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NT manuscriptsWe’ve had some discussion concerning the legitimacy of various parts of the New Testament here on KR of late.  And instead of it continuing to have a life of its own on that particular thread of a different subject (The Trinity), I thought I might create a new topic thread more appropriately on the subject itself.

Additionally, I thought I might pose the question to all the bloggers and readers here on how they see the New Testament writings?  Are they the perfectly accurate word of God?  And if so, does that come with qualifiers such as – “as accurately as we can receive it from the available manuscripts”.  If not, are we then forced to throw the baby out with the bath water – to use a modern day “figure of speech” (another issue discussed on another thread here), and jettison the entire thing because we can not know for sure on where to draw a line as to what is genuine?  Or is there a more fertile middle ground somewhere in there?

Could small issues from the mass of manuscripts actually be trivial in the overall scheme of things and what we have before us today is highly reliable – plenty enough to believe we have the total base message communicated by the original authors?

Read the following piece that Bruce Barham wrote on this very subject several years ago on his Torah of Messiah website. And then please be sure to post your thoughts here!


A Brief Look at the NT Canon

by Bruce Barham

www.TorahofMessiah.com

Before beginning I want to emphasize that I revere the Messianic writings (New Testament) and consider them highly reliable.  The reason for this discussion is not to destroy the credibility of the New Testament.  However, it is a simple fact that the New Testament, as it exists today, is not perfect or free from error.  It is reliable but definitely not perfect, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either ignorant of the facts or a deceiver.  It is crucial to understand that a writing can be revered, useful, and of utmost importance without it being “perfect.”  Therefore, as you read the material below allow yourself to understand the sometimes uncomfortable truth but do not overreact with feelings of severe anxiety or doubt regarding New Testament reliability.

I often attempt to remove the cover of falsehood that many leaders of Christianity appear to place over the truth surrounding various issues.  One issue is the New Testament Canon (the official listing of books comprising the “New Testament”). More specifically, I inform Christians that what they call the New Testament was formed during very turbulent times and that there is clear and irrefutable proof of some scribal manipulation during its formation.  There definitely were “changes” made to the texts, changes that occasionally impact crucial doctrine. Anyone can check and will discover there are literally thousands of differences between the various New Testament manuscripts.  I hasten to add that most of these differences are minor and do not impact the truth to be found in the writings; however, the differences are nonetheless there and sometimes they do or may impact truth.  I also wish it to be known that my comments do not apply to the ORIGINAL autographed copies; however, it is important to note that there are no original autographed copies existing today.  I think some people actually think that the actual original writings of Biblical books are stored away somewhere and were used in the creation and translation of Scripture.  That is not the case.  Such texts do not exist, and if they do they have yet to be found.

The available New Testament manuscripts are hand made copies of hand made copies of hand made copies of hand made copies of hand made copies of hand made copies…  In short, the available manuscripts are far removed from the originals penned by whoever actually wrote them.  Given all the potential for error in copying and the fact that these copies were often done by biased scribes, it is certain that what we have today is not a perfect transmittal of what would be found in the originals.  If I recall correctly from my study of this topic, no two manuscripts out of the thousands that exist agree completely.  Even if there are some that do agree, that still does not diminish the fact that thousands of textual variations exist in a document that is naively considered by many to be the “perfect” Word of G-d.  If such is the case, those that exalt the New Testament as being “infallible” or “without error” must consider G-d to be a rather scatterbrained, confused deity.

It is deceptive and strange that many Christian apologists use the existence of thousands of manuscripts as “proof” of the New Testament’s authenticity.  What they conceal is that those manuscripts differ in some important passages and virtually none of the manuscripts completely agree with one another.  So, in actuality, their “defense” of the “infallibility” of the New Testament falls apart when the entire truth is told, which of course is why they conceal it.  You do not have to believe me.  All you have to do is look in a good Bible version that has center column references or some other form of references to see that there are numerous “alternate renderings” or even doubt about the authenticity of some passages.

Why are Christian leaders so fearful of the truth getting out, often misrepresenting the problem that exists?  Why do they sometimes implant deep distrust of scholars among Christians – scholars that are generally simply reporting the facts as they really are?  If Christian leaders are truly promoting “Truth”, why do they fight against truth in their representation of the New Testament as some sort of “perfect” writing?  I have become increasingly alarmed at the actual suppression of truth within Traditional Christianity and am forced to ask many “Why” questions.  Of course, most Christians are unaware of this and are simply trying to worship in a sincere manner and thinking they are following what they are told is the “Word of God.”  They are placing their trust in organizations and men they do not expect will deceive them.

I firmly believe the New Testament to be filled with much truth; however, those who say it is “infallible” or the “Word of God” are either ignorant of the facts, ignoring the facts, or being untruthful.  I am not suggesting the New Testament is worthless and do not consider most potential scribal errors to be significant.  I simply point out the sure fact that the New Testament is not perfect and certainly not the perfectly infallible “Word of God”.  Did you know that even the identities of who authored some of the New Testament books are educated guesses!  But that is actually no different from the Tanakh (Older Testament) and is really no reason for serious doubt.  Neveretheless it is the case.

As a side note, a core reason for my opposition to groups such as the KJV-Onlyist, those who promote the King James version is the only pure Word, is because they purposely hide the fact that the manuscripts from which the King James version were written were few in number compared to what is now available and that even those few had thousands of textual differences.  Whereas I do feel the KJV is one of the best translations – possibly THE best – I do not think it proper to misrepresent the facts as do those promoting that the KJV is free of any error.

Conversely, the same is not the case regarding the Tanakh (Tah-NOCK, commonly called the Old Testament).  Even though it is almost 4 times larger than the New Testament (77% of the Bible is the Tanakh), the Hebrew manuscripts show amazing similarity.  One reason for this is the extraordinary care and reverence shown the Hebrew Scriptures by the hebrew scribes.  Unlike the New Testament scribes, who often looked upon the NT manuscripts as weapons to be fashioned to promote their biased views, the Hebrew Scribes considered it unthinkable to dare alter their sacred texts.

Strangely, my exposure of these facts causes many to label me a “heretic”, “damned” or even a “disciple of the antichrist”.  It is more than a bit odd how someone who promotes the factual truth is condemned by Traditional Christian leaders.  (What does that suggest regarding the true “spirit” that guides leaders of Christianity?  Would the Holy Spirit lead them to lie, conceal the facts, or attack those who present the true facts?)

Many who are revered as “church fathers” rejected entire books of the New Testament, something far more “destructive” than my mere suggestion that scattered crucial verses show clear signs of corruption and that the only true “Scripture” is the Tanakh – the same Tanakh the noble Bereans used to test all they were taught (Acts 17:11)!  Also, of course, the Protestant churches do not accept the Catholic apocrypha.  My point is, what makes my rejection or doubt regarding scattered verses “evil” yet the rejection or doubt regarding entire books and the war of canonization that existed in the early centuries “divine inspiration”?  I say again, many of the “church fathers” rejected entire books of the New Testament, yet they are revered!  So, if what I suggest is “evil,” then why are men who promoted greater “evil” by rejecting large chunks of the New Testament considered “church fathers”?

A cursory study of the canonization of the New Testament confirms there was indeed widespread disagreement as to what to include in the New Testament.  Here, linked to the blue letters in this sentence, is a brief example showing the opinions of only a few of the “church fathers” regarding what they considered scripture.  I realize Marcion was condemned as a heretic; however, Marcionism continued (and continues) to deeply influence Traditional Christianity.  It is my firm conviction that the historic disregard and/or reduction of importance that most Christians feel toward the Tanakh, which became known as the “Old” Testament due to Marcion’s influence, is due largely to the disciples of Marcion that infested (and still infest) Traditional Christianity.

A noteworthy point is that what we today call the New Testament was largely finalized by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, who just so happened to be among the most forceful advocates of his day for the deity of Yeshua (Athanasius was the leader of the faction) and who was – shall we say – not very nice to his opponents.  Athanasius was “The Man” among the Trinitarians of his day.  (Check out the list again, and you can see how HIS list became YOUR list of New Testament books.)  So, obviously, he (the chief Trinitarian) strongly leaned towards adopting any questionable passages or writings that supported his view against what was in the early centuries the dominant opposition to the Trinity.  Yes, up to the time of the council at Nicea, the Trinity position was NOT the majority opinion, although Athanasius actually rose to power following Nicea.

So, what Bishop Athanasius – the most forceful Trinitarian of his day – defined as “Scripture” in the year 367 c.e. became the “New Testament” section of the Bible.  He, above all others, is the ultimate source of our “New Testament” canon, and he was the primary advocate of his day for the adoption (actually forced acceptance) of the Trinity theology!

Facts like these underscore the need for Christians to learn the history – TRUE History – of the early centuries (first 4 centuries).  It seems most assume the New Testament just fell from heaven one day into the laps of the early church fathers.  Such people have no idea of the intense, biased, political, often bloody battles that were fought for what we now consider the New Testament.  Obviously, mistakes in such a horrendously heated struggle were inevitable as battle lines were drawn and each faction solidified its position as they struggled for the ear of the various emperors.  Of course, at the time of the Nicean Council the Roman emperor was Constantine – a man of historically unwholesome character.  The same Constantine that actually hosted the council at one of his plush estates and largely authored the creed that set Christianity on the course of ultimately abandoning the One God and accepting, instead, the pagan traditions of Rome.

332 Responses to “Is the NT “infalliable”/”inerrant”? Something close? Or something else?”

  1. on 19 Feb 2011 at 7:02 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ron S,
    Thank-you for posting the above article. I realize that this is a very touchy subject. The article said, “I firmly believe the New Testament to be filled with much truth; however, those who say it is “infallible” or the “Word of God” are either ignorant of the facts, ignoring the facts, or being untruthful.”

    I of course agree with the above statement.

    The article also said, “I say again, many of the ‘church fathers’ rejected entire books of the New Testament, yet they are revered!”

    I had no idea that some of the “church fathers” shared my beliefs on this…

  2. on 19 Feb 2011 at 7:10 pmDoubting Thomas

    Correction. Of course they didn’t believe in the exact same things that I do…

  3. on 20 Feb 2011 at 12:17 amAntioch

    AMEN!!!!

    The same process that gave us the Trinity, gave us the NT canon and elevated it to the level of the OT. Particularly, unitarians should be very leery.

    Did Paul know he was writing scripture? I don’t think so. Instead, I see in Romans 8:38, Paul says “I am convinced…”, this does not seem like authoritative wording but a truth that he has deduced. Then there is 1 Cor 7:10 and 7:12 where Paul explicitly states one command from God and one from him. That is the verse that really floored me as to the authoritative nature of the NT – if it is from God, how can even one verse explicitly say that it is not?

    Now all that said, I place the NT above all other writings (but the OT). I’m still new to Christianity and I am learning more about each of the books, so I suspect I may, as DT has done, respect some books more than others over time. But for now, I accept that the early churches treated these writings as special texts because they came from persons who were taught directly by Jesus and had a level of the holy spirit that seems to not have been equaled since.

    Despite how the books may have been tainted over time, the message of Jesus, at least I think the core of what we need to know, still comes through loud and clear and the power of the holy spirit works to reinforce that in me. Just today, in reading Romans 7 and 8, I am reduced to tears because it so addresses the pain I see another couple at our church experiencing in their marriage.

    Ron – thanks for posting this. Whatever the real truth is, I don’t think it can suffer from being put on trial.

  4. on 20 Feb 2011 at 12:32 amAntioch

    Here is another article on this topic that I found interesting (although a bit snooty) – it is an article that came up when googling after reading 1 Cor 7.

    http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1885

  5. on 20 Feb 2011 at 4:04 amWolfgang

    Hi,

    it seems to me that some of the confusion and/or differing views about the “New Testament” scriptures is due to the fact that people not defining their terms …. in other words, what do different people mean when they speak of “the New Testament Scriptures” ?

    Even the author doesn’t clearly define how he uses the term ! He does mention the following:

    I also wish it to be known that my comments do not apply to the ORIGINAL autographed copies; however, it is important to note that there are no original autographed copies existing today.

    hmn … some of those folks he sort of accuses for not accepting the facts concerning the NT as he presents them, are not accepting these because they are mainly thinking about these original copies when they speak of “the New Testament Scriptures” as being “inspired Word of God”, etc.
    It seems like the author is making a big deal with some more or less complicated statements about the following quite simple point that can be put in a rather small paragraph:

    The NT writings as originally written were inspired by God and infallible, but in the course of the transmission and copying of the texts, scribal errors of various types (unintentional and intentional) have been introduced to the texts. Unfortunately, as of today, none of the original autographs have been found, the oldest mss are only copies which do already contain such (mostly very minor) text variations because of scribal errors in the process of copying.

    A more difficult question is this: Which NT books are to be considered to be inspired Scripture? Strangely, the author of the article points out the struggles and differences regarding what was considered “inspired NT Scripture” during the early centuries AD, but he does not provide info on how one could or should determine and settle this issue without going by the church’s orthodox (strongly Athanasian influenced) canon …

  6. on 20 Feb 2011 at 7:31 amXavier

    Wolfgang

    More questions and no answers eh? :/

  7. on 20 Feb 2011 at 9:13 amDoubting Thomas

    Antioch,
    The article you posted made the following claim, “After they had asserted that the circumference of a circle is 3.14159 times the diameter, one could point out that according to the Bible, pi is an even three…And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from one brim to the other: it was round all about . . . and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about” (I Kings 7:23).”

    I personally believe that the measurement of ten cubits from one brim to the other was to the inside of the brim and did not include the width of the brim. If the width of the brim had been included we would have had a ratio of 3.14159. Other than that I found it to be a very interesting article.

    Of course as always, this is just my own humble opinion…

  8. on 20 Feb 2011 at 10:49 pmJoshua

    “Unlike the New Testament scribes, who often looked upon the NT manuscripts as weapons to be fashioned to promote their biased views, the Hebrew Scribes considered it unthinkable to dare alter their sacred texts.”

    Where’s the author’s proof of that? (I didn’t see anything in the article to substantiate that New Testament scribes “looked upon the NT manuscripts as weapons to be fashioned to promote their biased views”.)

    The author also seems to overlook the intertextual references in the New Testament which refer to it as “scripture” (2 Peter 3:16; 2 Peter 1:15; etc.)

    I’d like to throw a great reference out here, too:

    Dr. Ernest Martin’s “Restoring the Original Bible”.

    It talks about this very issue. And since the article and some comments touch on canonization, take a look at Chapter 18, “The Authority to Canonize the New Testament”:

    http://www.askelm.com/restoring/res024.htm

    Even Augustine said:

    “Distinguished from the books of later authors is the excellence of the canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments; which, having been established in the time of the apostles, hath through the succession of overseers and propagators of churches been set as it were in a lofty tribunal, demanding the obedience of every faithful and pious understanding.” (St. Augustine, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean [Contra Faustum Manichaeum], A.D. 400, in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 4, First Series.)

    Thoughts?

  9. on 20 Feb 2011 at 11:49 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,
    You said, “Even Augustine said:

    “Distinguished from the books of later authors is the excellence of the canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments; which, having been established in the time of the apostles…”

    I don’t think we should believe everything Augustine has said. He doesn’t even seem to know that the exact collection of books and letters that make up the N.T. cannon were only ‘first’ put together in 367 A.D. It is obviously not true that the canonization of the these New Testament writings were established in the time of the Apostles.

    His ignorance doesn’t surprise me though. From what I understand, because of his family connections, he went from being an unbaptized layman to Bishop in less then 2 years…

  10. on 22 Feb 2011 at 5:04 amWolfgang

    Joshua,

    my thoughts are along the lines of what is described in further detail in the article for which you provided a link ( => http://www.askelm.com/restoring/res024.htm). I too believe that the canonization of the NT writings was already accomplished during the 1st century and during the lifetime of the original apostles …

    The idea that the church selected the books to be included and then by council authorized these books as Scripture is basically only assumption based on inferences made from certain writings of early church history.

  11. on 22 Feb 2011 at 6:10 amRandy Turner

    Joshua, thanks for the reference, good reading. Now I have to buy the whole book.

  12. on 22 Feb 2011 at 8:33 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua/Wolfgang,
    I just had time tonight to read your link. It says the following, “Actually, if one will read Second Peter carefully and analyze it for what it says (as we did in the last chapter), it shows that it was the apostles Peter and John who officially canonized the New Testament books.”

    The first problem with this is that most biblical experts agree that 2nd. Peter was not written by Peter. The second problem with this is that the apostle Peter died before the 4 gospels were written. Thirdly there is no evidence that Peter even recognized Paul’s writings, or that he had ever even read them.

    The teachings of Peter and the Apostles were in stark contrast to what Paul wrote in his letters. Paul repeatedly said that the law no longer applied and that it was sin for someone to follow the law of Moses (even for Jewish Christians). We can see from the following in Acts that James and the other leaders and elders of the Church in Jerusalem, taught the opposite.

    Acts 21:20-22 (ESV); “…You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. THEY ARE ALL ZEALOUS FOR THE LAW, (21) and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. (22) What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.” (emphasis mine).

    Although earlier at the council of Jerusalem it was decided that the Gentiles would not have to be circumcised or be held to account under the law of Moses, Peter and the apostles and the other church leaders like James ‘DID NOT’ teach that ‘JEWISH’ Christians didn’t have to be circumcised or follow the law of Moses. This was something that Paul ‘ALONE’ was teaching as we can see from the following.

    Acts 21:23-24 (ESV); “Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; (24) take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is NOTHING IN WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD ABOUT YOU, but THAT YOU YOURSELF ALSO LIVE IN OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW.” (emphasis mine).

    Paul also taught that it was alright to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Because of this James and the church leaders had to send letters to the Christians that Paul had converted telling them that this teaching of Paul’s was wrong.

    Acts 21:25 (ESV); “But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should ABSTAIN FROM WHAT HAS BEEN SACRIFICED TO IDOLS, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.” (again – emphasis mine).

    This is a refined version of Noah’s law (Noahide law) which the Jews have always (even to this day) said applied to any Gentiles that wanted to have fellowship with the Jews. The Noahide law was nothing new and had been around for centuries.

    The article you quoted also said, “The truth is, when the early church fathers began to talk about the canon of the New Testament near the end of the 2nd century, it is assumed that it was already in their midst.”

    How could it have already existed when the so called Church Fathers didn’t even agree with each other as to which books and letters should have been included in the New Testament cannon??? (as noted in the above article).

    I think that the truth is that the person who wrote this article wishes it was canonized by Peter and the Apostles and already in place in the 1st. century, but wishing something doesn’t make it true. We are told to “test everything and retain what is good”. That includes testing church traditions that have been passed down to us.

    The author of your article can “assume that it was already in their midst”, but I believe that this is a false assumption. There is no evidence that a collection of books and letters (the same as we have today) was in place in the 1st century. All the evidence points to the books and letters of our present New Testament cannon being “first” put together in 367A.D. just like the above article states.

    I don’t mean to be argumentative, but that’s just the way I see it…

  13. on 22 Feb 2011 at 10:19 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,
    In msg. #8 you quoted the article above which said,

    “Unlike the New Testament scribes, who often looked upon the NT manuscripts as weapons to be fashioned to promote their biased views, the Hebrew Scribes considered it unthinkable to dare alter their sacred texts.”

    Then you asked, “Where’s the author’s proof of that? (I didn’t see anything in the article to substantiate that New Testament scribes ‘looked upon the NT manuscripts as weapons to be fashioned to promote their biased views’.)”

    I’d like to refer you to an article called “The Johannine Comma” written by Mark C. on January 24th, 2011. I will post the link below.

    http://kingdomready.org/blog/2011/01/24/the-johannine-comma/

    I’d also like to refer you to an article called “1 John 5.7-8: A Spurious Text” written by Sean on October 9th, 2008. I will post the link below.

    http://kingdomready.org/blog/2008/10/09/1-john-57-8-a-spurious-text/

    I would especially like to draw your attention to where it says, “The Comma Johanneum was added to the Greek text in Erasmus’ 3rd edition (in 1522) and thus entered the English translation tradition through the massively accepted and preferred King James Version of 1611.”

    I think this does “substantiate that New Testament scribes ‘looked upon the NT manuscripts as weapons to be fashioned to promote their biased view’.” This behavior didn’t just start in 1522 where a Greek text was re-written to fit the Trinitarian beliefs of the day. It goes right back to mid 4th. century when the Trinitarians were deciding which books and letters would be included in the “New” New Testament cannon they were putting together.

    Like I have said in another thread. From my understanding at the end of the 1st. century there were more then a dozen collections of books (or New Testament cannons)…

  14. on 22 Feb 2011 at 11:33 pmMark C.

    A few things…

    First, regarding the Johannine Comma, there was (and still is in some circles) disagreement as to whether the passage belongs in the text, since it is missing in so many MSS, and probably originated in a marginal note. But does this indicate that NT scribes “looked upon the NT manuscripts as weapons to be fashioned to promote their biased view” or that their doctrinal doctrinal bias influenced their choices among variant readings? In other words, was the text fashioned to prove their position, or was the position used to decide which reading of the text was better?

    Second, the Johannine Comma is a rather unusual instance, and not typical of the history of the NT. The majority of variant readings aren’t major differences that can be used to support doctrines. It happens sometimes, but not as often as NT critics claim.

    Regarding the linked article, I don’t see the year 367 mentioned anywhere as the year the canon was first put together. What did happen in that year was that Athanasius put forth a list of the twenty-seven canonical books of our New Testament, which canon was followed by Jerome and Augustine shortly afterward.

    But this was not the “first” canon. There were several before that, but they were not widely varied. They agreed on most of the major books, only differing on a few of the ones that come at the end of the NT. So there were not “more than a dozen collections” which would imply completely different books in each, but there were several lists which identified which books were considered authoritative, and those agreed about most of the books. The following is from F. F. Bruce:

    The only books about which there was any substantial doubt after the middle of the second century were some of those which come at the end of our New Testament. Origen (185-254) mentions the four Gospels, the Acts, the thirteen Paulines, 1 Peter, 1 John and Revelation as acknowledged by all; he says that Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James and Jude, with the ‘Epistle of Barnabas,’ the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, and the ‘Gospel according to the Hebrews,’ were disputed by some. Eusebius (c. 265-340) mentions as generally acknowledged all the books of our New Testament except James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, which were disputed by some, but recognised by the majority. Athanasius in 367 lays down the twenty-seven books of our New Testament as alone canonical; shortly afterwards Jerome and Augustine followed his example in the West. The process farther east took a little longer; it was not until c. 508 that 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation were included in a version of the Syriac Bible in addition to the other twenty two books.

    The entire article can be seen here. It is actually a chapter from his book, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? which I recommend.

  15. on 23 Feb 2011 at 6:43 amJoshua

    Hi, Doubting Thomas.

    Thanks for the lengthy responses.

    You wrote:

    The first problem with this is that most biblical experts agree that 2nd. Peter was not written by Peter. The second problem with this is that the apostle Peter died before the 4 gospels were written. Thirdly there is no evidence that Peter even recognized Paul’s writings, or that he had ever even read them.

    Do you offer any evidence to support claims 1, 2, 3?

    Claim 1: The first claim isn’t new. It’s essentially, from what I understand, due to the “harshness” of the Greek used in 2 Peter, compared to 1 Peter. The difference in the Greek used could be summed up easily as: 1) 1 Peter was written with the help of a scribe (Silas; 1 Peter 5:12); 2) 2 Peter was written by Peter himself without a scribe.

    Thoughts?

    Claim 2: I’ll wait to evaluate your source before I comment on that one.

    Claim 3: Same as above. What’s your source for that?

    You wrote:

    I’d also like to refer you to an article called “1 John 5.7-8: A Spurious Text” written by Sean on October 9th, 2008. I will post the link below.

    How does this answer that New Testament scribes ‘looked upon the NT manuscripts as weapons to be fashioned to promote their biased views’? What “view” is established in that textual addition (an addition that we know very well came later)? How were they using that portion as “a weapon”?

    You wrote:

    The author of your article can “assume that it was already in their midst”, but I believe that this is a false assumption. There is no evidence that a collection of books and letters (the same as we have today) was in place in the 1st century. All the evidence points to the books and letters of our present New Testament cannon being “first” put together in 367A.D. just like the above article states.

    Well, don’t write Dr. Ernest Martin off too quickly. Maybe he knew a few things you didn’t or read a few things you haven’t. Go read the entire book. (David Sielaff, who handles the ASK content now, has posted the entire book online.)

    You wrote:

    I don’t mean to be argumentative, but that’s just the way I see it…

    I don’t think arguments are something to avoid. They are a normal part of a healthy relationship in this age. I enjoy arguments. 🙂

    Grace and peace,

    Joshua

  16. on 23 Feb 2011 at 7:51 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,
    You asked, “Do you offer any evidence to support claims 1, 2, 3?”

    Thank you for your peaceful and respectful response. I have discussed this topic with many people and realize just how sensitive an issue it can be.

    Claim 1. I’m not a biblical expert. I just know that most biblical experts agree that 2nd. Peter was not written by Peter. On another thread John E. posted a rather lengthy posting which listed the reasons behind this. Unfortunately I didn’t write down the name of the thread or the posting # of his post. Perhaps John E. (or someone else that remembers his post) might be good enough to give us a link to it. (I’m not sure if John E. is still hanging around).

    Claim 2. From what I have read Peter died several years before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D. From what I understand at least 2 of the Gospels are believed to have been written after the destruction of the temple. Again, I don’t make any claim at being an expert. This is just my understanding.

    Claim 3. There is no reliable evidence (that I am aware of) that Peter recognized the writings of Paul, or that he even read them. I will refer you to msg. #12 above where I quoted Acts Chapter 21:20-25 and where I explained my interpretation of the various verses mentioned. Basically it boils down to the following question.

    Why did James and the other church leaders force Paul to undergo the ritual of purification as laid out in the law of Moses???

    From what I understand this ritual was reserved for people who had committed very serious sins. Therefore the question arises; What was the serious sin that Paul had committed (in the eyes of the Jerusalem church)??? My understanding is that this very strict ritual was not something people would undergo without a reason.

    You also said, “Well, don’t write Dr. Ernest Martin off too quickly. Maybe he knew a few things you didn’t or read a few things you haven’t.”

    I’m sure he knows a lot more than I know, and that he has read much more then I have read. I am about as far from being a scholar as you could imagine. For reasons beyond my control, I did not have the opportunity to finish High School, even though I was doing very well in school at the time. I’m what you would call self taught.

    Like I have said many times before, I don’t consider myself to be a teacher. I am just a student of Christ sharing my beliefs/views with others and listening to the feedback. I do try my best to keep an open mind on things. The way I see it, we are all students of Christ, whether we have a PHD or a High School diploma (or less).

    Ever since I was a young man I have not trusted authority figures, or people that claim to be experts. I do not believe that there is such a thing as a “Religious Expert”. You could be a ancient language expert, or an Old Testament expert, or a New Testament expert, etc… But the way I see it, the “only” religious experts that ever lived were those that lived in biblical times and had a direct line to God our Father.

    Because Y’shua said in Mathew 11:27, “… and no one knows the Son except the Father, and NO ONE KNOWS THE FATHER except the Son AND ANYONE TO WHOM the Son chooses to reveal him.” (ESV – emphasis mine).

    I believe that Y’shua chose to reveal his Father to his closest disciples. As such I would include Peter and the Apostles and other people that had a close relationship with him as “Religious Experts” as well (even though they didn’t have a direct line like Moses, David, the prophets and Y’shua did).

    You also said, “I don’t think arguments are something to avoid. They are a normal part of a healthy relationship in this age. I enjoy arguments. 🙂 ”

    I would respectfully disagree. When I was a young atheist I also loved arguments, and would argue with everyone I could, about the existence of God. I became very good at sarcasm. Many years after becoming a Christian I would still depend on my sarcasm when arguing with people. It wasn’t until Sean (on this site) pointed out to me that this behavior was not very loving, or Christian like, that I finally abandoned trying to use sarcasm to win arguments.

    I find that once a discussion reaches the point of an argument you now have a situation where you’re going to have a (perceived) winner and a (perceived) loser. This is usually when people’s defenses go up and people stop listening to each other with an open mind. People will begin to say and do anything to win the argument, including insulting the other person’s beliefs, or insulting or attacking the other person’s character, etc…

    Like I said in another thread, “I would rather discuss then attack any day of the week.” You will never convince anyone with sarcasm or by attacking them, either directly, or indirectly. At least that’s the way I see it anywaze…

  17. on 23 Feb 2011 at 8:10 pmMark C.

    My 2 cents’ worth:

    Claim 1. I’m not a biblical expert. I just know that most biblical experts agree that 2nd. Peter was not written by Peter.

    While there are many who accept this theory, it is by no means “most” who hold it.

    Claim 2. From what I have read Peter died several years before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D.

    What sources do you base this on?

    Claim 3. There is no reliable evidence (that I am aware of) that Peter recognized the writings of Paul, or that he even read them.

    This of course is dependent on acceptance of Claim 1, since II Peter 3:15-16 refer to Paul’s epistles. Considering how Paul’s epistles were circulated, and the fact that they had met, it would be very strange indeed if Peter had never heard of them.

  18. on 23 Feb 2011 at 8:35 pmAntioch

    Joshua,

    I read that Martin’s doctorate is unaccredited and his initial ties to Armstrong make me suspicious.

    But I will put aside those red flags for now and focus on 2 Peter. Only in 2 Peter is there any explicit reference to Paul’s letters being scripture (though which of his letters are such are not named and there were several that Paul wrote that are not in the NT).

    The questions that I read about whether 2 Peter is authentic focus on:

    – lack of mention of 2 Peter by early church fathers
    – some dissimilarity in writing style between 1 Peter and 2 Peter
    – the similarities in Jude

    While it is a secular site, nevertheless, I find wikipedia a good place to start for a summary of the available knowledge on a given topic. On the whole topic of the NT Canon, it states:

    The Canon of the New Testament developed gradually over time and the idea of a complete Canon existing from Apostolic times, has “no foundation in history”.

    I find the supporting evidence on that site and other sites far more compelling than what Martin offers.

    Peace

  19. on 23 Feb 2011 at 9:47 pmDoubting Thomas

    Mark C,
    I had said, “Claim 2. From what I have read Peter died several years before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D.”

    To which you replied, “What sources do you base this on?”

    Not being a scholar, I have never developed the habit of writing down the sources when ever I’m reading something. I have just read, that although we don’t know the exact date that Peter died, it is generally agreed that it was before the destruction of the temple. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’d be happy to consider it.

    You also said, “Considering how Paul’s epistles were circulated, and the fact that they had met, it would be very strange indeed if Peter had never heard of them.”

    I’m not saying that Peter wasn’t aware of what Paul was teaching or that he didn’t have some idea of what was in his writings. I just believe there is no reliable evidence that Peter actually read the letters let alone agreed with them. The evidence from the book of Acts suggest actually suggests the opposite.

    Like I said above, “Why did James and the other church leaders force Paul to undergo the ritual of purification as laid out in the law of Moses???”

    If someone has a more logical way to explain the story told in Acts 21, then my interpretation which I gave in msg. #12 above, then I’d be happy to consider that as well. These are ‘all’ just my own personal interpretations, and like I’ve said many times before, I’m not trying to force my views on anyone. I’m just trying to share my beliefs/views with others, and listening to the feedback…

  20. on 23 Feb 2011 at 11:56 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,
    I just remembered that I made a copy of John E’s post regarding 2nd. Peter in a folder on my hotmail. I will post it below.

    FYI – He had recently become an atheist because of his belief that the followers of Christ expected Y’shua to return shortly (in their lifetimes), and since he didn’t, he has concluded that he won’t be returning and has lost his faith in Y’shua, and in God. I pray that God will guide him (along with all the other lost sheep) back into the flock of believers.

    (From John E)

    “Well I try to avoid talking to dead people, so why don’t you tell Geza Vermes what the “Apostle Peter” says in 2 Peter? Here’s what he would answer you:
    The Second Letter of Peter, far from being the work of the senior apostle of Jesus, is probably the most recent composition in the New Testament, dating to AD 125 if not later. Literary analysis shows that it was composed after the Letter of Jude (written around AD 100) on which it visibly depends. Furthermore the document testifies to a conspicuous disenchantment in the ranks of the faithful caused by the prolonged delay of the return of Christ. The author himself did not expect to witness the Parousia (2 Pet 1:14-15). The allusions to a mass of false teachings hint at the growth of Gnosticism, which points to the second century. Finally, the letters of Paul, already forming a literary corpus, are referred to as “Scripture” (3:15-16). In all the other books of the NT, and even in later Christianity, only the Old Testament bears this title.
    2 Peter adds nothing more to the NT image of Christ. Its negative input to a better understanding of the changing faces of Jesus consists in pouring cold water on, and practically extinguishing, the last cinders of eschatological urgency so characteristic of the religion of the Galilean master. The author, writing about a hundred ears after Jesus, was persuaded to venture into this slippery arena because of the sarcastic remarks made by Christian sceptics of his time: “Where is the promise of his [Christ’s] coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). Pseudo-Peter offers a twofold evasive answer: that one the one hand time seen from God’s point of view differs from human reckoning, and that on the other hand the postponement of the return of Christ should be seen as a favour, an extra period granted for turning away from sin. (2 Pet. 3:8-10). This justification is similar to the argument put forward by the author of the Qumran Commentary on Habakuk, writing to sectarians tired of waiting for the day of the Lord to come, also about a century after the Teacher of Righteousness of the Dead Sea sect. Explaining Habakuk 2:3, “If it [the end] tarries, way for it, for it shall surely come and not be late”, he wrote: “Interpreted, this concerns the men of truth who keep the Law, whose hands shall not slacken in the service of truth when the final age is prolonged. For all the ages of God reach their appointed end as he determines for them in the mysteries of his wisdom” (IQpHab 7:9-14). Intense eschatological expectation could not be sustained for any length of time in a closed religious community, whether the Essene sect or the Christian church. Apocalyptic fervour gave way to institutional certainty, or, if I may quote freely Alfred Loisy’s half-witty, half-serious remark, “The first Christians expected the return of Christ, but it was the church that arrived instead”. (pages 111-113).”

    Again I’m not trying to be argumentative. I’m just trying to have a discussion…

  21. on 24 Feb 2011 at 12:42 amJoshua

    @Doubting Thomas:

    Being self-taught is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m nearly complete self-taught in Mandarin and Taiwanese, which I use to work part-time in the translating field.

    Now, thanks for the responses. I’ll need to re-read John’s response. It seems that Antioch and John’s criticisms have 2 points in common: 1) “some dissimilarity in writing style between 1 Peter and 2 Peter”; 2) “the similarities in Jude”.

    I addressed the first point above; repeat points: 1) 1 Peter was written with the help of a scribe named Silas (1 Peter 5:12); 2) 2 Peter was written by himself.

    Do those not seem like plausible reasons for the “dissimilarity in writing style”? Why or why not?

    …is probably the most recent composition in the New Testament, dating to AD 125 if not later.

    I’d be interested in the source of that because, after all, anyone can make a claim. Notice the use of “probably”.

    Literary analysis shows that it was composed after the Letter of Jude (written around AD 100) on which it visibly depends.

    Why is it not more likely that Jude was referencing 2 Peter 3:3 in Jude 1:18? (That’s where I’m assuming the “visibly depends” claim comes from. And it should be noted that in Jude 1:17, he says, “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.”)

    Furthermore the document testifies to a conspicuous disenchantment in the ranks of the faithful caused by the prolonged delay of the return of Christ.

    Exactly. Dr. Martin’s book touches on this fact. He points to the fact that Christ did not return in 63 AD as the very thing that prompted the apostles to finalize the canon of the New Testament. Why 63 AD? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

    @Antioch:

    You wrote:

    I read that Martin’s doctorate is unaccredited and his initial ties to Armstrong make me suspicious.

    Although that’s not the issue, I’d like to ask:

    Whether or not his doctroate was accredited, would that affect the quality of his work? (I don’t know the source of your claim. Do you have one?)

    You wrote:

    I find the supporting evidence on that site and other sites far more compelling than what Martin offers.

    So, you find a Web site that can be edited by the public anonymously more compelling than a scholarly* work of over 500 pages with references to over 30 published works by various scholars more reliable.

    Interesting.

    (*Dr. Martin’s books are put up in ads in Biblical Archaeology and other major scholarly publications. I’m not trying to emphasis “scholarship”, but to show you that the fact that the book is posted online for free is not because he couldn’t find a publisher; the book has already been published.)

    Just try reading a few chapters, if you have the time.

    Grace and peace.

    Joshua

  22. on 24 Feb 2011 at 7:11 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,
    You said, “I’m nearly complete self-taught in Mandarin and Taiwanese…”

    I’m impressed. My Russian teacher told me that Chinese was by far the most difficult language in the world to learn.

    You also said, “1) 1 Peter was written with the help of a scribe named Silas (1 Peter 5:12); 2) 2 Peter was written by himself.”

    You of course could be right. Like I said, I’m not a biblical expert and only know what I have heard, and that is that most biblical experts agree that 2nd. Peter was not written by the Apostle Peter. Mark said above that this is not true, but that only ‘many’ biblical experts say this, not most. I will keep an open mind and agree that it is not ‘most’ but many.

    The thing that convinces me the most though, is my own personal reading of 2nd. Peter. It’s the only letter in the bible not addressed to a specific person, or church. There is only one type of letter (that I am aware of) that is not addressed to a specific party, and that is a letter of reference. Why would Peter be writing a letter of reference??? Also who would he be writing it for (to prove what)???

    It seems to me that 2nd. Peter says things like, Paul is a great guy, Paul’s writing are great, you should read Paul’s letters, and outside of this it says very little else of substance. Add on to this that it is not addressed to a specific party, and you can see why (I think) it appears to be a letter of reference used to show people that Peter actually agreed with Paul and Paul’s teachings.

    Of course this contradicts the story written in Acts 21 which I quoted above in msg. #12 above. When you combine all this together I think you can understand why I have my doubts about the Apostolic authorship of 2nd. Peter. Of course, like I have repeatedly said, I am about as far from being a scholar, or an expert, as you can get. I am just a humble layman that seems to see things differently then most other people do.

    You also said, “Dr. Martin’s book touches on this fact. He points to the fact that Christ did not return in 63 AD as the very thing that prompted the apostles to finalize the canon of the New Testament. Why 63 AD? You’ll have to read the book to find out.”

    I will see if I can find it online and I will have a look at it this weekend. But, I must warn you that I’m notorious for starting to read books and then never finishing them. That’s one of the reasons I would never make it as a scholar. I also have found that so called “Religious Experts” like to write things that seem to support the view of other “Religious Experts.”

    It is rare to find an expert that is willing to look at something with a fresh and independent (unbiased) view. At least it seems that way to me. I want to thank you again for the respectful dialogue. I really appreciate it. It is rare that I can find someone to discuss my beliefs with on this matter.

    Mark C. was good enough to engage in a very long discussion with me (last spring), which lasted several weeks. You and Mark C. seem to be some of the few exceptions to the rule.

    Grace and Peace to you as well…

  23. on 25 Feb 2011 at 12:52 amJoshua

    Hey, Doubting Thomas!

    Thanks for your kinds words. As difficult as Mandarin is, Taiwanese is twice as hard. But that’s a different story. 😀

    The thing that convinces me the most though, is my own personal reading of 2nd. Peter. It’s the only letter in the bible not addressed to a specific person, or church. There is only one type of letter (that I am aware of) that is not addressed to a specific party, and that is a letter of reference. Why would Peter be writing a letter of reference??? Also who would he be writing it for (to prove what)???

    That’s an interesting concern. Could it be that the letter is from him to all believers (2 Peter 1:1), the ones to whom it is addressed, verifiying 3 things? Such as:

    1) after the death of Paul, he and John were set to canonize writings to become the New Testament (2 Peter 1:15 ~ 19; notice use of “we”);

    2) Paul’s letters are included in the canon and should be termed “scripture” (2 Peter 3:16; word “graphe” is the same Greek word used to reference the Old Testament [ref. 2 Timothy 3:16]);

    3) his promise to believers that he would give them a way to remember things after his death (2 Peter 1:15; the Greek points to him refering to written documents).

    It is rare to find an expert that is willing to look at something with a fresh and independent (unbiased) view. At least it seems that way to me. I want to thank you again for the respectful dialogue. I really appreciate it. It is rare that I can find someone to discuss my beliefs with on this matter.

    I totally agree with you. In fact, that’s what I like about Ernest Martin’s work — and the fact that he gives plenty of references.

    Check out these 2 chapters:

    Chapter 17: The Canonization by Peter
    http://www.askelm.com/restoring/res023.htm

    Chapter 18: The Authority to Canonize The New Testament
    http://www.askelm.com/restoring/res024.htm

    Let me know what you think or if you see anything amiss, OK?

    Grace and peace,

    Joshua

  24. on 25 Feb 2011 at 11:20 amMark C.

    Joshua,

    I unflagged your comment.

    ________________________
    Thomas,

    The thing that convinces me the most though, is my own personal reading of 2nd. Peter. It’s the only letter in the bible not addressed to a specific person, or church.

    Actually, there are others. Hebrews and 1st John have no salutation at all, although 1st John includes phrases like, “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” This indicates that he is writing to the Church in general.

    Similarly, James is addressed “To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad,” although as you read it, it becomes clear that he is addressing Jews who believed in Jesus, not all Jews.

    Jude is likewise addressed “To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.”  Again, to the Church, or body of believers in general.

    When it comes to Peter’s epistles, 1st Peter is addressed “To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” It is addressed to those believers who were scattered, not to a specific church (or individual).

    2nd Peter is similarly addressed to believers in general: “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

    So both letters of Peter were addressed to believers in general and not to a specific church or individual. The epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude are often referred to as the “General Epistles” for this reason.

    PS –

    Regarding the quote from JohnE’s old post, I don’t see anything in what he wrote that “proves” 2nd Peter was not written by the Apostle Peter.  All I see is points where it disagrees with his views and opinions.

  25. on 25 Feb 2011 at 8:16 pmDoubting Thomas

    Mark,
    I had said, “It’s the only letter in the bible not addressed to a specific person, or church.”

    Thanks for correcting me, and pointing out that there are other letters as well. Learning new things is one of the best things I like about having discussions with people. I do realize I have serious limitations and that I have lot more to learn. I’m just glad there are such well informed people on this site, that I can talk to and learn from…

    Joshua,
    Thanks for the links. I will start reading them later tonight. Unfortunately it looks like I will be busy most of the weekend. My son is coming over to set up a face book page/account for me, among other things. It is not often that he spends the weekend with me. I should be able to finish off the chapters by some time next week though. I will let you know what I think of them at that time.

    P.S. – Usually whenever I try to explain my beliefs to people they get angry. I want to thank both you and Mark for having patience with me and tolerating my rather unusual point of view on things.

    Grace and Peace to both of you…

  26. on 26 Feb 2011 at 5:23 amWolfgang

    Mark C.,

    you wrote above

    So both letters of Peter were addressed to believers in general and not to a specific church or individual. The epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude are often referred to as the “General Epistles” for this reason.

    If one speaks of “addressed to believers in general” one must note nevertheless, that they were not addressed to believers who were not even living at the time … a mistake that is quite often made in Christian circles!!

    Americans living today in 2011 would certainly NOT understand a speech by president Roosevelt in which he addressed ALL Americans in 1941 as being addressed to them now … or would they because they count themselves to be included in “ALL Americans” ??

    Yet, when it comes to things written in the Bible almost 2 millenniums ago, those same people as Christians read what is written there as if it were written today and addressed to them … and thus – for example – believe that things that were said to be “near” or “at hand” 2 millenniums ago to be “near” now 2 millenniums later. Strangely, they immediately recognize that it would be wrong to take president Roosevelt’s speech from 70years ago as being addressed to them now, but then insist that it would not be wrong at all to understand words written 2 millenniums ago as if they had been written now …

  27. on 26 Feb 2011 at 7:46 amJoshua

    Ol’ Wolfgang.

    You wrote:

    If one speaks of “addressed to believers in general” one must note nevertheless, that they were not addressed to believers who were not even living at the time … a mistake that is quite often made in Christian circles!!

    Not sure if you first referenced 2 Peter 1:1 before your comment, so let me past it here:

    “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:”

    Though it does indicate the believers at that time, why would that exclude believers in the future? Where is it limited to just them? On what grounds?

    And, forgive me for asking (I’m not trying to be rude), but how does your comment add anything to the conversation? What’s your point? Why not just leave us to our delusions or, better yet, help us out by correctly interpreting these first-century documents for us?

    Arguments are great and worthwhile, but pointless ones aren’t. Give us something constructive, man, that’s all I’m asking.

    Grace and peace,

    Joshua

  28. on 26 Feb 2011 at 8:21 amXavier

    Joshua

    Arguments are great and worthwhile, but pointless ones aren’t. Give us something constructive, man, that’s all I’m asking.

    Glad to see I am not the only one who thinks this way. 🙂

  29. on 26 Feb 2011 at 10:50 amWolfgang

    @joshua

    Though it does indicate the believers at that time, why would that exclude believers in the future? Where is it limited to just them? On what grounds?

    on the same principle and grounds that not “all Americans” today are addressed by what a president said 70 years ago to “all Americans”

    The time of writing is a limiting factor, seeing that any reference to circumstances, situations, or what other people are saying, or what is referenced in regards to timing in some way can only be understood correctly when the principle I mentioned is observed.

