For The People Who Say, “But Jesus Didn’t Abolish The Law”

For The People Who Say, “But Jesus Didn’t Abolish The Law” August 7, 2015

Ten Commandments Standing In The Desert

The Old Testament is tricky ground. It always has been.

In it, you will find something that’s often referred to as “The Law” (insert dramatic theme music).

The Law, attributed to Moses, contains 613 rules and regulations that Israel used to keep order in their society during ancient times. You’ll find some nice stuff in there– don’t kill sounds nice to me, and I love the protections afforded to immigrants, but you’ll also find plenty in the law that is morally problematic. Laws such as that which orders the stoning disobedient children, burning daughters alive for prostitution (Lev 21:9), the endorsement of human trafficking for forced labour, genocide, and all sorts of other things that we unequivocally know are totally and completely immoral– immoral in all times, and all cultures.

Since the beginning of Christianity, Christians have been fighting over whether or not to obey it (insert dramatic theme music conveying conflict and tension). Very few today believe we are required to obey all of it- if we did the ladies would be leaving town once a month, and the guys would have really long side burns. However, the idea of letting go of the Law entirely and letting it be a thing of the past is simply too much for many people.

As a result, many Christians will hold onto parts of the law they like (usually rules that are easy for them to keep) and toss away the laws that would be difficult for them to keep. This is precisely why so many will assert sexual laws still apply (happens to be easy for them) while completely discarding dietary laws (hard for them). This, of course, is the height of religious hypocrisy- the very thing that set Jesus off from time to time.

 Nonetheless, this brings us to the question of the Law once and for all. Do we obey it? If so, which parts? All of it?

There are two arguments folks will typically bring up. The first argument is that only ceremonial and dietary laws were done away with, but the “moral law” still is in force. This argument presupposes that the Law is divided into categories- mainly dietary, morality, and ceremony. Unfortunately, the Law is not sorted into categories. The Law itself does not identify different categories, neither is it written in a way where the laws are sorted into clean and separate categories.  For example, there’s not a book of food laws followed by a book of moral laws- it’s simply not written this way. Can we sort them into categories? Sure– but only for pedagogical purposes, nothing more.

Additionally, nowhere in the New Testament is there support for viewing laws in certain categories where some categories of law are still in effect and some are not. In fact, it teaches the opposite. In Galatians Paul tells a group of believers who believe they must follow the law of circumcision that if they insisted on following one law, they were obligated to follow every single one of the other 612. (Gal 5:3) As far as Paul was concerned, there were no categories of laws where some applied and some didn’t– he taught that if one felt they had to obey any of the law, they would have to obey all of it. In another place in the NT (1 Cor 8:11) Paul actually refers to those who believe OT laws still apply as being our “weaker brothers and sisters.” This seems to indicate Paul viewed those who still wanted to live under parts of the OT law as being spiritually immature, instead of morally superior.

Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 9 Paul directly states that he himself is not under the Law (1 Cor 9:20), in Col 2:17 he refers to the Law as but a shadow of what was to come in Jesus (Hebrews 10 calls it the same thing), and Hebrews 7 says the Law was “set aside.” Oh, and there’s always Col 2:14 that refers to the Law as “canceled.”

Finally, Paul’s most direct statement regarding the law says that the law was totally done away with:

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Eph. 2:13-16

Which brings me to everyone’s favorite counter argument: “But didn’t Jesus say ‘I didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it?”

Yes, yes he did. In fact, he says that in Matthew 5. Unfortunately, this is perhaps one of the most misunderstood (or perhaps just misused) verses in the Bible. The problem is a lack of understanding of definitions– and I’m not even talking Greek yet– there’s a basic misunderstanding of the English definitions here.

To abolish means to annul, destroy, and formally do away with. To fulfill means to complete, or finish. Both words lead one to the same place (something in both cases has ended) but differ in how they caused or arrived at finality. Perhaps a better way to look at it is this: abolish means to cancel, but fulfill means to bring to it’s natural end– aka, “complete.” In the former something ended prematurely, but in the latter it ended via arriving at the proper ending point.

Let’s use an analogy. If I were to say that my daughter’s softball game was cancelled (abolished), it would tell us two things: first and foremost, it tells us the game is over and secondly it tells us the game finished prior to the natural end.  However, if I said that my daughter’s softball game had been completed (fulfilled) it would also reveal two things: likewise it would reveal the game is in fact over, and would also reveal the game did not finish prior to the natural completion point.

Fulfilled and abolished functionally get one to the same place: the Law is over. Where the words differ is where it speaks to how the law was brought to an end. Jesus said it was completed, and brought to its natural conclusion. In fact, those were the words he spoke on the cross: “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

The Law is over- it was brought to the natural ending point with Christ’s death on the cross. Thus, the Law is no more in the life of a Christian.

Now, does all this mean we’re free to live however we want?

No, not at all. At one point Paul says, “I myself am not under the Law” but then he immediately qualifies his statement and essentially says, “Well, I am under a law– I’m under the Law of Christ.” (see 1 Corinthians 9)

If you’re a Christian, you’re not under the old Law, but a new one: the teachings of Jesus found in the red words of the Bible. All this he said, could be summarized via “love God” and “love everyone else, too.”

May we have the courage to live by this new law.


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  • Obscurely

    Great post, Brother Ben! … you say Christians today are only under the “red words of the Bible” (I assume you meant New Testament) — where do you situate the counsel Paul gives to believers in his epistles? … is it binding on modern believers, and if not, why not? (these are NOT loaded questions, just common ones I’m sometimes asked as a pastor)

  • Wolf

    I think what Ben means is that Jesus’s words (and deeds) are the ultimate fulfillment of the Law. Paul’s counsel is just that – counsel. Even the things Paul says should be weighed against Jesus’s two commands to “Love God, Love one another.”

  • Realist1234

    Indeed. It is not as simple as just following Jesus’ words as if the rest of the New Testament writings (and indeed the OT) are irrelevant. Slightly ironic that Ben keeps quoting Paul and not Jesus to justify his view! As far as being relevant today, we should certainly take seriously anything the apostles wrote in the NT but as with everything, culture also matters. Your question has been discussed for the last 2000 years and there is still disagreement! Although we are no longer under or judged according to the law, if anything Christians are supposed to be even more ‘moral’, as Paul says ‘having the mind of Christ’. The New Testament writers held Scripture in high regard, as did Jesus, so we should too and learn from it.

  • Your explanation of “fulfill” meaning completing in the sense of reaching the planned ending is intriguing. Real food for thought. For years, we were taught that Jesus fulfilling the law meant that he completed its full intent so that its primary purpose is still in force.

    I’ll chew on this for a while.

    The difficulty of your “love God” and “love everyone else, too” is that the word “love” is such an empty bucket term.

    Consider that various leaders with completely contradictory values and beliefs say this. Hard Calvinists like John Piper say this; they think God has two contrary wills, one of which willed for humans he ‘loves’ to be foreordained to eternal damnation.
    Nearly all of the present contradictory presidential candidates identify as Christians, but what a difference when it comes to what loving others means!

    Bernard of Clairvaux, the preacher for the Second Crusade, was known for his sermons on love. :-(

    And non-Christians of various stripes also strongly support “love God” and “love everyone else, too.”

    The truth is in the details, which of course then takes us back to specifics.

  • Realist1234

    We are indeed no longer under the law (every time I see ‘the Law’ I hear Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd!) and therefore will not be judged by its requirements. Jesus has fulfilled the law on our behalf. There is nothing we can add to that. Hence we are saved by grace, not by keeping the Law. And not by our own ‘works’ no matter how ‘good’ they appear to be. Im not sure, though, that you cannot divide the Law into different categories, such as food laws etc, simply because they may not formally be so neatly divided in the text. But in the end, things such as morality doesnt depend on the law. It depends on God’s will. Or put it another way, what would Jesus do? (He was the God of the Old Testament as well). That is why, as a gay Christian, I still maintain that God wants me to remain celibate because that is what He says in Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. So morality continues regardless of the Law.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you Benjamin. Following Jesus instead of laws written on parchment is radically offensive to religious fundamentalists. It’s no coincidence that Jesus was at odds with the dominant religious establishment, then and now.

  • davend

    In my opinion, one can’t really have a discussion of the Christian understanding of the law and skip Paul’s discussion in Romans and the circumcision controversy.

  • Yes, if all Jesus said was love God and love others it would be wildly open to interpretation. However, Jesus spent his ministry explicitly teaching certain ethics (built upon the foundation of Matthew 5) and said the wise people were those who actually put his words into practice. We also have the life of Jesus which serves as our single point of reference (showing us what love looks like) for what we emulate, and thus prove we belong to God by the fact we strive to live our lives the way Jesus lived his. (1 John 2:6)

  • Emily Joy

    I have a question about this, because one rebuttal that I often hear from people is “well Jesus is the *fulfillment* of the law, therefore he would never contradict it.” To their way of thinking, Jesus as the “fulfillment” is like the icing on the cake of the law and so i.e. if the law says being gay is wrong, Jesus as the “fulfillment” would never say otherwise; if anything he would take that MORE seriously. Other than the fact that it’s simply demonstrably false that Jesus never contradicts the law (“you have heard it said… but I tell you”) how would you respond to this?

  • Herm

    The laws of the temple were clearly fulfilled by Jesus when understood as the sacrifice of the perfect firstborn at the beginning and culminating with the Holy of Holies at the end. (Matthew 12:6-7, Luke 24:44, Luke 16:16, John 1:45)

    Laws of physics cannot be denied for each defines a consistent reaction to identical stimulation of action. The laws of Jesus will not be enforced beyond what will naturally be the result from our choices of action or inaction. Fortunately for us daring, adventurous and experimenting children there is mercy, forgiveness and tolerance for us who might finally learn to in everything act in love for others (God, neighbor and enemy) in kind no less than we have for ourselves.

    These are the “red letter” laws Jesus shared with us that remain enforce with no beginning and no end: Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:37-40, Matthew 5:44-45, Luke 14:26-27 …

    These are the “red letter” ways we are able to constructively and productively fulfill the eternal laws Jesus tells us about as we are each ready: Matthew 12:32, Luke 4:18-19, John 3:5-8, and

    “Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.” John 6:61-64

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21

    According to my Lord I am free from the consequences of any laws other than those that my Father and Brother in Heaven are also subject to. I testify that I have a 24/7 live in Nanny who I can trust to divinely nurture and guide me to grow more and more constructive and productive in everything I choose to the nature of my family of God and in Their Spirit.

    Thank you Ben! Love you brother!

  • In addition to what you write here, Ben, I think it’s worth mentioning that you and I and the majority of Christians who discuss this sort of topic are all gentiles. And as was made clear in Acts and again in Paul’s letters, the Church affirmed early on through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that gentiles do not need to become Jews before they can become Christian. So in that regard, as well, we are not beholden to the letter of the Law – though since we still affirm it as Scripture, we expect it to guide us to a fuller understanding of God’s character.

  • Don Roberts

    “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy” Exodus 20:8 & Deut. 5:12 Jesus in Luke 6 allows the Apostles to pick corn on the Sabbath and then proclaims to the Pharisees that he is the Master of the Sabbath. In Matt. 12 Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath asking the elders if they had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath would they not pull it out. Mark 2:27 He took bread that was only allowed to be eaten by the priests, ate it and handed it out to those who were with him. He then proclaimed, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” I think this pretty much confirms Jesus did contradict the law. Furthermore, Jesus historically ate with and entered the houses of sinners. According to Mosaic Law this would have been strictly forbidden. In Matt. 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 Jesus offered to go to the house of the Roman Centurion. No gentile would do this as again, it is forbidden by Mosaic Law.

  • Don Roberts

    Brother Ben, Thank you for your insightful post. But, how to I respond when confronted with the follow-up phrase in Matt. 5:18 “”For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” and Matt. 5:19 “”Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, 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.”

    Normally I would respond that Jesus is the accomplishment, and upon his death and resurrection He not only accomplished the passing away of the old law, but instituted a New Covenant with new laws. For Matt. 19 I say he is speaking of the New Covenant Laws of loving God with all of our being, both the tangible and intangible, and loving our neighbors, even our enemies, as we love ourselves. We can do this in every part of our lives by being living examples of Matt. 7:12. What are your thoughts, please?

  • If only those red letters had given us a few more helpful directions, like:

    If you love your neighbor, then don’t buy and sell, or maintain humans as property. Ever. Slavery is wrong.

    Women are as smart as men. If you love them, let them read, write, run business, lead, do whatever they excel in.

    Love is for everyone. Do not deny a loving partnership between two people of the same sex.

    or how about:

    Love your family steadfastly, even when they disappoint you, even when they don’t deserve it

    instead of:

    For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

  • jorje44

    Thanks for asking the question (re. Matt 5:18) that was bugging me Don. I’m looking forward to an answer.

  • Yeah, I would show the blatant contradictions paired with Ben’s point above about what it means “fulfill” the Law. If it obviously doesn’t mean Jesus won’t contradict the Law – since he does, often – then it must mean something else. That something else is the deeper understanding of the narrative arc of Scripture than the legalistic framework that is so popular in Western Christianity.

  • Paul’s advice is meaningful because he was advising what he thought was the best way to follow Jesus in his context. That’s your key there: we interpret Paul through the fact he followed Jesus (as we should), not Jesus through Paul. I believe his words were inspired, but that doesn’t mean they are any more a new rule for all time than the Old Testament Law is. We can learn from what Paul (and James and Peter and John and Luke and the author of Hebrews, etc) thought it looked like to follow Jesus in his context, including his rejection of legalism, but it doesn’t mean there’s always a 1:1 equivalence to following Jesus when tackling different issues in a different context.

    In other words, it – like the Old Testament – is instructive to modern believers. Or to quote Timothy, it is “useful” still for modern believers. It is not binding in the sense that it’s a new list of rules to replace the old list of rules.

  • Tim

    Jesus’ little brother agreed with Paul on the requirement of following every single law if you are going to follow the law at all: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10.) James also said that all it takes to do right is “keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” This – and only this – is the law of Christ we follow under the New Covenant: Laws Worth Following.

  • I don’t know if there are any clues in the Greek, but I wonder if we divide English translations in the wrong place here. The following section is Jesus contradicting (or sometimes simply extending) commands in the Law with a better way of living, culminating in the call to love everyone, even enemies. So, either Jesus just did what he told everybody else never to do, or…. that warning should be seen as an introduction to the upcoming section instead of as a summary of the previous section. The warning is to not change his law of love, rather than to not change the 613 rules of Torah.

    I have not studied it in depth, but looking at it now, that idea occurred to me. It seems a lot more consistent with the rest of his message, not to mention the rest of the New Testament and early Church were quickly decided that strict Torah-observance was not necessary.

  • Herm

    Oh Beau, the “red letters” say all that and more that lasts an eternity.

    “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-27

    Look around us and see what happens when we accept the laws established in the traditions and rituals of our relatives and self from the perspective we each have of Earth and our human past as past down through the generations. The “red letters” speak to the laws of real life spirituality where time isn’t regulated by our minuscule sun and all of life has no beginning and no end. Those “red letter” laws work just as constructively and productively in the carnal we are without choice born into and the spiritual we can choose to be born into by way of the Spirit of God.

    Thank you Beau(tiful) for your truly inspiring observation!

  • Herm

    Tim, you are correct. I might add that the “red letters” speaking to the law is not the same as the laws the students of Jesus were speaking to us through the Bible as they were only just learning to live within the law Jesus knows, lives and teaches. There is no instant gratification to learning just because we have the full knowledge of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts and minds, sharing only as we are ready. Paul and James still had to work through many lessons just to help us out but they had mastered none. If this were not so what are we all going to be doing for an eternity if not learning how to love all life even better in a relationship with life as it really is without death? King David was privy to so much more of the reality of life than most of those he ruled and yet it is chronicled that he sinned even within the very midst of God. Moses stumbled, failing to invoke the name of the Lord God when bringing water from the rock and lost his footing unable to enter the promised land with those charged to him by God over 40 years prior. The “red letters” are enduring with no beginning and no end compared to the temporal guidance of the disciples and apostles (even true of those today) for they are from the perspective of children of God growing potentially for an eternity more of learning.

    Love you! Thanks!

  • Herm

    When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

    … for Jesus heaven and earth passed away.

  • Herm

    Emily, is there a question to; in everything do to others (all) as you would have others (all) do to you? Our Lord Jesus said in no uncertain terms, in my heart and mind, that this is what the Law and the Prophets add up to in total. [Matthew 7:12]

  • PinkyAndNoBrain

    I’m not sure I agree with you on your interpretation of the law, but I want to applaud your being a gay Christian for seeking truth and putting yourself in a very difficult place, where it’s easy to get beat up on both sides. Thank you for your courage, obvious love of God, and intellectual honesty.

    Also, I do think fixating on the old law does step dangerously close to what you mentioned: trying to earn our salvation through works, or “proving” we’re saved by doing the right things.

    Also also, I sometimes have trouble remembering that Jesus is OT God, so I appreciate the reminder. Helps put both old and new testaments in context . . . sometimes in uncomfortable ways, but still.

    P.S. I AM THE LAW!!!!

  • Herm

    … or Peter’s torment over what was clean and what was not.

  • Salvador Torres

    Most of Paul’s writings should be written in red too. The Risen Christ inspired him…

  • Herm

    Please, consider from a different angle, perhaps even from Jesus’ perspective, that we were actually saved from the self-indulgent laws we enforce upon ourselves and others through the ultimate display of grace finalized by the Son of God on the cross, not from the laws of a loving Father that we might live by. Would you have others remain celibate because they are imperfect children of God as are we all? By relating in love with a consenting partner are you in any way doing to others what you would not have them do to you? I wonder and truly can’t answer that question from my perspective.

    Love you and your sincerity!

  • Herm

    Salvador, with the Advocate in your heart and mind the Risen Christ inspires you, too, and no less. Love you!

  • Jesus fulfilled the Passover feast law as found in the old testament as he became our passover lamb…He literally is the Lamb of God and His blood covers our sins…however he is also the fulfillment of laws like thou shalt not lie…or thou shalt not kill, or though shalt not commit adultery…His Holy Spirit fulfills the obedience of these laws in our lives as we trust His word is true and desire to obey it and actually obey it out of love for our master…as you can see the law is still very active it just takes on a new form of fulfillment through Jesus and His Holy Spirit working in our lives to do these commands in an act of love towards our God who died for us and an act of love towards each other. Since Jesus is a part of the Godhead the Levitical laws could be considered to be red letter verses also. However many of these laws were specifically written to the nation of Israel in prohibition to something a pagan people group were doing next to their nation. Ritual laws often found their fulfillment in Jesus himself and we experience the reality of these symbolic ritual laws as we trust Jesus although we don’t have to become circumcised any longer or keep the Sabbath.

  • Helpful clarification, succinct and gracious. My follow-up question: is any part of the law helpful in giving shape to the love we express in Christ? How might the law continue to inform our love toward neighbor? Does Jesus think any of of the law becomes the form of our freedom in him? And what about Paul? “Love God” and “love everyone else too” is easy to say, but it it seems to open up a lot of gray area for good people to disagree.

  • liberalinlove

    I guess that explains why my daughter-in-law isn’t fond of me then!

  • Herm

    Did you ever notice that the Decalogue is in the same order and possibly in even greater significance as found in Luke 10:27? What in the Decalogue is not covered in Matthew 7:12?

  • ” burning daughters alive for prostitution (Lev 21:5)”

    Eh? http://biblehub.com/leviticus/21-5.htm

  • Heaven and earth passing away is apocalyptic language that describes some far-reaching change in the current order of things. The Old Testament is full of things like this. For instance, in Isaiah 34, the fall of Edom is described as being accompanied by wiping out the stars, all the heavenly bodies falling from the sky, the sky itself collapsing, etc.

    I think it is likely that 5:18 is not talking about the end of the known universe, but rather the great spiritual/political upheaval Jesus will accomplish in his death, resurrection, and ascension.

    It’s a weird time of transition, and during that time, Jesus is not interested in making Jews stop being Jews. He is interested in them following him and entering the kingdom of heaven. It is only after Jesus’ work and the pouring out of the Spirit that we start getting more clear directives from Paul that the Torah that divided Jew and Gentile has now been taken down so that they may be one people.

  • 21:9. Will fix it, thanks.

  • Harry Flashman

    As an atheist I think this is a well constructed argument, I enjoyed reading it, as I do most of Ben’s writings. However the challenge for Christianity is that not every Christian takes Ben’s approach. Many Christians, especially the more fundamentalist versions still maintain the applicability of the Old Testament. They would argue that Ben is therefore not a True Christian. So while ever Christians cannot agree on such basic doctrines and beliefs how do you think you are going to convince me to change my mind?

    I do have problems with the writings of Paul, especially around things such has slavery (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Timothy 6: 1, Titus 2:9-10, and 1 Peter 2:18). Given that the some supporters of the Confederacy, in part used the bible to support slavery up until it’s defeat (thank goodness) how can Christians be selective about the New Testament teachings as well?

  • Keith B

    The author here used a perfect analogy of the softball game. And lets use this analogy to put it in the context of one of the reasons Christ came to earth.
    It is true the abolish = cancel, that part is not the argument. Now, the daughter finishing the game, in contrast to Jesus… Think of it as Jesus came to earth not just to play the game, and when the game was over, that ends the game for everybody from then on. Instead, I would suggest, that Jesus came to not only to finish the the game of his time in his people’s history, but to show his later followers how to play the game, showing us and leaving us his example. The daughter completing her game did not end all future softball games, or do away with the rules of the game. Instead alot can be learned from different aspects of how she played, maybe ways how her next game can improve.

    To better understand what I mean, you need to understand the time Jesus lived in. When he started his ministry, he broke every single law of the pharisees. They had suppressed the people so much with silly and unholy laws that nobody had any idea of how to be saved, or if they were or not, or who to ask. Remember, the pharisees had knowledge of God’s law, they studied it and were advised by the head priests but they thought they had automatic favor in God’s eyes and salvation was only for a chosen few, and others had to futily work for it. The people who did know the law, thought that it was hopeless for them to attain salvation. The pharisees steered them away from God’s original message of being save by having faith in him, the very same faith that saved Abraham himself! This is all that God has ever required.

    Now, how does this relate to Jesus? He saw that the leaders and the people were trying to play a softball game, and it was looking more like a dysfunctional hockey game. Jesus came to fulfill the law, or to tidy things up to make everyone see exactly how to play a softball game, by playing the game the way it was supposed to be played.

    So how did he do this? To fulfill the law would to mean something had to come to pass that had never been done before. His human life showed us that with a full reliance on the the Father giving us strength, thru prayer, that we can live according to the law. Jesus’ life was the manifestation of the wonderful perfect law of God, his true merciful character was shown in the way Jesus lived and dealt with fellow man. Without reliance on the Father, as happens with us, sin and evil temptation can easily overtake our freewill, the very same freewill that Jesus lived by.
    By living the law perfectly, and totally submitting himself to his Father and his will, he clearly defined what the rules of a softball game should be, both for his game, and for the future games that all of his followers would play.

    More logically, what has changed is the power that breaking the law has over us. Jesus paid the price of our eternal separation for the Father (the 2nd death) We still have to have faith. We still must show some level of obedience. This has not changed since the Garden of Eden, and even before that when Lucifer broke the law in Heaven. We no longer have to rely on “good enough” animal sacrifices for sins every year. Our faith and acceptance that the debt had been paid on the cross atones our sins. His shed blood washes us innocent as he intercedes for our sins. And once we accept that free gift, it is up to us to keep it in good standing, by living by the standards of righteousness clearly defined in the New Testament.

    When you talk about the law, in a way that lumps all of the Old testament laws together. It can really confuse people. There were laws that were clearly defined as being meant for the then-chosen nation. God had stricter standards for them to live by and the punishments were severe. Is it right to ‘cherry pick’ ones to apply today by bible thumping christians, who only know the message of ‘turn before you burn’? I think, as with anytime you read about what the bible says about any subject, you have to put it in context. So the question, why so many strict laws and harsh punishments? Well think about it. God has called an entire nation to a conditional promise to tell the rest of the world about him. In doing that, if the gentile nations did not see a difference in behaviors and lives of those that were supposed to have favor with God, then what would set them apart from any other nation? Would God promise to bless them so richly if they lived by the same standards as any other gentile nation? The answer is no, and it is no because it does not make any sense. Time after time his ppeople turned thier back on him. Time after time he punished them. But that was done out of love and his desire for them to once again rely on him. He had lived up to his end of the original conditional covenant. And he wants us now to live up to ours.

    Am I saying “all laws apply”? Or “No laws apply”? I am saying that there is a way to apply the laws to logically govern the behaviors of Christians today. The 10 commandments still stand strong and are written on each of our hearts. Once we know and are aware of the laws, we are obligated to follow them to maintain salvation. A better way of saying it, we don’t follow the laws to be saved, we follow them BECAUSE we are saved.

    What i mean by logically? The dietary laws for instance, they were originally meant to our maintain our health. (review Daniel 1:8-15) Logically, nothing has changed since the original meaning in the old testament about this. If we were to follow the diet that is good for us, we would be far more healthy people. There is no logical argument anywhere that would fulfill or do away with this concept.
    In contrast, if your brother gets killed without having children to keep the bloodline going, how likely are you to do the solemn duty of getting his wife pregnant? Logical application and self evidence goes a long way when defining obedience to the law. God instilled, or reinforced some basic or standard laws, namely the 10 commandments, that has an application for all generations to Israel. Some though, as with the brother’s wife rule, simply have no application for today, even though, they are certainly in the bible.

  • Oh Herm, I’m so glad that you read abolition, feminism, and marriage equality into the words of Jesus (whether they exist there or not).

    Now do me a favor and convince the rest of Christendom.

  • That’s Jesus for you; he came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword. Especially between in-laws.

    OK … he did heal Peter’s mother-in-law, but you gotta ask yourself, was that a favor to Peter, or a way to keep him in line?

  • Don Lowery

    Many Christians, especially the more fundamentalist versions still
    maintain the applicability of the Old Testament. They would argue that
    Ben is therefore not a True Christian.

    Jesus also talked about these “christians” as well in very specific terms in Matthew 7:23. Whether or not anyone believes Jesus or not…he did mention those who are of the fundamentalist variety who are on an ego trip or as Clint Eastwood said from “Sudden Impact”…”They are legends in their own minds”. They’re going to pay the price for their delusions on attempting to lead others to their doom in the next life…if not in this one.

  • Herm

    Harry, you bring a couple of good thought provoking questions, thank you.

    I am not in a position to tell you how to reach one, as yourself, with a disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. All I’m inspired to do is make students of all nations and washing them in the Spirit of the God that I know in my heart and mind. I’m impressed that you look to consider how those who believe here are going to convince you to change your mind. What a challenge!

    As I think about what you ask I can’t help return a question or more to you. Are all USA citizens, in your opinion, each or are any exactly the same? Do all USA citizens represent the national spirit and its values as you do?

    Is any beginning kindergarten student you know a perfect representative of their teacher with a doctorate? Are any expected to have all the answers to life as does their teacher? Without going to the school how do you know the teacher is doing a good job from your associating with the students? Do all the students emulate the spirit of love that their teacher might be trying to impart? Are there any bullies in the class and how does that reflect on the teacher?

    When the prerequisite for entering the school of Rabbi Jesus is clearly according to Luke 14:26 and 27 how many do you know who claim Christianity are learning directly from Christ? The answers I cannot give to you can come only from the Advocate specially tailored for you. The way to share with the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, I can answer according to my experience and that is by humbly and sincerely asking, seeking and knocking. I have the feeling you are or you wouldn’t be wasting your time questioning simply because you enjoy reading most of Ben’s writing.

    I am not selective in what Jesus is teaching me and I don’t believe Ben is either. We trust the Teacher to know our hearts and minds, tied to the same Holy Spirit, to be able to teach us and to inspire us to help those around us as we and they are ready. Hopefully through our example, all of us unique because none of us are Christian robots, we represent the Teacher as the One which another of our siblings of Man would want as theirs, also. Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Timothy 6: 1, Titus 2:9-10, and 1 Peter 2:18 were all written by students learning and not, for the most part, touted as directly from the Teacher (there are red letters outside the four Gospels).

    My God does not ask me to follow the Bible but bound in reciprocal, merciful and tolerant love I am asked to follow Jesus through the Holy Spirit in my heart and mind. I can only testify that for certain you can have the same sure relationship that I know. The Spirit is always available for the asking and you will know to be convicted when you are ready.

    Love you! Your questions are excellent to us. Now ask, seek and knock directly with the Teacher who can answer much more fully exactly as you are ready.

  • Harry Flashman

    As I think about what you ask I can’t help return a question or more to you. Are all USA citizens, in your opinion, each or are any exactly the same? Do all USA citizens represent the national spirit and its values as you do?

    I am not a citizen of the USA so this response comes from an Australian who has spent a lot of time in the US and worked closely with the US Army and USMC.

    Not all the US citizens are the same. I realise the US is a pluralistic and multi cultural society, just like my own nation. I think that is a good thing. So not all citizens are alike. Some of them have different views about the same issue. I think the First Amendment is a great thing and we have a similar section in our Constitution. The Declaration of Independence is a great document and a great foundation for a nation to establish itself. What worries me is the way in which religion is skewing the political discourse in the US.

    We as a nation are a lot more secular than the US. During a Prime Ministerial debate for example we would never really have the moderator question a candidates religious beliefs. We have also had an openly atheist Prime Minister. So I hope all this makes you understand where I am coming from intellectually

  • Matthew

    I just finished a book in which the author claims that the reason the law was given is because humans went against a personal, close, love relationship with God. A relationship that was in place in the garden before the fall, a relationship that Jesus came to once again secure, and a relationship that will have its permanent place in the future.

    It´s as though the law is simply temporary and those who follow the letter of the law rather than the spirit of love are missing the main point. The author uses some wonderful and practical examples to illustrate his points and basically says that when love is fully understood in its proper context there really is no need for law … no need for religion … just a need for faith and relationship. Beautiful really. The heart of the Gospel as I see it.

    This article is SO timely Benjamin as I just finished the book yesterday. Thanks as always.

  • Tracy

    I was with you right up to the last paragraph. “If you’re a Christian, you’re not under the old Law, but a new one: the teachings of Jesus found in the red words of the Bible.” Unfortunately Jesus preached pure law to some who needed to hear that their good deeds and right standing didn’t qualify them. So we need to be very careful when saying that all the words of Jesus are what we should live by. Example. Forgive, or you will not be forgiven. LAW. Yet Jesus said it, didn’t he? We have to really understand the covenants to understand which one Jesus was referring to when he spoke. If we are going to get christians to be free of the law – an understanding of the covenants are essential.

