April 19, 2017 SnyderTalk: Misunderstanding “the Law”

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says Yahweh Sabaoth. (Zechariah 4: 6)



Misunderstanding “the Law”

The apostle Paul gets a bad rap.  Most of the time, people who read Paul’s letters to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, etc. don’t grasp the essential points he was making.  There are many reasons for this, but all believers need to understand that Paul did not create a new religion.  That must be the starting point.

Constantine and the Great Divide Between Jews and Gentiles

In the 300s A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine did create a new religion.  Today, we know it as the Roman Catholic Church.

Constantine’s animosity toward Jewish people knew no bounds.  He did everything in his power to drive a wedge between Judaism and his new church.

For instance, Constantine forbade Passover and substituted a festival for the fertility goddess Ishtar in its place.  Hence, the name “Easter”.  He introduced Christmas to coincide with the annual Sun god festival, because Sun god worship was central to Roman culture.  And he abandoned Yahweh’s 4th Commandment to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy and substituted in its place 1st day or Sun Day Sabbath.

The Protestant Reformation was an attempt to come out from under the Catholic umbrella, but it didn’t go far enough.  Vestiges or Catholicism remain important attributes of Protestant churches today.  In fact, higher-ups in the Catholic hierarchy today regard Protestant churches as Catholic because they still indulge in Sun Day Sabbath.  I think they are onto something.

Contrary to popular belief, Constantine was not a Christian.  He simply used the Catholic religion to solidify his hold on power.  It worked, but the effect on Christendom was profound.  Thanks largely to Constantine’s influence, the great divide between Christianity and Judaism persists to this day, but the dividing walls are coming down as more and more believers are being led by Yahweh’s Spirit to search for the truth.

The Catholic Church took Paul’s letters, interpreted them to mean things that he never said, and made them central to their new religion.  That is something Paul never did and never would have done.

The Sect of the Nazarenes

There is a lot more history than I can share here, but this point is crucial.  The first Christians were Jews.  They were a sect of Judaism known as the Sect of the Nazarenes. Their beliefs were entirely Jewish, and they were based on Yahweh’s word, the Tanach.

Nazarenes were different from other Jews for one reason.  They understood that through the Messiah Yahweh had accomplished what He promised to do: redeem and save us.  The Nazarenes did not introduce anything new, much less start a new religion. They simply understood what Yahweh had been saying all along.

Paul was a Pharisee and a rising star in Rabbinic Judaism that is based on Halacha, not the Tanach.  I’ll say more about Halacha shortly, but for now, I want to point out that at first, Paul was the archenemy of Nazarenes.

The Messiah’s teachings threatened the existing Pharisaic power structure and put the livelihoods of the priestly class in jeopardy.  Most of them were Pharisees.  Paul did their bidding by hunting down Nazarenes and bringing them to Jerusalem for trials before the Sanhedrin.  Paul even participated in Stephen’s murder.

Saying that the priestly class in Israel at the time of the Messiah lived large is an understatement.  They stood to lose a lot of wealth and power if Yahweh’s principles were applied, and they knew it.  That’s why they hated the Messiah so much and that’s why they tried to stamp out the young and growing Sect of the Nazarenes.

Below is a video that I took in the Wohl Museum in the Old City of Jerusalem.  It shows the remains of priestly dwellings near the Temple Mount at the time of the Messiah.  They lived like kings.  It’s no wonder that Pharisees were threatened by the Messiah and His faithful followers, the Nazarenes.  Interestingly, their way of life came to an abrupt halt on the 9th of Av in 70 A.D. when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and destroyed Yahweh’s Temple.

Paul Becomes a Believer

One day, Paul had a personal encounter with the Resurrected Messiah, Yahweh, on the road to Damascus.  Yahweh opened his eyes both literally are figuratively so that he could see, and He gave Paul an assignment.  Paul would become the apostle to Gentiles.

Paul did his job.  The problems we have today with his letters have nothing to do with him or with what he wrote.  They have to do with the fact that over the centuries people have misused and abused Paul’s letters to create a new religion.

