Saturday, November 8, 2014

Jeff's Paintball Epics

I was talking to my boys this morning about Paintball & some of the fun stories I've had. Here is a list of my epic moments in Paintball for you to read and laugh with me...

1. The Outhouse- Mike Stinch was in the outhouse dropping some ordinance...if you know what I mean.  unfortunately for him, he left the door unlocked around the same time I got the brilliant idea of throwing a paint grenade in on him. 

Needless to say, it worked like a charm, he was covered in paint, it took me about 40 minutes to clean up, and we became a legend at Bull Creek Paintball.

2. Storm the Castle- I was leading a team to storm a castle, at Bull Creek.  I came up with a brilliant strategy to send everyone in and storm the last hold outs.  Within 10 seconds the entire opposing force (opfor) was eliminated, as well as half of my team. All of those who died on our team were shot by me when I went in.  Regardless, we won!

3. Dress shirt & tie- One day we played woodsball, and I decided to wear a white dress shirt and tie.  I still picture myself sprinting onto the bridge, taking the flag, and running back under a hail of paintballs.  They never did get me.

4. Airborne Rangers- we were playing a major World War 2 reenactment in Niles/Buchanan. It was DDay, there were 2 German strongholds, one on the beach, the other was their rear base.  There were claymores, a canon and about 60 Germans on the front wall.  Some were in pillboxes, some on the main wall, surrounded by hundreds/thousands of sandbags. 

I was part of the Rangers, who were dropped in the middle of the game.  A group of about 6.  Three of us were eliminated within 5 minutes.  The other three of us, me and 2 other guys, quickly moved in a leap from style to the front lines, where our guys would be finding heavy fire (we had about 30 advancing straight up the beach).  I came up to a German pillbox, dropped in a paintball grenade & then stormed in taking out the entire pillbox (their whole right front line).  Then I joined the other 2 to finish off the entire group of 60 (which took about 5 minutes).

After that, we headed toward the German back base. The two guys worked the middle, I swung out wide left, in the treeline, and flanked the base.  They engaged the front & I walked up the rear and depleted their entire rear force, ending the game.  All before our front lines could catch up to us.

5. The Hornet Nest- It was me versus 2 ruthless players, they had me pinned so I jumped into a bush.  Which ended up being a hornet nest.  I was stung 13 times on my sprint to the house.  Once safely inside, the hornets continued crawling out of my pockets. 

6. Shellie & the girls- I was with Shellie & three other girls.  We moved in a V formation & cleared out an entire forest of guys.

7. Speedball- We had about 30 v 30 once on a speedball course.  A LOT of people.  When the horn sounded, the noobs ran, but I stayed in back to survey the field.  Once I got a vector on the opfor, I sprinted up the right flank, to their rear corner inflatable.  I took out 5 guys from that point, grabbed the flag, took out 3 more, and headed safely back to base. 

8. Justin & Jeremy v. the white sniper- One early morning I knocked on the door of a couple homeschoolers, and left them some tubes of paintballs & a note that said, "Come find me."  I was camped in their backyard woods, with a white sheet over me to blend in with the snow.  After about 45 minutes, I heard a twig snap behind me & thought, "Clever girl" (a Jurassic Park quote) & got shot by, I think it was Jeremy.  Epic fail. Epic fun.

9. Bull Creek Run- We were playing capture the flag 15v15.  The flag was in the middle of the field and you had to lay it on the opfor flag return post.  The whistle blew and I took off into a full sprint.  I got to the flag & pulled it half way across the river before gun fire exploded. I managed to retrieve the flag & stayed on the side of the river bank, working my way deep into opfor control.  After slipping past their front and secondary (coward) line, I was in silence.  I had to lay low in the weeds as 2 opfor passed within 5 feet of me.  Finally I came up and walked calmly through their territory, thinking of Drew, who would most likely be hunkered down at their flag post, waiting.  When I got close I hid the flag and walked with a defeated look, as if I had been neutralized. At the last second I pulled to flag out and placed it on the post, about 1 second before I was shot by drew from close range.  Fortunately the ref saw how it played out and we won!

10. Marjorie & the epic run- we were playing close woods ball.  I was listening to "Ride of the Valkyries" and feeling pretty epic.  However, someone epic-er, ran right past me, past everyone, took the flag and won the game within 3 minutes.  That epic-er person was Marjorie Fink.  I still remember looking in awe at her fearlessness.

11. Castle & the scout- My brother Mike and I were working in the old Scottsdale Theatre.  I was on top of the castle, he was down below.  I would call out where he should go & where the opfor was. Then I would throw down cover fire & he would take the position.  Working together he quickly worked up the whole field and he took out 6-8 opfor before winning the game.


Maybe I will add some airsoft stories next.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Pastor is...

I was talking with a friend of mine, who happens to be a Senior Pastor, about what a pastor is.  He said that there was a secular study done recently on what the perfect pastor is.  And, after looking at the expectations put on a pastor, this secular group decided that a pastor would have to be a sociopath.  In other words, if you want to be a pastor, in Today's church, you have to be nuts! 

So what is a pastor?  Here is what I have heard, experienced, placed on myself, and observed over the years.  A pastor is....a shepherd, caretaker, teacher, preacher, counselor, administrator, good with people, good with details, a leader, a servant, a follower, able to make difficult choices and lead people into those choices, yet someone who keeps the peace.  Progressive, yet holding to the deep traditions.  Able to connect with the elderly, yet draw in youth. A strong family, with kids who respect him and the Lord, yet someone who is always available & willing to work long hours. A CEO type, yet a lowly shepherd.  Quick witted, yet following the Spirit's lead. You can probably add to this. 

To all this I say, "Poppycock!"

Let's, instead, consider what the Bible teaches on this.

1. His Calling- What he does- The MAIN thing (Ephesians 4:11-13)

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, TO EQUIP HIS PEOPLE for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the who measure of the fullness of Christ."

What is the primary focus of a pastor to be? By which do the elders judge his effectiveness?  It is... is he equipping Jesus' people to use their gifts to serve & build up the body of Christ? 

Does this mean he is a people person?  Maybe, maybe not.  Does this mean he is good with details?  Maybe, maybe not.  We evaluate a shepherd by whether or not he is focused on equipping people to serve.  In stead of every churchie adding his/her opinion on who we think the pastor ought to be, we should offer our opinions up to God & be thankful that the pastor is teaching us how to build God's kingdom & grow in our faith.  Let us quit asking, "Are those Bugle Boy jeans he is wearing?" or whatever other irrelevant thoughts Satan throws our way and instead pray that our pastor would be a greater equipper.

2. His Character- 1 Timothy 3:1-13

A pastor, or any other overseer in the church should possess these character qualities.  The phrase "above reproach" is the effective phrase that describes these qualities.  The phrase literally means, "without handles".  It is not saying that a leader never sins or blows it.  Rather,  a leader lives with such character that there is no PATTERN of sin or handle that someone could grab onto and say, "Here is something they always struggle with.".

SO, does your pastor have 1 Timothy character?  Are the trying to equip you to serve Jesus and become like him?  Then praise God!!  If you don't care for his personality, or he may be a bit odd.  Well, I am sure some have the same opinion of you.  Let's keep the unnecessary judgments and opinions between us and the Lord.  And let us pray for our pastor's character & equipping ministry.  And be a blessing to them.  And even more, let's remember why Jesus gave us the pastor he did.  It is for you, for me, that we would be better equipped to serve others, to become like Jesus, and to build God's kingdom. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

2 Keys to Answered Prayer

2 Keys to Answered Prayer

Ever wonder why some people seem to have Jesus answer a lot of their prayers, while others live a life of unaswered prayer? This devotion is a follow up of my previous blog on prayer. It is the next step. And for this one, I am leaving it in a deeper format because the words here really grab my attention. I wanted to leave the Greek here so that you can get a taste of how deep God's word can be, even at a moderate level. So pull up a coffee, sit back, get contemplative, and enjoy...

Ean meinhte en emoi kai ta rhmata mou en umin meinh” -Jn. 15:7


Ian meinete en emoi kai ta remata mou en umin mein.

ean
1. meinhte en emoi (IhsouV)
2. ta rhmata mou en umin meinh

o ean qelhte...aithsesqe kai genhsetai umin!”

These words are pronounced-
1. “meinhte en emoi” (IhsouV)- meinate en emoi (Jesus)
2. ta rhmata mou en umin meinh- ta rema ta mou en umin meine

ha entheletA...aitAsesthe kai genAsetai umin!



These are the two conditions (it is a condition, based on the form of the Greek word ean. You have to study Greek in order to understand that this is conditional.) of answered prayer.

But what does “en emoi”, what does “en” mean in this context? What does it mean to “meinhte en IhsouV”?