  • Tracy

    Great response. Loved the analogy. Must steal that one!

  • nicolelynn

    This strikes me as pretty standard evangelical interpretation actually. I’ve been reflecting lately on this exact topic, and I think of it more as Jesus came to fully live out / fulfill the intent or spirit of the law. I think he was telling people the overarching message of the law was what’s important, not the particulars, and that he was there to show them what love in action really looks like. Thus “it is finished” on the cross. It wasn’t some supernatural lifting of or ending of a previous contract between God and humanity, now done away with… it was a demonstration of what the spirit of the law is and should be.

  • liberalinlove

    She was probably cooking the meals for the weekend.

  • NathanMichael

    I can see how you get to your conclusions and more importantly why. I agree that the issue of the relationship between the OT and the NT is a tricky one. But it must be answered, and here I think you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    I believe you misunderstand ‘the law’ because you fail to recognize the larger picture of covenant, in which the law is incapsulated. The key point in understanding the continuity between the OT and the NT lies in the covenant not ‘the law’ (a term which even within scripture has multiple uses and connotations). How the law relates within both the OT and the NT is related primarily to covenant.

    The presence of the New Covenant does not eliminate the Old Covenant. In fact one cannot properly read and understand the NT (new covenant) without seeing and acknowledging how much of it presupposes existing portions of the old covenant. The difficulty lies in what, how, and why Jesus amends the old covenant with his new covenant. Many things do change. But many things do not. And they do remain in force – for example the 10 commandments to which Jesus refers, even if he reinterprets some of them. Difficult yes. But necessary to walk through. To throw out the old covenant and all its stipulations is, I believe, not consistent with Jesus and the message of the NT.

  • Nathan Giles

    does this mean I am free to covert my neighbours ass?

  • Chris Dagostino

    “[I]f we did the ladies would be leaving town once a month, and the guys would have really long side burns.”

    And going by Matthew 5, the guys would have only one hand.

    That was the point. The only human being who will ever live a life of complete and total holiness is Christ Himself.

  • Herm

    Beau, you might help yourself as have I by reading the previous article regarding healing from trauma. Note that all the advice offered was what the traumatized victim could do to help themselves, including finding support.

    I do hurt that you have been frustrated by the failings of Christendom. I would have to say, by my experience, actively inside and outside many business, social and spiritual human interface systems I’ve been frustrated by the self-indulgent as you are here. Any group or individual of the human race that can’t get beyond themselves to shed their inherited fundamental values, rituals and traditions is locked inside a veritable ghetto fighting a losing us against them battle. I hurt for, and we by, them, also.

    All I can do for those so very close to the intellectual awareness of their need for and the reality of Christ Jesus, who by their fruits don’t know the Spirit of Truth in their hearts and minds, is by my example make it clear that they aren’t to an active discipleship yet. When they are we will see that they will recognize that all human beings are one interconnected species known in their Bible as Man in the image of God.

    I don’t just “read abolition, feminism, and marriage equality into the words of Jesus” because, also, I feel and live empathizing continually with the hearts and minds of my fellow Man, as Jesus does and of which He is teaching me more everyday. That is what merciful, empathetic, tolerant and forgiving love demonstrated by grace to all is all about. We are one body of mankind sharing a pulse, nervous system and physical body. There is no we and/or they of our one mankind. There is no differences of gender and race that is not already contained in the DNA of every cell (each of us) within our body: physical, mental and spiritual.

    The spirit of neoconservative separatist interventionism of any color and bent, political or religious, is destructive to mankind because it tries to capitalize on forcing “others” different than them to their self-indulgent will. I have no more ability to convince any free willed self centered group such as they to wake up and smell humanity as one, whether it be witch hunting crusaders of Christendom or or the ISIS cancer cells of Islam, than does a very forgiving Lord Jesus trying patiently to give all of Man an opportunity to realize the whole and not only themselves (even to giving His life to buy us time).

    You do as well as I to convince and help others by caring to consider the whole and living your life accordingly. You have as much influence to convince as do I. As you speak as separate from the school of the Rabbi I might have a little inside sense that you don’t. The same Spirit who resides in my heart and mind knows, too, the hearts and minds of fundamentalists of ISIS and fundamentalists of Christendom, in fact at minimum really does know every hair on the tops of all our heads 24/7 365 1/4 days of every year. I know, sounds crazy, but as I live every moment in that relationship as an adorable imperfect disciple little child of God it truly is crazy good.

    Love you Beau! Thanks!

  • Herm

    … and He had to die as a human being to live a life of complete and total holiness. The same is offered us through the Holy Spirit (on a lesser scale perhaps) as little children of God; complete, total and eternal holiness in the family of Jesus and the Father, of whom we’ve been introduced to through the human being Christ Jesus. Thanks!

  • The dietary laws were not for good health. The dietary laws, like many of the OT laws, were about being clean and unclean.

    I think it is far more confusing to people to talk about “categories” of laws with some of them still being in effect and some of them not being in effect. The Jews certainly did not interpret their laws that way, and there is nothing in the New Testament that divides the laws that way. They are a whole ball of wax.

  • Where do you get the idea that the new covenant is simply amending the old one, especially since the respective parties have changed?

  • Herm

    We are at best little children of God learning and growing as infants to toddlers. In the sphere of the kingdom of which Jesus is our Lord and Brother we aren’t even in kindergarten to begin to be taught of the intricacies of the our constitution governing for all eternity.

    We know the laws of physics and spirituality from our cute little attempts at trial and error. Jesus, as our big Brother, took us by the hand and demonstrated that gravity sucks but it keeps us from free flying out into space. The Decalogue is a set of rules told to us to do without telling us why. We should feel flattered as the adorable little imperfect children we are because we graduated to witness through Jesus’ example the how we abide by those very basic rules conducive to living. Now that the Holy Spirit is available to every maturing heart and mind within the body of Man we get a Rabbi who teaches us the why as preschool students of His.

    If we in everything do to others (all) as we would have others (all) do to us, by free choice trial and error, we get to understand those most constructive and productive actions we can choose to get the most constructive and productive reactions we can get.

    None of us are, relative to the kingdom of God, even closely capable of becoming scholars of law anytime soon. This is demonstrated by how clumsy even the most mature of us promotes life by loving the Lord their God, their neighbor, themselves and their enemies. Jesus asks no more or less of us as His sibling and student. Nothing in the Decalogue is missed by Matthew 22:37-40, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 14:26, 27. All of the law is in “red letters” directly from the mouth of the Rabbi as “Thou shalt do to get the results He values no less than life itself”. You’ll know this to be true in your heart and mind through the Advocate for all of God’s family.

  • NathanMichael

    The parties haven’t changed. God is still God (the covenant suzerain). God’s people are still God’s people (the covenant vassal). Though, through covenant amendments, the scope of Gods people did increase. One man –> one family –> one nation –> one kingdom –> every tribe, tongue and nation.

  • ccws

    Nope. Or your neighbor’s wife’s ass either. B-)

  • I’m with you up to the conclusion. I’m fairly sure that when Paul said
    he was under Christ’s law he meant he was under Christ’s Lordship. We
    are told to live according to the Spirit of Christ. Against the fruit of
    the Spirit there are no laws so if we practice forbearance, joy, peace
    etc. we will fulfil Jesus commands of which there are only 2 – to love
    God and each other.

    The whole thing is circular – if you live by
    the Spirit you will not indulge the flesh and if you put away the deeds
    of the flesh you will live according to the Spirit. The point Paul makes
    is that if you try to lead a good life you will fail because your flesh
    will prevail yet if you indulge the flesh you will deny the Spirit. The
    only way to live is to look to Jesus who will guide you into all truth.
    This is what it means to live by faith because relying on any law will
    bury you.

    So if you choose to live by Jesus’ laws you will also
    fail. Which red words are you going to live by? Jeremiah told us that we
    will no longer be taught “This is the word of the Lord” because the
    Spirit will teach us. Paul was mortified when he saw factions in the
    church, some following Peter, others Apollos and others even claiming
    they followed Christ.

    The Apostle John had the acid test. If you
    hate your brother you cannot claim to love God. Its not the red letter
    of Christ that we obey but the Holy Spirit of Jesus. We will not break
    any law of God by following the Spirit and living a life of love.

  • Sure they have. By abstracting the parties into “the people of God,” you lose the historical contingencies of the covenants. It would be like saying the dietary laws were for “humanity.”

    The first covenant excluded the Gentiles and was defined by Torah. The second covenant is with faithful Jews and Gentiles defined by faith in Christ and regulated by the Spirit. This isn’t simply adding new wine to old wineskins. One covenant was fulfilled, and a new covenant was created.

    If this is not the case, then both Jesus and the apostles are way out of line to suggest ways of embodying the kingdom that countermand the Torah, such as eating unclean animals or not keeping yom shabbat holy.

    Also, we have a serious problem with putting Gentiles under the old covenant without making the Gentiles proselytes which, as I’m sure you already know, is an effort that Paul was strongly against.

  • ccws

    Of course we get into trouble right out of the starting gate with the Septuagint’s mistranslation of “Torah” תּוֹרָה into “Law” (νόμος / nómos). The more accurate translation of “Torah” is “Teaching” – perhaps something closer to Διδαχή / didaché? – which, incidentally, is the common name given to a first-century document (taken from its first line, “Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles [or Nations] by the Twelve Apostles”) summarizing the teachings and practices of an early Jewish-Christian community.

    Yes, I’m going to be lazy and post the Wikipedia link here. So sue me – I never said I was a formal scholar, although I did check my Hebrew & Septuagint texts – but it’s a pretty good summary:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didache

  • Herm

    Harry as the questions I posed to you were mostly rhetorical my answer to both, “Are all USA citizens, in your opinion, each or are any exactly the same?” and “Do all USA citizens represent the national spirit and its values as you do?”, is categorically NO and, additionally, neither are any or all Australians exactly the same. None of us throughout the world as members of mankind on Earth are the same and neither are any who claim Christianity or Islam or Buddhism or Hindu as their spiritual reason and shield.

    You have asked, “… how can Christians be selective about the New Testament teachings…?” My shortest answer would be that any good teacher, if given the time and resources, will teach each student according to their need and receptivity. I can only testify according to my own experience as an enrolled student (disciple) of Christ Jesus, my Rabbi (teacher), who has all the time of eternity enhanced by the resource of a connecting transceiver Spirit directly with my heart and brain, I am humbly and totally receptive to all He has to teach and I am most capable at each moment to learn. Earth, the whole Earth and all that is in it, is graced to us as a live preschool laboratory available to us to prove the formulas of constructive/productive as versus destructive to ourselves as we learn and grow. We have all levels in ability of students in our class and none are loved any less by the Teacher. Unfortunately, we, also, have posers outside the formal class body trying to emulate what they see from their perspective and cannot understand. None of them are loved any less by the Teacher they do not know personally and yet the Teacher mature enough, caring enough and with an infinite perspective to know them all by their hearts and minds.

    Harry, according to my lessons, we are one species in the image of one God. In the Bible accepted by most calling themselves Christians the story begins by breathing the Spirit of God into mankind and culminates with the analogy that we’ve evolved to understand as the spirit of temporal children of Man (carnal) and the Spirit of eternal children of God. We are all of one carnal family, child to adult, known as Man with no choice to be born and no choice over not to die. We each have, in God’s image, freedom of choice throughout our physical journey. Each of us has been graced the opportunity to be adopted into the divine Family of God as little children who will not die because the Spirit of Life living in our hearts and minds cannot die. Spirit only dies when it is no longer aware. Do you expect me to convince you to change your mind (and heart) based on those tested teachings? I certainly won’t change your mind arguing the many varied flavors of doctrines and beliefs throughout our world.

    Harry, it is between you in harmony with a directly present and available creator God, who I can only honestly testify to, to change your mind/heart (the spiritual you) to be filled with Life without end.

    Thank you so much for providing a time for me to ask my Teacher to speak through me. I have learned a lot because you sought answers and asked questions. Now knock while opening your heart and mind to the Always Was and the Never Ending. Love you!

  • Herm

    I would hope that all we can learn together is ours to share without copyright or patent for the good of all mankind. I feel lucky and truly graced that these analogies, offered simple for my infant understanding, continue to fill my mind and heart. Always, what I have been blessed with is all of ours to own. Love you and thanks!

  • Herm

    ““But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.” Matthew 23:8

    “Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.” Matthew 23:10

    “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

    “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

  • ccws

    Not sure what you’re getting at here, but OK… B-)

  • Herm, I’m sure you mean well, but if you really want to communicate effectively, you should avoid pointlessly long, obtuse, convoluted sentences that obscure your meaning. I don’t believe that an ancient rabbi inhabits my person, but I understand what you’re saying.

  • ccws

    “[I]f we did the ladies would be leaving town once a month, and the guys would have really long side burns.”

    A.J. Jacobs, author of “The Year of Living Biblically,” writes about his
    wife getting mad at him and deliberately sitting in every chair in the
    house, just so he’d have no place to sit. The book is as hilarious as it is thought-provoking – as is its female counterpart, Rachel Held Evans’s “My Year of Biblical Womanhood.”

  • ccws

    Some of us gals would have only one hand too. Just sayin’. ;-)

  • Herm

    Thank you for assuming the best of me. Sorry to disappoint you. I must believe according to your response that you’re asking for short solutions to your problem which you’re asking those of us here to provide for you. It won’t and can’t happen. The solutions are within you for you.

  • NathanMichael

    I use the term “the people of God” as in each covenant administration as the covenant continued to expand into its final new covenant form, the amendments redefined who the people of God were (as I stated above). Jesus and the new covenant may be the ‘Telos’ of God’s redemptive acts, but that’s no reason to ignore the seeds, blueprints, and trajectory of the covenant (as a cohesive whole) that brought us to the point where we are today. It’s like like saying that now that we’ve built the roof of the house we can get rid of the foundation.

    Yes, many things radically changed in the ways Jesus amended the covenant. But we must be careful to define what changed and what did not. Again, it is impossible to deny that many portions of the old covenant are assumed as in effect within the new covenant. Jesus articulated as much. It would be careless to entirely throw out the old covenant. It robs the new covenant of its context. As well, it contradicts Jesus.

    As well I believe the usage here of the word “fulfill” is incorrect. Fulfill means to come to the point of ‘telos’. It does not mean that ‘its done and to be discarded’. That would be like saying all the romance and courtship that led to your marriage is to be done away with now that you’re married. (See how your wife likes that idea.) No, we still romance and court our wives, but indeed the marriage covenant does amend and change the nature of the relationship without leaving key elements behind.

  • Short solutions to what problems? The discrimination based on race, gender, and sexual orientation that I mentioned in my first comment? No, I’m quite aware that humanity has taken millennia to overcome prejudice and inhumane societies. We’ve come a long way, but there is still much to be done. I’m not asking you to solve problems; why would you assume that?

    No, Herm, you misunderstood me. You disappoint by being long-winded with little substance, not by offering “long solutions”.

  • No, it would be like saying if my wife passes away, and I marry another, my old marriage is no longer in effect. This is probably why this is the exact metaphor Paul uses to talk about the Law and Christ.

    Or, if you like, once I am married, I don’t keep shopping for engagement rings. The engagement has served its purpose and we are past that point and into the relationship the engagement was waiting for.

    “Telos” means “end” or “goal.” Once you’ve gotten there, you don’t keep… getting there. If you intend to take a trip to Disneyland, Disneyland is your telos. You drive until you get there. You don’t keep driving because driving has served you well so far. By continuing to drive, you would actually miss your telos and leave it behind, which is exactly what happens when we who are united to Christ continue to keep Torah.

    I do, in fact, deny that there are “many portions of the old covenant assumed as in effect within the new covenant.” But that doesn’t mean the old covenant is thrown out. That would be abolishment. It’s not thrown out; it’s completed. It no longer needs to be a governor/teacher/caretaker/prisoner. Jesus is here. This is the overwhelmingly asserted point of view of the New Testament. I challenge you to find me one ethical issue in the New Testament that is completely settled by appealing to Torah. By contrast, I could show you dozens completely settled by appealing to our union with Christ / filling of the Spirit.

  • Herm

    “I’m not asking you to solve problems; why would you assume that?”

    “Now do me a favor and convince the rest of Christendom.”

  • I think the rhetoric I’m using in that statement is pretty obvious. Do you really not see that, or are you being disingenuous?

    I’m not expressing a concern with what you do; I’m pointing out that your attitudes against discrimination are not fully shared (and certainly have not historically been shared) by huge numbers of other Christians.

    Which is one reason I think there are better ways of arguing against discrimination than appealing to Christianity.

  • Obscurely

    But can the Gospel really require this kind of arcane inside doctrinal baseball — or the ‘rocket science’ you’re suggesting is required to understand Jesus?

  • Obscurely

    So what is the great book, brother? you’ve stirred an interest in some of us to read it too ;)

  • Obscurely

    The fragmentation and dispersal (diaspora?) of the Holy Gospel into contradictory interpretations, fundamentalist ghettoes and theological cul-de-sacs well merits its dismissal by the Godless …

  • Obscurely

    Herm, you must be a legit servant of the Holy Gospel because you haven’t asked us for money yet!! ;D

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    And you avoid every quote from Jesus that tells you to follow the law. EVERY SINGLE ONE. “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV) Clearly the Old Testament is to be abided by until the end of human existence itself. None other then Jesus said so. Just gonna leave that here for you.

  • Jesus isn’t talking about the end of the world. Read up on your Jewish apocalypse. Just gonna leave that here for you.

  • Herm

    Why would I sell talents that were only loaned to me on good faith that I might learn to be responsible for my influence to effect the whole of my species to be productive and constructive for all, loving it all as we grow and grieving for all who die? Oops, did I just question competitive capitalism? … or socialist states regulating who gets what according to their governments superior (?) intellect? … or communist governing where we share equally for all except those who govern to get much more justified because they earned (?) it? … I’m not questioning my graced opportunity to to be alive, aware and to choose. … I’m not questioning my family of God who I’m certain as One loves me like the immature, adorable, little and imperfect child I am. … I’m not questioning the divine benevolent dictatorship governed by my Father and my Lord who actually knows what works for the best of the entire kingdom. … I’m not questioning your astuteness, thanks for what I do accept as unearned praise!

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Yea, he is talking about how people must follow the law until the end of time. Go re-read the verse. or the entirety of of Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” (Matthew 5:17 NAB)

  • Herm

    Oh you from the ranks of the one finger salute you’re so very close to getting answers to your statement from the Boss, even in your impertinence. This bears repeating from an earlier comment in this discussion:

    When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

    … for Jesus heaven and earth passed away.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    If you are going to bring up the Crucifixion, tell me what day Jesus was crucified. Depends on the gospel, as does the conversation with the thieves, and who went to the tomb, who carried the cross. Check out this link and follow along in your bible. http://atheism.about.com/od/gospelcontradictions/p/Crucifixion.htm

  • No, that isn’t at all what he’s talking about. Do you honestly think Ben has never read Matthew 5, before? “Heaven and earth passing away” is not a phrase that means the end of time.

  • Jerry Lynch

    God had every right to “abolish” the covenant because the Jews had failed to keep it: contract broken. But God had mercy and instead sent his son to fulfill their contract, making available a New and better Covenant of Spirit and Grace..

    About five years ago I was banned from Crosswalk Forum for saying essentially the same thing you said, Benjamin, and recently in the religious section of One Political Plaza I was met with some pretty “pious anger” with a similar post, emphasizing the Moral Law was included with the Dietary and Ceremonial Law.

  • “Yea, he is talking about how people must follow the law until the end of time.”

    Your words. Are you actually wanting to talk about this or just trolling to get a reaction?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    I am supporting the fact that Jesus intended the law to be followed. And go back in to prior posts and mention where I talked about an apocalypse. Merely stated your savior disagrees with the premise of this article.

  • I talked about an apocalypse, which is what Jesus is talking about in the passage you quoted. “Heaven and earth will pass away… until all is accomplished.” That’s OT apocalyptic. It does not mean the end of time, it does not mean people should follow the Torah until the end of time, and you seem pretty dogmatic for someone who doesn’t really have a handle on the passage.

    What the article says is exactly where Jesus and NT eschatology is going. A 21st century fundamentalist reading of Scripture like your own is going to miss it.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    If by fundie, you mean taking what he said at face value versus finding a way to make it cuddly, sure. And if you feel like implying I am a fundie, keep in mind I left your faith because I studied the bible.

  • Herm

    Oh, you of mortal thought,

    “The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”” John 2:18-19

    “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” Matthew 27:50-51

    “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Mark 14:48-49

    “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’ ” Yet even then their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”” Mark 14:55-62

    “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.” John 2:19-22

    “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

    I read, as you requested, and knew of everything that you seem to want to be inspired fundamental perfection before you truly accept the possibility that truth is within the whole of scripture penned by Man. The perfection lies in that none of the mortal chroniclers were asked to be any more than they were, little children of God. All shared as they knew and were capable. The most important is to know that Jesus is and was always the Word to be trusted. As your heart and mind are not the Holy of Holies for the temple of God you are not expected to understand. I can only testify by my own experience that such is possible and you will know it when it is true for you.

    “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”” John 3:8

    Jesus and our Father on their thrones of authority reside in the temple city of our minds and hearts today as told in Revelations. You cannot be expected to validate that, but maybe in the remaining time that you have been graced.

    Thank you for taking under consideration my previous reply to you! Love you!

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    You did nothing to reply to my previous comment, but I have noticed that this is a common tactic among the religious. When you have no answers, change the topic immediately. And that is fine, regardless of how intellectually dishonest it is, I will reply to your statement here.

    Now, your presupposition is flawed for one main reason. Following the bible, Jesus can not be the Messiah. First, he is not of Davids bloodline, as that was on Josephs side, who had not play in the conception of Jesus. Also, he is never refereed to as Immanuel. We can also point out that he was not an unkill-able warlord. And that the Jewish nations were still standing at the time.

    Again, follow along in your bible http://www.evilbible.com/jesus_false.htm

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Oh, and good on you for knowing your Latin. No one gets the name.

  • Apparently not very well. Atheists and fundies tend to read the Bible the exact same way – as 21st century Western literalists. I’m sorry you didn’t have someone better to teach you.

  • Tracy

    I wish it was more simple, but time ( scriptures from centuries ago) and dealing with a entity that is multi dimensional makes it not so. But to me, that is part of the challenge. We now have that added bonus of the Holy Spirit to point us in the direction of Christ. Every generation has to sort through ( sometimes the mess) of the previous ones to find out what the bible is ACTUALLY saying. I don’t think we will ever sort it out ( previous scholars have not) and while we are a bit more advanced science wise, we still are going to come up short. And i think personally that if we were to all understand God and were able to put Him in a box, we wouldn’t need faith. We would have him sorted. And who wants that sort of God? One we can be god with? We can understand Jesus to the point that God was doing a ‘new thing’ when Jesus walked the earth. Jesus paid the debt on the cross for all sin, for all time. Yours and mine, so no longer is sin counting against ANYONE. It’s done. Finished. God has reconciled the world to himself through Christ. But with grace comes faith. We have to believe in the finished work of Christ for it to benefit us. And that is what saves us. Any more than that is just ‘sorting thru the rubble’.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Actually I did study it, and all it’s versions VERY well. Numerous pastors, Chaplains from Basic, and that is when I saw all the contradictions. And got over the thought that quotes from Jesus had to be translated to mean something else.

  • Herm

    Oh you of lost faith,

    As you asked one of my dear brothers, “Is your English your second language or something?”

    I responded to the previous URL you sent me out to very clearly. Perhaps, you might reread what I wrote.

    As to the sight you sent me out to this time you might compare their opening statement:

    Prophecies to Identify the Messiah, Which Jesus Does Not Fulfill:

    1) Matthew 1:23 says that Jesus (the messiah) would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Yet no one, not even his parents, call him Immanuel at any point in the bible.

    2) The Messiah must be a physical descendant of David (Romans 1:3 & Acts 2:30). Yet, how could Jesus meet this requirement since his genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 show he descended from David through Joseph, who was not his natural father because of the Virgin Birth. Hence, this prophecy could not have been fulfilled.

    3) Isaiah 7:16 seems to say that before Jesus had reached the age of maturity, both of the Jewish countries would be destroyed. Yet there is no mention of this prophecy being fulfilled in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus, hence this is another Messiah prophecy not fulfilled.

    … with:

    When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Matthew 16:13-20

    … and:

    http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/968282/jewish/Why-Is-Jewishness-Passed-Down-Through-the-Mother.htm

    Do you know that Mary’s lineage definitely does not go back to David?

    … and with regard to Isaiah 7:16:

    The Hebrew word ʿāzab is much better defined as forsaken and not in any way should be translated as destroyed. The land was forsaken.

    Sorry that you try so hard to be the one brilliant scholar who found the flaws necessary to defeat disciples of Jesus only because you have been introduced to the Word and the Spirit of Truth properly.

    Love you. Wish I could help you!

  • Then you got dumber, I’m sorry. I was in the military, too, and I can guarantee you don’t need to know jack about the Bible to be a chaplain.

    Understanding Jesus requires understanding his world, his time, his culture, and reading it from that standpoint. I’m sorry, you seem very sincere, but you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    You did nothing to address the contradictions in the Crucifixion. Not in any conceivable sense. Nor have you addressed the problems with his supposed Messiah-ship. The land was not forsaken, as people were living on it. And there are numerous problems, like no census was ordered, we get no background of his childhood, and every Rabbi agrees that he fails the test. The people who focus on the most on the prophesies fail the test. And you wish that his mom made him spiritual? The better argument in this case WOULD be that God done did it. Also, your bible says she was not descended form David.

    To go into more depth of why your original supposed refutation…

    “The most important is to know that Jesus is and was always the Word to be trusted. As your heart and mind are not the Holy of Holies for the temple of God you are not expected to understand.”

    This quote is basically saying in order to get the bible you must already believe the point. This is very dishonest intellectually. You can not believe something with out understanding it. This is an appeal to faith, not a valid argument. Furthermore, you wax on how man is flawed and they wrote the bible, in which case how is it correct. The only way it could be is saying at the very least it was inspired by god. My counter on that, is if he could preform the miracle of inspiration, why can he not preform the miracle of conservation? If this is his word, how could there be three main religions differing on it, and all their sects, but I digress.

    Your argument in its whole is an appeal to faith and an appeal to authority, but then saying that the authority is flawed because man wrote it.

    To get into more depth on the second point and reply, a forsaken country is destroyed. Would America, or France, or England not be destroyed if it was completely abandoned? More so, how about a reply to the other 50 points?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    His culture was desert dwelling sheep herders with no understanding of science, and very bad morals. His words had the largest effect on history, but that in no way shelters it from questions or criticism. And you do get that there are 40,000 plus denominations on Christianity, so the no True Scotsman fallacy fails utterly here.

    His culture and time was based off of superstitions, no grasp of the laws that run the world or a grasp of physics. Jesus was against some of the basics of his time as well, like washing hands under running water. We as a people are well past the point of looking at this book as anything but that, a book.

    I could very tell you that you don’t understand the bible because you wish to look at it and disregard everything else you know, but the real issue here is that you don’t want to question it, is it not?

  • Herm

    The Bible we know today was never the authority from Genesis to Revelations. The authority that can be believed in is a relationship you recognize and trust to be serving you as reality. Once that relationship is recognized the only credentials that matter in regard to faithful authority is the day to day results. The Bible is a pointer to the relationship with God with helps to establish an open dialog directly. The Torah identifies, from our perspective, the erosion of relationship between Man and God. The temple law foretold of the coming of One, the Messiah, who would make possible a restoration of the original relationship even unto us becoming one with the Spirit that joined the Son and the Father as one. Human intellectualism is not capable of full faith relationship with the physical cosmos we can see as tangible. The heart and mind of Man in the image of God (which is the spiritual feeling and thought as versus the carnal nervous system and brain) is so immature that if left to its own would have no capacity for awareness, in all functionality of communicative senses to be considered dead.

    I can argue intellectually with you and maybe even hold my own on the other 50+ points of importance to you but it would be pointless except to sharpen our debate skills. In what you must have considered of what a creator God has to know to pull this off, even only as far as we know it, we both know that we each know nothing comparatively. Have you ever witnessed two little children arguing their obvious to us ignorance back and forth to establish the king of the hill to what we know from our childhood has no end? God witnesses just that between us all as very little and immature children every moment of every day. We want to think we’re capable of earning adulthood in God’s eyes when we haven’t even escaped our playpen. We have no idea what the inside of His office is like much less where the building is, or the kingdom.

    I appreciate your skillful and nearly political questioning but it is you who does not address one point fully only to move on to another supposedly gotcha’ question. I addressed your original comment to Ben even knowing you were taunting someone, anyone, to challenge your superior awareness of the unrighteous Christians on this Christian blog. You then redirected to another off the thread. I answered and you then redirected to another off the thread. Each time saying I didn’t address your point. Okay, you won the infinite arguments and your skills are much more superior to mine. What has that bought you? What’s the prize?

    I’m going home now to my Father and Brother that my bloody wounds might be healed. They have taught me to wish you well in your independence from Them. Love you!

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    If you wish to venture back to the point, that I made to Ben is that Jesus said we must follow the Old Law. The parts in that say we don’t have to are not from his own mouth. Ben attempted to use Matthew 5:17 to say we have no obligation, then only used half of the verse in question and ignored the two right after it that very much say we are supposed to. You then brought up John 19:3, and I addressed that point. My question to Phil, was an actual serious question, if he had to translate what I said, and if so I would use more direct language.

    Now Ben used Matthew 5 and said that fufill can mean abolish. Verses in question is as follow, from the NIV: 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    The book of Matthew makes it clear that Jesus intends for the law to be followed. While granted, you may use verse 19 to ignore the other two, and do as you will to still get into heaven, it does not detract that Jesus said to follow the law. this is an epic case of picking and choosing to ignore what Jesus and follow what other men said after him. It is the very same as saying all gays will go to hell, then going and eating shrimp, or cutting your hair. his, and I presume your, argument is that some of the founders of the early church didn’t argue for the following of the old law, because by the standards of time, it had parts that became immoral or not practical. But that in no way should over ride the guy who you worship and what he said. The statement in the reverse is wrong on many levels, though do not take this as me saying that modern Christians or anyone should follow those 613 laws, because they are pretty damn wrong. On that, I think we can all agree.

