CATRE CITITORI

Articolele prezentate în acest blog reprezintă convingerile şi părerile personale, cugetările mele, trăirile mele şi ceea ce Adonai mă învaţă. Crezul meu nu este asociat cu nici o denominaţiune, cult sau comunitate.
Articolele mele sunt rezultate din trăirea mea cu Adonai, deci nu încurajez publicarea, copierea sau reproducerea acestora, fără acordul meu.

Mulţumesc pentru înţelegere,
Bat Melech בת מלך

Friday, January 30, 2009

Să Iubeşti pe Domnul Dumnezeul tău…


Deuteronomul 6:5
Să iubeşti pe Domnul, Dumnezeul tău, cu toată inima ta, cu tot sufletul tău şi cu toată puterea ta.

Când Dumnezeu a scos pe Israel din Egipt, Israel nici nu ştia cine este Dumnezeu, doar că El este Dumnezeul părinţilor lor. Moise a trebuit să Îl prezinte că Dumnezeu este Domnul. Şi Dumnezeu putea să îi scoată într-o zi din Egipt, dar mai întâi a vrut să îi “curteze” arătându-şi minunile şi puterea. Dar ei vedeau doar “exteriorul” lui Dumnezeu.
După ce i-a scos din Egipt şi i-a dus în pustie, Moise îi întreabă, după ce ei au văzut “aspectul fizic” al lui Dumnezeu, “vreţi să îi slujiţi doar Domnului?” … Cum văd eu lucrurile …Moise era un fel de intermediar/peţitor (matchmaker) între Israel şi Dumnezeu.
Ei răspund “da” şi Dumnezeu le dă poruncile. Şi prima poruncă este “Iubiţi-Mă cu tot ce aveţi voi!” dar stai un pic…D-zeu nu ştia cui îi cere lucrul acesta? Îl cerea unor fiinţe impefecte, încăpăţânaţi, de nestăpânit…dacă ştia cum sunt la ce le mai cere asta?
Nu ştia când a urcat Moise pe munte că ei îşi vor face un viţel în clipa când Moise nu mai era? Binenţeles că ştia…dar dacă ştia de ce l-a mai lăsat pe bietul Moise (aşa bătrân cum era) să urce pe munte ca să le poruncească să Îl iubească pe El când ei tocmai îşi turnau un viţel? Părerea mea este că Dumnezeu ar fi primit dragoste de gen “Te iubesc Doamne” de la orice alt popor dar nu de la Israel.
Pentru ei trebuia să se lupte şi ca să ajungă la dragostea lor Dumnezeu a făcut orice. Da, s-a mâniat pe ei cum nu s-a mai mâniat pe nici un alt popor, dar nu Dumnezeu a rupt tablele legii, ci Moise.
Dumnezeu nu a aşteptat în clipa când a dat porunca “Să mă iubiţi” ca evreii chiar să Îl iubească…dar pentru El a fost destul că ei au acceptat ca El să se descopere lor până în momentul când ajung să Îl iubească. Şi nu cu o dragoste doar din emoţii, ci din toată inima, din tot sufletul, cu toată mintea şi toată puterea” o dragoste care vine din cunoaştere… şi da, aşa au ajuns să Îl iubească unii dintre ei…şi cum se numeşte dacă nu dragoste să mori de bună voie pentru credinţa ta intr-un singur Dumnezeu, ca nişte oi duse la tăiere ... au ajuns să Îl iubească.
Dragostea e un process care trebuie dus până la capăt la fel ca mântuirea. Nu poţi să iubeşti odată şi apoi cumva se termină. Aia nu a fost dragoste niciodată şi nu asta cere Dumnezeu, ci o dragoste care vine din cunoaştere…de aceea nu ne descoperă totul deodată, ca să descoperim toată viaţa şi în 2 ani să spui că Îl iubeşti mai mult ca niciodată, şi în 5 ani şi mai mult etc.
Dumnezeu nu ne dă adevărul dintr-o dată…ci puţin câte puţin pentru că ştie ce limitaţi suntem.
Dragostea lui Dumnezeu nu este una omenească…El nu are aşteptări ca să fie dezamăgit…ştie din ce suntem făcuţi …îşi aminteşte că suntem ţărână. Nu îşi pune speranţele şi visele în noi de acea nu are cum să fie dezamăgit de eşecul meu.
Deuteronomul 19:9
numai să păzeşti şi să împlineşti toate aceste porunci pe care ţi le dau astăzi, ca să iubeşti pe Domnul, Dumnezeul tău, şi să umbli totdeauna pe căile Lui
Deuteronomul 30:16

Căci îţi poruncesc azi să iubeşti pe Domnul, Dumnezeul tău, să umbli pe căile Lui, şi să păzeşti poruncile Lui, legile Lui şi rânduielile Lui, ca să trăieşti şi să te înmulţeşti…..

Dumnezeu s-a smerit atât de tare şi S-a lăsat să fie aşa de vulnerabil încât să fie iubit de noi…Tot cerul şi îngerii şi tot universul ăsta, tot ce e mai perfect şi desăvârşit Îl adoră pe El…şi El vrea să fie iubit de noi…de pulbere care astăzi e şi mâine nu mai e…dar Dumnezeu a iubit atât de mult lumea că a dat parte din El să fie asemenea nouă şi să moară…doar să vedem noi că El ne vrea …
Avea dreptate David când zicea “ ce este omul ca să te gândeşti la el…şi fiul omului ca să îl iei în seamă?”.
Dumnezeu e un îndrăgostit nefericit…nu dezamăgit, nu frustrat, doar mult neînţeles.
Faptul că eu fac sau nu un lucru nu prea are importanţă, că nu facem lucrurile să dobândim noi o siguranţă “sunt ok cu Dumnezeu” …” 6. Dacă păcătuieşti, ce rău Îi faci Lui? Şi când păcatele ţi se înmulţesc, ce-I faci Lui?
7. Dacă eşti drept, ce-I dai Lui? Ce primeşte El din mâna ta?” Iov 35 :6-7
El nu are nevoie de faptele mele...faptele le fac ca şi o consecinţă la ceea ce cred. Dar nu fac faptele ca să Îl impresionez pe El.

Dar intimitatea…asta e altceva…e dreptul lui de soţ. Nu ai să îl auzi în veci strigând “de ce nu stai cu mine?!” dar asta e tot ce a vrut, tot ce vrea şi o să vrea vreodată.
Dacă un soţ şi o soţie nu petrec timp împreună asta nu înseamnă că sunt mai puţin căsătoriţi, dar legătura lor nu va fi una puternică deoarece nu se mai cunosc. Un om e o lume... şi îţi ia o viaţă întreagă să ajungi să cunoşti un om şi nici atunci nu poţi să spui “eu cunosc în totalitate lumea omului ăstuia” ... Şi atunci nu ai timp de pierdut. Dar Dumnezeu nu e o lume şi nici măcar un univers, universul nu-i decât un fir de praf în mâna Lui... atunci voi avea nevoie de toată veşnicia să văd măreţia Lui şi niciodată nu va fi destul pentru că El e nemărginit.
Dacă tot creierul mi-ar funcţiona la capacitate maximă şi aş înţelege deplin totul, tot nu am cum să mă plictisesc vreodată de El şi nici să ajung să cunosc totul despre El.
Sunt serafimi care se uită la El şi-şi acoperă faţa şi tot ce le rămâne de spus e “SFÂNT, SFÂNT, SFÂNT ESTE DOMNUL”. Ai crede că după atâta timp nu mai sunt uimiţi... asta ar crede un muritor ca mine...
El ... Dumnezeul ăsta nemărginit ...El, mă vrea pe mine... şi-atunci dacă eu nu îi dau dreptul de soţ, adică intimitate cu El, ce scuză aş putea găsi vreodată care să mă justifice? Totuşi El stă şi mă aşteaptă, ca şi cum nici nu mai ştie că ieri l-am ignorat complet...că m-am rugat Lui de parcă El n-ar fi lângă mine... că i-am cântat cântece de parcă n-ar fi chiar în faţa mea...
Pe când eram noi încă păcătoşi Isus ne-a împăcat cu Tatăl…acum când sunt a Lui cum nu îmi va fi totul?...
Eu nu ştiu dacă Îl iubesc…şi dacă da, nu vreau să o spun, pentru că are un dar să testeze cuvintele noastre ca să ne arate dacă sunt adevărate sau nu… mai bine spun că sper să ajung să Îl iubesc cu toată inima mea, cu tot cugetul meu şi cu toată puterea mea.

Cristina
Bat Melech

Circumstanţele vieţii


Cu ceva timp în urmă, vorbeam cu sora mea şi la scurt timp după, ea mi-a cerut să îi scriu ceea ce vorbisem într-un e-mail.

După tare mult timp în care nu am simţit un rost în nimic ce fac, după mult timp în care am crezut că poate că alegând unele lucruri, am trecut pe lângă ceea ce Dumnezeu avea pentru mine şi că acum trăiesc precum o pană pe care o suflă vântul fără scop, am ajuns la unele cocluzii. Aceste lucruri nu trebuie să fie aprobate de nimeni dar iată părerea mea.