I think of Judas son of Iscariot, who did not remain in Jesus (meinhte en IsouV), but betrayed Jesus and left. I compare that to Peter who DID remain in Jesus (meinhte en IhsouV) and bore much fruit.

I think of those who go their own way and Jesus' words do not remain in them (ta phmata mou en umin meinh), like the religious leaders of Jesus' day.

BIG QUESTION
BUT, what does this remaining in (meinhte en) Jesus & His words reamining in you (en umin meinh) look like today when he is in Heaven?

We see that Jesus also says that we are to be in (en) him like he is en us. It seems that this has to do a close relationship, to stay close to one another. The word meinhte, remain, also means to abide, stay, dwell, continue, be present, tarry, be held, kept, continue to be, endure.

My mind immediately goes to a time after Jesus left his disciples by dying but then rising from the dead. His disciples were out fishing on the Sea of Galilee and when they came ashore, Jesus was squatting by a small fire and cooking them some fish for breakfast. They came to him, and sat around the fire talking and listening to him. This is a great picture of what it means to abide with Jesus and Jesus with us.

My mind goes to the conversation of Jesus as he ascended to be with the Father. He said, “I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” How can Jesus be with us when he has gone away? What does this mean? The relationship was diffent, in that you could no longer physically stand shoulder to shoulder with Jesus, the person. BUT even greater, though sometimes harder, is that He abides IN us. In fact, the entire God-head, is in us: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Spirit are in us like Jesus is in the Father.

My mind goes to Jesus saying, “I and the Father are ONE”. They were PHYSICALLY not shoulder to shoulder, but yet they were together.

My mind also goes to the cross, where Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Did the allpresent Father become non-all present at that time? I don't think so. What I do think is that Jesus sensed the relational wall that we often face, as Jesus became sin for us.


Jesus is SPIRITUALLY with us and inside of our PHYSICAL bodies, in our soul (whatever that is). The God-head leads us, comforts us, gives us wisdom, nurtures us, and completes us while we stay close to him and remain relationally connected (on our part) to him.



So what does this look like?
1. Remain in Jesus, close to Jesus; just like Jesus did with the Father while walking the earth.
2. Let my words remain in you.  His teaching, His counsel, let it nourish your soul & shape the way you live, think, talk, pray.

That's the way I see it.  Hopefully you will see it that way too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

If Jesus says, "Ask and you will receive", Then how come we don't receive what we ask for?


Scripture: John 16:23-33
Truth 1- The Veil is Torn! (John 16:23-24)
Truth 2- Jesus gives us the Authority to Address God. (John 16:23-24)
Truth 3- God LOVES His children. (John 16:25-28)
Truth 4- God loving you does NOT mean that you will escape hard seasons. (John 16:32)




How is your prayer life?
Is it powerful and warm? Is it old & cold? Has it slowly become mere religious duty/ a spiritual discipline? Do you feel like sometimes your prayers go to the ceiling?

Keith Green, sings a song that describes this struggle with sin well-
“My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me”

This morning, Jesus is going to help us regain perspective on prayer & we are going to dig into a very tough and exciting passage on addressing God.

Pray

23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything.
In that day, (ESV Study Bible, DA Carson)- referring to Post-Resurrection
-Jesus, in this passage, is teaching how he must go to the Father & then He will be back. Up until this point they are PRE-CROSS. This is confusing to them. He has become their life, He is their rabbi, their master, their teacher, their focus, their friend, their Messiah. In their opinion, He is going to CONQUER & SAVE Israel.

You will no longer ask me anything- They will understand what Jesus was saying at that point. All of this, “I am going away” and “I will come back” will make perfect sense to you.
WE understand this NOW.

Truth 1- The Veil is Torn! (USE A CURTAIN)
Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
My Father
-Jesus is teaching that his talmidim will go to the Father DIRECTLY.
-Jesus is teaching that we now have DIRECT ACCESS to the Father and will now refer to Him as OUR FATHER.
-Calling God FATHER did NOT happen in Jewish culture. This is a new thing with Jesus. This is foreign to people. It shows a QUALITY of relationship that the Hebrews never knew.

-We have a new relationship with God through the cross of Jesus. At Sinai, Moses was so impacted by God's brilliance that Moses had to veil his face around people. God taught that no one can see God and live. His radiance, his holiness is deadly. He has to veil Himself. From the fruit to the cross, God has veiled Himself from people, for their safety.
-Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
-Matt. 27:51 The veil...the one that seperated God & man..., was torn in two.
-Hebrews 4:14-16- Our new relationship BECAUSE OF Jesus.

Let me repeat- THE VEIL IS TORN! God has opened entry to the Holy of Holies.

Truth 2. Jesus gives us Authority to address God.
ie- Access to the Father- Tad & Lincoln
Will give you whatever you ask in my name
In my name”-
-This is NOT a magic phrase that will manipulate God. Ie, “Dear Father, help me win the lottery in Jesus' name, amen.”
- Apart from Jesus, we do NOT have this access to God. Jesus' blood gives us the right to this relationship with the Father.
-(ESV Study Bible) “His name”- His name refers to all that is true about him, and therefore the totality of his person.1Praying in Jesus’ name means praying in a way consistent with his character and his will (a person’s name in the ancient world represented what the person was like); it also means coming to God in the authority of Jesus. Probably both senses are intended here. Adding “in Jesus’ name” at the end of every prayer is neither required nor wrong. Effective prayer must ask for and desire what Jesus delights in. 2
-DA Carson mentions how obedience and asking in Jesus name go hand in hand.

Will give you whatever you ask
THIS is a tough one. THIS phrase is the one that got me. For experience betrays this verse. THIS is where I want to camp out.

Perspective-
-So far we have learned that we have SONSHIP & we have AUTHORITY to talk to the Father. This is HUGE & this is REAL.
-We haven't done anything to merit a hearing from God.
-We shouldn't expect God to answer us at all...save through Jesus.
-When God does hear & answer, we should be extatic!

That being said, there have been times where I have put Jesus to the test here by praying for some very powerful things, things that were noble, good and would, so I presume, bring Him glory, things that I assume He would be excited and happy to answer....but all I heard was silence. The request was NOT granted, as the verse teaches.
ie- Tory's sister
...you have probably been there too.



Philip Yancey, “Dissapointment with God” does a great job answering why God doesn't sometimes give us whatever we ask for in Jesus' name. He said...
-First we see His people in the Old Testament struggling with the sinlence of God
Elijah was there AFTER calling fire from heaven, Joseph saw God's silence when in a pit, David cried out a couple of times, “Turn and answer me.” “How long will you remain silent?”, Abram gave up on Sarai & cuddled with Hagar, Saul saw the witch instead of waiting for God, Isaiah said, “You are a God who hides yourself”, Habakkuk complained, “Justice never prevails”,

Then even in the New Testament, Jesus was there in the garden, Paul with his thorn in the flesh, the apostles when choosing Matthias, Jesus'prayer for the oneness of believers (Jn. 17:21), creations growning for God to do something (Rom. 8:22), believers who lost love ones (Heb. 11:32-35), Lazarus still died, Paul sat around in prison for a couple YEARS, all the apostles except one were executed. Dietrich Boinhoeffer talks about God being SHY. Jesus walked through the crowd near the pool at Siloam and didn't heal everyone who needed help. Jesus' cousin John asked for help and died in his place of despair.

So, why would Jesus say this, and then not do it? Why does He sometimes answer and sometimes not answer our prayers in His name?

Keep in mind, that it is AWESOME that we even get to approach God.


A few thoughts from what I have studied in Scripture:
1. Romans 8:26-27. We don't see the big picture. We really don't know what to pray for, what is best
2. Matt. 7:7-11. God is a good Father. He will not give us snakes & stones.
3. Matt. 26:39. We need to defer to God's will. Jesus prayed & then defered to God's will. God sees the big picture.
4. I have many examples of God SPECIFICALLY answering prayer, for His purposes.
5. God will not allow you to become a spoiled brat. Yancey- look what happened when God answered all of SOLOMON'S desires...he forgot about God and fell into sin. God continually showing up has historically led to sin (Israel, Elijah, & Solomon).