  • Keith B

    Actually, the dietary laws and the sabbath day were actually set in place way before there was any Jews. (see Gen. 2:9&16, and 2:3) To me, these are not arguable points. There have been a few texts that can only be confusing to justify ‘doing away’ with both of these. Fact is, Jesus followed both of these, eating what was later defined as clean. Remember, we have that differentiation (again before it was reinforced to the Jews,) to Noah in Gen. 7:2. Specifics are not listed, but it is self evident that there was already a difference here even this early in man’s history.
    And again, lets apply logic to just a few animals that are mentioned unclean. Generally, most of them are scavengers. Meaning they eat trash and refuse from either the ground or the ocean. Those creatures God did make and he made them for a specific reason, which was not for consumption by man, but to help cleanse or clean up the trash of their habitat. If you would think those things are just as good to eat as the defined clean creatures, then you would have no reservations on also chowing down on the water filter of an aquarium or a dust filter of your air conditioner. Why not attract the flys and bugs feasting on dung out in a pasture, God made those creatures too, so i would imagine if you cooked them long enuff and blessed them, that would make them clean… ? Yes, I know the silver bullet argument against this, with Paul and the sheet coming down. This is a symbolic meaning taken out of context and does not make all animals good for you. The symbolism is a vision he was shown, about the reservations he had about the place was going and the people that were there. Paul considered those people unclean and had reservations about mingling and witnessing to them. This is explained in the next verses, down to Acts 10:23. The dream makes sense if the entire text is read with it. The unclean animals represent the unsaved or ‘common’ people. ‘Eat’ means to take them in without prejudice. It would be safe to say, that if this was the command by God to totally do away with all dietary laws would there not be a little bit bigger deal made about it, instead of in a symbolic dream. Maybe Jesus himself would maybe mention mention it? The meaning of this same dream is actually better explained in Acts 11:18
    Incidentally, getting back to the Sabbath, it would seem there is a contradiction on the ‘work’ that Jesus done in his ministry. If we go by the 4th commandment, there is not alot of leeway there. Absolutely any and all work is forbidden. It is pretty plainly stated. The penalty for it is driven home many times over after the command. Then, when Jesus comes, he seems to be breaking the Sabbath and every other law. So did God make a provision because people people would later have to maintain their lives on a basic level even through the Sabbath hours? Or by Jesus doing anything other than ‘rest’ it meant that he either had to abolish or fulfill or whatever you want to state it as, that part of the law, or you can say that he ‘changed’ this part of the law from its original text in Exodus 20. Or, there is a more logical way to look at it. Matthew, Mark and Luke have red letter of Jesus saying or asking, it being lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Now, as a Sabbath keeper myself, I compare exodus against the gospels and ask which one wins? Is it keeping the Sabbath holy, to rest dormant, in silence shutting oneself off for its duration? The works that Jesus did on the Sabbath, only violated the pharisee laws. They had perverted the laws so much to where they were sinful. Especially the Sabbath. One of our pastors has a really accurate quote, “God is not unreasonable” It is not a sin to do good on the Sabbath, as in red letters. ‘Good works’ I think are defined by and shown by Jesus. If you are a doctor, and you can heal or help someone on Sabbath, are you under a rule to tell them to come back when the office opens on Monday? Or is it more holy to do the work of healing, as Jesus did. Jesus knew and was following the law. And out of reasonable compassion he healed, not out of of defiance of God’s laws, but in apparent perversion of the pharisee’s nonsense.

    Jesus living the law further enhances his grace for us. His example of obedience to it only enhances our need to strive to follow his example. It is not the work of salvation that the obligation to the law would be lifted. If there is no law, then his death was in vain. He could have stayed in heaven at the throne of the Father and begged for us. But, as was the original plan of salvation, God saw there was always going to be a gap between him and his children. A gap created by Satan corrupting our natural freewill with a sinful nature.

    Being saved and being a true Christian is not about our struggle of following the letter of the law. We are powerless to do that ourselves. This was true even for Jesus. But as the plan of salvation outlined, God granted Jesus the power to give us strength thru him for our obedience. To me, this means, you have to have sort of definition of sin. The law is still what we will all be judged against in the end. If we throw out the obligation to it, we have no need to call on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to influence our lives. If all that is required of being saved, is your parents rushing you on into church soon after birth, getting dunked in the water, no even knowing what it means, then doing ok being in church because mom and dad makes you go till you get old enuff to not want to go, that is not showing very much obedience. You have to define what sin is to know what and what not to do. To lift this obligation means the above scenario is all that needs to happen in ones life to see eternal life. Telling people we are not under the law anymore, only reinforces this as a way to live. It is very confusing to give a contradictory statement then try to later go back with some specifics, which end up not changing the original meaning and intent of the law. Which means, if you do the couple ‘commands’ that Jesus said in red letter, you will innately strive to follow all of the commandments.
    Coincidentally, if even the original chosen nation had a willing obedience to these basic laws, they would have needed far less specific laws instilled on them.

    Such a common misconception is to put a ’cause and effect’ type situation saying that the law was nailed to the cross because Jesus came to earth. That is not how the law of God works, and that was not God’s plan for salvation by sending his Son to earth.

    This is a fascinating study, and had me digging in my Bible for a refresher on the basics. I appreciate the discussion :)

  • Brandon Roberts

    Tbh I’m not a Christian but agreed and these Christians using “the law ” to support homophobia better stop eating shellfish mixing fabrics and better start murdering adulterers or you know stop using the law as an excuse

  • Getting a few pointers from a chaplain at basic does not a biblical scholar make…

  • Eddy Wahlgren

    It’s pretty clear that you didn’t read the entire thing. Old Law=Old Testament, New Law=New Testament aka, the stuff Jesus talked about. And he DOES condemn sexual immorality which is ANY sex out side of marrage, gay or straight. This whole shellfish/fabrics thing is getting real old since it’s based on a fallacy to begin with.

  • Chris Dagostino

    Jesus seemed to be doing away with Old Testament dietary law in Mark 7. Just sayin’.

  • Chris Dagostino

    Yes, I know you ladies get horny too. ;o)

  • If it is a fallacy, then it is a fallacy based on a fallacy. Leviticus 20:13 is posted on billboards all over this country.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    And that ignores 20+ times he demands it be followed? And you guys are the only Abrahmic faith that doesn’t follow it.

  • I understand that the gospels employ apocalyptic language from time to time. So I understand that you don’t interpret heaven and earth passing away as the end of time.

    But then how DO you interpret Matt 5:18-19? I am more interested in verse 19, which seems to be a clear instruction to teach and perform every commandment of the law; not to set them aside. Is that an “apocalyptic” instruction? If so, how so?

  • It can’t refer to the Law of Moses, because just a few minutes later in the sermon Jesus himself says to no longer obey the Lex Tallionis (eye for an eye). When he says “these commands” (interesting he doesn’t say the Law) it seems he’s speaking of the commands he is giving in the sermon. Many of the principles he gives in the sermon are in contrast to what the Law taught, so I think the stronger case is that “these” is a reference to the current ethical instructions he was giving at that moment.

  • Well, my off the cuff response (which is probably wrong) is that Jesus’ mission is to save Israel from the sad state of affairs brought about by their sins – sin which is essentially defined by keeping Torah.

    At this point in Jesus’ ministry, righteousness in Israel is still defined by the Law. I believe Jesus, here, is exhorting his audience to generally continue to abide by Israel’s covenant “until all is accomplished.” In fact, he calls them to truly faithful obedience.

    After Jesus dies for the nation, is vindicated in resurrection, and pours the Holy Spirit out on Israel, apostles start having revelations that they should go to the Gentiles, and they do, and the Gentiles exhibit the same Spirit despite never keeping Torah or even being aware of its contents. Paul’s take on the situation is that faithfulness to Jesus has replaced faithfulness to the Law as God counts righteousness. This is something that brings Jew and Gentile together and gets Israel out from under the Torah, which was a death sentence to her.

    The Sermon on the Mount occurs at basically the beginning of this whole complex. It’s a time of transition where Jesus begins the idea that he as the Son of Man has authority to deliver the will of God. But in the process, he is not abolishing the Torah.

  • Well, you also need to keep in mind that Genesis was not written as the events it described occurred – it was written at a time when Israel had the Law, and those readers were the original audience. So, we have to be careful about seeing Siniatic language in Genesis and assume the concept was there -at the time- of the events described.

  • But isn’t the context of the verse his discussion of the law and the prophets in verse 17? Doesn’t it seem like that would be a sudden shift from talking about the law in verse 18 to talking about “commandments” (that he has given personally?) in verse 19?

    Incidentally, my own take, is that I wouldn’t find it surprising if a sermon recorded by a gospel writer decades later is actually a piecing together of Jesus sayings from a number of sources and occasions. Internal inconsistencies from this perspective don’t have to be explained away. They simply exist. But the section in 5:17-19 doesn’t seem to be pieced together and does require at least an explanation of the writer’s perspective.

  • So, in your view, this instruction is something that Jesus only intended to be followed for a very finite amount of time? And that heaven and earth passing away is a reference to … the coming of the holy spirit at Pentecost?

  • No, the issue here is that you have a handful of shallow atheist arguments that you got from the Internet, and you believe this qualifies you to be a biblical exegete. Whereas Ben, who has a seminary degree, you believe is incorrect in his exegesis.

    Now, I’m not trying to appeal to authority. It is -theoretically possible- that you are correct and Ben is wrong. But Ben (and I, for that matter) has studied the original languages, the history and culture and geography or the biblical writings, the communities who received and interpreted them over history, and the history of dogmatics and schism in the latter centuries.

    You, by contrast, have read a few English translations of the Bible and talked to some chaplains. I think it is more -likely- that Ben has a better idea of what Matthew 5 would have meant to its readers than you do.

    You are an atheist and that’s fine. But being an atheist or even a former Christian does not mean you have a grasp of the Bible, and the fact that you insist on a literal 21st century Western reading of it seems indicate that you don’t. I know atheists who know the Bible very well, and you are not one of them.

    And that’s totally cool. You don’t need to be a Bible expert. Just don’t go around acting like, by quoting a few verses, you’ve shut down scholarly argumentation.

  • I believe “heaven and earth passing away” is a reference to the end of the current system of things as Israel knew it, probably culminating in the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.

    But, yes, if Jesus is talking about the Torah in 18-19, and it seems to me like he is (although I could be wrong), it’s because of where they are in relationship to the coming eschatological crisis, which Jesus definitely sees as the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. His primary concern is saving faithful Israel through that crisis, IMHO. There are one or two people who might disagree with me on that.

  • I see, you take the theological stance that much of New Testament apocalyptic writing is a prophecy of the temple destruction in 70 A.D.?

  • For the most part, yes. Although Paul at times seems to look beyond that to a judgement of the nations, and so does Revelation. And then you get slivers here and there of a new heavens and earth. So, I wouldn’t go so far to say that 70 A.D. exhausts the eschatological vision of the early church, but it gets most of the air time, probably due to its relative proximity.

  • Your explanation doesn’t seem to square with Ben’s (below), who seems to think that the instruction can’t be about the law and the prophets, since Jesus contradicts the law later in the sermon.

  • You’re right; it doesn’t. I’m ok with that. I think it’s more likely that Jesus is talking about the Torah given the “law and prophets” precedent, but I could be wrong.

    We do end up in the same place, though. I think the sun is setting in 5:19, and Ben thinks it already set. Not a huge difference.

  • As a preterist, wouldn’t you be the one thinks it already set?

    ;^)

  • Not when Jesus is talking! It’s already set NOW, sure. :)

  • I’m not a Christian, but I do agree with you that it’s hard to separate the intent in chapter 5 verses 17-20. Larger internal inconsistencies in the sermon on the mount are more easily explained.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    One, the argument of authority does lend you any credence to your stance, it would be better to open up with the study part.

    How do you know what I have and have not studied? I have poured over the original texts to try and save my faith, looked at the Latin Catholic bible, pored over that as well. I spent years trying to save a faith that I was slowly outgrowing. Saying that I don’t look for an answer is highly insulting.

    Now, yes I take what people say and write at face value, more so when it is supposed to be the word of a deity. If god can’t say what he means, why call him god? Things such as that do inform my view. And no, I don’t read it all literal. Some of it is clearly allegorical, however when someone comes out and says soothing, like Jesus saying you must follow every jot and tittle of the law, I see no need to delve into that for some deeper meaning. What he said is clear, and looking for a way around it is intellectually dishonest.

    Then again, yes we can have our different views, and at the end of the day it matters not. I cannot convince you, even though you could me.

  • Eddy Wahlgren

    Some Christians mistakenly, and wrongly cite that verse as the reason to reject homosexuality. That does not mean that because they are mistaken about OT v. NT law that homosexuality is totally fine. Stated differently, can the use of that scripture on those billboard be wrong and homosexuality be wrong in the new testament? YES

  • You’re basically saying that you expect God to reveal Himself to first century Jews in the way that you as a 21st century Western interpreter require. The Bible will continue to disappoint you on that front. It uses idioms, language, thought life, cultural allusions, thought patterns, and all sorts of things that are completely foreign to your thought world.

    I’m not saying you didn’t try; I’m saying you didn’t/don’t have the tools to find what you’re looking for. You’re reading the Bible in essentially the same way some street preacher who never went to school reads the Bible. That’s not a slight to you – an awful lot of actual Christians read the Bible that way. But it’s wrong, and for anyone looking for resolutions to the problems they see, it will be unsatisfying and a continual disappointment.

    But, see, I can’t convince you. Because any attempt I’d make, like when I was referring to Jewish apocalyptic language, that would shed some light on the passage, you’re going to reject it with a fundamentalist hermeneutic, and you reject all other hermeneutics as illegitimate. When I’m trying to actually let you into Jesus’ head, you come back with God not saying what he means, and I shouldn’t clutter up the plain meaning with all my fancy book larnin’.

    I can save you a lot of time. As long as you have a default, modern, Western reading of the Bible, you will never find it satisfactory. Those of us who do not have that reading find it plenty satisfactory. If you want to critique that, that’s totally ok, but critique it on its own terms and not the ones you demand of it.

  • The “shellfish/fabrics thing” is certainly old, around 2,500 years old. Which is why, when Christians cite a 2,500 year old death penalty for homosexuality, it is appropriate to cite an equally ridiculous 2,500 year old prohibition of shellfish and fabrics. And to be sure, there are plenty of Christians out there citing Leviticus 20.

    i’m not a Christian. So I find 2,000 year old prohibitions against homosexuality (in the NT) just as senseless. Some of the finest families it is my privilege to share as friends are families formed by same sex couples and adopted children. They are loving, charitable, neighborly, and proactive in their children’s education and community involvement. I have modeled aspects of my parenting on them.

  • And I’m totally cool in that I might be wrong in my explanation as well- yours is a well thought out and reasonable position too. I don’t have a huge dog in the fight on any particular verse because I am convinced that when you look at the totality of the NT, the case for the law being over is overwhelming, and not tied to a single verse.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    So taking what it says on face value, and looking at it as such, even with quotes and what a man literally says is not ok? When you look for allegory in passages where there is not, you run into problems. And yes, god and Jesus should be able to say what they mean, and they tend to both be pretty straight forward. But the fact that the bible is one of the only holy texts not read as such is a big reason why the faith is dying out.

  • Totally agreed.

  • Terms like “face value” are where you’re getting hung up. You are reading the Bible as a westerner. You’re reading it in English. You’re reading it without understanding literary genre, ancient language, or culture. There’s no reading it at “face value,” there’s only reading it in an ancient literary genre and context. You seem to have admitted you’re not familiar with those things, but you’re expressing an overly confident ability to interpret it.

  • That’s exactly right.

    Like, if I said, “ECM really nailed it in that Disqus comment,” you’d know right off the bat that what I meant was that you made a good point, not that you actually nailed anything to anything else.

    If I got in a time machine and traveled back to the first century and made that same comment (in Greek, I guess) or traveled far enough into the future such that “nailed it” was no longer an expression anyone was familiar with, they’d all wonder what you actually nailed. How did a nail get involved? How do you nail a comment? What is Disqus? And all kinds of debates would spring up.

    People in the literalist camp would go, “Look, this is a direct quote. There’s no indicators that he’s being metaphorical. Obviously, this ECM guy took a hammer and a nail, wrote something down on a piece of paper, and nailed the paper to something called Disqus. Probably a door or something.”

    And they’d be dead wrong, wouldn’t they?

    They’d be dead wrong because they are interpreting my statement from -their- point of reference instead of -my- point of reference. A Ledgerwood scholar or a historian could tell them, “When Phil was writing that, ‘nailed it’ was an expression that meant ‘made a good point.’ It didn’t actually mean someone nailed something.”

    And then folks like yourself would accuse him of being a liberal and not taking me at face value.

    This is basically what’s happening in our conversation about Matt. 5:18-19.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    False equivalency, The verses I brought are clearly meant to be taken as literal as can be. He is not beating around the bush, but he is saying clearly to follow the old laws.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I am glad people don’t because that law system is so flawed and immoral you would be a criminal in every nation on earth. We would kill people non stop.

    Yes, there are parts in the bible that are clearly allegory, and metaphor, and such. And there are parts that are meant to be taken literal. If the bible is to be true, it has to be seen as such, to view it as allegory only, you concede that is as every other myth.

  • How do you know the verses you brought up are meant to be taken literally given the rather large amount of Jewish apocalyptic that is quite obviously not meant to be taken literally and never was taken literally?

    How do YOU know that Matt. 5:18-19 are meant to be taken as literally as anything could possibly be taken? BTW: I assume that, by taking that position, you are saying that Jesus was actually talking about the ink fading on the Law, because he says that not a jot or tittle would pass away from it. Was Jesus all worked up about the diacritical marks in the manuscript?

    When Jesus says “the law and the prophets,” is he excluding the rest of the Old Testament?

    Does Jesus mean that, in the kingdom of Heaven, people will walk around literally calling people “least” and “great?”

    “Hey, Least, what’s up?” “Not much, Great. You?”

    Or are those all figures of speech?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Jesus was saying that law is to be obeyed, and will not fall away. That your gods word should be followed. And saying the laws and the prophets does not dismiss the OT. Seeing as the OT is just the bits that voted on to be put in it does say the fathers of your faith agreed with me.

    Least and great clearly refer to station, and that is able to be understand rather well. And it’s fine if you wish to disregard half of your deity’s supposed word, because again, the world is better off when people do.

  • Ok, so THOSE parts are obviously figures of speech, but everything ELSE in those verses is obviously literal, because you say so.

    You’ll excuse me if I don’t consider “ECM’s Arbitrary Designations” a reliable guide to how Jesus intended his audience to understand his words.

    How do you -know- “law and prophets” means “the entire Old Testament?” You’re absolutely right of course, because “law and prophets” was an expression at the time that was shorthand for the entire Old Testament. That’s how I know. But you reject that sort of thing as a way of doing exegesis, so where does your view come from?

    And how do you know “least” and “great” refer to station? That’s not the literal reading. Jesus says people will be -called- “least” and “great.” Can’t we take God at His word? Isn’t that what you’ve been saying this whole time?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    No, what I am saying is to not disregard what your supposed savior said. Jesus himself never said that the law was over, or didn’t have to followed. He actually said the opposite. However, it is clear to me that you care more for the fuzzy feeling then you do for the doctrine. Which is OK, because that is all it is going to give.

    So please, go live your life as best you can, and I will stop talking a brick wall. Maybe if you can be civil, we can talk about this later.

  • But you aren’t giving -any- reasons for your reading. You just keep saying it over and over. I’m not trying to get you to agree with me. I’m trying to get you to be honest.

    I have offered historical, cultural, contextual, and literary reasons for my reading. You have offered jack all. You just keep saying, “It has to be taken literally. It’s obviously literal. Clearly it’s literal.” and giving no reason whatsoever.

    The worst is that when I point out where a literal reading gets you, you deny those parts are literal, but you keep insisting that the only legitimate way to understand 18-19 is a thoroughgoing literalness that you, yourself, aren’t consistent with.

    As an atheist, aren’t you guys supposed to be all about only believing things based on evidence? You haven’t given any at all, but you keep dogmatically asserting it. Maybe old habits die hard.

    I feel like you’re arguing in bad faith just so you can win. I would respect you a lot more if you just said, “You know what, this is just the reading that makes the most sense to me, and I’m going to keep with it regardless of what you or anyone else says.” At least that would be honest.

    Instead, you insist on a reading that is nonsensical and criticize Christianity for it. When actual Christians disavow your reading, you insist that your reading is the only legit one, then go on to criticize Christianity for it. This is not honest.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Again, my reasons for saying to take a quote talking about not falling away as such, it is because what other possible means are there to interrupt it? The way I see it, is you have the option that Jesus was referring to the law and how it should be followed, or god done changed his mind. That is the only dichotomy I can think of. And before you come back with saying that he didn’t that humans couldn’t follow, do you not believe in an omniscient god?

    Now yes, you can say that Jesus is saying something else, but how does that verse sound, given the context that he came to fulfill the law? Again, it is very much a contextual thing. I do think that the book of Revelation for example is meant to be taken as allegory, either that or the John guy was high as balls. But what Jesus is saying here is not in that same vein.

    And atheist simply means to lack a belief in a deity, for any reason.

    And when you say actual Christians, which branch are you referring to? That list is longer then every other religion out there. All with varying bibles, with different books, and different preferred translations.

    Again, I have given my reasons before this, but I hope you see this as more concise.

  • I believe Jesus is referring to the Torah, which he intends to fulfill and bring to an end when “heaven and earth pass away,” which is an apocalyptic reference to the eschatological crisis of his time in which he will die, rise, pour out the Spirit, bring in the Gentiles, and destroy the Temple. This is because apocalyptic language appears all over Jewish literature both in the Old Testament and outside of it to depict large changes in the overall economy of things, and none of the recipients -ever- interpreted such statements literally. Isaiah was not denounced as a false prophet when the sky did not collapse when Edom fell, for example. That’s because everyone at the time knew he was using idiom.

    This position is somewhat different from Ben’s where he takes the references to commandments as the ones Jesus is giving in that very sermon, which is also viable given the context and would probably be my fallback position, because it would make sense of the early church’s experience in Acts and Pauline/Petrine theological statements about the Gentiles.

    Either way, both Ben and I agree that Jesus is bringing the administration of Torah to a close, and this is consistently borne out in the rest of the New Testament writings.

    Now, your reason for rejecting this reading was, “How else could you interpret it?” Fair enough. I thank you for taking the time to summarize yourself, and I hope I managed to do the same. This is another way of interpreting it that seems to be commensurate with Jewish literature and the early church’s experience and subsequent theology. If you disagree this is a viable reading, that’s totally fine, but I’m going to need to see reasons why Jesus’ audience would have understood him to mean, “The Old Testament law continues forever,” especially since he elevates his own commandments above it in the very next passage.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Well, it is said to follow them much more then in that passage. Here is a link with just a few of the instances throughout the NT where it is either Jesus or the fathers of Christianity saying to follow it. http://www.evilbible.com/do_not_ignore_ot.htm

    Where it does get hard in this topic is that the bible is well known for contradicting itself, quite often. An easy example of this is seen in the four gospels, and how they can’t agree on the thieves statements, or even the day Jesus was crucified. I will be the first to admit you can use the book to justify pretty much anything, and find verses to back you up. My stance it not derived from anything but what came from the mouth of Jesus.

  • Clema Burke

    I agree with what this article is saying. because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are not under the old covenant anymore so we do not have to follow the laws that were set out to govern that covenant. We are under a new Covenant of Grace and it is the Spirit that teaches us to live in a manner that is pleasing to God.

    I do not believe that most of Jesus’ sermon in Matt 5-7 was intended to be the way that he expected people to live under the New Covenat that he was about to usher in with his upcoming death and resurection. Rather, he was demonstrating to the people just how far from achieving righteousness they were by whatever achievable standard they had set. They were thinking things like ‘I’ve never never slept with anyone other than my wife, so I’m doing good with commandment #7’. Jesus pulls the rug out from under them by telling them that ‘wanting to do it’ is the same as doing it in God’s eyes. Notice verses 19 and 20 in chapter 5. By watering down the law to a bunch of rituals, the teachers of the Law had made it possible to achieve righteousness by obeying the Law, hence verse 20.

    So Jesus spends the rest of the chapter and the next 2 putting the Law to the impossible to keep level that it is supposed to be on. Righteousness by faith through grace (not having to earn it) is the only form of righteousness that surpasses righteousness by obeying the Law (righteousness by works). Let’s be realistic, he made made some pretty impossible to keep requirements in those chapters, and then tells us in order to be like God, perfect, and wise, we have to follow every single one perfectly. Sounds like he was trying to discourage people despite their best efforts, so that they would give up on trying to attain righteousness by following the Law.

    Anyways, following the Law can’t make anyone righteous; it’s only purpose was to lead us to the end of ourselves and bring us to Christ and the righteousness that he offers freely.

    The bit about Matt 5:18, my rendering of it would be something like this: Jesus was saying -If- by chance, heaven and earth were to pass away before the Law was accomplished, -THEN- the Law would pass away too uncompleted. Otherwise, The Law MUST be accomplished before it can (will) pass away. Just 2 possible ways for the Law to pass away. Jesus accomplished the whole Law, so now it has passed away (it is no longer applicable in our relationship with God)

    -Clema

  • RonnyTX

    Great post Benjamin. :-)

    And just wondering,who decided to call all from Matthew to Revelation,the New Testament? When were those words added on,to what we now call the Bible?

    And just thinking of an older man here,who I used to post with in another group. He was brought up in and was still in a denominational church that taught you had to keep the law,to go to heaven. And he actually thought he kept it good enough,for that to happen for him. I felt sorry for him,that he’d been taught to believe such a delusional lie. And I don’t doubt at all,that he didn’t know any better. Just as I didn’t know any better,than to believe some of the wrong things that I was taught,in the denominational church I grew up in. But the great thing is,no matter what we’re brought up and taught wrong,Jesus Christ has made us all right with God the Father,by way of the cross. :-) For there,he took all of our sins upon himself. So in time and at the time of God’s choosing,we will all be taught right. And all things we were taught wrong,will be corrected for us,by God. :-)

  • Matthew

    Well … I didn´t mention the title of the book for a reason. I started asking myself whether or not bloggers who also write books really want competing book endorsements written in their comment sections.

    If Benjamin is cool with it, I´ll offer up the title later.

    Thanks so much for the interest though.

  • Herm

    Keith, you might find it a fulfilling and fascinating study to use your concordance to see how the phrase “word of God” is used throughout the New Testament. You may, as have I, come to know that it is the Holy Spirit who is active and alive that is the “word of God” in our hearts and minds as little children of God. In baptism that is what we are washed clean by. I see my Sabbath rest as each time I consciously stop to recognize and bathe in the Spirit. This reciprocally faithful love is where I have found complete freedom from the law to be able to love both children of Man and children of God as does our Father. You bless us in kind by taking the time to discuss in love with us, thank you!

    “Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”” Mark 2:27-28

    “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Colossians 2:16-23

    “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, which is what defiles them.”” Matthew 15:10-11

  • Matthew

    Snommelp … how should we deal with Acts 15:20, 21 (Jerusalem Council) then? I´m curious because, for a season, I thought even gentiles were supposed to eat kosher thanks to this portion of scripture. This is the only section of the New Testament that seems to trouble me about what we are discussing re: the NT and the law.

  • But it’s derived from an understanding of “what came out of the mouth of Jesus” that would be foreign to him and his hearers; that’s my point. You and I can’t take our plain understanding of those words, because you and I are literally millennia removed from that time and culture. And I don’t know where you live, but I live in America, so I’m many, many miles away from the region, too. Our plain understanding of a 2000 year old Semitic text is almost guaranteed to be wrong by default.

    Did you have to read Shakespeare in high school? I did. Did you notice that his comedies aren’t funny? But apparently, they were hilarious to people living at his time. Why? Because the things he wrote hit that audience at that time in that culture a certain way, and if we want to understand Shakespeare, we have to learn those things.

  • Obscurely

    I appreciate the explanation, but it doesn’t seem plausible that God would make salvation such a risibly complex proposition?

  • Matthew, I’ve written and edited this response a couple of times now, as I came to understand what it was you were asking. Because the Jerusalem Council is where it was affirmed that gentile Christians don’t have to be Torah-adherent Jews, but there is that bit there about dietary laws — specifically, about blood (the Greek word usually translated “strangled,” which isn’t in all of the ancient texts, most literally means “prepared with the blood still inside”). The short answer… well, no. The short answer is that there is no short answer. Which seems to be the case a whole lot whenever I’m digging into Scripture like this.

    But the short-ish answer is that, in those days, there were only two kinds of meat: meat prepared the kosher way, and meat that had been sacrificed to idols. So asking gentile Christians to abstain from blood was, in essence, asking them to abstain from food offered to idols. And on top of that, I said in my previous comment that “we expect [the Torah] to guide us to a fuller understanding of God’s character.” I don’t have the gift for words that she does, but according to Dr. Ellen Davis, the logic behind these laws about meat was (among other things) God’s concern that we abstain from cruelty towards animals. God allowed us to eat meat after the Flood, but there were to be very strict conditions surrounding the eating of that meat, in order to protect that which God had created.

    Did that explain anything? I sometimes have trouble collecting my thoughts.

  • Obscurely

    If brother Ben DID mind then he’s writing this blog for the wrong (commercial) reasons …

  • Matthew

    You´re probably right …

  • I’ve always been fine with it. The only time I get annoyed is when folks come to self-promote their own blog instead of actually participating in discussions.

  • Matthew

    Thanks. Yes … it did explain some things. I hadn´t heard the cruelty to animals theory.

    Acts 15:20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    20 but that we write to them (Matthew here … “them” meaning gentiles) that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

    This may be an over-simplification, but it seems (in this translation at least) that idol contamination, what is strangled, and blood are all separated with “and”. To me this means that each one is its own entity and that all three are different from one another. If that is so, then no blood, no non-kosher meat, and no food sacrificed to idols is allowed in the gentile world.

    ???

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much Benjamin. With that in mind …

    The title of the book is “The End of Religion” written by
    Bruxy Cavey. It´s the best book I have read so far this year —
    maybe in the last two years.

    Bruxy is of the Anabaptist strain and since reading the book, if Bruxy (and Benjamin for that matter) is indicative of most Anabaptist thinking, I´ve come to respect the group even more. For me, for the longest time, I always thought that Anabaptists were simply the quiet Amish and Mennonite farmers in Ohio and Pennsylvania. I also thought their thinking was very much on the fringe, not orthodox, and very sectarian.

    Boy was I misinformed!

  • Herm

    James said, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.”

    Jesus said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

    Do we believe as disciples of Christ or disciples of James? The little sibling who doesn’t know the Father as does his mature Brother? Cannot the Spirit of Truth, speaking only the words of our only Rabbi, surely answer your question in each of our hearts and minds?

    Love you Matthew! Thanks!

