The Hard Sayings of Paul
In this lesson, we will be delving into the mind and teachings of the Apostle Paul. As the Apostle Peter said about Paul's writings: "His 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." This lesson has been written to help clear up any misconceptions we might have concerning the "hard sayings of Paul"--inspired scripture, which he wrote almost 2,000 years ago.
The Apostle Peter wrote that some of Paul’s writings were “hard to understand.” But because Peter was very familiar with the Scriptures (meaning the Old Testament, which were the only Scriptures available during that time), he was not about to distort Paul’s writings (a point we will discuss in more detail later in this article). Peter tells us there are those who are untaught, that do not know the Scriptures and are unstable or unsure of what the Scriptures actually say, who twist or distort some of Paul’s writings, as they do the rest of the Scriptures. For this reason, Scripture says, they will be DESTROYED. What is it that Paul could have possibly been trying to say that was of such a serious nature, that people who were untaught in the Scriptures would be DESTROYED for their misunderstanding of it?
“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Master as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled [#113 ‘lawless’] men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Master and Savior, Yahshua the Messiah. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity” (2 Peter 3:14-18, NASB).
When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, the Apostle James, who was a leader of the congregation in Jerusalem at that time, immediately confronted Paul about thousands of believing Jews who were zealous for the law--dedicated in obeying the law--as was the Messiah Himself (Matthew 5:17). Paul was told how they had misunderstood him in the things concerning the law. They (the thousands of believing Jews) thought Paul was saying that the law had been done away with--that we were no longer required to obey the law. This, of course, was NOT what Paul was saying.
Please consider the following carefully: “After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which Yahweh had done among the Gentiles through His ministry. And when they heard it, they began glorifying Yahweh; and they said to him, ‘You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children and not to walk according to the customs.’ What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the law” (Acts 21:17-24, NASB).
Did you notice that there was “NOTHING” to the things they “thought” Paul was saying about ‘forsaking Moses’? The fact was that he, Paul, “…also walked orderly, keeping the law...” just as those thousands of ‘believing’ Jews were doing. Let’s go back and take a look at what Peter said about these ministers who are misleading people concerning Paul’s writings.
Contrary to what millions are being taught today by their ministers, Yahweh’s law, His perfect law (Psalms 19:7), has never been “done away with.” These laws include the feast days of Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16, the food laws in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, and the seventh-day Sabbath in Exodus 20:8-11. These laws are to be obeyed today, as closely as possible, as they were the day Yahweh gave them to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
In 2 Peter 3:17, Peter warns us of being carried away by “unprincipled” men. They are referred to as “wicked” men in the KJV Bible. This word “unprincipled” or “wicked” is #G113 in Strong’s Concordance and is defined as “lawless.” The word “lawless” implies people who do not understand Yahweh’s law or those who refuse to obey His laws.
Allow me to summarize what has been said thus far by Peter in 2 Peter 3:16-17. Some things that the Apostle Paul wrote concerning Yahweh’s law were hard to understand and “lawless” men who were “untaught” in the Scriptures (unlike the thousands of “believing Jews” who were “zealous” for the law in Acts 21) were twisting or “distorting” Paul’s writings in an attempt to say Yahweh’s law did not have to be obeyed any more. And because of this, the “lawless” ones would be destroyed.
“Thousands” of believing Jews “misunderstood” Paul in thinking he was telling people to forsake Yahweh’s law (something Paul never did). In the same way, many today, who are “untaught” in the Scriptures, twist or “distort” the things Paul said concerning Yahweh’s law in an attempt to say that the law no longer has to be obeyed.
Here are some of the passages Paul wrote that are oftentimes misunderstood: “…we are not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14) or “…no man shall be justified by the works of the law…” (Galatians 2:16). These are passages which we’ll be studying soon.
To many today, the subject of Yahweh’s law is so totally irrelevant, they have no interest in even the mention of it. PLEASE believe me when I say that the misunderstanding of the things Paul said about Yahweh’s law is EXACTLY what will cause many to hear those dreadful words of the Savior on judgment day, “Depart from Me, I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).
In this booklet, we hope to show that Yahweh’s law was never abolished, although many today are being taught to disregard the keeping of His law in the Scriptures. Many also twist the “hard sayings” of Paul in an attempt to say that obedience to Yahweh’s law is no longer necessary for salvation. In this booklet, we’re going to take a look at some of those “hard sayings” of Paul.
