A Whole Bible, Paul’s Teachings: Stepmother, Passover, Circumcision

We are now up to 87 videos on our Youtube channel and over 1,000 views (total) covering nine chapters of our book Whole Bible Christianity and a few other topics. Yay! We’re working on the tenth chapter scripts now, which will be longer than just what is in the book and include more helpful biblical information on application of the Word to daily living. In the meantime, take a look at this video we are highlighting today.

Usually we hear that Paul converted to Christianity, except there was no Christianity such as we know it today in his time. He was a model of a Law-following Jew. He never stopped abiding in His Messiah’s Word. He taught the Law, filled with the Spirit and love, as it was intended – a lifestyle and discipleship method. See our video Whole Bible Objections: Paul Says It’s Okay, Can’t Do, It’s A Curse. Many of his teachings have been sliced and diced and taught differently. But when we just read the Word, we can see he held to the ancient, unified message of the Father and Jesus.

Paul doesn’t make up any new commandment for stepmoms in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2. He certainly doesn’t cherry-pick nor does he apply only the law he chooses. Not only does he say that the Corinthians should be following this Law, he implies it is a natural fact everyone (even the non-believing Gentiles) knows. In other words, God’s people should at least have the sense God gave a pagan. He also gives the punishment for the sin outlined in Torah – “purge the evil from among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:5, 17:7, 12, 21:21, 22:21). Later, it looks like they were “obedient in all things” (2 Corinthians 2:1-11) although they didn’t stone the guy with the stepmom wife because we don’t have the power of capital punishment. Our alternative is from Matthew 18 – confront for repentance and cast out if we have to.

In 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 it is obvious that the meal is the Passover (verse 23 “the night (our Lord) was betrayed”). The misnamed “Lord’s Supper” is in reality the Passover before His crucifixion (Matthew 17:7; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:8, 15). It is not communion. This is a problem for those who insist on separating the Law into civil, ceremonial, and moral sections. The Passover is clearly ceremonial in their view. But the Corinthians (and probably the rest of the “church”) are celebrating the feast. The reason we don’t spot this is because it is taught wrongly that they are celebrating some sort of “communion” ceremony.

The issue with circumcision is the same as other places, which is that circumcision doesn’t save anyone. Never has, never will. Becoming a Jew or following some Laws does not save a person and never has. A person follows the Laws because they are saved. In other words, a person following God by faith is justified. Circumcision is a sign after the fact (as in Genesis 17).

Keep three things firmly in mind as you are reading Paul’s writings. One is that he doesn’t downgrade or speak negatively about God’s Law. Ever. But like his Messiah he’s not so fond of man’s laws. Two is that the Law was never meant to save anyone. Law was added as a guidepost because of transgressions increasing (see our video A Whole Faith: Continuous through Generations). Israel was “saved” first then given instruction on living a saved life. Three is that the word “law” can mean any law including natural law, Roman law, God’s Law, man’s traditions especially Jewish ones, and physical laws. Law is improperly thought of as a legal relationship to earn merit which can be traded for salvation.

If you don’t like the Law and have been trained to reject it, then Paul’s writings will look anti-Law. However, if you have a heart of flesh with His Law written on it, then Paul’s writings are easy to understand and completely fit in with the rest of Scripture.

Shalom,
Bruce

Freedom from Sabbath Keeping

Hey All,

Just spent a few days writing a new article which is a point-by-point response to an article by Ray Comfort that he titled Freedom From Sabbath Keeping. It took a while, because the article is filled with a lot of, shall we say, less than biblical information.

Ray is a good guy as far as I know, and has a lot of good teaching. I have quoted from him, and use some of his material in my conversations with atheists. However, there are a number of areas where he falls short of biblical truth, and a bunch of them are in this article. So I went through it and inserted my comments directly into his text. I included Bible verses and commentary all with a whole Bible perspective. You’ll find a nicely organized selection of responses to what are also typical Christian arguments against observing the Sabbath. Why people would reject a day off from God is beyond me, but they do. So this article should help you with standard Christian objections to observing the whole of the Word, not just the Sabbath.

An excerpt from Point by Point through the Ray Comfort article Freedom from Sabbath Keeping. His words are in red, my comments are in square brackets and in blue (on the web page they are just in a different font).