  • Matthew

    I hear what you are saying Herm .., and thanks for your thoughts, however I´m not certain I want to pit James against Jesus, although I understand fully your point. There is a reason these ideas are in Acts 15 and apparently they are important as the disciples wrestled with what the church should look like.

  • Bruxy is one of my peeps, so you can plug him all day long.

  • Matthew

    :-)!

  • Herm

    No different or any less significant as we wrestle with what the church should look like. I am slowly coming to the realization that we would be in greater sync with our God on this little bitty Earth if we did as we would be expected to in eternal relationship as little children of God beginning today. Paul, Peter and James had a corporate startup that each took life and death seriously with each documented as having extremely different, often conflicting, perspectives and judgments. The only commonality in their expressions was the reality of the Holy Spirit speaking to each heart and mind. Is this not so today between disciples and apostles or do we only know the Advocate from the final chapter of Revelations?

    As I understand it today, grown into and not instantaneous for my gratification, the church is headed by Jesus as the High Priest and the temple is our hearts and minds bound in love as one by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual is here and there, inside and outside, microcosm and macrocosm, all simultaneously as the is and I am with no beginning and no end. God is every where at once and sits entirely on a single pimple inside an electron. Why do we find such great comfort by attempting to justify our childish organization and bonding subject only to the terms of our finite temporal carnal image of reality when we know as children of God our world is not reality? Jesus did not speak so in the Bible and does not in our hearts and minds today, even though the apostles immediately following did.

    Where is the Spirit of Truth today?

    The reason that those ideas are in Acts 15 is that we learn from their mistakes as is why we have so many conflicting ideas in Genesis to Revelations. Genesis One conflicts with Genesis Two, why would we expect it to be any different when all we have in Acts 15 is a command decision made by James. Research the sins derived from the beloved of God King David in his command decisions.

    The Gospel, the Good News, is that we have the word of God alive, well and available in each of our hearts and minds today. We were not left orphan when Jesus ascended into Heaven which very easily, in reality, can be within our individual spiritual hearts and minds bound as one with our Brother and Father as is our Father and Brother by the Holy Spirit. Revelations speaks to what has happened for members of the seven churches and is happening today for members of the body of Christ, His one church of which He will forever more be the active Head.

    Sorry if this seems emotional only because I am. It seems so simple to me that the reasons for all the conflicts in the Bible (not the least of which seems to be just what works, rules, leaders and laws must we abide by to become a child of God inheriting eternal life?) is that it is a real expose of who we are relative to our struggle to be born of God transitioning out of the womb of Man. The only way to become children of God is to have our hearts and minds cleansed by letting the Holy Spirit inside to counsel and advocate for our entire Family as one. There is no other named spiritual pursuit on Earth now or ever that offers such good news, none. The Bible points us to the Way and the Spirit of Truth seals the bargain eternally.

    Thank you for questioning and responding!

  • As nonbeliever I don’t have a dog in the fight either – except that I do think the world is better off with fewer Christians spouting ancient middle east condemnations.

  • SirThinksALot

    Ben, I was under the impression that some theologians separate OT Law into moral, civil, and ceremonial based upon the way in which the New Testament authors/leaders pulled upon certain parts of the law to support their position and rejected other parts as Christ and the NT authors rejected them (as per guidance of the Holy Spirit, of course), not based upon what they want to keep and don’t want to keep. For example, in Acts 15, the church leaders write to the Gentiles to keep themselves from fornication, meat served to idols, blood (there goes my rare steak), and meat killed by strangling, all of which are in OT Law. But in Acts 9 and 10, we see that all animals are declared clean, which is contrary to OT Law. When Paul lists off sins that people indwelled by the Holy Spirit are not to engage in, they are most often moral parts of the Jewish Law.

    I am also under the impression that the reason for laws about shellfish being next to laws against sleeping with your neighbor’s wife is due to:
    1. The non-linearity of Jewish thought (and Eastern thought in general).
    2. Hebrew being meant to be sung/chanted, due to a majority of the population being illiterate and/or not having a copy of the Torah around. Thus, things are arranged in such a way that ideas flow together in song, not according to theological topic.

    What are your thoughts on these ideas?

  • I’m not Ben, but I like reading my own comments, so here’s my take:

    The triparte division of the Law is a theological construct. I think Thomas Aquinas was the first to do it. The Reformers kept it, and this is the default way of explaining the relationship of the Law to the NT in Reformed circles – the civil and ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ, but the moral law keeps going (he didn’t fulfill those, apparently).

    The problem with this approach is that the Torah does not actually divide itself up this way and, in many places, such a division would be very difficult. Are the laws concerning the Sabbath ceremonial, civil, or moral? This way of viewing the Law is a theological abstraction that is projected back into texts to resolve some of the more striking and complicated portions of Pauline theology. So, his strident remarks about the Law, justification, righteousness, etc. come down to things like, “Well, he really meant the ceremonial law. Not the moral law.”

    I think a more cogent way of looking at the apparent continuation of the “moral law” is that God is a moral being and has a moral character and a moral will, and we would expect to see some similarities in all His covenants along those lines. It was wrong to murder before Sinai, and it’s wrong to murder after it. It’s not the Ten Commandments that make murder wrong or lying wrong or what have you.

    So, we would expect to find similarities and, at times, direct ports. But we’ll also find some that get changed, omitted, or flat out repealed.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Shakespeare actually is funny as hell. And if your understanding of the bible, as you put it ” Our plain understanding of a 2000 year old Semitic text is almost guaranteed to be wrong by default.” Why even believe it? You delve into the book, more so when you have it translated for you and completely dispense the scholars who did put it into our daily language for you. And the new testament is largely Greek, written by fluent Greek speakers. Won’t even get into the problems that presents.

    We are dealing with a a language that we know a lot about, and one of those things is the ability to translate it effectively. But what did you think about all those verses I sent you.

  • Nimblewill

    …14But
    their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of
    the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed
    in Christ. 15But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.…

    Read the whole chapter.

  • So you are a convert to Judaism?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    No, think that is bull as well.

  • Herm

    I, too, like reading my own comments because they are an image of the Spirit’s, in my heart and mind, counsel. This I understand as the true morality of God in conflict with the morality of God portrayed in the Torah/Old Testament:

    ““You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

  • Thanks for the clarification. :D

  • Shakespeare is funny once it’s been explained to you.

    I don’t dispense with English translations. I’m not sure why you keep equating the written word with an interpretation of the written word. I’m not saying the English words in the Bible are wrong. I’m saying our interpretations are easily wrong because of our distance from the actual biblical writings.

    I don’t know how to make this any clearer for you. All of us interpret text when we read, and if we want to understand the Bible as the authors / receivers understood it, that requires quite a bit of study and collaboration. You can’t just open the Bible, read it aloud, take it the way you’d take the newspaper, and assume you got it right.

    As for your verses, I thought my previous comments would make it clear what I thought about them. Half of them are based around the failure to understand the apocalyptic nature of Jesus’ comments, a fourth of them have nothing to do with the Old Testament Law, and another fourth of them are, “This sounds like an Old Testament Law.” All of them spring from a contemporary reading, much like your own objections.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Verses written at the same time as Jesus living? They can’t ALL be misinterpreted. Hell, even as a Christian, when the supposed translation of the Holy Spirit flowed through me, this was the conclusion I came to. And the topic of the Greek translation was that we can tell their idioms, and translate those to a contemporary view point. And you have to admit, there is just as much chance of you misrepresenting the bible as every one you disagree with. That is just the cold hard truth.

    Side not, I thought Shakespeare was funny on the first read through, most people I know did as well.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Welcome.

  • First of all, none of the Gospels were written while Jesus was living.

    Second, once again, I think you are confusing what was written down with how we interpret verses. I’m not talking about the original manuscripts. I’m not talking about the translation. I’m talking about, when you read the phrase “heaven and earth shall pass away,” that means something particular to Jesus and his audience. It will not mean that to you automatically. The Bible is full of things like this.

    I’m afraid I have to disregard any “translations” the Holy Spirit apparently gave you, and I would encourage you to do the same for others who make similar claims.

    As to the Shakespeare thing, I’m dubious. Unless you were also taking him in a 21st century literal sense and thought he was funny because he was nonsensical. You do know that when Francisco says, “Stand and unfold thyself,” he doesn’t actually mean the person is all folded up like a contortionist and needs to unfold himself, right?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Phil, are dubious of the fact that maybe I have a liking of classical literature my whole life, and hence have no hard time reading it?

    I am beginning to think the entirety of this conversation boils down to picking and choosing, so I will ask you two questions. Is wearing a poly blend a sin? Is being gay a sin? Please answer under your view that the law is no longer valid.

  • Herm

    “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” Matthew 27:51 (KJV)

    “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” Mark 15:38 (KJV)

    “And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.” Luke 23:45 (KJV)

    You may not see how these pertain unless you have studied the temple and God’s dictated architecture, most particularly the Holy of Holies.

    Thanks!

  • Yes, I am very dubious of that. But all I have to go on is our conversation, here, so it’s entirely possible I’ve got you all wrong.

    How on earth did you decide this conservation boils down to picking and choosing? We’ve never even brought up the issue of which laws do and don’t apply. We’ve been talking about how we interpret and how historical contingency affects our interpretation.

    I feel like you’re abandoning the other line of argument to steer this discussion into waters where you are more comfortable. Would it help if I just conceded that you win and that I’m overwhelmed by your logic and evidence? Could we talk about this topic without playing to win, then? I’m happy to do that.

    As to your questions, wearing poly blend is definitely not a sin for me as that was a stipulation of Israel’s covenant. Homosexuality is much trickier since it makes an appearance in Paul’s theology, but once again, the form of homosexuality at the time of Paul’s writings were orgies, pederasty, slave rape, etc. The notion of two consenting homosexual adults in a committed relationship was not really on his radar. So, I’m going to say that some expressions of homosexuality are definitely a sin, just like some expressions of heterosexuality are definitely a sin.

  • Reading the Old Covenant as the Law veils God’s glory? Good point.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    I figured out this conversation boils down to picking and choosing because you make the exact same arguments I always hear from people saying that Laws of Moses are not valid. Nothing less or more. Your stance is that you after view the whole book as something to be interrupted, and I disagree, so I asked questions that tend to point out hypocrisy. Will admit though, your answer surprised me greatly, normally it is a no, followed by a screaming yes.

    Now, the other line of argument as you put, I can see as this. Your premise is that the entirety of the bible is allegory, or at least by our modern standards and hence has to be poured over and worked over to our understanding, and to fit presuppositions. That one cannot begin to understand the bible without A) being from the time that it was written or B) having a degree in this. Now as I can understand this goes back to the train of thought that one needs a middle man between you and god to give the basics, before you can even begin to understand it.

    My position is simple and follows as such. If Yahweh is real, and the bible is his word, it follows that this is what he meant, and anyone translating it is following divine work and simply making the words easier for modern man to understand. Failing that, parts where people are easily and clearly discussing teachings such as sin, hating every one, and giving to the poor is because I can see no possible way with out doing some heavy mental gymnastics to cope with it meaning anything else. However, I don’t think that if the events in Revelation happen, we will sea monsters crawling on to beach screaming “Worship me pathetic man!!” That bit and most of said book is clearly metaphor.

  • That’s a whole lot of weight to be hanging on such a small word as “and.” Does “and” of necessity mark them as three different ideas? Or could “and” mark them as continuations of one larger idea?

    Being only a dabbler in Greek, I went and looked it up rather than trusting to my own thoughts. The word is καί, which means and, even, also, namely, moreover. Conjunctions tend to do that; they don’t have simple translations across languages. So based on just that one small word, we have no way of knowing whether these are separate thoughts or continuations one to the next.

  • I do not believe the entire Bible is an allegory.

    I do believe that the various parts of the Bible are often very complex, mostly because of our distance from the world that produced the text. Translators may assist us a bit with the language, but they cannot help us with the concepts, nor would we want them to. A first century Judaen fisherman probably understood Jesus ok most of the time; a 21st century American is going to have to do some work to cross that bridge. It has nothing to do with whether something is allegorical or not – it has to do with what it takes to understand ancient texts, especially texts that span genres, authors, and centuries.

    Once again, you assert that the Bible is “what God meant.” I agree. Once again, the difficulty is in our interpretation. How do we know -our interpretation- is “what God meant?” This is what I’m trying to point you towards, with little success. You and I interpret Matthew 5:18-19 differently. I am saying your interpretation is weak because it fails to take into account the factors in Jesus’ world that influence that text. You are saying my interpretation is weak because it isn’t a 21st century literal interpretation, i.e. yours.

    And maybe we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I doubt very seriously that you will convince me that reading Matthew from a 21st century literal standpoint is the best way to read it, and I seem to be failing to convince you that reading Matthew from a 1st century Jewish viewpoint is a better way to read it.

  • Tracy

    Not at all. He is a complex being so we should expect nothing less. He hasn’t made it unattainable, in fact all other religions are human attempts at ‘getting to God’. The christian faith is God reaching down to us. He has put the desire for Him in the human heart ( something bigger than ourselves) and given us the way to find Him. It is us that has complicated things. I guess too, if you keep up with what God is doing in the world at the present time, He doesn’t really need our help to do it. He has chosen to work mainly through humans, but seems at the moment in the Arab countries he’s doing quite dramatic things without any help from us at all. :)

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    A big problem we are having is you are not offering any alternate ideas on what your better translation is.

  • I think it’s translated just fine. I never said otherwise. I thought I had made myself clear that none of this is about translation. You might recall a few comments ago when I wrote: “I’m not talking about the original manuscripts. I’m not talking about the translation.” I haven’t offered an alternative translation because that isn’t the problem. I like the ESV, but I’m sure most English translations of Matt. 5:18-19 do a fine job.

    Are you saying I haven’t offered an alternate interpretation? Sure I did. It’s the comment in our thread that starts “I believe Jesus is referring to the Torah….” That is my interpretation of Matt. 5:18-19.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    So how is saying he is not here to abolish the Torah means he thinks it should no longer be followed? We do follow things we called fulfilled today.

  • Like what?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    We still follow on with our current laws even when they are fulfilled. Heck, by state law in California you only need to register your car when change where it is garaged.

  • My take is that James is coming up with a compromise. At least as recorded in Acts, the overwhelming testimony from the apostles is that the Gentiles don’t need to be brought under Torah. But, obviously there’s disagreement, so James trots out his idea and everyone seems ok with it.

    I mean, even Paul tells Timothy to get circumcised so as not to rile up the Jews where he’s going. He also says he will give up his liberties in Christ if it promotes harmony or strengthens a brother. I’m speculating, but I’m guessing his attitude toward James’ idea was, “Fine, whatever.”

  • I’m sorry. How is California state law an eschatological covenant? How does an individual “fulfill” California state law once for everyone?

  • mothman777

    The 1991 US Noahide Laws will certainly put the Christians back under the Law, and that Law will have them all executed as ‘idolaters’. http://www.takebackourrights.org/docs/Christians-full%20page.html

    What do Christians have to say about that? Are they willing to line up like sheep to be beheaded as they must be according to Jewish law now in statute in the US, ready to be fully effected whenever the POTUS chooses to suspend the American Constitution, which he can do anytime as long as a State of National Emergency exists, and one is always kept running by the expediency of a few false flag attacks in the US every now and again?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    You asked for something we follow that is fulfilled, and you got it. Your tithe is also a great example.

    And since you wish to basically say that my example was invalid because it wasn’t Jesus who did it, should we start to address how your savior failed to fulfill all the Messiah prophesies?

  • Numinous Sun

    Most of them are worried about Sharia Law at the moment… :D

  • SirThinksALot

    Question then: when the morality of God as shown in the Old Testament is the same/more intense than what is shown in the New Testament, is it appropriate to refer to both/NT (not just the Old Testament) in discussions of morality? If yes, then it may be that different theological systems connect the similarities and differences of the morality of God differently, but arrive at similar places (if used properly, because theological systems can and will be abused on occasion to further man’s purposes rather than God’s).

    Thankfully, the law of grace and the moral living that comes as a byproduct of the indwelling Holy Spirit making us like Christ is no burden, but a joy.

  • Numinous Sun

    Everyone should read up on the Cathars and see what they had to say about the OT. Then realize that the Vatican used private mercenary armies to crush them.

    I don’t understand how anyone of sane mind could see the Old Testament as a ‘Holy Book’?

    Most gnostic sects have always viewed Yahweh (Jewish god of the OT) as being Satan himself. I would tend to agree. In fact, if one were to insert ‘Yahweh’ into the John 8:44-45 passage, it makes even more sense.

    “Ye are of your father the devil, (YAHWEH) and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” – John 8:44-45

  • But California state law isn’t fulfilled. It’s not a covenant with a telos. It’s not even close to the same thing the Torah is.

    Tithing is also not a law Christians have to follow. The Torah required 10%. Jesus requires sacrificial giving to meet the needs of others.

  • Hm. I think that Jesus is the fullest, clearest embodiment of what God’s morality looks like, and the power of the Spirit works in us to live that out. We should not be surprised to find certain correspondences in the old covenant, but I would not go there for moral direction except perhaps just to emphasize how deeply ingrained a particular principle is.

    Paul almost never refers to the Old Covenant despite being confronted with many situations addressed in that covenant. And the (very) few times he does use it, it’s in ways that invoke them eschatologically, usually in ways we wouldn’t have thought.

    I know a lot of people say that what Jesus enjoins the faithful to do is an intensification or correction of how the Law was being lived out. I don’t agree, but I don’t have a serious problem with that as long as we agree that Jesus is the fullest, clearest revelation of God’s will and it is the operation of the Spirit that keeps us on the straight and narrow. I mean, none of us are going to be evaluated on the strength of our theological constructions.

  • Numinous Sun

    Indeed!

  • Um, H.J. Res 104 was presented in the 113th Congress. It was to repeal the 16th amendment. It was not passed, but referred to a subcomittee. Your link is, forgive the crudeness, total bullshit.

    Here’s a link to the resolution:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.J.RES.104:

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    How are the two different? I was under the impression that we are discussing from a pure logical standpoint. That these are laws for groups of people does make them equal.

  • Because the Torah isn’t a collection of laws on how to run a state or a nation. They are the legal stipulations of a much broader covenant between Yahweh and his people.

    If California state law were the legal stipulations of an agreement between, say, Arnold S. and the people of California that, if they keep his laws, he will lead them into the land promised to their forefathers where he would be their governor forever and exalt them to the head of the nations, then yes, I suppose I could see how that might be fulfilled, someday.

    But the Torah is part of a covenant. It’s the covenantal nature of it that makes it fulfillable and, for that matter, nullable. California state laws are just… laws. You don’t fulfill them. They aren’t stipulations of a larger covenant between two parties.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Fantastic, then by the Torah standards, it has not been fulfilled. Great, next topic.

  • meadowhawk

    I’d guess that if you look at it from the perspective of loving your neighbor, then coveting wouldn’t be loving your neighbor and would potentially make your relationship worse. So, probably not okay to go around coveting everyone’s stuff. (Sorry to be the kill joy here.)

  • Obscurely

    What is God doing in Arab countries??

  • Tracy

    Just google Jesus appearing to Muslims…. it seems that Jesus is making frequent appearances by way of dreams and actual appearances in the Muslim world. Hundreds of thousands are converting to Christianity. Keep in mind that to become a Christian over there is a death sentence for most. They don’t convert on a whim. It’s really interesting what is going on over there.

  • Matthew

    Good point. More to think about …

  • Matthew

    Thanks Phil.

    I was thinking this morning about another theory I have heard. Someone said that what we read in Acts 15 are rules for table manners when Gentiles are eating together with Jews. It has to do with the “weaker brother” argument. I´m not certain how, based on context, they get such an argument — but it´s out there.

    What Benjamin has written about the law and what I have read about the law in “The End of Religion” satisfy my longing for clarity re: this issue. This Acts 15 bit is the only thing that is still tripping me up a litle.

    Thanks again for your 2 cents. I hope others will contribute to the discussion as well.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    And for trans people and cross-dressers: That law about men not wearing women’s clothes is as made up as Adam and Eve “realizing” they were “naked”. What do these passages even mean? We have cultures that have never worn clothes. I guess they became stupid after the “knowledge fruit incident” just because they have had no need to invent clothes. Also, people label which clothes go on which sex. Really, people could just decide that anyone could wear what they want and not engage in this blatant body shame used to deeply wound and sadistically murder people.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    And all the Pharisee- taught (Rabbinicle) Jews today hold to teachings that are interpretations of the Torah teachings (much like the history of court cases in the USA that set precedents for how to interpret laws), so it would seem Jesus was making accusations on shaky grounds.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Perhaps you could point out what of the Talmud is “sinful” and not trying to interpret the Torah for people far removed from the original context of when those laws were written.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    While I tend to agree that most of what YHWH is written to have said and a lot of what Jesus is written to have said (like the passage above) is pretty horrible, the interpretation you posted makes that sound even more like greek Christian anti-Semitic propaganda than it already does.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    This would have gotten a lot of writing if it ever happened, as I remember one commenter recently writing the Jews would have seen this as a great sin against YHWH.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Once in my former church’s Sunday school (I was an atheist by this time) I made the above interpretation to be charitable (the version used said something about the power of god coming if I remember right, and the language was similar in the Pentecost passage). I still have not checked if this interpretation works, but it’s neat to see an echoe of what I thought might be the case.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    I absolutely hate that zenophobic “Is English not your first language?” quip. Just because one does not understand another person’s perspective does not mean ne can just dismiss them with an insult without asking for clarification and not be seen as a major jerk in that instance.

  • Herm

    Where is the Arc of the Covenant today?

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    “Forgive, or you will not be forgiven.”

    This is possibly one of the worst, least-thought out teachings ever. It is the teaching of abusers and the powerful and corrupt.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    It’s almost as if most of what has been written about it if not all has been the literary inventions or heresay of the multiple conflicting authors.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Or maybe I am asking if something is getting lost in translation. That if it is such, I can alter my wording to make it slightly easier to understand. But no, that can’t be the reason, cause the evil atheist can’t think that. Give me a fucking break.

  • Herm

    If the Jewish people are nothing else they are determined and precise chroniclers, enough so that the majority of the world is on their calendar as the most accurate.

    “If” the curtain before the Holy of Holies had torn you can be certain Caiaphas would have told no one. What would it have looked like to his office if he knew then he might just have defied God? “If” the curtain was rent he just might have now really began to be worried about some kind of new shenanigan orchestrated by these latest rabbal-rousers to his power base.

    It behooves the Jewish authorities to confuse their flock and the world from that time on and even on to today. What we can find relative to the expansion of Christianity the written record was not as of concern as it was with their Jewish relatives. What there remains had been carefully protected by a few.

    When did the thousands of years old traditional ritual of the sacrifice of the first born to God end? Why is the Holy of Holies relegated to boxes in the image of the original designed by God now the only remnant before most local Jewish sanctuaries? Where do we take the blood?

    Just off the top of my brain questions. Love you and your curious mind!

  • Sorry :-P

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    I eat babies, too, but I have seen this same phrasing from fundagelicals. That phrase never makes the hearer think that they need to clarify what they were saying, but it does send a message that knowing proper English is some standard of intelligence that “dirty foreigners” lack. To everyone: English is my first and only language. Sometimes what I want to say just gets a bit jumbled, OK?

    Lastly, if I mean, “I do not understand what you meant by… Could you, please, clarify?”, then that is what I type/say.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    So, instead of checking out a profile where it says Egalitarian, you just lunge into an attack? The interwebs are diverse, and I ask that mainly to figure out if I am talking to someone from a different country.

    Remember buddy, not every one has the same syntax, and in a place with no tone, it behooves one to not jump to conclusions.

  • Matthew

    Why?

  • For making you think. It was a sort of a tongue-in-cheek “sorry”

  • Um, ok. But before I let you off, let me share something with you. Maybe you’ll find it useful, maybe not.

    Similar to your background, I was raised in a backwoodsy, fundamentalist denomination. Young-earth creationist, premillennial dispensationalist – very literal (and modern, although I didn’t know it at the time) readings of the Bible that mostly ended in moralisms of some kind or critiques of how evil everything was around us.

    As I got older and further down the path of my spiritual and intellectual journey, a lot of that just didn’t seem right. In fact, some of it seemed outright ridiculous.

    When someone gets to this point, as I’m sure you also did, being an intelligent guy, it becomes an intense struggle with faith and doubt, because it seems like the only option is either to embrace all that foolishness with blind faith or give it all up and embrace atheism or agnosticism. That’s certainly how it’s portrayed to us. Either it’s all a literal truth the way we understand it, or it’s all a lie and none of it is trustworthy.

    Thankfully, there were influences I sought out that showed me there were other options. By engaging in biblical scholarship, I discovered that the Bible could be understood and valued very differently than I had in the past, and in ways that were intellectually satisfying instead of troubling. It was a rocky journey, sure, and I’ve lost a of things along the way – including the iron-clad security I had as a fundamentalist. Everything is up for critique all the time, now.

    But on the other hand, the journey has made me quit trusting interpretations of Scripture and start trusting God. By divesting myself of all the old paradigms I used to cling to, I am free to try to chase down the truth wherever it takes me, because I don’t have to “defend” anything. I can learn and grow without having to shore up a faith that was more 1900s Americana than anything Semitic.

    And now I find myself in a place where I love Israel’s God and want to be part of His people largely because of what I have seen Him do for His people in Jesus Christ. I feel like I’m learning even basic things all over again, seeing them through the eyes of ancient Israel. Scholarship, original languages, historical criticism – all those things have helped to put my faith back together. If the day ever comes when you feel curious about whether there’s a version of Christianity that could make sense to you, I just encourage you to check it out.

  • Mr. Corey, your site has a policy prohibiting comments that are hateful, contrary to dialogue and in bad taste. Do you consider all of the comments to this post to be consistent with this policy?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Yes, I grew deep in the back woods of SoCal, foraging for LBJ’s. And actually, always found the young earth bullshit to be funny. And what caused my struggle with faith was reading the bible. An all powerful being out witted by a talking snake, or the not really sacrifice that is a sacrifice Jesus made. I mean why can’t an ALL POWERFUL deity just forgive people he wants to forgive? And was making the snake talk a good idea? Or fucking over the guys who were trying to be unified and cooperate, you know the Tower story. And then gets all eternal damnation, how is just? I have come to my view on the bible by researching it extensively in order to save faith that I was out growing. Again, with Rabbis, the LA Archdiocese, Protestants of all denominations. I have looked into the texts of all the Abrahamic faiths, and found them wanting. What sealed the deal for me, is the historical problems with Jesus himself, not even getting to the parts where he fails quite a few prophecies. Implying this was a light decision, and to be an open atheist in a country that views us worse the rapists, knowing that admitting it would cost me friends and family, just goes to show how serious it was, how much I looked. And what sealed it the most, was self proclaimed “Moderate Christians” could tell me to love everyone, then demand everyone vote yes on Prop 8. And then figuring out, they were following god’s word. No, I have always been fairly liberal, but because I think what came out of someones mouth plain as day should be taken as such once you read the book, guess I have to be a fundie. Cue the Kit-Kat song.

  • Matthew

    :-)

  • Though I’m not a mythicist, I doubt that all of the recorded “sayings” of Jesus in the gospels can be traced back to the man himself. Some of them are composed to support the agenda of the writer. Quite a number of biblical scholars (possibly a majority of historical scholars) consider Mark’s Olivet discourse and other biblical “destruction of the temple” verses as (at least in part) examples of vaticinium ex event: “prophecies” that are actually written after the prophecied event takes place.

  • DonaldByronJohnson

    I think Mr. Corey is misunderstanding parts of Scripture, but this is common. I do not wish to engage in the comments section, but I would be willing to engage in a dialog if desired. I agree that the parts of a covenant cannot be divided up and parts kept and parts discarded, like the 3 fold distinctions some use to try to do just that.

  • Chuck Bryant

    Do you eat bacon?

  • Chuck Bryant

    Continuing to drive beyond your destination reminds me of a discussion I’ve sometimes seen regarding SIN and translation.

    There are some people who claim that sin is more like an archer missing his target than an offensive crime again God.

  • Chuck Bryant

    That’s why ham is often served at Easter because every single law means pork is a sin.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    Hard to tell if you are being sarcastic. Damn lack of vocal tone in text.

  • Chuck Bryant

    Where does one find the secret decoder ring to identify which verses are literal and which are metaphor?

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    It’s called read the book. It becomes clear what is literal and what is not. When they take about laws and constructs as such, safe bet they are being literal. Talking about Jesus with a sword in his mouth, that has to figurative.

  • Keith B

    I agree with you totally! And I didnt intend to give the wrong idea that I believe we have to follow the law to be saved. But that being said, the idea of ‘we are not under the law’ is a concept that people use as a play on ideas.
    As a summation, I believe Jesus removed alot of what he considered ‘legalism’ from the law, and how it relates to our lives. The law is still there. The law is what we use to define sin. If we do not pay any attention to, that is, to define what sin is, and then confess sin and then accept his forgiveness for it, then the penalty of the law will still apply to us. That penalty being eternal separation from God. And we tend to forget when the issue of the law, and its harshness come up, that mercy HAS ALWAYS came before judgement of the law. Jesus is the mercy made into flesh. But even before that, when all in the OT his people were rejecting him repeatedly, he always showed mercy on them. His mercy is shown in ways that our human understanding can not grasp!

  • wmark

    I would love to hear a rational explanation how anyone might believe that the deity of Israel, that hated gentiles, all the sudden, embrace pagans because a Jewish zealot, Saul has a hallucination? If there was a God, don’t you think he would have told the Children of Israel that slavery, misogyny, and genocide were immoral? The Bible is proof that God is imaginary, invented as a political tool to control and consolidate a population. Faith is the tool of con men to cause people to ignore evidence and the logical for profit and control.

  • Keith B

    I am not sure I follow you. If the laws of God were not pre-existing, then one could make an argument that Lucifer didnt sin until much later in time.
    And it may be written ‘for’ the audience but the varying state of existence of times are still there chronologically. It was only after a certain time that Israel was handed down so many other ordinances and laws, for specific reasons. But God’s interaction with Abraham, and even with Noah was different than by the time Israel was established.

  • Herm

    Keith, you are where you need to be and I’m really happy for your sincerity, concern, asking, seeking and knocking all in the Spirit of empathetic and merciful love. I personally don’t believe you would be there without your relationship with the Holy Spirit. I say that because the stronger my relationship has become with the Spirit of God the more I exhibit the same same constructive and productive traits you do.

