Bible Covenants

"He made known his WAYS to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel" Psalms 103:7

Grace and Law

 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction.
  2. Dispel The Myths.

2.1.       Is Law abolished?.

2.2.       The Law is Done Away With??.

2.3.       Yeshua fulfilled the Law..

2.4.       Did Saul change his name to Paul?.

2.5.       Ten Commandments Myth.

  1. Beards, Circumcision, Shabbat and Pork.

3.1.       Do we need to grow beards and be circumcised if Law is still valid?.

3.2.       What about Pork and Shabbat?.

3.3.       So where do we begin?.

  1. Should We Stone Everybody? – Leviticus 19 & 20.

4.1.       Grace is Eternal

  1. Sacrifices? Tithes?

5.1.       Sacrifices.

5.2.       Tithing – How many Tithes are there?

  1. Summary.

6.1.       God Does Not Change:

6.2.       How to begin.

 

GRACE

Grace and Law Resolved

1.     Introduction

Grace and Law and all things nice.

 

Yes, it is a big claim to even mildly suggest that Grace and Law can be Resolved.  This journey began nearly two decades ago when I sought to study the Word of God without Doctrinal influence.

 

In the words of Søren Kierkegaard, “The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly” [1]

 

Why is this important?  Yeshua states emphatically that, “Because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold”[2].

Lawlessness creates a loveless world. Torah Law (the commandments etc) is God’s Love Language. It is only legalism if you rely on Law for salvation.

 

When considering Law and Grace, we must keep each verse, not just in chapter context, but in the whole of scripture context. Think about the words of Yeshua in Luke, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”[3]

 

Does this sound right? Are we really to hate our parents when we know that Scripture tell us that we are to honour our parents? So is this a contradiction in scripture?

 

Of course not; This passage is explaining the passion with which we are to disregard this life to follow Yeshua. He was most likely confirming the passage found in Deuteronomy which states, “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” [4]

 

The passion for the ways of God must be whole-hearted and followed fiercely. The writer of Hebrews states, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”[5]

 

There is no denying that Salvation is through HIS Grace ALONE but to suggest that this is the only context to understand how we respond to Grace is significantly wrong.

 

Just because a celebrant declares a couple “man and wife” at a wedding, doesn’t mean that the job is done and that there is nothing else to do; in marriage, there is a lot to do.

 

We love the Grace but don’t like the challenging parts. Or as God says earlier in Deuteronomy, “for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul”[6].

2.     Dispel The Myths

2.1.  Is Law abolished?

 

Paul may have realised that the letter to the Romans and his letter to the Galatians had some hard principles to digest so he made it clear from the outset the context in which they, and now we, are to read them.

 

Paul states in Romans, “Do we then make void/abolish (Greek – καταργέω katargeō) the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish /keep (Greek -ἵστημι histēmi) the law.” [7] Paul continues, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”[8].

 

Sorry, what was that?  NOT ABOLISHED.

 

Paul affirmed what Yeshua had said earlier in Matthew, “Think not that I am come to abolish the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil?”[9] John says, “In fact, this is love FOR God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome”[10] and “He that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” [11]

 

I’m thinking that maybe commandments ARE a Christian thing; we should just get better at understanding them.

 

Throughout the book of Acts, Paul affirms his lifelong support to obedience to the Law. Even when dragged into court, his accusers could not find fault with his Torah obeying lifestyle; “And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”[12]

 

And even Paul confessed to maintaining his Torah lifestyle in Acts, “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I (gk ζάω) live/be among/be active as a Pharisee.”[13]

 

Paul continued to be perfect in “Law” until his dying day. Paul even conducted animal sacrifices (yes, you read that right) many years after his encounter with Yeshua. Numbers 6 = Acts 18:18 & 21:24. The times we know of when Paul performed sacrifices.

 

Does this sound “abolished”??

 

So what was “abolished”? Answer:  The separation wall was abolished.

 

Ephesians speaks clearly about abolishing the enmity, the accusations and the “wall of Law” (ordinances – read in context) that separated Jews from the Gentiles making us one body. But NOT abolishing the Law itself.[14]

 

Ephesians 2 is directly related to Hebrews 7.

