Yesterday I saw a brief writing by a very smart man; my father-in-law. A man who I love and respect without measure. I am thankful for the opportunity to use his wisdom as a foundation for clarifying a few very common misconceptions in religion today. I will post his article in quotes and build on what he has already expounded and clarify some of the gems of Scripture that are missing from his writing, and more importantly churches in America. He starts out with an analogy:
Have you ever found yourself in violation of or in conflict with a city ordinance? An ordinance is any law, regulation or directive put in place by a municipality for compliance by both government officials and citizens. An ordinance can cover anything from using parking meters to wearing seat belts to hiring practices for city contracts to posted speed limits. Ordinances are enacted for the public welfare. Those who live in compliance with local ordinances are considered good citizens.
Ordinances were and are part of God’s kingdom with both Israel and the Church. In the Old Testament, the word “ordinance” is the Hebrew choq, meaning “statute, limit, something prescribed.” In the KJV, it is variously translated, the most common being “statute” (87x). Its first usage is Exodus 18:20: “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” These were the words of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, which he spoke to Moses regarding his leadership of Israel.
The Mosaic Law is an amalgam of ordinances, consisting of the Ten Commandments, the Passover and prescribed sacrifices, Sabbath days, feast days, festivals et al. The Lord directed Israel, custodians of that Law, as follows: “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 18:4). These ordinances applied as well to divine service rendered in the Tabernacle (Hebrews 9:1). They were also “carnal” ordinances (Hebrews 9:10), which means they were fleshly, earthly, natural as opposed to supernatural.
It was the Lord’s sovereign prerogative as Israel’s Redeemer to demand compliance to his ordinances. When Israel was in compliance, they experienced God’s blessing and protection. When they deviated from and forsook the ordinances, God brought his chastening hand. Every OT prophet brought stern and often cataclysmic messages for a non-compliant Israel. God’s last prophet delivered these words: “Even from the days of your fathers ye have gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:7).
His example here about “city ordinances” is great. However, what he failed to mention is that when you break these ordinaces, you get a “ticket”, a written decree of the breaking of ordinances. The importance of failing to understand and mention that is of dire consequence, because that is what was nailed to the cross, NOT the law. As a result of this misunderstanding, 99% of denominational institutions (religions of doctrines of men) are leading believers away from the eternal Law of God.
For example, if someone was to get a ticket for breaking the law and there was someone who wanted to pay the penalty on behalf of the person breaking the law, you would not go to the state capital and make it legal to speed. You would not “abolish the law” you would go pay the ticket for that person. Or you would go to serve the jail sentence for the person on their behalf. This example aligns with the Bible much more than the example provided in the article. Yeshua paid our penalty for breaking the Law, He did NOT abolish the Law.
It is also misunderstood that there is a difference between Israel and the Church, which there is not. Part of the reason for this misunderstanding is that most people think that the “new testament” is not in the “old testament”.They also preach that the “Church” is not in the old testament which makes it a “mystery”. Nothing could be further from the Truth. The word “testament” means Covenant. Let’s take a brief look at what Ezekiel and Jeremiah have to say about the renewed Covenant, because there is no such thing as a new testament, or a new Covenant, other than the fact that it is now eternal and written on our hearts:
Concerning the parable of the 2 sticks (Judah and Ephraim, each representing all the companions [tribes] of Israel) becoming one in Ezekiel 37 we read the following prophecy about the Church, Israel: Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
So this is the same covenant, with the same Israel, but there is something different about it. It is renewed to an eternal type of Covenant, written on our hearts. The 2 houses become one house of Israel (v.22) just as foretold in Jeremiah 31:
Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And the response to this Covenant (repenting, changing from our prior ways through faith and trust of Yeshua) is anything BUT carnal in at least some sense, although certainly there is a carnal (limited to 4 dimensions of time and space) implication to the Ten Commandments, the Passover and prescribed sacrifices, Sabbath days, feast days, festivals et al. I may go more into detail on what parts of this response after salvation should look like later. Obedience is certainly part of the equsion but we have to understand which parts we are able to obey. Moving on…
No matter how bad things got on a national level, there was always a fellowship of the compliant. Four hundred years after Malachi concluded OT prophecy, Luke said this about Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist: “They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). Elizabeth was the cousin of Mary, who would bear Jesus the Christ. It’s safe to say that Mary and Joseph were in that compliant fellowship as well. It’s not within the scope of this article to discuss parenthood. But suffice it to say that parents who desire for their children to walk in God’s paths must first walk aright themselves. Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph were justified by faith as was Abraham. God imputed righteousness to them in response to faith. Compliance to God’s ordinances was an outgrowth of that faith.