    You ask, how my comment adds anything to the conversation? Consider what I just wrote … it will add what is necessary for you to not fall victim to a delusion, and it will provide an important principle for you to not make false applications.

    If that’s not constructive, then what is?

  30. on 26 Feb 2011 at 11:09 amWolfgang

    @Xavier,

    some regard as pointless what is actually worthwhile … will it benefit them? Most likely not.
    Until they change their mind and decide to really investigate for themselves and to re-evaluate — instead of declaring things to be pointless because they do not agree with their current position and thinking — there won’t be any benefit.

  31. on 26 Feb 2011 at 1:13 pmAntioch

    Joshua,

    Martin makes for an interesting read, I will give him that. I read both of the chapters you linked plus another document he wrote about Lazarus and the rich man.

    What troubles me is that he writes as if he has special knowledge of what Peter, Paul, and John were thinking – some examples:

    The apostle Paul could survey the historical environment within the Christian community of late 66 C.E. and what he saw disturbed him very much.

    In short, it was the apostles themselves who saw the need for a New Testament canon of scriptures and it was they who produced it.

    This is immediately offputting because I draw from his writings, not a man who is humble and positing a theory, but a man who claims to have a special grasp of the truth. Is he a modern day ‘apostle’ or a man consumed with pride?

    If his thesis is correct…

    The biblical evidence points solidly to the apostles themselves as the ones who canonized the New Testament books. It was they who saw in their own generation the urgency, just before their deaths, of securing such a canon. With false doctrines and rebellion (even to apostolic authority) on all sides, and with future prospects looking even worse, they completed their task of preaching the Gospel to the world by starting and finishing the canonization of the New Testament.

    …then I would think John would have capped Revelation or some last writing to say “here are the 27 books that we have added to the OT scriptures in Jesus name”. But for 2 Peter 3:16, the authenticity of which is suspect and even then is the reference to Paul inexplicit as to which of his letters are considered scripture, is there any mention whatsoever that the apostolic writings are scripture. What about Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, and Judes writings? Nothing explicit, just the inferred strand of reasoning put forward by Martin.

    I think it is great to have Martin’s ‘theory’ in the mix and I am glad to have read it. From my own point of view, I think the Bible is inspired but not every word and verse is necessarily God’s truth. I think the Bible serves as a great basis for fellowship – that all the small group Bible studies that occur all over the world are a good thing. The Bible serves to bring us together, to have something tangible and meaty to discuss until we get to know each other better. It is instructive and with the power of the holy spirit, it is convicting and life changing.

    But I think we err greatly when we begin to consider anything not explicitly clear in the Bible message as the truth. (1 Cor 4:6)

  32. on 26 Feb 2011 at 2:10 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,

    Those chapters didn’t really tell me very much I didn’t already know. I knew that 2 Peter was claiming to canonize the writings of Paul, and the only proofs that are offered were from 2 Peter. The only thing that I didn’t already know was this claim that because 2 Peter uses the pronoun “We” then this supposedly proves that the apostle John was also involved in the canonization process of Paul’s letters. His theory that Peter and John partially canonized the N.T. scriptures, by canonizing the writings of Paul shortly before Peter’s death, and then later near the end of the 1st. century, the apostle John finished canonizing the rest of the N.T. scriptures by himself, doesn’t really make much sense to me at all.

    The resurrection was several decades old at the time of Peter’s death, and Paul (at this time) was supposedly dead and buried. So if this scenario were true, why didn’t Peter and John together canonize the ‘entire’ N.T. scriptures??? Why did John have to wait until decades after the death of Peter to finish the final canonization??? What was he waiting for??? His theory also ignores the fact that it is well known (by historians) that the Ebionites, (early Jewish Christians) who are believed to represent the rump of the the leadership from the Jerusalem church, only followed a Gospel of Mathew that was written in Hebrew. They didn’t recognize any other N.T. writings (including Paul’s letters) as being authoritative. His theory also doesn’t address the question of why there were so many different collections of books in the 1st. century. If it had been canonized by the Apostles, there should have only been the “one” canonized collection.

    I guess what I’m saying is you can’t use what it says in 2 Peter to prove that 2 Peter is authentic. It’s like the author of John’s writings trying to use the writings of John as proof that they are authentic.

    For example in John 21:24, John says, “This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.”

    First the author of John states that the apostle John was Y’shua’s favorite disciple (the one “whom Jesus loved”), which is something that is not even hinted at outside the writings of John, also that this disciple (apostle John) wrote these writings (that you are reading), and therefore this proves that his testimony is true (that these writings are definitely authentic). How do we know that these writings were even written by the apostle John??? It is ridiculous for the author to think think that his claims about the authorship can somehow be verified by his own writings saying that these writings are true and authentic. Just like the claims of of Paul cannot be verified by ‘his’ own writings.

    In 1 Cor. 14:37, Paul says, ” If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”

    Here we have Paul claiming that his writings are a ‘command’ of the Lord. Peter and James didn’t have to make any claims that what they were writing was authentic or what they were saying actually represented a ‘command’ of the Lord. They just simply wrote their letters. They weren’t worried about anyone questioning what they were saying as being authentic. But, both John and Paul felt the need to specifically write that what they were writing was actually true (or authentic), or a command of the Lord. Maybe it’s just my doubting nature, but I can’t help but wonder, Why it is these two writers felt the need to do this???

    The only thing that makes any sense to me is that there must have been people who were questioning these things. Therefore Paul and John felt the need to say, in the case of John, that these writings are authentic (actually written by the apostle John), and in the case of Paul, that what he was writing was actually true, or a ‘command’ of the Lord. When you combine this with the fact that Paul and John say things that are not found anywhere else in the bible. For example – Like Paul repeatedly saying Y’shua returned to heaven, and the author of John coming along much later and claiming Y’shua himself said repeatedly that he came from heaven. Like I pointed out in another thread. Why is this only found in the writings of Paul and John??? It seems to me to be a very important thing that should have been mentioned outside the writings of Paul and John, (AT LEAST ONCE).

    Then the author of John has Y’shua predict the arrival of Paul, (remember this is ‘after’ the fact since John’s writings were written long after Paul’s), in John 16:12, after his resurrection Y’shua says, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

    Every good Christian knows that in this verse Y’shua is foretelling the later arrival of Paul and his ‘mystic’ revelations. The fact is that after his death and resurrection the disciples knew ‘positively’ that Y’shua was the long awaited Messiah of God. At this point he could have told them ‘ANYTHING’ and they would have believed it. But for some reason, we are told that the disciples “could not bear” to hear that the law (of Moses) no longer applied because of this ‘New Covenant’. Instead they would have to wait until many years later, when Paul arrived on the scene with his ‘mystic’ revelations, to hear this. The ‘law’ was the cornerstone/foundation of the Jewish faith, and yet outside the writings of Paul there is not even the slightest hint that the ‘law’ no longer applied. Doesn’t anyone, besides me, find this strange???

    Combine this with the fact that Paul says in Galatians 1:1, “This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was ‘NOT’ appointed by any group or by human authority. My call is from Jesus Christ himself and from God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. (NLT)”

    (or NRSV) “Paul an apostle—sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—”

    In other words Paul ‘himself’ is saying that he wasn’t appointed (or recognized) as an apostle by Peter, the apostles, or any of the other church leaders like James and Barnabas. He’s clearly saying that he is a ‘self appointed’ apostle, who gets this authority (to call himself an apostle) through ‘mystic’ revelations that he receives from Christ himself. In other words, there are no other human witnesses to this claim. We are all just suppose to take his word on this, with no collaborating evidence.

    Further along in Galatians 1:9, Paul says, “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

    Who is he cursing??? From the following verse from Galatians 1:11-12, it appears (to me anywaze) he is cursing Peter and the apostles and the gospel they were teaching. “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me ‘IS NOT’ man’s gospel. (12) For I did ‘NOT’ receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

    Paul is plainly saying that “the gospel that was preached by me” did not come from (or originate from) Peter and the apostles or any of the other church leaders, like James or Barnabas. Again Paul is claiming that his ‘mystic’ revelations supersede anything that Peter and the apostles, or any other ‘humans’ were teaching at that time. When you combine these statements by Paul in Galatians with the story in Acts 21 (which I gave my interpretation of in Msg. #12 above) where the Jerusalem church leadership thought that Paul had committed a sin so terrible that they forced him to undergo the ‘ritual of purification’. You can see why I find it hard to believe that much later on, just before Peter’s death, Peter suddenly changed his mind and agreed that Paul’s mystic revelations were actually true and authentic revelations from Y’shua.

    I think it is clear that what Paul taught was drastically different then what Peter and the apostles and other church leaders were teaching. This is demonstrated by the fact that Peter and the apostles lived peacefully in Jerusalem, going into the temple regularly to preach the good news about Christ, and no one apparently wanted to harm them, or kill them. Contrast this with the arrival of Paul in Jerusalem (after his missionary travels) where as soon as he was recognized, outside the temple, a ‘huge’ riot broke out and 40 men swore an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. The contrast between the Jewish reaction to Paul and their reaction to Peter and the apostles, who lived among them, demonstrates clearer then anything else that Paul’s teachings must have been drastically different then what Peter and the apostles taught.

    Because of my naturally “doubting” nature, I find it very hard to believe that Peter, just before his death in Rome, would suddenly reverse himself and support Paul and Paul’s writings. And if Martin’s theory was true that the apostle John (himself) officially canonized the N.T. writings near the end of the 1st. century then, (as Antioch pointed out) “…then I would think John would have capped Revelation or some last writing to say ‘here are the 27 books that we have added to the OT scriptures in Jesus name’.” Of course I’m just a layman, but this is the way I see it anywaze…

  33. on 26 Feb 2011 at 3:56 pmAntioch

    DT – as having been a skeptic for many years before becoming a Christian, I greatly appreciate your thoughts and reasonings. Like you, my conversion did not wash away those skeptic genes. And, reading the Bible, far from answering all my questions, stirs in me all kinds of new ones.

    One point that I searched out about Paul soon after my conversion was his vetting by the apostles. Any rogue, charismatic person could create a cult about his/her self that claims the truth but how to know if they have any authenticity? Specifically since Paul wrote half of the NT, it is critical that his creds are legit.

    But Acts, which is essentially Luke 2, points out the interaction of Paul with the disciples. Specifically, Acts 9 – the healing of Paul by Ananias, and Acts 11:25+ (which by the way is the inspiration for my screen name). I don’t see the controversy around Luke that I do some of the other books of the Bible, and Luke itself intertwines with Matthew and Mark to provide additional veracity.

    Your point about Paul stirring up controversy whereas Peter did not made me think. But didn’t Peter end up being crucified as well? In fact, weren’t all the apostles martyred or at least imprisoned (John)? They would have had to do something to warrant that.

    The whole story of Paul does make me wonder. Couldn’t Jesus have picked one of his own disciples while he was alive to become the messenger to the gentiles? Why did it take another person outside the selected apostles? While I do wonder why Paul had his apostleship through revelation, I am satisfied that Paul was vetted by the apostles. I do find his story and his writings are a source of inspiration and conviction for me.

  34. on 27 Feb 2011 at 1:16 amJoshua

    @Antioch

    You wrote:

    This is immediately offputting because I draw from his writings, not a man who is humble and positing a theory, but a man who claims to have a special grasp of the truth. Is he a modern day ‘apostle’ or a man consumed with pride?

    How about we stick to dealing with the information and not the author (we can do that in another thread)? (By the way, you’ve already said that you read that his doctorate was unaccredited, but you failed to provide a source for your information. Of course, I don’t think reading just three writings by a total stranger can give you the right to accuse them of anything. Let it be said that few encourage people to read and study for themselves more than Dr. Martin did while he was alive. In fact, he tried very hard to show that he was imperfect and not a prophet, probably because of his experience with Armstrong. [I don’t know.])

    @Doubting Thomas

    Thanks for taking the time to read those chapters. You could read more, if you’re interested.

    Can you narrow down your objections into questions?

    I’ll first say this:

    On my first reading, it seems that originally you, John, and Antioch were actually using the text of 2 Peter to show that he didn’t write it. Then I was accused of, essentially, circular reasoning for using 2 Peter to show that he did write it.

    How can we establish which position is more likely true?

    (Let’s examine the history of the actual text of 2 Peter, if we can.)

    @Wolfgang

    If your point is that 2 Peter is addressed to believers at that time only, OK. Let me grant that to you. What does that have to do with the conversation? How does that make a case for or against its authenticity?

    Substance, man. Not empty, dead-end arguments.

    Joshua

  35. on 27 Feb 2011 at 9:32 amXavier

    Wolfgang

    …some regard as pointless what is actually worthwhile … will it benefit them? Most likely not.

    Will pigs fly? Can they fly? Will the universe one day implode? What came first the chicken or the egg? BLAH BLAH BLAH

    😛

  36. on 27 Feb 2011 at 11:33 amAntioch

    Joshua,

    http://www.askelm.com/resources/biography.asp

    States Martin’s PhD from Ambassador College in 1966

    http://www.ambassador.edu/

    States Ambassador College wasn’t accredited until 1994

    His credentials do matter to me. They are not entirely what I judge by, but in the case where we have some unique theories that are based upon certain interpretations of scripture, it becomes more important to know where the author is coming from.

    As I have researched more, I am backing off on being concerned about his credentials. I think he is a good voice to have in the mix but still find his evidence for his theories, while interesting, to be quite a stretch.

    Peace

  37. on 27 Feb 2011 at 12:16 pmDoubting Thomas

    Antioch,
    Thank you for the peaceful response. Like I said, people usually react with anger whenever I try to share my beliefs on this matter with them.

    The story from Acts 9 was not witnessed by Peter or the Apostles or anyone else including Luke. Luke must have got this story from Paul (himself) who I’m sure told this story to all of his followers. BTW – Luke was a follower of Paul. That is why the vast majority of the book of Acts surrounds around Paul and Paul’s missionary journeys.

    So when Luke says in Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.”

    Luke’s source for this information would no doubt have been Paul himself. I don’t see it is being an independent collaboration that Paul was chosen for some special purpose or mission. Although obviously throughout Paul’s writings this was what Paul repeatedly claimed.

    In your quote form Acts 11:25ff I see Barnabas as being the senior partner who had taken Paul (who was just a baby Christian in comparison to Barnabas and the others who actually knew Y’shua and heard him teach on many occasions) under his wing to assist him in his ministry. From what I understand, although Barnabas was very knowledgeable and one of the original disciples that actually knew Y’shua, he was not good at public speaking.

    All indications were that Paul was a great orator and would do most of the public speaking during their missionary journeys. Barnabas had the experience and knowledge, and Paul had the charisma and charm necessary to win the crowds over. Apparently this combination was very successful in winning over new converts.

    It seems to me that Paul quickly became tired of being second fiddle (so to speak) to Barnabas. He got into a huge argument with Barnabas in Acts 15:38-39 “But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. (39) And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other.”

    It was sometime after this point, that Paul begin to claim to have mystic revelations from Christ, which allowed him to call himself and ‘apostle’ and to teach different things then what Peter and the apostles and other church leaders like James and Barnabas were teaching. Like Paul said in Galatians 1:11-12, “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me ‘IS NOT’ man’s gospel. (12) For I did ‘NOT’ receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

    Of course like I said before, I am just a layman, and this is just how I see it…

    Johsua,

    Just to let you know I’m not ignoring you. I’m just very busy with my son visiting me this weekend. I will respond to your message later on tonight after supper…

  38. on 27 Feb 2011 at 12:53 pmRay

    I think anyone who promotes the Bible as we have it today as being 100% without any error is setting themselves up for a hard fall, and leading others in the same error.

    This is not to say that the scriptures we have are not the way to salvation, they most certainly are, just as an automobile that is decades old is not perfect, down to the exact pounds of air in every tire, or has every wheel bearing lubed with grease that is absolutely
    free of any dirt, but is still a safe and reliable form of transportation and is something to be thankful to God for.

  39. on 27 Feb 2011 at 2:57 pmXavier

    Ray

    I think anyone who promotes the Bible as we have it today as being 100% without any error is setting themselves up for a hard fall, and leading others in the same error.

    Does anyone on here know the difference between something that is said to be “God breathed” [the Bible] and “dictated” [i.e. Koran]!?

  40. on 27 Feb 2011 at 8:17 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,

    In msg. #34 you asked me, ” Can you narrow down your objections into questions? ”

    I guess I could start by repeating the questions that I have already asked. I asked you the following question in msg. #16 (above).

    “Why did James and the other church leaders force Paul to undergo the ritual of purification as laid out in the law of Moses???”

    In the same msg. I also asked you the following question.

    “From what I understand this ritual was reserved for people who had committed very serious sins. Therefore the question arises; WHAT WAS THE SERIOUS SIN THAT PAUL HAD COMMITTED (in the eyes of the Jerusalem church)??? My understanding is that this very strict ritual was not something people would undergo without a reason.”

    I also asked the following question to Mark C., and `everyone else`, in msg. #19 (above).

    “If someone has a more logical way to explain the story told in Acts 21, then my interpretation which I gave in msg. #12 above, then I’d be happy to consider that as well.”

    I also asked you, and everyone else, the following question in msg. #32 (above).

    “The ‘law’ was the cornerstone/foundation of the Jewish faith, and yet outside the writings of Paul there is not even the slightest hint that the ‘law’ no longer applied. `Doesn’t anyone, besides me, find this strange`???”

    I also have one more question. In 2 Corinthians 11:4-5, Paul says the following;

    “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (5) Indeed, I consider that I AM NOT IN THE LEAST INFERIOR TO THESE SUPER-APOSTLES.” (ESV – emphasis mine).

    And in 2 Corinthians 12:11, Paul says the following;

    “I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I WAS NOT AT ALL INFERIOR TO THESE SUPER-APOSTLES, even though I am nothing.”

    If Paul is not referring to Peter and the apostles, then who are the “super-apostles” that Paul is referring to in these verses???

    You also asked, “How can we establish which position is more likely true?”

    I was just trying to explain, as best I could, why I personally don’t believe 2 Peter was written Peter. In order to do this I had to explain my over-all beliefs of the writings of Paul and John, and how Paul’s teachings don’t seem to agree with what Y’shua, and Peter and the apostles, and other early church leaders, like James taught.

    Most Christians I have talked to believe that because Paul’s teaching was the latest revelation, it therefore takes precedence over what anyone else before him might have said. I believe the theory this is based on is called “progressive revelation”. Something that I don’t personally believe in myself. I would appreciate if you, or anyone else, could answer these questions.

    Again, I’m not trying to force my beliefs on anyone. I’m just trying to explain why I have doubts about the writings of Paul and John, and why I doubt that Peter would have reversed himself, like he did in 2 Peter, and suddenly support Paul and Paul’s teachings. Again, I apologize if I am offending anyone.

    Peace and Grace…

  41. on 27 Feb 2011 at 10:08 pmJoshua

    Hey, Doubting Thomas!

    I have a limited time here, so I’m just going to deal with 2 Peter. After all, it is the most controversial book in terms of whether or not it is canonical.

    I was just trying to explain, as best I could, why I personally don’t believe 2 Peter was written Peter. In order to do this I had to explain my over-all beliefs of the writings of Paul and John, and how Paul’s teachings don’t seem to agree with what Y’shua, and Peter and the apostles, and other early church leaders, like James taught.

    We have to remember that Peter was sent to the Jews and Paul was sent to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7, 8&#41. Galatians 2:9 even says this:

    “James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.”

    Doesn’t sound like they were on bad terms, does it?

    Yet, essentially, our opinion of the book has to be based on something. I read 1 & 2 Peter multiple times yesterday. They are likely the work of the same author. Here’s why, for your consideration:

    1) identical greetings (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2);
    2) similar content (reminders, faith, Noah, etc.);
    3) similar descriptions of things (notice the use of the word “precious”);
    4) reference to Paul as “brother” (a later forger would have used a different, more extreme title);
    5) If it was written during the second century, it would have been for a reason, probably to establish a new doctrine or to support a position on an argument. It lacks any of that.
    6) reference to 1 other letter (2 Peter 3:1);
    7) references to “godliness”, “goodness” (Why would a forger reference those qualities?);
    8) It differs greatly in form and content from known much later pseudo-Petrine material (referece the Gospel of Peter).

    Just put those into your mind as you continue to study. This’ll be my last post on this thread.

    Grace and peace,

    Joshua

  42. on 27 Feb 2011 at 10:42 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,
    You said, “If it was written during the second century, it would have been for a reason, probably to establish a new doctrine or to support a position on an argument. It lacks any of that.”

    I don’t see it that way at all. It definately supports a position or an argument that would have come up in the 2nd. century. The argument would have been whether Paul’s letters should have been included in with the other N.T. writings or not. Having Peter himself supporting Paul’s writings as authentic revelations from God would cinch the argument in favor of including Paul’s writings in with the other N.T. writings.

    You also said, “This’ll be my last post on this thread.”

    I’m sorry to hear that, but I ‘have’ enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you. I hope there are no hard feelings and may the peace and love of God (‘OUR’ Father) be with you, and with us all…

  43. on 28 Feb 2011 at 11:43 amJoshua

    Oh, I have no hard feelings at all, Doubting Thomas! Please don’t think I did. I just meant that it was my last post in the thread because I need to concentrate on other things.

    Quick note: Were not Paul’s writings already accepted as “Scripture” in the second century?

    I’ll read how you respond, but I can’t respond.

    Look forward to interacting with you again in another thread!

    Grace and peace.

    Joshua

  44. on 28 Feb 2011 at 8:10 pmDoubting Thomas

    Joshua,

    I respect the fact that you ‘do’ have other things in your life besides blogging, and I am glad to hear that there are no hard feelings. I just know from past experiences that ‘some’ people do get very angry about my beliefs. I find that ‘Paul’ is an extremely sensitive subject. Most Christians I have talked with are very attached to Paul’s writings and will say they find his writings to be the most comforting and inspirational etc..

    If it increases your faith (or anyone else’s faith) to read Paul, then I don’t want to take that away from you. Like I said in the other thread, I don’t believe that everything that Paul wrote is wrong. I just (personally) believe it contains errors, things that Y’shua, Peter, the apostles, and other church leaders like James and Barnabas didn’t teach or believe.

    Of course I readily admit that I could be wrong. Like I have repeatedly said, “these are just my own personal opinions.” I make no claims to being a teacher, or a scholar, or a prophet (or whatever…). I’m just a humble layman that seems to see things differently than most other people do.

    I find that most historians are usually non-biased with no religious axe to grind (so to speak). From the history books that I have read the historians (themselves) refer to the followers of Paul as Pauline Christians. Indicating (to me anywaze) that there were different groups of Christians. This one historian I read said, “that in the end the Pauline Christians won out over the other Christians (Jewish Christians etc…) since their beliefs became the standard “Orthodox” teachings of the early Roman Catholic Church” (or words similar to that).

    From what I understand Constantine’s favorite writings were the writings of Paul and John, because Paul repeatedly said that Y’shua returned to heaven, and John had Y’shua (himself) repeatedly saying that he came from heaven. This fit perfectly into Constantine’s own personal belief that Y’shua was the “Sun God” (himself) walking around on the earth. From what I understand, this was why Constantine insisted the phrase “of the same essence” be inserted into the Nicene Creed (in 325 A.D.).

    Most people don’t realize that the majority of the Romans were Sun God worshipers and that they were very angry when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire (putting it under state control). To appease the Sun God worshipers, and to show that he hadn’t abandoned them, Constantine made the day of the Sun God (Sunday) an official holiday for all city dwellers. Farmers and other people that worked in the fields were not given this holiday as a day off. After all they had no political influence, and Constantine didn’t need to appease them.

    From what I understand this attempt at appeasement was only partially successful. Years later there still existed a lot of anger by the Sun God worshipers that Christianity had been made the official State religion and was receiving financial support from the government. At the time Constantine was using state funds to build many churches throughout the empire, and the Bishops, priests, etc… were considered state employees and their wages were of course paid by the state.

    That’s why several years after (supposedly) becoming a Christian, Constantine ordered that a new coin be minted with the image of the Sun God on it, and an inscription that said “The Sun God rules supreme”, or words similar to that. I am not a historian and I don’t remember the exact inscription. This was to demonstrate to the Sun God worshipers (who were still the majority at the time), that Constantine was really on their side after all.

    Apparently it worked and the anger finally settled down. From what I have read all the historians agree that the Roman Empire didn’t change it’s behavior, it’s moral, it’s ethics, etc… after becoming a so called Christian state. It was Christianity that was forced to change to fit in with the Roman morals and values of the day.

    For example the brutal “Games” that were held in the Coliseum and other major cities throughout the empire, continued to have people killed in order to entertain the crowds and please the masses. Part of a Bishop’s job, as a state employee, was to defend long held Roman traditions, and the “Games” had been around for close to a thousand years. From what I understand, Augustine was one of the few, if not the only, Christian Bishop (appointed by the state) to openly write that he thought the “Games” were barbaric.

    Of course his was a minority view. Anyways I think I better stop. I’m starting to ramble. The point I’m trying to make is that, I believe the reason Paul’s and John’s writings were included in the final N.T. canon was because they just happened to be Constantine’s favorite writings, and they were easy to manipulate to fit this idea that Y’shua and God “were of the same essence”. In other words they were in reality one and the same being.

    Of course, like always, this is just my own humble opinion…

  45. on 01 Mar 2011 at 11:52 pmMargaret Collier

    I would like to address your first question in post 42, Thomas; and since it is based on post # 12 (dealing with Acts 21) I will quote what is said there, one statement at a time.

    The teachings of Peter and the Apostles were in stark contrast to what Paul wrote in his letters. Paul repeatedly said that the law no longer applied and that it was sin for someone to follow the law of Moses (even for Jewish Christians).

    Did Paul really say, repeatedly, that “it was sin for someone to follow the law of Moses (even for Jewish Christians)”? If so, please give the references.
    I’m not trying to be elusive, Tom. I believe you have misunderstood Acts 21, and I will be happy to address that.
    But first I need to know where you found this “stark contrast” between Peter’s teaching and Paul’s. I cannot remember a single passage where Paul said it was sin to follow the law of Moses. But I’m willing to learn.

  46. on 02 Mar 2011 at 1:20 amRay

    It seems clear to me that many were informed wrongly about Paul the apostle. (Acts 21:21)

    He had many Jews against him for his obedience to his calling. (Acts 26:20,21)

  47. on 02 Mar 2011 at 9:19 amMargaret Collier

    I should quote the other side of your equation:

    Peter and the apostles and the other church leaders like James ‘DID NOT’ teach that ‘JEWISH’ Christians didn’t have to be circumcised or follow the law of Moses.

    Do you mean they taught that Jewish Christians DID have to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses?

    That isn’t how I read Peter’s words in Acts 15. The council was dealing with the question of whether Gentiles needed to be circumcised and keep the law in order to be saved. There was a lot of arguing going on. (Nothing new.) So Peter got up and spoke (vv 7-11).
    He concluded by saying, “Why do you tempt God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”

    So Peter called the law a yoke that neither they nor their fathers had been able to bear.
    I see no “stark contrast” between this and what Paul was teaching.

  48. on 02 Mar 2011 at 5:28 pmMargaret Collier

    Ray, thank you for this:

    It seems clear to me that many were informed wrongly about Paul the apostle. (Acts 21:21)

    I think you are absolutely right. The Jews had heard something about Paul, and the apostles wanted him to show the Jews that the rumor was wrong.

    Here’s one reason I’m sure the rumor was wrong: When Paul was planning to take Timothy with him on an evangelistic tour in areas where there were a lot of Jews, he had him circumcised (Acts 16:3). But why did he have him circumcised?
    Not for salvation – that’s obvious from the context. But circumcision would make his testimony more acceptable to the Jews, who knew that although Timothy’s mother was Jewish, his father was a Greek.

    ALL the apostles agreed that circumcision was not necessary for salvation. Acts 15 settles that, once for all. And it’s interesting that they gave the letter to their beloved bothers Barnabus and Paul, and sent along two of their own trusted men as witnesses that the letter was authentic.

    NONE of the apostles taught that circumcision was sinful. I don’t think Paul did, either.

    But maybe Thomas can convince me otherwise when he has time to look up the references that support his view.

  49. on 02 Mar 2011 at 8:23 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for participating in our discussion. You said, “I cannot remember a single passage where Paul said it was sin to follow the law of Moses.”

    I have been searching on biblegateway.com and it appears you are correct. Like I have said before, I don’t spend a lot of time studying the writings of Paul and John. But, Paul did say that we are now released from the law in Romans 7:6, “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”

    Then Paul seems to contradict himself in the very next verse Romans 7:7, when he says, “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means!”

    I find Paul’s writing very confusing. If the law is not a sin, then why does he teach his followers not to follow the law, even the refined law of Moses (or Noahide law) found in Acts 15:27-29 “We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: THAT YOU ABSTAIN FROM WHAT HAS BEEN SACRIFICED TO IDOLS, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (ESV – emphasis mine).

    Peter the apostles and all the church leaders, after much debate and discussion, came to the decision mentioned above. It clearly states “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden then these requirements.” This letter is addressed to the Gentile Christians in Antioch. It clearly says “to lay on ‘YOU’ no greater burden then these requirements.” It seems clear to me that this modified Noahide law was only for the Gentile Christians only. It doesn’t say anything about a new decision being reached that would effect the behavior of the Jewish Christians in any way. The meeting wasn’t even about the Jewish Christians and what they should or shouldn’t do.

    This council was about what the Gentiles should or should not be doing. The decision clearly instructs the Gentiles, “That you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols.” Of course Paul taught his followers the exact opposite, and said there was nothing wrong with eating meat sacrificed to idols, and that he did it himself even though he was a Jewish Christian, and it was forbidden for Jews to do this. Where did Paul get this idea that Gentile and Jewish Christians could eat meat sacrificed to idols. It certainly wasn’t from Peter and the apostles and all the other church leaders who made it clear, after much debate and discussion, that they SHOULDN’T eat meat sacrificed to idols.

    You also said, “There was a lot of arguing going on. (Nothing new.) So Peter got up and spoke (vv 7-11).
    He concluded by saying, ‘Why do you tempt God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they’.”

    When Peter said, “that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved”. It seems to me that he was referring to the sacrifice that Y’shua made on the cross to end all sacrifices. Before the death and resurrection the Jews were also not able to “bear the yoke” and completely keep the law. That’s why there was a system of sacrificial rituals set up, to make up for the fact that they couldn’t be perfect observers of the law. I believe Peter is saying that because of the sacrifice made by Y’shua (the perfect lamb without blemish) that the sacrificial rituals have now ended for the Jewish Christians that are observers of the law, and that they are now saved “through the grace of the Lord Jesus”, instead of through sacrificial rituals.

    I don’t see it as in any way saying that the law of Moses no longer applies!

    Just look at what happened many years later in Acts 21:20-22 “…You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed (In Y’shua as the Messiah). They are ‘ALL ZEALOUS FOR THE LAW’, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. What then is to be done?” (ESV – emphasis mine).

    What did James and the church elders decide should be done??? They decided that Paul should undergo the ritual of purification which was something (from what I understand) that was reserved for people repenting of a VERY serious sin. Why did they insist he do this??? Acts 21:24 “…Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.” I just don’t see how you can say that the council of Jerusalem decision in Acts 15 stated that the law of Moses no longer applied to Jewish Christians. If it did, it would clearly contradict what is said in Acts 21.

    You also said, “NONE of the apostles taught that circumcision was sinful. I don’t think Paul did, either.”

    I find Paul’s writing very confusing. On the one hand he says in Romans 7:12 “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” But, on the other hand he tells his follower not to follow the law, even the refined Noahide law, that the council of Jerusalem instructed the Gentiles to follow. It seems to me that Paul is basically saying, This is good (the law) but don’t do it! It seems to me that the reason I find Paul’s writings confusing and hard to understand is because Paul himself is confused. He’s saying don’t follow the law, but the law is good. I’m sorry but his teachings seem like nonsense to me. There is no doubt however that his teachings contradict the decision reached at the council of Jerusalem, and also contradict what James and the Jerusalem church were teaching. As evidenced in Acts 21:20-22 (above).

    I admit to not being an expert, but this is just how it seems from my point of view…

  50. on 03 Mar 2011 at 12:34 amMargaret Collier

    Thanks, Tom. We agree, then, that Paul never taught that the law was sinful. So let’s go on to

    If someone has a more logical way to explain the story told in Acts 21, then my interpretation which I gave in msg. #12 above, then I’d be happy to consider that as well.

    I think Ray gave a more logical interpretation in post #46, but let’s take a closer look.

    Luke says in verse 17, “When we came to Jerusalem the brothers received us gladly.” The next day Paul and his company met with James and all the elders, and told what things God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they praised God (v 20).

    Then they said, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and they are all zealous of the law. They have heard that you teach the Jews to forsake Moses and that they ought not to circumcise their children nor walk after the customs.”

    Was the rumor correct?
    I have already pointed out that Paul had Timothy circumcised in Acts 16:3, so he wasn’t teaching that Jewish children shouldn’t be circumcised.
    Remember, too, that Paul was one of the “beloved brothers” who was given charge of the letter from Jerusalem to the Gentiles.
    And you pointed out that Paul specifically said that the law is good. So I conclude that the rumor was false.

    But rumors like that can cause trouble. All these Jews will be coming together for the feast and they will know that Paul is in Jerusalem. So the elders make a suggestion. “Here’s what to do,” they say. “We have four men here who have made a vow. Take those men, join in their purification, pay their expenses so they can shave their heads, and then everyone will know that there is no truth in those reports they have heard about you.”

    The men who were being “purified” had not committed sin. They had made a vow. The purification rites were ceremonial, not sin-cleansing. In fact, all the apostles agreed that cleansing from sin came only through the sacrifice of Christ.

    So Thomas – why do you think Paul must have committed a serious sin?

  51. on 03 Mar 2011 at 7:44 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,

    You quoted Acts 21, “And when they heard it, they praised God (v 20).”

    I believe they were praising God for the work the Holy Spirit was doing among the Gentiles and for the number of people that had come to believe in Y’shua as the Christ/Messiah. I think when you read the verses that follow verse 20 it becomes clear that they were not praising Paul because of his unique beliefs and teachings. It actually seems to me that Paul is being reprimanded by James and the Jerusalem Church. As a matter of fact at the end of the very same verse you quoted (v20) they say, “”You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed (in Y’shua as the Messiah). They are all zealous for the law.”

    Anyone that has read Paul’s writings knows this is in stark contrast to what Paul believed and what Paul taught his followers. They then go on to say (v22), “What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.” James and the other leaders knew what was going to happen when Paul (who the Jews considered to be their enemy) was recognized as being among them, in their midst, in the holy city of Jerusalem. It was not hard to predict what was going to happen. As a matter of fact many people who were “strong in the spirit” warned Paul that the Holy Spirit did not want him to go to Jerusalem. He was repeatedly told by prophets, etc… not to go!!!

    You then asked after quoting Luke (v21), “…’They have heard that you teach the Jews to forsake Moses and that they ought not to circumcise their children nor walk after the customs’.” Was the rumor correct?”

    We have Paul writings and teachings that have been passed down to us, and are being followed by the church to this day, that all say “Yes” the rumor was correct. You yourself said in your last message that you thought that the decision in Acts 15 stated that the law of Moses no longer applied to Jewish Christians. Remember that the Jewish Christians were a sect of Judaism and, unlike the Gentile Christians, were considered first and foremost to be Jews. It seems clear that it was these “Jewish Christians” that they were referring to in verse (21) where it says, “They have heard that you teach the Jews to forsake Moses…” etc…

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand why Paul had Timothy circumcised in Act 16:3. It seems to me that Paul was erratic and inconsistent in both his behavior and his teachings. For example in Romans 7:6 he says, “But now we are released from the law…” and then in Romans 7:12 he says, “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” If the law is holy, righteous and good, then why would anyone in their right mind want to be released from it. I’m sorry, but like I said in my last message, Paul’s teachings not only contradict the decision at the council of Jerusalem, and what James and the Jerusalem church were teaching, his teachings seems like nonsense to me.

    He would tell his followers, Jewish and Gentiles alike (because he said they were one), not to follow the law, but then he would say that the law is holy and righteous and good. It just sound likes a bunch of double talk (or double speak) to me. I believe that this is the reason I get so frustrated when trying to read and understand Paul’s writings. His basic teachings are illogical and beyond my ability to comprehend. What he says not only contradicts what everyone else in the N.T. is saying, it also doesn’t seem to make any sense (at least to me anywaze).

    You also said, “Remember, too, that Paul was one of the ‘beloved brothers’ who was given charge of the letter from Jerusalem to the Gentiles.”

    This was while he was still under the wing of Barnabas, before he broke away and started to claim to be receiving ‘mystic’ revelations from Y’shua, giving him the authority to call himself an ‘apostle’, and to teach different things then what Peter and the apostles, and everyone else, was teaching.

    You also said, “And you pointed out that Paul specifically said that the law is good. So I conclude that the rumor was false.”

    Yes he would say the law was good, but then he would turn around and say that his followers shouldn’t follow the law. Go figure!

    You also asked, “So Thomas – why do you think Paul must have committed a serious sin?”

    You’ve got to look at it from the Jewish perspective. The ‘law’ was the foundation/cornerstone of the Jewish faith. From his writings we know that Paul was teaching his followers that they were no longer bound by the law, even the basic Noahide law that Peter, the apostles, and all the church leaders instructed the Gentiles to follow. He admitted, in his writings that he would regularly go into the temples and eat meat sacrificed to idols. According to Paul the law of Moses was no longer in effect (not binding). From the point of view of the Jews – This was certainly a serious sin!!!

    At least that’s the way I see it anywaze…

  52. on 04 Mar 2011 at 12:11 amMargaret Collier

    You yourself said in your last message that you thought that the decision in Acts 15 stated that the law of Moses no longer applied to Jewish Christians.

    To my knowledge, I have never said any such thing. Please copy and paste the statement you are referring to.

  53. on 04 Mar 2011 at 12:26 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    Maybe I misunderstood you, but in msg. #48 you said, “ALL the apostles agreed that circumcision was not necessary for salvation. Acts 15 settles that, once for all.”

    I apologize if I misunderstood what you meant when you said this…

  54. on 04 Mar 2011 at 12:40 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I just noticed in msg. #47 you also said, “Do you mean they taught that Jewish Christians DID have to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses? That isn’t how I read Peter’s words in Acts 15.”

    You then went on to say, “He concluded by saying, ‘Why do you tempt God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.’

    So Peter called the law a yoke that neither they nor their fathers had been able to bear. I see no “stark contrast” between this and what Paul was teaching.”

    Again I apologize if I misunderstood you. But, it seems to me that what you’re saying above is that that you thought that the decision in Acts 15 stated that the law of Moses no longer applied to Jewish Christians…

  55. on 04 Mar 2011 at 1:01 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I must admit that this misunderstanding is partially my fault, because I mistakenly said, “You yourself said in your last message…”

    It wasn’t actually your last message, but the 2 messages before that. Anywaze, it’s late and I’m sure we’re both tired. I know it’s time for me to go to bed. As usual I have to get up early for work tomorrow.

    Thank-you again for participating in this discussion with me. I hope you have great night (what’s left of it). God Bless…

  56. on 04 Mar 2011 at 1:04 amMargaret Collier

    Thank you, Tom. I appreciate being correctly quoted.

    Do you mean they taught that Jewish Christians DID have to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses?

    You didn’t answer this question. I wish you would.

  57. on 04 Mar 2011 at 1:34 amMargaret Collier

    I hope you have a great night, too, Tom. But I’d like to ask one more question for tomorrow’s consideration.

    What do you think Peter meant when he said,

    Why do you tempt God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

  58. on 04 Mar 2011 at 11:12 amMargaret Collier

    While Thomas is doing his day’s work, I have time to address another topic.

    I enjoyed the article by Bruce Barham, and agree with almost all of what he says. I think the scriptures that we have (both Hebrew and Greek) are God’s Word to us, and can be accepted as being reliable; but I am well aware that our existing manuscripts are not exactly the same. Since all of them are copies of copies, I have no difficulty understanding the possibility of errors along the way.

    I don’t think, though, that the errors were deliberate. Religious leaders often were (and are) politicians and schemers; but I believe the scribes were honest workmen.

    My reason for thinking that is simple. If a scribe wanted to provide evidence for the doctrine of triunism, all he had to do was change the title “Son of God” into “God the Son”. The former title occurs some 50 times; the latter, never. That is evidence for the integrity of the scribes, I think.

    Nor did anyone change John 17:3, or 1 Corinthians 8:6, both of which are very specific declarations that God is NOT triune. The one God, the only true God, is the Father. No one else. One, not three.

    So I prefer to consider the errors as accidental.

  59. on 04 Mar 2011 at 9:21 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,

    You asked, “Do you mean they taught that Jewish Christians DID have to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses?”

    That’s what Y’shua, Peter, the apostles, and other church leaders like James and the Jerusalem church taught. Peter and the apostles established the church in Jerusalem, and it’s teachings were based on what Y’shua had taught his disciples. In Acts 21:20, James and the Jerusalem church told Paul, “…You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed (in Y’shua as the Messiah). THEY ARE ALL ZEALOUS FOR THE LAW.”

    This was said many years after the decision of the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. It is clear that James and the rest of the Jerusalem church were upset about what Paul was teaching his new converts. The story told in Acts 21:20-25 is as clear as a bell. There is no doubt that ‘some’ of Paul’s writings and teachings not only contradicted the decision made at the council of Jerusalem, but also contradicted what James and the Jerusalem church (which was established by Peter and the Apostles) was teaching.

    You also asked, “What do you think Peter meant when he said, Why do you tempt God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”

    He is saying that it is too much to expect new Gentile converts to follow the entire law. It was enough for them to follow the modified Noahide law as taught by Peter and the apostles in Acts 15:28-29 and then later repeated again, many years later, by James and the Jerusalem church in Acts 21:25.

    There was no time limit set on the decision made at the council of Jerusalem. So I believe this decision applies to ‘all’ Gentile Christians that have ever lived, right up until the present time. The way I see it the law of Moses only applied to Jewish Christians. Therefore I believe it only applies to Jewish Christians that are living today.

    Like I have said many times. Outside of the writings of Paul there is not even the slightest hint that the law no longer applies. To me that can only mean one thing. Paul and his followers were the only ones who believed this, and Paul was the only one who taught this.

    Like I pointed out above, this is collaborated by the story told in Acts 21:20-25. If James and the Jerusalem had taught that the law was no longer binding, then they wouldn’t have been telling Paul, “”…You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed (in Y’shua as the Messiah). THEY ARE ALL ZEALOUS FOR THE LAW.”

    I know you said that I have a bad habit of repeating myself, but I mean it seems to me to be as clear as a bell. Yet for some reason no one else besides me seems to see it. I’m sorry that this ended up being another long post, but I just don’t see how I could have got my point across in fifty words or less.

    Maybe I have a bad habit of over explaining things. I don’t know…

  60. on 04 Mar 2011 at 11:25 pmMargaret Collier

    You did not explain what Peter meant when he spoke of the yoke “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.”

    THAT, Thomas, is the question. Please stop evading it.

    I will deal with Acts 21 – again!! – after you have answered this question.

  61. on 05 Mar 2011 at 12:52 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,

    I didn’t mean to evade your question. It’s just that your question wasn’t very clear. From my point of view Peter is saying that throughout history nobody was able to lead a sin free life in the eyes of our Father except his beloved son Y’shua. Even Peter and the Apostles were not able to lead a sin free life. This is what he meant by a yoke that they couldn’t bear, in other words they weren’t perfect in the eyes of the law. Only Y’shua was perfect.

    I don’t understand why Peter and the apostles and all the church leaders decided that the Jewish Christians had to live under a stricter code of law, following the law of Moses, and why the Gentile Christians were allowed to live under a much less strict code, the modified Noahide law. All I know is that from my reading of Acts this would seem to be what they (in their wisdom) decided…

  62. on 05 Mar 2011 at 1:42 pmMargaret Collier

    Thanks, Thomas.

    … nobody was able to lead a sin free life in the eyes of our Father except his beloved son Y’shua. Even Peter and the Apostles were not able to lead a sin free life.

    I agree! The law could not and cannot save – not because of any lack in the law, which was perfect, but because we are unable to keep it. And James assures us that if we offend in one point, we offend in all.
    So neither circumcision nor keeping the law can save anyone.

    Peter’s next words are explicit:

    But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

    So Jews and Gentiles are saved in exactly the same way – through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not through circumcision or keeping of the law. Do we agree on that?

  63. on 05 Mar 2011 at 6:41 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    You asked, “So Jews and Gentiles are saved in exactly the same way – through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not through circumcision or keeping of the law. Do we agree on that?”

    Yes, I think we can agree on that. Like I said, “I don’t understand why Peter and the apostles and all the church leaders decided that the Jewish Christians had to live under a stricter code of law, following the law of Moses, and why the Gentile Christians were allowed to live under a much less strict code, the modified Noahide law.”

