Additional Reading: Did Jesus do away with the Law Matt 5:17?
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Next: The Pauline Paradox Part 3 Why Is Paul So Difficult to Understand
At this point in the Pauline Paradox series, we are proceeding with the assumption that the audience is familiar with several key foundational teachings. By now you should have watched, read and tested the following:
We also encourage you to read and test these teachings as well before proceeding with Part 2 of the Pauline Paradox series:
The Pauline Paradox Part 2 – The Paul you Never Knew
If you have not tested those teachings, please consider not proceeding until you have. Keep in mind, as we progress through the truth of the Word of God, we are doing our best to teach only what the Scripture clearly teaches, and refrain from teaching our own opinion on verses that might be argued to be subject to one’s interpretation.
We want to show you what the Word of God says is true, not what simply we believe is true. What we believe is irrelevant. You are not to simply trust us, or project on us any type of credibility. Your faith should be in the Word of God only, certainly not us…thus our commentary is basically worthless, and the Word of God is everything. We challenge you to focus on what the Word of God says, not what we say, or others say.
That being said, you are also responsible to test everything we say to the Word of God, to determine whether the things we say are true (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Also, as a reminder, we are not teaching on how to be saved, or even the concept of maintaining your salvation. What we intend to teach is this…how do we practice the Word of God AFTER we already have placed our faith in the Word of God and have entered into His plan of salvation.
Obeying God cannot negate your salvation that is through faith. Our works cannot save us, only the finished work of Christ can save us. Keep in mind, placing our faith in the Word of God, is the same thing as placing our faith in Jesus Christ, or in Hebrew, Yeshua our Messiah (Rev. 19:13) (John 1:14).
Our faith is to be in the Word of God. Thus, you are to not only test us to the Word of God, you are to test yourselves to the Word of God, exactly what Christ taught and practiced, nothing more, and nothing less.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Yeshua the Messiah is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
John offered us the same test of our faith:
1 John 2:3-4
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
You might ask then:
“What commandments did our Savior keep? What instructions did He follow and teach? Did He keep the Lord’s feast days and Sabbath? The dietary instructions? The answer? Yes, he did, absolutely! He had to have practiced and taught what Moses wrote, otherwise our perfect Savior was actually not perfect and He sinned; thus rendering us lost and hopeless.
Just in case you might be wondering which commandments John was referring to keep in the test of knowing Him in verse 3, John immediately stated that he was referring to the same commandments that Christ walked.
1 John 2:6
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
The question is this, are you going to walk as He walked or walk as others tell you to walk? You might say, “but Paul said this” or “Paul said that”, well, who died for you Paul or our Messiah? Did not our Messiah die for us? Should we not focus on His life?
Why do some try to elevate Paul above Christ, especially when in 1 Corinthians Paul said he followed Christ’s example () and that Christ is the head covering of all men. The point of this series is NOT that Paul should be discarded, but in fact, he is simply misunderstood. This teaching assumes that you are more interested in the Word of God versus what someone tells you what they believe about the Word of God.
If your faith is not in the Word of God, but you place more trust in what others teach about the Word of God, then this teaching may not be of value to you. The question this series intends to answer is, “how do we live out our faith?”
Some adamantly say that the law of God has changed and believe that is what the Bible says. They will send you books, hundreds of pages deep. They might tell you what Constantine did, and how great he was and how everyone learned just a few hundred years after Yeshua that some of God’s commandments were simply just not as great as many of the people who actually wrote the Bible made them out to be.
The law that was stated to be so good seemingly became not so good. Thus, it was good that it changed. It was supposedly good that the theology evolved, that we drifted away from such things that were established from the beginning. Others say that the law of God has not changed; they also believe that is what the Bible says. Only one perspective can be correct. Both cannot exist without contradiction. We seek to discover the truth and share that truth. If our faith is truly in the Word of God, then we should have a passion and desire to discover how to practice our faith.
To say that we have faith in the Word of God and not want to understand how to practice it, is an oxymoron of sorts. Thus we assume that you have true faith, and thus want to learn how to practice what the Word of God says; not what men say and tell us to do or believe.
Listen to this carefully:
Should it be more likely that a believer in the Word of God does the Word of God or explains away the Word of God? So our focus is to not only bring others to the faith, but to also show them what “being the faith” really means, what it should look like. How many realize that the greatest percentage of the Bible is not a written appeal from God to come into the faith, but instead a constant theme of God pleading with professed believers to avoid sin and lawlessness and thus practice the Word of God that they claim to believe in? Have you ever wondered why? You are about to find out.
The Word of God obviously contains instructions from our Creator. So, if we believe the Word of God to be true, and we are committed to it and believe in it, any rational person should agree that such a faith would prompt us to actually do what we claim to have faith in. That should make sense; we do what we believe to be true. Thus, obedience is an output or cause of our faith; outward evidence of what we believe inwardly. What is inward belief in what we do is outward practice is to be in complete agreement with each other.
And it is in this the rubber meets the road if you will. That is not to say that on occasion we will not accidentally violate the Word of God in what we do. This, of course, is considered sin. That is what grace is for. No one is perfect. If one was to say that they can do the law of God perfectly, then they are in serious error.
In Romans 7, Paul concludes that he still sometimes sins by breaking the law of God. Yet he also said that because the law of God is holy, just, and good that he delights in the law of God; that the law of God is spiritual; that he actually wants to do the law of God. When we sin, the Son will advocate to the Father on our behalf. Yet, just because we are under grace does not mean that we should break the law of God, or sin.
So, just because we will never do the whole law of God perfectly does not offer us an excuse to not want to try. Just because we will always be sinful does not mean that we should be okay with sin. Remember, Christ is to be our example not our excuse. We should want to avoid sin; hating sin and loving the law of God is the same thing. Let me say that again, hating sin and loving the law of God is the same thing. What that means is this, no one who truly believes in the law of God actively and intentionally promotes and engages in sin; but instead, conforms and practices to the law of God.
So one with true faith will want to do what is truth and thus desire to avoid sin. Yet it is still possible that there are things in the Word of God that we do not know as truth or understand it as truth, but if we knew it we would believe and practice it. Meaning this, there are those who could be sinning and simply not realize it yet. But, if they knew that something was sin, they would want to stop immediately because they have faith in the Word and thus only desire to practice the Word. They hate sin.