Dumnezeu nu a creat lumea asta, a sfârşit totul cu succes şi apoi s-a retras la locul Lui de odihnă în ceruri de unde poate câteodată (când se plictiseşte de lauda îngerilor) mai bagă în seamă şi muritorii de rând.
Dumnezeu se numeşte Creatorul. Înseamnă că însăşi natura Lui este să creeze. Pictorul pictează câtă vreme este în viaţă. Constructorul construieşte pentru că de aceea se numeşte constructor. Creatorul creează pentru că de acea S-a numit pe Sine Însuşi Creator.
Totuşi, un pictor poate să doarmă şi ceea ce pictează rămâne, poate să moară şi sute de ani după ce a murit pictura lui să rămână. Creaţia însă ar înceta să mai existe dacă Dumnezeu nu am mai susţine-o mâine.
Ce înseamnă asta? Înseamnă că Dumnezeu creează în fiecare zi lumea în existenţă şi o susţine. Cum?
Dacă eu îţi spun, “închide ochii şi imaginează-ţi un balon verde” balonul care nu exista nicăieri acum există deoarece tu îl menţi, îl susţi în fiinţă. Dacă tu încetezi să te gândeşti la balon, balonul nu merge la gunoi, nu moare, nu se desumflă, încetează să mai existe, deoarece balonul există doar pentru că tu îl menţi în fiinţă prin imaginaţia ta.
Dacă Dumnezeu nu s-ar mai gândi la mine, eu nu aș muri, eu aș înceta să mai exist.
Dumnezeu este îndeajuns de mare încât să creeze lumea ta, lumea cum doar tu o vezi, iar în acelaşi timp să creeze lumea mea pe care doar eu pot să o percep în acest fel.

Din acest punct de vedere suntem “unici” la fel. Doar că la fel cum un pictor nu pictează acelaşi tablou, nici Dumnezeu nu susţine aceeaşi lume/ om.

Dumnezeu nu doar că este în controlul situaţiei, dar situaţia ar înceta să mai existe dacă Dumnezeu ar alege să se oprească din a susţine lumea în fiinţă.
Ca tu să te îndepărtezi de planul lui Dumnezeu e la fel de posil ca balonul tău să devină roşu dacă tu îl vrei să fie verde.
Nu cred deloc în teoria cu planul A şi Planul B şi la planul A planul (a) şi planul (b) şi după aia la (a)- a1 şi a2 ca şi cum Dumnezeu nu mai poate controla LUCRURILE şi din cauza asta, ştiind ce neputincios este şi-a creat portiţe de scăpare.
Este scris că înainte de întemeierea lumii Dumnezeu a creat faptele bune în care noi să umblăm. Binenţeles că depinde de mine să fac o alegere sau alta dar nu pot să controlez consecinţele acţiunilor mele. Pot să fac un bine care logic ar avea un efect bun dar în realitate să fie primit rău, sau pot să fac un rău care Dumnezeu să îl folosească înspre binele cuiva. Eu aleg să fac bine sau rău dar nu eu aleg consecinţele la acele acţiuni. Nu ştiu dacă are sens sau nu ce spun, dar de exemplu Iosif şi cu fraţii lui. Înainte de întemeierea lumii Dumnezeu l-a ales ca să ajungă un lider şi deşi putea să aleagă cea mai simplă cale, pentru ca să-l transforme pe Iosif într-un lider bun, Dumnezeu le-a dat voie fraţilor lui ca să îl urască şi a folosit ura lor ca să creeze circumstanţele care aveau să-l facă pe Iosif să devină IOSIF. Fraţii lui au greşit şi şi-au primit răsplata deoarece ei au avut răutate în inima lor dar de acea răutate avea nevoie să se folosească Dumnezeu. Dacă nu ar fi fost ei ar fi fost altcineva, vina lor însă a fost că ei au fost dispuşi să facă răul.

Oamenii fac alegeri şi consecinţele la ceea ce fac rămâne pentru că nu are cum să dispară şi poate rămân toată viaţa dar ceea ce trebuie să se întâmple se întâmplă.
Tu nu ai capacitatea să o dai în bară aşa de rău încât planul lui Dumnezeu să fie dat peste cap.
Şi dacă Dumnezeu este aşa de tare în control atunci de ce se mai nasc unii într-o suferinţă cruntă? De ce nu a creat Dumnezeu o lume perfectă în care nimeni să nu sufere în nici un fel?
Pentru că Dumnezeu ţi-a creat sufletul şi ţi-a creat toate circumstanţele care să te ajute pe tine să devi TU. Poate îţi par nedrepte, poate te întrebi “dar prostia asta la ce mă ajută să devin ceea ce trebuie să fiu?” Nu ai cum să ştii niciodată. Dar ştiu cu toată inima mea că tot ceea ce se întâmplă este ca să te modeleze şi să te facă cine trebuie să devi. Dumnezeu ştie că bazat pe ceea ce ţi s-a întâmplat în trecut, bazat pe abilităţile care le ai şi bazat pe toate circumstanţele din viaţa ta, tu ai putea deveni atât. Şi dacă nu devii acel “atât”, atunci ai buftat-o. Nu pentru că nu ai fost ca Sara, nu pentru că nu ai fost Rebeca, nu pentru că nu ai fost Moise sau David, dar pentru că nu ai fost cine trebuie să fii.

Bine şi atunci de ce se nasc unii retardaţi? De ce unii se nasc şi trăiesc 5 ani şi mor, sau trăiesc o zi şi mor? Înţeleg că Dumnezeu m-a creat pe mine să devin tot ceea ce trebuie să devin ca sufletul meu să fie desăvârşit, dar la acei oameni cum li se desăvârşeşte sufletul? Foarte bine. Poate eu trebuie să trăiesc 30 de ani ca să devin ceea ce trebuie, poate trebuie să trăiesc o zi, dar înseamnă că atât trebuie să trăiesc. Nu există accidente, situaţii scăpate de sub control. Totul este parte din plan.
Dacă eu trebuie să mor anul acesta nimeni nu mă poate ajuta şi dacă trebuie să trăiesc nimeni nu mă poate ucide, căci este scris: “Psalmi 139:16
Când nu eram decât un plod fără chip, ochii Tăi mă vedeau; şi în cartea Ta erau scrise toate zilele care-mi erau rânduite, mai înainte de a fi fost vreuna din ele.”
Înseamnă că dacă până şi perii capului meu sunt număraţi (şi asta nu pentru că Dumnezeu se plictiseşte şi aşa că îmi numără firele de păr) atunci tot ceea ce fac sau trăiesc sau gândesc, totul este sub atenţia atentă a lui Dumnezeu.
Dumnezeu nu este atât de limitat încât să se intereseze de mine prin îngeri sau să vină să mă viziteze câteodată. EL ESTE OMNIPREZENT, OMNIŞTIENT, OMNIPOTENT. Şi asta nu doar în teorie.

Bun, să zicem că o înţeleg şi pe asta dar atunci înseamnă că Dumnezeu este de vină sau orchestrează până şi tot răul care mi se întâmplă.
Dumnezeu nu provoacă răul dar se foloseşte de el.
Dumnezeu putea să spună orice despre Sine când Moise a cerut “Doamne arată-mi slava Ta!”
Dumnezeu are multe atribute dar ceea ce voia să se asigure că Moise va cunoaşte despre El, ceea ce voia ca Moise şi tot poporul să cunoască despre natura Sa a fost: “Şi Domnul a trecut pe dinaintea lui, şi a strigat: „Domnul, Dumnezeu este un Dumnezeu plin de îndurare şi milostiv, încet la mânie, plin de bunătate şi credincioşie, care Îşi ţine dragostea până în mii de neamuri de oameni, iartă fărădelegea, răzvrătirea şi păcatul, dar nu socoteşte pe cel vinovat drept nevinovat, şi pedepseşte fărădelegea părinţilor în copii şi în copiii copiilor lor până la al treilea şi al patrulea neam!”
Ca Moise să înţeleagă Domnul a strigat că El este un Dumnezeu plin de îndurare şi milostiv, încet la mânie, plin de bunătate şi credincioşie. Asta este esenţa lui Dumnezeu. Toate lucrurile lucrează înspre binele celor ce iubesc pe Dumnezeu.

Bazat doar pe ceea ce ţi-a dat Dumnezeu, are să ceară de la tine. Trebuie măcar să încerci. Poate că nu îţi iese tot timpul bine dar contează să încerci. Cel neprihănit cade de 7 ori dar de 7 ori se ridică. Acolo nu se referă că cel neprihănit cade de 7 ori în toată viaţa lui. Nu, poate să cadă de 7 ori într-o zi sau într-o oră, dar ce îl face pe neprihănit să fie neprihănit este că se ridică la loc. Ceea ce ţi-a dat Dumnezeu şi a pus în tine, te vrea cu gelozie pentru Sine. Poate că mai o buftezi, dar te ridici de tot atâtea ori cât cazi, şi asta te face neprihănit.
Ca şi în pilda talanţilor. Stăpânul nu l-a tras la răspundere pe cel care avea un talant pentru că a investit greşit talantul, nu i-a zis :”de ce ai investit în ce nu trebuie?”, de ce l-a luat la rost? Pentru că nu a făcut nimic cu ceea ce avea. Pe cel care avea 10 sunt sigură că putea să mai facă 30 pe lângă, dar pentru că măcar a făcut cu mult tot mult i s-a socotit neprihănire. Poate că mie Dumnezeu mi-a creat aşa circumstanţe încât 1 talant să fie mult şi cu acela trebuie să lucrez, dar contează să fac ceva.

Poate că nu are nici un sens ceea ce am zis şi poate că nu te ajută prea mult dar asta am simţit eu să îţi spun.