    My experience says to me that there is no penalty inflicted by our loving God that we did not already live. You wrote, “That penalty being eternal separation from God.” To me sin is best defined as a separation from God intentionally or out of ignorance not possible as a child of God. If the Spirit of Truth is acknowledged and lives in your heart and mind you are growing out of the self-centered errors of infancy to the maturity necessary to acknowledge and love the whole of God and Their infinite love for all. That is why Luke 10:27 is agreed to by Jesus as ALL it takes to inherit eternal life as a child of God. We are children and children are not ever expected by loving guardians, especially emotionally contracted family, to get every choice they make right. King David didn’t, Moses didn’t, but each, by what is written, fulfilled completely the prerequisite for eternal life.

    Again, ALL we have to follow as a formula to choose wisely according to the law and the prophets is written in Matthew 7:12.

    Love you as my sibling of God! Thank you for sharing a very quality part of your never to end journey with me!

  • We don’t actually know when Satan sinned. He just sort of shows up and starts accusing the people of God.

    Israel’s covenant does not exist before Israel, and since it is Israel writing Genesis, it makes total sense that they would talk about animals in terms of clean and unclean. All we know about Moses and Abraham and the Garden comes from Israel after all those events.

    Once again, clean and unclean is about separation and holiness, specifically from the Gentile nations. “Unclean” also applies to menstruation, and surely you wouldn’t say menstruation is bad for your health. Or that pork is any worse for your health than beef. It’s a typological designation. A lot of the Torah is concerned about “managing uncleanness,” which is basically inevitable for most of Israel.

    That’s why, when Peter (not Paul) sees the sheet and God says, “Take and eat,” this results in Peter taking his ministry to the Gentiles. The clean/unclean distinction in the Law is gone because the division between Jew and Gentile has been torn down. Eating beef may be healthier than eating vulture meat, I don’t know – people eat crab all the time and seem to be ok, but the Torah is not about defining a healthy diet. Just like the laws against tweed and blended materials is not trying to define sturdy clothing or fashion.

    Israel’s righteousness is primarily defined by Torah keeping, but when Jesus has completed his work, righteousness is primarily defined by faithfulness to Jesus. This allows the inclusion of the Gentiles. If the Torah is still in force, how are Gentiles included in the people of God without becoming Jews?

  • Cynthia Brown Christ

    I appreciate what you have posted, but would like to add for your comment that morality is a subjective term. And it changes over time. What one group of people found moral years ago is reprehensible today.

    Therefore, what is moral one should not have to read in a book, but look into our spirit our wisdom. It is not always clear, but it is defined by Jesus as loving others the way god loves us, the way we love ourself.

  • James

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have
    not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you,
    until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least
    stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear
    from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who
    sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others
    accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever
    practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom
    of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses
    that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly
    not enter the kingdom of heaven.” -Jesus.

    I think he was pretty clear here.

  • Cynthia Brown Christ

    I am certain that you didn’t read the article. That you don’t care about the original meaning of the word accomplished. And, that you rely on outside factors rather than the spirit that is within you right now to make heaven on earth the possibility.

    But I am also certain that that can change any time!!

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    I actually did, and the same reasons I gave up that fairy tale are why I disagree. You do know that you being able to even voice that goes against the majority of church doctrine over time. I find Christianity, like most religions; to be detrimental to man and immoral.

  • Herm

    I think these are much more clear here:

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-26

    “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

    “Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.” Acts 13:39

    “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

    “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit”. John 19:30 … and for Christ Jesus the heaven and earth disappeared.

  • Tracy

    Can you explain your perspective on that one please?

  • I largely agree. Paul seems to be under the crazy impression that the activity of the Spirit in believing communities will produce the right behavior.

  • Wow, no one has ever brought up those verses before! This changes EVERYTHING!

  • Benefiting the Gentiles goes all the way back to God’s covenant with Abraham. I don’t know where you’re getting the hating the Gentiles thing.

  • Tracy

    Also Hebrews 10:16 – THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM

    AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
    I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,
    AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”
    He then says,

    17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS
    I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”…… the emphasis is on MY Law… the Law of the Spirit….. after those days of the old law… Hebrews 10 is great for explanation of Jesus doing away with the old written law and replacing it with the Law of the Spirit.

  • Sendejo

    What do you think about communism?

  • Herm

    … also this is the way then and today:

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” Jesus in John 16:12-15

    Thank you Tracy!!!

  • Katherine Harms

    Sorry, but you have a problem. Jesus did not abolish the moral law. He fulfilled the ceremonial law, but the moral law stood firm. Murder, adultery, lies, theft, and so forth. The moral law stands. Abominable behavior is still abominable. Wake up and see the truly radical message that God’s love is expressed very positively in the Ten Promises. Some people call them commandments, but the Hebrew language treats them as blessings. You are blessed, they say, just as Jesus said, if you live in a faithful relationship with the only true God. You are blessed when you speak the truth. And so forth. The moral law stands, and it does the work for which God designed it; it drives us to Christ, because we are utterly incapable of living up to it.

  • Numinous Sun

    Did you really just say, “…like greek Christian anti-Semitic propaganda…”? Wow! So, you just used two words you obviously have not looked up the definitions of in the same sentence, which would make you a fool, or you are intentionally lying, which would make one wonder if you are Jewish, and if you are, would give even more merit to the above passage, would it not?

    Golf clap. You walked into that one face first didn’t you?

  • Matthew

    Here is another explanation I received yesterday:

    “It would seem to me that we must take two factors, at least, into
    consideration. First, Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19;
    see Acts 10-11), and Paul tells the Corinthian saints to eat
    whatever their unsaved neighbor puts before them, except if they
    make a point of telling you that the meat being served has been
    offered to idols (1 Corinthians 10:25-31). I take it that the
    matter of partaking of “blood” in Acts 15:20, 29 has to do with
    enhancing fellowship and unity between Jewish and Gentile
    believers. Eating blood is still offensive to a Jewish believer,
    and so the Gentile saint should restrain from eating blood when with
    Jewish saints, lest there be offense.”

    I used to work with a Messianic brother. He was into trying to keep the law. Once we were eating lunch together and pork happened to be one of the choices that day. I remember asking if it bothered him that I was eating pork in front of him. He politely said no. Maybe our brief exchange was a practical example of the “weaker brother”/”not causing offense” argument? Maybe I should have moved to another table? It wasn´t blood, but pork is still offensive to most Jews I think whether Messianic or not.

  • That’s a really good thought. To be perfectly honest, I had briefly thought about the whole “weaker brother” line of logic, but I wasn’t sure how far I wanted to pursue it, because Paul wrote that after the Jerusalem Council, which could lead into a discussion on who we should listen to… it hadn’t even occurred to me that James at the Jerusalem Council could be offering the beginnings of that same line of thinking, “we ask you to abstain from blood because such is offensive to our own eyes, even though it may not draw you personally away from God.” Thanks for bringing that up, you’ve given me new eyes for looking at this passage!

  • James

    LOL no no…. christians have been intentionally ignoring this for a long time. It’s the only way to feel good about being a bad christian.

  • James

    Cool. That doesn’t mean that those things aren’t sin. It just means that we can be forgiven for them. So god technically doesn’t have much of a problem with rape or slavery… but you better not work on sunday or boil a baby goat in its mother’s milk. Oh but if you DO those things… accept Jesus and you can be forgiven. It doesn’t mean they aren’t wrong though.

    And if what jesus said in your example means that we are exempt from the law, that’s a direct contradiction to what he said in my post. So…. it’s not like he’s saying the same thing more clearly. He’s saying different things.

  • Well, I think if you flip through the rest of the comments, the exegetical issues around 5:18-19 have been discussed pretty thoroughly. You might find it interesting.

  • Could you point out in the Bible where it divides the Torah into ceremonial and moral laws? Which category is the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy in?

  • TsukiNaito

    Very interesting take.

  • otrotierra

    In what scripture passage does Jesus distinguish between ceremonial law and moral law, with one being fulfilled and the other standing firm? Please quote that passage directly, word for word.

  • Herm

    James, begin by the prerequisite for becoming a student (disciple) of the only Rabbi, Christ Jesus in Luke 14:26 and 27.

    Next go to what Jesus clearly agreed in ALL you have to do to inherit eternal life as a child of God once you have died to the carnal child you were in Luke 10:27. (You can read Luke 10:25-37 for the whole story realizing that Samaritans were bitter enemies with the Jews).

    Then go to the simplest of formulas for how to do good (constructive and productive) rather than evil (destructive) on all of Heaven and Earth in Matthew 7:12.

    I don’t need the Bible, at all, to keep from “sinning”, in fact the Bible can lead me to sin as with the Pharisees and teachers of the law of whom I must be more righteous than to live eternally. I need the Holy Spirit full time in my heart and mind for in Him am I connected to Jesus to teach me more and more as I grow out of the little infant child of God that I am. As with all infants and toddlers I make mistakes and do damage but the Spirit of Truth, the living word of God, guides me out of my childishness. I don’t sin against God as long as I stay in touch, rather than separate, with God as Their adorable clumsy little child bound by reciprocal love. I occasionally, now, sin against mankind because I react too quickly, as children do, and don’t apply Matthew 7:12.

    Lastly, so that you can see the mechanics of reality here, of which I testify is available to you, read John 16:12-15.

    I love your efforts and concerns to get this right.

    Please, for your sake, understand that the Sabbath was made for Man and not Man for the Sabbath. Let no one judge you for your Sabbath keeping.

    “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6

  • Well written, thank you. Another point is that Paul called himself the “apostle to the Gentiles,” (anyone who is not of Jewish descent). Gentiles were never under the law in the first place – nobody was except for the Hebrews. Legalism that is taught in the US church has caused a huge problem for people who come looking for “unspeakable peace, joy, abundant life.” They end up with a bad case of religious scrupulosity that has them believing that God is constantly falling in and out of love with them – on the way to heaven one minute, on the way to hell the next. No matter what background you have, this is definitely not “Good News.” This theology and teaching needs to be radically challenged. Instead, the institutions who teach it are blaming an “increasingly sinful generation” for shrinking numbers. Maybe they should examine the message. #formerlyfundie

  • James

    Ok cool so you’re going to completely disregard this contradiction and preach to me instead. I guess we’re done here?

  • Guy Norred

    Something has been forming in my head for a while that I need to find the time to clearly write. When I do, I would love to have a chance to go over it with you.

  • Herm

    Always, anytime and I would suggest letting it form as you write. Students in lab groups, such as this, learn quicker together posing statements and questions long before they’re perfect. You have been around me long enough to know this maybe too true of me.

    Love you and thank you for the consideration!!!

  • Herm

    Apparently what He said wasn’t as clear as you thought if you think I am preaching to you as versus ministering out of love to an equal sibling of Man whom I love. When is eternal life done for that is when we are done learning from each other? Only in the Spirit of Truth are contradictions to Truth dispelled. Save the lesson study I shared with you and maybe you won’t make the same mistakes I had to make to know the truth derived. I can guarantee from experience there is no simpler way to appeal to our logic which we can test for validity. Truly, you are loved and lovable just as your are! State and/or question as long as you wish for that is how we support each other.

  • Chuck Bryant

    I support your choice as a gay Christian to be celibate. I disagree that it’s your *only* option. What are the 3 types of eunuchs mentioned in the Bible? Who are the born eunuchs?http://brianbowenministries.com/index.html?m

  • wmark

    Lets start with Joshua. Why did the Children of Israel kill Canaanites at every opportunity? The reoccurring theme throughout the OT is Xenophobia. Abraham was Semitic, as were all the the people in the Fertile Crescent and Arabia, all but the Egyptians and Philistines. According to the Genesis myth, Abraham was the first Hebrew, at which point, all others became gentile.

  • James

    Ok you are avoiding the question. You can respond to this again if you want to, but unless you actually want to discuss the debate I’m done responding. I tried.

  • Right, and in God’s covenant with Abraham where he is promised to be the first of a great nation, the benefit of the Gentiles is included in that covenant.

    “seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” – Gen. 18:18

    “and in your offspring shall all the nations of the Earth be blessed” – Gen. 22:18, also 26:4

    One of the earliest things Abraham does is make a treaty with the Philistines (Gen. 21)

    Note Isaiah’s prophecies of a renewed Israel:

    “I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations” – Isa. 42:6

    “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” – Isa. 49:6

    The reasons in the OT for the Canaanite genocides were that the Canaanites were evil and they were in the land God had promised to Abraham’s descendants. Now, we might debate the validity of those claims or what role God may or may not have played in them, but it wasn’t just because the Canaanites were Gentiles and Israel had a kill on sight policy.

  • Josh Ross

    People like you anger me susan. you all say, “we aren’t under the Old Testament we live under the New Testament.” THERE IS NO OLD OR NEW. Do basic hebrew and greek study. There is the original (genesis through malachi) then there’s the RENEWED (the first gospel through revelations) both are one in the same. Christians ARE UNDER THE HEBREW LAWS AND HOLIDAYS read matthew 5:17-19 , Matthew 7, and the dozen others that say we are under the Law. “I will say to them AWAY FROM ME YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS!!” Pretty clear. He also told people that after his resurrection there were still laws and prophecies to fulfill.

  • Josh Ross

    SUNDAY ISNT THE SABBATH

  • I don’t know who Susan is, but you sound pretty cheesed off.

    Also, your argument is the exact opposite of virtually everything Paul ever said.

  • wmark

    Thanks Phil.
    Apparently, the rest of the OT ignored the covenant. There are 613 commandments that God expected “his” people to follow. Some of these forbade Hebrews from cavorting with foreigners as they were unclean.

  • Josh Ross

    Everything you say is the opposite of what The Messiah said

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    FYI
    the susan is from ‘freed hearts’
    blog.
    he just cut and pasted from his post on that blog
    To over here on ‘formerly fundie’.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    Josh how’s it going today?

  • Austin

    It’s Revelation, not Revelations. There was only one Revelation.

  • So you’d say Jesus and Paul are at odds?

  • That’s true, but lots of things were designated unclean. Menstruation is unclean. Dead Israelites are unclean. Shrimp are unclean. It doesn’t mean Israel hated them or had an agenda against them.

  • JTE

    One purpose of the Law was to reveal sin. I think it’s still handy.

    BTW, curious, is the Law of Christ any less demanding or restricting? No argument here, just asking.

  • It reveals Israel’s covenant violations, sure. I’m not sure that worshiping on Sunday or eating shrimp is a sin. If we assume that only parts of the Law reveal sin, then I would offer that whatever it is that allows us to recognize those parts also makes the Law unnecessary for that purpose.

    I think Christ’s instructions and examples are more demanding in the sense that they are sacrificial/martyriological in nature and require you to be “all in.” Formalized, external obedience is very difficult (although perhaps not impossible).

    At the same time, it is very freeing, because rather than observe an extensive body of commandments, we have been given the Spirit who will motivate us to act according to the welfare and witness of the kingdom. I’m not bound to give 10% of my income to the priests. However, the Spirit moves me to seek out economic needs in and around the kingdom and meet them as an act of love and free grace.

    There’s no “law” that says I have to take care of the poor, but if I am united to Christ, I am on their side in whatever way I can be on their side, and that could even look different from person to person and circumstance to circumstance. Much more demanding in a sense, but definitely much less restricting or burdensome.

  • People like you anger me austin. IT IS NOT REVELATION OR REVELATIONS WE ARE BOTH WRONG because in the greek it is a totally different word like Tupocalypse or something. LEARN SOME GREEK ok then come tell me about plurals.

    (Note: This has been a joke.)

  • Susan is a friend of mine. Please tell her I said hello the next time you’re angered by her.

  • melgibstein

    He did not abolish the law, he abolished the old covenant with the same people, the Israelites not the Jews. I bet you claim Israel was lost too, but James addresses the 12 tribes in his epistle in the first verse. James is a liar, Paul is aliar, you make everyone in the book a liar, but the liars Jesus called liars in John chapter 8.

  • melgibstein

    Why dont you do a page on Jeremiah where it says God will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. You and the Jews claim Israel is gone. Shame on you.

  • melgibstein

    By the way The House of Judah is not Jews, Ashkenazis (of Ashkenaz and Mongols) or Babylonian Sephardic Judeans, the House of Judah were pure Adamites with unmixed blood. Jews are the most mixed blooded people on this earth.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    liar liar pants on fire!
    who are you really mad at?

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    seems like a day everybodys angry!
    I saw at Burger King they have named
    a burger the angry burger.
    do you suppose it’s from angry beefs? (=

  • Austin

    A Tupocalypse would be way cooler, it would have a real beat you could dance to. Though it would be likely to cause beef with West Coast manuscripters.

  • et_cogitatione_mortali

    It doesn’t work and is a stupid form of government.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Say someone rapes another. The victim cannot forgive their rapist. So, Jesus says I’ll let worse happen to you than any horror that humanity is cappable of. The rapist has the easy task of asking for forgiveness now that they are caught and looking for a way out. The victim now has to somehow bury that pain as if it were meaningless (and no limit is given for the severity of the offense, which is one of the reasons I chose rape for the example) or Jesus will be an even worse aggressor out to harm them (essentially, “If you don’t forgive me Jesus will finish my work for me, and so what if I’m damned too. I aimed Jesus at you!”). The other reason I picked rape is because it seems to be an example a lot of Christian clergy have also noticed and repeatedly put into action, and their entire church goes along with the humiliation of condemning the victims for not repenting of their “sin” time after time that they see this happen.

    In the movie, ‘Bully’, a kid recounts how a school official was trying to coerce him into making up and shaking hands with his bully, saying that the victim was just as bad as the bully. The kid eventually burst into tears saying he didn’t say hateful insults and lies about people and hurt people. That teaching of Jesus and this school official are in the same victim-harming and shaming club.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    While I am not sure what your argument is (anti-Semitic and Christian are not mutually exclusive), yes, the passage sounds a lot like something a non-Jewish Christian would have interpolated Jesus to have said to support said Christian’s opposition to the Jews explaining to them why they don’t believe in Jesus at all.

  • Tracy
  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    I’m sorry for anyone who read your link who has had the passage in question quoted to them. I know you may not see how, but the link just comes off as more obfuscation. Contrary to the beliefs stated in the article and comments NOT forgiving a grievous wrong and taking actions to keep the offender from access to harm the victim more and create new victims has results worlds better than forgiving the offender and beating oneself up inside over the offense and allowing for offenses to most likely continue to happen. People who understand and exploit the mentality of this teaching know it’s value to them all to well, and adding a being who approves of what offenses they do (like any regular observer watching and silently approving) but says I’ll hurt you long after you have had your fill of hurting others does not add ANYTHING to deter their behavior. The victim is always kicked while they are down with such a teaching.

  • If the Hebrew calls them blessings why do Jesus and the NT writers call them commandments? Didn’t Jesus say that all the commandments were summed up in 2 laws, both of which are commands to love? There is no room for moralism in God’s kingdom, all it produces is self-righteousness and shame. If we are incapable of living up to a moral law its only purpose is to point us to Christ but beyond the cross it is redundant.

    Yes, Jesus did fulfil the ceremonial law but he told us that the Pharisees were perfect according to those laws. Paul himself says that he was a perfect Pharisee yet he was the worst of sinners. There is very little sense in what you are saying. Your theology is fatally flawed yet it would take a book to fully explain why your conclusion is wrong.

  • JTE

    Thank you Phil.

    How would you then characterize the “red” words of Jesus and the seemingly hundreds of imperatives of Paul for authentic Christian living? Examples? Goals? Ideals? Rules? Commands?

  • Ok, I might have misunderstood you. When you talked about the Law revealing sin, I thought you meant the Torah. If you mean “law” more generally as in commands from Jesus, then yes, I’d say those help us see where we fall short.

    I’m totally fine calling those things laws or commands – stipulations are part of a covenant, after all. It’s just that it’s common in certain circles to say that the Law (meaning the Mosaic Law) is useful to reveal our sin, and that I would disagree with to an extent.

  • mothman777

    Hey, top marks for your totally counterproductive reply. The Law of the Judaic religion demands one penalty and one penalty alone for idolatry, death by execution, so I guess the American Christian people and American peoples of all other religions that are considered ‘idolatrous’ should be truly grateful to you for trying to deny them a ‘heads up’.

    Judaism states that all Christians are idolaters, the Judaic 1991 US Noahide Laws, which have no real place in the American statute books, state that the penalty for idolatry is death.

    Should Jewish people in the American government really have the right to have non-Jews executed under Judaic law for the alleged ‘crime’ of ‘idolatry’? That will undoubtedly mean the imposition of an utterly horrific Pol Pot style military dictatorship throughout the US. The American people need to wake up fast and demand that their government removes the Noahide Laws, before they can be actually effected. The 1991 Noahide Laws mean to remove the freedom from the Law that the Christians believe in, and far worse, can you not see how important this issue is?

    America was never created as a Jewish state, or even as a Christian state, you might want to check it out. Can you not see how dangerous the situation is?

    A former government representative made the report that I posted that link to, not me, so would you call him a bullshitter to his face? The man was only doing his duty as an American citizen in trying to alert the American people that some malicious foreign power had taken over the government of the United States when that legislation was passed, and was plotting to literally murder all the Christians in the US, and I am just trying to pass that message on.

    Your link is utterly and totally nothing whatsoever to do with the 1991 US Noahide Laws, can you even comprehend that? Why did you post that link at all? Did you even open the link I posted and understand what it was about? If you have, then your motives for writing what you have are more than extremely sinister.

    The ‘Law’ that this article pertains to, is the same Law that the Noahide Laws are from, so my comments are relevant and justified, and very sincerely intended as a public service to safeguard people’s lives against those who would take them.

    I did not add any links about the Chabads, but if my assertions are doubted, then read the following article about the actual beliefs of those who had the 1991 US Noahide Laws passed; ‘Why Is The US Honoring A Racist Rabbi’ by Alison Weir, CounterPunch.

  • Herm

    James, apparently I have made an ASS out of U and ME. I will try to make clear, from your perspective, that only you are “debating” what you see as a “contradiction” regarding the law and sin in this thread. I gain nothing by sharing this good news with you except the hope to support you to be free to live according to the benevolent rule of our Lord led without stop or fail in our hearts and minds as little children of God.

    You originally wrote, “”Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” -Jesus.

    I think he was pretty clear here.”

    Following Matthew 5:17-20 (which is your quote above) within the same sermon Jesus sums it all up, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

    This is most important to know when all heaven and earth disappeared for Jesus: “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit”. John 19:30

    Everything for the Messiah was “accomplished” on the cross when He said, “It is finished”. At that very moment the Law of Moses kept in the Holy of Holies (the curtain was torn top to bottom then) and the Ceremonial Law which prophesied the sacrifice of the first born perfect lamb was fulfilled.

    Viewed from Christ Jesus’ perspective none of what I so childishly “preached” to you is contradictory or in conflict relative to sin and law. Please review the thread, again, and this time invite the Spirit of Truth to guide you. I can only testify, I cannot force you, that only through Him can you understand that “the question” has never been avoided. Continue to ask, seek and knock (also in Jesus sermon) and it will be given to you. I know as it has been given me and I am no more deserving than you.

    I love you James and am sorry for not being able to share more clearly for your benefit. Forgive my weakness.

  • melgibstein

    I take it you wont be telling us all what this lie is. Bye Cleo!

  • JTE

    Thank you Phil.
    I get back to my first question then. These general “laws”, are they to restrict us, or guide us, or influence our behavior? That is, do they form the basis of Christian ethics that are not options but requirements to live the Christian life?

    Here’s my thinking and I’d appreciate your thoughts. Under the OT Law–though it was good–it was and is only by conscious effort that they can (possibly) be obeyed. Under the new covenant, with the indwelling Holy Spirit, our behavior and obedience is more a result of our being filled. Maybe words such as “active” obedience (OT) and “passive” obedience (NT) might be used. Active in that they are obeyed with conscious competence; passive in that they are, because of the indwelling, obeyed with unconscious competence. Yet, even in the NT we are give reminders (imperatives) on what Christian ethics look like, so that when we go awry, Paul sets us straight.

    I think these imperatives and the “red” sayings are crucial because to say that we are just to “love God and love one another” with no instructions, well, I don’t think it’s very helpful. We have love-based decisions for euthanasia and gay marriage that I think are outside of Christian ethics, yet these type of things are held tightly by those who believe they are acting out of love.

    What do you think?

  • Keith B

    I think it is important to remember that no matter who wrote what in the Bible, the writers were inspired by God. I dont think it is not biblically supported to say that all way have is Israel’s version of history. That would be disheartening, because their influence would still be blanketing and they would still consider themselves the only favored people of God and their mission would still be to save us Gentiles. Thankfully, neither of these is true. Just like I am thankful that I dont have to talk to God thru an earthly human priest (or my ‘preacher’). If we are to read the OT with the hue of only Israel influence, they would have no reason not to establish that they were chosen by God, and then establish their covenant was with him first. There would be no reason not to sway even the act of creation in their favor. And there would certainly be no reason to detail all of their embarrassing rebellions and pointing out every instance of them not living up to their end of his conditional covenant with him.

    True that we don’t know exactly when Satan sinned. All we can do is apply the passages in Ezekiel and Isiah to deduct that is was sometime in heaven, probably either just before or just after earth’s creation. I wont say I am 100% on that, but evidence and logical deduction can make it go either way. But either way, clearly it was while he was in heaven. And clearly his pride was a sin in heaven. If it was a sin in heaven that got him cast down, clearly there were a set of laws that must have been violated. Move up a little in time to the Garden, where we see Eve’s own desires override her obedience to God. It is not stated anywhere before Genesis 3, but this obviously must be a sin also. God definitely considered Able’s murder a sin. But later in the Torah, the writers didn’t go back and clarify or make a connection to their sins and laws exclusively applying to Eve in the Garden, or to Cain. The laws that defined what was sin and what was not, existed independently of the covenant of Israel.

    (I stand corrected, my bad..) Paul’s vision was about a distinction of the peoples. But it didn’t make unhealthy meat suddenly healthy. As for the dietary laws, I am not sure how else I can make the case not to dismiss them today. I think part of the problem is that most people think that clean and unclean is ONLY in a ceremonial sense. Even before modern science drives the facts home, God knew what made carnivores riskier to eat than herbivores. Again, given the environmental function of the animals listed as unclean, the health risk is more than obvious. I do think the risks of getting sick from those animals was greater back in those ancient times, in the absence of processing and handling and storage regulations.
    But again, as with choosing to follow the commandments on any level, it is all about faith. And faith is empty without obedience. This works both ways though. Obedience to a bunch of ‘burdensome’ laws is worthless if not done so in faith.
    I keep in mind that Abraham didn’t have the Torah, nor volumes and volumes of laws. I have trouble going back and retroactively applying those laws to him. He had faith. He followed the commandments of God. He by no means did so perfectly, as he had as many faults as any given sinner would have today. But God chose him to father his chosen people, not because of his ability to follow Israel’s covenants, but because of his faith. Lets even theoretically take Israel out of the equation for a moment. Would God still require any faith or obedience from us? Seems unarguable to me.
    The laws given to the people of Israel were, again, for a reason. Their being chosen meant their standards should be higher when ungodly gentiles seen them they would see the holiness of God reflected in the nation. Now, when the Messiah comes along, this fulfilled certain parts of the Jewish ceremonies that symbolized and lead up to his coming. (Another fascinating study in itself!) Now, outside of certain (now meaningless) ceremonial and sacrificial laws, there were still laws of obedience. The law wasn’t made to make anyone automatically guilty for not being able to follow them. If that’s the case were are all doomed. That is why we don’t rely on following the law to be saved. Just obeying it (which Jesus has shown is very much possible) will not save us.
    What about all the other laws? Well put it in perspective. Lets say today, as a nation we push for certain laws to be done away with. Because some people cant live by them or don’t think they should live by them for whatever reason. Random example: Speed limit laws. Lets say that everyone who does not own a car that this law has ‘no power over’ rises up for this law to be abolished. They don’t need it anymore so why should it apply? Meanwhile, most of us drive cars. Just the law of a speed limit itself does not make us safe on the road. But MANY people choosing to break that speed limit, totally disregard it because you want to, puts you in danger. Telling others this is ok also puts them in danger. I know it is man-made laws vs God’s law here. But the concept is the same. Laws are there not to make us guilty of not being able to follow them. That wouldn’t be very just of God. He is not going to have us follow laws for no reason. But, just as those who don’t drive a car or use roads and highways are not to strive to follow the speed limit laws, all of the Jewish laws do not apply to everyone. Some laws, that are very much a part of the ‘whole of the law’ apply only to church leaders, for instance. If you are not a leader, then you are obviously not under this law. This is not ‘pickin and choosin’ or categorizing, it is simply a logical application of your faith and obedience. For instance, if you don’t want to be gay and get married because of it being an abomination, then you are not going to be judged by you being gay married, it doesnt apply to you.
    I try to live to apply the proper standards of righteousness to my life as it pertains to me, whether it was a law for the Jews or not. That is because my salvation is a continued progress between me and my savior. Someone telling me I do not have anything to obey, lifting all obligation to confess my sins, puts my soul in danger. Rejecting my obligations to God will over shadow the little bit of good i can do, or just be a good person and be good to others, that I can do along the way before i die. Jesus was tempted in the very same way in the wilderness. What if he had given in?

  • James

    Ok last post here since you’re not getting it. I’ll just copy and paste this from my original post. “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest
    letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from
    the Law until everything is accomplished.” That’s pretty clear… isn’t it?????

  • James

    I know some people think it’s Saturday and some people think it’s Sunday. It’s not important. What IS important, is that the god in the bible made it a point to tell people not to work on the sabbath. He did not bother to tell them not to rape or enslave.

  • I know it is possible for people to live an ethic that pleases God without any written instructions on how to do so. Paul brings up this exact thing when he reminds the faithful Jews that Gentiles do “by nature” things the Law requires even though they don’t have the Law. If some weird phenomenon happened that whisked all the Bibles off the planet, I think the Church could continue fine, although it might be kind of wobbly at first. The real union with Christ by the power of the Spirit is what moves us to do good.

    So, in that sense, I might not see the imperatives as crucial in the same sense that you do. I think the Spirit-filled community, discussing these issues in love and acting them out to the best of our God-given wisdom is a sufficient basis for ethics without any written direction.

    Now, having said that, we have written imperatives. So, what do we do with them? I’m not sure the process is much different. I think we’d both agree that, New or Old Testament, you can’t just draw an imperative out of its context (textual or historical) and drop it on top of the people of God. For instance, I am not going to bring Paul his cloak from Troas, but that is an imperative in Scripture. It’s a silly example, but you get my drift.

    I do think the imperatives help keep us pointed in the right direction and inform us, not as case laws, but as illustrations and applications of the indicatives. I think it is very rare that you can universally acclaim or condemn a given behavior just by quoting an NT passage. When Paul gets onto people for their behavior, it’s usually not because they were ignorant of a piece of information that he’s revealing to them. It’s because they ought to know better having “learned Christ.”

