Christian Complaints against our Messianic Faith...

(August 2002 Issue)

Lion and Lamb Ministries Article

By: Monte Judah

Lion and Lamb website: http://www.lionandlambministries.org


S
o, let’s say you are having a reasonable conversation with someone when they suddenly tell you that the grass is blue and the sky is green. You, of course, chuckle to yourself and offer the immediate correction only to be rebuffed as well. How would you explain to your friend that somehow he has the colors backwards? How would you help correct someone who has been told and believes the opposite is true? This is the same dilemma that many of us face when we speak with our Christian friends and family about the Torah, the commandments of God, or the Messianic movement’s teaching.

Trying to convince someone that the colors blue and green are reversed in their thinking would be a daunting task. As I have thought of this example problem, I would strategically present other things that use those colors and try to forge the logic of understanding. For example, I would ask about the "green" in the red-yellow-green traffic lights. I would appeal to their understanding that green means go, not blue. Therefore, the same color in the traffic light is in the grass, right? There would be other ideas, but I think you get the idea.

The same is true in building a bridge of understanding between our Messianic faith with a Christian. Messianic and Christian mean the same thing, but one emphasizes our Hebrew origins instead of Greek origin. Regardless of how good our argument is made, it is meaningless without being shared in love. Understanding is the key here and that is our intent in sharing.

All of us have or will face these questions and statements from our Christian friends. They are attempting to correct our understanding. If we are to develop understanding and convince them that the sky really is blue and the grass is green, then we must use a simple, consistent, and straightforward approach. We must address the obvious, so they can see as well.

I offer these short and long answers to some of the most common questions to open the dialogue between you and your Christian friends. Remember, they are making these statements and asserting these points because they believe they are true. They really believe the sky is green! Therefore, I am not giving these answers so that you can prove that they are wrong. I am trying to help them to think and compare truth with truth. Remember, truth is established by the evidence of two or three; and, the truth will set you free. Let the Spirit guide you in the use of logic and humor.

If you are reading this article because a friend asked you to read it. Don’t be offended. I appeal to your person to hear what the Spirit is saying to you.

Keeping the Law is legalism and bondage.

Short Answer No. 1
Keeping the commandments of men is legalism and leads to captivity and bondage. But keeping the commandments of God is called obedience and leads to liberty and freedom. "Do you believe you should obey the Lord?"

Short Answer No. 2
The United States of America has more laws in it than any other country in the world and yet we are considered to be the freest people in the world. The rule of law is what makes us free. The Commandments of God are truth and the truth makes us free!

Short Answer No. 3
The term "Law" used in the New Testament is the word "Torah" in the Old Testament. Torah means teaching. "Does the ‘teaching’ of God make you legalistic and put you under bondage?"

Long Answer
Laws are not of themselves oppressive nor harmful to people. It is the abuse of such laws by men when they misuse laws to oppress people. Traffic laws, for example, make you stop and go at various intersections. Speed limits prohibit you from going faster than you physically can. Do traffic laws prevent you from going where you want to go? Of course not. They are intended to get you there safely. When you and your neighbors obey the traffic laws, then we go about our travels safely without harming one another. What is the difference in keeping the commandments of God and obeying the traffic laws? Both are intended and accomplish the same things. When you and your neighbors obey the commandments of God, you live safely without harming one another.

Look at how any law can be abused. How would you feel if a policeman gave you a ticket for stopping two inches beyond the stop sign? (You failed to stop in front of the sign.) How would you feel if the speeding ticket was for two miles an hour faster than the posted speed because you were going downhill? These are examples of abusing the law and being legalistic and putting people under bondage. A reasonable and appropriate judge would understand the purpose of the traffic law and your intent to obey.