Cristina
Bat Melech

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Citatele mele preferate de la Rabinii mei preferaţi




Cine nu Îl poate simţi pe Dumnezeu în orice loc, nu Îl poate simţi în nici un loc. - Kotzker Rebbe

Eu cred că Dumnezeu poate să schimbe un triunghi într-un dreptunghi, deoarece căile Sale sunt nebănuite.
- Rabbi Nachman Broslov

Când vei găsi minunea vieţii, îţi va mai rămâne destulă viaţă ca să trăieşti minunat?
- Rabbi Menachem Mendel, Rabbinul Lubavitcher

Chiar dacă şansele de a eşua sau de a avea succes sunt egale, de ce să îţi faci griji că vei eşua când poţi să speri că vei avea succes?
- Rambam

Mai bine să fii coada leilor decât capul vulpilor.
- Pirkei Avot 4:20, Talmud

Inima şi gura ta ar trebui să fie mereu de acord.
- Talmud

Dacă este bine pentru înţelepţi să tacă, atunci cu cât mai mult este bine pentru un nebun?
-Talmud

Cea mai eficientă cale către pocăinţă este tăcerea, nu postul.
- Mishnah Berurah 57:2

Dacă vrei să smereşti pe cineva, smereşte-te pe tine. Dacă vrei să lauzi pe cineva, laudă-L pe Dumnezeu!
- Rabbi Zaakov Yosef Poloye

Învaţă să taci, ca să poţi învăţa să vorbeşti.
- Rabbi Menachem Mendel din Vorki

Omul este înţelept doar atâta timp cât caută înţelepciunea. Atunci când se poartă de parcă ar fi găsit-o, devine un nebun.
- Ibn Gabriol

Dragostea este oarbă când vine vorba de defecte, dar ura este oarbă când vine vorba de virtuţi.
- Iba Ezra

Nu cât de mult sau cât de puţin ai te face măreţ, ci cât de mult sau cât de puţin faci cu ceea ce ai.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsh

CEL CARE DĂ SĂ NU-ŞI MAI AMINTEASCĂ NICIODATĂ CĂ A DAT! CEL CARE PRIMEŞTE SĂ NU UITE NICIODATĂ CĂ A PRIMIT!
- Talmud

Fă în aşa fel ca voia Celui Preaînalt să fie voia ta şi atunci El va face ca voia ta să fie şi voia Lui.
- Talmud


Cine este un om înţelept?
Cel care învaţă de la toţi oamenii
Cine este un om puternic?
Cel care învaţă să-şi înfrâneze poftele.
Cine este un om bogat?
Cel care se bucură de ceea ce are
Cine este un om onorat?
Cel care îşi onorează mai întâi aproapele

- Talmud

Jewish Holidays

All Jewish holidays begin the evening before the date specified on most calendars. This is because a Jewish "day" begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight. If you read the story of creation in Genesis Ch. 1, you will notice that it says, "And there was evening, and there was morning, one day." From this, we infer that a day begins with evening, that is, sunset. Holidays end at nightfall of the date specified on most calendars; that is, at the time when it becomes dark out, about an hour after sunset.
Work is not permitted on Rosh Hashanah, on Yom Kippur, on the first and second days of Sukkot, on Shemini Atzeret, on Simchat Torah, on Shavu'ot, and the first, second, seventh and eighth days of Passover. The "work" prohibited on those holidays is the same as that prohibited on Shabbat, except that cooking, baking, transferring fire and carrying, all of which are forbidden on Shabbat, are permitted on holidays. When a holiday occurs on Shabbat, the full Shabbat restrictions are observed.




Rosh Hashanah


..In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. -Leviticus 16:24

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the midnight drinking bash that the rest of the world has.
The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.
Shofar: The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day. There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally, "big tekiah"), the final blast in a set, which lasts 10 seconds minimum.
The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar's sound is a call to repentance. The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat.
The common greeting at this time is L'shanah tovah ("for a good year"). This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."




Yom Kippur



...In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work ... For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the L-RD. -Leviticus 16:29-30

Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. The holiday is instituted at Leviticus 23:26 et seq.

The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed.
As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.
Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in prayer. In Orthodox synagogues, services begin early in the morning (8 or 9 AM) and continue until about 3 PM. People then usually go home for an afternoon nap and return around 5 or 6 PM for the afternoon and evening services, which continue until nightfall. The services end at nightfall, with the blowing of the tekiah gedolah, a long blast on the shofar.



Sukkot



...On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD. -Leviticus 23:34
The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in the year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z'man Simchateinu Z'mn Simchateinu (in Hebrew), the Season of our Rejoicing.
Sukkot is the last of the Shalosh R'galim (three pilgrimage festivals). Like Passover and Shavu'ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif Chag Ha-Asif (in Hebrew), the Festival of Ingathering.
The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary dwellings that Jews are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. The Hebrew pronunciation of Sukkot

is "Sue COAT," but is often pronounced as in Yiddish, to rhyme with "BOOK us." The name of the holiday is frequently translated "Feast of Tabernacles," which, like many translations of Jewish terms, isn't very useful. This translation is particularly misleading, because the word "tabernacle" in the Bible refers to the portable Sanctuary in the desert, a precursor to the Temple, called in Hebrew "mishkan." The Hebrew word "sukkah" (plural: "sukkot") refers to the temporary booths that people lived in, not to the Tabernacle.
Sukkot lasts for seven days. The two days following the festival, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, are separate holidays but are related to Sukkot and are commonly thought of as part of Sukkot.
The festival of Sukkot is instituted in Leviticus 23:33 et seq. No work is permitted on the first and second days of the holiday.
Work is permitted on the remaining days. These intermediate days on which work is permitted are referred to as Chol Ha-Mo'ed, as are the intermediate days of Passover.




Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah




...On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD... on the eighth day, there shall be a holy convocation for you. -Leviticus 23:34

Tishri 22, the day after the seventh day of Sukkot, is the holiday Shemini Atzeret. In Israel, Shemini Atzeret is also the holiday of Simchat Torah. Outside of Israel, where extra days of holidays are held, only the second day of Shemini Atzeret is Simchat Torah: Shemini Atzeret is Tishri 22 and 23, while Simchat Torah is Tishri 23.

These two holidays are commonly thought of as part of Sukkot, but that is technically incorrect; Shemini Atzeret is a holiday in its own right and does not involve some of the special observances of Sukkot. Jews do not take up the lulav and etrog on these days, and the dwelling in the sukkah is more limited, and performed without reciting a blessing.
Shemini Atzeret literally means "the assembly of the eighth (day)." Rabbinic literature explains the holiday this way: our Creator is like a host, who invites us as visitors for a limited time, but when the time comes for us to leave, He has enjoyed himself so much that He asks us to stay another day. Another related explanation: Sukkot is a holiday intended for all of mankind, but when Sukkot is over, the Creator invites the Jewish people to stay for an extra day, for a more intimate celebration.
Simchat Torah means "Rejoicing in the Torah." This holiday marks the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. Each week in synagogue we publicly read a few chapters from the Torah, starting with Genesis Ch. 1 and working our way around to Deuteronomy 34. On Simchat Torah, we read the last Torah portion, then proceed immediately to the first chapter of Genesis, reminding us that the Torah is a circle, and never ends.
This completion of the readings is a time of great celebration. There are processions around the synagogue carrying Torah scrolls and plenty of high-spirited singing and dancing in the synagogue with the Torahs. Drinking is also common during this time; in fact, a traditional source recommends performing the priestly blessing earlier than usual in the service, to make sure the kohanim are not drunk when the time comes! As many people as possible are given the honor of an aliyah (reciting a blessing over the Torah reading); in fact, even children are called for an aliyah blessing on Simchat Torah. In addition, as many people as possible are given the honor of carrying a Torah scroll in these processions. Children do not carry the scrolls (they are much too heavy!), but often follow the procession around the synagogue, sometimes carrying small toy Torahs (stuffed plush toys or paper scrolls).
In some synagogues, confirmation ceremonies or ceremonies marking the beginning of a child's Jewish education are held at this time.



Chanukkah



On the 25th of Kislev are the days of Chanukkah, which are eight... these were appointed a Festival with Hallel [prayers of praise] and thanksgiving. -Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud
Chanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.
Chanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews!) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on the Jewsih calendar.
The Story
The story of Chanukkah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.
More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees (no direct connection to the modern movement known as Chasidism). They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.
According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.
The rabbis taught the rule of Chanukkah: ... on the first day one [candle] is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased ... [because] we increase in sanctity but do not reduce. -Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud


Tu B'Shevat



When you come to the land and you plant any tree, you shall treat its fruit as forbidden; for three years it will be forbidden and not eaten. In the fourth year, all of its fruit shall be sanctified to praise the L-RD. In the fifth year, you may eat its fruit. -Leviticus 19:23-25
There are four new years... the first of Shevat is the new year for trees according to the ruling of Beit Shammai; Beit Hillel, however, places it on the fifteenth of that month. -Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:1
Tu B'Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is a holiday also known as the New Year for Trees. The word "Tu" is not really a word; it is the number 15 in Hebrew, as if you were to call the Fourth of July "Iv July" (IV being 4 in Roman numerals).



Purim


In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day ... on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. - Esther 9:1
And they gained relief on the fourteenth, making it a day of feasting and gladness. - Esther 9:17
[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. - Esther 9:22
Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.
The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people's, and they do not observe the king's laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them." Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.
Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman was hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.
The book of Esther is unusual in that it is the only book of the Bible that does not contain the name of G-d. In fact, it includes virtually no reference to G-d. Mordecai makes a vague reference to the fact that the Jews will be saved by someone else, if not by Esther, but that is the closest the book comes to mentioning G-d. Thus, one important message that can be gained from the story is that G-d often works in ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance, coincidence or ordinary good luck.
Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, which is usually in March. The 13th of Adar is the day that Haman chose for the extermination of the Jews, and the day that the Jews battled their enemies for their lives. On the day afterwards, the 14th, they celebrated their survival. In cities that were walled in the time of Joshua, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month, because the book of Esther says that in Shushan (a walled city), deliverance from the massacre was not complete until the next day. The 15th is referred to as Shushan Purim.




