My Scripture Studies
Seek God. Engage with His voice in the Bible and start in the beginning.

October 07, 2017

Why the Letter to the Galatians?

A strange thing happened nearly 2,000 years ago...

Paul, an orthodox Jew, a Pharisee that studied Scripture under Gamaliel shed its light about Messiah to the Gentiles, but people started spreading disinformation that during Paul's travels he preached a new religion and that his followup letters were written to explain why he turned away from his Jewishness and the Torah.

Yet in my Scripture studies, I discovered Paul did not preach a rnew religion. Not only that, he declared he remained a descendant of the family tribe of Benjamin, a Jew from Tarsus and a Pharisee. 

He never said he "used to be" a Pharisee, he said he was a Pharisee. 

Simply put he remain a Jew that had met Messiah.

Yet, through a man named Ananias, Yeshua gave him an assignment to be sent out and be a part of the unconditional Genesis 12:1-3 covenant Almighty God made with Abraham regarding the promise "all nations" would be blessed. Simply put he was to shine the light for the Gentiles.

Yeshua called on Ananias of Damascus to give the Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin his gospel of God assignment before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. 

As noted Paul, aka Saul of Tarsus was trained under Gamaliel the prominent Jewish rabbi and teacher of the Torah and the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures in Jerusalem. Gamaliel was highly qualified. He a Pharisee and the grandson of the famous Rabbi Hillel. 

With God’s sovereign gospel plan embedded in Abraham's covenant, the Torah teacher helped preserve the Paul assignment as a witness to the Gentiles. Gamaliel stood up for Paul when the Sadducees tried to stop him dead in his tracks. Not only had Gamaliel helped equip the the apostle as a young man, he saved his life so that he could complete his assignment to spread the word about the promised Messiah in synagogues all across the Mediterranean.

As few short years ago I found a crack in the fault line I'd been "reading into" Paul's light in the dark letters. I realized I had missed the history and context of ancient truths. They were hidden in plain sight because I'd read about Paul though verse snippets. 

For that reason, I could not connect Paul's letters to the front of the Bible or the heart of the God's voice delivered to Moses atop Mount Sinai that Gamaliel must have taught in his yeshiva. Then, some seventeen years ago, I received my marching orders. 

I was told... read the Bible, start in the beginning. 

After I did that over and over again, and despite what I had heard or what I thought I knew, gradually I discovered Paul's letters are deeply rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures. Not only that they provide midrash moments with a Hebrew heart of unchanging faith, not a new one that shifts gears.

For me, the big ah ha moment was when I discovered Paul's focus was on what Almighty God revealed about Himself to Moses after the grave harlotry sin of the golden calf at Mount Sinai.

Paul's letters were followups from what he taught in the synagogue and in the ages-old Jewish way of communicating that he learned in yeshiva school, the key message he delivers over and again is that we can't expect to walk in faith in God’s power and authority if we take one step toward the Kingdom of God, yet choose to stumble in compromise.  

In Paul's letter to the Galatians, I discovered that without zeroing in on the front of the Bible as the source code of his faith, I'd never be able to understand his eye-opening opposition to religious rules that add to God's instruction.

In his day, like today the instruction of the Torah was being largely ignored by preference to religious tradition. 

Paul's messages can seem confusing. 

One reason: while writing in Greek, Paul's thinking is Hebraic.

Paul wrote with 3-D Hebraic concepts from God's word not linear Greek thinking or religious philosophy. Another reason the letters seem confusing is due to the fact that Paul's conclusions are often written in chaistic order in which ideas and concepts are presented and then repeated in reverse order with the key point in the middle, not the end. 

I'd grown up like most people learning conclusions are summed up in the end.

To complicate matters, Paul traveled in a culture conflict with a language barrier. Since the end of the Middle Ages, we've translated Paul's Greek letters to English with a "Hellenized" mindset because many are basically ignorant of his resume, his upbringing as well as his eye-opening heart and mind after Damascus.

I also realized that Peter (aka Simon son of Jonah) was talking about me when I re-read 2 Peter 3:16. 
Peter's words were like a body slam. Peter was saying Biblically uneducated people are unstable. That was me. 

I was twisting Paul's words because I was ignorant of the heart of the Scriptures. 

Peter tossed out a yellow caution flag for me. 

He laid it out with a warning... that what Paul teaches is not new, not against the Torah or the Prophets. 

The real world Biblical reality is that Paul argued against certain religious rules of men that God warned everyone about in Ezekiel 34. In Paul's day, the bad shepherd problem zeroed in on a religious conversion process to earn proselyte citizenship in God's Kingdom family.  

As a parable-like illustration, suppose you are seeking U.S. Citizenship... Can you imagine if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office made their decisions to grant citizenship only on the basis of your political views or your religious and ideological perceptions without reliance on the U.S. Constitution much less U.S. immigration and naturalization laws? 

Here's another metaphor. Suppose the Supreme Court took it upon themselves with their rulings to add to or take away from the U.S. Constitution, rewriting it with every opinion?

Funny thing about the Constitution, most U.S. citizens don't read it or even know when it was put in place. The fact is the U.S. Constitution was ratified September 17, 1787 and there's a Biblical calendar connection: that day was Tishri 5, smack in the middle of the days of awe during the Fall Feast countdown from Trumpets day to Yom Kippur. 

I'll share a personal sidenote on the timing of the U.S. Constitution: my ancestors in America were alive and well at the time living in Cumberland, North Carolina. 

Three years after the Constitution was made the law of this land, the first U.S. census was taken under President George Washington. That census contains these four names: Jesse, John, Samuel Jr. and Samuel Sr. Northington. A man named Edward was their father, but he had died long before the Constitution came to be the law of the land. 

Back to the U.S. Constitution... can you imagine if today's Supreme Court did not care about their power set by the very document which says... "The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made..."

What if they could toss out "law and equity" and just make their own opinion about power? 

Taking the Constitution metaphor a BIG STEP further, what if the Constitution had been dictated by the Creator, the Sovereign Almighty God of the universe?

Here's the thing about that, there is a family of God Constitution, it's called the Torah, and in Paul's arguments for God's Kingdom way of faith, Paul opposed religious opinion and proselyte citizenship conversion rules that held a manmade twist on Almighty God's name, character and the intent of His gifts of mercy and forgiveness. 

That ages old grace-less problem still exists today.

The good news is that Genesis 17:7-8, Deuteronomy 30:6, Jeremiah 24:7, Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezekiel 36:37 reveal God's gift of divine forgiveness. Our Creator's new covenant purpose is to inscribe His word of Torah teaching and instruction on our hearts. The promise is He will do that if we circumcise our "heart" with repentance and return to God's voice. 

Paul finally understood the about God's voice inscribed on scrolls and that those written words of teaching are the constitution of how to live life in God's image in the Kingdom of God. The Genesis 1:26-27 image that started in Eden is to be a people in holy relationship pleasing to The LORD. That likeness goal for mankind hasn't changed. 

The religious issue of adding to or taking away from what God has spoken is very old, in fact as ancient as Eden. 

It began with the question... did God really say?

On the sixth day of creation, Almighty God Elohim made mankind (man and woman) in image and likeness according to Genesis 1:26-27. That fact is bigger than appearance.

Abba God gave Adam and Eve a test of faith, a life choice that requires commitment, perseverance to follow The Father's instruction or to ignore it in rebellion. Elohim God set before them the way of eternal life, as exemplified by the “tree of life.” Our Creator gave them choice, represented by the  tree of the knowledge of good טוֹב "tob" (prosperity, happiness, bounty, blessing and evil רַע "ra" (distress, misery, injury, calamity, curse). 

Knowing good and evil represents the mixing. Deception results in the wrong choice that seemed right to Adam and Eve. They broke faith because they ignored God's way of life instruction. Almighty God commanded them not to eat the fruit of that "tob ra" tree or even touch it, and He warned them that if they did, they would surely die. 

Death was a willful choice from deception, despite's God's love shown in His warning.

Knowingly rejecting God's instruction by adding to or taking away from what God says brings the curse on ourselves. 

We can't sit in God's shoes with religion, only The Father determines the way of salvation. 

Rejecting God and choosing another way in the sin of blasphemy refusing the Holy Spirit of God and putting the question from a lowly serpent above The Father's. 

If you ask me, the unforgivable sin noted in Mark 28-30 refers to actions accompanied by a rock hard unchanging choice after the truth is known keeps a person from receiving God’s blessing, His gift of salvation:
"Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin..." Mark 3:28-29
The Bible describes such a person as having “a wicked heart” that has become hardened in the deceptive of sin. Only God can judge and forgive. Salvation comes to mankind in God's way shown in His character, not choosing our way. 

Mixing what God says with our words is not acting in ignorance or with a lack of faith, it's a deliberate religious power play.

Isaiah 1:18-20 tells us God will forgive our human relapses into sin as long as our heart has not permanently hardened in rebellion against God and we willingly choose to follow God 's voice of instruction.​ 
Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best of the land. But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
In the beginning, the serpent lied to Eve with a deception of the spirit of God's word with his own claim about the tree of good and evil. The serpent brought death with a lie about what God had to say:
"You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4-5 
Consider the lesson about king Saul. He was chosen by the people, He was not God's choice. 

Saul was elected and he decided to do things his way. That was his eventual downfall when he sacrificed a burnt offering, but not as The Lord had instructed. Saul admitted to Samuel: "I have not sought the favor of the LORD. So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering."

The heart to follow The Lord, that's the cornerstone person Almighty God seeks (see 1 Samuel 13:13–14). King David's heart goal was to serve his Creator (check out Psalms 57 and Psalms 108:1). David was human too and sinned, but he repented in sincerity and humility (see Psalms 32:5–7, Psalms 51:1–17).

David's anointing by Samuel under God's election and instruction was tied to David's heart. To understand him better, spend some time and study the Psalms of David.

Most think that the rabbinate problem in Galatia is just ancient history, but is it really?  

There's ZERO intent to demean anyone here, the only goal is to open hearts to the problematic complications of adding to God's Torah teaching or take away from it as the constitution of holiness. 

Don't get me wrong, but there are church membership rules among the many thousands of Christian denominations today. That's why they are denominations. Some have their own man-made doctrines that declare you cannot be a registered "church member" without a church elder committee vote. 

Others require completion of a membership class and signed agreement with a denomination statement of faith in a quasi legal administrative hierarchy defined by a distinctive interpretation of their religious faith.

Still others require "sacraments" of initiation. Those include baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist of eating a communion wafer and drinking from a golden cup. This religious process to "become" Catholic varies, it can take on many other different forms. After all, there are at least 24 “churches” within the "Catholic Church" and each has its own doctrines of religious tradition passed down over the centuries by the elders, aka their bishops.

Are you starting to see the issue at hand in the Galatian letter? 

Paul explains the heart issue, the choice that we must hear what the Torah of God says about faith and relationship tied to the forgiveness of Almighty God, not a membership committee rule

Paul points out that rabbinic approval for conversion and salvation by justification of works is in contrast to the written word of God. My opinion is that Pauls' view it is contrary to God's instruction, His name and character described to Moses by The Lord of Hosts atop Mount Sinai. 

My take away is Paul's letter provides clarity that religion can add to or take away from God's gospel about Himself. Believe it or not, Paul never promotes disregarding the front of the Bible, just a few religious rules that add an elder's religion to it. Instead, his message leans toward the Torah's mountaintop message that Almighty God shared with Moses after the golden calf breach of the ten word Covenant we know as the Ten Commandments. 

After that idolatrous breach of the covenant that was a religious choice inherited from Egypt's slavery, Moses climbed his way back up the mountain and wrote down what God said about Himself, you should read it for yourself in Exodus 34. There's no fire and brimstone in forgiveness: 
ויעבר יהוה על־פניו ויקרא יהוה יהוה אל
רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב־חסד ואמת
נצר חסד לאלפים נשא עון ופשע וחטאה
ונקה לא ינקה פקד עון אבות על־בנים ועל־בני בנים
על־שלשים ועל־רבעים
As Almighty God descended in the cloud to the mountain to meet with Moses on his second trip, El Shaddai stood there with Moses and The Lord God of Creation proclaimed His mighty name יהוה and explained His holy, profound character as --- 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.

Moses, the chosen intercessor at the burning bush responded with a plea for forgiveness. It's almost as if Moses said, forgive them they know not what they do. 

Moses 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.”

After that humble, repentant plea --- God, The Father said OK... “I now make a covenant.
"Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of The LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you..."
The Lord of Hosts then zeroed in on the importance of Passover and the week-long Feast of UnLeavened Bread before He warned again against adoption of the idolatry of the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

What does this Moses moment have to do with the letter to the Galatians?


Moses' request and the name and character of The Lord God written for all to see sums it up. 

Almighty God said "all people" among you, the facts on the ground were that are there were descendants of Israel and foreigners there too, aka former Gentiles that chose to follow The God of Israel.

The lesson for today's modern Galatians wherever you are: we don't have to know how to read Greek or get a degree from a seminary to see that Paul wrote against religious rule as a manmade obligation to achieve pardon for iniquity, transgression and sin after repentance and forgiveness. 

Almighty God's covenant love and character is real, our response in request for pardon for iniquity and sin will be granted. Almighty God promised to do an awesome thing too. 

Yeshua is the embodiment of that promise and He is the one that said, "forgive them they know not what they do" (Luke 23:4). He is the only Son of Man that never broke one jot or tittle of the written Torah.

Now you know why it's important to understand that Paul actually took a stand against adding to or taking away from God's name and character. 

Paul's Galatian letter is based on the foundation of God's profound love and forgiveness, not our own traditions that can take away from what the Torah teaches about The LORD. What we can see too is that Elohim God requires an intercessor. His Genesis 3:15 promise has a name, it is Yeshua and The Lord God told Moses about Him:
And the LORD said to me, 'They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. 
And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 
And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. Deuteronomy 18:17-19
Some can stop reading here. You have what you need. 

For others, I hope to properly explain more because as an old friend of mine used to say... it can take some time to unwind the religious wire entwined around the cracked axle of the heart. 

Yeshua's words and actions against religious traditions that do not line up with God's Kingdom teaching demonstrate what Paul wrote about. Yeshua got to the point quickly. He offended relies men teaching a Torah precept that adding to or taking away from God's word by a tradition of the elders can be a heavy burden. His issues with the Pharisees and Sadducees were about the heart and character of God.

The truth is only a few Pharisees in religious charge (the Council) opposed what the mountaintop message of the Torah in Exodus 34 reveals. Their hypocrisy was the issue. They claimed to be teachers of Torah, yet they violated Torah. In addition, some of their manmade “fences" of oral law around the written Torah opposed the character of God reflected in Torah truth.

In Galatians 1:11-17 Paul wrote about something he called Judaism in the first century. Clearly, that was something he knew a lot about. It included the Pharisaic rules of oral law religion. There are a couple of things that we need to know about Pharisees. They relished their “oral law” and taught that to be saved, you had to follow their tradition.

Yeshua did not oppose all good traditions or all Pharisees, Nicodemus for one was welcomed. Not all Pharisees opposed Yeshua either, some warned that Herod wanted to kill Him, you can find that in Luke 13:31.

So what is Judaism?

When Yeshua told the crowd don't think I'm doing away with anything when He said not one jot or tittle of Torah will fail. Keep in mind He also said unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven, He meant every word.  

Paul taught we should follow the leader... he's right. Check it out, in 1 Corinthians 11:1:

"Follow my example as I follow Messiah."

To do that, to follow Yeshua requires an understanding of the written Torah and the teaching of Yeshua is not a new replacement religion. His actions to disprove that. 

The religious rules of hypocrisy He opposed is a short list

Yeshua demonstrated that by healing, and even on the Sabbath is good. Why? It restores joy and good life from harsh misery and suffering! Healing was not a Torah violation, it honors it.

Think about something. Do you know any Jewish physicians? Just like Yeshua, they too heal on the Sabbath. So, the Pharisees missed the mark. 

Thanks in large part to Rabbi Akiba, "Judaism" now agrees with Jesus.

We need to set the record straight. Yeshua's teaching on hand washing was not against good hygiene, His plain teaching was that an add-on religious ritual can't make a person holy. 

Yeshua kept the Torah mitzvah reminder, He wore tzitzit on His tallit just as God instructed in Numbers 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12. The evidence is the story of the woman in the crowd that touched the hem of His garment. In faith she was healed. The story is documented in Matthew 9:20 and repeated in Luke 8:44. Yeshua only criticized a few Pharisees who made their tzitzit large and prayers long in order to be seen and heard by others, because while they kept the mitzvah, they did not honor it for the right reason.

Yeshua was not against a tithe either, yet He opposed the neglect of justice, mercy and faithfulness:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! Matthew 23:23-24 
Understanding Paul requires some additional background context to the culture 2,000 years ago, so let get that out of the way. 

First of all, the Roman Empire was pagan. Before the Romans, the Greeks were pagan., before the Greeks, the Babylonians were pagan. 

Rome simply adopted the Greek idols that were born out of whore of Babylon. You have to let that sink in and its best if you do some research on your own. 

Paul was traveling across a Greco-Roman idol infested world outside Jerusalem shining Biblical light on a Hellenistic planet infused with Greek thinking and pagan temples.

Back then, people lived in a Torah-less world of myth and fiction. 

People fell for the old idol myths of the Olympians. For most, the deities of the Greek pantheon was believed to be reality. Whether Roman, Greek or Babylonian the average Joe thought the world was controlled by Mount Olympus somewhere in heaven. 

You're likely familiar with some of the names that include: Poseidon, Zeus, Athena, Hades, Apollo, Aphrodite and a host of other so-called lesser deities. 

The point, you have to wrap your head around the culture or you'll not get the big picture behind Paul's letters. The Galatian letter doesn't provide specific clues about their pagan religious cults or calendars, but history does and we can catch a glimpse in Galatians 4:8-11 as the letter points toward the pagan problem Pauls refers to as "the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world."

Paul's goal was to teach Biblical truth to a wild bunch outside Israel in conflict with a community in the middle of a culture war of paganism. 

At the same time, Paul dug in on his opposition to religious rules that added to the written Torah recorded by Moses. His focus in the letter to the Galatians was proselyte conversion designed to earn favor and justification under rabbinic rule.

He did not turn against Biblical Judaism as it is written. 

If we don't connect the dots on the culture conflicts he faced with people that never saw the front of the Bible to those that did, but added to it with their own form of religious rules and hierarchy, you'll will find Paul's messages virtually impossible to decipher. 

I know I certainly have. 

For years as I read, I misread his letters. That left me feeling that I was missing something, but I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. I could sense it, but then I finally realized something, I knew very little, next to nothing about the Oral Law or Paul's training under Gamaliel. Worse yet, I had little understanding of the written Torah foundation of Paul's faith. 

I had to start over from the beginning and reconsider everything. 

The rest of this commentary explores part of my journey with Paul's letter and my question... Why the letter to the Galatians? 

Before we dig further into the background of the underlying unveiled in Galatia, we have to believe Paul just as he described himself. Again, check out Romans 11:1. 

Paul writes that he was: 1) an Israelite, 2) a descendant of Abraham, and 3) of the tribe of Benjamin.

When we accept those facts, we can begin to believe Paul when he called himself a "Hebrew of Hebrews" in Philemon 3:5. 

Don't let your head explode, but he was not calling himself a Sunday church Christian with a New Testament religion. 

Please hang on, don't toss in the towel just yet because we also need to uncover the reason Paul also proudly called himself a "student" of Gamaliel in Acts 22:3 and a "Pharisee" in Acts 26:4-5.

To understand Paul's perspectives, let's start with the heritage of his training under Gamaliel. We'll find his training is a big part of the Biblical foundation of the views he expressed in the Hebrew thought of his Greek letters. At the same time, let's step back in time to understand the pagan problem he also addressed. 

I know, it's complicated, but this is the best way I have found to understand the Galatian question and catch a glimpse of the heart of Paul's messages that have been severely damaged by replacement theology. 

When we read Paul's letters with proper Biblical perspectives, we can catch a glimpse of what he was teaching each Sabbath in those cities scattered throughout the Roman Empire.

Then we might begin to understand that "some" Pharisees in his day, NOT ALL - included men with other schools of thought based on a few religious rules that Yeshua-Jesus called the "tradition of men." 

We can also catch a glimpse of the crucible of religious conflict with the written Word of God that Paul addressed. 

Don't get me wrong, traditions can be good, very good but when religious rule becomes more important than God's voice recorded in the Torah's teaching and instruction, some of the traditions of men can conflict with the heart and character of our Father in Heaven. 

When that happens we will miss the mark that begins with repentance. As Moses' encounter with The Lord demonstrates, repentance allows us to receive the kindness, mercy and love described to Moses in Exodus 34:5-7.

It's mind blowing to see the plain mountaintop truth, and for me it takes repetition to unwind the tangled wires of religious thinking.

I need to put this out there too: Paul never taught against the Biblical instruction of circumcision that The Lord linked to a Passover requirement in Exodus 12, nor anything else written by Moses. 

Instead, Pauls' messages were don't let the traditions of men be the judge of a heart whose motive is repentance, love and joy to walk in God's faith path saved by God's character of forgiveness, mercies and lovingkindness. 

Paul taught that redemption is about mankind's restored relationship with the Creator of the planet and others,. After all, that's the sum of Bible's Torah gospel of God message. 

Salvation is not just a purchase order with a prayer and salvation can't be earned, it's a gift from God's grace. 

Bottomline, Paul's messages reveal what Moses wrote. 

Check out these words of admonition: 
"You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2
With that said, we know the Galatians were basically clueless about the covenant of Exodus 34 the written commandments of God. They were separate from the Shema. 

The Galatians were learning that the faith of Jewish people was a faith for all people rooted in the covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Galatians were new to God's Torah, you may be too, but that's OK, we all have to start our mountaintop journey at the bottom. 

The Galatians didn't grow up reading the Bible. They hadn't learned a thing in the weekly synagogue reading of the Bible since the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The fact is they had some pagan problems. 

Those were real and Acts 15 gives four Bible basics straight from the Torah of how our pagan problems should be resolved step by step to allow anyone new to God's gospel to learn from people familiar with God's word.

The Galatians grew up worshipping pagan idols. 

