Does God Require All Believers to Observe the Torah?

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Dr. Brown dialogues with Tim Hegg on the question of whether God wants both Jewish and Gentile believers to observe the written Torah. The phone lines will be open for discussion and questions! Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.

 

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1,949 Comments
  1. Benjamin,

    I believe that I showed that the rulings of Judaism were to be observed by Jews until the Prophet like unto Moses came forth and provided for YHWH’s law being written on our hearts. The very same law. The unbearable yoke is the oral law and/or or being saved by works…they went hand in hand. It is not YHWH’s law which is not to hard for us.

    Let’s look a little context of your Hebrews quote.

    Hebrews 10
    1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
    2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
    3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
    4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
    5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
    6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
    7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
    8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
    9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
    10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
    12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
    13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
    14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

    The everlasting sacrifice that has been established is what has taken the place of the animal sacrifices according to the book of Hebrews. It is not the law that is replaced.

  2. Bo,
    The definition of “faith” given in Romans 14 is “fully convinced in his own mind”, and its opposite is “doubt”.

    The example (so that we’re not basing this on theory sheer personal opinion and theory) is given that an act which is perfectly acceptable in one case may become sinful in another case simply by the fact that the man has a doubt in his mind–thus this has nothing to do with the Law. Thus, Ro 14:22The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves”: the man who does what he is convinced is correct, but makes his brother stumble by making his brother emboldened to do something which he does not have a clear conscience to do is condemned for “not walking in love” by “destroying” his “brother for meat”.

  3. Dan1el wrote:
    ““God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith,” so that Romans 14 says “anything which is DONE which is not from faith is sin”: “God’s righteousness” is revealed when someone is walking in faith. This is “apart from the Law”.

    On another level, it is still “apart from the Law” because the works which God is doing in us are not from us reading and knowing the Law but from resting from our own works [Hb 4:1].”

    You are mixing ideas again. It is righteousness/justification that is by faith apart from the law. Walking in faith does not disqualify the law to instruct us in walking righteously. Paul’s statement that whatsoever is not of faith is sin is in regard to not doing anything that we are not sure of. It is not saying that we can ignore YHWH’s law. As a matter of fact, we know for sure that everything in YHWH’s law is the correct faith and doctrine and the righteous and holy way to live.

    Us resting from our works has to do with us not being justified by works. It does not negate YHWH’s law. If we refuse to do what YHWH has commanded, we are not walking by the Spirit or by faith, but we are walking in the flesh.

  4. Bo,
    Your attempt to separate justification by faith and living in righteousness by faith is not going to work because this is what Romans teaches: God’s righteousness is not merely “you’re justified by faith”, but “do what you are fully convinced is correct in the sight of God” as well.

    This is nothing different from what Galatians teaches: both the beginning and the perfecting are by “the Spirit” and “hearing of faith” not “the flesh” and “works of the Law” [Gal 3:1-5].

  5. Bo,
    As far as whether we need the Law to inform us, and any “threat” that we’ll be damned if we don’t (because we’re “disobeying God”) is answered very simply in the fact that we already have examples of Gentile believers who do not know the Law fulfilling the Law by virtue of the fact that the Spirit is working the Law in their hearts.

  6. Dan1el wrote:
    “The example (so that we’re not basing this on theory sheer personal opinion and theory) is given that an act which is perfectly acceptable in one case may become sinful in another case simply by the fact that the man has a doubt in his mind–thus this has nothing to do with the Law.”

    Paul is discussing “debatable matters” not YHWH’s commandments. In a sense, when we do not know YHWH’s law and transgress it, we are free of sin and our conscience does not condemn us. When we know to do good, whether we know YHWH’s law about it, it is sin not to do it. Once we have come to the knowledge of the truth, it is sin to go against it. YHWH’s word is truth. His law is good. If we say we have faith that we can go against YHWH’s law, we are not doing what we know is good and we are actually rebelling against truth…and sinning willfully.

    Paul told Timothy to get his doctrine, instruction in righteousness, and good works from the law. He told him to teach it to those in his charge. We know from this alone that it is wrong idea that we can knowingly break YHWH’s law and call it walking in faith. What kind of faith is it if it is not in keeping with the very words of the one we claim to have faith in?