    According to Robert this was because the Jews (including Jewish Christians) are going to be God’s priests, ruling over the earth during the 1000 year reign of Y’shua. He also believes it has to do with the land promises made to Abraham and his descendants. From what I understand, he believes if you do not “try” to keep the entire law of Moses, then you won’t be included in the land promises made to Abraham, and you won’t be included as one of God’s priests, ruling over the earth during the 1000 year reign of Y’shua.

    I have my doubts about his interpretation, because this 1000 year reign thing seems to only be mentioned in the writings of John. And like I have said, I have serious doubts that the apostle John actually wrote any of the writings of John. This is the reason I (personally) don’t spend a lot of time studying John’s writings. I concentrate on the writings that I believe are more reliable, and which I believe more accurately reflect Y’shua’s teachings.

    Of course, like always, this is just my own humble opinion. I want to thank-you again for participating in this discussion with me. There are very few people that I can discuss my unique beliefs with. Most people just call me a heretic and don’t want to talk to me anymore. I don’t pretend to know everything. All I can do is explain how I see things, from my (unique) point of view…

  64. on 05 Mar 2011 at 11:39 pmMargaret Collier

    I’m glad we agree, Thomas.
    It certainly agrees with the earlier part of Peter’s speech. The Pharisees (who were zealous for the law) were insisting that the Gentiles should be circumcised and commanded to obey the law (v 5). Peter reminded them (vv 8-9) that when he preached the gospel to Cornelius’s household, “God … put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” And then “We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”
    Purified by faith; saved through grace; between Jews and Gentiles no difference. That’s Peter’s view.

    Paul’s view is found in Romans 3:21-24. Here, righteousness is manifested by faith. There is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    The two accounts complement each another. Peter says God purified their hearts by faith; Paul says righteousness is displayed by faith. Inward and outward. We need both, because “faith without works is dead.”

    And everything comes to us through grace: the grace of God (Paul) and the grace of Yeshua, the Messiah (Peter).

    I find it thrilling. Don’t you?

  65. on 06 Mar 2011 at 12:55 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    You said, “Purified by faith; saved through grace; between Jews and Gentiles no difference. That’s Peter’s view.”

    I can agree with that. I don’t believe that people can attain salvation by following the law alone. Since only Y’shua was able to perfectly keep the law, the rest of us, Jews and Gentiles, need to be saved through grace. Like I said, I don’t pretend to know (or understand) everything, but this is how I see it.

    You also said, “Paul’s view is found in Romans 3:21-24. Here, righteousness is manifested by faith.”

    I just read those verses and they do same to make sense. Like I said, I don’t believe everything Paul wrote is wrong. I just believe he taught some things that Y’shua, Peter, the apostles, and other church leaders like James and Barnabas didn’t teach or believe.

    For example – I think it is clear from the decision at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, which was repeated again many years later in the letter that James and the Jerusalem church wrote to the Gentiles that Paul had converted in Acts 21:25, that it was wrong for Gentile Christians, or anyone else, to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

    Romans 14:1-3 (English Standard Version)

    “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. (2) One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. (3) Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.”

    Outside of Jerusalem it was nearly impossible to buy meat that hadn’t been sacrifice to one God or another. That’s why Jews of the diaspora were normally vegetarians. This same problem arose as Christianity spread to the Gentiles. According to Paul these Christians who followed the decision at the council of Jerusalem, and obeyed the instructions of James and the Jerusalem church, and ate only vegetables, were weak in faith.

    It seems to me that this was one of those unique teachings that only Paul taught, and that the vast majority of the Christians didn’t believe. I’m not sure what he meant by weak in faith, other then they didn’t have faith that what Paul was teaching on this subject was actually an “authentic” revelation from Y’shua.

    I’ve already pointed out that Paul admitted in Gal 1:11-12, “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. (12) For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

    Did Y’shua really give Paul revelations that contradicted what everyone else was teaching, about meat sacrificed to idols, etc.. ???

    Maybe it’s my doubting nature, but I find this hard to believe…

  66. on 06 Mar 2011 at 11:59 pmMargaret Collier

    I’m glad we agree. The gospel that Paul preached was the same gospel that Peter preached.

    Let’s continue with Acts 15 by reviewing what Peter said in verses 7-11.

    He reminded the Pharisees (the ones who were zealous of the law) that when he first presented the gospel to Gentiles, God made NO DIFFERENCE between them and the Jews, but purified their hearts by FAITH – even though they were not circumcised and knew nothing about the law of Moses.

    He told them not to tempt God by commanding such believers to keep the law, a yoke that the Jews themselves had not been able to bear. He finished by saying, “We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, just as they are.”

    In other words, “Don’t tempt God by commanding them to keep the law. They can’t keep it any more than we can. And God has already demonstrated that he is saving them through grace, in exactly the same way that he is saving us, WITHOUT their being circumcised or trying to keep the law. ”

    Thanks to Peter, everybody was then willing to be quiet and listen to Barnabus and Paul tell of the wondrous things that God had done among the Gentiles through them (v 12).

    When they were finished, James spoke (vv 13-21). He referred to Simon’s account of how God was taking a people for himself out of the Gentiles, and pointed out that this was exactly what the prophets had foretold. So the account given by Barnabus and Paul made perfect sense.

    Then he gave his judgment. They should not make trouble for the Gentiles who were turning to God. They should simply ask them to abstain from four things: food sacrificed to idols, fornication, blood, and things strangled. That’s all.

    Do we agree so far? If not, what have I said that is wrong?

  67. on 07 Mar 2011 at 1:38 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    Yes I agree with everything you have said so far. Paul was teaching the same gospel, about Y’shua being the Messiah, and the coming kingdom of God, etc… But, like I pointed out to you, it seems to me, that outside of Paul, no-one else was teaching anything about the fact that Jewish Christians were no longer bound by the law of Moses.

    Many years after the decision at the council of Jerusalem, James and the Jerusalem were teaching that the law still applied to the thousands of Jews who were converting over to “The Way”, and believing in Y’shua as Messiah. If James and the Jerusalem church were actually teaching that the decision at the council of Jerusalem said that the law of Moses no longer applied to the Jewish Christians, then they wouldn’t have said what they said in Acts 21:20.

    They also wouldn’t have said what they said in Acts 21:24, “…Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.” If James and the Jerusalem church (which was established by Peter and the apostles) were teaching that the law of Moses no longer applied to Jewish Christians, then why would they want Paul to demonstrate to everybody “that you (Paul) yourself also live in observance of the law.”

    I’m sorry, but it seems clear, from my reading of Acts, that the law still applied to Jewish Christians. It is also clear, from my reading of Acts, that the Gentile Christians were still required to follow this modified form of Noah’s law, as mentioned in the letter in Acts 21:25. I realize that I’m a far cry from being an expert, but these things seem to be very clear. Even for a layman like myself.

    I’m not trying to force my views on you, or anybody else. I just want you to realize that I do have legitimate reasons for believing what I believe. I might have a doubting nature, but I usually don’t doubt things unless there is a reason. There are things that I see that raise red flags, and then I just can’t ignore them and pretend the red flags aren’t there.

    I’m just asking that you and everyone else understand how I feel. In msg. #40 above I narrowed the reason for my doubts down to 5 simple questions that raised red flags for me. Unless someone can answer those questions, then I don’t think my doubts will ever go away.

    Thanks again for taking the time to have this discussion with me. I really do appreciate it. Like I said, “There are very few people that I can actually share my beliefs on this subject with.” Most people aren’t even willing to listen to why I believe what I believe…

  68. on 07 Mar 2011 at 12:37 pmMargaret Collier

    By the way, Thomas, I am not ignoring any of your questions. As you are aware, I want to deal with ONE THING AT A TIME. I hope that’s okay, because it’s the only way that makes sense to me.

    We began with this part of #12:

    The teachings of Peter and the Apostles were in stark contrast to what Paul wrote in his letters. Paul repeatedly said that the law no longer applied and that it was sin for someone to follow the law of Moses (even for Jewish Christians).

    That led us to a study of Acts 15, which I have found extremely valuable. And I think it has been valuable to you, too. For instance, when I asked you what Peter meant when he said

    Why do you tempt God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

    your answer was

    He is saying that it is too much to expect new Gentile converts to follow the entire law. It was enough for them to follow the modified Noahide law …

    Fortunately, you were willing to take a closer look at what Peter actually said, and we are now in agreement. He really meant that

    Jews and Gentiles are saved in exactly the same way – through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not through circumcision or keeping of the law.

    So he wasn’t focusing on new Gentile converts. He was stating something that is true of all mankind. Salvation does NOT depend on circumcision or keeping the law of Moses. Not for anybody.

    I’m glad you mentioned the Noahide law. I had never heard of it before, so I have to learn. I want to be thoroughly familiar with the seven main headings and the 66 sub-headings before discussing its relevance to Acts 15.

    But in the meantime, we are making progress. So if you agree with the previous post, we can go on.

  69. on 07 Mar 2011 at 7:55 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    You said, “But in the meantime, we are making progress. So if you agree with the previous post, we can go on.”

    Like I said above, “Yes I agree with everything you have said so far. Paul was teaching the same gospel, about Y’shua being the Messiah, and the coming kingdom of God, etc… But, like I pointed out to you, it seems to me, that outside of Paul, no-one else was teaching anything about the fact that Jewish Christians were no longer bound by the law of Moses.”

    I can’t explain why the law of Moses still applied to the Jewish Christians, but it does seem to be clear (to me anywaze) that it does. Like I have repeatedly said, the fact that there is not even a hint outside of Paul’s writings about the Jewish Christians no longer being bound by the law raises a huge red flag for me. How can the very basis of the Jewish faith (it’s foundation) be suddenly reversed and no one outside of Paul even bothers to comment on it???

    From what Y’shua said in Matthew 5:17-18, it seems to me that he must have known that people were going to come along and claim that he had abolished the law (making it no longer binding). “(17) ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (18) For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.’..” (ESV)

    Why would Y’shua make such a dramatic statement like this, if he knew that just a few short years after his death the law (of Moses) would pass into history, and no longer be binding???

    Combine this with the clear verses I pointed out in Msg. #67 and before where it say in Acts 21 about how the law was still being taught and followed by everybody else, except Paul, and you can why I can’t agree with your assertion in Msg. #77 that said, “The gospel that Paul preached was the same gospel that Peter preached.”

    There were obviously differences when it came to their teachings regarding whether the law (of Moses), and the Noahide law, were still binding or not…

  70. on 07 Mar 2011 at 11:22 pmMargaret Collier

    Would you agree that some of your statements have been wrong, Thomas?

  71. on 08 Mar 2011 at 12:14 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I wasn’t completely accurate when I said, “Paul repeatedly said that the law no longer applied and ‘THAT IT WAS A SIN’ for someone to follow the law of Moses (even for Jewish Christians).”

    It is true Paul didn’t use the exact words “that it was sin”, but that was what he seemed to be implying (from my point of view). In Romans 14:1-3 Paul said,“As for the one who is weak in faith, etc…” Paul is saying that people that followed the law, whether it be the law of Moses, or the Noahide law that the Gentiles were instructed to follow, were “weak in faith.”

    In other words it was “wrong” for them to follow the decision made at the council of Jerusalem, and it was also “wrong” for them to obey the judgment (instructions) of James and the Jerusalem church outlined in the letter that was sent to the Gentiles that Paul had converted. As noted in Acts 21:25, “(25) But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should ABSTAIN FROM WHAT HAS BEEN SACRIFICED TO IDOLS, etc…” (ESV – emphasis mine).

    If something is wrong, it logically follows that it must be a sin. It is irrelevant whether he actually says those exact words, it is what he is implying. Like I have said, this is just how I see it.

    It seems clear to me that your statement that, “The gospel that Paul preached was the same gospel that Peter preached” is ignoring these basic facts. It also seems clear that Paul didn’t agree with the decision that was made at the council of Jerusalem. It seems that Paul believed that the Gentiles were not bound by “ANY” law at all. Including the modified Noahide law that Peter and the apostles (after much debate and discussion) decided “DOES” apply to the Gentile Christians.

    As I have repeatedly pointed out, Paul in his own words in Galatians 1:11 said, “For I would have you know, brothers, that THE GOSPEL THAT WAS PREACHED BY ME IS NOT MAN’S GOSPEL. (12) For I ‘DID NOT’ receive it from ANY MAN, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (ESV – emphasis mine).

    Paul himself is disagreeing with the statement that you made above that says, “The gospel that Paul preached was the same gospel that Peter preached.” I don’t see the point in us going back and forth on this any more. Unless you can bring forward some new information to support your above statement, then I think we should just respectfully agree to disagree on this.

    Like I said above, “I’m not trying to force my views on you, or anybody else. I just want you to realize that I do have legitimate reasons for believing what I believe.” Whether we can come to an agreement on our conclusions is (of course) another matter…

  72. on 08 Mar 2011 at 5:41 amMargaret Collier

    Sorry, Thomas. I should have stuck with Acts 15 and ignored all the rest. But now that the question has been asked, I think we should deal with the fact that what is as clear as a bell to you is not necessarily right – as #68 points out.

    I am particularly interested in this example from #32:

    I think it is clear that what Paul taught was drastically different then what Peter and the apostles and other church leaders were teaching. This is demonstrated by the fact that Peter and the apostles lived peacefully in Jerusalem, going into the temple regularly to preach the good news about Christ, and no one apparently wanted to harm them, or kill them. …
    The contrast between the Jewish reaction to Paul and their reaction to Peter and the apostles, who lived among them, demonstrates clearer then anything else that Paul’s teachings must have been drastically different then what Peter and the apostles taught.

    Your reading of Acts should have told you that persecution started early. In chapter 4, Peter and John were put in jail for talking about Yeshua. They were arrested again in chapter 5, and this time they were flogged (v 40). But they left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Yeshua (v. 41).

    Then there was Stephen (ch. 6:8). Certain Jews began to argue with him, but they could not stand up against his wisdom. What did they do? They produced false witnesses. (You can read the accusations in verses 12-14.)

    Stephen didn’t bother denying anything. Instead, he gave them a history lesson (ch. 7), and ended with this charge:

    You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears!

    Isn’t that interesting? They were zealous of the law, proud of being circumcised, but their hearts were uncircumcised.

    Stephen finished by accusing them of murdering the Righteous One foretold in the very law they claimed to be defending. They took pride in the law, but they had not obeyed it (ch. 7:51-53).

    So they stoned him. And that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem. As a result, all the non-residents except the apostles were scattered abroad, spreading the gospel wherever they went (ch. 8:1-4).

    So, Thomas, your clearest demonstration that “Paul’s teachings must have been drastically different then what Peter and the apostles taught” is just plain wrong.

    Do you agree?

  73. on 08 Mar 2011 at 6:13 amMargaret Collier

    I will gladly agree to disagree, Thomas.

    Thank you for asking me to join this discussion, and for giving me a link to it. I am indebted to you for that.

    But now that I have started, I intend to continue, just in case someone else might be interested.

    So give your fingers a rest. I am familiar with all your points anyway, and I intend to address them, ONE AT A TIME.

    Have a good week, Thomas.

  74. on 08 Mar 2011 at 10:02 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Margaret,
    When I said, “Unless you can bring forward some new information to support your above statement, then I think we should just respectfully agree to disagree on this.”

    It was because it seemed like we were just going around in circles repeating ourselves (adding no new information to the discussion). You have now brought some new information to the discussion that we can discuss. I actually do enjoy being able to have a civil discussion on this topic, where the other person doesn’t interpret my beliefs as a personal attack on them.

    BTW – I really do appreciate you accepting my invitation to have a discussion with me here on K.R. You and I have known each other for awhile now, and I know that our friendship will not be affected just because we disagree on how different things in the bible should or should not be interpreted. Like I said, “all I can do is explain to you how I see things from my point of view.”

    You asked, “So, Thomas, your clearest demonstration that “Paul’s teachings must have been drastically different then what Peter and the apostles taught” is just plain wrong. Do you agree?”

    I’m sorry but I just don’t see it that way. It is true that Christians were being persecuted before Paul. Just before Stephen was stoned we are told in Acts 6:7, “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”

    This verse seems to indicate that the Jews were starting to panic, because “The Way” (as the early Jewish Christians were called) were exploding in number, and even a great many priests were joining as well. The Jews (including the leadership) were becoming desperate at this point. Verse 8 goes on to say;

    “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. (9) Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. (10) But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.”

    Later on, Stephen ends his long history lesson (as you put it) with an accusation that the Jews couldn’t bear to hear (because it was true). Acts 7:51-52 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. (52) Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered.”

    At this point they completely loose it and stone Stephen to death. Acts 7:58 “Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” So we are given a clear story of what led up to the stoning Stephen. It is easy to see why the Jews were enraged to the point of murder.

    What did Paul do to enrage the Jews to the point of murder??? Did he give a speech??? Did he accuse them of betraying and murdering the Righteous One??? Of course not. Just as soon as he was recognized as being in their midst a huge riot broke out and forty men swore an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.

    James and the Jerusalem church predicted this in Acts 21:21-22 “And they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to “OUR” customs. (22) What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.” Please note that James and the Jerusalem church said that these were “OUR” customs that Paul was teaching against.

    They didn’t say Paul was teaching against “THEIR” (the Jews) customs…

  75. on 08 Mar 2011 at 10:03 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I forgot to add that I hope you have a good week too…

  76. on 08 Mar 2011 at 11:17 pmMargaret Collier

    You seem to have forgotten what you said in #32. You said,

    This is demonstrated by the fact that Peter and the apostles lived peacefully in Jerusalem, going into the temple regularly to preach the good news about Christ, and no one apparently wanted to harm them, or kill them.

    That statement is false, Thomas.

  77. on 08 Mar 2011 at 11:51 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    The way I read Acts, Peter and the apostles did live peacefully in Jerusalem, going into the temple regularly to preach the good news about Christ. Unlike young Stephen, who was relatively unknown outside the Christian community, it seems that Peter and the apostles were very well known and highly respected by the Jewish community. Because of this the Jewish leadership couldn’t go after them, like they did Steven and others.

    The Jewish leadership might have wanted to kill Peter and the Apostles, but apparently they couldn’t. The Jewish leadership had to try to maintain an image, in front of the Jewish community, that they were in fact the good guys. They were God’s representatives and couldn’t been seen any other way, then being on the side of goodness and justice. This limited what they could actually do.

    Common ordinary (unknown) Jewish Christians were a different story. It appears that there was nothing holding the leadership back from going after the followers of Peter and the apostles. So I would disagree that the above statement is false. However I do see how you might interpret it that way. I just hope you can see why I would respectfully disagree…

  78. on 09 Mar 2011 at 3:47 pmMargaret Collier

    Unlike young Stephen, who was relatively unknown outside the Christian community …

    Tom, I’m beginning to wonder if you have ever read the book of Acts all the way through. Read the qualifications of those who were chosen as deacons. What evidence do you have for saying that Stephen was “young”?

    Nor was he unknown outside the Christian community. The problem was exactly the opposite. He was WELL known – not only because of the wonders and miracles that he did among the people, but also because nobody could withstand the wisdom with which he defended the message of Yeshua, the Messiah. To the Jews, that message was intolerable; so they found some men who would accuse Stephen of blasphemy. It was because of his MESSAGE that he was tried and killed.

    Tom, I think you should stop trying to justify a statement that is demonstrably false, and read the book of Acts before you say too much more.

  79. on 09 Mar 2011 at 8:04 pmMargaret Collier

    Tom, I apologize. I answered too hastily, and I was rude. Please forgive me.

    Because you are a believer in Yeshua, I am satisfied that you WILL forgive me, as Matthew 18:21-22.

  80. on 09 Mar 2011 at 9:16 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    There’s nothing to forgive. You’ve been very kind to me, listening to all of my most unusual beliefs with patience and grace. You should have seen some of the reactions I get from people whenever I try to share my beliefs on this subject with them. Like I said in an earlier message, I have found “Paul” to be the most sensitive subject of all of my beliefs to try to discuss with people. People are emotionally attached to Paul and because of that it is difficult to have a rational discussion with people on this topic.

    That’s why I try my best to tread lightly, so as not to offend. I checked Acts 6:1-6, and I didn’t see anything about the age of Stephen being mentioned. I just assumed Stephen was younger then Peter and the apostles. I just picture Peter and the apostles as the elder statesmen of the early church. Highly regarded by all the Jewish people. Of course, I am about as far from being an expert as you could imagine, so I readily admit that I could be wrong…

  81. on 09 Mar 2011 at 11:44 pmMargaret Collier

    Tom, I like your suggestion that we stop repeating ourselves. It’s a bad habit, and I hope we can help each other to avoid it.

    So – if you will let me know when I say something that has been said 5 times already, I will do the same for you. Okay?

    Just for the record, I don’t intend to look at this blog for the rest of the week. I am badly in need of some time to enjoy the God of all grace. So – until next Monday – God be with you.

  82. on 10 Mar 2011 at 12:02 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I will try my best not to repeat myself. I realize that this can be annoying. I think it is very wise to take the time to enjoy the God of all grace. Like I said, I don’t want to come across as trying to force my beliefs on you or anybody else. It is just nice to have someone that I can discuss my beliefs with that I know won’t take it personally and be offended.

    May the peace and love of God (‘OUR’ Father) be with you and with us all…

  83. on 14 Mar 2011 at 2:15 amMargaret Collier

    Thank you for making the effort, Thomas. But watch out for “Like I said …”

    I’ve been studying Acts 21 again.
    In verse 24, the apostles told Paul to join himself to four men who had made a vow, and to pay the expenses for their purification ritual. They explained, “Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you” (NIV).

    Or, as the Basic English Bible puts it,

    everyone will see that the statements made about you are not true.

    What statements were the apostles talking about?

  84. on 14 Mar 2011 at 7:13 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Margaret,
    You asked, “What statements were the apostles talking about?”

    I think it is clear they are talking about the statements made in Acts 21:21 where it says, “and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs.”

    But, we all know from the writings of Paul that have been passed down to us, and all the modern day churches all seem to agree, that we as New Covenant Christians (Jewish or otherwise) should forsake Moses (forget about following the law of Moses), and that we shouldn’t circumcise our children or walk according the customs of the ancient Jews and Jewish Christians.

    So if you are trying to imply that these accusations are false, I’m sorry, but I find that rather hard to believe since these very same things are being taught to Christians right up until this day. Modern Christians will even try to tell modern Jewish Christians that they are wrong to try to follow the law.

    I actually respect modern day Jewish Christians who try (as best as they can) to follow the law of Moses. I don’t think I could do it myself, which is why I haven’t become a Jewish Christian, but thank God for the decision at the council of Jerusalem that says that I don’t have to be burdened with trying to follow the law…

  85. on 15 Mar 2011 at 4:29 amMargaret Collier

    Thomas, the apostles SAID that if Paul would do as they suggested, then everyone would KNOW that the statements were NOT TRUE!!

    Are you implying that they lied?

  86. on 15 Mar 2011 at 4:51 amMargaret Collier

    But, we all know … and all the modern day churches all seem to agree …

    Speak for yourself, Thomas. Don’t speak for churches you have never been in and Christians you know nothing about.

  87. on 15 Mar 2011 at 7:19 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    You said, “Are you implying that they lied?”

    I am far from being an expert but from what I understand there were prophets and many other people, who were strong in the Spirit, that told Paul not to go to Jerusalem. It seems clear that the Holy Spirit did not want Paul to go, because it was going to be a disaster, with riots breaking out etc…

    Just before the riots broke out in Ephesus Acts 19: 21 says, “Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, ‘After I have been there, I must also see Rome’.”

    It seems to me that Paul knew riots would break out in Jerusalem when he was recognized there. He hoped that he would be arrested by the Roman soldiers before the mobs would be able to kill him. He knew that the Jewish leaders would then bring all kinds of charges against him and would demand he be executed.

    Paul knew he could do what he always did and wait to the last possible minute to declare that he was a Roman citizen and that he had broken no Roman laws. He knew as a Roman citizen he had special rights that others didn’t have, including the right to appeal any charges to the emperor Caesar himself. I believe that is what he meant above when he said, “I must also see Rome.”

    It seems to me that at this point Paul was already planning to personally try to convert Caesar to Christianity, but not just any Christianity, his own brand of Christianity, where Y’shua’s Jewish background and the law etc… were irrelevant because they were no longer binding. At least that’s what I get from looking at Paul’s teachings and writings and comparing that to his behavior as told by Luke in Acts.

    I believe this theory of mine is confirmed in Acts 27:23-24, where Paul says, “For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, (24) and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar’.”

    There is no evidence that Paul ever did get to see Caesar. If he did meet with Caesar you would think that someone would have wrote about it. This is the only time in the bible, that I’m aware of, where an angel of God appears to make a false statement. Something that doesn’t seem to actually come to pass.

    When Paul arrived in Jerusalem James and the Jerusalem church were at loss about what to do with Paul. Hence they said in Acts 21:22, “What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.” It seems to me they decided that if Paul could demonstrate to everybody “that you (Paul) yourself also live in observance of the law”, that this would demonstrate that Paul had repented and changed his ways.

    Hence the insistence by James and the Jerusalem church that Paul undergo the purification ritual, which (from what I understand) was done by someone who is repenting of a very serious sin.

    You also said, “Speak for yourself, Thomas. Don’t speak for churches you have never been in and Christians you know nothing about.”

    From what I understand there are about 10,000 or so Christian denominations. You are correct to point out that I don’t know what they all believe. But, I only know of one group of Christians that don’t follow Paul’s teachings, and that is a group of modern Jewish Christians called the Ebionites. From what I understand, outside of them, everyone else follows the teachings of Paul.

    Of course other Jewish Christian groups, outside of the Ebionites, will tell you that Paul didn’t really teach against the law of Moses. I really don’t understand their reasoning, because I haven’t really looked into it that closely. Like always this is just my own humble opinion. I don’t pretend to be an expert and I never try to force my views on anybody…

  88. on 15 Mar 2011 at 9:14 pmMargaret Collier

    Apparently you DO believe the apostles were lying. There is certainly a “stark contrast” between your opinion and theirs.

  89. on 15 Mar 2011 at 9:28 pmMargaret Collier

    Hence the insistence by James and the Jerusalem church that Paul undergo the purification ritual, which (from what I understand) was done by someone who is repenting of a very serious sin.

    Thomas, you said you would try to stop repeating yourself. I wish you would.

    It has already been pointed out that the four men who had made a vow were obviously not guilty of a serious sin. In fact, they had probably made a vow of separation to God, the nazirite vow described in Numbers 6. Paul was to join those men and pay their expenses so that EVERYBODY WOULD KNOW THAT THE STATEMENTS MADE ABOUT PAUL WERE NOT TRUE.

    What you are doing is putting your own opionion above the opinion of the apostles. That doesn’t say much for your “humble” opinion.

  90. on 15 Mar 2011 at 11:25 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I can only explain to you how I interpret the writings of Acts. When they said, “Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.”

    I believe that they are saying that, “Thus all will know that you are no longer teaching these things, and to prove it you are going to publicly repent (through the purification ritual), to demonstrate that you yourself also live in observance of the law.”

    I don’t see my interpretation as being in stark contrast to what James and the Jerusalem church were saying. I’m just interpreting it differently than you are. Your saying the way you interpret it is that what the Jews have heard is not true (that Paul never said these things about the law). I just don’t see it that way especially since what the Jews heard is exactly the same thing that we find in Paul’s writings. It’s also the exact same thing that Christian churches, since the 4th. century, have been teaching their followers.

    Don’t you think it is a pretty incredible coincidence that what the Jews heard about Paul’s teachings matches perfectly with the writings and teachings from Paul that we have in our current N.T. cannon???

    You also said, “Paul was to join those men and pay their expenses so that EVERYBODY WOULD KNOW THAT THE STATEMENTS MADE ABOUT PAUL WERE NOT TRUE.”

    It actually says, “We have four men who are under a vow; (24) take these men and ‘PURIFY YOURSELF’ along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that ‘YOU YOURSELF ALSO LINE IN OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW’.” (ESV – emphasis mine).

    I’m not an expert but it doesn’t say anything about a Nazirite vow. It says “purify yourself”, as in demonstrate to everyone that you are repenting for a serious sin that you have committed. Why would James and the Jerusalem church insist he demonstrate to “everybody” that he himself also lives in observance of the law, if they were (at that point) all free from the law???

    I’m sorry, but from my point of view my interpretation makes more sense…

  91. on 16 Mar 2011 at 8:55 amMargaret Collier

    One important detail should be added to your version of the riot. It is clearly there, but you consistently ignore it.

    Some Jews had seen Paul in the city, walking with Trophemus, the Ephesian.

    Then (when the seven days of purification for the five men were almost over) one of those Jews saw Paul in the temple and ASSUMED that he had brought Trophemus in with him. (Read vv. 28 and 29. Don’t stop in the middle of the story.)

    That was the thing that incensed them. To bring a Gentile into the temple was unforgivable. That would defile the temple, and the man who did such a thing definitely deserved to die.

    So the Jews’ reaction would have been completely justified – IF TROPHEMUS HAD ACTUALLY BEEN IN THE TEMPLE.

    But he wasn’t. Once again, it was a false accusation, based on insufficient evidence.

  92. on 16 Mar 2011 at 9:35 amMargaret Collier

    PURIFY YOURSELF’ along with them

    So he joined himself with them, and purified himself ALONG WITH THEM. That makes five of them, all going through the same ritual.

    Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you,

    This means exactly the same thing as “Everybody will know that there is NO TRUTH to what they have been told about you.” There is NOTHING IN IT.

    If there is NOTHING IN IT, then there is nothing to be repented of.

    Your “interpretation” completely changes what the words actually say. That cannot be called “interpretation” at all.

    In fact, it’s the very thing you criticize so strongly in Trinitarian so-called “interpretation”.

  93. on 16 Mar 2011 at 7:32 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Margaret,
    If the main charge had been that he had defiled the temple and brought a Greek into the temple, then that should have been the first accusation that was made against Paul, but it wasn’t.

    Acts 21: 27 “When the seven days were almost completed, 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 is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place.”

    It seems to me the primary charge was that he was teaching everyone everywhere against the people (following their Fathers customs) and the law and this place (the temple). The other charge was mentioned almost as an afterthought. Since they weren’t sure if he had or not brought Trophemus into the temple.

    All I can imagine is that someone thought they might have saw Paul as one of 5 men with shaved heads walking with Trophemus, the Ephesian, but they weren’t sure. And so a rumor started that Paul might have been in the holy city Jerusalem. Then the Jews from Asia, and others, would have started looking in and around the temple to see if they could see Paul.

    Because of the huge riots that Paul started in Asia, I’m sure Paul was well known to the Jews from Asia. Therefore they were able to quickly recognize him, whereas the other local Jews hadn’t seen Paul in about a decade or so, and it would have been more difficult for them to recognize him. Especially since his head was now shaved.

    Of course this is “all” just speculation on my part since Luke doesn’t give us the exact details of what happened. Like I said, I’m not trying to force my opinions on you or anyone else. I’m just happy to be able to share my beliefs with someone that’s not going to interpret my beliefs like some kind of personal attack on them and their faith.

    The other thing that raises a huge red flag for me, is that Paul claimed in Acts 27 “For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, (24) and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar’.” If it was true that God said it was imperative that Paul stand before Caesar, then Why didn’t God help Paul to get to Rome quickly and easily???

    It seemed to me that God was doing things to deter Paul from going to Rome. It says the winds were against them from the very beginning of their trip to Rome. So much so that they were now sailing in the dangerous winter storm season. A fierce storm eventually came upon them and they didn’t see neither sun nor stars for 3 days and nights. Eventually they were shipwrecked and almost drowned, and to top it all off Paul was bitten by a deadly snake.

    It must be remembered that Paul at any time could have said that he no longer wanted to make his appeal to Caesar, and he would have been free to go. Acts 26:32, “And Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar’.” Paul didn’t want to be set free. Paul was determined that he wanted to see Caesar, and this was long before the angel of the lord (supposedly) appeared to him telling him it was an imperative that Paul must see Caesar.

    It doesn’t seem to make any sense that on the one hand God says Paul “MUST” see Caesar, and then on the other hand God seems to do everything possible to discourage Paul from seeing Caesar. This is one of the many things that raise a huge red flag for me. I’ve out lined many other things in our discussion so far that raise red flags for me and cause me to have doubts about the traditional church teachings on this subject.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, but this is just how I see it…

  94. on 16 Mar 2011 at 8:41 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    Sorry, I just realized I forgot to respond to your other point. You had said, “This means exactly the same thing as “Everybody will know that there is NO TRUTH to what they have been told about you.” There is NOTHING IN IT.”

    I agree, but you are assuming that this is referring to the past tense. In other words that he had never ever taught these things. (Which like I said, contradicts Paul’s own writings). I think they are referring to the present tense, that he is now no longer teaching these things.

    You also said, “Your ‘interpretation’ completely changes what the words actually say. That cannot be called ‘interpretation’ at all.”

    I just disagree with you that it was referring to the past tense (that he had never taught these things). Although I do have my doubts that you will agree with my interpretation, I believe my interpretation is just as valid as your interpretation…

  95. on 16 Mar 2011 at 9:02 pmMargaret Collier

    Okay, Thomas. I certainly think you are wrong. However, there is one more thing I have to mention before going on.

    Of course other Jewish Christian groups, outside of the Ebionites, will tell you that Paul didn’t really teach against the law of Moses.

    That’s an amazing statement. It means that when you said …

    we all know … and all the modern day churches all seem to agree …

    … you were saying something you knew perfectly well was not true.

    Then why did you say it?

  96. on 16 Mar 2011 at 9:53 pmMargaret Collier

    I don’t think I’ll wait for the answer to that question. I will finish with what I see in chapter 21, so we can go on to something else.

    The apostles welcomed Paul gladly when he came. No mention of sin.

    Then they listened while he gave a report of the wonders God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry, and they praised God for it.

    That’s a strange way to treat someone they consider guilty of serious sin.

    Also – they never once accused him of sin. They simply told him what the Jews had heard, and what he could do to show everybody that there was NOTHING TO the stories.

    They didn’t tell him to change his teaching, either. Isn’t that strange? Why didn’t they admonish him to change if they thought he was guilty as charged?

    So I believe they meant just what they said.

    You are free to believe what you like.

    Okay. When you have finished responding, maybe we can leave chapter 21 for awhile.

  97. on 16 Mar 2011 at 9:58 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    As far as I know the Ebionites are the only Christians that don’t recognize or follow the writings and teachings of Paul. All the other Jewish Christians seem to follow his writings and teachings, but claim that he never actually taught against the law of Moses.

    All of the above are Jewish Christians and I don’t believe they call themselves churches. They refer to their meeting places as synagogues not churches. Of course, since I am not an expert, I could be wrong, but this is just my understanding…

  98. on 16 Mar 2011 at 10:18 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    You asked, “The apostles welcomed Paul gladly when he came. No mention of sin.”

    It doesn’t say that the apostles welcomed him gladly.

    Acts 21:17 “When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly.”

    The brothers might have thought Paul was returning to Jerusalem to make amends and rejoin the rest of the Christian church. Paul might even have led them to believe this. Again this is “all” speculation because Luke doesn’t give us any details. If we are going to study this we have to look at the details that are provided. After giving thanks for the work the Holy Spirit was doing among the Gentiles that Paul had converted they immediately say in the very same verse…

    “(20) And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, ‘You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed’ (in Y’shua as the Messiah). They are all zealous for the law.”

    Why would Luke record that the very first thing that James and the Jerusalem church said was, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law”???

    It seems clear to me that they are admonishing Paul…

  99. on 16 Mar 2011 at 10:30 pmMargaret Collier

    Your point is made. Jewish groups (I presume) are not called churches.

    Nevertheless, let’s agree that no one has the right to speak for “all” Christians.

    I, for one, do not agree that Paul forbade any Jews to keep the law.

  100. on 16 Mar 2011 at 10:55 pmMargaret Collier

    Now that you have repeated your speculations regarding chapter 21, I’d like to leave it and go back to chapter 15.

    I believe that Peter’s speech is the key to understanding the chapter. Do you agree?

    And now I am going to bed.

  101. on 16 Mar 2011 at 11:35 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I apologize if I came across as speaking for all Christians. I had no idea that you agreed with me that Jewish Christians are still obligated under the law of Moses. I thought that this was one of my unusual beliefs that very few other people shared. I do agree that Peter’s speech and the subsequent decision at the Council of Jerusalem are the keys to understanding Chapter 15.

    I believe the decision reached still applies to Christians living today…

  102. on 17 Mar 2011 at 3:58 pmMargaret Collier

    Whoa, Thomas! I did NOT say that I think Jewish Christians are OBLIGATED to keep the law of Moses. Look again at what I actually SAID, and stop interpreting!!

  103. on 17 Mar 2011 at 4:18 pmMargaret Collier

    If we agree that Peter’s speech is the key to understanding the rest of the chapter, then it is really necessary to understand what he actually SAID.

    His words were clear enough. He began (v 7) by telling the story of his visit with Cornelius. This story is tremendously important, so let’s check it out.

    First of all, he broke the law of Moses by going into the home of a Gentile. He reminded Cornelius (ch. 10:28) that it was not lawful for a man who was a Jew to unite himself with, or even come near to, someone from another nation. But God had taught him differently.

    By the way, this is one reason I can’t say that Christian Jews are OBLIGATED to keep the law. Here is a law that Peter broke. Deliberately. By command from God.
    Do we agree so far?

  104. on 17 Mar 2011 at 5:12 pmMark C.

    If I may put in my two cents worth… Thomas, you’re missing a distinction that many others have missed as well. To say that something is no longer necessary is not the same as saying it is wrong to do it.

    Paul taught that keeping the LETTER of the Law of Moses was no longer necessary, since there is now a greater standard – walking by the spirit which fulfills the Law. He didn’t say it was wrong to circumcise – if that were true he wouldn’t have circumcised Timothy. But he said that they shouldn’t make that their identity. “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6).

    Likewise he didn’t say it was wrong to observe certain days above others or eat certain foods. “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Rom. 14:5-6).

    But he never said Jews should FORSAKE the Law – just that they should not base their identity or their righteousness on it, and they should not force the Gentiles to observe it. This is why what the Jews were saying in Acts 21 was a false accusation. They failed to make this same distinction, and thus wrongly thought Paul spoke against the Law.

    Paul didn’t speak against the Law. He merely pointed out that while it was holy and good it couldn’t save a person who was sinful by nature, as it couldn’t change his heart. Thus to try to be righteous by keeping the Law was futile because nobody could keep it perfectly. Therefore the righteousness without the Law, by faith in Jesus Christ, was what Paul preached.

    Rom. 3:
    19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;
    20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
    21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
    22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

  105. on 17 Mar 2011 at 6:52 pmDoubting Thomas

    Mark,
    As usual you always give me a lot to think and pray about. I will think and pray about it overnight and respond tomorrow. I will be home all day. I had to take tomorrow off work to attend a funeral.

    Margaret,
    I’m sorry I misunderstood you. I didn’t mean to offend you. You’ve been most kind in discussing these things with me. I will answer your posts later tonight. I’m just on my way out to a funeral home. My cousin’s wife suddenly passed away. Although this cousin and I were never very close (He’s about 15 or 16 years older than me), I’m very close to his mother (my aunt) and his younger brother and sister…

  106. on 17 Mar 2011 at 8:17 pmMargaret Collier

    I’ll pay you four cents for your two cents worth, Mark. Gladly.

    Thank you for your excellent summary of Paul’s teaching about the law, and its relevance to the false accusation of Acts 21. I hope Thomas gives it the careful consideration that it deserves.

    My goal, sooner or later, is to look at what the Lord, Peter, Stephen and Paul ALL taught about the law. The similarities are wonderful to me.

  107. on 17 Mar 2011 at 9:44 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    You said, “By the way, this is one reason I can’t say that Christian Jews are OBLIGATED to keep the law. Here is a law that Peter broke. Deliberately. By command from God.”

    Robert sent me a very interesting article on Acts 10. I will paste the link below. According to the article “Though the Mosaic law did not forbid the children of Abraham from interacting with non-Jews, their traditional law did. The laws in this area only referred to intermarriage. Jews were not to marry Gentiles, and the consequences of intermarriage are illustrated numerous times in the Old Testament.”

    The article also says, “However, the traditional law developed a deep prejudice in the people against non-Jews. Even today, many Jews adhere to the practice of avoiding social interaction with non-Jews. What is the consequence of such prejudice? Israel was called by God to be a nation of priests, declaring the goodness of God to the world. By avoiding social interaction, the Jews were not obedient to this first calling, and failed to declare God to others, keeping the knowledge of Him to themselves, and setting themselves as ‘better’ than everyone else.”

    I really enjoyed the article. Partly because it is written without any technical jargon that a layman like myself finds hard to understand. The other reason is because it gives a very clear explanation of Acts 10, which seems to make perfect sense to me.

    I will paste the link below;

    http://www.biblicaltheology.com/act/44_10_01.html

    I hope you and everyone else have a great evening, and God Bless…

  108. on 17 Mar 2011 at 11:26 pmMargaret Collier

    Thank you, Thomas! The article is excellent. You and Mark have made it clear that now (not later) is the time to look at the different ways in which the word “law” can be understood.

    Take the Lord’s words in Matthew 5:17-20, for instance. You might think he was teaching that every tiny particle of the law of Moses has to be followed scrupulously.

    But then look at vv 31-32. Now he talks about something in the law of Moses that is not what God wants. God’s first intention was that every marriage be for life. But Moses allowed this “bill of divorcement” because of the hardness of men’s hearts (ch. 19:3-9).

    Look again, and you’ll see that everything in Matthew 5:17-48 describes a law that far exceeds the law of Moses. Nobody (except the Messiah) could possibly reach such a standard.

    But look further. In chapter 22:35-40, near the end of his earthly ministry, he is asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”

    His answer is,

    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

    And the second is similar to the first:

    You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

    Those two commandments, I am convinced, apply to every one of us – Jew and Gentile alike. If we truly keep them, we will not be guilty of idolatry, or murder, or bearing false witness, or anything else that violates the law of love.

    That’s a good place to pause. And Mark, feel free to take over, any time.

  109. on 18 Mar 2011 at 5:39 pmDoubting Thomas

    Mark C.
    I want to thank you for your post. I’ve always found Paul’s teaching frustrating and difficult to understand. You did an excellent job of trying to make sense out of something that appeared to be nonsensical, from my point of view anywaze.

    You said, “He merely pointed out that while it was holy and good it couldn’t save a person who was sinful by nature, as it couldn’t change his heart.”

    Now that makes perfect sense to me. All the great leaders in the bible like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Y’shua etc… had hearts after their Father in heaven. The law is certainly incapable of changing someone’s heart. But, I think the law served another purpose, and that is to teach us what is unacceptable to God (sinful) and what is acceptable.

    Since the 4th. century the standard Christian doctrine has stated that the law of Moses and the decision at the council of Jerusalem were no longer binding on us. The result of this was that we were to be guided by the spirit (just like both you and Margaret said) and we will therefore do what’s right in the eyes of our Father. But, without any laws to tell us what’s unacceptable or sinful, we began to do things which I believe are wrong.

    For example for hundreds of years now (probably going right back to the 4th. century) Christians have been eating blood and thinking there is nothing wrong with it. We have all heard of blood pudding, which used to be very popular at one time, and still is in some countries. Another food is Haggis which is a Scottish delicacy that they enjoy on special occasions. One of it’s main ingredients is of course blood.

    You and Margaret would probably say there is nothing wrong with eating blood (because we are free from the law). But, that’s not what Peter and the apostles and all the church elders said in their decision at the council of Jerusalem. It’s also not what James and the church elders said, many years later, in the letter they wrote to the Gentiles that Paul converted.

    I don’t believe I will ever be able to convince you (or Margaret) that the decision at the council of Jerusalem is still binding on us (Gentile Christians), and that the law of Moses is still binding on Jewish Christians. But, the way I see it, the reason they held the council of Jerusalem was to decide whether Gentile Christians should be circumcised and follow the law of Moses or not.

    There is no indication (that I can see) that says that this decision at the council of Jerusalem changed the law in any way as it pertained to the Jewish Christians. That’s something that people just assume it did, because that’s been the official Christian doctrine since the time of Constantine. I’m not the least bit influenced by what Constantine and his bishops might have thought.

    As far as I’m concerned there wasn’t one of them that was actually a real Christian. They certainly didn’t behave anything like Y’shua, Peter, James and others said Christians should behave. Anybody can call themselves a Christian and just go right on behaving the same way they did before they called themselves Christians. This is exactly what Constantine, and all his bishops, and the rest of the hierarchy of the early Roman Catholic Church did.

    The Roman morals and values of the day suddenly became Christian morals and values. The authentic Christian morals and values were lost in the shuffle when they created this new state religion. Do you really think that Constantine and his bishops and the rest of the early church hierarchy really cared what Y’shua, Peter, James and others actually taught about how we should behave.

