Category Archives: Scriptures

Matthew 5:17

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete.”

Why did Yahshua (called Jesus by many today) have to address these issues? Evidently there were rumors that HE was doing away with the Law…and possibly the Prophecies of the Scriptures. Why do we have to address this question? Because the same rumors still exist.

Verse 17a “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets”

“destroy”: Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Dictionaries

G2647

êáôáëýù kataluoô kat-al-oo’-o

From G2596 and G3089; to loosen down (disintegrate), that is, (by
implication) to demolish (literally or figuratively); specifically (compare G2646)
to halt for the night:—destroy, dissolve, be guest, lodge, come to nought,
overthrow, throw down.

Notice the context: It appears that HE is referring to BOTH the Law AND the Prophets. The context seems to suggest that whatever HIS intention is for EITHER, is HIS intention for BOTH. Has HE done away with the Prophets?

Verse 17b “I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

“fulfill”: Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Dictionaries

G4137

ðëçñüù pleôrooô play-ro’-o

From G4134; to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a
hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute
(an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.:—
accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full
(come), fully preach, perfect, supply.

Same Greek word translated “fulfill” in;

Matthew 3:15 – Is Yahshua saying here “to do away with all righteousness?”

Philippians 2:2 – Is Shaul, called Paul, saying here “to do away with his joy?”

Colossians 1:25 – Is he saying here “to do away with the Word of Elohim/God?”

2Thess 1:11 – Is he saying here “to do away with HIS good pleasure?”

Proponents of the belief that Yahshua “fulfilled” the law from this point on in this chapter, thus “destroying” or “doing away with law altogether”, also say that HE intends to now introduce a “new standard” or set of laws state that HE now proceeds to negate the “Old Testament Law” throughout the remainder of this chapter. These people became known as “Antinomianists” during the 2nd / 3rd centuries. This word came from the Greek word for “lawlessness” found throughout the New Testament. (See References on page 2)

Here is what the Holman’s Bible Dictionary says about this early movement:

ANTINOMIANISM (an tih noh’ mih an ihsm) The false teaching that since faith alone is necessary for salvation, one is free from the moral obligations of the law. The word antinomianism is not used in the Bible, but the idea is spoken of. Shaul appears to have been accused of being an antinomian (see Rom. 3:8; 6:1, 15). While it is true that obedience to the law will never earn salvation for anyone (Eph. 2:8-9), it is equally true that those who are saved are expected to live a life full of good works (see, for example, Matt. 7:16-20; Eph. 2:10; Col. 1:10; Jas. 2:14-26). Since we have been freed from the dominion of sin through faith in Jesus, we have also been freed to practice the righteousness demanded by God (Rom. 6:12-22).

In Legge’s “Forerunner’s and Rivals of Christianity a work on the history of the Early Church, he states”

(in the late 2nd to early 3rd centuries) “Some well-known Church Fathers who came from Gnosticism were Epiphanius, who had been a Nicolaitan, Ambrose of Milan, who had been a Valentinian, and Augustine, who had been a Manichean for 9 years before joining the Catholic Church. All these Gnostic sects were distinguished by their rejection of the Old Testament Law, some of them even rejecting the Mighty One of the Old Testament, and some of them even equated the Mighty One of the Old Testament with the Evil One! In their rejection of the Old Testament Law, the Valentinian Gnostics even rejected all moral laws, leading to scandalous living.

The Marcionites were later on refuted, but they also contributed toward the aversion to, and even rejection of, the Old Testament. Manes and his followers, the Manicheans, from among whom Augustine came, “looked on Judaism with horror, rejected the Old Testament entirely…”

“LAWLESSNESS”

G458

Píïìßá anomia an-om-ee’-ah

From G459; illegality, that is, violation of law or (generally) wickedness:
iniquity, X transgress (-ion of) the law, unrighteousness.

References to “lawlessness” in the New Testament:

Matthew 7:23 – And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Matthew 13:41-42 – The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire.