Pesach: Passover



And this day shall become a memorial for you, and you shall observe it as a festival for the L-RD, for your generations, as an eternal decree shall you observe it. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove the leaven from your homes ... you shall guard the unleavened bread, because on this very day I will take you out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day for your generations as an eternal decree. - Exodus 12:14-17

Pesach begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. It is the first of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Shavu'ot and Sukkot). Agriculturally, it represents the beginning of the harvest season in Israel, but little attention is paid to this aspect of the holiday. The primary observances of Pesach are related to the Exodus from Egypt after generations of slavery. This story is told in Exodus, Ch. 1-15. Many of the Pesach observances are instituted in Chs. 12-15.

The name "Pesach" (PAY-sahch, with a "ch" as in the Scottish "loch") comes from the Hebrew root Pei-Samekh-Cheit Pei-Samekh-Cheit (in Hebrew), meaning to pass through, to pass over, to exempt or to spare. It refers to the fact that G-d "passed over" the houses of the Jews when he was slaying the firstborn of Egypt. In English, the holiday is known as Passover. "Pesach" is also the name of the sacrificial offering (a lamb) that was made in the Temple on this holiday. The holiday is also referred to as Chag he-Aviv Chag he-Aviv (in Hebrew), (the Spring Festival), Chag ha-Matzot Chag ha-Matzot (in Hebrew), (the Festival of Matzahs), and Z'man Cheiruteinu Z'man Cheiruteinu (in Hebrew), (the Time of Our Freedom) (again, all with those Scottish "ch"s).



The Counting of the Omer



You shall count for yourselves -- from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving -- seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days... -Leviticus 23:15-16
You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu'ot for the L-RD, your G-d -Deuteronomy 16:9-10
According to the Torah (Lev. 23:15), we are obligated to count the days from Passover to Shavu'ot. This period is known as the Counting of the Omer. An omer is a unit of measure. On the second day of Passover, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering. This grain offering was referred to as the Omer.
Every night, from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavu'ot, Jews recite a blessing and state the count of the omer in both weeks and days. So on the 16th day, a Jew would say "Today is sixteen days, which is two weeks and two days of the Omer."
The counting is intended to remind Jews of the link between Passover, which commemorates the Exodus, and Shavu'ot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah. It reminds the Jews that the redemption from slavery was not complete until they received the Torah.
This period is a time of partial mourning, during which weddings, parties, and dinners with dancing are not conducted, in memory of a plague during the lifetime of Rabbi Akiva. Haircuts during this time are also forbidden. The 33rd day of the Omer (the eighteenth of Iyar) is a minor holiday commemorating a break in the plague. The holiday is known as Lag b'Omer. The mourning practices of the omer period are lifted on that date. The word "Lag" is not really a word; it is the number 33 in Hebrew, as if you were to call the Fourth of July "Iv July" (IV being 4 in Roman numerals). See Hebrew Alphabet for more information about using letters as numbers.




Shavu'ot




You shall count for yourselves -- from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving -- seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days... You shall convoke on this very day -- there shall be a holy convocation for yourselves -- you shall do no laborious work; it is an eternal decree in your dwelling places for your generations. -Leviticus 21:15-16, 21

Shavu'ot, the Festival of Weeks, is the second of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Passover and Sukkot). Agriculturally, it commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits). Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah).
The period from Passover to Shavu'ot is a time of great anticipation. Jews count each of the days from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavu'ot, 49 days or 7 full weeks, hence the name of the festival. See The Counting of the Omer. The counting reminds Jews of the important connection between Passover and Shavu'ot: Passover freed Jews physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavu'ot redeemed Jews spiritually from their bondage to idolatry and immorality. Shavu'ot is also known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day; however, Shavu'ot has no particular similarity to the Christian holiday of Pentecost.
It is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of the giving of the Torah, rather than the time of the receiving of the Torah. The sages point out that Jews are constantly in the process of receiving the Torah, that they receive it every day, but it was first given at this time. Thus it is the giving, not the receiving, that makes this holiday significant.
Shavu'ot is not tied to a particular calendar date, but to a counting from Passover. Because the length of the months used to be variable, determined by observation, and there are two new moons between Passover and Shavu'ot, Shavu'ot could occur on the 5th or 6th of Sivan. However, now that we have a mathematically determined calendar, and the months between Passover and Shavu'ot do not change length on the mathematical calendar, Shavu'ot is always on the 6th of Sivan
Work is not permitted during Shavu'ot.



Tisha B'Av



Five misfortunes befell our fathers ... on the ninth of Av. ...On the ninth of Av it was decreed that our fathers should not enter the [Promised] Land, the Temple was destroyed the first and second time, Bethar was captured and the city [Jerusalem] was ploughed up. -Mishnah Ta'anit 4:6

...Should I weep in the fifth month [Av], separating myself, as I have done these so many years? -Zechariah 7:3
In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month ...came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD... -II Kings 25:8-9
In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month... came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD... - Jeremiah 52:12-13
How then are these dates to be reconciled? On the seventh the heathens entered the Temple and ate therein and desecrated it throughout the seventh and eighth and towards dusk of the ninth they set fire to it and it continued to burn the whole of that day. ... How will the Rabbis then [explain the choice of the 9th as the date]? The beginning of any misfortune [when the fire was set] is of greater moment. -Talmud Ta'anit 29a
Tisha B'Av, the Fast of the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which coincidentally have occurred on the ninth of Av.
Tisha B'Av means "the ninth (day) of Av." It usually occurs during August.
Tisha B'Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av (the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.).
Although this holiday is primarily meant to commemorate the destruction of the Temple, it is appropriate to consider on this day the many other tragedies of the Jewish people, many of which occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.1
Tisha B'Av is the culmination of a three week period of increasing mourning, beginning with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, which commemorates the first breach in the walls of Jerusalem, before the First Temple was destroyed. During this three week period, weddings and other parties are not permitted, and people refrain from cutting their hair. From the first to the ninth of Av, it is customary to refrain from eating meat or drinking wine (except on the Shabbat) and from wearing new clothing.
The restrictions on Tisha B'Av are similar to those on Yom Kippur: to refrain from eating and drinking (even water); washing, bathing, shaving or wearing cosmetics; wearing leather shoes; engaging in sexual relations; and studying Torah. Work in the ordinary sense of the word [rather than the Shabbat sense] is also restricted. People who are ill need not fast on this day. Many of the traditional mourning practices are observed: people refrain from smiles, laughter and idle conversation, and sit on low stools.
In synagogue, the book of Lamentations is read and mourning prayers are recited. The ark (cabinet where the Torah is kept) is draped in black.



Rosh Chodesh


In Hebrew, Rosh Chodesh means, literally, "head of the month" or "first of the month." Rosh Chodesh is the first day of any new month. If a month is 30 days long, then the 30th day is treated as part of the Rosh Chodesh for the next month, and the Rosh Chodesh for next month extends for two days (the 30th of the earlier month and the 1st of the later month).
In ancient times, Rosh Chodesh was a significant festival day. At that time, the new months were determined by observation. Each month began when the first sliver of moon became visible after the dark of the moon. Observers would watch the sky at night for any sign of the moon. If they saw the moon, they would report their sightings to the Sanhedrin, which would interrogate them to make sure that they were not mistaken. Where in the sky did the moon appear? Which direction was it pointing? If two independent, reliable eyewitnesses confirmed that the new moon had appeared and described it consistently, the Sanhedrin would declare the new month and send out messengers to tell people when the month began.
The day after the moon appeared was a festival, announced with the sounding of the shofar, commemorated with solemn convocations, family festivities and special sacrifices. The importance of this holiday in ancient times should not be underestimated. The entire calendar was dependent upon these declarations; without the declarations, there would be no way of knowing when holidays were supposed to occur.

"Under The Law" - What Does this Mean?


INTRODUCTION

How many times have you heard it said, “We are no longer under the law but under grace?” On the surface, this phrase quoted from Rabbi Paul’s letter to a Messianic congregation in Romans 6:14 appears to be clear and straightforward in its meaning. This is why many misinterpret this phrase to mean:

“Before Yeshua (Jesus), mankind was under bondage to the Mosaic Law given by God at Mt. Sinai. When Yeshua came, He did away with the Mosaic Law, which was impossible for man to obey, and gave us new commandments to follow.”

How could this interpretation be correct? Could the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob give a law that was not perfect and then punish His people for not following it perfectly? Today, we would call this child abuse!

As with the phrase “under the law,” there is a lack of understanding today on how to apply God’s Law (Torah). Because of this lack of understanding, many have become “workers of iniquity” (Matt. 7:23) or “workers against the Law.” Yeshua said that those who fall in this category would not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

Therefore, in this study, we will let the balance of Scripture establish our doctrine concerning God’s Law. Our goal is to dispel the misunderstanding of the phrase “under the law.” We will do this by examining all of Rabbi Paul’s writings and determine what he was trying to say in his letters to the Messianic congregations. This is the Hebraic way of gaining the correct interpretation, look at the whole of Scripture.

DEFINITIONS

It is essential that we understand the meaning of terms and phrases when interpreting what someone else is attempting to communicate to us. This is why we keep a copy of the Webster’s Dictionary on the book shelf and use it when confronted with words we do not understand. This is also needed when interpreting Scripture. Phrases and terms that meant something to those living in a first century Hebraic society may not be easily translated or communicated to the Greek society or the modern Western society. Therefore, we will provide a few definitions.

§ Law - Translated from the Greek word nomos; which was translated from the Hebrew word Torah that literally means: guidelines, instructions, and teachings in righteousness

§ Grace - Translated from the Greek word charitoo meaning indue with special honor, make accepted, be highly favored [Strongs Concordance]; translated from the Hebrew word chesed meaning unmerited favor. It does not conflict with God’s Law/Torah.

§ Scriptures - Translated from the Greek word graphe meaning a document, i.e. holy Writ (or its contents or a statement in it) [Strongs Concordance], term used for Bible; Hebraic: Tenach (Torah and the Prophets), which did not include Renewed Covenant (New Testament.). The “New Testament” did not exist during the Apostolic era.