They had an idol a day if you will and didn't know the first thing about living life in the image of God or His eternal instruction on erasing our pagan ways. They did not understand the promises given to the Prophets either before they heard about repentance and the kingdom God preaching of Yeshua of Nazareth. 

Today, we mistakenly disguise Yeshua with Greek thinking, and call the Bible Jesus read and taught old and done away with at the cross. That's why we don't see Torah basics in the Galatian letter. 

When the people in Galatia heard Paul's preaching, the Hebrew Bible was unavailable except in synagogues. Not only that, even if they had access to the scrolls of the Tanach, most Greeks were basically like me, illiterate in Hebrew. Outside Israel, plain folk spoke Greek. 

It seems even the men that accompanied Paul on the road to Damascus couldn't understand Hebrew. Who knows, perhaps that is why they didn't hear the message if they could hear it at all. Let's look at two references in the book of Acts to piece this together:
Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. Acts 22:9 
And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? 
It is hard for you to kick against the goads?' Acts 24:16
So there you have it, they heard but did not understand, and what about that goad, do you get it?

A "goad" is basically a sharp stick that was used by any good Hebrew shepherd in Paul's day. It's a long sharpened rod used to "prick" a stubborn sheep to move them along to the destination goaded by the shepherd. 

Paul knew Hebrew and he knew what Yeshua meant. Kicking against a sharp goad inflicts nothing but pain to the animal. Bottomline, Yeshua was simple telling Paul (aka Sha'ul in Hebrew) by this question that in his journey to persecute believers in Damascus, Saul was ignoring the Torah of God, and that by he was persecuting followers of Yeshua. He was persecuting the Messiah of Israel and hurting himself. 

The teaching point for Paul was the Torah never taught revenge or judgment on others because they don't think like we do. The reason: God is the judge. 

To do otherwise can cause grave injury. Like Yeshua was saying, don't kick against the goads of the good shepherd's Torah teaching. 

It was a life lesson for Paul so that his eyes could be opened to truth.

As we've noted, if you wanted to hear the words of the Hebrew Bible in Paul's day, you had to go to a synagogue and hear it read aloud. So, when we fast forward from the road to Damascus on to Galatia, we can understand the Galatians had no Biblical training, they did not understand what the Torah teaches about God's character, so a crisis quickly crept into Galatia from the judgment of others with a commitment to the halakhic definition of Jewish identity. That brings us to the crux of the controversy over circumcision

The controversy was man's tradition vs. God's written righteous voice!

Some new believers were being taught oral law traditions with a condition that was not from the writings of Torah. The Galatians were hearing from some that the "only way" to salvation was conversion requiring circumcision. 

They did not know about the Biblical history of circumcision.

Genesis 12 is the beginning of Abrams call at age 75. Twenty four year later, Genesis 17 never mentions conversion for Abraham at age 99. It had been 24 years after he had been called The LORD, believed the promise, received the blessing, left Haran and arrived at the great tree near Shechem when he first entered Canaan and stopped to build an altar before heading on to pitch his tent in the hills east of Bethel. 

They did not understand the moral of the story in Genesis 34. 

Circumcision did not save Hamor or Hamor's son Shechem, it did not save the Canaanites or the Perizzites.

During Paul’s time, people were lost seeking the tree of life. 

Paul came to know his own goad problem and he was worried about people not rooted in the heart of the Torah, but focused on earning salvation. The sum of Paul's message is that redemption cannot be earned as that takes away from Scripture. Paul's big picture message was that redemption comes from God's forgiveness. It's a gift that starts with our repentance and faith in God's sovereignty, mercy, love and grace. 

Salvation is God's work not ours. 

The point Paul made is never think you can "earn" a place in God's Kingdom (see Revelation 14:12). Instead, if you love Almighty God, be a friend show Him and others too by obeying The Father. 

That is the faith walk of Messiah (1 John 5:3).

Paul, aka Sha'ul of Tarsus never taught that wanting to do what is written in the Bible is old or done away with. He did write that seeking to be justified by doing religious things "in obligation" is an attempt to earn salvation, and that is not the redemption solution to restoring a broken relationship with Almighty God. 

The disciples came to understood this too, but they also taught that one's testimony should be seen in good works (see James 2:18).

Paul's goal was to explain the heart of the Bible.

It's God's love-letter of life and it starts by teaching that sin is a grave problem. 

Because of that Torah teaching, Paul wrote that sin destroys our relationship with God and each another. Like Yeshua, he taught that repentance is the first step toward the Kingdom of God. Paul explained that the Torah teaches that confession and repentance leads to restoring relationship with Almighty God, not a knife. 

Paul also taught the good news of restoration in the end is through the miracle of resurrection, not what some call a great escape rapture before great tribulation.

One sign of Paul's heart for Torah was his own repentant and circumcised heart. His circumcised heart journey started on the road to Damascus when he quite kicking against the goad. Paul taught about that from Deuteronomy 10:14-16, but if you are not familiar with the foundation of that message you might miss it in Paul's letters:
"Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 
Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn."
This Torah foundation in Deuteronomy is critical to understand Paul's letters. 

It's important to also know that at the end of the wilderness journey, the people that followed the cloud and pillar of fire and heard this sermon from Moses about what God says had not yet been circumcised. 

The heart lesson is also woven in the great promise of Jeremiah 31:31-34, yet some men were teaching conversion as their own set of rules that to convert as a proselyte required circumcision first. 

The facts on the ground was this tradition revealed the uncircumcision of the stony hearts of the "party of circumcision, a sect of the Pharisees. So, Paul wrote to change the Galatians' hearts which is the same message revealed to Jeremiah. 

Paul argued against the tradition of those Pharisees that says we must be justified by our works substituting what we do for God's mercy. 

Paul's goal was to set the record straight that when we actually listen to what the Torah says about God's lovingkindness in forgiveness, we must see that the only justification available is by faith in the grace and works of Almighty God, not ourselves. 

That's why Paul wrote that Hagar represents Abraham's feeble attempt to attain the promise of God by what he could do, whereas Sarah represents faith in God to fulfill His promise that never changes no matter what we do.

A big part of the Galatian (Gaul) crisis was the Greco-Roman gnostic culture of the day. Earlier we noted that the planet was infested with paganism. Regions and cities had there own false-god and they built temples for them in city squares. Some of the municipal deities included:
  • Corinth - the founder was Corinthos, who was declared a descendant of the fake sun-god Helios.
  • Philippia - this was one sanctuary of the false-goddess Artemis or in Roman disguise, Diana.
  • Thessalonica - the second largest city in Greece behind Athens. There are no remnants of an imperial cult temple as not much has been excavated but the imperial cult can be seen in early coinage found there that labeled Caesar a god. 
  • Ephesis - another Artemis hangout, so-called daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo.
  • Colossae - Like Thessalonica, no archaeology but the city was connected to the Colossus of Rhodes a massive idol statue of the Greek sun-god Helios.
  • Rome - had a host of them. In 217 BC, the Augustan historian Livy listed the big 12 as Jupiter-Juno, Neptune-Minerva, Mars-Venus, Apollo-Diana, Vulcan-Vesta and Mercury-Ceres. 
In Galatia, whose headquarters today is Ankara, Turkey modern archaeology shows that the Romans rebuilt a temple of the Phrygian fake-god "Men" there to venerate Augustus. 

Scholars tell us that Greek Hellenistic philosophy arose in the 6th century BC combining polytheistic idol myth religion with social and political institutions, arts, science and philosophy. For hundreds of years, it was spread by Alexander the Great. Embedded within the culture of the Roman Empire and religious part of Greek philosophy of life, it was polar opposite to the Bible.

Hellenistic thinking attempted to make sense out of the world in a non-Biblical way. That's backward thinking. If we look closely, we can see that most Greek thinking still survives today as people attempt to make sense of life in our Creator's world while seeking the reason for life in vain philosophies or sciences that rejects the voice of the Bible. 

The conflict in Paul's day was nothing new. Most of the Bible is about conflict. It's very old and arose in Greece and Rome from hedonistic false-idol worship rooted in Babylon, Egypt and Persia. It was manifested with the Tower of Babel. From its beginnings, it morphed into the mythic pagan Greco-Roman idol gods, temples and rituals prevalent in Paul's day.

Think of it this way -- the myths of Mount Olympus opposed the covenant written in stone and heard by everyone at Mount Sinai whether a descendant of Jacob or not.

That's precisely why the covenant of Almighty God begins with the truth to set the record straight for anyone that had lived under the slavery of Egypt's old idol worship... the truth is God's lovingkindness that brought people out of slavery. Nothing they did merited their salvation other than God's character and His promise:
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 
You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." Exodus 20:2-6
With that baseline declaration of kindness from our Creator, we have to travel back in time to understand the context of Jewish life in the first century and drop our modern new religion assumptions. When we do, we can discover that Paul's Sabbath synagogue teaching was the polar opposite of the Roman Empire's array of multi-gods of oppression. Those are the ones that Paul called the "no-gods" in Galatians 4:8 and Paul's words were not new at all, they were from Exodus 20:2-6.

Despite many religious opinions to the contrary, Paul's view was not new. The Galatian cultural perspective was both Celtic and Hellenistic, so the apostle focused on God's first covenant of kindness. It was new to the pagans, but it was not new to Paul, or the Jewish people.

Paul was focused on the message of the Shema.

Shema is the Hebrew word that means "hear and do." The Shema was a core foundation of Pauls' faith. It declares: “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!" Opposed to that, the Galatians living in the area of today's Ankara, Turkey worshipped in cult temples dedicated to at least three primary "no gods." Historians tell us they were: Mēn Pharnakou, Selene and Mēn Askaenos.

Paul believed the Shema and he taught its message: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart."

Paul's letters were written to re-educate the former cult members. At the same time, he also debated a few Jewish men that focused their attention on the religious weight of traditional oral law for conversion of the Celtic people vs. the written Torah of kindness. The Galatian letter and others focused on that because during Paul's day, some people misused bits and pieces of the oral law to impress legalistic tradition on conversion to Judaism by requiring circumcision. 

His message was do not think that you can ever earn your salvation when you begin following the Torah, if you do you annul God's mercy.

Some think Paul turned his back Leviticus. Not so, Paul knew Leviticus teaches us about life in the Kingdom, about walking set apart in holiness and good works and about the Israel of God.

New Testament mainstream believers strive with Leviticus in a quarrel, because it is tossed aside, no longer believed, tossed in a cellar. 

In the end, nothing good comes from strife. 

At the beginning of the Exodus journey, from a distance, the mixed multitude had the appearance of all Israel. 

Today, up close, in the heart a mixed multitude of denominations reject the covenant of the way, many refuse adoption and ingrafting into all Israel and do not sanctify the name. They reject the one Torah for both home born and sojourner. They remain a mixed multitude with a golden calf not a part of all Israel and as in Paul's day some born of Israel do the same.

At Sinai, everyone there heard the voice of their Creator in the new creation of a people that said I will do. Many must have arrived there at Mount Sinai uncircumcised.

Some rabbis say that the man that started the golden calf contention with the covenant everyone heard at the mountain of God was one of the mixed multitude. I think they may have hit the nail on the head.

"For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Torah themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh." Galatians 6:13

Paul taught that our boasting should be the beaten one, the Messiah of the olive tree the voice, the sinless Torah servant of God.
"But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Messiah Yeshua, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy [be] upon them, and upon the Israel of God." Galatians 6:14-16
He explained the mixed multitude: "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel"  Romans 9:6 

In Leviticus 24 we see an amazing Kingdom way instruction: "Command the sons of Israel that they bring to you clear oil from beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually."

We aren't to strive with the menorah, we are to be the menorah.
"Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God." Isaiah 50:10

Yeshua taught about the menorah instruction and explained Isaiah's words: "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

"No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light." Luke 11:33 

"Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands [I saw] one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash." Revelation 1:12-13 
Following the vision, John wrote the seven letters to the seven assemblies...

The book of Revelation reveals Leviticus 23. Here's one example:
"For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong." Revelation 18:8

"And if you will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of covenant: and when you are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy." Leviticus 23-26:25 
In Galatians 6:13-16 Paul taught that the Bible's message of mercy is higher than men's traditions. Paul's Biblically Jewish perspective explained the infinite grace of God's character interwoven with The Lord's loving instruction that embraces the heart of repentant life with a caring relationship based on kindness.

Simply put, Paul's teaching infused the message of the compassionate heart of Almighty God declared at Sinai. That is why Paul wrote that love is the fulfilling of the law [Torah] in Romans 13:10 as he quoted Leviticus 19:18.

In Paul's day, the Jewish belief in the God of Israel was in a state of collision with Galatia's gentile cults of polytheistic paganism that worshipped strains of mythic multi-gods based on undercurrents of power, materialism, bias and cruelty. Galatia looked like Egypt.

The Greek pantheon listed twelve (12) Olympian gods and dozens of lesser gods and goddesses that were assimilated by the Romans. Paul was dealing with ancient beliefs originating in Egypt, Babylon and as well as Chaldea, Persia and Greece that had morphed into the Roman Empire from the Mesopotamian deities that gave birth to Zoroastrianism, Gnosticism, Hellenism and Greek philosophy.

In one form or another, these religious philosophies have survived in one form or another today.

Without a proper cultural backdrop of the days and times of Paul, a surface reading of the letters penned by the Jew from Tarsus can lead one to mistakenly think that this rabbi's goal was to start a "new" religion as a break from the Torah and provide an override to God's Kingdom constitution for a set apart life. Yet, on the Damascus road encounter with Messiah, Paul came to know the heart message of the Shema from the bright light of the servant of God. 

Paul's messages were inspired by the Spirit of God's lovingkindness and mercy, the pinnacle weave of the heart of the Torah's instruction was embedded in his letters. The new thing about Paul is he taught the Gentiles who met with him had never heard the foundation of the truth of lovingkindness found in the Hebrew Scriptures could be grafted into all Israel just like the sojourners at Sinai. 

Noah Webster gives us some insight.

In 1828, he published his Dictionary with a gentile definition: GEN'TILE, noun [Latin gentilis; from Latin gens, nation, race; applied to pagans.] In the scriptures, a pagan; a worshipper of false gods; any person not a Jew or a christian; a heathen.

Mr. Webster points to the issue of idol practices as being the character distinction of Gentiles. Idols were linked to the heathens, the image-worshippers according to the 1880 McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.

As to the religion of heathenism, it is "a wild growth on the soil of fallen human nature, a darkening of the original consciousness of God's deification of the rational and irrational creature, and a corresponding corruption of the moral sense, giving the sanction of religion to natural and unnatural vices. 

Does that remind you of the mixed multitude and the Golden Calf?

The book of Acts describes Paul's heart transplant for these people.

He was a changed man because he "saw the light" on the road to Damascus as he came to understand the message Moses zeroed in on about Almighty God's mountaintop declaration of mercy, grace and lovingkindness. Paul came to understand that our relationship with Elohim God and each other must be based on The LORD's attributes declared to Moses:
"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..." Exodus 34:5-7 
This message is the hidden truth that many miss in Paul's letters. Paul taught the wilderness experience that is central to the heart of God. Bottomline, Paul's faith in a merciful, gracious, patient and forgiving God is not a new religion. Instead, Paul was explaining God's desire for forgiveness in mercy and lovingkindness lived out by Yeshua. That is the shalom peace foundation of Pauls' letters.

This foundation truth is very hard for many people to grasp if we think for one minute that the Torah's instruction from God was done away with.  A big problem arises with the King James word law. The word Torah does not exactly mean law as we know it. The Hebrew meaning is teaching and instruction. That misconception is one reason Paul's letters are so difficult to read. The scary thing is this, if the Torah was done away with, then mercy, grace, steadfast love and forgiveness of sin is old done away with too, because that is the heart of The Torah of God.

Yeshua summed it best for the woman at the well in Samaria: "true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The fact that the woman a the well was a Samaritan is very important. 

She wasn't from the land allocated to Judah. She was from the area allotted to Joseph's two sons Ephraim. After the United Kingdom of Israel broke up in division about a thousand years earlier, Ephraim turned away from God's ways, but Jesus reminded her God has a plan to restore the Kingdom! 
The key to the Kingdom is that "true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth."

The truth is the spirit of the Torah, so to begin to understand the truth of the Galatian letter, we need some help from the letter writer in his letter to the Romans. In it, Paul provides his reference point over and again repeating the words: "as it is written."

As it it written, Paul knew that after the grave fall to sin in Eden God mercifully clothed Adam and Eve. Although Elohim God did not allow Moses to enter into the promised land, he personally buried him. After the dark sin of the golden calf idol, God's heart of lovingkindness and grace was explained to Moses at the mountaintop. The spirit of the Torah was taught as the truth from Sinai, Jerusalem, then Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Colossae, Thessalonia, Macedonia and beyond.

As it it written was Paul's teaching on mercy, grace and the peace arising from the forgiveness of sin was nothing new at all.

The problem of any "new" religion view of Paul is that it is an "old" remnant of a prejudiced, dispensational, golden calf-like replacement theology that history reveals in the Greek philosophies that infected Gentile minds with no experience or training in the loving kindness of the Hebrew Bible.

If we could travel back in time to 144 AD, we would find a rich, materialistic ship merchant standing on a podium box in Rome in a prideful bid for political power to become a bishop like his father before him. His name was Marcion and his podium pounding was a serpent's poison declaring a division of the Bible as Old vs. New. 

The term "Old Testament" was eventually coined from his antinomian rantings relating to a view that Christians are released by grace invented only in the concept of new religion that does away with honoring the Torah voice of Almighty God.

Marcion's version of Christianity was birthed as an anti-Semitic and anti-Torah teaching that eventually took root and spread one day at a time on a global scale that hit a peak in the 16th century in Germany of all places. 

After Marcion's heyday, his views that had been rejected led a series of so-called new church fathers to claim Christianity as a new religion preaching it's time to turn backs on Torah and Jews. The Gentile church division promoted to a religious community hatred of the Jewish people as Anti-Jewish lies soon morphed into a replacement theology that the church had replaced Israel. 

Eventually, even Rome replaced Jerusalem. 

Replacement theology flies in the face of the Old Testament truths Yeshua-Jesus taught at the sermon on the mount and along the road to Emmaus. Nothing is old, every jot and title counts. 

Bottomline, a divided Bible cannot walk along the righteous road. Division can never be reconciled with spirit and truth, grace or lovingkindness.

In a nutshell, Marcion taught that Moses preached the Sabbath as an old law declared by an angry tyrant seeking control. Marcion's label as a heretic is spot on. He taught Jesus Christ freed Christians from an old law Bible that was done away with. Marcion preached a Christian Christ that was not the Jewish Jesus.

In stark contrast, Marcion taught the mitzvoth of our Creator were old and done away with, hung on a cross.

Does Marcion's podium preaching sound familiar to you?

If it doesn't, you may have heard a diluted form of it, but know this, diluted or not it's all poison, a bitter water like that at Marah that is part of an ignorant and unstable lie that began in Eden. A lie that says God does not mean what He says. A lie that says God changes. A lie that says the God of the Old Testament is not the forgiving God of the New Testament. 

That lie comes from the mouth of a deceptive serpent that wants to destroy your mind, heart, soul and take your life whether his name is Marcion or another.

Marcion believed a lie and rejected the living word, the tree of life of the Tanach, the written Scriptures that Yeshua knew by heart as He lived them, taught them and explained them. 

Those same Hebrew Scriptures are available for today thanks to the Jewish people that wrote them and preserved them with God's help. Those scrolls reveal that the essence of sin is man substituting his opinion and choosing to ignore God's view. Yeshua explained that the good news of life in the Kingdom of God begins with teshuvah which means turning around in repentance, returning to God's ways, not walking away from them. That's the essence of the road to Emmaus story.

Marcion was anti-tesuhvah. Like Balak, he was a supersessionist madman. He not only rejected the Hebrew Bible, he tossed aside most of the Jewish manuscripts of the talmidim (disciples) of Yeshua. The righteous reports from the witness of men like James (Yacov), John (Yochanan) and Peter (Simon) were tossed aside by Marcion except the letters of Paul that he misunderstood and twisted their blessing to a deception. 

Marcion was clueless to the words of the physician Luke (Lucas) that he redacted to fit his Hellenistic Greco-Roman world views.

Most Christians initially rejected the views of Marcion and the Gnostics, but the viral damage was began 1,800 years ago and the Old vs. New conflict soon crept into church opinion despite the fact that the Apostles were all Torah-observant as it is written.

Paul came to understand the eternal Almighty God of the universe told His scribe Moses to write down one Torah for all people:
"There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you." Exodus 12:49 
"You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am Y-H-V-H your Elohim." Leviticus 24:22
In the ancient synagogues as they do today, most rabbis understood the promise of the Messiah (Mosiach), the prophet promised like Moses, but some in the second and third century church leadership distorted the Jewish personality and faith of Yeshua HaMashiach to fit their own views. So much so, the church fathers after the disciples were long gone eventually created their view of “another messiah” if you will that rejected his Jewishness and commitment to the Torah. According to their new theologies, Jesus replaced the foundation of the Sabbath synagogue Tanach teachings with a Sunday New Testament Gentile sermon.

The true Jewish Messiah of the Tanach is a much different Messiah than the reinvented Hellenistic Christ that the second generation antisemitic church fathers recreated with a new religion that ignored the fact that Yeshua lived in Israel as a Torah observant Jew observing Shabbat and all the instruction of God that Moses wrote down while teaching others to never take away any jot or tittle of the Torah (Matthew 5:17-20).

Those so-called church fathers erased the jots and tittles, replacing them with anti-semitism, lawless pride and religious control. They rejected the people that believe and know God is the Creator and ruler of all things, the first and the last. They rejected the people that know all the words of the prophets are true. They rejected the people that believe God knows every man's deeds and thoughts. They rejected the people of the Lion of Judah, the Messiah King that will usher in the Messianic Age to come and that the dead will be brought back to life in resurrection when The LORD God wills it to happen.

Because the jots and tittles were done away with, many Jewish people all the more rejected belief in Yeshua. Why wouldn't they? In church mode, Jesus could not be Messiah.

