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Clean and Unclean. Why all the confusion?

pork

By Charles Ryalls

One difference between mainline Christianity and Messianic faith is the issue of Kosher diet. This is no way meant to be an exhaustive investigation into the subject. It is only a short article to provoke thought and further investigation.

Christianity puts forth the idea that Yeshua (Jesus) abolished the Old Covenant and with it many of the laws of Torah including those concerning Kosher food laws. In Leviticus God clarifies what is food and what is not food. These are not listed in the ten commands given to Moshe as the terms of the Covenant but is given as instruction to the people to be carried out through the priesthood. It is clear that Kosher food practices were still in force in the early church while it was predominantly Jewish in its makeup but after the expansion into Gentile areas and relocating the church center to Rome many things changed. Some churchmen will quote the writings of Paul to demonstrate the end of Kosher law at least for Gentiles and possibly for all those of faith in Yeshua. Some of the confusion on this issue is because of a failure to fully understand the New Testament scriptures in their correct Hebraic context. Regardless of how any of us feel about the teachings of Paul or the Modern Church, we must defer back to the actual teachings of Yeshua himself.

Yeshua and the Laws of Torah.

Did Yeshua set aside the Torah, the teachings, law and instruction of God?

 MT 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Clearly Yeshua did not set aside the law. In fact he assures us that the law will continue and places much importance upon our not only keeping the law but teaching others the same. Many Christians say that Jesus came to fulfill the law in some sort of mystical way  that by his keeping the law we are credited for keeping it even when we don’t. Or they say the law only held us in line until Messiah came.  However this is an error on the part of Christian theologians who fail to see what Yeshua is saying.  The word translated Fulfil, in the text really means to fill up, to bring to it’s full and correct meaning, to apply liberally. The teachings of the Pharisaical party of the time had done much to distort the correct meaning of Torah and its intended purpose.  Yeshua is critical of the teachings of men that were added as an unnecessary  burden to men and which in some cases even made Gods law of no effect.

(see Matt 23,)

Mk 7: [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. [9] And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Yeshua came to fulfil, the law, to correctly bring it to its full meaning. The context of Matthew 5 if read in its entirety shows this as Yeshua continues in the teaching and takes the law as it had been taught and shows the correct and deeper meaning which reveals a spiritual problem that lies behind the failure to keep the law. He does this with a common Rabbinical teaching method of comparison saying “You have heard them of old say…..but I say unto you…..” Lets look:

Matt 5: MT 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: [22] But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:

MT 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: [28] But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

MT 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: [34] But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

MT 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: [39] But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [40] And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

MT 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. [44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; [45] That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

When we read this chapter in its entirety we see that Fulfilling the law here is not bringing it to an end, as some teach but is instead bringing it to it’s full and correct meaning. If anything it sets the bar of the law even higher demonstrating our need for spiritual rebirth in order to keep it properly.

Keeping in mind that Kosher food laws, Clean and Unclean are part of this law, lets look at the scriptures that are  often misused to demonstrate that Yeshua abolished food laws.

 MK 7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. [2] And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. [3] For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. [4] And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. [5] Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

Here we should make it clear that this hand washing is a “Tradition of the elders” and not a command of Torah, God’s law.  Yeshua continues by criticizing them for negating God’s law through their traditions and man made laws which we call the Oral Torah:

[6] He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. [9] And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. [10] For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: [11] But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. [12] And ye suffer him no more to do aught for his father or his mother; [13] Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Next Yeshua explains that it is the things that come out of a mans mouth which defile him because they speak from the heart which is corrupt.