Matthew 23:38Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 24:12 – And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

Romans 6:19I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members asof righteousness for holiness. slaves

2Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

2Thessalonians 2:7 – For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;

Hebrews 1:9 – (quoting from numerous Psalms & Prophets)You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness

1John 3:4 – Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

Please notice that the consistent use of this word “lawlessness” in these verses, contextually is describing some very serious consequences!

In light of these verses is it safe for anyone to say that Yahshua is saying in Matthew 5, that HE has “done away with ALL Old Testament Law?”

When does Yahshua say that this will be accomplished?

Matthew 5:18 – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

When is that going to happen? Sometime in the future according to these verses:

2Peter 3:10 But the day of the Master will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Rev 20:11Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.

Rev 21:1Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

Again, in light of what the Scriptures say, is it wise to say that Yahshua in Matthew 5:17 is suggesting that The LAW of Yahweh is NOT relevant any longer?

You decide. I pray that you make your decision based on what the Scriptures are saying instead of what man is saying…

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1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 4

Did Paul nullify food laws here? Did Paul refer to the Scriptures as a doctrine of demons? What is the doctrine of demons spoken of here? Forbidding to marry? Abstaining from certain foods?

  • 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
    • Is the doctrine of demons here referring to the Torah? If so, God’s word is a doctrine of Demons. Is this possible?
  • 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
    • These two things are the doctrine of demons: forbidding to marry and abstaining from foods. These were both the doctrine of the Gnostics of the Greek world. They forbid to marry, of which the Torah says the opposite and they were on various diets, including vegetarianism. Both these issues were to bring the body into submission though starving the flesh. These were not Torah commands, but practices of the pagan world.
    • Also note that the issue emphasizes that they were commanding to abstain from foods that God had created to be received with thanksgiving. In alignment with the Torah (law), this would be the foods that Yahweh already deemed clean. This would not however include those that He already deemed unclean. The unclean was NEVER to be received with thanksgiving, but was actually considered an abomination. Was this a temporary truth, or are we taking away from the eternal Word of God, in declaring all foods OK, even those the LORD determined unacceptable for consumption.
  • 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
    • Is this verse then making all foods ok to eat? It does, only if you take it out of context. If taken in context. No food that is already ok’d by the word (Leviticus) is to be refused, because God already told you what foods are good. If you receive them with thanksgiving, it is sanctified, no matter what the Gnostics say.
  • 6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.
    • Good doctrine is God’s word, which Timothy followed, who was circumcised, by Paul.
  • 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
    • Another reference to the Greek religious groups who had many fables and were health and wellness nuts (very similar to the New Age movement of today.) Biblical Godliness was the ideal, above all the doctrines of the world. At any rate, this cannot be used to ok the eating of all foods, in contradiction to the existing Word of God.
      • If these arguments lead us to the conclusion that these verses cannot be used to support our theology concerning food issues, what is there to support this theology? Is this thus a doctrine and commandment of men that is held over us by tradition? Or is this belief directly supported by Scripture. We must hold our teachers accountable to some standard. God has given and preserved that very plumb line. The “church” has continually cast away that plumb line for thousands of years and our faith has deteriorated and deviated from the truth. We are the modern day Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, Essenes, etc, who hold to the tradition of our elders and compromise the truth of the written Word of God. We are where we are because we are the lawless church. We are reaping the harvest of a church without law.

This is an excerpt from an article entitled Major Misconceptions written by Gary Hoffman.

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Acts 21

Acts 21

Did Paul quit keeping Torah for a better, less burdensome life as a follower of Jesus?

  • 15 And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem. 16 Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge. 17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law;
    • Note: tens of thousands of Jews believed and were still zealous for the law. This is a positive statement. We are commonly lead to believe that only very few Jews followed Jesus and we also assume that the law was done away with. The Biblical record is contrary to this line of thinking.
  • 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.
    • This is a false accusation. Paul did no such thing. He actually upheld the Law of Moses.
  • 22 What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. 23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.
    • Either this was all a front to fake out those accusing Paul, or he actually did regard the Torah as fully in effect even to the point of vows.
  • 25 But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
    • This issue is discussed in the Acts 15 verses.
  • 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them. 27 Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesians with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) 30 And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.
    • These again are false accusations which no way support that Paul nor any Jew who followed Yahshua ever abandoned the Law, vows, or the temple offerings. (The hair of a person who was completing a Nazarite vow, was to be shaven and burned in the temple as an offering (Numbers 6:3-15). This section of verses support that Paul was keeping Torah and are not support text for his abandoning the “old law” for the new grace.

