Wasn’t the Law ‘fulfilled?’
It saddens me when I hear Christians twist Scripture and say things like, “Jesus fulfilled the Law so I don’t have to.” Really? Now you can murder? Steal? Fornicate? Such perverted statements must break the Father’s heart.
Yeshua said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” He also said that not one jot or tittle of the Law would pass from His TORAH until Heaven and earth passed away. And that hasn’t happened yet! He warned those who relax even one of the commandments and teach others to do so would be least in the kingdom. But those who keep, and teach others to keep them, will be great.
John says those who claim they know the Messiah but do not keep His commandments are liars.
And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commands. The one saying, I have known Him, and does not keep His commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.
Notice that John equates the Commandments (Law, TORAH, instructions) with the WORD. They are the same! Yeshua is the WORD of God made flesh. So He is the TORAH! That’s why James writes that the implanted word can save.
Can the Law Save Us?
James 1:21 On account of this, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of evil, in meekness receive the implanted Word being able to save your souls.
Does this mean that one must keep the law to be saved? Of course not! No one can be saved by keeping the Law! We keep the Law because we are saved. It’s a heart thing. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15.
Is Paul Hard to Understand?
So where does all the confusion about the Law arise? Most of the Scriptures that well-meaning but confused Christians distort are words penned by Paul. Peter warned that the untaught who pervert Paul’s often hard to understand writing , do so to their own destruction. So don’t be led astray by the LAWLESS!
And think of the long-suffering of our Lord as salvation, as also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them concerning these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unsettled pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. Then beloved, you knowing beforehand, watch lest being led away by the error of the lawless you fall from your own steadfastness.
“Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many works of power? And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!” (Mat 7:22-23)
And remember what John wrote. “And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commands . . .” 1 John 2:3
Before you tackle those hard to understand writings of Paul that the unlearned pervert to their own destruction, consider the following points, so as to avoid the error of the lawless.
Never Confuse Obedience with Legalism
Legalism is thinking salvation can be obtained by keeping the Law. It can’t! And it never could! But obedience, God says, is better than sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22)
There are hundreds, upon hundreds, of perfectly clear passages in Scripture that instruct believers to keep God’s law, while there are probably only a dozen or so, hard to understand ones, from Paul’s writings, that seem–and I stress seem–to contradict the bulk of God’s word.
Remember that the so-called Old Testament is the plumb-line where by the so-called New Testament is verified. Ninety percent of the quotes in the New Testament are right out of the Old. Those noble Bereans searched the scriptures (Old Testament) daily to see if those things taught by Paul and Silas were true. (Acts 17: 11-12) So the New Testament will never negate the Old. At the time Timothy wrote, “. . . all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness,” there was no New Testament! And when Yeshua, after His resurrection, expounded to his disciples, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, all the scriptures that were about Him, Yeshua was quoting from the Old Testament. (Luke 24:27) Yeshua is the living OLD TESTAMENT, which comprises 70% of the Bible! God, Yeshua, the WORD made flesh is the same yesterday, today and forever!
What is the Curse of the Law?
If one believes what many Christian preachers claim Paul taught, that the Law is a curse and was nailed to the cross, then the bulk of Scripture would be a contradiction.
First, Paul never called the law a curse. He spoke of the curse of the law, referring to Deuteronomy 30:19. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing! Therefore choose life. . . ” The curse of the law, Paul referred to was the penalty for breaking the law—death–the penalty which Yeshua paid on our behalf. The charges against us were nailed to the cross, not God’s LAW!
Another claim often made is that as Gentile believers we are not required to keep His Law–those Commandments Yeshua said we would keep if we loved Him, the ones that will not pass away until Heaven and Earth pass (Matt 5:18)! Jots and Tittles: Things like keeping the Sabbath and His Feasts, and not eating detestable things. Yes, the very Laws that He writes in our minds and on our hearts once we enter into the New Covenant. (Jeremiah 31:31)
What about Gentiles?
Many claim that all Gentile believers have to do is abstain from those four things mentioned in Acts 15:20–pollutions of idols, fornication, things strangled, and from blood. Really? That’s it? Everything else goes? You mean you can murder, lie, steal, gossip, get drunk, and you don’t need to pay those tithes? Surely, no one in their right mind believes that is what this scripture teaches. And isn’t it funny the way they never quote the next scripture (verse 21) that says: “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”
Allow me to paraphrase in modern language so that it will become clear. Some Pharisees were telling Paul’s new Gentile believers that they are not really saved unless they convert to (Parasitical) Judaism as proscribed by their oral tradition. They would need to jump through all their hoops and follow all their traditions to make it official, culminating with physical circumcision. Only after all that would they be, officially, saved.
