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My Pastor says…Paul was against us obeying the Law of Moses

September 9, 2007

In Acts 21, Paul is informed of a rumor being spread that he has been teaching the Jews to forsake the teachings of Moses.  So, Paul is asked to pay for and participate in taking a “Nazirite” vow  along with four other men, which actually included offering an animal sacrifice at the Temple.  Now remember, this is after Jesus went to the cross. Did you know that Paul actually went thru with it? Why?  Scripture makes it clear… So that “all (that includes you and me) may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you (Paul) are nothing, but that you (Paul) yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. (Acts 21:24)  It is so ironic that today we see the same thing happening again. Many people are being told from the pulpit even, that Paul is against us keeping God’s instructions as given thru Moses. Let’s see if we can once again put this rumor to rest by seeing what Paul has to say, in his own words.  We do believe Paul right?

 

In Romans 3:31 Paul said this…”Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not!  On the contrary, we establish the law.”   In Acts 24:14 Paul says “…so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.   In Hebrews 10:28 he says “Anyone who has rejected Moses law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” As plain spoken as Paul is concerning his view of the Law and the Prophets, many still honestly believe Paul is anti-Torah. How can that be? It turns out that Peter gives us an interesting warning in 2 Peter 3:15-16 concerning the writings of Paul. He says this…” our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures”.  Peter then goes on to warn us not to be led away by their error.  Sadly, many people including Bible teachers and many pastors, are untaught and unstable when it comes to understanding who Paul really was and the context from which he taught.  So, what is the proper context?  Listen up, and then check me out…

 

We know that Paul loved the Lord, and we know that Paul devoted his life to serving his Master. He was a bondservant of  Messiah. We also know, and this is the important part…that Paul would never teach people to disobey the God of Israel, buthe did come against anyone who tried to add to what Jesus had done on the cross. This is what we see happening in the book of Galatians for example.  In Galatians 5:4 Paul says “You have become estranged from Messiah, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace”.  Remember, Paul was not against the law. His own words bear witness to this. So, what was he against?  He was against those who would teach the law as a means for salvation.  Do you see the difference? Most Bible teachers have missed the context of Paul’s writings, substituting obedience for justification.  Paul was not teaching us to ignore God’s commandments when he said “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondagePaul was warning us not to listen to those who would seek to put conditions on God’s unconditional love. 

 Rest assured that Paul does not teach us to ignore the instructions of the Living God. In fact, if he did, then he was a false prophet as according to Deuteronomy 13 and deserving of death by stoning.  Speaking of stoning, do you know why Stephen was stoned to death?  If you remember he too was falsely accused of something.  You can find the answer in Acts 6:11-14.  Hold on to your hat and check it out!! And remember, this is after Jesus went to the cross!!

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12 comments

  1. In Romans 7:07 Paul states that he would not have known sin with out the knowledge of the Law. My one question about the writings of Paul is why is more faith put into his writings than those of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? These books has the words of Yeshua HIMSELf which we should be preaching and listening to. Not saying Paul is wrong but what PEOPLE DO NOT UNDERSTAND IS THAT PAUL WAS TALKING MOSTLY TO JEWS. HE DID NOT HAVE TO PREACH ON THE DIETARY LAWS BECAUSE THEY HAD LIVED BY THEM ALL OF THEIR LIVES. Getting them to understand that they were not saved by the Law, I believe was his goal.


  2. Many years ago I went through Paul’s writings with a set of highlighters. I used golden for every verse which upheld the Law in some way. I used pink for every verse which could be interpreted as being anti-Law. There were about 5 verses which could clearly be considered as “pink,” at least out of context. There was a “golden” verse on virtually every page. In my opinion, the only way one can think that the New Testament is anti-Law is that is what one wants to think and no evidence to the contrary is desired.


  3. christ is the end of the law to all those who beleive”paul said the law was for the punishmenyt of the wicked but that we live under grace and are free from the wrath of gods law. we can go to the throne of mercy and have an advacate with god—jesus christ.under the law there was no forgiveness. is that what you want? to be judged without mercy? are you sinless in gods eyes? all men have sinned and come short of gods glory”etc etc—-who will justify themselves before god? only the righteouness of jesus and his sacrifice on calvary saves aNYONE.THE LAW HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.


  4. Steve…a better translations might be “Messiah is the goal of Torah for all who believe”. Do a study of the the word “end” in that passage.

    Anyway…rest assured I understand that I am a sinner saved by grace thru faith as Paul says in Ephesians. I agree that we all fall short…that no one is justified before the Lord without the cleansing blood of Jesus. But I would encourage you to ask a question…”Does this give me the right to disobey God’s Commandments?
    Did Paul break God’s Commandments? Did Jesus break God’s Commandments? As I have shown above…Paul did not teach disobedience to Torah. Are we not to imitate our Master as Paul did? Paul understood that keeping Torah could not save…but “where grace abounds should sin abound more?”