- In what sense are believers today “not under the law, but under grace?”
- How are we free from the law?
- Why is it that no man is justified by the works of the law?
- If we are to obey Yahweh's law, then why do we not sacrifice animals today?
These are some of the questions we will be addressing in this very important study. Please meditate upon these basic, yet oftentimes, overlooked concepts concerning the law.
Why Did The Savior Have To Die?
In an attempt to better understand the things Paul said concerning the law, it is important to understand the reason Yahshua had to die. The Sacrifice Lamb came into the world to suffer and die. He did NOT come to do away with Yahweh’s law, but to put an end to SIN (Matthew 1:21; Romans 8:3). The Bible’s definition of sin is “breaking Yahweh’s law.” 1 John 3:4, “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (KJV). The Biblical definition of sin is the breaking of Yahweh’s law; the same law that many religious leaders and teachers say we no longer have to obey.
Here is an important point for those of you that might think that the subject of Yahweh’s law is irrelevant. Many today do not realize that since sin is breaking Yahweh’s law, He only had two choices in eradicating sin from the world.
He could have done away with His law, and consequently eliminate sin, because where there is no law, there is no “transgression” of the law, as the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 4:15.
Yahweh could send His Son, His only begotten Son, the firstborn of all creation, to be cruelly mocked, spit upon, tortured and left hanging on the tree, as an atonement for the sins of mankind, and through Yahweh’s grace, we would be able to obtain eternal salvation.
Yahweh chose the latter. He chose to watch His Son die a torturous death. The Messiah had to die because Yahweh’s law cannot and will not be abolished. The Messiah Yahshua tells us in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Master, Master, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” (NASB)
The ones who will NOT inherit the Kingdom are those who practice lawlessness—breaking Yahweh’s laws. Those who do the will of the Father, those who keep or obey His laws, are those who will inherit His Kingdom.
In Matthew 5:17-19, the Savior could not have made it any clearer when He said that heaven and earth would pass away before the smallest stroke would ever pass away from Yahweh’s law. But even this verse is oftentimes distorted by ministers today. Let’s examine this passage, verse by verse, in an attempt to gain a proper understanding of the Messiah’s words.
Verse 17 says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (KJV) I’ve heard ministers quote this verse and then explain that what the Savior really meant when He said He came to “fulfill” the law, was that He came to “do away” with it. Could this possibly be what He meant by the word “fulfill”? Let us substitute the term “do away” for the word “fulfill” to see if the verse becomes any clearer. Verse 17 (with substitution) says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law…I am not come to destroy, but to [‘do away with’].” The very thing that the Messiah is telling us not to do is the very thing that many ministers today are telling their people they should do. And they use the “hard sayings of Paul” to try to promote this “no law” concept. Because of our carnal or fleshly nature, man is very eager to embrace such an unscriptural doctrine as salvation apart from obedience to the law.
Verse 18 says, “For verily I say unto you, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.’” It should be clear that heaven and earth HAVE NOT passed away yet, therefore according to the Messiah, NOTHING, not even the smallest stroke from Yahweh’s law, has at this time been done away with.
Verse 19 says, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven.” They who are called “great” will be the ones who keep Yahweh’s commandments and who teach others to do likewise. In the Kingdom of heaven, who will be considered the least among men? They will be those who break the “least” of Yahweh’s commandments, and teach others NOT to obey. In which group would you rather be? The Apostle John describes perfectly those who will inherit the Kingdom in Revelation 14:12, “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of Yahweh and their faith in Yahshua.” (NASB)
Now we’re going to take a look at some of the things Paul said concerning the law; passages that even the Apostle Peter thought were hard to understand. And, of course, many Christians today, because of being unlearned or untaught in the things the Bible says about the law, “twist” and “distort,” as Peter calls it, to their own destruction.
Without digressing from our topic of Paul’s hard sayings, allow me to take a moment to briefly mention a few various aspects of Yahweh’s law, such as the 4th commandment, the Sabbath day, (Exodus 20:8-11) the 7th day of the week (not Sunday), and His feast days (Leviticus 23; Deuteronomy 16), which we’ll look at later in the article. Colossians 2:16-17 is one of the more popular passages that some ministers use to “prove” that Yahweh changed His mind about His feast days (Leviticus 23:2, 14, 21, 41). This passage actually means just the opposite of what those ministers would like it to say. The Sabbath, feast days, etc., are a “shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:17). Later we will look at what Yahweh calls food (Leviticus 11:2; Deuteronomy 14:3-21; Acts 10; Romans 14), and why we DO NOT sacrifice animals today. We will be looking at reasons that go beyond the obvious ones.
