The BIG "but"....
Most Christians and Catholics will fight you to the death about "the Law" they claim was supposedly abolished at the cross. They don't have a clue that God's Torah - His divine teachings and instructions - were never abolished because they are our only blueprint for moral, holy living. Instead of reading the Word for themselves and admitting that it wouldn't make any sense for God to do away with His ordained "forever" commands, they have allowed the traditions of man to overrule anything that God ever said, adamantly citing the hackneyed mantra "we're no longer under the Law but under grace" to give credence to their willful disobedience. Nobody seems to recognize the fact that man has been "under grace" since the very beginning, before Jesus ever came onto the scene....
They forget that mankind has ALWAYS been "under grace!" Adam and Eve were "under grace" when YHWH saw fit to allow them to leave the Garden of Eden instead of zapping them into oblivion after they deliberately sinned. Cain was "under grace" when he was allowed to live after he killed his brother, Abel (Genesis 4:8). Noah was "under grace" when YHWH allowed him and his family to be spared out of the flood. Enoch and Elijah (neither of whom "knew Jesus") were "under grace" when they were raptured (Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11). There are many more examples, but we must remember we have ALL been "under grace" since the day Y'shua chose to martyr himself on our behalf! But that NEVER negated our need to obey YHWH's "forever" commands!
When confronted with scriptures that prove Torah is still in effect, many Christians and Catholics will either become "fighting mad" or employ the use of the big BUT to justify themselves. Here are some typical examples:
- "I know Jesus was a Torah observant Jew, but...."
- "I know Jesus wasn't born on December 25th, but...."
- "I know Santa Claus and the Easter bunny aren't real, but...."
- "I know I should probably study the Biblical Feasts, but...."
- "I know God said to keep the seventh day Sabbath, but ...."
- "I know Leviticus outlines 'clean and unclean' foods, but...."
- God gave the Torah to the Jews, but we don't have to bother with it because we're not under the law!"
The astute reader will note that in every one of the "but..." statements above, Christians who make comments like this are oblivious to the false arguments to which they cling. A simple check of the scriptures readily resolves and negates their arguments, but nonetheless, this identifies a major Christian error which reveals that many fail to properly read and understand scripture!
The bottom line is: Yeshua (Jesus) did not come to, nor did he have the authority, to replace his Father YHWH as God! He was not some "new God" with new rules. He was the "arm of YHWH" (Isaiah 53:1) and the Word (John 1:1,14) who came to do his Father's will as a human example with a perfect, divine nature designed to show us who YHWH is, how He wants to be worshiped, how to live according to Torah ... and ultimately, to martyr himself as our Final SIN Sacrifice/Offering. By choosing to ignore YHWH's divine Instructions in Righteousness (Torah), you are not on His Path. And if you're not doing YHWH's Will, then you are doing Satan's. It's as simple as that. There is no "gray area" when it comes to God.
Christians and Catholics are great at excuses when it comes to being Torah observant. The biggest excuse - simply because they don't understand what Torah is - is that "Jesus abolished the law." Really? If that's true, then how come Yeshua (Jesus) said exactly the opposite?
Matthew 5: 17 Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot (words/commands) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Has everything happened that must happen? Have heaven and earth passed away? If not, then it seems we are obliged to continue to obey Torah - our Creator's divine teachings/instruction! After all, He told us the following:
Numbers 15: 13 "'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 14 For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do. 15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD: 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.'"
When YHWH repeats a command four times in a row, we should pay attention!
"But that was for the JEWS!" you say. "We're not foreigners and aliens....." Really? Unless you were born Jewish (or converted) then you are an "alien" - a non-Jew! Since you've chosen to worship "their" God, what makes you think you can change His rules?
"But God gave us a new covenant!" No, He did NOT make a new covenant with you; He made His "new covenant" with the Houses of Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31:32)! He did, however, extend His grace and mercy to the Gentiles (non-Jews) who, once they become believers in Yeshua, automatically become part of "Israel." In this, note that He never said there would be different rules for His natural and adopted children, and those who were grafted in do not get to tamper with the rules....
Anyway, since believers are part of Israel, they need to remember that God told Israel: "I give you good instruction: Do not forsake my Torah" (Proverbs 4:2). And Paul (himself a Torah obserant Jew, whose writings have been totally misunderstood and misperceived by Christians) reiterated this when he said: Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. (Romans 3:31)
Most people will admit that violence and decadence abound in Western society. Everything God considers "bad" is now considered "good" and vice-versa because most of the world has turned its back on God. His commands have been completely obscured by man's opinions and traditions. Opinions and traditions are the reason that the suicide rate is higher during the Christmas than at any other time of the year.
This is because we've been conditioned to believe that Christmas is all about "family and giving" (and going into debt in the process!) instead of the "real reason for the season" in which we should be concentrating on GOD and His grace and mercy because He sent His Son to be our Intercessor (never mind that the Bible doesn't tell us to celebrate His birth at all!).