It should be perfectly clear that true Christianity is not a separate and distinct religion. It’s Judaic in every sense of the word.  Its basic tenet is that Yahweh became a Man and did what He told Moses and the prophets that He would do.  That was Paul’s message in a nutshell.

Most people today who claim to be Christians don’t understand that Paul talked about two laws.  One of them is from Yahweh—THE Law.  It’s presented in the Tanach—i.e., the Torah, Prophets, and Writings.  The other is man-made law.  It is called “the law”, too, but it is also called the traditions of the Jews, the Oral Tradition, and Halacha.  It is not from Yahweh.

It’s impossible to understand what Paul said unless you differentiate between the Tanach and Halacha.

In the minds of religious Jews dating back more than 2,500 years to the time of the Babylonian captivity, Halacha has had precedence over Yahweh’s Law in much the same way that Supreme Court decisions have precedence over laws passed by legislative bodies.  That is something Yahweh did not instruct and will not allow.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans

Romans is arguably the best recitation of the gospel in the New Testament.  In it, Paul laid out the foundation for faith in Yahweh, and he used the Tanach to prove every point that he made.  In other words, Paul didn’t add anything to Scripture.  He simply explained what Scripture actually says.  That’s what the Nazarenes did, too.

Regrettably, most believers today are not as familiar with the Old Testament (i.e., the Tanach) as they should be, so they don’t realize that Paul was quoting Scripture to prove his points.  Bible publishers, editors, and translators add to the problem.  They typically do a shoddy job of connecting the Old and New Testaments.  Even Bible’s with concordances and cross references tend to focus on the way the New Testament holds together across different writers, but they ignore the fact that every New Testament writer holds together with what Yahweh told us in the Tanach.

In Romans 10: 1-4, Paul alludes to Halacha:

Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to Elohim for them [Jewish people] is for their salvation.  For I testify about them that they have a zeal for Elohim, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about Elohim’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of Elohim.  For the Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Jewish religious leaders demonstrated their zeal for Yahweh by creating a vast array of laws (Halacha) that are far more restrictive than the laws that Yahweh gave to Moses and the prophets.  According to Paul, they didn’t understand Yahweh’s plan for our redemption and salvation.  Therefore, they did not “subject themselves” to His righteousness.  Instead, they established their own righteousness, codified it, and enforced it as law.  That was a serious mistake.

It should be evident to anyone that Halacha is problematic because many times it contradicts Yahweh’s explicit commands in the Tanach.  The best example of this is the prohibition in Halacha against saying Yahweh’s Name even though Yahweh commanded us repeatedly to declare His Name to the world.  (See Sanhedrin 7: 5.)

The Tanach points to the Messiah.  That was Paul’s primary focus.  He was attempting to undo the damage done by Halacha and to give Yahweh’s word, the Scripture, its proper place.

For instance, Psalm 118: 19-24 refers to Him:

Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to Yahweh.  This is the gate of Yahweh; the righteous will enter through it.  I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation.  The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.  This is Yahweh’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day which Yahweh has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The Messiah is “the Stone which the builders rejected”, and He “has become the chief corner stone” just as the Psalm says.  Paul used this Psalm to buttress his points.

Yahweh’s Law is instruction in righteousness and it is good.  In the end, it shows us that no one is righteous, not even one, and that we need a Redeemer and Savior.  That’s exactly what Psalm 114: 1-3 says:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no Elohim.”  They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.  Elohim looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek Elohim.  Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Paul used Psalm 114 to buttress his arguments, too.

Since no one is righteous and, therefore, no one is capable of being our Redeemer and Savior, Yahweh solved the problem by becoming a Man to take the penalty for our sins on Himself.  This is how Isaiah explained it:

“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but Yahweh has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” (Isaiah 53: 6)

The Messiah is the “Him” referred to by Isaiah in Isaiah 53: 6, and we know that His Name is Yahweh because Yahweh told Jeremiah His Name. (See Jeremiah 23: 5-6)  Paul refers to Isaiah’s prophecies repeatedly to prove his points, including Isaiah 53: 6.

