MY SCRIPTURE STUDIES

My Scripture Studies
Removing the Blinders

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Why the Letter to the Galatians?

Paul taught Hebraic concepts to Greek thinkers. Because of this, Paul's perspectives rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures are hidden from view by anyone focused on ignoring the authority of the only Bible that Paul read, studied and taught.

It's important to understand the origin of Greek "thinking" if we want to uncover the heart of the letter writer's message. It is said that Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC. It was part and parcel of the culture of the Roman Empire as it attempted to make sense out of the world in a non-religious way.

By its definition, we can see that Greek thinking and philosophy survives today as people attempt to make sense of our Creator's world while seeking understanding of our purpose and reason for life while rejecting the Bible.

To understand Paul, we must return to the basics of the foundation in his letters. This is the only way we will be able to understand them. Those basics are found only in the Hebrew Bible. We also have to understand the culture and context of life in the first century if we are to have any depth perception on the matters he sought to address.

Paul's world was one where Jews focused on the message of the Shema, that God is one. That is why Paul wrote “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10) by quoting Leviticus 19:18. The God of Israel as one s the proclamation and this collides with the surrounding pagan religions that worshipped many polytheistic false-gods.

The Greek pantheon listed 12 Olympian gods and many other lesser gods and goddesses and this culture conflict met head on in ancient Galatia.

For these and other reasons we will touch on, a surface reading of the letters penned by Paul can lead one to think that Paul's goal was to start a "new" religion or provide an override to God's instruction manual rather than focus on the heart and spirit of God's lovingkindness which is the Torah's weave in Paul's words.

No question, he saw the light and came to understand the voice that Moses heard about God's lovingkindness that many miss in the Torah. So, we all must know that is what drives Paul's messages and his is no new religion. Lovingkindness and grace was declared and lived out at Sinai.

The hard truth of any "new" religion view is that it is a remnant of prejudiced dispensational, replacement theology that first infected a Greek by the name Marcion. If we could travel back in time to 144 AD we would find this rich ship merchant standing in Rome in his bid to become a bishop.

His thesis was a serpent's opinion of poison declaring that Old and New cannot be reconciled to each other. In a nutshell, Marcion taught that Moses preached about the Sabbath and an old Law that Jesus Christ freed believers from the Hebrew Bible Messiah Yeshua taught from every Sabbath in synagogue (Luke 4:16) with a new law that did away with the foundation.

Does Marcion's podium pounding that tears away at the Old Testament sound familiar?

If it doesn't just wait, you may likely hear some form of Marcion's elevator pitch, but know this, it's part of an ignorant and unstable lie that began in Eden. A lie that says God does not mean what He says. That lie is from the mouth of a serpent that wants to poison your soul.

That is why Marcion rejected the Hebrew Scriptures that Jesus taught and expounded on. Marcion thought God had changed His mind and shifted gears.

Marcion rejected all of the Jewish New Testament manuscripts of the disciples except those of Paul and Luke, so Marcion was quickly branded a heretic and never made it to the bishop's office, but his legacy and lies remain in one form or another.

With a hint of Marcion and Simon Magnus in their teachings, the so-called church fathers began to adopt portions of Marcion's outcast views of replacement theology as a new religion. Their voices still echo from many pulpits with powerpoint presentations embedded with occasional snippets from Paul's letters declaring the very Bible Jesus taught each Sabbath - is old and done away with.

The result is that the Galatian letter is misused today is ways like Marcion did long ago and that leads to the question:

Why the letter to the Galatians?

After Marcion, the so-called church fathers soon viewed the Jewish people as “rejected” and forgotten by God. Led in opinion by Rome's onslaught the Jews of Judaea were cast out to wander the world “despised” while men like Justin Martyr began to cast false blame saying of the Jews that: “tribulations were justly imposed on you since you have murdered the Just One.”

Justin Martyr believed this lie despite the fact that Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to beating, scourging and death by the Roman Centurions, even though Pilate knew that the evidence in Yeshua's religion trial was false and did not justify a death sentence under any Roman rule of law. Read Luke 23:4, Luke 23:13-15 and Luke 23:22-23 for the evidence.

That acceptance of perjury is why Pilate washed his hands of his decision.

In the same way, post first century pulpits have woven ignorant and unstable lies against the Jewish people in one form or another resulting in horrific antisemitic aggression of all forms including medieval forced conversions, inquisitions, blood libels, property confiscations, expulsions, pogroms, massacres, murders, persecution culminating in the Shoah, the Holocaust of World War II.

Replacement theology under the influence of men like Marcion, Simon Magnus, Justin Martyr, Melito of Sardis and Tertullian ripped first century assemblies from their Jewish roots and Jerusalem. Their anti-Jewish and anti-Torah replacement religion was called new because it instituted opposition to a Biblical faith rooted in Jewish principles.

Initially, this began as the demographics of believers in Yeshua changed dramatically as His story expanded from Jerusalem throughout the lands of the Roman Empire. In the very beginning, all Believers were Jewish (Romans 1:16). Yet as word spread about Yeshua from the witness of believing Jews in cities like Antioch and Alexandria as well as Rome, Biblical faith came under the influence of a Greco-Roman worldview in which the Bible was not known or understood and this enabled persecution by the Roman Empire's new church.

Horrifically, 1900 years after Marcion's heresies became more widely known, we might see how they planted a dark seed for Calvin's treatise: "On The Jews and Their Lies" that paved a dark path to Hitler's concentration of demonic hatred that led to state sponsored mass murder of over six million precious souls that in a bizarre way mirrors the trial, tribulation and Roman execution of Yeshua the Jew from Nazareth.

Marcion rejected the Bible, he deemed the letter to the Galatians as the pinnacle of Paul's letters because he claimed Paul walked away from the Torah. Marcion did not understand the Bible's message or Paul's rabbinic teaching style so he turned them both upside down. Marcion did not understand that while imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote these words that require understanding:

"All who sin apart from the Torah will also perish apart from the Torah, and all who sin under the Torah will be judged by the Torah. For it is not those who hear the Torah who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the Torah who will be declared righteous." Romans 2:12-13

Marcion's attack on the Hebrew Bible (aka the Tanach) emanated from his failure to understand these words. He failed the test on the context of Galatians that proclaims the gospel of The Kingdom focuses on God's everlasting lovingkindness and forgiveness.

Marcion's views were driven by a worldview of Biblical ignorance and a serpent-like hatred of Jews because they honored the oracles of God that he had turned his back on.

Bottomline, Marcion forgot that Jesus is a Jew.

His twisted views on the Galatian letter came from a misguided perception of Paul's statement that false brethren were attempting to turn believers from the gospel of the Kingdom that Yeshua and His disciples taught.

This is still misunderstood by many.

Irenaeus, another Greek man from Smyrna, now known as İzmir, Turkey wrote a treatise called "Against Heresies." Irenaeus opposed Marcion because he had heard the preaching of Polycarp who had been tutored by the disciple John. In his white paper, Irenaeus identified a cult called the Nicolaitans. He called them an "offshoot of the knowledge which is falsely so-called."

The Nicolaitans are noted twice in Revelation 2. Irenaeus wrote that they "lead lives of unrestrained indulgence." This is the same warning that Paul gives in 1Timothy 6:20-21:

"O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith."

So, in the end, Marcion or those like him that spew babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge” are all  irreverent Nicolaitans spewing out a Greek philosophy that people can be saved by grace and then do whatever they want unrestrained by God's words of instruction for a holy lifestyle.

Like a good scribe, John recorded a similar warning when he sent the Revelation letters to Ephesus and to on to Smyrna the home of Marcion: "you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false..."

Now you know the mystery of the Nicolaitans from Ephesus and Smyrna.

Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Revelation 2:6 
So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Revelation 2:15

These are the hard cold facts, the Nicolaitans of yesteryear survive today and cast a dark shadow on the Word of God and the light of Messiah. This requires a call for "endurance" in Biblical lifestyle and faith, not a walk away from it:

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Revelation 14:12

If you have ever run a cross country race, think back to it. Endurance requires a lot of training and an inner voice of courage and strength to persevere and finish the race.

Three hundred years after John penned this solemn revelation about the Nicolaitans a Greek thinker by the name of John Chrysostom, another church father, opposed the call for the endurance of the saints and preached against the commandments of God and anyone who honored God's ordained Sabbaths and Feasts.

Without a doubt, Marcion and Chrysostom among others are the poster children for Peter's yellow caution flag that is still waving for the endurance race today.

Peter (Kepha) was a fisherman and a Jewish disciple of Yeshua (aka Jesus). He once wrote that Paul’s “letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (see 2Peter 3:16).

Marcion and Chrysostom ignored Kepha's urgent warning and tossed it aside...


Ignorant and unstable people distort Paul's letters
to their own destruction. 



Wow! These are hard words from Peter because destruction causes so much damage that restoration is virtually impossible!

Today, the warnings against the Nicolaitans remains intact as some like Marcion still say that "the Law" is contrary to their doctrine in direct opposition to the words defining "endurance" in Revelation and Matthew 5:46-47. They, like Marcion believe the Hebrew Scriptures that Jesus taught in the synagogues every Sabbath are old, set aside and done away and "hung on the cross" while twisting Paul's letters to "prove" their weary and exhausted unstable words.

The result is that the majority of Jewish people today deny Yeshua of Nazareth largely because of this doctrine that seeks to build a house without a foundation. That misguided view would disqualify Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. So, like Pilate we must ask: "What is truth?" Then show our Jewish brethren how to see: “I find no guilt in Him" (John 18:38).

Simon Peter's warning about destruction comes from the same man that despite hearing every word Yeshua of Nazareth spoke and seeing many miracles and everything Jesus did to help others denied knowing Him three times in His hour of trial, but Yeshua never gave up on him because He knew God's lovingkindness and grace could transform Peter in the end. He knew the same of Paul and sought him out on the road to Damascus.

Few Christians it seems realize Paul, constantly weaves words from the Hebrew Scriptures to deliver the heart of the Torah's gospel message of God's mercy and lovingkindness in all of his letters. Here are five examples of Paul's Hebrew Scripture teachings in chapter three of Galatians:
  • Galatians 3:8, Paul quotes from Genesis 12:3
  • Galatians 3:10, Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26
  • Galatians 3:11, Paul quotes from Habakkuk 2:4
  • Galatians 3:12, Paul quotes from Leviticus 18:5
  • Galatians 3:13, Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 21:23
If we turn the page and look at Galatians 4, we see some things that should shake many modern pulpits.

In the beginning of the chapter, Paul writes a parable:

"Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 
Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:1-7 

Parables are misunderstood when we use a Greek mindset. The reason, they are Hebraic. They teach a message that compares two things through a story that has two meanings. Today, we call this an allegory, a metaphor in which a character, place or event is used to deliver a message.

Paul's allegory is used against The Torah today. Yet, "the law" that Pauls often writes about is from Genesis, not Leviticus. Notice the parable is about children, redemption and adoption. Genesis 3 is the placeholder of the law Paul refers to:

God promised to bring forth new life to the bride but only through pain's tribulation because of sin:
To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children...
Death is the warning that God spoke to Adam if he rejected God's authority and accepted the a lie:
Because you... have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’
Cursed is the ground because of you.
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.
To the deceiver serpent, God promised a redeemer from the law of death when He said:
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.
After this, Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden and put out, but this exile is temporary.

This is the law we can be redeemed from. It is seen in the beginning and described in Galatians 4, Paul is not writing about the whole of the Torah, but the law of sin Adam and Eve brought on themselves that is revealed in Genesis 3.

Paul's parable teaching then fast forwards from Genesis 21 contrasting bad choices again as he compares Sarah and Hagar’s lives and then Paul connects the message to Isaiah 54. One reason he did this is because these passages were read together in the synagogue.

It's important to read all of Isaiah 54 to complete the parable picture Paul paints with his words. In summary notice the child, restoration, redemption and everlasting lovingkindness and compassion:
Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed... 
And your descendants will possess nations
And will resettle the desolate cities. 
For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the LORD of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth. 
I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,
Says the LORD your Redeemer.
We can see another Torah-Haftorah connection in Paul's letter delivered to Corinth. Check it out for yourself and you'll see 2Corinthians 3:6-18 connects Moses breaking the tablets at the golden calf idol worship scene described in Exodus 34:27-35.

After this sin, God describes His good news of everlasting lovingkindness and compassion through forgiveness as He provides a new set of tablets to replace the ones that were shattered so that Moses could carry them down the mountain a second time.

Paul ties this important two trip message that reflects Messiah's two trips and His teaching of the heart of the Torah with Jeremiah 31:32-39. God gives the prophet His loving promise to make a new covenant for the forgiveness of sin and write His Torah on our hearts. The new covenant of Jeremiah 31 is the same as the new covenant described in Luke 22:20, 2Corinthians 3:6 and summarized in Hebrews 9:15 that speaks of the Genesis 3 promise of Messiah:
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
These Torah-Haftorah connections are the hidden gem foundations in each of Paul's letters and they part and parcel of Simon Peter's grave warning connecting ignorance with destruction.

Peter was concerned about Biblical blinders to Scripture in a form of cognitive dissonance if you will, a teaching that was spreading that the letters of Paul provided a "grace escape" of ungodliness from the foundation of a Biblical lifestyle described in Deuteronomy 6:18 to: "Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you."

Galatians 2:1-3 mentions Titus. He is also mentioned in Paul's second letters to the Corinthians and to Timothy. Titus was an understudy of Paul and Paul understood Peter's concern. Paul's letter to Titus clarifies grace as bringing salvation to all and he also admonishes righteousness with emphasis on good works and pure Godly living in an upside down world that twists and rejects God's word and authority.

These are the Torah foundations Yeshua taught from God's word given to Titus and they clearly instruct Titus to deny ungodliness and strongly encourage and reprimand others accordingly.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we would live soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works. Say these things and exhort and reprove with all authority... Titus 2:11-15 

Peter understood Biblical blinders, he had once worn them for a long time. He denied knowing Yeshua three times, yet he was present at the sermon of beatitudes. He was there and heard Yeshua of Nazareth boldly declare this unchanging truth: not one jot or tittle will ever be done away in the Torah as long as heaven and earth remain.

Peter repented and was forgiven. So, he understood grace and the words that promised a new covenant that the Torah, the laws of God are to be written on our hearts, do you?

Heaven and earth remain, and Paul's letters still reflect the true gospel of the compassionate lovingkindness redemption message of the Torah. If you heed Peter's warning, believe Jesus and agree with Paul that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness (2Timothy 3:16) so that you can understand why Peter's warning flag still waves in our race for endurance.

Grace does not annul Torah nor allow ungodliness to reject it, rather it empowers us to live righteously and Godly in this present world and be passionate for the good works it promotes. Grace is from God's throne given to redeem and strengthen us to walk in the ways of God's commands.

Grace began in Eden and is vivid at the second mountaintop teaching with the golden calf below in the dust. Grace is seen in Jeremiah too as God promises to write His laws on our hearts as a new covenant, not erase them.

Yeshua of Nazareth excludes no one from His voice and authority on God's eternal truths to purify us and He declared it in the Sermon on the Mount. By its very nickname, the "Sermon on the Mount" teaching of Yeshua should remind you of another mountain, "Mount Sinai" and the weight of the words spoken there from the fire, smoke and thunder.

Not one jot or tittle of the words written in stone or scroll in the wilderness of Sinai are changed or done away with, no not even one letter.

This gospel for life in the Kingdom is the testimony of Jesus and it can be yours too. His mountaintop sermon reveals the spirit and truth of lovingkindness and compassion shown in the Torah regarding "the way" of the Kingdom of God and we have two witnesses of the Sermon on the Mount testimony that teaches this in Matthew 5 and John 5.

The humble Yeshua taught "The Way" and "Truth" (Derech v’Emet) of the Kingdom that seems hidden for some, yet is woven in Pauls' letters.

Did you know Yeshua's followers were called "the Way?" See Acts 9:2, Acts 19:23, Acts 24:14 and others references. Many Christians might be blown away to know that the Hebrew word for "The Way" or derech can also called "Halakha" and that "the way" of Yeshua is the truth and spirit of the Torah. It's no wonder the crowds that followed Jesus said He taught with authority (Luke 4:32).

If you debate the truth of Yeshua's words and take away from them accepting the addition of tradition and opinion by listening to another voice, then you're perspectives may not only lie in the shadow Adam, but of Marcion or lean toward Paul's path before He was confronted by the light of the arisen and resurrected Messiah Yeshua.

During the time preceding that day on the road to Damascus, Paul had rejected the Biblical concept of a bruised Messiah revealed in Isaiah 53, by other prophets and from the beginning of time in Genesis 3:15:
"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel [עָקֵב aqeb].” 
At one time, Paul had also forgotten the prophetic psalm of king David:
What man can live and never see death?
Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah

Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
which by your faithfulness you swore to David? 
Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked,
and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations,
with which your enemies mock, O LORD,
with which they mock the footsteps [aqeb עָקֵב]
of your anointed [מָשִׁיחַ Mashiach].
Psalm 89:48-51
Paul rejected the bruised heel of the Passover lamb of God because he only looked for the lion of the tribe of Judah as King Messiah instead of the ancient steadfast love of old. Many Jewish people struggle with this today just as Paul did before his eyes were opened and at the same time, and no wonder, they like Yeshua hate the Nicolaism of Marcion, Chrysostom and Luther that was adopted by Christianity as it turned from its Hebrew root.