    I just look at their behavior and realize it was all just a sham and the Roman Empire no more became a Christian state with Christian leaders in authority over it, then the Pope and all the bishops and priests throughout history have been celibate…

  110. on 18 Mar 2011 at 9:59 pmRay

    I will venture an educated (Job 28:28) guess that the scripture as it was origionally given was without any error or fault. I have noticed a few things in my modern day Bible that I do recognize as irreconcilable, yet it is simple matter to prove that the Bible is the word of God (discern what I say) and that Jesus is true. (John 7:17)

    Did you ever plead the cause that is just and ask for mercy when the time was right? (see Matthew 5:9)

    Did you ever give and find yourself blessed? (Acts 20:35)

    There are so many ways to prove that the Bible is true.

  111. on 21 Mar 2011 at 7:35 amMargaret Collier

    Hi, Thomas.

    I have read the first three paragraphs of your post with care, trying to understand exactly what you mean. I know how infuriating it is to have someone interpret what you say, so I will simply quote what Mark said and ask if you agree.

    Mark explained that Paul “never said Jews should FORSAKE the Law,” and “He didn’t say it was wrong to circumcise – if that were true he wouldn’t have circumcised Timothy.”

    So Mark concludes,

    This is why what the Jews were saying in Acts 21 was a false accusation. They failed to make this same distinction, and thus wrongly thought Paul spoke against the Law.

    Do you agree with that conclusion?

  112. on 21 Mar 2011 at 5:25 pmJoseph

    i generally don’t get into Law debates, but a few points I’d like to make…

    Yeshua initiated a reNEWal of the covenant relationship for those who had broken their covenant relationship with the God of Israel. He did *not* introduce “an absolutely brand NEW covenant” with brand NEW laws for Gentiles which negated or annulled or replaced God’s covenant with the houses of Judah and Israel.

    Yeshua instructed his disciples not to abolish the Torah or the Prophets, but rather to establish and strengthen (i.e. activate) them in their lives. He told them that heaven and earth would pass away before the smallest letter or part of a letter would pass away from the Law. [Mt. 5.17-19] Consequently, all who are true disciples of Yeshua find obedience to God’s Law as essential as their Master did. Which is why Paul pledged allegiance to the law in the NT.

    Take a look at Jeremiah 31:31-34. The Yahhad sect at Qumran understood the new covenant as found in Jer. 31 to be a renewal.

    Paul went out to pagan nations, so it is crucial to understand his approach at converting pagan gentiles to a new faith. One doesn’t go into a pagan nation and slap the whole book on them or one end up with no one to convert. Paul understood this, which is why he taught a lite approach to the law for gentiles and new converts. This is why there is debate on the subject as to what a gentile should adhere to. Those of us who have ever tried to speak about God to a pagan/unbeliever, it is known that one doesn’t overwhelm the one being proselytized to. Instead, give them milk and Paul so well explained, and then the meat will follow.

    IMO, the question should be, why would one not want to follow as Yeshua and his disciples did in the ways of God? Even in Zech 12 we are told that gentiles will be part of the feasts and traditions of the future Kingdom.

  113. on 21 Mar 2011 at 9:52 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Margaret,
    I apologize for taking so long to respond. Something came up and I had to go out right after supper. I just got in a few minutes ago.

    You asked, “So Mark concludes, This is why what the Jews were saying in Acts 21 was a false accusation. They failed to make this same distinction, and thus wrongly thought Paul spoke against the Law. Do you agree with that conclusion?”

    I’m not so sure it was false accusation. Paul in his own writings talks about how he would go into temples and eat meat sacrificed to idols. Supposedly because he was looking for new converts during his visits to these temples, he surmised that God would not be angry with him. After all (in his eyes) he believed he was no longer bound by the law (either the law of Moses or the modified Noahide law).

    This behavior of Paul definately violates the law of Moses, and the modified Noahide law. Throughout the O.T. the Jewish people repeatedly began to make sacrifices to other Gods, and of course they would then eat the meat that was sacrificed to these idols. God became so outraged that he had the Jewish people exiled out of the holy land, until they finally repented.

    Why would God suddenly not care if the Jewish people again began eating meat sacrificed to Idols???

    Peter and the apostles and all the other church leaders at the council of Jerusalem seemed to think that God still cared about whether people were eating meat sacrificed to idols. The decision at the council of Jerusalem is clear about this. It forbids the Gentiles from doing this. At least a decade later James and the Jerusalem church said exactly the same thing (about the modified Noahide law) in the letter that they sent to the Gentiles that Paul had converted.

    Acts 21:25, “But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter ‘WITH OUR JUDGMENT’ that they should abstain from what has been `SACRIFICED TO IDOLS`, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.”

    Why would James and the Jerusalem church even be sending a letter to the Gentiles that Paul had converted, telling them not to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols, etc… If Paul had not been teaching these new Gentile converts that there was no problem with them eating meat sacrificed to idols???

    I think it is a strange coincidence that in Acts 15:28, they are talking about the decision reached at the council of Jerusalem and in Acts 15:38, just 10 verses later, Luke decides to tell us the following story, “But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. (39) And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other.”

    It appears to me (especially from looking at Paul’s teachings and writings) that Paul didn`t agree with the decision reached at the council of Jerusalem. And at the first opportunity that presented itself, he decided to break away from Barnabas and go off on his own, to do his own thing. Unfettered by the decision at the council of Jerusalem that he had strongly disagreed with.

    This explains (to me anywaze) why James and the Jerusalem church had to send a letter to the Gentiles that Paul had converted (about a decade or so after the above break-up) telling them about their judgment, that the decision made at the council of Jerusalem was still binding, and that these Gentiles should follow that decision.

    This is how it seems to be, from my point of view anywaze. I don`t mean to offend you, or anybody else, with my beliefs. This is just how I see it.

    Thanks again for taking the time to have this discussion with me. God Bless…

  114. on 22 Mar 2011 at 12:01 amMargaret Collier

    Paul in his own writings talks about how he would go into temples and eat meat sacrificed to idols.

    Where did he write this?

  115. on 22 Mar 2011 at 12:07 amRay

    Men walking by the spirit of God may be found to violate the letter of the law while fulfilling it and those who keep the letter of it often
    violate it and become as lawless men.

    Does the letter of the law ever justify men? Rather it seems to kill. Yet if a man kept the law he could be justified. Jesus is the only man who ever did keep the whole law throughout his entire life and he did it by the spirit of God. Thereby he was justified.

  116. on 22 Mar 2011 at 12:56 amMargaret Collier

    Thomas, if you can’t stop repeating all the things you have said before, over and over and over again, I am not surprised that people get angry with you. You won’t allow your “points” to be dealt with ONE AT A TIME. And they need to be, because many of them are simply inaccurate.

    You have accused Paul of writing that he would go into idol temples and eat meat offered to idols. I challenge you to prove that.

  117. on 22 Mar 2011 at 1:22 amMargaret Collier

    Joseph – I appreciate your point of view. However, Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5 indicate that the law he came to “fulfill” is much HIGHER than the law of Moses.

    If we obey the two great commandments that are given to us in Matthew 22:37-40, we will not violate any of the moral law that is found in the law and the prophets.

    And He said to him, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment.
    The second is like it, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (NASB)

    As for the ceremonial law, there are commandments that no Jew today can possibly carry out. Read the laws regarding animal sacrifices described in the first seven chapters of Leviticus. Forty years after the crucifixion of the Messiah, the temple was destroyed, and animal sacrifices have been impossible ever since.

    In other words, the subject of the law is more complex than most of us are aware.

  118. on 22 Mar 2011 at 6:22 pmJoseph

    Margaret,

    I appreciate your point of view. However, Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5 indicate that the law he came to “fulfill” is much HIGHER than the law of Moses.

    Right, so why would anyone suggest to not follow the same laws and traditions that Yeshua followed? If the law is good for our Messiah we should follow his example. As Paul teaches, we should think and act like the Messiah Yeshua by *not* grasping for equality with God (like Adam and the false, counterfeit Christ do); rather we should abase ourselves, empty ourselves of pride, humble ourselves and become obedient servants to HaShem’s Instruction (Law) unto death just as Yeshua did. [cf. Phil. 2.5-11] Only those who are crucified (i.e. die) with the Messiah, will ever hope to be raised with him to live lives of righteousness to God. IOW, only those who offer their bodies as living sacrifices (by dying to sin) may prove “what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God”. [cf. Rom. 12.1-2]

    If we obey the two great commandments that are given to us in Matthew 22:37-40, we will not violate any of the moral law that is found in the law and the prophets.

    And He said to him, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment.
    The second is like it, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (NASB)

    How does this provide how the Law that Yeshua himself obeyed is suppose to be followed??

    This passage is telling us that the whole Law can be based upon these two commandments, the commandments directed to God and the commandments directed to Man (Neighbor). But if one were to take it as literally meaning these are the only two commandments by which we will live by, as if somehow we should just know without ever reading the Bible, it doesn’t say that. How does one know that sins like bestiality are forbidden? or incest? They know from the Tanach, which is Yeshua’s Bible.

    Yeshua claimed that heaven and earth would pass away before the smallest letter or part of a letter would pass away from the Law of Moses. [Mt. 5.17-19] Consequently, all who are true disciples of Yeshua find obedience to the Creator’s Law as essential as their Master did. But, contrary to what Yeshua taught regarding heaven and earth passing away first, many Christians claim that this “old” Law was terminated when Yeshua was executed by the Romans. They say that “the Law was fulfilled and thereby terminated by the DEATH OF JESUS”. But, the Renewed Covenant writings do not teach that God’s Law was terminated suddenly and passed away when Yeshua died. The fulfillment (or activation) of the Law in Yeshua’s life came by his *obedience* to HaShem’s Instruction unto his death. So also the fulfillment or activation of this Law in his disciples’ lives comes with their becoming obedient unto their own deaths.

    As for the ceremonial law, there are commandments that no Jew today can possibly carry out. Read the laws regarding animal sacrifices described in the first seven chapters of Leviticus. Forty years after the crucifixion of the Messiah, the temple was destroyed, and animal sacrifices have been impossible ever since.

    In other words, the subject of the law is more complex than most of us are aware.

    It is not complex, that is why we have the law clearly written in the Tanach, for guidance. It is only complex when one starts guessing and putting their own interpretation upon the Torah. Like I said before, I know of no Christian that can tell me what the moral law implies without resorting to the Torah.

    I’m also aware of the sacrificial laws that are not to be performed. This is because the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, not because the death of Yeshua somehow did away with these rituals, but because there currently is no temple to carry out the sacrifice. When the Messiah comes, the Holy Temple will be rebuilt, and once again we will bring sacrifices on the Holy Altar there, as it says “And the sacrificial offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to Hashem, like in the olden days years ago” (Malachi 3:4).

  119. on 22 Mar 2011 at 9:56 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    Sorry for the late response “again” tonight. The internet worked fine when I got home from work and was talking with Robert, then after supper the internet just stopped working. It appears to be working fine now though.

    You said, “Thomas, if you can’t stop repeating all the things you have said before, over and over and over again, I am not surprised that people get angry with you.”

    I’m not repeating myself to try to make you angry. I repeat certain points over and over again, because I’d like to discuss them and hear how you interpret these things that I mention. I’ve told you how I interpret them. I also keep asking the same questions over and over again, like the one in Msg. #113 about the letter, because I’d like my questions to be answered. I apologize if I’m making you angry, that is not my intention.

    You also said, “You won’t allow your “points” to be dealt with ONE AT A TIME. And they need to be, because many of them are simply inaccurate.”

    I’m sorry, but it doesn’t seem like your dealing with any of my points, or answering any of my questions. You claim many of my points are inaccurate, but for some reason you won’t tell me which ones are inaccurate, or why you think they might be inaccurate. I keep repeating certain main points over and over, because they cause me to have my biggest doubts about Paul and his teachings, and I get no response, other than you saying “many of my points are inaccurate”.

    You also said, “You have accused Paul of writing that he would go into idol temples and eat meat offered to idols. I challenge you to prove that.”

    I was almost positive that I read in one of his “many” writings that this is what he had said. But, I’ve been searching BibleGateway.com and I can’t seem to find it. I also asked Robert if he knew where it was, and he said he doesn’t remember reading it. It is possible that I could be mistaken on this. Like I said, I don’t normally read or study Paul’s writings. I’ve only read them a few times.

    But, this doesn’t take away from the main point I was trying to make. I will again repeat the question from Msg. #113, which is one of the main reasons I have my doubts about whether the accusation against Paul were false or not.

    “Why would James and the Jerusalem church even be sending a letter to the Gentiles that Paul had converted, telling them not to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols, etc… If Paul had not been teaching these new Gentile converts that there was no problem with them eating meat sacrificed to idols???”

    This whole thing just doesn’t seem to add up. At least from my point of view…

  120. on 22 Mar 2011 at 10:35 pmMargaret Collier

    Joseph – If you are a Jew, and if you follow the law of Moses, I respect you for it.

    Paul did the same thing. He made sure he was in Jerusalem for the obligatory feasts – something that you probably don’t do. History (over which I suggest God has control) has made it impossible for Jews today to obey everything that is written in the law.

    As Mark has already pointed out, Paul did NOT tell Jews to forsake the law, and he never said that Jews should not circumcise their children. That is a false accusation.

    I agree with you that a Christian needs to read the Bible if he wants to know the will of God. If I love the Lord my God with all my heart, I will WANT to learn more about him and his will for me.

    However, Acts 15 tells me that circumcision and keeping the law cannot earn salvation. That is the point. The Jews were telling the Gentiles that they had to be circumcised and keep the law IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. Peter’s words make it absolutely clear that neither circumcision nor keeping the law can save anyone – Jew OR Gentile. In fact, the law AS A MEANS OF EARNING SALVATION has been a yoke to the Jews that neither they nor their fathers have been able to bear. Salvation is by faith, through the grace of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah (Acts 15:7-11).

    Nevertheless, you are right in saying that we need to die to sin, and live to God. That will require more than outward conformity to a list of traditions. It will mean inward transformation, the kind the Messiah talks about in Matthew 5 and in Matthew 22:37-40.

    I want to repeat, for Thomas’s sake, that Paul kept the law. He did not go into pagan temples and eat meat that was offered to idols. That’s why the church at Jerusalem could receive him gladly. If he had been guilty of idolatry, they would never have let him into the temple.

    And Paul never, EVER, told Jews that they should forsake the law of Moses, or that they should not circumcise their children. That is a false accusation.

  121. on 22 Mar 2011 at 10:59 pmMargaret Collier

    Thomas, I have read Acts 15 many times, trying to find evidence for this OTHER letter that you keep talking about. It isn’t there.

    There isn’t a word about the apostles sending ANOTHER letter. Nor is there a single word about sending a letter to correct something Paul had taught.

    This is one of the many things that you have “interpreted” in order to make it support your view.

    Paul kept the law, as Joseph has pointed out. He never told the Jews to abandon the law of Moses and he never told them they should not circumcise their children – as Mark has pointed out.

    In other words, the apostles did not need to send ANOTHER letter to the Gentiles. They had ALREADY sent the letter regarding the Gentiles by the hands of Barnabus and Paul in Acts 15. They were repeating the terms, so there would be no doubt that the keeping of the law did not apply to Gentiles, even though it did apply to Paul.

    And since you can’t find any evidence to support your accusation that Paul said he would go into pagan temples and eat meat offered to idols, it would be nice if you would retract it.

  122. on 22 Mar 2011 at 11:55 pmMargaret Collier

    It should be noted that a letter to the Gentiles would do nothing at all to correct the accusations that the JEWS were making. They weren’t accusiong him olf teaching the Gentiles something. They were accusing him of teaching JEWS that they should abandon the law of Moses and that they should not circumcise their children.

    To suggest that the apostles were correcting this error by sending a letter to the Gentiles is ludicrous.

  123. on 23 Mar 2011 at 2:31 pmMargaret Collier

    Thomas – just in case the wording of post 122 is not clear, I’d like to quote the words that describe the Jewish accusations, and then quote the words that describe the letter (or letters, if there was more than one) sent to the Gentiles.

    and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. (Acts 21:21, NASB)

    But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. (v. 25)

    The words are perfectly clear. The stories the Jews had heard were that Paul taught JEWS – not Gentiles – “to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.” Not one word of this was directed toward Gentiles. It had to do with JEWS ONLY.

    The letter to the Gentiles, on the other hand, was directed to GENTILES ONLY. Not one word of it is directed toward Jews.

    Therefore, it is ludicrous to suggest that the letter to the Gentiles has any bearing at all on the accusations made by the Jews.

  124. on 23 Mar 2011 at 9:42 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Margaret,
    Sorry for the late response “again’.

    You said, “Thomas, I have read Acts 15 many times, trying to find evidence for this OTHER letter that you keep talking about. It isn’t there.”

    I apologize that I wasn’t more clear in my question. I was referring to the letter that James and the Jerusalem church sent in Acts 21:25, “But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.”

    This letter was sent about a decade or so after the first letter that the apostles had sent to the Gentiles. It seems clear to me that it is being sent to the Gentiles that Paul had converted. Paul had just finished telling them about how many Gentiles he had converted and about the work of the Holy Spirit among the Gentiles.

    Which is why (I believe) in Acts 21:20 it says, “And when they heard it, they glorified God.” It then clearly says right afterward (in v25), “But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment.”

    Which is why I asked the question, ““Why would James and the Jerusalem church even be sending a letter to the Gentiles that Paul had converted, telling them not to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols, etc… If Paul had not been teaching these new Gentile converts that there was no problem with them eating meat sacrificed to idols???”

    In Romans 14:5-6 Paul says, “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. (6) The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.”

    It seems Paul is teaching that it is OK to esteem all days alike. In other words that it’s OK to violate the 4th. commandment. He also seems to be saying that some people eat (meat sacrificed to Idols) in honor of the Lord and that’s also alright. So that’s another violation of not only the law of Moses, but also the decision reached at the council of Jerusalem.

    The basic gist of Romans 14:5-6 seems to have Paul saying it’s OK to keep the law and it’s OK not to keep the law. But in other places Paul seems (to me anywaze) to contradict himself here. In Galatians 3:10 he says, “Anyone who tries to obey God by obeying the law is under a curse…” (C.E.V.)

    Saying that people that choose to obey the law are “under a curse” is pretty strong language. Paul seems to be very clearly saying it is wrong to obey the law here, even though in Romans 14:5-6, he seems to be saying it’s OK for some people to obey the law if they choose to do so.

    Paul also says in Romans 14:1-3 “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. (2) One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. (3) Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.”

    Here Paul calls the person who obeys the law of Moses or obeys the decision made at the council of Jerusalem “weak in faith”. That again, is pretty strong language indicating that Paul is saying it’s wrong for people not to eat meat sacrificed to Idols. After all these people that eat only vegetables are “weak”. In other words they are wrong!!!

    This is another case where Paul seems to be contradicting what he said in Romans 14:5-6, which I quoted above. How can Paul say it’s alright for some people to esteem one day better than another, and it’s OK for the one who abstains, since he abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God, but then turn around and say that these same people that do this are “cursed” and “weak”???

    No wonder why I find Paul’s writings confusing and hard to understand. I find it very interesting that Jewish Christians like Joseph seem to able to point to Paul’s writings and claim he didn’t speak against keeping the law of Moses.

    While other Christians point to the very same writings (but different verses) and see where it says that people who follow the law are “cursed” and “weak” and therefore conclude he does speak against us keeping the law of Moses. The reason both groups can read these opposite views into Paul’s writings is because he says both, depending on which verse you look at.

    Like I told you once in an email, Paul’s teachings seem like a bunch of double talk to me. The writings of Peter and James and the Synoptics are crystal clear and easy for me to understand. Paul’s writings just make me confused and frustrated. That’s why I don’t spend my time and energy trying to study them, nor try to make sense out of them.

    Of course, as always, all the above interpretations are just my own humble opinion…

  125. on 24 Mar 2011 at 9:46 amMargaret Collier

    One point at a time, Thomas.

    Do you agree that the letter to the Gentiles has absolutely nothing to do with the accusations the Jews were making, and should never have been mentioned in support of thinking those accusations were true?

  126. on 24 Mar 2011 at 6:01 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    Sorry for jumping around. I believe the accusations the Jews were making in Acts 21 had to do with what Paul was teaching Jews that were thinking of converting to Christianity. In other words the accusations were about what Paul was teaching Jewish Christians. I don’t think the Jews cared as much about what Paul was teaching the Gentiles. Although I’m sure they probably weren’t very happy about it.

    Paul kept saying that Jews and Gentiles were one and the same. He didn’t seem to believe in one set of rules for Jewish Christians and another set of rules for Gentile Christians. Peter and the Apostles in their first letter said that there were different rules (at least that’s the way I read it). And this is repeated in the letter that stated “the judgment” of the James and the Jerusalem church.

    Maybe the reason I’ve been jumping around so much is that I’m having another discussion with Robert at the same time that I am having one with you. He just sent me an email that has got me thinking. I will need to think and pray about it overnight. Just FYI I will paste it below. I think he makes some good points, I just need some time to see if it all makes sense to me or not.

    (from Robert)

    Tom
    I have been looking into the Greek in the verses you having a problem with. The first thing I noticed is in Acts 21 the letter that is mentioned is not a new letter , its is speaking of the one that was sent to all the gentile churches .The second thing I noticed was in that letter there is no mention of food or meat being offered to idols but only the word for sacrifice which in context would mean abstain from sacrificing.

    Now in Paul’s letter the subject is the food that has been used in
    sacrificing which wasn’t addressed in the letter from the church, the church only addressed the action of sacrificing but the problem was this was a pagan city which made offerings to idols that provided blessings for good crops and the fertility of their livestock by giving thanks to pagan gods.

    The question was whether eating this food could effect their salvation in which Paul makes it perfectly clear that it was the act of sacrificing that could effect their salvation not the food, that this sacrifices were only valid to the one that believed these sacrifices but by knowingly eating of these sacrifices caused the unbelieving to validate the act which could cause them not to come to the true God. Even though Paul knows that prior offerings to pagan gods could not change the food he does feel that knowingly eating of it can hurt those with weak consciences causing some to stumble.

    Since there was no way to tell whether food had been offered Paul tells them not to inquire when they bought or served food and to eat it with the conscience that it hadn’t been priorly offered, but if they were to become aware that it had been offered then do not partake of it for the sake of the one who offered it, by not validating it and for the sake of your own status within the church.

    I had the same problems with Paul till I realized that the actual Greek does not support these translations or the translations that those that say the law ended use.

    Have a great day

    Robert (end quote)

    I hope you have a great evening as well Margaret. God Bless…

  127. on 24 Mar 2011 at 7:27 pmMargaret Collier

    I’m sorry, but it doesn’t seem like your dealing with any of my points, or answering any of my questions.

    I’m sorry to hear that your memory is so poor, Thomas. Let me remind you (one at a time) of some of the points that I HAVE dealt with.

    Paul in his own writings talks about how he would go into temples and eat meat sacrificed to idols.

    That is false. It needs to be retracted – not excused.

    Even Gentiles who do not have the law can recognize that false testimony is wrong. And the Torah leaves no doubt about it: it is a sin.


    Robert has corrected some of your wrong interpretations, Thomas, and he has given you good, solid evidence for what he is saying. He is willing to admit that his previous views don’t fit the evidence, and I appreciate that.Paul, too, was willing to admit it when he made a mistake (Acts 23:5). It’s a virtue we all need to cultivate.


    Paul kept saying that Jews and Gentiles were one and the same.

    Perhaps you have forgotten, but Peter said the same thing (Acts 15:7-11). He said that God made NO DIFFERENCE between Jews and Gentiles, but had granted salvation to both by faith, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation cannot be earned by keeping the law. That is true of all mankind – Jew and Gentile alike.

    Nevertheless, I agree with Robert that anyone who knowingly offers sacrifices to idols has never known the only true God.

    Robert is also correctly expressing what Paul had to say about eating foods that are bought in the store or offered to you at a meal. Thanks, Robert.

  128. on 24 Mar 2011 at 9:34 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    You said, “That is false. It needs to be retracted – not excused.”

    Like I said, I was almost positive that I had read that somewhere in Paul’s writings, but I’ve tried using biblegateway.com and I can’t seem to find it. You and Robert, who have spent a lot more time studying Paul’s writings than I have, both say that you don’t remember reading it. So I admit that I am probably wrong, but he does say that meat sacrificed to Idols is nothing, since Idols are nothing.

    So in other words this misquote by me doesn’t effect the point I was making. And that is that under the law of Moses Jews could not eat meat sacrificed to Idols. Paul says there is no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles (same rules of behavior apply to both). So when he talks about meat sacrificed to Idols as being nothing, then that would seem to imply that Jewish Christians could eat meat sacrificed to Idols, as long as they didn’t ask where it came from.

    I could see how this would make the Jews very angry, and why they would consider this as teaching Jews (Jewish Christians) to fore-sake Moses and the ways of their fathers. The way I see it Jewish Christians were first and foremost Jews. The only practical difference between them and the other Jews was that the Jewish Christians believed the Messiah (Y’shua) had come, and the other Jews didn’t believe Y’shua was the Messiah.

    The Jewish Christians were accepted as one of the many Jewish sects and welcomed in the temple and in the synagogues as fellow Jews. The Gentile Christians on the hand were not accepted by the other Jews or welcomed in the temple and in the synagogues. So you can see why I believe there “was” truth to the allegations made against Paul and what he was teaching.

    At least that’s how it seems to me.

    You also said, “He said that God made NO DIFFERENCE between Jews and Gentiles, but had granted salvation to both by faith, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation cannot be earned by keeping the law.”

    Yes, salvation came in the same way, through grace via our Lord and Savior. But, as far as I can tell, the decision regarding “not being burdened by the law” only applied to the Gentiles. I don’t see anything in Acts that says this decision effected the behavior of the Jewish Christians in any way.

    Of course Paul seemed to believe that it did. Not that he believed that this is what Peter and the apostles and all the church leaders were saying in their decision, but that this was in fact true. Apparently he believed this because of the mystic revelations that he was receiving that told him that this was true.

    I believe Paul was the only one who taught this, and this is what got him into trouble with the all the other Jews. That’s why the Jews were so angry at Paul when he returned to Jerusalem. Again, like always, this is just the way I see it.

    I still have some thinking and praying to do though. God Bless…

  129. on 25 Mar 2011 at 2:06 amJoseph

    Margaret,

    What would be your take on how one deciphers from the NT that incest and bestiality are sins if the gentile is only suppose to follow a subset of the law? These things (amongst others) aren’t mentioned in the NT, yet I’m sure that we agree if a gentile does perform one of these acts it would be a sin.

    Is it possible that Paul was focused on converting pagans and saw it more successful to teach in a lite approach to the law?

    And since you do agree that Yeshua, as a Jew, obeyed the Torah and taught the Law to his disciples, how do you explain the following in Matthew 28:19-20?…

    “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

  130. on 25 Mar 2011 at 9:48 amMargaret Collier

    Thomas, Paul had a virtue that you seem to lack: the ability to admit he made a mistake.

    What amazes me is that you STILL talk as though you know exactly what Paul meant, even though you misquote what he saidanyway.

    I suggest that you stop pouring out floods of self-justification, and spend some time THINKING about what Robert has written.

    If you do, it might lead you to a wonderful thing called repentance.

    You need a rest. As I mentioned earlier, your memory is suffering terribly. You can’t even remember that any of your points have been dealt with.

    I will not look at this blog again until Monday morning. I need a rest, too.

  131. on 28 Mar 2011 at 6:04 amMargaret Collier

    Thomas, my last post was written in anger, and I apologize.

    I want to continue looking at evidence for and against what you have accused Paul of, but the first thing I need to do is confess my fault and ask forgiveness. The rest can wait.

  132. on 28 Mar 2011 at 7:32 amMargaret Collier

    Joseph, let me repeat:
    I cannot say that a Jew is OBLIGATED to keep the whole law, because there are parts of it that I know he cannot keep. History (over which God is in control) makes it impossible for him to obey the instructions dealing with the offerings. And those offerings, let me remind you, were the nation’s means of approach to God. The levitical law was an essential part of Israel’s worship, but you can’t obey it.

    So it would be foolish of me to say that you are OBLIGATED to keep the whole law, which is what Thomas thought I had said.

    Peter said that salvation is by faith, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and NOT through the law. That is true of Jew and Gentile alike (Acts 15:7-11). And the letter the apostles sent to the Gentiles puts no “burden” on them, other than the four prohibitions listed in the letter.

    Bestiality and incest are included in the word “fornication” it seems to me. Fornication is immorality, and most Gentiles can recognize immorality, whether they admit it or not.

    So – if you are teaching Gentiles that they must keep the law of Moses in order to be saved, you are putting on their necks what Peter called a “yoke” – a burden that even the Jews were unable to bear (Acts 15:10). Peter says you should not “tempt God” by doing that. And I think Peter was more likely to understand Yeshua’s wishes than we are.

    Paul says much the same thing. He warns the Galatians, who had left the slavery of idolatry in order to serve the living and true God, not to be entangled again in a “yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). And verse 6 explains why: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value, but faith expressing itself through love.”

    The message is clear. Neither Jew nor Gentile can be justified by keeping the law (v. 4). Circumcision or uncircumcision makes no difference at all, so far as justification is concerned. And that agrees perfectly with the words of Peter.

    Joseph – handling two topics at once is too stressful. So – until the discussion with Thomas is over, I won’t answer any more of your posts. Someone else can do that.

  133. on 28 Mar 2011 at 7:35 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I accept your apology. It is normal to get frustrated when in a prolonged discussion such as this. Especially considering it has gone on now for almost a month now. I too get frustrated at times when you don’t seem to see what I am saying. So I understand exactly how you feel.

    I have been thinking and praying about this and I think it might be time for us to just respectfully agree to disagree. To me this is not a salvation issue. I don’t believe that just because I don’t study a couple of books and some letters that you and others do, that this will in any way effect my salvation. If I’m right about the writings of Paul and John, I also don’t see it effecting your salvation in any way.

    This is really just an academic discussion between friends over some minor differences of opinion. Our basic beliefs about God, His Son Y’shua, our Messiah and King, and his saving nature are the same and that’s what is important!!!

    If you want to respectfully agree to disagree, I’ve got no problem with that…

  134. on 28 Mar 2011 at 1:04 pmMargaret Collier

    Thank you, Thomas.

    I plan to continue looking at the evidence. Since your accusations against Paul have been made in a public blog, I think it’s only fair that Paul’s side of the story be presented in the same way. Then whoever is reading this thread can make his/her own judgment, based on the evidence presented.

    In the meantime, I am grateful to Robert for his contribution. He obviously has given the problem a lot of thought.


    Accusation #1:

    Paul in his own writings talks about how he would go into temples and eat meat sacrificed to idols.

    Paul did NOT say this, not ever.

    Nor did he ever, in practice, go into pagan temples and eat meat sacrificed to idols. That would be idolatry, as Robert has pointed out.

    If Paul had done such a thing, the church at Jerusalem could not have received him “gladly,” and the Jews would never have allowed him to go into the temple.

    So the evidence is overwhelming that the accusation is false.


    Accusation #2: This involves

    the story in Acts 21 (which I gave my interpretation of in Msg. #12 above) where the Jerusalem church leadership thought that Paul had committed a sin so terrible that they forced him to undergo the ‘ritual of purification’.

    Actually, they asked him to join four other men who had made a vow, and to pay their expenses for this ritual of purification.

    There is no suggestion that making a vow is a “terrible sin”. Nor is there any reason to believe that Paul had committed a terrible sin, either. He certainly wasn’t accused of any such thing. All five of these men were carrying out a ceremonial ritual.

    So the accusation does not fit the evidence.

  135. on 28 Mar 2011 at 1:47 pmSean

    Margaret,

    Please do not post more than once or twice in a row. You can use a horizontal rule to separate your comments. This is what I have done above. To insert one yourself, next time, type <hr>

    thank you

  136. on 29 Mar 2011 at 9:04 amMargaret Collier

    Accusation #3:

    I think it is clear that what Paul taught was drastically different then what Peter and the apostles and other church leaders were teaching. This is demonstrated by the fact that Peter and the apostles lived peacefully in Jerusalem, going into the temple regularly to preach the good news about Christ, and no one apparently wanted to harm them, or kill them.

    The synoptic Gospels all tell us that Yeshua warned his twelve apostles that they would suffer persecution – just as HE had suffered persecution and false accusations and finally crucifixion. The servants would be treated like their Master. The apostles knew what to expect. (Matthew 10:17-25, etc.)

    He told them they would be flogged in the synagogues; so when all the apostles were flogged by the Sanhedrin in Acts 5, it came as no surprise.

    He told them they would be hated by men of all nations for his name’s sake. Some would believe their message, just as some had believed the Messiah’s message; but there would be those in every nation who would hate them.

    And so it was. The apostles were flogged by the Sanhedrin. Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews. James was beheaded by Herod. Peter was imprisoned and threatened with death. According to history, ALL of the twelve apostles were martyred except John, and he was sent into exile.

    Sure, there were peaceful interludes; but the idea that no one apparently wanted to harm them, or kill them is totally contrary to the evidence.

    The apostles actually REJOICED that they were counted WORTHY to suffer shame for Yeshua’s name (Acts 5:41). Similarly, when Paul and Silas were flogged in Philippi and left in the stocks in prison, they sang praises to God while the prisoners listened (Acts 16:25). It was a privilege to suffer for the sake of the Messiah.

    So the inference that what Paul taught was “drastically different” from what the apostles were teaching is based on a false premise. It is not true.

  137. on 29 Mar 2011 at 9:06 amMargaret Collier

    Accusation #4:

    Paul repeatedly said that the law no longer applied and ‘THAT IT WAS A SIN’ for someone to follow the law of Moses (even for Jewish Christians).

    Paul did not say this AT ALL, let alone “repeatedly”. This is another false accusation.

    What Paul DID say was explained by Mark in post #104:

    Paul … didn’t say it was wrong to circumcise – if that were true he wouldn’t have circumcised Timothy. But he said that they shouldn’t make that their identity. “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6).
    … he never said Jews should FORSAKE the Law – just that they should not base their identity or their righteousness on it, and they should not force the Gentiles to observe it. This is why what the Jews were saying in Acts 21 was a false accusation.
    Paul didn’t speak against the Law. He merely pointed out that while it was holy and good it couldn’t save a person who was sinful by nature, as it couldn’t change his heart. Thus to try to be righteous by keeping the Law was futile because nobody could keep it perfectly. Therefore the righteousness without the Law, by faith in Jesus Christ, was what Paul preached.

    By the way, Peter preached exactly the same thing (Acts 15:7-11).

    So the accusation is false. Paul did not say, nor did he imply, ‘THAT IT WAS A SIN’ for someone to follow the law of Moses.

  138. on 29 Mar 2011 at 4:05 pmXavier

    Paul … didn’t say it was wrong to circumcise…

    How should the following be interpreted then…

    Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. Phil 3.2

    Dogs = evildoers = those who MUTILATE THE FLESH!

  139. on 29 Mar 2011 at 4:53 pmMark C.

    Xavier,

    I don’t think it means that Paul considered circumcision evil and literally mutilation of the flesh. If he did, as I said above, he wouldn’t have circumcised Timothy, nor would he have said, “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6).

    The Strong’s definition for the word used in Phil. 3:2 may provide some insight.

    2699. katatomh; from a compound of 2596 [kata] and temno (to cut); a cutting down (off), i.e. mutilation (ironically):— concision.

    Note, it is used as mutilation ironically. Paul was talking about those who view circumcision as their identity and their salvation. But he goes on to say in this chapter that even though he was circumcised and had many other qualifications according to the law, he counts them as loss for the sake of Christ.

    Phil. 3:
    7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
    8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
    9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

    Interestingly, the NASB translates verse 2 as, “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;” which he then contrasts with the true circumcision, not of the flesh, made without hands (Eph. 2:11; Col. 2:11).

  140. on 29 Mar 2011 at 9:23 pmDoubting Thomas

    Everyone,
    This might be a bit off topic, but my friend Tim sent me a link to a story about a new archeological find that could be the oldest Christian writings ever discovered. They have not yet been translated.

    I will paste the link below…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12888421

  141. on 30 Mar 2011 at 6:18 amMargaret Collier

    Good answer, Mark.

    Accusation #5:

    It appears to me … that Paul didn’t agree with the decision reached at the council of Jerusalem. …
    Why would James and the Jerusalem church even be sending a letter to the Gentiles that Paul had converted, telling them not to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols, etc… If Paul had not been teaching these new Gentile converts that there was no problem with them eating meat sacrificed to idols???

    Robert has refuted this line of reasoning very well (see post 126). He says:

    The first thing I noticed is in Acts 21 the letter that is mentioned is not a new letter, its is speaking of the one that was sent to all the gentile churches.

    In other words, there was NO second letter, ten years after the first, and your assumption has no basis in fact.

    Robert also noticed that there is a difference between food that is BEING sacrificed to idols, and food that has BEEN sacrificed to idols. Going into a temple and eating food sacrificed to idols was idolatry. No one who had turned to God from idols could do that.

    But after the food had been taken out of the temples, it was just like any other food. Paul knew that “prior offerings to pagan gods could not change the food.” But if someone “pointed out the meat and said it had been offered to idols,” then for a Christian to eat it could “hurt those with weak consciences causing some to stumble.”

    That explains what is meant by a “weak conscience”. So Robert concludes,

    Since there was no way to tell whether food had been offered Paul tells them not to inquire when they bought or served food [IOW go ahead and eat it] … but if they were to become aware that it had been offered then do not partake of it for the sake of the one who offered it …

    Well put. Paul was not teaching Gentiles to disregard the apostles’ letter. He was teaching them that food is good; but if eating meat would cause someone who is “weak” to stumble, then Paul himself would refrain from eating ANY meat EVER (1 Corinthians 8:13).

    That’s the law of love in action.

    ————————————————————————————

    Accusation #6:

    … other Christians point to the very same writings … and see where it says that people who follow the law are “cursed” and “weak” and therefore conclude he does speak against us keeping the law of Moses.

    Galatians 3:10-14 is the only place where Paul speaks of the “curse” of the law. Let’s look at it.

    All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything that is written in the Book of the Law.’ (v. 10)

    .
    James agrees. If we offend in one point, we are guilty of all (James 2:10). And nobody is free from offending, as Peter makes clear in Acts 15.

    So everyone who relies on observing the law is under the curse of the law, because nobody has continued to do EVERYTHING that is written in the law. Then what hope have we?

    Galatians 3:14 gives the wonderful answer:

    Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”

    I can’t tell you what that meant to me when I first understood it. I knew I DESERVED to be cursed. But the Messiah took upon himself the curse that I deserved. He bore my sins in his own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24), and thus He redeemed me from the curse of the law.

    So what Paul actually said is NOTHING LIKE what he has been accused of saying.

  142. on 30 Mar 2011 at 10:03 amXavier

    Mark C.

    …he wouldn’t have circumcised Timothy…

    As per Paul’s motto of being ‘all things to all men’ in order to win them to Messiah [1Cor 9.19-23] we know why Paul AT TIMES followed Torah. You guys keep bringing up Timothy’s circumcision yet do not mention the reason Paul did what he did…

    Paul wanted Timothy to go with him. So he circumcised him BECAUSE OF THE JEWS who lived in those places… Acts 16.3

    Although the word translated “mutilation” by some versions may well be “a play on words with circumcision (Gk. peritomē)” [ESV Study Bible], here Paul uses “circumcision” (NASB), as “mutilation” (NIV, NRSV; cf. the LXX of 1 Kings 18:28). The Pauline parallel found in Gal 5.12, where he wishes that “those troublemakers would CASTRATE [MUTILATE] themselves”, reflects not only the Jewish abhorrence to “castration” [“eunuchs, castrated men”, Deut 23.1] but also Pagan where the Roman emperor Hadrian later outlawed the practice under an anticastration law.

    The point is Paul describes such Jews as he would Gentiles, “dogs, evildoers”, i.e. RITUALLY UNCLEAN people!

  143. on 30 Mar 2011 at 2:32 pmMark C.

    You guys keep bringing up Timothy’s circumcision yet do not mention the reason Paul did what he did…

    The point was that, whatever his reason, he would not have done it if he considered circumcision itself to be evil.

    The point is Paul describes such Jews as he would Gentiles, “dogs, evildoers”, i.e. RITUALLY UNCLEAN people!

    But not because circumcision itself is bad. He’s talking about those who were causing trouble and saying that circumcision was necessary for salvation.

  144. on 30 Mar 2011 at 2:57 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    But not because circumcision itself is bad.

    It is when you persist on continuing Torah under the New Covenant, which comes under the Law of Christ. Hence Paul’s HARSH language.

    The arguments of the person who is influencing you do not come from the one who is calling you. A little yeast spreads through the whole batch of dough…

    the one who is confusing you will suffer God’s judgment regardless of who he is. Brethren, if I am still preaching that circumcision is necessary, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the cross wouldn’t be offensive anymore.

    I wish those troublemakers would CASTRATE [MUTILATE] themselves. Gal 5.8-12

  145. on 30 Mar 2011 at 8:07 pmMark C.

    It is when you persist on continuing Torah under the New Covenant, which comes under the Law of Christ. Hence Paul’s HARSH language.

    That depends on what you mean by “continuing Torah.” The people he is talking about in the verses you quoted were not just saying, “We want to circumcise our children and keep the Law.” They were saying, “Unless you circumcise your children and keep the Law you cannot be saved.” That is the important difference, and what Paul was strongly opposing with his harsh language.

  146. on 30 Mar 2011 at 9:02 pmRay

    It seems to me that anyone who ever came to Christ for refuge, came to him through the law.

    Can we say that the law is a gate through which all the righteous must enter?

    Once through the gate, we come to the cross. We can’t avoid it.

    We can’t stay at the gate. We have to move on and go on our journey. We can’t go on without the cross.

  147. on 30 Mar 2011 at 10:08 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray,
    Y’shua does say, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (24) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24, Matthew 24-25 ESV).

  148. on 31 Mar 2011 at 6:48 amMargaret Collier

    Accusation #7:

    Paul is plainly saying that “the gospel that was preached by me” did not come from (or originate from) Peter and the apostles or any of the other church leaders, like James or Barnabas.

    This accusation is true. Paul DID claim that the gospel he preached did not originate from men.

    The question is – was the gospel he preached DIFFERENT FROM the gospel preached by Peter and the other apostles? If it wasn’t, then there is nothing wrong with his claim.

    After all, Peter’s revelation of what God had in mind for the Gentiles did not originate from men, either. It came to him through a vision (Acts 10:9-20). So let’s check the evidence.

    Peter’s view of the gospel is recorded in Acts 15:7-11. He told the church at Jerusalem (including the Jews who wanted to force the Gentiles to be circumcised and follow the Law) that when he preached the gospel to Cornelius’s household,

    God … put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith … We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

    So Peter taught that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; that both are purified by faith and saved through grace.

    Paul’s view is found in Romans 3:21-24. Here, righteousness is manifested by faith. There is no difference, for ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    Since Paul’s gospel is the same as Peter’s, we are justified in assuming that it came (ultimately) from the same source. They were teaching the same gospel.

    ———————————————————————————-

    Accusation #8:

    Further along in Galatians 1:9, Paul says, “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”
    Who is he cursing??? From the following verse from Galatians 1:11-12, it appears (to me anywaze) he is cursing Peter and the apostles and the gospel they were teaching.

    It has already been demonstrated that Paul and Peter taught the same gospel. So he is NOT cursing Peter and the apostles and the gospel they were preaching.

    When Peter made his speech to the church in Acts 15, he was speaking in SUPPORT of Barnabus and Paul. He agreed with them that circumcision and keeping the Law as a means of salvation was a “yoke” that even the Jews had not been able to bear, and putting that same yoke around the neck of the Gentiles would be “tempting God”. Peter and Paul were in complete agreement on what the gospel message was.

    On the other hand, neither Peter nor Paul ever told Jews that they SHOULD NOT be circumcised. That, too, is false. But Paul’s anger was hot against the Jews who were still trying to force Gentiles to wear that “yoke of bondage,” years after the matter had been settled in Jerusalem. They were the ones who were teaching a “different gospel”.

    And unless Peter had changed his mind, he would still support Paul.

    It is worth repeating that the charge is false. Paul was NOT cursing Peter, nor was he cursing the gospel Peter preached.

  149. on 31 Mar 2011 at 11:25 amXavier

    Mark C.

    The people he is talking about in the verses you quoted were not just saying, “We want to circumcise our children and keep the Law.” They were saying, “Unless you circumcise your children and keep the Law you cannot be saved.” That is the important difference, and what Paul was strongly opposing with his harsh language.

    I do not see any difference. They are pushing for Torah under the New Covenant. CLEARLY for Paul that is “bad, wrong, EVIL”!

  150. on 31 Mar 2011 at 2:40 pmMark C.

    Xavier,

    The difference is what Margaret and Thomas have been talking about, regarding the false accusation against Paul. He had not said that circumcising, observing the Sabbath and keeping the Law were bad things to do if individuals wanted to do them. He said that they should not be done as being NECESSARY FOR SALVATION. Do them, fine. But don’t teach others that THEY MUST do them.

  151. on 31 Mar 2011 at 3:40 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    He had not said that circumcising, observing the Sabbath and keeping the Law were bad things to do if individuals wanted to do them…Do them, fine. But don’t teach others that THEY MUST do them.