MK 7:14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: [15] There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. [16] If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. [17] And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. [18] And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; [19] Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? [20] And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Now if you are reading from a modern translation there is a little extra line added to this passage at the end of verse 19. It does not appear in the majority of the oldest texts and seems to be added as a Christian explanation. It says in Parenthesis ( In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) I recommend that if you have this additional line to strike it out with a black marker. Let’s look at all this from its Hebraic context. First thing to realize is that this incident has nothing to do with Kosher food laws at all. The question at hand is the ceremonial washing of hands before eating  which is a Rabbinical teaching of the Oral Law but not given by God.  Yeshua criticizes these additions as making God’s perfect law a burden that no man can carry and which  in some cases cancels Gods law. I have actually heard Christian preachers misunderstand this passage reinterpreting it to say that Jesus and his disciple were eating unclean food. However as you can see that is not the subject. Since the Pharisees were looking for an occasion to bring accusation against this new popular preacher we can be absolutely sure that if they had been eating unclean food it would certainly have been brought up as an accusation because this would have been an ever greater breach of the law than eating with unwashed hands. The Pharisee taught that if one ate clean Kosher food but did so without first ceremonially washing  the hands the food was defiled making it unclean and unfit to eat. They were eating bread which is certainly kosher food. But because they ate it without the Ceremonial hand washing the Pharisees declared that by their tradition, their oral law, the food was now unclean. So did Yeshua  declare all foods  clean? No. He declared that clean food does not become unclean because you failed to observe the Rabbinical tradition of hand washing. Moreover he passes a judgment against such Rabbinical laws. Many of these other laws can be seen in the observance of Sabbath however that is another topic and needs to be addressed in another writing. (The passages in Matt 15 Parallel these in Mark)

Did the disciples now decide that Yeshua had repealed Kosher food laws? We see no evidence of this at all. In fact right up to the time of the crucifixion we see Yeshua and the disciples keeping the laws including the preparation for observing the Passover at their Seder meal. Additionally we see the Gentiles of Cornith also keeping a Passover observance which would include even finer aspects of Kosher law.   I Cor 11, is set in the context of Passover and  the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

If we move along the timeline  to Peter’s vision while in Joppa  we have  a testimony about Kosher food. It has been at least ten years since the incident where the Pharisees accused Jesus and the disciples of eating with unwashed hands. Peter has a vision where he sees a sheet pulled at the corners filled with all sorts of unclean animals. What is Peter’s testimony? He says to God,  “ I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”  So if the teachings of Yeshua abolished Kosher food laws, then that point was lost on Peter, because he is still ten years later observing Kosher food laws faithfully.

AC 10:9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: [10] And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, [11] And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: [12] Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. [13] And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. [14] But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. [15] And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. [16] This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. [17] Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, [18] And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.

AC 10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. [20] Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. [21] Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? [22] And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

I have heard several teachings by Christian ministers who try to make the point that this vision abolishes Kosher law however Peter himself does not share this idea. In Acts 11 when questioned about his ministry to the Gentiles Peter recounts the vision and makes it perfectly clear that the vision was God’s instruction to him that Gentiles were not to be considered unclean as was the custom of the Jews of the time according to their Oral laws and  that God was sending Peter to them to receive the Gospel same as the Jews had. God verifies this understanding for as soon as Peter began speaking to those gathered at the home of  Cornelius the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they began to speak in unknown tongues. Peter never once makes any proclamation that the vision had anything to do with God abolishing Kosher food laws. He never calls for an end to clean and unclean. Peter says that the sheet was lowered three times and immediately thereafter three Gentile men showed up at the door asking for him, and he went with them to Caesarea and to the house of Cornelius.  Those who try to make this vision and event about Kosher food laws, do so at the expense of contradicting Peters own explanation of what the vision meant and forfeiting  the actual call of the Gentiles to receive salvation through Messiah Yeshua.  This is not a good proposition in my opinion. According to Peter and the resulting events, the four footed unclean animals represented Gentiles not unclean food. Peter never once proclaims Kosher laws to be void as a result of this vision.

The Jews of the time according to their oral laws and traditions considered  having close contact with Gentiles, such as entering their homes, Gentiles entering the home of a Jew or having a meal with the Gentiles to be an offence that rendered one unclean in the same way as if you had come into contact with a rotting corpse.  When we look at Acts 11 we see the concern the Jews had that Peter had been taking meals with Gentiles.