The thing is, in Western society, money is our god, and so the "reason for the season" has become all about advertising and keeping the stores open 24/7 in hopes of turning a profit. Never mind that on the seventh day we are not to engage in commerce REGARDLESS as to what our traditions are (Nehemiah 13:15-18)!
Isaiah 58: 13 If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, ADONAI'S holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or speaking about them. If you do, you will find delight in ADONAI - I will make you ride on the heights of the land and feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Ya'akov, for the mouth of ADONAI has spoken."
Only those who realize the need to be Torah observant, keep the commanded Biblical Feasts which are all about God instead of all about "us" and which all foreshadow Yeshua. (By the way, the Bible reveals that Yeshua was not born in December, but on the first day of the Feast of Sukkot, which falls in the Sept/Oct timeframe on our Gregorian calendars!) No WalMart employee has ever been killed during a Biblical Feast because Biblical Feasts aren't about "buying 'til we're blue in the face" or "getting the best bargains"....
YHWH gave us rules to follow and, instead of simply obeying, we instead keep sowing carnal seeds and reaping carnal rewards. The bottom line is, most Christians have been conditioned to believe that "the Law" has been abolished, and are completely unwilling to see the Truth, and consequently are missing out on a TRUE relationship with God! One pastor I used to know constantly bragged about her "Jewish heritage" - yet when I suggested she start living by Torah, she became belligerent and insisted she was "too busy". "Besides," she exclaimed, "a Saturday sabbath is too much of a burden. I'm a very busy person; I have things to do!" (I only hope that YHWH won't be "too busy" on Judgment Day to talk to her about why she refused to even consider obeying His "forever" commands...)
Unfortunately that pastor is not the only one who feels that way about Torah. Here is a sample of the correspondence I had recently with a pastor from South Africa.
After asking me to explain Torah, he wrote the following:
"I've pondered upon your reply, indeed its soaked in Biblical principles and void of any refutational arguments.
"The sad reality is this: South Africa is not Israel! To observe a Sabbath's rest is almost impossible to accomplish, when considering the fact that most work places require compulsory attendance on Saturday. Secondly, the only time when it's feasible to accomplish one's shopping tasks, or doing home improvements, etc. is on a Saturday! Not to mention that most malls are open during the week while we're at work, closed on Sundays and then open on the Saturday.
Most laborers who work for us are available Saturdays, whereas Sundays are their preferred resting days. The observance of the seven feasts are also a practical impossibility, since we do not exactly know the precise way in which to pracise it. As you can see, this is an awful kind of dilemna we're facing.
"Another factor to consider is that there are no Messianic Organizations near or within our city. There are no ordained Messianic pastors serving our city except for two Orthodox Rabbis leading Talmudic centres of learning. Neither are there any conferences/ seminars/ bookshops/ learning centres or just any Messianic activity taking place in our region where people can grow in this faith.
"Honestly, I am not even deeply rooted in the study of the 1st five books except for Genesis, The Exodus out of Egypt, the Kings and Judges of Israel and the Prophetic Writings. Torah knowledge amongst my flock is obsolete.
"Be that as it may, neither are there any financial resources nor the expertise to lay the groundwork for Netzari missions. A Brother led us to your site, and I personally feel that the only way to educate others is by leading them to this site and living by Faith through Grace, elevating the name of Yeshua and continuing to pursue a Personal Relationship with Him."
In other words, he was saying: "I know I should probably learn Torah and do something about my worldly religiosity, BUT...."
Another thing that Catholics and Christians insist upon is their desire for pictures and statues of Jesus. Someone recently wrote to The Refiner's Fire with the question: "I know that nobody has ever seen God, but why can't we have pictures of Jesus? After all, pictures give us an idea of what He looked like!"
The answer is found in a simple check of scripture: Since no one has ever seen him, we don't know what he looks like; and therefore any pictures we drawings/paintings or likenesses of him are lies!
Even the face of Yeshua was not YHWH Himself; but rather, the human vessel that was His MESSIAH - the one who was seen for a mere 33 years on Earth two-thousand years ago! YHWH caused Yeshua to be born at a time when there were no cameras, videos, voice recorders, etc., and He did this for a reason: So that man could not look upon Yeshua and decide whether or not to like or dislike him because of His appearance - hair, facial features, skin color, height, body weight... YHWH's people were to listen to Yeshua's message, not concentrate on his appearance - which is a typical human, carnal tendency.
Not to mention, Isaiah 53 tells us that Messiah wasn't much to look at, yet Christians always paint "Jesus" to as some handsome adonis, usually with blue eyes and blond hair:
Isaiah 53: 2 For before him he grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us.
The Second and Third Commandments tell us the following:
Exodus 20: 1 And God spoke all these words: 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
Deuteronomy 4: 15 You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.
YHWH wants us to concentrate on His Word, not on opinions from a human viewpoint.