 

The change “IN” the Law (Hebrews 7) is the opening of salvation to the Gentiles – the breaking down of the wall between Jew and Gentile (previously restricted by conversion through circumcision).  As prophesied in Amos 9:12, it does not mean the Law is done away with; the separation between Jew and Gentile is gone “for Salvation”.

 

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile??? “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.”[15]

 

There is simply NO way that Paul meant that men and women were the same. They still have different purposes, tasks and positions BUT they are the same in Salvation – so too the Jew and the Gentile.  There is a physical and cultural difference between male and female just as there is STILL a physical and cultural difference between Jew and Gentile – but not spiritually.

 

This clearly advocates that most of the commandments/laws are not “just for the Jews” if we are all one body – excluding some of the Laws/Commandments which are specific to Roles, Positions and Tasks.

And no, it wasn’t the Law that was nailed to the cross[16], it was the accusations against you because you have broken God’s Law.  “He wiped away the bill of charges against us.” [17].    In modern terms, if you have a speeding fine for breaking the Road Rules, that accusation for breaking the Road Rules is now dead. Yeshua took the accusations against you to the grave; but why break more Laws and create more accusations against yourself?

 

Paul paraphrases himself in Romans 10:12 which is where the confusion is found if not read in context.

 

Does Romans really say, “Messiah is the end of Law”[18]?  No, it does not.  Why would you cut a verse in half? Actually, it reads “For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness. i.e. for righteousness!!! But not the end of the Law itself.

 

Belief in Yeshua is the ultimate obedience, “Yeshua answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in (Gk: toward) Him whom He sent.”[19] That is true righteousness.

 

 

Consider the criminal on the cross beside Yeshua[20]: The criminal:

  • Was not baptised with water;
  • Made no “sinner’s prayer”;
  • Did not speak in tongues;
  • Did not go door knocking;
  • Was not asked to be kosher or Torah observant;
  • Did not hand out booklets;
  • Did not state any “creed”;
  • DID TRUST on the Lordship of Yeshua.

Teshuvah תשובה (repentance) [21]literally means “return towards”. Not just stopping sinful behaviour; it’s hanging your focus toward Him. So placing your trust in the Lordship of Jesus is repentance.

 

Teshuvah has to do with where is your focus/direction. One criminal had his focus on getting off the cross, the other criminal was focusing his hope on Jesus.  

 

Now no-one is perfect and we all have a cross to bear; it starts with redirecting your focus and then the process of sanctification – leaving sin for holiness. But we first direct our focus on Him (return towards) and as we move in his direction, the sin stays behind us. 🙂

 

Also, in Romans 10:4, the translation in the GREEK correctly reads that Messiah is the “telos” τέλος telos (like a tele-phone line connection) of the Law (a continual connection to the end point like a telescope – not the “end”). [22] Telos Is also used to mean “continual” in Luke 18:5 and “custom” Matthew 17:25.

 

Belief in Yeshua is the fullness of our righteousness because of our inability to be completely righteous –our righteousness is as filthy rages.[23]

 

2.2.  The Law is Done Away With??

 

In John, we read that “The WORD became flesh.”[24] If Yeshua is the Word become flesh, is Yeshua “done away with”?  Of course not. Anything we read in the Old Testament speaks clearly about the nature of Yeshua. So when someone says, “I want to be more like Yeshua”, I could just say, “So what LAW are you following”.

 

NOT a salvation issue, a “be like Yeshua” issue.

 

Paul said that, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”[25] Read that again. “Teaches us to do what is right”.

 

If however we are “not under Law”[26], is it still relative to Christianity? Romans 6:14 is VERY closely tied with the definition of what Paul means in Galatians 3:23-25.

 

In the Galatians verse, it states that the LAW was our Tudor (pedagogues – a child keeper), “but after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster”[27]

 

THE LAW is STILL intact. It is still there, but we have something better – Faith and Grace which is above (not under) the Law and now Faith in and through Yeshua brings Salvation.

 

Actually, all the Covenants are still intact.