Look at the exceptions to the traffic laws. Is a policemen or fireman guilty of breaking the traffic laws when he travels faster than the posted speed limit with his lights and sirens on, going to an emergency? Of course not. Is he violating God’s commandments when he does his work on Sabbath? Of course not. The commandments of God are not restrictive and prohibitive for the things of life either. Any reasonable person can understand the rationale for them. The commandment of Sabbath does not keep a policemen, a fireman, nor a doctor from doing their jobs. Nor does it exclude and prohibit you from delivering an ox from a ditch. The Messiah did not break the Sabbath; He did good (healed) on the Sabbath. Should He have waited until another day, like the Pharisees argued? Who told you that Yeshua broke the Sabbath and did away with it? Does a fireman do away with the speed limit laws because he goes faster than the posted speed to put out a fire? Doing good is never prohibited by the commandment of God. The commandments of God are for life and freedom! So, how did we get the idea that obeying the commandments of God was being legalistic and bondage?

When your neighbor refuses to obey the law (either in defiance or ignorance) he is called a lawbreaker or an unlawful person. When a fellow believer refuses to obey the Lord (either in defiance or out of ignorance of His commandments) shouldn’t we refer to them as being disobedient to the Lord? When did we get the idea that disregarding the commandments of God and teaching others to disregard the commandments of God was the measure of righteousness? What teaching replaced common sense and doing right? It surely was not the coming of the Messiah and His grace. Who taught us that the grace of God was a replacement for the teaching of our mothers and fathers to obey authority and not harm others? The idea that keeping the "teaching" of God is somehow legalistic and bondage originates from the serpent in the garden. Are we not wise enough to know that the purpose of the statement is to mix a lie with truth? "Keeping the Law is legalism and bondage" is a blasphemous statement. Keeping God’s Law is the basis for freedom and blessing. Learning and obeying the teaching (Torah) of God is essential to spiritual life.

So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. And it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us. DEU 6:24-25

Jesus nailed the Law to the cross.

Short Answer No. 1
Yeshua did away with the penalty for our sins on the cross, not the standard for what sin is. When a convicted murderer is executed, his death nor the method of execution does not do away with the law against murder. The death of Yeshua was our redemption from the death we deserved for our sins. The Law wasn’t nailed to the cross; Yeshua (or payment for sin) was nailed to the cross.

Short Answer No. 2
Yeshua said that we were NOT to consider his teaching to be for the purpose of abolishing (diminishing, doing away with, annulling, or destroying) the teaching of Moses and the Prophets (anything in the Old Testament).

Short Answer No. 3
Yeshua said that the Torah (Law) would not pass away until heaven and earth passed away. Heaven and earth are still here.

Long Answer No 1
If Yeshua’s coming and teaching did do away with any of the commandments, caused the temple service with animal sacrifice to cease, and the altering of any custom of Moses, then Yeshua was a false messiah. The very basis for us to say that Yeshua was sinless is based on the Torah commandments. If He kept them, then He did not advocate their going away.

The fact is that Yeshua filled the teaching of Moses and the Prophets UP with meaning and understanding. Yeshua was the promised son and Lamb of God. The Law defines the need of every man (we are not holy and are worthy of death); Yeshua is the solution to that need (He is the forgiveness of sin by being the righteous just payment.)

Here is an example that illustrates that payment. Let’s say that you go to a hardware store and buy certain things on credit. Let’s even say that you steal certain things from that store and the owner keeps a record of everything you owe him. Then let’s say that you can’t pay or make restitution because you have no money. Then something incredible happens, the owner’s son comes along and pays the full price for everything you purchased on credit and stole. The debt is clear; you do not owe the store anything. Does this mean that the store does not exist any further? Does this mean that you do not go to the store for hardware needs again? Of course not.

Whether we like it or not, we are living life here on credit. We have no way of paying the bill. We have also stolen from the Lord and willfully transgressed that which we knew was right and wrong. Yet, God’s Son has paid our bill. The accounting system and the price list (the Torah) has not gone away just because our bill has been paid.