    Thanks for stopping by…Newcolors


  5. Now I keep the commandments and the sabbath. Now when it comes to eating clean should we continue to do that cause Jesus said it is not what goes into the mouth that defileth a man and I know he was talking about hand washing but when you look at it he said it is not what goes into you that defiles but what comes out. Why would God send someone to hell for eating unclean?

    Then two please explain how some of or Jewish Christians believe that Paul was a heretic and Jesus prophesied it in John 16 concerning Peter and feeding the sheep? Then in Revelation the letter to the Epesians God thanks them for trying those that say they are apostles and were not. Then in Acts the scripture said that Paul stated that all have left him in Ephesus? Please explain…


  6. Antoine,

    Thanks for the questions. Conerning food…please check out my post “Does God care about what you eat”. Concerning “sending someone to hell for eating unclean”…I never read that in the Bible nor have I ever taught that. The bible teaches that we have all sinned…we are all “unclean” but can be cleansed by the precious blood of Yeshua…Jesus the Christ. We are saved by grace thru faith in our Jewish Messiah according to Paul in Ephesians 2:8. But as His disciples…we are to imitate our Master in all things. We do not have license to “sin” which according to the Bible is “transgression of God’s law”. (see 1John 3:4)

    Concerning Paul…If Paul, as many Christians teach, proclaimed in his writings that God’s Commandments were done away with and are no longer valid…then he is a heretic, a false prophet according to Deuteronomy 13. But the truth is, that Paul both kept God’s Commandments…and taught others to do the same. Paul will always be misunderstood whenever we take him out of the historical and cultural context in which he lived. Always remember…Paul loved the Lord and would never teach us to disobey Him.

    Newcolors


  7. Thanks for the quick reponse. I hope that I can keep them coming cause I keep feeling in my spirit that there is more to the law than to say it is done away with. Like the feasts, eating clean, and the sabbath.

    Now what about most Jewish Christians teaching about Paul is a heretic and Jesus prophesied about him in John 16 and Revelation when it talked about the false apostles that the Ephesians rejected. Paul did say all have left me in Ephesus in Acts. How can you explain?


  8. Also, two it does seem that Paul taught another gospel and taking theology years ago I studied that the early church was divided…there were some that followed paul and his letters and a small group that studied the gosples…


  9. Antoine,

    Jesus gave you and I commandment not to think that the law would be done away with in Matthew 5:17-19…and we warned us about teaching people such nonsense. So that means that God’s appointed times…(including the Seventh day Sabbath) and the food laws and such are all very much for the here and now. Of course…we don’t have a temple so many of the instructions concerning sacrifices…priests and such are not applicable for you and I today. You need to read the Bible and see which commandments you can do…and do them. Can you help the poor? then do it as that is Torah command. Can you care for the widow and the orphan? Then do it as God has not changed His mind concerning His Torah. Can you rest on the Sabbath and observe His Appointed Times? Certainly. Remember…Jesus kept Torah perfectly…we are to be imitators of Him…we are to be His disciples.

    If you read carefully my post above…it pretty much explains the issue of Paul. Peter warned us that many would not understand his words and twist them to their own destruction…that is what you see happening today in many pulpits. Paul told us to imitate him as he imitated Messiah…that should settle the matter as Messiah kept the Torah perfectly. A jewish believer who accepts the notion that Paul taught contrary to Moses…would indeed think him to be a heretic. But Paul did not teach contrary to Moses…he both taught Torah and lived Torah. Show me one example of where someone thinks Paul is teaching against the Commandments of God…and I will show you a misunderstood passage of Scripture. For instance…taken from my post above…

    “This is what we see happening in the book of Galatians for example. In Galatians 5:4 Paul says “You have become estranged from Messiah, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace”. Remember, Paul was not against the law. His own words bear witness to this. So, what was he against? He was against those who would teach the law as a means for salvation. Do you see the difference? Most Bible teachers have missed the context of Paul’s writings, substituting obedience for justification. Paul was not teaching us to ignore God’s commandments when he said “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” Paul was warning us not to listen to those who would seek to put conditions on God’s unconditional love.”

    Antoine, there is a bigger issue than Paul however…many Jews who love the Bible will refuse to believe Jesus is the Messiah because it is so often taught that Jesus did away with the Torah. The Jews understand that if this is true…then Jesus Himself is a false prophet as according to Torah. You and I should know that Jesus never did away with His own Word…and that He lived out an obedient life to the law of Moses while saying “follow Me”. May the truth be revealed in this last days.

