Monday, July 03, 2006

Standing fast in the Liberty with which Christ has made us free

More from here:

Originally, you falsely criticized Alcazar (though your points about our nation's detour from the rule of law as defined by the Constitution were valid and important. I also agree with your assessment that most Americans seem unaware of where we are and where we are headed).

Then you conflated the Two Kingdoms, denying the clear testimony of Romans 13 and other Biblical passages requiring obedience to, and respect for, the state authority, indicating your need for a “good argument” against Scripture. I asked you for God's exceptions to His commands for obedience. You provided only those that I first offered here.

Finally, you emphasized repeatedly and vigorously your belief that since the Mosaic Law (ceremonial, dietary, sacrificial, et cetera) is still in effect, Christians must obey it. You wrote:
the Sabbath...

(yes, I DO keep it. Read the Torah parts about it - see how often He said "forever", "throughout your generations", and otherwise made it clear He NEVER changed it. Constantine and the Sun-god-day types did later...Keeping His commandments is NOT a burden...And I DO keep the Pesach, as He is teaching my house, and the other Appointed Times of YHVH (Sukkot, Trumpets, etc. Again, ALL are "statutes forever".
Again, when was the last time you made a burnt offering in the Temple, stoned a disobedient child, killed a Canaanite, or kept a woman as a spoil of war?

Have you loved the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Have you loved your neighbor as yourself?

If you have not kept these greatest commandments, why are you worried about others that were only a foreshadowing of the Messiah to come? Why do you teach others to do the same?

You rightly appeal to Paul as an expert on the Law, and what does he say on the matter?
Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and do not again be held with the yoke of bondage.

Behold, I, Paul, say to you that if you are circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do all the Law...(Galatians 5).
Compare that with the words of Moses:
For generations to come every male child who is eight days old must be circumcised, whether he is born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner who's not related to you. Every male born in your household or bought with your money is to be circumcised without exception. So my promise will be a sign on your flesh, an everlasting promise.

Any uncircumcised male must be excluded from his people because he has rejected my promise (Genesis 17).
So, was Paul contradicting Moses? Or was he merely teaching that (as Scripture teaches) God's people are now free from having to observe those regulations because of Christ's fulfilling them?

That Paul lived at times as a traditional Jew was to persuade as many Jews to faith in Christ as possible. What do you say of Paul's forbidding circumcision (even though YHWH commanded it as an “everlasting promise” “for generations to come”)?

And what do you say of Paul's "living as a Gentile"? That he was disobedient to God? That Paul wasn't “teachable”? He says:
For though I am free from all, yet I have made myself servant to all, so that I might gain the more.

And to the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might gain the Jews. To those who are under the Law, I became as under the Law, so that I might gain those who are under the Law.

To those who are outside Law, I became as outside Law (not being outside law to God, but under the Law to Christ), so that I might gain those who are outside Law (1 Corinthians 9).
You require that which God no longer requires, picking and choosing what portions of Scripture to obey, and dismissing those that contradict your particular, idiosyncratic theology.
But do not confuse salvation with blessing. We are BLESSED by obedience!
Of course we should be obedient. But obedient to what? To man-made teachings that contradict Scripture? To rules that God says have been fulfilled and from which we are set free?

In this particular error you are not far from those first century Judaizers whom Paul wished would cut themselves and from the “teachers of the Law” Christ condemned for placing on His people burdens they themselves could not carry.
[And whether or not YOU, Am, were using this verse to argue that we should now eat pigs is not clear....
"Should"? No. Can? Of course!

That the main point of the passage is that God's kingdom is open also to Gentiles is clear from its context; that it demonstrates your contention that all the requirements of the Mosaic Law are still in effect over Christians is false:
Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.

And he became very hungry and desired to eat. But while they made ready, an ecstasy fell on him. And he saw the heaven opened and a certain vessel like a sheet coming down to him, being bound at the four corners and let down to the earth; in which were all the four-footed animals of the earth, and the wild beasts, and the reptiles, and the birds of the heaven.

And a voice came to him, saying, Rise, Peter! Kill and eat!

But Peter said, Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice spoke to him again the second time, What God has made clean, you do not call common.
Would God tell someone, even in a vision, to sin? And what does God call clean in this vision? All food.