So, let us suppose that there is someone that is in error about the law of God. Suppose someone does believe the law of God has changed when it really has not. Yet such a person really does have faith in the Word of God and commits and believes in it. They believe the Word of God is truth, yet accidentally fail to understand what to practice out of it. Perhaps they practice and teach some of the law of God has changed; such a person will still be saved in the end and they will make it into the kingdom because of their faith.
But unless they come out of their deception, and start practicing the whole truth of the Word, they will be least in the kingdom of God as part of their eternal rewards. They simply just do not realize that they are sinning despite the fact that they hate sin.
There is, however, another side to this coin.
There are also those who understand, or at least have been presented the whole truth of His Word. Yet they refuse to practice it and they rebel against it and at the same time they still claim to believe in the Word of God; they still claim to believe in Yeshua (or Jesus Christ), yet they intentionally reject what our Savior taught. The key words here are intentional and willful sin versus accidental sin and deceit.
This means they intentionally made a choice in response to God’s law. Perpetual and willful sin is the same as thumbing one’s nose at God Himself. Consistent, intentional, and willful sin is the same as God saying “do something” in the Word of God and we tell Him, “no” and thus continue to do our own thing. Such is the opposite of faith because as we established earlier, we will do what we believe is true.
In other words, if our faith is that the Word of God is truth and sin is bad, our intentional practice is not to go out and deny the Word of God by sinning. If someone says that they believe the Word of God to be true, which is the same as believing in our Lord, yet keeps on intentionally sinning, Scripture calls that person a liar.
1 John 2:4
He who says “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
And remember, the commandments that John is talking about here are the commandments that Yeshua walked. The same, exact ones; and now you know that.
And now you have a decision to make despite what you might still believe about what Paul taught. This would be an example of someone saying that they believe the Word of God to be true, yet at the same time refusing to practice the Word of God. That is a very serious situation. How serious is it? It’s called denying the faith. This is precisely why we stress so much to test everything. Because as believers, what we believe and practice has eternal consequences and what we have been exposed to in His Word affords us opportunity to accept or reject the Word of God.
Thus, if we, are teaching something false by all means please reject it, run from it. Call us out on it, correct us and please show us the truth in kindness, gentleness, and respect. But keep in mind, as you continue through the rest of this series you are accountable to testing what we teach.
You cannot simply dismiss what we are saying because of theological laziness or misplaced trust in theologians and then in the end, at judgment, tell Yahweh Himself that no one ever told you the truth. If we are indeed teaching truth, and we are teaching the Word of God yet you still reject it, then it is you who are accountable to such in the end.
Accidental sin, or breaking God’s law is most certainly covered by grace, but continuous intentional and continuous sin is different. It is the exact opposite of faith; if you deny faith you have no grace. If we willfully and continuously sin, no more sacrifice for sins remains for us even if we were once sanctified but instead we insult the spirit of grace and have nothing left to expect but the same judgment deserving of God’s enemies.
We’re not saying this, the Bible is.
We can be thinking that we are living for God and working for God doing miracles and wonders, yet if we reject the truth of His Word and abandon our faith in the Word of God in our practice, then there is a sad surprise for such in the end.
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Remember Peter’s warning about misunderstanding Paul’s letters as it relates to lawlessness?
2 Peter 3:17
Therefore dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. This is not intended to scare you or alarm you; we simply wish to communicate the seriousness of the Word of God. Please afford us the opportunity to be very clear because we’re trying to say what the Bible says, not what we say.
If it was not possible to fall from your secure position, leading to destruction as it relates to Paul, then Peter would not have offered us such a warning.
We want to clear up the misunderstandings of Paul’s letters, but remember, it is only you that can examine these things for yourself, to yourself, test your faith, and test everything. Our intent of exposing these different groups is to help you understand which group you may currently be in as a professed believer in the Word of God:
Group 1) you believe and practice the whole Word of God, thus you will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven in the end.
This is the ideal group to be in, and has to do with a desire to practice and teach the whole Law of God. (Matthew 5:19)
Group 2) you believe and practice that some of the law of God has been abolished, because that is what you have been taught.
You may have never tested that teaching, and you have never been presented the truth. Thus, you will be least in the Kingdom. (Matthew 5:19)
Group 3) you have been presented the truth according to the Word of God, yet have chosen to reject and rebel against aspects of the Law of God, even perhaps while still claiming to have faith and do certain works in the name of God. (Matthew 7:21-23) (Hebrews 10:26-31)
These groups are clearly defined in the Bible. You, as a professed believer, at judgment, will be in one of those groups in the end. If you are not interested in seeking truth, and really do not want to discover what Paul really taught…Or,.if you are more comfortable in your current doctrinal understanding, and already know in your heart that you would not consider and other perspective despite what we are going to reveal in the Scriptures, then we encourage you to not proceed.
Make sure you test everything to His Word, and that your desire and faith is in absolute truth. What you will learn is that if absolute truth can change, it was neither truth, nor absolute. Keep in mind, nearly all support for the belief that Yahweh changed His commandments for His people rests on select snippets from Paul’s letters.
In the spirit of seeking and promoting truth, the remainder of this series will focus specifically on Paul and what He really taught, showing without a doubt that Paul practiced and taught the whole law of God. We suggest that you have your Bible and all of your study resources available to you…Discard any attachment you might have on the doctrines of men, and open your heart to welcoming truth. We are going to now introduce to you, the Paul that you never knew…
We first meet Paul in Act 7:58 at the stoning of Stephen.
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Later, Paul validates his presence at this event…
And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
The irony of this could not be any more interesting. We have all heard that supposedly Yeshua changed the Law of God on the cross, and of course, we are to read Paul’s letters in order to understand this. You might ask where is the irony of Paul standing witness to the stoning of Stephen is.
Let’s back up a moment. Why was Stephen stoned?
Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
At this point, you should have studied the Deuteronomy 13 Test, as recommended at the start of this teaching. Thus, you would already know that God’s people were commanded to test teachers to the Word of God, according to the commandments that were written down by Moses at Sinai. If they failed the Deuteronomy 13 Test, then the accusers would bring the accused before the Sanhedrin, the Torah-based judicial system. This court system was present then, but lacks any presence today, hence the reason that Biblically commanded capital punishments are not able to be carried out today. The Biblical structure and criteria required to carry out such commandments is not currently in place. It was however, present in the first century, or at least a corrupted form of it. So this is where Stephen found himself in Acts chapters 6 & 7.
He found himself accused of breaking Deuteronomy 13…his accusers claimed that Stephen was teaching that the Law of God had changed through Yeshua. His accusers also accused Yeshua of changing what Moses wrote. According to Deuteronomy 13, if someone taught different commandments, or that some had been abolished, then they are guilty of blasphemy. In countless places in Scripture, including Deuteronomy 13, teaching any other commandments other than what was given through Moses, was considered as going after other gods.
This should make sense, if you are not following God’s commandments, then you are following someone else’s commandments or instructions….whether they actually be someone else’s or your own. This would be the same as making yourself or others out to be gods, because you are elevating those instructions higher than God’s instructions. Those teaching other commandments or instructions, according to God, are deserving of capital punishment. Paul is standing and watching all of this transpire right before him.
This is where it becomes interesting. This is the very same Paul who supposedly later teaches the very same thing Stephen now stands accused of, that the Law of God has changed through Yeshua. We accuse Paul of teaching exactly what we find Stephen and Yeshua accused of in Acts chapter 6.
Isn’t that interesting?
Supposedly Paul teaches that the Law of God changed through Christ, and Stephen is getting stoned for specifically teaching that the Law of God changed through Christ! Did you catch it? Let’s read it again.
Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
So here we have a man named Stephen, well after the events of the cross, teaching and performing great signs among the people according to verse 8, now being accused of teaching against what Moses wrote. This of course, is a serious offense if true, according to Deuteronomy 13.
But is it true?
Was Stephen actually teaching what Moses wrote, or were his accusers correct in that he indeed was teaching that the Law of God did change? More importantly, did Yeshua really teach that the Law of God changed, as Stephen’s accusers clearly said?
“This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
Is it true that Christ changed the law of God?
Many in mainstream Christianity would be very quick to say, yes, the Law of God did change, that is what is taught, that Christ changed the law! They would actually agree with Stephen’s accusers. They are making the very same accusations. Knowing that, something very interesting happens if we pay a little more attention to the record of Stephen’s trial.
How many realize that the claims that Stephen and Yeshua taught that the Law of God, as written by Moses was changed after the cross, was completely fabricated…it was false, based on false witnesses.
Let’s read that again:
“They produced FALSE witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
This is where it becomes very important to discern between what is false and what is true. We are simply going to use common sense here. Something that is false simply means that it is not true. Here the Bible is telling us very clearly, that Yeshua changing what Moses wrote is a false teaching.
It is simply not true. That changes everything.
As we already said, the majority of mainstream Christianity teaches that Christ changed the Law. The majority of mainstream Christianity teaches that Paul said that Christ changed the Law. Yet, here in Acts 6 and 7, in which Paul was actually present, we are told that it is false that Christ changed the law of God.
Now do you see why it is so ironic that our first exposure to Paul is in this setting? The very thing so many claim Paul taught about the Law of God, is the very thing in which Yeshua and Stephen were falsely accused.
That merits repeating…
Stephen was accused of changing the law of God, and Yeshua was also accused of changing the law of God. The Bible says that those were false accusations…meaning…not true.
Yet, so many still want to use Paul’s letters to turn those very same false accusations against Stephen into true accusations…If the Bible says such things are false about Stephen and Yeshua, then why do we run to Paul saying Paul said such things are actually true?
It is almost like God is smarter than we are, that God orchestrated this all by design, knowing that we would mess up Paul’s words later, and that if we would have just noted the events that transpired in our introduction to Paul, then perhaps we would not have misunderstood Paul to have done away with the Law of God in all his letters.
Regardless, whether God was giving us an advance warning about misunderstanding Paul on matters of the law of God or not, we most certainly know for a fact that Peter issued the most clear, and blatant, warning we could have ever needed on this matter.
2 Peter 3:14-17
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
Peter says some really key things as it relates to Paul. Perhaps we might be wise to afford some attention to Peter’s warning. 2,000 years ago, Peter declares Paul’s letters to be difficult to understand. And this is when they better understood the language, culture, and context in which Paul’s letters were authored and distributed. Certainly Paul’s letters are not any easier to understand today. Peter then goes on to say that the ignorant and unstable twist Paul.
Now, if Paul is teaching on the Word of God in his letters, would it not make sense that Peter is advocating on not being ignorant or unstable as it relates to the Word of God? The only Word of God they had is what Yeshua taught and practiced, which was the same thing the Old Testament taught. The New Testament was nowhere to be found yet…it hadn’t been made.
Apparently though, there were those that thought Paul taught something different in these matters of the law…they twisted his words in matters of God’s law…and as a result, Peter calls them lawless people. Did Paul really change or delete the Law of God in his letters? Peter offers us a stern warning to not believe such people, that it leads to destruction. He says to not believe such people, and calls them lawless people.
But then did Paul advocate for lawfulness? Obviously, lawfulness is the opposite of lawlessness. Apparently, we should choose how we should want to live our lives…Should we desire to live according to lawlessness, or lawfulness. There is no in between.
Before we even begin examining Paul’s letters, let us continue with the historical record of the Book of Acts. We find that in Acts 8, at the time, Paul agreed with the unlawful killing of Stephen in a false belief that Christ changed the law of God…Acts 8:1 And Saul approved of their killing him.
For Paul to have approved of Stephen’s stoning, he must have been deceived and convinced of the false testimony that Yeshua changed the Law of God as written by Moses. Because of this false testimony, a war immediately manifested against any follower of Yeshua.
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Keep in mind; the Jews had to do this if they really believed that Christ changed the law of God. Deuteronomy 13 actually commands them to go to war against such teachers. That should make it rather confusing for those who believe that Christ did change the law of God, for the first 14 years, Scripture only records Jews coming to know the Messiah. There is no possible way a Jew would accept a Messiah that was incompatible with Deuteronomy 13. They can’t. God told them not to.