Not all Christians think this way and not all Jews reject the bruised and humble Mashiach as Paul once did.

Believe it or not, a revered Jewish sage from Poland, Elijah ben Solomon Zalmam, known as the Vilna Gaon lived in the mid 1700's and taught that one of the roles of Messiah was that of Moshiach ben Yosef. Gaon understood the humble Messiah's mission was to reveal the 'Sod,' the hidden parts of the wisdom of the Tanach which is exactly what Yeshua did.

Examples are many and they include the details of the Sermon on the Mount given to the large crowds that followed Yeshua from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan (see Matthew 5, Matthew 6 and Matthew 7) and summarized to a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon (see Luke (6:17–49). In the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua explained the 'sod' truth of adultery on the instruction given in Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18 and Proverbs 6:32. He expounded on the Sabbath in Matthew 12 and Luke 6 as he explained the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Yeshua expounded on the 'sod' hidden purpose of the Sabbath in Luke 13:10-17 as well. Here, on the Sabbath, He healed the 18-year sickness of a woman caused by a spirit. Her body was bent over and twisted and she could not straighten up at all.

The 'sod' or hidden storyline of the woman in the synagogue is that she represents the assembly of "all Israel" both native born and sojourner that are oppressed by two key enemies, sickness and the deception of haSatan that leads to sin. Her affliction was judged by Yeshua when he said: "Woman, you are freed from your sickness." Yet, much like the storyline found in Galatians, a synagogue official was indignant because by his tradition and custom he considered healing a violation of "work" on the Sabbath (we'll expound more on that tradition later).

For now, it is important to understand that Luke's mention of her 18-year affliction is no coincidence, yet a casual reading does not reveal how it is critical to the prophecy revealed in the amazing miracle. The number eighteen provides a symbolic meaning for bondage in the Bible. That meaning is revealed in the book of Judges and the people that saw her healed in the synagogue assembly on that Sabbath day knew the significance of the number, that is one reason "the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him."

The book of Judges takes the mystery out the number of her years of suffering. After taking possession of the promised land, the children of Israel were in bondage to several nations of people before David became king. Two key enemies, the Moabites and the Philistines oppressed them for 18 years (Judges 3:12-14, Judges 10:7-8). God freed the Israelites of their 18-year bondage through Ehud, Jephthah and Samson.

The coming millennium is the day Messiah Yeshua will free all Israel from the bondage of sin and the deception of haSatan during the Sabbath rest of Messianic Kingdom to come promised in 2 Samuel 7:11–16 that was preached by Yeshua in Matthew 5 in the Sermon on the Mount and revealed in Revelation 20:2-6.

The Vilna Gaon is not the only Jewish witness of serious thought and commentary on the critical role of Moshiach ben Yosef, the suffering Messiah. The earliest Talmudic references to two Messiahs dates at least to the 3rd century, identifying Him as the man of sorrows in Isaiah and one many will look upon and mourn, the one pierced as shown in Zechariah. The thing is there is only one Messiah and just like Moses He makes two trips from the mountain to deliver the covenant when Israel and the sojourners with them had to ratify God's covenant two times.

The first trip down the mountain Moses shattered the two tablets because Israel committed adultery with the golden calf and broke their promise:

Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Exodus 24:7-8

So, just as Messiah will return sprinkled by the blood of His sacrifice, Moses went back up and came down a second time after the first Lord's supper when the people at Mount Horeb were sprinkled by the blood of the sacrifice.

Moses shows us the reason for the first and second coming of Messiah in Deuteronomy 18:15:

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well.  I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him."

The word Moses uses for prophet is נָבִיא nabiy' and it is an inspired messenger (angel) of God, one that spoke not his own words but those that he divinely received.

Yeshua points to this writing when He said:

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me." John 5:46
The NASB Bible translation describes the messenger (angel) of he Lord in 77 verses.

John tells us in three passages how explicitly Yeshua speaks as the messenger of The Lord, the prophet Moses promised in  Deuteronomy 18:15. In John 7:16 Yeshua said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me." In John 12:49 He said, "For I have not spoken on My own [authority]; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak." And finally, in John 14:24 Yeshua said, "the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me." Yeshua, shows us with these words that He was the prophet of God the Father from among Israel.

Among the other rabbinic writings that agree with the Vilna Gaon about the Messiah and his suffering include these:

"The Holy One gave Messiah the opportunity to save souls but to be severely chastised: and forthwith the Messiah accepted the chastisements of love, as is written, 'He was oppressed, and he was afflicted.' And when Israel is sinful, the Messiah seeks mercy upon them, as it is written, 'By his stripes we were healed,' and 'He carried the sins of many and made intercession for the trangressors.'" (Bereshith Rabbah, Rabbi Moshe Hadershan) 
"The word 'man' in the passage refers to the Messiah, the son of David as it is written, 'Behold the man whose name is Zemah'; there Jonathan interprets, Behold the man Messiah; as it is said 'a man of pains and known to sickness.' (Midrash Thanhumi, Rabbi Nahman) 
Rabbinical Elijah the prophet quote: "Bear the suffering and punishment of thy Lord, with which he chastises thee for the sins of Israel, as it is written, 'He is pressed for our rebellion - crushed for our iniquities' until the end come." (Midrash Cohen, BhM, 2:29) 
The Talmud explains: "The Messiah--what is his name? Those of the house of Rabbi Yuda the saint say, the sick one, as it is said, 'Surely he had borne our sicknesses'." (Sanhedrin 98b) 
"It is because of this future ordeal that David (prophetically) wept, saying My strength is dried up like a potsherd [Psalms 22:7]. At this hour, G-d will say to Him, Ephraim, My Righteous Messiah, didst Thou not agree before the creation to this? Now let Your sorrows be as My own sorrows....At that Messiah answers, Now is My Spirit calmed for 'It is enough for a servant to be like master.'" (Pesikta Rabbati Piska 36:142/Yalkut on Isaiah 60:1-2) 
"Then He [My Servant Messiah] will become despised, and will cut off the glory of all the Kingdoms; they will be prostrate and mourning, like a man of pains, and like One destined for sickness; and as though the Presence of the Shekinah had been withdrawn from us, they will be despised, and esteemed not." (Targum Jonathan Isaiah 53:3) 
"And when Israel is sinful, the Messiah seeks for mercy upon them, as it is written, 'By His stripes we were healed, and He carried the sins of many; and made intercession for the transgressors'." (B'reshith Rabbah) 

These are rabbinic comments on Isaiah 53. Here are two witnesses's on Zechariah:

Referring to Zech 12:10-12, "R. Dosa says: '(They will mourn) over the Messiah who will be slain.' " (B. Suk. 52a; also Y. Suk. 55b)
"Messiah son of Joseph was slain, as it is written, "They shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son" (Zech xii 10 (Suk. 52a)) 

Others rabbis agree on these prophecies of a suffering Messiah and take note, not one of them declares the suffering one is figurative of the Jewish people, the focus is on Messiah:

"I am pleased to interpret it in accordance of our rabbis, of the King Messiah, and will be careful, so far as I am able, to adhere to the literal sense: thus, possible, I shall be free from the fancied and far fetched interpretations of which others have been guilty...." (Rabbi Moshe Kohen Ibn Crispin of Cordova and Toledo in Spain, ca. 1350)

"I will now proceed to explain these verses of our own Messiah, who G-d willing, will come speedily in our days. I am surprised that Rashi and Rabbi David Kimchi have not, with the Targums, applied it to the Messiah likewise." (Rabbi Naphtali ben Asher Altshuler, ca. 1650 A.D.) 
"The Holy One gave Messiah the opportunity to save souls but to be severely chastised: and forthwith the Messiah accepted the chastisements of love, as is written, 'He was oppressed, and he was afflicted.' And when Israel is sinful, the Messiah seeks mercy upon them, as it is written, 'By his stripes we were healed,' and 'He carried the sins of many and made intercession for the trangressors.'" (Bereshith Rabbah, Rabbi Moshe Hadershan) 
"The word 'man' in the passage refers to the Messiah, the son of David as it is written, 'Behold the man whose name is Zemah'; there Jonathan interprets, Behold the man Messiah; as it is said 'a man of pains and known to sickness.' (Midrash Thanhumi, Rabbi Nahman) 
Rabbinical Elijah the prophet quote: "Bear the suffering and punishment of thy Lord, with which he chastises thee for the sins of Israel, as it is written, 'He is pressed for our rebellion - crushed for our iniquities' until the end come." (Midrash Cohen, BhM, 2:29) 
The Talmud explains: "The Messiah--what is his name? Those of the house of Rabbi Yuda the saint say, the sick one, as it is said, 'Surely he had borne our sicknesses'." (Sanhedrin 98b) 
"It is because of this future ordeal that David (prophetically) wept, saying My strength is dried up like a potsherd [Psalms 22:7]. At this hour, G-d will say to Him, Ephraim, My Righteous Messiah, didst Thou not agree before the creation to this? Now let Your sorrows be as My own sorrows....At that Messiah answers, Now is My Spirit calmed for 'It is enough for a servant to be like master.'" (Pesikta Rabbati Piska 36:142/Yalkut on Isaiah 60:1-2) 
"Then He [My Servant Messiah] will become despised, and will cut off the glory of all the Kingdoms; they will be prostrate and mourning, like a man of pains, and like One destined for sickness; and as though the Presence of the Shekinah had been withdrawn from us, they will be despised, and esteemed not." (Targum Jonathan Isaiah 53:3) 
"And when Israel is sinful, the Messiah seeks for mercy upon them, as it is written, 'By His stripes we were healed, and He carried the sins of many; and made intercession for the transgressors'." (B'reshith Rabbah)

It's impossible to deny a humble Messiah and King Messiah is declared by these respected Jewish sages and rabbis that confirm the Biblical words of Hosea, a Jewish prophet that wrote of a great diaspora and hinted of the two comings of Messiah:

"For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, 
​And like a young lion to the house of Judah. ​​I, even I will tear them and go away; ​​I will take them away, and no one shall rescue.  
I will return again to My place ​​till they acknowledge their offense. 
​​Then they will seek My face; ​​In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” 
Come, and let us return to the LORD; ​​For He has torn, but He will heal us; ​​He has stricken, but He will bind us up. 
After two days He will revive us; ​​On the third day He will raise us up
​​That we may live in His sight. 
Let us know, ​​let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. 
​​His going forth is established as the morning; ​​He will come to us like the rain, ​​Like the latter and former rain to the earth." Hosea 6 14-16; Hosea 6:1-3

Hosea's prophetic promise of two days and a third day point directly to Moses because God declares the end from the beginning:

"So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain." Exodus 19:16-17

Hosea's promise of the second rain hinting at the second mission of Messiah is not his own. It comes from Moses:

“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Deuteronomy 11:13-15

The second work of Messiah Yeshua to the thousandth generation to gather His harvest is etched in Torah and the gospel accounts beginning with Matthew for all to see as He fills up the Torah with the Gospel truth of everlasting lovingkindness and compassion reflecting God's lovingkindness and forgiveness that The Lord declared as a part of his covenant in stone: "showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments" that tie to the words of Messiah to sin no more shown in John 8:11:

She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

Sin no more is the same message as "keep My commandments." Jesus would never say that if they were done away with, that's why the message is repeated in Revelation in the definition of the perseverance of the saints:

"Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Yeshua." Revelation 14:12

Perhaps you have read Matthew 5:17-19 where the Greek word "plēroō" has been translated in modern English Bibles as "fulfill" a word many mistake for finish or end...
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to 'fulfill'.

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." NASB

If you are thinking that "plēroō" means to put an end to and finish off the Torah; you need to know perseverance because Jesus opposes your position, so its time to rewind because the Greek word "plēroō" means to cause to abound - to render perfect - to perform, fulfill does not "do away with" anything so keep and teach this.


So, let's ask again..
Why the letter to the Galatians?



Anyone that has traveled abroad knows that when you visit a foreign country for the first time, you are best served in your journey by enlisting a local guide for the sights, but more importantly a guide can help you understand the history and culture of the people.

A proper historic and Biblically balanced perspective on Paul as a Pharisee, a rabbi and a Jewish Believer in Yeshua the Messiah of Israel is the good a travel guide you need when it comes to the hidden parable aspects of his Galatian letter. Like all his letters, each of them are set amid an epicenter of chaos in Gentile paganism and idol worship in which polytheism was a civic duty in a Greco-Roman world mixed with a culture focused on false-gods and sacrifice to pagan idols.

This was present at Mount Sinai as well, and the golden calf is the evidence from Egypt.

Every line of Paul's letters comes from this historic context intertwined within the social and pagan influences of his day and as you will see, this is still a clear and present even today. In many ways, life in first-century was not very different from our modern world, yet most traditional interpretations of Paul's letters ignore this allowing only a dim view of their foundation in Biblical reality.

Gentiles did not understand the Jewish Biblical lifestyle in Paul's day, so confusion was commonplace. In many ways this too remains, nothing is new under the Sun.

There were differences though. For starters, in Paul's day there was no separation of religion, government or politics in the Roman Empire's dominance of the first century. Today, our so-called modern western society waves a banner of separation of church and state, but in yesteryear that idea would likely yield a prison sentence. After all, homage to the mythic Greco-Roman gods including the Emperor himself were required of most 'citizens' of the Roman Empire. Until Emperor Theodosius arrived on the scene and prohibited pagan temple sacrifice in 395AD, every Roman Emperor in charge before him assumed the title of "Pontifex Maximus" aka supreme guardian of the Roman cults.

Keep that in perspective as you re-consider Paul's letters.

The Roman pagan temple cults remained front and center in society well over 300 years after Paul penned his letters. Yet, miraculously in Pauls' day, Jews were exempted from many civic cult duties required of its citizens by Roman decree because the Pontifex Maximus refrained their "yoke of bondage" on people they considered as conquered and defeated. Jews had lived all around the Mediterranean Sea and in Rome since the turn of the 2nd century BC. The Caesar's had long supported Jews protection to worship as they chose and even called synagogues colleges to dodge Roman Senate laws banning secret societies outside their own.

Perhaps in a form of reverse discrimination, the Emperor's considered the Jews unworthy of their gods, yet no matter their intentions, God used them for the survival of the Jewish people and the sign and distinguishing mark of a set-apart people as promised by God in Exodus 31:12-17. In a miraculous way, God used His Sabbaths literally and figuratively as a protection of sanctification for the faithful Jewish people.

In chapter 5:1-4 of the letter delivered to Galatia (now modern-day Turkey), Paul wrote some difficult words for those Gentiles who had formerly been "estranged from Messiah." He sent the letter because they were falling under a "yoke of bondage" of tradition not from the Roman cults but as a misguided duty of obligation for conversion to faith imposed by certain customs that began after the Jewish exile to Babylon.

Paul understood the "yoke of bondage" lesson from Egypt that bondage can arise out of precepts of authority, power and control, not the first rule of a love-filled heart of mercy and grace that is the focus of Y-H-V-H has transcended human understanding from the beginning.

Paul knew God's heart of lovingkindness and forgiveness was promised Adam and Eve and witnessed firsthand by Moses when he was called up again to the top of the mountain to deliver the renewed covenant after the first two tablets were shattered in the dust at the sight of idolatry from the sin of spiritual adultery and idol worship at the foot of Mount Sinai.



Take note, because the first covenant was broken...
Redemption requires two trips!



The willful choice of the graven image sin of adultery with the golden calf broke the promise of the people who said: "we will do all that God has spoken." They broke their word, their oath and promise to Almighty God, so redemption required two trips down the mountain of God then and it will again:

"So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord." Exodus 19:7-8 

The breaking of the first Horeb covenant was shown as the ten words Elohim God had written with His finger were shattered against the Earth when Moses threw the first two tablets down to the ground. Yet, instead of vengeance and destruction, God called Moses back up the mountain to wait and receive the covenant again with God's lovingkindness and forgiveness revealed.

Redemption required two trips for Israel as well as the aliens and sojourners with them. 

This gospel (good news) reflects the truth of God's character of grace that is plainly described for the world to see and believe in Exodus 34:6-7 after the promise of the people was broken.  The Almighty Lord God still speaks above today revealing His everlasting lovingkindness and forgiveness for iniquity, transgression and sin:

“The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin..."

This truth is why Paul wrote against a stony belief of justification before God by deeds and man's doctrines of prerequisite conversion by circumcision rather than God's relationship in lovingkindness and forgiveness, a truth revealed at the top of Sinai.

Paul is teaching we too are to reflect God's lovingkindness and truth first and foremost. Paul called man's religious attempt at conversion by deeds and works as a doctrine of justification and a yoke of bondage (of men). The burning issue here is one of rabbinical authority. Paul understood the simple warning on this issue declared in Isaiah 2:22:

Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?

In his style of Biblical teaching, Paul taught of God's forgiveness of sin and eternal love. Paul learned this after he came to understand that the Torah was given as a guide for life after salvation and that men's traditions and customs that add to it as a to-do list to check off for salvation, or conversion by merit is simply not a part of the grace of the Sinai story or any other from the beginning of Scripture.

As the "One" that gives the breath of life to dust that is cursed, Almighty God forgives for His reasons, after all His mercy and His lovingkindness governs the universe.

Long ago, Israel and the sojourners with them could do nothing to merit that second trip by Moses down from the top of the mountain with the renewed covenant. The same is still true today. The thing the assembly did then was break their promise and grievously sin right in front of the mountain of glory by their golden calf iniquity of idolatry, but God's mercy ruled.