What the followers of Hellenism rejected is the fact that the Jewish people believe by faith that God does not change and His words were never done away with. Faithful Jewish people rightly believe God keeps His word and the fact that God blesses those who keep His commandments including His Feast Day appointments because they love and believe Him. Think about that fact if your call yourself a believer, because it means faithful Jewish people are believers in Almighty God too.

Marcion was eventually branded a heretic and never made it to the bishop's office, but the bad news is some of his legacy of lies mutated to a lesser form and sadly embedded itself within the hearts and minds of men like a hidden virus that will not go away. A virus that hides the compassion, forgiving heart of the God of Israel declared and shown at Sinai. A religious virus that can't explain the Torah keeping Jewishness of Yeshua of Nazareth that upheld every jot and tittle of the Hebrew Bible that He taught and explained in parables.

It's important to understand the viral analogy of replacement theology that divides synagogue and church. The wall of division that arose is real because Jerusalem is the place the God of Israel chose to place His holy name, He did not and never will choose a Vatican City enclave in Rome with a obelisk at its center or Mecca with a Kaaba stone.

You will not find a single Scripture about our Creator placing His name on Constantinople, Salt Lake City or in a Buddhist pilgrimage site. You will not find His name under a thatched roof Shinto shrine or a Hindu temple nor will your ever find His name in the temples of Confucius throughout China or at Stonehenge.

The Bible has almost a thousand references to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the city of Zion and Almighty God has invested his name and reputation there, it's God's place on earth (see Daniel 9:19).

Are you a citizen of Zion? If not, you can be.
“For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for His dwelling place: “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”   Psalms 132:13-14
Let's get back on track with the viral blank page conflict of Old vs. New that's created the division.

The odd scientific fact is that a virus is not known to be living or dead. Instead a virus straddles the frayed boundary between living and dead like a zombie. This is a part of the bigger picture described as the one noted in Sardis whose dead works are not perfect before God (see Revelation 3:1).

Once a virus mutates, it changes it genetic design, it can replicate and insert itself directly into a healthy host cell with one goal to destroy life. Not only that, it can lie waiting for a future opportunity to become destructive again. Viruses are especially difficult to control because our natural immune system is not always prepared to fight them. 

In a similar way, Marcion's viral outbreak against God's voice never really ended and the spiritually dead virus became endemic in a church pandemic that turned against the Jewish people with a replacement theology.

A virus meets the very definition of the undead moving from a dormant state to wreak havoc on the original genetic code God created for life. Worse yet, many viruses use genetic reprogramming as fuel to sustain and spread disease and death whenever and wherever it can.

The good news vaccine for me began with and understanding that God does not change (see Malachi 3:6, Numbers 23:19, Isaiah 40:8 and Psalm 33:11).

James, the Jewish disciple of Yeshua whose real name was Jacob taught the same truth:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17
That unchanging truth is The LORD's unending mercy heart and lovingkindness is shown in the Hebrew Bible. The grace found there is the prescription for healing that starts with repentance.

Recognizing antisemitism and de-Hellenizing the life of Jesus is the vaccination required for Kingdom restoration. God's attributes and Master Rabbi Yeshua's Torah life teaching are the key lines of defense to help us all overcome any neuro-invasive spiritual disease infecting our souls and dividing our hearts in a Messiah tug of war.

By most scholarly accounts, re-programming the unchanging DNA of God's Word began with Marcion as his viral code was planted at the podium. Marcion was a willing host for a morphed strain of Mithraism that spread from present-day Iran to Turkey and then throughout the Roman Empire.

With an infectious hint of Marcion's magic, a man by the name of Simon Magnus led other so-called early church fathers to adopt bits and pieces of Marcion's viral code of spiritual destruction with hypocritical views of replacement theology as a "new religion" with a church replacing the assembly of Israel. Sadly, their cracking voices still echo from some pulpits with occasional snippets from Paul's letters declaring the Scriptures Jesus taught as done away. All this despite Paul's custom (Acts 17:2) every Sabbath to teach, explain and prove from the Hebrew Scriptures that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.

If Paul taught they were old and done away with and replaced by grace alone he would have been schizophrenic and demented.

He was not. Paul understood the words of Jesus recorded in the gospels and the writings of James and John:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." James 1:22-25
Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1John 3:24 
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1John 5:2-3
Like Paul... James and John knew grace never departed from the Torah, it started there interwoven in God's Word. Yet, Paul's Galatian letter is misused today following the sins of the church father's long ago highlighted in 325AD with their two Council of Nicaea bishop's convention in today's İznik, Turkey.

That counsel was called to order by Roman Emperor Constantine and that bishop's convention legitimized antisemitism and declared Easter to replace Passover.

That Council was called to order a year after Constantine's council ordered worship on Sunday and work on The Lord's Sabbath ignoring the Biblical calendar with Constantine's "venerable day of the Sun."

The second Council of Nicaea in 787AD intensified fierce anti-semitism and over-ruled God's repeated commandments (see Exodus 20:4, Leviticus 26:1, Deuteronomy 4:16-25, Deuteronomy 5:8) to not use images in worship and it restored the veneration of manmade icons in their declaration of faith concerning images that the God of Israel opposed.

Under Constantine's decree, the Sabbath took on a pagan form of daylight savings time as it sprang forward from the seventh day to the first.

It was Canon 29 of the Laodicean Council (c. 364 AD) that criminalized the Sabbath and Jewish expression of Biblical faith declaring: "Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honoring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ."

Prophetically, Jesus calls the Laodicean church to repent of this sin: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Revelation 3:18). This is a call from love not condemnation. Jesus declared His concern for Laodicea: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:19-20).

Incredibly, this Laodicean Council branded Jesus the Jew as an religious heretic. After all, Jesus preached all the jots and tittles remain and He celebrated all the Feast Day appointments of The Lord, but the Council decreed:

Canon 37: "It is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them."

This Laodicean fact leads us back to the big question:

Why the letter to the Galatians?

The answer is complex because we are far removed from the culture and mindset of those that it was written for - so it requires a deep dive into history and the Bible. The Bible never teaches religious control by the establishment. Religious control is the precept, the issue that Paul addressed in his letter to the Galatians. The reason, religious men were telling the Galatians that they had to be circumcised to be saved and that faith was not enough to believe the Torah that Paul taught in synagogues every Sabbath that pointed to Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel.

The religious had their own tradition of house rules saying the Galatians had to be circumcised to be saved and convert to the family of God. The problem: God never said that, Moses never wrote that and Yeshua never taught that so Paul tried to explain it as he knew and was inspired to convey the truth of the Exodus story.

It's prophetic that Paul wrote this to the Colossians: "For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face..." Colossians 2:1

His struggle was against traditional religious control not found in Scripture. The Bible tells us about God's engagement through the first 4,000 years of human history, so we have to look in the rearview mirror into the cultural background of the people of the Bible to better understand what we find in the spirit and truth of the Scriptures.

As noted earlier, some "church" fathers that arrived on the scene after the Apostles, were already infected with Greco-Roman cult of the sun philosophies. These church fathers were infected with antiSemitism and they viewed the Jewish people as “rejected” and "forgotten" by God. The church fathers were led by a lie misunderstanding Rome's onslaught of Temple destruction in 70 AD. They held to their new replacement theology that the Jews were cast out of Jerusalem by God to wander the world as a despised people disconnected from the faith expressed by Yeshua and His Jewish disciples.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Today's Israel if the proof!

Sadly, 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.” In that twisted religious view, the cross was used as a sword and a symbol of conquest, hatred and persecution against the Jewish people.

Yet, the fact remains that Jesus was a Jew. So was Paul, and the disciples were all Jewish and most of the multitudes of the faith of Israel were Jewish because the Gentile worshipped a multitude of false idols.

The truth of the matter is that the Jewish people were not the murderers of Christ, the opposite is true, the Jewish were the people that brought the Jewish Messiah into a pagan world to save it. That's the reason Paul wrote this:
?For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16 
"There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified." Romans 2:9-13 
"What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin..." Romans 3:9  
"Again he says, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, WITH HIS PEOPLE." Romans 15:10
Acts 18:4 is clear about Paul's mission: "And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks."

Yet, Justin Martyr was a man that believed the lies of replacement theology despite the fact that the Roman prefect of Judaea Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to beating, scourging and a verdict of death by his Roman guard. Pilate knew that the evidence in Yeshua's trial was bogus, yet he validated the crime of a few. He knew that the accusations were false and that they did not justify death or any sentence for that matter under any rule of Roman law.

If you doubt this read Luke 23:4, Luke 23:13-15 and Luke 23:22-23 for the evidence of the trial.

The prideful rejection of his own perjury in false judgment is why Pilate washed his hands accepting the accusations of a small elite leadership of a few pride-filled religious men misled by Caiaphas as they threw accusation stones of blasphemy at the Nazarene Jesus.

Almighty God used Pilate's decision. Pilate washed his hands, but it never undid his own perjury.

This fact zeros in on the great mystery of God’s sovereignty and The Father's desire to provide salvation to all mankind no matter how great the cost. The mystery is that salvation is for the Jew first then the Gentile. God gave His voice, the oracles to be kept by the Jewish people for the salvation of everyone.

In the end, that trial and Caiaphas' own words point us like a flashing road sign back to the teaching in Genesis 50:20 where we see Joseph telling his brothers that he forgave them:
"You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result– the survival of many people."
Like Pilate, some second-century pulpits began to wash their hands in perjury with sermons filled with ignorant and unstable lies against the Jewish people.

Their viral lies have numerous progeny that morphed into today's replacement theology, a spiritual virus that is still spreading from one pulpit to another infecting the hearts of congregations that leave their Bibles on the bookshelf like a rejected immunization.

The viral spiritual hate cycle of their replacement theology led to an illness we now know as antisemitism.

It is a global pandemic that reproduces itself within a willing host that does not believe God's promises. The truth is a virus is dead, it does not live yet it survives and kills. Like a virus,  antisemitism goes dormant for awhile, then it morphs in different strains to survive. Simply put, the actions of an antisemitic heart is an illness that depends on destructive hatred toward the Jewish people that brought the world the Messiah.

The big problem is the viral lies of certain church fathers have caused the Jewish people to go into quarantine for nearly 2,000 years from a church that declares the word of God is old and done away with and that Israel has been replaced.

Despite some reform 500 years ago that is credited to Martin Luther, viral lies have produced horrific antisemitic aggression including medieval forced conversions, inquisitions, blood libels, confiscations, expulsions, pogroms, massacres, murders and persecution that culminated in the Romans 2:9 warning from Paul about what may well be about the tribulation of the Shoah, the Holocaust of Hitler and his  madmen during World War II.

Hitler did not succeed in destroying the Jewish people.

Tribulation distress is headed toward every human being who does evil justifying it and rationalizing it.

Today, that evil includes the manmade court rulings that toss prayer from school, pull the Bible from schools bringing our children into spiritual drought, legalizing anytime abortion and conveying the constitution to one like Sodom and Gomorrah in a national and global addiction to the idols of free for all sex, the worship of selfish immoral pleasure.

The solution God gives in the Bible. 

It is confession and repentance, to return to the Scriptures. My journey home began through prayer by asking "God what do you want me to do for you?" not do something for me.

We have sinned against you God's word. Knowing the prayer of Daniel, Paul counseled Timothy to study God's word. 

The prayer of confession in Daniel 9 gives us all the model:
“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. 
“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you." Daniel 9:4-8
The great tragedy of discrimination and persecution through most of church history is that the light of love and grace of the Torah was nearly extinguished by replacement theology as non-Jewish believers were taught that a Greco-Roman church replaced the Jewish people and Jerusalem in God’s eternal plan to save the world. In antisemitism the Gentile church in large part rejected God's word saying it is old and done away with.

Yet, a remnant of Christians around the world believe the Bible and are rejecting the new religion of misled church fathers. They are engaging in the celebration of the Lord's Sabbath as well as Passover, Tabernacles and the Feasts of The Lord. Many are visiting synagogues, making Jewish friends including rabbi's while supporting people and projects to bless Israel and Jewish communities.

Today, many are waking up and rejecting the deadly virus of antisemitism and hate that is materalized in Israel in the form of the rockets of Hamas and jihad sponsored by the Haman-like tirades of Iran's leaders with the stated goal to wipe Israel off the map. 

But there is opposition. Old spiritual disease has morphed into another form within the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions known as the BDS Movement against Israeli products from God's land of promise with a blessing given to Abraham and his descendants for all nations.

Replacement theology came from the influence of the malicious religious infections of men like Marcion, Simon Magnus, Justin Martyr and Melito of Sardis who attempted to reprogram the Jewish DNA of faith. Second century assemblies were pushed away from the heritage of their Jewish roots and Jerusalem in a new religion that blamed the death of Jesus on Jewish people.

We must take note that the letter from John written on the island of Pathos gives an advance warning to men like Melito of Smyrna:
I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Revelation 3:1-2
Anti-Jewish and anti-Torah replacement theology works to disguise the true faith of Yeshua as a "new religion" in Sardis because it instituted a misunderstanding of the Biblical faith rooted in the hearts of faithful Jewish people.

The virus has become so virulent in the Middle East today that some now declare that Jesus was a Palestinian Muslim. Yet, in Jesus' day there were no Muslims. 

After all, Muhammed was 600 years removed. In my view Islam was not actually  born as a "new religion" that rewrites the truth of God's election and Abraham's blessing. 

Today, the Temple Mount remains in Islam's control under the rule of the Muslim Waqf from Amman, Jordan and that's a part of the conflict of good vs. evil as radical Jihadists scream Allah Akbar. 

On 9/11, I heard that for the first time from those that follow Ishmael and soon I learned it means Allah is greater. 

It's true Abraham asked God to extend His covenant to the descendants of Ishmael, but that wasn't the plan. Almighty God had another one, yet He promised to make a nation from Ishmael but He gave His covenant promises to Isaac's descendants.

Today we have the Middle East conflict which has spread globally as the conflict of extreme radical Islam which asks the original deception, did God really say??

Islam requires that all become Muslim and follow the Koran and the Hadiths.

That's not only antisemitic it's anti-everything in the Bible.

Anti-Bible roots began to spread as the demographics of believers in Yeshua changed when His life story expanded from Jerusalem to the pagan Greek mindset of the Roman Empire too. 

The fact is that in the first century, virtually every believer was Jewish (see Romans 1:16). Yet, as word spread about Messiah Yeshua and what He had done from the witness of believing Jews in cities like Antioch and Alexandria westward to Rome and beyond, the Biblical faith of the Jewish disciples like James and Peter fell under the pagan influence of a Greco-Roman worldview centered in Rome and Constantinople.

Yeshua's name was changed to Iesous then later to Jesus as it has morphed from Hebrew to Greek, Latin to English.

The heart of the Hebrew Bible and Yeshua's life and Jewish teaching was never known by Emperor Constantine. His lack of foundational Biblical basics and his Scriptural ignorance enabled grievous Jewish persecution by the Roman Empire's new church that attempted to erase the Jewishness of Jesus.

Constantine re-codified celebrations and dates of Rome's old sun-go religion into a new religion with councils to do the work. All in opposition to the Jewish people in much the same way that Pilate washed his hands and falsely sentenced Yeshua to Roman lashing, beating and nails on a crucifixion tree.

It's no wonder that just 150 years after Constantine's first Council of Nicea, Rome's unified power had collapsed and was divided between east and west.

Hosea 4:6 warns of destruction by lack of Biblical understanding:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
Today, 1900 years after Marcion's heresies and Melito's homilies became more widely known through the Roman Empire, we must face the hard cold facts of their harm. Bible believing Christians must believe the Bible, look back and repent of the dark seed of Calvin's treatise: "On The Jews and Their Lies" and its church curse on the Jewish people.

Calvin's eventual hatred of the Jewish people unwittingly paved the adoption of a dark path for the mind altering evil of Hitler and Himmler. They built concentration camps filled with demonic hatred that led to the German state's sponsored mass murder of over six million, yes 6,000,000  precious souls that in a bizarre way mirrors the trial and tribulation by the Roman execution of Yeshua the Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth.

Yet, just as Yeshua, the promised Messiah King of the Jews was resurrected to life by Almighty God's power and authority over death on the third day called First Fruits from a rock hewn grave just outside the walls of Jerusalem, incredibly the Jewish people have been resurrected after two thousand years to new life in the Holy Land promised to Abraham because he obeyed God's voice.

It's hard to comprehend, perhaps impossible, but no holocaust equals no State of Israel that arose reborn from the ashes of Hitler's ovens. That 70 year-old miracle has opened the eyes and hearts of many to the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 15.

That fact is that the land of Israel and the Jewish people are a big part of God's salvation plan for the planet.

God does not change, people do. 

Marcion and Melito changed Gentile opinion in the nations because they rejected the unchanging promises that the Scriptures hold. The result is that Christianity sought to eradicate the Torah and rewrite its Gospel but that is now changing, at least for a faithful remnant.

There is repentance today as some now reject Greek thinking that flatly ignores the words of the Jewish disciple John (Yochanan) that declares God's love:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16 
Calvin fell into Marcion's trap and he believed the lie that God turned His back on the Jewish people, and because Calvin was ensnared by the lies, he ignored the words of Jesus not understanding that He laid His life down for His flock by His own initiative and the authority of the Father to give His life back to Him in the ultimate display of God's love and salvation plan to restore mankind from the grave.
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 
He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.  
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.  
For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” John 10:11-18
Marcion deemed the letter to the Galatians as the pinnacle of Paul's letters for ALL of the wrong reasons.

Marcion claimed Paul had walked away from the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings and started a "new" religion. Paul never did that, instead he taught against a few rabbinic legalisms that set religious requirements for conversion through circumcision rather than faith in relationship like that of Abraham, the friend of God that sojourned with Almighty God 24 years before his circumcision. Paul knew the Israelites, like Abraham had followed God as they were trained by Moses for 40 years in the wilderness before circumcision.

Paul's focus was on the lovingkindness, mercies and grace declared by Almighty God to Moses from the top of Mount Sinai, Paul's message was also about Baal Peor, and I hope to explain that.

Marcion did not believe that lovingkindness and mercies of Almighty God was the Hebrew Bible's pinnacle message found in the Torah. Perhaps his problem was like mine. Because he didn't study Torah, Marcion did not know that Abram was God's friend long before he received the instruction of circumcision after taking matters into his own hands while ignoring God's promise of a son for Sarah.

As I thought about that a few years ago, I realized that God told Abram to circumcise himself only after he listened to some lack of faith advice from Sarah and agreed to take Hagar, his wife's maidservant to bear a son as a substitute that was not promised by Almighty God to be borne by Sarai.

Steeped in Greek philosophy, Marcion misunderstood Paul's Jewish teaching style about God's character, so he turned the letters of the apostle upside down re-wiring Paul's words into those of a Greek philosopher with a new world view.

Marcion forgot that while imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote the following words that emphatically mandate a core understanding in ever one of Paul's letters of admonition:
"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
Sadly, then and now, no one wants to hear the Roman letter for what it really says. 

This Torah declaration in Paul's letter was nothing new, it points directly to Almighty God's reason given to Isaac about why The Lord God will continue to honor His forever promise given to Isaac's father Abraham:
"...because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My Torah.” Genesis 26:5
Marcion's vicious attack on the Hebrew Bible (aka the Tanach) rejected righteous obedience.

Marcion did not understand Jesus' fulfillment of Isaac's willing ha-Aqedah (binding) on the wood. Not only that, Marcion's hatred of all things Jewish was exasperated by his failure to understand Paul's grafting-in message of faith explained in Romans 9, Romans 10 and Romans 11.

Why didn't Marcion understand? He failed the faith test. 

He did not understand the historic Biblical context of the Galatian letter that proclaims the gospel of the Kingdom of God and its mountaintop focus on God's covenant promises tie to His heart of everlasting lovingkindness and redemption is the character focus of the Torah of God.

Marcion's twisted views were driven by a Greek Hellenistic worldview that was spun by the lie that God changes. That Greek thinking still pervades the hearts of Christians that do not believe what God said to Moses because they believe like Marcion did. 

Following in the footsteps of Marcion, Rome's Emperor Constantine took the original replacement theology lies to a whole "new" level as he turned Christianity against the Torah lessons that were to be learned every week in the synagogue.

Today, many Christians claim Galatians and Acts 15 as a New Testament council rule of law for the church. 

That's understandable if the covenant in Jeremiah 31:31 is not fully understood or if the purpose of basic training is forgotten. My brother served in the U.S. Army, my dad in the Air Force and my uncles served in the Navy as well as the Army. One thing I learned from them is that basic training does not prepare a soldier for the battlefield. 

Boot camp is only the start of the process and journey. After basic training, the next step is to attend advanced individual training that consists of consists of classroom, hands-on and field training. 

The U.S. Army's Advanced Individual Training (AIT) is where soldiers learn how to perform the tasks required in their specific Military Occupational Specialty.

It's the same for The Lord's army.

Advanced training involves the teachings of God that takes time to study, learn and practiced by any believer traveling the road that leads to salvation from death in resurrection. 

The men that met in Jerusalem described in Acts 15 had all gone through advanced training, all but one on the list were trained by Yeshua of Nazareth. They included Paul, Barnabas, Peter, James, Simeon and "the rest of the apostles and elders." 

The fact is they outlined the Bible's basic boot camp training straight from God's voice out of Leviticus. They obviously didn't think of it as old and done away with. What many overlook is that they assumed God's teaching and instruction, the Torah message to the world would be properly taught each and every Sabbath in advanced individual training. 

We know, because 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
What the men at the Jerusalem Council didn't know is that within 300 years, a church religion claimed by Emperor Constantine would officially declare a Gentile opinion against Moses, the Sabbath and the synagogue as the new rule of law that would do away with advanced individual training each Sabbath in which The Ten Commandments are the outline, the beginning of the teachings of God. 

It's time to reject Greco-Roman Christian views that wear Scriptural blinders to Yeshua's Biblical obedience and life offering with a view that non-Jews grafted as a wild branch into the assembly of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob need to show that only grace abounds and there's no holiness call other than the basic Torah prohibitions on four things: 1) idols, 2) sexual immorality, 3) strangled meat and 4) drinking blood. 