Ask any Jew today if it is prophetically compatible for the Messiah to teach that the law of God changed. The answer will always be NO. It is not even possible. This is why so many Jews do not believe in Yeshua as their Messiah, not because Christ really changed the Law of God, but because so many teach that He did. They have to reject that version of the Messiah. God told them to. Deuteronomy 13 was always to be the test of the true Messiah.
Are we to believe that God told the Jews in Deuteronomy 13 not to believe any teacher that teaches against what Moses wrote, and then God sends a Messiah to teach against what Moses wrote, and then sends Paul to further teach against what Moses wrote?
Of course not…
That is why Yeshua kept saying that He only taught what the Father already said. Yeshua said He did not say His own Words, only the Father’s Words, which actually is compatible with Deuteronomy 13. This is why the accusers of Stephen teaching that Christ changed the Law of God are actually false accusers. So now, following the stoning of Stephen, because of this false understanding that Yeshua changed the Law of God, we have a war, that Paul is leading, against those who follow Christ.
What do you suppose Christ has to do? He has to put a stop to it. If we were to continue to read Acts 9, we would find that Yeshua put a halt to the persecution that Paul was leading against believers. Because of Yeshua’s intervention in that He manifested Himself to Paul; we find that Paul then understands the truth.
To recap, followers of Christ were being persecuted for a false belief that Yeshua changed the law of God, based on false testimony that lead to the stoning of Stephen. Paul led this war against believers according to Deuteronomy 13. Yeshua then halted Paul’s persecution of believers because the persecution was based on a false understanding that Yeshua taught that what Moses wrote had changed. As a result, Paul begins a teaching ministry and goes forth preaching the Word of God, to both Jews and Greeks.
How do you suppose many reacted to Paul’s change to following Christ, instead of persecuting those who follow Christ? You can imagine the dismay of many of Paul’s peers who were once aligned with him in his persecution.
All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
Remember, because of the false testimonies and rumors that falsely convicted Stephen, many were still under the impression that followers of Yeshua believed and taught that the Law of God as written by Moses had changed. Yeshua corrected Paul and set him straight, yet, many others that once followed Paul in persecution were still deceived about Christ’s teachings. Thus, many desired to kill him, because they viewed him as a traitor.
According to many of them, now Paul is breaking Deuteronomy 13.
After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him,
He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.
From this point onward, Paul continues in a mission to spread the Word of God, and testify that Yeshua was and is indeed the prophesied Messiah.
But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
Paul would then preach the Messiah and Word of God, and the Gentiles begged for more the following Sabbaths…Note here, that we have Gentiles keeping the Sabbaths.
So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
Paul continued to face persecution, and at one point was even stoned. They are still trying to stone him based on Deuteronomy 13. We will expound on this more shortly, but it is clear that they must still think that he is teaching that Moses has changed.
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city…
Now we arrive to Acts 15-16, in which Paul is also present. This teaching assumes that you have reviewed our teaching presentation on Acts 15 as recommended. If you still have not watched and tested that teaching, we strongly recommend that you do so now.
Remember, Acts 15 verse 20 concludes that the converted Gentiles should first focus on 4 commandments out of Moses dealing with pagan false god cultic temple worship first…and then, pick up the rest of Moses on the Sabbaths, like we just saw the Gentile converts in chapter 13 were already doing before Paul even arrived.
For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” The Galatian Gentiles were not expected to learn what Moses wrote and apply it overnight.
The three main points we should understand out of Acts 15 are:
1) Don’t try to keep the law of God for salvation, it is an impossible burden to bear
2) Don’t even bother with the rest of what Moses wrote until you abandon the false, sun god, pagan, cultic temple practices. Follow only the one true God first and enter into the faith. A must read, The Lifting of the Veil
3) After you commit to the one true God, you can then learn His ways for us in the readings of Moses every Sabbath, not for salvation, but simply as the way to live out our faith because of our salvation.
Again, if you would like to examine Acts 15 in more depth, we encourage you to study the respective teaching, “Acts 15: Legalism or Obedience”.
Paul continues his messages on the Sabbath.
And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. His custom was to teach on the Sabbath…
Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures…
Note how the Sabbath clearly still exists, and is still referred to as being on the 7th day, which would be sundown Friday to sundown Saturday according to God’s calendar. If this is Paul’s custom, then nearly every Sabbath Paul was teaching Jews and Greeks in the synagogues. This of course means that Greeks were in the synagogues every Sabbath, still learning how to apply what Moses wrote according to Acts 15:21 and Matthew 23:1-3….
And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
So let’s summarize what we know about Paul so far. He was present at Stephen’s stoning.
At the court hearing, both Stephen and Yeshua were falsely accused of teaching that the law of God, as written down by Moses, had changed.
Paul took these accusations, believed them, and was deceived by them, and led a war against all those who follow Yeshua.
Yeshua interrupted this war and showed Paul the truth. Paul then becomes a part of those that He used to persecute. He begins to follow Yeshua. Thus, those that were once Paul’s friends, and his peers, continue the persecution against believers of Yeshua, which now includes Paul. Yet, Paul continues to teach the Word of God to Jews and Greeks on every Sabbath in the synagogues.
Their largest issue against Paul and the like, is that Paul and other followers of Christ supposedly teach against what Moses wrote, so they sought to kill Paul as well, even to the point of almost successfully stoning him to death. So are we suggesting that Paul was falsely accused of the same things they falsely accused Stephen and Yeshua of doing, which is changing the Law of God? That is indeed exactly what Paul was accused of, and it is revealed several times in the Book of Acts.
The first time we see such a direct accusation of breaking Deuteronomy 13 is in Acts 18.
When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”
So, just like when Paul witnessed Stephen being falsely accused all the way back in Acts 6, that Yeshua changed what Moses wrote, we simply see that such accusations are still a problem. After Paul was just accused of teaching against what Moses wrote, the first thing he does is takes a vow. Many have suggested that the vow Paul took was the Nazarite vow that is detailed in Numbers 6, which is a public declaration of complete desire to follow the way of God.
So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.
This vow would have served as a public example that Paul has not forsaken what Moses wrote, that he does not teach that Yeshua changed the law of God. We will see such a vow play the same role once again when Paul is accused once more of breaking Deuteronomy 13 when he arrives to Jerusalem.