This distinction is critical because the Mosaic Law could bestow neither forgiveness nor life (Galatians 3:21). Even if we assume that the natural man could one day achieve perfect compliance to the Law, he would still be spiritually dead and in need of forgiveness for sins past. The Law was our schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25). Its divine design is to expose our spiritual destitution, prompt us to look outside ourselves, come to Jesus Christ by faith with empty hands and trust the Lord to save us. This is the lawful use of the Law (1 Timothy 1:8). The Law is holy, just and good (Romans 7:12).
Jesus came into this world to fulfill the Law. He lived a life of perfect righteousness and compliance to every ordinance. As the God-Man, he went to the Cross as the perfect satisfaction (propitiation) for our sins. In Ephesians 2:15, the apostle Paul wrote: “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” The word “ordinances” is the Greek dogma (Eng. ‘dogma’, a degree, doctrine, judgment). The ‘dogma’ of the Law was abolished by Jesus in the process of bringing Jew and Gentile into one body. The verb “having abolished” is an aorist active participle of katargeo, meaning “to render useless, to cause a person or thing to have no further efficacy, abolish”). Literal translation: “One having rendered the Law useless.”
We must understand as believers, that we are Israelites BEFORE we are Americans. The Nation to which our citizenship and allegiance is to has to first be God’s Kingdom before our Republic (whose laws were based on the Spiritual and inalienable laws of Yahova). Which is, just as our laws are carnal and Spiritual, so is our citizenship. Abolishing “the enmity of the law of commandments contained in ordinances” is not the same thing as abolishing God’s eternal law. That is a big difference between Truth and what we teach and preach and a big deal because as teachers we are accountable. Let us consider some things that Yeshua said:
Mt 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 5:17 ¶ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mt 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Joh 5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
He is absolutely correct, the judgement of breaking the law was rendered obsolete. Because the penalty for sin is now paid in full by our husband. That’s why Paul said “there is now therefore no condemnation.” But what makes us righteous has never changed except for the fact that the righteousness in now imputed by faith because obeying the Law was never intended to CAUSE righteousness, it was simply COUNTED as righteousness. Continuing…
The theme of the epistle to the Colossians is the total sufficiency of Christ for the believer. As Paul traveled throughout Asia Minor, he constantly encountered Judaizers, some of whom followed him from city to city, who sought to ill-affect the minds of believers regarding salvation. Their contention was that the Law was still binding, that faith in Jesus was not enough for a righteous standing before God. While Paul encountered these loyalists to Moses in nearly every place, he took the occasion of writing to the Colossians to address the problem directly with inspired text.
Again he is correct in regard to the sufficiency of Messiah, because He first loved us we follow His commands in obedience. What most do not understand is the idea of “Judaizers”. Judaism was equally as corrupted in that day as “christianity” has become today. Jews didn’t simply obey the Law of Moses. They had scores of teachings of men just as we have become inundated with books and teachings of men. The law of Moses does not say to circumcise grown men, it says to circumcise male children on the 8th day. That had nothing to do with whether or not faith in Yeshua was sufficient for salvation since circumcisions was always meant to be of the heart (Dt 10:16, 30:6, Jer 4:4). But Jesus didn’t come die so that we could live however we want and worship on whatever day in whatever way we want and still have eternal Covenant.
And here is where we MUST be careful.
Mt 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Let us define iniquity- from 459; illegality, i.e. violation of law or (genitive case) wickedness:–iniquity, X transgress(-ion of) the law, unrighteousness;
(Ro 3:20, 5:13) Transgression of the law. Because we know that sin is transgression of the law.