  7. Dan1el wrote:
    “God’s righteousness is not merely “you’re justified by faith”, but “do what you are fully convinced is correct in the sight of God” as well.”

    Your statement is absurd and not at all what Paul taught. Are we allowed to do what we are convinced is correct if it definitely against YHWH’s commandment against adultery or stealing? No. The same is true of the rest of YHWH’s law. If I am fully convinced that it is ok to bow before a statue of Buddha, it is still sin, no matter how convinced I am.

  8. Bo,
    1. “God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith…” “… anything that is not from faith is sin.”

    In other words, “the only righteousness is God’s, and that righteousness is revealed from faith to faith”, “God works in you to will and do for His pleasure”, and “the author and perfecter of our faith” means: “if God isn’t working the faith in you to do the work, it isn’t God’s righteousness, thus it is a sin.”

    2. Do you think it would be wrong to say that a person who has “the work of the Law written on their heart” and “acts on that Word” counts as a person who is “in faith” (rendering anything which does not proceed from a mind which is “fully convinced” a “sin”)?

  9. Bo,
    The Holy Spirit will not allow a believer to be convinced of anything which is sin; He “leads them into all Truth”. This is why it says the rule for righteous living is “let every man be fully convinced in his own mind”.

  10. Paul told Timothy to get his doctrine, instruction in righteousness, and good works from the law. He told him to teach it to those in his charge. We know from this alone that it is wrong idea that we can knowingly break YHWH’s law and call it walking in faith. What kind of faith is it if it is not in keeping with the very words of the one we claim to have faith in?

    Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
    20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

  11. Bo,
    Actually, Romans 2:13-15 shows us that it is impossible that a man who has the Holy Spirit can do wrong without knowing it.

  12. Bo,
    The works James referred to were comparable to Abraham’s, who “heard and believed”. This has nothing to do with the Law.

  13. Dan1el wrote:
    “The Holy Spirit will not allow a believer to be convinced of anything which is sin; He “leads them into all Truth”. This is why it says the rule for righteous living is “let every man be fully convinced in his own mind”.”

    Why do believes sin so much then?

  14. Bo,
    The Words of the One we have faith in are fulfilled by “love” we receive from God through faith in His Good News.

  15. Abraham kept YHWH’s law because that is what faith does…adopts the words of YHWH as fully trustable.

    Ge 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

  16. Bo,
    I didn’t say a person could not sin if they had the Spirit; I said that they could not sin without knowing it–their conscience is not clear and they don’t have fellowship with God.

  17. Bo,
    Your interpretation of “Laws” Abraham kept is wrong: the “written code” wasn’t given until 400+ years later. The word God sent to Abraham was His “Law”.

  18. Bo,
    And this is exactly how I am saying we should live: like Abraham! LOL

    We receive words from God, and we live by them.

  19. Bo,
    Am I taking that statement out of context? LOL
    The very same action which could be correct could be wrong based only on one thing: whether someone doubts or has faith when they do it.

  20. Bo,
    The Holy Spirit writes God’s Law on our hearts, so we don’t need to worry whether we are living by it.

  21. Dan1el,

    Abraham knew YHWH’s laws. It is obvious from Genesis and the first chapters Exodus that clean and unclean were laws…both for food and menstruation and lying with your wife. The same with adultery and stealing and murder and, and, and.

  22. Dan1el wrote:
    “The Holy Spirit writes God’s Law on our hearts, so we don’t need to worry whether we are living by it.”

    Then what is the point of this conversation? Why did Paul write this?

    2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

  23. Bo,
    Even if that were true (I won’t even get into that), that would be fine with me: since the Law wasn’t given until 400+ years later [Gal 3], what you’re saying is that we can be called “doers of the Law” without the written code.

  24. Dan1el wrote:

    “And this is exactly how I am saying we should live: like Abraham! LOL

    We receive words from God, and we live by them.”

    YHWH gave us His words in His law, but you do not receive them.

    Lu 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

  25. Bo,
    Why does it say in Romans 2 that Gentiles who do not know the Law are doers of the Law?

    But one example the Bible gives us for being “thoroughly furnished” is 1 Co 9:8Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.

    God wrote the Torah to Christians so they could know how to live in Christ.