A four-point Greco-Roman view is much like the Tosefta of the Talmud that teaches seven rabbinic Noahide laws are the commandments for Gentiles to be assured of a place in the world to come (Olam Ha-Ba) without a need for conversion to Judaism. Although not prescribed as such in the Torah, the seven Noahide laws include three other Torah prohibitions the Jerusalem Council did not mention. The seven include 1) worshipping idols, 2) cursing God, 3) murder, 4) sexual immorality, 5) theft, 6) eating a living animal and 7) the obligation to establish courts of justice.

The problem with the Noahide seven is what rule of law is used in the courts of justice?

Did the Jerusalem Council do away with Torah prohibitions on murder, theft and the obligation to establish courts of justice? What about the Ten Commandments, is that all that was said at Sinai? No, God did not go silent. 

Both are false teachings that take away from the Torah and violate Deuteronomy 4:2.

Pulpit new religion theories are like Balaak, they crash headlong into Almighty God's thunderous voice that declares:
For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before YHWH. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.” Exodus 15:15-16
Thank God the Jewish elders, the disciples and Paul all knew there's much more instruction from God that was delivered to Moses than a condemnation of pagan idol worship, sexual immorality, eating animals choked to death and drinking blood. 

They knew Moses' reminder, all who follow Baal-peor die. 

Although Acts 15 does not mention Baal Peor, it was the basis of their decision straight from Moses. So, their message was that Gentiles must take the first steps to turn from Baal-peor paganism before they could begin to learn the rest of Torah. They also knew Torah teaching a process, a Godly lifestyle to be learned based in the written word of God, not man-made rules like the Galatians had fallen for that circumcision was required for conversion.

We should take Torah steps each week too! That's the big lesson of Acts 15 with a focus on the Sabbath and its well worth repeating...
"For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is [to be] read every Sabbath." Acts 15:21
If you are wondering about the disciples admonition against blood and idols, you can find the Bible basics for their Jerusalem Council declaration in the Torah portions binding those who choose to join with Israel as part of the assembly of the children of God under the tutelage of Moses. It's time study the Bible Torah portions that the men of the Jerusalem Counsel were talking about.

Let's start with portion Re'eh, it's the fourth portion of weekly Sabbath reading found in the Torah summary sermon of Moses we now know as Deuteronomy. Turn to Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17. In this reading of the weekly parashah (the scroll portion) the Jerusalem Council focused on. Moses' sermon declares God's choice between blessings and curses and he repeats this three times because it's very important, yet it is easy, a light yoke:
Deuteronomy 12:16 " shall not eat the blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water." 
Deuteronomy 12:23:24 " sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. You shall not eat it; you shall pour it out on the ground like water." 
Deuteronomy 15:23 "you shall not eat its blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water." 
In the weekly portion Acharei Mot, Leviticus 17:10 tells us why the disciples chose their words. Acharei Mot also addresses eating animals choked to death. Take note of the big difference: 
 Leviticus 17:15–16 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.” 
"And every person who eats what dies of itself or what is torn by beasts, whether he is a native or a sojourner, shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening; then he shall be clean. But if he does not wash them or bathe his flesh, he shall bear his iniquity."
The story of Baal Peor begins with Balaak, the king of the Moabites. He paid Balaam, to curse Israel. The Baal Peor storyline continues in Numbers 25, when the women of Midian seduced the men of Israel into sexual sin and convinced them to sacrifice, eat meat and bow to their fertility gods. In righteous judgment against their sin, God sent a plague among the people. That's a warning for today.

According to Numbers 31:16, the women of Midian were following Balaam's suggestion for Balaak. 

The prohibitions of the Jerusalem Council are also embedded in the Torah portions of Acharei Mot and Re'eh. The anti-idol basic found in the Ten Commandments is repeated in Leviticus 17:7-9.  Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20 outline sexual immoralities named in the Torah portions of Acharei Mot and Kedoshim.

The moral of the Acts 15 story is that a proper Torah walk like Yeshua's is learned -- it's a grafting-in process that starts with boot camp. It takes some time to be built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. not just a blind faith decision with a one-time prayer of repentance.

Don't fall for a pulpit theory emanating from Marcion or the dreamer of dreams called Constantine. 

If you have, then know The LORD is testing you to find out if you love El Shaddai Almighty God with all your heart and with all your soul. Repent and hold to the oracles of God's voice that a few new church fathers and an Emperor turned their backs on. Don't be one of their descendants.

Bottomline, both Marcion and Constantine forgot that Jesus is a Jew.

Are you a Gentile Christian or a former Gentile?

Ephesians 2:11-12 confirms former Gentiles have turned away and re-evaluate our lifestyle and how it affects our witness of faith redeemed by the life-blood offering of the Jewish Messiah that put to death the hostility that started in Eden with a serpent's lie.  

It's time to repent and like Paul, open our eyes to see that short-sided views on the Galatian letter come from a misguided perception of Paul's statement that false brethren were attempting to turn believers from the truth of the gospel of the Kingdom that Moses wrote about in Deuteronomy and that Yeshua taught long before His disciples ever knew about the Passover trial, the cross or the promise of salvation in resurrection from a grave.

Yeshua's gospel of the Kingdom is still misunderstood, yet post-Holocaust eyes on Zion and the Jewish people are being opened today to restoration relationships for both Jews and Christians in a friendship of faith comprised of native born and sojourner. 

It's time for any sojourner to understand that the Jewish Messiah is 100% Jewish. 

Do you know what that means if you want to follow Him?

Irenaeus another Greek man was from Smyrna, now known as İzmir, Turkey. He opposed the heresy and hatred of the church fathers that turned against the Jewish people. A righteous man, he wrote a treatise called "Against Heresies." In it, Irenaeus described why he opposed Marcion.

Irenaeus was a righteous gentile, a little known church father that upheld the Hebrew Bible as one truth.

Because of that, the Gnostic fanatics of Smyrna demanded his execution, so Irenaeus fled to Lyon, France. He's now known as Irenaeus of Lyons. It is said that he suffered and died a martyr for his treatise of truth around 200AD. Irenaeus believed the Bible. 

Irenaeus had heard the Kingdom gospel from Polycarp who had been tutored by the Jewish disciple John.

In the Revelation letter to Smyrna, John prophetically recorded these words:
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10
The reference to ten days of testing should point us back to Daniel 1 where we see four Jewish men: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah tested in their faith.

Irenaeus knew in support of the Hebrew Bible, his mentor Polycarp had tried and failed to persuade Pope Anicetus to celebrate Passover on the 14th of Nisan, as it is written by Moses and declared by God. That battle with the pope strengthened Irenaeus' resolve.

Many that read Revelation are still wondering who the Nicolaitans were. In his writings, Irenaeus identified the cult he called the Nicolaitans. He called them an "offshoot of the knowledge which is falsely so-called." The Nicolaitans are behind the scenes, not mentioned directly in Pauls' letters, but they are important if we want to understand the Galatian letter.

The Nicolaitans are noted twice at the assemblies of Yeshua's followers living in Ephesus and Pergamum in Revelation 2 for good reason, they held on to the ages old teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak how to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel. 

Irenaeus wrote that they "lead lives of unrestrained indulgence." Their swerve from faith mirrors the grace only knowledge of ignoring the Father's instruction in the Torah and that links to the warning Paul gave his student Timothy about faith. You can find it 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."
In the end, Balaam's advice was followed by Marcion and those like him still babble contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge” that opposes the Torah of God. They are like the irreverent Nicolaitans teaching a Greek philosophy that says the Torah is old and done away with, people can be saved by grace and then do whatever they want except idol worship, sexual immorality and drinking blood, unrestrained by God's words of instruction for both native born and sojourner in a holy set apart righteous life forgetting Yeshua's teaching and the reason God gives for honoring His promise to His friend Abraham.

As a good and faithful scribe, the Jewish disciple John sent a warning with his Revelation letters to Ephesus and 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. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Revelation 2:6 and Revelation 2:15
The hard cold facts are the teaching of the Nicolaitans of yesteryear survive today and cast a dark shadow on the revelation of Messiah Yeshua's commandments that explain the heart of God's commandments with a direct link to Genesis 26:5 and Deuteronomy 11:13:
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10 
If you want to follow and walk in the footsteps of Jesus, this requires a messenger's call for "repentance" and "endurance" in Biblical life, love and faith in keeping with the commandments of God, not an unrepentant walk away from them. Come to think of it, that is the Revelation call:
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 the preparation. Endurance requires a lot of training and an inner voice of courage and strength to persevere to finish the race as best you can.

Three hundred years after John penned his solemn warnings about the Nicolaitans, another Greek thinking church father by the name of John Chrysostom opposed this call for endurance as he preached against the commandments of God and anyone who sought to honor God's voice in His moedim appointments that include the weekly Sabbath and the Feasts of The Lord.

Without a doubt, people like Chrysostom among others are the reason for Peter's yellow caution flag that is still waving to stay in the endurance race today because Messiah will come and He will rule people of faith with one teaching and instruction as the constitution of The Kingdom.

Peter (Kepha) was a fisherman and in the end, a faithful Jewish disciple of Yeshua (aka Jesus) that believed every word of truth. That's why he 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 and open your eyes).

Marcion, Melito, Chrysostom as well as Constantine and many others have ignored Kepha's urgent warning and tossed it aside just as they tossed aside the Hebrew Scriptures that Yeshua taught calling them old and done away with as they ignorantly used Paul's letters to distort the truth...

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

These are wise words from Peter, don't ignore them!

Today, the revelation warnings against Nicolaitan thinking remains in full force as people like Chrysostom believe that "the Law" is contrary to their new religion, doctrine, theology and belief in opposition to the words that give the call for "endurance" declared in Revelation 14:12 and Matthew 5:46-47.

Like Marcion, some in church believe the Hebrew Scriptures that Yeshua taught in synagogues every Sabbath are good stories but the instructions are old, set aside and done away with "hung on the cross" while distorting Paul's words to "prove" their unstable dogma that will ultimately lead to destruction.

Hold onto your pew!

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines dogma as "a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds" and "a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church."

The deception of Nicolaitan dogma is that God's Word is old and done away with, and that is a big reason that so many Jewish people have denied Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah because of church dogma that is rooted not in the Bible but in a replacement house without adequate grounds, without the foundation.

The sad reality is that these misguided church father views disqualified Jesus as the Christ.

Replacement theology is a grievous lie, a dogma that requires a broken heart in repentance returning to the foundational faith of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach.

On the other hand, another problem is the thought that Jesus does not qualify as Messiah because He did not restore the Kingdom of God when they thought He should, but the truth is He will, but He had to first come as the humble Rabbi, the suffering servant of God, the Torah teacher before He will return as King Ha'Mashiach.

Like Pilate, at some point we must all ask the question: "What is truth?"

Pilate asked Yeshua the Jew this question at the Passover hour of trial. The truth is our Jewish brethren will one day come to learn that what Pilate said is true: “I find no guilt in Him" (John 18:38).

Yeshua taught and upheld the written Torah in everything He did in life, in death and that truth remains in resurrection. He quoted Moses and the Prophets and the Writings constantly, we just miss it when He does because we don't really know the heart of God or the Scriptures. 

The heart and soul of the voice of God was the pinnacle of everything Yeshua did and taught. If you believe God, don't just ask what would Jesus do? Do what He did.

We must change because God does not.

Simon Peter did and it took some time for Peter to come around. His warning of destruction comes from the same man that despite hearing every word that Yeshua of Nazareth spoke and despite seeing His many miracles to heal and help others... denied knowing Him three times in His grave hour of trial but Peter became a man of faith and action.

Yeshua never gave up on Peter (aka the rock) because Jesus knew God's lovingkindness and grace would transform Peter's stony heart in the end and bring the living water of life from a rock. By his repentance, the Jew named Peter was given another chance because he did the righteous thing, he repented.

His warning about distorting Paul's letters and the Scriptures still stands as a truth we must all uncover as we consider: Why the Letter to the Galatians?

Messiah Yeshua gave Paul the rabbi another chance as He sought him out on the road to Damascus. This will happen again.

Like Peter before him, Paul repented and he never turned his back again on the lovingkindness of God shown in the Hebrew Scriptures. Paul had been so vehemently zealous for religious opinion that he pridefully sought to destroy the Jewish men that knew Yeshua as Messiah. Paul had added prideful religious precepts to God's written word with commandments of a few leaders who had turned away from the truth as he had.

Few realize that Paul constantly weaves messages from the Hebrew Scriptures to explain the heart of the Torah's gospel message of God's desire for grace, mercies and lovingkindness in his letters.

Below are just five examples of many of Paul's Hebrew Scripture teachings seen in chapter three of the Galatian letter:
  • 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 Paul declared a new religion and turned his back on a so-called Old Testament, ask yourself why did he use it so often to teach?

Perhaps Melito never read the second letter to the Corinthians. In chapter 5, Paul connects the importance of staying away from unclean (tame') by summarizing a number of sayings from the Torah and the Prophets:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Messiah and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 
“I will live with them
    and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”[1] 
“Come out from them
    and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
    and I will receive you.”[2] 
“I will be a Father to you,
    and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-18
1) 2 Corinthians 6:16 = Exodus 6:7; Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27
2) 2 Corinthians 6:17 = Leviticus 5:2-3; Leviticus 10:10; Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34,41

Turn and look at Galatians 4 again. There we see some things that might shake many old pulpits. 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 Greek thinking. The reason, they are Hebraic. They teach a message that compares two things through a story that has a deeper meaning. Today, call them an allegory, a metaphor in which a character, place or event is used to deliver a hidden truth.

Paul's allegories are still falsely used against the written Torah today. The "law" that Pauls often writes against is Rabbinic addition in oral law.

But in this case it's straight from Genesis. How do we know? Notice the parable is about children, redemption and adoption. Genesis 3 is the placeholder of the "law" that Paul refers to:

In the beginning, God promised to bring forth new life but we bring on tribulation pain because of sinful rejection of what God says:
To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children...
God's instruction was be fruitful and multiply, but to bring forth life but pain will not go away. His next was watch what you eat, don't eat from the wrong tree. In other words, Almighty God was saying don't take everything in that is available to you because it can eventually kill you, choose instead to carefully do what I say is God's message to Adam. Don't kill yourself with a curse you bring on yourself.

Death is the enmity warning from the second "law" that Paul wrote about that is done away with by Messiah in resurrection. 

God's voice gave the ultimate warning as a "law" to Adam and Eve if they rejected God's authority and chose to ignore Him and put their opinion above God's voice.

Adam and Eve brought death's destruction on themselves because they both fell for the deception of another voice that sought to control them under the bondage of sin. The serpent understood God's instruction better than they did, because he knew death's rule.

God described the curses bought to the earth by Adam and Eve for deliberately breaking His instruction out of His lovingkindness, not as vengeful condemnation or retribution:
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, yet it was an act of unfathomable love because it saved them and humanity.

Had they stayed near God's glory, they would have quickly died living in their sinful state near God's glory and they would never have had the opportunity to fulfill the first commandment to bring forth children.

Sin and God's glory cannot coexist, so they had to leave. The goal was to protect them, so God stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword to guard "the way" דרך (derek) to tree of life because the Redeemer had not yet come to provide the way of redemption and ressurection. Had they eaten from the tree of life they would have lived in an eternal state of decay, literally living out death in a state of disintegration, disease and ruin.

Death is the "law" Paul wrote about that we can be redeemed from through Messiah Yeshua. The curse is seen in the beginning and it is described in Galatians 4 as well as Hebrews 2:14-18 (NASB):
"Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.  
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted."
The penalty of the law of sin that Adam and Eve chose to bring on themselves in rebellion as a curse is revealed in Genesis 3 as well as Deuteronomy 28:45.

Paul's parable-like teaching reaches back to Genesis 21 contrasting choices people make with faith and without faith as he compares Sarah and Hagar and then Paul connects this message to Isaiah 54. Likely, he did this because the Genesis 21 passage was read in the synagogue as the fourth annual Parshah Vayeira. Jews read it on the fourth Sabbath after Simchat Torah and they read parts of the parashah as Torah readings for Rosh Hashanah aka the Day of Trumpets. After all, Paul NEVER knew the Hebrew Scriptures as old or done away with so he used them constantly to teach.

It's important to read all of Isaiah 54 to complete the parable-like picture that Paul paints with his words. In summary, take note of the child and the groom, as well as everlasting lovingkindness, compassion and redemption:
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.
Did you notice the redemption includes action... "resettle the desolate cities."

That is exactly what is happening today in Israel. The prophecy hit the headlines in 1948 and again in 1967.

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 reconnects Moses breaking the tablets at the golden calf idol worship scene described in Exodus 34:27-35.

After this grave sin of graven image idolatry, God describes His heart for mankind, it is the good news of His everlasting character of lovingkindness and compassion through forgiveness as He demonstrated the second chance He provides all of humanity when He provided a second set of tablets to replace the ones that were shattered so that Moses could return with them a second time.

His second descent points us to Messiah's two comings, not two Messiahs.

Paul ties Moses' two-trip message that reflects Messiah's first and second coming and a teaching of the heart of the Torah shown in Jeremiah 31:32-39. God gave the prophet Jeremiah His loving promise to make a new covenant for the forgiveness of sin with His promise to write His Torah on our hearts.

The new covenant of Jeremiah 31 is the same new covenant described in Luke 22:20, 2 Corinthians 3:6 and summarized in Hebrews 9:15 below that speaks of the Genesis 3 promise of Messiah and points to the golden calf sin shown in the Exodus 32 narrative:
"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."
The Torah-Haftorah connections are the hidden gemstones in Paul's letters and the failure to see the facets are part and parcel of Simon Peter's grave warning of ignorance of the Scriptures.

Peter was concerned about Biblical blinders in a form of cognitive dissonance, 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. 

The theology of the mainstream preaches the opposite. They should about a new second covenant that says the “old” covenant is old and done away as Jesus ended the need for God's laws and rules. The mainstream believes Jesus eliminated the need for Moses, the Sabbath, and the Lord's Feasts.

Take note that Galatians 2:1-3 mentions a man named Titus.

He was a Gentile and is seen in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians and the letter to Timothy. Titus was an understudy and Paul knew of Peter's concern so he counseled Titus. 

Paul's letter to Titus clarifies grace as bringing salvation to all people and he admonishes Titus to righteousness with an 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 same Torah foundations Yeshua taught and expounded on.  Paul clearly instructs Titus to deny ungodliness and strongly encourage, yet reprimand others out of love 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 too, he had once worn them for a time just as Paul had. Remember, it was Peter that denied even knowing Yeshua three times, yet he was present at the sermon of beatitudes when he heard Yeshua of Nazareth boldly declare an unchanging truth: not one jot or tittle will ever be done away in the Torah as long as heaven and earth remain.

Peter eventually repented and was forgiven. He understood grace and the words that promise 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 embedded throughout the Torah. If you want to 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).

When you do, you'll understand why Peter's warning flag still waves in the race for endurance to the tree of life promise of the eternal inheritance.

Grace does not annul God's Torah nor allow ungodliness to reject it, rather the Torah of God directs us live righteously under God's grace.  It directs us to be passionate for the good works it promotes to love God and others. Grace is from God's throne it is given to redeem and strengthen us to walk in the path of God's way of life when we choose His ways over ours.

Grace began in Eden with the promise of the bruised Messiah and it is seen in Adam's 930 year life allowing him to fulfill the first commandment which is why you and I are here today. It is front and center at the mountaintop teaching after the golden calf sin below caused Moses to shatter the first tablets. Grace is seen everywhere in Scripture including Jeremiah as God promises the prophet He will write His laws on our hearts as a new covenant, not do away with them.

The thing that is new about the new covenant is nothing new in the Torah, what is new is that we won't jest read them, we will know them, live them and know The Lord God who gave them to us.

Yeshua of Nazareth excludes no one from His voice and authority on God's eternal truths and He expounded on them in the Sermon on the Mount. By its very nickname, the "Sermon on the Mount" teaching of Messiah Yeshua should remind you of the other 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 one letter. This gospel for life in the Kingdom is the life 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 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 deeply woven in Pauls' letters.

Did you know Yeshua's followers were called "the Way?"

This points back to Abraham, not to a new way or a new religion:
“For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.” Genesis 18:19
The followers of Yeshua of Nazareth were trained to do good things (righteousness and justice). They were called a sect of Nazarenes, see Acts 9:2, Acts 19:23, Acts 24 and other references. In addition to keeping the written Biblical instruction to go and do as God says in righteousness, Yeshua also taught Biblical Jewish concepts with moral exhortations known as haggadah. 

There's an old Jewish saying that halakhah without haggadah is dead. That's why the Jewish disciple James (Yacov) wrote these words:
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:26
The Jewish understanding that James emphasized is that halakhah deeds and action come from what you know is the right thing to do. Haggadah is in the category of faith and spirit, the things that are not seen. James was teaching the two can't be separated in the way of true faith. In other words, what you believe does not constitute the whole concept of faith. 

Think of it this way, if you say believe in Jesus, you should demonstrate that by seeking to walk as He walked. The important faith issue then then is not to just question what would Jesus do, but in the faith walk, do what Jesus did.

You might be blown away to know that the Hebrew word for "the way" or "derech" is known as "halakhah" and that the walk of Yeshua is the "haggadah" of truth and spirit of the Hebrew Bible. Yeshua constantly quoted and taught from that Bible. 

James is saying that doing righteousness and teaching the truth and spirit of the Bible go hand in hand. 

Think of faith as what can be seen in action, it's referred to one's walk because anyone can see the purpose in your actions. 

Look in Scripture and you'll see two stones that God wrote the table of contents of covenant relationship with His finger. We call them the Ten Commandments. Desiring to keep the Ten Words because of one's love and heart to walk in God's ways in response to His grace is the haggadah of life.

Yeshua's faith can be seen in the perfectly righteous way He lived and taught others to do from the Torah as well as parables. It's no wonder the crowds that followed Master Rabbi Yeshua of Nazareth said He "taught with authority" because He was doing what He preached (see Luke 4:31-32). 

Back to Paul, during the time preceding his road trip to Damascus, Paul initially rejected the Biblical concept of a bruised and pierced Messiah that is described in Isaiah 53 as well as other prophets. Paul had ignored the prophetic psalm of king David noted below, but Paul repented and no longer persecuted or mocked those that followed in the footsteps of Yeshua believing in He is the promised Messiah:
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
The faithfulness of David was the steadfast love of old, it points to the promise of Messiah that Paul had rejected. He could not see the staked heel of the Passover lamb of God because he only looked for the lion of the tribe of Judah instead of the everlasting steadfast love of an anointed shepherd that would give His life for His sheep.