That the dietary (and other Mosaic) laws are no longer applicable to God's people should be clear from this passage. For extra evidence (though none should be necessary; how many times must God say something for you to listen?), consider this:
Do not undo the work of God for food. Truly, all things indeed are clean, but it is bad to the man eating because of a stumbling-block (Romans 14).
I shared the following passage with you earlier, but it seems appropriate to note it again:
The Spirit says clearly that in later times some believers will...speak lies disguised as truth. Their consciences have been scarred as if branded by a red-hot iron. They will try to stop others from getting married and from eating certain foods. God created food to be received with prayers of thanks by those who believe and know the truth.

Everything God created is good. Nothing should be rejected if it is received with prayers of thanks. The word of God and prayer set it apart as holy (1 Timothy 4).
As should be clear from the passages noted above, the Apostles repeatedly had to deal with heretics in the first century trying to require the Church to remain under the Mosaic regulations. Here is another instance demonstrating that Christians are free from having to follow them:
...some believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "People who are not Jewish must be circumcised and ordered to follow Moses' Teachings."

The apostles and spiritual leaders met to consider this statement.

After a lot of debating, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know what happened some time ago. God chose me so that people who aren't Jewish could hear the Good News and believe.

God, who knows everyone's thoughts, showed that he approved of people who aren't Jewish by giving them the Holy Spirit as he gave the Holy Spirit to us. God doesn't discriminate between Jewish and non-Jewish people. He has cleansed non-Jewish people through faith as he has cleansed us Jews.

So why are you testing God? You're putting a burden on the disciples, a burden neither our ancestors nor we can carry (Acts 15).
Our justification and our sanctification are both by faith in Jesus Christ, not by works.

And what of Paul's rebuking Peter for just what you are doing (for when you say that certain rules are still in effect, but God says they are not, you are forcing believers to follow those customs)? He says:
When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
I hope the several passages noted above have made my point (which is actually Paul's, and Peter's, and Christ's). Here is one last word from the Word Himself:
Hear me, all of you, and understand:

There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.

And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled? Thus He declared all foods clean.)

And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person (Mark 7).
On your misunderstanding of David's breaking the Law:
...You strain at the gnat and swallow the camel, Am. He was AGAIN illustrating the real ESSENCE of His Word, His Torah, which is LIFE. David "broke" the law no more than Yeshua did...,
Jesus said David ate what was lawful only for the priests to eat, yet you say David did not break the Law. You are contradicting Christ.

You are correct that Jesus did not break God's Law; the “experts” of the Law condemned Him, since He was violating their rules.
David "broke" the letter of the law to honor the Spirit of the Law!!!
No, David broke God's Law because he was hungry.

Where in the Matthew passage does Christ give His approval to David's disobedience? Where does He excuse his disobedience? Nowhere.

Again, Jesus was making the point to the religious authorities that they were wrongly usurping His authority, setting up as God's requirement that which He does not require.
"...the only Scriptural exception to obeying the authorities I see (you've offered none) is when that authority requires a Christian to sin." - Amillenialist

???? Duh. Give me a break...expressions of incredulity...
What the heck do you think I've been trying to TEACH you? Did you truly ignore the examples I gave of EXACTLY that?
When you originally contradicted the Word of God in Romans 13, I asked you for any Scriptural exceptions to its commands. I offered to you those examples, but now you are trying to claim you were “TEACH”ing me.

This calls into doubt your willingness (or ability) to engage in a thoughtful, productive, and honest discussion.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," said Hosea. And because "you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from being priests for Me." The Torah says let everything be confirmed the mouths of two or more witnesses, and God ALWAYS provides such in His Word.
How many times must God speak for you to accept what He says? Once He said, “Let their be light.” I suppose you're waiting to hear that from two other witnesses before you'll accept it as authoritative!
(Got any other witnesses that say Romans 13 means Caesar is never wrong?)
Your earlier digressions/evasions were explicable as innocent distraction or intellectual sloppiness; this is outright falsehood. I have never claimed that Romans 13 teaches “Caesar is never wrong.” This may be your misunderstanding, but it is not mine.
Yeshua said those who teach disobedience would be "least in the Kindom of heaven".
Which is one reason I persist in trying to point out to you your error and why you ought to be concerned about it.
Yeshua never "did away with" His own Word
You take that to mean that Christians must obey all the regulations of the Old Testament, and that is contrary to the Word of God.