Let’s briefly look at their arguments. First, nowhere does the Fourth Commandment say that we are to “worship” on the Sabbath Day. [True. Worship was every day. The act of resting on the Sabbath is worship. Worship has taken on an inadequate meaning in the intervening centuries, and it used to be that worship included sacrifices. But worship has always been obedience at its root.] It commands that we rest on that day: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11). [Notice that he does not answer the issue he raises: why does the church not “rest” on the Sabbath?] Sabbath-keepers worship on the Saturday. [No. Sabbath keepers might MEET on Saturday, but worship is obedience and for every day.] Do they know where the word “Saturday” comes from? It’s from the Latin word “Saturnus–Saturn + Old English dæg day.” Obviously Saturday is from the pagan day of worship of the planet Saturn (astrology). [In spite of the attempt at sarcasm, I can agree here. However, Saturday is also the seventh day, and therefore the Sabbath. The name of the day is not important. But the Sabbath is.

And another excerpt.

The Scriptures tell us that at one point, the Apostles especially gathered to discuss the attitude of the Christian to the Law of Moses. [This is biblically incorrect. The council in Acts 15 met mainly to discuss salvation by circumcision (verse 1). This was proved to be wrong. Salvation was coming to Gentiles without circumcision and by grace through faith just as Abraham and JUST AS THE JEWS (who had the Law). Verse 5 also asks a question about following the Law, which was answered in verse 21 (Moses is read in the synagogue every Sabbath.) This meant 1) Moses is read. 2) Moses is read in the synagogue where all believers met at the time. 3) They met every Sabbath.] Acts 15:10-11, 24-29 was God’s opportunity to make His will clear to His children. [Biblically incorrect. God had been making His will clear to His children for a long, long time.] All He had to do to save millions from damnation was say, “Remember to keep the Sabbath holy,” and millions of Christ-centered, God-loving, Bible-believing Christians would have gladly kept it. [Not so. He already said many times to remember the Sabbath, and just about as many times was ignored. He is still being ignored today as is evidenced by this article by Ray. Many Christians do not want to obey God’s commands. Mostly because we do not want an objective, absolute standard. We want to give ourselves permission to sin.

Enjoy the article.
Shalom,
Bruce

The Testing of Jesus

At the stoning of the woman caught in adultery, did Jesus teach that the Law was gone, or did He criticize because the Law was not followed? Did Jesus eliminate the Law as popular church teaching suggests, or did He disapprove of the mishandling of God’s living oracles? I think in each question it is the latter. When Jesus was tested, He stayed with the Law while His opponents stuck with their own interpretations and traditions. His opponents were wrong in nearly every case.

Jesus never tells us that “we all sin” so none of us can judge. What He tells us is that to judge properly we need to stay within the whole of His Law. The people testing Jesus wanted permission to sin. They wanted certification for their self-appointed authority. But they didn’t want God’s Law. See the video for more details.

Shalom
Bruce

One House

This is an article on the ‘one house’ concept as opposed to the ‘two house’ ideas. There are some people who teach that those who embrace God’s Torah and are not specifically Jewish are members of the house of Ephraim, while the modern Jew is of the house of Judah. This is called the ‘two house’ teaching. The association of ‘Gentile who loves Torah’ with ‘Ephraim’ is seen through a rather convoluted and spiritualized reasoning process to be part of the promise from God that He would reunite the ‘two houses’ of Israel that separated shortly after Solomon’s reign. According to the two-housers this is because Ephraim (the northern 10 tribes sent into exile a little more than a hundred years before the southern two tribes of Judah and Benjamin) is said to have dispersed into the world population and lost their identity. Judah is said to have retained their identity through the centuries and are today’s Jews. The modern day non-Jewish person who loves God’s Torah must be related somehow to Ephraim according to these teachers, either through genetics or influence. So the ‘two house’ teachings consist of recognizing these so-called ‘facts’ and working to bring the two houses together.

However, I think that the two house teachings are a distraction away from building the One House of God’s family, which I believe is also called the Remnant. The House of God has existed since the beginning, and consists of all those who love and obey Him. Instead of worrying about whether the house a person belongs to is part of physical Israel, the person who follows God ought to see themselves as part of One house already, regardless of whether they are Jew or Gentile. I think God has already united the two houses, because no one can tell which tribe they are from now. Except for possibly the Levitical genetic marker, all of the Jews are one nation. Two houses have already become One house by God’s power. God is the one who said He would do it, and it is almost completed.