To one whose eyes and ears are not focused upward on God's personal narrative about His character with a keen perspective of the truth given to the Galatians, Paul's letter can sound like a warning against walking in the way of Torah and a once and for all condemnation of circumcision.

That is fake news.

As we have seen, to understand this, we have to dig into the religious opinion that Paul had before he met Yeshua if we are ever to believe his message in its proper context.

If you teach a requirement of faith mandates that you must first become circumcised to be in good standing with God as a proselyte, Paul is saying you take on a debt of bondage that cannot be paid because as God declared in Genesis, a redeemer is required.

Simply put, if you sin, then go through circumcision, then sin again, then what... get a bigger knife?

Paul's rabbinic message is that good standing by earning merit by anyone who claims to be justified in conversion by circumcision will eventually end up in spiritual bondage, without the Redeemer.

Paul is teaching this because the Torah reveals God's mercy and The Lord's impeccable character of lovingkindness and forgiveness, not our feeble deeds or works. After all, everyone has sinned in the past and we will do so again. We are all human, stumbling along the way until the final redemption from sin is fully revealed.

Not only that, Paul’s seemingly hidden message in the Galatian letter is that Paul understood circumcision was never a Torah requirement "before" friendship with God, it came after. Paul knew...



Circumcision was never a requirement to walk with God.



Paul knew it was an act of humble obedience, that The Torah plainly declares Abram was God's friend and that he sojourned under The Lord's direction for many years - long before he was circumcised at age 99 only after his relationship with Hagar (see Genesis 17:25-26 and Romans 4:11-16 for the proof text).

By looking back to Abram we can see that Paul's teaching is integrated with the Torah and laser focused on God's lovingkindness and friendship. Paul's central point is that legalism by religious conversion is a form of bondage, a religious power-play if you will that attempts to re-order God's teaching and instruction with men's opinions that add to or take away from the order of the Word of The Almighty.

In Paul's day, a doctrine of conversion requiring circumcision was esteemed by a religious group he labeled as "the party of the circumcision" (see Galatians 2:12). This was his code word for legalism i.e. salvation and justification by works instead of the work of a Redeemer.

Paul knew whether Jew or Gentile, every man, woman and child ultimately fails to keep God's instruction perfectly, so there is no merit to be earned by one's effort to 'keep' the law but that the Law is good. It is good because it too is an act of lovingkindness, one in which we get to show The Father we love Him.

Paul understood the lesson of Genesis, of Abraham and the golden calf and that's what his letter is about. Genesis 3:15 provides the promise that God would send a suffering Savior that would keep all of the law. Those who lived in the past before Yeshua looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah. Those who have lived since have been able to look back in faith on the life, death and resurrection of Messiah.

As humans, we will all fall short in one way or another despite our best intentions. Paul knew the requirement for God's forgiveness cannot be earned by our own merit, but rather: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

By the way, these words that Paul uses in Romans 10:13 are not his own teaching, they are borrowed from a prophet of old, see Joel 2:32 for the truth on this. The letter to the Galatians addresses the fact that there is only one way of salvation. Throughout time, the Bible shows us people have tried to pervert the grace by adding religious deeds to it, requiring things to be done to “earn” salvation. But the Bible’s clear message is that the way of salvation has always been in faith.

Paul also knew that Almighty God declared circumcision a covenant 'sign' for Abraham and his descendants to receive the land, yet he also realized circumcision was not the reason for the 'promise' given to Abraham many years earlier. Paul understood this was the pattern and order declared in the Torah for the families of Israel as well as the strangers and sojourners with them that were 'saved out' of Egypt as they followed the glory shekinah pillar of fire through the wilderness and called on the name of the Lord 1,500 years earlier.

Paul understood that the descendants of those that were saved out of Egypt's oppression and received forgiveness after the golden calf were like Abraham. They were not circumcised until 40 years later at the end of their journey at Gibeath-haaraloth (check it out, read Joshua 5:2-3), yet like Abraham they received God's covenant and they walked with God as He tabernacled with their uncircumcision.

The truth is they all were under God's Shekinah glory cloud and were saved uncircumcised until it was time to enter the land God promised Abraham. They were circumcised only before they entered into the land and there's a reason: God said it was the covenant sign. The people of Israel and the sojourners with them could walk with God just as Abraham did, uncircumcised until it was time.

Paul never turned his back on this heritage, the covenant sign or the Jewish people, he always remained Sha'ûl of Tarsus a Jew and a Pharisee. He proudly declared this fact many years after his Damascus road encounter, read Acts 21:39 and Romans 3:1-2:

"Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,
“THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS,  AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.”"

Paul opposed his past religious prejudice and customs that used the Torah as a religious weapon that carried a separation from grace view. He may have once been a part of "the party of the circumcision" that did not understand that not only Israel but Abraham had relationship and walked with God uncircumcised.

Paul also understood God's lovingkindness to lead Israel in this way was revealed by Moses' return to the mountaintop for a second time after the national sin of golden calf idol worship.

Paul knew Moses was called to return to God and back to Israel with an assignment to bring The Father's renewed covenant and a message of lovingkindness and forgiveness down to the multitudes of people redeemed by God's love and compassion, not circumcision.

Paul came to realize the descendants of Israel and the aliens and sojourners with them that chose to come out of Egypt with Moses in the lead were saved and forgiven by nothing they could do to seek righteousness after they broke God's ten-word covenant. Paul realized the way to the Kingdom and the message from the mountain is by walking in God's majesty of mercyand truth found in His lovingkindness.

If we look closely, we too can hear the heart of God's message recorded by Moses is mercy, lovingkindness and that truth is found in Pauls' letters. It is this seemingly hidden message within Paul's Galatian letter that is his testimony to Felix the Governor in Acts 24 as he bears a second witness to the words of the Prophets and Moses:

"It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Deuteronomy 9:5
"But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets..." Acts 24:14

Paul's admonition to the Galatians is that without a mercy-filled circumcised heart, one can become a slave to a religion of self-imposed legalism seeking justification with a misguided goal to 'earn' merit with God. Paul teaches the big time warning from Moses: "It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart..."

Purposefully choosing to set aside God's words and replace them with requirements of men's religious legalism can separate people from the truth of God's life-giving lovingkindness, compassion and Messiah Redeemer. Paul's letters reverberate that message woven in the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings.

Paul's letters repeat the message of what The Lord requires from the prophet Micah:

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8  

That is "the way" the path of a humble walk with God.

And as we've seen, when we dig in deep, we can see Paul never said he was converted to a new religion. He didn’t believe Messiah Yeshua of Nazareth ever stopped being Jewish and Paul never did as well. He never promoted anti-Semitism as some Jews have been misled to believe by misinformed sermons from a pulpit of dispensational replacement theology.

Paul never turned against God’s assignment for Israel to teach others about Him either.

That's is why his letters focused on lovingkindness. This Jewish apostle understood Israel's assignment to be a light in darkness, a nation of priests and prophets teaching Torah to a Gentile idol-worshipping planet. He understood one goal of the Torah is to shed a loving light to guide the nations. He also knew God’s intent has always been for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation set apart to point the nations to walk with God and toward His provision as their Redeemer and Savior.

Paul never taught that "the way" was separate from the assembly of Israel. He taught that Yeshua was the Messiah of 'all' Israel that seek to follow in "the way" of the Holy 'One" on earth as it is in heaven. If you doubt this read Romans.

He also taught the promise that all Israel will be saved, never replaced.

"And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’" Romans 11:26-27

Any other view, wears Scriptural blinders like those of Barnabas who years later taught a radically anti-Jewish attitude. Barnabas was another so-called church 'father' who sustained an ongoing attack on Jews and the Torah. He opposed animal sacrifice, the Temple and the altar. Barnabas held that these were God's mistakes including the dietary instruction for healthy living and long life declared by Almighty God in Leviticus.

Barnabas was only a father of Biblically blind people still teaching a replacement theology that Christians are the only intended heirs of God's covenants.

Paul knew firsthand that blindness like that which Barnabas taught can be temporary if we just open our eyes to the bright light of God's forgiveness and see Messiah. We don't have to be on a road to Damascus to do that, He's in The Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. Acts 9 reveals Paul was healed of his own physical and spiritual blindness to the mountaintop purpose of Torah to reveal God's character in the truth and spirit of mercy and lovingkindness.

We too can be healed of our blindness.

After he 'saw the light' Paul never intended any of his teachings to encourage people to turn their back on the Jewish people nor God's Kingdom constitution, the instruction manual upheld in esteem by Jewish people since Sinai.

Paul brings this to unquestionable focus in his letter to the Romans. Go ahead and reread Romans 3:20; Romans 3:31; Romans 6:15; Romans 7:7, Romans 7:12 and Romans 11:26-27 for yourself.

Like the wise words to the Romans, every other letter aligns Paul's esteem and knowledge of the Torah with a focus on forgiveness by God's kindness and mercy recorded by Moses. Paul understood that what God had commanded was impossible without the gift of mercy and that repentance was essential for forgiveness and the coming of the Redeemer Messiah.

Paul's word to the Galatians about God's weightiest instruction against sin provides further proof of this Jewish Pharisee's focus on the heart of Torah:

For the whole law [Torah] is fulfilled [performed] in one word [saying]:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

As usual, Paul did not come up with this summary by the way... it's direct from God's mouth and recorded by Moses in Leviticus 19:17-18:

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD."

Take the time to consider the heart of this divine Torah truth. Call it law if you insist, but doing so can take away from God's word because the Torah is so much more than that. The Torah is God's teaching and instruction and it reveals God's character bound in love. This hidden message embedded in each of Paul's letters seems difficult to understand as he wove the highest teaching of the Torah truth of God into the hearts of people living in a mixture of decadent pagan society and unbelieving religion and opinion that strayed away from God's heart. Sound familiar?

The teaching and instruction of God defines sin as the thoughts and actions that oppose loving God and others and Paul reiterates this in Galatians 5:18-21 even declaring the inheritance of an anti-Torah lifestyle:

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” 

It is time to take a prolonged look at the Galatian letter and reconsider the ancient culture of the polytheistic Roman Empire where idol worship and sexual perversion prevailed front and center as the norm of the day.  Come to think of it, what goes around comes around.

If we just look we will also find "religious" conflicts that remain with us whether Christian or Jew, and that fact will shed some new light on the letter to the Galatians. Today, some of these conflicts include religious rules, interpretations, customs, traditions, sects and denominations that have evolved over time and in some aspects, not all define religions of men, not Almighty God.

So, we must ask again... does the letter to the Galatians deal with the words of the Torah being questioned or does the letter reveal a deep concern about a mindset of hypocrisy that can develop out of extra-Biblical justification based on religious opinion, tradition and interpretation?

As history teaches, many Jewish oral laws began in antiquity during the diaspora of the southern tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi in Babylon when the exiles there established rabbinic style "Talmudic" academies like the yeshivas of today while under the captivity of Nebuchadnezzar after his armies attacked Jerusalem in 586 BC and destroyed the Temple. By the time Paul arrived on the scene in Jerusalem around 30AD, Jewish life had three primary religious opinions portrayed in the sects of the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes. The Essenes are not directly seen in the Gospels, Acts or Paul's letters because they had abandoned Jerusalem for communal life in Qumran. You might say they were missing in action, but they were reveled by the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.

During the 70 years of exile in Babylon, certain traditions arose from rabbinic debates and interpretations that were ultimately documented in the Talmud some 2,000 years later around the 5th century although parts and portions were assembled earlier.

The Targums, Mishna, and Talmuds of rabbinic literature record the opinions of the Jewish sages on the Scripture much like Christian Bible commentators like John Wesley, Matthew Henry, Dr. J. Vernon McGee and a host of others have published guides or study Bibles.

The  traditional observances of the forefathers, the elders of the Jewish sages began to develop during the exile to Babylon as the Temple lay in ruins in Jerusalem. This eventually led to the emergence of a new form of Judaism in the 1st century led by Yohanan ben Zakkai (Rabban). He is the first Jewish man given the title of rabbi in the Mishnah.

The destruction of the Temple by Rome fundamentally changed the focus of Judaism. With only a remnant of the Western Wall remaining, synagogues became the focus of the Jewish religious life and sage opinions morphed into oral law. In the 2nd century, rabbinic custom and the tradition of the elders were passed on in the teachings of men like Akiba ben Yosef (Rabbi Akiva).

The thing is no matter how much good will or intent, the idea of a set of traditional observances or commentary coming from the viewpoint of opinion can by its own definition as oral laws be contested. The God of Israel is the God of order. His opinions are what matter and what create matter. His voice and words that are written for us all created the sun moon, stars and life on Earth.

That does not mean an elder commentary or tradition is to be tossed aside or out the window, it means that the plumb line of commandment of observance must be Scripture, the oral law of God recorded and written by Moses for men not an elder's tradition or ritual that adds to or takes away from the Torah of God.

This is not my view, in fact this is just what Yeshua taught. His focus was on what Moses said not an elder's opinion:

“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2 
“Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it." Deuteronomy 12:32 

That was Yeshua's focus and the reason for His hand washing lesson. Jesus was not against hand washing before a meal, He opposed religious opinion that it was taught by religious men to be ceremonially required in oral law ritual to keep one pure and undefiled according to the tradition of the elders. Jesus taught that were: "invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down."

"He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition." Mark 7:9

Debate on religious tradition has been around a long time about setting aside the commandments of God with a sage tradition... Gamaliel's son Gamaliel II disagreed with Rabbi Akiva on customs of oral law according to the Talmud. One example of their many disagreements was regarding the number of prayers that were religiously required after a meal.

According to the Jewish historian Josephus:

"What I would now explain is this, that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the laws of Moses; and for that reason it is that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers." Antiquities of the Jews Book 13 Chapter 10.6

If you are a "member" of a sect or denomination today, does the idea of religious debate sound familiar?

Many debates on traditional observances were expanded and moved into written form after the second Temple destruction by Rome's Titus and his Legion of recruits in 70 AD. In the beginning, they were influenced by two leading schools of Jewish oral law teaching, the school of Hillel and the often opposing views of the House of Shammai during Paul's time. As noted, both schools taught and expounded on opinions of the elders that had originated in the absence of the Temple services some 500 years earlier. These are carefully recorded in Jewish history. There is a long history of debate.

The reason is opinion, after all men debate, but what matters is God's Word.

According the Jewish Encyclopedia there were: "Three hundred and sixteen controversies between these two schools that are preserved in the pages of the Talmud..."

The "house" of study or yeshiva that molded Paul's way of thinking and trained him in his advanced knowledge of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings was in Jerusalem. He was under the tutelage of Gamaliel the Elder (see Acts 5:34-39 and Acts 22:3 for the record). Gamaliel was a Pharisee like Paul and a member of the Sanhedrin, the highest court of the great council of Jerusalem. Gamaliel was the grandson of Hillel the Elder and his's family line connects to Shlomo Yitzchaki (aka Rashi) several generations later.

After his "Damascus Road" encounter and with much study re-examining Scripture with an eye on Messiah and God's character revealed at Mount Sinai in Arabia, Paul came to realize that he had let his own religious opinion lead him on to a dark road of prejudice and away from the Biblical teaching of his Jewish mentor Gamaliel on God's character of mercy and lovingkindness.

To understand why Paul called himself a Pharisee, we would be well served to consider the sayings of his teacher Gamaliel. One of them is recorded in Acts 5:34-39. Here, Gamaliel warns the high priest and his associates known as "the council" that judged Yeshua against harming His disciples:

"... a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law [Torah], respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. 
So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God."

Paul realized he had developed a stony heart embedded in a pretense of virtuous pride aka hypocrisy forgetting what he had learned at the feet of Gamaliel. His eyes were opened on the way to Damascus as he saw his own leavened attitude of discrimination hate was the same problem that Yeshua challenged:

"Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Luke 12:1 NASB

A few prideful Pharisees in Paul's day had allowed hypocrisy to lead to judgmental hatred and discrimination. This hypocrisy infected Paul's heart yet it was not the majority opinion. Hypocrisy rebounded years later when the so-called "church" fathers turned against the Jewish people and all things considered Jewish as the church "fathers" presented Jesus as a Christ not seen in the Scriptures on in His life.

These opinions were leavened by the Nicolaitans according Revelation 2:6 and Revelation 2:15.

In Paul's day, like today, hypocrisy puffed some men up to the point that they thought they might achieve righteousness in deed rather than righteousness in mercy and grace shown by God's character. Eventually, this leaven of hypocrisy led the counsel of certain men's hearts into grave darkness as they conspired to kill Yeshua of Nazareth because they rejected Him as Messiah and the prophet Moses spoke of. They considered Him to be a threat to their religious rule and status and they opposed those that did not follow their authority.

Yeshua confronted these people like the warnings of Moses in Deuteronomy 4:2 and Deuteronomy 12:32  because they had stony hearts stumbling against the highest teaching of God's Torah, the Prophets and the Writings.  Yeshua taught the same message of mercy and grace that is God's heart and the fountain of life in "the way" of Torah by the authority of The Father.

The admonition of Moses and the authority of The Father is "the way" the Jew Jesus taught according to Acts 24:14. It is the truth of loving kindness declared under the authority and compassion of God, not men and tradition that adds to or takes away.

Yeshua taught the same loving kindness authority declared by God through the witness of Moses, Hosea, Micah, David and Solomon that was the faith of the majority of Jewish people in the first century. That is why so many Jewish "multitudes" followed Him, they knew He spoke with authority and that earning one's salvation by deed was not the cornerstone of their faith, the promised Redeemer Messiah was.