Long Answer No. 2
The New Testament says that Stephen, the first martyr, taught that Jesus came to do away with the Law, stop the temple sacrifices, and to change the customs of Moses.

And they put forward false witnesses who said, "This man incessantly speaks against this holy place, and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us. " ACT 6:13-14

The problem is that the New Testament also says these are words of false witnesses. Stephen did not teach this. Yeshua did not teach this. In fact, Paul did not teach this. As it turns out, Paul at that time was one of the conspirators against Stephen and he admits that it was false testimony.

It’s ironic how God’s justice works sometimes. Paul used falsehoods against Stephen only to have falsehood levied against him. Later, the Apostle Paul was accused of not keeping the Law and had to prove his obedience to other believers. The Apostle James counseled Paul to what he should do.

And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses in order that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law. ACT 21:20-24

There is Paul, the man that most Christian teachers quote against the Law, trying to convince his fellow believers that he too keeps the Law. The truth is Paul kept the Law, but not for salvation. Paul wrote the book of Galatians proving that keeping the Law is not salvation. This is the same Paul who wrote the book of Romans and said that grace was not a license to disobey the commandments and sin at will. He also said women should keep silent in the churches "just as the Law says." He also said that preachers and teachers should be compensated according to the Law "don’t muzzle the ox that treads out the grain." Maybe that is why every letter he writes, he quotes extensively from Moses and the Prophets. He is teaching what Moses and the Prophets said!

It’s ironic how people get things turned around. Jesus was nailed to the cross for our sins, but some say it was God’s commandments that got crucified. Now we have the Apostle Paul being accused of being lawless. We even have the whole rumor against him explained to us and how it is the words of false witnesses against him. It is an example of God’s poetic justice.

We are left with one unmistakable conclusion. If anyone tells you that Jesus came to do away with the Law or that the Apostle Paul teaches against the Law, you know by the words of the New Testament that they are false witnesses.

Sabbath was changed to Sunday by Jesus’ resurrection.

Short Answer No. 1
Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the Catholic Church fathers not by Yeshua. That is church history. Ask any theologian and he will tell you. Sunday observance is the product of the church fathers, not the Bible. Sunday observance was not to establish the observance of Jesus’ resurrection; it was established in opposition to Sabbath. Later, they justified the reasoning with the resurrection. Jesus never commanded the observance of His resurrection by Sunday assembly nor the abolition of the Sabbath.

Short Answer No. 2
Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath; He is not the Lord of nothing. The writers of the New Testament including the Apostle Paul kept Sabbath. Sabbath is a remembrance that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. The work of redemption (resurrection) does not change the work of creation (Sabbath). They are two distinct works of God.

Short Answer No. 3
Sabbath is the sign between God and His covenant people. If you are NOT one of God’s chosen people (the elect of God) then you don’t need to keep Sabbath. A wedding ring is a sign of the covenant between you and your spouse. Sabbath is a sign of a covenant between you and God. Try telling your spouse that you no longer wish to wear your wedding ring and see how he/she responds.

Short Answer No. 4
The commandment of Sabbath in the Torah is to remember to keep it (it already existed before the Torah was given by Moses). The principle is NOT to keep one day in seven as a rest, that is the teaching of men. The commandment of God is to rest on the day He rested, the last day of the week. We are to remember what the Lord has done, not make up our own version of another day.

Short Answer No. 5
The New Testament says that Yeshua was resurrected on the day after Sabbath. Therefore, Sabbath is a reference for the resurrection, not replaced by it.

Long Answer
The resurrection was the fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits. On the first day after the first Sabbath after the Passover, the priests would wave green barley sheaves in the temple thanking God for the resurrection of life. They had taken seeds (the dead part of the plant) and buried them in the ground. They had prayed for the waters of salvation (what Yeshua’s name means) and the seeds had sprouted and been resurrected in the newness of life. It is this temple service and Biblical holiday that illustrates so wonderfully the resurrection of Yeshua. He was killed, buried and raised in newness of life for us to have eternal life. So where did we get the teaching that the resurrection on the first day after Sabbath should be the weekly observance of our faith by assembling together?