    In short..perhaps this will help you…

    1…There are Christians who know the Scriptures and understand Paul was teaching salvation by grace thru faith as well as obedience to God’s Commandments…knowing that there is no conflict between grace and obedience.

    2….There are Christians who misunderstand the Scriptures and think that Paul actually taught disobedience to God and that contrary to His own words Jesus did away with the Law of Moses…how sad.

    3. Jews who don’t really know the Scriptures and have been taught by Christians that Paul was against Torah….and that all they really need is to “say a little prayer asking Jesus into their hearts” and forget all that nonsense concerning Sabbath, clean and unclean and such. Really sad.

    4. Jews who know the Scriptures and thus reject Jesus as taught by mainstream Christiainity becase of His anti-Torah reputation.

    5. Jews who know the Scriptures…and understand that Messiah Yeshua as well as His apostle Paul lived a life obedient to God and loved the Torah as David did and taught obedience to all of Torah each and every Sabbath in the synagogues as they traveled.

    Let me know if that helps at all..
    Newcolors


  10. You aare right…do you keep the feasts? How can you know for sure that gentiles (christian) kept the feasts and eating clean. For example, history said they did keep the sabbath.


  11. Here is my questons I hope someone can sensibly explain this to me please. Many times when someone cant use the correct context of Bible to answer then they ignore questions such as this. I hope I can get some clear straight biblical correct answers
    Help, this is a real concern in our home

    My sons and I are having some discussions about The Apostle Paul
    I have studied the Word of God for years and Site Pauls Teachings over and over
    For the Past several months my son has questioned teachings of Paul and has presented this to me due to what seems to be contradictions of Paul concerning the Torah, The Law etc…
    Please help me understand

    First
    Paul says in
    1st Corinthians chapt. 7 vs 19
    Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing yet Ezekiel the Prophet says in chapter 44 vs 9 “Thus says the Lord God no stranger( which is a Gentile or a Foreigner) in Heart nor uncircumcised in Flesh shall enter into my sanctuary.”s
    So how can we enter into the Temple ( later ) when Messiah is on earth if a gentile is uncircumcised in Flesh ?

    also
    There is no seperate Gentile salvation outside of Israel because Jesus says in John chapter 4 vs 22 ” Salvation is of the Jews”

    Also
    Isaiah chapter 56 vs 3
    ” Neither let the son of the stranger , that hath joined himself to YHWH speak saying YHWH hath utterly seperated me from his people.

    So is there one set of rules for Gentiles and another for Jews ?
    How can this be if We are all part of the same Covenant ?

    James in Acts Chapt 15 vs 20 says ” Abstain from pollutions of idols”

    but Paul says in 1st Corinthians chapt 8 vs 4 “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrafice unto idols ,we know that an idol is nothing in the world and there is none other God but one ”

    Then Paul says in 1st Corinthians chapt 10 vs 25 “whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat asking no question for conscience sake”

    Then Jesus says in Rev. chapt 2 vs 14
    “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of balaam , who taught balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel , to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication”

    So now
    Who do we believe
    James , Jesus
    or Paul
    How can Paul be correct if he goes against What Jesus himself taught ?

    and

    In Hebrews chapt. 7 vs 12
    says
    “For the Priesthood being changed , there is made of necessity a change also of the Torah”Yet the Prophet Jeremiah chapt 33 vs 20 through 21
    says
    ” Thus says YHWH ; If ye can break my covenant of the day , and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the Priests , my ministers .”

    In the Torah
    Numbers ( or Bemidbar ) chapt. 25 Vs 12 -13
    says ( KJV ) “Wherefore say , behold , I give unto him my covenant of peace : and he shall have it , and his seed after him , even the covenant of an everlasting Priesthood ; because he was zealous for his God , and made an atonement for the children of Israel.”

    So is Paul correct in saying the Priesthood is past away and that the Torah is Changed ?
    Or do we believe The Prophet Jeremiah quoting God saying it cannot be changed ?
    Now , Does Paul Keep the Law or change it himself ?

    I hope you will please answer my questions and not ignore my request I am very concerned with what Im seeing in Pauls wrtitings versus the Law given to us by God himself

    Thank you


  12. Dear sir…

    Thanks for stopping in…

    God is still on the throne…and His Torah has not been done away with (Matthew 5) and I praise the Lord for hearing from the leader of a home that searches the Scriptures for the truth and is bringing up his sons to do the same. Paul would be honored by your “Berean” type search for Truth.

    First of all…you ask some big questions…there is no way I have the time here and now to answer them all…(even if I had all the answers)but fortunately you also understand a big part of what it will take to answer your questions….CONTEXT…you stated correctly that when we don’t use proper context we misunderstand what is being said by Paul…James…Jesus….whoever. That said…I will try to keep you on the right track and steer you to some good resources. Please recognize again that I don’t have all the answers…but I have come to understand that Paul does not teach disobedience to God’s Commandments…while at the same time still wrestling with some of his words. The lens thru which we view Paul is not exactly 20/20….we are just too far removed. It takes work to view a clear picture.

