Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Torah and the Ten Commandments

Following is an email that I sent to a rabbi before leaving the Seventh-day Adventist church. I had been taught that Moses' Law and God's Law were two different laws and that the law was divided into civil, moral and ceremonial. I was also taught that the ceremonial law, which they say is Moses'Law and the one that was added in Galatians, was the one that was nailed to the cross. The Bible makes no distinction of two separate laws nor the division of the law. The law is simply referred to as The Law. God's Law and Moses' Law are the same law, one unit of 613 laws and are used interchangeably. 

I was desperately searching for answers. Since the law was given to the Jews/Israelites, I considered them to be an authority and decided to email a rabbi to see how his answer would align with Scripture. I found his response to be very informative and true to Scripture. Here goes..............

From: Patricia Allen

I understand that the Torah consists of 613 laws including the Ten Commandments. Are the 613 commandments considered a unit or are there categories like civil, moral and ceremonial laws? When Scripture speaks of The Law is it speaking of the entire law (Torah)? Can the Ten Commandments be separated from the Torah?

Thanks for your response. 

Shalom Patricia,

I like your question, as there are some very important key concepts contained within, important to Jews, and important to non-Jews. You have classified yourself as a ben Noach, which is quite correct, as anyone who is not Jewish is under G-d's Noachide Covenant. It is a positive thing to identify oneself honestly and straightforwardly as a ben Noach for this is the direction G-d wants every non-Jew to take. BTW: One should not think that G-d's Noachide Covenant is a simple set of seven laws. It is nothing of the kind. It is an entire way of thinking, an entire way of living, and it is a philosophical and intellectual exercise without end.
As to the Ten Commandments, there is no such thing. I realize that everyone thinks it is the Ten Commandments, and therefore calling it anything else would be troublesome, and as so even most knowing people stick to the title. However, the Hebrew term for "Ten Commandments" would be, "Aseres Mitzvos," and that is NOT what these commandments are called. They are called the "Aseres HaDibros," the Ten STATEMENTS. The Rambam (Maimonides) explains to us that the Aseres Hadibros are actually 14 commandments, couched within Ten Statements.

You ask if the Aseres Hadibros stand alone away from the Torah, away from the 613? No, they do not. They are a reflection of G-d's complete law to the Jewish people. The 613 do not stand alone either. AND, the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach (Seven Laws of Noah) also do not stand alone. G-d's covenants to the Jews and to the rest of humankind are all encompassing modes of daily behavior. What needs to be clearly understood is that G-d's laws to the Jewish people are NOT the same as G-d's laws to everyone else, and a person is to learn and follow HIS set of laws, be they Jewish or Noachide. He is not to become confused and think he is to follow the other person's rules.

The laws making up BOTH G-d's Jewish and Noachide covenants were both given over at Sinai, and are both incorporated within G-d's Torah. The key to understanding those laws, both Jewish and Noachide, lie with the knowledgeable and observant of the recipients of those laws at Sinai, that is, the Jews. The Aseres HaDibros (Ten Statements) are NOT incumbent upon a ben Noach, and there are sections, such as Shaboos observance, which is not even allowed for a ben Noach. However, righteousness can be achieved BOTH by a Jew and by a ben Noach if he understands and follows his own set of rules, and makes them the basis for his continual improvement throughout his life.

 I do hope this is helpful.

Regards, Eliahu Levenson

The rabbi's response is in total agreement with Scripture. The Bible makes it plain that the written law was given to the Jews/Israelites, "And God spake all these words saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage..." Exodus 20:1-2

Gentiles do not have the law that was given to the Jews. 

Romans 2:14 (NIV)
14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,
Ephesians 2:11-13 (NIV)
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)--
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 

Gentiles are also of the seed of Abraham.

Abraham was saved by faith before the law was given to his descendants 430 years later (see Galatians 3:17). We, too, are saved by grace through faith because we were never under the law given to the Jews/Israelites.

Romans 4:16 (NIV)
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring--not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 

Believers are led by the Spirit and we are not under law.

Galatians 5:16-18 (NIV) 
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law

May God richly bless and enlighten you as you study His Word.

Patricia Allen

"God cannot kiss His bride until the veil is lifted."  Patricia A. Allen

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Isaiah 66:22, 23 - Sabbath In Heaven?