Well, Paul knew better. He knew that God had already offered salvation to them through faith and given them His Holy Spirit. But Paul also knew that they were fresh out of Pagan worship, so he and the other leaders came up with a simple plan. They would tell them to abstain from idols, fornication, eating animals that had been strangled, and from eating blood. These were all things practiced by Pagans and forbidden in God’s law. Paul was smart enough to not overwhelm them with all of the law God gave Moses at one time. He knew that these new believers would go to synagogue every Sabbath (Saturday) and hear the Law of Moses taught. They could learn the same way new believers learn today, over time.
We Can Eat Anything?
Let’s take another scripture often quoted to prove that God’s dietary laws have been done away with. 1Ti 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
Standing alone, out of context, one would have to assume that God–who does not change, and who knows the end from the beginning—changed his mind about what constitutes food for man. (Leviticus 11) Now eating any and all creatures (poisonous snakes, jelly fish, insects, vultures etc.) is okay. But let’s go back a few verses and get the full context.
But the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, cleaving to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons, in lying speakers in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience, forbidding to marry, saying to abstain from foods which God created for partaking with thanksgiving by believers and those who know the truth. Because every creature of God is good, and nothing to be thrust away, if it be received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
According to Timothy, the passage above is talking about those who depart from the faith. Rest assured, the faith of which he speaks is the one handed down to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Those departing will cleave to teachings of demons that forbid marriage (instituted by YHVH) These demons will also teach man to abstain from the foods God created to for believers who know the truth. God’s word is truth, including Leviticus 11. He goes on to say every creature of God is good (to eat), but notice there is an if! If it is sanctified by God’s word! Swine (Pork) has never been sanctified by God’s word! It is included as an unclean beast not to be used as ‘food.’
And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven-footed, yet he chews not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
What about Peter’s Vision?
Another often cited verse that gets misused to justify eating things God’s word calls detestable is Peter’s vision.
…Peter went up upon the house-top to pray, about the sixth hour, and he became very hungry, and wished to eat; and they making ready, there fell upon him a trance, and he doth behold the heaven opened, and descending unto him a certain vessel, as a great sheet, bound at the four corners, and let down upon the earth, in which were all the four-footed beasts of the earth, and the wild beasts, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the heaven, and there came a voice unto him: `Having risen, Peter, slay and eat.’ And Peter said, `Not so, Lord; because at no time did I eat anything common or unclean;’ and there is a voice again a second time unto him: `What God did cleanse, thou, declare not thou common;’ and this was done thrice, and again was the vessel received up to the heaven. And as Peter was perplexed in himself what the vision that he saw might be, then, lo, the men who have been sent from Cornelius, having made inquiry for the house of Simon, stood at the gate, and having called, they were asking if Simon, who is surnamed Peter, doth lodge here? And Peter thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, `Lo, three men do seek thee; but having risen, go down and go on with them, nothing doubting, because I have sent them;’ and Peter having come down unto the men who have been sent from Cornelius unto him, said, `Lo, I am he whom ye seek, what is the cause for which ye are present?’
Before I reveal the verse that holds the vision’s meaning, I must ask a question? If the vision meant that God had reversed His dietary laws, why didn’t Peter already know this? Certainly Yeshua would have told him. How many meals had the two shared together? Yet Peter said he had never eaten anything unclean. The answer is: this was not about reversing God’s dietary laws. It was about Gentiles.
Act 10:28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Another thing you should notice is that the writer of Acts uses the term unlawful, yet he is not talking about God’s TORAH! Nowhere in the TORAH God gave Moses does it say not to associate with Gentiles–quite the contrary. It just says not to worship YHVH the way the Gentiles worship their gods. The writer of Acts refers to the oral law, those laws Yeshua calls the traditions of man. But those who do not read the Old Testament would not know that and assume that God is reversing one of His own laws! This is another common mistake made by those who have not studied God’s entire word to show themselves approved, rightly dividing the word of God.
There are dozens of other such passages misguided Christians use to falsely assert God’s TORAH no longer applies. But in closing, I’ll simply provide some scriptures many Christians would rather ignore.
Justified by Faith or Works?
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Verses on Keeping the Commandments
1Jn_3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
1Jn_3:24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
1Jn_5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
1Jn_5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
2Jn_1:6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
Rev_12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Rev_14:12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Rev_22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
Rom_2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
Rom_3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
1Jn 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
Rom_6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Rom_7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
Rom_7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom_7:16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.
Rom_7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
Rom_8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
What will We Do in the Millennium?
Here is a prophesy from Isaiah regarding that future time when Jesus returns to Jerusalem to set up his kingdom
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the TORAH, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.