As much as I’d like to discuss these different aspects of the law now, rather than later, I believe it is of greater importance that we consider the “hard sayings of Paul.” By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified… (Romans 3:20, KJV). When we break Yahweh’s law, either in ignorance or intentionally knowing but not caring, we’ve sinned. And clearly, Paul tells us the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And in equally certain terms we’re told that ALL have sinned (Romans 3:23), from the cruelest serial killer, to the grandmother holding her granddaughter, while sitting in a rocking chair. Everyone that has ever walked the face of the earth has, at one time or another, sinned. It might even have been what we consider a minor sin (lying, cheating, or stealing, etc.) yet in Yahweh’s eyes that liar will be standing side by side with the abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars...in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone…(Revelation 21:8 NASV). (Of course it goes without saying that ‘ALL’ does not include the Messiah Yahshua. 1 Peter 2:22).
Can you imagine the horror of standing in front of the Messiah on that final day (Acts 17:30-31) and hearing the sentence of death pronounced against you (Matthew 7:23), before being thrown into the lake of fire? Can the death sentence be turned aside? Can anyone argue and try to justify themselves by weighing their good deeds against their sins? Would obeying the law of Yahweh for the rest of our lives cancel out the sins that we committed? Again, in language that would be hard to misunderstand: Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight (Romans 3:20 (NASV).
There is a reason why the “works of the law” could never justify a single soul. For example, if a man is found guilty of stealing and is sentenced to ten years in prison, he can indeed justify himself by serving out his time. After serving the 10 years, he would have fulfilled his obligation and would be completely justified under the law. In the same manner, a murderer, given a fifty-year sentence, can be justified under the law by serving his fifty years. But suppose that instead of fifty years, the sentence was death. Can the prisoner justify himself by serving his time? Would fifty years of being a model prisoner justify him under the law? NEVER! If he worked a 100 years at hard labor, the sentence was not 10, 50 or 100 years, it was DEATH. Such is the situation when we sin by breaking Yahweh’s law. The wages of sin is not 5, 10, 15, or even a lifetime of good works. The wages of sin is DEATH. This is why a sinner can never be saved by the works of the law. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22-28). The law could not be satisfied without the shedding of blood, which is the meaning behind Paul’s words in Romans 8:3, For what the law could not do... Yahweh did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin. He condemned sin in the flesh... (NASV).
Yahweh's Plan - His Choice
I believe that all those professing a belief in the Messiah MUST understand this: Yahweh had two options in doing away with sin.
1.) Since sin is a breaking of His law, He could have eliminated sin by doing away with His law, OR,
2.) Yahweh could send His Son, His only begotten Son, to be mocked, spit at, humiliated, tortured, being beaten with a whip made of broken glass and stone, to have his beard pulled from His face, to have thorns driven into His head, and finally to be left hanging on a tree to die to pay the penalty for our sins. Rather than do away with His Law, Yahweh chose the latter, and His Son paid the price, so that Yahweh’s law might stand.
Think it through for a moment. Yahshua had to die because the law had been broken. Sin demanded death. If the law could have been annulled, the penalty of sin would have been set aside also. For where no law is, there is no transgression, Romans 4:15 (KJV).
So strong was the authority of the unchangeable law that Yahweh Himself would not abolish it, not even to save His own Son. It cost something to uphold the law and pay the maximum penalty. No one will ever know how much it cost the Heavenly Father to have to watch His Son suffer and die. How thankful we should be that His love was as perfect as His justice. The Savior, in His own body, bore the penalty, satisfied the law, and justified the transgressor.
In all the universe, Yahweh could not have displayed a more convincing and irrefutable argument in favor of His law. Many today do not seem to understand that the law is a reflection of His holiness and righteousness. To speak of its abolition is to border on treason against the divine government of heaven.