It should be noted why Paul sailed off to Jerusalem.
When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.
What we have here, is that Paul is clearly keeping the feast days of the Lord, found in Leviticus 23. If Paul supposedly keeps the Lord’s feast days, yet at the same time, teaches that anyone keeping them has fallen from grace and is in bondage, what are we supposed to do about this?
Does Paul want to fall from grace? Does Paul want to practice bondage? Of course not. Again, many just misunderstand Paul. Paul obviously kept the Lord’s feast days.
declares God’s law to be freedom, not bondage:
So shall I keep your law continually, Forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.
Can God’s law be freedom and bondage at the same time?
Of course not.
When Paul spoke of God’s law and bondage in Galatians, it was in the context of the mistake of keeping God’s law for salvation, the exact same problem discussed about Galatia in Acts 15. Trying to keep God’s law for salvation is indeed falling from grace. But just because God asks us to keep His Feast days, does not mean we should do it for salvation. We should practice God’s ways because of our salvation.
You see the difference?
Paul is keeping God’s feast days because He loves God and he loves His ways. By the way, if Paul does these things, and he says to imitate Him (1 Corinthians 11:1), then perhaps we should do what Paul did?
We will get to Colossians 2:16 in detail later in this teaching series, but do you really think that Paul was teaching against God’s feast days, yet keeping them himself? Either Paul would then be a hypocrite, or a schizophrenic. So, we see that Paul is accused of breaking Deuteronomy 13, by teaching that what Moses wrote as the law of God, had changed. In the midst of the accusations that Paul taught that Christ changed the law of God, Paul could either say that the accusations are true, and that he believed that the Law of God has changed, or the accusations were indeed false, just like Acts chapters 6 and 7 declares they were false for Stephen and Yeshua. He has a choice about the law of God changing, either true, or false. There’s no in between. How do you suppose Paul responded to his accusers?
We know how Peter and the other apostles reacted:
Well, if we believe mainstream Christianity’s understanding of Paul, then Paul would have had to state that the accusations were true, that the law of God has changed…even though that would contradict Acts chapter 6 in which we learn that such accusations are false. But since this teaching series is about Paul and what he believed and taught…let’s discover the truth of this matter.
In Acts chapter 21, we find that he is once again accused of teaching that what Moses wrote had changed.
On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 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; 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. What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take 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.
Paul cannot teach all of Moses and teach against Moses at the same time.
Let’s sum up this series of verses in Acts 21.
1) Paul is accused of forsaking Moses
2) James considers that a concern.
3) James offers a solution.
4) James says they Paul should help others their vow. Again, this is likely a Nazarite vow found in Numbers 6, declaring the law of God to be fully written on one’s heart.
On top of all of this, James states that the accusations against Paul that he teaches differently than Moses are NOT TRUE.
This settles it right here. Unless we want to assume that James is wrong, and thus the Bible is wrong, then we have to understand that James, as an elder in the Jerusalem council, is saying that Paul practices and teaches all of what is written by Moses.
James doesn’t just stop there. James says that teaching and practicing what Moses wrote is actually what defines walking orderly. That means that not doing what Moses wrote is walking disorderly. Thus, anyone teaching differently than what Moses wrote is teaching disorder, they are teaching chaos. This is according to what James just said! Now, one might say that Paul was only accused of not teaching Jews differently than what Moses wrote and this has nothing to do with converted Gentiles. That explanation works on most people, because most believe that what Moses wrote was only written for the Jews.
Here is the problem with that understanding; God said that everything that was written by Moses as the Law of God was for EVERYONE.
Here are just a few examples:
The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner (gentile) residing among you.
One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether a native-born Israelite or a foreigner residing among you.
A foreigner residing among you is also to celebrate (Yahweh’s) the LORD’s Passover in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for both the foreigner and the native-born.
You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the LORD your God.
Clearly, there is no difference between a natural Israelite and a grafted into the faith Greek. Didn’t Paul say the same thing any number of times, that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, that we are all the same body?
If we are all the same body, with the same head, which is Christ, then we are all following the same instructions. There is to be one law for all.
Thus, if Acts 21 declares that Paul teaches all of Moses to Jews, as though nothing has changed, then He has to be doing the same for converted Gentiles as well, because that is what Moses teaches, lest Paul is contradicting himself. Paul cannot say that he teaches Moses, which says converted Gentiles are to follow the same law, and then say that Gentiles are to not follow that same law.
Moses writes that Gentiles are to follow the same law, and Paul said he teaches and practices what Moses wrote. There is no way out of this. The only reason most of the teachers and mainstream Christianity do not understand this, is because they have been deceived by the belief, that what Moses wrote was only for the Jews. This obviously cannot be the case when Moses clearly wrote, who knows how many times, that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, that it is one law for all! Paul wrote the same thing, and he said he taught everything that Moses wrote.
This is already destroying a lot of false beliefs about what Paul taught, but we are just getting started.
Here is what we now must understand, according to what the Bible says, not us:
1) Yeshua was falsely accused of teaching that what Moses wrote had changed.
2) Stephen was falsely accused of teaching that what Moses wrote had changed.
3) Paul was (and still is today) falsely accused of teaching what Moses wrote has changed.
You might be thinking…But Paul clearly taught that what Moses wrote had changed.
No, he didn’t.
Paul said he didn’t, and Peter, as another witness, said that Paul was difficult to understand on such matters. So yes, it will be difficult to reconcile all of this with Paul’s letter’s, but not impossible. You might be quick to say, perhaps Acts 21 was wrong. And that might seem like the easy way out, but we still have much more to review on Paul.
As it relates to Acts 21, some will attempt to find a contradiction, to suggest that James was wrong in his understanding of Paul, by pointing to the very next verse.
As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”
This is a reference back to the decree found in Acts 15. Again, we would refer to the teaching in Acts 15, but we will entertain a short review as it relates to this verse.
On the surface, it seems like the only four commandments Gentiles are to observe in their faith, are these four mentioned here. Obviously, that does not make any sense, because lying, murder, adultery, etc. are still considered breaking the law of God, and thus considered sin. So, these four instructions are serving a specific purpose at first, even before they begin learning about any other commandments.