    A MUST REMEMBER AS YOU READ PAUL>>>Paul was a bondservant of Yeshua….he would never contradict his Master…(he tells us himself to “imitate me AS I imitate Messiah”). with that in mind you can begin to unravel many of your questions. Would Paul teach against Torah??? How could he…he would be a false prophet…he would be considered to be least in the Kingdom according to the words of his Master in Matthew 5. So…EVERYTIME you think he is contradicting Jesus…you should dig some more…as you are doing now. But if you do not immediately come to a good answer…just keep remembering that Paul himself says that he believes ALL things written in the Torah and the prophets. (Acts 24:14) Those are very plain spoken words of Paul…take them to heart. Paul DID what he said he believed. Paul upheld Torah time and time again in Scripture…with his words and with his life. You mention James…James says to be doers of the Word…not hearers only..(The New Testament had not yet been written …thus he speaks of Torah obedience) 1 John is all about keeping Torah as he describes what it means to love God and people…as he describes the definition of sin…(Torahlessness 1John 3:4) We can believe all the words of these bondservants as they wrote what the Spirit would have them write. Our problem is we are 2000 years removed and must dig deep at times into the culture…and idioms…and the issues of their day to bring out the proper context. I won’t be able to do that in this response…obviously. I will make some comments and make a suggestion for good resource material that you and your sons might consider reading. Again…I wish I had all the clear cut answers…I don’t. According to Peter…I am not alone…

    Peter warned us that Paul spoke very difficult things to understand…and that many would unknowingly twist his words as they do the rest of Scripture at times…. (2 Peter 3:16-17) He makes an important point.. and goes on to say we should “beware”. Beware of what?? “being led away with the error of the wicked”. We know that people even in Paul’s day were misunderstanding him…that there were rumors concerning his teaching disobedience to Torah…(Acts 21) It would seem that nothing has changed. Perhaps Peter knows that our flesh would find it pleasing to think that we no longer have to obey Torah…that Paul somehow gives us permission to live as we see fit…each according to his own heart. It should give us great pause whenever we begin to think that we have found justification in the Word to disobey the Word. Justification in the Word of God to ignore the Word of God! It can’t be! Right?

    (Please note again…I wrestle with many of the same things you bring up…this is not kids stuff…but I continue to learn that each time we think we find a contradiction in Scripture…it is OUR understanding that is flawed…)

    Concerning circumcision….First of all notice he says that keeping the commandments is what matters in this very same verse you question…so what is this circumicision Paul often talks about? …check me out…I believe Paul may be talking about a conversion ritual to Judaism…a proselyte program to “become Jewish” as according to the Jewish leaders of the day. I believe this was a big issue at the time…but it is complicated as Scripture does not plainly state the issues being addressed in some of Paul’s writings. Check out Ephesians 2 verse 11 for a hint. Notice the terms circumicision and uncircumcision can refer to a “people” not just a physical state. Another place where Paul seems to speak against being physically circumcised is in Galatians chapter 5…notice however to me the context seems to be justification…not obedience…(You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be JUSTIFIED by law) I believe Paul understood that the covenant given to Abraham and his seed remains intact…Ephesians 2…brought near to the covenants by the blood of Messiah. Paul reminds us in Galatians 3:29 that if we are in Christ…we are Abraham’s seed. But there is much more to the issue of “circumicision” than just the physical act at play in Paul’s time perhaps. Tim Hegg http://www.TorahResource.com has a great book called “The Letter Writer” along with other teachings and resources including a series on Galatians. I would encourage you to check out his teachings as he can bring much understanding to the issues you raise….I plant seeds….Tim Hegg does a lot of the hard weeding!!

    Are there two sets of commandments? Not according to Exodus 12:49. “One law shall be for the native born and for the stranger who dwells among you”

    Concerning Idols….I guess I don’t really hear Paul being at odds with James or Jesus….he makes the case that if you know it has been offered to idols….do not partake. He does however make the point that sense we know idols are nothing we don’t have to constantly ask if anything or anyone involved in the food preperation was somehow associated with idol worship. In fact…doe he not agree with Yeshua in making the case against being a stumbling block to our brothers?

    It’s after midnight here…I must call it night. Please feel free to write me again…if you think I have been any help at all. We can take up the issue of the Priesthood. Another big topic my friend…Check out Tim Hegg’s site…I consider him to be a Torah Scholar…and one who has devoted much time to understanding the writings of Paul.

    Shalom, Tim



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