OK, I’ve been thinking about this ever since Red Angel posted on Feb. 5 about symbols. The symbols didn’t “do anything” for me (but I’ll get to them in a minute!), it was the statement at the end…”Now we don’t see any evil associated with these things at all; in fact, quite the opposite is true. Christmas is the most benign holiday most Christians observe, and the only day of the year that most American admit (while singing what they call carols) that Christ is King.”
I’m still a bit brain-dead….but Ali posted a blog wondering about this. Some people say we are no longer under the law, others say we are, and still others say well, we are, and we’re not. So…..here we go. (If I get you confused, I’m sorry – again, I am typing under the influence of antibiotics….just ask me to clarify. :grin:)
Let me put it out there – YES, we are under the Law. No, that’s not my opinion – Yeshua (Jesus for you non-Messianics) AND the Apostles kept Torah. Even AFTER the Resurrection. The first Christians (NOT Chrischuns – there IS a difference!) kept Torah. Paul himself took the vows of a Nazarite at one point – if the Law no longer applied, why would he do that?
One thing that keeps coming to me as I ponder this – what we call the New Testament was NEVER intended to replace Torah. It is a collection of letters from the Apostles to the new believers to help them in the transition from Ger – “outsiders” – to members of the Jewish community that KNEW the Messiah had come. (I’ve heard them called “Completed Jews”…I like the thought – but I’m not “completed” yet. I’ve still got a LONG way to go – but I’m getting there.)
Remember your history – until Constantine declared Jews to be “bad”, every new Believer BECAME a Jew. The letters of the NT bear this out – they are full of quotes FROM the Torah – if the Torah had been tossed out (which, BTW, is against Yeshua’s own words – “Don’t think I have come to abolish Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah – not until everything that must happen has happened. So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvoth and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P’rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matt. 5:17-20, CJB) why would the Apostles quote so extensively from it?
Every time this argument comes up, people point to Paul –“Well, HE said so!”. Um….no, he actually DIDN’T say what you’re trying to make him say. If you read his entire letter, instead of just pulling pieces out, you’d see that. (I had to do that for myself, because it hurt me so much that I had been mislead by the Church. I’m STILL having to pull pieces of churchianity out of my beliefs, because they are flat out wrong.) Like Paul’s vision of the sheet – used to “prove” we no longer have to keep kosher. (An aside – we don’t have to keep Jewish kosher – it’s NOT Torah. They’ve added a bunch of “fences”. Torah-kosher isn’t that hard to keep – except that nowadays just about everything has lard in it. :sigh:) IF you keep reading Acts, you see in 11:1-17, he explains that the vision WAS NOT about food, but people. Paul kept kosher!
Paul did NOT re-write the Laws – his letters were trying to help ease the new converts into the Jewish way of life. He didn’t want to discourage them by expecting them to keep Torah perfectly, when they were just learning it. (In fact, he keeps calling them “babes” and “children” – which should clarify this).
Now, Red Angel’s post was mostly about symbols, and why it’s OK to have them. I…..have a few qualms about this (and it DOES tie-in with the Law discussion.) RA says that it’s OK to have crosses around, and it’s OK to celebrate christmess, and…….:sigh:
This week’s Torah-portion covered the 10 Commandments (or “Words”, since there are MORE than 10…..) #2 states that “You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, or the earth beneath, or in the water below the shoreline. You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and obey my mitzvot” (Ex. 20:4-6)
Umm…how many of today’s churches are FILLED with crosses, and how many worshippers kneel down and pray at their feet? That’s an image, and it’s being used to represent Yah…….which is a DIRECT violation of the 2nd Commandment. (Hey – don’t get mad at me, I didn’t write it – Yah did. Take it up with Him, AND your church leaders!)
When I actually READ the Torah for myself, and got to this passage, I was upset. I was brought up in the church – we had crosses everywhere growing up! I had cross jewelry! However, after a lot of thought and prayer, I got rid of all of them – even my jewelry. Yah said DON’T do it…so I had to quit. It was hard…..but it was the right thing to do. I do currently have Messianic candlestick holders – the so-called “grafted-in” symbol. I was led to those when I decided to keep the Sabbath the way the Jewish people do. (I have, however, changed the blessing recited when I light the candles – since we are NOT commanded to “light the Sabbath lights” anywhere in Torah, I say “…..who commanded us to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy”) I leave them on the table for the full weekend, and it has sparked some interested from visitors. But I digress again…..
The Torah – and NT, too! – says over and over again to “not mix the Holy with the Profane”. Christmess does just that – Yeshua was NOT born on or near Dec. 25. That was the birthday of the pagan god that Constantine worshipped before “converting”. If you actually READ the Torah, you’ll be struck by one of the Feasts – Succoth. It is a 7 day Festival…..but there’s this odd 8th day tacked on at the end. Why? What in the world happens on a Jewish boy’s 8th day of life? :grin:
Humans are led to symbols – we have symbols for everything! The problem isn’t with the symbol, I think – it’s what it is representing. A ring on the left hand generally symbolizes marriage. A stick figure of a female form on a door symbolizes a female bathroom. That’s OK…..it’s when you choose – and USE – a symbol to represent Yah that you get into trouble. I don’t worship my candlesticks – to be honest, I don’t equate them with Yah. They do represent my faith…..if that’s the same thing, then I’ll get rid of them. (Does that make sense? It does to my foggy brain…)
Ali put forth some verses from Rev…….I’ve looked at them, but I’m confused, too. I had a “flash” the other day (before getting the crud)……something about the woman mentioned in Rev. as being the Elect; the Christ-followers that keep the Law. I haven’t pursued that train of thought yet…..but I will. What brought it on was the mention of “eagle’s wings” for both the woman in Rev 12:14., and the Israelites in Exodus (“…and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself” Ex. 19:4)
I’m not sure I made any sort of sense here….if not, I’m sorry. I’ll try to clarify later if need be. My point is, however, that YES, we are supposed to keep the Law – NOT because the great police-officer in the sky will arrest us if we don’t, but to show our love TO Yah. It’s like kids – as parents, we set limits. The kids keep our rules because they love us – even as an adult I still do some of the things my parents told me I had to do. My kids keep my “laws” (well…pretty much. They do test the limits! As do we all…), and, while it starts out because they have to, as they get older they do it because they love me, and want to make me happy. Yeshua Himself said “If you love me, keep my commandments” …..what ARE His commandments?
One more thought: Matt. 7:21-23. I’ll let you read it for yourself……..think about it.