Actually, this is the key commandment of the Pope that established his authority. Keeping Sunday proves that you are a Catholic. It is the sign that you have submitted to his authority. But what about the Protestants who keep Sunday and not the Sabbath. According to the Catholic church, Protestants are "protesting Catholics" and "erring brethren." They are still Christians but have proven that they are part of the church, as they have obeyed the Pope’s commandment of Sunday.

Interestingly enough, the present Pope, John Paul II, just re-iterated the Sunday teaching by saying that no one is to keep the Sabbath. Anyone keeping Sabbath is clearly in defiance with the Pope’s authority and therefore, according to him, can not go to heaven.

Allow me to share a bit of Baptist/Catholic humor (since I was a former Baptist). This Baptist and Catholic are arguing religion and the Catholic is seeking some kind of unity with his protestant brother. "Tell me one good reason why you won’t be in unity with me, since we are both Christians," asked the Catholic. "I’ll tell you one very good reason," the Baptist responded. "It’s the Pope. You Catholics all bow down to him and say he’s infallible. Whatever he says is absolute church policy for doctrine and every matter. No one can contest him or they are thrown out of the church." The Catholic thought for a moment and then responded. "Now I understand why all you Baptists are at odds with us. We Catholics only have one Pope!"

The Pope did not have the authority to make the Sabbath go away and Baptists don’t have the authority to make every Sunday the day of Yeshua’s resurrection.

Keeping Sabbath and the Holy Days is Jewish.

Short Answer No. 1
Since I am Jewish, I’m curious as to what is so wrong with being Jewish? Let’s think for a moment. Jesus was Jewish. The New Testament was written by Jews. John, Paul, James as Apostles were Jewish. So, why would someone who believes in Jesus and the New Testament complain about another part of the Bible, the Old Testament, because it was Jewish?

Short Answer No. 2
The commanded Holy Days are not Jewish; they are Biblical Holy Days. They were given to the children of Israel and the alien and sojourner (Gentile) who has joined with them to worship the God of Heaven and Earth. People who keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days are the true sons and daughters of Abraham. They are the children of promise and by their obedience prove that they are Abraham’s descendants not by the physical but by faith.

Short Answer No. 3
According to the Prophet Zechariah, the first thing we are going to do in the Kingdom (right after the Lord returns to Jerusalem) is to keep the final feast of Tabernacles (Booths). If we are not to keep that festival here and now as New Covenant believers, then why will it be the first thing we do when He returns?

Long Answer
Keeping Christmas does not make you a Christian or a Catholic. Keeping Sabbath does not make you Jewish. Adam, Noah, and Abraham kept Sabbath; they weren’t Jews. Sabbath originates from creation.

Most Christians are not familiar with the passage in Leviticus 23 that defines the seven commanded Holidays, nor are they aware of the New Testament understandings of each of them. Passover is the Lord’s Supper (Christian Communion). Keeping the Feast of Redemption causes us to remember Yeshua’s work as the Redeemer, but drinking the cup and eating the bread does not make you Jewish. The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorates the deliverance of the Children of Israel. The Messiah is our Deliverer, who was without leaven (sin). Keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread may make you think about the leaven in your own life, but it won’t make you Jewish. The Messiah was resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits. Remembering the resurrection of Yeshua may make you thank God for the gift of eternal life, but it does not make you Jewish. The Holy Spirit was given on the Feast of Weeks. The first Christians observed this day as Pentecost. Keeping Pentecost makes you deal with your own proclamation of faith in Yeshua and the gift of His Spirit, but it does not make you Jewish. The Feast of Trumpets prophetically speaks of our future resurrection and rapture. Hearing the sound of the Shofar only prepares you to be resurrected or raptured, but it will not make you Jewish. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) prophetically pictures the day of the Lord. Fasting and being solemn this day prepares you for the day when God will judge the whole world by fire, but it does not make anyone Jewish. The Feast of Tabernacles commemorates our ancestors coming out of Egypt and speaks to our future "Wedding of the Lamb." Keeping the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) prepares you for the greater exodus during the great tribulation and our wedding to the Lord. But then again, being married to the Lord means you’re in the same family. Keeping all these festivals probably does means you are part of Israel, part of the chosen people, the elect of God, that you are the covenant people, the remnant by faith. Since the word Jew comes from the name Judah, which means praise; maybe, rejoicing at these festivals makes you just a little bit Jewish.