They knew what The Lord had shown Moses at the mountaintop and they knew what pleased The LORD according to the Prophets:

"The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, 
“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 
And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” Exodus 34:5-9 
"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6  
"Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? The voice of the LORD cries to the city -- and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: "Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!" Micah 6:7-9 
"O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:15-17 
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice." Proverbs 21:2-3 

Like the schism of debates recounted within the pages of the Talmud, the elders of the Pharisees on the right and the Sadducees on the left stumbled at times arrogantly begrudging religious Halachic opinions against a backdrop of the pure Torah teaching of Yeshua of Nazareth that the Oral Torah is  God's written instruction in keeping with Exodus 34:27:

"Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”" 

They did not listen to and do (shema) the words given in Leviticus 19:18:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.”

There's more to their story, the first century Pharisees believed in the resurrection promises of Scripture. On the other hand, the Sadducees rejected this concept of God's power for resurrection life and restoration.  The Sadducees were influenced by Greek philosophy and old world Babylonian views. They believed in reincarnation.

Resurrection and reincarnation are widely opposing opinions of the afterlife, so these men bore grudges and sought revenge as they threw stones of accusation against Yeshua regarding the Torah's instruction on the Sabbath. They both groups held fast to tall hedges of religious tradition that arose while in exile in urban Babylon vs the Torah given in the wilderness of Sinai.

The Jewish historian Josephus sheds a bright light on the Oral Law conflict described in Paul's letter to the Galatians:

"For now I wish only to explain that the Pharisees transmit to the people some rules in line with the fathers, which were not written in the laws of Moses. And because of this, the line of the Sadducees reject these things. They say that it is necessary to hold those rules that have been written but it is not (necessary) to observe what is (only) from the fathers' tradition. And, as a consequence, controversies and great disagreements have occurred between them." Antiquities 12.297

"Now the Sadducees, the second party, deny destiny altogether and place God beyond doing or seeing anything bad. They say that good and bad are dependent on human choice; and one may allow each of these according to one's own decision." Josephus, Jewish War 2.164

Before he set off to Damascus, Paul had sought revenge and authorization to persecute any Jew that professed "the way" of Yeshua and His resurrection and ascension on the 40th day of the Omer Count to Shavuot as the Messiah of Israel.

According to Acts 8:8, it was Paul that approved Stephen's stoning and murder in Jerusalem.

One religious opinion Paul likely held before his Damascus Road encounter continues on despite the many prophecies from Almighty God that oppose it, is that Yeshua could not be Israel's Messiah because He did not restore the fallen tent of theDavidic kingdom. Rome was still in charge and oppressing the Jewish people and the rest of planet by the Pharaoh-like rule of the Caesar's.

Paul's worldview of Yeshua had ignored many Messianic prophecies including those found in Daniel 9:24-26; Zechariah 9:9; Zechariah 11:12-13; Psalm 2:7; Psalm 22:16-19 and Isaiah 53. This opinion expected Balaam's final oracle to be fulfilled in their day as shown in Numbers 24:15-25, but we have to remember something and not forget what Balaam said to Balak. He spoke about the "latter days" before the prophecy:

"Come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”

The widely differing views of the Pharisees and Sadducee elders were much like the many schools of religious thought today, all with differing opinions based on the sayings and opinions of religious men. A bit like the Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots of yesterday, today's Reform Jews have separated from Orthodox Judaism while Christianity takes the cake by fracturing into thousands of differing denominations with rules, views and qualifications for "church" membership. Some denominations even have different opinions about what canon of books should be included in "their" Scripture, namely the apocrypha.

What goes around comes around. Nothing is new under the sun, but Paul's ultimate message was following the character of the lovingkindness of the God of Israel, not about earning membership in creed and deed.

Paul was very concerned about division by opinion as he told the Corinthians, who were split by and quarreling in religious jealousy. He admonished the people in Corinth calling their debates "worldly."

The "worldly" warning is simple, people tend to seek the opinions of others as if heroes on a pedestal, not the truth of the word of the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth:

"You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building." 1Corinthians 3:3-9

The denominational cracks in the church building caused by men known as the "church" fathers began to crumble into replacement theology when medieval Christendom's leadership falsely taught their opinions that the church replaced the Jewish people as a new covenant people, a spiritual Israel if you will that rejected the Biblical lifestyle of Jewish people, the synagogue, the Sabbaths and the Torah of God given to Moses.

This "church" father foundation was built on the sand of men's opinion, not on the foundation rock of God's voice. The "church" sought reform 500 years ago when priests stockpiled God's word and kept it hidden from the masses, yet despite the printing press the reformation fell short insisting on a blank page to divide the Bible. Today, the "church" remains splintered and fragmented in many beliefs  that have morphed into today's fractured walls of "church" denomination.

There's always been some form of religious debate and in a way, you might see that the clashing views of the Pharisees and Sadducees of days gone by are still around and growing.

Examples abound. In certain churches including Roman Catholic and the High Anglican Church, members subscribe to a theory called transubstantiation. This religious opinion holds that the bread and wine of a eucharist communion are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus, although their appearance remains as simply bread and wine.

Another doctrinal debate is consubstantiation which is variant of transubstantiation. This doctrinal theory holds that the substance of the body and blood of Christ coexists in the bread and wine of communion. This is a mind-body connection prototype metamorphosis, hence the word communion.

Other theological doctrines include foreordination, predetermination, preordination and predestination. Some church doctrines are not far from the circumcision debate as they rely on elements or sacraments believing that God seals believers and renews their identity with them while marking them for service. Others think they need prayer beads and repetition or chants and counting of a rosary to the virgin Mary as an intercessor to be heard by God.

As we have seen, long before the church fathers arrived, unwritten traditions called the oral law of the sages began during the Jewish tragedy and diaspora to Babylon. With the Temple and its altar in ruins, the traditions of the elders, aka the rabbis slowly began to give in to precedence over the written Torah.

There's nothing new under the sun. Have you ever wondered why several church denominations put Bibles in the back of pews? It is because some people won't get their own to study or they if they own one, they won't bring it to church. It seems the masses would rather listen to a voice from a pulpit rather than the Word of God. I think Paul has some advice on this, he wrote: "Study to show thyself approved to God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness." (2Titus 2:15-16)

Many of the traditions of the elders were front and center in the vortex of Yeshua's first century confrontations with the Pharisees and the Sadducees as He fiercely focused on the heart of Torah as the witness of truth just as Moses had written:

"Take this Book of the Torah, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of The LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you." Deuteronomy 31:26

Yeshua taught that the precepts of Torah prevail as the true witness, yet the Pharisees and Sadducees as well as their sages and elder's take on Torah as a debate of opinion. This is the same as our modern denominations that place division and insert their opinion of the Bible calling it and Old and New Testament.

Here's one example of religious opinion believe it or not existed in Yeshua's day. The Pharisees allowed people to eat radishes on the weekly Sabbath day of rest, but by the tradition of the elders before them people were warned against dipping them into salt because you might leave them in the salt too long and pickle them.

The problem according to the elders is that pickling is a process of preserving or extending the lifespan of food and "pickling" was considered "work." The Pharisees also argued it was OK to spit on a rock on the Sabbath, but you could not spit on the ground, because that could make mud and after all... mud was mortar and making mortar was "work' according to their sayings.

The oral law in Jesus' day that most people are familiar with today is the one many have read about Jesus's healing people. It was an opinion and tradition that healing a sick person on the Sabbath was considered "work" according to the elder's opinions back in Jesus' day, but perhaps the most profane tradition of all is the modern saying from the church fathers that the Torah, the very words of God as faithfully recorded by Moses have been done away with and hung on the cross.

We all need salvation from the slavery of sin and Moses teaches that adding to or taking way from the Word of God is a crime. That's the storyline of the Torah in wilderness. Slavery comes only from men and the Passover exodus from Egypt shows us we need redemption and salvation if we are to be free.

We all need redemption from the prophet like Moses, the Messiah promised in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

We all need to listen to God's word on lovingkindness and mercy as well as the difficult matters related to homicide, court litigation and assault not toss them out. Grace does not annul God's word, it fulfills it. Deuteronomy 17:8 and Deuteronomy 17: 10-11 states this:

"If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between 1) one kind of homicide or another, between 2) one kind of lawsuit or another, and between 3) one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the LORD your God chooses...
"Then you shall do according to what they declare to you from that place that the LORD will choose. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they direct you. According to the instructions that they give you, and according to the decision which they pronounce to you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the verdict that they declare to you, either to the right hand or to the left."

Did you know that while writing on this Torah instruction about difficult court cases related to homicide, litigation or assault, Rashi (Shlomo Yitzchaki) the famous 12th century French rabbi intrepreted the Bible's instruction given for the Levites to apply to any rabbi's opinion in or out of a courtroom in his commentary on the Babylonian Talmud... "Even if he tells you regarding the right that it is left, or regarding the left that it is right, and certainly so if he tells you regarding the right that it is right, and regarding the left that it is left."

In other words, if you are told that your right hand is your left and even if you know that is not correct, it doesn’t matter... do what the rabbi says. That's not what Moses wrote about, because once you learn the difference, you must always choose to make the right choice based on God's opinion. Rashi was expanding on an elaborate system of rabbinic authority on an unwritten rule. Jesus called His disciples and all others to the truth that not one jot or tittle shall pass Matthew 5:17-19 and the true spirit of authority Matthew 5:21-48.

Again, the opinion that matters is God's. Listen only to men that declare His words, not their own.

There is not intent here to bash Rashi, in fact many Jewish rabbis disagreed with his interpretations, but they showed respect. The important thing to know is that Moses tells us there is "one" Torah for the native born and the sojourner, not many and the Torah applies to all (Numbers 15:16; Numbers 15:29).

As the old saying goes: "there is a big difference between someone who is in authority and someone who is an authority."

How can we know Paul's Galatian reference was focused on the religious customs of the elders that did not zero in on God's lovingkindness? Simple, he knew his left from his right and says so when he confronted the issue with Cephas on the matter...

When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? Galatians 2:14

Paul was never against the Jewish people, he was for them, after all he was Jewish and he never turned his back on his heritage. However he was very concerned about certain customs requiring traditions of proselyte conversion not found in the Scriptures.

Religious rites of conversion is not Scriptural. Paul knew discriminatory perspectives were not a part of God's covenant. In a bizarre adoption of this discrimination, church history has endowed many people with the inheritance of replacement theology and the false belief that the Torah was hung on the cross and done away with by grace.

These opinions of the so-called church "fathers" have caused many Christians to ignorantly err in opinion and identity like the party of circumcision of Paul's day.

Horrifically, Jewish people been subjected to forced Christian conversions in the middle ages, they have been expelled without a home or business and eventually millions of Jewish people have suffered from anti-Semitism. The lies of Replacement Theology still echo in many pulpits as many Christians continue to ignorantly err in opinion and identity, but those days are ending at least for a remnant that see the truth of Torah and the Jewish roots of Biblical faith.

Christians must see that replacement theology teaches that we are to do away with Torah and in a horrific way this grew in dark hearts until it culminated in the Holocaust. It has created a grave stumbling block for the Jewish people to see the true identity of Messiah Yeshua for who He really is... Jesus is a Jew.

Jesus kept Torah, ate kosher, honored the Feast Days and kept the Sabbaths. He never joined a church.

The Galatian letter proves Christians and Jews are to come together as one new man and seek God's desire for relationship with all nations.  Today, Jews and Gentiles are growing closer in our friendship and relationship whether we both know Jesus as the promised Messiah or not. Incredibly,  a healing process has begun in lovingkindness.

Abraham's servant said this:

Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.” 

The sad truth is the "church" has done many misguided and terrible things resulting in grave persecution and the death of Jewish families over the centuries and across the planet, but the good news is that many Christians now recognize the terrible sins of their fathers that were inherited in church history as well as religious beliefs that now require repentance.

Can you imagine what Paul would write to you if he attended your church today?

Would he say that every Sunday sermon must be tossed aside or that all Jewish Halakha is worthless?

No, he would not. Halakha is not a set of rules to be tossed wholly aside nor is every Sunday sermon. After all, a great teaching of Halakha is to love one's neighbor. This great Jewish perspective on life and society weighs great importance on the proper treatment of others described in the Torah and that is the same message of Yeshua woven from the Scriptures.

There is one tradition of Jewish Halakha that Yeshua not only upheld, but explained its meaning in prime time to His disciples. The description of the last supper is the witness. Read Exodus 12, Leviticus 23, Numbers 9 and Deuteronomy 16. These give instruction for the Passover, yet there is no mention of breaking bread or of sharing wine, prayer and song, yet this traditional Jewish seder order for the Passover celebration takes front and center stage in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 whether you have see it or not.

Like all opinion, words are subject to interpretationSo you see, like a Sunday sermon or modern Bible commentaries that have some flaws, Halakha is not to be wholly tossed aside nor are the two Talmuds of Babylon and Jerusalem containing the interpretations and conclusions that the exiled Jewish sages derived from the Torah. 

The big crack in the righteous road is the theory of misguided rabbinic authority and the laws of the elders instituted from opinions that uphold interpretations and conclusions as authority rather than God's Word.

To better understand the value of Talmud lets take a quick look at two critical Talmudic sayings about Mashiach and what the Jewish sages knew about the promise of Messianic redemption:

Zechariah 12 says that The Lord God will pour out the spirit of grace and supplication, and that He was to be pierced, but who is the He? In the Babylonian Talmud Succa 52a, the rabbi Yalkut Shimoni says: "This is Mashiach ben Yoseph, who is to be slain."

Yalkut Shimoni is 100% correct, like the disciples of Jesus, Shimoni just did not understand that Yeshua HaMashiach would be resurrected.

Today, Isaiah 53 is a key point of argument between Christian and Jew, yet the Talmud's commentary on Isaiah 53 found in Sanhedrin 98b correctly says this"The Messiah what is his name? Those of the house of Rabbi Yuda the saint say, the sick one, as it is said, 'Surely he had borne our sicknesses." 

The rabbinic sages that contributed over many years to the Talmud did not write Scripture, it is commentary. The same goes for Christian commentators like Matthew Henry, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, C. H. Spurgeon, Dr. J. Vernon McGee and many others.

The teaching that stands in authority above all opinion is the holy, divine instruction found in the Bible but not althe words of the LORD that Moses and the Prophets wrote down can be explained.

God's word is about how to live in the Kingdom of God.

Instruction number one is easy to explain, it is to put Almighty God first, not the sages or the commentators. Doing that requires personal relationship not someone's opinion.

Biblical instruction also teaches us how to live and love each other. That too takes personal relationship.

Another purpose of God's word is to paint the big picture which reveals sin, the need for redemption, atonement and Messiah. See Genesis 3:15, Deuteronomy 30:3-5, Numbers 24:17-18, Zechariah 9:10, Obadiah 1:21 and John 5:39-47 for a few examples.

Yeshua is the master Torah teacher that walked and talked in authority with His Jewish disciples. During their yeshiva time, they saw Him observe the mitzvot prescribed by the written law while anchoring all of His Jewish Halakha by explaining God’s highest mountaintop ways and purpose in the new covenant of writing God's law on our hearts.

Jesus is the one that explained the new covenant heart when He taught the Halakha of the new covenant and as you can see it DOES NOT ALIGN with a coomon pulpit teaching that the Torah was made light and done away with on the cross:

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering." Matthew 5:21-24 NASB
"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28 NASB 
 “It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." Matthew 5:31-32 NASB
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:44-48 NASB

A story from Mark shows us that Jesus, plainly agreed with the rabbis explaining the Torah's greatest teaching (the Shema) is the first instruction etched in stone by the hand of God to love God first and at the same time we are love one's neighbor as oneself giving brotherly love greater weight than "all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33

Jesus demonstrated what this means in Luke 10:30-37 parable of the good Samaritan. This amazing parable story reveals His teaching on Leviticus 19:17-18 and it is just one more example that Yeshua came first to compel people to walk in the narrow path of the Torah written on the heart to rectify the wide road of sin that people choose in their prejudice and allow God Almighty to forgive their iniquity, and their sin.

Messiah Yeshua will return to teach His purpose again and He will fight the wars of God against evil and death and fulfill the promise Trumpets, the ten days of repentance leading up to the judgment of Yom Kippur and the celebration of the Feast of Ingathering called Tabernacles.

He will restore Jerusalem and the House of Prayer for all nations and gather all the dispersed of Israel and Judah as well as the sojourners that will go with them to the mountain of God. Yeshua will fix this corrupt world and govern it in righteousness with the Torah as its constitution requiring all nations to serve the God of Israel together and all will know Yeshua HaMashiach as the Melek Mĕlakîm (King of Kings).

As you've seen within Paul's letters, he teaches the same Halakha of Torah taught by Yeshua. For more examples from Paul read: 1Corinthians 7:10-11; 1Corinthians 9:14 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 14:34 and 1 Thessalonians11:23-25. Paul's letters are only difficult when we do not understand they address the same opinions Yeshua opposed as taught by certain men which fulfill the prophecy found in Isaiah 29:13:

“The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”

In proper Biblical context, it is clear Paul was concerned that rules taught by men from religious opinion are out of order because they propose a stumbling block of religious pride above the written Torah and its good news of God's love for all mankind while tossing God's lovingkindness under observance of man-made sayings and tradition.