-(ESV Study Bible) To know that he hears us in whatever we ask is enough, because communion with God is the goal of prayer. we have the requests. Human experience testifies that Christians do not always receive all the things they ask from God, even things that seemingly accord with his revealed will (see note on v. 14). This verse must be understood in light of other passages of Scripture which show that praying according to God’s will includes the need to pray in faith (Matt. 21:22; James 1:6), with patience (Luke 18:1–8), in obedience (Ps. 66:18; 1 Pet. 3:12), and in submission to God’s greater wisdom (Luke 22:42; Rom. 8:28; 1 Pet. 4:19).3

The fact of the matter is that God has given us full right to address Him & He loves fellowship with us. So, do you have a burden? Give it to Him. Do you lack wisdom/perspective? Ask Him for wisdom and perspective. Wait with excitement for His answer! But trust that if He doesn't answer the way we think best, then He has a way that is higher than our way, a thought that is higher than ours. It is a walk of faith. But get EXCITED, we have a God who listens!!
(Emily E, Orly D. shoes, Joe & the van, Shellie)

Truth 3. God LOVES His children.
Let me repeat that slowly. Insert your name for the word “children”.

25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father HIMSELF (pater autos) loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

-His disciples are loved by God HIMSELF. God has become their FATHER.
-Father- I don't know what this word means to you, but I picture me calling my dad at work and him NEVER being too busy to talk to me.
-There is a new relationship with the Creator.

29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied.


Truth 4. God loving you does NOT mean that you will escape hard seasons.
32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone.

-Even Jesus was abandoned by people. Yet God never left Him and never forsook Him.

Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.

-Jesus' warnings would later bring warmth, that they were not abandoned. Helping them endure.
-Example- when I dilate patients I tell them what will happen so they won't freak out when it does happen. I FOREWARN them.

Are you going through a hard time?

In conclusion
And finally, Christian, you who love and trust Jesus, be of good courage. You have moved from Fear to love. From Sinai to sonship. You have authority, through Jesus, to address God and find help in your time of need. You are loved by God, even if the circumstances you face seem to indicate otherwise. And finally, let this last encouragement of Jesus encourage your soul to stand strong and have peace in the storms...Jesus says-

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”






1 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2019). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
2 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2053). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

3 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2437). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Porn Under the Matress

Back in the day, if you wanted to look at porn, you had to sneak in a VHS tape or hide a magazine under your mattress.  For most people, you really didn't come across this stuff very often.
When I was an adolescent, I saw a "girly magazine" for the first time.  I wish I hadn't but I did.  My eyes were opened to a depraved world that is very alluring, but
very destructive.

Fast forward to today.  You don't need to smuggle in a magazine or a VHS tape.  Today, you already have these things inside of your house.  They are a click of a button away.

If someone wants to live for Jesus, then they know to stay clear of these things.  But how?  I am writing this to simply say, thank you Jesus for internet blockers that stop this crap from being accessible to our family.  If you don't have protection, I highly recommend it.  It will save your family from much addiction and suffering.

Here are some other tips, besides a filter, to protect your family from this stuff:

1. Do NOT allow people to have computers/internet access in their own closed spaces.
2. We have a remote clicker that can easily turn off internet access during the overnight, or times we don't want the family to have internet access.
3. We limit our family to x amount of internet time.
4. Have open conversations about verse in Scripture that teach about having eyes for ONLY your spouse.  I can give you a list of good ones if you contact me.

I had a dad tell me once that he had allowed his kids to have unlimited access to the internet because they had to defend their own boundaries.  I told him he was nuts!  We need to, as the parents, protect our kids AND teach our kids about good boundaries.  I am thankful for resources that are out there to help us develop good boundaries.

3 cheers for internet protection & good boundaries!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

On Being a People Pleaser

Question: Would you rather be accepted by God or by man?

I personally have a quick answer, then I have a thought out
answer to this question.

Think about it.  This is a very deep question, although one may quickly respond, "God.", if you think through it, you MAY discover that your answer and your reality are vastly different.

Anyhow, this entry comes from the overflow of my personal time in the Bible.  These are the thoughts that I have been musing on for the last couple of days.

Scripture:
"Yet at the same time many even among the leaders (Jewish leaders) believed in him.  BUT because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for FEAR they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God."
-John 12:42-43

Now, before you decide to do something radical to prove that you will stand with God, Jesus says,

"Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.  The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.  I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
If anyone hears my words but does not KEEP them, I do NOT judge that person.  For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.  For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.  I know that his command leads to eternal life.  So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."
-Jesus, John 12:44-50

Cultural terminology
The word "praise" (Gk. doxa-glory,praise,accpetance) in this context  = "acceptance" in our context

Thought Questions:
1. Would you rather be accepted by man/God?
2. What if your obedience to God meant that man would fall away from God? Should you then compromise your faith to make God more acceptable to man?
3. Does God need you to be accepted by man so that those men may find God more acceptable?

Examples that the Church struggles with...
1. Homosexuality (not the people, but the action).  The Bible CLEARLY teaches that the sexually immoral, those who practice sexual immorality (unashamedly live a lifestyle of this), will NOT dwell with God in His kingdom.  Yet, many churches have fallen into the temptation of wanting to be palatable to the world (which is this whole acceptance of man rather than standing with God).  They have turned their backs on what God CLEARLY says, and turned toward the praise of their fellow man.
2. Pluralism.  The Bible also clearly teaches that we are not have ANY other gods alongside the Lord.  He is GOD, He ALONE is God.  This whole accept Islam garbage....  Yes, love the people BUT know that they are in darkness & that Allah is NOT God.  He is a false god, most likely a demon that they are following.  The Bible is clear on this, for the Quran's version of God & the God of the Bible are VASTLY different.  So, will you say that Islam is a road to God, as culture teaches?  Or will you say, "No.  Jesus is Lord and no other." and risk being rejected by man and seen as a nut job?

What I am NOT saying
I am not saying that we need to prove ourselves by making radical stances.  For that is of NO benefit. Those "Post this if you love Jesus, don't post if you hate Jesus" stuff on Facebook is NOT always the best example of seeking favor with God over favor with man.

Rather, when the issue comes up, you stand with Jesus against the philosophy of the world.  You have a firm confidence in what you believe, regardless of the response of others.  You stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone with Jesus.  And you wrap this stand with gentleness and love for people.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lessons from the Wilderness

What are some things I have learned during these last 3 years hiking in the wilderness?


1. Man with dirty clothes expects to be seated.
Once upon a time a man came to dine at a fine dinning restaurant.  He was wearing greasy jeans and an oil stained t-shirt.  His hair was dirty & clearly needed a shower.  The host refused service to this man.  There was a clear dress code that was not being followed.

God is holy, we are not.  What makes us think we can approach God & think he will even answer us?  Has our theology become so man-centered that somehow we feel God owes us a response? Have we forgotten how utterly sinful we are?  How offensive and defiant we are towards God?  I know we have.

It is only through Jesus that we can even approach God.  Yet, many refuse to do even this. They think God is at their beckon call, while all the while refusing to come to the one who can wash us of our sin so we can even approach God.  He is NOT at our beckon call.  He is NOT required to even hear our prayers.  The blood of Jesus, when we admit that we have sinned, and come to Jesus for help, washes away our many sins (The grease and oil in our soul).  Through Jesus we can confidently approach his throne to find help in our moments of need.

And even so, God still is NOT required to answer us.  But He often does through the Spirit that resides in the believer.

2. "God...what is your will???"
God's will for us is given in His word, and is highlighted through His spirit, for His glory.
We beg and beg for God to tell us His will. But often while ignoring much of the will He has already told us.  For example, God's will for you is to primarily give thanks to Him in everything.

God's will for you is to know Christ, to follow Him, to live for His glory alone, to love Him with our being, and to love people as ourselves.  Let's first focus on these.  When we are pursuing these, we can then ask for specific insight. Which will probably be the opposite of what you are planning.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Your Life is an Aroma

From God's perspective

Without Messiah in your life-
To God, your life sends up an aroma like a diaper genie, left in the garage on the eve of a hot summer day.
You are like an archer who has just had a double shot espresso from Starbucks.  There is no way you are able to hit the target God has placed before you.
Your best efforts are as useful to God as a used maxi pad.
Your worship is like a death metal band in a cathedral.
Your best efforts amount to nothing.
You can earn no favor with God.
You still believe that these things are not true for you, though they may be true for another.
You are broken and do not realize it enough to cry out for God to save you in spite of your brokenness.




With the Messiah in you-
Disclaimer: First, it is The Messiah that makes the difference between these two people.  The believer is not BETTER than the unbeliever.  They are just BETTER OFF & have hope.  That is the difference.

You are like a beautiful worship service full of cell phone rings, and people shuffling around.
You are a sweet song of praise but with a broken piano.
You are an aromatic incense near a diaper genie, lifting up a sometimes beautiful fragrance to God, sometimes not so beautiful.
You are like a warm family devotion with a hard of hearing family member watching tv in the same room with a volume level of 100.
You life is like a gourmet meal, topped with crumbled potato chips and ketchup.
The beauty in your life comes from the Messiah living in you. The rest comes from being stuck inside a body that is so prone to wander.
But you have hope, favor with God, and forgiveness through your trust in the Messiah.  You are blessed.


