I recently received an article via e-mail. The message is about a very popular topic “Can the law save?” This article is a prime example of the deception of our day and age. Deception comes very easily when you quote scripture out of context, when you only spend a few minutes studying your Bible and rely on people for your instruction without verifying what they teach.
In essence, deception is only effective if enough truth is presented with it. This truth hooks the reader in and then slowly but surely reels them in as a fish caught on a hook. Once the reader is hooked; untruth or deception can be introduced very effectively. This untruth is then presented by quoting verses or parts of verses out of context. I am going to show you how deception is easily introduced when these three factors are present.
Three ways of introducing deception for this study is:
- Quoting scripture out of context
- relying on people for your instruction without verifying what they teach
- not spending enough time studying your Bible
Quoting scripture out of context
My husband always jokes about this method by saying: “It is written in the Bible: “Cain killed Abel” (Gen 4:8) and Y’shua said in (Luk 10:37) “Go and do the same.”” This is funny when you hear it, but think about it, this is essentially what people do when they just quote a verse or a part of a verse out of context. You can prove anything as “Biblically correct” – even the worst abomination – using this method. That is why it is such a dangerous tool in the hand of the deceiver – satan.
The article I read is a typical “the law has been done away with” teaching. The message that most people will get out of this article would be is that it is not necessary to be obedient to the Torah (or as some like to call it “the law”). Sadly, most people will not take another few minutes to go and verify what they have read, with what is written in their Bibles.
Relying on people for your instruction without verifying what they teach
That brings me to the next point. Not verifying what you read or hear against Scripture.
We have been taught not to question any religious authority. Whatever we hear from a teacher, read in a book or e-mail is accepted as truth. I therefor urge you not to just agree with me on this. Go and verify what I say here with the Bible. Prove all things!
1 Thessalonians 5:21
21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
We have the responsibility for our own salvation. We have been taught to believe certain theology and doctrine, and if you hear something repeatedly and never verify it – even a lie – you will believe it. We have, in fact, inherited lies (Jer 16:19). We have chosen not to follow the Biblical model for righteous leadership but, the Roman Catholic model. This means that we give one person the spiritual authority, never questioning any word he/she utters. Can you see how this can lead to deception? The Biblical model is very different. In this model elders (men with live experience) were appointed to lead the people. These were men of wisdom and understanding. This steers us towards the next cause of deception – it is not easy to verify the message of a teacher in real time. It takes dedication and time to go and verify what you have heard. Unfortunately, we have become too lazy to perform this crucial step. We simply want to be spoon-fed. Trusting every bite that goes into us, because we trust the source. We are instructed in Scripture not to trust in man. (Ps 146:3)
Not spending enough time studying your Bible
It has become so easy in our technologically advanced age not to spend adequate time in Bible study and prayer. Many diversions and a lack of time make it almost impossible for us to spend quality time in the Scripture or in His presence. Consider how much time you spend on Facebook, the internet or conspiracy theories. Then you also still have television… These distractions are a snare causing delusion (Luk 21:34).
As I said before, our salvation is our own responsibility. Not spending enough time studying the Bible and working on your relationship with our Heavenly Father will cause you not to know the truth from error. Knowing what your Bible says gives you discernment and so does the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). If you don’t have a relationship with Abba Yahovah, you cannot expect His Spirit to guide you in all truth.
Now that we have identified the possible means of deception, I would like to show you how it is commonly employed. As I said before: the writer of this article wants people to believe that “the law” has been done away with. We are going to determine the error of this teaching. We will discover where the deception sneaks in.
Let us start with the truth: The writer of the article is correct in saying that the law cannot save anyone. Our salvation is only through Y’shua (the Hebrew name for Jesus). That is the truth and is taught throughout the Bible. It is already written in Genesis: ” Abraham believed YHVH (God) and that was counted to him as righteousness.” This is truth. Now the reader has taken the bait.
The writer then quotes from Act 13 and gives the impression that Paul is teaching something novel. However, what Paul is teaching in Acts 13 is nothing new. It is not something that Y’shua changed when He died for our sins. He did not come to change the law or take it away but, to fulfill it.