1Jo 3:4 ¶ Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Therefore if the law was abolished, there is no more sin.
1Jo 3:23 ¶ And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
In Colossians 2:16, we find some clues about what the Judaizers thought were essential ordinances that believers at Colosse were NOT observing (ordinances concerning food, drink, holy days, new moons and sabbaths). An alarming trend in Christendom today is a renewed compliance to Torah ordinances by some as an expression of righteousness. It’s Colosse all over again. God nailed every OT ordinance to the Cross of Jesus Christ, including sabbaths (2:14). The trio of verbs is instructive. “Took it out of the way” is a perfect tense, indicating permanent results. It’s modified by two past participles: “Having blotted out (erased) the handwriting of ordinances” and (2) “having nailed it to his cross.” Notice the “it” is singular. The “it” represents the totality of Mosaic Law as one unit. Paul said all the ordinances as outlined in the Torah are a “shadow” or mere shade (2:17). Spiritual nourishment and increase come as a result of “holding the Head” (2:19), NOT the shadow. There is neither spiritual substance nor sustenance to be found in Torah shadows. Paul NEVER intended a co-mingling of Christ and shadows.
This misunderstanding of these verses is also of dire consequence that is mostly due to the terrible translation in verse 16:
Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων
The more correct translation here (which makes sense because of the Asetic teachers that Paul was speaking against who said “touch not, taste not etc.”) is “Therefore let no one judge you in eating and drinking whether in part (or partaking/ sharing) of a feast or a new moon or Sabbath”. The conjuctions of 3 eta’s with Kai is the key. Next we can discuss verse 13:
Col 2:13 ¶ And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 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;
Let us look at what it was that was nailed to the cross, and in order to do so we must go to the place where few people read- the front of the book. Specifically Numbers 5:11-31. The small amount of people in America who even know about this chapter will be further evidence of our problem in the Christian religion in America.
We need this to understand what Yeshua was referring to when He said, “take this cup from me”, and “are you able to drink from the same cup as me?” It was the cup of judgment against the law of jealousies.
Jer 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
In Colossians 2:20, Paul asks a rhetorical question: “Why are you subject to ordinances when you died with Christ and to everything God nailed to his Cross?” This is the relevant question for every person who tries to make Torah compliance ancillary to Christ. The believer is “complete” in Christ (2:10), his head. This was Paul’s whole purpose in writing this epistle. Interpreting the judgment of 2:16 as proof that the Colossian believers were being criticized for observing shadows is a total misread of the verse in its context. The Colossians, in accordance with Paul’s teaching, left the shadow (Torah) on the Cross, where God nailed it. Judaizers criticized them for it. Why then resurrect what God erased in Christ, and call it righteousness? Being subject to Christ and subject to ordinances (shadows) at the same time is spiritual duplicity and a departure from apostolic docrine. What is a Torah follower expecting to get from a shadow that he cannot get from Christ?
One more verse needs clarification. In 1 Corinthians 11:2, Paul wrote: “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” “Ordinances” here is the Greek paradosis (a giving over, tradition handed over from one person to another, either orally or in writing). What were these ordinances delivered by Paul? In comparing scripture with scripture, we can conclude with certainty that NONE of them pertained to the Torah. They probably included water baptism by immersion, the Lord’s Supper (11:23-31), use of spiritual gifts (12:1-31) and the gathering of offerings on the first day of the week, the post-Pentecostal standard for Church worship (16:1-2).
Indeed, the word paradosis refers to the precepts of Paul’s that he shared previously at some point in time. In other words he is saying “keep doing what I told you to do”. However, we cannot conclude with certainty what he said to them other than what Paul did and wrote down. And EVERYTHING Paul said and did was completely in line with Torah. Another piece here that is incorrect is the mistranslation “first day of the week”. The Textus Receptus says, “kata mian sabbatwn” which is literally “the first Sabbath”, meaning the first Sabbath after Pasover Just like the Torah commands us to observe. Showing us once again like always that Paul observed every Sabbath and every feast, festival and sacrifice. See Lu 6:1 –
“And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.”