This is an excerpt from an article entitled Major Misconceptions written by Gary Hoffman.

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Acts 15

Acts 15

Did the LORD through Paul nullify the Law for the Gentiles?

  • 1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
    • The issue that stirred the disciples to go to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders was that certain Judeans were saying that the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. They were applying the Jewish oral law called the “ritual of the proselyte,” which meant that you had to become an Israelite, in order to be saved. The only way to be saved, according to the traditional view was to go through the ritual of circumcision. They believed that you were not and could not be saved outside this ritual. This meant that you were now a part of Israel and thus saved. This was in contradiction to the written law, which said that one must be joined to Yahweh.
  • 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
    • The question of circumcision as necessary for salvation. To transform the Jerusalem council into something more is adding to the text.
  • 3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. 4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.
    • “These things” are that God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles 14:27. Yahweh saved gentiles who had not gone through this ritual. He did it by His power through faith.
  • 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
    • Now in Jerusalem some from the Pharisees said that it is necessary that they be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. The issue here is not whether the Gentiles should follow Torah after receiving the Holy Spirit, but that they must follow all Torah including circumcision in order to be saved and receive the Holy Spirit, etc… They could not believe that a Gentile could go through this transformation until they had converted to Judaism. This is the essence of the Judaizers. It was not an issue making a “no law for the Gentile” rule, but a clarification of the doctrine of “by grace you have been saved, not of works…” which was the Torah way. See Hebrews 11. It was grace in the Torah for the patriarchs and it is Grace for the gentile.
  • 6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. 7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
    • Peter states the case for the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit by faith. They received the same Holy Spirit that Paul and the other Jews received, even before
      they did one thing in alignment with the Torah. God sees the heart. Salvation was always a heart issue and still is, and He saved them because of their heart,
      not because of their fulfilling the law. This was the same heart issue of Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 26:37-40. It is the same way to Yahweh. It was and is
      and always will be a heart Issue. With the right heart we then follow Yahweh’s commands. To say that the Gentiles had to do anything else to Attain
      salvation is false.
  • 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
    • What is the yoke and whose neck is it on? Note: The Jews were into evangelism prior to Jesus. They knew that they were to be a light to the Gentiles, all the
      way back to Abraham. The problem was that they required the Gentiles to follow Torah and be circumcised in order to be completely converted or accepted into Judaism. And this did not even make you an equal with a Jew. As a reminder again, the Herodian era Jews even erected a fence around the Temple that no Gentile, convert or not, could go beyond. This was the middle wall of partition spoken of in Ephesians 2:14. The yoke is likely the burden of conversion by works. The yoke was possibly the burden of trying to evangelize while making the Gentile keep the law first, when God saved them irregardless of keeping the law. Keeping the law was a life long transition of the true convert who came by faith to the LORD. Once accepted by Gods grace He gives each
      the power to pursue a life of obedience to His law.
  • 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
    • Paul points out that all are saved in the same manner. Just like Adam, Abraham, Noah, David, etc… were saved by faith, so are we and so are these Gentiles. SAME WAY as always. Saved by grace. Check out Strong’s definition of grace: The divine influence upon the heart reflected in the life.
  • 12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. 13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
    • God has taken individuals out of the gentiles as a people for His name. The Gentile was coming out of from among gentiles and into the household of Israel. God did not bring the Jew out of Torah to become more like the gentiles, but was opening a door that the Gentile could enter into the faith of the Jew. The Gentile was expected to come OUT of the pagan life and into the Torah life, which is the same today. The question is what does Torah life mean or even look like?
  • 16 ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; 17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD WHO DOES ALL THESE THINGS.’ 18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works. 19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God,
    • The important word here is “turning”. Do not trouble those from the Gentiles who are turning to God. This is an “in process” transition of repentance. These are NEW believers who are coming out of their pagan life without God and placing their trust in the God of Israel. Do not trouble them by telling them they have to be circumcised and keep the law to be saved, when God has decided that they already are.
  • 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
    • Are these the four things that a gentile must do forever? Does this make sense? What about all the other things like the 10 commandments? Or is this it? This statement cannot be an all encompassing standard for the gentile follower of Jesus. It is however the four main elements in most pagan temple worship. It is a first step away from the pagan world of cult worship. It is very important to note that all four of these commands are Torah commandments given to Israel concerning the separation from pagan idolatry. Is it possible that the council was giving application of the law to these new converts? Giving them a “most important” list of things to do as they are coming out of paganism.
  • 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
    • The key and summation of this issue is in this verse. One that few ever remembers reading in this context. What does this mean? To paraphrase: The Torah/law/word of God is preached every Sabbath in a systematic weekly reading schedule. If you come to the synagogue each week, you will learn the word of God. It will all be covered. Yahweh has redeemed these Gentiles from death. They have received the Holy Spirit. They have been chosen by Gods grace “period”. As they turn and come out of their pagan life, they will here the truth of God’s Way each Sabbath as they gather with the congregations. They will be fed the word regularly. They will learn how to live over the long haul. They will grow, as they learn and apply the Word of God to their life. This is the same rule of evangelism today. The new, weak believer needs milk first, then hopefully moves on to eating meat. The new convert will choke on meat. The Gentiles are being saved by faith. God looks at the heart and is giving them the Holy Spirit. Don’t burden the disciples with making them have these new converts be circumcised and keep the whole law as they are turning to God. At least get them out of the pagan worship system for now. They will hear the word weekly as they assemble with us. They will learn how to live through the teaching of God’s law. In time the same God, who has saved them by faith, will transform the rest of their lives, through the Holy Spirit whom they have received. And God forbid that they have to go through the ritual of a proselyte
  • 22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. 23 They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. 30 So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. 33 And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles.
    • These verses are not license to break the commands of the God of Israel.