  • Yes, I would absolutely call Bill Dannemeyer a bullshitter if he were still alive (he died in ’93 – I blame the Reptons operating with the Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission). Every decade, he picked a group to persecute. In the 80s, it was the homosexuals and he wrote a book about how gays are trying to take over America in the shadows. In the 90s, it was the Jews.

    He was a hate-filled borderline insane bigot. If he even wrote the memo you linked to, in order for that to be true, Congress would have had to replace the documentation for that bill and EVERY SINGLE LEGISLATOR SINCE THEN AND THE PUBLIC WHO OBSERVES THEIR SESSIONS ALL THE TIME INCLUDING JOURNALISTS would have had to keep quiet about it for 25 years, now.

    It’s just conspiracy wingnut bullshit that has about as much truth value as E.T. Dannemeyer had very strong views on certain political issues, and his way to draw attention and ire to them was to claim that the group responsible was secretly taking over America. According to him, homosexuals were using AIDS as a catalyst to seize power in America. Then Clinton (who couldn’t cover up a tryst with an intern) successfully assassinated 24 people without anyone knowing to secure his rise to power as a new tyrant of the United States. Then, it was the Jews. If he had stayed alive, it would probably be Darwinists, today.

  • Inspired by God, sure, but written by men according to their own backgrounds and paradigms.

    Clean and unclean IS only in a ceremonial sense. If you touch a menstruating woman or a Gentile, how have you endangered your health? The fact that some of these animals may be healthier to eat than others is vaguely related at best. You can make the logic work for some animals, but it certainly doesn’t apply to all of them, nor does it apply to the clean/unclean distinction as a whole.

    And once again, it was Peter, not Paul, who had the vision.

    I appreciate you are earnest about this issue, and I am glad you are trying hard to be obedient. It’s an encouragement to me as well. But to continue to hold Christian believers to Israel’s covenant is exactly the opposite of what the New Testament encourages us to do. Paul had very VERY mean things to say about people who tried to tell Christians they had to keep the Mosaic law.

  • JTE

    I think we do have some differences, but thank you for the conversation. I appreciated your thoughts and the way you expressed them.
    Jim

  • Likewise.

  • Tracy

    NOOOOOOOO! The whole of Galatians is about NOT going back again to the law… and Paul is adamant that no one shd be circumcised in order to please the troublers who are going against what Paul is teaching.

  • Tracy

    If you guys are really interested to find out what Paul is saying in his letters – there is an online course started up with N T Wright – it is really good. He is an expert on Paul, and you will learn heaps if you are interested. He has great little books on Paul’s letters too. Really solid stuff.

  • Ha! I agree with you. But also check out Acts 16:3 where Paul has Timothy circumcised because of the Jews who were in that area. In the Galatians scenario, a congregation is being led astray by the doctrine that, to follow Christ, they have to follow the Torah. In the Acts scenario, the circumcision is a voluntary act that has nothing to do with the need to follow Torah, but a use of wisdom to decide that life will just be easier for everyone concerned if Timothy is circumcised.

    Obviously, I don’t know where Paul was at during the Council. He argues against requiring the Gentiles to do anything. But the things put in the letter are pretty mild and/or things they should be doing anyway. Having been at countless presbytery meetings, I could totally see this being the outcome.

    Hebbel: We must tell the new Gentile believers to become circumcised and keep the Law of Moses!

    Paul: They already have the Spirit even without circumcision, and even we haven’t been able to keep the Law of Moses, so why saddle them with it?

    James: Look, guys. How about we ask them to abstain from sexual immorality. We know that’s a problem, and we all agree we’re supposed to do that, right? And… um… how about abstaining from eating strangled things. I mean, hardly anybody does that, and that sounds nice and Mosaic Law-y, right? Right, guys?

    Hebbel: I guess.

    Paul: Sure. Fine. Whatever gets this meeting over with.

  • Herm

    I guess I’m just not smart enough, sorry. I do hope that we both agree that in everything doing to others as we would have others do to us is the total amount resulting from the addition of the Law and the Prophets.

    I look forward to when we might find ourselves in the same Spirit. Love you!

  • Tracy

    haha that’s funny. :) Be interesting to see what N T has to say about that one I guess. I do realise that even though Jesus inaugurated the new covenant on the cross, it took till 70AD to become fully functional. The destruction of the temple, no more sacrifices and priestly duties… they just didn’t get it what Jesus had done. Took about 40 years, and it seems that only Paul really grasped it. Peter still had his foot in both camps for awhile. It’s like baptism. Jesus never baptised, Paul didn’t either, but Jesus allowed the apostles to continue on with it for whatever reason. Different subject I know… but baptism pointed to something greater, namely Jesus. It was a shadow of the reality – my point is a few things continue to this day that are part of the old covenant.

  • mothman777

    You are a funny guy. Surely you can see something wrong with the self-stated views of the very people who had the US 1991 Noahide Laws made law, who have their own messiah, their own Rebbe, Schneerson, who they think will reincarnate very soon.

    Those people believe that Gentiles do not have a living soul, that they come from hell, and that they must all return there. Do you think their intended interpretation of the Noahide Laws will be benevolent towards Gentiles, and towards Christians in particular. After all, they have zero regard for the Christian Jesus. Does that not worry you? It should do, very much indeed, if you are indeed actually a real Christian.

    The Noahide Laws do exist, Dannemeyer was not just making them up. I hardly think he was just a hate-filled insane bigot as you put it when he highlighted the dangers of these laws.

    Still, if people want to believe you and trust these Chabad people, and stick their heads in the sand, and just wait to be liquidated in a Stalinist purge, they can go right ahead.

    I should not have to even seem to be arguing with you or anyone else on this, rather, the cause should be gladly taken up with great enthusiasm by everyone in the US, to have these laws repealed.

    The Chabads are not exactly savoury types when they refer to Gentiles as an eternally different and inferior species, a species without living souls, from hell. Do you really feel safe with them, and that anyone who mentions this is just filled with hate against the Jews? I will let you lead the Christians on to share your views if they really want to risk their necks, that anyone who doubts the ultimate benevolence of the Chabads and these laws is merely an insane hate-filled bigot.

    You could dismiss the contents of the following two articles as mere imagination, conspiracy and confabulation if you wish, but in the cold light of day, your views would not actually be realistic.

    ‘Jewish Website In Israel Courageously Exposes Judaism!’

    ‘http://davidduke.com/gentiles-should-be-forced-to-comply/’

    I include a brief quote from the latter article below;

    ‘A visionary book, published in 1932 by Jewish Talmudic scholar Dr. Michael Higger, describes the brave new Jewish world. 2
    Higger says when a Jewish one-world ruler, messiah, comes, he will
    enforce Judaic monotheism. There will be no room for the “idolatrous.”

    ‘“…Only those who are convinced of Israel’s divine purpose in the world, will be welcome to join Israel in the upbuilding of an ideally spiritual life on earth. Israel, the ideal, righteous people, will thus become spiritually masters of the world…” (p41)

    ‘Before the messianic era begins, “in general, the peoples of the
    world will be divided into two main groups, the Israelitic and the
    non-Israelitic. The former will be righteous; they will live according
    to the wishes of one, universal God…All the other peoples, on the other hand, will be known for their detestable practices, idolatry, and
    similar acts of wickedness. They will be destroyed and will disappear
    from earth before the ushering in of the ideal era.” (p37)
    “Consequently…idolatry and idol-worshippers, wicked people, unrighteous nations, will disappear from the earth.” (p39) Goodbye, Christians.

    ‘The ravings of a fanatic? Solomon Schechter, founder of conservative Judaism, along with the council or “Kallah” of Texas Rabbis, did not think so. They gave the book official endorsement.

    ‘The Nations Must Suffer First

    ‘Higger provides extensive references from the Babylonian Talmud,
    describing enlightened monotheism under messiah. But the Talmud teaches such tranquility will be dearly bought; a time of Gentile anguish is necessary to displace Gentiles from their control of the nations and dominion of Jews. Such suffering will be so great, says the Talmud, thateven “the Almighty Himself will bewail it.” 3

    ”The Zohar, or Kabbalah, rivals the authority of the Talmud for most
    deeply religious Jews. It teaches that, as the divine yet visible,
    practical manifestation of God’s will in this world, it is Israel’s job
    to “wage war” against Gentile control by any means possible. “Proper order” can only be restored by breaking down Gentile and Christian influence. 4’

    The Zohar teaches that when the messiah comes, all Gentiles on the Earth must be removed. and that will include Christians. So if you are really a Christian, then I would start to be concerned if I were you.

  • I also do not accept KKK leaders as authorities on Jewish activities. Sorry, this is all just racist BS with no connection to reality.

  • I totally agree with you about the transition.

    I also think that, in terms of history, Peter and Paul (and Mary, I guess) were at a point when the whole Jew/Gentile as one people of God with one Spirit thing was brand new. I would imagine they were processing issues and making decisions that might not be specifically normative for Christians at all points in history.

  • mothman777

    That is just puerile slander coming from you. No matter what the man’s past, he is talking the truth today and not BS, and to do so is not being racist in the slightest, as what he is doing is actually opposing racism, a distinction that you seem to be deliberately unwilling to truthfully represent. Try reading The King’s Torah and then keep that up.

    The statements by the Rabbi Schneerson are actual words documented as having been spoken by him, particularly in the Alison Weir report in CounterPunch, and his comments are the racist ones. When you say the opposite of the truth, I cannot take you as a sincere Christian.

  • Tracy

    yes, I would say you are right on there. I think 70AD changed the game completely.

  • Oh no.

  • Keith B

    Geez, again my bad on mixing up the name lol, I typed out what I reread… And he was upset because he gave the ways in which the churches should function. And he got word that they were still drenched in doing ceremonial things, like sacrificing of animals. This practice was now meaningless to both Jew and Gentile after Jesus.
    Again, as this always does, there is confusion what my point is and interpretation of it. Scripturally, there seems to be adequate support that frees Christians of those burdensome unfollowable laws. There is also evidence to the contrary. From Jesus. If we are free from obedience to God’s laws, then what? What is faith then and how is it defined? What is ones Christian life suppose to consist of. It is a dead end to say that we follow only the 2 (very important) commandments Jesus mentions. Because if those are followed, you have the bases of the 10 commandments. . . the … laws… of…. God…. This includes the moral laws. And #10, the one Lucifer violated.
    And to drive this point home, it is important to remember, that if one is made aware of the perfect laws of God and rejects them, you are still judged against what you know in the end. There is no way out of that, and as judgement happens, I doubt it will be a very strong case to defend willful disobedience to the established laws (which again were in place LONG before any Jew) with a ‘well this human told me I didnt have to follow laws anymore’.
    And there is a biological and scientific significance to clean and unclean. God kind of thought ahead on this part. Animals were not eaten until after the flood. Clean and unclean was predefined by God and told to Noah when he took the animals into the ark. After, he made the provision that clean animals can be good for food. This had to happen after the flood because all vegetation was destroyed and there wasnt any food for at least a while there after. It was later that a ceremonial meaning was tied into these obvious reasons that God made clean and unclean. If all animals were equally healthy to eat and handle, then it would have been just fine to slaughter a pig for sacrifice. The uncleanness had a spiritual representation of the animal being unclean. For today though, does it mean if you eat an unclean animal that you will die, or get sick, or lose your salvation? No. But the health factor has not changed. They are still the same animals with the same environmental function and biological risks as back in the OT. Again, the forethought and planning God had for man’s diet is amazing and perfect, even today. It by no means is a stain on the history of Israel and another condemning law or ceremonial burden.
    Anyway, I think we have beat these topics to death enough for a while. It has been a pleasure going back and forth with you. I appreciate it not turning in to the usual unintelligible flame war!
    I will humbly give you the honor of the last word here if you would like :)

  • Keith B

    Ceremonial laws include the rules of sacrificing for sin. When was the last time you slaughtered an animal in hopes the priest was washed clean enough so he wouldnt drop dead himself to try to offer your people’s sacrifice?
    How many times did Christ tell us to love one another? How many times did try to get us to follow the same traits of the Father that he prayed to.
    Fulfilling, or being the example of, God’s perfect law is a part of the plan of our salvation, as agreed on between the Father and Son. But Christs work on earth , and with his death only moved the plan forward to the necessary next step.

  • Nah. Thanks for the discussion.

  • otrotierra

    It’s now been three days since Katherine’s post, and I presume she’s still searching for a scripture passage where Jesus distinguishes between ceremonial law and moral law, with one being discarded and the other kept.

    I’m looking for that scripture passage, word for word, not someone’s opinions or desires.

  • Josh Ross

    Do you ignore the epistles? “Sin IS LAWLESSNESS ” let me break it down. Disobeying the Law of Moses is sinning. The Messiah said, “Blessed are those who hear and OBEY the word of God”. At the time he spoke there was no Matthew through revelations there was only genesis through malachi. Psalm 119 tells us that the Law and prophets are the word of God we must obey

  • Josh Ross

    Actually in Hebrew jeremiah wrote RENEWED covenants not new

  • Keith B

    If I can take a stab at it…
    First we have Exodus 19.5. This plainly states yet another ( or reinforces) the conditional covenant with his peoples.
    So then we parooze on to chapter 20. He gets right down to it in verse 1. We have here in 1-17 the first stated commandments. Worship rules and moral laws. Word for word. Right there.
    Now next up, if we keep on readin after the law and peoples reaction, He deals with the first expansion on the basis of idol worship (related to #1 & 2) Word for word. Right there.
    Next, in chapters 21-23, we have first in chapter 21, details about #s 5-10. You have to do wade thru these and do a little matching up with which of these one liners in chapter 21 go with what commandment. But they are all there. Word for word. (If you are having trouble making some of these apply to how we live in today’s time… thats because they, um, dont apply. Dealing with servant – master relationships was something that had to be dealt with in those times evidently…) The point here is, if 5-10 are followed, you want have to worry about suffering the punishment for it.
    Move on to chapter 22, dealing with more moral stuff, starting with #5… After verse 15, it seems things get kind of random with their applications as we understand them. But they are there and they are still dealing with moral or civil laws.
    As we go to chapter 23, down to verse 9 is more moral stuff. Up until here we have dealt almost exclusively with moral and/or civil laws and punishments for each.
    After this, he gives the blueprints for the tabernacle. We start with ceremonial laws dealing with offering sacrifice in exodus 40. We pick up more of these laws in Leviticus, starting in chapter 1.
    What is ‘ceremonial’? This deals with rules of sacrifice and offering, purification as a result of interaction with unclean animals,regulations for religious festivals, and other ritual customs or symbolic meanings. Ceremonial stuff is hashed out thru chapter 27. Word for word. And there is no moral stuff mixed in with it. There are some ‘what if’ type questions thrown in, but in reference to offering sacrifices.

    I listed the books and chapter ranges for each ‘category’ The Bible writers fails to provide us with a numbered or bulleted list to make the distinction what what facet of life each law applies to. I dont have that for you. But as you read, you read, first one thing. Then you read the other. It is like it is ‘categorized’ for our convenience or something :)
    Let me also say that I have done deep extensive studies with some close Jewish friends of mine. The way we have things in our Bibles today is different than in Jewish texts. The questions of what laws deal with with which area of life was a confusing question when I asked them. I got a ‘how does anyone get they are NOT categorized’ type response. And to help me out as a Christian, he opened MY bible to exodus 20 and started pointing to paper. I found that interesting. And even though I couldnt read the language of the text of his books he had, he assured me it read much the same way for the sake of my question.

    As far as Jesus distinguishing one from the other. Remember what the meaning of Christs sacrifice represented. When he became our sacrifice, this eliminated the need to have ceremonial slaying of innocent animals as (an inadequate) offering for our sins. Again, the plan of salvation advanced to the next step when he made that sacrifice. The ceremonial bloodshed of animals was only a temporary covering of sins, an earthly work by earthly priests. There was only one way to remove sin by sacrifice. When this happened, we dont need to kill animals anymore. Did Jesus himself say this word for word? I admit for the sake of time I did not look it up in red letters. It is all thru the NT though.
    As far as other ceremonial sabbaths or festivals. Were they done away with? Or should we keep them now? I dont think we will be judged on those. If someone choses to keep those in showing thanks and reverence to God, then by all means that is a personal choice. I do chose to keep the weekly sabbath because it supersedes the later ones, and has a much different more beautiful meaning. Out of willful obedience it is an honor to strive to keep it. It is no less holy today as when it was made for us in Genesis.

  • melgibstein

    Yes that is correct, renewed and redeemed.

  • JTE

    Did you read all my comments?

  • zb

    If I fulfill my vows to my wife, does that mean im done with the promises that ive pledged to her?

  • Yes. But your vows will only be fulfilled when you die (assuming you used the traditional ones). Faithfulness until death. At which point, yes, the promises you’ve pledged to her are over and she’s free to marry someone else.

    This is why Paul can use this exact illustration to describe Israel’s relationship to the Law. They have died to it so they might marry another (Christ).

  • No, he wrote “hadasah,” which means “new” every single time it shows up, which is very unusual for Hebrew words. See for instance Lev. 23:16 – “you shall present a new (hadasah) grain offering,” or 2 Kings 2:20 “bring me a new (hadasah) jar.”

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    I beg your pardon I thought you were
    a troll but I just looked in the mirror and it’s me!

  • Matthew

    Where can we find the online course?

  • melgibstein

    Glad you found yourself.

  • otrotierra

    It’s now been four days since Katherine’s post, and she’s still searching for that scripture passage.

    No more mental gymnastics, no pretzel logic, just Jesus’ own words, quoted directly please.

  • Tracy

    Its at Udemy.com and if you just search for N T Wright in the religious section, I am sure you can easily find it. I have completed Galatians, now doing The Good News lectures.

  • Keith B

    Well, I posted the words of God at first to distinguish one from the other. I would have thought this breakdown would take precedence over the NT, but, maybe this is what one of them you are looking for..

    {Luk 10:27 NKJV} So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

    This is in 3 gospels, but i like the one in Luke here because it is a response to a conversation with Jesus about this question.

    Now, lets put these behind it…

    Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. If there is no law, there is no sin, no repentance, no forgiveness, no need for the cleansing blood.

    And also in verse 31 – Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. (If I could underline, highlight, bold, italicize, circle, draw arrows, to this, I would… )

    Outside of this, I am not sure why it would hold so much weight in trying to put words in Jesus’ mouth.

    Not having written out neat compilation explanation an application of each and every law by him is not an auto win for this argument. At some point, your own understanding at what we do have written should kick in. If all of the OT laws are totally invalid now, then just base your faith on the NT. This would be erroneous though, because without it, we only have a human claiming to be the son of God, a God who apparently requires a human sacrifice for doing wrong and making him mad. I would challenge you to fully explain the entire plan of salvation using only the NT, totally setting aside all of the laws and what they mean and to who, and why.
    I wish you the best is your quest for understanding!

  • Tracy

    Udemy.com

  • Matthew

    Thanks Tracy. I´ve been doing some research into the “new perspectives on Paul”. I agree with some of the conclusions, others not, but as usual even within the “new perspectives” camp there are a variety of opinions. I´m still trying to digest all that I have read. It wasn´t easy to understand.

  • Tracy

    I have found NT really great. He’s easy to understand, and really solid. Like you have found, don’t agree with all, but so much good stuff to sort through I don’t mind. We are never going to find anyone on the planet we agree with totally, but him and Greg Boyd are my two favourites. :)

  • John

    Awfully loose statements at the end. “Love God,” and “Love everyone else, too”? Not the summary of Jesus’ teaching. Those are the greatest of the commandments according to Jesus.

  • Josh Ross

    “He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day he had completed his creation and stopped working.”
    ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭

    SEVENTH DAY = Saturday. How dare you say it doesn’t matter.

  • Bryan Ballas

    With respect Ben, I think you are mistaken on this matter.

    https://juicyecumenism.com/2015/08/18/jesus-didnt-abolish-the-law/

  • Clema Burke

    GRACE AND THE LAW

    Grace can not be mixed with the Law

    If we mix grace with the Law, then we neither have grace or Law. Grace works apart from the Law and there is no grace in the Law. Grace is based 100% on what Jesus did for us to be accepted by God, and the Law is based 100% on what we must do to be accepted by God. These 2 requirements are incompatible with each other, and to combine them together would dilute the effectiveness of each one. Everywhere in the New Testament where the apostles discussed Grace and the Law, they are presented as 2 ways by which one can achieve righteousness before God (Jhn 1:17). One way relies on man’s efforts, thus disqualifying everyone, the other way relies solely on the work of Jesus on our behalf so that no one can be disqualified.

    NEVER did Paul or the other apostles attempt to ‘marry’ the 2 different approaches as a way for the New Covenant believer to follow. If the Law says “do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that” and these rules show us God’s holiness, then to say we only have to obey some of these rules effectively lowers God’s standard of holiness. If Grace says “it’s not about you keeping Law, it’s about what Christ did”, but we say that ‘once we receive what Christ did we now have keep some of the Law so as to not loose our righteous’ then Grace is nullified. If there is any precondition to attaining or keeping our righteous, then it is not Grace.

    The Law is righteous, holy, and good, it shows us a holy God, and then shows us what we must do to achieve the holiness that God requires. But the Law does not help us in reaching this level of holiness, and in our human nature we are unable to do all that the Law requires in order to attain righteousness before God. Since we are unable to keep the requirements of the Law, we are then condemned by the Law before God. The Law therefore only brings condemnation to those who try to keep it. It was set on such a high level that there would be no humanly possible to keep it. It effectively shuts everyone under sin no matter how good they are, for man’s ways always fall short of the glory of God.

    Seeing as we are unable to keep the entirety of the Law, we could interpret the Law in such a way that we could fulfill it by our own efforts. This ‘watering down’ of the Law is unbiblical and is a sign of man attempting to bring the Holy Law of God down to a standard where they can be above it. Neither in the Old or New Testaments does the Bible advocate dissecting the Law so that we we can live by it; if the ENTIRE Law of God is not present, then it is NOT the Law of God but rather a law of man. We understand that the laws of man fall far short of who God is and what He desires from us.

    >Matt. 23:23 Jesus states that the Pharisees, who were trying to be righteous by works, should have observed the weightier matters of the Law (judgment, faith, mercy), WITHOUT NEGLECTING tithing on specific spices. Notice that Jesus did not say that they should have observed the weightier matters instead of the lesser important ones.

    >Acts 15 Some converted Pharisees were teaching that believers still had to observe that Law (or at least most of it). A meeting to the Apostles was called to discuss the matter, and in the end they concluded that those men were teaching doctrines which the church leaders had not commissioned them to teach. They also make it clear that the ONLY ESSENTIAL law for new believes to follow was abstaining from eating blood, meat sacrificed to idols or from animals that were strangled, and fornication. Notice how they did not list the 10 Commandments as being essential for a believer to do well.

    Gal 3:10, 5:3 Jam 2:10 Those who desire to keep part of the Law are under obligation to keep the whole Law. This is for believers too. (Gal 3:3)

    Jesus and the Apostles realized and confirmed the need to keep the entirety of the Law, and clearly state that not keeping part of it is the same as failing in all of it. They did not make any distinctions between “the moral laws” and the “ceremonial laws”. ONE Law was given, and ALL of it needs to be followed in order to be righteous before God.

    If the Law requires absolute obedience in order to justify us, yet we are unable to keep all of the Law, this presents a major problem for us. If we are unable to keep the Law by our own efforts, then this should cause us to give up and realize that we desperately need someone to help us. This is why the Law was given. It was not actually supposed to be an effective and doable guide for our conduct in life. We are supposed to live by faith. (Gal 3:11, 3:19, Heb 7:19, Rom 3:19-20)

    So then…

    No part of the Law applies to the New Covenant believer

    Gal 3:24-25 says that the law was given to lead us to Christ. Once we are found in Christ, we no longer have any need for the Law to continue leading us to Him. It was ordained (put into effect) UNTIL Jesus came to fulfill it (3:19, 24). There was a time limit placed on the Law, and its mandate ran out when the New Covenant was established and put into effect. (Rom 3:31, 8:3-4, Gal 3:13, Heb 10:9)

    Heb 10:1 says that the Law was just a shadow of the things to come. If it was just a shadow, the the real thing was always there, it just wasn’t put into place yet. But now that Grace has come to us through Christ, we no longer need to observe the ‘shadow’ to guide our daily lives. (Rom 7:6, 10:4, Gal 3:13-14) if the Law was unable to make us holy before the New Covenant was established, then it can not keep us holy now that we are free from the Old Covenant. (Heb 7:19, 9:15) the New Covenant was not just a revision or amendment of the Old one to make it more effective. The New Covenant was completely new, and it superseded and did away with the requirements of the Old Covenant. (Gal 4:3, 5:18, )

    1 Tim 1:9 says that the Law was not given for those who are just, but for the unjust. If we, believers, have been justified by the Blood of Jesus, then the Law is no longer applicable for our conduct in life. If we claim that we must still observe part of the Law, then we are required to observe the whole Law, and thus place ourselves in the same category as unbelievers. It is those who won’t believe in Jesus and the grace which He offers, those who are trying to earn their justification by their efforts, and those who think they can live without any accountability who need the Law to show them how far short they are from what God requires. Once we have received the righteous that God offers freely, the Law has then accomplished in us what it was meant to do (bring us to Christ), and we no longer need it to keep on working in our lives.

    To say that God can/will judged us by any part of the Law is to say that the entirety of the Law has not been fulfilled in us and we are are still under it’s bondage. If we have been set free from the Law then we can not be expected to have to keep any part of it, nor can we be judged by any of it. Rom 3:21, 28, 6:4, Gal 2:16- seeing as we have been justified apart from the Law (it was not even considered, nor was our justification based on any requirements from the Law) then failing to keep any part of the law can not have any effect on our justification. Rom 8:33-39 says that nothing in this world can separate, condemn, or bring charges against us before God, who has elected and JUSTIFIED us in His sight. So even if the Law had the power to condemn us, God has already justified us, making any charges against us of no effect. And, just in case that wasn’t enough, Jesus is seated a the right had of the Father and is interceding for us for when we do sin.

    Eph 2:14-15 says that Jesus removed the dividing wall between us and the Jews by abolishing the Law of commandments and ordinances. All the Law did was create hostility between us and God (Col 2:14) and brings wrath to us (Rom 4:15), and if we have been reconciled to God then the Law can not be present in our relationship with Him, for all it does is condemn us, which causes hostility and death (Rom 8:2, Gal 3:10). 2Cor 3:6-7 says that the Law that was written on stones is a ministry of death. All it causes is separation from God and therefore death . Rom 6:14, 7:5, 8-9, 1Cor 15:56 say that sin is aroused and gets its power over us because of the Law. Rom 8:1-2 says that sin and death are connected and come with the Law (they attach themselves to the Law.).

    >It makes no sense whatsoever to attempt of adhere to a code of conduct that was specifically sent to separate us from God by condemning us in sin and thus causing death. Jhn 10:10 Jesus said that He came to give us life, Jhn 21:31, 1Jhn 5:12 say that it is in Jesus that we have life. Eph 2:13 says that the Blood of Jesus has brought us near to God in the same way that Israel was supposed to be near and special to God (1Pet 2:9). Heb 4:16 instructs us to draw near to the Throne of Grace to find mercy, grace, and help in times of need. Heb 7:19, 25, 10:22, 11:6, Jam 5:8 all indicate that it is by drawing near to God that we are saved, perfected, and find victory over the devil and sin. If the Law was sent of show us how holy God is and how sinful we are, thus forcing us away from Him and condemning us to death when we fail to uphold it, then the Law clearly is incompatible with Grace. Grace says that regardless of what we have done, do, or will do, God will never forsake us, condemn us, nor does He leave us to our own efforts to receive our justification, overcome sin, overcome the enemy, and live victoriously in this life. This is the message of the Grace of God that we’ve been commissioned to teach. These are the rights that we as believers have received because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

    The only sin that can condemn us and separate us from God is the sin of unbelief – to reject the justification which He offers by grace through Jesus Christ. John 16:8-9 – the only sin that the world will be convicted of is the sin of unbelief. Mar 3:27-29, Mat 12:31-32 – to blaspheme the Spirit is to speak against, and to have contempt and irreverence for Him. Rom 8:2, 4, 9, 14, 16, 15:16, 1Cor 6:11, 2Cor 1:22, 5:5, Gal 4:6, 5:18, 6:8, Eph 2:18, 4:30, 1Thes 2:13, Heb 10:9 all point out that it is by the Spirit that we are set free from from the Law, sin, and death; we are justified, sanctified, and marked as God’s people (in short, receive God’s offering of Grace), so contempt and irreverence for the Spirit would make us unable to receive the justification He brings. So it stands, if justification by Grace is the ONLY way to be justified, then rejecting the justification is the only sin that can keep a person from God. There is no other way to be forgiven, so that is why it is unforgivable to reject the Spirit of Grace.

    This does not mean that we are free to life how ever we want as long as we don’t ‘blaspheme the Spirit’.

    Learning to live for God apart from the Law

    Titus 2:11-12 It is the Grace of God… that teaches us to live soberly, godly, and righteously, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.
    Rom 6:14 Sin shall not have dominion over us, we are under Grace, not the Law. It is because of Grace that we can be free from sin.
    5:17 Receiving the abundance of Grace enables us to reign in (this) life (over sin, the enemy)
    8:4-9 Being in the Spirit enables us to please God.
    2Cor 1:12 It is by the Grace of God that we can live in this world and with other believers in sincerity and honesty
    12:9 It is by the Grace of God that His power is perfected in us, despite our weaknesses
    Gal 5:13 Our freedom from the Law is not an excuse to sin. Jude 1:4 it is ungodly people who turn the Grace of God into lewdness.
    Gal 5:16 Living as the Spirit leads is the antidote to overcoming the the sinful desires of the flesh.
    Heb 12:25 Living in the Grace of God will prevent the root of bitterness from rising, which can defile us.
    12:28 Let us have Grace, by which we can serve God acceptably with reverence. -it is Grace that enables us to serve God (live) in a way that is pleasing to Him.
    13:9 It is by being strengthened in Grace that our hearts will not be carried away by false teachings.
    1Pet 5:10-12 It is the God of Grace who will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us. It is not by our own efforts – This is the true message of Grace!
    2Pet 3:17-18 Growing in the Grace of Jesus helps to stay away from the errors of lawless men.