  26. Bo,
    Abraham didn’t have the written code but he was still a doer of the Law. This establishes a precedent that people can be called doers of the Law without having the written code. Thanks

  27. Dan1el,

    We can be doers of the law without knowing the written code. We are not doers of the law when we know it and do not do it.

    Lu 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
    48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

  28. Daniel,

    Ro 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
    2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

    Why does Paul say this if your view the law is correct? Looks like Paul thought that those gentiles that did the works of the law without knowing it were at a disadvantage according to Paul.

  29. Dan1el wrote:
    “Abraham didn’t have the written code but he was still a doer of the Law. This establishes a precedent that people can be called doers of the Law without having the written code. Thanks”

    Only if they end up doing what is written in the law. Abraham ended up doing what was in the law.

  30. Bo,
    OK So you agree God’s righteousness is revealed apart from the Law from faith to faith then right? LOL

  31. There was certainly quite a contrast in the life of Saul before and after his conversion on that Damascus road.

    Writers of books often use contrast when they write. That’s why black ink is often used against white pages, and even red ink is used as a contrast to the black ink sometimes.

    I believe there were reasons why Saul was chosen and one of the reasons was to show contrast.

    To understand a book, it’s often important to watch for things that change, since writers often use contrast to make a point, or to mark or teach
    something important.

    Teachers will often use different methods to teach. Sometimes they will be like a light shining off in the distance, other times they will scold, sometimes they will use examples, other times they will give clues, or tell stories.

    Though there’s a difference between a story about a woman and a man being married, and the man dying, and her marrying someone else, and a story about two boys, one by promise and the other one by a bondwoman, they can be about the same thing.

    It’s also good to see what repeats. Often teachers and writers will repeat something when it is important.

    It’s also important to watch for things that change.

  32. Bo,
    Concerning 2 Ti 3:16

    There are many verses in Scripture I do not claim to have *complete* understanding of (as I said before, I don’t understand how to reconcile the verses which seem to teach we cannot possibly be lost with the verses which seem to teach we very well can be lost).

    On the face of it, I can admit that it would seem that someone could construe 2 Ti 3:16 to teach what you are wanting it to teach. I’ll give you that. The problem is that there is overwhelming Scriptural support for my view, and only a few verses here and there for your view.

    I’m fine with that. I know God through the Good News, so I am satisfied with what I believe.

    Would you also be fine with admitting there were some verses you thought could be construed as teaching a doctrine you disagreed with?

  33. Bo,
    1. Did you mean to say (in post #1785) that men who do not serve God by the written code will not partake of the tree of life? You said you didn’t believe that and were commanded not to teach such a thing.

    2. Your contention that a person must do everything *exactly* as it is written in the Law to be judged “revealing God’s righteousness by faith” is falsified when we see:
    i. Jesus is the High Priest (which is against the Law), and
    ii. Jesus did not judge David’s eating of the holy bread (which was against the Law) as a sin.

    Though David and Jesus “break the Law” they are guiltless. This is because “breaking the Law” is not sin.

    “Well, what are the times it is breaking the Law and what are the times it is not breaking the Law?”

    That is a good topic for discussion, and people can discuss that, but one thing we know for sure is that some things the Law condemned as “indulgence in the flesh” are reiterated in the NT; beyond those (or anything that would fall under the category of “such things”–e.g., pedophilia or beastiality would fall under “immorality or uncleanness should not be named among you”), I would say, is speculation and grasping at straws at best and heresy at worst.

    In other words, as I said before, I object to the definition you are wanting to give “establish the Law” for the reason that it lacks sufficient nuance.

    I stand by what I said:
    i. “God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith”,
    ii. “apart from the Law”,
    iii. “faith works by love”,
    iv. “love is the fulfillment of the Law”
    v. so that “anything which is not from faith is sin” (i.e., “not God’s righteousness”)
    …means that anyone (which includes those who do not know the Law–e.g., the Gentile believers [Ro 2:13-15]) who is walking in faith is revealing God’s righteousness.

    If you want to object that this is wrong, because “a man can believe anything”, I would say that we can be put at ease by the knowledge that the Spirit of God convicts people when they sin (and they will thus not be able to sin without being told), and guides them into all Truth (so that they are “taught all things” [1 J 2]–the same thing which is said in Ro 2:13-15).