Two Sticks One House Already Made by God

Our True Identity

‘Whole Bible Christianity,’ chapter 10, ‘Our True Identity’

In Matthew 15:21-28 Jesus resists a little bit giving help to a Gentile woman (a Syrophoenician is a Canaanite) asking for healing for her daughter. He tells her it’s not right to give the bread of children to dogs. She has an amazing response, saying that even dogs get crumbs from the table. Jesus is so impressed with her faith He heals her daughter. Her faith was shown by her humble submission and obedience.

At first it might seem off-putting that Jesus would regard her (or me) as a dog. But I think this was more of a statement of where He was focusing His work at that time (“to the Jew first and also to the Gentile”) rather than a judgment against either the lady or me. Although Canaanites were historically pretty ‘doggy’ too (Ephesians 2:12, Hebrews 11:6). Those who by nature do what God requires, even if non-Jewish, belong to Him because of their faith, and aren’t dogs at all. But even if it’s true that my identity (in the eyes of some) is that of a dog in the kingdom, I’m okay with it. He made me and can assign me any place He chooses. I’d much rather be a dog in heaven than a lion in hell.

Judaizing

Chapter 6, ‘Whole Bible Christianity’

The word ‘Judaizing’ has been wrongly used to describe a person who wants to follow all of God’s Word, including the Law. It implies that following the Law is a Jewish thing, and that Jewish things are bad (which isn’t necessarily true). Judaizing just means ‘to live like a Jew.’

14But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? (Galatians 2:14 NASB95, underline added)

To live like a Jew is to adopt Jewish customs. These are mostly added on to the Law, and are spelled out in the oral law (Talmud). Judaism doesn’t have much in common with the Bible. It elevates tradition and rabbi’s rulings over the Torah. Jesus (John 7:19) Stephen (Acts 7:53) and Paul (Galatians 6:13) say that Jews do not follow the Law. There are also places like 2 Kings 17 that describe ‘living like a Jew’ as a lot different than following Torah. Through Judaism prophets of God are killed, and the kingdom of heaven suffers violence (Matthew 11:12).

Israel (as a group) has only truly followed Torah a few brief times in their history. All sorts of tradition and interpretation were added at various times that took them far away from His Word. That’s why God got on their case so much. He managed to beat disobedience back on occasion with a prophet or a king like Josiah. For certain people Jesus managed to reduce the influence too. Torah is mixed in with Judaism, but Judaism is not solely a practice of Torah.

13Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, 14Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.” (Isaiah 29:13-14 NASB95)

A whole Bible Christian strives for a balance between blindly embracing all of Jewish tradition bound up in Judaism, and rejecting anything and everything Jewish. Living the Law is different and better than living like a Jew.

Judaism better?

From the book ‘Whole Bible Christianity’
A whole-Bible Christian holds a special place for the Jewish people in his or her heart. We bless the Jews in every way we can, from prayers to pocketbooks, because God asks us to bless them (Genesis 12:3). In fact, it is my firm belief that people who love Israel, and the Jewish people, love God. People who hate Israel hate God. The Satan hates Israel and keeps trying to destroy them because they are the physical representation of God’s kingdom on earth. The Satan’s people hate Israel just like the Satan does. So one of the ways we can tell believers from unbelievers is by the love, or hatred, of Israel…

Judaism, on the other hand, is a different subject than Israel or the Jewish people. Judaism is the collection of religious practice and tradition that Jewish people have gathered over a long history. It comes from rabbis, and its main point is to preserve Jewish identity.

Judaism includes the ‘oral law’ in two different versions, both called Talmud (to learn). Both versions are merely collections of rabbinical rulings and teachings. The oral law was likely included in the term “whole law” spoken of in the New Testament. Much of the struggle with the law in the NT was over customs and traditions rather than with God’s Word. It was definitely a big sore spot between Jesus and leaders of Judaism (Matthew 15:2-6; Mark 7:5-9)…

…There is a tendency in some circles to think that being Jewish or practicing Judaism is the same as following God. The idea seems to be that a Jewish person, or a person who practices Judaism(s), is either automatically doing what God requires or is somehow practicing biblical faith in a way superior to non-Jewish people or practices. This comes from thinking that Jews have historically followed God. Therefore, they must have a sort of ‘inside track’ that should be followed if we want to practice what we preach.

Sadly, the Scriptures tell a different story. In the pages of God’s Word, Judaism is generally known for stiff-necked, belligerent and hard-hearted idolatry (see for instance Nehemiah 9). Many Jews willfully disobey the spirit of the Law while looking at times like they follow every letter. Happily for us, there is also a remnant of Jewish people, such as the writers of the Word and people like Jesus or Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea, who really do follow their (our) God…