 

There are 7 Covenants in the Bible:

  1. Adamic/Edenic[28]
  2. Noahide[29] – Why would Paul relate to the Noahic covenant (Acts 15:28-29) if all old covenants were abolished? NOT done away with or why bring it up?
  3. Abrahamic[30]
  4. Sinai (Mosaic LAW)[31]
  5. Davidic[32]
  6. Grace – Part of New Covenant[33]
  7. Peace (the Covenant of Peace – Mashiach) anticipated by the Messianic Kingdom.

Each of the Covenants “BUILD/IMPROVE” on the previous and are not “Under” the previous Covenant and none of them “DO AWAY” with the previous covenant.

 

Might I add some Hebrew Gematria??  Notice how there are 6 covenants? 6 is the number of man whilst 7 is the number of perfection.

 

The 7th covenant will be perfect as referenced in Jeremiah, “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 they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”[34]

 

It is during the Messianic reign of Yeshua, that this covenant of Peace will be complete. John 1:17 is the probably the most inaccurately translated verse ever. “Torah was given to Moses, but grace and truth came through Yeshua Messiah” …BUT BUT BUT, there is no “But”.

 

If you look at the KJV you will see that the word “but” is in italics because it does not exist in any manuscripts.

 

Scholars are now saying that it should be stated as: “Torah was given to Moses (and then) grace and truth came through Yeshua Messiah.”

 

Torah is not opposite to Grace; Rather Grace is the NEXT BETTER level of covenant that is built on the Torah and the previous covenants, “By how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”[35] NOT doing away with the previous promises but building on it.

 

2.3.  Yeshua fulfilled the Law

 

It is wonderful that Yeshua “fulfilled the Law” but what does that mean for you?  After all, Yeshua fulfilled the Law, but you have not!

 

This is quite a Christian cliché, but can be explained in one sentence: “Yeshua completed and fulfilled every part of God’s Law and Requirements which means He now has the authority to Judge, give Grace and Rectify”[36].

 

Imagine an Expert Builder, fully qualified to build because they have completed / fulfilled their College education requirements. That Expert Builder owns a building construction site in which he invites others to come and work in. The other workers are not fully qualified but are working under the authority of the Expert Builder. The Expert Builder is able to judge the work of the workers, give guidance, gracefully forgive and then rectify any mistakes they might make.

 

Yeshua is the Expert Builder.  He guides, directs, judges, gracefully forgives and rectifies the mistakes.  But only because He completely fulfilled the requirements Himself.

 

In Matthew, Yeshua not only says that He has come to fulfil the Law, but in context, continues to explain that he fulfils the Law right down to heart attitude, i.e. He didn’t even lust after a woman in His heart.[37]

 

2.4.  Did Saul change his name to Paul?

 

No. Shaul is Hebrew, Latin proper name is Paulus, Paul is English. He used a different name depending on whom he was communicating to. The Hebrew name given him by his parents was Shaul, but, because his father was a Roman citizen, Shaul also had the Latin name Paulus (Paul)[38]. The custom of dual names was common in those days.

 

Since he grew up in a strict Pharisee environment, the name Shaul was by far the more appropriate name to go by. But after his conversion, Saul determined to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, so he dusted off his Roman name and became known as Paul, a name Gentiles were accustomed to.

 

In this document, I use Shaul and Paul interchangeably.

 

2.5.  Ten Commandments Myth.

 

Ever heard that only the Ten Commandments are God’s Law that are relevant to us today?  Well, if ONLY the Ten Commandments are God’s Law, which one is the right set – Exodus 20 or 34? 

 

Surely it would be important to know which set of Ten Commandments is God’s Law.

 

Also, if the Law of God (10 Commandments – Exodus 20 or 34???) is different than the Law of Moses then why did Jesus, James, Ezra and Nehemiah never differentiate between them?

 

Here’s the proof!

 

  • James said, “For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”[39]
  • Jesus said, “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”[40]
  • On the road to Emmaus the writer calls the commandments “Moses”.[41]
  • “Ezra… a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given”.[42]
  • “Bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel”[43]
  • Nehemiah 9:13-14 uses the terms interchangeably.
  • “Walk in God’s law, which was given through Moses”[44]

 

Not convinced?

 

If only the Ten Commandments are God’s Law, which set is the right one??? Surely it would matter!

 

Exodus 20?
Exodus 34?