The Greek word for fulfill is explained in the Louw Nida Lexicon as follows:
to give the true or complete meaning to something—
‘to give the true meaning to, to provide the real significance of.’ οὐκ ἦλθον καταλῦσαι ἀλλὰ πληρῶσαι ‘I did not come to destroy but to give true meaning to’ Mt 5:17; ὁ γὰρ πᾶς νόμος ἐν ἑνὶ λόγῳ πεπλήρωται, ἐν τῷ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν ‘for the whole Law has its true meaning in one expression, Love your neighbor as yourself’ Ga 5:14. In speaking of ‘true meaning,’ it may be useful in some languages to use a phrase meaning ‘real intent’ or ‘real purpose.’
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (404). New York: United Bible societies.
Read Matt 5:17-20 carefully.
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
So can we conclude that “the law”, better translated as instructions, are not done away with? There is no doubt about it.
We are now going to look at every scripture quoted in the text and attempt to understand it by reading it in the context.
Before we start this just a few definitions for clarification:
- The word “law” refers to the Torah, instructions or commandments. We prefer to rather use Torah, instructions or commandments and will use it interchangeably.
- We prefer to use Y’shua instead of Jesus. Y’shua is the Hebrew name for our Hebrew Messiah.
- We use YHVH or Abba YHVH when referring to our Heavenly Father. “God” or “Lord” is a title, not His name.
The writer of the article started off by quoting Acts 13:38-39, thereby implying that the law of Moses is of no account. Now back up a few verses and read the context. Please note they are keeping the Sabbath (Acts 13:14) – not the Sunday instituted by the Roman Catholic church – but the 7th day (Saturday) Sabbath (which Y’shua also kept). As it is written in the fourth commandment.
The author of this article wants his readers to believe that Barnabas was saying something very startling, even controversial, in this synagogue on this Sabbath. That is not the case. Here is a good explanation of what they were saying.
Acts 13:39 clarifies why forgiveness of sins is important even for people who have the Torah. It summarizes Romans 7–8 and Hebrews 7–10 in a single sentence. The Torah provides a means of temporary atonement through repentance plus the Temple sacrifices (see the books of Romans and Hebrews), but it does not provide the permanent atonement or the power for right living which the individual needs. Yeshua and the Holy Spirit do this, and they are necessary for anyone who wishes to keep the Torah properly (Rom 4:25, Rom 6:7, Rom 10:4).
The things concerning which you could not be cleared by the Torah of Moshe. According to the Mishna, “There are thirty-six transgressions for which the Torah specifies the punishment of karet,” that is, being “cut off” from Israel (K’ritot 1:1). For these the Torah provides no “clearing”: no sacrifice or punishment named in the Torah provides atonement or restores fellowship. These transgressions include the prohibited sexual unions of Leviticus 18, blasphemy (Numbers 15:30), idolatry, necromancy (Leviticus 20:6), profaning Shabbat (Exodus 31:14), certain violations of ritual purity laws, eating chametz during Pesach and eating or working on Yom-Kippur.
The transgression must be committed “wantonly” to be subject to karet; if committed by mistake or in ignorance, a sin offering may be brought. In fact, according to the plain sense of Numbers 15:30, the key element in any unpardonable sin is acting “with a high hand”; and the New Testament is equally clear that the New Covenant provides no remedy for those who intentionally sin (see Rom 3:7–8, Rom 6:1–2; Heb 6:4–6; and especially Jam 2:10–11).
Karet means excision from the Jewish people (Leviticus 18:29 and the verses cited above); karet is regarded as a punishment administered directly by God; no human court determines it.
Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : A companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed.) (Ac 13:38). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
This concept is explained very well in this passage in the book of Numbers.
25 ‘Then the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and they will be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to YHVH, and their sin offering before YHVH, for their error. 26 ‘So all the congregation of the sons of Israel will be forgiven, with the alien who sojourns among them, for it happened to all the people through error. 27 ‘Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering. 28 ‘The priest shall make atonement before YHVH for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven.29 ‘You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them. 30 ‘But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming YHVH; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31 ‘Because he has despised the word of YHVH and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.’ “
Unintentional sin can be atoned for but willful intentional sin against YHVH cannot be atoned for through the Torah of Moses. In addition, see Lev 4:2. Only through the blood of Messiah Y’shua do we have forgiveness for all sin.