    Let me get this straight…so its no problem for a Christian to follow Torah [ALL OF IT and not just some] as long as they don’t teach it to others?

  152. on 31 Mar 2011 at 4:39 pmMark C.

    Let me get this straight…so its no problem for a Christian to follow Torah [ALL OF IT and not just some] as long as they don’t teach it to others?

    Nobody can keep ALL OF IT – that’s why it can’t be done for salvation or righteousness. But if an individual wants to do certain things, like circumcise his children, eat certain foods, or observe the Sabbath, it is not sin, as long as he understands and professes that he is saved by grace through faith, by the blood of Jesus, and doesn’t teach that others have to do these things in order to be saved.  (Also, as long as it doesn’t cause his brother to stumble.)  I don’t know why this surprises you; this is what Paul wrote in his epistles.

  153. on 31 Mar 2011 at 5:13 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    I don’t know why this surprises you; this is what Paul wrote in his epistles.

    Where?

  154. on 31 Mar 2011 at 5:23 pmMark C.

    Xavier,

    Rom. 2:25-29; 7:6-7; 14:1-23
    I Cor. 8:1-13
    II Cor. 3:1-11 [The letter kills because nobody can keep all the Law and thus everyone is worthy of death.]
    All of Galatians (note esp. 5:6 & 6:15)
    Phil. 3:1-11
    Col. 2:8-23
    I Tim. 1:5-11

  155. on 31 Mar 2011 at 5:28 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    I fail to see in these passages where Paul is saying what you imply. If anything they are ANTI-TORAH!

  156. on 31 Mar 2011 at 5:40 pmMark C.

    Xavier,

    I fail to see in these passages where Paul is saying what you imply.

    I just reread each of those passages before I posted them.  Did you reread them before responding?

    What specific passages do you see as anti-Torah? (Remember, none of the ones you quoted so far have been anti Torah, just anti-MANDATORY keeping of Torah, and anti-Torah FOR SALVATION.)

  157. on 31 Mar 2011 at 9:17 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    If we understand and profess a salvation based on the faith OF Jesus and his atoning death on the cross as a way to salvation, you will not see a need to keep Torah…whatever your reason or motivation may be! This is clearly in line with what the NT teaches in the way of the New Covenant Law of Messiah and not Moses! As Charles Hunting writes:

    The whole Mosaic system was waived [as] James declared [in Acts 15.28-29…It was obvious that these prohibitions were partly in deference to Jewish converts.

    Were the Gentile Christians thus deprived of the blessings of the Mosaic Torah? Hardly. [as] Peter had said to his Jewish Christian opponents [in Acts 15.10].

    The standard of conduct for Christian believers given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5, 6, 7) clearly stated the core beliefs for all converts, whether Jew or Gentile.

    Jesus had come to fulfill or “fill with full meaning” the whole of the Old Testament (the “Law and the Prophets”). He had not come to reinforce in the letter the Old Testament covenant under Moses. If he had, then Paul would be plainly exposed as a false prophet. (This is the view taken by some who accept Jesus but not Paul — without realizing that such is an impossibility.) Certainly the Hebrew Bible has not lost any of its validity, but it is to be understood in the light of the New Covenant. For example, while physical circumcision was absolutely required of Jew and Gentile within the covenant (Gen. 17:9-14), Jesus, speaking through Paul, made it clear that circumcision is now to be understood in a non-physical, spiritual sense — of the heart, internally and not externally. That is a major revision of the letter of Old Testament law (Torah).

    http://focusonthekingdom.org/articles/sabbathbook.pdf

  158. on 31 Mar 2011 at 11:04 pmMargaret Collier

    I have been reading the section beginning with Acts 15:1 and ending with ch. 16:5. And I was suddenly struck by how important it was for Timothy to be circumcised, right at that juncture.

    If you read the whole section carefully, and consider the significance of ch. 16:3-5, I think you will see what I mean.

  159. on 01 Apr 2011 at 7:16 amMark C.

    If we understand and profess a salvation based on the faith OF Jesus and his atoning death on the cross as a way to salvation, you will not see a need to keep Torah…whatever your reason or motivation may be!

    I agree and have agreed all along. But there is a difference between doing something out of need and choosing to do it of your free will. There is also a difference between saying something is not needed and saying it is wrong to do.

    You seem to be missing this distinction which those false accusers against Paul also missed. He didn’t say to forsake the Law, he said it was not necessary for salvation. Forbidding anyone from doing something (as long as they don’t consider it necessary or mandatory) is as much “legalism” as saying the letter of the Law is mandatory. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything. That’s why it was okay for Timothy to be circumcised.

  160. on 01 Apr 2011 at 9:00 amMargaret Collier

    Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything. That’s why it was okay for Timothy to be circumcised.

    Exactly.

    In fact, given the context, Timothy’s circumcision was perfectly designed to fit the situation. Paul and Silas and Timothy were going from city to city, teaching that circumcision and Torah observance were NOT necessary for salvation, and anyone who demanded those things of the Gentiles were never authorized by the apostles (v. 4).

    But their audiences were composed of BOTH Jews and Gentiles. How would Jewish believers react to this teaching? Would they begin to wonder whether they should stop circumcising their children?

    Timothy’s circumcision provides the answer. His mother was a Jewess, so he was a Jew by birth. He knew the Hebrew scriptures, because his mother and grandmother had taught them to him since childhood. He was also a believer in Israel’s Messiah. But he lacked the distinctive mark of a true Israelite, because his father was a Greek.

    So Timothy, before joining Paul and Silas in this work, was circumcised – not for his own sake, but for the sake of the Jews to whom he would be witnessing.

    That makes the message complete. On the one hand, the letter from Jerusalem tells Gentile believers that they are in no way inferior to Jewish believers, and there is no need to conform to Jewish traditions.

    On the other hand, the deliberate act of circumcising an adult Jew who was not only a believer but a teacher of the Way, tells the Jews that keeping the traditions of their nation is not wrong. They were perfectly free to circumcise their children. In fact, it would keep their children mindful of their heritage, which is a good thing.

    In other words, circumcision is a non-issue, so far as the church is concerned.

    The result: harmony and unity in the church, despite their cultural differences. “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (v. 5).

  161. on 01 Apr 2011 at 9:57 amXavier

    Mark C.

    I agree and have agreed all along.

    Do we really? You keep saying there is nothing wrong in practicing something that has been made void [waved].

    Forbidding anyone from doing something (as long as they don’t consider it necessary or mandatory) is as much “legalism” as saying the letter of the Law is mandatory. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything. That’s why it was okay for Timothy to be circumcised.

    Again, Paul AT TIMES followed Torah in order to win those who thought it important at all to Christ.

    Paul is certainly forbidding people from doing ANYTHING that is Torah related not just because it does not get you “saved”, but because of the super-natural revelation he experienced on the road to Damascus. Where he clearly became a “slave for Christ” and as a result, a staunch opponent to Mosaics.

    If this same revelation comes to you there will be no NEED or WANT in the part of the convert to go back to ANY Torah-related practice. Why would you!?

    Mark, there is a big danger in teaching, as you and others are doing here, that there is nothing wrong in someone wanting “to do certain things, like circumcise his children, eat certain foods, or observe the Sabbath”.

    Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think those deserve to be punished who have trampled the Son of God underfoot, who have treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who have insulted the Spirit of grace? Heb 10.28-29

  162. on 01 Apr 2011 at 2:53 pmMark C.

    Do we really? You keep saying there is nothing wrong in practicing something that has been made void [waved].

    First of all, what I said I agree with was your statement that if we understand and profess a salvation based on the faith of Jesus we will not see a need to keep Torah. And I clarified that there is no NEED to keep Torah, but nowhere does it say that specific actions associated with Torah are bad.

    Second, Paul specifically says that the Law is NOT made void in Rom. 3:31 – “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” [KJV]. People who are zealous for the Law keep accusing us of saying the Law is void or nullified, and I keep having to remind them that we are not, according to Paul.

    Again, Paul AT TIMES followed Torah in order to win those who thought it important at all to Christ.

    Then how can you say that it is sin to follow Torah?

    Paul is certainly forbidding people from doing ANYTHING that is Torah related…

    Where? Show me one passage of Scripture that says it is wrong to do ANYTHING that is Torah related (as opposed to saying it is not necessary and should not be taught as being mandatory).

    …because of the super-natural revelation he experienced on the road to Damascus…

    The revelation on the road to Damascus was Jesus calling him. It said nothing about his understanding of the Law being fulfilled, which was most likely revealed to him at a later time. In any case, there is nothing in the Bible that says he got revelation that it was wrong to do anything Torah related.

    If this same revelation comes to you there will be no NEED or WANT in the part of the convert to go back to ANY Torah-related practice. Why would you!?

    Any number of reasons. Paul had reason to circumcise Timothy. Many people prefer to eat certain foods and avoid certain others, and many people enjoy dedicating one day a week totally to God. “Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5). There is nothing in any of Paul’s writings, or anywhere else in the Bible, that says they should not do these things, as long as they don’t think that they are righteous and/or saved because they do them, and don’t allow them to overshadow what’s really important, namely their faith in Jesus.

    Mark, there is a big danger in teaching, as you and others are doing here, that there is nothing wrong in someone wanting “to do certain things, like circumcise his children, eat certain foods, or observe the Sabbath”.

    On the contrary, there is big danger in teaching this legalism which curtails the freedom we have in Christ. The passage from Hebrews you quoted says nothing about doing things associated with the Law. The context, in fact, is defined in verse 26: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”

    Nobody is talking about rejecting Jesus or the blood of his New Covenant. We’re simply pointing out that it is not the acts of the Law themselves that are wrong according to Paul, it is considering them necessary for salvation that is wrong. Margaret put it very well when she said:

    In other words, circumcision is a non-issue, so far as the church is concerned.

  163. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:03 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I see what you mean. I especially found Acts 16:4 convincing. “As they went through the towns, they passed on the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the Gentile believers to obey.” (Net bible).

    I never noticed this before. It is worded slightly differently in the ESV that I study. This will definately require me to do some thinking and praying.

    Thanks. And I hope you have a great weekend…

  164. on 01 Apr 2011 at 8:28 pmXavier

    Mark C

    …but nowhere does it say that specific actions associated with Torah are bad.

    Apart from the way Paul describes circumcision and those who practice it [“mutilators, dogs” etc.] it is clear what the Apostles thought about Torah in general: “a YOKE”!

    People who are zealous for the Law keep accusing us of saying the Law is void or nullified, and I keep having to remind them that we are not, according to Paul.

    So I suppose Jesus and the Apostles are simply REPEATING Torah? I do not think so. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, when there is a CHANGE in the priesthood it is clear that there also HAS TO BE A CHANGE TO TORAH!

    Then how can you say that it is sin to follow Torah?

    Paul is tricky, as we well know, as such he walked a fine line. As he says in Romans 14, in his ‘heart of hearts’ he knew whose Law he was serving. Perhaps what he HAD TO DO at times was his choice and not specifically something we should do. Either way, we know WHY HE DID THEM.

    Where? Show me one passage of Scripture that says it is wrong to do ANYTHING that is Torah related…

    Gal 4.9-10; Col 1.16-17 compare this with what James 2.10-13. It is all one package!

    Like the Christmas thing this isn’t going anywhere. I have said my piece and let those who read it further analyze and “be convinced in their own minds”. For my part, like Paul, “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the lord Jesus” of whose Law I am supposed to follow and teach. And it certainly does not mean REPEATING Torah!

  165. on 02 Apr 2011 at 12:50 amMark C.

    Apart from the way Paul describes circumcision and those who practice it [”mutilators, dogs” etc.] it is clear what the Apostles thought about Torah in general: “a YOKE”!

    The only two places where it’s called a yoke is in Acts 15 and Gal. 5. The context of Acts 15 was whether or not the Law was required for salvation. The context of the entire epistle of Galatians is the contrast between law and grace. Gal. 5:1 says to “keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” But we see from the chapter that he is talking about “you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Two verses later is the verse we have been quoting: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.”

    So I suppose Jesus and the Apostles are simply REPEATING Torah? I do not think so.

    What? Where in the world do you get that from? I even quoted the verse that it comes from (Rom. 3:31) – “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” If you don’t understand what that means, then perhaps you need to review Paul’s writings. Walking in love by the spirit fulfills the Law – that’s what the New Covenant is all about.

    Paul is tricky, as we well know, as such he walked a fine line. As he says in Romans 14, in his ‘heart of hearts’ he knew whose Law he was serving. Perhaps what he HAD TO DO at times was his choice and not specifically something we should do. Either way, we know WHY HE DID THEM.

    That is a perfect description of what I’m talking about. Because the Law is no longer mandatory Paul was able to walk that fine line and do things by his own choice. He could never have done that under the Old Covenant. But because neither circumcision nor uncircumcision mean anything, it is a non-issue – neither mandated nor forbidden.

    Gal 4.9-10; Col 1.16-17 compare this with what James 2.10-13. It is all one package!

    Gal. 4:9 asks, “…how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” Once again we are talking about people putting themselves in bondage by believing and/or teaching that these things were mandatory.

    Col. 1:16-17 says nothing about the Law, so I’m assuming you meant Col. 2:16-17. Verse 16 says, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day…” Notice it says no one should judge them. That works both ways. No one should judge them for not observing the Old Covenant since it is no longer required, nor should anyone judge them regarding food or special days if they choose to observe certain things, as he wrote in Romans 14. “Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” They used to believe it was mandatory, now it is not.

    James 2 is dealing with why the Law cannot make one righteous.

    James 2:
    10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
    11 For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
    12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
    13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

    Again we are talking about trying to be righteous and/or saved by the Law, and this is why we can’t – because nobody can keep the whole Law. But I am not – nor have I been – talking about observing the Law to be righteous. I am talking about those who wish to observe certain things for other reasons (see previous post) as long as they don’t do it of necessity or because they believe it’s required. The response to such people is in verse 12 – “act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.” If you forbid someone from doing what they choose, where is the liberty? Any rule that says you must or must not do something is law, which is what Paul strongly opposes, contrasting it with the liberty we have by walking in love by the spirit.

    Like the Christmas thing this isn’t going anywhere…

    I agree. I’ve been repeating myself, and I am honestly baffled by your not understanding what should be a simple principle. I guess once again we’ll have to agree to disagree. I would exhort you to review Paul’s writings with an open and prayerful mind.

  166. on 02 Apr 2011 at 7:41 amXavier

    Mark C

    Couldn’t help meself. 🙂

    Walking in love by the spirit fulfills the Law – that’s what the New Covenant is all about.

    Obedience of faith is based on the teachings of Jesus and his apostles. The requirement for entrance into the Kingdom is dependent on understanding and practicing those laws. NEW Covenant not the OLD!

    Because the Law is no longer mandatory Paul was able to walk that fine line and do things by his own choice.

    So why would you go back to it if not to win others to Christ? i.e. do observe it so as not to offend or make the WEAKER brethren stumble! I do not understand why you would do it just because it is not, according to you, explicitly stated as void/worthless.

    Again we are talking about trying to be righteous and/or saved by the Law, and this is why we can’t – because nobody can keep the whole Law.

    You keep making my point time and time again. To keep Torah, in any form, is equivalent to trying to justify yourself by anything else than the person of the Messiah and his law. So again, why would you do any of those things that the NT writers clearly see as an impediment to “freedom” and eventual “eternal life” [salvation]?

    I would exhort you to review Paul’s writings with an open and prayerful mind.

    Jesus’ teachings and actions should help us understand Paul.

  167. on 02 Apr 2011 at 2:56 pmMark C.

    Obedience of faith is based on the teachings of Jesus and his apostles. The requirement for entrance into the Kingdom is dependent on understanding and practicing those laws. NEW Covenant not the OLD!

    Absolutely. I’m not arguing that point. But the New Covenant is not just a new set of laws. It’s about walking by the spirit and walking in love, which fulfills the Law.

    So why would you go back to it if not to win others to Christ? i.e. do observe it so as not to offend or make the WEAKER brethren stumble!

    That’s one reason. There are others, as I pointed out. But Paul would not have done so if it were sin to observe anything Torah related, as you claim.

    I do not understand why you would do it just because it is not, according to you, explicitly stated as void/worthless.

    According to me? It was Paul’s exact words in Rom. 3:31.

    You keep making my point time and time again.

    If that’s what you think, then you are completely missing my point.

    To keep Torah, in any form, is equivalent to trying to justify yourself by anything else than the person of the Messiah and his law.

    That is not what the NT says. It says that to keep Torah in order to try to justify yourself is wrong, as is trying to justify yourself by anything else than the person of the Messiah and his law. But it does not say that keeping Torah “in any form” is wrong. Those who wish to eat certain foods or observe certain days are free to do so, as much as those who choose not to (so long as they don’t do it to try to be justified). This is the whole point of Romans 14.

    So again, why would you do any of those things that the NT writers clearly see as an impediment to “freedom” and eventual “eternal life” [salvation]?

    Again, the NT writers say that doing the Law in order to be righteous is an impediment to freedom and eternal life. Why? Because the Law is bad? God forbid. The Law is holy and just and we are not, so we can never keep the whole Law. Paul discusses this at length in his epistles.

    Jesus’ teachings and actions should help us understand Paul.

    Yes they should. And it was Jesus who first taught about a righteousness that goes beyond the Law, and how “Love God and love your neighbor” is the goal, on which hangs all the Law. Neither Jesus nor Paul ever said the works of the Law are bad. They said relying on the works of the law for righteousness and justification is bad. I don’t know how to say it any clearer.

  168. on 02 Apr 2011 at 4:29 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    …the New Covenant is not just a new set of laws.

    I thought that’s what the Mount of Olives discourse was all about, set of laws to follow in order to enter the coming KOG.

    But Paul would not have done so if it were sin to observe anything Torah related, as you claim.

    I see. I stand corrected, i.e. I know what you mean.

    Those who wish to eat certain foods or observe certain days are free to do so, as much as those who choose not to (so long as they don’t do it to try to be justified). This is the whole point of Romans 14.

    I thought “the whole point of Romans 14” is to distinguish between those “strong” and “weak” Christians.

    They said relying on the works of the law for righteousness and justification is bad. I don’t know how to say it any clearer.

    Yes we have agreed on this fundamental point since day one [or was it weeks ago we started this? feels like it :)]. My simple point of departure is what you said earlier that it is a personal choice whether you want to follow circumcision, Sabbath, etc. As a teacher I would instead try to teach and explain what is meant by the New Covenant law of Christ & not go back to the law of Moses.

  169. on 02 Apr 2011 at 4:32 pmDoubting Thomas

    Mark C.
    I’ve been rereading yours and Margaret’s posts about the teachings of Paul and I think his teachings are now starting to make sense to me. When I was trying to study them on my own, I would just end up getting frustrated and angry because what he said seemed to be contradictory. At least to me anywaze.

    I want to thank both you and Margaret (and Robert) for taking the time to try to explain Paul’s teachings to me. I still have questions (red flags) to deal with. But at least I can now understand what it was Paul was teaching. I hope everybody has a great weekend (What’s left of it). God Bless…

  170. on 02 Apr 2011 at 11:01 pmMark C.

    I thought that’s what the Mount of Olives discourse was all about, set of laws to follow in order to enter the coming KOG.

    The term “Mount of Olives discourse” generally refer to the discourse about the end times (Matt. 24). I’m assuming you mean the Sermon on the Mount? And in that sermon, he didn’t present a set of laws in order to enter the KOG. If so, no one would make it, as he talked about things like thinking evil is as bad as murder, and looking with lust as bad as adultery. He was contrasting the heart with outward actions. And it was in order to describe what Kingdom behavior should look like. But the key to achieving it is not by following rules. It’s by getting a new heart.

    I thought “the whole point of Romans 14″ is to distinguish between those “strong” and “weak” Christians.

    Not so much to distinguish them. He was saying not to judge each other. Those who eat certain things or observe certain days are not to judge those who don’t, and those who don’t are not to judge those who do. Each person is to be persuaded in his own mind, because either way, they are honoring the Lord.

    Romans 14:
    1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.
    2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.
    3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.
    4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
    5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
    6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

    Also it goes on to say that we are not to do anything that causes our brother to stumble.

    14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
    15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

    This is the thing I’ve been trying to get across. “Nothing is unclean in itself.” It is not the ACT of circumcision that is bad, but only the belief that it is NECESSARY for salvation. It is not the ACT of eating the right foods defined by the Law that is wrong, but doing it because they believe they HAVE TO. It is not the ACT of dedicating one day a week to God that is wrong, but doing it out of NECESSITY or teaching that it is REQUIRED.

    Yes we have agreed on this fundamental point since day one…

    Then you still miss my point, because you didn’t quote my entire comment. What I said was: “Neither Jesus nor Paul ever said the works of the Law are bad. They said relying on the works of the law for righteousness and justification is bad.

    My simple point of departure is what you said earlier that it is a personal choice whether you want to follow circumcision, Sabbath, etc.

    Again, that depends on what you mean by “follow.” I have repeatedly said that it is wrong to keep the Law out of necessity, or in order to be righteous or justified. But the SPECIFIC ACTS of circumcising one’s children, observing special days, eating certain foods, etc. are not sinful IN AND OF THEMSELVES. So it is a matter of personal choice whether or not you want to do them AS LONG AS YOU UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S NOT MANDATORY, AND AS LONG AS YOU DON’T OFFEND A BROTHER IN SO DOING.

    As a teacher I would instead try to teach and explain what is meant by the New Covenant law of Christ & not go back to the law of Moses.

    That would be beyond the scope of this thread; however I have written a series of articles about it on my website: http://godskingdomfirst.org/KingdomLiving.htm

    This particular part of the discussion was about whether the accusation that Paul was telling Jews to forsake the Law was true or not. We made the distinction that Paul did not say to forsake the Law, but not to make it their identity or source of righteousness. This led into the whole debate about whether or not it was sin to do ANYTHING TORAH RELATED. But at NO TIME did I ever say anything about “going back to the Law of Moses.” I hope you can see the difference here.

  171. on 03 Apr 2011 at 12:48 amXavier

    Mark C

    Your here advising people that it is not bad in and of itself to get circumcised, keep Sabbath, etc., as long as you do not force it onto others or believe it leads to righteousness. If so, do you practice what your preaching?

  172. on 03 Apr 2011 at 2:49 amMark C.

    Xavier,

    Yes I do. I was circumcised as a baby, as were many in my generation, and it had nothing to do with Judaism. It was just a standard practice at the time, because they believed it was more hygienic. They don’t do it automatically as much these days, as far as I know. I have no children, so the question of whether or not to circumcise them has not been an issue.

    As for keeping Sabbath, I don’t, but not because I think it’s wrong to. I just choose not to. I also choose to eat both kosher and non-kosher foods, but again, it’s by choice.

    The freedom we have allows much more leeway than any law. Some people I know do observe the Sabbath – by their choice. I’ve even known of some who take a day off to dedicate to God, but not on Saturday.

    Another aspect of the Law I’ve been wanting to look into is the Passover Seder, though I haven’t had the opportunity yet. I know of many Christians who have done it for the purpose of learning about the typology and symbolism in it. They don’t do it to “fulfill the Law” but to learn about the background and the roots of our faith. They wouldn’t be able to do so if any NT writers had said it was sinful to do anything related to the Law.

  173. on 03 Apr 2011 at 8:55 amXavier

    Mark C

    They don’t do it to “fulfill the Law” but to learn about the background and the roots of our faith. They wouldn’t be able to do so if any NT writers had said it was sinful to do anything related to the Law.

    Still, I do not see the NEED or WANT to do any of those things. The argument of doing them “to learn about the background and the roots of our faith” is not only weak but dangerous. In that case let’s try out some of the Levital laws, how about the one about not mixing fabrics? Here’s a good one, let’s start pruning trees in the seventh year!

    The Torah was given to the nation of Israel on the condition that OBSERVANCE & OBEDIENCE to it allowed you to retain the covenant promises. This position is simply failing to understand New Covenant theology. Either Jesus and the apostles are DOING AWAY Torah under the NEW covenant promises or they did not!

  174. on 03 Apr 2011 at 9:44 amMark C.

    Still, I do not see the NEED or WANT to do any of those things.

    Even so, we are commanded not to judge our brothers if they choose to.

    The argument of doing them “to learn about the background and the roots of our faith” is not only weak but dangerous.

    DANGEROUS to learn about how the Law pointed to Christ?!!  It is that kind of thinking that led Christians to turn away from the Old Testament and lose the understanding of the Kingdom Gospel.

    Either Jesus and the apostles are DOING AWAY Torah under the NEW covenant promises or they did not!

    According to Paul, they did not. Please reread the above comments, and especially the Scriptures cited. Better yet, reread Paul’s epistles. I will pray that God helps you to see the wonders of His grace.

  175. on 03 Apr 2011 at 10:00 amXavier

    Mark C

    Even so, we are commanded not to judge our brothers if they choose to.

    True. But we have a RESPONSIBILITY to teach them sound doctrine in order to make them STRONG.

    DANGEROUS to learn about how the Law pointed to Christ?!! It is that kind of thinking that led Christians to turn away from the Old Testament and lose the understanding of the Kingdom Gospel.

    One thing is LEARNING/STUDYING it, another is PRACTICING it for no other reason than just to FEEL what it is like to be a Jew.

    I will pray that God helps you to see the wonders of His grace.

    This reminds me of a cartoon I saw where you had 2 opposing teams each praying for victory. 🙂

    Mark, I believe you are simply misunderstanding New Covenant theology. I do not understand why your so adamant in your opposition to teaching that instead of telling people its okay to practice whatever Torah law you happen to like.

  176. on 03 Apr 2011 at 2:51 pmMark C.

    Mark, I believe you are simply misunderstanding New Covenant theology.

    Have you read the articles on my website? You could also read commentaries by others. I am not the only one who believes as I do.

    I do not understand why your so adamant in your opposition to teaching that instead of telling people its okay to practice whatever Torah law you happen to like.

    I provided Scriptural reasons. I do not understand why you are so adamant to impose legalistic laws when Paul was so adamantly against it. There’s nothing else I can say that I haven’t said already.

  177. on 03 Apr 2011 at 2:57 pmXavier

    Mark C

    I am not the only one who believes as I do.

    Maybe. First time for everything though.

    …Paul was so adamantly against it.

    Yes. Paul and the other NT writers are adamantly against practicing/observing Torah.

  178. on 03 Apr 2011 at 3:10 pmMark C.

    Maybe. First time for everything though.

    What does that even mean?

    Yes. Paul and the other NT writers are adamantly against practicing/observing Torah.

    They are also against imposing ANY laws that focus on people’s actions rather than their hearts.  (BTW, ask Anthony Buzzard if he believes the New Covenant was just a new set of laws.)

    I don’t understand why you keep misstating my position. The fact that you refer to it as “practicing Torah” shows you once again miss the point. It is not practicing Torah (law) that I am referring to. Law means that it is mandatory, which we agree that it is not. I am talking about specific ACTIONS which are not evil in and of themselves.

    BTW, you missed the point about experiencing a Passover celebration as well.  It isn’t “just to FEEL what it is like to be a Jew.”  It is to understand the symbolism and typology that was in the Mosaic Law which pointed to Christ.

    I also don’t understand why you don’t see the simple concept that there is a difference between saying something is not necessary and saying it is wrong or sinful.

    We’re going in circles and I’m repeating myself. Like I said, there’s nothing more I can say that I haven’t said already, and you continue to misunderstand. I guess we should just agree to disagree.

  179. on 03 Apr 2011 at 6:13 pmXavier

    Mark C

    It is to understand the symbolism and typology that was in the Mosaic Law which pointed to Christ.

    I can do that by studying and searching the scriptures. I do not see a NEED or WANT to actually do somethings the Torah contains.

  180. on 03 Apr 2011 at 8:46 pmDoubting Thomas

    Robert and I were just discussing the possibility that this new archeological find (see msg. #140 above) could be the original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. Which is believed by some scholars to be the first Gospel that was written (written prior to 50 A.D). This original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew could also turn out to be the elusive “Q” that biblical scholars have been speculating about for decades now.

    Of course this is all just speculation on the part of Robert and I. It will take some time for the experts to decipher and study these ancient writings that have been found. If anyone is interested in this possibility, Robert sent me an interesting link discussing what is known about the original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, also known as the Gospel of the Hebrews. I will paste the link below;

    http://www.onlinetruth.org/Articles%20Folder/hebrew_gospel_of_matthew.htm

  181. on 04 Apr 2011 at 12:33 amMark C.

    I can do that by studying and searching the scriptures. I do not see a NEED or WANT to actually do somethings the Torah contains.

    Then by all means you should not do it. But you have ZERO basis for saying that NO ONE should do it just because you see no need or want. THAT is the point of Romans 14. Do not judge your brothers concerning these things, for nothing is unclean of itself.

    There is no Scripture that says to forsake Moses, only to see Christ as your identity and righteousness rather than the Law.  Otherwise you are still spreading the same false accusation that was made against Paul in Acts. This brings us back to the point we were discussing before, and hopefully to the end of this circular argument.

  182. on 04 Apr 2011 at 11:02 amXavier

    Mark C.

    Do not judge your brothers concerning these things, for nothing is unclean of itself.

    Again, no one is passing judgment on you or anyone else who sees things like you do regarding this matter. If you want keep harping on the ‘do not judge’ card go ahead, truth is Rom 14 is about the “strong & the weak” Christians and how [through Paul’s teaching/example] we can all come to ONE LEVEL.

    There is no Scripture that says to forsake Moses…

    Your kidding me right? What was the whole Jerusalem Council about? I thought “he broke down the wall of hostility…ending the system of TORAH with its commandments and regulations” [Eph 2.14-15].

    The old Mosaic and national covenant was nailed to Jesus’ cross forever. Period!

  183. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:03 pmMark C.

    Xavier,

    You did it again! It seems as though you’re not even reading what I’ve posted, so I’m not going to bother posting any more.

  184. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:04 pmJoseph

    Xavier,

    I can do that by studying and searching the scriptures. I do not see a NEED or WANT to actually do somethings the Torah contains.

    How do you determine that bestiality and incest are sins?

  185. on 05 Apr 2011 at 8:33 amXavier

    Joseph

    How do you determine that bestiality and incest are sins?

    By the word of God. Same way you determine murder, incest, lying, etc., are sins. If not, as Paul says in Rom 2, for some people the “requirements of the law are written in their hearts. Their consciences speak to them.”

  186. on 05 Apr 2011 at 3:23 pmMargaret Collier

    I agree with you, Mark.

    What has come out of this exchange are two extreme views:

    1. You MUST keep all the ordinances of the Law of Moses or you cannot be saved.

    2. You MUST NOT keep any of the ordinances of the Law or you cannot be saved.

    Both views are wrong, as Peter and Paul both attest. Both kept the Law, but in freedom from the threat of damnation if they failed in some respect.

    But both were adamant that keeping the Law could not save anyone, and that salvation is by faith, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ alone.

    And both showed compassion for the consciences of others.

  187. on 05 Apr 2011 at 5:18 pmXavier

    Margaret

    You MUST NOT keep any of the ordinances of the Law or you cannot be saved.

    The NT writers stress the fact that a New Covenant has been inaugurated by the coming and sacrifice of the promised Jewish Messiah. As well as the fact that to go back under the “yoke” of the Torah is to totally ignore the Law of the spirit.

    This whole argument has been centered on why you would teach anyone that keeping Torah, in any half-hearted form, is NOT A PROBLEM as long as you profess Messiah Jesus. That does not make any sense to me and reflected a lack of understanding regarding the New Covenant.

  188. on 06 Apr 2011 at 3:11 pmMargaret Collier

    I see what you mean. I especially found Acts 16:4 convincing. “As they went through the towns, they passed on the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the Gentile believers to obey.”

    That’s great, Thomas. It will save me the trouble of dealing with accusations #9 and 10 (regarding Paul’s motive for parting with Barnabus). Paul’s choice of Silas as his partner makes it quite clear that Paul had every intention of delivering the decrees of the apostles. He was not trying to get off on his own so that he could teach something else.

    In fact, if you think about it, the difference of opinion between Barnabus and Paul (regarding Mark’s suitability for service) led to the formation of two perfectly designed teams of evangelists. I have really been delighting in the way God works.
    More about that later.

  189. on 07 Apr 2011 at 3:00 pmMargaret Collier

    TEAM 1: Barnabus and John Mark

    Joseph (a Levite from Cyprus) was in Jerusalem during the early days of the church. The apostles called him BARNABUS – “son of consolation” (Acts 4:36). One of his compassionate acts was to sell a field and give the money to the apostles to help feed the multitude.

    Barnabus must have gone to Damascus during the persecution that followed Stephen’s death, because it was thanks to his testimony that the church at Jerusalem accepted Saul (9:26-28).

    Meanwhile, some of the scattered believers went to Antioch (in Syria) and spoke to the Greeks, and great numbers believed (11:19-21). The church at Jerusalem heard about this and sent Barnabus to investigate. When he saw the grace of God at work, he was glad, and he exhorted them to remain true to the Lord, because he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith (v. 24).

    As a result, a great many people were added to the Lord; so Barnabus went to Tarsus to find Saul and bring him back to help. For a whole year they met with the church and taught many. Then a prophet told of a coming famine, and the believers collected a gift for Barnabus and Saul to take to their brothers in Judea (11:25-30).

    About that time, Peter was put in prison; and many believers met in the home of John Mark’s mother to pray for him (12:1-17). So when Barnabus and Saul returned to Antioch, they took John Mark with them (12:25).

    From Antioch (13:1-5) Barnabus and Saul set out on their first missionary journey, taking JOHN MARK as their assistant. They went to Seleucia, Cyprus, and then Perga. At Perga Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem (13:13).

    Barnabus and Saul (now Paul) went to Pisidian Antioch (13:14-52), and Paul’s sermon there is given in some detail. But the Jews rejected the message, and being jealous of the crowds that were coming to hear Paul and Barnabus speak, drove them out. They visited several other difficult cities before returning to Syrian Antioch where they settled down for a while (14:1-28).

    Then men came from Judea, teaching the brothers that unless they were circumcised and kept the law of Moses they could not be saved (15:1-2). That led to the conference in Jerusalem, which ended with the letter from the apostles telling the Gentiles what was expected of them. Barnabus and Paul were sent back to Antioch, along with two of the church leaders, to deliver the letter.

    When Paul suggested going back through all the cities they had visited so far, Barnabus wanted to take John Mark again; but Paul didn’t like to take someone who had deserted them once already. So the two good friends went separate ways.

    Was Barnabus right?

    Absolutely! The time came when Paul was glad to acknowledge that Mark was a valuable minister (2 Timothy 4:11). But it was Barnabus – the son of consolation – who made Mark’s restoration possible.

    That’s pretty condensed; but I hope it gives a fair picture of the team of Barnabus and Mark – a trusted leader and an apprentice who proved himself worthy of his leader’s trust.

    What do you say, Thomas?

  190. on 07 Apr 2011 at 5:44 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    I agree. But my ESV spells his name Barnabas and says it meant son of encouragement. Acts 4:36-37, “Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, (37) sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

    I guess encouragement and consolation mean pretty much the same thing. It is clear however that Barnabas was a very compassionate and loving individual. He felt compassion for Saul (Paul) because the brothers in Jerusalem had rejected him. Barnabas took Saul, a baby Christian who knew very little about Y’shua and his teachings, and put him under his wing and began to teach him all that he needed to know.

    It is clear (to me anywaze) that young Paul (although a great orator/speaker) was the junior partner in this arrangement. What made this such a great partnership was the fact that Barnabas himself was apparently not a great speaker and was lacking in his speaking abilities. So Barnabas had the knowledge and experience, being an eyewitness to Y’shua’s resurrection, and Paul had the gift of convincing a crowd with his great orations.

    Barnabas, being the loving and compassionate person that he was, immediately forgave John Mark and accepted him as a worthy partner in his missionary work. This isn’t really surprising since Barnabas had also forgiven Paul and accepted his as a worthy partner in his missionary work, even though the other brothers in Jerusalem didn’t trust that Paul had actually converted and had initially rejected him.

    Paul as the junior partner should have listened to Barnabas about forgiving John Mark and giving him a second chance, especially since it was Barnabas that accepted Paul and gave him a chance when no one else would. But, Paul for whatever reason decided that he knew better than Barnabas. Just like later Paul would think that he knew better than Peter, Y’shua’s hand-picked leader of the church.

    But, I’m not really sure we should continue this discussion though. Like I said in message #133, “I have been thinking and praying about this and I think it might be time for us to just respectfully agree to disagree. To me this is not a salvation issue. I don’t believe that just because I don’t study a couple of books and some letters that you and others do, that this will in any way effect my salvation. If I’m right about the writings of Paul and John, I also don’t see it effecting your salvation in any way.”

    You and I are good friends and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. Before we began this discussion I told you I don’t like debates, and that I’d rather discuss then attack any day of the week. You said that you didn’t understand this because you yourself like debating. The way I see it, it all has to do with the mindset of people engaged in a debate. It is always adversarial by it’s nature, and there is always a perceived winner and loser.

    I’m not the least bit interested in attacking your beliefs or having you attack my beliefs. Like I have repeatedly said, “I don’t try to force my beliefs on anyone.” However if someone is sincerely interested in why I believe what I believe, I’m happy to share my beliefs with them. There is the very real possibility that when 2 friends enter into a heated debate, that they won’t be such good friends when it is over.

    That’s why I want to emphasize that I beleive it would be better if we just agree to disagree. However if you want to continue to comment on anything that I’ve said, I’ve got no problem with that. I’d be happy to listen to your point of view. I actually enjoy listening to other people’s point of views.

    From the very beginning I’ve indicated that what I was looking for was someone I could “discuss” my beliefs with and in return get some feedback from them. That’s all I’m interested in. I’m not the least bit interested in participating in a debate (of any kind). I do want to thank-you though, for accepting my invitation to come on to K.R. and discuss these things with me.

    May be peace and love of God “OUR” father be with you and with us all…

  191. on 09 Apr 2011 at 11:51 amMargaret Collier

    Thank you for correcting the spelling of Barnabas. And encouragement is a good word. Barnabas was an encouraging person.

    Now I want to look at the second team, consisting of Paul, Silas and Timothy.

    Until Acts 15:39, Paul’s history is bound up with that of Barnabas. For several years they worked together, suffered together, and saw God do mighty works through their labors. Now Paul has different partners, equally well suited to the work.

    SILAS – was a leader in the Jerusalem church, and a prophet who could speak well. He was one of the two chosen by the church at Jerusalem to go with Paul and Barnabas to confirm by word of mouth what had been written in the letter. The Jewish believers in any city would respect Silas, whether they respected Paul or not.

    TIMOTHY – was added to the team after Paul and Silas left Syria and Cilicia (the provinces named in the letter). They then traveled west through Asia Minor; and

    As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. (Acts 16:4-5, NIV)

    The addition of Timothy (who was circumcised before he joined them) was a real advantage. The total message was – Gentiles do not need to become like Jews, and Jews do not need to become like Gentiles. They could be one, without trying to be exactly the same.

    Paul, Silas and Timothy worked together for several years. Their story is told in Acts 16-17, and it is tremendously interesting. They worked together, suffered together, and saw God do mighty works through their labors.

    I am not qualified to judge motives; but ensuing history tells me that BOTH teams of missionaries were used by God for his glory, and for that I can only give thanks.

  192. on 09 Apr 2011 at 12:04 pmMargaret Collier

    Sorry, I made a mistake. Their story does not end in ch. 17. It goes on through chapter 21.

    After that, Silas seems to have remained in Jerusalem, while Paul was imprisoned at Caesarea and then taken to Rome. Timothy, on the other hand, apparently stayed with Paul.

    I was interested to see that Silas was Peter’s “letter-writer” when Peter wrote to the believers in Asia Minor (1 Peter 5:12).

    I was also interested in Peter’s reference to Mark (ch. 5:13).

    And once again, I rejoice that there will always be new and thrilling things to learn from this reliable history of God’s works.

  193. on 09 Apr 2011 at 10:51 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret,
    You said, “SILAS – was a leader in the Jerusalem church, and a prophet who could speak well.”

    I agree. And since he was a leader, he probably would have also been an eyewitness to Y’shua like Barnabas was. This would have made him the senior partner to Paul. I have read Acts Chapter 16-21 and I don’t see how you came to the conclusion that Silas was with Paul right through to Chapter 21. It seems to me that Paul separated from Silas by chapter 18. You will notice in Acts 16 the Holy Spirit “FORBIDS” Paul and Silas to go into Asia. Acts 16:6 “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been ‘FORBIDDEN’ by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.” (ESV – emphasis mine).

    Then it talks about Paul and Silas being imprisoned together and then in chapter 18 Paul goes to Syria apparently without Silas. It says he took Priscilla and Aquila with him. This is when Paul first takes a vow. Acts 18:18 “After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow.” And then Paul goes to Asia (where the spirit had just finished telling Paul and Silas “NOT” to go) 18:19 “And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. ”

    I don’t know anything about ancient geography (so I could be mistaken), but what convinces me that Ephesus was in Asia is the following two verses. Acts 19:10 “This continued for two years, so that ‘ALL THE RESIDENTS OF ASIA’ heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” Acts 19:22 “And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself ‘STAYED IN ASIA’ for a while.” (emphasis mine). From what I can see Silas is never mentioned after chapter 18. Because of my “doubting nature” the question arises, “Why did Paul go to Asia immediately after separating from Silas??? Especially since the Holy Spirit had just forbidden Paul and Silas from going to Asia a couple of chapters earlier in 16:6???

    Because of my “doubting nature” I believe that it could be that Paul knew that all the other Christians were also being banned from going to Asia. So Paul knew he would have Asia completely to himself to teach his own personal version of Christianity. Like I said, I don’t understand why outside the writings of Paul no-one mentions anything about Christian Jews being liberated from the law. The law was the cornerstone of the Jewish faith. If there would have been a change to the very foundation of the Jewish faith, in regards to Jewish Christians and the law, then certainly Peter, James, or even Luke (in Acts) would have mentioned something about this fact. The silence (outside of Paul’s writings) is deafening. At least to me anywaze.

    It also seems to me that if Peter, James and the other church leaders like Barnabas and Silas spoke against Jewish Christians keeping the law of Moses, then “The Way” as the early Christians were called wouldn’t have been accepted as one of the many Jewish sects, nor would they have been welcome in the temple and in all the synagogues throughout the empire. These early Christians certainly would have been excommunicated from the Jewish faith and would not have been welcomed and accepted by their fellow Jews.

    All the Jews that didn’t believe Y’shua was the Messiah would have become very upset and rioted, just like they did when they found out Paul was in their midst in the holy city of Jerusalem. Such a terrible riot/commotion arose that the centurion couldn’t even learn what the facts were when he and his soldiers first came upon Paul being beaten by the mob. Acts 21:34 “Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks.”

    And then after his stay in Asia, when he decided to go to Jerusalem and then on to Rome, there is the fact that many prophets and people strong in the Holy Spirit told Paul that the Holy Spirit did not want Paul to go to Jerusalem. Acts 21:4 “And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul ‘NOT’ to go on to Jerusalem.” (emphasis mine). Like I said, If God had wanted Paul to go Rome he wouldn’t have made it so difficult for Paul to get there. The winds were against him from the very beginning, so much so that they ended up sailing in the dangerous winter storm season, finally a storm so bad they couldn’t see the sun nor stars for 3 days and nights shipwrecks them, almost drowning everyone on board.

    And to top it all off, as soon as Paul gets to dry land he is bit by a poisonous snake. I think it is clear that God was trying to discourage Paul from going to Rome. Certainly it is clear that the Holy Spirit didn’t want him to go to Jerusalem. It must be remembered that Paul could have gave up his appeal to see Caesar at any time, and he would have been free to go. Acts 26:31-32 “And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, ‘This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.’ (32) And Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar’.”

    It seems to me that Paul was determined to go to Rome to personally see Caesar and wasn’t the slightest bit interested in being set free. Especially since he had gone through such elaborate planning and suffering (nearly being beaten to death by a mob), in order that he could get himself arrested and charged, so that he could appeal his case to Caesar. After all Paul said he was going to Jerusalem and then right afterward to Rome way back in Acts 19:21.

    I know I’m not a biblical expert and I don’t mean to offend you or anyone else with my beliefs, but this is just how I see it from my perspective. I am worried my unusual beliefs will cause you or others to be angry with me. But, I do believe that I have to speak from my heart what I believe to be true. Of course I admit that I could be wrong in my interpretations. Which is why I repeatedly emphasize that I don’t want to try to force my beliefs on you, or anyone else. But, I must admit that it is nice to able to share my most unusual beliefs with other people. Like I have said, most people aren’t the least bit interested in listening to why I believe what I believe.

    I want to thank-you for that. I hope you have a great Sunday and God Bless…

  194. on 14 Apr 2011 at 3:14 amJoseph

    Xavier,

    By the word of God. Same way you determine murder, incest, lying, etc., are sins. If not, as Paul says in Rom 2, for some people the “requirements of the law are written in their hearts. Their consciences speak to them.”

    That’s simply just your opinion. The fact is; Yeshua, Paul, you, me, and everyone else in the world that believes in God, uses the Torah as our guide to know everything we should obey in the law. Without the Torah, you are a lost sinner. How can one write a word on our heart? It’s obviously not to be taken literal. It simply means that written in our hearts, as in, we keep the law out of love. That is exactly what Yeshua did.