 

Exodus 20 – (never called the Ten Commandments by God); spoken by God, “And God spoke these words.”[45]

 

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

 

Or is it Exodus 34? – written by God (verse 1) AND called The Ten Commandments[46].

 

  1. Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
  2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
  3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
  4. All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
  5. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
  6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
  7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
  8. Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.
  9. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
  10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

If Christians only need to obey the Ten Commandments then we must ask which Ten Commandments? Exodus 20 or Exodus 34? If it’s truly only the “Ten Commandments” that we should follow then we better get the right list…. or maybe believe Paul, Jesus and John that all commandments are relevant. All commandments are God’s Law. But we failed massively and our putrid efforts will never be good enough to redeem our own salvation. We need a Saviour.

 

So what is the point of commandments now?

 

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”. (Eep, he said the “work” word).[47]

 

And; “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”[48]

 

3.     Beards, Circumcision, Shabbat and Pork

3.1.  Do we need to grow beards and be circumcised if Law is still valid?

 

Most importantly, all of these issues are a covenant versus obedience issue; not a salvation issue.

 

Again, remember, the criminal on the cross. Did Yeshua ask if he was Torah observant? No, the criminal simply believed and Yeshua accepted that.

 

Paul spent some considerable time trying to explain that Gentiles can remain Gentiles and still be Children of God – as per “And all the Gentiles who are called by My name.”[49]

 

The Newest Covenant (New Covenant), prophesied in Amos, allowed a mixed multitude (every tribe and nation) to become His Children – The Exodus from Egypt.

 

If beards and circumcision were required for Salvation then a lot of people are closed off from ever being saved.

 

  • Can women be circumcised? (mutilation is an abomination)
  • Can women grow beards?

If beards were a general command, then most women would be breaking that command naturally.  

 

Beards are a bit like the circumcision command; specific purpose.

 

Actually, circumcision has never been directly commanded for Salvation. “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing; KEEPING the commandments of God is what matters.”[50]

 

But isn’t circumcision a command? It is, but not to the general public. It is a command for a few specific purposes:

  1. Conversion to being a physical Hebrew[51]
  2. Eating the Passover lamb (but not for eating the Unleavened Bread – which represents the mixed multitude of Gentiles/Jews)[52]
  3. Ceremonial Roles and Sanctuary tasks[53]

We read in Ephesians 2 and Hebrews 7 how Messiah’s Priesthood allows Salvation to all – without the need of conversion to Hebrew (circumcision/conversion = the wall of separation).  So yes, the circumcision command is still valid (not done away with) for those specific reasons mentioned and has NEVER been required for Salvation.

 

“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”[54]

 

This however does not detract from the need for physical circumcision to hold certain positions/roles and to perform certain ceremonial tasks. We even see the necessity of physical circumcision in the future reign of Jesus (Yeshua). “Thus says the Lord God : “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.”[55]

 

Paul wasn’t completely anti-conversion. He circumcised Timothy. “Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.”[56]

 

So circumcision is a pathway to enter into a special type of covenant for the Jewish people but is not a command for Salvation. Read that again. Circumcision is a pathway to enter into a special type of covenant for the Jewish people but is not a command for Salvation.

 

The biggest problem with the Letters of Paul is his use of “nomos” (Law).

 

The English language is clumsy and so there are several meanings of “nomos” (Law). The Greek term nomos occurs 89 times from Paul’s writings, and its derivatives (such as anomos, normally rendered “without the Law”), the total number of references to the Law in Paul would be around a hundred.

 

There are basically four/five senses in which he uses the term and in almost every occurrence:

  • “Torah” [or “Mosaic Law”]
  • “code of law,”
  • “commandment,”
  • “principle.”
  • Conversion to Jew for Covenant through circumcision and ritual. [57]

There are times when Paul used “nomos” (Law) or “circumcision” but simply meant “the ritual of becoming a Jew” – Jew conversion. When Paul was speaking directly about Torah (not just Conversion Law) he would use γραφή graphē[58].

 

BOTH Yeshua AND Paul used the Greek word γραφή graphē when referring to Torah Scripture. Yeshua used “graphe” 20+ times. And Paul used it all through his letters and teachings when referring to Torah. There are toooooo many to even copy and paste here….