Many today are like Paul before he saw the light. They stumble over a church pew. Think about it, whose fault is it that many Jewish people struggle with Messiah just as Paul did before his eyes were opened?

Is it any wonder that Jews detest replacement theologies that started with the Nicolaism of Marcion, Chrysostom and Luther? Believe it or not, the replacement theology most Jewish people have turned away from eventually turned the church away from Jesus the Jew.

The good news is not all people continue to think like Nicolaitan church fathers and not all Jews reject the bruised heel of the humble Mashiach as Paul once did.

History is important. It's time to restore the reformation. Understanding this mandates that we see Yeshua is not new and He did not replace the good teaching of Jewish rabbis nor Biblical Judaism.

A historic and highly revered Jewish sage, Elijah ben Solomon Zalmam, known as the Vilna Gaon (the genius of Vilna) lived in Poland and Lithuania in the mid 1700's and he taught that one of the roles of Messiah was that of Moshiach ben Yosef.  Rabbi Zalmam taught others that the humble Messiah's mission was to reveal the "Sod" or the hidden wisdom of the Torah of the Kingdom of God which is exactly what Yeshua of Nazareth did.

The Gaon of Vilna once said that “all wisdom is needed for the holy Torah and included therein.”

He was a genius and he was correct. 

Yeshua taught, the eternal wisdom you need to guide your life is in God's teaching and instruction. That is the yoke Messiah followed His entire life without fail. He owned them. Keeping God's commandments as His own is the reason Yeshua is eligible to be Messiah. That is why Yeshua taught: 

"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:30)

Adding a heavy manmade yoke of religious pride, power or even prejudice can make the easy yoke of the written law Moses faithfully recorded, a manmade legalistic burden. 

Examples of Yeshua's teachings are many and a keynote is found in the Sermon on the Mount given to the large crowds that followed Jesus the Jew from Galilee and the Decapolis as well as Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan (see Matthew 5, Matthew 6 and Matthew 7).

There at the mountainside, Yeshua taught with authority about the Kingdom of God. The fact that He taught that lesson from a mountain is no coincidence as He described the Torah's purpose to the crowds there from Judea and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon (see Luke (6:17–49) as He expounded on the gospel of the Kingdom of God and its Torah lifestyle.

In His teaching we call the Sermon on the Mount, Rabbi Yeshua explained the heart and "Sod" truth of adultery from the instruction given in Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18 and Proverbs 6:32.

He explained the critical importance of the Sabbath in Matthew 12 and Luke 6. Yeshua taught on its hidden "Sod" purpose in Luke 13:10-17 by His own good deed that day. On that particular Sabbath, Yeshua healed the sickness of a woman caused by a dark spirit. Her body was bent over and twisted and she could not straighten up for 18 years. The "sod" storyline of the years of her suffering is that the woman represents the assembly of all Israel, both native born and sojourner that are oppressed by spiritual sickness from deception that leads to sin.

Like a release from slavery, her affliction was rightly judged by Yeshua when He said to her: "Woman, you are freed from your sickness."

Yet, along the storyline found in Paul's letter to the Galatians, a religious official was indignant with Yeshua because of the official's adopted tradition of the elders, a heavy yoke that opposed the high purpose of Torah and Shabbat which is to rest, heal and restore. The heavy burden of that religious man was he thought healing was a violation of his religious  definition of "work" on the Sabbath (more on that later).

It is important to understand that Luke's mention of her 18-year affliction is no coincidence. Tere are no coincidences in the Bible.

A casual reading does not reveal how critical the 18-year timeline is to the prophecy revealed in that Sabbath miracle. The number eighteen (18) provides a symbolic meaning for "bondage" in the Bible. This number is revealed in the book of Judges and the people that saw her healed in the assembly that Sabbath day likely knew the significance of that number. That is another reason "the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him."

The book of Judges can take the mystery out her 18 years of bondage in suffering.

How can we know? After entering the Promised Land, the children of Israel were in afflicted by several nations of people before David became king. Two key enemies, the Moabites and the Philistines oppressed them for eighteen (18) years ( see Judges 3:12-14 and Judges 10:7-8). Yet, God freed the Israelites of that 18-year bondage through the work of Ehud, Jephthah and Samson.

Looking forward, the day is coming that Melek King Messiah Yeshua will again teach God's Torah face to face and free all Israel and sojourner alike from the bondage of sin and the deception during the Sabbath day of the Messianic Kingdom to come. This is promised in 2 Samuel 7:11–16. This hidden "Sod" message was preached by Yeshua in Matthew 5 at the Sermon on the Mount and it is revealed again in Revelation 20:2-6.

Back to the genius of the man from Vilna. Its important to know that the Vilna Gaon is not the only Jewish rabbi witness of serious thought and commentary on the critical role of Moshiach ben Yosef, the suffering Messiah. The earliest Talmudic writings give many references dating back to the third century, identifying Moshiach as the "man of sorrows" in Isaiah that many people will look upon and mourn because He is the same one pierced that is described in Zechariah.

The "Sod" message is that there is only one Messiah, not two and like Moses, as an intercessor, Messiah will make two trips "down the mountain" to deliver the eternal covenant to Israel and the sojourner companions with them.

The first trip down the mountain, Moses shattered the first two tablets because Israel committed adultery with the golden calf and broke their promise to Almighty God:
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
Messiah Yeshua, the living Torah in the flesh was shattered in His first trip as Messiah ben Joseph, but Messiah will return with the same Torah in his mouth as Messiah ben David.

The prophetic picture given by Moses' two trips with the covenant tablets is no coincidence because he wrote of Messiah. Have you ever considered... Moses went 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?

Yeshua told people to believe Moses because he wrote about Him (John 5:46). Yeshua fulfilled the prophetic promise of David's Psalm as He taught the great congregations, the multitudes that heard Him speak:
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation. Psalm 40:7-10
Simply put, Moses shows us the reason for the first coming of Messiah in Deuteronomy 18:15 and that reason was that people were afraid to hear directly from Almighty God, so God promised  a prophet to speak His words on their behalf:
“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 Hebrew word Moses uses here for prophet is נָבִיא nabiy' and this word points to the inspired messenger (angel) of God, the one that did not speak his own words, but that delivered words received from Almighty God. Yeshua points to this 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 The Lord in at least 77 verses so the message is critical to understand.

The Jewish disciple we call John tells us three times how explicitly Yeshua speaks as the messenger of The Lord and the prophet that Moses had 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 Yeshua 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, the messenger of God shows us that He is the promised prophet of God the Father and the same prophet Moses wrote about that raised up by God from among Israel 2,000 years ago to speak what God commands.

You see the Vilna Gaon was a genius and there are many rabbinic writings that agree with the Vilna Gaon about the Messiah and his required ordeal of suffering revealed at Mount Sinai. They include these witnesses:
"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) 
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 also agree on the prophecies of a suffering Messiah and take note, not one of them declares the suffering is only figurative of 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 that both a humble Messiah and King Messiah is declared by these highly respected Jewish sages and rabbis that confirm Moses and the words recorded by Hosea, another Jewish prophet that wrote of a great diaspora and hinted at 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 leading to the third point directly to Messiah. After all, 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 a second rain is pointing at the second mission of Messiah. It comes directly 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 is to the thousandth generation and the work is to gather His harvest. This is etched in Torah and the gospel accounts beginning with Matthew for anyone to see.

Yeshua fills up the Torah with the gospel truth of everlasting lovingkindness and compassion reflecting God's heart of lovingkindness and forgiveness that The Lord declared: "showing mercies unto the thousandth generation that "love Me and keep My commandments." These words tie to the teaching of Messiah to sin no more as 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 the commandments of God that He kept were old and done away with, that's why His message "sin no more" is revealed in Revelation as the definition of the unwavering 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
If you say you believe in Jesus, do you really believe in Him and do what Jesus did?
So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.  And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him. John 8:28-30
I do nothing on my own authority...  for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.

This is the pinnacle point, if you want God to be with you, if you want God to not leave you, do the things that please God, do the things God teaches in His instruction manual, fill them up with meaning, don't toss them aside thinking they are hung on a cross or abolished in a Jerusalem Council that you don't fully understand only set the framework for proper Torah study.

Perhaps you have read the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 5:17-19 where the Greek word "plēroō" has been translated in modern English Bibles as "fulfill" which is a word many mistake as a definition of a finish line...
"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 "plēroō" means to end and finish off the endurance race of the Torah; you need to re-think perseverance because Jesus opposes your religious race, so its time to rewind and repent. Time to go back t the staring block because the Greek word "plēroō" means to cause to abound - to render perfect - to perform. It means run the race!

Plēroō does not "do away with" anything, it engages, it maximizes so grab the baton.
Why the letter to the Galatians?
Anyone that has traveled abroad knows that when you visit any foreign country for the first time, you are best served in your journey by enlisting a local guide for the adventure, 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 just like the good travel guide you need today when it comes to the hidden aspects of his Galatian letter.

Like all his letters, each of them are set amid an epicenter of chaos. On one hand there's Gentile paganism and idol worship in which polytheism was a civic duty in a Greco-Roman world mixed in a culture focused on false-gods and sacrifice to pagan idols that hates the Shema. On the other hand there's Biblical Judaism which follows one God and loves the Shema.

This Shema conflict was present at Mount Sinai. The golden calf is the remnant evidence of the idol worship of Apis from Egypt, a fake deity worshipped at Memphis in the form of a bull idol, but the Shema says there's no room in your heart for a false idol from a cow lot: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart."

Every line of Paul's letters comes from a Biblical historic context intertwined within the social influence and conflicts of his day and as you will see, nothing has changed. This is still a clear and present danger.

In many ways, life in first-century was not much different from our modern world, yet most traditional misinterpretations of Paul's letters ignore this allowing only a dim view of their foundation in Biblical reality. Gentiles that grew up in a multi-verse of blood drinking pagan idol worship did not understand a universe of set-apart Biblical lifestyle focused on God's way in Paul's day, so conflict and confusion was the norm. Today, nothing is new under the Sun.

There were some differences though.

For starters, in Paul's day there really was not concept of separation of religion and state government in the Imperial Cult of the Roman Empire's dominance of the first century world. During Paul's childhood Emperor Augustus used religion as a toll to promote and exercise his power, he was not only Emperor but Pontifex Maximus. Emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Caesar Nero carried on the religious power charade from 14AD to 68AD.

Paul's appeal to Caesar was during Nero's reign.

Today, our so-called modern western society proudly 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 of the Empire before him assumed the title of "Pontifex Maximus" aka supreme guardian of the Roman "cults" the chief priest of Rome and head of the Collegium Pontificum, the highest priests in the land.

You have to keep those cults in your time-line 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 Paul's day, Jews were exempted from many Roman cult duties required of its citizens under Roman rule because the Pontifex Maximus refrained their "yoke of bondage" on people they considered as conquered and defeated.

Jews lived all around the Mediterranean Sea as well as Rome since the turn of the 2nd century BC. The Caesar's had long supported Jewish protection to worship pretty much as they chose and the Roman's even called synagogues "colleges" to dodge Roman Senate laws that banned secret societies outside of their own cults.

In a form of discrimination, the Emperor's considered the Jews unworthy of their gods. Yet no matter their intention, God withheld the Emperors for the survival of the Jewish people as 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 and sanctification for faithful Jewish people.

It's now time to look at another side of the Galatian letter.

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 there because they were falling under a "yoke of bondage" of tradition not from the Roman cults but as a non-Scriptural duty of ritual obligation for conversion rather than faith.

Paul understood the "yoke of bondage" lesson from Egypt. He knew bondage arises out of precepts of power and control, not the first rule of a love-filled thankful heart for God's mercies and grace that has transcended human understanding from the beginning.

Paul knew God's heart of lovingkindness and forgiveness was given to 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
because God's heart is full of mercies for all!

The willful choice of the graven golden image broke the marriage covenant of all the people who said: "we will do all that God has spoken." They broke their word, oath and promise to Almighty God, so redemption required two trips down the mountain of God then and it will again because God does not change:
"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 two stones pf 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 by God's lovingkindness and the forgiveness He revealed to Moses.

Incredibly, in the beginning of the exodus journey, redemption required two trips for Israel and the sojourners that had joined them to follow the God of Israel in covenant. 

This mountaintop gospel (good news) reflects the truth of God's character and heart of grace that is plainly described by Moses for the whole world to see and believe in Exodus 34:6-7 after the promise of the people was broken by the golden calf sin.

Before the terms of the first covenant was given in the wilderness of Sinai in front of the mountain, after Moses ascended and returned to give them the words of God:
"You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Exodus 19:4-6 NASB
They said:
“All that the LORD has spoken we will do!”

Almighty Lord God still speaks from above for all the earth today revealing His everlasting lovingkindness and forgiveness for iniquity, transgression and the iniquity of 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 of God's lovingkindness and forgiveness is why Paul wrote against a stony belief of justification before God by people's unreliable words and doctrines as a prerequisite conversion by circumcision rather than God's character in lovingkindness and forgiveness. This is the truth revealed at the top of Sinai.

Paul is teaching we too are to reflect God's lovingkindness truth first and foremost in faith. Paul called any religious attempt at conversion by deeds and works as a doctrine of justification and a yoke of bondage (of men) not God. The burning issue here is one of authority and religious pride. 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 wrote of God's forgiveness of sin through repentance and His eternal love for all. Paul learned this after he came to understand that the written Torah was given as a guide for life after salvation and that men's traditions, customs or doctrines that add to what God declares as a manmade bondage to-do list to check off for salvation, or conversion by merit from what we do is not a part of the grace and love 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 incomprehensibly forgives for His reasons, after all, God's incredible mercies from His lovingkindness created and governs the universe.

Long ago, after the bondage of Egypt, Israel and the sojourners with them in the wilderness 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 to break their promise and grievously sin right in front of the mountain of glory by their golden calf iniquity of idolatry, but God's mercies judged then just as it does today and tomorrow.

To one whose eyes and ears are not focused upward on God's personal narrative about His character and heart 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 held before he met Yeshua if we are ever to believe and understand his message in its proper context.

If you believe 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 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. The reason, we all break our promises to Almighty God, we all sin.

Paul is teaching this because the written Torah reveals God's mercies and The Lord's impeccable character of lovingkindness and forgiveness, so our feeble deeds or works are never good enough. 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 atonement 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 written Torah Moses recorded plainly declares "Abram" was God's friend and that he sojourned under The Lord's direction for many years starting at age 75, long before he was circumcised at age 99 after Sarah's non-belief resulting in intimacy with Hagar after he was renamed Abraham by God Almighty (see Genesis 17:25-26 and Romans 4:11-16 for the proof text).
"Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised..." Genesis 17:24 
By looking back to the faith and friendship of Abram, we can see that Paul's teaching is integrated with the Torah and laser focused on God's lovingkindness and friendship. This message is repeated by Paul in Romans 4:9-10.

Paul's central point is that religious conversion can be 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 unchanging message of the written Word of The Almighty God of Israel.

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

Paul knew that whether Jew or not, every man, woman and child ultimately fails to keep God's instruction, so no merit can be earned by one's effort to 'keep' men's religious law but the Torah of God is good. It is good because it declares God's gift of patient lovingkindness.

Paul understood the early lessons of Abraham and God's mountaintop declaration to Moses after the golden calf sin.

Those lessons are the foundation to his letters. 

Genesis 3:15 provides the first promise that God would send a suffering Savior. Those who lived in the past before Yeshua looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah. Those who have lived since can look back in faith on His life, death and resurrection as they look forward to His return.

We will all fall short in one way or another and continue to do so despite our best deeds, intentions or religion. Paul understood the requirement for God's forgiveness cannot be earned by our own merit because every man is found a liar, but incredibly:

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

By the way, the words Paul uses in Romans 10:13 are not his own, they are borrowed from a prophet of old, see Joel 2:32 for the original. The letter to the Galatians points to the one way of salvation, by God's action, not ours. Throughout its story lines, the Bible shows us people have tried to pervert God's grace by adding our work, or deeds to God's promises. Abram did that, we all do at one time or another.

We can't “earn” salvation. Works are for a paycheck, yet the Bible’s message is that the way of unfathomable and inexplicable redemption has always been by God's gift of unmerited grace.

Paul also knew that Almighty God declared circumcision as a covenant 'sign' for Abraham and his descendants to receive the land. Yet, Paul realized circumcision was not the reason for the land 'promise' given to Abram 24 years earlier.

Paul understood 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 1,500 years earlier.

Paul understood that the descendants saved out of Egypt's oppression received forgiveness after the golden calf were like Abraham. Believe it or not, the men of Israel 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 just like Abram they received God's covenant at Horeb and walked with God for years as He tabernacled with them in the wilderness while they were uncircumcised.

The truth is they were all near God's Shekinah glory cloud and saved while uncircumcised until it was time to enter the land promise God gave to Abraham. The men were circumcised just before they entered the land and there's a reason: God said it was the covenant sign.

The people of Israel and the sojourners with them had walked with God just as Abraham had, uncircumcised until the proper time.

Paul never turned his back on this truth about 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,
Paul opposed his own religious prejudice in which he had used the Torah with traditions added in as a religious weapon against the disciples. In the end, he never opposed Biblically based Judaism.

Biblical Judaism derived its connection with the Jewish people after the Northern ten tribes split from Judah. They were scattered like the wind by the Assyrians leaving only a remnant of Judah along with Benjamin and a few Levites.

Paul was proud of his traditions, but he came to realize that adding or taking away from God's instruction in extra-Biblical custom may not always line up with the words of Moses. Paul was likely a former member of "the party of the circumcision" as he called them. Their tradition that did not teach the fact that Abraham had a friendship relationship with God or that the Israelites followed God uncircumcised for years.

Paul came to understand: "all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised" (see Joshua 5) yet they had walked under the pillar of fire glory cloud of The God of Israel until they arrived at Gilgal along the banks of the Jordan River.

There they were circumcised there and "they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho."

Paul's eyes were opened to this and he understood that in God's lovingkindness, the Heavenly Father chose to lead Israel though the wilderness "uncircumcised" after Moses' returned to the mountaintop for a second time following the golden calf idol worship the Levites rejected.

Paul also understood that Moses was called by God to return to Israel with the assignment to bring the Heavenly Father's renewed covenant with God's good news of lovingkindness and forgiveness to the multitudes of people saved and protected by The Father's mercies and compassion, not circumcision.

The fact that Almighty God chose to do this demonstrated that deeds like circumcision do not merit forgiveness or God's friendship. Paul realized that the descendants of Israel and the aliens and sojourners with them that chose to come out of Egypt with Moses were saved by God's grace and there was nothing they could do to earn righteousness after Israel broke God's covenant.

Paul realized the way to the Kingdom and the message from the mountain is that walking in God's truth was proclaimed in God's inconceivable majesty of lovingkindness. This was put on full display with Lot and his family. You see, Lot lived in Sodom, yet God saved him (it's time to reread Genesis 19:15-21).

If we look closely at the Galatian letter, we can hear the heart of God's message recorded by Moses that is about inconceivable heartfelt mercies and lovingkindness despite our failures in sin. 

That is the truth found in heart of Paul's letters. It seems hidden in Paul's Galatian letter, yet that is his testimony revealed with the account of Felix the Governor in Acts 24 as Paul bears a second witness to the words of the Prophets and of 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 [Torah] and that is written in the Prophets..." Acts 24:14
Paul's admonitions about the Galatian party of circumcision is teaching that without a circumcised heart, one can become a slave to religious legalism while seeking justification with a misguided goal to 'earn' merit with God.

Paul was teaching 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 pride in legalism separates people from the truth of God's life-giving lovingkindness and compassion in grace. Paul's letters reverberate this message woven in the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings.

Paul's taught what The Lord requires from the writing of 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  
The requirements of justice, kindness and humility is "the way" to walk with God. Religious dogma and pride has no place.

And as we've seen, when we dig in deep in the "Sod" letter, we can see Paul never said he started a new religion. The gospel he taught started with Genesis.

Paul didn’t believe Messiah Yeshua of Nazareth ever stopped being Jewish. Paul never promoted anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism as many Jews have been misled to believe by misinformed, new religion sermons from a pulpit of old, anti-semitic, dispensational replacement theologies.

Thinking that Paul converted from being a Jew and formed a new religion is a form of Scriptural blindness because Paul never turned against God’s assignment for Israel to teach others about His covenant and the Scriptures.

That's why his letters all focus on God's mercy and lovingkindness. This Jewish man understood his role in Israel's eternal assignment to be a light to the nations in the darkness of a Gentile idol-infested planet. Paul understood the goal of the Torah is to shed a loving light to guide all nations toward the redemption offered by Messiah. He also knew God’s covenant for Israel has never changed. It remains today for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation set apart to point all people to walk with God and believe His provision declared by the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings.

Paul never taught that anyone that chose to follow Messiah was separate from the assembly of Israel either.

He taught the opposite. He taught God's loving principles of adoption and grafting. He taught that Yeshua was the Messiah of "all" Israel defined as those that seek to believe and follow the Father of Israel in "the ways" of the Holy 'One" on earth as it is in heaven.

If you doubt this read the letter to the Romans.

It's the proof that Paul taught that all Israel will be redeemed, never replaced or done away with with a church.
"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 the writings of another so-called early church father by the name of Barnabas who taught radical anti-Jewish hatred. Barnabas sustained an ongoing attack on Jews and the Torah they upheld as God's instruction manual for life in the Kingdom of God. Barnabas opposed animal sacrifice, the Temple and the altar because he did not understand them. In doing so, Barnabas opposed God's sovereignty over all creation. Barnabas held that sacrifice, the Temple and the altar were God's mistakes. That is why he also taught against the dietary instruction for healthy living outlined by Almighty God for His children that medical science now supports.

Yes, Barnabas was a father all-right, a father of Biblically blind people teaching a replacement theology that the church is the sole heir of God's new covenant. The truth is the new covenant described by Jeremiah is about writing God's Torah on the heart. This truth declared by Jeremiah was a teaching of Yeshua.