For another example, We read in Acts chapter 21 that the Pharisees accused the Apostles of teaching against the law of Moses, the Torah. Therefore they took a Nazarite vow, shaved their heads to prove to everyone that they did indeed follow the WHOLE LAW of Moses:
Ac 21:24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
To say that we know for certain it had nothing to do with Torah/ the Pentateuch is almost beyond comprehension for me. Why don’t we just throw the entire “old testament” in the garbage since it is “abolished”?
One false doctrine floating around out there is Replacement Theology, which teaches that the Church inherited from Israel all its privileges because of its rejection of Christ. This may or may not be a factor in worship driven by the Torah. That doctrine is false on its face. God has two distinct programs: Israel and the Church. When the Church Age ends with Christ catching away his Church, his program with Israel will resume (Daniel’s Seveneth Week). One of God’s major purposes for the Great Tribulation will be to draw Israel to himself in advance of his kingdom on earth. Failure to make this distinction between Israel and the Church opens the door to all manner of biblical error.
Indeed, replacement theology is a doctrine of man not found anywhere in the Bible. Neither is anything about “two distinct programs for Israel and the Church”. Israel and the Church are synonymous, they are the SAME. The Bible is quite clear on this. And so is Yeshua:
Mt 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Period. Yeshua told us who He came for. The house of Israel IS the Church that anyone can be a part of- grafted in to the ovlive tree.
Heb 8:8 Reminds us of this fact. “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”. It is also very important to understand that Hebrews is a very difficult to understand writing if you do not understand that Hebrews is written about the Levitical priesthood obligations and ordinances that are indeed no longer necessary because Yeshua is our new high priest of the order of Melchizedech. It explains why for 40 years after the Messiah fulfilled the Passover feast (until the destruction of the temple) the crimson thread never turned white again according to rabbinic history. Because the Messiah was the once for all sacrifice (Heb 10:10). Almost done…
For the believer who thinks they’re really on to something with compliance to Torah ordinances, including worship on the Sabbath, they MUST be prepared to answer Paul’s query: Why are you subject to the ordinances that God nailed to the Cross? Again, what does a believer expect to get from a shadow that he cannot get from Christ?
To this I say, these shadows are of THINGS TO COME. Pictures of the future return of the Messiah. He fulfilled the spring feasts during His first Advent and He is coming to fulfil the fall feasts soon. No one who has returned to Torah pursuance with the faith of Yeshua thinks they are on to “something new”. This has ALWAYS been the patience of the saints since the first Advent to the 2nd advent. The newness of revelation is that we are teaching false information from the pulpits of almost every pulpit in America. Keep in mind the 144 thousand of revelation:
Re 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Are there any pastors reading this who know that the 144 thousand in Revelation is not the first mention of 144 thousand? Let us consider the following:
1Ch 25:7 So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.
Also I say, “KEEP READING” Collosians 2 past the parenthetic. It is not talking about the ordinances that are nailed to the cross, it is talking about Judaism’s ordinances of men that didn’t come from the law of Moses.
Col 2:0 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
So I leave the readers with my own question. Is your heart right? Now that you have read these truths, will you share it with others even if it disagrees with your “church” doctrines? Will you bring it to your pastor and ask him why he doesn’t teach this from the pulpit? Will you deny all and take up your cross for the sake of Truth at all cost? Will you allow yourself to be ostracized by the Nicolaitan church while trying to wake them up to their apostasy?
If you love them, you will tell them the truth, because spiritual leaders are held double accountable. I leave the reader with a previously-shared scripture:
Mt 5:18 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. 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. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Thanks Dad, you are an awesome writer. For information about what I believe the Bible says we are supposed to be doing as we wait for His return, see this page http://homegroups.org/vision/ .
To the readers; there is plenty more to write about that 99% of “churches” not only do not understand, but information is actually preached that is false information instead of Truth. I hope to have more free time in the near future to write about it. And there are obviously things I don’t know yet because we are all in a world where we “know in part until that which is perfect is come”. The Word is alive and powerful. If we have a static set of beliefs that is unchangeable we are not fertile to grow. Confirmation Bias is the church’s worst enemy.
Are we prepared to be a remnant?