Paul knew firsthand how pride could lead to persecution if God's heart of mercy and grace is missing from the hearts of men. Paul's focus was for all Believers, whether Jew or non-Jew to faithfully fulfill the Lord’s will to establish His kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven according to the priority of Scripture. Paul profoundly understood his former stony heart:

"For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus." Galatians 1:11-17 

Paul is not the only Jewish rabbi to write of this stony heart issue.

In 1955, another famous Jew, rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel elegantly provids the same warning in his book God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism:

"Indeed, the essence of observance has, at times, become encrusted with so many customs and conventions that the jewel was lost in the setting. Outward compliance with externalities of the law took the place of the engagement of the whole person to the living God."

In his letters, Paul is preaching the same sermon as Rabbi Heschel and calling for love and respect as the place for engagement for all people especially in the Jewish witness of Messiah Yeshua to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Paul had experienced his own encrusted religious customs that divided people in religion and persecuted others instead of fulfilling the goal of Torah.

After meeting with Messiah Yeshua on the road to Damascus, Paul came to realize both Jew and Gentile were created in the image of God and that Yeshua gave His life as a ransom for the salvation of all people and all nations with no precondition based on tradition not inscribed in God's heart of mercy and lovingkindness shown to Moses atop Mount Sinai.

If you require more context on the cultural and historic issues at hand, perhaps there's something you may have never considered if you have read the letters of Paul. Rome's food markets as well as those in Galatia, Corinth, Thessalonica, Colossia, Philippi and Ephesus were all run by Gentiles embedded in a pagan lifestyle that sacrificed sheep and cattle to their many mythic false-gods that they worshipped before they sold them in street markets. This public market system created an easy conflict with the Biblically kosher lifestyle of the Jewish people.

You may not know it, but many other remnants of this false-god worship remain in plain sight today as we even insist on retaining the names of our planets and their moons from their worthless Greco-Roman idols:
  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Mars 
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • Pluto
Even the Moon has a lunar problem today, it is taken from another fake deity Luna, the Roman goddess of the Moon. Only the Heavens and the Earth remain unpolluted with dirc links to the Greco-Roman idols. The earth derives its name from the first verse in Scripture, it is the Hebrew word, erets אֶרֶץ and Heaven's name comes from shamayim שָׁמַיִם.

The heavens above with our solar system's amazing planets are not the only remnant of Paul's heathen Greco-Roman world. Most of the 12 months of the year come remain from idol worship and so-called Greek gods. January is named for Janus, March is named after the god Mars, April for Aphrodite, June for Juno and the list goes on.

In Rome's not so ancient pagan culture, the Caesars were considered to have god-like status, this is known as the 'imperial cult' and it continues embedded in our calendar's today. For example, July is named for Julius Caesar and August for Augustus Caesar. Week days are now named after Norse idol-gods and even Saturday retains the name of Rome's false-god Saturn, aka Saturn's day and of course there's the big one, Sun-day, named in honor of Sol Evictus, the sun god of the Roman Empire that was declared a cult of the Romans on December 25, 274 AD by the Roman emperor Aurelian.

First the Babylonians, then the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans cults all had a counterfeit system of religion to worship the Sun opposing Moses admonition in Deuteronomy 4:19. This all began in Babylon with Bel or Ba'al in Canaan and even Semiramis and Nimrod after their deaths were worshipped as Ashterath and Tammuz. That's why you find these names of abomination in Scripture.

Alexander Hislop in his book The Two Babylons writes: “... the Tower of Babel was actually the worship of Satan in the form of fire, the sun and the serpent. However, Satan worship could not be done openly because of the many who still believed in the true God of Noah. So a mystery religion began at Babel where Satan could be worshipped in secret.”

That is why Revelation 17:4-4 describes the religions of Babylon as the mother of harlots and of abominations as deities and sun-worship can be found throughout Earth's recorded history. It was in Babylon that Satan laid the foundation for every false religious system.

In Paul's day, the Greek Sun-god was called Helios. Later, as we have seen, the Roman religious cults worshipped Sol Invictus as the name of the sun-go morphed. The sun-gods have had different names but they were the same as different people groups worshipped the Sun and used the planets as a foundation for polluting God's purpose while disguising His plan for redemption shown in the Feasts of The Lord.

Even the Jewish calendar contains names from Babylon and the evidence is found in the Jerusalem Talmud. Many Jews returned to Judaea and Jerusalem when the 70-year Babylonian exile came to an end, but far more chose to not return and opinions and perspectives multiplied like fenced-cities of rabbinic oral law began to take precedence in traditions that made their way into Paul's letter to the Galatians.

It is disturbing that a remnant of false-idols still describe time on our planet, but they do not govern it. What a crazy scenario if you just stop and think about it for a minute. God's perfect creation timepiece, the solar system has been branded with idols disguising the creation calendar that Almighty God designed to point us toward The Feasts of The Lord on His appointment schedule outlining God's plan for man's redemption and restoration.

Greco-Roman timekeeping from Babylon has caused many to not only lose track of time, and it has also led to an identity crisis for Jews and non-Jews thinking God's Feasts are only for the Jewish people despite Moses' promise made to the descendants of Israel and the foreigners and starngers with them: "in the latter days you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice. For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them."

Most of the world celebrates the new year on January 1st. Did you know that January is named for Janus, the Roman myth-god of beginnings, gates, transition, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings, but even this is a remnant tradition from Babylon. According to our Creator, the Biblical new year begins on the first day of the first month God declared in Exodus 12:2. And that ‘first month’ is the month of Passover and Unleavened Bread in the Spring, and since that time, the new moon has marked the beginning of each month.

Sound confusing?

You may think that Greco-Roman false-gods and goddesses birthed out the pagan minds deceived by ignorance, astrology and the divination of Babylon do not mean much anymore and that their lucky charms, their idols of wood and stone are long gone, but think again... Ancient polytheistic cult idols based on debauchery, licentious sex, moral chaos and philosophy have not vanished, they have simply morphed and shape-shifted into other plastic and foam depending on location, language and culture.

Yet, the unchanging calendar of the Bible still governs our modern contemporary world whether we know it or not. God's calendar and His appointment have everything to do with your future and God's time keeping for redemption, the ge'ullah of Messiah.

It's time to reset your clock and your heart.

Just when you thought idols were a thing of the past we have to realize, without knowing it; people worship other idols like money. I know, I once did and its pretty bizarre when you think about it, but God warns that idols are not real, and neither is money these days. Money is no longer denominated by gold, silver or copper, its only modern reality is that it is not real. Money is now just a few electronic digits, a row of electron idols called a credit or debit on a bank account and an investment is simply an electronic accumulation of ticker symbols on the stock market of a computer that can be cut off.

"They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off." Hosea 8:4

The modern idol list has morphed into many other forms. Just like the ancient Greek culture sports teams, heroes and sports idols dominate our modern week-end psyche. You may have never thought about it, but what's up with all the sports mascots?

Not to bore you, but Merriam Webster defines a mascot as: "a person, animal, or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure especially to bring them good luck." Synonyms include amulet, charm and related words are toadstone; emblem, symbol, token and totem. The Random House Dictionary says the origin of "mascot" is French: "mascotte meaning talisman, charm, derivative of masco sorceress."

Man oh man, that sounds strange doesn't it?

Now, it's time to leave the charms of modern Rome and our Greek sport's arenas and get back to the letter of Paul written to the Galatians and us.

The letter writer had a goal.

He wanted to help people prioritize the weight of God's character founded in His lovingkindness. If you look at the Ten Commandments, you will notice the first four point to our first priority which is to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul.  The second stone tablet is not disconnected, it is outlined in the commands which in summary say love your neighbor as yourself.

These two principles of covenant are the jewels foundation stones of all of God's Torah.

If we look closely at Paul's letters in proper context, we can see that Paul is addressing this issue of relationship priority declared in the Ten Words, aka the Ten Commandments. Paul shows us that passing judgment by not loving opposes the greatest commands of the Torah to love God first and to love others. Judgment has divided both Jew and Gentile for centuries, whether then or now and God will be the judge on this.

As a Pharisee, Paul understood this more than most, he knew his temporary blindness was caused by his prejudice and pride. When his eyes were opened he learned judging others distances oneself from the very heart of the Father and the promise of Messiah. He returned to study God's word at Mount Sinai in Arabia and relearned the priority in everyday relationship is to love God and our neighbor and not bear a grudge. He knew forgiveness too because his own religious views had once led to grudges, vengeance, imprisonment and eventually death for people like the Jewish disciple Stephen, yet Paul was forgiven. He knew this because he was given an assignment to spread God's promise to the Gentiles.

How did Paul, the lifelong oral tradition student learn to know the heart of Abba Father for the sojourner and stranger? Just re-read the Torah words of Leviticus 19:15-18, Deuteronomy 9:6 and Deuteronomy 10:19 with its focus on loving your neighbor, they are the same words Paul wrote of:

'You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. 'You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD. 'You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.  'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:15-18 NASB 
“Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people." 
"Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. "

Paul knew his own past stubborn sin against people and because of that he was also concerned for the weak in faith, those "new" to true faith that were still heavily influenced by Roman and Greek lifestyle and a pagan idol-infested mindset:
"Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." Romans 14:1
In his letter to the Romans, Paul also notes certain Jewish believers that had returned to Rome after Claudius' expulsion of Jews from the city refused to eat meat for fear that it was defiled by idol worship as many became vegetarian because it eliminated the possibility of association with idol sacrifice.  Yet, the situation at hand was far beyond food and historic custom that disallowed meat to be consumed that was butchered and sold by Gentiles because they were considered idolaters.

Imagine yourself as an observant Jew, return to Rome and trying to keep the traditions of your fathers in ancient Rome and you might understand Paul's concern was that religious division could hinder relationships and sharing the message of the good news of the Kingdom of God with the Gentiles that needed to hear about God's love and His teaching and instruction.

Imagine yourself too as a former pagan saved by grace, yet now arrogant and against the Torah, the oracles of God recorded by the faithful Jewish people.

Paul was concerned that Yeshua-believers could stumble just as I have done, but now realize the Torah, including its the set apart Sabbath Days and Feasts are gifts from Elohim God, days we get to celebrate and participate in as best we can because we love Almighty God.


This is the historic culture context of the letters
that is misunderstood.



As we have seen, another perspective on Paul can be understood if we dig deeper into the conflict of the two leading religious sects in his day, the division between the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

Did you know that those that were called Sadducees rejected the oral Torah that had developed over generations which the Pharisees claimed was passed down by oral law from the days of Moses? The Sadducees placed their emphasis on this Psalm:

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man. Psalm 118:8

The Sadducees insisted on a strict, literal interpretation of the written Torah just as Karaite Judaism does today rejecting extra Biblical traditions in the lifestyle of Orthodox Judaism with a priority on oral traditions of the rabbinic sages that are held by some as equal to or even above the Torah of God.

The Sadducees sought to follow the written Torah, yet incredibly they stubbornly rejected the hope of resurrection to eternal life that is shown in throughout the Torah, Prophets and Writings.

Biblical truth points to resurrection as shown when the prophet Elijah prayed and God raised a young boy from death in 1Kings 17:17-24), It is also seen in the story when Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman in 2Kings 4:32-37 and the story of a dead man's body that was thrown into Elisha's tomb that was resurrected when his body touched Elisha's bones as described in 2 Kings 13:21.

Resurrection was the great divide of Sadducee and Pharisee, but there is much more to the story.

Many traditions advocated by the Pharisees were in opposition to the Sadducees who opposed observances not found in the Torah and both conflicts are described among these sects throughout the Newer Testament. You can read about this in Matthew 16:6, Matthew 16:12, Matthew 22:23 and Act 23:7-8 for yourself. Not only did the Sadducees not see eye to eye with the Pharisees, others disagreed over polarized interpretations and deeply divided opinions between the Jewish sages of the day, Hillel and Shammai. Josephus touches on this:

"Our rabbis taught: 

It happened that a certain foreigner came to Shammai and said to him: "How many Torahs are there for you?"

He told him: "Two! A written Torah and an oral Torah." 

He said to him: "I will trust you on the written but I will not trust you on the oral. I will be a proselyte providing you teach me (only) the written Torah." 
Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 31a

After the Temple was destroyed the first time, Pharisaic opinion continued down the path of rabbinic Judaism rooted in oral tradition. After the Temple was destroyed the second time, the opinions of the early church fathers further eroded the way of the faith and turned Christianity against the Jewish people.

When tradition and opinion are added to the Bible's core teaching on God's character of mercy and lovingkindness, we can see that Paul was deeply concerned that man-made religion can lead to impairing our love for each other, so Paul wrote that those "opinions" should be examined. That is the context of Paul's letter to those in the synagogue of Rome, i.e., if you do not observe God's law based on Biblical truth focused on the "mercy" seat described in Exodus 25, then you remain a slave to the traditions of men that have no merit in the gift of salvation.

Paul brings division from religious opinion to focus when he describes the divide of Sadducee and Pharisee over resurrection in Acts 23:6-8:
"But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men [and] brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both."
Chew on this for a moment... Have you ever considered that when writing of "days" in his letter to those in Rome, Paul was not speaking of the weekly Sabbath or the Feast Days of The Lord first revealed to the world in the Torah scroll of Exodus?

That will fly in the face of whatever replacement theology you may have been taught, but you should know this: The Lord's "holy" set apart days are always described in the Hebrew Scriptures with a connection to their names given by Almighty God. The same is true of the Newer Testament writings but they are not new really just commentary on the originals. Names such as Feast or Passover, Unleavened Bread and all of God's appointed Sabbath days when used are never referenced simply as "days."

The reason, God's appointed days are holy set-apart days. In reverence, Paul's letters and the book of Acts also reference The Lord's set-apart appointments by the names Elohim gave them. For example:

And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures Acts 17:2 
And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. Acts 20:6
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days] Colossians 2:16

Not only that, but if we just look at the context of hedonistic history and the pagan culture of the Greco-Roman Empire, we must realize that there was a long standing debate between the Biblical calendar and Roman time keeping. So, without question, days were debated, so much so, the Roman idol driven calendar changed several times in the window of time between the foundation of Rome and the fall of the Roman Empire.

Compounding this issue on time keeping, we must remember each day of the Roman week was dedicated to their false-gods of the seven visible planets in our solar system. This and other aspects of the Roman calendar are hidden in plain sight today. That is the "day" issue Paul wrote about as Rome's calendar and mandatory seven-day work-week conflicted with the Scriptural command to keep the Sabbath and all of the Feast Day Sabbaths of The Lord.

If you are not familiar with Rome's debate over 'days' think again and consider history and the debates about time, and ask why on Earth did our planet convert to the Julian calendar?

In Rome, not only was there an ongoing debate on what day or year it was, in Rome's culture each "day" had a character of its own, which is shown in the writings of the Roman "fasti." The "fasti" or the "Six Books of the Calendar" was a Latin poem published by Ovid in 8 AD that explained the origins of the pagan Roman holidays and associated the customs for each day supposedly put forth by their false idol-gods. The most important of these superstitions were the days denoted as "dies fasti" marking "days" when legal matters had to be heard in court and "dies nefasti" when they could not be heard. Not only that, there were "dies comitiales" when public assemblies known as "comitia" were only permitted.

Can you imagine trying to honor God's word and assemble for a Biblical Feast Day like Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost) or Sukkot (Tabernacles) on a day in Rome that was not marked on their "fasti" calendar to allow a day of rest and a Biblically ordained assembly?

Consider this too, Paul may have been referencing differing Jewish opinions on the timing of the day by day counting up to the festival of Pentecost aka Shavuot. That is a debate which existed between the Pharisees and the Sadducees over the meaning of the Sabbath day noted in Leviticus 23:15-16.

Believe it or not, this debate remains today as well as the counting of the Jubilee year.

The questions are: for Pentecost do we count 49 days after the usual weekly 7th day Sabbath of rest or does the instruction to count up to the 50th day of Shavuot begin after the Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread to the count?

The Sadducees based their view on the "weekly" Sabbath and counted after that first Sabbath following Passover.  On today's Greco Roman calendar the Sadducees counting began on Sunday, the 1st day of each week. However, the Pharisees based their view on a rabbinic tradition that counted only after the first day of Unleavened Bread each year no matter what day of the week it was.

Read Leviticus 23:9-14 for yourself,  how are we to count the days?

There is a similar ancient debate as to the Jubilee Year counting from the day of Yom Kippur. The Jubilee is the 50th year, but is it included as the first year in the counting up to the next Jubilee or does it stand alone as year 50?

Read Leviticus 25:8-12, how are we to count the years?

The Biblical clue may simply be in the beginning within the creation account. In Genesis, the focus of time is critical to life and it is shown in the plain counting from day one to day seven. Each good day stands alone on its own and the creative result of each day is complete, ready to roll.

After the six complete days of God's miracle of creative work, the Bible tells us: "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."

God blessed the 7th day is the day of rest, the Sabbath, it is not mixed with the 1st day, a work day. The weekly Sabbath is critical to the planet and life on it, perhaps it too is important to understand the counting of God's set-apart holy days in His plan of redemption to re-connect the physical world to the realm of Heaven.

Let's get back to the Galatian question about circumcision as a requirement for conversion... some preached a tradition that unless Gentiles were circumcised, they cannot become "a people for God's name" (see Acts 15:13-18) for more on this. Paul's reference here has to be Amos 9:11-2 which the prophet borrowed from the prophet Nathan's words that are recorded in 2 Samuel 7:8-17. These three serve as the same witness.