Not Under The Law
Romans 6:14, For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. In an attempt to belittle Yahweh’s law, we sometimes hear the statement: “Since we are not under the law but under grace, we do not have to obey the law any longer.” Is this the way Paul meant for this to be understood? After just telling us that we establish the law through faith (Romans 3:31), is Paul now saying because we are under grace and not under the law that we are free from the obligation of obeying the law?
How easy it would be to avoid confusion if we accepted exactly what the Bible says. Paul explained his statement by asking the question, “What then?” or “How are we to understand this?” Many people were, and still are to this day, twisting the things Paul said concerning the law. They believe Paul was teaching that obedience to Yahweh’s law was no longer necessary. Recognizing this distortion by some, Paul went on to explain what he meant by not being under the law.
Romans 6:15, What then? Shall we sin [break Yahweh’s law], because we are not under the law, but under grace? Certainly not! In the strongest possible language, Paul states that being under grace does not give us a license to break the law. Yet, again, this is exactly what millions today believe, totally ignoring Paul’s specific and absolute statement: “Certainly not!”
If being under grace does not exempt us from keeping the law, then what does Paul mean by saying that believers are “not under the law?” He gives the answer in Romans 3:19, Now we know that whatsoever things the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before Yahweh.
Paul equates being under the law with “being guilty before Yahweh.” In other words, those who are under the law are guilty of breaking it and are under the curse of it. But those who are repentant, even though they are still “under the law,” are not under the condemnation of the law. They are under the power of grace instead. By grace, Yahweh has forgiven them and has taken them out from under the curse of the law.
Later in his argument, Paul points out that the power of grace is greater than the power of sin. This is why he states so emphatically, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Grace overrules the authority of sin, giving the power to obey Yahweh’s law. This is the effective reason that we are not under the law’s condemnation (Galatians 3:13) and also why Paul states that we should not continue to sin.
Suppose a murderer has been sentenced to death in the electric chair. Waiting for the execution, the man would truly be under the law in every sense of the word—under the guilt, under the condemnation, under the sentence of death, etc. Just before the execution date, the governor reviews the condemned man’s case and decides to pardon him. In the light of extenuating circumstances, the governor exercises his prerogative and sends a full pardon to the prisoner. Now he is no longer under the law, but under grace. The law no longer condemns him. He is considered totally justified as far as the charges of the law are concerned. He is free to walk out of the prison and there’s not a policeman in the country that can lay their hands upon him for that crime. But now that he is under grace and no longer under the penalty of the law, can we say that he is free to break the law? Definitely not! In fact, that pardoned man will be doubly obligated to obey the law because he has found grace from the governor. In gratitude and love, he should be very careful to honor the law of the state which granted him grace. And according to Paul, this is exactly how true worshippers today should esteem the law.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! Indeed, we establish the law. Here is the most explicit answer to the entire problem. Paul asks if the law is nullified for us just because we have had faith in Yahweh’s saving grace. His answer is that the law is NOT done away, it is ESTABLISHED in the life of the grace-saved believer.
Paul’s reasoning here should be obvious to all that are willing to hear, but because some have been so conditioned to avoid obedience to Yahweh’s law, we should expound upon this point a little further.
Have you ever been stopped by a policeman for exceeding the speed limit? It’s an embarrassing experience, especially if you know you are guilty. But suppose you really were hurrying to meet a valid emergency, and you put forth your convincing explanation to the officer as he writes you a ticket? Slowly he folds the ticket and tears it up. Then he says; “All right, I’m going to pardon you this time, but…” Now what do you think he means by the word “but”? Surely he means, “But I don't want to ever catch you speeding again.” Does this pardon (grace) open the way for you to disobey the law? On the contrary, it adds compelling urgency to your decision not to disobey the law again. Why should any true believer try to rationalize his way out of obeying Yahweh’s law? If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15).
Keeping the law has a very real and definite purpose. It will bring us to our Messiah—our Example—Who kept the law perfectly! If we’re commanded to follow in Yahshua’s footsteps, then we must, likewise, keep Yahweh’s laws. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto the Messiah, that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24). A schoolmaster is a teacher or instructor. Let’s take the example of a carpenter, someone that served in an apprenticeship for a four-year period. While as an apprentice, or student, he studied under a “tutor” which, in this case, would be the master carpenter for his four-year apprenticeship. He learned all there was to know about the art of carpentry, being taught by the tutor, the master carpenter. After the four-year apprenticeship is over and the student has learned all there is to know concerning the art of carpentry, and is sent off on his own, what does the former student do with all that he was taught while under the tutor? Does he abandon all that he was taught while under the tutor? Of course, not. He applies all that he learned, while under the tutor, to his life. In the exact same sense, the law is our tutor… (Galatians 3:24). Therefore, the law has become our tutor to lead us to Messiah, so that we may be justified by faith (NASV).