Let’s recap the context leading to verse 25.
1) Paul was accused of not teaching Torah (Moses) to Jews.
2) To this James said that these accusations were FALSE, and said that Paul walks ORDERLY (obviously meaning that if you want to walk orderly in the faith, do what Moses wrote).
3) Now, if one knows Moses, then one realizes that it is for the Gentiles as well when they come into the faith, one law for all (i.e. Numbers 15:16).
So, this begs the question, why was the decree of Acts 15 (Galatia) restated in Acts 21, seemingly implying that the Gentiles are to not keep what Moses wrote. first of all, those 4 commandments are out of Moses, so even on the surface it seems to make no sense at all…It would be like saying, “we told the Gentiles to not keep Moses, but instead, keep Moses”. That doesn’t make much sense does it?
So why did James give the converted Gentiles four commandments derived from Moses? We have to understand the situation and context.
Immediately following the decree in Acts 15:20, we find that the Gentiles we expected to learn Moses (thus apply it) in Acts 15:21. But why were these 4 commandments given to those in Galatia to be practiced first? Why would anyone have to understand these four commandments derived from Moses first, before learning the rest of Moses in the Sabbath?
Why aren’t the Jews told the same thing? It’s because the Jews do not have the same cultural problem as the Galatians did.
What is that problem? Well, it would help if we read Galatians, right?
In Galatians we find that the Circumcision Party confused the Galatians into believing that if they were circumcised, then they were saved (legalism, salvation by works). This error of those in Galatia is found all over the place in Galatians. Many confuse Paul’s railing against the law, to actually be against keeping it in general, instead of wrongfully keeping it for salvation. Meaning, we are to keep God’s law for obedience and the right way to rightfully live, but not keep it for the motive of salvation.
Now, consider this.
Here are the Galatians, all circumcised and now told that they are now saved according to this false doctrine and understanding. They are likely to do what any false god, pagan, sun worshipping society is used to doing, they are going to go back to worshipping their old gods too, along with worshipping Yahweh. Isn’t this right, He is just one more god to them, and that was their daily practice for their society to worship multiple gods.
And still, why not? They are certainly saved according to them, they have been circumcised. Once you are saved you are always saved right? They are now circumcised; they can go worship their old gods too, like they used to love doing.At least, that is what they believed. At any rate, the Galatians went BACK to the false sun god days and ways, and we find that in Galatians 4. They were going back to the days and traditions that actually evolved into what we call Christmas and Easter today, which Paul calls bondage…please see the following teachings:
But then, indeed, when you did not know God, YOU SERVED those which by nature are NOT GODS. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you TURN AGAIN to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be IN BONDAGE? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
Do you see how they went back to their old gods, which are by nature not gods? They turned back to them, and of course, fell into their bondage in such ways.
So, in this, we have our answer to Acts 15 and Acts 21. The primary heading to the Law of God, found in Deuteronomy 6, is that God is one.
Hear, O Israel: (Yahweh) The LORD our God, (Yahweh) the LORD is one. Love the (Yahweh) LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
This is often referred to as the Shema. It simply means to hear and obey. Before we can hear and obey, we have to know that God is one, that there is no other God, and that there are no other righteous instructions to follow other than Yahweh’s instructions. If they were going back to the ways of the false sun gods, then Galatians failed. The Galatians FAILED at understanding the basics of the shema.
We are to only follow God’s instructions, thus, James did not directly tell the Gentiles in Galatia to practice what Moses wrote, simply because the Galatians were still worshipping sun gods as well. They had to ditch the sun god worship first, and the four commandments given to them was the start of that process. Then James next point was that they would learn the rest of Moses later on the Sabbaths in the synagogues.
Just to clarify, the 4 commandments decreed in Acts 15:20, and restated in Acts 21, were a call to the Galatians to leave the temple prostitution and temple sacrifices found in sun god temples. THEN when they do that, THEN they can learn and follow Moses (Acts 15:21). Until then, there is NO POINT in commanding them to keep what Moses wrote, when they are still worshipping sun gods. Once they ditch the sun gods, then they can learn Moses every Sabbath (Acts 15:21)
Also, there is no other possible understanding. Paul and James said that they taught all of what Moses wrote, and Moses wrote that Gentiles are to keep the very same Law of God. So it wasn’t that the Gentiles only had four commandments to learn and practice, it was that they only had four commandments to learn and practice before they should even consider learning the rest… It is much simpler to understand once we pull in the context.
Let’s continue with Acts 21.
After all of this, after Paul completes the vow according to James’s recommendation. Now remember, James recommended to Paul to help these four men with the vow in order to prove that Paul practices and teaches all of what Moses wrote…that he walks orderly.
Did it work? Not at all.
Likely to Paul’s and James dismay, the Jews still came at Paul with accusations of breaking Deuteronomy 13.
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, 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.”
In Acts 22, we have a devout man, according to the law, which must be according to what Moses wrote, because the Jews gave him good testimony….
“Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,
In Acts 23:3, Paul uses the law of God to defend himself, when he is once again accused of breaking Deuteronomy 13.
It must be noted, that Paul continues to defend himself against accusations that he taught differently than what Moses wrote, when he instead could have simply said, “yes, it is true!” If the accusations were true, then he wouldn’t be defending himself. That is simply common sense.
Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
In Acts 23:4, Paul is accused of breaking what Moses wrote again, but this time Paul agrees with them, and says that he is wrong based on what is written by Moses.
And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”
Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”Notice that Paul did not say that Moses is done away with. Just like Acts 21 proves, Paul continues teaching and practicing all of what Moses wrote. As if Paul has not been accused enough of not teaching all of what Moses wrote, Paul makes a final plea in his defense in the face of his accusers.
Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
You would think that if Paul was really teaching something other than Moses to Jews and Greeks, that they would be able to prove it. His accusers should just be able to read Galatians as proof right? Galatians should prove that Paul taught differently than Moses, didn’t his accusers know about the letter to the Galatians?
Or perhaps, as Peter said, we have misunderstood Paul’s letters to such a degree, that even those trying to prove Paul taught that what Moses wrote had changed, couldn’t even use the same letters that we try to use today.