You need the Messiah to save you, to have a relationship with God, your Creator.  Have you asked Him to rescue you? I hope you do.  We all need rescuing.

A Christian's Relationship to the Law

Our Relationship to the Mosaic Law
By Jeff Korhorn

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” 
–Jesus, John 14:15



What is Jesus teaching here?  And what are His commandments?  In the context, the Jewish people of His day would have understood this in one of two ways.  First, seeing Jesus is the Lord, His commandments are the Law.  Second, His commandments to the average person were His teachings.  Today, most of the church has embraced that the commandments Jesus teaches here are the New Testament.  However, the New Testament was not even written until after Jesus died.  So what are these commandments Jesus wants us to keep?

I also observe that Jesus and His apostles followed the Law.  And in the book of Acts we see the Apostle Paul following and teaching Christians to follow the Law too and defending that he was not teaching people to blow off the Law.  Yet, I have heard godly men tell me that they, “wish the Old Testament was torn out of the Bible.”  So what do we do?  Have we lost something through Constantine who forbade most of the Hebrew practices and customs?

I want to love Jesus and live my life for Him.  So I became plagued with the issue of what is the believer’s relationship to the Torah?  This writing is the story of my journey through wrestling with this issue.  I have met with Orthodox and Messianic Jews on this.  I have taken a class (Hyesod) which blew my mind open regarding this issue.  I have read and talked at length with people from differing camps, all good godly people who love Jesus.  And most importantly, I have studied Scripture.  So, I invite you to pour yourself a cup of coffee, kick back, relax, and let God’s word speak to you on this.

And, just so you know, my desire tends to lean towards the rich culture of Judaism, and see beauty in the festivals, symbolism, and Jewish culture.  As I write this, my family is enjoying celebrating Hannukah. My intent in this personal study is not to push some line of thought, but to do an honest self-study in Scripture to see our relationship with the Law today.  My desire is to live for Jesus, and to honor the Lord.



My study took this path:
1. What does the Lord teach us about our relationship to the Law in Romans?
2. What does the Lord teach us about our relationship to the Law in Galatians?
3. What does the Lord teach us about our relationship to the Law in Hebrews?
4. What does the Lord teach us about our relationship to the Law in other passages of Scripture?
5. How do different camps understand these Scriptures?
6. How did the early church (1-2nd Centuries) relate to the Law?
7. Sabbath, Festivals, diet
8. As for me and my house…
And then, for the sake of some sort of flow, I have decided to change it to more of a Western layout, by making statements and then adding supporting Scripture.

1. Key Words
Before we dig in, I want to define a few key words, so that we are on the same page.
The Law- nomov- Greek word meaning, “Law” or The hrot.  The Law here is, unless otherwise mentioned in the context, The Sinai/Mosaic Law/The Torah or hrot.[1] As well as in these other references in Romans: 3:21, 5:20, 6:14-15, 7:1-2, 7-16, 8:3-4, 9:30-32, 10:3-5, 13:8-10 in which the word nomov in that culture, means hrot.  The Law gave us a Priesthood, a sacrificial system, a culture, a diet, a standard of morality, and a way to express our worship of God.
Legalism- ergwn nomou- works of the Law, or obeying hrot.
Commands- entolav- does not refer to the Law (Jn. 14:15, Mt. 15:9, Mk. 7:7, Col. 2:22, Jn. 10:18, 12:49-50, Acts 17:15, Col. 4:10, 1 Cor. 14:37, 1 Jn. 2:8, 1 Jn. 3:22-23, Septuagint- Job 23:11-12, Is. 29:13), and is even contrasted with the Law (1 Cor. 7:19).  Only in the Septuagint is it referred to the Law (Deut. 4:2,40).  Also, in Hebrews 7:5 the author talks about the entolhn nomon (the commands of the Law).
In 1 Corinthians 7:19, Paul says, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. [2]”  Well, circumcision is definitely part of the hrot. So what is this contrast between the entolwn & the hrot?  Here the command contrasts the Torah.  What is important is not as much keeping the Law as is keeping the entolwn (commands of God).

The Law of Sin and Death- Romans 7-8:2.  Is this a third Law? No, the Law (hrot) brings sin and death.  Romans 7-8:2.  However, I would like to add that mixed in here is the law or principle of what Jewish people call, “The evil inclination.” The Law drew attention to the right/wrong way to live, and sin (aka the evil inclination) sprung to life when the Law was given.  The Law (hrot) which was intended to bring life actually aroused this evil inclination and brought death. Therefore, there is not really a third Law at all.  Rather, this “law of sin and death” is the hrot, which brought sin and death.  As good and holy and pure the hrot is, our evil inclination twisted it.



2. Key Questions
Also, before we dig in, here are some questions to think through, so our lives can be a fragrant aroma to God.
1. Can the word entolav be synonymous with the commandments of the Law?
2. Is it wrong to keep the hrot?
3. Does a New Covenant make the Old Covenant obsolete?
4. Does a better way mean that we should ignore the lesser way?
5. Why do we see Paul, freed from the hrot, also keeping vows mentioned in the hrot, and telling others to get circumcised?  Has he therefore fallen from grace as Hebrews 3 describes?
6. What about this “eternal” First covenant with Israel?
7. Are there different parts of the Law? 



3. Backgrounds
Here are the backgrounds of the books that dig into our relationship with the Law.

Romans
The audience is both Gentile (v.5) and Jewish  (2:17).
Written in around 58AD by the Apostle Paul.
When we see the word nomov in the letter to the Romans, what does this word refer to?  Does it refer to:
A. The Mosaic Law, hrot
B. The Mosaic Law + oral traditions,
C. The Law of Sin & Death, or
D. Legalism (this may be the ergwn nomou)[3]

A. Law=nomov= The Torah (h hrot)
In Romans 3:19-20, Paul brings up the subject of the law. 
Romans :19-20- οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι ὅσα ὁ νόμος λέγει τοῖς ἐν τῷ νόμῳ λαλεῖ, ἵνα πᾶν στόμα φραγῇ καὶ ὑπόδικος γένηται πᾶς ὁ κόσμος τῷ θεῷ· 20 διότι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, διὰ γὰρ νόμου ἐπίγνωσις ἁμαρτίας.[4]

The Law here in Romans is, unless otherwise mentioned in the context, The Sinai/Mosaic Law/The Torah or hrot.[5] As well as in these other references in Romans: 3:21, 5:20, 6:14-15, 7:1-2, 7-16, 8:3-4, 9:30-32, 10:3-5, 13:8-10 in which the word nomov in that culture, means hrot.

Galatians
1. Audience- The churches of Galatia, primarily a Gentile congregation (Gal. 3:8,4:8, 5:3, 11) given prior to the Jerusalem Council held in 50.
2. Definitions- What does the word “law” mean here? Clearly, we can make a case the the Law here refers, once again, to The hrot

Hebrews
1. Audience- Hebrews was written to the Messianic congregations. 1 Peter was written to the Christian exiles. Zechariah was written to the people of Judah, and contains many future prophecies.
2. Date- Zechariah was written around 520 BC, 1 Peter was written in 62-63AD, & Hebrews was written just before 70AD.[6]



Teaching 1- Jesus established a permanent priesthood.
The Law gave us a priesthood, a sacrificial system, a culture, a standard of morality, and a way to express our worship of God.  However, the only thing the Law has to offer us today, besides bondage, is a culture.  The priesthood has changed, the sacrificial system has changed, the standard of morality has changed, and the way to express our worship of God has changed.  Our entire relationship with God is new, different, vastly superior in all manners.  Why would we refuse living in this new system and continue to live in the old way, a way in which God does not direct us?


There is a change in the priesthood.
Hebrews 6:18–7:7 (NLT)
18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”

Now we need to stop for a second here.  We need to stop because this statement is huge to the Jewish person!  In our culture, most of us miss the significance of this.  What we need to understand is that Jesus was from the tribe of Judah.  God’s hrot taught that priests come from the line of Aaron, who was a part of the tribe of Levi.  This is a major change.  It is a major change from the hrot, and it is a major change in the priesthood, abolishing the former ways.  That being said, Melchizedek pre-dates Aaron & obviously the Aaronic Priesthood.  It always has been a greater priesthood.


“7:1 This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. 2 Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave it to Melchizedek. The name Melchizedek means “king of justice,” and king of Salem means “king of peace.” 3 There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God. 4 Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle. 5 Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel, who are also descendants of Abraham. 6 But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. 7 And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.”

