr, who lived from 100 AD until he was killed for his faith in 165 AD, was discipled by the Apostle John’s disciple Polycarp. He stated plainly, Justin Martyr, who lived from 100 AD until he was killed for his faith in 165 AD, was discipled by the Apostle John’s disciple Polycarp. He stated plainly, “Christians meet together on Sunday” (First Apology 67). In Dialogue 10, he wrote, “Christians live like all other Gentiles, not observing the festivals, Sabbath, new moons, or the right of circumcision.”
Tertullian, who lived from 160 AD to about 230 AD, wrote, “ Jesus annulled the Sabbath” (Against Marcion 4.12). Tertullian, who lived from 160 AD to about 230 AD, wrote, “ Jesus annulled the Sabbath” (Against Marcion 4.12). “Galatians proves the Mosaic law is fully abolished” (Against Marcion 5.2). “Sabbath was temporary” (Jews 1.4). “Christians worship on Sunday; this has nothing to do with paganism” (Nations 1.13).
When we look at any command or practice in the Old Testament, the main two questions that we have to ask is this, "Was this carried over into the New Testament? And if so, were there any changes?" Now, I know that the Torah people always claim that Jesus and the Apostle did not change the law, yet the Bible says the exact opposite. For instance, in Jesus' discussion with the woman at the well, He announces a change of the law of Moses under the New Testament:
"The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he" (John 4:19-26).
Jesus told her that the requirement of the law for the people of God to worship at Jerusalem would soon be changed. Indicating the opening of the door to the Gentiles and the walk of faith for New Testament believers in the Messiah. In other words, the hour is coming you will be free from the requirements of Jewish law and vain traditions of your fathers. Furthermore, the Bible says clearly that the law of Moses has been exchanged for what I will call "New Testament law." As the writer of Hebrews illustrated,
"If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?...For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity A CHANGE ALSO OF THE LAW... For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For there is verily a DISANULLING OF THE COMMANDMENT going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. FOR THE LAW MADE NOTHING PERFERT, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God" (Hebrews 7:11-12, 17-19).
This is what Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 3, when he states that the Old Testament law (including the part engraved on the stones) and glory of the law has been "done away" or "abolished." This was preceded by him calling the Old Testament law "...the ministration of death" which is quite to the point that if the First Covenant had been faultless and given life why was a second necessary? But in this passage, twice, the translators used the phrase "...done away..." and once they put, "...abolished," in reference to the letter of the law of Moses and the glory thereof, but it is the same Greek word "katargeo." Its' Strong's Definitions: καταργέωkatargéō, kat-arg-eh'-o; from G2596and G691; to be (render) entirely idle (useless), literally or figuratively:—abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nought, put away (down), vanish away, make void. So it is clear that the law of Moses has been changed and abolished. And the people who put faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross they are no longer under the law of Moses. They are under the replacement which is called with the law of Christ or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8:4 and Galatians 6:2). And the requirements of that law are spelled out in the New Testament.
Let's look at some of those changes of the Old Testament law in the New Testament.
For instance, Jesus said, "It hath been said (in the law of Moses Deut. 24), Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time (in the law of Moses), Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it
is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Ye have heard that it hath been said (in the law of Moses Leviticus 24) , An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:30-39).
Let's go back to the Old Testament law against adultery. It is still a serious sin under the New Covenant, but God does not require adulterers be stoned to death as was the requirement of the Old Testament law. You see Jesus changing that Old Testament law in John 8 with the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. He stopped the law zealots from stoning her demonstrated grace and mercy. Hence, the basic truth of adultery being a sin is carried over but the application of the law changed under the New Covenant. We are no longer required to stone rebellious children for their rebellion. Paul also made it clear about polygamy and the dietary laws in his epistles to the young pastor Timothy, "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;...
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (1 Timothy 3:2 & 4:1-5).
Also, we must realize that a Testament or Covenant is a contract between two parties. In this case, the contracts are between God and His people. There is an Old Contract and a New Contract. And if the New Contract was exactly the same as the Old Contract then why did God make a new one? But like any contract, it is important to pay attention to the details and the fine print.
Concerning the Old Testament requirement to keep the Sabbath, the New Testament is clear that we are not required to observe the seventh day as a Sabbath. This was made clear by all of the Apostles and elders from their council meeting in Acts 15 and later by the Apostle to the Gentiles when Paul wrote,
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore JUDGE you in MEAT, or in DRINK, or in respect of a HOLYDAY, or of the NEW MOON, or of the SABBATH days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ" (Colossians 2:13-17).
"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years" (Galatians 4:9-10).
And of course, when the Apostles were settling what was required of the Gentiles who had come to Jesus, they concluded only 4 things the Gentiles should do and keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day was NOT one of them:
"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood" (Acts 15:19-20).
So, like the way adultery was carried over as sin into the New Covenant, but the punishment for it was abolished, the "Sabbath" does exist under the New Covenant, but it is different. It is not about any particular day of the week or other rigid restrictions on activity. It is found in the requirement not to forsake the assembling together of the church for worship, fellowship, teaching, and accountability to spiritual authority (Hebrews 10:25). It is also found in Jesus who called Himself the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). Thus, if I am in Him and He is in me and I am walking according to the New Testament in faith and obedience, then I am keeping the Sabbath in the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus fulfilled the keeping of the law and the Sabbath for us.
This is why the Holy Spirit had Paul write this in his letter to the Romans concerning dietary laws and keeping the Sabbath:
"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat ALL THINGS: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man ESTEEMETH ONE DAY ABOVE ANOTHER: another ESTEEMETH EVERY DAY ALIKE. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks" (Romans 14:1-6).
