Lets go through a passage in Galatians 2, that SHOULD put to rest the claims of those who say we need to be ‘Torah Observant’ (keep all The Law of Moses, including dietary restrictions).  I hope you have not gotten caught up in this yourself.

It is because the ‘churches’ have given way to an ‘easy grace’ gospel (that is a FALSE gospel) that basically says ‘do as thou wilt’, that many who are sincere in their devotion to God have done the ‘natural’ thing, and have swung to the opposite extreme.  But the truth is not to be found at either of these extremes.

Lets look at the passage now . . .

‘And that because of FALSE BRETHREN unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, NOT FOR AN HOUR; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.’  (Gal. 2:4-5)

These ‘false brethren’ were the equivalent of many in the ‘Hebrew Roots’ movement today.  They claimed to be Christians, but they had never given up their strict adherence to The Law.  Now, this would be an individual choice, which would be between them and God . . . but life is never that simple.  Our actions DO affect others, because people observe what we do.  But in THIS case, it was worse.  These false brethren (who had made the sacrifice of Christ of none effect, by clinging to The Law) were not content to let it be their OWN lifestyle . . . they felt compelled to make sure that everyone else lived by their convictions too!  Sadly, their convictions were wrong and they were causing great turmoil in the early Church.

‘ . . . the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision [was] unto Peter’  (Galatians 2:7)

Paul affirms that he was the ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’ and Peter was the foremost ‘Apostle to the Jews’.  So, you would expect Peter to be ‘keeping Torah’, as our Hebrew Roots friends would say, right?  On the contrary . . .

‘But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.  For BEFORE THAT CERTAIN CAME from James, HE DID EAT WITH THE GENTILES: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation*.’  (Galatians 2:11-13)

*dissimulation = hypocrisy

When Paul arrived in Antioch, he had to confront Peter over his hypocrisy.  Because, before the false brethren (Judaizers, ‘Torah police’) showed up, Peter ‘did eat with the Gentiles’.  Now this doesn’t mean that Peter just deigned to sit at the same table as them . . . it means that PETER ATE WHAT THE GENTILES ATE.  And this was not what Paul corrected Peter about.  Rather, he corrected him because he had given way to fear of the Judaizers and was putting himself back under The Law. (Make note also, that these ‘Torah police’ lied to give themselves added authority, saying they were sent by the Apostle James, who was in Jerusalem.  You will see that later, James himself addresses this lie.)

This doctrine that we must be ‘Torah observant’ is a powerful deception–it was then, even as it is now.  Peter KNEW the gospel, KNEW that He was now called to uphold The Law by walking in the (Holy) SPIRIT of Love–not by strict adherence to the LETTER of The Law.  He even had a vision from God (Acts 10), REPEATED THREE TIMES, showing him that there was no longer a distinction between ‘clean and unclean’ in regards to food or people.  Yet even so, when the false bretheren came preaching this powerful deception, it threw him into doubt, and had him bowing his head in fearful submission to it.

‘But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?  (Galatians 2:14)

Paul’s rebuke to Peter was not about eating unclean food or about not ‘keeping Torah’.  It was about hypocrisy and coming back under The Law (which he apparently hadn’t COMPLETELY done when Paul arrived), and about putting that yoke upon the neck of the Gentile Christians.

After this confrontation, the ‘Torah police’ felt it necessary that they and Paul and Barnabas should go to Jerusalem, to bring the matter before the Apostles and Elders.  When they arrived

‘ . . . there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

And when there had been much disputing, PETER rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as [he did] unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

NOW THEREFORE WHY TEMPT YE GOD, TO PUT A YOKE UPON THE NECK OF THE DISCIPLES, WHICH NEITHER OUR FATHERS NOR WE WERE ABLE TO BEAR? 

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.’  (Acts 15:5-11)

By now, Peter had come to the realization that the Gentiles were not saved AS THE JEWS (by ‘keeping Torah’), but that the Jews were saved AS THE GENTILES–by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ.

I’m not advocating ‘easy grace’.  We are NOT to live according to the flesh.  If we live by the Spirit–the Holy Spirit, which is truth, righteousness, holiness, and love–we WILL uphold the SPIRIT of The Law.  And this is what God wants–those who will worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.  A holy people.  Without holiness, no one will see God.

‘God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.’  (John 4:24)

That Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, will not lead us into sin.  But we must CRUCIFY our flesh.  WE have to ‘say no’ to sin and make the right choices.  God will give us the POWER to overcome sin, but He will not do it FOR us!

To wrap up, lets see what the conclusion of the matter was, after it was brought before the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem . . .

Part of the reason for their decision was that

‘ . . .  Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.’  (Acts 15:21)

Our modern day ‘Torah police’ will tell you this is speaking of THE LAW of Moses, but I disagree, and the context of the passage will bear this out:  it is speaking of the Ten Commandments.  To wit, read the letter that was sent from Jerusalem to the Gentile Churches:

‘Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; [namely], Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: And they wrote [letters] by them after this manner;

The apostles and elders and brethren [send] greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have TROUBLED YOU with words, SUBVERTING your souls, SAYING, [YE MUST] BE CIRCUMCISED, AND KEEP THE LAW: to whom we gave no [such] commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell [you] the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, TO LAY UPON YOU NO GREATER BURDEN THAN THESE NECESSARY THINGS;

That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.‘  (Acts 15:22-29)

And that is the conclusion of the matter!  The Gentiles were not to become ‘Torah observant’. Neither was (the Jewish) Apostle Peter corrected for ‘living after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews’.  The trouble, as always, had originated with the Pharisees.

Four needful things were laid out for Gentile Christians to observe, IN LIEU OF keeping the whole Mosaic Law.  That they should also keep the Ten Commandments goes without saying.  Jesus told us to keep the Commandments (Matt. 19:17; John 14:15, 15:10 also 1 John 2:3, 5:3; Revelation 12:17, 14:12).  But The Law and The Commandments are not the same thing.  The Law INCLUDES The Commandments, and MUCH more.

Hopefully you can see, from this short discussion, that we are NOT CALLED TO BE ‘TORAH OBSERVANT’!  We are called to WALK IN THE SPIRIT!

Striving to live by the letter of The Law–for WHATEVER reason–is as foolish as building an altar in your backyard and making the Old Testament blood sacrifices.  (And don’t think this won’t happen.  Rebuilding The Temple and resuming sacrifices will most likely be promoted by the Hebrew Roots movement.  They are teaching that we are COMMANDED to keep the feasts, and those feasts require sacrifices . . . )

Guard your heart and don’t let ANYONE use this fear-based doctrine to put you in bondage.

‘No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.’  (1 John 4:12-19)

 

Please note:  this author in no way recognizes, supports, or condones the Seventh Day Adventists or Hebrew Roots movement.

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