This verse brings up an entire new issue regarding our relationship to the hrot.  Not only have we seen that we are not justified by ergwn nomou, that we should not come under bondage of the hrot, but now we see that even the way we approach God, the priesthood has changed.

There is a change in the Law, setting aside the former priesthood.
Hebrews 7:12–18 (NLT)
“And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it. 13 For the priest we are talking about belongs to a different tribe, whose members have never served at the altar as priests. 14 What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from that tribe. 15 This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. 16 Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 17 And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” 18 Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless.”

Set aside- ἀθετέωb; ἀθέτησιςa, εως f: to refuse to recognize the validity of something—‘to reject, to regard as invalid, annulment.[7]

Jesus’ better priesthood lasts forever.
Hebrews 7:22–24 (NLT)
”Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better  covenant with God. 23 There were many priests under the old system  , for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever.”

Better-κρείττωνa, ον or κρείσσων: pertaining to being superior to something else in characteristics or function—‘better, superior.’ [8]

Old system- this phrase “old system” is not in the language, but is implied by the context.

Jesus brought in a superior covenant with God, and a priesthood that lasts forever.  He has become our High Priest, and stands before God as our eternal mediator, pleading with God on our behalf.  If you look ahead to 1 Peter 2:9, you will see that when we place our faith in Christ, we are adopted into His line, and become royal priests in God’s house.



We are a part of the priesthood of Jesus.
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

Who are the royal priests?  Are they from the line of Aaron, as the hrot teaches[9]?  No.  There has been a change in the priesthood.  Jesus is our High Priest and those who are from His line, through faith, are priests. We are in the time of the priesthood of all believers. Like what was stated earlier, this is very significant.  There has been a change in priesthood, a change in relationship.  We are God’s very own possession now.



Teaching 2- Jesus offered the better sacrifice.
The Law gave us a priesthood, a sacrificial system, a culture, a standard of morality, and a way to express our worship of God.  However, the only thing the Law has to offer us today, besides bondage, is a culture.  The priesthood has changed, the sacrificial system has changed, the standard of morality has changed, and the way to express our worship of God has changed.  Our entire relationship with God is new, different, vastly superior in all manners.  Why would we refuse living in this new system and continue to live in the old way, a way in which God does not direct us?

Romans 3:31- νόμον οὖν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως; μὴ γένοιτο· ἀλλὰ νόμον ἱστάνομεν.[10]

“Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah.”[11]
“Now, because righteousness comes apart from the nomov, does that mean that we can forget about the nomov? No.  It is through faith (trust) in the Messiah that we truly fulfill the nomov.”

Does the Law become useless through faith? No.  On the contrary, we istanomen the Law through faith.
istanomen- means that we establish the Law, we affirm the Law.  Through faith, we are fulfilling the Law’s intent. If you want to fulfill/really live out The hrot, then live through faith.

All throughout Romans 1-6 God teaches us that, through faith in Christ, we have been set free from death (which was pronounced by the Law) & are now righteous in God’s sight.

Real World significance-
We are not saved by our works, which is GREAT news, because we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23)!  That being said, all religions teach that we are saved from “good” works (Isaiah 64:6).  Whether it be adherence the the Torah, to a culturally determined good works, or some other religious code, these pursuits are not what save us, they are vain pursuits.  
During the 2013 Christmas season, I heard the song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  This song even teaches this mantra of good works.  It teaches that Santa is watching to see whether you are good/bad, and it determines your payload of presents.  I told my kids that Santa DOES bring presents to good boys & girls, but the problem is that none of us are good, so Santa is pretty bored…they got the point.
Does that mean that we should throw up our hands & just quit trying to be good?  No.  Rather, being good is a fruit of our faith. 

The bottom line is spelled out in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Another is in James 2:18, “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’” And James 2:20, “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless (argov –useless)?” [12]



God is our Lord, not sin.
Romans 6:14-ἁμαρτία γὰρ ὑμῶν οὐ κυριεύσει· οὐ γάρ ἐστε ὑπὸ νόμον ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ χάριν.[13]

“For sin shall not be your Lord for you are not under(upo) law(nomon) but under grace (xarin).”

upo- is a preposition which with the accusative (nomon and xarin) means that we are no longer or obligated to one institution, but to the other.
ὑπόb (with the accusative): a marker of a controlling person, institution, or power—‘under, under the control of, under obligation to.’[14]

This teaches us that the sacrificial system, in which man tried to earn favor with God, is no longer necessary.  We are declared righteous apart from keeping the Laws, we are not obligated to keep the Law, and we have been released from it’s moral system in order to follow the new and better way of the Spirit.

We are justified by faith in Christ, not by the hrot.
Galatians 2:14-16
“But when I saw that their (Peter, Barnabas, and other Jewish Christians) conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law (ergwn nomou) but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law (ergwn nomou) no one will be justified.”

The problem here is that some of the Jewish Christians were being influenced by the Judaizers, who taught that Christians needed to keep The hrot in order to be saved.  They were influenced, I guess, because they wanted to please God & the Judaizers seemed to be making sense.  It got so bad, that some of the Messianic Jews started to witdrawl love for other brothers and sisters because they were Gentiles(2:11-16, Deut. 7:1-4).  They forgot that love is the essence of even their own hrot

So what does this verse teach us today?  It teaches us that we are justified (declared righteous before God) not by ergwn nomou /by keeping The hrot, but by faith in Christ. To put it in street terms, we can do good all day long, but doing good will not earn us a seat in Heaven.  Jesus is the ticket to Heaven. Jesus’ blood paid the price for our sin, we can’t pay our own way.




We have died to the Law so we may live for God.
Galatians 2:17–21 (NLT)
“Yet we know that a person is made right (justified) with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law (nomov). And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” 17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
The word justified is a great word!  dikaiow- to justify, to declare righteous!  It is a legal term whereby God looks down from the stand and says, “I declare this person righteous, they are acquitted of all crimes.”
Righteousness- we are not made right/declared righteous by keeping the hrot, but by faith in the Messiah.

Vs. 19- ἐγὼ γὰρ διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον, ἵνα θεῷ ζήσω.[15]
“For through the Law I died to the Law, in order that I may live for God.”
Verse 20 talks about Paul’s death to the Law so that he may live by FAITH in the Son of God.  Righteousness is not gained through works of the Law (ergwn nomou). In summary, no one is justified by keeping/applying the hrot

Then, Paul adds something very significant here.  He said that he DIED (apeqanon- aorist, active, indicative- there was a point in time when Paul died to the Law.  The Law didn’t kill him, rather, when he  was crucified with Christ he died to the Law) to the hrot IN ORDER THAT he may live for God.  As if the hrot kept him from effectually living for God.  So logically, the question is, “Have you died to the hrot, so you can be free to live for God (not in the old way of the hrot, but by the new way of following the Spirit-Romans 7:6, Galatians 5:18).


Abraham was counted as righteous before the Law, through faith.[16]
Gal. 3:6-7
Paul continues, “In the same way, ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.’ The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.”
The Law never cleansed anyone’s sin.  Man was never declared righteous by keeping Torah.  Before the Torah, Abraham was declared righteous.  After the Torah was given, people were declared righteous by their “οἱ ἐκ πίστεως,[17] 


Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the Law.
Galatians 3:19–27 (NIV) (cf. Jeremiah 31)
“Why, then, was the law given at all?
It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.

The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life (the hrot cannot impart life), then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.

25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

Until-eiv-until or leading us to Christ.  The latter is preferred, as used in the NASB, because Christ is a noun in the accusative. Strongs says, “governing the acc. with the primary idea of motion into any place or thing; also of motion or direction to, toward or upon any place, thing. The antithesis is expressed by ek (1537), out of.[18]
Our faith was witnessed as we kept the Law.  Today our faith is witnessed through trusting Jesus for salvation and through works of the Spirit (Gal. 5).


Under-ὑπόb (with the accusative): a marker of a controlling person, institution, or power—‘under, under the control of, under obligation to.’[19]

The Law was a temporary guardian, not to save us, but to lead us to Christ. We have already seen clearly that the Law cannot, and has never saved anyone.  Before the Law, Abraham was saved by faith, during the Law Rahab & the justified were saved by faith, and today people are saved by faith or rather by placing their faith that Jesus will save them, that He did the work.  So if it is not a temporary means of salvation, then what was it a temporary guardian of?  It was a temporary description/standard of how to live. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the guard of the hrot. Our standard of life is Messiah.

Jesus mediates a better covenant for us to follow.
Hebrews 8:6–7 (NASB95)
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.”