I saw a bumper sticker in Israel which said, "There are a lot of Jews in Heaven. If you don’t like Jews, maybe you should go somewhere else." Quite honestly, anyone who would complain about doing anything from the Bible because it is too Jewish, is someone who does not know the LORD, His Son, or the Spirit of the Holy One.

The New Testament has replaced the Old Testament.

Short Answer No. 1
"and the cow jumped over the moon." Christians have heard this so many times that it is like a nursery rhyme. God said that the covenant He made with Abraham and his descendants was forever. Only a devil in the garden would tell you that forever means "for a little while."

Short Answer No. 2
Covenants are conditional. A covenant only remains when both sides keep their end of the agreement. A marriage covenant only exists when both parts of the covenant are kept. The same is true of God’s covenant with us. First, God said He would keep His part. Then God said, He would keep OUR part of it too. That is why the Messiah came and died for US. God kept both parts of the covenant. Therefore, the New Covenant didn’t replace anything. Instead, the same commandments that were written on stone are now written on our hearts. We are saved by God’s grace (His efforts) not by our works. Abraham’s faith was counted for righteousness and our faith does the same.

Long Answer No. 1
God made a covenant with Adam, the first man. Man labors by the sweat of his brow and women bear children in travail. To this day, we still have this covenant. When God made His covenant with Noah after the flood, He put a bow in the clouds promising that He would not judge the world by water again. To this day, we still have rainbows in the clouds and have this promise from God. When God made His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He promised that all the families of the earth would be blessed by their seed. To this day, we know the "seed" to be Messiah Yeshua. When God made His covenant with the Children of Israel through Moses, He gave us the Torah (the teaching) including the commandments of God. To this day, there is no better code of conduct for any nation than these ordinances and statutes. When God made His covenant with King David, He established the permanent throne of the Messiah and the city of the King – Jerusalem. To this day, we have the city of Jerusalem and recognize the Messiah as King of Kings. When God made the New Covenant through Yeshua, He wrote His commandments on our hearts and gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit. To this day, we obey from the heart and follow the Spirit of God. When the Messiah returns, He will make the final covenant with us, the Covenant of Peace. This will be our covenant in the Kingdom. Which one of these covenants replaced any previous covenants? To this day, all previous covenants and the promises and provisions of those covenants are still with us.

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. ROM 3:31

Long Answer No. 2
Some men teach that God had a covenant with Israel but now God’s covenant is with the Church. Some even teach that the children of Israel were saved by keeping the Law, while Christians are saved by faith. These same teachers do not know what Moses actually taught nor do they understand the words of the Messiah. The first use of the Greek term for "church" is not in the New Testament. "Church" means "called out assembly." The actual first use is in the Septuagent (Greek translation of the Old Testament). The Greek word "ekklesia" (the word "church") is the word used for Jacob’s family when they were the "called out assembly" from the promised land to go to Egypt. Jacob and his family were the first "church" in Egypt. The use of the word "church" in the New Testament is for the believing remnant of Israel and those Gentiles who join with them to be a "called out assembly" from the world. The word church never means the institution or the system that is different from Israel; it always means the congregation of the people. However, Church history and the Church Fathers will try to tell you something different. The Church Fathers clearly and specifically decided to change the direction and definition of what Yeshua and the Apostles taught. They took upon themselves to define the "church" by their own liking. They made "church" into their organization and under their control. Therefore, they had to do away with the authority and teaching of Moses since they were in full conflict with the Bible of that time. To this day, churchmen view the church as the building, the institution, the organization and the system of leadership under their control. The Lord and the cross serves primarily as the hood ornament.