Contrary to what many today are taught in the churches about salvation, which is simply bowing your head and saying a prayer, the Savior tells us that no one can come unto Him until they have been “TAUGHT OF YAHWEH.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me (JOHN 6:45, NASV).
The law is our instructor or tutor. It shows us how Yahweh expects us to conduct our lives. Once having been instructed from the law, it ...leads us to Messiah, (Galatians 3:24).
If we say we know Him and keep not His commandments, we are a liar and the truth is not in us (1 John 2:4).
If we say we abide in Him, we ought to walk in the same manner as He walked (1 John 2:6).
If you keep My commandments then you will abide in My love... (John 15:10).
Once the law has brought us to the Messiah, we are free from the tutor. We’ve been TAUGHT OF YAHWEH, we’ve learned His will and now we have Yahshua, Our Example (1 Peter 2:21) of perfect obedience to Yahweh’s law. Galatians 3:25-26 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor, [because] you are all sons of Yahweh through faith in Messiah, Yahshua (NASV).
The law is the will of Yahweh. Grace is the ability and authority of Yahweh to forgive, overlook, cancel punishment, and to do away with the curse received by breaking that law.
No Partiality With Yahweh
As was mentioned earlier, to know Yahweh is to love Yahweh. To love Yahweh is to obey Yahweh. To know and obey Yahweh’s law is essential to our salvation.
Romans 2:11-13, For there is no partiality with Yahweh, 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 just before Yahweh, but the doers of the law will be justified (NASV).
The law is the will of Yahweh. Grace is the ability and authority of Yahweh to forgive, overlook, cancel punishment, and to do away with the curse received by breaking that law.
An important point to remember when reading the so-called New Testament, is that the New Testament, as we know it today, DID NOT exist until approximately 310 AD. That's well over 200 years after the death of the Messiah and the death of His immediate followers. Before the New Testament was “canonized” (canon means a list of which books are included), it contained evangels and letters written by the apostles or the disciples of the Messiah. These letters, of course, were written and sent to various assemblies (churches), after which time they were copied and sent on to other assemblies. Then, around the year 310 C.E., these letters were compiled and put into the book form we have today.
As we read the following passages, keep in mind that the people we are going to be reading about DID NOT have the “New Testament” from which to read, guiding them towards proving or disproving truth from error. The only authorized source that they had available to them was the Tanach or what we call the “Old Testament” which consisted only of the books from Genesis to Malachi.
In Acts 17:11, when the Apostle Paul went to the Bereans to explain to them the “Good News” of the Messiah, they DID NOT simply take his word for the things he was saying. Rather, to prove the words of Paul, they went to the scriptures to verify the things he said. Once again, the only scriptures that were available to the Bereans at that time were exclusively what we call the Old Testament, since such a thing as the New Testament did not exist at that time.
Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so (NASB).
Notice, that because of their not simply believing the things Paul was saying, but rather verifying them with the scriptures, which was the Tanach or so-called “Old Testament,” it is said that “they were more NOBLE-minded” than those in Thessalonica. Of course, these Bereans NEVER found in the Tanach or Old Testament that the Almighty planned on doing away with His holy, righteous and good law (Romans 7:12) at some future date.
Paul, in talking to Timothy, comments of the sacred writings that, again, were exclusively the Old Testament. Stated again, to impress upon the reader’s mind the importance of this statement, there was no such thing as a New Testament at the time Paul made this comment to Timothy.
2 Timothy 3:15 ...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 Yahshua (NASB).
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is inspired by Yahweh and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of Yahweh may be adequate, equipped for every good work (NASB). Here Paul is telling Timothy that ALL scripture is profitable for teaching. Now since the New Testament would not even exist for another 100 years, what scriptures do you think that Timothy knew from childhood (vs. 15), as being profitable for teaching? He was certainly speaking of the Old Testament. So if anyone had any questions about the things Yahweh commanded, Paul told Timothy to go to what we call the “Old Testament” for the answers.