More excellent- διαφορωτέρας-to be different, superior

Jesus mediates a better covenant with God and man, through His blood.  This is reason why Paul contended for the faith.  The Judaisers did not believe that Jesus offered a better covenant.  They believed that their Covenant was superior and that Christians had better get in step, or miss out on salvation.  They believed that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice was deficient.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The first covenant is becoming obsolete.
Hebrews 8:13 (NASB95)
“When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”

What happened to the FIRST covenant?  He, God, the Lord, the author of both covenants has made the first covenant παλαιούμενον (perfect, active, indicative- this action has come to fruition, this act of making the first covenant old, obsolete, invalid, out of date has come to pass). However, in the next sentence we see that this becoming obsolete is in the present tense, meaning it is in the process of becoming obsolete.  So is it obsolete or is it becoming obsolete? I believe we should look at the other passages in this study and then determine, using more Scripture, what the answer is.


Christ is our perfect sacrifice, replacing the old sacrificial system.
Hebrews 9:1–15 (NLT)
”That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. 2 There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. 3 Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. 4 In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now. 6 When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. 7 But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.

9 This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10 For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system  could be established.”

Better system- διορθώσεως-a reformation, an amendment, a correction, a new order .  When will this better system be established?

11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. 13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.

15 That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.”


The first covenant is cancelled in order to establish the second, better covenant.
Hebrews 10:1–9 (NLT)
1 The old system (under the law of Moses) was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. 3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. 6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. 7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’ ” 8 First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses).

9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect.”

Cancels-ἀναιρεi-present, He is taking away, abolishing, invalidating the first covenant.  “Out with the old. In with the new.”


Jesus offered a single sacrifice for sins.
Hebrews 10:11–18 (ESV)
11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.


We are now able to enter the Holy of Holies because of Jesus’ blood.
Hebrews 10:19 (NIV)
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,”


Teaching 3- Jesus ushered in a better way to live.
The Law gave us a priesthood, a sacrificial system, a culture, a standard of morality, and a way to express our worship of God.  However, the only thing the Law has to offer us today, besides bondage, is a culture.  The priesthood has changed, the sacrificial system has changed, the standard of morality has changed, and the way to express our worship of God has changed.  Our entire relationship with God is new, different, vastly superior in all manners.  Why would we refuse living in this new system and continue to live in the old way, a way in which God does not direct us?


We have died and have been released from the Law to follow the new way of the Spirit.
Romans 7:6-νυνὶ δὲ κατηργήθημεν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου ἀποθανόντες ἐν ᾧ κατειχόμεθα, ὥστε δουλεύειν ἡμᾶς ἐν καινότητι πνεύματος καὶ οὐ παλαιότητι γράμματος.[20]

“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.”

A. Released- kathrghqhmen- aorist passive- has ceased, been done away with, we are released
B. Having died- apoqanontev- aorist active- We have died to that which we have been bound  
C. Written code- grammatov- So that we can serve in the new way of the Spirit & NOT in the old way of the WRITTEN code (used of the Written Law/writings of Moses.  see John 5:47).


We are made right with God through faith in Jesus.
Galatians 2:17–21 (NLT)
“Yet we know that a person is made right (justified) with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law (nomov).
And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” 17
But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
The word justified is a great word!  dikaiow- to justify, to declare righteous!  It is a legal term whereby God looks down from the stand and says, “I declare this person righteous, they are acquitted of all crimes.”
Righteousness- we are not made right/declared righteous by keeping the hrot, but by faith in the Messiah.

Vs. 19- ἐγὼ γὰρ διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον, ἵνα θεῷ ζήσω.[21]
“For through the Law I died to the Law, in order that I may live for God.”

Verse 20 talks about Paul’s death to the Law so that he may live by FAITH in the Son of God.  Righteousness is not gained through works of the Law (ergwn nomou). In summary, no one is justified by keeping/applying the hrot

Then, Paul adds something very significant here.  He said that he DIED (apeqanon- aorist, active, indicative- there was a point in time when Paul died to the Law.  The Law didn’t kill him, rather, when he  was crucified with Christ he died to the Law) to the hrot IN ORDER THAT he may live for God.  As if the hrot kept him from effectually living for God.  So logically, the question is, “Have you died to the hrot, so you can be free to live for God (not in the old way of the hrot, but by the new way of following the Spirit-Romans 7:6, Galatians 5:18).

In this next passage, we see the Apostle Paul reinforcing this thought.

God uses us, not because we follow the Old Law but because we trust Jesus.
Galatians 3:5
“I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the hrot (ergwn nomou)? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ (faithful hearing).”
We find God doing works among the Galatian believers even though they did not know or obey the hrot.  Rather, he works among them, blessing them, because they believed what they heard. This posed a problem for the Judaisers, who taught you needed to keep the Torah to be saved.  When they witnessed God working among those who merely had trust in Jesus, apart from having the Torah, this surely frustrated them. Yet, Paul defends these Galatian believers.

Now a case can be made that the Galatian congregation was living in ignorance, not having the Torah to either accept or reject.  Although this thought is valid, it does not take into consideration the clarity of Paul’s teaching in Galatians, especially when Paul teaches that he himself, a Jew, an expert in Torah, has died to the Torah SO he could live for God.

The unrighteous rely on the Law but the just will live by faith.
Gal. 3:11-12
”Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”
The righteous will live by: A)The hrot  B) by faith

The Law is NOT based on faith. 
What does this mean? Oddly enough, it is contrary to faith. What/Who are you depending on to save you?  Your own efforts by keeping the hrot or are you depending on the Messiah to save you? Furthermore, above and beyond faith, what do you base your decisions on?  Is it the hrot or faith (trusting God)? This may seem hard to differentiate.  You would assume that you are to live by obeying what God already said to do, and that He spelled it out in hrot.  Surely, the hrot spells out what is sinful & what isn’t sinful.  Yet the hrot & faith are contrasted here.  Apparently faith is something deeper than the hrot


We are sons of God through faith!  Enjoy that relationship.
Galatians 4:8–12 (NASB95)
”However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, 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? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. 12 I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong;”
The Galatians were moving from faith in Jesus to save them to faith in their ergwn nomou. Here Paul is, at least, giving them an illustration showing how far they have fallen. The problem is at how quick they were moving from faith to ergwn nomou.

Enjoy the freedom you have in Christ.
Galatians 4:21–31 (ESV)
“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.

26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.”

In short, don’t go back to the slave woman!  Enjoy the freedom that you have.  Freedom from the bondage of the hrot.

Under the Law- upo nomon-under or beneath the hrot.  These people had a desire, a qelontev-will, wish, desire, the volition to go under the tutoring of the hrot as the Judaisers desired them to do. Here Paul is building a strong case to keep them from doing so.


We have freedom in Christ, to follow a better way.  The way of relationship.
Galatians 5:1–8 (ESV)
“For freedom Christ has set us free[22]; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.” 

“Circumcision saves you” is what the Judaisers taught.  In fact, in Acts 15, this was one of the key discussions.  Now is it wrong to get circumcised?  Maybe. Will you lose your salvation if you get circumcised after receiving Christ?  No, see what Paul did to Timothy in Acts 16:1-3.  Rather, the issue here is that they were falling from their belief in salvation by faith through grace & trusting in their ergwn nomou.  Paul makes this case even stronger by saying that every one who accepts circumcision is then obliged to keep the entire hrot. Then he says something even more dramatic.  He says something that has become a verse of much contention over the years.

4 You are severed  from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. 7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you.”

Severed- katargew-aorist, passive, indicative- to cause the release from an association with a person or an institution on the basis that the earlier obligation or restriction is no longer relevant or in force[23]. The opposite is to make firm, to verify, to establish.


A few thoughts here:
1. If this persuasion to follow the Law is not from God, then who is it from?
2. If you really want to bring glory to god, memorize & trust that verse 6 is what God wants from you.  You want something to do?  Have faith & love people.
3. Are you trusting in something besides Jesus to save you?


We follow the Spirit.
Galatians 5:18 (NLT)
“18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to (upo) the law of Moses.”

You are not under Law for righteousness and you are not under obligation to the Law for living.

