New Format / Restart

Hi, after being away for about a year, I am back.   I am revamping the site!  Its appearance is, hopefully, pleasant and easy to use (and is still under construction at this time).  I hope to have the site fully up and running by the end of the 2nd quarter of 2018.  If you like the site, join in the discussions and tell your friends!

The scope of the site is being broadened.  It will no longer be just me posting my ideas, but it will be a meeting place of people of varying viewpoints, where questions and discussion can take place ‘safely.’

To that end, I am adding a ‘forums’ section where any topic can be discussed.  Multiple authors will be adding posts to the blog!  If you have any suggestions, just comment to this post!

Thanks, – Yosef

Christianity and “The Law”

Christians have a variety of responses to the “Law of God.”  Almost all of which come down to saying that the Law, either in its entirety or parts of it, do not apply to Christians.  But what exactly is being rejected.

These past weeks, according to the Jewish scripture reading schedule, the first chapters in the book of Leviticus have been read.  These chapters deal with the sacrificial system and various other laws.  These chapters, though, are what most Christians think of as “The Law”, and so are most often ignored, including by those returning to the “Hebrew Roots of their Faith.”  Is there anything in these chapters worth looking at?

These chapters reveal a great deal about God’s character and how he wants us to live.  But you need to look closely.   In these chapters we see several principles come to light.  One is the idea of “Holiness.”   The definition of “holy” is “set apart”.  It does not mean what we typically envision, which is something with some sort of mystical power or some specially pious person.  It means something set apart for service to God.

Law of Christ

In the book of Matthew, chapter 7 verse 23 (see last post), Jesus is declaring, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”  The problem is that he was address this comment to people who Christianity today would call strong Christians!  So what does “workers of lawlessness” mean?

First, many will try to explain, with hands waving, that the people to whom Jesus is talking weren’t real Christians.  They did not have the “law of Christ” in their hearts.  Or some sort of similar explanation.  Of course, this leaves open the question, “what, then, is the law of Christ?”  To this one will get a more nebulous answer.

Yet the answer is in black and white in the Tanakh (called the “old Testament.”)  God gave us his law (see the book of Exodus, especially chapters 19 and 20).  He gave it to all the people there, which weren’t just Israelites (Exodus chapter 12 verse 38).  It shall be put on our heart (Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 6).  And these words are for all of those who chose to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (See Deuteronomy chapter 29, especially verses 14 and 15).  There are many, many more verses where God makes it clear that his law if for both Israel and the foreigner among them.  He makes it clear that it is meant to be followed, and not hard (Deuteronomy 11:11 to 14) and (Matthew 11:29 to 30).

Freedom is not being without laws.  True freedom is being able to follow the law of God and rejoice in it.  One of the problems that most Christians will run into with this is the view that the law is something negative, and when one doesn’t keep some part of it, one is almost doomed.  Read the next post to see what the Hebrew viewpoint of the law and keeping the commandments is.

Shalom!  -YTL

Known by God

In the book of Mathew, chapter 7 verses 22 to 23 (in the Apostolic writings, also called the “New Testament”), in a parable about the judgement day, Jesus says, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (English Standard Version).

Note a couple things about this passage.  First, who is he saying he is talking to?  The context makes it clear that he is addressing those who are calling themselves Christians.  To use a colloquial term, “on fire Christians.”  Yet he says “I never knew you.”  Not, “You don’t know me”, but “I never knew you.”

This should make you stop and think.  Are you known by God (as Jesus was speaking in the place of God – as a prophet)?  How does one become known by God?  Apparently doing fantastic things “in his name” doesn’t help at all in becoming known by God.  But the passage makes it clear what brings us to be known by him; well, it makes clear what stood in the way of not being known by him.  That is lawlessness (and you can check the Greek; the word is lawless).

Lawlessness means without law.  What?  Christians are supposed to be under a “law”?  Most will answer at this point that the “law of Christ (Jesus)” is meant.  But what, then, is “the law of Christ?”

God never changes.  Jesus said he only speaks what the Father speaks.  The “law of Christ” is then God’s law, that never changes.  More on this in the next post….