 AC 11:1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. [2] And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, [3] Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

They didn’t accuse Peter of eating unclean food at all only that he ate with Gentiles which would be an offense making him defiled. It is another example of how Jewish Rabbinical law  frustrated Gods plan for mankind. Even in Torah there was  no such law against association with gentiles. Gentiles were to be treated the same as your fellow Jews.  Paul later speaks of these legal barriers in Ephesians. In Chapter 2 he speaks to the issue of the laws of the Pharisees known as hedge laws  which had been added to the Torah of God and which held the gentiles away from God and his plan for them.

Eph 2: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

During second temple times, there was a court for the gentiles  separated by a four foot stone wall and if a gentile crossed over that wall he would be killed. It is taught by some that this is the wall Paul is referring to however  that middle wall  of stone was still in place in the time of Paul and would not come down until the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. The wall Paul is speaking of here is the  “hedge laws” upon which the actual stone wall was justified. The term “Middle wall of Partition” in the Greek actually comes from the word “Hedge” which is a Jewish reference to laws made by the Jews to protect Torah commands like hedges  warn us that we are about to cross a line and sin. These laws although meant to guide us in keeping the Torah just went too far and twisted Gods laws with the ordinances of men and their  own laws, making once again the law of God of no effect or even defeating Gods purposes.

What do we know about this man Cornelius that Peter was sent to witness to?  Well he was a well respected member of the Roman garrison probably in charge of a large number of foot soldiers in Judea.  We also know that he was what is referred to as a “God fearer” or  “One who fears God”. This is actually a Hebrew idiom for a convert to Judaism. He was one who had embraced the people and the God of Israel and lived as a Jew except for accepting circumcision.  In the days of the second temple the Jews believed that salvation was for the Jews only.  If a Gentile wanted to have a part in the world to come, the Olam Haba, he must convert and become a Jew. This was accomplished in a series of lessons and actions according to Jewish Rabbinical law. In short the Gentile must embrace both the Torah and the Oral Torah and traditions of the Jews, he must make a sacrifice, he must be baptized and he must be circumcised. We see these same steps come under consideration by the Jerusalem council in Acts 15, answering the question of “What must a Gentile do to become saved?”  During this time Judaism was a legal religion in the Roman Empire and even the Roman soldiers were allowed to practice it.  However to make the final step of circumcision marked one with a kind of stigma of having been “Ethnically reassigned” and forfeiting ones own ethnicity.  So in the case of Cornelius, he was a God fearer, one who lived as a Jew in every way, observed their laws and customs but who had not made that final step of circumcision. Lets see what the scriptures say about him.

AC 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, [2] A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. [3] He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. [4] And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. [5] And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

He was devout, meaning he observed the laws of Judaism. He was liked by the Jews and had been supportive of them and was a man who prayed to God always. We should notice that the Lord himself sends a vision to Cornelius showing that he was accepted and does so at the “ninth hour”. This is mentioned because the ninth hour was the time of the temple  sacrifices, when prayers were offered. Cornelius is observing the prayer schedule practiced by the Temple authority.

From all this we can be sure that Cornelius was a devout man, who lived according to the law of God and that would have included Kosher food laws. If he had not, he would not have been called a “God Fearer” nor had the praise and support of the Jewish towns people.

What must a Gentile do to be saved?

As the Gospel begins to flow out to the Gentiles the Jerusalem believers who were the heads of the Church gathered to address this issue of Gentile conversion again because the tradition said that any Gentile who wanted to have a part in the world to come must convert to Judaism and be circumcised that is formally adopted into the ethnicity of the Jews.  However God had a plan from the beginning that Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles and that from the Gentiles a great multitude would be called. Jews of the time said that the gentiles must embrace the law and be circumcised as part of the conversion process.  What the Jerusalem council decides is that God had accepted the Gentiles as Gentiles without converting and becoming Jews through circumcision.  Circumcision is really the sign of the covenant with Abraham which shows that you are part of that covenant and entitled to all the rights and inheritance of all  the sons of Abraham.  The decision is made to proceed in this way:

AC 15:[19] Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: [20] But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. [21] For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

A lot of Christian teachers take the position that the law was not important because they treat verse 21 in a dismissive way like saying, “ well Moses had his chance since ancient times and it  didn’t work.”. However I think that misses the point. When Peter says Moses is preached in the  all the cities every Sabbath he is referring to the Torah law of God and is providing a point of entry for Gentiles.  Peter is setting an order of priority in handling the new converts who were in the process of turning to faith in Yeshua. The first question is that of circumcision, does a Gentile have to convert to Judaism and become a Jew before he could be saved? And the answer is no, Gentiles are to remain gentiles and become partakers in all that is given us through Messiah.  He doesn’t want to overwhelm the gentiles with a lot of things all at once and gives a couple Torah laws to be immediately observed by the gentile, so that they can enter a place of fellowship in the synagogues and begin to learn the ways of God along side of the Jews.  There the finer details of the law (Moses) is taught on every Sabbath. The Apostles are not to be burdened with all this instruction themselves but are to get the new Gentile believers socially acceptable for table fellowship in the synagogue, the place where they will study Torah each Sabbath.  He has given a point of entry, a starting point from which to grow and mature.  These things which they are to observe are themselves laws of Torah and in particular a couple of them are Kosher food laws, abstaining  from things strangled and from consuming blood. These items are also things that were common practice in Pagan temple worship and would be of particular offense to the Jewish members of the synagogue. The council wants the Gentile who are turning to faith in Yeshua to make a clear demonstration of their heart felt change from Paganism to a new life in the God of Israel.

Paul’s teaching in places like I Corinthians 10 addresses the fact that some things might be more offensive to one man’s sensibilities  than to another but that whatever we decide to do  it should not  offend someone else and cause them to stumble. I think this has a lot to do with the more intricate aspects of Rabbinical Kosher law and not so must to do with God’s law of Clean and Unclean. A great deal of the meat sold in the markets was from animals sacrificed in Pagan temples and would be considered  by many to be unclean.  Rabbinical Koshering goes a great deal deeper considering who killed the animal, and under what circumstances, was it done ritually, was it killed in a prescribed humane way. What Paul is saying here is that if it is Kosher, then it is OK to be eaten with thanksgiving regardless of Rabbinical restrictions, unless by eating it you cause another to be offended by your practice and therefore reject the Gospel of Yeshua.  As Paul says “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.”. All does not mean every single thing is permissible.  Certainly there are things in God’s law which are not permissible, like adultery, murder, stealing, and eating what is unclean.  Among things permissible, even those things at times should be avoided for the sake of fellowship.  Failure to do so  would be lacking in love.

I hope that you can see that most of what the Christian church teaches about Kosher food law is really only like the Pharisees, their own teachings which they hold with more regard than the laws of God. It is up to each of us to make a clear choice according to the spirit and the scriptures as they are written not as they are taught by men. In all of the scriptures we never see a repeal of the Kosher laws or any of the laws of God for that matter. Just as Yeshua said, not one Jot or tittle will pass from the law.  Never do we see Peter after his vision in Joppa going about proclaiming the great news that laws of clean and unclean are no longer to be followed.

Some Christian teaches will try to make the point that we are under the New Covenant and no longer under the Old Covenant. And while this is certainly true they fail to recognize that God’s law is at the very heart of the New Covenant just as it was in the Old covenant.

JER 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: [33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. [34] And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

I will put my laws in their inward parts, in their hearts.  That word “Law” in the Hebrew is actually “Torah” Gods instruction and law. It is that very same law that is to reside on our hearts written there by Gods spirit so that we know God and know how to please him.  We should also remember that the very promises of the Kingdom of Messiah includes that the survivors of the nations will come up to God’s mountain where he will teach us  His ways, the Torah.