Allow me to summarize this. Paul explains here that forgiveness is only through Y’shua. Even intentional sin is atoned for through the blood of Y’shua. There were previously – before His atoning death and resurrection – no atonement for sins committed willfully against YHVH. Also for certain sins, defined by the Torah of Moses, for which the punishment is “to be cut off” there were no atonement. This is what Paul refers to when he says “from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
There was, for example, no atonement for any of the sexual sins listed in Leviticus 18. People who transgressed these laws were cut off from among their people by YHVH Himself. By His death, Y’shua provides atonement for these sins. It does, however, not make any of these sins acceptable. Read through Leviticus 18 and determine for yourself if you think Y’shua took away any of these commandments. We can agree on that; He has not. He has also not made any of the other trespasses of the Torah acceptable. For example: Is it allowed to murder, steal or commit adultery? No, it is not! So did Y’shua come to nail the law to the cross? If yes, then why are you not murdering, stealing or committing adultery? If you do not do these things, you are obeying the law! Keeping the commandments is not a bad thing. It keeps us save. Just like the laws of a country keeps us save. You won’t skip a red traffic light would you? Because it protects you when you and other people obey it. That is the same with YHVH’s instructions. It was given to us for our wellbeing. Lawlessness, on the contrary, is nothing to be desired, it is a sure way to death and destruction!
The next verses quoted by the writer is Rom 3:20 as well as Rom 3:28.
There is an extensive study available on the book of Galatians by Bereans Online. This is accessible at no cost and is very well-researched and clearly presented. The author of this study has done extensive research into the historical context of these passages by Paul, and knowing this background information makes these verses much easier to understand. It would not be possible for me to explain it all in detail, the way he did, so please go and do this study. It is well worth it. There is a link to their site in the links section of our webpage.
Here is a very concise explanation:
The term “works of the law” was coined by Paul to introduce a very specific concept to us. Studying the Dead Sea Scrolls have revealed the use of this same phrase to refer to a certain interpretation of the Torah. The Essenes (The Qumran community) used it to refer to the man-made methods of working out the Torah’s requirements. You cannot be justified by your interpretation of the Torah.
You are only justified by your faith in Y’shua but that does not mean that you can do whatever is right in your own eyes. We must still do what He did and obey what He said. He kept the Torah perfectly. If He came to annul the law, He is nothing other than a false prophet! (Deut 13:1-3).
Furthermore, take note of the conclusion of the author of the original article. He uses Rom 3:28 as his conclusion: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law.” However, he quoted this phrase out of context. If he also quoted the next few verses, we would get a completely different message. Please read through the whole passage. See how easy it is to deceive another by quoting a few verses out of context. Here is the verse in the context:
28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is YHVH the Elohim of Jews only? Is He not the Elohim of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed YHVH who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
The term “circumcised” refers to Jews and “uncircumcised” to non-Jews or gentiles. Another interesting point to consider: Paul himself kept the Torah. Would he then preach against keeping it? That would make him a liar and a hypocrite! Have you ever considered this?
Galatians is a very difficult book and it is crucial to understand these verses in proper historical context. Not doing so makes it easy to completely pervert what Paul is trying to teach us. Simply quoting a verse here and a verse there can easily lead to deception as illustrated at the start of this document. The writer of this article took parts of three verses and strung it together to support his theology. I have quoted his erroneous stringing of verses to illustrate the point:
“it was added because of transgressions” (Gal.3:19): “for as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse” (Gal.3:10); but“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us” (Gal.3:13).
For better understanding of the Biblical and historical context, I will quote a section from a book written by Tim Hegg. (You would do well to read the entire book on this topic.) It is from a series: “It is often said”
“In the context of Galatians 3, Paul is showing that the one-sided covenant with Abraham (which he characterizes by the word promise), which gave unconditional blessing to the seed of Abraham, could not be overturned by the later two-sided Sinai covenant, the Torah. While those who were attempting to influence the non-Jewish Galatians were teaching that they could enter the covenant only by becoming proselytes (circumcision), Paul was arguing that the covenant made with Abraham included the nations (goyim); thus, their covenant membership was a matter of God’s promise and grace, not something gained by submitting to the rabbinic ritual of proselytism.