This is an excerpt from an article entitled Major Misconceptions written by Gary Hoffman.

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Acts 10

Acts 10

Did God, through this vision to Peter nullify the food laws here? Is this the issue within the context or has our tradition become more authoritative than what is actually written in the Scriptures. One of the most powerful yet simple ways to narrow down the actual meaning of a verse is to understand the context of the particular section of scripture. This is sometimes very clear and sometimes takes extensive research into the history, culture and language. In this section of Scripture it is a combination of knowledge of history, but like Mark 7 it is predominantly an issue of context.

  • 1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
    • Cornelius was “one who feared God” or literally “a God fearer”. A God fearer was a designation for a gentile who committed himself to following Yahweh, the God of Israel, but who was not circumcised, yet. Because the traditional ritual of becoming a proselyte (a gentile who became an Israelite through a circumcision ritual) was essential to being a member of Israel, a God fearer was still considered a gentile. He was to be treated as a gentile and all the man made rules for interaction with gentiles applied to the God fearer. This was contrary to what the Hebrew Scriptures taught. The Torah stated that anyone who joined themselves to Yahweh was a child of Yahweh See Isaiah 56.
  • 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually .8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa. 9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
    • Peter is in a trance, has a vision and is told to kill and eat animals. This is a vision. These were not real animals, but a vision. Visions were usually something with a deeper meaning than what was seen. Daniel and Joseph are two who had visions. In Josephs for instance the sickly wheat did not literally eat the healthy wheat. Same with the sickly and healthy cows. The dreams were metaphor for what God was telling Joseph.
  • 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
    • Peter says no to the LORD? How can Peter say no here? He can if the voice is contradicting a clear mandate in the Torah. The only standard for obedience that Peter had and which we have to determine proper action is the written Word of Yahweh. Peter also confirms that even after 10 years as a follower of Jesus he still has never eaten anything common or unclean. Now, the LORD is either changing the food laws here or He is using this vision to make a very specific point. Also note that Peter here did not interpret any of Jesus’ words to nullify the food laws, for he was still maintaining them. Peter did not interpret Mark 7 as authorization to eat unclean meats.
  • 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
    • This happens three times and the vision ends. The question is: what did God cleanse and what did Peter call common or unclean? In context this in relation to Cornelius as we will see. This was the Gentile who submitted himself to Yahweh and His Torah. This was not a food issue. We will also see that the issue was not about what Peter was eating, but who Peter was not eating with. One important note here is the word usage of Peter for common and unclean are koinoo for common and akathartos for unclean. The LORD in His response clarifies the issue by only using the word koinoo for common. This is another verification that His intent and emphasis were not on food.
  • 17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.
    • Peter was pondering (he was perplexed) this vision and wondering what it meant. It was not obvious. Was God telling Peter that He could now eat any animal and that he was now making all animals ok to eat. Was the unchanging Creator, now rescinding what was recorded by Moses as His law? Was God telling Peter that he could go out and now eat all things?