    The New Testament makes it clear that sin gets it’s power and life from the Law. (Rom 7:5, 8, 11 1Cor 15:56). If we want to live free from sin, it doesn’t make sense to focus on something that will give sin power to operate in our lives. It is said that what we focus and think on is what we become. In running, we are told to look straight ahead (towards the finish line in short races), and not at the people beside and behind us. Obviously, the probability of loosing, tripping or going off course rises significantly if we’re focusing on where we don’t want to go. We must focus on where we do want to go. If we focus on the righteousness that we have in Christ, then it will lead us away from anything that is unrighteous. If we focus on the Grace of God that enables us to be pleasing to Him, then it will lead us away from sin, which displeases Him. But if we focus on sin in order to avoid it, then we give it power to trip us up. If we focus on the Law, then we give sin power to become or remain active in our lives. (Phil 3:13-14, Heb 12:1-2)

    The idea that believers need to keep the part of Law in the forefront of their minds in order to stay out of sinful lifestyles is based in fear, and it’s another example of man relying on his efforts to find favor with God. This thinking effectively says that God is not able to keep and lead His own away from sin (Heb 13:20-21, Jude 24), so we must install some checks and balances to help Him (or us) out. This is not faith, it is not relying on the Grace of God, and it is a tactic that the enemy uses to get us to focus and rely on ourselves instead of on God and the power that He has placed in the inside of us through the Holy Spirit. We have been called to live by faith – those who are justified must live by faith. Not faith in ourselves, not faith in the Law, but faith in what God has done and is doing for and in us. (1Pet 5:10, Phil 1:6)

    The writers of the New Testament make it clear that living in the Spirit and trusting in the Grace of God are the keys to living in a manner that is pleasing to God. In Jer 31:32-33 it is prophesied that the externally written code of the Old Covenant was not going to be used as a model for the New Covenant, but rather that it would be internal – written in our hearts. This is why the Spirit was given to us: to teach us how to be pleasing to God without having to rely on a list of dos and don’ts. We understand that when man relies on himself that he will fail, and God did not want to place His ability to bless us or our ability to be pleasing to Him on our shoulders as we would fail more often than not. This is where Grace comes in: when God looks at us He doesn’t see us and our failures; He sees Jesus and His perfect obedience.

    Again, this does not mean that we can remain in sin (Gal 5:13). It must be understood that from God’s point of view sin is a non-factor in our relationship with Him. Jesus already paid the penalty for sin, so it doesn’t have any sway over how God feels about us: He loved us so much even while we were rejecting Him that He sent His Son to redeem us; now that we are His children, it would be a slap in His face to say that sin can change His attitude toward us. Rather, sin can change our hearts toward Him and give the enemy a place to come in if we allow. If the Spirit speaks to our hearts and tells us ‘stop doing this, start doing that’ and we obey, then we will be pleasing to God. But if we are intent on continuing in a way that we know in our hearts is displeasing to our Father, then this will give the emeny an opportunity to move into our lives and cause havoc; or, over time it will cause our hearts to be harden until we can’t hear the voice and leading of the Spirit anymore (Eph 4:18, 4:26-27, Heb 3:8, 13, 4:7, 1 Pet 5:5). This will lead us away from Him, and this is why sin displeases Him; but the sin itself has already been dealt with and God does not remember it.

    Sin does not have any power over us unless we give it power because we misunderstand the authority and standing that we have in Christ Jesus. When we sin, we should run to God and rest assured in His unending love for us, knowing that He has already forgiven us and forgotten the sin even before we ask. Even if we’re caught in an addiction that we want to break, we can still be assured of God’s unwavering love for us even in the midst of the addiction. It is when we are rooted, grounded, and have total confidence in the love of our Father toward us that we find the strength to overcome. The enemy would love nothing more than for us to beat ourselves up and distance ourselves from God as we try to fight our way through sin in our lives. On our own we are destined to fail, even if we seem to be getting somewhere in the struggle to live holy. God is holy, and if our heart’s desire is to be like Him, then the obvious thing to do is to remain as close to Him as possible regardless of what we look like on the outside. He will not reject us based on how we look when we draw near to Him; rather, He will embrace us. It is by being in Him that we can begin to be holy like He is. (Rom 11:16, Heb 4:16, Eph 1:4, 3:16-21, 1Jhn 2:28, 4:13, Col 1:22-23, 2:10, Phil 3:9, 4:13, )

    If we are intent on continuing in sin (giving it dominion in our lives), then we place ourselves under the Law, and Grace is no longer at work in our lives (Rom 6:14). Grace gives us the power to over come sin but if we’re inviting sin into our lives, then clearly we are not using Grace to overcome sin. Grace it not an excuse to continue in sin as the the Bible makes it clear that it is through Grace that we are able to please God and overcome sin. Those who see the Grace of God as an excuse to sin clearly do not have a true understanding of the power that Grace imparts, or they had no reverence for God in their hearts to begin with. Looking forward, Jeremiah prophesied that it is when we have the fear of the Lord in our hearts that we will not turn away from Him (Jer 32:41). Jude 1:4 states that it is ungodly people who use the Grace of God for lewdness. So, if we are godly and we have reverence for God in our hearts, then we won’t be going out to find ways to be displeasing to God.

    We have been called to live holy as God is holy, to walk in the light as He is in the light, and to be examples of Christ in this world. We know that we are already forgiven of all our sins, justified, made righteous, and have joint seating with Christ in Heavenly places so that we can live victoriously in this life in Him. This is how God sees us and desires for us to live, yet a holy life of victory doesn’t automatically become the norm once we’ve placed our faith in Jesus Christ. This is the battle that we face: the enemy is trying to sabotage who we are in Christ so that he can continue with his ways, and we are living to establish God’s will in our lives and everywhere we go. Thus we must always be on our guard, resisting the attacks and tricks of the enemy by keeping our eyes on Christ and being firmly grounding in all He is and what He has done for us. It is only by the Grace of God given to us that we are able to overcome the enemy and establish the Kingdom of God in every area of our lives! TGBTG!

    Read Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince.:)

  • Realist1234

    Though Calvanists would argue that if you have been saved, you will be saved on the last day, regardless. I tend to agree with that (otherwise if you can lose your salvation, what did the cross of Jesus actually accomplish?)
    , and you dont have to be a Calvanist to have that view.

  • Realist1234

    I am not sure why this is particularly important. The fact that Peter had a vision that told him to eat everything, to his shock, not just those specified previously, says it all. As for morality, if anything Christians are clearly supposed to be the most ‘moral’ of all God’s creatures, but when we fail, which we often do, He forgives us because of the cross. Is that not sufficient?

  • Clema Burke

    GRACE AND THE LAW

    Grace can not be mixed with the Law

    If we mix grace with the Law, then we neither have grace or Law. Grace works apart from the Law and there is no grace in the Law. Grace is based 100% on what Jesus did for us to be accepted by God, and the Law is based 100% on what we must do to be accepted by God. These 2 requirements are incompatible with each other, and to combine them together would dilute the effectiveness of each one. Everywhere in the New Testament where the apostles discussed Grace and the Law, they are presented as 2 ways by which one can achieve righteousness before God (Jhn 1:17). One way relies on man’s efforts, thus disqualifying everyone, the other way relies solely on the work of Jesus on our behalf so that no one can be disqualified.

    NEVER did Paul or the other apostles attempt to ‘marry’ the 2 different approaches as a way for the New Covenant believer to follow. If the Law says “do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that” and these rules show us God’s holiness, then to say we only have to obey some of these rules effectively lowers God’s standard of holiness. If Grace says “it’s not about you keeping Law, it’s about what Christ did”, but we say that ‘once we receive what Christ did we now have keep some of the Law so as to not loose our righteous’ then Grace is nullified. If there is any precondition to attaining or keeping our righteous, then it is not Grace.

    The Law is righteous, holy, and good, it shows us a holy God, and then shows us what we must do to achieve the holiness that God requires. But the Law does not help us in reaching this level of holiness, and in our human nature we are unable to do all that the Law requires in order to attain righteousness before God. Since we are unable to keep the requirements of the Law, we are then condemned by the Law before God. The Law therefore only brings condemnation to those who try to keep it. It was set on such a high level that there would be no humanly possible to keep it. It effectively shuts everyone under sin no matter how good they are, for man’s ways always fall short of the glory of God.

    Seeing as we are unable to keep the entirety of the Law, we could interpret the Law in such a way that we could fulfill it by our own efforts. This ‘watering down’ of the Law is unbiblical and is a sign of man attempting to bring the Holy Law of God down to a standard where they can be above it. Neither in the Old or New Testaments does the Bible advocate dissecting the Law so that we we can live by it; if the ENTIRE Law of God is not present, then it is NOT the Law of God but rather a law of man. We understand that the laws of man fall far short of who God is and what He desires from us.

    >Matt. 23:23 Jesus states that the Pharisees, who were trying to be righteous by works, should have observed the weightier matters of the Law (judgment, faith, mercy), WITHOUT NEGLECTING tithing on specific spices. Notice that Jesus did not say that they should have observed the weightier matters instead of the lesser important ones.

    >Acts 15 Some converted Pharisees were teaching that believers still had to observe that Law (or at least most of it). A meeting to the Apostles was called to discuss the matter, and in the end they concluded that those men were teaching doctrines which the church leaders had not commissioned them to teach. They also make it clear that the ONLY ESSENTIAL law for new believes to follow was abstaining from eating blood, meat sacrificed to idols or from animals that were strangled, and fornication. Notice how they did not list the 10 Commandments as being essential for a believer to do well.

    Gal 3:10, 5:3 Jam 2:10 Those who desire to keep part of the Law are under obligation to keep the whole Law. This is for believers too. (Gal 3:3)

    Jesus and the Apostles realized and confirmed the need to keep the entirety of the Law, and clearly state that not keeping part of it is the same as failing in all of it. They did not make any distinctions between “the moral laws” and the “ceremonial laws”. ONE Law was given, and ALL of it needs to be followed in order to be righteous before God.

    If the Law requires absolute obedience in order to justify us, yet we are unable to keep all of the Law, this presents a major problem for us. If we are unable to keep the Law by our own efforts, then this should cause us to give up and realize that we desperately need someone to help us. This is why the Law was given. It was not actually supposed to be an effective and doable guide for our conduct in life. We are supposed to live by faith. (Gal 3:11, 3:19, Heb 7:19, Rom 3:19-20)

    So then…

    No part of the Law applies to the New Covenant believer

    Gal 3:24-25 says that the law was given to lead us to Christ. Once we are found in Christ, we no longer have any need for the Law to continue leading us to Him. It was ordained (put into effect) UNTIL Jesus came to fulfill it (3:19, 24). There was a time limit placed on the Law, and its mandate ran out when the New Covenant was established and put into effect. (Rom 3:31, 8:3-4, Gal 3:13, Heb 10:9)

    Heb 10:1 says that the Law was just a shadow of the things to come. If it was just a shadow, the the real thing was always there, it just wasn’t put into place yet. But now that Grace has come to us through Christ, we no longer need to observe the ‘shadow’ to guide our daily lives. (Rom 7:6, 10:4, Gal 3:13-14) if the Law was unable to make us holy before the New Covenant was established, then it can not keep us holy now that we are free from the Old Covenant. (Heb 7:19, 9:15) the New Covenant was not just a revision or amendment of the Old one to make it more effective. The New Covenant was completely new, and it superseded and did away with the requirements of the Old Covenant. (Gal 4:3, 5:18, )

    1 Tim 1:9 says that the Law was not given for those who are just, but for the unjust. If we, believers, have been justified by the Blood of Jesus, then the Law is no longer applicable for our conduct in life. If we claim that we must still observe part of the Law, then we are required to observe the whole Law, and thus place ourselves in the same category as unbelievers. It is those who won’t believe in Jesus and the grace which He offers, those who are trying to earn their justification by their efforts, and those who think they can live without any accountability who need the Law to show them how far short they are from what God requires. Once we have received the righteous that God offers freely, the Law has then accomplished in us what it was meant to do (bring us to Christ), and we no longer need it to keep on working in our lives.

    To say that God can/will judged us by any part of the Law is to say that the entirety of the Law has not been fulfilled in us and we are are still under it’s bondage. If we have been set free from the Law then we can not be expected to have to keep any part of it, nor can we be judged by any of it. Rom 3:21, 28, 6:4, Gal 2:16- seeing as we have been justified apart from the Law (it was not even considered, nor was our justification based on any requirements from the Law) then failing to keep any part of the law can not have any effect on our justification. Rom 8:33-39 says that nothing in this world can separate, condemn, or bring charges against us before God, who has elected and JUSTIFIED us in His sight. So even if the Law had the power to condemn us, God has already justified us, making any charges against us of no effect. And, just in case that wasn’t enough, Jesus is seated a the right had of the Father and is interceding for us for when we do sin.

    Eph 2:14-15 says that Jesus removed the dividing wall between us and the Jews by abolishing the Law of commandments and ordinances. All the Law did was create hostility between us and God (Col 2:14) and brings wrath to us (Rom 4:15), and if we have been reconciled to God then the Law can not be present in our relationship with Him, for all it does is condemn us, which causes hostility and death (Rom 8:2, Gal 3:10). 2Cor 3:6-7 says that the Law that was written on stones is a ministry of death. All it causes is separation from God and therefore death . Rom 6:14, 7:5, 8-9, 1Cor 15:56 say that sin is aroused and gets its power over us because of the Law. Rom 8:1-2 says that sin and death are connected and come with the Law (they attach themselves to the Law.).

    >It makes no sense whatsoever to attempt of adhere to a code of conduct that was specifically sent to separate us from God by condemning us in sin and thus causing death. Jhn 10:10 Jesus said that He came to give us life, Jhn 21:31, 1Jhn 5:12 say that it is in Jesus that we have life. Eph 2:13 says that the Blood of Jesus has brought us near to God in the same way that Israel was supposed to be near and special to God (1Pet 2:9). Heb 4:16 instructs us to draw near to the Throne of Grace to find mercy, grace, and help in times of need. Heb 7:19, 25, 10:22, 11:6, Jam 5:8 all indicate that it is by drawing near to God that we are saved, perfected, and find victory over the devil and sin. If the Law was sent of show us how holy God is and how sinful we are, thus forcing us away from Him and condemning us to death when we fail to uphold it, then the Law clearly is incompatible with Grace. Grace says that regardless of what we have done, do, or will do, God will never forsake us, condemn us, nor does He leave us to our own efforts to receive our justification, overcome sin, overcome the enemy, and live victoriously in this life. This is the message of the Grace of God that we’ve been commissioned to teach. These are the rights that we as believers have received because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

    The only sin that can condemn us and separate us from God is the sin of unbelief – to reject the justification which He offers by grace through Jesus Christ. John 16:8-9 – the only sin that the world will be convicted of is the sin of unbelief. Mar 3:27-29, Mat 12:31-32 – to blaspheme the Spirit is to speak against, and to have contempt and irreverence for Him. Rom 8:2, 4, 9, 14, 16, 15:16, 1Cor 6:11, 2Cor 1:22, 5:5, Gal 4:6, 5:18, 6:8, Eph 2:18, 4:30, 1Thes 2:13, Heb 10:9 all point out that it is by the Spirit that we are set free from from the Law, sin, and death; we are justified, sanctified, and marked as God’s people (in short, receive God’s offering of Grace), so contempt and irreverence for the Spirit would make us unable to receive the justification He brings. So it stands, if justification by Grace is the ONLY way to be justified, then rejecting the justification is the only sin that can keep a person from God. There is no other way to be forgiven, so that is why it is unforgivable to reject the Spirit of Grace.

    This does not mean that we are free to life how ever we want as long as we don’t ‘blaspheme the Spirit’.

    Learning to live for God apart from the Law

    Titus 2:11-12 It is the Grace of God… that teaches us to live soberly, godly, and righteously, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.
    Rom 6:14 Sin shall not have dominion over us, we are under Grace, not the Law. It is because of Grace that we can be free from sin.
    5:17 Receiving the abundance of Grace enables us to reign in (this) life (over sin, the enemy)
    8:4-9 Being in the Spirit enables us to please God.
    2Cor 1:12 It is by the Grace of God that we can live in this world and with other believers in sincerity and honesty
    12:9 It is by the Grace of God that His power is perfected in us, despite our weaknesses
    Gal 5:13 Our freedom from the Law is not an excuse to sin. Jude 1:4 it is ungodly people who turn the Grace of God into lewdness.
    Gal 5:16 Living as the Spirit leads is the antidote to overcoming the the sinful desires of the flesh.
    Heb 12:25 Living in the Grace of God will prevent the root of bitterness from rising, which can defile us.
    12:28 Let us have Grace, by which we can serve God acceptably with reverence. -it is Grace that enables us to serve God (live) in a way that is pleasing to Him.
    13:9 It is by being strengthened in Grace that our hearts will not be carried away by false teachings.
    1Pet 5:10-12 It is the God of Grace who will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us. It is not by our own efforts – This is the true message of Grace!
    2Pet 3:17-18 Growing in the Grace of Jesus helps to stay away from the errors of lawless men.

    The New Testament makes it clear that sin gets it’s power and life from the Law. (Rom 7:5, 8, 11 1Cor 15:56). If we want to live free from sin, it doesn’t make sense to focus on something that will give sin power to operate in our lives. It is said that what we focus and think on is what we become. In running, we are told to look straight ahead (towards the finish line in short races), and not at the people beside and behind us. Obviously, the probability of loosing, tripping or going off course rises significantly if we’re focusing on where we don’t want to go. We must focus on where we do want to go. If we focus on the righteousness that we have in Christ, then it will lead us away from anything that is unrighteous. If we focus on the Grace of God that enables us to be pleasing to Him, then it will lead us away from sin, which displeases Him. But if we focus on sin in order to avoid it, then we give it power to trip us up. If we focus on the Law, then we give sin power to become or remain active in our lives. (Phil 3:13-14, Heb 12:1-2)

    The idea that believers need to keep the part of Law in the forefront of their minds in order to stay out of sinful lifestyles is based in fear, and it’s another example of man relying on his efforts to find favor with God. This thinking effectively says that God is not able to keep and lead His own away from sin (Heb 13:20-21, Jude 24), so we must install some checks and balances to help Him (or us) out. This is not faith, it is not relying on the Grace of God, and it is a tactic that the enemy uses to get us to focus and rely on ourselves instead of on God and the power that He has placed in the inside of us through the Holy Spirit. We have been called to live by faith – those who are justified must live by faith. Not faith in ourselves, not faith in the Law, but faith in what God has done and is doing for and in us. (1Pet 5:10, Phil 1:6)

    The writers of the New Testament make it clear that living in the Spirit and trusting in the Grace of God are the keys to living in a manner that is pleasing to God. In Jer 31:32-33 it is prophesied that the externally written code of the Old Covenant was not going to be used as a model for the New Covenant, but rather that it would be internal – written in our hearts. This is why the Spirit was given to us: to teach us how to be pleasing to God without having to rely on a list of dos and don’ts. We understand that when man relies on himself that he will fail, and God did not want to place His ability to bless us or our ability to be pleasing to Him on our shoulders as we would fail more often than not. This is where Grace comes in: when God looks at us He doesn’t see us and our failures; He sees Jesus and His perfect obedience.

    Again, this does not mean that we can remain in sin (Gal 5:13). It must be understood that from God’s point of view sin is a non-factor in our relationship with Him. Jesus already paid the penalty for sin, so it doesn’t have any sway over how God feels about us: He loved us so much even while we were rejecting Him that He sent His Son to redeem us; now that we are His children, it would be a slap in His face to say that sin can change His attitude toward us. Rather, sin can change our hearts toward Him and give the enemy a place to come in if we allow. If the Spirit speaks to our hearts and tells us ‘stop doing this, start doing that’ and we obey, then we will be pleasing to God. But if we are intent on continuing in a way that we know in our hearts is displeasing to our Father, then this will give the emeny an opportunity to move into our lives and cause havoc; or, over time it will cause our hearts to be harden until we can’t hear the voice and leading of the Spirit anymore (Eph 4:18, 4:26-27, Heb 3:8, 13, 4:7, 1 Pet 5:5). This will lead us away from Him, and this is why sin displeases Him; but the sin itself has already been dealt with and God does not remember it.

    Sin does not have any power over us unless we give it power because we misunderstand the authority and standing that we have in Christ Jesus. When we sin, we should run to God and rest assured in His unending love for us, knowing that He has already forgiven us and forgotten the sin even before we ask. Even if we’re caught in an addiction that we want to break, we can still be assured of God’s unwavering love for us even in the midst of the addiction. It is when we are rooted, grounded, and have total confidence in the love of our Father toward us that we find the strength to overcome. The enemy would love nothing more than for us to beat ourselves up and distance ourselves from God as we try to fight our way through sin in our lives. On our own we are destined to fail, even if we seem to be getting somewhere in the struggle to live holy. God is holy, and if our heart’s desire is to be like Him, then the obvious thing to do is to remain as close to Him as possible regardless of what we look like on the outside. He will not reject us based on how we look when we draw near to Him; rather, He will embrace us. It is by being in Him that we can begin to be holy like He is. (Rom 11:16, Heb 4:16, Eph 1:4, 3:16-21, 1Jhn 2:28, 4:13, Col 1:22-23, 2:10, Phil 3:9, 4:13, )

    If we are intent on continuing in sin (giving it dominion in our lives), then we place ourselves under the Law, and Grace is no longer at work in our lives (Rom 6:14). Grace gives us the power to over come sin but if we’re inviting sin into our lives, then clearly we are not using Grace to overcome sin. Grace it not an excuse to continue in sin as the the Bible makes it clear that it is through Grace that we are able to please God and overcome sin. Those who see the Grace of God as an excuse to sin clearly do not have a true understanding of the power that Grace imparts, or they had no reverence for God in their hearts to begin with. Looking forward, Jeremiah prophesied that it is when we have the fear of the Lord in our hearts that we will not turn away from Him (Jer 32:41). Jude 1:4 states that it is ungodly people who use the Grace of God for lewdness. So, if we are godly and we have reverence for God in our hearts, then we won’t be going out to find ways to be displeasing to God.

    We have been called to live holy as God is holy, to walk in the light as He is in the light, and to be examples of Christ in this world. We know that we are already forgiven of all our sins, justified, made righteous, and have joint seating with Christ in Heavenly places so that we can live victoriously in this life in Him. This is how God sees us and desires for us to live, yet a holy life of victory doesn’t automatically become the norm once we’ve placed our faith in Jesus Christ. This is the battle that we face: the enemy is trying to sabotage who we are in Christ so that he can continue with his ways, and we are living to establish God’s will in our lives and everywhere we go. Thus we must always be on our guard, resisting the attacks and tricks of the enemy by keeping our eyes on Christ and being firmly grounding in all He is and what He has done for us. It is only by the Grace of God given to us that we are able to overcome the enemy and establish the Kingdom of God in every area of our lives! TGBTG!

    Read Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince.:)

  • Superb

  • Josh Ross

    Funny, when ‘jesus’ said ‘the word of God’ he ALWAYS meant Genesis through Malachi. Like when he said, “blessed is he who HEARS THE WORD OF GOD AND PUTS IT TO USE.”

    ““Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:13-14‬ ‭

    Concerning the end times and will of God

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:13-14, 21-23‬ ‭

    “Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.””
    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭40:7-8‬

    Before you twist Paul, in chapter 7 he WASNT saying the Law brought sin he was saying people fell victim to sin because they wanted to do the opposite of what the Law said! The law that he said was dead is not Moses, it was the law that Sin = Death which means that before the messiah came death was the end, the absence of God. Now afterward there is life if you are blameless. ALSO PAUL CIRCUMCISED MEN AFTER THE COUNCIL, sounds hypocritical after his fight with barnabbas

    “Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭

    “What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.””
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:7‬ ‭

    “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
    So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:12-13, 21-23‬ ‭

    “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”
    ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:4-10‬ ‭

    “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.”
    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119:1-9‬ ‭

    “Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees. You reject all who stray from your laws for their delusions come to nothing.”
    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119:116-118‬ ‭

  • Clema Burke

    -Josh

    Just because Paul circumcised people does not mean that he was hypocritical. He says that to the Jews he was a Jew…, that means he observed certain parts of the peoples culture so that they would accept him SO that he coukd minister to them more effectively 1Cor 9:19. There was nothing wrong woth circumcision in its self, as long as a person didn’t rely on it for their justification. Paul makes that clear in his letters.

    I was not implying that the Law brought sin -Paul makes that clear to. It is the enemy that uses the Law against us because he know that we are unable to keep the Law. If the minute the Law is applied we are found to be breaking it, then sin cannot be separated from the Law. The Law shows us sin – that was the point of the Law.

    I gave a boat load of verse from all throughout the Bible. Which ones are twisted and how? Romans says ‘the law of sin and death’ , not ‘the law that sin brings death’ , as you imply. There is the Law, and it is known for causing sin and death. That’s what ‘of’ means in this verse

    Read Galations 1-4. You’ll see that Paul is against any teaching that we must follow part of the Law. It’s either all of it, or non of it. Trying to follow all of it should lead one to the end of himself and into the arms of Grace.

  • Realist1234

    Indeed, but it is also a commentary on God’s view of Old Testament laws. Jews as well as Gentiles are now free to eat any food, including those that God had previously declared ‘unclean’ . Like most visions from God, there are multiple meanings, which you have failed to see. Now who’s the dunce?!

  • Realist1234

    Couldnt agree more. This is great! More people need to understand the truth you have outlined.

  • “Funny, when ‘jesus’ said ‘the word of God’ he ALWAYS meant Genesis through Malachi” – Are you sure? I’m not certain that the ‘canon’ even of OT Scripture had been thoroughly established at that time. And don’t forget that Jesus is the Word of God; the Scriptures (if you like, Genesis through Malachi, then!) were there to point to Him, and He came to fulfil the Law.

  • Clema Burke

    I already posted most of this, but this is for people who are stuck on Matt 5-7, especially 5:18

    I do not believe that most of Jesus’ sermon in Matt 5-7 was intended to be the way that he expected people to live under the New Covenat that he was about to usher in with his upcoming death and resurection. Rather, he was demonstrating to the people just how far from achieving righteousness they were by whatever achievable standard they had set. They were thinking things like ‘I’ve never never slept with anyone other than my wife, so I’m doing good with commandment #7’. Jesus pulls the rug out from under them by telling them that ‘wanting to do it’ is the same as doing it in God’s eyes. Notice verses 19 and 20 in chapter 5. By watering down the law to a bunch of rituals, the teachers of the Law had made it possible to achieve righteousness by obeying the Law, hence verse 20.

    So Jesus spends the rest of the chapter and the next 2 putting the Law to the impossible to keep level that it is supposed to be on. Righteousness by faith through grace (not having to earn it) is the only form of righteousness that surpasses righteousness by obeying the Law (righteousness by works). Let’s be realistic, he made made some pretty impossible to keep requirements in those chapters, and then tells us in order to be like God, perfect, and wise, we have to follow every single one perfectly. Sounds like he was trying to discourage people despite their best efforts, so that they would give up on trying to attain righteousness by following the Law.

    Anyways, following the Law can’t make anyone righteous; it’s only purpose was to lead us to the end of ourselves and bring us to Christ and the righteousness that he offers freely.

    The bit about Matt 5:18, my rendering of it would be something like this: Jesus was saying -If- by chance, heaven and earth were to pass away before the Law was accomplished, -THEN- the Law would pass away too uncompleted. Otherwise, The Law MUST be accomplished before it can (will) pass away. Just 2 possible ways for the Law to pass away. Jesus accomplished the whole Law, so now it has passed away (it is no longer applicable in our relationship with God)
    > if a person tells a child that “until bedtime, he cannot get up from the table until (unless) he finishes his supper”, would you REALLY assume that the child has to remain at the table untill bedtime even after he finishes?

    -Clema

  • Josh Ross

    The Bible saysmany times the law is NOT IMPOSSIBLE. If living without the lawequals sinning, and God made the Law that would mean he mde something to lead us purposely to sin since it was impossible. Read psalm119 the law is possible

  • Josh Ross

    Fulfill does not mean make void or destroy. Follow Verse 17 through 20 of matt 5

  • Josh Ross

    Paul was hypocritical. He fought barnabbas saying that circumcision was no longer needed for nonjews and even james said that people were accusing paul or telling jews not to circumcise their people also. Then he circumcized a nonjew. Telling people not to do something then doing it anyway is HYPOCRITICAL in the bibleor otherwise. If everone is uncapable of keeping the Law that GOD made then explain “jesus” a MAN WHO KEPT IT PERFECTLY SHOWING US THAT IT IS POSSIBLE. Job also kept the law perfectly.

    Again read psalm 119 peoplelike you who teach against the law are called destructive and deceitful.

  • Josh Ross

    No THAT CHAPTER IS NOT ABOUT FOOD LAW ITS AOUT NONJEWS BEING WELCOME IN THE FAITH. PORK, ETC IS SILL UNCLEAN “what my lioshave said i change not”

  • Josh Ross

    The epistle of James is PROLAW

  • More bacon for me. But I hope you strive to keep the law perfectly– that you don’t shave the sides of your head, that you don’t wear clothing of mixed fibers, etc.

  • Clema Burke

    As I said, if he wasnt circumcising them in order to be righteous by works, there is nothing wrong with it or anything else from the Law that he did after he was saved, like going to the temple to pray and offer sacrifices.

    If one was able to follow the Law perfectly, Atonement would not have had to be made for EVERYBODY every year, only for those who sinned. The Bible says that NO ONE is justified by following the Law. Besides, if wanting to do something bad makes one as guilty as doing it, it makes it pretty impossible to keep the Law perfectly. Jesus was able to keep the Law because he did not have a sin nature, like all the rest of mankind does, and he lived by faith, like were supposed to live. People pleased God and were justified before the Law came, so we can be justified without obeying the law too.

    You’d be going out on some pretty thin ice to say that anyone was justified by the Law. None of the writers of the Psalms were made righteous by keeping the Law perfectly.

    Most scholars agree that Job lived around the same time as Abraham, before the law

    I do not teach agaist the Law, I teach against relying on the Law to receive acceptance or justifiction from God. Big difference. Did you even read the whole post on Grace and Law and check out the verses I gave?!? How on earth do you arrive at the conclusion that I am against the Law?!?!

  • Clema Burke

    The Law revealed sin, it doesn’t cause us to sin; we have the that tempts us to be contrary to the Law. Where in the Bible does it sasy So-and-So obeyed the Law perfectly, so God owed him righteous. ? Righteousness is free, it can’t be earned by works. The Bible make that clear!

  • …but still you don’t answer the question. Again: Are you sure?

  • melgibstein

    It is also directed to guess who? The 12 tribes scattered abroad.

  • Josh Ross

    Matt 5:17-19 and Mark 7 is not about food it is about eating food with unwashed hands

  • Josh Ross

    Acts 10-11 was about NONJEWS being clean people, seriously read peters explanation. Mark 7 was about eating food with UNWASHED HANDS not about unclean food.