§ Under Law - Translated from the Greek words upo nomon; Hebraically understood: “…in subjection to the system that results from perverting the Torah into legalism.” [Dr. David Stern, Messianic Jewish Manifesto].

§ Law of Sin - Sin is defined in 1 John 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law (Torah): for sin is the transgression of the Law (Torah). Keep in mind that the word “law” in the Renewed Covenant does not always mean TORAH.

§ Legalism - Attempting to earn one’s “Salvation by Works” rather than accepting the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua for salvation.

§ Idiom - An expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either in grammatical construction or in having a meaning which cannot be derived as a whole from the conjoined meanings of its elements (e.g., “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” “don’t be bull-headed,” “that’s water under the bridge”)

WHO WAS RAV SHA’UL (RABBI PAUL)?

Equally important to understanding the meaning of words and phrases from other languages is to understand the background of the individual saying them. By reading some of Paul’s statements in his letters, one could quickly draw the false conclusion that Paul was anti-Law (Torah). This is why ALL of Paul’s words and teachings must be examined in order to determine where Paul stood with respect to the Law/Torah. Let’s take a look at Paul’s own testimony and his beliefs.

1) Paul is a Pharisee – Taught by the School of Hillel

Acts 22:3 “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the Law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.”

Acts 23:6 “…he (Paul) 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.”

Philippians 3:5-6. “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

2) Paul’s encounter with Yeshua - Sent to a man who upheld the Law/Torah

Acts 22:12-15. “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the Law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

3) Paul asked by James to prove that he continued to walk according to the Law

Acts 21:18-24, 18. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present…Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the Law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the Law.

4) Paul taught that the Law and the Prophets (Scriptures) were holy, spiritual, and good

1 Tim. 3:14-17 “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yeshua. 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 perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Romans 2:13 “For not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified.”

Romans 2:14 “For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, having not the Law, are a Law unto themselves:”

Romans 2:15 “Which shew the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;”

Romans 2:18 “And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the Law;”

Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.”

Romans 3:31 “Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Law.”

Romans 7:12 “Wherefore the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”

Romans 7:14 “For we know that the Law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”

Romans 7:22. “For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man:”

Galatians 3:21 “Is the Law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a Law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law.”

1 Tim. 1:7-8 “Desiring to be teachers of the Law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully;”

WHICH LAW WERE MEN PLACING THEMSELVES UNDER?

After reading Paul’s own words about the Law/Torah, Paul can not be saying in Romans 6:14 that there is something wrong with the Law/Torah. Clearly, Paul does not consider the Law/Torah a curse, or done away with, or that one should not be obedient to God’s Law/Commandments. Paul states in Romans 3:31, the Law/Torah does not conflict with faith nor does it conflict with grace. Otherwise, Paul would be inconsistent in his deeds and words - a very confused man! This is important to understand because we are talking about “God’s Law/Torah,” not man’s law.

Could it be that Paul, when using the phrase “under law,” is talking about man being legalistic about obeying God’s Law/Torah? They ignore the Father’s grace, “unmerited favor,” which is part of the equation.

Many of us have experienced religious legalism in some form or fashion (e.g., if you don’t speak in tongues you are not spirit filled, if you do not wear certain clothes your not presenting holiness). Paul is addressing this in his letters to the Messianic congregations by using the phrase or idiom “under law” to mean UNDER LEGALISM. Read Acts 15 where Paul was confronted with: “you must first be circumcised and then you will be saved.” Nowhere in Scripture is circumcision or any other commandment given as a prerequisite for salvation. However, in Acts 15, man has decided that the flesh must be changed before the heart can be changed!

According to Messianic leader, Dr. John Fischer, “Although its relationship to the book of Acts is a topic of much discussion, a good case can be made for Galatians being written before the Jerusalem council of Acts 15. In that case, the council decision helps interpret the message of Galatians.” (A Jewish View of Galatians, p. 10)

“UNDER THE LAW”

The phrase “Under the law” appears in 10 verses in the Brit Chadasha (Renewed Covenant) and all are attributed to Rabbi Paul’s writings. Please keep in mind that the article “the” is not present in the Greek language. The phrase should read “under law.”

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace.

Romans 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? God forbid.

1 Cor. 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under law;

1 Cor. 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

Gal. 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Gal. 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under law,

Gal. 4:5 To redeem them that were under law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Gal. 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under law, do ye not hear the law?

Gal. 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under law.

WHAT WAS PAUL TRYING TO SAY?

With the influx of new believers from the nations coming to faith in Yeshua, Paul was confronted with many problems. However, there was one major problem – Salvation Legalism.

Some Jewish believers were teaching new converts that “gentiles must first become Jews, obeying all of the Law/Torah, before they can be saved” (Acts 15). This is called “Judaizing” and what Paul was addressing in the book of Galatians:

Gal. 1:1, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Messiah unto another gospel:”

The “another gospel” here is defined in:

Acts 15:2, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”

In Colossians:

Col. 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Messiah.”

Salvation legalism is not only confined to certain ones in first century Judaism. Even today, there are those who claim to be “believers in Yeshua” and understand “grace” that will select certain elements of the Law and make its observance directly linked to personal salvation. For example, Paul tells Timothy to not forsake assembling (meeting) together. A relative of ours was told by her pastor that if they only attend one service a week, they are only “one-third” a Christian. We personally experienced a situation where a man’s salvation was judged based upon his eating an “all beef hot dog” instead of eating a certified “Hebrew National hot dog.” We believe these situations could be categorized as being “under the law” or “salvation legalisms.”

WERE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL EVER “UNDER THE LAW?”

Many easily overlook an important point with respect to Torah verses Salvation. The children of Israel entered into a personal relationship with the God of Israel before they were given God’s Torah (guidelines and instructions for holy living). Not the other way around! Exodus 20:2 states, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, who brought you out of slavery.” Israel first accepted their “salvation” and then received the Holy One’s perfect Torah of liberty after saying “I DO” at Mt. Sinai.

“The Torah was not given in answer to the question ‘What must I do to enter into a relationship with God (or receive salvation)?’ It was given in answer to the question, ‘Now that I have this wonderful relationship with God, how can I express my gratitude and demonstrate my love?’” (A Jewish View of Galatians, Dr. John Fischer)

WILL THE TORAH EVER BE DONE AWAY WITH?

Many teach that the Law/Torah was done away with through Yeshua’s death. This is a false teaching. We read in the book of Hebrews, which is a direct quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34:

Hebrews 8:8-12, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my Laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

The process promised above has not reached its fulfillment. Otherwise, we would not longer sin. We must heed Rabbi Paul’s warning, “do not let any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit.” The God of Israel has not changed. His Law is perfect, eternal, and will never be done away. King David strongly states:

Psalms 19:7 “The Law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” (NAS)

Ps. 119:44 “So I will keep Your Law continually, forever and ever.”

Paul also agrees with King David when he tells Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:16-17:

“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.”

Ps. 119:165 “Those who love Your Law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.”

Ps. 119:1 “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the Law of the LORD.”

IN CLOSING

Communicating across language barriers is difficult. This was what Paul was doing when he attempted to communicate the Hebraic concept of “salvation legalism” into the Greek language. Christian scholar C.E.B. Cranfield, in his commentary on the Book of Romans, makes this clear when he states:

“…the Greek language of Paul’s day possessed no word group corresponding to our ‘legalism,’ ‘legalist’ and ‘legalistic.’ This means that he lacked a convenient terminology for expressing a vital distinction, and so was surely seriously hampered in the work of clarifying the Christian position with regard to the Law. In view of this, we should always, we think, be ready to reckon with the possibility that Pauline statements, which at first sight seem to disparage the Law, were really directed not against the Law itself but against that misunderstanding and misuse of it for which we now have a convenient terminology. In this very difficult terrain Paul was pioneering.” [C.E.B. Cranfield, “St. Paul and the Law,” in Scottish Journal of Theology (1964), pp. 43-68]

With this understanding, we now believe that it is clear that Paul was not saying in the idiom “Under Law” that we are no longer to follow the commandments given by the God of Israel. Paul is saying that salvation is a free gift from the Holy One of Israel through Messiah Yeshua. There is nothing that one can do though their own works to earn this salvation. However, because of this “unmerited favor” that has been shown to us, we should order our lives in a way that reflect our Heavenly Father. How do we do this? By applying the Torah to our lives with understanding; we demonstrate that we believe that our Father knows best.

By Richard and Betsy Bailey

The Shabbat (Sabbath)


OPENING STATEMENT



The word “Sabbath” (English translation of the Hebrew word Shabbat) appears in 113 verses of our Hebrew Bible. 52 of these verses appear in the Brit Chadasha (Renewed Covenant) or New Testament. Because of this frequency, I believe that the Holy One of Israel is trying to convey to us the importance of this “appointed time” (Moed). Therefore, as followers of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah and a part of Israel, we must strive to understand what the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is teaching us through “His” Shabbat. This day is not superficial as some may think. As with all of God’s appointed times (Moedim), the Shabbat is multidimensional in its meaning and teaches us not only about the past, but the coming future Messianic kingdom (Isaiah 66).



The Shabbat is often referred to as the “Jewish” Sabbath. This is a misnomer. The weekly Sabbath is listed in Leviticus 23:1 as one of the “feasts of the Lord,” not one of Israel’s or the Jewish people’s. That is why Yeshua said that HE is “Lord of the Sabbath.” Not just because He was Jewish but because He is Messiah. Yeshua said in Mark 2:27&28, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” If God created it for “man,” does man have the ability or authority to un-create it? We will learn later that this exactly what the pseudo authority of the Catholic Church’s has tried to do.