22  "For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me," says the LORD, "So shall your descendants and your name remain.
23  And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD (NKJV)
This expression "new heavens and earth" has to be defined by the context in which it is found. For example, in 2 Peter 3:1-13, the usage of it is clear that it is referring to the next era of time in heaven where there is absolutely nothing that exists as sinful. But the context of Isaiah in which Isaiah 66:22, 23 is in disallows such a meaning. Please consider that Isaiah is speaking of the same "new heavens and earth" in chapter 65 which helps us determine the meaning of it:
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind" (65:17)
Now note what all is in Isaiah's "new heavens and earth":
  • Levites (66:21)
  • New Moon (66:23)
  • Sabbath (66:23)
  • flesh (66:23)
  • wolves, lambs, lions and serpents (65:25)
  • children who die at 100 years old (65:20)
  • building houses and planting vineyards, work with hands (65:21, 22)
  • bringing forth children (65:23)
Now when you compare what is actually taught about the New Testament's "new heaven and earth" you can readily conclude that Isaiah's "New heaven and earth" cannot be speaking about the heaven where God's literal throne exists today, but most probable of the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity--which was a new era in their existence as a nation.
  • Christ is our priest in heaven and is not of Levi. The law was changed (Heb. 8:1; 7:11-15)
  • New Moon and Sabbaths are done away and a mere shadow of things to come (Col. 2:14-17). Besides, there is no sun or moon in heaven (Rev. 21:23, 22:5). This fact makes it impossible to have a regular Sabbath keeping as well as a the "new moon."
  • no flesh shall inherit it (1 Cor. 15:50ff)
  • no death exists there (Rev. 22:4)
Following are some charts that deal with typical arguments that Adventists give regarding Isaiah:
I hope this helps.
Steven J. Wallace

Monday, June 27, 2011

Did Jesus Have A Sinful Nature?

I tend to get more than peeved when I continue to read articles or comments saying that Jesus could have sinned. I would like to say….

·        Jesus did not have a sinful nature.

The Bible Says in 2 Cor. 5:21 NIV…

For he (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

When we trust in Christ, we make an exchange—our sin for his righteousness. Our sin was poured into Christ at his crucifixion. His righteousness is poured into us at our conversion. This is what Christians mean by Christ's atonement for sin. In the world, bartering works only when two people exchange goods of relatively equal value. But God offers to trade his righteousness for our sin—something of immeasurable worth for something completely worthless. How grateful we should be for his kindness to us.
—Life Application Bible Notes

The Bible Says in 1 Peter 2:22 KJV

Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.

·        Jesus had a human body but not a sinful nature.

The Bible Says in Roman 8:3-4 NASB,  

“For what the Law could not do, weak  as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Please note that there is a difference between sinful flesh and a sinful nature. The dictionary defines Flesh as the soft substance of a human or other animal body, consisting of muscle and fat. The dictionary defines Nature as a result of inborn or inherent qualities. This said, Jesus had muscle and fat like us and was NOT born with our inherent human qualities.

Why would God send someone with a sinful nature to redeem those of us with a sinful nature? How would that work? Jesus came to meet the righteous requirements of the law because we were unable to do so. We were born in sin and shaped in iniquity. Jesus had a body like ours, nothing else.

Some might ask this valid question: “Was Jesus capable of sinning and just managed not to?” I submit from the Word of God that Jesus was not capable of sinning.

The Bible Says in Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

The exact representation of His being is saying that Jesus expressed the very character of God in Whom is no sin. Jesus, as God, and as a human was sinless. 

The Bible Says in John 1:1-3, 14 NASB

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt  among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus revealed His glory for the first time at the Wedding of Cana in Galilee when He turned water into wine and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:11)

·        Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God

The Bible Says in John 1:29-34 NASB

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said , "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 "This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.' 31 "I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water." 32 John testified saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 "I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.' 34 "I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.

Jesus, as the Lamb of God, represented the spotless and unblemished lambs that were slain for the sins of the people prior to His coming. The slain, unblemished lambs pointed forward to Christ’s coming to bear our sins, to become sin for us and to die for us.

·        Jesus came to do the will of the Father. Only He could fulfill God’s purpose.

The Bible Says in John 6:38-40 NASB

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

·        Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit; therefore, His nature is/was spiritual.

The Bible Says in Matthew 1:20 KJV

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is holy and cannot sin. The Holy Spirit is also God.

·        Jesus was the second Adam.

The Bible Says in 1 Cor. 15:45-47 KJV

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

Adam and Jesus had two different natures. Adam was earthy and Jesus was heavenly. The two natures cannot be compared. Jesus came to do what man of himself could not do. 