In the Jerusalem counsel meeting, Yacob aka James paraphrased the message from Amos and he quoted Amos 9:11 which is a verse from the prophet about the restoration of Israel as Amos referenced Nathan's words in 2 Samuel 7:8-17, Jeremiah 3:17-23, Isaiah 25:3 and Psalm 106:47.


At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all Gentiles shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD... 
Therefore a strong people will glorify You; Cities of ruthless Gentiles will revere You. 
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks to your holy name, and to triumph in your praise.

James' message in Jerusalem reverberated the words of its annointed king, David:

Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the Gentiles, His wonders among all peoples. 1 Chronicles 16:1:23-24

With a Hebrew spin on the word salvation, those words proclaim the good news of His salvation, say: proclaim the gospel of Yeshua.

The religious conversion requirement by circumcision dissension and debate was a traditional custom raised by the Pharisees in Acts 15... "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."

With the help of the proper context of the issue at hand, we can better understand the reason the Pharisee Paul agreed to go to Jerusalem with Barnabas in the first place to meet with the disciples regardein the issue of whether circumcision was required for a Gentile non-Jew to become a proselyte child of God. Together, they discussed the Scriptures but...



Notice, they had no need to mention not to 
blaspheme God's name, make idols or worship them, or 
to honor the Sabbath, not to steal or lie, honor parents, 
or wrongfully covet another's wife or property.



The reason is a Bible basic, but something has been lost in translation in a sermon or two because a careful reading of Acts 15 reveals that they did not say that a person coming into the faith without circumcision should not be circumcised.

If they did, Paul was totally confused about their conclusion when he penned Romans 3:1-12 "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect."

Did Paul then break "the rules" in the very next chapter by circumcising Timothy and preaching the decrees of Torah are to kept as plainly written in Acts 16.

The thing to remember is that Timotheus (aka Timothy) was the son of a Jewess mother, but his father was a Greek, a Gentile. His upbringing in his father's house was the reason Timothy had not been circumcised until he met Paul and learned the ways of Torah are good and to be kept, not for salvation from death's sin penalty, but out of respect and love for God's teaching and instruction which is The Lord's Kingdom constitution.

Timothy was likely a young man that had left his childhood home when:

"And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem." Acts 16:4

Funny thing, the decrees to keep this time included circumcision.

With a perspective on the culture, Scripture and the covenant of the Ten Commandments, Acts 15 provides a foundational priority that the counsel of apostles and elders agreed as the basics that Gentiles coming into faith from paganism should stop doing immediately because they reeked of the smell of pagan idol temple lifestyle.

After all, the new believing Gentiles were coming out of Greco-Roman infused blood drinking, X-rated idol worship:

"...abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well." Acts 15:29

These four simple guideposts against irreverent pagan worship were never intended to be the sum of all the ways of God's Torah to be learned over time because the apostles knew that God's ways would be learned each Sabbath in the weekly synagogue teachings as the Scriptures would be read and taught to those that had never heard them before.

How do we know? They said so:

"For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.” Acts 15:21


Think about it this way... could a beginner start golf 
by teeing it up in The Masters tournament, 
could a flag footballer be a quarterback in the Super Bowl, 
would a first year med student perform a heart transplant? 
No way!!



I enjoy golf, but it would be a very cruel joke to ask any rank beginner to start playing from the pro tees at TPC Sawgrass, much less learn to play in front of tens of thousands at Augusta. The beginner would immediately become discouraged in the very first round, on the first hole for that and likely quit the game before putting out on the 18th hole, so good advice starts with a few teaching basics. The important thing is to fall in love with the game first, learn the basics, then move on and advance in training over time. Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus all had to do this. Not only that, throughout their competitive careers, they all had teachers they could trust to help them and they all taught the basics, no wild theories.

In Paul's day as today, the way to learn Scripture and walk in its instruction is the same, it takes time. Since the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. the Scriptures were systematically taught in systematic cycles of public readings in the weekly Sabbath for systematic training in righteousness.

Paul and the counsel of disciples understood this, sos much so they took it for granted that other would follow the age old process of learning and incorporating God's word into daily life and and decision through faith equipped good deeds for others. That's why Paul wrote these words to Timothy long before the New Testament was ever compiled:

"You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yeshua. 
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:14-17

That is how the disciples all learned the Scriptures and this weekly Biblical training was the same way Yeshua taught as described in Luke 4:16. For the disciples, Scripture study was like eating bread for them, you did not swallow the loaf all at once, you ate it, chewing one bite at a time to sustain life and remain firm in faith, equipped for every good work.

A big reason for gathering to hear the Word of Elohim God is that everyday people did not own a family Bible, after all there were no printing presses for another 1,600 years.

So, the Jewish men that met in Jerusalem set some basic priorities for those that had not grown up hearing God's Word each week.

Paul and the disciples were simply relying on the weekly study of Scripture for those Gentiles formerly participating in hedonistic pagan worship that required them to: 1) sacrifice to idols and 2) eat raw meat or blood while participating in 3) illicit sexual immorality in heathen worship to their false-gods and goddesses born out of Babylon.

These faithful Jewish men all agreed to four basic priorities because just as Acts 15:21 says they knew the balance of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings would be read and taught to the Gentiles every Sabbath and they understood the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 included wicked ways:

"My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin..."

After all, the disciples had over time learned all Believers must act as the King acts, walk as the King walks, and talk as the King talks. The disciples knew Biblical principles would be taught in due course when the Scriptures are read, studied and experienced as God's instruction manual for life in God's Kingdom each Sabbath.

The disciples also knew that even the least of the commandments would not be set aside in the synagogue, after all it was a teaching of Yeshua to not set them aside:

"Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:19

Today, the weekly Sabbath reading of Scripture portions for a remnant of Christians has become a part of the restoration of the fallen tabernacle of David. The question we must ask then is: what on Earth happened? If this was the way the disciples of Yeshua 2,000 years ago learned the ways of righteousness, why does the mainstream "church" today not read and teach the Torah, The Prophets and the Writings and meet every Sabbath acting as the King acted, walking as the King walked, and talking as the King talked?

Stop and think about that for awhile, study Scripture and church history... and you will uncover the answer.

Paul's ministry to the nations (aka Gentiles) was about life in Messiah Yeshua's promise of redemption first, yet as a lifelong student of Scripture, he agreed that learning about the Kingdom lifestyle within the teaching of Torah takes time.

If the four guidelines of Acts 15 were the only rules for righteous living for the "church" why do we still esteem the Ten Commandments, why don't we condone murder, lying, adultery and idolatry, after all we are saved by grace? Simply we know they are wrong, yet we curse God and ignore His Sabbaths.

Paul became an expert in the new covenant "Torah of the heart" and his letters reflect this. Not only that, he also knew the teachings of the strictest sect of the Pharisees. That's not my opinion, he said so himself:

"Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!" Acts 23:6
"My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee." Acts 26:4-5

So, if we want to stop skimming the surface and dig in deep into the Jewish context and historic culture conflicting with the pagan setting in the days of Paul of Tarsus, you might see something, a hidden treasure in the book of Acts that can help us better understand Paul's message to the Galatians:

"... I have lived as a Pharisee."

The words say I have, not I used to. The Pharisees upheld the Torah and they upheld the Scriptural promise of resurrection and Messiah. Paul wasn't turning the Galatians against the Biblical instruction of circumcision found in the teaching he upheld with Timothy, nor any of God's words recorded by Moses that Yeshua of Nazareth expounded upon with authority including the Sermon on the Mount.

We can know Paul upheld the Torah in his faith in the Messiah of Israel because he professed it:

"Do we then overthrow the law (Torah) by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law (Torah)." Romans 3:31

Paul wrote against his own prior prejudice that was not upholding the Torah of God as a Believer in the resurrected Jewish Messiah. Before He met the light of Messiah and heard Him on the Damascus road, he led religious persecution against those Jews that were called "The Way."

His new found heart message was simple, don't exchange the gracious mercy gift of a life-changing relationship with The Father for religious works required by men in a vain attempt to try to earn merit with God. Redemption by the works of the religious laws that add or take away from God's word are not God's way.

Like Daniel was told, in the latter days, "knowledge will increase." About 70 years ago, a letter was found at Qumran in cave four, it is a part of the Dead Sea scroll collection and catalogued as 4QMMT from an abbreviation of its Hebrew name, Miqsat Ma`ase ha-Torah aka the "works of the law" recorded by the Essenes.

Image: Library of Congress


According the notes at the Library of Congress, the letter expresses some of the sect’s Halakhic views:

"Apparently it consisted of four sections: (1) the opening formula, now lost; (2) a calendar of 364 days; (3) a list of more than twenty rulings in religious law (Halakhot), most of which are peculiar to the sect; and (4) an epilogue that deals with the separation of the sect from the multitude of the people and attempts to persuade the addressee to adopt the sect's legal views."

Martin Abegg is the author of an article entitled "Paul, 'Works of the Law' and MMT." It appeared in the 1994 November-December edition of Biblical Archaeological Review noting:

"In short, ma-ase ha-torah is equivalent to what we know in English from Paul's letters as 'works of the law.' This Dead Sea scroll and Paul used the very same phrase. The connection is emphasized by the fact that this phrase appears nowhere in rabbinic literature of the first and second centuries A.D. -- only in Paul and in MMT."

"The works of the law that the Qumran text refers are obviously typified by the 20 or so religious precepts (Halakha) detailed in the body of the text. For the first time we can really understand what Paul is writing about. Here is a document detailing works of the law." (p. 53, BAR, 11-12/94 issue)

The discovery of the Dead Seas Scrolls is a latter day miracle and the MMT fragments clear up one aspect of the often clouded picture of Paul's letters that reveal he realized religious efforts to achieve righteousness will never earn anyone redemption as he referenced the works of the law like those recorded by the Essenes. Paul understood Exodus and that salvation form slavery occurred before the Torah was ever given to Moses.

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16 KJV

Salvation's door must be first marked by the blood of the Lamb of God, the work of Yeshua, not men.

Many pulpits have mistakenly portrayed Paul as a "former Jew" that turned his back on the Old Testament and started a new religion after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul did not start a new religion or ever read the New Testament. Hold on to your pew, but he never went to church on Sunday as many believe, and he did not turn against Torah, the faith of Messiah Yeshua or the Jewish people, but he was concerned with certain, but NOT ALL traditions or oral law. Some are very good and reveal the work of Messiah.

What Paul did was depart from his former religious prejudice which he had once given greater weight than the faith, mercy and grace found at the very heart of God's Torah revealed at the mountaintop. Paul simply realized discrimination and prejudice was the crack in a dividing wall of hostility.

Like Peter, he learned God holds no hostility, no division nor opinion of one person being holier than thou... for all have sinned. He learned salvation for everyone starts with faith just as Peter learned to not to continue to hold his prejudice against the Gentiles. Both men learned salvation is given by God's lovingkindness and grace for all people, whether Jew or Gentile and they learned God is faithful to bless "all nations" as He promised Abraham for their devotion and love returned to Him.

Paul, like Peter learned that a Gentile did not have to become a Jew to be a part of God's covenant.

As we have seen, Paul learned this truth after the bright light on the road to Damascus opened his eyes to God's plan for mankind. He learned it from Yeshua who had once said to the Pharisees that had: "...neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done."

Paul's concern was that the believers of Galatia were being leavened as he once was. Leavened if you will by a religious prejudice that Paul had been expert at. He like Peter, once propped up religious opinions that forbid the men of "circumcision" to associate with men of "un-circumcision."

Paul was trying to teach the spirit of Torah, the weightier provision of the royal law of faith that is about one growing in God's character of mercy and love, aka circumcision of the heart.

This heart lesson was the same one Peter learned from his vision on that rooftop in Joppa before he met with the Centurion from Caesarea. His name was Cornelius and he loved the Jewish people. Peter went to meet him with six other Jews and all seven including Peter were awestruck and amazed as the Holy Spirit poured out on the uncircumcised Roman Cornelius, his family and friends.

Paul wrote  the letter to the Galatians from his own past bondage to religious persecution that was not the written life-giving character of the mercy and grace of the Lawgiver. Something dramatic and heart changing happened to Paul on that road to Damascus. Paul had met the risen, resurrected Yeshua on the way to his own redemption from sin. Paul came to know the glory of God on Earth and the light of the world as he traveled to wreak havoc and drag off Jewish men and women, committing them to prison if they followed the way of Yeshua (see Acts 8-9).

But Paul's heart was changed, God's new covenant was now written on it and like Peter, he learned that religious works as a means to salvation by conversion would lead to persecution that is blind to God's goodness and unfailing love for all people through The Father's covenant with Abraham and His character revealed atop Mount Sinai to Moses.

Simply put, both men learned one's heritage does not merit righteousness or God's salvation by who we are or what we do, all have sinned. Through his blindness and heart's healing, Paul saw the truth declared in the scroll of Exodus at the top of Mount Sinai:
"And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.' And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy." Exodus 33:19
Paul's heart was circumcised after he came to know El Shaddai's word in the flesh shown to the prophet Zechariah:
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn." Zechariah 12:10
In the record of Acts, Paul provides his own expert witness of this to king Agrippa, before Festus, the military tribunes and the prominent men of Jerusalem, admitting his past sin which ignored mercy and grace as he appealed to mercy from Caesar.

We can understand this if we read and hear Acts 26:9 where Paul proclaimed to the angry, cynical crowd:
“I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Yeshua of Nazareth."
Did you see that?

Paul was once convinced that he should oppose "salvation" the name of Yeshua by persecuting others. But Jesus of Nazareth showed Paul he was wrong in opposing the mercy of God's love by kicking against the pricks.

Paul realized the humble Yeshua, the "pierced one" came to tear down the "middle wall of separation" that existed between Jew and Gentile. He did not add new bricks, God's glory is unity (echad) in the royal law to love God and each other, both Jew and Gentile. Yet, this "middle wall of separation" is still polluting minds today.

The separation refers to the Torah inscribed by Moses and the living Torah Yeshua Messiah. Both are symbolized by the wall in the Temple court that separated the court of the Goyim (Gentiles) from the court of Yehudah (the Jews).

After Paul heard Yeshua's voice, he realized...

Messiah's purpose, formerly a mystery, is to bring Heaven to earth by reconciling people. That includes the Gentiles (Goyim) restoration with the Jewish (Yehuda) people as one (echad), one new man in one ancient faith focused on friendship and love of Messiah as King. His Torah path of righteous living, the constitution of His Kingdom is for the household of all Elohim's children no matter who they are.

Paul taught the Ephesians this storyline of The Kingdom mystery of Messiah that is inclusive for all nations to be like Abraham and "cross over" in obedience to love The Father and each other on Earth as it is in Heaven. That is the blessing.

Paul realized that Jacob did this when his relationship with his brother Esau was reconciled (see Genesis 33).

Everyone, whether Jew or non-Jew should seek restoration though the mediation of the anointed Messiah King and be spiritually revived, then follow the instruction and teaching of Scripture as a witness for Messiah and love for our Creator God of Hosts. Paul revealed this message to the Ephesians:
“When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Messiah, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles (nations) are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the gospel.” Ephesians 3:4-6
Paul never taught lawlessness against the God's teaching in the instruction of Torah, he never spoke against the faithful Jewish people who sought wisdom in the oracles of God, nor did he ever teach against the 1,000 or so commandments anyone can find in the Newer Testament writings that expound on the message of Torah to reveal the heart of God's lovingkindness and expectation for His children to walk together in a servant's heart of righteous love.

The disciple John like Paul, taught from Isaiah in total agreement on this:
"Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness [Torah-lessness]." 1John 3:4
In fact, in his defense before Agrippa, Paul proclaimed in his confession we are all to perform good deeds, i.e. mitzvot of Torah in keeping with our repentance from wrong doing:
“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance." Acts 26:19-20
Paul's Galatian letter combats his former longstanding, un-biblical notion of ignoring God's mercy and grace that had infiltrated the community, a teaching not found in Torah that to be considered a child of God, you had to become a proselyte of traditional first century Judaism, i.e. you must first become circumcised to be considered righteous and part of the family. He opposed this religious "work" as a prerequisite for any Gentile (un-circumcision) to be eligible to become a bona fide member of the "family" of the God of Israel.

Paul came to know the heart of Torah, that no person, Jew or Gentile is ever worthy of salvation's righteousness by one's own deeds. He realized and taught that righteousness before God, is a gift given through repentant faith and belief in the life blood, freewill death and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua sent by God for the redemption and restoration of mankind to God.

Salvation and atonement of sin is based on Messiah Yeshua's worthiness not ours, but Paul also knew there is richness in a worthy walk in God's instruction for life in His Kingdom.

Paul realized traditional rules of religion had over time, forgotten that Abraham was God's friend years before he was ever circumcised.

He understood the place of Scripture as the guide for life had been usurped by religious traditions and popular opinions that led many to deny the authority of Scripture placing it behind Rabbinic opinion.

In fact, in response to these issues, the apostle Paul told Timothy, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). In line with this, Paul understood that only the original manuscripts of the Bible are the inspired words of God standing as the final judge of truth in all areas of life, not men's religious opinion.

According to Paul, his former prejudice led to religious fury against faithful Jews that followed Yeshua as their Rabbi and Messiah emanated from religious discrimination that he had once held in his own heart as a raging fury that led to imprisonment and even death like Stephen's (see Acts 8).