Paul knew firsthand that blindness like that proclaimed years later by Barnabas can be temporary if we just open our eyes to the bright light of God's forgiveness and see Messiah in His redemptive mercy. The good news is we don't have to walk on a road to Damascus to see this. Messiah's promise is in the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings, the road to Emmaus story validates this.

Acts 9 reveals Paul was healed of his physical and spiritually leavened blindness to the mountaintop purpose of Torah that reveals God's character in mercy and lovingkindness. We can be healed of this same blindness if we just open our eyes to it.

After he "saw the light" Paul never intended that any of his letters would encourage people to turn their back on the Jewish people or God's Kingdom constitution. Paul used the instruction manual upheld in esteem by the Jewish people since Sinai to declare the gospel of the Kingdom. Paul brings all of this to 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 words written to the Romans, every letter aligns Paul's esteem and knowledge of the Torah with a focus on forgiveness through God's character and name recorded by Moses. Paul understood that what God had commanded Moses to write was impossible without God's character and gift of mercy and grace. Paul also knew from his own past sin, that repentance was essential for forgiveness and a life changing faith focus on the first mission of Messiah.

Paul's word to the Galatians about God's weightiest instruction provides further proof of this Jewish man'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... it's direct from God's mouth and it was 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."
Study this, take time to consider and reflect on the heart of this divine Torah instructon.

Call it law if you insist, but doing so can take away from the heart of God's voice because the words Moses wrote as God's scribe are so much more. The Torah is God's teaching and instruction that reveals God's character bound in love.

That love 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 religious opinion that strayed away from God's character and heart.

Sound familiar?

The teaching and instruction of Almighty God defines the thoughts and actions that oppose our loving God's heart and Paul boldly states this in Galatians 5:18-21 even declaring that an immoral anti-Torah lifestyle will keep people out of God's inheritance:
“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 deeper look at the Galatian letter and reconsider the ancient culture of the polytheistic Roman Empire where idol worship, selfish ambitions, drunkenness, sexual perversion and the like prevailed as the norm of the day.

Come to think of it, what goes around comes around and remains.

Not only that, if we just look in the mirror, we will also find "religious" conflict remains with us whether Jew or non-Jew, and that fact will shed some new light on the letter to the Galatians. Today, these conflicts still include religious interpretations, customs, traditions, sects and church denominations that have splinted over time to define religious difference and opinion.

Disagreement and difference is at the center of the core concept of thousands of church denominations, not El Shaddai the unchanging Almighty God of Israel.

Denominational differences have morphed into takkanot to fit aa difference of opinion. 

Galatians deals with the opinion that circumcision was a requirement for conversion, it was the tradition that crept into Galatia. So, we must ask again... does the letter to the Galatians deal with the written words of the Hebrew Bible being questioned or does the letter reveal a deeper message: understanding God's heart revealed at Sinai and concern about a mindset of takkanot that had grown out of extra-Biblical bias on religious doctrine and interpretation?

It's important to understand the blurred vision of Christian religion today focuses on Greek thinking and people's institutionalized systems of belief and practice, not God's Hebrew Bible. That flies in the face of Yeshua's words in Matthew 11:25-30 where He refers to His yoke of Torah observance handed over by the Father as His will and an easy place of rest:
"At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
The thing that is man's religion is heavy. Merriam Webster defines religion as: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Oxford calls religion a particular system of faith and worship. Collins says a religion is a particular system of belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this system.

The Torah is neither a system nor an institution of men's beliefs or activities, it is our Creator's instruction manual for life, the constitution of His Kingdom.

Over the past 2,000 years, we have seen the historic Christian institution define their religion as new and the Torah of God as an old burden. This Greek thinking likely began in Turkey with Melito of Sardis. Melito, immersed in a Greek world was the first to call the Hebrew Bible the Old Testament. A few years later, Tertullian coined the term New Testament around 200AD in today's Tunisia, Africa.

By the time Paul arrived on the scene in Jerusalem some time after 30AD, there were three primary religious sects: the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes. The Essenes are not identified in the Gospels,  the book of Acts or any of Paul's letters, likely they had already left Jerusalem and moved to Qumran.

You might say the Essenes were missing in action, but they were not because they have been revealed by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.

During the 70 years of exile in Babylon, away from Jerusalem and the Temple, traditions arose from Jewish perspectives that were eventually documented in the Talmud some 2,000 years later. Recording the Talmud began around the 5th century although parts and portions of the Talmud were assembled earlier.

The Targums, Mishna, and the Talmuds of rabbinic literature record the sermons and commentary from the Jewish sages on the Scriptures much like Christian Bible commentators such as John Wesley, Matthew Henry, John MacArthur,  Charles H. Spurgeon, Warren W. Wiersbe, Chuck Smoth, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Charels C. Ryrie and a host of others have published Christian commentaries.

The  traditional observances of the forefathers, the elders of the Jewish sages began to develop during the exile to Babylon. At that time, the Temple lay in ruins in Jerusalem and the exile eventually led to the emergence of rabbinic Judaism in the 1st century. It was led by Yohanan ben Zakkai (Rabban). He is credited as the first Jewish man given the title of rabbi in the Mishnah.

In a profound way, the second destruction of the Temple by Rome forever altered the focus of rabbinic Judaism.

Rabbinic Judaism is largely a mystery in the church. Importantly, that does not mean in any way that every commentary or sage's opinion is to be tossed aside. Many think Jesus did that, He did not. Instead what He taught was that the plumb line of observance must be rooted in Scripture because not one jot or tittle has passed. Like Heaven and Earth, the Torah remains.

Many traditions can be good guide rails along the way, but if the guide rails becomes the way, we can find ourselves drifting off to the side of the road and crashing before we ever reach the gate. This is not my view, this is what Yeshua taught as He honored good in Mishnah tradition. If you doubt this, just do your own homework and research the Passover Seder with bread and wine that He famously kept. Many call it the Last Supper. His teaching focus was on the midrash of explaining in an interpretive act of what Moses wrote from the voice of Almighty God, not something new.

Yeshua knew and upheld those truths becuase He is The Lord's Promised Prophet:
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him." Deuteronomy 18:15-19 
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17
"Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. " Matthew 5:19 
Explaining Moses and the will of The Father was Yeshua's focus and the reason for His hand washing lesson described in Matthew 15 and Mark 7. It would be ridiculous to think Jesus was against hand washing before a meal, that's common sense hygiene and a good tradition. He simply taught that a religious prescription that held that a specific order and method for hand washing before a meal was not required for righteousness. 

He opposed the unseen accusation against the disciples: that they were spiritually defiled because they did not follow a traditional hand washing protocol of the Pharisees, which they believed led to defiled food which led to a defiled (unclean) person.

In other words, Yeshua was teaching that a person’s righteousness (cleanliness) is not determined by measuring up to a requirement for righteousness not derived from the Torah that in a way gave the power of a burden over people that to be pure in heart, required a ceremonial hand washing. Yeshua's message explained that hands not washed in a specific order cannot defile a person’s heart, and that the Torah teaches that what proceeds from one's heart and mouth is what defiles a person.

The disciple James taught the very same lesson about slander and rumor that Jewish people call lashon hara (evil speech). It's a teaching right from Leviticus 19:16, "You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people":
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7–8
Lashon hara is not only noted by James, its warning is also found in the Babylonian Talmud.

On tradition that goes beyond Torah precepts, Yeshua taught that they those that held to a prescribed manner of traditional ritual ceremony to achieve rightousness were: "invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down." The reason He said this is a Bible basic: 
"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
Yeshua's message was we all need to zero in on what was written by Moses and the Prophets and keep in mind that the voice that matters most is God's mountaintop voice and not put tradition above it.

That's what Yeshua taught quoting Isaiah's warning in Mark 7 when he addressed the traditions of the elders. Yeshua appears to have also addressed a tradition in Mark 7:11-13 that is also found in the Gemara of the Baylonian Talmud: "If one wrote: "I bequeath my estate to my son from today, and after my death," he has no longer any right to sell his estate, because it is bequeathed to his son..." (Babylonian Talmud, Book 7 Baba Bathra (Last Gate) Mishna X). 

We don't know all the circumstances, but it appears Yeshua was addressing the need of an elderly father to sell property for income needed for survival, but it was prohibited by the son due to inheritance rights. Think of it this way, that could mean one's parents in Yeshua's day would not be allowed to write a will and then downsize to a smaller home to create some cash for retirement due to a tradition that actually dishonors one parent's.

Some say Yeshua unwound kosher food guidance in the Torah too, He did not, instead He focused on the essential message of The Torah for internal purity. Yeshua explained how the digestive system rids the body of waste. When God instructs us to not eat certain animals, He describes what was good (clean food) for us, its about healthy living and why He lovingly gave us those commandments in the first place.

Debate on religious traditions have been around a very long time. Thousands of denominations are the proof that this remains. At the vortex of debate is what Moses warned the world about in his last three sermons before Israel and the sojourners with them before they crossed over the Jordan River into the Holy Land.

The setting for Moses' sermon was at the edge of the wilderness of Moab. Moses' three summary sermons are called the book of Deuteronomy or in Hebrew, Devarim. The sermons given by Moses go back over the lesson summary of the 40-year journey with an exhortation to not be a bystander or a back slider but follow the teaching and instruction found in God's commandments, testimonies and statutes and to listen to The Prophet to come.

Moses gave a prophecy on the blessings for doing them and a warning of curses we bring on ourselves for rejecting God's teaching and instruction. Moses also gave hope for restoration in repentance with a focus on God's lovingkindness.

Here's the thing: blessings are gifts given from God connected to the Torah.

Since that day in the wilderness of Moab, setting aside or adding to the commandments of God with someone's opinion or tradition that takes the focus off the greatest commandment of the Shema to love God first and foremost declared in Deuteronomy 6:4 has been the vortex of religious debate that can occur when we take our eyes off Him.

Yeshua of Nazareth is not the only Jewish dissenter for those that add tradition to God's word to make it a burden... Gamaliel's son Gamaliel II disagreed with rabbi Akiva on many customs of oral law according to the Jewish Talmud. One example of their disagreement was regarding the number of prayers that were required after a meal.

According to the Jewish historian Josephus in his work "Antiquities of the Jews" we can see another core of the conflict of Pharisee vs. Sadducee 2,000 years ago:

"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

Tradition in its proper form with the Shema front and center is good, yet, if you are a "member" of a church denomination because you side with a tradition not found in Scripture, the idea of choosing sides and creating a division in God's Word will sound familiar. After all, taking sides is the very definition of a denomination.

According to Merriam Webster a denomination is: a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices. A sect is a dissenting or schismatic religious body; a religious denomination.

During Paul's time, religious belief and practice in daily life was influenced by two leading schools of thought in and around Jerusalem. One from Hillel, and the other was the often opposing view of the House of Shammai.

Both taught and expounded on somewhat differing views and opinions of Scriptural interpretation as they sided with the elders in Babylon that had originated in the absence of the Temple services led by the Levites some 500 years earlier during the exile. This fact is carefully recorded in Jewish history. During the 70 year exile, the faith of Israel with its focus on the the Temple services began a transformation toward rabbinic Judaism. 

In exile, the Torah was studied, interpreted, and lived out in practical ways. Slowly, the process of interpretation led to differing schools of opinion on the interpretation of the writings of Moses.

Men debate, yet what matters is the heart of God's Word and that is the focus in Deuteronomy's sermons. It is a summary of the journey and they stress the need for living life God's way. It's the same message found in the Sermon on the Mount as Yeshua expounds on God's heart and teaching, not man's interpretation. Put simply, these sermons teach us to choose blessing over curse, life over death. 

It's the same message from the beginning. Adam and Eve chose to listen to a lie that leads to death and ignore God's instruction that leads to life. The result was the curse of death they brought on themselves and mankind. At Sinai God revealed the details of His restoration plan to repair the world that is revealed 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." 
That enmity and bruise is the reason Yeshua offered up His life as a ransom. Without it there could be no promise for resurrection to crush the way of the serpent that says God changes.

The "house" of study in Jerusalem that trained Paul provided him an advanced knowledge of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. Paul was under the tutelage of Gamaliel the Elder (see Acts 5:34-39 and Acts 22:3 for the proof text). Like Paul, Gamaliel was a Pharisee and he was also a member of the Sanhedrin, the highest court of the council of Jerusalem.

Gamaliel was the grandson of Hillel the Elder and his's family line connected to Shlomo Yitzchaki (aka Rashi) several generations later.

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

To understand why Paul proudly declares himself a Pharisee, we would be well served to reconsider the words of his teacher Gamaliel. Some of them are recorded in Acts 5:34-39. Here, we can read that Gamaliel prophetically warns the High Priest and his associates known as "the council" that judged Yeshua against harming His faithful 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."
It took an encounter with the risen Messiah in His glory to open Pauls' eyes to seek the truth. 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. He repented when His eyes and heart were opened on the way to Damascus as he saw his own leavened attitude of hypocrisy was the same problem that Yeshua often 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
Read this carefully!! Jesus never said beware of the Pharisees.

He said beware of their leaven aka the error of religious rule that adds to the bread of life teaching of God's Word.

Leaven is a yeast, it's added to wheat dough to puff it up. Leaven changes the character of the wheat. A few prideful people in leadership in Paul's day had allowed the leaven of hypocrisy to lead to the sin of judgmental hatred of Yeshua and His followers because Yeshua taught against their power plays of religious control, so He rebuked them with words and events described in the Tanach such as David's eating the bread on the Table of Presence.

A hypocritical power play, a leaven had infected Paul's heart much like the virus of the Greek merchant Marcion a few hundred years later.

As already described, hypocrisy rebounded years later when some of the so-called "church" fathers turned against the Jewish people and Judaism. The so-called church "fathers" with the loudest voices presented Jesus as a Christ not seen in Scripture.

Eventually, they ignored Moses' warning of adding to or taking away from God's Torah as they they labeled the Hebrew Bible old and done away with. In doing this they took away from Scripture and most Gentiles ate the leaven infused with Hellenism and Greek thinking.

Soon, opinions outside Judea were leavened like the Nicolaitans described in Revelation 2:6 and Revelation 2:15. This has continued since Constantine as the theologies of Judaism and Christianity separated to such a level of distinction that they obscured the heart of the message of their shared Scriptures.  

This was not always the case. The early Christians were all Jews. Over the centuries that truth was lost in a bitter wormwood of stubborn tirade from the church against the synagogue that is depicted in Revelation 8:11.

Yet that wormwood warning does not begin in the book of Revelation as many think, its from Moses sermon in Deuteronomy:
"So that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. 
It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.’" Deuteronomy 29:18-19
In Paul's day as today, power puffed up a few religious shepherds to try to control the flocks. Eventually, this leaven of hypocrisy allowed the Romans to beat and kill Yeshua of Nazareth in response. Little did any of them know, it was all a part of God's restoration plan.

A few saw Jesus as a peril to their position of esteem and power over others, but Almighty God had a plan and they were a part of what was revealed in Isaiah 55:8:
"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD."
Yeshua confronted people with the warnings of Moses in Deuteronomy 4:2 and Deuteronomy 12:32. But the Pharisees had stony hearts so they stumbled over the warnings of Moses Yeshua delivered.

Like Moses, Yeshua taught against adding to God's Word or taking away from it and like Moses, Yeshua lived out the Torah message of mercy and grace by His deeds that were focused on God's heart and the fountain of life in "the way" of Torah. The admonitions of Moses and repentance is the cherished "way" Yeshua taught His disciples.

Paul gives witness to this according to Acts 24:14-15:
"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 [Torah] and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves..."
Analyzing "the Way" in the first century can reveal how the schism between Judaism and Christianity began. Paul focused on the truth of loving kindness and the promise of resurrection declared under the authority and compassion of God, not a tradition that adds to it or takes away from Scripture like the Sadducees that had wholly rejected the promise of resurrection.

Yeshua taught the same loving kindness in authority as declared by God through the witness of Moses, Hosea, Micah, David and Solomon that was the faith of the vast majority of Jewish people in the first century. That is why the Jewish "multitudes" followed Him, they knew He spoke with authority and that earning one's salvation by deed was not the cornerstone of the faith of their forefathers coming out of Egypt. The Messiah redeemer promised from the beginning was the prophet Moses had written about so they knew to listen to Yeshua:
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him." Deuteronomy 18:15
Every Jewish man, woman and child knew what The Lord had shown Moses at the exodus 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 
Much like the 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 begrudging religious opinions against a backdrop of the written Torah teaching 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.”" 
Some of the Pharisees and the Sadducees leaders did not hear 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 much more to the story. As noted, the first century Pharisees believed in the resurrection promises of Scripture. On the other hand, opposing them were the Sadducees that rejected this promise of God's power for resurrection. The Sadducees were under the influence of a Hellenistic philosophy that takes away from God's Word, yet they oddly held that the nothing should be taken away from the written word.

Sound familiar to you?

Not only that, a few of these men bore grudges and sought revenge as they threw stones of accusation against Yeshua regarding His Torah's instruction. It's well worth repeating that the Jewish historian Josephus defines the 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

Just before he set off to Damascus to drag followers of Yeshua to prison, Paul sought to persecute any Jew that professed Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel. According to Acts 8:8, it was Paul, in his burden of legalism, that approved Stephen's stoning and murder in Jerusalem.

One religious opinion Paul may have held before his Damascus road encounter continues on today despite the many prophecies from Almighty God that oppose it, which is that Yeshua could not be Israel's Messiah King because He did not restore the fallen tent of the Davidic kingdom.

Rome was still in charge and oppressing the Jewish people and the rest of planet by a Pharaoh-like rule of slavery from the Caesar's of Rome. Paul's initial worldview of Yeshua had ignored the hundreds of 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.

Paul's opinion held to Balaam's last oracle. Paul expected a Messiah King to be fulfilled in his day as shown in Numbers 24:15-25, but he forgot what Balaam actually said to Balak. Balaam spoke of the "latter days" in 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 the Sadducee elders were like the many schools of religious thought today with differing opinions based on the sayings and opinions of religious men. A bit like the Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots of yesterday, today's Christians have outdone them by a large margin today and fractured into not two but thousands of differing denominations, all with their own rules, views, qualifications and creeds of "what we believe" for "church" membership eligibility.

Some denominations even have different opinions about what canon of Jewish books should be included in "their" Scripture versions. Incredibly. that's one reason the Bible was not made available to the masses.

What goes around comes around. Nothing is new under the sun, but after he saw the light, Paul's message was about the character of the lovingkindness of the God of Israel, not about earning religious righteousness by creed or deed declared by religious men.

Bottomline, we all need to see the light and turn back to the heart of Bible. Like Paul did, we all need to make a road trip to Sinai to hear God's voice and do it.

One lesson Paul learned deeply concerned him. That led to Paul's letter about division in opinion as he told the Corinthians who were fractured by quarreling in religious jealousy. He admonished the people in Corinth calling their debates "worldly" (see 1 Corinthians 1:26).

Paul's "worldly" warning was simple: people tend to seek the opinions of others putting religious heroes on a pedestal, not the truth of the Torah of the Almighty God of heaven and earth. Even today, people still ask things like, what church are you a member of, or what does "your" pastor say and the replies are often like this: I am a member of Pastor so and so's church and he says...
"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 caused by men known as "church" fathers began to crumble into replacement theology when Christendom's leadership falsely taught their opinions that the church replaced the Jewish people as a new covenant people, aka the Greek thinking of a new "spiritual Israel" that rejected the Biblical lifestyle of faithful Jewish people including the Sabbaths and Feast of The Lord in keeping the Torah of God written by Moses.

The "church" father foundation cracks were built on the sand of men's opinion that Jesus started a new religion and did away with the law at the cross, not on the foundation rock of God's voice that created the universe or Yeshua's teachings from the Torah and the Prophets. The Sermon on the Mount is a great example that many miss so we'll dig into that in another post one day.

The "church" sought some reform 500 years ago as Catholic priests stockpiled indulgences and kept God's word hidden from the masses in Latin language mass, yet despite the printing press, the reformation fell short insisting on a blank page to divide the Bible between old and new.

Today, the "church" remains splintered and fragmented in many beliefs that have morphed into fractured walls of "church" separation called denominations. The reason, there's always been some form of religious debate on legalism and we must see that the clashing views of the Pharisees and Sadducees of days gone by are still around. Perhaps, the best light in reading the stories of conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees is our own denominational fractures today.

We all need to see the light and turn back to the Bible.

Like the debate of Pharisees and Sadducees, in certain churches including the Roman Catholic and the High Anglican Church, members subscribe to a theory of manmade legalism called "transubstantiation." That belief is that the bread and wine of a eucharist communion are transformed into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus, although their appearance remains as simply bread and wine.

Find that one in the Bible. Jesus was using the bread and wine as a parable teaching, He never described  a eucharist transformation!

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, hence the word "communion." This religious opinion was promoted by Augustine of Hippo (354AD-430AD).

Once again, try to find that one in the Bible, you will not.

Other theological doctrines include foreordination, predetermination, preordination and predestination. Augustine promoted those as well.

I pray that you can see that some church doctrines are not far from the legalistic circumcision debate on righteousness as they require Catholic elements or sacraments believing that God seals believers and renews their identity with them while marking them for service. Other forms of legalism require prayer beads and repetition or chants while recanting a rosary to the virgin Mary as the intercessor to be heard by God.

Once again, you will not find that in the Bible.

It was during the second diaspora that so-called church fathers began to do away with the authority of the Torah, calling it old and replacing it with their own religious rites of a new religion as they turned against the Jewish people and the only Bible Jesus the Jew ever read and taught. 

Paul has some advice on all of this, you may have missed it but he wrote to his understudy Titus and said: "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

Only a few 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 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 written by Moses prevail over opinion and tradition.
And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:4
Moses' teaches that adding to or taking way from the Word of God is a big problem. That's the Egyptian storyline of the Torah. The golden calf was an add on. In the garden of Eden, eating from the forbidden tree was a take away, ignoring God's voice. 

Slavery's escape is the Passover exodus journey shows us we all need redemption if we are to be free to walk near God and follow Him. 