 

So Paul is making a clear division between “scripture” (graphe) and Law (nomos) – circumcision and the rule that you must become a Jew to be saved. Paul was arguing that becoming a Jew was never the way to be truly saved. But we can choose to be a Jew.

 

Again, the criminal on the cross beside Yeshua was not asked if he was a Torah observant, non-bacon eating, circumcised Jew.

 

So it’s easy for us to think that SCRIPTURE is done away with when we say the Law is done away with… but certainly the LAW to become a Jew (circumcision and ritual to be saved ) is what Paul is adamant has been voided and the WALL between Jew and Gentile has been brought down for salvations sake.

 

Paul makes the statement that “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God,”[59] i.e. we have missed the mark. But if we miss the mark, do we move the target or do we keep practising and working on our aim and strength?

 

3.2.  What about Pork and Shabbat?

 

It is usually at this point of a conversation that someone will ask about eating Pork and Shabbat (and Shellfish). Just have a think about the difference between obedience to enter a covenant (becoming a Jew) versus lifestyle obedience to honour God’s Ways.

 

Food Laws and Shabbat Observance are general commands to the wider community. They are both general commands (Shabbat is even in the Ten Commandments) and it does represent a choice to be holy, to be set apart.

 

Consider the words of Yeshua in Matthew, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”[60] In context, Yeshua addresses the teachers who have changed the Laws of God to doctrinal laws, “Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”[61]

 

A simple context check of the pre-verses will show that this is not about Food Laws (which is different than defilement).  It is about heart condition. Actually, a wrong heart might be the reason why people don’t’ respect the Food Laws.

 

And what about Peter on the roof who has a vision of unclean animals in Acts 10?

 

  1. Why would Peter be surprised by this vision if Yeshua had said that Food Laws were done away with. Surely at some point Yeshua might have mentioned it, but He obviously didn’t.
  2. It is clear in the context that this is speaking of Gentiles.
  3. God still differentiated between what HE called clean and unclean. There is nothing in Acts 10 that says everything is clean for eating.

God did say to Noah that all things were food for him in Genesis, Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”[62] This is part of the Noahide Laws mentioned earlier.  The Mosaic Law built upon this, just as every new covenant builds on the previous covenant.

 

Which is why it is not the end of the world if you eat pork. The punishment for eating unclean food was NOT stoning, it was only separation (being unclean) till evening.

 

Also, if you read enough about the health and scientific dangers of eating some pork, it makes sense that the Food Laws found in Torah are for our own good. A simple Google search for the toxic health issues with pork and shellfish (sea cockroaches) should be enough.

 

We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, treat it as such.

 

Law is good for us! Even the Food Laws!  Food Law is an instruction and shows what pleases HIM. Is obedience a good work? Jesus said, “Blessed (happy and to be envied) rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey and practice it!”[63]

 

I hold Food Laws in the context of 1 John, “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.”[64]

 

I generally try to keep the Food Laws as a desire for holiness and obedience (Temple of Holy Spirit) BUT if someone presents me with food that they have laboured for, I eat it out of respect for the gift and the giver.

 

Also, if I was living in a town or village where the food sources were scarce, then I’ll eat whatever is available because we need to eat for life and life is Torah. Could a starving man be doomed because he ate monkey brains?

 

As for Shabbat (Sabbath); there are only two true Shabbot (Sabbaths):

  • The First Shabbat is found in Genesis – “Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”[65]
  • The Second Shabbat is called in Hebrew “Olam Haba הַבָּא עוֹלָם” – the world to come.

If you have not received His Salvation through Yeshua to enter the Olam Haba, you are truly cut off from the land and from the eternal rest of Shabbat.

 

Shabbat observance (resting on Shabbat), for now, is a memorial and reminder of His Holiness and how we want to be holy. It is the only day He blessed. The other days were “good” but Shabbat is also blessed. He blessed it for our sake.

 

Yeshua said in Mark, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.[66] He also said there were times when it is allowable to “work” on Shabbat, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”[67] Donkeys and oxen (even sheep) are the ways that the people of that era made a living/job/work.  It has always been allowable to protect your living on Shabbat.