Paul taught that religious tradition added to the Torah as it expelled love and relationship contrary to the teaching of Moses against God's own heart described by The Creator in Exodus 34:5-6.

Look at Paul's own public confession of his sin in Acts 26:10-11...
"And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities."
Now you know: Why the Letter to the Galatians?

In summary, Paul's issue was that religious tradition not found in God's Word can miss the heart and goal of Torah to show the world God's mercy and lovingkindness. A tradition that said Gentiles had to first be circumcised in a conversion process to be considered worthy and acceptable, otherwise they were defiled before God and not worthy of His friendship. That was the issue. Lovingkindness was missing because in those days tradition did not allow a Jew to even walk, talk or befriend a Gentile, and just ask Peter, a Jew who at one time thought the he could certainly never eat with a Gentile, after all their food could be defiled in idol worship dedication.

Paul's focus in the letter zeroes in on a repentant walk of faith that must come first, just as Abraham's faith was based on relationship not tradition or deed. As we have seen, Paul professed this in the court of Agrippa describing the deeds in a proper Torah walk: "and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, [then] performing deeds in keeping with their repentance."

To get an even better grip on the heart of the Galatian letter, consider the mixture of differing 'church' traditions embedded in the thousands of denominational doctrines prevalent within a wide spectrum of Christian opinion infused with shades of varying attitudes that separate rather than provide unity in the 'body' of Messiah.

As we have seen, a modern version of the conflict in Galatia still exists today in plain sight as the root of faith in God is buried in a myriad of opposing denominational differences never found in Scripture.

Not to pick a bone with anyone in particular but only as an example, consider a doctrine of a denomination teaching that a person must be first baptized in water in order to be saved. This has resulted in heated debates much like the issue of circumcision Paul wrote about to the Galatians. Not only that, like the issue of circumcision, this salvation requirement on baptism poses a manmade dilemma for one that believes on Yeshua as the Messiah but receives no baptism.

The thing is Jesus was Jesus before He was ever baptized at the Jordan River. Think about that for a minute or two.

Baptism or "mikvah" properly follows salvation, but like circumcision it is not a pre-condition for salvation.

Baptism is commanded by Yeshua as an outward sign of a servant of God's authority in heaven over sin on earth. When Messiah was mikvah-ed, aka baptized by John in the living water of the river, He said: "for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."

Water immersion represents fulfilling righteousness, the process of new life from death. It fittingly symbolizes the power of God to cover (atone) the death penalty of sin and it points to the promise of resurrection to restored life and righteousness (see Matthew 3:16, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33 and Acts 2:38).

If you are a Christian, you've probably heard or follow other denominational doctrines that are declared for church "membership" that are not that far from rabbinic views on circumcision and mikvah. So, think long and hard about this: if all the denominations of today existed in Paul's day, we would find the New Testament too heavy to carry all the letters of admonition from the Jew of Tarsus.

The weight of those letters would likely put a crack the foundation of the Library of Congress. After all, thousands of denominations add to and take away from God's words as if their decrees carried more weight that God's words.

Just as it was in Paul's day, it's time to re-examine religious tradition and line up our denominational dogmas and doctrines against the straight plumb-line of Scripture.

Its also time to let go of anything in your life, whether sin, custom or tradition that does not align in "the way" of life Torah teaching of the anointed one, Yeshua of Nazareth.

If we will just step back for a moment, we might see that denominational doctrines separate us just like the Pharisee and Sadducee of Paul's day.

According to a 2011 report from the Pew Research Center, Christians are diverse theologically... "About half are Catholic. Protestants, broadly defined, make up 37%. Orthodox Christians comprise 12% of Christians worldwide."

Perhaps the best example to consider diverse theology is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher located just a few hundred feet from the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem.

The church building there is believed by many to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection despite the fact that other locations for the crucifixion include Golgotha as well as locations for the burial and resurrection around the city include the Garden Tomb and Talpiot tomb sites carved from the limestone bedrock in the area.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher location was established by Constantine's mother Helena in the 4th century. Believe it or not, access to this old church building in Jerusalem is governed today by a Muslim family that literally holds the keys to the church door while six denominations with widely varying doctrines maintain separate traditional services there.

These denominations include Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic, as well as Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Tewahedo. Just imagine what these six can teach us about Paul's Galatian letter. Which of these divided denominational groups would Paul choose to "join" if he were living in Jerusalem today? I know that's a difficult question but the answer should be obvious. None of them!

If we look at differences in denominational dogmas that separate rather than bring people together as "one" in Messiah, the living Torah in the flesh, we might begin to understand the dilemma of "hostility" and the "stumbling stones" of opinion that existed in Paul's day. These stones of hostility have not disappeared over time, they have multiplied. 

You do not have to travel back in time or go to Jerusalem to ask the question, why the letter to the Galatians?

All you need do is drive around any city and look around at the host of denominations near you or if you have the time, money and means, simply go to home base. Book a flight to Jerusalem and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for a day.

Have you ever visited "different" church denominations or Jewish synagogues comprised of a variety of movements? If not, why not, do you shy away because they do not "believe" as you do.

If you will take on the challenge to visit or even seek to join, sooner or later you will likely be asked to undergo doctrinal training or conversion so that you will be eligible to become a "member."

Now, step back for a moment and ask: why is membership needed, and why do creeds, confessions and statements of faith vary so widely?

What happened to the book of life?

Isn't the Bible the one word of God, isn't the 'church' supposed to be 'one' assembly, the 'whole' body of believers united as one in Messiah in "the way" Paul described:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.  And if you are Messiah's then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:27-29
Now you know the faith dilemma of the Galatians!

Paul said, "if you are Messiah's then you are then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise." Perhaps you are beginning to see the bricks in the walls of separation that are held by the mortar of tradition and doctrine of Jew and Gentile that create division and oppose what Paul describes as "one new man" establishing peace and reconciliation to God (Ephesians 2:15) and "heirs according to the promise" given Abraham.

Paul did not come up with a new covenant. He knew the word of The Lord given to the prophet Jeremiah:
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
    and with the people of Judah." 
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law [Torah] in their minds
    and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people."
The key to covenant is the Torah of God and Messiah the living Torah, and the message of forgiveness that is to be written "in" our hearts has its foundation on God's character of mercy and lovingkindness. The new covenant written inside the heart was foreshadowed by Moses when he set the tablets inside the heart of the Tabernacle after his return trip:

"Then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, as the LORD commanded me.” Deuteronomy 10:5

Every letter of Paul describes a proper heart relationship with God and each other through Messiah Yeshua.

If you think Paul if difficult to understand, consider today's religious difference and tradition, they offer a time portal of understanding for you to see the truth because division, partition and separation from the loving heart of Torah is what Paul was dealing with in Galatia.


Like Paul, the disciples taught the opposite of religious difference.


As noted, we can learn from Peter. He learned to teach what the Torah teaches, but it took a vision from God to show him the truth although he walked with Yeshua for years. After Peter's eyes were opened, he then wrote of one faith, "a" royal priesthood, "a" holy nation, "a" people, not many. Like Paul, Peter never taught that you should look around for the "right" church to join because you agree with a denominational doctrine. No, Peter taught of unity in faith and the excellencies of mercy from the Torah established by THE FATHER, recorded by Moses and instructed by Yeshua through God's mercy:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1Peter 2:9-10
As we learn from the words from Peter the Jew named Kepha, the focus of faith, is about a royal priesthood from God's mercy and it is for you to proclaim the excellencies of Him and be blessed by the same faith promise given Abraham declared in the same Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) that Jesus the Jew taught. After all, the Torah was given to Israel AND the aliens and sojourners with them.

They were "all" called out by God.

Paul and Peter are two witnesses that came to understand why Messiah Yeshua prayed: "that they may all be one even as we are one" to The Father in His high priestly prayer revealed to the planet in John 17 and that prayer is the same whether Jew or Gentile:
"Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me." John 17:17-23
Like the noble Bereans mentioned in Acts 17:11, you too can search the Scriptures to see how the Father wants as you worship Him and love others in mercy and grace. The Torah does not need a religious fence around it and this is Paul's message.

God does not need our religious dogma to help Him govern the universe.

The Bible shows us from the beginning to the end that God is seeking people with a repentant heart that choose to walk after Him.

This is the plain faith message of Moses:


"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, 
and be no more stiffnecked." Deuteronomy 10:16


As we have seen, Abraham was the first witness to Paul's message on circumcision. He was not circumcised in the flesh until age 99, yet he received "the covenant" blessing for the nations of the Earth long before the day Almighty God came like a man and stood before him at the oak of Mamre. Abraham walked with God as a friend for at many years before God's instruction of circumcision as a sign before Issac was conceived by Sarah.

Paul never taught against God's Word, but the way in he taught can be difficult to understand so I pray this has helped you in some way.

Don't forget, he taught Timothy encouraging him to study the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings to be equipped for every good work (mitzvah). Think about this too, there was no New Testament in existence when he penned these words:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 16-17
An uninformed pulpit teaching of Galatians can be a big problem for the people in the pew if it teaches against God's instruction in righteousness.

Paul's teaching about the Torah and God's heart has been interpreted. That was what Peter said when he wrote: ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.  It is the crucial factor around which the church has misunderstood its own relationship to the Torah, but that is changing, praise God and that is why you are here.

So, we must search out the Torah hidden within Paul's letters if we are to ever understand them, and to do so we must dig into God's Word. We must ask our Heavenly Father to give us understanding through His Spirit to help us see that doctrines can distort the truth of mercy like tares sown among the wheat. Paul's message is to focus first on a repentant relationship with God first with faith in Messiah – not in the religious doctrines of men that can mislead us if we seek them in exchange for God's mercy.

Remember, Moses instructs all people not to add to God's instruction or subtract from it and that's the bedrock of Paul's letters. Replacement theology in any form has no place in The Kingdom of God.

Did you know, the first instruction given Moses for the sanctuary was about the pure gold (kapporeth) covering of the ark that has now come to be called the mercy seat that rested atop the Ark of the Covenant?

Likewise, we can pray and reflect first on the unchanging gold character of Messiah Yeshua because we are responsible first to repent and seek mercy before we can be forgiven and understand God's instruction for holy (set apart) living. If we are to live out God's instruction in love we must first study and teach His word just as Paul and our Messiah did (see John 13:15; 1 John 2:6; Ephesians 5:1-2 and 1Corinthians 11:1).

The reason, the “Great Commission” isn’t only about preaching about a cross, but about discipling and teaching others how to live a Kingdom lifestyle in repentant love for The Father and others as we learn to follow God in righteous kingdom living as a child of God and one new man (Matthew 28:18-20).

This is "the way" Paul taught and that Yeshua walked. Both have been misunderstood for 2,000 years, but repentance is coming forth today as the divide is closing as promised by the prophet Jeremiah. Believers are learning to believe, learning to love God and His instruction that does not minimize or diminish mercy or grace. It puts the character of God first and foremost in our heart where it belongs before the seat of God's mercy in Yeshua's sprinkled blood. God's loving instruction is about walking near Him, it moves a person from the penalty of man's religious tradition that can reject mercy and lovingkindness.

In fact, it is God’s grace that provides forgiveness for the times that we "miss the mark" when we slip and fall on the narrow path. It is only in love for The Father that we get to walk in His path of forgiveness, love and in repentant obedience just as we forgive those that trespass against us.

God's mercy and unending love is why the world has His once-and-for-all healing offering which is from the blood of the one pierced for our transgressions, Messiah Yeshua, the Son of God noted in Proverbs 30:4 who walked a sinless Torah path as a man and willingly offered His own life to pay the penalty that we all deserve for going astray in sin rejecting God and His instruction.

Isaiah 53:4-6 declares:
"Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness." "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
When we accept in faith Yeshua's atoning gift of God's grace, we can receive the deliverance in restoration only our Creator can bring and we get to show our gratitude in love in faith as James taught by our heart for Torah deeds.  Our works honor our Heavenly Father, others and ourselves by keeping God's Kingdom ways because we choose to, and we can do so in amazement and joy trusting what Yeshua has done to atone and heal mankind's iniquities!

From a proper Biblical perspective, Paul’s comments are easier to comprehend when placed into their proper Biblical and historic context, I pray this commentary has shown you... that God's restoration plan includes both Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah.

If I can summarize, Paul refuted "religious" tradition that circumcision is required as the entry into a covenant relationship with Almighty God, but he did not reject circumcision, Timothy is the witness to that. Paul declares the ancient truth, that relationship based on "faith" is the doorway to covenant with our Creator. Faith is as it has always been shown by the faith of Abraham who listened to God and "crossed over" from the Ur of the Chaldeans in Babylon to the Promised Land (see Galatians 3:6-9).


Seeking the light of truth is the key to understanding Galatians.


Paul's message is not hidden below the surface of his words. His point is that God seeks those who will regard Him with fond affection, rather than stand at a religious arm’s length from Him as a taskmaster. This truth is also shown in this declaration to Hosea:
“It will be in that day," says the LORD, "That you will call me 'my husband,' And no longer call me 'my master.'” Hosea 2:16 HNV
Paul's Torah message comes out in its proper context. God wants people that to serve Him and others out of love much like that of a woman for her husband. Paul's point is that God is concerned with intimate relationship. The Father wants our worship to be borne of love and devotion, not ruled through traditional religious control. The fact is, the Galatians that Paul met came from neo-pagan worship, they were 'non-Jews' fully assimilated in ancient Greek and Roman culture and lifestyle before Paul arrived with other brothers in faith.

Before they met Paul, the Galatians didn't know Torah or hear it and likely did not know anything about God's teaching and instruction before Paul's arrived on the Greek scene. Instead, they worshipped false-gods and followed the dark traditions, celebrations and seasons of Olympus.

These non-Jews had grown up in pagan culture, a yoke of slavery, and Paul know they would never view the Torah as they should without caring instruction that would take time.

As we have seen in the letter to the Romans, the "days and months and seasons" that were disparaged by Paul in Galatians 4:9-10 were not the Biblically appointed Sabbaths or the Festivals of The Lord, but rather the ways of hellenistic polytheism that carried on from its roots in ancient Babylonian idol worship polluted by the festivities of Greco-Roman nations that still remain hidden in remnant forms today.

Many of those Greek days, months and seasons survive having morphed in Rome in one form or another from Babylon and Egypt. Incredibly, some have even been adopted into modern Christianity as Christmas and Easter, but that is another study. Bottomline, in the Greek culture of Paul's day in Galatia, people celebrated and worshipped all sorts of idols and Greek false-gods.

As we have seen, even our modern weekdays are infused in Hellenistic astrology as each day is named after false-idol-god deities of the heavens. Naming the days of each and every week was is a system made popular around the globe by the Romans when they honored the days after the neo-pagan deities of their time mixing the Bible's ancient countdown to the 7th day Sabbath with honoring false-god worship.

During the course of a year in Paul's day, celebrations of the Greek and Roman gods were in conflict with Jewish teaching, so if we do not have at least some understanding of the context of the culture of his day, we can not easily see the truth of the Galatian letter.

As you have seen, many ancient Greek traditions survive today in one form or another even including the Olympic Games that still carry on the mystical name of the home of the Greek false-gods of Olympus. In fact, references to the legends of some of the multitude of their false-gods and heroes continue in common everyday expressions such as "Achilles heel" or "Pandora's box" and "Herculean effort." They all tie to the Greek culture of Paul's day.

Even the architecture of the Greek temples like the Parthenon and the Acropolis are still revered today as well. If you doubt that, just take a trip to Washington DC to view the Greek temple architecture that is infused even in the U.S. Supreme Court building. In fact, the most recognized legal symbol there is the female figure on the steps and the lampposts leading to the main entrance representing "justice." It dates back to depictions of Themis and Justicia that are infused in the religions of Greece and Rome that still survive, alive and well.

In Roman mythology, Justicia (Justice) was one of the "four virtues." Themis was the Greek Goddess of Justice and Law.

That reverence for the Greek gods is why Paul appeals to the Galatian people to rely on the account of Abraham (Galatians 3:6, 3:14, 3:16, 3:18; 4:22), after all they could relate to Abram. He left the pagan ways and life of Babylon, he "crossed over" and Paul knew the Gentiles could relate to his story. Abram was God's friend and he 'demonstrated' his love in truth and spirit as “two” witnesses to the mercy that was shown to him.

"You are the LORD God, Who chose Abram And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees, And gave him the name Abraham. Nehemiah 9:7

As Peter points out for those that distort Paul, the problem is not with Paul, people have an issue with the front of the Bible, they distort the Scriptures" to their destruction as I once did despite the fact that the Scripture are the Messiah's Bible.

So what do we do now with the bondage of law that Paul wrote about?

As we have seen, for many years, religious men have been adding to the Torah or taking away from it, rather than finding rest in YHWH's love and grace established in the Torah that was made to abound through Messiah Yeshua.

When God's words are written in our hearts, His Spirit gives us the desire do the things instructed by His voice, not in order to earn merit or favor or hope our names will be written on the book of life, but rather because we delight in "getting to" do them as we celebrate love for our Father and others. It is that expression of love that is the real blessing... after all, loving God Almighty is the greatest command we must understand (See Matthew 22:37-40) and the second is loving others.

But there is one, a deceiver that opposes this great truth about the mercy and grace of God's love emanating from His mercy seat. HaSatan does not want us to be 'whole' Bible believers, so he promotes Greek philosophy. The enemy wants many to be deceived and think they do not need God's whole instruction manual. The enemy wants people to be ineffective and not know that when Jesus healed people, He ALWAYS instructed them to "go and sin no more."