We all need forgiveness too through God's lovingkindness and mercy and we all need to keep God's instruction for life in the Kingdom - we must not toss it out with a sermon from Marcion. Instead we all need the prophet like Moses. He is the Messiah promised in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

Grace does not annul any of God's written word, it fulfills and upholds it. Deuteronomy 17:8 and Deuteronomy 17: 10-11 state this plainly:
"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 interpreted the Bible's instruction given for the Levites to apply to a rabbi's opinion 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. 

We all make mistakes, including Rashi. We need to learn the difference, we must choose to make the right choice based on God's voice and we all need to see the light and turn back to the Bible and that's Paul's message to the Galatians.

Yeshua called His disciples and all others to the truth that not one jot or tittle shall pass from the written words of Moses as declared in Matthew 5:17-19 and the true spirit of authority declared in Matthew 5:21-48. The reason, because God said so:
"The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.”  Exodus 19:9
Jesus taught that the opinion that matters is God's voice of instruction. The point is simple: listen to men that declare God's words, not their own. Please know, there is no intent here to bash Rashi, like I said the Bible teaches we all make mistakes, in fact many Jewish rabbis completely disagreed with his interpretation, but they showed respect in their debate.

The important thing to know is that Moses tells us there is "one" Torah for both the native born and the sojourner and it is the Torah of God, not men's religious opinion. God's Torah applies to all (see 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."

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

Simply put, a religious rite of conversion not given in Scripture is not Scriptural.

Better than most, Paul knew discriminatory perspectives were not a part of God's covenant. In a bizarre adoption of prejudice and discrimination, certain church opinions have endowed many people with a false 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 to ignorantly err in opinion and reject the Jewish people.

Horrifically, Jewish people were subjected to forced conversions in the middle ages, they were expelled without a home or business and eventually millions of Jewish people have suffered and died in anti-Semitism. God forgive us! The lies of replacement theology still echo in many pulpits, but those days are ending for a remnant that see the truth of Torah and the Jewish roots of the Biblical faith of the Jewish Messiah!

We must all know that replacement theology grew in a horrific way in dark hearts until it culminated in the Holocaust of Hitler. It has created a grave stumbling block for the Jewish people to see the 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 as He taught the Torah.

Praise God, today Jews and non-Jews are growing closer in friendship and relationship whether we know the promised Messiah to return or come for the first time to restore the world.

Incredibly, a healing process from the Spirit of God 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" had once forsaken lovingkindness and committed many terrible things resulting in grave persecution that ultimately led to the death of millions of Jewish families over the centuries across the planet, God forgive us!

The good news is that many now recognize the terrible sins of our fathers that were inherited in church history. 

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

Would Paul say that every Sunday preacher's sermon must be tossed aside or that every word of rabbinic halakhah should be ignored?


After all, if we look at Matthew 3:1-17 we can see a very good tradition of the Pharisees with the reference to immersion in regard to repentance and righteousness. Mikveh is a wonderful tradition and John followed it as he baptized people that sought repentance along the Jordan River.

Halakhah is not a set of rules to be tossed aside any more than a good Sunday sermon about the Ten Commandments, but when the guide rails of halakhah added in by religious men become higher in our hearts than the word of God, they take us off the straight and narrow path of "the way" written in the word of God

What do I mean? A great teaching of halakhah is to love one's neighbor. This eternal 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 Yeshua taught from The Scriptures.

There is another Jewish tradition of halakhah that Yeshua not only upheld, but explained its meaning in prime time to His disciples. The Passover meal we call the "last supper" is the witness. Read Exodus 12, Leviticus 23, Numbers 9 and Deuteronomy 16. These chapters each give some instruction for Passover observance, yet in all of them there is no mention whatsoever of 1) breaking bread or 2) sharing a cup of wine. There's also no mention of prayer and song, yet the traditional Jewish seder order of the Passover celebration takes us front and center stage into Matthew 26 and Mark 14 whether you have recognized it or not.

The "last supper" account shares a wonderful halakic tradition derived from Genesis 14:18 not found in the specific Passover instruction of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers or Deuteronomy.

Tradition can be good as long as it holds its proper place and supports God's written word.

The traditional hope of Judaism is Messiah. He is at the core of Jewish faith. The belief of the coming Messiah originated in traditional Judaism, not Christianity. 

Judaism teaches of an anointed King Messiah (Melekh Mashiach) will rule the world in the messianic age aka world to come. Judaism also teaches of a time of peace when all nations, Jew and Gentile will recognize that the God of Israel is the one true God that resurrects the dead and in the end creates a new heaven and a new earth. Sound familiar?

It was Maimonides that wrote in his Mishneh Torah writings of a halakhah that, "Anyone who does not believe in him, or who does not wait for his arrival, has not merely denied the other prophets, but has also denied the Torah and Moses, our Rabbi" Melakhim.

As you might see, Jewish halakhah should not be wholly tossed aside nor should the Talmuds of Babylon and Jerusalem containing the commentary, interpretations and conclusions of the Jewish sages that were derived from the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings.  

Let's take a quick look at two critically important Talmudic sayings about the Mashiach (Messiah) that are full of the spirit of grace. They define what the Jewish sages understood in their midrash about the identity of the Messiah and the process of messianic redemption of the world to come:

1) Zechariah 12 says that The Lord God will pour out the spirit of grace and supplication, and that someone has 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 once doubting disciples of Jesus, Shimoni did not understand that Yeshua HaMashiach would be slain then resurrected, instead he pointed to two Messiah's not two comings of one Messiah.

2) Today, Isaiah 53 is a key point of interpretative disagreement between synagogue and church, yet the Talmud's commentary on Isaiah 53 found in Sanhedrin 98b asks the right question to resolve the dilemma

"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." 

Those sicknesses are our sins and there's more, a lot more... the Babylinian Talmud (Avodah Zarah Folio 9a) states: The Tanna debe Eliyyahu taught: The world is to exist six thousand years; the first two thousand years are to be void;  the next two thousand years are the period of the Torah, and the following two thousand years are the period of the Messiah. Through our many sins a number of these have already passed [and the Messiah is not yet].

The thing is, those words in the brackets were added by Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac) many years later after Tanna debe Eliyyahu taught them. The rabbinic sages that contributed long ago to the two Talmuds of Jerusalem (4th century) and Babylon (3rd to 6th centuries) did not write Scripture, instead they provided a record of the opinions of the rabbis while in diaspora from Temple services.

Think of the Talmud as a bit like modern Christian Bible commentators such as Matthew Henry, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, C. H. Spurgeon, Dr. J. Vernon McGee and many others.

The teachings that stand in authority above all opinion 
and commentary is the holy, divine teaching and instruction 
found in the written word of Almighty God. 

One thing is not changed with opinion, God's Word! His Bible shows us how to live in the Kingdom of God and it applies to everyone that chooses the way of the Kingdom whether native born or sojourner, Jew or Gentile, we can all be citizens.

Instruction number one from the Ten Commandments is foremost, it is to put Almighty God first, not a sage or a pastor. That includes Bible commentators or students of Scripture including me.

Putting God first requires a restored relationship based on spirit and truth. Biblical instruction teaches us how to live and love as God intended from the beginning. Spirit and truth requires relationship with a heart of repentance. The purpose of God's Word is to paint the big picture which reveals our sin against God's will for our lives and the need for redemption, atonement and the Messiah to restore relationship and the world that is broken. See Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 3:15, Deuteronomy 30:3-5, Numbers 24:17-18, Zechariah 9:10, Obadiah 1:21 and John 5:39-47 for this truth.

Yeshua is the master Jewish Rabbi, the Torah teacher and doer from Nazareth that is the branch of the House of David born in Bethlehem. He walked and talked in Biblical authority teaching His Jewish disciples to do the same and reflect God's holy image and Torah light to a broken world and He suffered because of it.

During their yeshiva time, the disciples (talmidim) saw Yeshua demonstrate God's mitzvot prescribed by the written law while anchoring long known Jewish halakhah into the spirit of Torah by explaining God’s highest mountaintop ways in the Father's new covenant purpose in writing His teaching and instruction on our hearts so that all people may know Him in a relationship.

Yeshua-Jesus is the one that explained the new covenant heart when He taught the Jewish halakhah of the new heart covenant proclaimed in Jeremiah 31:31-34. And as if you look at it, you will see it DOES NOT ALIGN with a common Sunday pulpit teaching that the Torah (law) is old and done away by grace alone on a cross. Noteven close, He properly declares the opposite!!

Yeshua expounds on halakhah with haggadah by explaining the very heart of Torah when He spoke these words: "You have heard... but I say":
“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 the Jewish scribe that we now call Mark shows us that Yeshua plainly agreed with the sages explaining the Torah's greatest teaching called the Shema is the first and highest instruction. After all, the first set of five commandments etched in stone by the hand of God teaches us to love God first and at the same time, the second set of five commandments teaches we must also love one's neighbor as oneself. That is why Mark writes that the Jewish scribe speaking with Yeshua said brotherly love is given greater weight than "all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” See Mark 12:28-33.

Yeshua taught what this means in the Luke 10:30-37 parable of the good Samaritan. You may have not noticed it before, but this amazing midrash was not new at all. It reveals Yeshua's teaching focused on some ancient words from Leviticus 19:17-18 and the parable is another example that the Messiah of all Israel came to compel people to walk in the path of the Torah written on the heart to rectify the wide chaotic road of sin that we choose in arrogance and prideful prejudice.

Whether you believe it or not, Yeshua is the pierced one, the Mashiach ben Yoseph that Tanna debe Eliyyahu taught about. He is the one who was slain as noted by rabbi Yalkut Shimoni. His return as King with the authority granted by the throne of God will prove these good words shown in the Talmud are 100% correct.

Like Joshua (Yehoshua), King Messiah will fight the wars of God against those that choose to raise their arms in final defiance to reject God's authority, His words, His covenant, His people and His land. 

In that day, God's Kingdom will be established on this earth.

Yeshua began the Kingdom restoration process as He filled the appointed Spring Feasts up with meaning as the lamb of God and He will return as the Lion of Judah to fulfill the promise embedded in each of the appointed Fall Feasts starting with Trumpets, the ten days of awe and repentance leading up to the atonement of Yom Kippur. He will lead the ingathering celebration of the pilgrimage Sukkot festival in Jerusalem known as the Feast of Tabernacles that was instituted long ago by God's voice at Sinai recorded in Leviticus 23:33.

Each of the appointed feasts of The Lord have wonderful Jewish traditions and promise. For that reason, it's really important to understand all customs and traditions do not oppose God's plan or His Word, many celebrate it.

Yeshua taught that problems arise when the priority of men's traditions are put above God's Word. 

When that happens traditions can oppose repentance, forgiveness and lovingkindness. Tradition above God's Word is likely the "different gospel" Paul notes in the introduction of the letter sent to the Galatians. He understood because he explains that he had been "extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions." Paul had placed some of those traditions above the righteousness of faith.

In faith, we must all remember Yeshua is a Jew. He will fulfill the Jewish custom of Simchat Beit HaShoevah, the water-drawing celebration of Sukkot (Tabernacles) pointing to the spirit and truth of the Word of God and the seven processions known as Hoshanahs, because while the procession will be made as the book of Revelation declares, we will all hear the seven trumpets and recite a prayer like the traditional refrain: "Hosha na!" (Please save us!).

Yeshua will fulfill the day of Trumpets in His arrival as King, He will lead Yom Kippur as High Priest and judge on the seventh day of Sukkot, traditionally called Hoshana Rabbah which is known as the last of the "Days of Judgment." I believe Yeshua will lead the tradition of reading of the Torah on the night of Hoshana Rabbah, the seventh day of Tabernacles.

In the end, Jesus will fulfill the holy days of The Lord that many call the Jewish holidays because in good tradition and custom they keep them. During Sukkot and the day known as Shemini Atzeret, Messiah Yeshua will restore the Lord's House of Prayer for all nations.  He will gather together all the dispersed of Israel both Judah as well as the sojourners that will go with them just as it was at Mount Sinai.

As promised by many sages, King Messiah will repair our corrupt world, governing it by righteousness with the Torah as its constitution, the conduct code of The King. With God's authority, Messiah will heal nations and instruct everyone in the proper worship relationship with the God of Israel. Everyone will see and know Yeshua HaMashiach as the Melek Mĕlakîm (King of Kings). All Israel will be saved in resurrection.

It seems, perhaps with some humor built in, that Rabbi Pinchas, the “woodcutter” of Koretz that lived in the 1700's knew something about the Hoshana Rabbah to come when he taught that one should bake an apple with the Hoshana branch in it to ward off tooth aches in the coming year because all pain will be done away with when Messiah returns as King.

When we dig into Paul's letters, we can see he teaches the haggadah of the Torah of God to be written on the heart was taught by Yeshua. For examples from Paul's other letters 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 difficult to read if we do not understand they address only a few religious opinions Yeshua opposed because their righteousness rules were put above the heart of Torah by a few men with traditions not in line with God's heart of mercy and lovingkindness. Paul taught nothing new. Instead he taught in keeping with the prophecy of Almighty God declared 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 and historic context, it becomes clear that Paul was deeply concerned that legalistic righteousness that add to Torah can take us off the true faith path because they put a stumbling block of men's pride in front of the Torah of God and its good news gospel of God's everlasting love for all mankind by tossing mercy under a man-made tradition for righteousness.

Paul knew firsthand how pride could lead to persecution if God's heart of mercy and grace is missing from the heart of men.

Paul's restored focus was for all God 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 heart of Scripture. Paul understood his former stony heart embedded only in tradition was missing the good news:
"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 about the stony heart issue.

In 1955, another famous rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel elegantly provides 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."

Daniel Fohrman another well known Orthodox Jew asks a similar question. Check out the video: Do we need to focus more on Written Torah vs Talmud?

In his letters, Paul is preaching the same lesson, calling on God's voice as THE teaching for love and respect as the cornerstone relationship for all people. Paul points to the witness of Messiah Yeshua to Jews and non-Jews.

Paul had confronted his own encrusted religious tradition that divided people and persecuted others instead of fulfilling the two greatest commands of Torah based on love for God and each other. After meeting the risen Messiah Yeshua in the bright light on the road to Damascus, Paul came to realize everyone has been created in the image of God and that Yeshua gave His life as a ransom for the salvation of all people with no precondition based on observance of religious traditions not infused in God's heart of mercy and lovingkindness declared to Moses atop Mount Sinai.

If you require more context on the labyrinth of cultural and historic religious conflicts 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 Greco-Roman Gentiles embedded in a pagan lifestyle that sacrificed sheep and cattle to their many mythic false-gods before they sold them in street markets.

This pagan market system created conflict with the Biblically kosher lifestyle of the Jewish people that sought to honor the instruction of The Father. You may not know it, but many other remnants of false-god worship remain with us today. One example is our insistence on naming the planets with their worthless Greco-Roman idol origins that began in Babylon:
  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Mars 
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • Pluto
If you've read the book of Acts, take notice Saturn worship is mentioned. You may have missed it though. The reason is a name change. In chapter 7, just before Stephen is stoned to death he noted what Amos said in the warning of Amos 5:26-27:
You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship;
and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon. Acts 7:43
Rephan is the name of an old idol, it's Saturn and its worshippers are called the tent of Moloch.

Even the Moon has a lunar problem. Today, its name is taken from another fake deity. Luna is the Roman goddess of the Moon. It seems that only the term "heaven" remains unpolluted with direct links to the old pagan idols. Heaven's name comes from the translation of Hebrew shamayim שָׁמַיִם.

The word "earth" derives its current name from German origin and is thought to be a personified goddess from Norse mythology as the mother of Thor. That's where the term mother nature comes from.

The first verse in Scripture gives us the proper names. There, earth is Hebrew word, erets אֶרֶץ and the heavens are the Hebrew word shamayim שָׁמַיִם.

Our solar system's amazing planets are not the only remnant today of a pagan the Greco-Roman world. Most of the names of the twelve months of the year on our calendar are remnants from idol worship and so-called Greco-Roman gods. January is named for Janus, March is named after the false-god Mars, April for Aphrodite, June for Juno and the list goes on.

In the Roman Empire's pagan culture, the Caesars were considered to have god-like status, this is known as the 'imperial cult' and it continues hidden yet embedded in our calendar today. July is named for Julius Caesar and August for Augustus Caesar. Our week days are named after Norse idol-gods and Saturday retains the name of Rome's false-god Saturn, aka Saturn's day.

Then of course there's the big one, Sun-day, named in honor of Sol Evictus, the primary sun god of the Roman Empire that was given official cult status by the Romans on December 25, 274 AD under Roman emperor Aurelian.

First the Babylonians, then the Egyptians, next the Greeks and the Romans. Each culture had a counterfeit cult system of pagan religion to worship the Sun opposing Moses admonition in Deuteronomy 4:19. The crime began in Babylon with Bel or Ba'al in Canaan and the names come from Semiramis and Nimrod. After their deaths, they were worshipped as Ashterath and Tammuz. That's why you can find their false idol names listed as an abomination in Scripture.

In his book, The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop 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.”

This is why Revelation 17:4-4 describes the religions of Babylon as the "mother" of harlots and abominations as deities and sun-worship found throughout recorded history originated there. It was in Babylon that men laid out the ground work for every false religious system.

In Paul's day, the Greek Sun-god of the day was called Helios. Later, as we have seen, the Roman religious cults worshipped Sol Invictus as the name of the Sun-god morphed from Greece to Rome. The Sun-god has had different names through the years, but they are the same false-idol as different harlot people groups and cultures worshipped the Sun and used the planets as a fake foundation for polluting God's purpose and disguising His plan for redemption.

It is disturbing that a remnant of false-idol gods are still used today to describe time on our planet, but they do not govern it. This is a bizarre scenario we've adopted from Babylon if you just stop and think about it for a minute or two. The deception is that our Creator's perfect creation timepiece, the solar system has been rebranded with idol worship disguising Almighty God's creation calendar that was designed to point us toward The Feasts of The Lord on God's appointment schedule that outlines the Elohim plan for man's redemption and relationship restoration.

Greco-Roman timekeeping birthed in Babylon has caused many to not only lose track of time, it has led many to an identity crisis with God's covenant given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Moses' words were given to the descendants of Israel as well as the foreigners and sojourners with them and: "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 a new year on January 1st. The truth is, January is named for Janus, the Roman myth-god of beginnings, gates, transition, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. This is a remnant tradition from Babylon. According to our Elohim Creator, the Biblical new year for redemption from Egypt begins on the first day of the first month God declared in Exodus 12:2. That ‘first month’ is the month of Passover and Unleavened Bread in the Spring and since that wilderness time, the new moon has marked the beginning of each month noted in the Bible.

Does January sound confusing?

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

Yet, the unchanging calendar of the Bible still governs our modern world whether we know it or not. God's calendar and His appointments 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 calendar, clock and your heart.

Just when you thought idols were a thing of the past, the reality is 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 modern reality is that it is not real. Money today is 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 with the flick of a power switch. The latest is this metamorphosis is crypto currency.

We are fulfilling the word of God Hosea recorded:
"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
Our modern idol list has morphed into many other forms. As noted, just like the ancient Greek culture sports teams, heroes and sports idols dominate our modern week-end psyche. You may have never thought much about it, but ask yourself, 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 has a goal.

Paul 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 say love your neighbor as yourself.

These two principles of covenant are the jewel 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.

Religious 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 own 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 forgiveness because he was given an assignment from heaven to spread God's promise to the Gentiles.

How did Paul learn to know the heart of Abba Father includes 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 for life.

Rome was run by the Imperial Cult but people there needed redemption too so Paul preached the Bible.

Now imagine yourself as a former pagan idol worshipper repentant yet ignorant of the Torah, the oracles of God recorded by the faithful Jewish people.

Paul was concerned that new Yeshua-believers could stumble just as I had done not understanding the Torah and its the set apart Sabbath and Feasts are appointment gifts from Elohim God, days we get to celebrate and participate in because we love Almighty God.

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

As noted, 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 the Sadducees rejected the oral Torah that had developed over generations which the Pharisees claimed was passed down 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 much like Karaite Judaism does today rejecting good Biblical tradition in the lifestyle of today's Orthodox Judaism with a priority on the oral traditions of the rabbinic sages.

The Sadducees sought to follow the written Torah, yet incredibly they stubbornly rejected the hope of resurrection to eternal life that is shown in the Prophets and Writings including Daniel 12, Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 25.

Biblical truth from these prophets points to resurrection. This is shown too 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 Acts 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 centuries earlier, Pharisaic opinion started the walk on the path that led to rabbinic Judaism.

After the Temple was destroyed the second time, the opinions of the early church fathers eroded the way of the faith of the disciples and incredibly turned against the Jewish people.

The Bible's core teaching is about God's character of mercy and lovingkindness, and we can see that Paul was deeply concerned that man-made religion can potentially 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 cab=n become 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. This is described 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 (Romans 14:5-14), 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 God 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 could 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 as best your could and assemble for a Biblical Feast Day like Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost) or Sukkot (Tabernacles) on a day in Rome that was not approved on their Roman "fasti" calendar to allow a day of rest with a Biblically ordained assembly?

The early Roman calendar needs to be understood a bit more if we want to understand the context of Paul.

Consider this too, Paul may have been pointing toward differing opinions on the timing of the Biblical calendar. Did you know there is an old Jewish debate on the day by day counting up to the festival of Shavuot. That same debate existed between the Pharisees and the Sadducees in Paul's day over the meaning of the "Sabbath" noted in Leviticus 23:15-16.

Another old debate is the proper counting of a Jubilee Year. Another is how to count the 50 days up to the appointed day of Shavuot. That has likely been a rabbinic debate since the exile to Babylon despite the fact that each Sabbath to The Lord is defined in Leviticus 23. Check it out for yourself.

In Leviticus a Sabbath day is defined: "the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD."

The Lord declares the count to 50 days: "you shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths."

Looks simple enough, but there's a debate because the Passover is also called a Sabbath.

The Sadducees based their view on the "weekly" Sabbath and counted after that first weekly Sabbath following the beginning of the week of Unleavened Bread, the day after the eve of Passover.  On our Greco Roman calendar, the Sadducees counting began on a Sunday, the 1st day of each week.

However, the Pharisees based their view on a tradition that counted only after the first day of Unleavened Bread each year no matter what day of the week it was, because they declared it a Sabbath although Leviticus 23 does not.