 

It is also ok to do good deeds on Shabbat, “Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”[68]

 

Shabbat observance is not legalism if done as a sign of holiness and obedience. Peter said, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”[69] Be Holy in ALL you do. Shabbat observance is behaving Holy. Shabbat observance is not a Salvation issue, it’s a demonstration of holiness.

 

We find our rest in Yeshua BUT we respect His Shabbat by our observance of it.

 

Should we do church on Saturday? NOT Necessarily. Shabbat service has always been a “tradition”, not a command, “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”[70]—- it’s a tradition for many generations.

 

The first institution of Shabbat was in the wilderness and did NOT include a Shabbat Service. It was a day of rest. Is dragging your family to church restful?

 

The problem was that “home church” didn’t work out well for the Israelites. Within a very short time, the Israelites had made up some strange theology. This eventually led them into sin and captivity. Those who grow alone, grow weird.

 

Eventually, the lesson was learned and the Jews began to study Torah as a community which evolved into synagogue services (since no one was doing anything on Shabbat anyway) and then that “tradition” (not a command as per Acts 15) moved to Sundays, most likely due to anti-Semitism of the 4th century – Council of Laodicea (AD 343/381).

 

“The twenty ninth canon of that council reads thus: “Messiahians ought not to Judaize and to rest in the Sabbath, but to work in that day; but preferring the Lord’s Day, should rest, if possible, as Messiahians. Wherefore if they shall be found to Judaize, let them be accursed from Messiah.”[71]

 

Of course it could be argued that having Synagogue on Shabbat is WORK.

 

 So church on Sunday or Shabbat? – Well, let’s just keep level headed and focus on Yeshua.

 

3.3.  So where do we begin?

 

In Acts 15, the Early Church Council and James put it into perspective: “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols (idolatry), from sexual immorality/fornication (Lev 19), from things strangled (kosher), and from blood (kosher).”[72]

 

These are considered part of the Noahide Laws.

 

Great starting point for New Believers BUT then what? “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”[73]

 

In other words, start with the basics but then learn what Moses taught about the right way to live a Godly life – go to synagogue/church and learn what Moses taught – Torah.

 

We can start off with some basics, but if we want to grow and not be so ignorant, we learn Moses teachings, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”[74]

 

4.     Should We Stone Everybody? – Leviticus 19 & 20

There really is a lot of “putting to death” in Leviticus 19 & 20 and thus the temptation is to assume that if obedience to Law has merit why aren’t we stoning adulterers and homosexuals.

 

Well what did the ancient Jews at about the time of Yeshua think?

 

  • A passage in Mishnah Makkot 1:10: “A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called a murderous one.”[75]
  • Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah says ‘Or even once in 70 years.’[76]
  • Rabbi Akiva said, ‘If we had been in the Sanhedrin no death sentence would ever have been passed’.

4.1.  Grace is Eternal

 

So why would the Jews try to avoid the death sentence? GRACE. They believed Grace was a higher Law.

 

Should David and Bathsheba have been taken out and stoned? – YES. Why weren’t they? Because GRACE is a higher law EVEN for those who are under the Law. Psalm 51 – David’s song about Grace demonstrates the outworking of Grace even before the life of Yeshua.

 

YES, GRACE is throughout the “Old Testament”. It has always been a higher law. And what if the Law was correctly carried out without any GRACE? Well, David and Bathsheba would have been executed and never have had Solomon. No David, no Solomon = No Messiah.

 

I wonder if Yeshua wrote Psalms 51 in the ground when he was confronted with the adulteress woman.

 

Also, to be an executioner, you would have to be absolutely sure that you were personally not guilty. Remember that even to look at a woman with lust is adultery!

 

Grace is a constant throughout history and not just a New Testament capacity. So, the simple answer is NO. Never in any Biblical History was it ok to kill anything if there was room for Grace.

 

5.     Sacrifices? Tithes?

5.1.  Sacrifices

 

Did God really get rid of everything? Does God hate Sacrifices? “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”[77]

 

So NO; we have just learned that obedience to Torah (commandments) is how we know the love of God is in us[78]  and it is still good for instruction and good works.