  • 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. 19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
    • Peter was still thinking about the vision. He was seeking the meaning of the vision which he had seen. He was waiting for God to reveal the true meaning of the vision.
  • 21 Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” 23 Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.
    • We know that Cornelius is a Gentile God Fearer and a devout man, with a good reputation among all Jews 9:1-2. Remember, Cornelius was not a full convert to Judaism according to the traditions of the elders that Jesus has such a problem with in Mark 7. He was treated just like a gentile. As we will see, this means that a Jew could not fellowship and eat with him in his home, because he was considered common. Because of this view, which was in contradiction to the written law, the Jews even went to the extreme of building a middle wall of separation in the temple area. This wall kept the gentile god fearer and the proselyte from coming near the temple itself. This was in total contradiction to the torah of God, which allowed even the gentile to bring sin offerings to the LORD’s alter in the tabernacle. There was a big problem with the oral traditions and commands of men, as there is today.
  • 25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” 27And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 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.
    • Peter acknowledges the traditional law. Note: this is not a command of Torah, but one added by the Jews. The Greek word here for unlawful is equal to disgusting, detestable or forbidden.
  • But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
    • Peter explains his interpretation of the vision. His interpretation has nothing to do with the food laws of Leviticus, but with gentiles. No MAN is common or unclean. We cannot read into this anything more than what Peter determined this vision to mean. It was his vision. We must consider the implications of determining a meaning of this vision other than what Peter clearly stated. We are adding to the word of God, if we do. This would be like me telling you a deeper more significant meaning to Joseph’s dream and of Daniels interpretation of the king’s dream. It is ridiculous to think of. Yet because of tradition, we allow this to happen here. We simply cannot add more revelation to this vision than what Peter received.
  • 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” 30 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ— He is Lord of all—
    • Peter again clarifies His interpretation of the vision, that God shows no partiality between the Jew or the Gentile who fears God and works righteousness. The Messiah is LORD of all who fear God and work righteousness. He shows no partiality, they are one in the same. This is clearly an issue about the oneness of the Jew and the Gentile through faith in Jesus. The vision was NOT about food! The context and the conclusion of Peter make this very clear. His interpretation also, though in disagreement with hundreds of years of oral Jewish law, does not contradict the Torah. Again, we have missed the point of this incredibly important section of Scripture.

This is an excerpt from an article entitled Major Misconceptions written by Gary Hoffman.

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Mark 7:1-23

Mark 7:1-23

When someone finds out that my family chooses to eat Biblically or keep certain parts of the Law, the typical response is to quote several portions of Scripture. The following scriptures are typically used as proof text against our decision to maintain a Biblical diet.Mark 7:1-23
Did Jesus nullify food laws or any of the Law Here? Did Jesus make ALL FOODS (those previously listed in Leviticus as unclean and an abomination the LORD) now OK for followers of Jesus to eat?