Righty Dividing the Word of Truth
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)
One of the main principles of "rightly dividing the Word of truth" is keeping it in CONTEXT. There is an Old Covenant and a NEW COVENANT. And from the moment that Jesus (God in the flesh) died on the cross and rose from the dead on the third day, all Scripture must be interpreted through the CONTEXT of the New Covenant.
To ignore this little fact, Torah observers always quote this passage in Matthew 5 and misapply it. They interpret it to mean that we are to keep trying to keep the law of Moses while overlooking the correct meaning of "fulfill." And they fail to look at Jesus fulfilling the law means in CONTEXT with the rest of the New Testament especially Acts, Romans, Galatians, Colossians, and Hebrews.
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul gave us a very clear teaching on this in what he called an allegory of the two covenants:
"Tell me, YE THAT DESIRE TO BE UNDER THE LAW, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a BONDWOMAN, the other by a FREEWOMAN. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an ALLEGORY: for these are the TWO COVENANTS; the one from the MOUNT SINAI, which gendereth to BONDAGE, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is IN BONDAGE with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON: for the son of the bondwoman SHALL NOT BE HEIR with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, WE ARE NOT CHILDREN OF THE BONDWOMAN, but of the free" (Galatians 4:21-31).
THE BONDWOMAN = the Old Testament Covenant from Sinai which was THE LAW.
THE FREEWOMAN = the New Covenant of freedom from the laws and rituals of the Old Covenant.
Did you see that? Cast out the bondwoman (the covenant from Sinai). The Lord did not instruct New Covenant believers to go back to Sinai or to the Old Covenant. He said to cast it out and embrace and live with the freewoman or the New Covenant. I’m sure this is painful to those who have been duped by the Torah movement, but this is the consistent theme of the New Testament Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ or Yeshua the Messiah (if you prefer).
Outline of Biblical Usage:
1. to cast out, drive out, to send out
a. with notion of violence
i. to drive out (cast out)
ii. to cast out
i. of the world, i.e. be deprived of the power and influence he exercises in the world
ii. a thing: excrement from the belly into the sink
iii. to expel a person from a society: to banish from a family
iv. to compel one to depart; to bid one depart, in stern though not violent language
v. so employed that the rapid motion of the one going is transferred to the one sending forth
i. to command or cause one to depart in haste
vi. to draw out with force, tear out
vii. with implication of force overcoming opposite force
i. to cause a thing to move straight on its intended goal
viii. to reject with contempt, to cast off or away
b. without the notion of violence
i. to draw out, extract, one thing inserted in another
ii. to bring out of, to draw or bring forth
iii. to except, to leave out, i.e. not receive
iv. to lead one forth or away somewhere with a force which he cannot resist
Of course, the go-to passage for the Torah terrorists is this passage in Matthew where Jesus says that He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets. However, their problem comes from not understanding what “fulfill” means. Here’s the passage...
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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" (Matthew 5:17-18).
Strong's Greek Definition of "fulfill" πληρόωplēróō, play-ro'-o; from G4134; to make replete, i.e. (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), SATISFY, execute (an office), FINISH (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.:—ACCOMPLISHED, × after, (be) COMPLETE, END, EXPIRE, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
The issue is that Jesus FULFILLED the law. For example, (in the law) it is commanded to sacrifice animals for our sins and for the Passover. Lambs, turtledoves, goats, etc were to be offered for sin by the LAW of Moses. But Jesus came and fulfilled the law of animal sacrifices on the cross as the Lamb of God. And from that moment the LAW of animal sacrifices ended, not because Jesus destroyed that law but HE fulfilled or completed it. Jesus fulfilled the blood sacrifice requirement of law once and forever (and being God in the flesh), His blood is ETERNAL. Therefore, the law of the blood sacrifice continues FOREVER in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled that part of the law and thus, it is forever fulfilled in Him. That's how "not one jot or tittle of the law passes away. The law is FOREVER fulfilled in Jesus and if I stay in (abide in) Christ by faith in His blood, I live in and through the One who fulfilled and continues to fulfill the law.
In the same way, because Jesus became the Passover, He is forever my Passover. So if I am in Him then I am always fulfilling the Passover by being in a real relationship with Jesus. And because He fulfilled Passover and He is our Passover (...For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 1 Cor. 5:7b), the "law" of Passover carries on forever. This is how "not one jot or tittle passes away" from the law. It is forever through Christ and if I am in Christ through faith, then the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in me (Roman's 8). This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote:
"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:19-21).
It's all about Jesus. It's in and through Jesus, not me and not by going back under the law of Moses. It's all about Jesus. It's in and through Jesus, not me and not by going back under the law of Moses. "For Christ is the END of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4).
I am complete in Him. I don't have to try to satisfy or fulfill the Old Covenant laws, rituals, and Sabbaths that Jesus ALREADY fulfilled. He is my sacrifice, my Passover, my Rest (Sabbath(s), my righteousness, my Sanctifier, my Healer, my Provider, my Lord and my God. Now that does not mean that the New Covenant is a license to sin. The New Testament has a standard of holiness and plainly states that believers in Jesus Christ will not inherit the kingdom of God if they are habitual practitioners of fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pedophilia, incest, idolatry, drunkenness, murder, blasphemy, lying, stealing, sorcery (drugs), witchcraft, hatred, covetousness, wrath, division, strife, sedition, heresy, false teaching, foul or abusive language, violence, lukewarmness, fear, doubt, or unbelief (Galatians 5, Ephesians 5, Revelation 21, 1 Corinthians 5-6, Romans 1).