In Acts 18:24, we're told of a man named Apollos, who, along with being called an “eloquent man,” is said to have been mighty in the scriptures. This means that he knew what the “OLD TESTAMENT” said, since the Old Testament scriptures were the ONLY scriptures that they had at the time.
Acts 18:24-28 Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures...he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Yahshua... Verse 28 ...for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures (the Old Testament) that Yahshua was the Messiah (NASB).
How did Apollos powerfully refute the Jews and prove that Yahshua was the Messiah? He did it by ...demonstrating by the Scriptures... To what scriptures did Apollos go? The New Testament did not exist at the time. The only scriptures he had were the Old Testament scriptures. Another consideration concerning the scriptures is that Apollos used them to prove that Yahshua was the Messiah. Do you suppose for a moment that Apollos could have possibly taken these unbelieving Jews to the writings of one of the followers of the Messiah, like Peter, John, or Paul, to prove that Yahshua was the Messiah? There were no writings as of that time. He proved Yahshua from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; Isaiah 53; Psalm 22:6-22).
Let’s take a closer look at what Paul said here concerning Yahweh's law: Acts 24:14 But this I admit to you, that according to the way which they call a sect I do serve the Elohim of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the law and what is written in the prophets (NASB).
Many in Churchianity today believe that most of the “Old Testament,” specifically Yahweh's laws, were done away with. Is that what Paul was teaching? NO! He said he believed EVERYTHING that is in accordance with the law. And again, since there was not any such thing as a New Testament at the time, no one thought that the law was anything other than Yahweh's law, as given through Moses.
Notice what Paul said about the law: Romans 2:11-13 For there is no partiality with Yahweh. 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 just before Yahweh, but the doers of the law will be justified (NASB). Paul could not have said it any clearer! “The DOERS of the law WILL BE JUSTIFIED.”
Romans 3:31 Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the law (NASB).
How Could Paul Teach No Law?
Did Paul contradict himself? Could he say so clearly that we establish the law through faith and then say in another place that the law has been done away with? NEVER did Paul say the law has been done away with. What he did say was: ...the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good (the law) become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin (a breaking of Yahweh's law—1 John 3:4), in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good (the law—Romans 7:12-13, NASB).
1 John 5:3 This is the love of Yahweh, that we keep His commandments. The law and grace do not work in competition with each other, but in perfect cooperation. The law points out sin; grace saves us from sin.
A text which combines the two in their true relationship is found in Revelation 14:12, Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of Yahweh, and the faith of Yahshua (KJV). What a perfect description of faith and works. The combination is found in those that are saved. Works of obedience are the real test of love. This is why they are so necessary in the life of a true believer. Faith without works is dead (James 2:20, KJV). Words and profession are not enough. The true evidence is obedience. Again, the Messiah said: If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15). This is the love of Yahweh that we keep His commandments (1 John 5:3). That is exactly what most people today DO NOT WANT. If loving Yahweh demands that we obey Him, the majority will reject it. Unfortunately, most people today are not looking for truth, but rather a smooth, easy, comfortable religion, which will allow them to live the way they please and still believe they have the assurance of salvation. Such a religion does not exist.
As Paul puts it in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth (the law is truth—Psalm 119:142) and shall be turned unto fables. The ultimate fable is that Yahweh no longer expects His law to be obeyed. One of the strongest texts in the Bible on this subject is found in 1 John 2:4, He that says, I know Him and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in Him. John could write that with such assurance because it is one of the most deeply established truths in the Bible. Yahshua spoke of those who said, Master, in Your Name we did all these things. But they did not do the will of the Father. Yahshua described many who would seek entrance into the Kingdom, claiming to be workers of miracles in the name of the Messiah. But He will say, Depart from Me, I NEVER KNEW YOU, you workers of LAWLESSNESS (Matthew 7:21-23).
To know Yahweh is to love Yahweh, and to love Yahweh is to obey Him. The Apostle John's valid assumption is very clear and simple: If one is not obeying Yahweh, he does not love Yahweh. And if he does not love Yahweh, then he does not know Yahweh. John assures us, And this is eternal life, that they might know You, the Only True Elohim and Yahshua the Messiah, the One whom You have sent (John 17:3).