Paul said he believes everything that is written in the Law and Prophets; that would also mean that Paul believed Moses when he wrote that there is one law for all and that there is no difference between Jews and Greeks.
Also notice that Paul refers to the “sect of the way.” That was a common expression referring to those who follow the way of God, which is written in the Word of God. In Paul’s day, this was always referring to what Moses wrote. This is why Yeshua said He is the way, the truth, the life, the light, and freedom. It might be worth noting that all of those terms were used for what Moses wrote.
And then it might not surprise you why Yeshua referred to Himself as the Word of God (Revelation 19:13).
It was because Yeshua only taught and practiced what Moses wrote. The Bible defines itself, and keeps things simple. To conclude our examination of Acts, we find that even to the very end, Paul was still teaching what Yeshua said out of the Law of Moses and Prophets
So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning (Yeshua) Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.
Now we will begin examining Paul in his very own letters.
If Paul really taught and practiced the Law of God as the book of Acts proved, then it should show up at least a few times in his letters. In Romans 2:13, Paul says that it is not just those that here the law that are justified, but those that also do the law of God.
For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
Remember the Book of James, he said the same thing:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
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?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
So was James also talking about the same law of God that Paul was referencing? Of course he was. James is such a problem for theologians when they try to explain away the law of God, that they have to claim that the works James mentions in chapter 2 have nothing to do with God’s law.
It is supposedly just good deeds that men make up to do for others outside of the law of God. This of course ignores the law of liberty mentioned in context in James 1:22-25, which of course is a direct quote from the same law of liberty mentioned in Psalm 119:44-45, the one that is stated to be forever.
In fact, now might be a good time to read all of Psalm 119, so if you would like to do so, please pause this teaching and consider reading the longest chapter in the whole Bible, and see if your perspective of the law of God is compatible with the Bibles perspective, with God’s perspective.
In Romans 3:31 we arrive to a very interesting statement by Paul.
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
There you have it. When we come into the faith, the Law of God is not rendered void. Instead, we are to continue in it, we are to uphold it, are to establish the law of God…the Greek word histemi, means all of those things.
In fact, let’s read Strong’s definition of the Word that Paul uses for the Law of God:
Hestemi – Strongs Greek 2476
1) to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set a) to bid to stand by, [set up]
1) in the presence of others, in the midst, before judges, before members of the Sanhedrin;
2) to place
b) to make firm, fix establish
1) to cause a person or a thing to keep his or its place
2) to stand, be kept intact (of family, a kingdom), to escape in safety
3) to establish a thing, cause it to stand
a) to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything
c) to set or place in a balance 2) to stand
a) to stand by or near
1) to stop, stand still, to stand immovable, stand firm
a) of the foundation of a building
b) to stand
1) continue safe and sound, stand unharmed, to stand ready or prepared
2) to be of a steadfast mind
3) of quality, one who does not hesitate, does not waiver
So far, it most certainly does not look like Paul’s letters are contradicting what we understood in our reading of Acts.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
If sin is the breaking of the Law of God (1 John 3:4), then it seems as though grace and following God’s instructions in his law are not incompatible like many assume. That understanding that grace and God’s law are contradictory to each other are due to a misunderstanding to the verse prior, verse 14.
We will get to that verse later, but Paul obviously knew verse 14 was going to be confusing, so he clarified himself in verse 15. Ironically, few quote verse 15 when they quote verse 14, often suiting their theology. We have several verses of Paul quoting Moses from Deuteronomy 24 to instruct us on the commandments surrounding marriage.
For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:39
A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
If Moses is no longer relevant, why is Paul quoting Deuteronomy 24? Paul also taught that we are to know what sin is, by comparing it against the Law of God. This is not to say that the law of God is sin, but our breaking of the law of God is sin.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”
Thus, if we are teaching against the law of God, it is the same as teaching others to sin. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot teach against God’s commandments, and teach against sin at the same time. To hate sin is the same as loving the Law of God. To say that sin is bad is to say the Law of God is good. This leads us to Paul’s next point on the Law of God.
Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
If the law of God is good, why did it supposedly change? If it was just, why did it supposedly change? If it is holy, or set apart, why would the definition of holy or set apart change? Paul says again that the law of God is good.
If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.
Paul not only says the law of God is good, but that he delights in it.
For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
Delighting in God’s law is nothing new of course…it was the same before the cross as well.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”
Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law.
Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.
Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.
I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.
Is the Law of God your delight? …or do you run from it?
Paul continues by saying that those who are after the spirit love the law of God, but those who hate the law of God are following their flesh, and cannot please God.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
To follow the Law of God is to fulfill loving God and loving others.
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This of course is right out of what Moses wrote as the Law of God…Recall the shema that we mentioned earlier?
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am (Yahweh) the LORD.
Yeshua taught the very same thing when the Pharisees and Scribes tested Christ to determine whether He would teach according to Deuteronomy 13…of course, He passed with flying colors.
But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind .’This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang ALL the Law and the Prophets.”
Notice how our Lord teaches that ALL of the Law and Prophets relates to loving God and to loving others. That means that every commandment relates to either loving God or loving others. That is why Paul said that doing the Law of God actually fulfills loving others. We are to not make up our own way on how to love God (1 John 5:2-3) or love others…God told us exactly how in His Word. If it was left up to us to decide how to love others, it would be a disaster.
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it?
We saw in Acts that Paul still keeps the Lord’s feast days, and that he teaches Jews and Greeks to observe everything that Moses wrote. So, is that what Paul also writes in his letters? He most certainly does. Paul teaches the same 7 days of Unleavened Bread found in Leviticus 23.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
And what is truth according to the Word of God?
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.
The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
We suspect, that forever is a lot longer than many seem to make it out to be. I would hope that they do not teach that eternal life can end as well. The only way theologians can explain away what Paul said here about Unleavened Bread, is that he really did not mean what he said. That really does not seem like the best argument.
In 1 Corinthians 5:12-13, we have Paul quoting Moses again on Deuteronomy 17:7; 19:19; 22:21, 24; 24:7
1 Corinthians 5:12-13
For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, we have Paul quoting Moses again on Leviticus 20.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Why does Paul continue to quote Moses with authority if the writings of Moses as the Law of God no longer has any authority over a believer?