  • Josh Ross

    There is no old or new testament JESUS TAUGHT THE “OLD TESTAMENT “

  • Oscar Scott Oliver

    THANKS!!! You have perfectly articulated exactly what I have been thinking/feeling of for the last couple of years with the same saying of Jesus saying he came to fulfill the law. There is only 2 laws now and Jesus makes it clear that “neighbor” includes our enemies as well. Using the OT for legalism is now ended BUT it is still instructive for understanding how God works and how humankind have continually twisted things to only appear that they are faithful.

  • Todd Greene

    I’ve been a believer for almost 32 years. Egads! That makes me sound old. Anyway, What I want to say here is this short article answers a question I’ve had for that long and no one, pastor or layman, has ever been able to answer. I feel so much better now.

  • Dominic St Pierre

    Hello Ben, thank you for your posts. I was initially attracted to your blog by your posts on hell, which i was pleasantly surprised that good teaching still exists in the realm of christianity.

    But this post os different. If we could discuss, please hear me as a calm brother.
    Id like to point put that most of your qualifying scriptures that you have used are being interpreted out of context.

    Take 1cor8:12, the context is eating food offered to idols. The weaker brother is one that considers the idol to have some kind pf power, not because he considers the law anything.

    Consider col 2:17
    You are ignoring the context and applying an assumed fundamental belief when the text does not say so.
    Here is how: the fundamental reads “dont worry about the sabbath or the law, that stuff is a shadow, messiah is better.”
    Where paul is actually saying, dont live like you used to, being convinced of worldly superstitions and reasonings of the world, thereby Do the things of the kingdom, sabbath, holy days etc, dont let people judge you for doing them, because they are a reminder of christs return. Aka the shadow fades because the body is coming.

    Consider also: eph 2, the context betrays your interpretation. If you compare the greek you will see this is a particularly challenging verse.
    The context reinforces pauls statements in collosians. Don’t go back to your old worldly pagan ways. You are now brought near into the covenants. Made a citizen of the commonwealth of Israel. The law wasnt hung on the cross, nor does removing the law create gentiles and jews one new creature.
    Because the law doesn’t contain prescriptions to divide gentiles. But if you study the gezerot, you will find a document that divides by dogma, such that caused the hypocrisy of peter in acts and Galatians.

    Consider the statement on the cross: it is finished. How does one infer that removing or completing the law is his point? Or could be rather simply his mission is completed? Ie isa 53?

    I urge you to reconsider each point of scripture and deeply consider the context and hear that paul is saying the opposite of how you have portrayed him.

  • Dominic St Pierre

    btw, I wrote an article about your article giving you a more thorough refutation. Please take a read.
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/dominic-st-pierre/misinformation-example-1-christian-theology-disregard-for-context/10153265115874576

  • melgibstein

    What?

  • melgibstein

    What>? Does it say NEW or not?

  • Wow, excellent insights! Thank you.

  • Lynn

    Also, how to get along with brand new believers from a different cultural background.

  • Lynn

    When Jesus was trying to demonstrate that the sabbath was made for man, and all the other laws.
    I believe that we have the responsibility to make all laws for the benefit of humans and the earths life not to enslave any to the law.
    The law had become a trap, no longer healthy.

  • Lynn

    Weren’t some of the apostles John the Baptists followers first?

  • Lynn

    In my speculation Jesus must have done miracles at home because at the wedding at Cana his Mom told him the wine was gone and he answered like a teen ager but did as his mother told him and turned water into fine wine.
    He shows honor and respect for women when he shows himself first to them after the resurrection.
    The first evangelist was a non-Israelite woman at the well, Most sermons dwell on her faults and not that she told the town about Jesus. There are many more stories of women Jesus treated as smart people. He treated the outcasts of that society as good friends. You did not go in that day to someone’s house unless they were considered a good friend.

  • Lynn

    Too much of Christendom has fallen away from Chists examples and is probably not Christian.
    I think of what the Catholic pope just said about building walls and not bridges and I believe he was referring to many people.

  • Lynn

    Jesus praised Mary, Martha’s sister for listening instead of preparing meals.

  • Lynn

    God did not like that Adam and Eve did not like being naked. God made them that way what should they be ashamed of.
    Maybe God’s form of dress is take it off.
    David danced in the streets before the Lord, Naked.

  • Lynn

    How about the law is for people not for a way for God to condemn us?

  • Lynn

    Justified by faith.

  • Lynn

    Much of the inspired words were left out. I depended on who was picking the inspired books.

  • Lynn

    Love your neighbor as yourself. Practice this, act on it and you will eventually believe it. This will lead to salvation no matter what name you know Jesus by. The fairness part of our brain was found by scientists, religious people call it a conscious. We all know what we need to do for salvation.
    Written on our hearts. No more excuses.

  • Lynn

    Maybe it would be easier to say you will be judged the same way you judge others.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    The bullied kid in the movie was not judging the bully but pointing out that the bully had done wrong, and that the principle was doing wrong to him too by coercing forgiveness.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Since God is not them, so what does his wants matter?
    Indeed, what was the point of a tree that causes one to assume one is part of a non-existent clothing-wearing society and in violation of a non-existent social taboo?
    Great?
    Sexy?

  • Bones

    Are you naked now??????

  • In my speculation the miracle stories about Jesus are about as likely as the miracle stories of Vespasian or Apollodorus or Alexander or Eleazar or Asclepios or any other ancient “miracle workers”. And as one would expect from ancient patriarchal stories, Jesus shows women “honor and respect” by allowing women to serve him: washing his feet, serving him meals, even preparing his body for burial after death.

  • Christ never offered solutions to the problems I brought up in that last comment; in fact the earliest writings that we have available about Christ are the letters of Paul, which only helped to promulgate the Church’s support of slavery, patriarchy, and discrimination for nearly 2000 years.

  • Lynn

    I wasn’t really referring to the movie but trying to explain what Jesus meant. The rules we set for others in our own hearts are the same rules God will use to judge us.
    If we say bullying is wrong then God expects us not to bully etc.

  • Lynn

    He washed feet also. Working as a janitor in a hospital what I saw the nurses do I also consider miracles. I see miracles all around me I think even animals can do miracles. Prayers answered before you pray them. Little and big things.

  • Lynn

    I was then but I did not want to get arrested so I dressed to go to the store. It was a little chilly out also.

  • Lynn

    Revelation was written in code. I read some books is it astrology.(?) That had some interpretations of what this book meant especially with numbers. The bible seems to contradict itself also. Bring up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it and Bring up a child in the way he should go and he will return to it. I see different examples for different people. The prodigal son had an obedient brother. At the beginning of Revelation it says that you will be blessed to read the book but no one gets the meaning all right and no one gets the meaning all wrong. An Assembly of God person showed me passages in the old and new testament that were repeated in Revelation.
    I think we as a world make things more complicated than they need to be.
    I believe that we should be continuing to write our religious story as we live in this world.
    I also have my doubts about Paul concerning Jesus’s ways.

  • Lynn

    What if they are neither but life stories to help guide you on how to live your own life. Not to worry or fret but to feel like a whole you. More like a troubleshooting guide.

  • Lynn

    The Lawyers, scribes, and pharisees seemed to have nit picked the law into such a state that no one could possibly keep it which was not the original purpose. Healing on Sunday was a sin to them but pulling their animal out of a well when no one was looking was ok.

  • Lynn

    Friday before sundown. Sundown is the start of the Sabbath.

  • Bones

    Lol.

    Where’s skype when you need it?

  • He washed the men’s feet one time. And they were so astonished by it, Peter tried to refuse him. Clearly, they didn’t see him wash feet very often, if ever.

    I agree that nurses, doctors, all sorts of people (and animals too) do wonderfully good things for each other. But miracles? If “miracles” is broadly used to refer to “doing good things”, then it tends to lose any useful definition.

  • That may be true, but the law is be pretty nit-picky all by itself, with proscriptions about permissible foods, definitions of “unclean” with elaborate proscriptions for becoming “clean” again, and meticulous punishments such as stoning to death for defying your parents.

  • No, you failed to note any categorization of “moral laws” versus “ceremonial laws” in the old or new testament. Sure, anyone could loosely group laws that they personally consider moral or ceremonial, but loose groupings do not establish categories that existed for biblical writers.

    And, of course, you conveniently only “group” passages that you imagine support your contention. You conveniently leave out passages such as Leviticus 19, which tosses in proscriptions against lying and stealing alongside planting your fields with two kinds of seed, mixing two types of fabric, and instructions for how to cut your hair (apparently, the Hasidic Jews have the right haircut).

    As far as Jesus’ commandments, though I’m not particularly inclined to “follow” an apocalyptic rabbi who lived 2000 years ago, I do like the commandment that Buddha and Confucius worded centuries before Jesus – the Golden Rule. Much of the remainder of Jesus’ commandments I can do without. I’m not particularly interested in a leader who says:

    For I have come to set a man against his father,
    and a daughter against her mother,
    and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
    and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

    And, however, charismatic he may think himself, I will not love him more than my son or daughter, father or mother, as he commands. I have no interest in worshipping a narcissist.

  • Keith B

    The discussion of the laws has hashed out here, including what you have said about it. And it comes down to, if you can logically apply ALL laws that were obviously meant to govern the then-chosen nation, then by all means do so and be accountable for it. This concept shouldn’t be such a big deal to followers of Christ and if you understand the standards of righteousness that apply to us since the cross.
    Also, I can tell that you have knowledge about the Bible. However, it seems if you ever did have any real faith, it has been tested at some point to cause you not to believe anymore. This is exercise of your freewill that God has given to you, and nobody should fault you for it. It is unfortunate to see, but it does happen. I hope you have people in your life that can be a positive influence to return to your faith before it is too late.
    And I think you may have misunderstood Jesus’ ideas in your last comment. I wont bother explaining, but it may be good to remember, the family that you mention, none of them are able to save your soul.

  • Oh certainly. Christians engage in all sorts of cognitive dissonance, including that which attempts to separate Old Testament law into that which must be followed and that which can be ignored (subsequently ignoring the illogic this adds to NT passages).

    Since you are worried about my returning to the faith “before it is too late”, I can only assume that you are a believer in hell. Not all Christians do believe in hell, but to those who do, I can only say: Hell is the nastiest invention of religion ever to find its way onto a page. How can anyone imagine eternal torture for otherwise finite creatures as anything but abhorrent! There are a lot of “gods” out there, but a “god” of hell would have to be the most contemptible of them all.

  • Keith B

    Beau, for caparison, I would urge you to contrast the laws and rules that Moses handed down from God to the the-forming nation of Israel, against what Peter and Paul and the Gospels tell us our guidelines are. I am confident that you wont find they are exactly the same. Some are though. And with some logic applied, those are not that difficult to figure out. If I feel that in my attempt at humble obedience to God in my walk with him, I chose to keep the 10 commandments, which includes keeping the true creation Sabbath holy, Thats what i am gonna do. Do I think that God finds it offensive that I sometimes wear a 50-50 cotton/poly blend shirt? I am not part of the original chosen people from the OT anymore so I dont think he cares too much about holding everyone under the obsolete covenant.
    It is not that any of us pick and choose anything. That was done for us when Jesus was rejected by his own people. After that, the original set of rules was put back in place. But now, you didnt have to be put to death for adultery, you can touch pork and a pig carcass and not be ‘unclean til sundown’ and you are now relieved of your duties of having to marry your brother’s wife if he dies and dont have kids first. And we dont have to kill our pets because we sin now.
    But the NT outlines some basic standards of righteousness that we should strive to follow. Just because some, really most, of them do line up with OT laws, does not make them void (or whatever the thinking is behind this).

    And I actually agree with you about hell. If it is a literal place now, it would be empty. How many funerals have you went to where the family and loved ones condemned the dead straight to hell? lol almost none, in fact they are preached and prayed right on into heaven right then and there!
    The concept of an actual hell going on currently is not biblical at all. It is very plain when hell will burn, what will be as the lake of fire, meant to be the final eradication of sin to prepare the new earth. This will destroy both body and soul of all evil, once and for all. And no this will not last forever. In order to burn eternally, they would have to be kept alive eternally, and I would challenge anyone here to show more where God promises sinners eternal life, to be kept burning for the duration as those in heaven will have true eternal life. Sinners and evil will burn in hell for ever how long it takes for them to burn until they cant burn anymore. The result of that is eternal separation from God as having perished. Forever.
    Any other representation of what hell is, or is going to be is the result of folklore, hollywood, misinterpreted out of context scriptures, or ‘turn before you burn!’ scare tactics from tomato faced preachers, or some combination.
    The loving God that I serve would certainly not be in the torture business.

  • Keith

    You really don’t have to explain to me your personal theology, however arbitrary. I was responding to your attempt to separate Old Testament law into “moral law” and “ceremonial law”. A division not established by the text itself.

    Your personal eschatology is just as arbitrary. Your description of an afterlife for sinners is a bit mushy but seems to involve “burning” of some kind whether “eternal” or not. Sorry, but it’s no more convincing than a medieval hell – and hardly the action of a “loving god”.

    I also find it a bit comical that you eschew “scare tactics” while employing them yourself:

    “I hope you have people in your life that can be a positive influence to return to your faith BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE … it may be good to remember, the family that you mention, none of them are able to SAVE YOUR SOUL.”

    Save my soul from what? Hell? Total annihilation? Either option sounds like the act of monster – not a “loving God”.

  • Keith B

    I think it should be noted that your continued use of ‘arbitrary’ is not particularly derrogatory for a case of making me or anyone else out to be wrong about the law. The law is very much arbitrary in that it applies to each person to a different degree. I would venture to say this was true even in OT times.
    One could even make the argument that since God’s laws are instead now ingrained in our hearts, they arbitrarily apply to each Christian differntly. This is also true whether you are a believer or not.
    For the sake of conceding the topic, since somehow people find totally impossible to distinguish a difference in God commanding his people not to eat or touch swine and commanding them not to murder each other as being ceremonial or moral, would it make sense to consider all of that old testament conditional covenant as invalid? And categorizing don’t matter with it anyway.
    That way we can just move on to what Jesus and his followers taught. Since obviously the laws that we will actually be judged against are included in the NT, they don’t seem to deal a whole lot with pigs or hair sin sacrifices, seems we only have one type of obedience that truly mattered to God in the first place.
    If there is a personal issue with someone relating a law to a type or category, then it’s ok, it’s not even important. It is up to each person to apply the NT standards of righteousness to themselves. Categorizing them is by no means a salvation issue.

    And my apologies, when you mentioned your perceptions of hell, I thought you would be more open to a different a certainly more biblical base response.
    You are right, I don’t have to explain myself to you. I was not aware that all understanding and interpretations of faith and Christianity and the Bible ended with how you viewed God. Maybe I am in the wrong place for such arbitrary ‘discussions’?…

    Beau if you have used your freewill to live like there is no law or consequences for behaviors in this life, then I offer you a fist pump in the air to hoping you are right.

    With that, I humbly give you the last word on this.

  • Keith B

    True, and by no means do I feel like I have to explain myself to you. But my reply remains the same about the law.
    It should be noted also, that your continued use of ‘arbitrary’ does not have the blanketing derogatory effect on those that share the same view. The law itself can even be taken as arbitrary. If a certain law does not apply to you, then you are not under the punishment if you dont break it.
    Beau, if you can not bring yourself to decipher which law deals with a moral issue and which is a ceremonial issue, then dont worry about it. It seems you have decided to not accept the gift of salvation and eternal life, so the law has no effect on you either way. If this wretched sinful world and all this life has to offer is all you have dreamed it would be, then please dont bog yourself down in religion.
    It is not a scare tactic to tell you God still wants you to come to him and be saved. And his love and mercy is the reason believers can still use their freewill to come back to him. The same freewill that Lucifer used to sin.
    Yes in the end he will destroy all evil. But except for family and a few other loved ones, with what heaven promises, I have no problems letting this place go.

  • Well, if you wish to concede that OT laws are not divided into categories, then it appears we have no argument on that score. By “arbitrary”, I meant that you laid out a very specific view of theology, with no rationale for why the view is correct. This sense of “arbitrary” isn’t necessarily derogatory; it simply means you have given me no reason to find your view tenable.

    Of course, there are consequences for behaviors in this life, and that would be true, with or without Christian theology. Are you suggesting that I don’t live a moral life?

  • Of course, biblical law is arbitrary; none of it is required to maintain basic human morality. Again, by “arbitrary”, I mean without any evidence or rationale to support it. In fact, much of biblical law is amoral.

    Yes, I’ve always found the apologetic marriage of the concepts of hell and a loving god to be nonsensical. It is a “scare tactic” no matter how you dress it up.

  • Apostle Townsend

    I do not agree…. If Jesus Abolished the law then he wouldn’t have added this passage of Scripture. Matthew 5:18-19 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
    ..It seems that Paul took it upon himself to do it His way.
    19. “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

  • Rese roman

    DISAGREE!!
    as we are all in titled to our own opinions..i’m only writing in hopes that someone will read this and understand..

    that we must use line upon line, precept upon precept, and RIGHTLY divide the word. explaining the Gospel in truth giving scriptures to back it up. MATTHEW 5:17-19 Christ explains CLEARLY that until HEAVEN AND EARTH pass, One jot or tittle shall in NO WISE pass from the LAW, till –>ALL<– be fulfilled. it can be taken as "until HE accomplishes his mission and gives his life on the cross"..Okay… explain " UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS?? ALL IS STILL PRESENT. its almost (well of course..) as if He knew it would be taken out of context hence the detailed verse just in case someone picked one line over the other.So he didn't just stop at MATTHEW 5:17 "THINK NOT THAT I COME TO DESTROY THE LAW, OR THE PROPHETS: I AM NOT COME TO DESTROY , BUT TO FULFILL… He further more explained what he meant.
    we all must be careful and mindful..
    picking and choosing and leading others in the wrong direction MATTHEW 5:19-20.

    I DID NOT write any of this to be bigger or better than anyone else. Only to share May the Most HIGH God Bless you all

  • The language of the destruction of heaven and earth is used frequently in the Old Testament to refer to a massive judgment against a people, especially Israel.

    Take, for example, Deuteronomy 32 (judgement against Israel), Isaiah 34 (against Assyria) or Isaiah 34 (against Edom). All those passages talk about earth and/or heaven being destroyed.

    It fits Jesus purposes here exactly, prophesying an upcoming judgement against Jerusalem.

    As to 5:17, keep in mind that fulfilling something also means to bring it to an end. “Fulfill” does not mean “keep going.”

  • Bones

    Except Jesus’s understanding of the Law was more liberal and in line with the school of Rabbi Hillel than the hardline fundamentalists who ruled the sanhedrin.

  • Michael Gullion

    Well this is just plain stupid. If there is no law, then grace is superfluous. There’s nothing to be forgiven for because without law there is no sin. So do whatever you want and to hell with the grace of Jesus. Who needs him? There’s no law!!

  • William Pickering

    No, abolish (destroy) means to make void. Fulfill means to bring to a completion. Therefore, the Law is done. It has been fulfilled. Christ issued his law (over 600 of them; count them). Most echo the OT Laws, in depth, but grace to accomplish them. Grace, not works may make this easier to digest.

  • William Pickering

    I am a Christian; I do not use the Law to this end. I do, however use Christ laws (over 600 of them), and the teachings of the Apostles. While homosexuality is a sin, even in the NT, Christians are also to love their neighbors. Meaning, we are not to condemn (judge), but show kindness, even if we don’t agree with someone else’s belief, or lack thereof.

  • Jim Olsson

    Double disagree. Reasonable people don’t buy into the six-day creation, Noah’s flood, or Jacob putting striped sticks in the watering trough to induce his livestock to adopt a striped hide. Genesis should be seen as pure hokum. The problem is, Luke trace’s Jesus human dad’s genealogy all the way back to Adam, through Noah, of course. Jesus has to be just as fictitious as Genesis. The New Testament quotes or alludes to Genesis over 100 times. It’s all necessarily pure poppycock, which therefore would include laws being fulfilled or not. Dever shows that ancient Israel didn’t exist in the manner that the Bible portrays, i.e., that it wasn’t a monotheistic society with only one central temple in Jerusalem. His digs uncovered temples all over Israel, and thousands of Asherah (Astarte) figurines were found throughout the region. “Asherah and her Jehovah” is prominently displayed on one or two artifacts that he found. It’s time that we abandoned the ideas that we are dependent upon “the eye in the sky” for our blessings… that, without Jesus, we are all worthless worms… that there is some horrid place where people burn eternally for a few years spent in wickedness on the blue ball… that ‘some from ~this~ generation will not taste death until these things have come to pass,’… that the “Good Book” is any more relevant today than any forgotten issue of Newsweek magazine.

  • Two Heads

    Peter’s vision was not teaching that you could eat anything you want, but rather that the gentiles who were formerly unclean were now able to receive salvation along with the jews

  • Realist1234

    Its both, not either or.

  • Two Heads

    Nowhere does it say that unclean foods were made clean. Let the scriptures speak, do not add to them. Exegesis not eisegesis. If you wish to add, then that is a matter between you and God.

  • Realist1234

    Strange that you would say im adding to Scripture when that is what Scripture says. Just because it was in a dream to Peter doesnt make it invalid. I would find it strange that God would use such an image to Peter, but then say Oh I didnt mean for you to think you can eat all foods, even though I told you you could in my vision to you. What nonsense.

  • dutchdef

    I guess this is what happens to you when you sniff on too much poppers.

  • Mark

    So, every reliable biblical scholar for 2,000 years says the moral law still applies for Christians, but you present a teaching that says no. Well, then that makes you highly suspect at best. A load of crap is more accurate.

  • Herm

    Mark, the Sanhedrin applied the law to crucify Jesus based on blasphemy to what every reliable scriptural scholar taught before them. They told Jesus that what He was teaching in no uncertain way was “a load of crap.

    Do you know the one Teacher who knows from whom we each, for certain, can determine the sheep from the goats?

  • otrotierra

    And yet what Jesus actually taught is more interesting than your misrepresentation of other people’s interpretations throughout history. I’ll stick with Jesus.

  • Mark

    My confidence is in Christ alone and His finished work on the cross. I am no longer condemned by the penalty of the law. But I am still obligated, out of gratitude, to obey the law as my rule. Christ’s teachings, for example, in the Sermon on the Mt. are simply an exegesis of the OT moral laws. Nothing new, but in Christ we who have been set free from sin and its penalty, are free to obey His laws and keep His commands, though we are in no way declared righteous by our keeping them.
    Just because the Sanhedrin or anyone else misapplied the law, does not make it invalid.

  • Herm

    If your confidence was truly in Christ alone then this alone would sum up the law for you:

    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    Matthew 7:12 (NIV2011)

    If that is not sufficient for you then in gratitude keep all the law that hangs on these two commandments given by He who has all authority in heaven and on earth today:

    Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV2011)

    What law outside of those two quotes from the Lord Jesus, the final Judge, do you require of others morally or feel is required of you? Who are you to judge others as blasphemous as in, “A load of crap is more accurate“?

    Are you truly more righteous than the Sanhedrin?

    Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.

    But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

    The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”

    Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.

    The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

    “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

    Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

    “He is worthy of death,” they answered. Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

    Matthew 26:57-68 (NIV2011)

    Beyond your word alone what evidence do you have to present against Dr. Benjamin L. Corey and this article?

  • Justin King

    This post demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the Greek. First, the verb in Mt 5.17 means fulfill in the sense of “to make full”. Jesus came to make the Law complete (whole), not to complete (finish) it. Second, Jesus says in v. 18 that not one iota or tittle will pass away until the law is come into being (using the verb ginomai, to be or become). Seeing as justice is the core of Torah, I think the world has a way to go.

    Further, in this post, Corey seems to demonstrate absolutely no awareness Pauline scholarship of the last 30 years, esp. the New Perspectives on Paul.

    This post is just superscessionism dressed up all fancy like, which makes it seem reasonable, tolerable, and not anti-Jewish.

  • Roger Leitch

    Is “Loving God and your Neighbour as yourself” somehow easier than keeping a selected list of do’s and don’ts?

  • Omar Reyes

    How funny to see people tell a biblical scholar how bad his Greek is or how poor his understanding of Paul is. It’s one thing to disagree, it’s another to be rude and use the Bible to justify it.

  • Meredith Indermaur

    Excellent point.

  • I agree with your translation yet, while I see the pragmatic benefit of such an interpretation, I equally can see a Jesus represented in the Canonical Gospels that is at least seemingly in favour not only of the commands, but also the punishments attached to them. E.g. Mark 7:10.

    https://thebookofamos.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/whoever-speaks-evil-of-father-or-mother-must-surely-die/

  • Yet Jesus went on to state that anyone who breaks the one of these regulations/commandments shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven (which presupposes that you can break the Law and still enter into heaven). So there is still some ambiguity in there.

  • Short Little Rebel

    You are making a FALSE ARGUMENT here because you don’t understand what Paul was talking about when he said, “I am not UNDER the Law.” He was saying that none of us, since Christ has FULFILLED THE LAW, are saved or condemned by the LAW anymore. We are now saved through a NEW COVENANT- the one made through Christ. That was his point. We aren’t BOUND by the Law means we are no longer judged as ‘saved’ or ‘unsaved’ by the Law. Anyone who tries to measure their salvation through the Law will be condemned by it. This is because no one can live by the Law. That is EXACTLY why God, in his infinite mercy, sent Jesus to save us from the CONSEQUENCES of that law. However, that doesn’t mean that the law is evil or bad. Indeed, Paul said that he LOVES the law. The Law STILL UPHOLDS God’s standard of morality! That is Why Jesus said that he did not come to ABOLISH it! All the morality held in the law STILL STANDS today. Murder is STILL wrong, adultery is still wrong, homosexuality is still an abomination to the Lord, pride is still wrong, stealing is still wrong, etc. But avoiding or doing all those things has NOTHING to do with going to heaven or hell. THAT is the point of Christ and Paul. You clearly don’t understand the Bible and shouldn’t be writing about it. Certainly not under the tag, ‘theology’.

  • Jacob Israel

    Paul also said: 1 Corinthians 6:9 HCB

    Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality,

    God, the Alpha and the Omega, speaking from His throne :

    Revelation 21:8 HCB

    But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars–their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

    Revelation 14:12 HCB

    This demands the perseverance of the saints, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus.”

    Sounds like the true believer is the one who would do his best to keep the moral law as a result of his love for God and for Jesus, knowing that in this way he can best fulfill Jesus’ commands to ‘Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength’ and ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, and also knowing that when ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’, he can rely on Jesus to be his advocate.

  • Herm

    Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

    Matthew 23:1-3 (NIV2011)

    Molon, under the covenant between God and Moses “they” were the law.

    Under the law of Moses it was expected that an eye be taken for an eye. Under the new covenant, with Christ, with all authority in heaven and on earth, the law is love your enemy. I present this only for contrast to show that the law of Moses actually evolved from the foundation Decalogue driven by the administrative authority of the Levite priests, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. The full law of Moses usurped the name and authority of the Lord your God to not resemble the law of God summed up in Matthew 7:12 and embellished for Jesus’ followers in Matthew 22:37-40.

    Thank you for sharing your understanding!

  • Herm

    I believe I just answered this in my response to you just before opening this.

    I ask, in addition, that you consider that before the death of Christ the only access to the Spirit of truth was granted to the high priest behind the curtain to the Holy of Holies. Since the ascension of Christ the Holy Spirit is available to all of Man to be whelmed by and immersed in.

    With and in the Advocate of God we are born children (infant if not fetus children) of God, siblings to the Son of Man. We are pupils learning from the Teacher what our Instructor and Father have to say to us each as we are ready. We are family who abide by the law of love as set down by our Elder Brother and the will of our Father.

    Does that paint a little difference in the law of God, after the Decalogue, and before the birth of Christ?

    My Messiah, Lord and Instructor is alive and one with all children of God sharing all of each of our hearts, souls, strengths, minds as one each bound in love immersed in the Holy Spirit (Father, Son, mother and all children of God) who appeared to those around Jesus, at His baptism, as a dove.

  • Herm

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

    John 16:12-15 (NIV2011)

    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    Matthew 7:12 (NIV2011)

    Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV2011)

    “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

    Matthew 23:8-12 (NIV2011)

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

    John 14:6-7 (NIV2011)

    Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

    Mark 1:10-11 (NIV2011) Matthew 3:16, Luke 3:22, John 1:32

    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    John 1:12-13 (NIV2011)

    He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

    Matthew 12:48-50 (NIV2011) Mark 3:35

    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

    Acts 4:31 (NIV2011)

    Molon, I will not continue this as a theological debate justifying all scripture as from God, it simply is not any more than a chronicle of Man’s growing relationship with God up to 1,984 years ago. The only truth, way and life I have is in and with the Spirit of truth by whom I am whelmed and immersed as is my Lord and Brother Jesus and my Father. I was born of the Spirit and have never since been left orphaned.

    I can use the Christian Bible, in all its many forms, to speak to followers of that Bible as did Jesus to the followers of the TORAH, the NEVI’IM and the KETHUVIM (especially the majority of illiterate followers led by the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducee of His time on earth). The word of God can still only be spoken in truth today when filled with the Holy Spirit. None of Jewish authorities were filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was only present to be spoken to in the chamber holding the Ark of the Covenant with Moses.

    Should one find themselves immersed and whelmed by the Holy Spirit (as was Jesus at His baptism) what more do any of us need to know the will of God and grow in Their nurture?

    I can only testify this is true and is the word of God. I can only suggest, for you to truly find the treasure, the Good News, that you so passionately seek, ask and knock for from me, that you pray in all humility that your heart and mind is now opened completely and forever more to the Holy Spirit (all of God) without any pause. I did, after a successful ministry debating and sharing the Bible, to find that before being immersed and whelmed in and by the Holy Spirit I had not known the word of God.

    Don’t trust me for I am a child who can only speak to illustrate from what little I have learned in my lifetime. I don’t know you, especially your full heart and mind in the image of God (spirit), but my Father, Brother, and Teacher can when you let Them in. Then, and only then, will you grow in the truth from, of and in God as I have as They know I am ready. Then, and only then, can you understand what little I have to share, and I what little you have to share, as of God.

    If my words today to you do not convince you to find all the truth, way and life for eternity then, please, read each and every scripture I have offered that you may begin to accept the Counselor in your midst.

    Harshly, there are two prerequisites that Jesus has laid down that all pupils of His must accept:

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    Luke 14:26-27 (NIV2011)

    I was tempted, out of my own love for you and my excitement to share with you, to reach out to you by highlighting and explaining each scripture as I know them to mean. I know now that I had best, for your growth, offer you my advice to invite the Holy Spirit to counsel you as to the significance of each.

    You are blessed in your passion and you are loved in you quest.