    We know that Yeshua, as a Jew, obeyed the Torah and taught the Law to his disciples, how do you explain the following in Matthew 28:19-20?…

    “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    Also, saw this great post today that one of my friends wrote up…

    “What was nailed to the cross ?

    Many Christians falsely claim that “the Law has been nailed to the cross” and they quote Colossians 2.14 as their proof text. But in Colossians 2.13-14 we read: “And you being dead in your sins and uncircumcision of flesh, He (God) raised you to life together with him (Yeshua), forgiving you all your sins wiping away the handwriting of the ordinances [the certificate of our indebtedness] which was against us which — because of the regulations — indicted us with legal demands. And he removed (literally “took out of the way”) this [indictment / condemnation / debt] by nailing it to the cross.” As we read in “TanHuma Midrash”, “When a man sins, God writes down the debt of death. If the man repents, the debt is cancelled (i.e. declared invalid). If he does not repent, what is recorded remains genuine (valid).” [vav tzadee (140b)] So also we find in the “Aveenu Malkaynu” prayer, “Our Father, our King in your grant mercy cancel all our debts”. And HaShem has promised, “I , I (Anee) am He (Hoo) Who blots out (wipes away) your transgressions, for My own sake, and will not remember your sins”. [Isa. 43.25] It is *false* to teach that “the Law has been nailed to the cross”. Rather, Paul teaches that when one repents of his sins “by the laying down (or putting off) the fleshly body by the circumcision (i.e. death) of the Messiah” [v.11] “the debt of death” written down in “the handwriting of the ordinances” (i.e. the certificate of our indebtedness) has been “nailed to the cross”.”

  195. on 14 Apr 2011 at 12:00 pmXavier

    Joseph

    I do not see Jesus REPEATING Torah in the Olivet discourse.

    You have heard it say…BUT I TELL YOU… Mat 5.21-22, 27-28, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44

    New Covenant Christianity does not promote the law in the letter. “The letter in fact kills!”. Thus Jesus abolished [FULFILLED] the Torah in dogmas.

    Eph 2:15 is quite clear and it is the parallel with the Col 2:16-17 passage. It is a mistake to re-erect the barrier, the enmity, the law of commands in dogmas, which Jesus has taken down.

    Paul the apostle struggled hard against the “jewish party” [Judaizers = dogs/mutilators, etc.]. Nothing much has changed in some quarters.

    The important thing is to preach the Kingdom and the One God and the Messiah, I think Col 2 is a fair warning: do not yield to teaching which takes us back in the shadows. It will not work!

  196. on 16 Apr 2011 at 7:14 pmDoubting Thomas

    Everyone,
    Robert sent me a fascinating link about the origins of the word Christian. Apparently it was originally spelled Chrestian at one time. I will paste the link below…

    http://www.natzraya.org/Articles/Christian/Christian.html

  197. on 16 Apr 2011 at 8:23 pmXavier

    DT

    Robert sent me a fascinating link about the origins of the word Christian.

    Why is this important?

  198. on 16 Apr 2011 at 9:58 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    I just thought it was a very interesting article filled with a lot of information that I didn’t know. Just thought others might also find it fascinating (like I did)…

  199. on 18 Apr 2011 at 8:45 pmDoubting Thomas

    I’d like to wish Joseph, and anyone else that’s celebrating Passover, a blessed and inspiring Passover. May we never forget the great works of our Father as demonstrated throughout the entire bible, from the beginning to end…

  200. on 18 Apr 2011 at 10:06 pmXavier

    DT

    May we never forget the great works of our Father as demonstrated throughout the entire bible, from the beginning to end…

    “Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

    Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1Cor 5.6-8

  201. on 19 Apr 2011 at 8:37 pmRay

    Thomas,

    That’s a fine blessing and exhortation (#199). I like to hear men give God praise for his word from beginning to end. I find it inspiring.

    Now I have an exhortation to you. Please remember the cross… what men did to Jesus there. The same kind of abuse will happen to those who follow him. It’s something we all need to remember.
    It’s important. It’s good to suffer sometimes. From heaven’s perspective it’s a thing of glory. It was our Lord’s passion to suffer for us. It was then that he was making the purchase. He bought us that way. He won us that way.

    May you have a wonderful Easter/ Passover season.

    Some say that the word Easter should not appear in Acts 12:4. (KJV) I say that that though it may seem strange, I think it’s OK. I
    believe the word Passover (as is found in the other Bibles in Acts 12:4) is fine also.

  202. on 19 Apr 2011 at 9:11 pmDoubting Thomas

    Thanks Ray. I hope you have a great Easter weekend as well…

  203. on 21 Apr 2011 at 6:11 pmJoseph

    Xavier,

    I do not see Jesus REPEATING Torah in the Olivet discourse.

    You have heard it say…BUT I TELL YOU… Mat 5.21-22, 27-28, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44

    New Covenant Christianity does not promote the law in the letter. “The letter in fact kills!”. Thus Jesus abolished [FULFILLED] the Torah in dogmas.

    Eph 2:15 is quite clear and it is the parallel with the Col 2:16-17 passage. It is a mistake to re-erect the barrier, the enmity, the law of commands in dogmas, which Jesus has taken down.

    Paul the apostle struggled hard against the “jewish party” [Judaizers = dogs/mutilators, etc.]. Nothing much has changed in some quarters.

    The important thing is to preach the Kingdom and the One God and the Messiah, I think Col 2 is a fair warning: do not yield to teaching which takes us back in the shadows. It will not work!

    The sermon on the mount no way negates Torah instruction. If anything, it clarifies by which we should follow certain commandments. Remember, Yeshua said not one thing he would change in the law, so let’s take it in context. Not to ABOLISH, but to FILLFULL, not fulfill, as if the law is done away with. Otherwise it would be silly for his fellow Jews to continue on with being law abiding Jews after his death. I think they knew better than you.

    It is also important for you to understand that Yeshua and Paul fought against those who used the legalistic system as their primary means for being holy and saved. There was nothing wrong with the legal system, it was the way that one practiced that system, and the fence that had been built around it. Yeshua taught that love is the primary force that should drive us to keep his commandments. Remember the verse?

    Paul emphasizes the original intention or the spiritual meaning of physical circumcision in his letters. In Romans 2:28-29, for example, we read, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God. IOW, the importance of physical circumcision has always been “that of the heart”. As we read in the Hebrew scriptures, “So circumcise the foreskin of your heart and do not make your neck stiff any longer”. [D’vareem 10.16; cf. 30.6; Yer. 4.4; 9.25] Also, a true “Jew” (Y’hudee

  204. on 21 Apr 2011 at 6:20 pmJoseph

    Looks like the last two paragraphs of my message were cut off. I don’t have the time to write my last paragraph again, but here is what I wrote to finish off the one that was deleted above…

    Also, a true “Jew” (Y’hudee

  205. on 21 Apr 2011 at 6:23 pmJoseph

    I see what happened. I used one of the html symbols and everything was cutoff from there.

    Can a mod please erase the symbol that is keeping my text from being shown in message #203?

    Thanks

  206. on 21 Apr 2011 at 7:40 pmXavier

    Joseph

    If anything, it clarifies by which we should follow certain commandments.

    Agreed. I prefer the term “spiritualizes Torah”. Either way we know he is not simply repeating Torah.

    Fillfull?

  207. on 22 Apr 2011 at 9:48 amRay

    Jesus established the law in the spirit of it (spirit of wisdom?) rather than by legal rule by the letter.

    When he taught about how looking at a woman, lusting after her, is committing adultry in the heart, he was telling us how the law really is, without adding anything to it. It always was that way, though we might not have thought about it that way.

  208. on 22 Apr 2011 at 10:10 amMark C.

    Joseph,

    Unfortunately, the text is not hidden. Once you post your comment, whatever was following the html symbol is gone.

  209. on 22 Apr 2011 at 6:12 pmRay

    Wishing all a good Good Friday.

    It seems to me that if those who crucified Jesus, had known what David knew, they would not have crucified him.

  210. on 22 Apr 2011 at 9:25 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray,
    Wishing you, and everyone else, a Good Friday and a blessed and inspiring Easter weekend. Although I don’t particularly like the name Good Friday. It doesn’t seem to do Y’shua justice considering what he went through. I think that maybe “Dark Friday” would be a more appropriate name…

  211. on 23 Apr 2011 at 12:04 amRay

    I think on that day we are shown the darkness of the human condition because of the fall of man. Yet at the same time we see the goodness of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

  212. on 28 Jun 2011 at 10:31 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    In the other thread you had said, “You do realize the Gospels were NOT written by Jesus himself but by other people like Luke, someone you do not believe in either. Right?”

    I don’t understand why it is that after more than a year of discussing our differences you are still confused about my beliefs. My beliefs are simple. I have doubts about the writings of just two of the N.T. writers, Paul and John, and I also have doubts about any other letters that we don’t know who the author is (like Hebrews).

    I believe the remaining writings are the ones that are the most reliable and accurate and as such those are the writings that I do study. It really isn’t that complicated…

  213. on 28 Jun 2011 at 11:34 pmXavier

    DT

    Previously you said Paul appointed himself an apostle, suggesting he made it all up. But Luke in his Acts of the Apostles details “Saul’s” conversion on the road to Damascus.

    I may be thick but I am having trouble understanding which NT letter you accept as authoritative and why.

    As much as I would like to “persuade” you to accept the whole of the NT, it would be foolish since we do not agree on what “scripture” is.

  214. on 29 Jun 2011 at 12:19 amDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    Luke was one of the followers of Paul. When Paul went to Jerusalem, in Acts 15, Luke accompanied him and made inquiries of people that had actually known Y’shua (unlike Paul who had never met Y’shua). Paul used the information he gathered in Jerusalem (and maybe from other places) to write the gospel according to Luke for his friend Theophilus. The book of Acts is probably based partly on his inquiries in Jerusalem, but mostly from his first hand experience traveling with Paul. This is why most of Acts talks about Paul and his missionary travels.

    Like all of Paul’s followers, Luke would have believed Paul when he said that he had experienced a mystic revelation from Y’shua in which he was appointed an apostle of Christ. Hence Paul repeatedly claimed that he was therefore not inferior in any way to the super apostles. BTW – Paul would not have referred to false apostles as super apostles. Why would Paul say he was not inferior to false apostles???

    That doesn’t make any sense. It is clear that Paul is referring to Peter and the Apostles when he claimed he was not in the least bit inferior to these super apostles.

    You also said, “As much as I would like to “persuade” you to accept the whole of the NT, it would be foolish since we do not agree on what “scripture” is.”

    You seem to believe that Bishop Athanasius, who the R.C. church refer to as the “Father of Orthodoxy”, was somehow infallible when he first put together the books and letters that make up our modern N.T. cannon. This same bishop was Constantine’s head bishop, and his primary spiritual advisor. He was also the leader of the Trinitarian sect. Yet for some reason you don’t believe he was infallible when it comes to his Trinitarian beliefs.

    I might not be much of a scholar, but at least I’m consistent in what I believe. I believe we should “Test everything and retain was is good”. I don’t believe that the question of which books and letters should have been included in the N.T. cannon is something that is sacrosanct and beyond being tested. Like I said I don’t expect you to agree with me. But, I do believe I have the right to question whether Bishop Athanasius was right or not when he included certain books and letters in the N.T. cannon…

  215. on 29 Jun 2011 at 1:16 amSteve

    Here’s my $0.02 worth.

    http://www.kencollins.com/bible/bible-c1.htm

  216. on 29 Jun 2011 at 2:22 amJoseph

    This is my comment in response to Xavier from this thread… http://kingdomready.org/blog/2011/06/25/the-elusiveness-of-christian-freedom-under-the-watchtower-part-1/#comment-89229

    Xavier,

    The simply concept you guys seem to fail to grasp time and time again is that, just as “God was IN Christ”, so was “Christ in Paul, Jude, Peter” etc. Meaning? Their words/teachings/commandments are SUPPOSED to have the same level of authority as that of Messiah’s.

    The key word is “supposed.” But this does not mean that Paul and others would have gone about converting in the same way as Yeshua would have. He is human and makes his own judgements like any other.

    That is why there was debate amongst Paul and his fellow Jewish Christian brothers. If Yeshua somehow nullified the law in any way while observing Torah with the Apostles, then why would Paul and all his brethren pledge allegiance to the Law?… because, that is what Yeshua taught them, and what they learned as part of following God’s commandments. Don’t you think that Yeshua would have prepared them a bit more if there were to be a completely set of different commandments for gentiles? That is a rather hugely important factor here. Yeshua said go and teach them “EVERYTHING that I have commanded you”, not, what you feel is the best way to ease conversion…

    Continued….

  217. on 29 Jun 2011 at 2:23 amJoseph

    continued….

    16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    I think they all understood that getting the message of God unto the world, as he commanded them to do after the resurrection, was of most importance. Teaching new believers the whole Torah (Law) would be a bad way to convert someone of a foreign faith…

    19Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

    Paul understood this and therefore changed his techniques accordingly. That is what Acts 15 is about. Notice that they don’t say that by doing the select things they recommend for them will get them saved, but rather, will “do ye well” (Acts 15:29)… well for what? For coming unto a mature state of obedience to God’s law, the Torah. Which is why they also said…

  218. on 29 Jun 2011 at 2:23 amJoseph

    continued….

    20But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
    21For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

    They understood that there would be teachers mature in the faith that would bring new converts deeper into obeying God’s commandments and sabbath.

    You are welcome to believe what you will, but I think you do take a loose approach to what it means to obey everything that Yeshua taught his disciples. Which is why we disagree in that I take a pure aspect from Yeshua’s point of view, rather than letter from Paul that contain debate and uncertainty.

  219. on 29 Jun 2011 at 2:25 amJoseph

    Sorry for all the posts in a row, but if I try to put it all in one post it gives me a server error and won’t let me post it. Looks like there is a limit being set on the length of my posts. Have you updated WordPress lately?

  220. on 29 Jun 2011 at 7:05 amXavier

    DT

    Luke was one of the followers of Paul.

    Okay, I think I get it now. So because Luke was a “disciple” of Paul his Acts of the Apostles is sullied in your eyes? If this is the case, how can he IN ANY WAY be held as an authoritative figure when it comes to his Gospel of Luke? In other words, what makes the Gospel of Luke more authoritative in your eyes than the Acts of the Apostles?

    It is clear that Paul is referring to Peter and the Apostles when he claimed he was not in the least bit inferior to these super apostles.

    Looks like you missed my previous answer to this. But your view is considered an antiquated one. Because when you read 2Cor 11-12 IN CONTEXT “Paul was probably using a sarcastic title to describe the false apostles who were troubling the Corinthian church, by preaching ‘another Jesus’ and ‘a different gospel’ (see vv. 4, 13–15; see also 12:11).” [ESV Study Bible]

    You seem to believe that Bishop Athanasius, who the R.C. church refer to as the “Father of Orthodoxy”, was somehow infallible when he first put together the books and letters that make up our modern N.T. cannon.

    The canonicity is not based wholly on whether one person just picked them out of thin air. You have to take in the historical as well as traditional acceptance of the books which eventually came to be regarded as canon. But even if what your saying is true, Athanasius [or the R.C. for that matter] didn’t help themseleves by picking books that do not conform to their Catholic theology. 😛

    I do believe I have the right to question…

    Sure you do, no one has stopped you from “testing the spirits”. But how can you, is my question, if even the saying your using [1st letter of John] is not authentic in your eyes?

    Steve

    Interesting link, how’d you come by it?

    Joseph

    He is human and makes his own judgements like any other.

    Hence the crucial statement of “Christ was IN Paul, Peter, Jude” etc.

    Do you accept the Acts of the Apostles as part of “scripture” in your eyes?

  221. on 29 Jun 2011 at 6:21 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You asked, “So because Luke was a “disciple” of Paul his Acts of the Apostles is sullied in your eyes?”

    I don’t consider any of Luke’s writings to be sullied. The way I see it Luke was just a 1st. century historian, who happened to be a follower of Paul. So when he refers to Paul as an apostles this does not provide proof that anyone outside of Paul and his followers believed that Paul was an apostle of Christ. It is just common sense that as a follower of Paul he would have believed Paul’s claims to have received a mystic revelation appointing him as an apostle of Christ.

    You also asked, “In other words, what makes the Gospel of Luke more authoritative in your eyes than the Acts of the Apostles?

    I don’t consider Luke’s Gospel to me more authoritative than Acts. I look at all of Luke’s writings the same. The way I see it he was not an eyewitness, and as such probably isn’t as reliable as the writers who were eyewitness’. But he did have access to people that actually knew Y’shua and had been with Christ during his ministry. So the way I see it, I have no reason to doubt that he didn’t give an honest account of everything he heard and saw.

    Steve,
    I don’t know where Ken Collins gets his information from. He claims that our current N.T. cannon was settled by the year 130 A.D. I will give you a few quotes from the article above;

    “… many of the “church fathers” rejected entire books of the New Testament, yet they are revered!”

    “among the most forceful advocates of his day for the deity of Yeshua (Athanasius was the leader of the faction) and who was – shall we say – not very nice to his opponents. Athanasius was “The Man” among the Trinitarians of his day. (Check out the list again, and you can see how HIS list became YOUR list of New Testament books.) So, obviously, he (the chief Trinitarian) strongly leaned towards adopting any questionable passages or writings that supported his view against what was in the early centuries the dominant opposition to the Trinity. Yes, up to the time of the council at Nicea, the Trinity position was NOT the majority opinion, although Athanasius actually rose to power following Nicea.”

    From my own reading on the subject I’ve learned that at the end of the 1st. century there were approx. a dozen collections of books (or bibles as they were called). Out of all these bibles “only one” had “all” four of our modern gospels in them, and that bible did not contain the writings of Paul. This would seem to demonstrate (to my anywaze) that the majority of Christians “did not” recognize the four canonical gospels that we have today.

    Almost all of these 1st. century bibles did have at least 2 or the 3 synoptics in them. This would seem to demonstrate that the synoptics were widely accepted by the early Christians. By the time Bishop Athanasius arrives on the scene, in the middle of the 4th. century, there were over 2 dozen collections of books (or bibles). At the time Constantine was just finishing construction on his “Church of the Holy Apostles” in his new capital Constantinople.

    He commissioned Bishop Athanasius (who was his head bishop and spiritual advisor) to produce 10 new bibles for this grand new church. Which was the most spectacular building ever built up till that time. It’s dome was the largest dome that was ever built (even up till to this day). The bishop could have used any one of the more than 2 dozen bibles that existed at the time, but instead he put together his own collection of books and letters.

    From what I understand this was the first time in history that this particular collection of books and letters was ever put together in one bible. This collection is almost identical to our modern N.T. cannon (From what I understand a few of the epistles are different in our modern N.T. cannon). I do not claim to be an expert in any way. This is just my own personal understanding from what I have read on the subject.

    Of course my beliefs are based on my knowledge of the subject at hand…

  222. on 29 Jun 2011 at 6:35 pmXavier

    DT

    So the way I see it, I have no reason to doubt that he didn’t give an honest account of everything he heard and saw.

    Except when it comes to his account of Paul in the books of Acts? If this is the case, Luke was no historian but just a patsy for Paul.

  223. on 29 Jun 2011 at 8:12 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    I’m sorry but I don’t understand your question. Luke was not an eyewitness to the events that happened on the road to Damascus, nor to Paul receiving his mystic revelations proclaiming him to be an apostle of Christ, and that authorized him to preach a different gospel from what Peter and the apostles were teaching.

    Everything that Luke wrote about in this regards obviously came directly from Paul. Luke was just a 1st. century historian who wrote down what he saw and heard from other people that he had met during his travels. Of course he “was” an eyewitness to the events that happened in Acts 15 and to some of the other things that happened in Acts.

    Why would Luke not have told the truth about what he heard and saw???

  224. on 29 Jun 2011 at 8:24 pmXavier

    DT

    Luke was not an eyewitness to the events that happened on the road to Damascus…

    How do you know what he wrote about Jesus in his Gospel is true but not what he wrote about Paul in the Acts? Your making assertations as if you were there…how do you know what is true and what is not?

    Why would Luke not have told the truth about what he heard and saw???

    Yes, that is my question to you. I am having trouble following your reasoning.

  225. on 29 Jun 2011 at 9:30 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You said, “How do you know what he wrote about Jesus in his Gospel is true but not what he wrote about Paul in the Acts?”

    I had said that there is no evidence, outside of Paul’s own claims, that he was actually an apostle of Christ. You quoted Acts as if Luke was some sort of independent proof that demonstrated that Paul was indeed an apostle. I simply pointed out the obvious. Luke was a follower of Paul and as such would have believed whatever Paul had told him. That’s what the word “follower” means.

    You also said, “I am having trouble following your reasoning.”

    I don’t understand why you are having trouble following my reasoning. Luke was not an eyewitness to the mystic revelations that Paul received informing him that Y’shua was appointing him as one of his apostles (apparently the 13th. apostle). So the fact that Luke refers to Paul as an apostle is not independent proof that anyone outside of Paul and his followers actually considered Paul to be an apostle.

    It seems to me to be pretty straight forward. You keep insisting that I must accept Paul as Christ’s apostle, and accept that his word is equal to Christ’s word, but like I said in an earlier message, I don’t see any evidence outside of Paul’s own claims that he was actually an apostle of Christ. And I don’t understand why Y’shua would have given him permission to teach a different gospel message from what Peter and the apostles were teaching at the time.

    In Galatians 1:11-12 Paul says in his own words, “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. (12) For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

    In other words Paul is saying that the gospel that was preached by him did not come from Peter and the apostles, but that it came directly from Christ during a mystic revelation. It seems quite clear to me that Paul must have been teaching something different than what Peter and the apostles were teaching at that time. I really don’t understand why you are having a hard time following my logic…

  226. on 29 Jun 2011 at 10:29 pmXavier

    DT

    I simply pointed out the obvious. Luke was a follower of Paul…

    I thought he was a follower of Jesus too. Does that mean we cannot trust what he wrote about him as well?

    So the fact that Luke refers to Paul as an apostle is not independent proof that anyone outside of Paul and his followers actually considered Paul to be an apostle.

    What about Peter who sees Paul’s writings on par with the Hebrew scriptures? Or was he a “follower” of Paul as well?

    I don’t understand why Y’shua would have given him permission to teach a different gospel message from what Peter and the apostles were teaching at the time.

    You mean they did not all preach about the Kingdom of God and the things concerning Messiah Jesus [Acts 8.12]?

  227. on 29 Jun 2011 at 11:29 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You are the one that claims that Paul’s teachings are equal in authority to Y’shua’s teachings. Like I said, from my point of view, I just don’t see it that way. Like Y’shua said, we are “all” brothers and we have “one” teacher and “one” instructor and that is the Christ (or Messiah if you prefer).

    You asked, “What about Peter who sees Paul’s writings on par with the Hebrew scriptures?”

    Most biblical scholars agree that 2nd. Peter was not actually written by the Apostle Peter. I happen to think that they are right. I don’t consider 2nd. Peter as proof of anything other then that someone wanted us to believe that Peter thought that Paul’s mystic revelations were indeed from Christ. Whereas I am not convinced that they were from Christ.

    You also said, “You mean they did not all preach about the Kingdom of God and the things concerning Messiah Jesus [Acts 8.12]?”

    I mean outside of Paul’s writings there isn’t even the slightest hint that the law no longer applied to Jewish Christians. How can the very basis of the Jewish faith be reversed and no-one outside of Paul bothers to even mention it??? (Unless of course you try to quote the unknown author of Hebrews). Besides Paul’s teaching regarding the law contradicts what Y’shua himself taught.

    Mathew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (18) For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

    Why would Y’shua make such a dramatic statement as, “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished”, if he knew the law would no longer be in effect within a very short time after he would be saying this???

    I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That’s why I believe that the law still applies to people like Joseph, who consider themselves to be Jewish Christians. Of course since you and I are Gentiles we are only bound by the modified Noahide law, as mentioned in the decision at the council of Jerusalem.

    From what I understand this is nothing new. Long before the council of Jerusalem righteous Gentiles had always only been bound by the Noahide law. I’m sure Joseph will tell you that this is even true to this day among modern Jews. BTW – I don’t mind you asking questions about why it is I believe what I believe, but I just don’t want to see this evolve into heated disagreement.

    I don’t really expect you to agree with me, but I just wanted to let you know that I have valid reasons for my beliefs. Like I said in an earlier message, I have doubts about certain writings and you don’t. Why can’t we just accept each other the way we are???

  228. on 30 Jun 2011 at 2:24 amWilliam

    Hello Doubting Thomas.

    I just have a couple of comments about some of your points.

    Xavier,
    You are the one that claims that Paul’s teachings are equal in authority to Y’shua’s teachings. Like I said, from my point of view, I just don’t see it that way. Like Y’shua said, we are “all” brothers and we have “one” teacher and “one” instructor and that is the Christ (or Messiah if you prefer).

    The problem I see with that is that is not quite Jesus words. Seeing as Jesus did not write the Gospel’s but are rather written by other people and (aside from Luke) they don’t tell us how they got their information or if they have even been commissioned to write such works, how would we know if they reflect what Jesus said or if the Gospel writers did not change things in order to support their own views?

    I mean outside of Paul’s writings there isn’t even the slightest hint that the law no longer applied to Jewish Christians. How can the very basis of the Jewish faith be reversed and no-one outside of Paul bothers to even mention it??? (Unless of course you try to quote the unknown author of Hebrews). Besides Paul’s teaching regarding the law contradicts what Y’shua himself taught.

    Mathew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (18) For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

    Why would Y’shua make such a dramatic statement as, “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished”, if he knew the law would no longer be in effect within a very short time after he would be saying this???

    Just a couple of comments about the above.

    1. Many Scholars believe Paul’s writings were written earlier then the Gospel’s and give us the earliest ideas about what Christian’s believed. Also we have in Paul information about Himself, how he come to believe in Jesus , where he got his teachings from, where he gets his authority to preach and teach from.

    2 As mention in the first point many scholars date the Gospels latter then Paul’s writing and also would point out that they had their own bias for why they wrote. One example is that many consider the Gospel of Matthew to be was written to show that the Law is not done away with. So they Gospels are not bias free. Also the the writers do not tell use were they got their information, who commissioned them to write them or even if their Gospel were to be used for teaching.

    I think looking at it Paul comes off looking better then the Gospel writers. I would like to know your thoughts about this if you don’t mind.

  229. on 30 Jun 2011 at 2:29 amWilliam

    Well it appears I have included my comments in the texts I quoted. Guess I better pay more attention next time.

  230. on 30 Jun 2011 at 2:30 amJoseph

    Xavier,

    Hence the crucial statement of “Christ was IN Paul, Peter, Jude” etc.

    Do you accept the Acts of the Apostles as part of “scripture” in your eyes?

    I don’t see it as scripture, as in, equal to that of the Tanach. But I do see it as historical letters/evidence that we can learn from. My basic approach is that anything from the NT needs to be put up to the Tanach as the litmus test.

    Just because Christ is “in” someone, does that automatically mean they are perfect in every way that Christ was? If that were true we wouldn’t have over 30k denominations today. What about those that learned from Paul, and so on, and so on? Are they also correct in how they teach what being a Christian means? I know of many people that have “Christ in them” and are way off from understanding the fundamentals of Judeo Christianity. Christ even told us that there will be some that come in HIS NAME, and he’ll say that he never knew them because of their “Lawlessness.” This passage isn’t taking about the Trinity here. It’s talking about the Law.

    21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (lawlessness).

    The will of the Father includes his Law, and what Yeshua taught his Disciples, and what he told them to teach the Gentiles to obey.

    And as I pointed out in my last rebuttal to you, it doesn’t add up to say that followers of Christ should become followers of Paul, under a new absolute law, and Paul pledge allegiance to another Law different from them. Paul was in the business of converting, and he adjusted his techniques accordingly to make converting easier to foreign and pagan peoples. That is to who most of his writings are directed to. Paul saw it ok to stretch the rules a bit to get souls interested in becoming Christians. As I call it, a “Torah Lite” approach.

    DT,

    Why would Y’shua make such a dramatic statement as, “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished”, if he knew the law would no longer be in effect within a very short time after he would be saying this???

    I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That’s why I believe that the law still applies to people like Joseph, who consider themselves to be Jewish Christians. Of course since you and I are Gentiles we are only bound by the modified Noahide law, as mentioned in the decision at the council of Jerusalem.

    From what I understand this is nothing new. Long before the council of Jerusalem righteous Gentiles had always only been bound by the Noahide law. I’m sure Joseph will tell you that this is even true to this day among modern Jews.

    Actually, I am saying that gentiles should take up their cross and obey the commandments that Yeshua himself followed. How can one be a follower of Christ and not follow the same law and traditions that he followed? As I pointed out to Xavier, Yeshua said to the Apostles and Disciples after the resurrection…

    16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    To me, I read this and think, what is everything that he commanded them to do? What did Yeshua teach his Jewish followers before the resurrection? This would include Jewish laws and traditions of course! What did Yeshua teach his followers concerning the Passover Seder during the last supper? That’s part of becoming a Christian, united with the Jews under the one God of Israel in Messiah. God does not have two separate laws for those that choose to be grafted in with Israel. Yeshua was telling his Jewish disciples to go out and teach the Gentiles to OBEY all that he had commanded them (the Jews).

    Please go back and read my posts #216 – #218 and you’ll see more on how I interpret the council in Jerusalem and why I believe that the Jewish missionaries ultimately required and assumed that Gentiles should grow in God’s law, the Torah.

  231. on 30 Jun 2011 at 7:08 amXavier

    DT

    I happen to think that they are right. I don’t consider 2nd. Peter as proof of anything other then that someone…

    Someone? Who? I thought you believed they were written by Peter?

    How can the very basis of the Jewish faith be reversed and no-one outside of Paul bothers to even mention it???

    What about Mar 7.19; Lu 11.41 and again, book of Acts?

    …if he knew the law would no longer be in effect within a very short time after he would be saying this???

    So what exactly did he “fulfill/accomplish” in relation to Torah? What was he referring to?

    Why can’t we just accept each other the way we are???

    Just because we disagree and I am trying to understand your argumentations does not mean I am not “accepting” of all peoples, regardless of creed, colord, etc.

    Joseph

    Just because Christ is “in” someone, does that automatically mean they are perfect in every way that Christ was?

    This is not about perfection, or if they were “sinless” etc. Its about whether or not the NT “is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training for a life that would meet God’s approval”.

    Christ even told us that there will be some that come in HIS NAME…

    This is what I am still trying to understand from you guys…if you break with one part of the NT how can the whole remain? I mean, what makes the Gospels in particular any more or less authoritative than the other letters? Especially when you question the reliability of one of the Gospels like Luke who wrote book of Acts?

  232. on 30 Jun 2011 at 6:57 pmDoubting Thomas

    William,
    You said, “…how would we know if they reflect what Jesus said or if the Gospel writers did not change things in order to support their own views?”

    The Messianic Jew who wrote the article above actually does believe that scribes have been making additions and changes to the original manuscripts. The KJV version of 1 John 5:7-8 is a perfect example of scribes adding to and changing the original text. I believe that God (our father) has made sure that there is enough of Y’shua’s original teachings in the Synoptics for us to lead a life that is pleasing to God.

    You also said, “Many Scholars believe Paul’s writings were written earlier then the Gospel’s and give us the earliest ideas about what Christian’s believed…”

    Yes Paul’s writings were written before most of the gospels, but that doesn’t mean it gives us the earliest ideas about what the majority of early Christian’s believed. It just gives us the earliest ideas about what Paul and his followers believed. I find historians are generally non-biased with no religious axe to grind, so to speak.

    Every history book I have read talks about how there were different groups of early Christians (like Jewish Christians, etc…) and they always refer to Paul’s followers as “Pauline Christians”. The reason they have there own separate name is because they were a separate group with their own beliefs. There is no evidence that the “Pauline Christians” made up the majority of early Christians.

    You also said, “…we have in Paul information about Himself, how he come to believe in Jesus , where he got his teachings from, where he gets his authority to preach and teach from.”

    There is no evidence, that I can see, outside of Paul and Paul’s followers that anybody else considered Paul to be an apostle of Christ. We just have Paul who claimed to have received mystic revelations from Y’shua appointing him as an apostle, and giving him the authority to teach a new different gospel message. Why would Y’shua want to appoint a 13th. apostle??? Y’shua said the 12 apostles would sit on 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel.

    Matthew 19:28, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    After the death of Judas they picked Matthias to be the 12th. apostle. I don’t see any indication that Y’shua and his followers recognized anyone other than these 12 apostles. As a matter of fact Paul in his own words in Galatians 1:1 said, “Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father..” (ESV).

    The N.L.T. version is even clearer, “This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group or by human authority. My call is from Jesus Christ himself and from God the Father…”

    If Paul was not appointed by any group or by any human authority, then what evidence do we have that he was indeed considered to be an apostle of Christ by anyone other than his followers???

    I don’t see any evidence of this. Combine this with the fact that Paul was the only one who taught that the very foundations of the Jewish faith were reversed (concerning the Sabbath and the law – as it applied to Jewish Christians) and that there is not even the slightest hint of these changes outside of Paul’s writings. I think you can see why I have my doubts about Paul’s writings.

    Plus, like I pointed out, it contradicts what Y’hsua himself taught in Mathew 5:17-18.

    You also said, “One example is that many consider the Gospel of Matthew to be was written to show that the Law is not done away with. So they Gospels are not bias free.”

    If by not bias free you mean they disagree with Paul’s writings and teachings, then I agree. Like I said, because of my doubts I do not study Paul’s writings. I have no problem with you, or anyone else, that want to study Paul’s writings. I just don’t see any evidence that would convince me that his writings are reliable and actually reflect what Peter and the apostles and most of the early Christians believed.

    BTW – I don’t want to try to force my beliefs on you or anyone else. I want to emphasis that this is “just the way I see it”. I am not an expert or a scholar. I’m just a humble student of Christ who happens to have some unusual and unique beliefs…

  233. on 30 Jun 2011 at 7:45 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You said, “Someone? Who? I thought you believed they were written by Peter?”

    I understand that you go on several different websites and talk to all kinds of different people about our Unitarian beliefs (and I respect you for that), but we have had this conversation about 2nd. Peter several times before. You said, that you believe it was written by Peter and I have said that I agree with the biblical scholars that say that is wasn’t written by Peter.

    You also asked, “What about Mar 7.19; Lu 11.41 and again, book of Acts?”

    Mark 7:19, “since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?”(Thus he declared all foods clean.)” (ESV).

    From my understanding when something is in brackets (like above) it means that it is not part of the original text, but is simply an interpretation. Why is it that no-one outside of Paul says anything about God no longer requiring us to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy???

    Luke 11:41, “But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.”

    I believe that in this passage Y’shua is talking about cups and dishes.

    As for your reference to the book of Acts. You need to be a little more specific in order for me to answer your question. The book of Acts is a very long book.

    You also asked, “So what exactly did he “fulfill/accomplish” in relation to Torah? What was he referring to?”

    That is not clear. The O.T. talks about many things (prophecies etc..) that will one day be fulfilled. The way I see it, which ones he was referring to is open to speculation.

    I have question for you now, What did Y’shua mean when he said, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law”???

    And, Why would he make such an elaborate statement just a short time before the law was not longer going to be in effect???

    You also said, “Just because we disagree and I am trying to understand your argumentations does not mean I am not ‘accepting’ of all peoples, regardless of creed, colord, etc.”

    OK. I accept that as long as this doesn’t turn into some sort of heated debate…

    Joseph,
    You said, “Please go back and read my posts #216 – #218 and you’ll see more on how I interpret the council in Jerusalem and why I believe that the Jewish missionaries ultimately required and assumed that Gentiles should grow in God’s law, the Torah.”

    OK. I will. I just want to let you know I have a lot of respect for Jewish Christians and the fact that they try their best to follow all of the God’s commandments from the O.T. I’m just not sure I could be a Jewish Christians myself. I hope you understand…

  234. on 30 Jun 2011 at 7:59 pmXavier

    DT

    From my understanding when something is in brackets (like above) it means that it is not part of the original text, but is simply an interpretation.

    It is part of the original text. I do not know of that practice by any Bible translations. Maybe those which paraphrase it like the NLT.

    Why is it that no-one outside of Paul says anything about God no longer requiring us to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy???

    Acts 15!

    The O.T. talks about many things (prophecies etc..) that will one day be fulfilled. The way I see it, which ones he was referring to is open to speculation.

    Jesus is not simply repeating the whole of Torah in the Sermon on the Mount. But if he is simply repeating Torah then clearly circumcision in the flesh is still mandatory for all! Is it not? Because according to Torah this is applicable “to the native [Jew] as to the stranger who sojourns among you [Gentiles]” (Ex. 12:48-49).

  235. on 30 Jun 2011 at 9:29 pmWilliam

    textThe Messianic Jew who wrote the article above actually does believe that scribes have been making additions and changes to the original manuscripts. The KJV version of 1 John 5:7-8 is a perfect example of scribes adding to and changing the original text. I believe that God (our father) has made sure that there is enough of Y’shua’s original teachings in the Synoptics for us to lead a life that is pleasing to God.

    Hello Doubting Thomas. How are you today.

    If people accept by faith that the Gospel writers faithfully recorded Jesus teachings then that is fine. But we have to apply the same standard on both Paul and the Gospels if we are going to see which is more authoritative.

    Yes Paul’s writings were written before most of the gospels, but that doesn’t mean it gives us the earliest ideas about what the majority of early Christian’s believed. It just gives us the earliest ideas about what Paul and his followers believed. I find historians are generally non-biased with no religious axe to grind, so to speak.

    Every history book I have read talks about how there were different groups of early Christians (like Jewish Christians, etc…) and they always refer to Paul’s followers as “Pauline Christians”. The reason they have there own separate name is because they were a separate group with their own beliefs. There is no evidence that the “Pauline Christians” made up the majority of early Christians. .

    Well the problem I see with that is that in order to prove this it would have to be shown what Christians believed at the time when Paul was writing his letters. That is how we would know if Paul and his followers were a separate group and had different beliefs, but to do so we would need writings that are contemporary to Paul that show what Christian believed.

    There is no evidence, that I can see, outside of Paul and Paul’s followers that anybody else considered Paul to be an apostle of Christ. We just have Paul who claimed to have received mystic revelations from Y’shua appointing him as an apostle, and giving him the authority to teach a new different gospel message. Why would Y’shua want to appoint a 13th. apostle??? Y’shua said the 12 apostles would sit on 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel.

    Matthew 19:28, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    After the death of Judas they picked Matthias to be the 12th. apostle. I don’t see any indication that Y’shua and his followers recognized anyone other than these 12 apostles. As a matter of fact Paul in his own words in Galatians 1:1 said, “Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father..” (ESV).

    The N.L.T. version is even clearer, “This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group or by human authority. My call is from Jesus Christ himself and from God the Father…”

    If Paul was not appointed by any group or by any human authority, then what evidence do we have that he was indeed considered to be an apostle of Christ by anyone other than his followers???.

    Just a couple of points here.

    1 Well again to establish that only Paul and his followers consider him an Apostle we would need writings from the time of Paul by the leaders in the Church showing if they knew of Paul and if they consider him an Apostle or not, but we don’t have those things.

    2 Paul claimed to have a revelation about Jesus and got his Gospel from a revelation about Jesus. As he said in his writings when he went to Jerusalem and the other Apostles recognised that the Gospel had been given to him (and as such was not another Gospel). Now to show that the Apostles did not do this and did not have the same Gospel as Paul we would have to have writings from them in this time period that shows what they believed and what they thought about Paul. But we don’t have these things so we can’t say that Paul was teaching a different Gospel then the other Apostles.

    3 How Paul got his information about Jesus fits with how God revealed Himself to people in History. God appeared to Abraham (not witnesses to back it up) God appearing to Moses in the burning bush (with no witnesses), the word of the Lord coming to the prophets (like Ezekiel whose writings change things in the Torah)

    4 In relation to Jesus saying the 12 Apostles would sit on the 12 thrones, this is what the Gospel writers wrote, not Jesus (and later after Paul said he was a Apostle). So if we use the same standard that people use for Paul, it would have to be shown that the Gospel writers actually had the correct words of Jesus and did not add things to support their own theological ideas.

    5 To know if Jesus and his followers considered others to be Apostle besides the 12 we would writings by them to show what they believed. Yet has many Scholars believe we don’t have these writings so we can’t show this.

    If by not bias free you mean they disagree with Paul’s writings and teachings, then I agree. Like I said, because of my doubts I do not study Paul’s writings. I have no problem with you, or anyone else, that want to study Paul’s writings. I just don’t see any evidence that would convince me that his writings are reliable and actually reflect what Peter and the apostles and most of the early Christians believed.

    No I mean many scholars considered that they had own theological ideas and change Jesus words to support them or made up things Jesus said. Take for example the Baptism of Jesus. In the Gospel of Matthew we have John the Bapist tell Jesus that it is he who should be baptised by Jesus and Jesus answers that it is to fulfill all righteousness. Many Scholars believe the Gospel writer added these words to Jesus and John the Baptiser because it would seem like Jesus got his authority from John and was a disciple of John instead of Jesus being greater then John. The same could be said for the Law. The writer did not think the Law was done away so he changed Jesus words to reflect this as some scholars think. So the Gospels are not bias free

  236. on 30 Jun 2011 at 11:16 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You said, “It is part of the original text. I do not know of that practice by any Bible translations. Maybe those which paraphrase it like the NLT.”

    I pasted this translation below from the Net bible. Please note footnote #2.

    “NET ©

    For it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and then goes out into the sewer.” 1 (This means all foods are clean.) 2
    NET © Notes

    1 tn Or “into the latrine.”

    2 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.”

    I’m not a scholar, but a parenthetical note doesn’t sound like something that was part of the original text. It sounds like someone was giving their own personal interpretation of what Y’shua meant when he said this. I also understand that the original Greek manuscripts had no spaces or punctuation between any of the words. All spacing, chapters, verses, and punctuation were added later on by various translators.

    You also said, “Acts 15!”

    My understanding of Act 15 is that the Gentiles were not to be burdened (or troubled) with the entire Mosaic law. It was enough for them to follow the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Y’shua, and the modified Noahide law as mentioned in the decision of the council of Jerusalem.

    I understand that you will say that the Ten Commandments “were” part of the Mosaic Law, but Moses did not give the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel. God spoke the Ten Commandments “with his own voice” to the people of Israel. In addition to that, God wrote the Ten Commandments “with his own finger” into the tablets of stone.

    So the Ten Commandments were not given by Moses to the people of Israel and were therefore separate from the Mosaic Law. They were given by God “himself” and as such the tablets were given special reverence and kept inside the ark of the covenant. So as to differentiate them from the Mosaic Law which was kept on the outside of the ark of the covenant.

    That’s why I believe the council of Jerusalem “did not” nullify the Ten Commandments, including the 4th. Commandment regarding the Sabbath. Like I said, outside of Paul no-one says anything about the fact that we shouldn’t still be observing the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the cornerstone of the Jewish faith. Something that set the Jews apart from everyone else in the world.

    It must be remembered that at the time of Moses (and at the time of Peter and the apostles) almost everybody worked 7 days a week 12 hours a day (as long as there was sunlight). The only time that someone would get a day off work is if they were deathly sick, or if there was some kind of extreme severe weather that prevented them from working. A light rain, for instance, would not be enough to stop people from working.

    Only the very wealthy people could afford to take a day off work. Therefore the Jews stood out like a sore thumb, because they all (including their slaves and maid servants) would set aside one day a week and not work during that day, in order to keep it holy and grow closer to their God (“OUR” Father). This had always been the backbone of the Jewish faith, and is what made the Jews distinct from anyone else anywhere in the “ENTIRE” world.

    That’s why I personally observe the Sabbath to the best of my ability. Of course, like the other things we are discussing here on this thread, I don’t expect to be able to convince you to agree with me. It is enough that you just try to understand (if you can) why it is I believe what I believe.

    You also said, “But if he is simply repeating Torah then clearly circumcision in the flesh is still mandatory for all! Is it not?”

    According to my understanding of the decision at the council of Jerusalem, the Gentiles (like you and I) were not to be burdened (or troubled) with laws regarding circumcision. The reason was that circumcision was part of the Mosaic Law and the Gentiles were not to be burdened (or forced) to follow the Mosaic Law.

    Of course Joseph makes an excellent point. Right after this Peter says, “(21) For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.” Which he interprets as meaning that eventually the Gentiles (after hearing the word of Moses being preached to them every Sabbath) would convert to become Jewish Christians and be circumcised and follow the entire Mosaic Law.

    I’m not so sure if he is right or not though. I need to give this some thought and prayer…

  237. on 30 Jun 2011 at 11:19 pmDoubting Thomas

    William,
    It is quite late now and I am very tired. If you don’t mind I will respond to your post tomorrow when I can find the time. I have a fairly busy morning planned. Have a good night and God Bless…

  238. on 01 Jul 2011 at 4:31 amJoseph

    Xavier,

    This is not about perfection, or if they were “sinless” etc. Its about whether or not the NT “is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training for a life that would meet God’s approval”.