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

There is a similar ancient argument about the Jubilee Year counting from the Lord's appointed day of Yom Kippur. The Jubilee is the 50th year, but the debate is this: is the first of 50 years included as the first year in the counting up to the next Jubilee or does it stand alone as year 50 and when it is complete, do we then start the first year?

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

There's another rabbinic tradition that declares the first day of Tishre as Rosh Hashanah, or literally, beginning of the year. According to Merriam Webster the term was never used until 1594.

The Bible says: "Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you." Exodus 12:1-2

That first month is Abib also known as Nisan and Esther 3:7 confirms it. It is the day first new day of the first month described in Genesis 8:13. Tishrei is actually the seventh month of the Biblical year.

Enough on calendar debates.

Let's get back to the Galatian question about circumcision as a requirement for conversion and conversion as a requirement for salvation... some preached an oral law tradition that unless you were circumcised, one cannot become "a people for God's name." See Acts 15:13-18 for more on the argument.

Paul's reference points to Amos 9:11-12 where the prophet Amos borrowed from the prophet Nathan.

In the Jerusalem counsel meeting, James aka Yacob also paraphrased the same message from Amos when he quoted Amos 9:11-12 which is God's promise to restore the fallen tabernacle of David, the whole house of "all" Israel" as Amos points toward Nathan's prophetic words of promise in 2 Samuel 7:8-17. These are all supported by 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. 1Chronicles 16:1:23-24
Holy Bible, believe it or not the gospel assignment to proclaim the good news of His salvation comes from the book of Chronicles. That's in the so-called Old Testament, as you can see, it's not old at all.

The religious conversion by circumcision debate was 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 issues of the day, we can better understand the reason the Pharisee Paul taught against that particular rabbinic conversion ordinance (takkanah) not directly based on biblical authority.

He agreed to go to Jerusalem with Barnabas in the first place because he knew the Torah had a Biblical instruction to do so. It's found in Deuteronomy 17:8-10. So he went there to meet with the disciples regarding the issue of whether circumcision was required for a non-Jew to become a 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. The issue at hand that the council dealt with was about what pagan basics were to be turned away from including things contaminated by idols, formication, eating strangled animals and so on that tie directly to God's instruction outlined on these which is found in Leviticus 17-20.

Yes, you read that right, Acts 15 is a real world, real life teaching on following the instruction found in Leviticus. For those thinking Acts 15 does away with Leviticus, you may find this mind blowing, but don't give up, the truth is worth the journey!

If you think Acts 15 changed the commandments in Leviticus, you might also think Paul was confused about the council 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 new rules" in the very next chapter by circumcising Timothy and preaching the decrees of Torah are to kept as plainly written in Acts 16?

No, he did not. Paul was not arguing against Biblical commandments, that witness is Timothy when he was circumcised. Timothy's obedience to the law was on the basis of faith.

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

Timothy left his childhood home:
"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
With a perspective on the context of culture, the Scriptures, the outline of the Ten Commandments and the details that follow them in the Torah of Leviticus, we can also see that Acts 15 and Acts 16 provide a Torah teaching from the center of the Torah of the Bible.

If you doubt this grab a Bible, set aside 15 minutes and read Leviticus 17-20. These four short chapters are also known as the two Torah portions of Leviticus called Acharei Mot which means "after the death" and Kedoshim which means "holy."

The counsel of apostles and elders had read and studied theses two Torah portions for years, so naturally they agreed that these two Torah portions in the middle of the Torah were the basic training, the charge for Gentiles coming into faith from paganism and that they should stop doing these immediately because they reeked of the smell of a pagan idol lifestyle picture shown in Leviticus 17-20 with the Egyptians and Canaanites noted there.

What goes around comes around. They knew that God's voice in Leviticus plainly declared the basics for these abominable practices:
For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 18:29-30  
After all, the new believing Gentiles were coming out of a Greek and Roman lifestyle infused with idol worship focused on four old pagan traditions practiced by the Egyptians and Canaanites years before:
"...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 guideposts against the abominable customs of irreverent pagan life in Acts 15 were never intended to be the sum of all the ways of God to be learned by Gentiles over time any more than Leviticus 17-20 can be consider the sum of the Bible's message for mankind that takes time to unfold.

The apostles that met in Jerusalem knew what they were instructed to do from the Torah and frankly they simply assumed that the balance of God's ways and how they could respond to them in love would be learned in due time each Sabbath in the weekly synagogue Torah portion teachings as the Scriptures would be read and taught beyond Leviticus 17-20.

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, 
could a flag footballer play 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 back tees at TPC Sawgrass, much less learn to play in front of tens of thousands at Augusta National.

The raw, untrained beginner would immediately become discouraged in the first round and likely quit the game before finishing the 18th hole. Good advice always starts with a few basics. The important thing is to fall in love with the game first, learn the four basics of the grip, stance, posture and alignment then and only then move on to advanced training over time to learn how the game should be played by playing it. Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus all did this. Not only that, throughout their competitive careers, they all had teachers they could trust and emulate to go beyond the basics.

In Paul's day as today, the way to learn Scripture and walk in God's instruction is the same, it takes time.

Since the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. the Scriptures were systematically taught in cycles of public reading every Sabbath for training in righteousness.

Paul and the counsel of disciples in Jerusalem understood this, so much so they took it for granted that others would follow the ages old process of learning and incorporating God's word into daily life and decision through a faith training we call discipleship. 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
One week at a time, one Sabbath at a time is how the disciples and apostles had all learned the Scriptures and their Biblical training was the same way Yeshua taught as described in Luke 4:16.

For the disciples, weekly Scripture study in a congregation was like eating bread, you never swallow the loaf all at once, you chew one bite at a time and sustain life and grow in faith, equipped for every good work.

A big reason for gathering with others 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 outlined four basic priorities for those that had not grown up hearing God's Word each week.

Paul and the disciples were basically relying on the weekly study of Scripture for those Gentiles formerly participating in a hedonistic pagan lifestyle that required them to: 1) sacrifice to idols and 2) eat raw meat or blood, eat animals that were strangled rather than properly butchered while engaging in 3) illicit sexual immorality in heathen worship to their false-gods and goddesses born out of Egypt and Babylon.

These faithful Jewish men we call apostles all agreed to four basics for beginners because just as Acts 15:21 says, they all 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 turning from 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 the Biblical principles on how to do that would be taught in due course when the Scriptures were read, studied and experienced as God's instruction manual for the good life in God's Kingdom.

The disciples also knew that even the least of the commandments would not be set aside in the synagogue, this was a teaching of Yeshua. Don't even set the smallest instruction 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 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 meet on the Sabbath or even teach the Torah, The Prophets and the Writings like Jesus did?

Why aren't we acting in the King's customs, walking as the King walked, and teaching as the King taught?

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 by God's lovingkindness first, yet as a lifelong student of Scripture, he agreed that learning about the Kingdom lifestyle outlined by the teaching of Torah takes time and training.

If the four guidelines of Acts 15 were the only rules for righteous living for the "church" then why do we have laws against murder and theft? Why don't we just teach our children that disobedience of parents is fine or that lying, adultery and cult idol worship are OK, after all there's grace, or do we?

We all know murder and mayhem are wrong, yet we ignore The Lord's Sabbaths. Why?

Paul became expert in the new covenant, the "Torah of the heart" and his letters reflect this. Not only that, he also knew the teachings of the 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 lived, 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 explained with authority including the amazing Sermon on the Mount.

We can know Paul upheld the Torah in his faith in the Messiah of Israel simply 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 prideful prejudice that was not upholding the Torah of God as a Believer in the resurrected Jewish Messiah. Before He saw 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 for the gift of salvation.

Like Daniel was promised, 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 (halakhah) detailed in the body of the Qumran text. Perhaps, for the first time we can really understand what Paul was 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 some but NOT ALL traditions or oral laws. Some are very good and revealed in the ministry 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 or 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. Peter learned the lesson with his food vision. That vision was not about food but people, like Paul he was called to those that even he considered "unclean."

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 men including Peter were awestruck and amazed as they witnessed as the Holy Spirit poured out on the uncircumcised Roman Cornelius, his family and friends.

Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians from the heart of his own past bondage to religious persecution that was not the written life-giving character of the mercy and grace of the Torah-giver. 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 the sin of prejudice. Paul came to know the glory of God on earth he became a light to the pagan Roman 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 (please read Acts 8-9).

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 religious conversion leads to persecution that is blind to God's goodness and unfailing love for all people through The Father's covenant with Abraham for all nations to be blessed in full character revealed atop Mount Sinai to Moses.

Simply put, both men learned one's religious heritage does not merit righteousness nor God's salvation and redemption by who we are or what we do, because 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 dividing hearts and minds today.

In a way, we can see the separation refers to the Torah inscribed by Moses and the living Torah Yeshua Messiah. Many have rejected the Jewish people and rejected the Torah saying it is old and done away in a church that believes it has replaced the Jewish people. Yet, Yeshua is the living Torah because He lived the Torah. If we reject it don't we reject His Jewishness?

Division is symbolized by the wall in the Temple courtyard 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) new man in an ancient faith focused on friendship and love of The God of Israel. The God we serve does not changes, He will always be the “God of Israel.”

Yeshua's Torah path of righteous living was perfect because He followed the constitution of God's Kingdom. 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, faith and love for The Father and each other on Earth as it is in Heaven. That is the big blessing of Torah, the most important teaching of the Bible according to Yeshua:
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22 37-40
Everyone, whether Jew or not should seek restoration with each other and be spiritually revived, and follow the instruction and teaching of Scripture as a witness of Messiah in love for our Creator God of Hosts. Israel is the “apple of God’s eye.” The future of Christianity will be determined by its relationship with Israel.

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 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 by first being circumcised to be considered righteous and accepted. 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, Greek or in between 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 some 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 ignore the authority of Scripture.

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 could expel 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 if it opposes God's Word, can miss the heart and goal of Torah to show the world God's mercy and lovingkindness. 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 just as Peter once believed.

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. 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 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 is yet another promotion of Augustine that resulted in his promotion of child baptism by water sprinkling has resulted in heated debates much like the issue of circumcision as a requirement for salvation that Paul wrote about. Not only that, like the issue of circumcision, this salvation requirement of 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 as a witness of a changed life, but like circumcision baptism is not a pre-condition deed required to be eligible for God's salvation.

Baptism is commanded by Yeshua as an outward sign of a servant under 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 in the Word of God, the process of new life from death fittingly symbolizes the glory power of God to cleanse and cover (atone) the death penalty of sin and it points to the promise of resurrection to restored life in righteousness (see Matthew 3:16, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33 and Acts 2:38).

If you have heard or follow other denominational doctrines that are declared for church "membership" you might see that are not that far from the Pharisee's views on circumcision. Think long and hard about this too: if all the denominations of today and their requirements for "membership" 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 against denominational teachings that add to and take away from 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 time to let go of anything in your life, whether sin or custom that opposes "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 also separate us 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 understand about diverse theology that differs from God's Word 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. These 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 distinctly separate traditional services there.

These denominations include Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic, as well as Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Tewahedo. 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 or town and look around at the host of different denominations near you. If you want to ultimate proof and 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.

Have you ever visited "different" church denominations or even 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 other denominations, sooner or later you will likely be asked to undergo doctrinal training or conversion so that you will be eligible to become a tithe paying "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
Perhaps now you can understand 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 doctrines 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 religion. 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 no matter who you are:
"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 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 religious control. The fact is, the Galatians that Paul met came from neo-pagan worship, they were "non-Jews" assimilated in ancient Greek and Roman lifestyle before Paul arrived with other brothers in faith.

Before they met Paul, many 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, the Greeks, like the Romans, worshipped false-gods and followed the dark 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 pagan 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 remains hidden on our calendars in a few remnant forms today celebrated with mass marketed "holiday" cards.

Many of those Greek days, months and seasons that have survived morphed in Rome in one form or another from Babylon and Egypt. Incredibly, some have been adopted and morphed into the Christian church as major celebrations. They are from the Bible and include Christmas and Easter and neither are a part of the Feasts of The Lord, but that is another study you can easily do on your own, but you have to tear out the blank page in your Bible to let you mind see the truth.

Bottomline, in the Greek culture of Paul's day in Galatia, people celebrated and worshipped all sorts of polytheistic idols and Greek fake-gods and used their own calendar system to manage the festivities and orgies. Basically everyone had a family shrine and would go to the temples of the gods. Only a few of the holidays remain today such as but in Paul's day the Roman calendar had  about 40 religious festivals a year. Saturnalia and Lupercalia were a part of the Feriae Conceptivae, the dates of which were fixed and included Feriae Latinae in April. The name Easter comes from an Anglo-Saxon goddess named Eostre, but the Romans called their festival time Feriae Latinae.

As we have seen, even our modern weekdays are infused in Hellenistic Roman and Greek astrology as each day is named after myth-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 false-god and Mother Earth rituals and sacrifice.

During the course of a year in Paul's day, celebrations of the Greek and Roman gods were in conflict with Jewish teaching that tracked with the Bible, 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 in the Galatian letter and continue to follow adopted part of the Roman calendar Feriae Conceptivae.

I do hope you are opening your eyes to Paul's letter and the fact that 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 Almighty God in relationship is the greatest command we must understand (See Matthew 22:37-40) and the second is loving others too.

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

The deception is the lie that faith in Yeshua as Messiah 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 in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The deception veils our understanding of Paul's letters and separates Christians from our Jewish brothers and sisters too. The adversary abhors a family of faith walking together like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Paul taught that all nations can be adopted as a part of God’s children in the promise of Abraham, after all that was the promise given to Abraham. A family with the name Israel given as as gift by faith and trust in the redemption gospel of the Kingdom. That's the message seen in the aliens and sojourners following the cloud and pillar of fire along with Israel in the book of Exodus is 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 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 letters prove it, 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, again 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:
“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” Romans 2:28-29
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 and 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 as a bond servant.

Messiah Yeshua didn’t come to replace Israel. He came to find them and fulfill the Torah, make it abound so that the Jewish disciples could become a royal priesthood to teach the world about the Kingdom of God. Yeshua 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 a faithful assembly.

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 man from Nazareth, Jesus always instructed his followers how they could live in a Heavenly way as He explained the meaning of Torah and the sayings that supported it.

 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 the serpent's poison to cause chaos and that is why the Torah has prohibitions against (kalayim)) mixing or combining certain species of animals, plants and even clothing (shatnez). These the Torah's way of teaching a greater meaning by using creation as an example of a greater truth (see Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:11. The verses serve teachings that reveal insights for our understanding of holiness. Deception mixes a little bit of truth with a big lie. One of those lies that I once fell for was that the Torah is a good read but an "Old" Testament, done away at the cross. 

It is not, God does not change.

Paul was concerned with a mixture of truth that the way to earn salvation is 'doing' Torah. Paul actually writes that keeping the commandments of God can never provide mercy for eternal life. God is the provider of mercy. Paul taught the goal of Torah is to point you to Messiah, to show you that we all need a redeemer. It sets out Godly standards to show our need for the Messiah while at the same time it teaches us how we get to live our lives in a kingdom way which is pleasing to The Father just as Yeshua did. Paul used the Torah and the Prophets as the source text trying 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 death upon Himself, offering His life as a door to eternal life at a 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 again as He did before. 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 repent and choose to see Him in this way and live in His faith, God will send His Spirit to comfort, teach and indwell us just as the Spirit of God filled the Temple.

Have you made your choice? 

Consider a prayer: Please, God, guide me as to what I should do.

It's time for you to repent and return to God's voice, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment. 

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" of Messiah Yeshua. 

Your choice is the living Torah, the son of God 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.

You can be a citizen of Zion, you can follow the way and walk like Yeshua in love and obedience to The Father and show your love for one another, Jew and non-Jew each day.

Walking like Messiah means keeping yourself apart from anything that is unholy and against God’s will for your life because you love Him. To understand this fully, pray and ask for help as you study God's voice and heart to know His teaching and instruction in each situation you encounter. The decision is yours. The choice is to leave the slavery of sin in Egypt, exit Babylon and head to The Kingdom.

In God's Torah, we can all learn that our Creator has a set-apart lifestyle outline for those that want to follow Him to the Promised Land and He wants us live just as Messiah did, in God's image, helping, discipling others and declaring the Kingdom of God.

The way starts with keeping the covenant of the Ten Commandments and God's instruction for life. That includes honoring God's Sabbath rest, keeping His appointed Feast Days, even watching what we eat so that we may live a long healthy life and fish for others that need the great Shepherd.

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

You can begin your journey by repentance, then praising and thanking The Father 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 to all as a gift of grace if you repent and choose it. He has 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 prayerful repentance and teshuvah. You can be a part of the reconciliation between all who believe in our God and King. So spread the message, sow the seeds of the Kingdom and tell others of God's love.

The fruit of the truth of the living Word of God is revealed in the Jewishness of Yeshua of Nazareth. He desires to redeem and save all of mankind from the curse of sin, that is the end of the journey and the choice is yours, wide road or narrow road.

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



August 29, 2021:  I read an article on Ynet News and read the Pontiff wrote something last week that has upset some Rabbis in Israel. 

Ki Tetze which was last week's parshat has a big picture lesson and speaks to the evil inclination whose greatest weapons from the beginning are confusion and false premise. 

I found the Pope's message that Ynet had reported on.

Here's my soapbox about it: Since only one Greek word “nomos” translates as “law” it causes confusion. The problem, "nomos" does not differentiate between the oral law of the Pharisees of the day seen in Acts 15 as a yoke our fathers nor we have been able to bear and the jots and tittles of Torah recorded by Moses and taught by Yeshua.

This leaves the Pope reading Paul with the ages old disability of a Gentile teaching about the words of a Jew while wearing Greek glasses without bifocals rightly dividing the word of truth. 

Because of that, many are led astray from the gospel and turning the new covenant and Messiah upside down, not letting God’s Torah voice of grace speak for itself which was the Pharisee problem of ignoring the spirit of the Torah to be written on the heart. 

Parshat Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19) includes teaching about the adulterous wife and the parent trap about a son who does not listen. That portion reminds me of Revelation 22:15 because both will to be brought outside the city gates along with everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Paul was explaining Yeshua can take away the sins of the world including God believing Gentiles who are grafted into the House of the God of Israel becoming one with Yeshua's Jewish family through trust and faith, able by grace to partake of the blessing given to Abraham and the covenants of Israel, whose constitution is the Torah kept and taught by Jesus the Jew. 

What does this have to do with the Pope? 

My view, perhaps Frances does not realize that in Galatians 3:13 the letter quotes from Deuteronomy 21:22-23 direct from Torah portion Ki Tetze. The Pope does not understand the Sermon on the Mount is about keeping the jots and tittles as mitzvah acts of kindness and love for God, we are to keep it because it is the response to grace.

The Sermon on the Mount points directly to the act of love of walking in faith as the demonstration of love toward Almighty God. It the big question of Deuteronomy 10:12-13. Since Hebrew has not commas I'm taking the them out because they confuse many people about Moses question: 
"And now Israel what does the LORD your God require of you but to fear the LORD your God to walk in all his ways to love him to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?
Paul wrote Galatians 3:21: "Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law."

Paul’s issue is not with the Torah, it's a love offering we get to do. His issue is misuse of the law, the Pharisee problem that one can earn a righteous standing with God on the basis of works. Paul continues in Galatians 3:22: "But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ [Messiah Yeshua] might be given to those who believe."

In other words, The Scriptures show that everyone has sinned and forgiveness is according to the promise of faith in the Messiah, the salvation gift of God that cannot be earned.

We are justified and included among God’s people by grace through faith in the Messiah. It’s through that faith, not ritual conversion that we may become included among Abraham’s offspring as sons of God.

In summary, Paul’s issue was not with the law but with the misuse of the law. Paul was in step with Moses message in Deuteronomy that walking in line with Torah is a grateful and thankful reply to salvation already received by grace. That's the whole pattern of the Exodus from Egypt and sin.

Paul opposed a misuse, a distortion of the law. Essentially, the false teachers believed that the only way Gentiles could be “saved” was to “become Jewish” through their ritual conversion use of circumcision.

Paul’s broader teaching regarding God’s law is that God's Torah, not man's rule of law is the teaching and instruction from THE Spirit of life:
"For the law [Torah] of the Spirit of life has set you free in Messiah Yeshua from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:2 
His use of Spirit of life tracked with Job's description:
"The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4
The Spirit of all life is our Creator, the One, the only One that creates life has set you free in Messiah Yeshua in the promise of resurrection from the law of sin and death. The sin and death warning was given at Eden for the choice made to oppose God's warning and listen to the serpent's eye opening deception that said to the woman:
"You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4-5
The first promise of Messiah was also given in Eden. He would undo the demon's crime against humanity:
"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." Genesis 3:15
Paul's Roman letter clarifies his position given in Galatians 2:21 and Galatians 3:21 that God never intended the law to be a means of justification for resurrection salvation to overcome death but Messiah, after all He was declared in Genesis 3:15 at the scene of the crime.
  • Faith in the Messiah does not nullify the law but establishes it Romans 3:31
  • Sin is defined by breaking the commandments of the law Romans 7:7
  • The law is “holy and righteous and good” Romans 7:12
  • The law is “spiritual” Romans 7:14
  • Paul agrees with Messiah's sermon on the Mount teaching that observance of the law must be fueled by love Romans 13:8-10
Pauls' use of the term “circumcision” is shorthand for describing proselytism and the rabbinic tradition of a ceremony by which a Gentile person could be given the status of a Jew and therefore qualify to have a place in the world to come ruled by Messiah. Paul's use of the term "the circumcision party" is code for those that said you did.

Paul did not believe you have to convert to be a Jew to be saved in resurrection from the death. That's why he wrote:
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. Galatians 3:28
Paul’s point in Galatians is that false teachers were on the wrong road. 

His message was that obedience for the sake of tradition does not lead to salvation, but salvation is a result of faith. The law was given at Sinai to show the world the big picture of how God deals with transgression through atonement. The purpose of the Torah is not to provide a religion but to provide a way of living out one’s faith in love. 

That's why he quoted Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians 3:12: "But the law is not of faith, rather The one who does them shall live by them."

My prayer for reconciliation is one nation of faith under God, may His will be done on earth as it is in heaven and I pray for peace in Jerusalem.