  34. Benjamin,

    In post 734 You said:
    “We know that the Mosaic Law has been rendered inoperative.”

    Rom 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

    You actually ignored my exegesis of Romans 3.31 in where I posted

    ” Greek Katargeo(overthrow) has a general meaning of “to render inoperative”. Other terms used is “to invalidate”,”nullify” or “put an end to”.

    How can you say the Law has been “rendered inoperative” when in fact this verse plainly and unequivocally says no? Faith does not “render inoperative” God’s Law. How can this verse be any plainer?

    Multiple verses contradict your position –
    Gal 3.15,17 – A later covenant does not annul an earlier one and the Law is a covenant.
    The principle is plain and simple. It doesn’t require theological gymnastics to understand.

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

    If All scripture(The TNK or “Old Testament”, including God’s Law. There is no “New Covenant” scriptures yet.) can REPROVE or rebuke, that by implication, means that there is authority involved, as a reprimand from a “non authority” means nothing. If the Law can reprove, it’s still in force and authoritative. It’s operative.

    We also see nowhere where Paul deliberately ignores the Tanak in practice. There is no CLEAR examples. On the contrary he constantly appeals to “Old Testament” authority when he is teaching. He never appeals to “New Testament” or “New Covenant” authority.

    I also want to know like Bo, where is “Messiahs Law” clearly spelled out. To just list a number of NT commands(almost all of which come from the O.T.) proves nothing but only assumes your position. Whenever God makes a Covenant He usually lays out the provisions and stipulations of it clearly. We see that in the Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic. (We also see it in Jer 31 but you will not accept that those are His main stipulations) The way your side lays out the “New Covenant” is unusual Biblically at best and simply not true at worst.

    The “New Testament” is not a covenant but the Gospels and the writings of the Apostles. Their writings are not a “covenant”. Also, it’s wrong to call the “first half” of the Bible the First covenant or “old covenant” as there are multiple covenants.

    The way Bo and I approach the Word is the most natural and consistent way to do it. Our position is the default position Biblically.

    There are few new things in the “NT” that were not already in the “OT” or could have been extrapolated from it.

    Some quick answers to the “passing” of God’s Law in post 730-
    No Sabbath Law?(Rom. 14:5; Col. 2:16)
    Romans 14 is about opinions(vs 1) not God’s Law. It’s about eating food sacrificed to idols, meat vs vegetables for some. Not, eating clean vs unclean meat, but Biblically defined Food is clean even if it may have been sacrificed to idols. It nowhere says Sabbath but most likely is about Fast Days.

    Col 2.16 – This is just basically saying don’t let anyone judge them for keeping Sabbath or perhaps for the way they keep it. How do we know this? First let’s note what is does not say.
    It does not say that Sabbath, festivals, etc. do not need to be kept nor are they optional. Nothing is said about if a believer is free to keep them or not keep them. That’s an assumption.

    It says don’t be taken captive by means of “elementary principles of the world”(vs 8) and the Colossians die with Christ to these “elementary principles of the world”(vs 20). Biblical Feasts, kosher laws and the Torah itself IS NOT “of the world” in any way, but of YHWH. What we have here is either some gnostic pagans or perhaps some gnostic sect of Judiasm trying to judge the Colossian’s Sabbath keeping, worship and lifestyle and insisting on some type of asceticism, angel worship and other traditions of men. I’ve elaborated futher:

    Paul is warning the Colossians not to be taken captive and deceived by philosophy and traditions of men according to “elementary principles of the world” rather than Christ.(vs 8). Messiah disarmed principalities and Angelic powers that may have had any influence over them and He instead rules over them(Vs 10,15) Because Messiah rules as your authority, no one is to judge in regards to how you live in obedience to Him or your worship of Him – Sabbath, Festivals, or Holy days which are a shadow of things coming as well as finding their culmination in Him.(vs 16-17)
    Stop letting the deceivers rob you of your prize by letting them judge your true worship, and don’t participate in asceticism and angel worship based on false visions.(vs 18) If you died with Christ why do you submit yourselves to this false worship and way of life based on traditions of men?(vs 20-22)