I fail to understand why some insist that Jesus could have sinned or why they would even want Jesus to be the same as sinful humans. The Father sent Him on a specific mission to be our kinsman Redeemer, and They both knew it would be a successful mission. Did not Jesus tell His disciples that in three days He would rise again? He didn’t say if I manage not to sin or if I am lucky I will rise again, HE SAID in Matthew 20:17-19…

Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18 "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"

It sounds to me as if Jesus is speaking from a position of confidence and surety, not risk! If I know something for a fact and act on it, I’m not taking a risk. A risk is taken only on the unknown.

In closing, when Jesus began His ministry He was approved and acknowledged by His Father Who said, “This is MY beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.” Unfortunately many listen to and believe what Ellen White teaches in her writings. I quote as follows:

The Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church teaches that in the incarnation, Jesus came to show us how to keep God’s law perfectly, and “he took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin,” possessing neither omniscience nor omnipresence. (Christ’s Humiliation by Ellen G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900).” (emphasis mine)  

How demeaning! How degrading to say that Jesus took upon Himself our human nature that is defiled by sin and that He did not possess omniscience nor omnipresence. Jesus is the Word that became flesh and dwelled among us. Jesus is God in human form. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human, with a spiritual nature. The Bible Says in John 4:24 KJV, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

God’s instruction to us for the last days is: While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" 

Let’s by God’s grace do just that. Let’s listen to Him! 

(all emphasis mine)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Freedom to do what?

When I declared my freedom from the 7th day Adventist church, I did not declare my freedom from Christ. Some of those that I left behind are of the opinion that I left because I never ‘really’ believed or that I left because I wanted the freedom to live any way I choose. When I make the statement that I am no longer under the law, it is taken to mean that I am lawless and no law applies to me. Not true!

So what do I mean when I say I am FREE? It simply means ……..

·         I am free from keeping laws that were never meant for me.
·         I am free from trying to meet the demands of the law.
·         I am free to be who I am, a Gentile Christian, living under the New Covenant.
·         I am free to love everyone, which fulfills the royal law of love.
·         I am free to serve God and not be a slave to sin or Satan.
·         I am free to be the person God intended me to be.
·         I am free to be happy, guilt-free and secure in Christ’s love.
·         I am free to listen to, be guided by and be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
·         I am free to ignore unbiblical church dogma, doctrines and mandates.
·         I am free from being a legalist and hoping that keeping rules will save me.
·         I am free to claim the blood that was spilled on Calvary just for me.
·         I am free to accept the ‘work’ that Christ has already done for me.
·         I am free to believe that Jesus did indeed pay it all for me on the Cross.
·         I am free to know and believe that I am saved NOW!
·         I am free to believe that I am not under condemnation because I belong to Christ.
·         I am free to believe that there is no Investigative Judgment going on.
·         I am free to believe that Jesus meant it when He said, “It is finished.”
·         I am free from being a cookie-cutter Christian.
·         I am free to decide who I give to, how much I give and to do it cheerfully.
·         I am free to forgive those that have hurt me.
·         I am free from the control of others’ thoughts and behaviors toward me.
·         I am free to rest in Jesus every day and not just one in seven.
·         I am free to take Jesus at His Word.
·         I am free to allow the Holy Spirit to interpret Scripture for me instead of the church.
·         I am free to allow God to live through me and work out His plan for my life.
·         I am free to be genuinely happy and live an abundant life because Christ is my center.
·         I am free to share the liberating Good News of the Gospel to everyone.
·         I am free from trying to keep a day holy;
·         I am free to honor a holy God every day.
·         I am free to fellowship with the Saints any time and any day.
·         I am free to see and not be blinded by a veil covering my eyes.
·         I am free to continue to dress modestly without the added restrictions of the church.
·         I am free to only care about what God thinks of me because He is my only Master.

These are a few of my freedoms and none of them give me the liberty or license to do anything that will harm anyone or misrepresent my Lord and Master in any way. After all, I am to live a holy life, pleasing and acceptable to God.

The Bible Says in Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Notes for 5:1
Christ died to set us free from sin and from a long list of laws and regulations. Christ came to set us free — not free to do whatever we want because that would lead us back into slavery to our selfish desires. Rather, thanks to Christ, we are now free and able to do what was impossible before — to live unselfishly. Those who appeal to their freedom so that they can have their own way or indulge their own desires are falling back into sin. But it is also wrong to put a burden of lawkeeping on Christians. We must stand against those who would enslave us with rules, methods, or special conditions for being saved or growing in Christ.
Life Application Bible Notes

Freedom is a wonderful God-given joy! Why not try it today? 1 Cor. 3:17 reads,  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”