 

Paul says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof.”[79]

 

Every Torah commandment we obey has a purpose (even if we don’t know what that purpose is) and it shows that we love God.

 

So why is Isaiah 1 such an angry passage? “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates;”[80]

 

This was a HEART problem. Basically, any obedience with the wrong heart = LEGALISM

 

So what is the answer? Isaiah says later, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean.”[81] Get the right heart!

 

NOW; Right heart and obedience = Good works. We have a right heart, we have been made clean.

 

When I hear people ask, why we don’t sacrifice animals if obedience is important, it demonstrates a lack of fundamental instructions.

 

>>> Sacrifices MUST NOT be done without the correctly anointed priests and equipment.

  • There is no correct way to sacrifice right now.
  • Paul would still be doing sacrifices as a memorial of Yeshua, demonstration of holiness and for the sake of obedience.

>>> Sacrifices DO come back in Ezekiel 44 and 45 during Mashiach’s (Messiah) reign.

  • Yes, they make a return in the 1000 year reign of Messiah as a memorial of Yeshua, demonstration of holiness and for the sake of obedience.

>>> Obedience is better than sacrifice.

 

To put it simply:

 

  1. The first two thirds of the Bible is legalism, if followed without a right heart.
  2. We have been given a right heart because of Yeshua.
  3. The first two thirds of the Bible is no longer legalism.

5.2.  Tithing – How many Tithes are there?

 

Is Tithing legalistic or good obedient works? Answer: Good works.

 

All three tithes are good = Ma’aser Rishon, Ma’aser Sheni, Ma’aser Ani.

 

  1. Ma’aser Rishon[82]: the tithe to the work of God (established before and after the Temple covenant).
  2. Ma’aser Sheni[83]: second tithe to yourself (2 out of 3 times)
  3. Ma’aser Ani[84]: third tithe to the poor (1 out of three times).

Ma’aser Sheni and Ma’aser Ani are a second and third tithe performed at different times

 

So to summarise if you were paid weekly:

 

  • Ma’aser Rishon: every week- Tithe every week (after tax); and after business expenses – if you own a business.
  • Ma’aser Sheni: two out of three weeks – “Self-Tithe” to yourself on what is left over, for two out of three weeks.
  • Ma’aser Ani: third week – Give that “Self-Tithe” to the poor instead of yourself.

 

Consider also Terumah (firstfruits offering)[85]; a gift of up to 2.5% to your leadership. Terumah was the original “wage” for the spiritual leadership. Solomon speaks of this Terumah gift for the leadership, “Honour the Lord with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase.[86] It was a gift from your increase and livelihood[87] to your God given leadership.

 

 

6.     Summary

GOD IS LOVE.

 

Law/commandments are God’s love language to Him and to each other.

 

Remember: “This IS the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”[88]

 

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang (NOT REPLACE) all the Law and the Prophets.”[89]

 

God is Love, therefore He is the One who defines what love is. Real love is not about how you feel but rather what God says is love in His law/commandments.

 

6.1.  God Does Not Change:

 

God does not change. Which means that all of his attributes are perfect and whole:

 

  • He is 100% Mercy but also;
  • He is 100% Judgement but also;
  • He is 100% Love but also;
  • He is 100% Wrath but also;
  • He is 100% Grace but also;
  • He is 100% Justice.

God does not have mood swings.  He is all things at all times. He does not apologise for or try to change His attributes because they are indeed perfect. 

 

We see an example of the multi-nature of God in Exodus, “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume (destroy) you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”[90]

 

His Mercy, Love and Grace makes a way for them to escape punishment and enter the Promise Land, but His Judgement on them for being stiff-necked has been decreed, His Wrath is a very real threat and demands Justice for their wickedness.

 

This applies today; instead of changing His Perfect Nature, God has a plan!

 

His Mercy, Love and Grace has made a way for us to enter His presence.  It is Jesus (Yeshua) who took the punishment of our wickedness so that Judgement was rendered, Wrath was poured out and Justice was served.  “It is finished!”

 

100% Mercy, Judgement, Love, Wrath, Grace and Justice.

 

It is interesting to note that cults and sects begin when we tip the scales in favour of, or in fear of, one of His attributes.