    And as I pointed out. I look at the NT in light of the Tanach. If it doesn’t coincide, then I become skeptic. I do this because the Tanach is the Bible of Jesus and his Disciples. They believed everything in it and Jesus verifies it’s contents in the many times he is quoted from it. We don’t have Jesus quoting the NT.

    This is what I am still trying to understand from you guys…if you break with one part of the NT how can the whole remain? I mean, what makes the Gospels in particular any more or less authoritative than the other letters? Especially when you question the reliability of one of the Gospels like Luke who wrote book of Acts?

    I think you got me confused with DT as I differ from him slightly in regards to scrutiny. I don’t say that it is, or isn’t authoritative, I just see it as a source for learning, in which, as I pointed out, always in light of the Tanach. I happen to think that Acts is most likely a fairly accurate account from Luke and events that took place. But, I don’t hold it with the same validity as the Tanach, the writings that Yeshua himself studied from. I don’t have to discredit Paul or any other NT author to prove my point that the Torah was not effectively squashed out from reaching the Gentile converts. This is because I look at it in a different light than you would.

    I see the NT books in levels of authenticity, with the Gospels being the most.

  239. on 01 Jul 2011 at 4:32 amJoseph

    Sorry, forgot to close my quote above.

  240. on 01 Jul 2011 at 7:18 amXavier

    DT

    I’m not a scholar, but a parenthetical note doesn’t sound like something that was part of the original text.

    You do not need to be a scholar to know it is still part of the original text. Just because it is a “side note” by the author does not make it so.

    …the Gentiles were not to be burdened (or troubled) with the entire Mosaic law.

    More than that, Peter actually describes Torah as “a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear” [v.10]. Concurring with Paul who calls it “a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). Contrast this with Jesus when he calls people to take his new “yoke” upon them (Matt. 11:29).

    …the Ten Commandments were not given by Moses to the people of Israel and were therefore separate from the Mosaic Law…So as to differentiate them from the Mosaic Law which was kept on the outside of the ark of the covenant.

    How do you come up with this stuff? Or are you being taught it somewhere? Can you come up with but a single shred of scriptural evidence to back all this up?

    …circumcision was part of the Mosaic Law and the Gentiles were not to be burdened (or forced) to follow the Mosaic Law.

    Torah falls or stands as a whole and not the way some ‘Christians’ like you keep splitting it up. Just as Jesus says in Mat 5.17-19.

  241. on 01 Jul 2011 at 7:23 amXavier

    Joseph

    I happen to think that Acts is most likely a fairly accurate account from Luke and events that took place. But, I don’t hold it with the same validity as the Tanach.

    Peter seems to in 2Pe 3.16.

    Paul’s teachings as they do the other Scriptures, implying that Paul’s writings were also considered Scripture in NT times, on the same level of divine authority as the OT Scripture.

    Greek graphē, here translated “Scriptures,” occurs 51 times in the NT, and every time it refers to the canonical OT Scripture, and not to any other writings, except that twice (here and 1 Tim. 5:18) some NT writings are also included. This indicates that NT books written or authorized by Christ’s apostles were recognized, at a very early date, to be God’s Word. ESV Study Bible

  242. on 02 Jul 2011 at 12:46 amDoubting Thomas

    William,
    You asked, “Hello Doubting Thomas. How are you today?”

    I’m doing fine. Thank-you for asking. These blogs are usually so impersonal it’s nice to see some friendly comments. Today is a holiday up here. It’s Canada’s 144th. birthday. I’ve spent most of the day visiting with family and friends. Some of which I don’t get to see very often. I just got home and that’s why I’m so late in answering your post.

    You said, “If people accept by faith that the Gospel writers faithfully recorded Jesus teachings then that is fine. But we have to apply the same standard on both Paul and the Gospels if we are going to see which is more authoritative.”

    From what I have read I believe it is safe to trust the Synoptics as being fairly accurate. Almost all of the approx. one dozen bibles that existed in the 1st. century contained at least 2 of the 3 Synoptics in them. I believe that this clearly demonstrates that the Synoptics were widely accepted among the early Christians.

    I don’t believe they are completely without error, but I believe they are accurate enough for us to follow Christ and lead a Christ like life. I think it is clear that the Synoptics are more authoritative than Paul’s writings, but most people (including Xavier) would disagree with me on this. This is because of a theory known as “progressive revelation”. (continued in next post)…

  243. on 02 Jul 2011 at 12:48 amDoubting Thomas

    Of course this theory is not directly mentioned in the bible, but is widely accepted among scholars. The theory states that the later revelations have more authority than earlier revelations. In other words, since Y’shua gave us the very first revelations about what it meant to be a Christian, then (because of this theory) his revelations are not as authoritative as later revelations.

    Since Paul gave us the latest revelations (through his mystic experiences with Christ) then, according to this theory, Paul’s revelations carry “the most” authority and even take precedence over anything that Christ might have said or taught. I personally think the whole theory is just plain silly.

    (continuation from last post)
    I do not believe in “progressive revelation”. Y’shua spent 3 years teaching his disciples everything that they needed to know to be leaders of the church. After his resurrection he spent an additional 40 days with them reinforcing those teachings and emphasizing what was important and how they should behave as his hand picked representatives.

    There was no need for any more “progressive revelations”. I believe that this theory was created by Christian scholars as an excuse so they could dismiss the teachings of Y’shua, Peter, the apostles, and other early church leaders (like James) whenever it seemed that they were contradicting anything that Paul might have said.

    Of course this is just my own personal opinion. I do realize that most scholars disagree with me on this, since “progressive revelation” is taught in almost all the seminaries regardless of religious denomination. I do not however trust these so called religious experts. It’s part of my doubting nature. (continued in next post).

  244. on 02 Jul 2011 at 12:52 amDoubting Thomas

    You also said, “Well again to establish that only Paul and his followers consider him an Apostle we would need writings from the time of Paul by the leaders in the Church showing if they knew of Paul and if they consider him an Apostle or not, but we don’t have those things.”

    What I don’t understand is, Why don’t these seminary students question the fact that there is only about a dozen or so writers from the 1st. “AND” 2nd. century who’s writings have survived??? What happened to all the writings from the other early Christian writers???

    The history books I have read tell me what happened to them. One of the first thing that Constantine did, when he pretended to convert to Christianity, was to persecute the Jewish Christians and destroy “ALL” of their writings. He also persecuted the Arians and destroyed “ALL” of the writings of Arius. To this day we have “no” writings from the early Jewish Christians or from the Arians or from any other group that spoke against the Trinity. (continued in next post)…

  245. on 02 Jul 2011 at 12:53 amDoubting Thomas

    The R.C. church (over a period of more than a thousand years) systematically destroyed any ancient writings that contradicted their doctrines or teachings. That’s why we have the writings of only about a dozen or so early Christian writers from the 1st. and 2nd. centuries. So to answer your question, the reason we don’t have these writings is that they were systematically destroyed.

    You also said, “As he said in his writings when he went to Jerusalem and the other Apostles recognised that the Gospel had been given to him (and as such was not another Gospel).”

    You obviously have a different interpretation of Acts 21 then I do. The very first thing that Luke decides to record in Acts 21 about what James and the other leaders of the Jerusalem Church “FIRST” said to Paul is the following.

    (20) And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. ‘THEY ARE ALL ZEALOUS FOR THE LAW’, (21) and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. (22) What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. (ESV – emphasis mine).

    They glorified God for the great work the Holy Spirit was doing among the Gentiles, but they immediately reprimand Paul for teaching a different gospel message then Peter and the apostles and the Jerusalem church were teaching. This is one of the few documents that have survived from the 1st. century that tell us what the early Jewish Christians “actually” believed. (continued in next post)…

  246. on 02 Jul 2011 at 1:03 amDoubting Thomas

    They were no different than Joseph or any of our other modern day Messianic Jewish brethren. “They were all zealous for the law.” It must be remembered that this all happened more than a decade after Christ’s death and resurrection and long after Paul began to claim to have been receiving mystics revelations from Y’shua and God.

  247. on 02 Jul 2011 at 1:07 amDoubting Thomas

    Sorry about the multiple posts. It’s just that the computer wouldn’t let me submit it as one long post. So I had to break it up into smaller posts. I will submit the rest of this post tomorrow. It is getting late now.

    Good night and I hope everyone has a great weekend…

  248. on 02 Jul 2011 at 11:45 amWilliam

    Hello Doubting Thomas.

    Thank you for your reply. I will wait until you post the rest until I post my thoughts.

  249. on 02 Jul 2011 at 12:18 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi William,
    I’m sorry but every time I try to paste my posts (even short ones now) onto the K.R. site I keep getting the following error message.

    Internal Server Error

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@kingdomready.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

  250. on 02 Jul 2011 at 9:12 pmJoseph

    Xavier,

    Peter seems to in 2Pe 3.16.

    Paul’s teachings as they do the other Scriptures, implying that Paul’s writings were also considered Scripture in NT times, on the same level of divine authority as the OT Scripture.

    Greek graphē, here translated “Scriptures,” occurs 51 times in the NT, and every time it refers to the canonical OT Scripture, and not to any other writings, except that twice (here and 1 Tim. 5:18) some NT writings are also included. This indicates that NT books written or authorized by Christ’s apostles were recognized, at a very early date, to be God’s Word. ESV Study Bible

    First off, using 2 Peter as a empirical source is like Trinitarians using 1 John 5:7-8 as proof for the Trinity. There are many other books not included in the Catholic canon that hold just as much credibility in the eyes of scholars, why not quote them as well? Second, I don’t think you are understanding my position fully, I have no issue with Paul’s writings for learning, ect. I just look at them in the light of the Tanach, just as the Berreans did. And lastly, I’m not saying that Paul’s writings aren’t authentic, so there is no argument here. Let’s move on to what you think in Paul’s writings suggest that he was against teaching Torah, that is where this debate needs to go next. And then I’ll give you the position in arguing from the Tanach and what Jesus said and how the context does not support your anti-law view.

    More on Paul, I don’t believe that he teaches against Torah to the gentiles. As I pointed out in Acts 15, there was much debate about what new gentiles to the faith should believe. If it was already clear that gentiles should only obey noahide laws then there would have been no debate in the first place. Then, Peter goes onto say that as they mature in the faith they will learn more about Torah on Shabbat in the the synagogues. Please deal with my arguments in comments 217 and 218, as I feel like this is a one sided debate here.

  251. on 02 Jul 2011 at 9:14 pmJoseph

    My bad, html didn’t work above. My comments start off with “First off, using 2 Peter as a empirical source…”

    Are there some issues going on with the site? Code is not working, and I had the same issue as Thomas with not being able to post longer comments.

  252. on 02 Jul 2011 at 9:33 pmXavier

    Joseph

    There are many other books not included in the Catholic canon that hold just as much credibility in the eyes of scholars, why not quote them as well?/blockquote

    Because I’m not Catholic. Are you?

    You wrote in post #218…

    …we disagree in that I take a pure aspect from Yeshua’s point of view, rather than letter from Paul that contain debate and uncertainty.

    Like I said I believe Jesus continued to teach us regarding things pertaining to the New Covenant through people like Paul and Peter whose question of Acts 15.10 is still to be adequately answered by your view.

  253. on 03 Jul 2011 at 12:09 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You asked, “How do you come up with this stuff? Or are you being taught it somewhere? Can you come up with but a single shred of scriptural evidence to back all this up?”

    I have no formal religious education. All of my beliefs come from my own studies and from talking to fellow followers of Christ. As far as providing scriptural evidence to back up what I said, Please show me one thing I said that “is not” in line with what the scriptures say???

    The scriptures are very clear about the fact that the Ten Commandments were given to the Israelites by God himself. Since Moses did not give the Ten Commandments to the Israelites it is just common sense that it is not part of the Mosaic Law. Couple this with the fact that the tablets, that God wrote with his own finger, were given much more reverence than the Moses’ Torah, and you can easily see why it is I believe what I believe.

    Like I said above, I don’t expect that you will ever agree with me about observing the Sabbath. I just hope that you will try (as best as you can) to understand why it is I believe what I believe. I think I understand why you believe what you believe. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with you. This is what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes.

    Something that I think that every Christian should try to do…

    William,
    The K.R. computer still won’t let me paste and post the rest of my post from message #246 above. I keep getting the same error messages. Once the administrators fix the problem I will post the remainder of my message. I hope you and everyone else have a great Sunday… 🙂

  254. on 03 Jul 2011 at 6:08 pmXavier

    DT

    As far as providing scriptural evidence to back up what I said, Please show me one thing I said that “is not” in line with what the scriptures say???

    That Paul is a self-appointed [false] apostle and that letter like 2Peter and Hebrews do not belong in the canon.

    …Moses did not give the Ten Commandments to the Israelites it is just common sense that it is not part of the Mosaic Law.

    God gave the Law through his servant Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites [Lev 27.34]. I think it makes perfect sense.

    I just hope that you will try (as best as you can) to understand why it is I believe what I believe.

    I don’t think I ever will because your argumentations make no sense whatsoever to me. I marvel at the way you not only twist scripture but totally ignore its clear meaning.

  255. on 03 Jul 2011 at 9:04 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You asked, “That Paul is a self-appointed [false] apostle and that letter like 2Peter and Hebrews do not belong in the canon.”

    Please show me the scriptural evidence that Paul is not a self-appointed apostle without using the writings of Paul or one of his followers like Luke. As for 2nd. Peter and Hebrews (and Jude for that matter) the only reason they were included in the N.T. cannon in the first place was because Bishop Athanasius claimed that 2nd. Peter was written by Peter and that Hebrews and Jude were written by Paul.

    Most scholars now agree that these letters were not written by Peter or Paul, but for some reason not one of them (that I am aware of) has suggested that we remove them from the N.T. canon. Even though it is clear that the reason they were included (back in the middle of 4th. century) in the cannon that Bishop Athanasius was putting together for Constantine has been proven wrong. In other words (it seems to me) they were included in the N.T. cannon under false pretenses.

    You are free to believe that they are the inspired word of God if you wish. Just like I am free to have my doubts about these writings and not study them.

    You also said, “I don’t think I ever will because your argumentations make no sense whatsoever to me.”

    I don’t understand why it doesn’t make any sense to you. I think I’ve been pretty clear about why I believe what I believe. Like I said in an earlier message, I have doubts about certain writings and you don’t. Why can’t we just accept each other the way we are???

    Why do you insist on trying to force me to believe exactly what it is you believe???

  256. on 04 Jul 2011 at 2:33 amJoseph

    Xavier,

    Because I’m not Catholic. Are you?

    The point I’m making is that if you follow the Constantine Cannon then why not accept Barnabas as scripture? Barnabas has more credibility than 2 Peter. This argument has no relevance on my position.

    Like I said I believe Jesus continued to teach us regarding things pertaining to the New Covenant through people like Paul and Peter whose question of Acts 15.10 is still to be adequately answered by your view.

    And as I answered your position already in the context that is given to us by the entire passage when Peter then comes to a compromise with the others after MUCH DEBATE in saying that, “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.”

    So in essence, Peter is saying that they shouldn’t stir the pot up and let the Holy Spirit guide the new disciples into the Torah as they would continue to learn in the Synagogues on the Sabbath day. Furthermore, Act 13 supports this in that the Gentiles are recorded to have studied in the synagogues on the Sabbath and continued to do so with the Jews.

    And also, if you believe that Jews are suppose to continue in Torah then Acts 15:10 does not support your position anyway. Being that they still continued in Torah obedience although the yoke was too much for them to bear.

    I’m still interested in how you deal with Jesus saying after the resurrection that the disciples should go unto ALL NATIONS and teach them to obey everything that Jesus taught them? This would include Sabbath, Torah, Feasts, ect.

  257. on 04 Jul 2011 at 9:52 amXavier

    DT

    Please show me the scriptural evidence that Paul is not a self-appointed apostle without using the writings of Paul or one of his followers like Luke.

    You mean like, show me the sky is blue without looking up? 😛

    …but for some reason not one of them (that I am aware of) has suggested that we remove them from the N.T. canon.

    Maybe because there are many more reasons to prove their historical authenticity?

    Just like I am free to have my doubts about these writings and not study them.

    Sure, but I would suggest you formulate your arguments better than you have done with me.

    Joseph

    …if you follow the Constantine Cannon then why not accept Barnabas as scripture?

    Are you referring to the NT as “the Constantine Cannon”? That’s a new one.

    …Peter is saying that they shouldn’t stir the pot up and let the Holy Spirit guide the new disciples into the Torah as they would continue to learn in the Synagogues on the Sabbath day.

    What Bible translation are you reading? That’s not what the ones I am reading say nor commentaries.

    The rabbis often used the metaphor of a yoke with reference to the law, and Peter’s reference to “yoke” here refers not just to circumcision but to the whole of the Mosaic law (see note on v. 1). By speaking of the law as an unbearable yoke, Peter was not denying that the law was God’s gift to Israel. Rather, he was arguing that Israel was unable to fulfill it perfectly and that salvation could not be obtained through the law (cf. Rom. 2:17–24)…

    Paul also refers to any requirement to keep the OT laws as “a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). ESV Study Bible

    Lastly, Jesus’ “Great Commission” does not teach Torah keeping, I believe that was Moses. Or do you see the “Sermon on the Mount” [Mat 5-7] as a repeat of the Mosaic laws?

  258. on 04 Jul 2011 at 7:03 pmJoseph

    Xavier,

    Are you referring to the NT as “the Constantine Cannon”? That’s a new one.

    I’m speaking in general time, not authorship, in accordance to when bias was put upon scripture, as in, Deity of Christ and Pauline Lawlessness Doctrine.

    What Bible translation are you reading? That’s not what the ones I am reading say nor commentaries.

    Being a Unitarian, I’m surprised that you cite commentary as some sort of evidence. Although I agree it can be something to gain a perspective on, I don’t think it is good evidence, unless you want to take the position that Trinitarian commentators were ‘in Christ’ when it suits you best.

    Even commentary can’t look over that Paul was living by the Torah. Take for example the commentary when Paul was accused in Acts 21:20. What is ridiculous about this commentary is that they try to use the same approach that you do by trying to say that Jesus must of created some other sort of Law, and this Law is different from that of the Torah. I see no evidence for that, and you have provided none either.

    Lastly, Jesus’ “Great Commission” does not teach Torah keeping, I believe that was Moses. Or do you see the “Sermon on the Mount” [Mat 5-7] as a repeat of the Mosaic laws?

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)”

    “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19, 20)”

    Jesus did not give his disciples a separate curriculum for teaching Gentiles. Everything that Jesus had taught his disciples was to be taught to all nations. When Jesus taught his disciples, “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same… whoever practices and teaches these commands…”, he gave no indication that the words “Anyone”, “others”, and “whoever” referred only to Jews. Jesus expected his disciples to pass that same teaching on to the Gentiles, including the command, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law.” Although there would have been Gentiles present in the crowd while Jesus was preaching, he never said, “This teaching applies only to the Jews.”

    As a faithful apostle of Jesus, Paul must have been teaching the Gentiles to practice the commands of the law. Paul often read publicly from the Scriptures. If after reading aloud from the Torah Paul had told people to disregard any of the commands in those passages, he would have been teaching “others” to break the laws, which would have been contrary to what Jesus taught. Which they did.

  259. on 04 Jul 2011 at 7:08 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You said, “You mean like, show me the sky is blue without looking up? 😛 ”

    I take it you are admitting that you cannot provide the scriptual evidence to back up your claim without using Paul’s writings or the writings of one of his followers like Luke or by using the dubious 2nd. Peter that most scholars admit wasn’t written by Peter. If this is the case then why do you keep insisting that I “must” accept Paul as an apostle of Christ.

    I have the God given right to have doubts about any writings that I want to. I just can’t lie to myself and pretend I don’t have doubts when I do. Which brings us back to the beginning of our conversation in msg. #8 of “The Elusiveness of Christian Freedom under the Watchtower” thread.

    http://kingdomready.org/blog/2011/06/25/the-elusiveness-of-christian-freedom-under-the-watchtower-part-1/#comment-89132

    Where Jaco said, “So, no, there’s no hierarchy in the Christian congregation. It is Jesus, the rest of us are brothers and sisters.”

    And which I answered him saying, “I agree completely. We should not blindly follow any human leader”

    You then posted in msg. #9 of the same thread, “What part of “SUBMIT and be OBEDIENT to your [HUMAN] spiritual leaders” is not hierarchical or to do with a governing body within the Church?”

    To which I responded in msg. #10 with, “I think you are aware of what I think about the letter of Hebrews or any other letter that we don’t know who the author is.”

    Like I have repeatedly said about 3 different times now. “I have doubts about certain writings and you don’t. Why can’t we just accept each other the way we are???”

    You also said, “Maybe because there are many more reasons to prove their historical authenticity? ”

    From what I understand the “only” reason 2nd. Peter was included in the N.T. cannon was because Bishop Athanasius “claimed” it was written by Peter. And the only reason that Hebrews and Jude were included in the N.T. cannon was because this same Bishop “claimed” they were written by Paul. He therefore included them among Paul’s writings in the epistles of the N.T. cannon.

    If we now (some 1700 years later) know that these writings were not written by Peter and Paul, then the logical thing to do would be to remove them from the N.T. cannon. Of course you and I know that will never happen because of the very strong propaganda that people have been bombarded with for the last 1000+ years that states that “the bible is infallible”. And anyone that questions it is a heretic.

    The propaganda around this is just as strong, if not stronger, than the propaganda surrounding the “doctrine of the Trinity”.

    You also said, “Sure, but I would suggest you formulate your arguments better than you have done with me.”

    In message #231 above you said, “Just because we disagree and I am trying to understand your argumentations does not mean I am not “accepting” of all peoples, regardless of creed, colord, etc…”

    To which I replied in msg. #232, “OK. I accept that as long as this doesn’t turn into some sort of heated debate…”

    I guess it turns out you are not really “trying to understand my argumentations”, but are just looking for an excuse to argue with me. Like I have said before, “I am not interested in having an argument, but if you are sincerely interested in why I believe what I believe, I will be happy to share my beliefs with you.”

    I’m not trying to force my beliefs on you or anyone else. Like I have repeatedly said over and over again, “Why can’t we just accept each other the way we are???”

    BTW – I believe we can have disagreements with each other and still be brothers in Christ. One does not negate the other…

  260. on 04 Jul 2011 at 9:12 pmRay

    I wonder if we are to tell others that Jesus is the Christ without using the writings of those that believe in him?

    I am one that thinks it to be fair to use such writings.

    The apostle Peter seemed to vouch for Paul. It seems to me that the writings of a man should tell us whether he is genuine or not, and if he is what he says he is.

    Paul says he had the signs of an apostle.

    I wonder if those who say we should accept them just as they are would really want it that way.

    Should the Church accept a liar as a liar? I suppose it should.
    I suppose they should accept a thief as a thief.

    They could all stand up together and affirm that an adulterer is an adulterer, or that an alcoholic is an alcoholic.

  261. on 04 Jul 2011 at 10:00 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray,
    I don’t believe we should follow “any” human leader blindly. Jesus is our Teacher, Messiah, Lord, King and Savior. In Matthew 23:8-10, Jesus gave us the following instructions;

    “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers……(10) Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.”

    I certainly have no intention of blindly following Constantine’s hand picked personal spiritual advisor, Bishop Athanasius, who was also the leader of the Trinitarian sect. It was he (by himself) that hand picked the books and letters which later ended up becoming our modern day N.T. cannon. At the time Bishop Athanasius did this there were more than 2 dozen bibles in existence.

    Constantine instructed Athanasius to put together a new bible, one that would fit in with Constantine’s own personal beliefs. BTW – Constantine believed that Jesus was the “Sun God” himself walking around on the earth. Even though Constantine claimed to convert to Christianity, he never gave up his beliefs regarding the “Sun God”.

    He believed that the God of the O.T. and the “Sun God” were one and the same God and that this God took on a human form and walked among us on the earth and that his “God Man” went by the name of Jesus. Many years after supposedly converting to Christianity, he issued a new coin with the symbol of the “Sun God” on it and an inscription that read, “The Sun God rules Supreme” (or words similar to that).

    I am not the least bit impressed with Constantine’s beliefs or the beliefs of any of his had picked Bishops. The way I see it, not one of them was actually a genuine Christian. They certainly didn’t behave anything like Christians were suppose to behave. Constantine and his state appointed Bishops were nothing more then a bunch of blood thirsty, power hungry politicians, posing as religious leaders.

    That’s the way I see it anywaze…

  262. on 05 Jul 2011 at 7:08 amXavier

    Joseph

    …unless you want to take the position that Trinitarian commentators were ‘in Christ’ when it suits you best.

    Why can’t they get some things right? Scripture does say take the good throw away the bad for a reason. After all, it is written that Satan himself knew scripture, was he lying when he quoted it?

    …they try to use the same approach that you do by trying to say that Jesus must of created some other sort of Law, and this Law is different from that of the Torah. I see no evidence for that, and you have provided none either.

    I do not see Jesus repeating Torah in his Sermon on the Mount. I guess you do. Furthermore, Paul says that it doesn’t matter whether your circumcised or not as long as you keep “the commandments of God” [1Cor 7.19]. Now, if one of those commandments was to practice and teach circumcision, I do not think Paul is referring to Torah commandments. Do you?

    …Paul must have been teaching the Gentiles to practice the commands of the law.

    If you read his letters like Galatians, Ephesians & Colossians he clearly didn’t.

    For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. Eph 2.14-15

    DT

    If this is the case then why do you keep insisting that I “must” accept Paul as an apostle of Christ.

    Is that what I have been doing? All this time I thought I was just questioning your weak argumentations and Marcion-like slicing & dicing of the NT. 😛

  263. on 05 Jul 2011 at 5:35 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You said, “All this time I thought I was just questioning your weak argumentations”

    All I have been trying to do is explain to you why it is I believe what I believe. In msg. #231 above you said, “Just because we disagree and I am trying to understand your argumentations does not mean I am not ‘accepting’ of all peoples, regardless of creed, color, etc…”

    I guess I was foolish enough to to believe you when you said, “I am trying to understand your argumentations.” I had thought that you could be open minded enough to see through someone else’s eyes. I never said (or expected) that you should agree with me. After all I can understand why you believe what you believe, even though I don’t agree with your views. Just like I can understand why Trinitarians believe what they believe.

    You also said, “and Marcion-like slicing & dicing of the NT. 😛 ”

    In msg. #19 of the “Elusiveness of Christian Freedom under the Watchtower” thread, I had said, “I’ve been having this ongoing discussion with Xavier for more than a year now. I JUST FIND IT OFFENSIVE WHEN HE REPEATEDLY TRIES TO LABEL MY BELIEFS AS MARCIONIST. It reminds me of how the early church labeled anyone who spoke against the Trinity as an Arian even though most of these people didn’t agree with many of the Arian beleifs and had probably never even heard of Arius and his teachings.”

    If you read back through the other messages before message #19 in the same thread, you will clearly see why I believe it is offensive for you to label my beliefs as Marcionist. It seems that you believe that if you put a smiley face right after an insult then you’re not really insulting anyone. After all there is a smiley face right after it. I really don’t understand why you find it necessary to insult my beliefs.

    Like I have repeatedly said over and over again, “I have doubts about certain writings and you don’t. Why can’t we just accept each other the way we are???”

  264. on 05 Jul 2011 at 5:38 pmXavier

    DT

    I had thought that you could be open minded enough to see through someone else’s eyes.

    I have been trying as you can see from my instant replies.

    …I believe it is offensive for you to label my beliefs as Marcionist.

    And once again…I am not labeling your beliefs Marcionist. Its the way you chop up the NT that parallels my example.

    YOU ARE NOT MARCIONIST IN YOUR BELIEFS BUT IN THE WAY YOU PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT IS OR IS NOT NT SCRIPTURE!

    :/

  265. on 05 Jul 2011 at 10:49 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    Sorry I didn’t give you an instant reply, but I’ve been out all evening. BTW – I’m not asking for instant replies. I was just hoping you were serious when you had said, “I am trying to understand your argumentations.” Understanding something or someone requires reflection and thought (which takes time).

    You also said, “I am not labeling your beliefs Marcionist. Its the way you chop up the NT that parallels my example.”

    I am not chopping up the N.T. cannon. I believe some writings are more accurate and reliable than others and I have serious doubts about some other writings. I can’t help the way I think. You claim you are not labeling my beliefs Marcionist, but these “ARE” my beliefs. So whether you intend to label my beliefs or not, you “are” indeed labeling my beliefs.

    Like I pointed out in msg. #15 of the “Elusiveness of Christian Freedom under the Watchtower” thread, “It’s just that 98% of what of what Marcion believed is the exact opposite of what I believe. The only thing I have in common with him is that we both believe Y’shua was our Saviour and that the current N.T. cannon is not infallible. Other then that our beliefs are completely polar opposite to one another.”

    According to your strange way of thinking, I should be able to say the way you believe the N.T. cannon is infallible parallels the Trinitarians beliefs. Combine this with the fact that you believe that the 4th. century leader of the Trinitarians, Bishop Athanasius (who the RC church revere as “The Father of Orthodoxy), was infallible in his decision of what books and letters to combine together to create our N.T. cannon.

    And you actually have much more in common with Trinitarians than I do with Marcions. Would you be offended if I refer to you as a Trini??? Of course I would include the obligatory smiley face after the comment, so as to clearly demonstrate that there is nothing for you to take offense at…

  266. on 06 Jul 2011 at 6:36 amXavier

    DT

    Would you be offended if I refer to you as a Trini???

    No. Just as I would not be offended if you called me a Mormon or Muslim just because we all bevlieve the Bible.

  267. on 06 Jul 2011 at 6:41 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    In msg. #264 you said, “I am not labeling your beliefs Marcionist. Its the way you chop up the NT that parallels my example.”

    If I am understanding you correctly you are claiming Marcion chopped up the modern day N.T. canon and that this parallels my beliefs and validates your (false) accusation that my beliefs are Marcionist like. I did a little research on Marcion (who I had never heard of until you started labeling me a Marcionist about a year or so ago) and I found out the following information;

    “Marcion wrote the first canon of the New Testament in AD 140. For centuries Marcion has been maligned as a heretic, since the Church Fathers like Tertullian accused him of taking the razor to the Bible and cutting out several of the Pauline epistles; Acts, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. In addition the only Gospel in Marcion’s Bible is two thirds of Luke. Actually that’s it. One Gospel and ten Pauline epistles, which means no Revelations and no Old Testament. Christians like to tell us that Marcion changed the Bible to suit his theology. However it appeared to me from the beginning that before Marcion there was no documented history of Christianity as we know it.”

    In other words this guy is saying that Marcion put together his N.T. canon some 200 years before Bishop Athanasius first put together the books and letters that would later become “OUR” modern day N.T. canon. So how could Marcion chop up “our modern N.T.” when it didn’t even exist at the time???

    Marcion didn’t chop up any N.T. canon because no modern N.T. canon existed at the time!!! From what I understand, at the end of the 1st. century there were about a dozen or so collections of books (or bibles as they were called) and not one of them looked anything remotely close to our modern N.T. canon. So this crazy excuse you are using for saying that my beliefs are Marcionist like, doesn’t even hold any water.

    In other words there is no truth whatsoever in it!!! Besides, it should be enough that I have been telling for about a year now that I find it offensive. Why do you insist on demeaning other peoples beliefs???

    Like I have repeated said, over and over again. I have doubts about certain writings and you don’t. Why can’t we just accept each other the way we are???

  268. on 06 Jul 2011 at 6:47 pmXavier

    DT

    I’ll try and stop calling you a Marcionite.

    Once again my apologies.

  269. on 06 Jul 2011 at 6:57 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    Thank you. I do appreciate it. I still believe that people can have disagreements with each other and still be “Brothers in Christ”. I know you once told me that you didn’t consider me to be your brother, because you found my beliefs offensive. I really don’t mean to offend you or anyone else. Who knows I might one day change my mind, but for now these happen to be my beliefs. I really can’t help it if it offends you or anyone else.

    I really do try to behave as Christian like as I know how to…

  270. on 07 Jul 2011 at 8:11 amXavier

    DT

    I know you once told me that you didn’t consider me to be your brother, because you found my beliefs offensive.

    I wish we could all hold hands and sing cumbayá but unfortunately Christ marks a line on the sand for us [Mat 12.30; Lu 11.23].

  271. on 07 Jul 2011 at 7:14 pmAntioch

    Xavier,

    I think I asked this before…are only those with correct doctrine in the Kingdom?

  272. on 07 Jul 2011 at 8:46 pmXavier

    Antioch

    …are only those with correct doctrine in the Kingdom?

    “Keep a close watch on how YOU live and on YOUR teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of YOUR own salvation and the salvation of those who hear YOU.” 1Tim 4.16

  273. on 07 Jul 2011 at 9:38 pmDoubting Thomas

    Antioch,
    I personally believe that people put too much emphasis on doctrine. If doctrine were that important, then Y’shua’s teachings would have concentrated on revealing to us exactly what the correct doctrines were. Of course Y’shua’s teaching contain very little about doctrine (except maybe talking about the coming Kingdom of God). Y’shua’s teaching are almost exclusively about how we are to behave.

    I believe it must logically follow that Y’shua believed it was our behavior that was key to our salvation. If doctrine was the key to our salvation, the majority of his teachings would have been about doctrine.

    At least that’s the way I see it anywaze…

  274. on 08 Jul 2011 at 6:19 amXavier

    DT

    Y’shua’s teaching are almost exclusively about how we are to behave.

    That is “doctrine”. As is the Sermon on the Mount.

  275. on 08 Jul 2011 at 10:48 amAntioch

    Xavier,

    Great reference. So then it comes down to what doctrine is essential versus that which is not.

    Is accepting the NT an essential ‘doctrine’ for salvation?

  276. on 08 Jul 2011 at 8:17 pmXavier

    Antioch

    Is accepting the NT an essential ‘doctrine’ for salvation?

    If your trying to get me to make a judgment call I’m afraid your chasing the wrong bunny.

    Why don’t you meditate and focus on the great comission instead.

    The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops. Luke 10.12

  277. on 11 Jul 2011 at 9:47 pmJoseph

    Xavier,

    Why can’t they get some things right? Scripture does say take the good throw away the bad for a reason. After all, it is written that Satan himself knew scripture, was he lying when he quoted it?

    I think they can, but you and I both know that they have their biases and influences on interpretation of scripture. My influence is to interpret the NT (Paul) in light of the Tanach, as did the berreans. I do this because this is the Bible of our Messiah, his Apostles, and Disciples.

    I do not see Jesus repeating Torah in his Sermon on the Mount. I guess you do. Furthermore, Paul says that it doesn’t matter whether your circumcised or not as long as you keep “the commandments of God” [1Cor 7.19]. Now, if one of those commandments was to practice and teach circumcision, I do not think Paul is referring to Torah commandments. Do you?

    If you read his letters like Galatians, Ephesians & Colossians he clearly didn’t.

    From what I see, that is not what Paul is saying in this passage for a couple reasons. Firstly, in the Greek, the word circumcised and uncircumcised have articles attached. See the bold below in the Greek…

    περιτομὴ οὐδέν ἐστιν καὶ ἀκροβυστία οὐδέν ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ τήρησις ἐντολῶν θεοῦ.

    … meaning that the words ‘circumcised’ and ‘uncircumcised’ are about groups of people (Jew and Gentile), instead of process of the law of doing or not doing. Otherwise why would Paul on one hand say this about circumcision…

    Galatians 5:2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, the Messiah will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Messiah, you who [attempt] [to] be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in the Messiah neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

    …why would Paul say this and on the other hand circumcise Timothy? If Paul believed that circumcision is no longer something that should be done, then he is a hypocrite and just condemned Timothy. Or…

    Paul was against circumcision for the wrong reasons. Meaning, being circumcised to be justified as being a keeper of the law to gain salvation. But we know that none are righteous, unless we are in Messiah. We gain salvation by accepting the truth that God sent a Messiah to us and through his grace to us. Not by how many Laws we obey, because we all know that no one can keep the Law as we will fall short, which is why we must come to God through Messiah for grace to attain salvation. Does this mean we stop obeying the law? No – it means that we observe the law for the correct reasons, so we don’t begin to justify ourselves on something that none can keep. Messiah fills that void. Which is why he is called the goal of the Law by Paul, and why he said that he would not change one thing about the Law.

    I’m going to post a little snippet I found from a website that goes into the context of Paul in his letters to Galations, ect, about how Circumcision and law is applied.

    See in my next post below, and I’d like to hear your thoughts on it as well…

  278. on 11 Jul 2011 at 10:03 pmJoseph

    Please see… http://www.eliyah.com/galatians4kjv.html

    It looks like this site no longer allows posts over a certain length (can we get that fixed?). So you will have to go to the website link I posted above to see what I was going to post.

  279. on 28 Jul 2011 at 6:24 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi William,
    I am hoping that I will be able to copy and paste this on to the K.R. site now that the software has been updated to a newer version. I apologize that it took so long for me to finish posting this.

    (continuation from Post #246 above)
    Acts 21 then goes on to tell us about a letter that James and the other leaders of the Jerusalem Church decided was necessary for them to send to the Gentiles that Paul had converted.

    (25) “But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.”

    It is clear from Paul’s writings that he was teaching his followers that they could eat anything, including blood, or animals that have been strangled, or meat sacrificed to idols. This is why James and the other church leaders felt it was necessary to send a letter to the Gentiles that Paul had converted telling them that in the opinion of the Peter and the apostles and the Jerusalem church what Paul was teaching was not correct.

    This clearly shows that the gospel that Paul preached was indeed very different from what Peter and the apostles and the Jerusalem Church were teaching.

    You also said, “The writer did not think the Law was done away so he changed Jesus words to reflect this as some scholars think. So the Gospels are not bias free.”

    Did Luke change the words of James and the other leaders of the Jerusalem Church because Luke didn’t think that the law was done away with??? Of course not. This would be a ridiculous conclusion because Luke was a follower of Paul and believed Paul’s teachings about the law no longer being in effect. Fortunately, for us, he was also an honest man who simply recorded everything he heard and saw (without bias). Even though it contradicted what Paul (his leader) was teaching.

    I want to reiterate that I am not trying to force my beliefs on to you or anyone else. I’m just trying to explain why I (personally) have doubts about Paul’s writings and because of that reason I do not study them.

    If you are interested in reading about what some of the early non-Pauline Christians believed then you should find the following link interesting. Like I said earlier, we have very little information about what the early Jewish Christians may or may not of believed, but this article does give us some ideas about what they probably did believe and how they practiced their faith. However I must point out that I do not fully agree with the writer, and would strongly disagree with some of the conclusions that he mentions in this article. When it comes to the early Jewish Christians all any of us can do is speculate.

    http://ebionite.tripod.com/mac15.htm

    BTW – I hope I didn’t offend you, or anyone else, with my above comments and may the peace and love of God (“OUR” Father) be with you and with us all…

  280. on 07 Sep 2011 at 5:34 pmXavier

    Was just reading exerts of JAT Robinson’s Redating the NT in which he wrote…

    ONE of the oddest facts about the New Testament is that what on any showing would appear to be the single most datable and climactic event of the period – the fall of Jerusalem in ad 70, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple – is never once mentioned as a past fact. It is, of course, predicted; and these predictions are, in some cases at least, assumed to be written (or written up) after the event. But the silence is nevertheless as significant as the silence for Sherlock Holmes of the dog that did not bark.

    Is this too simplistic a solution to when exactly the NT books were written or the “all-too-obvious” answer?

  281. on 08 Sep 2011 at 2:06 amWolfgang

    Xavier,

    Is this too simplistic a solution to when exactly the NT books were written or the “all-too-obvious” answer?

    seems clear to me that the NT books were written prior to the AD 70 events … I suppose one could say that this would provide the “all-too-obvious” answer, and that not only to the question of when the NT books were written but also to important biblical topics …

    The assumptions that “predictions” were written (or written up) after the event seem to come more from folks who think that such is a good explanations of how such predictions “could actually be true”.

  282. on 08 Sep 2011 at 1:25 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Maybe those who have read the writings of the other early church fathers can weigh in, do their writings mention the events of 70 AD much or at all?

  283. on 08 Sep 2011 at 1:47 pmXavier

    Wolfgang

    The assumptions that “predictions” were written (or written up) after the event seem to come more from folks who think that such is a good explanations of how such predictions “could actually be true”.

    So your one of those who does not believe in the NT as prophecy?

    And since your a preterist how can you tell when Jesus is speaking “figuratively” or “literally” in say Mat 24?

    Tim (aka Antioch)

    Maybe those who have read the writings of the other early church fathers can weigh in, do their writings mention the events of 70 AD much or at all?

    From memory I don’t think so. Maybe because they were all Gentiles and not as ‘Temple-focused’ as Jews, ala Josephus.

  284. on 08 Sep 2011 at 5:53 pmLORRAINE

    Hello everyone, and Ron S., I must say thank you so much Ron for your posting on the NT my sentiments exactly. Somehow people have drawn away from the truth and they like to hear what they want to hear. Sort of a surgar coating of the real truth I guess to make themselves feel better about things. Things such as the Old Testament and the Commandments the Law. People really do not want this truth because it will interfere with their plans at heart. But you see the Law is what it is. One cannot alter of substitute or rearrange anything as Moses stated when he submitted these commandments to the chosen people of Yisreal YHWH’s son, his firstborn, Exodus, 4: vs. 22,23. To change these commandments is what went wrong in the first place that angered YHWH so this is not tolerated at all by YHWH and why we are in the situation that the world is obviously in today. Follow the Law and fear YHWH because he only wants what’s right and good for us because he loves us so. I too find the NT to be written by men who are dedicated to themselves more than to the facts. I call it the Constantinian Era. As in Luke I found him to be a very cocky and egotistical individual in that instead of prophesying what he tells he states that he has the perfect understanding of all things. Luke, 1: vs.1-4, I have a problem with these statements. Any and all prophets in the OT tells us how they are introduced to YHWH The Lord, and they are always overwhelmed at his presence and do fall upon their knees and their faces humbling themselves to The Strong One, He Who Creates. I have more respect for these prophets of proof or validation than any who are in the NT. Also, YHWH states in Amos, 3: vs 7, that he tells us no secrets and YHWH always goes through his servants and his prophets to speak to us. That is confirmation enough for me. Also Isaiah, 42: vs. 8,9 lets us know if there will be anything new told to us. Therefore although people want to paint a pretty picture of something that sounds good instead of the truth which is we must follow the Law the commandments and the sabbath for YHWH tells us this all through the OT Gen. – Malichi. Also people we must take strong heed to Idolatry it will not be accepted in YHWH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS not at all never for he detest it and this too is why we are having the world’s problems today. For YHWH says in Isaiah, 48: vs. 11 that he will not share his glory, and in Isaiah, 43: vs. 3-15. So people where is the fear of the Lord YHWH within you?, are you really serving his request? Our Lord YHWH is a jealous God, Nahum, 1: vs.1-3. We will all have to come back unto HIM YHWH it is prophsised. Ezekiel, chapter 36. Praise YHWH The Lord.

  285. on 09 Sep 2011 at 12:32 amWolfgang

    Xavier,

    So your one of those who does not believe in the NT as prophecy?

    ?? how do you arrive at such an assumption from what I wrote?

    And since your a preterist how can you tell when Jesus is speaking “figuratively” or “literally” in say Mat 24?

    Reading any text (not just biblical texts) and understanding what is literal and what is figurative (what uses a figure of speech) is a linguistic matter.
    I would advise you to learn some basics about figures of speech from either taking a language course dealing with figures of speech, or perhaps reading a book on the subject, such as “Figures of Speech Used in the Bible” by E.W. Bullinger … a google search should produce some links to sources where the book is available.

    Please note, just for clarification:
    I am suggesting Bullinger’s book for the purpose of learning something about figures of speech, because it contains much information about figures of speech and their use in the Bible; I am NOT suggesting the book because of Bullinger’s theological conclusions or the interpretations he might draw on biblical subjects.

  286. on 09 Sep 2011 at 7:04 amXavier

    Wolfgang

    Bullinger was one of the first people I read when I came to Christianity. I like some of the things he says, especially about Gen 6 which you seem to disagree with.

    But how do YOU pick out the “figurative” from the “literal” in Mat 24?

  287. on 09 Sep 2011 at 8:51 amWolfgang

    Xavier,

    I determine what is figurative and what is literal in a text like anyone else does (or should do) … and as I mentioned before, I do so by applying the linguistic knowledge I have about figures of speech.

    Your above comment makes it look as if you either did not or could not or did not want to understand what I wrote regarding Bullinger, else why would you reply in the manner you did ?

  288. on 09 Sep 2011 at 10:12 amXavier

    Wolfgang

    All I want to know is how do YOU seperate from what is “figurative” language versus “literal” in Mat 24 and come to a preterist conclusion of the passage. That is all.

  289. on 09 Sep 2011 at 1:14 pmMark C.

    Not only Matt 24… the preterist viewpoint requires a large percentage of the OT to be understood as “figurative.”

  290. on 09 Sep 2011 at 1:30 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    Right. But I am trying to figure out how & why they decide the matter. If you follow.