There are many facets to this special day that link us to the Holy One of Israel. Not only does He give us a weekly day off from work to restore our physical bodies, He also gives us a time to remember what He as our Creator did. This is very important to Him! On this day we learn how to be holy/set apart (Acts 15:21, Mark 1:21, Acts 13:14) as we study His guidelines and instructions (Torah). It is also a “sign” of the covenant between Him and His people, Israel (Ex. 31:17, Ezk. 20:12). As the wedding ring is an outward sign of today’s marriage covenant, the Shabbat serves the same purpose; showing that we are betrothed to Yeshua and waiting for the marriage supper of the Lamb.



No, God has not changed (Mal. 3:6). Israel was, and still is today, to be a holy people, a priesthood, responsible for taking God’s instructions and guidelines to all the nations (Ex. 19:6). Yes, this includes the natural branches as well as those grafted in (Romans 11, I Peter 2:9). But for many of us today, we must first sit at Yeshua’s feet and learn of His ways. We are not to keep the traditions of man which lead us away from the commandments of God; nor fall for the deception the evil one has brought to lead us astray. Daniel 7:25 speaks of the anti-Messiah in these last days: “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.” These “set times” are those listed in Leviticus 23.





DEFINING SHABBAT



Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished.... And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”



Orthodox Rabbi Shimon Finkelman in his book, Shabbos, The Sabbath - Its Essence and Significance, states: “The word Sabbath, is related to ‘return’ which is the root of the word teshuvah, or repentance. This gives us an insight into the role of the Sabbath. It signifies return to the Ultimate Source, because the Sabbath is our constant reminder that God created heaven and earth in six days, and on the seventh day He gave us the ability to push away the demanding, un-forgiving material world and return to the eternal concept that the same God Who created the world created us, and just as the world serves Him always through His ‘constitution,’ which we call nature, so, too, it is our task to serve Him.”



David B. Loughran, Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland, writes: “In the Scriptures the seventh day of the week is called the Sabbath. The word Sabbath is synonymous with rest, repose, restoration, refreshment, calm, tranquility, freedom, peace, harmony, holiness and sanctification. It is, therefore, a fitting sign of the Creator's character and aims. The divine record of the creation is brief; but it leaves one in no doubt that the Creator rested on, blessed and sanctified the seventh day of the week at the creation of the world.”



Dr. John Fischer, Messianic Rabbi, Congregational Leader, and Hebrew scholar, states in his Siddur for Messianic Jews: “From the biblical covenant perspective, Shabbat and the other traditions are not legalism but gifts of grace from God, teachers of his truth, and expressions of our enthusiastic love and gratitude to him....Shabbat then serves as a picture of God’s life and relationship with his people, as a foretaste of his kingdom (the ‘eternal Shabbat’), and as a means of helping his people recognize or picture what he is like...Therefore, Shabbat helps us reflect the image of our King....Shabbat serves as a symbolic expectation of our Messiah’s second coming, as well as an opportunity to experience now in a small way the rest and harmony that will exist then.”



Barney Kasdan, Messianic Rabbi and Congregational Leader of Kehilat Ariel Messianic Congregation, in his book God’s Appointed Times, “Shabbat means to ‘rest’ which tells us a large part of this important observance--restoration, From the ancient Greeks to the modern corporate executive, mankind tends to become obsessed with work and ‘getting ahead’ ....Yet, without proper rest and refreshment, human strength and creativity fail...The seventh day (Shabbat) is a wonderful reminder of a coming day set aside to rest in the Messiah. The 1000 year Kingdom of Yeshua will be a beautiful time of rest and corporate worship of the King.”





CAN WE REALLY KNOW WHEN THE SEVENTH DAY IS?



Many ask, “Do we really know when the seventh day is?” Wasn’t it lost? In Exodus 16:14-30, we see God making His Sabbath known to Israel in the wilderness. For 40 years, He accomplished this by providing them a double portion of manna on the sixth day of each week and then withholding it on the seventh day (the Sabbath). He highlighted this by keeping the double portion from spoiling throughout the seventh day. I think, even in our days, this would leave an everlasting impression!



Even through the Babylonian captivity, the Shabbat was not lost. Evidence of this is seen though YESHUA and the APOSTLES observance, as well as the EARLY BELIEVERS; who kept it long after the death of the apostles.



What about the diaspora? “There is absolutely no disagreement or dispute amongst the Jews today - scattered as they still are - as to which day is the seventh day of the week. Every synagogue in every country is in perfect agreement that Saturday is the seventh day.” (David B. Loughran)





WHAT IS A BIBLICAL 24-HOUR DAY?



Genesis 1:5 “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”



Leviticus 23:32 "From evening unto evening shall you celebrate your Sabbaths."



Luke 23:52-54 Yeshua’s crucifixion, “Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body...It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.”[also see Joshua 8:29, Joshua 10:26-27, 1 Kings 22:35-36, 2 Chron.18:34, 2 Samuel 3:35]





GOD’S WILL IS FOR “ALL” PEOPLE TO OBSERVE HIS SABBATHS



Yeshua’s commandment to us in Matt: 28:19-20: “..teach all the nations..to observe all things..I have commanded you..” Did Yeshua teach or by His example tell His disciples to not obey Exodus 20:8 [Ten Commandments] “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy....” ? NO!



Exodus 20:1-11 "...Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you....nor the alien within your gates.



Deuteronomy 5:14-15 “But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God...”



Nehemiah 9:13-17 "You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses....”



Isaiah 56:6-7 “Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer...”



Isaiah 66:22-23 "For as the new heaven and the new earth, which I shall make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.”



Matthew 24:20 "But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day."



Hebrews 4:9-11 "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own work as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."



[D B Loughran, “In this passage, written about AD 66, believers are reminded that the weekly Sabbath remains, and that all of us should rest [after] a week's work just as the Almighty did after the creation of the world.”]



See Additional Text: Ezekiel 47:21-23, Isaiah 14:1, Deuteronomy 31:11-12, Exodus 23:12, Joshua 8:32-35, Isaiah 56:1-7





A SIGN BETWEEN THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL AND HIS PEOPLE



"Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.” Exodus 31:13-17



“Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us so they would know that I the Lord made them holy.”Keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the Lord God.” Ezekiel 20:12, 20



Ariel and D’vorah Berkowitz in their book Take Hold: “One....feature common to the ancient Near Eastern covenants is the use of covenant signs...the sign of the covenant with Noah, the rainbow...(Gen. 9:12-13)...According to Gen. 17:11, circumcision was a ...sign for the covenant...with Abraham...Exodus 31:12-13 indicates that the sign...with Moses was the Shabbat...Thus, as a sign, Shabbat indicates that in order to be properly related to God we need to rest completely in Him and what He has done for us....Hebrews 4...”



Dr. John Fischer’s Siddur for Messianic Jews, “...Shabbat, as the sign of the covenant, functions as the means by which we ‘say’ we are in covenant relationship with God and under his grace. It is the sign or seal that the covenant between God and us is operational and guaranteed.”



A. D. Wade, “A ‘sign’ is often thought of as a billboard which identifies whose establishment, institution, or office is inside. However, it can also be thought of as a badge, symbol, or token of identity. The word ‘sign’ here (in both Scriptures) is 'owth in Hebrew meaning signal, beacon, or evidence.”



Genesis 1:14 states: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.”



“According to Strong's Bible Dictionary , the Hebrew word 'owth [oth] translated sign in this verse means: a signal, distinguishing mark, banner, remembrance, miraculous sign, omen, warning. And the Hebrew word 'mow`ed [mo-ade'] translated seasons in this verse means: appointed place, appointed time, appointed meeting, sacred season, set feast, tent of meeting.”





A BLESSING FOR CALLING THE SABBATH A DELIGHT



Isaiah 58:13 “..if you call the Sabbath a DELIGHT and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going you own way, and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your JOY in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”



Ariel and D’vorah Berkowitz in their book Take Hold, “Shabbat...reminder..key to living the true blessings of that rest...knowing that we are the finished work of Messiah....as new creations in Messiah...cease form striving to become what we already are--the righteousness of God.”





YESHUA AND THE SABBATH



Matthew 12:8 Yeshua states, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Joseph Jacobs, Jesus of Nazareth in History, Jewish Encyclopedia, states: “Yeshua taught during a time of flux and transition, of various developing and occasionally conflicting interpretations of the Torah. In taking advantage of this liberty in interpretation, he nevertheless remained fully Jewish. For example, he accepted the laws concerning the Sabbath but differed in the exegesis if those laws concerning certain conditions which justify its suspension.”



Dr. Brad Young, “The Sabbath is intended to be a joy as people observe it out of love for God. The Sabbath was created for the good of the people. While Yeshua did not abolish the Sabbath, he did take a more lenient approach which humanized the Jewish halakhic observance.” He goes on to say, “In fact, the open of the Oral Torah invited vigorous debate and even encouraged diversity of thought and imaginative creativity. But don’t forget, while some groups were more strict than others, they all recognized that the Sabbath had to be observed!”





BUT, WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY REPLACING THE SABBATH?



David B. Loughran states, “In the Scriptures, the days of the week are not named, but numbered from one to seven. The only exception is the seventh day of the week which is called the Sabbath. Consequently, the day we all know as Sunday is referred to in the Bible as the "first day of the week." And so in our search to answer the question about Sunday being the Christian Sabbath, we will need to examine every Bible verse in which the "first day of the week" is mentioned.....Sunday observance is a product of paganism. It found its way into the Christian church many years after the original Apostles died. At that time, Sunday was the rest day of the pagan Roman Empire in which the popular religion was Mithraism, a form of sun-worship. In the course of time, (during the second, third and fourth centuries) multitudes of sun-worshipers joined the church. And when the Emperor Constantine ruled (AD 306-337)....they naturally didn't want to give up their pagan ways - and days - for anything which was at variance with their cherished heathen traditions...popular traditions of paganism were brought into the church and the truths of the Most High were slowly pushed aside...Thus it was that Sunday - the venerable day of the Sun God - along with a host of other pagan practices...was adopted by the fallen church and hailed as the New Christian Sabbath - the LORD'S DAY!”



Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, “The expression ‘Lord’s day which first appeared as an undisputed Christian designation for Sunday near the end part of the second century...the sayings of Christ found in the Gospels do not contain the expression “Lord’s day”....In a passage....Epiphanius (ca. A.D. 315-403) suggests that until A.D. 135 Christians everywhere observed Passover on the Jewish date, namely, on Nisan 15, irrespective of the day of the week.....no necessity has been felt to institute a Sunday memorial (whether annual or weekly) to honor his resurrection.....the role that the Church of Rome played in causing the abandonment of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday has been underestimated, if not totally neglected, in recent studies. If one recognizes, as admitted by O. Cullmann, that ‘in deliberate distinction from Judaism, the first Christians selected the first day of the week.’”





QUOTATIONS CONCERNING THE CHANGING OF SHABBAT TO SUNDAY



"You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify." (Cardinal Gibbons (Catholic) in his book: The faith of our Fathers, page 111)



"We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea (AD 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."" (The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine. Second edition, page 50)



"Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday? - None." (Manual of Christian Doctrine - (Protestant Episcopal) page 127)



"It is quite clear that however rigidly or devoutly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath ... The Sabbath was founded on a specific, divine command. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday. There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday." (Ten Commandments, Dr. R. Dale (Congregationalist), pp. 127-129)



"The observance of the Lord's Day (Sunday) is founded, not on any command of God, but on the authority of the Church." (Augsburg Confession of Faith (Lutheran))



"Where we are told in Scripture to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day ... The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but the church has enjoined it." (Plain sermons on the Catechism, Rev. Isaac Williams (Church of England), Volume 1, pp. 334-336)



"There was and is a command to keep holy the Sabbath day: but the Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask: Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament, absolutely not. There is no Scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week." (Dr. Edward T Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual)



Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, “Ignatius, Barnabas, and Justin, whose writings constitute our major source of information for the first half of the second century, witnessed and participated in the process of separation from Judaism which led the majority of Christians to abandon the Sabbath and adopt Sunday as the new days of worship.”





INDISPUTABLE - THE SABBATH WILL BE CELEBRATED IN THE KINGDOM



“In Zechariah 14:16, God will require the nations to keep the Feast of Tabernacles during the 1,000 year Messianic Age. In Isaiah 66:22-23, God will require ALL FLESH to keep the Sabbath and new moon during the time of the NEW HEAVENS and the NEW EARTH. "For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make...saith the L-rd...and it shall come to pass that from one NEW MOON to another and from ONE SABBATH to another shall ALL FLESH come to worship before me, saith the L-rd."



“We see the Jew and Non-Jew keeping the Sabbath, new moon, and festivals for all eternity. Therefore, God HAS NOT done away with them for the non-Jew.” (Rabbi Michael Silver)





FINALLY



Ryan Jones (Zionist.com) states: “The bottom line is this. Shabbat is not only a Biblical commandment, but part of the "Ten Commandments" which most Christians adhere to. Shabbat is the "L‑rd’s Day", not Sunday, as Jesus declared Himself "L‑rd of the Shabbat". There is no reference in the Messianic Scriptures of the apostles, or anyone else, switching to Sunday as the "new Shabbat". And last but not least, Sunday was originally the pagan Roman day to worship the sun...”

By Richard and Betsy Bailey

Hard To Understand Teachings Of Rabbi Paul ( Rav Sha'ul)


INTRODUCTION:



The most misunderstood Scriptures in the Renewed Covenant appear to be in the letters of Paul. Why? The apostle Peter (Kefa) tells us in II Peter 3:15-17:



“Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. 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. Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.”



From this Scripture, it is clear that Peter was witnessing the beginning of the same distortion and misinterpretation of Paul’s writings that is still prevalent today. For nearly two thousand years, “Lawless” teachers have been erroneously using Paul’s writings to lead people away from obeying the Word of God.



Yeshua (Hebrew: “Salvation,” Greek translation: Jesus) warned that false teachers would come. He told us in Matthew 7:21-23 that men would prophesy, do mighty works, and even “cast out devils” in His name. BUT, on judgement day, Yeshua will say to them: “depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Is it not strange that these men who performed signs and wonders in Yeshua’s name will be told to depart from His presence because they “work iniquity?” What did He mean by work iniquity? In the Greek, (Strong's Ref. # 458) the word iniquity is “anomia.” It means: “against the Law, transgress (-ion of) the Law, unrighteousness.” Therefore, if we “work” against God’s Law or teach against His Law, this will be said to us! I John 2:4 states, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”



WHAT IS LAW AND HOW SHOULD IT BE VIEWED?



What is the Hebraic understanding of the word Law? The word “Law” was translated into English from the Hebrew word “Torah.” Torah means guidelines and instructions. Since God commissioned us to be a kingdom of priests, a holy (set-apart) people, and to teach His “Torah” to the nations, we need to know these guidelines and instructions because the Torah defines holiness and sin. What we are to do and what we are not to do, cannot be left up to our “feelings.”



King David, a man after God’s own heart, said of the Torah in Psalm 19:7, “The Law of the Lord is perfect…” and in Psalm 119:70, “…I delight in thy Law.” We can see through the following teachings of Rabbi Paul that his view of the Torah lines up with King David’s.



· Romans 2:13 “For it is not those who hear the Law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the Law who will be declared righteous.”



· Romans 7:12 “So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.”



· Romans 7:14 “We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.”



· Romans 7:22 “For in my inner being I delight in God's Law;”



· Romans 3:31 “Do we, then, nullify the Law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold (establish) the Law.”



· Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”


PAUL’S TORAH-OBSERVANT LIFESTYLE:



Perhaps the most important witness of what Paul taught about the Torah is evident in his lifestyle and testimony from Scripture:



Acts 24:14 “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets…” [Paul’s testimony as he stood before the Sanhedrin]



Acts 23:9 “There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the Law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. ‘We find nothing wrong with this man.’” [If the “teachers of the Law” had thought that Paul was breaking the Law, it would have been brought out with great resistance.]



Acts 21:24 “…walkest orderly, and keepest the Law.” [Paul is convinced by James to prove that he (Paul) does keep the Law.]



Act 23:6 “...Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee...” [Paul tells us his view of the Law by the group he associates himself with] (See Phil. 3:5)





WITH THIS UNDERSTANDING OF PAUL’S LIFE AND HIS VIEW OF THE TORAH (LAW), LET US EXAMINE SOME OF HIS WRITINGS


The Book of Galatians



The center of controversy in this letter is the subject of circumcision. This is the same issue that sent Paul and Barnabas to the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. Acts 15:1 states: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” Apparently, there were men teaching the Galatians that circumcision was a pre-requisite for salvation. Please keep this in mind as you read Galatians, a very misunderstood letter, as well as other writings of Paul.



· Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Messiah and are turning to a different gospel—…“



The different gospel here is: “one is not saved until circumcised.” Paul states later in Gal. 2:3-4, “Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. [This matter arose] because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Messiah Yeshua and to make us slaves.” (In the history of Christianity, a similar debate has existed over “baptism” with some denominations claiming “you must be baptized in order to be saved.” Other salvation legalisms include: you must speak in unknown tongues, belong to certain denominations, partake of the seven sacraments, etc.)



· Galatians 2:15-16 "We who are Jews by birth and not `Gentile sinners' know that a man is not justified by observing the Law, but by faith in Yeshua Messiah. So we, too, have put our faith in Messiah Yeshua that we may be justified by faith in Messiah and not by observing the Law, because by observing the Law no one will be justified.”



Paul expresses the true Hebraic view that Abraham, Moses, David, himself, and others had regarding “observing the Law for justification.” These men NEVER understood that salvation would be gained by observing the Law. They “believed” God; knowing that ONLY by His mercy and grace could they find favor. In response to His loving kindness, they obeyed His Torah. The same applies to us today. Yeshua alone gives us the gift of salvation and because of His sacrifice; we want to obey His Torah. This is how we express our love for Him (1 John5:2-3).



· Galatians 2:21 “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the Law, Messiah died for nothing!"



No one is justified before God by being “circumcised” or relying on any other part of the Torah for salvation. Scripture states that "The righteous will live by faith." However, faith does not oppose Torah (discussed below).



· Galatians 3:10-13 “All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law…Messiah hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”



Paul is not saying that the LAW itself is a curse because God’s Word is perfect. However, the Law contains curses as well as blessings. Since all of us have committed sins worthy of death, Messiah had to redeem us from the curses contained in the Law by becoming accursed for us (Isaiah 53). For it is written: “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:” (Deut. 21:23)



· Galatians 3:21 “Is the Law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a Law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the Law.”



The only way we can come before our Heavenly Father for eternal life is through faith in Yeshua. With the right understanding of Torah, we can see that Torah is not opposed to faith nor is faith opposed to Torah. Rather, they cannot be separated. In James 2: 17-18, we read: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”



· Galatians 3:24, 25 “Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Messiah, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”



The purpose of our “tutor or schoolmaster,” the Torah, is to teach and instruct us in God’s ways. Just as we’ve experienced in our modern school systems, we NEVER totally abandon what we were previously taught. After coming to Messiah, do we then live “Lawless” lives? No! The Torah still continues to function as the standard for holiness and gives the knowledge of sin.



· Galatians 4:9-10 “But now that you know God‑‑or rather are known by God‑‑how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years.”



