Have you ever wished you’d expressed yourself more articulately after fumbling a golden opportunity to defend your faith? I do all the time. It’s why I love writing. Writing allows me to make every word count. Whereas, with extemporary speech, unless the Ruach is anointing my tongue, I open my mouth and it’s out there. There’s no taking it back. No editing. No delete button. No mental E-Sword, allowing me to look up chapter and verse or find the exact wording. There’s no pause button allowing extra time for all my senior moments. With speech, my words—be they right, wrong or indifferent—get mixed with emotion and suddenly they’re in the atmosphere, and I’m left wishing I’d said something more eloquent.
So let’s have some fun! Let’s play the ‘what if’ game with dialogue. Think of it as verbal practice. Let’s imagine the next time we find ourselves defending Hebrew Roots we get every word right?
It might sound something like this…
“Huh? You mean you’re keeping the Jewish Feasts?
“Jewish Feasts? My Bible calls them the Feasts of the LORD. Read Leviticus 23:2 God says we’re to proclaim them, call them Holy Convocations, Feasts of the LORD. He calls them His Feasts.”
“Oh, that’s Old Testament stuff…”
“Second Timothy 3:16 says all scripture is given by inspiration of God, that it’s profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. And at the time Timothy wrote that, there was no New Testament.”
“Yea but the Law’s been done away with.”
“Not according to Yeshua…you know…Jesus!”
“What do you mean?’
“Read Matthew 5: 17-20. Yeshua makes it perfectly clear. Until heaven and earth pass away not one jot or tittle will pass away from the TORAH, until all is fulfilled.”
“Exactly! And all has been fulfilled.”
“No it hasn’t! What about end-time prophesy? Not to mention Yeshua came right out and said whoever breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches others—like you’re doing now—to break them, will be least in the kingdom.”
“He did? I don’t remember that…”
“Matthew 5:19. Check it out. And 5:20 says whoever keeps and teaches others to keep the commandments will be great. That’s me, teaching you…”
“Yeah, well, what about the Apostle Paul?’
“Paul? You mean the one Peter said was sometimes hard to understand? The one whose writings untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction? That Paul?”
“What are you getting at?”
“Just that: before you go twisting what Paul taught, be careful! Be very careful, that you aren’t led astray by the error of the lawless. Don’t twist what Paul wrote to your own destruction.”
“Sorry. I’m just quoting Scripture. Go read second Timothy three, verses sixteen and seventeen for yourself.”
“Yeah, well, my pastor says different.”
“If he does, he’s teaching the commandments of men. Yeshua said, Matthew 15:9: ‘In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’ He also said if we loved him we would keep His commandments.
“But I do love him!”
“Great! Keep his commandments. You can start with his Appointed Times. You know, the Sabbath, the Feast Days.”
“But that was for Israel. We’re in the New Covenant!”
“News flash! The New Covenant was made only with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.”
“Was not! It’s for Gentiles.”
“Sorry—wrong again—better read Jeramiah 31:31 and Hebrews 8:8. The New Covenant was made with—”
“ ‘The House of Israel and the House of Judah.’ I heard you the first time, only where do we Gentiles come in? And that includes you! You’re not Jewish. I’ve known you since third grade. You’re just going through some weird, I don’t know, identity crisis.”
“Hey! You finally got something right—partly right anyway. I’m not Jewish, not from the House of Judah. I’m part of the House of Israel, part of the commonwealth, which means I’m no longer a Gentile. If I were, I’d be out of covenant. Read Ephesians 2:11-13.”
“What? You mean you’re not going to quote it for me?”
“It says before I accepted Messiah I was an alien from the Commonwealth of Israel and a stranger from the covenants. Translation, now that I have, I’m part of the Commonwealth and a partaker of the covenants. And it does say covenants! Plural! Get it? The New Covenant builds on the Old, it doesn’t replace it. Besides, the only difference between the two is where it’s etched.”
“The New is written on hearts not stone.”
“He takes away our heart of stone and given us a heart of flesh…”
“Bingo! Give the man a prize!”
“All right, smarty, you haven’t sold me yet. Explain Christ being an end to the Law.”
“That’s too easy. The word translated end is telos. It means the point aimed at or goal. The Messiah is the goal of the law. Go look it up for yourself. If it meant end, as in Yeshua ended the Law, that would be a contradiction to what Yeshua said about not coming to destroy the law. Besides, why would Yeshua tell us to keep his commandments if he’d nailed them to a tree? That makes about as much sense as claiming he did away with the law by fulfilling it. Matthew 5:17 says, ‘Do not think I came to destroy the law, I came to fulfill it.’ If fulfill meant do away with, he might as well have said, ‘Don’t think I came to abolish the law, I came to abolish the law! How stupid is that?”
“I know, but my pastor–”
“Who are you going to believe? Your pastor or God’s word?”
“But it sounds like you are saying works gives us salvation.”
“What? How can you say that? I haven’t said one itty bitty word about earning salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith, always has been, always will be. But faith without works is dead. Remember what James said? “Even the demons believe and tremble.” What the demons don’t do is obey! Yeshua was talking to those with faith in him when he said, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments. And don’t forget what he said about all those who will come to him one day saying they did miracles in his name and cast out demons.He’s going to tell them he never knew them. Why? Because they were lawless! Read Matthew 7:23. And if your translation says iniquity rather than lawlessness, look up the Greek. It’s anomian. It means violation of the law. TORAH! Check out First John 3:4: Everyone practicing sin practices lawlessness for sin is lawlessness. Well, whose law do you suppose John is referring to? Yahweh’s TORAH, that’s whose! It’s the same law He gave Moses, now written on hearts. The Law, Yeshua said would not pass away until heaven and earth pass. The law Psalms 19:7 calls ‘perfect, converting the soul. And don’t forget Revelation 22:14! ‘Blessed are those who keep his commandments. They may have a right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.’”
“Okay! I get it! It’s just that Paul–”
Peter said that Paul is often hard to understand and frequently taken out of context by those who don’t know the Law, who don’t read the front of the book. Why if Paul actually taught all the false doctrine he’s accused of, he’d be one big contradiction! Remember Paul also wrote that he believed all things written in the Law and Prophets—Acts 24:14. He also said we don’t make the law void through faith, on the contrary, we establish it. That is from Romans 3:31.
“Yeah, he did say that.”
“He called the law, the commandments holy, just and true in Romans 7:12. When he wrote that he believed all things written in the law, I take him at his word. And when Jeramiah wrote in chapter 16:19 that in the day of affliction the Gentiles would come from the ends of the earth crying ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies,’ I believe that too! Now, either Paul was a very confused man, or the most maligned! I vote maligned. What say you?”
“Well I never thought of it that way before…you make a good argument.”
Ah, now that’s how it should go! Right?
Let us study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen who need not be ashamed, who rightly divide the word of truth, so that–unlike in the humorously flippant dialogue above– we can be always ready to give an answer for our hope, as scripture says, in meekness and fear.