  • 1 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. 2 Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders.
    • The issue here was concerning a traditional manner of washing hands that was not addressed in the written Torah. This was one of the many thousands of man made additions to the Scriptures that the religious leaders of the day came up with in order to keep the Torah. This was called the oral torah and later put in a writing called the Mishnah. During the time of Jesus these teachings were elevated as equal to the written Torah of Moses. According to these man made laws it was necessary to go through a ritual washing of the hands that nullified any possibility of being “defiled” by a food or an item that may have come into contact with something or someone that was by this same law unclean. It is important to note that this was not a commandment of the LORD as written by Moses, but of men or “the tradition of the elders”. This was called a “fence” and was erected, in order that one stay far away from breaking a written commandment. These fences were not in the Scriptures given to Moses, but the fabrication of men. This whole section of Scriptures is specifically focused on this man made law and this is the context and subject of Jesus rebuke. This is NOT and could not possibly be an issue of written Levitical food laws. The context of this entire section is an excellent example of how the context clearly establishes the point of the text.
  • 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
    • The issue that these Pharisee’s and scribes had with Jesus was that He and His disciples were not following the man made rules and regulations of the religious institution of His day. Again the subject of this dispute is clearly established in the text. This was NOT an issue of following the rules of the written law, but an issue of following the traditions of men, as these Pharisees and Scribes clearly state.
  • 6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
    • To confirm that this is the issue, Jesus uses a quote from the prophets to cement the issue and the error of these men. He condemned them for teaching that their man made traditions were simply man made traditions. His biggest dispute was that they had made these into doctrines that were elevated to that of the law itself. Jesus did not accept these as authoritative, but condemned those who teach and enforce these rules or dogma. Their contention here was in no way suggesting that Jesus broke the laws of Moses, but the commandments and doctrines of men.
  • 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men— the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
    • Jesus goes further in His accusation in implying that they not only made new doctrines that were not Scriptural, but they also laid aside the actual commandments of the LORD (the Torah) to do so. This is the leaven of the Pharisees and the heavy yoke that Jesus spoke of in other texts. The Torah that was given by the mouth of God at Sinai, when observed according the manner in which it was written was never a heavy yoke or legalism.
  • 9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
    • They not only lay them aside, but reject Yahweh’s word. (Torah or OT). This is where the danger of our man made traditions leads. It becomes our law and we reject Gods law. We become submissive and fear men while rejecting the written law of God. We elevate the traditions of our fathers in higher esteem than that which came from the very mouth of God Himself.
  • 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
    • They even override and make the commandments of no effect through their UN Biblical tradition. Men begin to pursue and focus on these and their importance replaces the original writing in which they are seeking to uphold. I believe that the sole emphasis of this portion of Scripture is a warning anyone who has a doctrine that supercedes the written commandments. I believe that this is the warning for the church today. I believe that we need to ask the LORD to reveal in us any doctrines that we adhere to that He may look at in the same way he is looking at this oral law of the Jews.
  • 14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”
    • The importance of context must be noted here. This verse has a context in which it is set. To pluck this verse out of this context and interpret it outside of the surrounding verses would be in extreme opposition to the writers intent. I will note that most who use this verse to say that Jesus abolished the food laws must remove it from the surrounding Scripture to do so. This verse simply CANNOT be support text for eating what ever we want.
    • A study of the word uses here is also in support of this being a different issue than food. The following is a word study on the key word defile. The question is: “Is this the word used to describe unclean foods or any other designation as found in the OT. NOTE: that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT from Jesus day) never uses this Greek word. Thus it is NEVER the word used in any of the OT passages for “unclean”