In other words, you make Paul's forbidding circumcision to new believers, Peter and the other Apostles' advising Gentile believers away from the “burden neither our ancestors nor we can carry,” and Christ's self-spoken words false teaching.
...He knows that anyone who comes to overturn Torah, to do away with the "Law" of God (by the very Words of Moses) CANNOT be the Messiah.
Jesus did not “do away” with the Law, He fulfilled it.
There is a prophecy in Ezekiel of the "two sticks". Yeshua once said that He had not come (then!) to restore the "lost tribes". Please read that prophecy and see if what is being foretold there might not eventually become clear.
If you are referring to Acts 1 ("...the apostles...asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you're going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"), that idea was a misunderstanding the Apostles had about the restoration of an earthly kingdom.

As for the “two sticks” prophecy, Ezekiel was speaking of the coming Messiah and His bringing salvation to God's people, as is clear from its context:
I will form them into one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel. One king will rule all of them. They will no longer be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

They will no longer dishonor themselves with their idols, with their detestable things, or with their rebellious acts. I will forgive them for all the times they turned away from me and sinned. I will cleanse them so that they will be my people, and I will be their God.

"'My servant David will be their king, and all of them will have one shepherd. They will live by my rules, and they will obey my laws. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They, their children, and their grandchildren will live in it permanently. My servant David will always be their prince.

I will promise them peace. This promise will last forever. I will establish them, make them increase in number, and put my holy place among them permanently. My dwelling place will be with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Then the nations will know that I, the LORD, have set Israel apart as holy, because my holy place will be among them permanently'" (Ezekiel 37).
That this is speaking of our ultimate salvation in Christ is clear also from the Apostle John:
I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and earth had disappeared, and the sea was gone.

Then I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, dressed like a bride ready for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne say, "God lives with humans! God will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and be their God.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won't be any more death. There won't be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared."

The one sitting on the throne said, "I am making everything new." He said, "Write this: 'These words are faithful and true.'"

He said to me, "It has happened! I am the A and the Z, the beginning and the end. I will give a drink from the fountain filled with the water of life to anyone who is thirsty. It won't cost anything. Everyone who wins the victory will inherit these things. I will be their God, and they will be my children.

But cowardly, unfaithful, and detestable people, murderers, sexual sinners, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find themselves in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death" (Revelation 21).
Your last comment...
Finally, remember (as we have also discussed before) that in spite of a thousand years of the Passover seder, many people missed His first coming. Yeshua warned repeatedly about the level of deception to come. Only those who know His feasts at least as well will recognize "the season" for His next.
Matthew 25 makes clear the signs of His Second Coming. That “season” has been ongoing since at least the first century, as the Apostles expected His return during their lifetimes.

Again, a last word from our good friend Paul, appropriate to more than one of the matters we've discussed:
Remind believers to willingly place themselves under the authority of government officials. Believers should obey them and be ready to help them with every good thing they do. Believers shouldn't curse anyone or be quarrelsome, but they should be gentle and show courtesy to everyone.

Indeed, we, too, were once stupid, disobedient, and misled. We were slaves to many kinds of lusts and pleasures. We were mean and jealous. We were hated, and we hated each other.

However, when God our Savior made his kindness and love for humanity appear, he saved us, but not because of anything we had done to gain his approval. Instead, because of his mercy he saved us through the washing in which the Holy Spirit gives us new birth and renewal. God poured a generous amount of the Spirit on us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

As a result, God in his kindness has given us his approval and we have become heirs who have the confidence that we have everlasting life. This is a statement that can be trusted. I want you to insist on these things so that those who believe in God can concentrate on setting an example by doing good things. This is good and helps other people.

Avoid foolish controversies, arguments about genealogies, quarrels, and fights about Moses' Teachings. This is useless and worthless. Have nothing to do with people who continue to teach false doctrine after you have warned them once or twice. You know that people like this are corrupt. They are sinners condemned by their own actions (Titus 3).