Why do we not sacrifice animals today? A common question among those who do not keep Yahweh's law is, “If you keep the law, why do you not sacrifice animals also?”The reason is rather simple. ONLY priests were allowed to offer sacrifices. Numbers 18:7-8 But you and your sons...shall attend to your priesthood for everything concerning the altar and inside the veil, to perform the service. I am giving you the priesthood as a bestowed service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death. Then Yahweh spoke to Aaron, “Now behold, I Myself have given you charge of My offerings, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel...as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual allotment.”
So you see, all the sacrifices HAD to be done by the priest and they had to be made in the Temple. We, the laymen, were never allowed to offer up sacrifices. Since no priesthood is established today, and the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D., no sacrifices are made to this day.
Here is a deeper explanation: Most people do not realize that Yahweh commanded sacrifices for a variety of reasons in His law. For instance, when a baby was born after the days of purification, which was 40 days for a male and 80 days for a female (Leviticus 12:2-5), a lamb and a turtledove or 2 turtledoves were to be offered by the priest (Luke 2:24; Leviticus 12:6-8). When a leper was cured of leprosy, he was commanded to go to the priest to present an offering (Matthew 8:4; Leviticus 14:1-14). Such sacrifices as these (not sin offerings) continued to be offered by the priest even after the death of the Messiah. For instance, Paul himself continued to make offerings after the death of Yahshua.
Acts 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple, giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them. This was obviously a Nazarite vow that these four men and now Paul were under, and the sacrifice that was to be offered was a ram (Numbers 6:18-20). Again, keep in mind that this was AFTER the death of the Messiah.
Acts 24:17-18 Now after several years, I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings; in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without any crowd or uproar.
Sacrifices Added Because Of Transgressions
Why were these sacrifices still offered after the death of the Messiah? They were offered because the Messiah did not die to become a substitute for all the sacrifices, such as the sacrifice for purification of a newborn child or the sacrifice of a leper being healed. He died to become a sacrifice for SIN, exclusively. Hebrews 10:12, ...but He, having offered one sacrifice for sin for all time, sat down at the right hand of Yahweh.
The offering of sacrifices for our sins ceased when Yahshua died as a sacrifice for us. All other sacrifices ceased when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the priesthood stopped. That is why we do not continue to make offerings, because the priests were the ONLY ones allowed to make the sacrifices and it had to be done in the temple, which has been destroyed.
So many people are unaware of this fact. The Messiah, Yahshua, died as a sacrifice for our sins, NOT for all the sacrifices that were commanded in the law.
No Change In The Law
How often have you heard ministers today quote Malachi 3:6 and boldly proclaim that, Yahweh does not change? They will then preach about the numerous warnings in the Bible about adding to or taking away from Yahweh's Word! They will then turn right around and twist a passage to say that all the things Yahweh commanded His People to obey are no longer important to us, as New Testament believers.
Notice two of these warnings are about NOT adding to or taking away from Yahweh's Word, which are found in the book of Deuteronomy:
Deuteronomy 4:2, You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim which I command you.
Deuteronomy 12:32, Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.
Even after warning His people twice NOT to take away from anything, specifically from the book of Deuteronomy, which contains Yahweh's law, many today have been told to do exactly that. They are taught that they can now DISREGARD, no longer obey, Yahweh's law. Again, the laws which contain the Sabbath day (Deuteronomy 5:12-14), feast days (Deuteronomy 16) and food laws (Deuteronomy 14) have not been fulfilled. They are still in effect. These are Yahweh’s laws we’re discussing. Who is any man to teach that we no longer have to keep them?
Yahweh's Perfect Law (Psalm 19:7)
Psalm 19:7, The law of Yahweh is perfect, restoring the soul... We are told that Yahweh’s law is perfect. Is it possible to improve on something that is perfect? Did Yahweh give His law, only to realize later that He made a mistake? No, not at all, as was mentioned earlier, Paul tells us that, not only has Yahweh's law NOT been done away with, it has been established in the New Testament (Romans 3:31).
As you read the following passages, please remember: Yahweh does not change, Malachi 3:6.
Proverbs 28:9, He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination. If Yahweh does not change, and He says He does NOT, then those who twist the writings of Paul, to do away with Yahweh's law, are praying prayers that are an abomination.
Yahweh's Law Is Truth
Psalm 119:142, Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is truth.