      • DEFILE – 2840 κοινόω [koinoo /koy·no·o/] v. From 2839; TDNT 3:809; TDNTA 447; GK 3124; 15 occurrences; AV translates as “defile” 11 times, “call common” twice, “pollute” once, and “unclean” once. 1. to make common. 1a. to make unclean, render unhallowed, defile, profane. 1b. to declare or count unclean.
        • “to profane cultically” “to deprive of the capacity for fellowship with God” “to make common
    • “However, “unclean” in the OT and every instance in Leviticus, especially chapter 11 is represented by the Greek word akathartos which is used numerous occasions in the NT. It is used exclusively in the Gospels in association with demons or literally “unclean (akathartos) spirit, and predominantly in the rest of the NT in the same manner. A good question as a side note is the following: Did the writers of the Septuagint know more about the spiritual issues concerning these unclean animals than simply dietary in nature?
      • Unclean-176 κάθαρτος (akathartos), ον (on): adj.;  DBLHebr 3237, 3238; Str 169; TDNT 3.427—1. LN 53.39 defiled (religiously), impure, unclean (Ac 10:14, 28; 11:8; 1Co 7:14; 2Co 6:17; Eph 5:5; Rev 17:4; 18:2); 2. LN 12.39 πνε μα κάθαρτον (pneuma akatharton), unclean spirit, Evil spirit (Mt 10:1)
      • This is the word used in the NT for In all but 5 instances for “unclean spirit”. It is used also to translate a quote from 2 Cor 6:17 from Isaiah 52:11.
    • The use of koinoo instead of akathartos here is added (very significant) support that Jesus was not implying that all foods, including those already established as unclean (akathartos) are now clean, but simply denouncing the authority of the traditions of men. His point is that food that God already determined to be acceptable can not be made common or unclean by mans influence. Basically your laws are changing the Laws of God.
  • 17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understandingalso? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him,
    • “Whatever” here cannot thus be an all encompassing statement, outside of the context of this argument. Within the context it cannot mean that now all things, including the ones already addressed in Leviticus, are OK as food. It is simply a misunderstanding of ours because of our tradition and the interpretation of men. For the very reason Jesus had to set these religious leaders straight. Their problem is our problem: we have taken the tradition of men and made it into doctrine. A doctrine which we so boldly and vehemently hold to. We cannot make the same mistake as the one group of people that Yahshua so seriously chastised. We MUST look into our own lives and see where our traditions and doctrines are the same, i.e. where “our interpretation” and other teachers (even our church fathers) have a system in place that overrides the Word of God. Look close, they are to numerous to count. We are in bondage to our own traditions and refuse to follow God’s teachings. We are doing the very thing that Jesus is opposed to here. And interestingly we are using the very Scriptures that rebuke this theology to support our breaking of the Law.
    • NOTE: The NIV ads in parenthesis: (in saying this Jesus declared all food “clean”) this is an extremely disturbing addition to the Word of God, designed to sway the reader to make a conclusion that is no where evident in this passage. These Greek scholars “knowingly” chose to create doctrine that is non existent.
    • Another important note to point out here is that the dietary prohibitions in Leviticus list certain animal’s ad food and certain others as NOT FOOD. To say that there are unclean foods and clean foods is missing the emphasis of the LORD. He is clearly saying that some animal meat is not to be considered food. What God has determined as clean to eat is food and what He has determined as unclean is not food. The issue with the Pharisees and Scribes is that they are making what God has called food, unclean by contact with a gentile or a gentile’s food ware, which was not possible according to the Law.
  • 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”
    • The process that purifies all foods is our own body system. This portion of text is clearly concerning the God given processes of the body to eliminate the byproducts of food through the excretion of waste. Not about changing food laws or about making what is not food now food.
  • 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
    • This is and always was and always will be a heart issue. Is your heart clean? These things all come from your heart. It is these that make us (koinoo) common and deprives us of the capacity for fellowship with God. This points to the focus of this section of Scriptures is about evil things and not food. It is not saying that what we eat is of no concern.
  • We must read the Word of God and check all our interpretations of a verse, first with the context or the sentence, then the paragraph, then the chapter, then the book, then with the NT, then with the OT. If there is any deviation or contradiction, WE are the ones who are wrong in our interpretation, not the writers or the Creator.
  • Let us not forget that there is one law and one law giver (James 4:12.)

This is an excerpt from an article entitled Major Misconceptions written by Gary Hoffman.

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