Folks, I had an inquiry asking; "Just what do you mean by "churchy friends" in your last blog?". I would like to address this before continuing with the "Law".
Before I begin let's get something straight. In no way do I believe Yehovah-Yeshua has given up on the church, or it's individual members. Jesus works with what He has. Having said this, the American-European-Skandia type churches are obviously different than a burgeoning, struggling, suffering church in Vietnam or China or Pakistan or Indonesia or North Korea. My most favorite missionary support group, btw, is Voice of the Martyrs. V.O.M. is definitely your Christmas loving, Easter loving, Lutheran based, hell-burning, heaven going, traditional Romanesque church, but they do great work and God is using them.
But, what I do on this blog is try to define a true, 1st Century based Christian worship, so you'll "hear" me differentiate this effort from the traditional church. Here are some concepts that may be helpful in explaining.
People will ask my wife and I, "What religion are you guys?" We answer, "None, we don't believe in religion." They'll continue, "Are you Jewish?" We answer, "No, we're not Jewish - we're Christian!" This really blows their mind so I continue:
"In the 1st Century and even up to 400 A.D., depending on where you lived in the Roman Empire, Christians celebrated Shabbat, kept the Feasts of Yehovah (as best they could), went to Synagogue (if the local Jewish community allowed them) or worshipped in homes, caves, or in secret; circumcised their boys, ate clean foods, and generally did their best to keep Torah."
So, I ask my "churchy friends", "Why do you now follow the traditions of man, just like the Pharisees of old and modern-day Judaism, instead of actually doing what Jesus said to do?" Of course, I already know the answer because I grew up with churchy tradition, as well. Most of my friends cannot answer because they can't get over the historical and biblical evidence versus the traditions they grew up with. I explain to them that they are, in fact, legalists - following man's instructions, instead of Jesus'. I explain to them that they are no different than the Pharisees Yeshua argued against in His ministry. This usually results in them saying I'm the legalist by trying to follow Torah. But, I remind them that Jesus said to follow Torah (His commandments).
[Note: Legalism, by definition, is the following of man's rules and traditions, not Yehovah-Yeshua's instructions. ... following man - not God!]
Then I explain Constantine and Eusebius and the Council of Nicaea and that the church is actually following Rome and it's man-made instructions and not biblical instructions. Some get it and some don't. It took most of my life before I "got it"! So, let me define the church even further.
1. The Church is pagan in Nature.
The very word "church" is a pagan word . It can be applied to a Roman pagan Temple of Zeus as well as a Synagogue, or Church. The correct word, in English, should be "Assembly". Follow this link for a wonderful explanation. The church has pagan traditions and Holy days. Even most of it's liturgy is based in pagan ritual, although most of the Protestants have tried to get away from that.
2. The Church is Nicolaitan in Structure.
Jesus HATES THE DEEDS OF THE NICOLAITANS! Just read Revelation Ch.2. The church is Nicolaitan in structure.
3. The Church is Laodicean in Spirit.
Please read Revelation Ch. 3 for this one. Being Laodicean is not good.
My point with all this is; wouldn't you want to be involved in worship that is closer to the way Yeshua taught His Apostles and Disciples to worship, and NOT the way man has taught you to worship? Or, will you continue to be a "churchy friend"?
Luke Chapter 16 is an absolutely wonderful piece. It is very logically laid out as two parables, both making the point that we cannot serve wealth. It also verifies and validates, once again, that Torah is still in effect!
Luk_16:16"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. Luk_16:17"But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.
Once again, the Greek word is "Nomos", or Torah. The first parable (verses 1-15) is about a man who handles the monetary affairs of a wealthy man and abuses his position. Yeshua's audience here are Pharisees, who love wealth. At the end of the first parable and after proclaiming one cannot serve money and God, but must choose between the two, Yeshua reminds them that Torah and the Prophets have been taught all along, so they are without excuse, and that any man-made effort (man-made rules) to force your way into compliance with Torah will fail. One must simply and plainly follow Torah. Yeshua also reminds them that Torah is still valid and takes prescience.
Anti-Torah folks will use liberal eisegesis to actually say that verse 16 means Torah has been done away with after John. Talk about evil wishful thinking!
The second parable (verses 18-end) is very famous. It is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Yeshua uses the mythof Hades to make a point about wealth and it's use in life. "Hades" is actually the name of the Greek god of a mythological underground abode of the dead and mythological god of wealth, and not a place. BTW, the word Tartarus, which is also Greek, refers to the deepest, darkest pit of the Greek myth. To the Romans, this god is Pluto. Yeshua is talking to Hellenized Jews here, and they would understand the emphasis on wealth. Anyone who speaks of Hades being real, and anyone who speaks of this parable in the context of "where do we go after death," is a person who simply cannot read contextually, but as well, believes in Greek myth. By arguing this parable is proof of an everlasting burning "Hell", one is saying that Jesus believes in Greek myth also! Folks who try to lift this parable out of it's context, and make it applicable to their own wishes and inclination, provides a perfect illustration of how man's tradition initiates false teaching. The context here is obviously about wealth.