  291. on 09 Sep 2011 at 1:51 pmMark C.

    Xavier, I understand. I’ve been trying to figure that out too. Sometime it SEEMS like any passage that doesn’t fit with their theology is deemed to be “figurative.” Perhaps Wolfgang could clarify the process.

  292. on 09 Sep 2011 at 2:55 pmLorraine

    Xavier, I can tell you and Wolfgang, that the language in Mat24 is not literal nor figurative at all it is all made up in my opinion where it is mentioned that the son of man will be in the clouds is nonsense, for all in the Old Testament YHWH The Lord of Righteousness Jer.33 vs. 16. YHWH tells us right in the begining of the book of the son of man’s and the daughters of man being the people who he created on the earth and the Son of Gods who were the angels he created in the heavens in Genesis, 6: vs. 1-4. YHWH does not go back on what he says. You see people we have to get back to the truth not the glamore and hollywood mysteries that we have fabricated in this NT of idolatry to please our desires. The time is very near to get it right or one will choose their faith of not walking in the word of YHWH. During the times of 606 BCE the Babylonian Chaldean Kingdoms which prophsied in Daniel 2: vs. 1-49 where it describes the king Nebuchadnezzar and the 4th Kingdoms of men is around the time when they came and got the first group of Hebrew Israelites in which Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azachiah were a part of the history of the times that are to come. These prophecies of Ezekiel the priest, Daniel the visionist, and Jeremiah the child were all victimised captives of slavery for the iniquities and transgressions of YHWH’s son, the chosen people of Israel the firstborn, Jerusalem, (Yerusalem) Zion, also called Judah(Yudah). They and we today are all the descendants of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the lands whose children had sinned against YHWH and were then and are now all captives of our own punishments. Yes even today we are all in captivity of our sins and transgressions against YHWH The Lord. From polluting his name by honoring these many religions of idolatry, and not keeping the Law the Commandments and the Sabbath. We have turn our backs on YHWH and of these prophets as shown in the books of Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephania that YHWH’s day is upon us to bring back a righteous land in the land of Israel and the rest of the world. In Israel today the now so called Jews are residing since 1897 and in 1948 returned as prophesied in Malachi, chapter 1 are the descendants of Esau who have been building the desolate waste until this day called (borders of wickedness). Their judgement is coming for the descendants of Esau the Edomites as also prophsied in Obadiah and Jeremiah, 49: vs. 7-22 is foretold. Note, not all Edomites are complicit to this movement. The prophets have all prophsied that the day of the Lord YHWH has begun. We have been under this captivity of mankind’s ruling over the earth with his indifferences, his injustices, and his pestilences for over 2500 years now. As in the book of Daniel in his vision that prophesied in Daniel, 12: vs. 7-13 in which the angel Gabriel gave to Daniel the vision of the times of what is to come in the future is going on now. We really need to stop wasting valuable time and take heed to prepare for the day of YHWH’s return. By walking in the ways of YHWH The Lord Our Righteousness, so that we can all be listed in YHWH’s Book of Remembrance and be known again as YHWH’s own. Why does anyone need half truths or somewhat false as the posting of Ron S has given us about the church fathers or watchmen being afraid of the realness of the truth is beyond me. This is not a belief or religion this is about the truth the word of YHWH who is our only Savior, Jeremiah 43: vs 11. google YHWH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS and Praise YHWH.

  293. on 09 Sep 2011 at 3:33 pmLorraine

    Once again, NOTE! Not all Edomites Israelites, who are the Gentiles or Jews are complicit to this up and coming movement. Praise YHWH Our Lord of Righteousness. Peace.

  294. on 09 Sep 2011 at 4:01 pmXavier

    Lorraine

    Xavier, I can tell you and Wolfgang, that the language in Mat24 is not literal nor figurative at all it is all made up in my opinion…

    Why, pray tell, are you here?

  295. on 09 Sep 2011 at 4:41 pmWolfgang

    Xavier

    All I want to know is how do YOU seperate from what is “figurative” language versus “literal” in Mat 24 and come to a preterist conclusion of the passage. That is all.

    I have no special or different procedure to understanding what I read … all have the same text, speak the language, etc. Now, since language involves both literal and figurative use of words and expressions, it is axiomatic that one have a knowledge of the meaning of words as well as a knowledge about figures of speech and their use in language.

    If I did not know what a metapher is, I could not recognize where in a text it might be used by an author … if I did not know what idioms are, I could not recognize idioms used in a text … and in such cases I would most likely then endeavor to understand the text literally, not being aware that what I read involves a figure of speech, and the result would be that I wrongly understand what the author communicated.

    Example: I could read in an English text something about “pulled my leg” … the question is what did the writer mean? Is the expression meant literally or in some figurative way? If I did not know about “pulling someone’s leg” being an idiomatic expression, I would have no choice but to understand the expression in its literal sense … resulting in a false understanding if the writer had meant it figuratively. IF I know about the idiom, I have a choice and thus could understand the expression correctly … and the context would clarify whether the literal meaning or the figurative meaning is correct.

    “The little boy came running up to me, and quickly pulled my leg with such force that I almost lost my balance”
    “These guys were so funny and always up for mischief trying to pull my leg with their funny story telling.”

    Can you tell which of the statements involves the literal use and which the figurative use? How can you tell? I trust you can see HOW you can determine what is meant?

  296. on 09 Sep 2011 at 9:29 pmLorraine

    Xavier, I thought my last post would raise horns and I am here because instead of bickering about nothing, (nt) I want to substantiate truth. First of all If YHWH has said Mr. fancy words, all through the book of Isaiah that he shall never share his glory with anyone and that he is the only Savior YHWH The Lord, Isaiah chapter 43, then why pray tell do people keep trying to make up some other savior to die for our sins? When also in the book of Isaiah YHWH tells us through the prophet Isaiah that he has blotted out our sins and forgiven them and our trangressions, and have redeemed us. Isaiah, 44: vs. 21,22. This is stated all through the book of Isaiah and in other books in the Old Testament as well. I do not have to be a scholar to see that, but its amazing those with so much knowledge cannot see it as in Jeremiah, 10: vs. 14,15,16,21 and 22. Jeremiah, 23: 1-8 and Jeremiah, 33: 14-26. Yea for the seed of David and the seed of the Levites and The Lord Our Righteousness Peace movement. Maybe the ones of vanity knowledge are continually out smarting themselves and love to hear lies as was shown in Mr. Ron S. posting about the validation of the (nt) and the fear of the truth, or half truths of information found in the (nt). Also, as Doubting Thomas has posted that Paul was incorrect about the eating of blood it is not allowed as in Genesis, 9: vs. 3,4, or Deut. chapter 32 which does give us a diet list to follow. And furthermore I was welcomed to be here. bicker, bicker but I am a woman so this is natural for us. Praise Yudah, Zion and Praise YHWH. Peace my bretherns.

  297. on 09 Sep 2011 at 10:17 pmDoubting Thomas

    Lorraine,
    I’m just curious if you are a Trinitarian or perhaps a Messianic Jew???

    BTW – I did google YHWH our Righteousness…

  298. on 10 Sep 2011 at 12:56 amWolfgang

    Lorraine,

    As in the book of Daniel in his vision that prophesied in Daniel, 12: vs. 7-13 in which the angel Gabriel gave to Daniel the vision of the times of what is to come in the future is going on now. We really need to stop wasting valuable time and take heed to prepare for the day of YHWH’s return.

    how do you know that what Daniel prophesied IS GOING ON NOW? Reading Daniel’s prophecies – and in particular those about times and kingdoms – it is clear that Daniel was NOT prophesying about a time almost 2500 years later.
    Yes, at the time of Daniel those times of which he prophesied were in the future and still to come … but from where and what in Daniel’s prophecy do you interpret that it is still future even after 2,5 millenniums?

    Also, do you believe that the promised son of David has already been born, or are you still awaiting his birth ? Do you regard Jesus of Nazareth to be the son of David?

  299. on 10 Sep 2011 at 3:23 amGreg

    Doubting Thomas,

    Greg here. We conversed a bit on another thread not too long ago. I told you I believed that Sabbath remains valid, as well as other aspects of the OT law. I’m very intrigued by your stance on Paul. I am just now going through some issues with Paul, wondering whether or not he is a true apostle. I would love to keep in touch with you. My email address is gmh.lear@gmail.com

  300. on 10 Sep 2011 at 7:11 amXavier

    Lorraine, Wolfgang

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

    Greg

    Your going to practice and teach circumcision of the flesh as well?

  301. on 10 Sep 2011 at 7:57 amWolfgang

    Xavier,

    were you trying to tell me via this youtube clip what the man there is saying?

    What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.

  302. on 10 Sep 2011 at 8:04 amXavier

    Wolfgang

    Funny ain’t it?

  303. on 10 Sep 2011 at 8:21 amWolfgang

    Xavier,

    what is supposed to funny about it? maybe it’s funny to someone with idiotic insanely concepts i their head? I don’t see anything funny at all there

  304. on 10 Sep 2011 at 8:30 amXavier

    Wolfgang

    O well.

  305. on 10 Sep 2011 at 10:15 amMark C.

    Xavier & Wolfgang,

    Please stop the insults. They are not a good witness for Christ.

  306. on 10 Sep 2011 at 11:34 amXavier

    Mark C.

    You consider those who call themseleves false teachers and their students “good witness for Christ”?

  307. on 10 Sep 2011 at 5:01 pmLorraine

    Wolfgang, how I know that the time is now meaning it is near the time for YHWH THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS to set up the new kingdom it will be at least by the year 2016 for these things will come. Now what I calculated is from the time when YHWH made the covenent with Abramham in Genesis, 15: vs. 12-21, YHWH told Abram which was his name at that time that his seed will be a stranger in a land that is not theirs for four hundred years and that they will be afflicted again in the fourth generation. Now during the time of the Babylonian Chaldean Kingdom this was in the 4th century the 4th kingdom that began in 606 BCE now I added on the four hundred years prophesied to Abram and thats 1006. Then slavery in the U.S began in the 1600 thats another 600 years and in Daniel’s vision the angel told the other angel in Dan.12: vs. 7 that how long it will be until the end of these wonders and the angel answerd it shall be a times, times and a half which is 2500 years and to scatter the power of the holy people then all will be finish. So 600 years plus 1006 is 1606 plus another 405 years from the U.S. slavery is now 2011 estimately it could be as close as to the year of 2016. My math is terrible but I thought it would be fun, I will check with my resources again later to get the exact time; although according to Daniel, 2: 1-49 it describes us being at the feet and the toes of the the gold and silver and brass image in the dream that is certain of Dan., 2: vs. 44,45. Then once it is distroyed because iron and clay do not mix such as they mingle themselves with the seed of men but they shall not cleave one to another as the religions and politics and economics, families are today falling apart and in the days of these kings the strong one will set up a kingdom that will not be ran by other people and will stand forever. To answer your second question I was told that he is here now he may be younger but it will come to him who he is in Isaiah chapters 49 and 53 he is the arm of YHWH his elect the seed of David. As you will read he is not loved at all and this is not the case with your jc character and jc is dipicted as handsome to look at but YHWH’s elect has no beauty and he will be despised. Also, note that the he is figurative (representative or symbolic) for God YHWH works in mysterious ways you know. Praise YHWH. Love your bretherns.

  308. on 10 Sep 2011 at 5:09 pmLorraine

    Doubting Thomas, no not a Jew but to answer your question I am a Hebrew Israelite a descendant from our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Yaacov). Praise YHWH. Oh and what did you think about the YHWH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS peace movement website?

  309. on 10 Sep 2011 at 5:23 pmMark C.

    Xavier,

    You consider those who call themseleves false teachers and their students “good witness for Christ”?

    No. But I’m not addressing them. I’m addressing you and Wolfgang.

  310. on 10 Sep 2011 at 6:33 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    Well you should address them. Seeing as their flooding this thread with longwinded dribble.

  311. on 10 Sep 2011 at 7:58 pmDoubting Thomas

    Lorraine,
    I thought it was an interesting website, but from what I read it seemed to be very vague on beliefs, other than an emphasis on the O.T. writings. In your comments above you seemed to be implying that God himself had to redeem us. That’s why I was wondering if you were a Trinitarian or perhaps a Oneness believer. I myself am a Biblical Unitarian. To be even more precise, I am a Socinian. I do not consider myself to be a teacher or a scholar. I’m just a humble student of Christ…

  312. on 10 Sep 2011 at 8:11 pmLorraine

    Wolfgang, oh my I forgot to summarize how I know that it is talking about (now) that math throws me off every time but YHWH had the angel Gabriel to help Daniel to write these words for the future days in Daniel, 12: vs. 4, and 8-13. As you will notice in vs. 8 Daniel has no idea what the angel was talking about of the future and Daniel we all know was an expert in dreams or visions but he was told 4, to stop the words and seal the book many shall run to and fro and the knowledge shall be increased. This is today, many are confused about most everything especially religion now days. In 10, the angel let us know who will know those of the far days ahead and who will not know so in 13, the angel tells Daniel that he will be at rest long before this day will come to the end. These final words were left for those of us who know. See the key clue here is the word (end.) The end of days, the world, etc. Sounds like the final show down to me. I hope this makes it clear for you to understand or just read Daniel chapter 12 it should make sense. Love thy bretherns.

  313. on 10 Sep 2011 at 9:11 pmLorraine

    Doubting Thomas, what? YHWH had to redeem us NO he says for his own sake that he does it it is all in the book of Isaiah, chapters 42,43. Also there is no need for belief in what YHWH says when he says I AM THAT I AM, THE SAVIOR THERE IS NONE ELSE IT IS I that is it. YHWH is just straight to the point and does not have to justify anything. We do not believe but we substantiate the truth at the website. In the OT YHWH substantiates His truth for instance when Isaiah prophesizes what Jeremiah does long before Jeremiah does his prophecy 160 or 200 years before. Isaiah and his children are signs for prophesies in the OT. In Daniel, chapter 9 its prophesized how in Ezra chapter 1,2,3,4, I forget his slave name but, Zurrubabel being a Messiah annointed and Cyrus a Persian also was annointed giving him all of the artifacts from conquoring king Nebuchadrezzar and was honored by YHWH to help Zurrubabel and other priest to build a house for YHWH, and another one of Isaiah’s son’s Immanuel is prophesized for Ahaz to witness before he dies and it happens. At the website YHWH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS there are also videos that help to substantiate the truth of YHWH’s word in the OT with concurrent many historical eras and the many biblical era facts.

  314. on 10 Sep 2011 at 9:33 pmMark C.

    Xavier,

    People have a right to express their views here, even if they disagree with ours. However, being rude and insulting are not appropriate, according to the guidelines of this site.

  315. on 10 Sep 2011 at 9:42 pmDoubting Thomas

    Lorraine,
    I’m getting the impression that you don’t believe that Y’shua was our Messiah, Lord and redeemer. To be quite honest I have never met someone with beliefs like yours. You say you are not a Jew but a Hebrew Israelite a descendant from our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Yaacov). I’ve never heard of such a thing. My friend Robert who is more knowledgeable than I am has asked me to ask you the following questions.

    “Ask Lorraine if she is a descendent of Northern or Southern kingdom and just how she decided that Y’shua didn’t meet the requirements as the redeemer of the sin of Adam as the Perfect One. Tell her to check her Aol mail that she listed as a website when she posted her comments.”

    I hope I’m not coming across as rude or anything. I’m just most curious about your beliefs…

  316. on 11 Sep 2011 at 2:48 amWolfgang

    Lorraine,

    having read Daniel and other OT prophets, I have no clue how someone could come up with the math you calculate above … I suppose, we’ll wait until 2016 and see what happens?

    I am also somewhat puzzled that you indicate that you seem to be able to trace your ancestry as a Hebrew Israelite to the 12 tribes (sons of Jacob) … Everybody else claiming to be of Israelite (Jewish) ancestral line admits that they only assume such but can’t say with certainty because with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD all the records have been lost and thus it is impossible for Israelites to document or substantiate that they truly are descendants of the 12 tribes.

  317. on 11 Sep 2011 at 3:10 pmLorraine

    Well Wolfgang, I associate it from what YHWH tells us in the book, reading the book of Daniel and learning about his vision that he had is how I conclude the return of YHWH to bring a new kingdom of righteousness, as his angel told Daniel in Daniel 12: vs 9,10, to stop the words and seal the book for those who know will know, and those who don’t won’t. But they will know who they are. Daniel did not understand either but he was assured by the angel that he has already done his work for the Lord YHWH and will be in the Book of Remembrance. I also said that I will get the right time frame of when YHWH The Lord will come now it is an estimated time for only YHWH truly knows, but my sources are committed. Oh and my math is terrible, I know. Also, the reasons of how I know that I am a Hebrew Israelite is what was prophesized in the book of Exodus, from when the captives were in Egypt in Exodus, 4: vs. 22,23 when YHWH let us know from our first captivity who we are to him and latter after that episode we learn that we will be cut off again as prophesized in Genesis, and scattered to the four corners of the earth and will serve them and their gods in a strange land not their own and will not know who you are for many centuries because of your sins and iniquities against YHWH The Lord as is first told in Abram in Genesis, 15: vs. 13-18 and in Deut. 28: vs. 64-68, and in the book of Lamentations it is all there of how we were slaved and punished for the transgressions of our sins for generations to generations, and is in many of the books of the bible of who we are. We are the descendants of those who sinned against YHWH from not doing the commandments and his statues. Have you noticed that many of the prophets were in captivity and enslaved? From the ones in Egypt of Moses, to Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Habakkuk and more were all under the curse of captivity. Those of us today are still under this captivity it has not changed and it won’t until we all turn back unto YHWH The Lord and this is what it is all about. Deut., 30: vs. 1-3. Also in Ezekiel, 16: vs. 1-15 YHWH tells us of our nativity within Jerusalem. Yes there are many lost records but just as YHWH had come to the knowledge of the prophets there are many annointed ones even today who will know of these things and the book although it maybe tampered with some it still holds many truths about the beginning of mankind and his faith. Peace and Praise YHWH. There are many tribes of Israelites and the Jews or Gentils are one and the Hebrews are one and its others of the 12 tribes as well. Praise YHWH.

  318. on 11 Sep 2011 at 4:33 pmLorraine

    Well Doubting Thomas, you can let them know that I am a descendant from the southern kingdom which as you know this does not exclude the fact that the north and the south kingdoms were once together and will be again, Praise YHWH. The defeat of the northern Israel from the Assyrian in c. 722/721 was from the act of YHWH The Lord on them. But yes the Judah (Yudah), Jerusalem (Yerusalem), Israel and Jacob (Yaacov) and Zion are the lands of YHWH and will be returned in the day of The Lord YHWH again. Daniel, 2: vs. 1-49. I never said that Y’shua or jc does not meet the requirements from the discription of him in the nt but I am saying that I have not seen him being prophesied in the OT at all. I only see YHWH The Lord stating in Jeremiah chapters 23 and 33 about the seed of David and his Branch, that YHWH will name at that time, and the seed of the Levites the high priest and YHWH who will all be called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS when the new kingdom is called back unto YHWH. I have to have the substantiation of the truth and when I read the book there is no mentioning of this character within the OT. When you read a book you normally begin with the front of it then to the end. When I read the nt it changes many of the laws in the OT that are not ever mention in the nt, and the OT always tells us things through YHWH’s prophets and his servant Amos, 3: vs. 7. YHWH has no secrets if there is something new he will tell us Isaiah, 43: vs. 8,9. Here he also states that he would never give his glory to another. David who’s seed will be on the throne meaning who will Shepard over us and the Levites as well holds high rank with the Lord YHWH and they are his servants and will not take his glory he is YHWH He Who Creates all things Isaiah, 45: vs. 4-12 and Isaiah, 43: vs. 11. There is no other Savior. Now could you ask Robert for me why did a nt book have to come forth anyway? And why did not The Lord YHWH mention it in the OT? The last time I checked Christianity was organized through Augustus Cesear and Constantine being legalized in 311 cead of Roman men. There was no Christianity before the 4th Century. Praise YHWH.

  319. on 11 Sep 2011 at 4:56 pmMark C.

    I am saying that I have not seen him being prophesied in the OT at all…
    …when I read the book there is no mentioning of this character within the OT.

    http://godskingdomfirst.org/lord%27s%20anointed.htm

  320. on 11 Sep 2011 at 6:16 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Lorraine,
    Your beliefs are most interesting. You say you are not a Jew and it seems you are not a Christian either. You seem to even have a dislike of Christianity. Robert saw your reply even before I did and he asked me to post the following response;

    – quote – “Lorraine,
    If you are a descendent of the southern kingdom then you are by nationality a Jew. As far a why a NT book came forth, was the fact that it was recording an act that was important to all humanity. This act was the perfection of ALL the Commandments of YHWH by Y’shua which removed the handwriting against mankind which the act of the sin of Adam caused to be against us.

    Starting with Adam there was required a sacrifice every year to continually cover this sin and this sacrifice continued till Y’shua proved that man could be worthy to again to be in His presence. Y’shua was the Last Sacrifice because YHWH accepted this act as a redemptive act. It was mentioned thru out the OT as the blessing of ALL Nations, A Light To The Gentile Nations that allowed for them to stand before YHWH on the Day of Judgment to be Judged by matters of love.

    This also removed the need for Israel of the Temple, Priesthoood on Earth and the Sacrificial system they were set up for. Since there was need for a change YHWH Renewed the Covenant removing the Temple,Priesthood and Sacrificial ordinances ad statutes leaving us with laws that retained to signs to identify Israel and how we should behave.

    There were many groups of Christians long before 311 who followed the example of Y’shua. It is just that Pagananity won out in the Majority. Your logic fails your beliefs when you lose sight of the Fact that YHWH was the redeemer, because without his acceptance of it as a redeeming act , Y’shua would of just been a perfect man within the Law of YHWH.” – end quote –

    I hope you don’t mind me posting his response. My knowledge of the O.T. is very limited. I am a fairly new Christian, who is just learning. There are many things that I don’t understand. At least not yet. I do have one question of my own that I would like to ask. If Christianity didn’t exist prior to 311 A.D. then why do 1st. century Jewish historians talk about the early Christians???

    Shalom…

  321. on 11 Sep 2011 at 8:41 pmLorraine

    Robert, and Doubting Thomas, yes it does say all through the OT that a light will be given to the Gentiles in the day of the Lord YHWH, I agree TOTALLY, Isaiah, chapter 42, but no where do I see any proof of this act prefected of the Commanments of YHWH by jc? Alright here you are saying to me that jc is now telling YHWH the way that things will be done, no way! As I said if it is not prophesied as said by YHWH in Amos, 3: vs. 7 in which nowhere have I seen this jc told to us by YHWH to be born of a virgin and we know that the word virgin was replaced by the Hebrew word ‘almah’ which means by most scholars married maiden or young maiden then come and preach die and then be resurrected this is nowhere in the OT. No, I am definately a Hebrew Israelite north, south I may have it confused but that is because it is in the prophecy that I would not know did you read Lamentations or Ezekiel at all? We know that many of the today Jews are claiming the ten Lost tribes but if they were scattered and lost to the four corners of the earth why are most of them today Jews all in Israel and they were not enslaved but they claim to be the ones in captivity and the Jews have always known who they are when it is said his chosen will not know who they are. All I see is most of the Jews in America being owners of most every merchants in America as was also prophesied until judgement comes they will have the dominion descendants of Esua, Edomites not all Edomites are complicit. This is not the prophecy and it seems that some people want to not have substantial information they want to b e l i e v e in something that is fabricated to do what they desire. I suppose the OT scriptures are not enough for some or maybe they are just too much to have to deal with such as the Commandments the Law, many want to alter what is there but then in my opinion this will be idolatry such as was prophsied in Duet. chapter 4. Oh and I do realize that not all Jews are rich people and I am aware of the 1897 Theodore Herzel Movement and their return to Israel in 1948 after the Holocaust being deported I am glad for them as well because those Greeks Turkish, Romanios, where Jews originally resided were cruel to the Jews. That’s why we must all love our bretherns so that these kinds of things won’t happen again as slavery is still going on in many parts of the world this is not righteousness and in the day of YHWH it will be addressed. Also do you have proof of the Temple not having to be built where does it say that from YHWH and where was it accepted as a redeeming act by jc? where? the nt right? No, YHWH IS the redeemer not was. There is only one Savior. Read the book of Isaiah. Praise to YHWH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

  322. on 11 Sep 2011 at 9:10 pmDoubting Thomas

    Lorraine,
    I do appreciate you answering Robert’s inquiries. I was curious how you would answer. I agree with what your saying that we must love our brethren. I just don’t understand where you get your beliefs that Christianity was started by Augustus Ceaser. You do realize that in the middle of the 1st. century, after half of the city of Rome burnt to the ground, that the emperor blamed it on the Christians and thus began the first persecution of the Christians by the Roman State.

    The Christians were persecuted over and over again by the Roman state for almost 300 years. Some persecutions were worse than others, and during most of this time it was illegal to be a Christian. Christians were forced into underground churches some groups even met in the catacombs beneath the city to avoid detection. The early Christians were certainly not a creation of the Roman State nor were they sanctioned by the state.

    The R.C. church on the other hand was indeed a creation of the Roman State. From the very beginning it was a political organization that the rulers would use to try to control people. It got to the point that the R.C. church was controlling every aspect of people’s lives including which days they were permitted to have sex on and which days they weren’t. I think someone has misinformed you about how and when Christianity started.

    You also said, “Alright here you are saying to me that jc is now telling YHWH the way that things will be done, no way!”

    I agree. No way!!! Y’shua was, and is, completely obedient to his and our Father the creator of heaven and earth. I don’t know how you got the impression that Robert or I believed that Y’shua was giving orders to Yahweh. Yahweh is our (including Y’shua’s) sovereign Lord. He is the Father and Y’shua is His human son, conceived in Mary’s womb, and was born into this world just like any of us.

    Y’shua led a completely obedient (sinless) life, which is why God gave him glory and honor (Not God’s glory which he shares with no-one) and raised Y’shua up to sit at his right hand. At least this is what I believe…

  323. on 11 Sep 2011 at 11:15 pmLorraine

    Doubting Thomas, Yes there were struggles to establish Christianity that is how it is with most beliefs wars and persecution do happen but I noticed that you did not mention Constantine who legalized Christianity in 311. I also know that he used his government to empower Christianity throughout the Roman Empire and it was forced after that. It is apparent that we have different views on what we serve as our God Lord YHWH so this will be my last post on this subject otherwise we’ll go on bickering which is not what righteousness is about. So to stay true to the way I read the book of Isaiah I will respect yours and I hope you respect mine. I just think that if YHWH says that he is the only Savior why would someone add another one regardless. Also, you say that jc is his son I need substantial proof of that because the only time I saw it put that way was when YHWH said in Exodus, 4: 22,23 about a son and a firstborn and the only other son I saw in the OT was when he addresses man as the son of man or the angels as the sons of God. There is no where else evident that states jc is his son unless you are saying he is the son of man which is what he called all of his servants and prophets. Is there any scripture in the OT that you can provide to show these and you say that jc was born just like any of us but I though he was conceived by the holy ghost or spirit without conception? The rest of us did not have that experience and I would not want it to it sounds too hollywood or demonic to me. I never got that impression from the OT about any children that were prophesied to be born. But, as I said I will go on to other post now for this is becoming tedious and I wish you and Robert the best. It does sound like jc was a very nice person but in Jeremiah, 23 vs. 1-8, and 33 vs. 14-26 whoever the seed of David will be or the Levite priest YHWH has only called this his new kingdom as THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, Jer.,23:vs. 6 and Jer., 33:vs.16 and there is no mention of a jc the only names that are mentioned in in the OT being the seed of David is in Dan., 10:vs.21 and it was Michael this is what YHWH does he shows us through his prophets. In Deut., 29:vs,29 Moses writes for us about YHWH and his way that is revealed to us. Therefore, this is the last of post of this subject for me and gentelmen I will move on and thank you for all of the conversations it was enlighting, and YHWH bless.

  324. on 12 Sep 2011 at 5:39 pmDoubting Thomas

    Lorraine,
    You said, “but I noticed that you did not mention Constantine.”

    Constantine is responsible for the establishment of the modern R.C. church. I did mention that the modern R.C. was established by the Roman State and was a political organization right from the very beginning. Bishops, etc.. were picked because of their families political connections. Constantine completely revamped the R.C. church when he pretended to convert to Christianity and then went on to make the R.C. church the official state church.

    Please don’t confuse the early Christians with the R.C. church. They had very little in common with each other. The R.C. church was only interested in supporting and maintaining the emperor’s control over the Roman empire and it’s people. It is really a political organization pretending to be a religious organization. At least that’s the way I see it anywaze.

    You also said, “It is apparent that we have different views on what we serve as our God Lord YHWH so this will be my last post on this subject otherwise we’ll go on bickering which is not what righteousness is about. So to stay true to the way I read the book of Isaiah I will respect yours and I hope you respect mine.”

    I always respect other people’s beliefs even when they make no sense to me. I will of course tell them that their beliefs don’t make any sense to me, but I respect their God given right to have their own opinions and beliefs. BTW – I also don’t like bickering. It serves no purpose. Sharing ideas and perspectives with each other is of course a different story.

    You also said, “I just think that if YHWH says that he is the only Savior why would someone add another one.”

    I believe Yahweh is our Savior. That’s why He sent Y’shua as His agent to teach us God’s commandments. Love God. Love your neighbor. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, etc… I believe Y’shua brought humankind back into grace with Yahweh our Father. Some Christians believe that Y’shua’s commandments were meant to replace the 10 Commandments. I personally don’t believe this.

    As a Gentile Christian I believe that the 10 Commandments, Y’shua’s teachings (commandments) and the decision reached at the council of Jerusalem that the Gentiles had to follow a modified form of the Noahide law, all still apply to modern day Christians today. Of course I am in the minority on this, and most Christians would disagree with me. I also believe that the Mosaic law only applies to Jewish Christians, or Messianic Jews as some of them like to be called.

    Anywaze, I’ve rambled on enough about my beliefs. If you are still interested in dialogging with me I will be around. BTW – I don’t consider myself to be a teacher or a scholar of any sort. I am just a humble student of Christ who loves our heavenly Father and is always interested in sharing thoughts and ideas with my fellow believers.

    May the peace and love of God (“OUR” Father) be with you and with us all…

  325. on 15 Oct 2011 at 6:50 pmLORRAINE

    Doubting Thomas, Wolfgang,Joseph and Robert, wow this article was really given some great concern it seems that as YHWH The Father had prophesied the knowledge will be increased and people will run to and fro with confusion trying to figure out what is and who is the right one or doctrines to worship or ‘believe in’ Daniel 12:vs.4 and just as in the days of old of King Solomon and David in 1 Kings 18v21 where people were confused of which divinity to take to heart Ba’al who to the people then was also considered the Son of YHWH The Father as jc is, or should they choose YHWH The King for in those times there was no mention of jc only Ba’al. Read all of 1 Kings 18 it is similar to today’s times. This brings me to mind the scripture Malachi 3:v.6 where YHWH says that He does not change. Therefore I cannot understand why many want to change the way of YHWH The Father for without him there is darkness and He is the light.

    I thought that I would iterate on the subject of the NT doctrines with books that I found from the turn of the last revolt from Simon bar Kokhba 132BCE to his defeat in 135BCE. Later the Jewish rabbis began their writings. Although we all have our own opinions and beliefs and want to do what makes us feel best this is not acceptable to the Law of the Commandments and the Sabbath for YHWH does not change and I found many changes in the NT from serveral ordinances and one was circumcision and since YHWH does not change it seems that the NT has changed this rule anyway. There are more: Saying the word Amen for instance was an Eygptian term that they used for their idols in the olden days. Amen Serapis 3rd century BC. (note 3rd century later in post)Next, in John 1:18 it says that no man has seen God at anytime yet in Exodus 24:v10, and 33:v20,23 and Gen.18:v17-23;Isa.6:v1;and Eze.1:v26 all through the OT YHWH was seen. Then in John 8:v33 it says Jews were Abraham’s seed but had never been in bondage to any man. Well, this is so controversy for one the word Jew is aberrated from Judah which both words were translated from Yhuhwdah and Hebrew Israelites and the captivity of the Hebrew Israelites was before 161BCE in Exo.2:v23, Ezra chapters 8 and 9 and then in Nehemiah 5:v5 so no, Jews were not but the Israelite Hebrews were. To me this is evading the truth in the NT. The last but there are more is in Romans 4v15 the law is wrath and no longer needed, where there is no law there is no transgression being under grace gives one a pass to sin for jc has died for them this YHWH will not tolerate for this same reason is why YHWH stopped accepting sacrifices from people who kept doing iniquities but still wanted to bring to him sacrifices it does not work in that way for YHWH has said He is tired of repenting. Jeremiah 15:v.6. Now I see why many want to resort to the NT you can do whatever you want and then they wonder why the world is in the state that it is in unbelievable. As I said there is more but I have had enough already. Oh, the eating of clean animals in Acts10:vs.10-15 and 1Timothy 4:4 every creature is good to eat and we wonder why we have diseases like cancer and others. No, YHWH says in Gen.7:v2,3; Leviticus 11 and Deut., 14 we are not to eat of the unclean animals YHWH THE KING does not change. And there is more but I beg to differ need I go on?

    Everyone, I could be wrong about this but I had just read some information on this topic of the Jewish writings that were composed long ago about 200 BCE to 200AD 400 years and again on Christ at 50AD to 400AD another 200 years, so 600 years in total of the Jewish writings were being composed. Also, in these apocrypha it was acknowledged that Christianity is recorded as an offshoot of Judiasm from the (3rd century 285BCE) after the last rebellion of Simon Bar Kokhba a Hebrew who was against the Roman Empire 132CE but he was defeated in two years in 135. He was also known to be called a Messiah after 100 years of the mention of jc, but was then called the ‘son of lies’ by the Jewish Rabbi writers. The Jewish writings were composed by Jewish Hellenistic groups. Southern Palestine formally known as Judah became known as Edomia Capitolia is when the descendants of Esau began to rule Malachi 1 after the Babylonian conquest 586BCE and can be confirmed in the book of Obadiah in the OT. Also, the confirmation of Psalms 137 was prophesied. The captives were sold to the Grecians Amos 1 and Joel 3. Anyhow many transliterations of the book of remembrance began and many began the translation into the New Testament.

    Examples of Old Testament pseudepigrapha are the Ethiopian Book of Enoch, Jubilees (both of which are canonical in the Abyssinian Church of Ethiopia); the Life of Adam and Eve and the Pseudo-Philo. Examples of New Testament pseudepigrapha (but in these cases also likely to be called New Testament Apocrypha) are the Gospel of Peter and the attribution of the Epistle to the Laodiceans to Paul. Further examples of New Testament pseudepigrapha include the aforementioned Gospel of Barnabas, and the Gospel of Judas, which begins by presenting itself as “the secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot”.
    Biblical PseudepigraphaThe term Pseudepigrapha commonly refers to numerous works of Jewish religious literature written from about 200 BC to 200 AD.[4] Not all of these works are actually pseudepigraphical.[4] Such works include the following:[4]

    3 Maccabees
    4 Maccabees
    Assumption of Moses
    Ethiopic Book of Enoch (1 Enoch)
    Slavonic Book of Enoch (2 Enoch)
    Book of Jubilees
    Greek Apocalypse of Baruch (3 Baruch)
    Letter of Aristeas
    Life of Adam and Eve
    Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah
    Psalms of Solomon
    Sibylline Oracles
    Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch)
    Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

    Well, I could also be wrong but the information about this was readily available. I found that geographically Ethiopia is close to the Garden of Eden. I may be wrong but I will check my resources to make sure. As we know Ethiopia has never been colonized by European powers it is possibly just too close to YHWH. YHWH BLESS ALL.

    Reference: Simon bar Kokhba Wikipedia

  326. on 15 Oct 2011 at 6:58 pmLORRAINE

    Oh, Robert I am from the northern kingdom of the split in Israel, Jerusalem Judah the Ten Lost Tribes. Who are scattered to the four corners of the earth. And as many are questioning their beliefs many are coming back and remembering who they are not so called white people not so called black people using by words, but Israelites and YHWH’s son and first born Exodus 4:vs.22,23. Many are His.

  327. on 15 Oct 2011 at 8:48 pmDoubting Thomas

    Lorraine,
    You covered a lot of issues in your message. I have a lot to learn about the O.T. writings and I find them to be rather confusing. But, I have a fairly good understanding of history. I’ve read several history books regarding early Christianity and it’s development.

    You said, “Also, in these apocrypha it was acknowledged that Christianity is recorded as an offshoot of Judiasm from the (3rd century 285BCE) after the last rebellion of Simon Bar Kokhba a Hebrew who was against the Roman Empire 132CE but he was defeated in two years in 135. He was also known to be called a Messiah after 100 years of the mention of jc, but was then called the ‘son of lies’ by the Jewish Rabbi writers.”

    The ancient Israelites rejected Y’shua because he was spreading a message of love and peace, and they were expecting a leader to lead them to a military victory over the Roman occupiers. In 66 A.D. there was a Jewish uprising that eventually led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D. Historical accounts have it that the Jewish Christians fled Jerusalem prior to this Roman assault.

    From what I understand the Jewish Christians continued to be welcomed in all the synagogues up until 285 A.D. when a man named Simon Bar Kokhba came along who claimed to be the Messiah that would lead the Jews to a final military victory over the Romans. The Jews of the time were looking for Messiah that would be a great military leader and they readily followed him.

    Of course the Jewish Christians believed that the Messiah had already come and that he would be returning again in the future. So they refused to follow this false Messiah, and as a result the Jewish Christians were excommunicated from their Jewish brethren, and were banned from synagogues all around the world.

    So when you read about how Christianity is recorded as an offshoot of Judiasm from the (3rd century 285BCE) after the last rebellion of Simon Bar Kokhba, that doesn’t mean that this is the origin of Christianity. It just means that this is the time that the Jewish Christians were officially no longer recognized as being one of the many sects of Judaism. From the beginning the Jewish Christians had been welcomed as one of the many Jewish sects of the day.

    Of course I am just a layman and not a historian and this is just my own personal understanding from what I remember reading. I hope this clears up a few things for you and helps you in your studies.

    Grace and Peace and praise YHWH our heavenly Father…

  328. on 16 Oct 2011 at 12:17 amLORRAINE

    Doubting Thomas, thanks for that history lesson and it helps to explain that anything after 161BCE is talking about the Jews and not the Hebrew Israelites for the Hebrew Israelites were under captivity then and Israel or Judah was not talked about anymore only Jerusalem because of the Second Temple until 1897 during the Hertzel Movement and again in 1948 when the Jews got legal rights to become citizens of Israel is when Israel came up again. I forget the name of that treaty TriPartite Pact then from the Jews being ordered from Spain called the Edit of Expulsion until the Holocaust when the Axis Powers occupied Greece during World War II in 1942. For the Jews had been originally in Greece and are Turkish and Romaniote for more than 2000 years and they spoke Yevanic a Greek language for years. After the Holocaust in 1942 the surving Jews from the Holocaust were migrated to Israel. Therefore the Judaism was practiced in the 3rd century and that is why Amen Serapis was an idol god then and this word ‘Amen’ carried over into Christianity and is why people in Christianity still say ‘Amen’ to this day. As early as Herod the Great being the King of the Jews sanctioned by the Roman Senate known as the client king of Judea for which they have been the so called Jews to be persecuted but we all know that this is not the case. So I am aware that during the Jewish writings this was not the beginning of Christianity. After 161BCE the Jewish writings began from 200BCE and 200AD of the many transliterations then for another 200 years from 50AD to 400AD making it 600 years in total of the writings.

  329. on 16 Oct 2011 at 12:41 amLORRAINE

    To everyone in addition the Egyptian gods like Amen Serapis the ritual of resurrection was also done traditionally, and believed in Judaism as well. This is still a belief in Christianity the resurrection that carried over from the 3rd century Judaism until now. For in Deut. 32vs. 45-47 when Moses tells us that to follow the Laws and do the Commandments we will prolong our lives and Christians will not hearken to this law because they want an everlasting life as the Father YHWH has. This cannot be possible because this is why YHWH says He is the first, the last, and none will be before of after Him He’s a spirit in the heavens and we are only flesh and blood that He loves us so.

  330. on 16 Oct 2011 at 3:28 pmDoubting Thomas

    Lorraine,
    Our conversation has led me to do a bit of reading and I now realize some of the dates in my above message are wrong. I will paste a copy of what I was just reading below for you;

    – Quote –
    In addition, the tannaim enacted laws designed to further separate the Jewish Christians from the community by prohibiting commerce and certain interrelationships with them.

    Hereafter, it is possible to trace the process of separation from the end of the first century C.E. until the period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132‑135 C.E.), when the tannaim outlawed the writings of the early Christians, declaring that Torah scrolls or texts with divine names copied by Christians had no sanctity. This was clearly a polemic against the Gospels, which must have been circulating in some form by now.

    In the time of Paul, about 60 C.E., the decision to open Christianity to gentiles had taken place, and the tannaim grad­ually found themselves facing a church whose members were not Jews from the point of view of halakhah [Jewish law]. To the rabbis, they were not Jews with incorrect views about the messiah but gentiles who claimed to be the true Israel. For this reason, the tannaim began to see the Christians as the other, not as Jews who had gone astray.

    This process was complete by the Bar Kokhba period [a brief period of Jewish sovereignty following the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba against the Romans in132 CE]. Jewish Christianity had been submerged, while Gentile Christianity had gained the ascendancy. Since it was now virtually the only form of Christianity the rabbis encoun­tered, they termed the Christians notzerim (“Nazarenes”), re­garding them as a completely separate and alien religious group.
    – Unquote –

    I don’t think I would agree with the author’s statement above that Gentile Christianity had gained the ascendancy at such an early date as this. From my understanding this actually happened much later. You can see the corrected dates (that were wrong in my above msg.) in the above quote. Have a great day… 🙂

  331. on 20 Oct 2011 at 12:07 amLORRAINE

    Doubting Thomas, as early as the 1st century Christianity during the times of Herod the Great? was going on whether it was with the Jews or the gentiles it was still done by man’s ideologies and is idolatry along with Islam, Buddhism, Judaism Scientology dharma and others if I missed any, they are all religions and religions are not at all mentioned in the OT only the Father is and his prophets and servants to tell us what the KING YHWH wanted from us and that is to do the Law the Commandments and the Sabbath and live a peaceful and righteous life that is all. YHWH has been patient for over 6000 years during the first real civilization until the idol Baal, and now We are under the wrath and curse until we get out of these religions nothing will get any better for mankind. YHWH BLESS.

  332. on 20 Oct 2011 at 5:37 pmDoubting Thomas

    Lorraine,
    You said, “they are all religions and religions are not at all mentioned in the OT.”

    I agree. The original Christians (who were the Jewish Christians) were not a “new” and separate religion. The only difference between the Jewish Christians and the other Jews of the day was that the Jewish Christians believed that the promised Messiah had come. Whereas the other Jews were still waiting for (and are still waiting for) the promised to come at some time in the future.

    From what I understand there are some Jewish groups (that have appeared recently) that have gave up on waiting and are now saying that there will be no Messiah coming, either now or in the future (I don’t know how they can justify this since there are so many Messianic texts in the O.T.).

    You also said, “…tell us what the KING YHWH wanted from us and that is to do the Law the Commandments and the Sabbath and live a peaceful and righteous life that is all.”

    I actually agree with you. Unlike most Christians I believe that all of the Mosaic law still applies today, but only to the people who want to consider themselves to be Jewish Christians (or Messianic Christians as some of them like to be called). Below is the letter sent to the Gentiles after the decision was finally reached at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:28-29;

    “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: (29) that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.”

    From what I understand this was nothing new. Since the beginning righteous Gentiles were allowed into the outer part of the temple to hear the word of God being preached. The only requirements for the righteous Gentiles was that they had to follow the 10 Commandments and the Noahide Law (Noah’s Law). The above letter outlines a form of Noah’s Law. It is slightly different then the Noahide Law that the Jews of the day were imposing on righteous Christians who wanted to enter the outer part of the temple.

    I have told you before that I personally follow the 10 Commandments, including the 4th. Commandment regarding trying to keep the Sabbath day as a holy day to grow closer to our Father in heaven. I also keep the modified form of the Noahide Law from Acts 15:19-20. I also try my best to follow all the instructions and commandments (including the parables) that our Lord Y’shua taught to us. From my point of view that is all that God (and the holy spirit) requires for us Gentiles.

    I have no problem with you trying to follow the entire Mosaic Law. I actually have a lot of respect for people that try their best to follow the entire Mosaic Law. I just don’t agree with you when you say that myself (and other Gentiles) are required or obligated to follow the entire Mosaic Law. Only those people, like yourself, who have decided to try to join the Jewish or Messianic Christian body of believers are required to try their best to keep the entire Mosaic Law.

    I know you said you aren’t a Jew, but most of your beliefs are identical to the Jewish and Messianic Christian beliefs. Accept for the fact you are still looking for the arrival of the promised Messiah. Like I have repeatedly said, “I believe the promised Messiah has already come.”

    I don’t think you will ever be able to convince me that he hasn’t… 😉

  

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