One of my friends, Carrie, who is passionate for Jesus and is in a Messianic Jewish community taught this in a recent conversation we had on our relationship to the Law.  She says,
“Heb. 10:1 - Yes, there are great shadow pictures that we can see (as I have previously mentioned). This is speaking of the sacrifices that were a shadow of the Lamb of God. Those sacrifices had to be repeated, but Christ died once.
Gal. 3 - Faith saves us, not the Law. Some Jews were telling the Galatians that they had to be circumcised (become Jewish) in order to be saved. Paul is telling them that if they rely on works to be saved, they must keep the entire Law or be under the curse. Of course, they all had already sinned, so that was impossible. Paul quotes from Hab. 2:4.
Romans - Rom 7:7 "What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet."" 1John 3:4 "Sin is lawlessness."
2 Cor. 3 - Man's sin dulls his mind. The wages of sin is death. The Curse of the Law is found in Deut. 28:15-68. The curse is for disobedience. God gave the Law to be a blessing to the people when they obeyed (Deut. 28:1-14).
Deut. 30:16 "If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it."
Deut. 30:19 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,"[24]



God called people to violate the hrot, or the Adamic Command in order to follow Him.
This really grinds legalists.  Also, this particular discussion is a bit frightening because to say God may call you to violate His word in order to follow Him can create a lot of problems and lack of accountability.  For example, I have heard people tell me, “The Lord wants me to be happy and divorce my husband.” Then they proceed to do so, not because they had grounds for divorce as spelled out in Scripture, but because they believe God wants them to be happy and told them something.  Is that justification?  Is that the Lord’s leading?  None the less, these following examples are important because they are in the Scriptures, and they teach us something very important.  So here we go…
- Genesis 22:12 Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac (After Isaac chose to follow the Lord by sacrificing his only son, the Lord recognized his obedience and provided a ram)-
-1 Chronicles 16:1-3, 2 Samuel 24:18-25 David sacrificed (his son was punished for this in 1 Kings 3:3) which was a direct violation of the hrot, seeing that he was not form the line of Aaron. 
-Ezekiel 4:12-15 Ezekiel was commanded to cook using human waste (After a rebuttle, the Lord told him to go ahead and use cow waste).
Hosea commanded to marry a prostitute (he did) which was a direct violation of the hrot.
-Several times, God told Israel to destroy people (violating the hrot and Adamic Command).



Other Verses to Consider
Our paragraph, “The Law gave us a priesthood, a sacrificial system, a culture, a standard of morality, and a way to express our worship of God.  However, the priesthood has changed, the sacrificial system has changed, the standard of morality has changed, and the way to express our worship of God has changed.  Our entire relationship with God is new, different, vastly superior in all manners.  Why would we refuse living in this new system and continue to live in the old way, a way in which God does not direct us?” has followed us throughout this paper.  However,
 there are some OTHER verses that reflect on this conversation.  They describe how the believers related to the Law.

1. Millennial Kingdom: We will all celebrate the Festival of Shelters.
Zechariah 14:16–19 (NLT)
16 In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. 17 Any nation in the world that refuses to come to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will have no rain. 18 If the people of Egypt refuse to attend the festival, the Lord will punish them with the same plague that he sends on the other nations who refuse to go. 19 Egypt and the other nations will all be punished if they don’t go to celebrate the Festival of Shelters.

2. Millennial Kingdom: There will be cooking pots for offering sacrifices.
Zechariah 14:20-21
20 On that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: Holy to the Lord. And the cooking pots in the Temple of the Lord will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar.

21 In fact, every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All who come to worship will be free to use any of these pots to boil their sacrifices. And on that day there will no longer be traders in the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

*Notice who is offering the sacrifice?  The people.

What is interesting about these verses is that we have learned that the Old Law is done away with and we are under the New Way of the Spirit.  However, then we stumble upon this passage which teaches that we will be celebrating one of the festivals taught in the hrot.  It also teaches us that we will be boiling sacrifices.  My question is, why would we once again offer sacrifices in the Millennial Kingdom if there is no longer any sacrifice necessary (Heb. 10:18)? Well, sacrifices for boiling are not necessarily sin sacrifices.  And I see no violation by celebrating the Festival of Shelters, as the Law teaches.  In fact, this brings me to another point.  Is there anything wrong with enjoying the festivals taught in the hrot?  I would say there is certainly not anything wrong with enjoying our rich heritage.  After all, even we Gentiles are grafted in.  But we need to realize that many of these are specifically for the Jewish people. There is a good book on the Gentiles (aka God-fearers participation in the Jewish culture).  In fact, in the Millennial Kingdom it will be required for the Gentiles and Jews to celebrate the Festival of Shelters.  Will this be a third dispensation?  It certainly seems that way.

Micah 4:1-3 “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, 2 and many nations shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the hrot, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore;”

This passage, along with the previous passage teaches that in the Millennial Kingdom the hrot will go out and teach.

3. In relating to the Jews, there were certain Laws that Gentiles are directed to keep.
Acts 15:1–21 (NIV)
The Jerusalem Council

This is a huge deal, and will summarize our discussion on the Christians relationship to the hrot. There is not much need for setting context here because the passage does this.  But for our discussion we need to know that this is the leaders of the Church coming together to deal with the Judaisers, who have long bothered Paul.

“Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” [25]
2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them:

“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 “ ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’— 18 things known from long ago.
19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”


In other words, don’t bother them with the details of the hrot!  And just to be sure, this clearly shows us that we are justified by faith and not by keeping the hrot. If circumcision was necessary for salvation, obviously the Apostles would have clarified this.


4. We see Paul keeping at least parts of the hrot.
Paul responds to the accusations that he was teaching people to ditch the hrot-
Acts 18:18- Paul cut his hair because he was keeping a vow.

Acts 21:20-26 (NIV)
20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law.

21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do?

They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.

25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” 26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.”

This response, “Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself φυλάσσω the nomon/hrot” is very significant to me.   

Paul kept (φυλάσσω- to continue to obey orders or commandments—‘to obey, to keep commandments, obedience.’[26]) the hrot.

To me, this presents a real conundrum, because most of the above verses were written by Paul. And I remember what he said in Galatians 2:19-

ἐγὼ γὰρ διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον, ἵνα θεῷ ζήσω. [27]
 “For through the hrot  I died, so that I can live for God.”  (my translation)

The New Living Translation breaks this down into a very practical translation, that I think is very powerful and very clear-
For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. [28] (NLT)


So on one hand, Paul is seen keeping hrot & defending the position that he does teach and keep the hrot.  On the other hand he is teaching us, both gentile and Jewish believers not to keep the hrot and we see him breaking customs.   Clearly he doesn’t believe that keeping the hrot justifies/saves/gives us right standing before God.  So what do we do with Paul?  I assume that he is living in faith, focused on Jesus, and following the Spirit.  After studying all of these verses, that is my understanding of Paul’s life, and that is to be the focus of our lives as well.[29]

2 Timothy 3:16-17 " All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

The Scripture at the time 2 Timothy was written was the Hebrew Scripture. So we must assume that we can learn a lot from Scripture.  The hrot teaches us how to live. It is full of precepts, and helps us understand the depth of God’s character, if that is even possible.

Other players in understanding the Gentile believers relationship to the Torah.

The Didache
The Didache[30] hints at the early church’s relationship to the hrot-
In Chapter 8, the Didache teaches on Fasting & Prayer.  Here is something interesting it says,
“But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week.  Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation.” 

This day of “Preparation” is described by the Holman Bible Dictionary as the day known to the Jews as the “Day of Preparation” in which they would get all their house in order in preparation for the Sabbath rest[31].  So there seems to be an observance, by the Jewish Christians of a recognized Day of Preparation. 
The Didache was most likely written in the late first, early second century, and is considered as a second generation writing. 

Another thing the Didache teaches about the Law is in regards to the Gentile believers relationship to the Law.  It teaches: “For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able. And considering food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods.”[32]

Now I know that the Didache is not authoritative or on par with Scripture, but none the less, we can learn a lot of how the young church understood and interpreted Scripture.  This carries a bit of weight, because they were much closer to the direct influence of The Apostles.


James 2:8 (NIV)
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

2. So, the Jews…the Law will not save them, but are they still obligated to the law?
The Law, commandments, and ordinances are set aside- Ephesians 2:14-15.
Αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἓν καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας, τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, 15 τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας, ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν αὐτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον ποιῶν εἰρήνην [33]

Verse 15- the Law, the commandment in dogmas (ordinances) have been set aside.
“by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, 16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity.”[34]

This is for the Jew & Gentile (see Ephesians 2:11-22 & Romans 11:1-32)

We have broken down much of the hrot.
1. The Priesthood has changed.
Jesus is our eternal High Priest & brought us a new priesthood.
2. The Sacrificial System has changed. 
Jesus is the once for all sacrifice for sin.
3. Jesus is our model for life.
But there are a few elements of the hrot that are not addressed.  These are known as the Dietary Laws, and The Sabbath.  Below, I address these.


A. The dietary Law is done away with- Romans 14:14-20
14 I know — that is, I have been persuaded by the Lord Yeshua the Messiah — that nothing is unclean in itself. But if a person considers something unclean, then for him it is unclean; 15  and if your brother is being upset by the food you eat, your life is no longer one of love. Do not, by your eating habits, destroy someone for whom the Messiah died! 16  Do not let what you know to be good, be spoken of as bad; 17 for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, shalom and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh. 18 Anyone who serves the Messiah in this fashion both pleases God and wins the approval of other people.
19 So then, let us pursue the things that make for shalom and mutual upbuilding. 20 Don’t tear down God’s work for the sake of food. True enough, all things are clean; but it is wrong for anybody by his eating to cause someone to fall away.”[35]
Also see Hebrews 9:1-15 on our relationship to the Dietary Laws.