Luk_24:44 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
These words reference Yeshua's remarks to the two disciples He spent time with, after the Resurrection, on the road to Emmaus. It testifies that the Tanakh does describe and speak of Jesus! Also, please remember, the word "fulfilled" does not mean, "come to an end", but, "to be made full".
Joh_1:17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. Joh_1:45 Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
Verse 17 is brutalized by many. These "many" will claim that only Jesus, and therefore only the New Testament (Christianity), provides "grace", but in reality grace is a major part of the Tanakh and especially Torah. This is referred to as the Grace Perversion. Some people simply ignore the fact that Yeshua is God made flesh and is the same today, as He was in yesteryear. The 119 boys have produced an excellent video explaining this verse. For verse 45, I recommend you study my blog entries on the "Oneness" of Yeshua and Yehovah.
Another important point is being made here that most people miss. Verse 45 speaks of "Him of whom Moshe wrote". This is referring to Deuteronomy 18. Yeshua is The Prophet which we must "Shema", hear and obey!
Joh_7:19"Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?" ... Joh_7:23"If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?
At this point, in the Book of John, the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law are already out to kill Yeshua. Why? Because Yeshua continues to ardently and insightfully break every man-made tradition of the Elders, whilst NEVER breaking Torah! Just as with Judaism, which follows the Rabbinic rules of the Talmud and Mishnah, the Christians have the same man-made rules problem. They will instruct you to celebrate false Feast days, false worship day (Sunday), and false traditions of all sorts. Folks, God has given us the proper instruction in Torah! Verse 23 points out the gross hypocrisy of these man-made rules. Joh_7:49 "But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed." ... Joh_7:51 "Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?"
The context here in John Ch. 7 is a crowd, which consisted of average folk and subordinate officers (Constables) of the Sanhedrin, who were listening to Yeshua speak on the Temple "grounds". When the Chief Pharisees showed up and heard about what Yeshua was speaking, they demanded to know why the "officers" had not arrested Him. The officers admitted they were "taken aback", so to speak, by Jesus' words. The Pharisees then make the statement in verse 49, which should be rendered, "But this crowd, which does not know the Law, is accursed." The Pharisees are blaming the officers and the crowd for not knowing enough to understand they should have arrested Yeshua. I've had people take this verse completely out of context, as a one-liner, and tell me, "You see! The Law is accursed!" No ... the crowd is being called accursed. This is yet another example of the bias of our "wonderful translators"! Why is the word, "accursed" used, concerning the crowd? Because, the LORD set before us blessings and curses! See Deut. 11 and Deut. 30.
Verse 51 is Nicodemus reminding the Sanhedrin Chiefs that instead of relying on this crowds hearsay, they should allow Yeshua to speak to them directly before judgment occurs.
Joh_8:5 "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?"
This is the famous story of the woman presented to Yeshua, accused of Adultery. No where in scripture does it say who the woman was, although much speculation abounds - and I will not get into that.
But there are at least two wonderful inferences included in this script! Some people will tell you that Yeshua broke Torah here after He tells the crowd, "He who is without sin among you, let him be thefirst to throw a stone at her." Then He asks the woman, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." You see, when Yeshua asks the crowd, "who is without sin among you", He may have been looking for the man who committed Adultery with the woman! Torah states that BOTH guilty parties must be discovered, and if guilty, stoned. Yeshua did not break Torah - He enforced Torah properly!
Now, this is where my churchy friends will begin to ridicule and say, "If you love Torah so much, shouldn't you be out stoning people?" : ) Well, I don't know about you folks, but I don't live in a Theocracy, I live in a Constitutional Republic (it used to be, at least). One does not go around stoning people. However, when I was a child, Adultery was an act punishable by jail time - for both parties! I have not heard of that being enforced in many years (but should be).
Another very interesting inference here is Yeshua writing in the ground. See Jeremiah 17:13 for my take on that.
[Note: Some translations of verse 13 says, "their names will be written in the earth"]
Jer 17:13 Thou hope of Israel, the LORD! All that forsake Thee shall be ashamed; they that depart from Thee shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. - JPS translation
Finally, my "churchy friends" will say, "You see, Jesus forgives our sin, like the Adulteress woman. We don't need or want the Torah enforcement". This statement ignores so much scripture about the nature of sin and it's consequences that I won't even respond! : )
The famous preacher David Wilkerson gave this sermon years ago. This is only 7 minutes of it. I beg of you, those in the Church - do away with your pagan traditions, return to the sanctified Sabbath, return to Yehovah's Feasts, return to ALL of Torah, set yourselves apart from the world, and do not accept compromise!