This left Paul with a question to answer: If covenant membership was granted by pure grace of God’s promise, what need was there for Torah? Once a person was “in”, what function did the Torah provide? Paul’s answer is straightforward: “It (the Torah) was added because of transgressions” (Gal 3:19). As one would imagine, almost all Christian commentators interpret this statement from their predisposed negative perspective.
However, if we seek to understand Paul’s statement from a historical and grammatical perspective, an entirely different viewpoint emerges.
First, Paul was a Pharisee- a Jew who had grown up learning at the feet of Gamaliel. His viewpoint of the Torah is clear: it is spiritual, holy, righteous and good. (Rom 7:12,14). He did not think it was a trap to ensnare Israel in sin. He was compelled to duplicate the teachings of His master, who commissioned him as Apostle- and Y’shua taught the enduring value of Torah (Matt 5:17-20)
Second, the context of Galatians, Paul argues that an established covenant cannot be changed or nullified by a later covenant. Since the Torah is clearly a covenant, the argument must stand that it too has enduring, unchanging status.
Third, if he were arguing that the Torah had only a negative mission and that the coming of Y’shua had done away with it, he would have fallen prey to the accusations of his detractors. Remember that when Paul arrived in Jerusalem (Acts 21), the rumor had been spread that he was teaching the abolition of Torah. But that erroneous rumor was put to rest by his personal demonstration of Torah obedience in helping four men complete their Nazirite vows.
What must we conclude then? That when Paul says the Torah was given “for transgressions,” he is speaking of a positive function of the Torah, not a negative one. Once we change our perspective, his statement makes complete sense.”
Hegg, Tim, It is often said volume 4, ISBN 1-892124-23-8
From all the explanations above, it becomes very clear how an short message like this one can be very dangerous. It contains enough truth to hide all the lies. That, plus the fact that it reinforces what we have been taught in the church from a young age. That again is supported by the leadership model of Christianity which originated from the Roman Catholic church. It all works together beautifully to deceive many a well-meaning person who does not question or verify anything he is taught. We have to be aware of this. Lawlessness is not something Y’shua promoted; on the contrary. Y’shua is the living Torah – the word made flesh. If we don’t obey His word; we don’t obey Him! He told us that we are to obey Him!
36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of YHVH abides on him.”
Faith and Torah (law) cannot be separated. Faith without Torah becomes an invitation to sin without any consequences for one’s behavior, similar to the events of Naoh’s time. Though the people knew God, they chose not to obey Him because they didn’t fear Him. As seen in the story of Lamech, who lived during Noah’s lifetime (Gen 4:23-24); he not only believed in God; he believed God would justify him for his murders and actively defends him. This is faith without Torah.
James also addresses this type of faith in his letter to the congregations (Jam 2:14-26)Faith without obedience is not genuine faith at all.”
Perez, Jamie; Romans from the mind of Paul; Writers Club Press; ISBN 0-595-20769-3 p71
18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that YHVH is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed YHVH, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of YHVH. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
The works referred to by James is obedience to YHVH – complete obedience to His Torah.
To summarize, the writer of the original article is correct in saying that salvation is not through the keeping of the law, but he is not correct in saying that it should not be observed. On the contrary! We, as children of our loving Father Yahovah should fear Him and keep His commandments. It is not a choice of faith or the Torah – it is both. Y’shua Himself kept the commandments and taught that it should be kept. Read through these Scriptures and ask our Heavenly Father to reveal His truth to you.
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
1 John 5:3
3 For this is the love of YHVH, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
1 John 2:3
3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of YHVH and their faith in Y’shua.
Peter wrote a very relevant warning about this same topic I am writing you. Please take this warning seriously. Y’shua said even the elect will be deceived in the last days (Matt 24). Read Matt 24 and heed His warnings. Guard against deception!
2 Peter 3:15–17
15 and regard the patience of our Master as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,
Tags: Acts 13, Bible, Christian Soteriology, commandements, deception, error, Galations 3, instructions, James, Jewish Theology, Law, Matthew 5:17, Old Testament Theology, Paul, Romans 3, Shaul, The Truth, Theology, Torah, truth
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