ISA 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. [2] And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. [3] And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

The Gentiles will go up every year to worship God at the feast of Sukkot, Tabernacles. In every description of the Kingdom of Messiah we see that it is Gods law that is it’s foundation, not the teachings of the Rabbis, nor the teachings of Christian preachers, but what God himself gave us and is writing upon our hearts.

After the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD and the expulsion of the Jews soon after  mature Jewish leadership was lost in the church with more and more Gentiles leading and teaching without a full understanding of what the scriptures were saying.  They agreed that we should keep the ten commandments and yet they redefined what the Sabbath was changing it from Saturday to Sunday, the day of the Sun god according to the edict posted by the Pagan Emperor Constantine.  Many things were changed after that, more than we can ever imagine.

Here is Constantine’s oath required by new converts to the Roman Christian religion.

“I renounce all customs, rites, leagalisms, unleavened breads and

sacrifice of lambs of the Hebrew, and all the other feasts of the

Hebrew, sacrifices, prayers, aspersions, purifications,sanctifications,

and propitations, and fasts and new moons, and Sabbaths, and

superstitions, and hymns and chants and observances and synagogues, and

the food and drink of the Hebrew; in one word, I renounce absolutely

everything Jewish, every law, rite and custom,…But if it be with

deceit and hypocrisy, and not with a sincere and perfect faith and a

genuine love of Christ, but with pretence to be a Christian that I

come, and if afterwards I shall wish to deny and return to Jewish

superstition, or shall be found eating with Jews, or feasting with

them, or secretly conversing with them and condemning the Christian

religion instead of openly confuting them and condemning their vain

faith, then let the trembling of Cain and the leprosy of Gehazi cleave

to me, as well as the anathema in the world to come, and may my soul be

set down with Satan and the devil. . . .  

 Furthermore, I accept all customs, rites, legalisms and feasts of the Romans, sacrifices, prayers, purifications with water, sanctifications by Pontius Maximus, propitiations and feasts, the New Sabbath – The Sol Dei [Day of the Sun], all new chants and observances, all foods and drinks of the Romans in the New Roman Religion.”

The Torah of God the teaching and instructions given to Moses is what we are to use  to test all things even prophets and the Messiah himself. If we think that Yeshua abolished Torah then we have proclaimed that he really isn’t the Messiah at all because Torah stipulates anyone who teaches contrary to God’s law and teaches others to do so is not Messiah, not a prophet and we are not to listen to them.  Lastly Paul says that we should do nothing which would  offend another man causing him to reject the Gospel and yet it is the Christian churches teachings on Kosher food, Sabbath, festivals and other such Torah commands that causes most Jews to reject the Gospel of Christ. How can they be expected to accept that this Christian savior  Jesus abolished Torah and changed the Sabbath? It is impossible. The problem is not Jesus or the  New Testament scriptures. It is the Christian teaching which removes the foundation from under the Gospels by portraying incorrectly that Yeshua and his disciples were anti-Torah, and anti-Jewish.  Jesus, Yeshua, was a Jewish man, obedient to God’s law given to Moses  and who taught others the way of righteousness. He is our Messiah, the Jewish Messiah.   He made the way for all who trust in him to receive new life and a new spirit and to have God’s laws written on our inward parts. We can not, dare not, try to understand the scriptures outside of their Hebraic context Among Jewish scholars Yeshua is known to be the greatest Torah teacher that ever lived. This is a far cry from the Churches image of a prophet and savior who destroyed Torah, ended Judaism and started a new religion.

Training a man in righteousness

Paul says in 2 Timothy 3: [14] But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; [15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Paul is referring to the Tanakh, the Old Testament which begins and has it’s foundation upon the Torah, the five books of Moses. These were “The Scriptures” of that time. There was no “New Testament” at the time of this letter to Timothy.  It was the Old Testament that Timothy had from a child having been raised up by his Jewish Grandmother. It was the Old Testament by which  Paul tells us to order our lives in God through Messiah., for training in righteousness, for correction, to make us perfect.  What Paul is speaking of is training in righteous living, what we would call sanctification.  It is the process where God takes men who are animals in nature and makes them into successful human beings. He places his Holy Spirit in us, and begins to teach us from his word, to take us from mere animals to perfect Human beings.