Fundamentally, every believer today must make a decision about who they follow and which set of commandments they keep. Either we keep the commandments of God or we keep the commandments of men. Judaism keeps the commandments of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Rabbis. Christianity keeps the commandments of the Church Fathers (and Popes). Show me the commandments you keep, and I will tell you which God you believe in. Any Christian who claims to believe in God and wants to check his own faith only needs to ask his own church leader, "Did God’s Son change or authorize anyone to change the commandments of His Father?" Only men will say such a thing.

Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. HEB 10:28

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. MAT 5:19

Yeshua is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven; therefore, He did not annul anything in the Torah. He kept and taught it. Messianics want to learn what the Messiah teaches; Churchmen want to learn what the Church Fathers teach.

Keeping kosher is not for Gentile Christians.

Short Answer No. 1
Am I saying that if you eat pig that you won’t go to heaven?

On the contrary, I’m saying that if you eat pig, you will go to heaven faster.

Short Answer No. 2
In the letter to the Gentiles (Acts 15) Gentile believers are instructed to abstain from blood and things strangled. According to Torah, that is keeping Kosher. The New Testament refers to this as one of three essentials to the New Covenant faith. The other two are idolatry and sexual perversion.

Short Answer No. 3
Everyone keeps kosher to some degree. Christians will not eat a lot of things that the Bible says not to eat, because they have their own kosher list. So the issue is not keeping kosher. The issue is whose list will you keep, yours or the Lord’s?

Long Answer
God gave us appetites in three areas of our lives to live: food, sensual pleasure, and pride of life. These appetites enable us to grow and be strong, to procreate, to have a passion for life. However, these appetites can go to the extreme and are called lust or pride when they do. It was these same appetites that were used to tempt Eve in the garden.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food (appetite for food), and that it was a delight to the eyes (sensual lust of the eyes), and that the tree was desirable to make one wise (pride of life), she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. GEN 3:6

God has given us the basic instructions of life to set limits on these appetites. One set of those limits is certain kind of animals and the conditions by which we may call them food. In its simplest form of teaching. A clean animal must be koshered (made fit and proper) and then it is food. A cow standing in a field is not food. It’s a cow. A cow that has been hit by a truck and killed is not food either. It’s road kill. Amputating a living cow’s leg and eating it is not food either. These are defined as unclean by the Lord. To become food, the cow must be slain mercifully (quickly and not strangled) with its blood vacated. All blood is unclean. Blood is the life of the animal and must be returned to the Lord (the earth). A good hunter learns to field dress (kosher) his game. The fat of the animal is also prohibited. It must be trimmed or cooked away. The fat belongs to the Lord. We get to eat the flesh of the animal after it is washed and prepared properly. This means seasoned by salt and cooked. Then it is food. This is not a difficult commandment to keep.

The dispute over Kosher primarily comes to things that God said were unclean. An unclean animal can never be Koshered (made fit and proper) to become food. Some Christians think they can Kosher anything and make it into food. Some Christian teachers actually say that the blessing before the meal sanctifies whatever is on the plate to become food. You shouldn’t eat it before the prayer, but you can eat anything after the prayer. While I agree that we should be thankful to the Lord, I don’t believe that my prayer or anyone else’s prayer transforms swine flesh into food. It’s unclean along with the rest of the list in Leviticus 11.