The enemy wants you to believe the lie that faith in Yeshua should not be followed with honoring God's Torah, His instruction manual for living that defines the life of Messiah. The enemy wants us to remain sidelined in sin so we cannot be effective in showing others how to demonstrate their love for God and others through the blessing of righteous living by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy wants to veil our understanding of Paul's letters to separate Believers from our Jewish brothers and sisters too. The deceiver abhors a family of faith.

Paul taught that all can be adopted as a part of God’s children in the promise of Abraham. A family with the name Israel given as as gift by faith and trust in the gospel of the Kingdom. That's what the aliens and sojourners with Israel in the book of Exodus are all about.

Paul taught the Gentile believers about a repentant life of faith. He expounded in the Roman letter that followers of Messiah are fellow heirs with Abraham, and partakers of the promises of the covenant God made with Israel. He taught that all believers are grafted in as heirs of God's great promise and blessing through Messiah Yeshua (see Galatians 4:7).

Paul also warned the Galatians to not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage of Hellenism, a devotion to ancient Greek thought, customs and lifestyles (see Galatians 5:1).

I must say it again, the message to the Galatians is not in opposition to a Torah lifestyle that God outlined for mankind as His Kingdom constitution and the letter is not difficult to understand, provided you first seek truth and spirit to understand the message in the truth of Biblical light.

Paul taught the power of the gospel and faith in Messiah Yeshua is the entry to the door of God’s covenant household. Paul taught from Moses who wrote:
"And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live." Deuteronomy 30:6
Paul hit the nail on the head by asserting that righteousness does not come via circumcision as “works of law.” He taught one’s forgiveness does not come by human deed or action seeking brownie points with God, but forgiveness comes through repentance and the redemptive work that Yeshua Jesus offers for all people, all nations, Jew and Gentile. Yeshua walked the walk, talked the talk and took on sin's penalty at his Passover cross three days before He arose in eternal resurrection glory as God's Priest King.

If you believe this, then your life, your study and your perspective on the deep message of Galatians will go well with you. Not only will you be able to have a fuller grasp on the context of the religious conflict shown in Galatians that continues today, but also its great importance in the circumcision of your own heart as you work out your faith in loving God and others.

There's something else to remember about the two trips Moses made with the covenant of the Ten Commandments and the final redemption. God's Passover instruction in Egypt saved people at a personal level. The blood of the lamb was smeared on each doorway by each family so that those inside could be saved from the final plague of death. Yom Kippur speaks of corporate or national redemption, so that all Israel many be saved and Paul wrote of this too although it is still hidden in plain sight to many:

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” Romans 11:25-26

Needless to say, we need to understand the foundation of the Hebrew Scriptures given in the letter to the Romans and the Galatians because the body of believers have entered the season when Jew and Gentile are called together in fullness by our identity in Yeshua, the Messiah of all Israel.

So, I will say it again, Paul is not trying to do away with Torah, circumcision or start a new religion. He never did, nor did Yeshua who upholds God's Torah and He will fulfill it, all of it, even the fall feast of judgment day aka Yom Kippur.

Some say Paul started a new religion replacing the old with the new and that his letter to the Romans is considered to be the constitution of Christianity yet the fact is Paul uses all of his learning from the front of the Bible to prove God's mercy and grace. In all of he letters, Paul always uses the highest commands of Torah and prophet-based proof for his positions. Each passage is built on the context of the Tanach.

Not understanding that is the ignorance that the disciple Peter warned of and it only causes destruction and really bad preaching.

That's why Peter warns that ignorant and unstable people distort Paul's letters, as they do the other Scriptures. Peter's message is don't remain ignorant of God's Word. Study the Tanach for yourself just as Messiah did. Rather than invalidating the Torah, look to the teaching of Messiah that causes the Torah to abound.

It's not easy but Paul can show you how.  Believe the Torah, it is from the voice of God. It teaches the big picture that a person can only be justified before God not by works but by faith, atonement and God's own redeeming mercy and grace.


Paul's writing is not new, it is from the beginning.


We can see Paul taught Abraham lived by faith in the eyes of God, because of that Abraham was God's friend. Read Galatians 3:9 again for yourself. Paul taught that Abraham in faith kept the Torah he had received as instruction from God (see Genesis 26:5). Abraham was the first man to be circumcised and Paul never taught against that, in fact he called it profitable!
"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit [is there] of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." Romans 3:1-2
Paul was a Jew, but many have changed His Jewish identity. Paul wrote this:
“...a man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly...” Romans 2:28-3:1
And this... "I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew..."

The disciple James, another Jew whose real name was Jacob (Yaakov) also uses Abraham as the example to show us that Abraham was justified by his faith yet his faith was made perfect and complete by his works because Abraham "acted" on his faith just as James taught: faith without works is dead (see James 2:14-24).

Due to the error of dispensational, replacement theology, and lack of proper historic context, many Believers suffer from an identity crisis and misread the message of Paul and the words of James, the brother of Jesus. It is time to put an end to this.

Don't remain confused in ignorance and equate doing the law (Torah) with a goal to earn justification and salvation by good works. The Torah never taught that message as the Heavenly eternal instruction manual for "living near" God and walking in His ways on Earth because you love and worship Him.

Messiah Yeshua didn’t come to replace Israel. He came to find them and fulfill the Torah, make it abound. He came to close the gap, tear down the walls of separation to reconcile all men to God, first the Jew, and then the Gentile as an authentic faithful remnant grafted within all Israel.

The Hebrew word, Torah means "to teach, to point out as aiming". After all, instruction is what any father, but most especially our Heavenly Father gives to all of his children to draw us near and point us toward truth and living a life which is righteous and pleasing to the Father. The storyline of Exodus is quite clear about this.

Doing the Torah does not save anyone, it never did, it was given by God to teach us how to live life in His Kingdom.

Read the Exodus account carefully for yourself and take notice, Israel received the Torah from the fire "after" they were saved by the blood of a lamb and brought out of Egypt through the sea to be set-apart in covenant near the Creator God of Israel. Exodus ultimately teaches us all that a person must believe in the Messiah's atonement for sin and we get to demonstrate our love by living life in the light according to the truth and spirit of the living water of Torah. This is the same message James taught:
"Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” — and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." James 2:20-24
Yeshua Ha-Mashiach is the embodiment of living Torah, He is sinless "Word of God" made flesh. When He lived his life on this planet as a humble Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth, Jesus always instructed his followers how they could live their lives in a Heavenly way. In Matthew 5:17, our Savior taught the multitudes gathered and the Mount and He still teaches us about this:
"Think not that I have come to destroy the Torah."
This word "destroy" points us to a basic Hebrew idiom about the Torah which means to wrongly interpret and teach the meaning of God's instruction for your life given by the voice of God at another mountain, Mount Sinai:
"But I have not come to destroy (wrongly interpret and teach) but to fulfill (another Jewish idiom which means to "make abound" in your life) ..."
In Revelation 14:12 He said: "Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Yeshua." Yeshua reinforces His goal to make the Torah abound, endure in purpose and in Revelation 22:12,14 He reiterates what James had learned from Him:
"And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work (good works) shall be... Blessed are they that do his commandments (walks by love and walks in the path of the Torah taught by Yeshua) that they may have right to the tree of life (eternal life) and may enter in through the gates of the city".
Yeshua uses words fromof tree of life here for good reason too. It's another Hebrew idiom. Did you know that the columns of a Torah scroll are called leaves? That is no coincidence, its another Hebrew word picture. Jeremiah 36:21,23 tells us about the leaves of a Torah scroll:
"So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll (scroll)... and Jehudi READ it in the ears of the king ... And it came to pass when Jehudi had read three or four leaves ..."
Here, the "leaves" on the "tree of life" is a reference to the passages found inscribed in the columns of every Torah scroll. The vision of Revelation also describes a river that runs beside the tree of life. Do you know why He does that? In its Hebraic context, Revelation tells us keeping the commandments of God is like a river of life and Revelation 22:2 is a direct reference to the promise of Psalm 1:2-3 which describes the delight of a person who keeps the Torah of God:
"But his delight is in the Torah of the Lord: and in his Torah does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; and his leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper".
Any biologist will tell you the basics, life cannot not exist without water. We cannot live abundantly without God's Torah either. In summary, the issue in understanding Paul's message to the Galatians is that we must read the letter in its proper Torah foundation, not mixed with religious confusion. The nature of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was that it mixed these together; the fruit of the tree, when eaten mixes the truth with lies.

Mixture is haSatan's method to cause chaos and that is why the Torah is full of prohibitions against (kalayim)) mixing or combining certain species of animals, plants and even clothing (shatnez). It's the Torah way of teaching a greater meaning by using creation as an example of a greater truth (see Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:11 as examples that the verse reveal insights for our understanding of holiness). The deceiver always mixes a little bit of truth with a big lie. One of those lies that I once fell for, that the Torah is an "Old" Testament. It is not, God does not change.

Paul was concerned with a mixture of truth that the way to salvation is 'doing' Torah. Paul teaches that keeping the commandments of God could never provide eternal life. The ultimate goal of Torah is to point you to Messiah, to show you that you are a sinner and that all of us need a redeemer. It sets Godly standards to show your need for the Messiah while at the same time it teaches us how we can live our lives in a kingdom way which is pleasing to God just as Yeshua did. Paul used the Torah and the Prophets as the source text to teach others who Yeshua is:
"... From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Yeshua both from the Torah of Moses and from the Prophets." Acts 28:23
Yeshua overcame the curse of willful sin (violation of Torah) by taking it upon Himself, offering life as an exchange at the Roman execution stake. His offering was an exchange for life in resurrection. He is the kinsmen redeemer breaking the curse of eternal death and separation from God which comes from our  own deliberate choice in disobedience to God's word. The Torah of God is about blessing. Yeshua did not do away with the Torah, Heaven forbid, He fills it with meaning.

He never took away the blessing that results when we walk just as He did.

Yeshua alone can redeem us from eternal death. Think of it as separation from Eden. There, the first curse was not brought not by God, He warned of it; but by Adam and Eve's choice they disregarded God's instruction as if it had been done away with and brought destruction on themselves.

The first command given to them was a blessing to be fruitful and multiply, to bring forth life to the earth and rule over it. Our Creator never dis away with this or any blessing but the choice is yours.

Paul taught this:
"Wherefore the law [Torah] is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid..." Romans 7:12-13
So what is its message for today?

To answer that, the simple question that we should all be asking is, "How is God telling us to live and bring forth life in God's instruction?" Of course, our minds will immediately think of our natural surroundings first, but this is the wrong place to look. To answer the question, we must look inward and at the great commission.

How is He asking us to live? The instruction manual is within the guidelines and principles of the Torah: love God and others. This is the summary of God's will. The big picture question posed to the Galatians boils down to this: how are we to live in true faith?

Does Scripture urge you to live following man's traditions that take away or add to God's teaching and instruction or have you been "called out" to live a life separate and apart as a divine appointment with your Abba Father?

Are you truly serious about your faith?

If so, live within the guidelines of God's word which Paul has told us to begins with repentance. Do you believe every unchanging jot or tittle of what God has spoken even if you do not understand them just yet? Or, do you believe the lie from Eden that He does not mean what He says as we preach man-made traditions not looking to God's Word with the covenant to bless all nations?

Do we mix the knowledge of good and evil turning our backs on His Word, and facing man's religious doctrine?

Many people are now re-considering what they have been taught and are stepping out on a walk of faith just as Abraham taught his son Isaac. As we have seen, when famine came, Isaac wanted to take control of the situation. But the message to Isaac was clear. He was told to follow God's instruction.

Isaac accepted this, he made the right choice and entered a new walk because of it. It was one he had not walked in fully before that time. In order for him to live in the provision of his Creator, Isaac learned to let go and trust in the voice and teaching of Almighty God. He had to learn faith, then walk in repentance.

Since the first century, only a few, a remnant have walked boldly in faith and obedience to God not turning to men like Marcion for advice. We can be like them and return to "the way" God tells us to live in a Kingdom lifestyle.

The unfiltered message to the Galatians is for us too, we must understand that it is the walk of faith in Messiah, the living Torah that has to come first, it's the will of God.

If we will learn and choose this, then we can live as Messiah tells us to live just as He did. This is a part of the process of bringing the lost sheep home in reconciliation with God as He intended and make atonement a reality. The God of Israel does not want to remain distant, He wants to be close, to be with us, to live with us and in us, to write His Word, His law on our hearts.

Messiah Yeshua's Hebrew name means salvation. He was dedicated to God from the beginning on the 8th day of His life on earth He was circumcised and given His amazing name. Take note, His family was devoted to God's instruction in circumcision. He was set apart for God's work on Earth and the Father's purpose in His name. He was circumcised just as Isaac was on the eighth day according to the teaching and instruction (the Torah) and in agreement with the covenant given to Abraham:
"When the eight days until His circumcision had passed, He was named Yeshua, the name the angel had given Him before He had been conceived. And when the time of purification according to the Law of Moses was complete, His parents brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord… Luke 2:21-22
Messiah Yeshua is the fulfillment of the instruction and trial given Abraham that would test his faith.
“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis 22:1-2
After Isaac's binding (called Akedah) on the wood at Mount Moriah, Isaac is not seen again in the Torah until his bride Rebekah approached him. The same will be for Messiah Yeshua. Be the bride, approach Him today, move toward Him, seek Him.

Throughout His ministry, Yeshua taught and lived out the Torah. He never added to or took away from it. He did this by always making a resolute daily decision, a choice to put God's instruction first and foremost, not Himself, but God’s will. He said this: "I came down from Heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. I do not seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me."

Messiah lived out His purpose to serve God as His son by setting Himself apart as a living sacrifice and He will live out Torah when He comes for His covenant bride. Yeshua taught the life of Torah when He said: "I sanctify Myself, I set Myself apart to serve God; set Myself apart from anything that is unholy, anything that is against God’s will." He set Himself apart by doing the Word of God. He never violated God’s teachings, He did not sin, He did what His Father said, like the shadow picture Isaac provides. Not only that, He became the lamb that God would provide for Himself:
And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. Genesis 22:7-8
Yeshua taught of the Kingdom of God as He healed people and gave sight to the blind while He taught that people were sanctified by truth and Spirit (John 4:23-24) that God’s Word sanctifies life on Earth as it is in Heaven. He spoke to God all the time in prayer. He had a mission. He said: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work."


Messiah Yeshua never compromised God's will, His instruction.


Messiah Yeshua shows us how to walk out the Torah in word, thought and deed in the will of God and the Spirit of God can help us maintain our dedication in faith to The Father just as His friend Abraham did even if we do not understand how right now.

We all must make a decision to devote ourselves daily to Messiah's walk to the best of our ability if we want to live according to God's will. If we do, we "get to" set ourselves apart as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him (1 Peter 2:9) to others. In this way, His way, a believer teaches salvation in Yeshua through the faith blessing of the gift of God's lovingkindness.

Abraham's friend of God faith is what we all need because The Lord is not only our Creator, and instructor, He is our Redeemer, Savior and friend.

Messiah can save us from destruction; the curse of eternal separation from God by the exchange of His perfect life for our sinful ways. If we choose to see Him in this way as Messiah and live in this faith, He will send His Spirit to comfort and teach us just as The Spirit of God once filled the Temple.

Have you made your choice?

It's more than a decision, it a commitment to dedicate yourself to the God of Israel through a life gift of faith and walk in "The Way" like Messiah Yeshua. Do you realize that you need to make that decision to engage God’s will for your life? It's the biggest choice you will ever make. Yeshua is the only choice.

Your choice is the heart of Torah and it is what Paul taught, if you do not think so reconsider Peter's simple warning: ignorant and unstable people distort Paul's letters.

If you have not made the choice to follow the faith of Yeshua as your savior and Messiah, the next step is to repent of sin and ask Almighty God to forgive and He will.

Then follow the way, to walk like Yeshua walked in love and obedience of The Father and show your love for others each day.

Walking like Messiah means keeping yourself apart from anything that is unholy and against God’s will for your life because your love Him. To understand this fully, pray and ask for help as you study God's words to know His teaching and instruction in each situation you might encounter and each choice you make.

In God's Torah, we can learn that our Creator has a set-apart lifestyle outlined for those that follow Him and He wants us live in it just as Messiah did, helping others, teaching, discipling others. A part of that way is keeping the covenant of the Ten Commandments and His instruction for living. That includes honoring God's Sabbath rest, keeping His appointments, even watching what we eat so that we may live a long healthy life and fish for others to do the same.

God calls His people to be different, to walk in righteousness and sanctification set apart in Messiah's lifestyle.

You can begin your journey by praising and thanking Him for all the good things He has done, is doing and will do as you realize that you have been given a path to follow that leads to life. God has given mercy and a mission because time is short to bring in the fish from the sea of humanity God has put before us.

There is eternal-life changing work to be done and it starts with your faith choice in repentance and teshuvah. You too can be a part of the reconciliation between all who belong to our God and our King so spread the message, sow the seeds of the Kingdom and tell others of God's love.

The truth of the living Word of God, the Jewish man of Nazareth Messiah Yeshua is that He desires to redeem and save all of mankind from the curse of the death penalty of sin, that is the start of the journey and the choice is yours.

Choose life and show others what you have done so they can do the same and follow Messiah Yeshua!

Shalom.