Let me give you some examples how the law develops in us a sanctified nature. He asks us to give a priority to do things his way according to his instruction. That after all is what being a worshipper and servant to God is all about.

 Time

To an animal every day is the same, a sort of endless progression of days and nights, with every day presenting the same challenges of survival. But God takes our time and divides into two categories, common and holy. He divides our weeks into regular work days and the Sabbath. This causes us to rely upon him, to focus on him in faith in order to survive, just as the children of Israel learned to gather Manna for six days  receiving a double portion on the day before Sabbath that would provide what they needed on the day of rest. That manna did not spoil like the other daily manna. We are not slaves to work everyday, but are free men who rest one day per week and take time to be thankful and to re-center our lives on family, friends and upon God.

He divides our  months into regular days and days of Holy Convocations, festivals which teach us about God and his plan of salvation for us. All the feast days of God  point to Yeshua.

He divides our years into Sabbaticals and Jubilees making time for an ordered society.

Wealth

God takes what we earn and what we produce and divides it into our own gain and into tithes and charity, so that Money is not our master, but instead we regulate our wealth and are charitable. He takes our focus off of our own needs and causes us to love our neighbors in tangible ways.

Sex

Sex is good. It is God’s own invention. Yet there is sex like an animal which promotes our sexual appetites to  rule over us and to take every advantage to have sexual relations with anyone who is willing. It is a basic animal instinct. But God sanctifies sex by making it a holy act, that is approved and sanctified in marriage. Hebrews 13: [4] Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Sexual relations outside of Marriage is to be avoided..

Food

We have natural animal instincts to eat whenever we are hungry and to eat whatever appeals to us. But God sanctifies eating by placing limits upon it by dividing our food into clean and unclean. He wants us to eat and be full, but not to be gluttons or to defile ourselves. He wants us to drink but not become drunkards addicted to alcohol.  He has set important limits on what is food and what is not. The common act of eating becomes an occasion of Holy activity. Food is the center of our fellowship in the church a celebration of our communal life in Messiah.  We give thanks to God for our food and enjoy it. There is a clear health benefit. God who made us know what foods are good for us and which contain diseases, parasites and toxins. God Sanctifies our eating by Kosher food laws of clean and unclean.

While most Christians might agree that we should not give our bodies to uncleanness and sexual immorality and might also recognize that we need to be charitable and not stingy, they often fail to appreciate the fact that God wants to Sanctify time through  his Sabbaths, and our eating by divisions of clean and unclean,  what is food and what is not food.

I encourage you to read the scriptures of the New Testament in the light of the Hebraic context in which they were written. You will meet the true Messiah, Yeshua the Messiah of God.

Acts 15:28-30Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

28 For it seemed good to the Ruach HaKodesh and to us not to lay any heavier burden on you than the following requirements: 29 to abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will be doing the right thing. Shalom!

Revelation 2:14Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people who hold to the teaching of Bil‘am, who taught Balak to set a trap for the people of Isra’el, so that they would eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and commit sexual sin.

Even today the Lord tells us not to touch what is unclean, not to consume food that had been sacrificed to idols, not to take part in sexual immorality.  Regardless of what the Christian church of today with it’s confusion on these issues has to say, God calls us to be a separate and holy people. It always astounds me that the Church is mostly very out spoken and against Homosexuality.  They say it is an abomination to God. And it is! The Lord said so right in His Torah.   Meanwhile the Christians holds their church dinners and serve up every sort of unclean food, Pork, shellfish, catfish,frog legs,crab, anything and everything. They ignore the fact that God also called eating these unclean things an Abomination, in the same passages that he calls Homosexuality an Abomination. So why all the confusion?

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This entry was posted on January 11, 2015 by in Charles's Blog, The Messianic Way Blog.
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