An old joke about a Jew and a Catholic illustrates this point well. The story goes that an observant Catholic always ate his prescribed fish on Friday (old Catholic edict changed by recent Popes). However, his neighbor the Jew was out every Friday evening Bar-B-Qing a big juicy steak. The fragrance of the steak irritated and tempted the Catholic each time, so he determined to convert the Jew to Catholic. After much discourse, the Jew agreed to go to the Catholic church. There, the priest baptized the Jew by sprinkling him and saying, "Once a Jew now a Catholic. Once a Jew now a Catholic." On the very next Friday evening, the fragrance of steak cooking on the grill came to the Catholic. He rushed to his backyard fence and saw the Jew standing over his grill sprinkling some seasonings and saying, "Once a steak, now a fish. Once a steak, now a fish."

God does not play games with the rules of life, but men do. Any Christian believer who challenges God’s instructions about what is food is repeating the line from Satan, "Has God said you shall not eat of ..." and "You will not die! (because you ate it)."

If you keep one commandment of the Law, you must keep them all.

Short Answer

This one I agree with. The New Testament says this and it is true. Therefore, if you keep the greatest commandment, or if you keep any one of the ten commandments you must keep them all. If you tithe, which is a commandment of the Law, then you must keep them all.

Long Answer
Many brethren misunderstand the logic of what the New Testament is saying here. Salvation is by faith and not by works. To the man who thinks that you have to keep a particular commandment for salvation, then keeping one demands that you keep them all. But, as we all know, no one keeps them all. Therefore, keeping commandments is no means to salvation.

Some people believe in salvation by faith but then they add one particular commandment that they already keep. Some churches, for example, teach that you must believe in God (have faith) and then you must be baptized to be saved. Some say that you must believe and also have the gift of the Spirit by speaking in tongues. Some say that you must believe and join their church. Some say you must believe and keep Sabbath. No matter what the add-on is, it is a false teaching. Salvation is accomplished only by God and you receive the free gift of that salvation by faith in God. Period.

When our brethren say, "If you keep one commandment, you must keep them all," they think that you are keeping commandments along with belief for salvation. However, it is the Torah that teaches us that "faith is counted for righteousness." This is the example of our father Abraham and this is exactly what Paul teaches us in the book of Romans of the New Testament. So where do commandments and obedience come in if it has nothing to do with salvation? Commandments are about blessings and curses. If we obey the Lord’s commandments, we get blessings. If we disobey the Lord’s commandments, we get the curses. This is not a strange teaching. We teach our children the same thing.

The Torah (the Law) sets forth the commandments of God. This is what the Lord requires of us. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all of our soul, and with all of our might. The second greatest commandment is like the first, to love our neighbor. The Ten Commandments are structured exactly the same way. The first tablet, first five commandments, are about our relationship with the Lord our God. The second tablet, the last five commandments, are about our relationship with other men. These are not hard to keep and they can all be kept if they are kept one at a time. Why do I keep the commandments of the Lord? I keep them because I want the blessings that my heavenly Father wants to give me. I don’t keep them to be saved. I already am saved by being born into the family of God. Even children know this difference. Even children know that you can’t say that you have obeyed the Lord unless you obey everyone of His commandments. Nine out Ten does not mean you obeyed the Lord.

Conclusions

These aren’t the only questions you will be asked by Christians who don’t understand our Messianic faith. There are answers for all their questions. But remember your own experience of growing in the faith. There was the day when all of us didn’t know there was even a sky or grass, let alone the right color. Let us make sure that we give our brethren as much room to learn just as the Lord was gracious to us and gave us room to learn. For those of you who live in Kentucky blue grass country, and for those of who have seen the sky turn sickly green before a hail storm, I’ll explain that to the rest of the people at another time.



YAVOH, He is Coming is a monthly newsletter published as an outreach ministry of Lion and Lamb Ministries Inc. The ministry is a non-profit organization with an end time prophetic message in a Messianic Jewish context. Subscription to YAVOH, He is Coming is without cost and supported only by donation.

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Editor - Monte Judah
Electronic Editor  - Phil Vellekamp
Lion and Lamb Ministries
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