    One of the beliefs that the gnostics had, was that fleshy comforts and other things related to the flesh was evil. We see this present in this passage. The Feast days were enjoyment of food and celebration.
    Don’t taste, handle, touch, self abasement and severe treatment of the body are all consistent with a gnostic outlook. The gnostics were judging the believers FOR keeping the Sabbath

    You said in post 730:
    “If we do not kill or steal today, it is not because of the Law of Moses but because of the Law of the Messiah. On the other hand, if someone steals, he is not guilty of breaking the Law of Moses, but of breaking the Law of the Messiah.”
    Let’s work that one out a little bit. If someone participates in bestiality is he breaking Messiah’s Law or God’s Law? What about sleeping with your sister? As far as I know the “New Covenant” or “Messiah’s Law” as you call it, says nothing about that. If God’s Law(Let’s call it what it really is, as does Rom 7.22,25, 8:7, 1 Cor, 9.21, rather than downplaying it to merely “Moses’ Law”) says this but Messiah’s Law does not, then these must be acceptable since Moses’ Law is “rendered inoperative” and stealing, killing etc. is not against God’s Law but against Messiah’s Law.

    Don’t pull from “Mosaic Law” and don’t try to say it’s implied or it’s YHWH’s heart or anything like that because you cannot have it both ways. Your commands and obligations can only come from “Messiah’s Law” if you argue that God’s Torah is “rendered inoperative”. We again go back to Eph 6.1-3. Paul said this is the first commandment WITH PROMISE. There’s a promise under which Law? “Messiah’s” or God’s Law?

    Unfortunately, I would like to answer more statements but I have less time than I would like and since your posting of these the conversation has moved 200 comments along.

  35. Dennis,
    re: 200 comments
    Don’t worry, the conversation has been over ever since Bo acknowledged it was true that “the righteousness of God” was “revealed from faith to faith” “apart from the Law”.

    He said:
    “Only if they end up doing what is written in the law.”

    Irrespective his desire to play the umpire, he has admitted defeat.

  36. What remains the same in the scriptures over and over are the things pertaining to the fruit of the kingdom of heaven, as well as the fallen nature of man.

    It seems to me that when men talk of the law, they speak of all the good things of it, while at other times they speak of it’s entirety, and the fact that it was law by the nature of it.

  37. Benjamin,

    Regarding my Gentiles saved a different way comment. I’m confident you don’t actually believe that but in these words :

    “For a Gentile to begin receiving the blessings of the unconditional covenants, he had to totally submit to the Mosaic Law, undergo circumcision, take upon himself the obligations of the Law, and, for all practical purposes, live as a son of Abraham.”

    You appear to be saying that a Gentile got saved by obeying the Mosaic Law. Receiving Christ is a blessing of the Abrahamic covenant. “In your Seed all nations blessed”. Romans 4 spells this out.

    Also,
    Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

    Abraham received the blessing of Salvation by faith, just like the Jews, just like the Gentiles. Gentiles lived as Sons of Abraham because they were sons of Abraham by faith. They were God’s people Israel like the physical sons of Abraham were. There was not 2 standards of holiness, just like today there is not 2 standards of holiness. All of God’s people have the same standard – Be Holy as I am Holy. YHWH has the highest degree separation in the right things. We should also have the highest degree of separation as well.

    Gentiles did not begin to receive blessings by submitting to God’s Law but they first received blessings by faith and it was accounted to them as righteousness. Following God’s Law was doing things God’s way and worshiping Him the way he wanted to be worshiped and not like the heathen.

    His Torah are also teachings and principles for maximizing one’s life- Lev 18.4-5.
    That’s it for now.

    Sheila,

    I know you gave all those verses and I had no comment on them. They were good, and yes the Covenants, all the Covenants, are made with Israel and none with Gentiles. I have not said contrary to that.

    What I did say was that all along God included the Gentiles in His plan of salvation which is evident in the Abrahamic Covenant that “all the nations will be blessed”. No covenant was made with us, yet God planned to include us and did in fact include us all along. Gentiles were brought under and participate(d) in all of God’s covenant’s with Israel. Abrahamic(by faith), Mosaic(by living as child of YHWH), Davidic(Ruth the moabitess. Note that she was still a Gentile and did not “change ethnicities,” or “become a Jew”. One from the nations and yet an Israelite-Your people my people-). New Covenant- you and I.