In 1 Corinthians 9:9-12, we have Paul quoting the authority of Moses again on Deuteronomy 25:4
1 Corinthians 9:9-12
For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”
Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Here Paul is quoting a commandment of God, out of Moses, extrapolating the premise of it, to his own ministry. When the ox works the field, it is to not be muzzled so it can eat and provide for itself while working. As with all of God’s commandments, the physical also teaches the spiritual. When God’s workers are out in the field sowing God’s Word, they are also to be provided for so they can continue doing the work of our Father. To not, is literally muzzling the teachers.
It is a simple concept, but Paul quotes Moses as the authority, and as a written commandment. If Moses has been abolished or changed, then Paul has no right to cite Moses as an authority in his teachings, yet we find Paul continues to do such in many of his letters. In fact, all of the writers of the New Testament quote the Old Testament in their writings to prove their doctrine, just like Yeshua did.
Paul says the same thing in 1 Timothy 5:18, but refers to Moses as the Scriptures.
1 Timothy 5:18
For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
So, if what Moses wrote is called Scriptures by Paul, then those who teach that what Moses wrote has changed, and is no longer instructions for us are yet again dead in the water when it comes to what Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:15-16.
2 Timothy 3:15-16
and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
If all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, and Moses is Scripture according to Paul. Then, if all of what Moses wrote is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
Then that would include Leviticus 11….or Leviticus 23…or many other instructions theologians have thrown into the trash can as no longer profitable and instructions in righteousness…Remember, John said that we are to still practice righteousness…
1 John 2:29
If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
1 John 3:7
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
Again, unless Paul is contrasting himself because he is a schizophrenic or a liar, then Paul taught that everyone that claims to be in the faith is to practice all of what Moses wrote.
In 1 Corinthians 9:21, Paul says that he is no free from God’s law
1 Corinthians 9:21
To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
He also says that he is under Christ’s law, which Christ said that he only practiced and taught what the Father said, and that nothing was of Himself, so Paul rightfully so, is equating the Law of God and the Law of Christ as the very same thing. This makes even more sense when we realize that Christ only taught and practiced what Moses wrote.
Paul again quotes Moses as an authority in 2 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, on Deuteronomy 19:15
2 Corinthians 13:1
This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”
1 Timothy 5:19
Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul declares that he issued the commandments of Christ, which of course, Yeshua said were the same as the Father’s.
1 Thessalonians 4:2
for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord (Yeshua) Jesus.
Paul says that we are to obey the gospel of Yeshua. Gospel simply means good news. Many understand part of the gospel, which has to do with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, but fail to understand that the gospel is really the whole Word of God.
Hebrews 4 says that those at Sinai received the same gospel as us. Sadly though, it goes on to say that they did not obey the gospel and mix it with faith, thus they did not enter into His rest. We are issued the very same warning in Hebrews 4. If we fail at the same, we also, are told that we will not enter into the pending rest to come, in the Day of the Lord.
Paul, likewise, issues the same warning here.
2 Thessalonians 1:8
in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Again, Paul says that the law of God is good, if one uses the law of God the right way. The right way is to point out our sin, so that we know how not to sin, and live righteously. The wrong way is to use the law of God is to try to earn salvation, which is not possible.
1 Timothy 1:8
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,
In Titus, Paul again quotes what Moses wrote as commandments as a still standing authority in a believer’s life. In Titus 2:9, Paul is referring to Deuteronomy 15:12-18.
Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back,
In Titus 2:14, Paul states that we are to be zealous for good works, contrasted against the lawless deeds that we are redeemed from at the cross. Thus, we are redeemed in our lawlessness, yet, we are to practice lawfulness. Obviously, and it should go without saying, the opposite of lawfulness, is lawlessness. Which one do you suppose should be how we should live in the faith?
Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Finally, we arrive to the letter to the Hebrews. No one knows for certain who wrote Hebrews, and many argue that it was Paul. Right or wrong, that is the position that we will take for the purpose of this series. In Hebrews 8:4, we have a very interesting statement about Christ, in the context of Him being our High Priest in the heavenlies.
For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law;
Many argue that the law has been abolished, that assigns the Levites the Earthly priesthood. Obviously, that cannot be the case, because it says right here in Hebrews 8:4 that Yeshua cannot be a High Priest on Earth, because of the law that states the Levites are the Earthly Priestly administration.
Thus, if the law is abolished, how is it that it is preventing Christ from being a High Priest on Earth? It simply would not be possible. The only way the law can prevent Yeshua from being a High Priest on Earth, is if the Law still stands. It is only logical. We hope that this teaching served well in pointing out that Paul could not have been teaching against the Law of God. That Paul desired to teach and practice the same example of the Law of God that Yeshua our Messiah also walked and taught.
We realize that this understanding is likely generating many questions in your mind if you once believed that Paul taught that the Law of God changed. We would like to ask you to continue with us, if you are still interested in testing your faith, as we also continue to test everything.
The following teachings in this series will examine, how and where Paul is often confused in matters of the Law of God, and also, revealing that Paul that though Paul taught only one Law of God, that there were other laws that he refers to, only revealed by context.
Once those matters are covered, we will then examine each letter of Paul, and determine how every verse that supposedly teaches against the law of God, is actually compatible with the Paul we were introduced to in this teaching. In fact, what we will often discover, is that many verses of Paul that supposedly teach against the Law of God, will actually prove to be teaching for God’s law.
Remember, there are no contradictions in Scripture. If one still concludes after this teaching that Paul is teaching that the law of God has changed, then they are making the same false accusations that were made against Stephen and Yeshua. If one still believes that Paul taught that the Law of God changed, then we are ignoring what James said on the matter in Acts 21, defending Paul, saying that he walks orderly according to what Moses wrote.
If one still believes that Paul taught that the law of God changed, then one is still making the same accusations that Paul defended himself against in the Book of Acts. Even in Paul’s letter, Paul makes the same pro-law statements that we find in such amazing chapters as Psalm 119.
We hope that this study has blessed you, and remember, continue to test everything.
Shalom, and may Yahweh bless you in walking in the whole Word of Go
Additional Reading: Did Jesus do away with the Law Matt 5:17?
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Next: The Pauline Paradox Part 3 Why Is Paul So Difficult to Understand