James 5:19-20, My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth (the law) and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner (a breaker of the law, 1 John 3:4) from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Yahweh's Law Is Liberty
Psalm 119:44-45, So I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts.
James 1:25, But one who looks intently at the perfect law (Psalm 19:7), the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer, but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Yahweh's Law Is Light
Proverbs 6:23, For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.
Malachi 2:6, The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with Me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
The Law Of Yahweh And The Word Of Yahweh Are One And The Same
Isaiah 5:24, Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of Yahweh of Hosts, and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel.
Micah 4:2, And many nations shall come, and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, and to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.
All The Prophets Came To Restore The Law
Consider for a moment that all the prophets sent by Almighty Yahweh, throughout the history of the Bible, including the Messiah (pointed out in Matthew 5:17-19), were sent to turn the people back to the keeping of the commandments of Yahweh. They also explained the consequences of their disobedience if they did not turn back.
Matthew 19:16-17, And behold, one came and said unto Him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” And He said unto him, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Nehemiah 8:1-3, And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra, the scribe, to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which Yahweh had given to Israel. Then Ezra, the priest, brought the Law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month (the Feast of Trumpets). He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
Now read Isaiah 2:2-3. This is a prophetic passage speaking of the Kingdom age--the age to come.
Jeremiah 6:16-19, Thus says Yahweh, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.” But they said, “We will not walk in it.” And I set watchmen over you, saying, “Listen to the sound of the trumpet!” But they said, “We will not listen.” Therefore, hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their plans, because they have not listened to My words, and as for My law, they have rejected it also.
Jeremiah 9:13, Yahweh said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it…”
Jeremiah 16:11, Then you are to say to them, “It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,” declares Yahweh, “and have followed other mighty ones and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law.”
Jeremiah 32:23, They took possession of it, but they did not obey Your voice or walk in Your law; they have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do; therefore, You have made all this calamity come upon them.
Ezekiel 18:21, But if the wicked man turns from all his sins (1 John 3:4) which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
Daniel 9:11-13, Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us...yet we have not sought the favor of Yahweh our Elohim by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth.
Hosea 4:6, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your Elohim, I also will forget your children.
Hosea 8:1, Put the trumpet to your lips! Like an eagle, the enemy comes against the house of Yahweh, because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law.
Zechariah 7:12, They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which Yahweh of Hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from Yahweh of Hosts.
Hundreds of other examples might be given to show that it was Yahweh's law that ALL the prophets came to restore. Down through history, Almighty Yahweh expected His laws to be obeyed.
Is It Possible To Obey The Law?
Many ministers today are teaching that, since the law is spiritual and we are carnal, no human being will ever be able in this life to meet the requirements of Yahweh's perfect law. He tells us in Psalm 19:7-8 that He is able to restore the soul... Is this true? Did Yahweh give us this great idealistic, impossible goal toward which converted souls should struggle, but never could expect to attain? Is there some hidden reservation or secret meaning in the many commands to obey the law? Did Yahweh mean what He said and say what He meant? Not only is it possible to obey Yahweh's law, it is required. Even though we cannot keep them all perfectly, we are never to stop trying!
1 John 2:3, By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
Paul wrote in Romans 8:3, For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, Yahweh did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.
Yahweh rejects the argument that we are going to sin because we are only human. Yahshua’s sinless life proves that argument to be false. Yahshua was human and He did not sin at all.
Although it is true that ALL have sinned, ALL do not have to continue in sin. We could ask the person, with this erroneous teaching, the question: “Which of the commandments do you find impossible to obey? Do you have a hard time controlling yourself when it comes to lying, cheating, stealing, worshipping idols, or changing the boundary markers of your property? Could it be that fornication is something that you find impossible (or are unwilling) to give up? Perhaps you believed the lie of the adversary that you have a disease called drunkenness.”
Read with understanding the answer that the Apostle Paul gave in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Messiah Who strengthens me. How could Paul make such a statement? It was because it was no longer Paul living his life; it was Yahshua the Messiah, living in and through Paul.
Galatians 2:20, I have been executed with Messiah; and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah Who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of Yahweh, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
This same strength of the Spirit is offered to ALL who will “lose their lives” and allow the Messiah Yahshua to live His life through them. May Almighty Yahweh bless the honest heart and mind of the one who is willing to believe, not only the words of the Apostle Paul, but also the very words and will of Yahweh!
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