  38. Paul says that he doesn’t want a righteousness of his own from the Law but of God through faith in Christ–that he, for this reason, suffers loss of his own righteousness from the Law and counts it as dung to gain Christ and be found in Him [Pp 3:1-9].

    This is what Romans 7 means when it says we serve not in the Old way of the Written Code but in the New way of the Spirit.

    This is what Romans 1:16-18, 2:13-15, 3:21, 31 means when it says God’s righteousness (not man’s) is being revealed from faith to faith apart from the Law so that even those who do not know Torah can be “doers of Torah”.

  39. Yes, there is a righteousness of the law that is given to us without the law, something imparted to us by Jesus Christ, through the grace of God, which we have received through faith, that we may work righteousness without the law (without being under it) though we still may read it and learn from it.

  40. The longer I’ve been involved in this debate, the less I’ve been able to enjoy fellowship with God through the obedience of faith in the Good News.

    Count me out.

  41. Sheila,

    Thanks for the YouTube link. I’m not sure that I’m buying everything he’s saying though I am familiar with some of the stuff he talks about like some of the A.N.E. background. I don’t disagree with him necessarily. Some stuff is new to me and I need to let it perkilate(not sure I’m spelling it right).

    So far I like him and agree that our Bible study should include the Ancient Near Eastern background, of which I’m learning myself.

  42. Dennis, thanks and sorry if I was unclear.

    “You appear to be saying that a Gentile got saved by obeying the Mosaic Law.” –That was not my intent, I meant only to convey the partaking of the blessings of the Covenants, not salvation. “For a Gentile to begin receiving the blessings of the unconditional covenants”.

    Let me emphasize that at no time is it taught in Scripture that the Mosaic Law was the means of salvation. Such a concept would make salvation by means of works. We know, instead, that salvation was always by grace through faith. The content of faith has changed from age to age; exactly what one had to believe to be saved differed from age to age, depending on progressive revelation (that which God has revealed over time). But the means of salvation never changes, and the Mosaic Law was never intended to give the Jew a way of salvation. It was given to a people already redeemed from Egypt, not in order to redeem them.

    A second purpose of the Law was to provide the means or the rule of conduct for the Old Testament saints. We find this in Romans 3:20 and 28, where Paul makes clear that no man was justified by the works of the Law. The Law was never, ever a means of salvation. Rather, the Law always had other purposes, and, in this case, it provided the rule of life for the Old Testament believer.

    Two more purposes were: to keep the Jews a distinct people (Lev. 11:44-45; Deut. 7:6; 14:1-2); and, to provide Israel with occasions for individual and corporate worship.

    So what was the content of faith under the Law? This is spelled out in Isaiah 43:10-12. One had to believe two things for salvation: first, that the God of Israel was the only God (and if one believes that it would rule out both polytheism and idolatry); and, second, that this God of Israel is the only Savior (and if one believes that it would rule out works as a means of salvation). Thus, it was not essential to convert to Mosaic Judaism per se and take the obligations of the Law, though that would give the person the privileges of enjoying the blessings of the Jewish covenants. The “men of Nineveh” and others did not need to undertake the obligations of the Law, but they had to believe these two basic points. However, with Messiah’s coming, and with Messiah’s death the content of faith that one must believe now is clearly spelled out in the I Corinthians 15:1-4 passage.

    So in clarification, I did not have in mind salvation, only participation in the blessings of the covenants. Abraham, who did not have the Law, was saved by faith.

  43. Dennis,

    You’re welcome. I didn’t realize I linked to the whole series but it’s all wonderful knowledge he shares with us! Have you read any of Daniel Boyarin’s books or papers? He wrote, “The Jewish Gospels” and some papers showing where the concept of a divine Messiah is thoroughly in keeping with Jewish theology. It’s a really quick read available for Kindle.

    I’ve been given an opportunity to witness to a Pakistani young man and have just gotten real busy with other work lately. Met him after commenting on a post and the Lord opened a window from there! He has so many questions and mis-conceptions about Christianity and I have to choose every word carefully while delivering only the truth. He’s a good soul and I honestly think he sincerely wants to learn as much as possible—that’s a very good thing!!

    Please, everyone, pray with me for Burhan Ahmed!

    Thanks!

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