 

6.2.  How to begin

 

Step 1:                  This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.[91]

 

Step 2:                  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.[92]

 

Step 3:                  You should walk according to His commandments with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

 

Therefore SIN is not loving God with your whole being, thus breaking His commandments (which of course encompasses faith), “Sin is transgression of the Law.”[93]

 

In Acts 15, James says to begin following some Laws and then learn more about Moses and his commandments, “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”[94]

 

We need the tension of both Law (killer) and Grace (life). Grace is not grace unless there is Law. Grace without Law is Anarchy – But Law without Grace is Death.

 

“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.”[95] His acts are wonderful BUT I want to know His Ways.

 

Law is the skeleton;

Faith is the body and life.

Without the body and life, the skeleton is dead bones.

Without the skeleton, the body and life don’t go anywhere.

 

There is a tension between Law and Grace; that tension is called “Love.”

 

Jon Eaton.

 

[1] (REFERENCE POINT)

[2] Matthew 24:12

[3] Luke 14:26

[4] Deuteronomy 13:6-10

[5] Hebrews 12:4

[6] Deuteronomy 13:3

[7] Romans 3:31

[8]  2 Timothy 3.16

[9] Matthew 5:17

[10] 1 John 5:3

[11] 1 John 3:7

[12] Acts 23:9

[13] Acts 26:4-5

[14] Ephesians 2:15

[15] Galatians 3:28

[16] (Col 2:14

[17] CJB????

[18] Romans 10:4

[19] John 6:29

[20] REFERENCE FOR THIS SCRIPTURE

[21] REFERENCE WHERE YOU GOT THIS MEANING

[22] REFERENCE FOR WHERE YOU GOT THIS MEANING

[23] Isaiah 64:6

[24] John 1:1

[25] 2 Timothy 3:16

[26] Romans 6:14

[27] Galatians 3:23-25

[28] Genesis 1-2

[29]  Genesis 9. Also found in Acts 15:28-29

[30] Genesis 12, 15 & 17

[31] Exodus 19 & 24

[32] 2 Samuel 7

[33] Amos 9, Jeremiah 31 & Ezekiel 26 (Old Testament ey)

[34] Jeremiah 31:33-34

[35] Hebrews 8:6

[36] REFERENCE FOR THIS STATEMENT

[37] Matthew 5

[38] Acts 16:37, 22:25-28

[39] Acts 15:21

[40] John 7:19

[41] Luke 24

[42] Ezra 7:6

[43] Nehemiah 8:1

[44] Nehemiah 10:29

[45] Exodus 20:1

[46]  Exodus 34:28

[47] II Timothy 3:16-17

[48] I John 5:3 NKJV

[49] Amos 9:12

[50] I Corinthians 7:19

[51]  Genesis 17, Leviticus 12

[52] Exodus 12

[53] Ezekiel 44

[54] Galatians 5:4

[55] Ezekiel 44:9

[56] Acts 16:3

[57] Insert reference for these definitions

[58] Insert reference for this definition

[59] Romans 3:23

[60] Matthew 15:11

[61] ” Matthew 15:9

[62] Genesis 9:3

[63] Luke 11:28

[64] 1 John 5:3

[65] Genesis 2:2

[66] Mark 2:27

[67] Luke 14:5,

[68] Matthew 12:12

[69] 1 Peter 1:15

[70] Acts 15:21

[71] Add in reference here

[72] Acts15:19-20

[73] Acts15:21

[74] 1 John 2:3-5

[75] Mishnah Makkot 1:10

[76] Insert reference

[77] 1 John 2:3-5

[78] 1 John 2

[79] 2 Timothy 3:16

[80] Isaiah 1:11-14

[81] Isaiah 1:16

[82] Leviticus 27:30

[83] Deuteronomy 14:22-26

[84] Deuteronomy 14:28-29

[85] Leviticus 23:10 and all through Torah

[86] Proverbs 3:9

[87] Deuteronomy 18:4

[88] 1 John 5:3

[89] Matthew 22:37, 39-40

[90] Exodus 33:3

[91] II John 1:6

[92] Deuteronomy 6:5

[93]  1 John 3:4

[94] Acts 15:21

[95] Psalms 103:7