B. The Sabbath and Festivals are still in effect.
I see Jesus showing us how to live out the Sabbath. I see Jesus say He is the Lord of the Sabbath & that Sabbath is made for man, for a time of refreshment and refocus.

I see Jesus and Paul coming up for festivals.  I see Jesus teaching us to keep the Passover in remembrance of Him (Matt. 26:17-30; 1 Cor. 11:25-26).

All of these are done in remembrance of Messiah & look forward to His coming again.

I see no passage ending its command, although people use these verses to persuade us that there is no longer a Sabbath to keep-

1) John 5:16–18 (NIV)
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

I cannot draw a conclusion, based on this passage, that the Sabbath is set aside.  Rather, I see Jesus keeping the Sabbath the way it was meant.


2) Colossians 2:16–17 (NIV)
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.


This passage is not teaching that the Sabbath (Adamic & Mosaic) is done away with.  It is, however, teaching that we should not accept judgment based on our observance degree.  To conclude that this teaches us that the Sabbath is irrelevant is illogical and dishonest interpretation of the text.


Final Questions-
1. So the bottom line, are we to follow the Law today?  And to what end? What do we gain from following the Law?

2. So what if someone loves the Jewish custom and wants to share in the customs and life of the Messiah, in order to be like Him the best they can?

Response 1: I don’t see any problem with joining into the richness of the Jewish culture, but my fear is that one would eventually slip into heresy & fall from grace by being fooled into thinking that they are somehow justified or earn favor with God through keeping the Jewish customs.

Response 2: One fear I have is that people will think that you believe the same as them and that the Jewish people will be stuck in their sin, not coming to understand the truth and stumbling regarding what it means to follow the Messiah. So can someone keep the culture without fooling young disciples?
Response 3: If you really want to be like Jesus, remember he came into a culture and was relevant to that culture.  I know this doesn’t sound very popular, but why not engage your culture and win people through its customs (besides the sin of course)?


3. But isn’t the Jewish culture rich?  Yes!  And it points to the Messiah.  That is why I think God has left the festivals & the Sabbath for us to follow.  They point us to the richness of our faith & most importantly, they are regular reminders of Jesus. 

4. But isn’t keeping the festivals & Sabbath keeping part of the Law?  Yes.  Just like murder is a part of the law, just like putting nothing before God, refraining from stealing, etc… Jesus told us to remember Him in the Passover, we will be celebrating the Festival of Shelters, even in the Millennial Kingdom, and the Sabbath predates the Mosaic Covenant. In fact, we keep most of the Mosaic Law by following our Master.  But, we must know that we are not judged, in regards to salvation, because we keep or do not keep these. 



My Judgment
The Law gave us a priesthood, a sacrificial system, a diet, a culture, a standard of morality, and a way to express our worship of God.  However, the only thing the Law has to offer us today, besides bondage, is a culture.  The priesthood has changed, the sacrificial system has changed, the standard of morality has changed, food restrictions have been lifted, and the way to express our worship of God has changed.  Our entire relationship with God is new, different, vastly superior in all manners.  Why would we refuse living in this new system and continue to live in the old way, a way in which God does not direct us?

So, as for me and my house,
1. We are saved by trusting our God and savior Jesus, the Messiah. 
2. We will focus on the words of the great Shema that Jesus quoted in Mark 12:29-31-
 “The most important is,
Sh’ma Yisra’el, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, O Isra’el, the Lord our God, the Lord is one], 30 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength.’u
31 The second is this:
‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’v
There is no other mitzvah greater than these.” [36]

3. We will love God and love people as our foremost focus in life. 
4. We will express our gratitude to God by following the Scriptures, as they apply to our lives.
5. We will join the Hebrew people and the early church by enjoying and recapturing the richness of the Festivals and the Sabbath[i], to remember God’s creation, and His redemption through Jesus the Saviour.
6. We will follow the Scriptures, as they apply to us, so we don’t live missing the mark of God’s best for us. We will trust His wisdom in all things so we can do good and be lights to others.


Thank you
I thank the Lord for His Scriptures.
I thank First Fruits of Zion for their communication & their study materials (Hyesod, Restoration, God Fearers).
I thank 119 ministries for their discussion on the topics.
I thank Tim Baylor for wrestling through this with me.
I thank Carrie Rivera for also wrestling with me through this.
I thank Logos for creating a great Bible Study program.
I thank the early church for their treasure of writings.







[1] Stern, David, H., Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 344 (1992).
[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (1 Co 7:19). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[3] Stern, David, H., Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 344 (1992).
[4] Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed.) (414). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
[5] Stern, David, H., Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 344 (1992).
[6] ESV Study Bible
f feminine
[7] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (681). New York: United Bible Societies.
[8] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (622). New York: United Bible Societies.
[9] Exodus 30:30, Numbers 3:3-6
[10] Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed.) (415). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
[11] Stern, D. H. (1989). Jewish New Testament: A translation of the New Testament that expresses its Jewishness (1st ed.) (Ro 3:31). Jerusalem, Israel; Clarksville, MD, USA: Jewish New Testament Publications.
[12] References on this page, unless otherwise mentioned are from the NASB.
[13] Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed.) (419). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
[14] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (472). New York: United Bible Societies.
[15] Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed.) (496). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
[16] Also see Romans 1:17
[17] pistewv here is a noun (genitive.  There is the nominative). The faith, not referring to faithfulness (verb). A man is justified by faith in God, not by faith in their keeping of hrot.

[18] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[19] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (472). New York: United Bible Societies.
[20] Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed.) (420). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
[21] Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed.) (496). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
[22] John 8:36
[23] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (488). New York: United Bible Societies.
[24] November 9 at 10:05pm · Edited · Like. On my Facebook page.

[25] The Judaisers maintained this equation:
                Faith + X = salvation
[26] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (467). New York: United Bible Societies.
[27] Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed.) (496). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
[28] Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed.) (Ga 2:19). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
[29] Also notice that we observe Paul keeping some of The Law.  We need to keep in mind what we observe him keeping, so we don’t make general brush strokes like some do in order to win their argument.
[32] Didache, Chapter 6. “Against False Teachers, and Food Offered to Idols.
[33] Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed.) (506). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
[34] Stern, D. H. (1989). Jewish New Testament: A translation of the New Testament that expresses its Jewishness (1st ed.) (Eph 2:15–16). Jerusalem, Israel; Clarksville, MD, USA: Jewish New Testament Publications.
[35] Stern, D. H. (1989). Jewish New Testament: A translation of the New Testament that expresses its Jewishness (1st ed.) (Ro 14:14–20). Jerusalem, Israel; Clarksville, MD, USA: Jewish New Testament Publications.
u Deuteronomy 6:4–5
v Leviticus 19:18
[36] Stern, D. H. (1989). Jewish New Testament: A translation of the New Testament that expresses its Jewishness (1st ed.) (Mk 12:28–31). Jerusalem, Israel; Clarksville, MD, USA: Jewish New Testament Publications.




[i] Sabbath. Regarding the Sabbath: 1. It predates the Mosaic/Sinai Law.  2. The rationale for the command of keeping it has to do with Creation. 3. The reason why we don’t keep it has to do with A. Sour Christian/Jewish relationships throughout history, B. Persecution of the Jewish people, C. And some say because of Hebrews 4:1-11.  Well, here is a study of this passage:

Hebrews 4:1–11 (NASB95)

()=mine, for clarification

1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith (trust) in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter (present-we are being entered into) that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of th
e world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day:And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.”

6 Therefore, since it remains (present-it still remains) for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.

9 So there remains a Sabbath rest (σαββατισμός- a Sabbath) for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

The ESV Study Bible Commentary says, “the Sabbath rest remains possible for God’s people to enter even now, in this life (v. 9). The promise of entering now into this rest means ceasing from the spiritual strivings that reflect uncertainty about one’s final destiny; it means enjoyment of being established in the presence of God, to share in the everlasting joy that God entered when he rested on the seventh day (v. 10).[i]

This verse is often used to say the Sabbath is kaput, but I do not see it, nor does the ESV Study Bible Commentary.  They take it as an “already/not yet” (see C. Marvin Pate’s explanation of this in his book on the Parousia) type of verse.  We enter rest from our labors through faith in Jesus, yet we have not yet seen the consummation of our rest.