Hopefully, no one would ever call the Torah of God “those weak and miserable principles.” Paul is speaking to those who once left paganism, came to know God’s ways, and were now turning back to their previous paganism. Yes, pagans have special days, months, seasons, and years (e.g., Halloween, Winter Solstice/Christmas, Valentines Day, Spring Equinox/Easter).



· Galatians 6:12 “Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Messiah.”



How many times does it have to be said? False teachers were telling the Galatians that they had to be circumcised before they could be saved. Salvation Legalism is what Paul is fighting in his letter to the Galatians.



· Romans 3:19-21, “Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets;”



Literal Greek Translation Romans: “We know, But that what the Law says, to those |1722| in the Law it speaks, that every mouth be stopped, and under judgment may become all the world to God. Because by works of Law not will be made right all flesh in the presence of Him. through For Law {there is the} full knowledge of sin. now But without Law a righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.” [J. P. Green, Sr, “Interlinear Greek-English New Testament,” Third Edition]



Notice that the word “under” is not in the Greek in verse 19 and should be translated “in” (Strongs #1722). Paul is saying that God’s standard is the LAW and that the world will be judged by this standard. In the same chapter, verses 9-10, Paul states: “both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin. As it is written there is none righteous, no not one.”



Since there is none righteous, God had to send Messiah Yeshua who is our righteousness. He is the One now revealed and witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. Notice that Paul DID NOT say that the Law was done away with; but, that through it, we would know that sin is “the transgression of God’s Law.” In 1 John 3:4 we also read: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the Law."



· Romans 6: 14-15. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid!



These verses cannot stand on their own. This chapter compares being slaves to sin verses slaves to righteousness. We know that the Torah defines both sin and righteousness but cannot give justification from sin. In the previous chapter, the word “gift” is mentioned five times to show God’s grace by giving us Messiah Yeshua as our justification. Because of His grace, we cannot go on sinning; which is breaking the Law (Rom 6:1).



· Romans 7:4-6, “So, my brothers, you also died to the Law through the body of Messiah, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the Law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”



If Paul is talking about the “Law or Torah of God” here, then he is a very confused person! In this same chapter, verses 12-22, he states that the Torah is Holy, Spiritual, and that he delights in the Torah. The law mentioned in context here (and in the beginning of chapter 8) is the “law of sin and death.” Yeshua paid the penalty for our disobedience through His death. We’re released from the “law of sin and death” to serve in the power of the Spirit.



· Romans 10:4, “Messiah is the end of the Law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”



The “end of the Law” is a terrible translation. The word "end" in Greek is “teleos.” It should be accurately translated as “the goal.” In the original Greek it reads: "Messiah is the goal of the Torah for righteousness to all who believe." This text in no way teaches the end of Torah for believers. If this were true, then what about: “Thou shalt not murder, steal, covet, etc.?” “Goal” is in complete harmony with other Scriptures like I Peter 2:21 where we are instructed to walk in Yeshua's footsteps.



· Romans 14:5,6 “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”



Read the whole chapter of Romans 14 in context. This Scripture has been misused by many false teachers to say that they now have the right to choose what days they assemble to honor God. This chapter is clearly addressing eating habits and special fast days. Paul tells us not to judge a brother or sister who eats only vegetables or one who eats both meat and vegetables. People were setting aside certain days of the week for eating or abstaining from certain foods. Paul instructs us not to pass judgment upon another regarding either food preference or a fast day. The Catholic Church still sets aside special days for eating certain types of food.



· Romans 14:14 “As one who is in the Lord Yeshua, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.”



Again, believers were concerned about eating food that they purchased in the marketplace, which had been sacrificed to idols. Because of this, some would eat ONLY vegetables. Paul addresses this same issue in I Cor. 10:25. Don’t take this Scripture out of context to say that Paul declared “all food clean.” If he did, then he would have been telling them to “sin” (transgress the LAW). The Torah distinguishes between clean and unclean food in Leviticus 11. This has not changed. Some have misused Peter’s vision in Acts 10 to reinforce this incorrect view. Please read the whole chapter of Acts 10. Peter was being taught by God not to call any “man” (Gentile) unclean, not food!



· I Timothy 4:3-5, “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.”



False teachers use these verses to declare that all animals are now “clean” to eat as long as they are “received with thanksgiving and blessed through prayer.” They leave out the most important part of this verse. If you read the phrase just before the mention of prayer, it states that the food (meat) is “sanctified [set apart, made holy] by the Word of God.” In Leviticus 11, the Torah sets apart what animals are clean for human consumption. This has not changed. Our prayers cannot override the written Word of God and make clean what God has declared unclean.



In context, this chapter is warning against “lying” teachers who espouse “doctrine of demons.” Later, in verse 13, Paul tells Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of the Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. The ONLY Scripture Timothy had at that time was the Torah and the Prophets.



· Ephesians 2:15-18: “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity that is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two thus making peace.”



This passage clearly states that through the Messiah’s sacrifice, the enmity or hatred between Jew and non-Jew, NOT the Torah, was abolished. Jews and non-Jews are now ONE new man! This enmity was caused through extra-biblical traditional commandments and ordinances, never by God, who continually invited non-Jews to join and fellowship with the nation of Israel and learn HIS Torah. (See Acts 15:21)



· Colossians 2:13-15. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”



Some have erroneously interpreted these verses to say that the Law was nailed to the cross. A close examination of this text reveals that it was NOT the Law but God’s written list and record of our SINS. The Greek word translated as “ordinances” is Strongs #1378 “dogma” which is never interpreted as Law in the Renewed Covenant. In fact, other than here, the word is only used four other times and is translated as “decrees.” (Luke 2:1, Acts 16:4, Acts 17:7, Eph. 2:15).



If you read these five verses, there’s no support for interpreting this word as “ordinances” of the Torah, rather, it is as stated, the list of “all trespasses” God had decreed against us. II Cor. 5:19-21 reaffirms this: “…God was reconciling the world to himself in Messiah, not counting men's sins against them…God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”



· Colossians 2:16-17, "Let no man therefore judge in meat or in drink or in respect of a holy day or of the new moon or of the Sabbath days: which are a SHADOW of things TO COME but the body is Messiah."



False teachers have claimed that the things listed in this verse from the Torah are things of the past, no longer valid today. However, this verse states that the Sabbath, new moon, dietary laws, and festivals teach us about the MESSIAH TO COME. Clearly, this is speaking of the future since Colossians was written long AFTER the death of Yeshua. (Study Isaiah 66 and Zechariah 14 where these days will continue to be observed in the future reign of Messiah)



Also, in verse 22, he’s warning against the submission to commandments and teachings of men, NOT against obedience to the commandments and teachings of God, which these are. These verses teach that no believer should judge another believer on how they observe these special days.



· Hebrews 7:17-22. “For it is declared: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless.”



Hebrews chapters 7, 8, and 9 all speak of the change in priesthood from the physical (Levitical) priesthood to the everlasting priesthood through Yeshua by His sacrifice. Presently, it doesn’t depend on the handing down from generation to generation within one tribe. For now, the heavenly Melchizedekian priesthood has made the Levitical priesthood obsolete. However, the Levitical priesthood will eventually be restored according to Exodus 29:9 and Ezekiel 40:48.



· Hebrews 8:13: " In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”(KJV) “By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”(NIV)



Read the whole chapter. People are the problem, not God’s covenant. Israel obeyed God for short periods of time but because they didn’t continue in His Torah correctly with love, Yehsua had to come. He showed us that God’s covenant with Abraham wasn’t flawed but the hearts of the people were. After Yeshua’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit was given to write the Torah on our hearts, helping us obey His Torah. The Renewed Covenant is not a “brand new” covenant, rather it is an extension of Abraham’s covenant which has been renewed and made better with Moses, Joshua, David, and most recently with Yeshua. (See Jer. 31:31)



· II Corinthians 3:1-6. “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts… Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”



The Greek word for Law, which is “nomos,” is not used anywhere in the book of II Corinthians. What we have here is a ministry problem, not a Law problem. In context, Paul, in chapter 3, is calling the Corinthian believers a “letter;” literally, a living epistle. He’s saying that a written “letter of recommendation” is not needed to confirm his apostleship because the Corinthian’s spiritual lives prove his qualifications. Amidst attempts to disqualify him, Paul is defending his apostleship as being from God (II Cor. 6:3-4).



In verses 7-18, he contrasts his ministry with that of Moses where the people were not able to look at the glory upon Moses after he had been with the Holy One of Israel; literally, Moses had to veil his face from the people. Paul, unlike Moses, ministers in an unveiled fashion. These chapters are comparing the two ministries. The people were now able to see the glory of God through the ministry of the Spirit (verses 8-9).



CONCLUSION:



From the Scriptures we have examined, we can see that Paul fought two extremes in his ministry; one of legalism and one of anti-nomianism (anti-Law). In Romans 1:5, he gives us an outline of this ministry,



“Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.”



The literal Greek translation of “…to the obedience that comes from faith” is:



“the obedience of faith or faithful obedience.”



Paul was in no way teaching “lawlessness” but a faithful obedience to the Torah as understood through Yeshua’s example and teachings. He stated in 1 Cor. 11:1, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Messiah.” We know that Yeshua was the perfect example of faithful obedience to His Father’s Commandments and “Whoever claims to live in Him [Yeshua] must walk as Yeshua did. (I John 2:5)



We hope that through this study, a correct view of Paul’s teaching concerning the Torah (Law) has been gained. If Paul were here with us today, he would still say, concerning the Torah of God:



“Do we, then, nullify the Law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold (establish) the Law!”

Romans 3:31





References:

King James Version of the Bible

New International Version, Zondervan Bible Publishers

Complete Jewish Bible, Dr. David H. Stern

Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Third Edition, J. P. Green

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

By Richard and Betsy Bailey