My ‘walk’ has been a whirlwind of learning. Yearning and striving for the truth. Unapologetically endeavoring to understanding Scripture, history, and what I am to do and not do because this great gift has been given to anyone who wishes merely to accept it, and I want to represent my God appropriately! Cheap grace was not for me!
WARNING! This will challenge everything you’ve learned in Sunday school and church.
As I studied, questions arose:
How DO we ‘walk as Jesus walked’?
How did he walk?
What did the apostles teach?
How did they live?
If following the Law is death, why would God give it to man saying it isn’t too difficult?
The Commands and Law were given by God to Moses at the same time. Can we separate them?
If we are grafted into the vine that is called Israel, as Paul states, are we bound to the same covenants?
How can the Law be called Liberty by David and death by Christianity?
What did Paul really say about the Law?
What did Jesus say about the Law?!
What I have discovered will be broken down into sections because there’s too much to read in one sitting.
Sabbath or the Lord’s Day?
We have been taught that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday because that is the day the Lord rose from the grave. But, what does scripture really tell us?
First of all, Scripture never reveals a change during the time of the apostles for the Sabbath to being observed on Sunday or the first day of the week. God said to keep the Sabbath (7th day for the Hebrews is what we know as Saturday) (Exodus 20:8-10). It is an everlasting command with no expiration date for those who are his. The apostles, referred to as Nazarenes in Acts 24:5, still observed the Sabbath as evidenced in Acts 13:14, 42, 44 and 15:21 (as examples).
Jesus went into the synagogues to teach each Sabbath. The apostles did, as well.
It was those within the early Church hierarchy by 106 C.E. who began meeting on the first day of the week or Sunday. Those ‘early church fathers’ of the newly named Catholic (universal) Church, claiming itself to be the ‘true Christianity’, began distancing themselves from the Nazarenes (these must have been the ‘false’ Christians they opposed?). One way to create a divide was to change the day they devoted to worshipping God from the 7th day Sabbath rest God commanded. The ‘eastern congregations’ still followed God’s Feasts and Sabbaths. Eventually, this group disappears from history after the Council of Nicea made specific decisions on doctrines that excluded other Believers.
They made their own doctrines just like the Pharisees! And, their writings revealed they were pleased to put an end to the Nazarenes who dogged them for their unscriptural doctrines. Constantine made the change official for the empire by edict or the first Blue Law: “On the venerable Day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits: because it often happens that another Day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting: lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.”
The ‘venerable Day of the sun’ or sun-God worship had always been observed in polytheistic Rome and prior polytheistic societies to honor the sun god – called Mithras in Constantine’s reign. Do not be deceived by the claim that Constantine became a Christian when he observed a sign in the sky. That story had several variations documented by Eusebius and contradicting stories of Constantine remaining a Mithras worshipper until his death abound. Constantine is also mistakenly credited with making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, but this took place 67 years later in 380 CE under Theodosius. Further, as the Nicene doctrines of this new religion calling itself Catholicism gained power, people were denied the right to observe any other forms of Christianity; and, Jews and Nazarenes were persecuted.
Religious leaders of Christian-Catholicism claimed the authority to make changes to God’s commands just as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day (Pharisees and Sadducees) and today in Judaism (Rabbis) claim authority to amend the Law. This was what Jesus specifically railed against!
Isn’t the Law for Israel?
Evidence from the Bible is clear. The Law existed before the beginning. Since God does not change, His Law is part of His character. (Malachi 3:6) But because I, YHWH, do not change, you sons of Jacob will not be destroyed.
After ‘the Fall’, Adam taught his sons to make offerings to God (Yehovah): (Genesis 4:3-4) In the course of time Cain brought an offering to YHWH from the produce of the soil; and Abel too brought from the firstborn of his sheep, including their fat.
Noah made offerings to Yehovah: (Genesis 8:20) Noah built an altar to YHWH. Then he took from every clean animal and every clean bird, and he offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Long before the Law was given to Israel from Mt. Sainai, Abraham kept it!
(Genesis 26:4-5) “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky, I will give your offspring all these lands, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring, because Abraham listened to My voice and kept My mandate, My commands, My statutes, and My instructions.” (Torah)
Isaac and Jacob made offerings to YHWH, too!
Thus, before the Law was given to Moses for God’s people, it existed and was followed by those called. It is not the Law of the Jews or Israel. It is God’s Law.
Even if you were to hold onto the Law applying to Israel, you have to take into account the ex-Pharisee’s statements in Romans 11:
(Romans 11:16-21, 24, 28-29) Now if the firstfruits offered up are holy, so is the whole batch. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, do not brag that you are better than those branches. But if you do brag—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. For if you were cut off from your native wild olive and against nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these—the natural branches—be grafted into their own olive tree? Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of the patriarchs, since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.
As a believer in Jesus, you are grafted into the cultivated olive tree (Israel) and; therefore, as an adopted child, subject to the rules of the Father of the house.
Are you bristling yet? So did your ancestors.