In Romans 10: 13, Paul said that “whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.” Believers know that he is talking about the Messiah, and they think that he is referring to the name Jesus, but they are wrong.  Paul is quoting the prophet Joel.  This is what Joel said:

“Whoever calls upon the Name of Yahweh will be saved.” (Joel 2: 32, Joel 3: 5 in the Tanach)

Since we are incapable of perfect obedience to Yahweh’s Law, it should be obvious that we are even less capable of adhering perfectly to an even more stringent set of laws.  The point is that pursuing righteousness by anything except faith in Yahweh is fruitless.  That is what the Tanach says and that is what Paul said.

Of course, Yahweh wants and expects us to do good works for Him, but works that Yahweh calls “good” stem from obedience to His word and the leading of His Spirit.  Anything else, no matter how good it appears to be, doesn’t pass Yahweh’s test.

Paul Abided by the Law and He Taught Believers to Do the Same

Importantly, Paul was a Law-abiding believer.  If you have any doubts, take a look at Acts 21: 17-26:

After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.  And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.  After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which Elohim had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.  And when they heard it they began glorifying Elohim; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;  and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.  What, then, is to be done?  They will certainly hear that you have come.  Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.  But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.”  Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.

Initially, the Laws contained in the Tanach had to be applied differently to Gentile converts.  Acts 15: 6-11 provides a glimpse of what I’m talking about:

The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.  After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days Elohim made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.  And Elohim, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.  Now therefore why do you put Elohim to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But we believe that we are saved through the grace of Master Y’shua the Messiah, in the same way as they also are.”

In Acts 15: 6-11, Peter was commenting on criticism that had been leveled against Paul by a group of Pharisees who had become believers in the Messiah.  They mistakenly thought that circumcision was required for salvation.  Peter was making the point that we are saved by grace through faith in Yahweh. That’s the same point that Paul made in Ephesians 2: 8-9.

It has always been the case the faith comes first.  In Genesis 15: 6, we are told that “Abraham believed Yahweh and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

Circumcision, as important as it is, is an outward sign, but faith is a matter of the heart. Saving faith has to do with Yahweh writing His Law on our hearts so that we want to obey Him because we love Him and because it’s the right thing to do.  Yahweh really wants circumcised hearts.

Circumcision is like baptism in this regard.  Baptism saves no one, but baptism is required. People are baptized to symbolize their union with the Messiah through His death, burial, and resurrection into a new life, hence the phrase “being born again”.  The old self is put away, and a new life begins.

Circumcision is required, and it , too, is symbolic.

According to Yahweh’s instruction, circumcision was performed on 8-day-old male children, long before they could manifest faith.  Clearly, it was symbolic.  New Gentile believers were not babies. They were able to reason and make the conscious decision to become faithful followers of Yahweh.  In due course, the Holy Spirit would show them what they needed to do.

Since circumcision is important to Yahweh, one would expect that the Holy Spirit would lead new Gentile believers to be circumcised as an act of obedience.  Nothing is said about that, though.  Again, Peter and Paul were making the point that symbolic acts are not substitutes for faith, and they were putting circumcision and other symbolic acts in their proper place.  They were not disputing what the Law says about circumcision.

The “yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” that Peter referred to in Acts 15 has to do with our inability to obey Yahweh’s laws perfectly.  That’s why we need a Redeemer and Savior.

As I said, adding a vast array of even more restrictive man-made laws only makes matters worse.  Besides, it amounts to creating another religion and clearly demonstrates that the people doing it don’t understand what Yahweh wants and expects.

That’s what Paul and the other writers of the New Testament were saying.  All of them pointed to the Tanach as Scripture.  So did the Messiah.  Therefore, the New Testament isn’t Scripture, and writers of the New Testament didn’t present it as Scripture.

Paul’s Testimony Before King Agrippa

What better witness could we have about Paul’s beliefs and about what he was trying to accomplish than Paul himself?  This is what Paul told King Agrippa:

“In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today; especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem; since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by Elohim to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve Elohim night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if Elohim does raise the dead?

So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Y’shua of Nazareth. And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.

[From SnyderTalk: According to Halacha, to blaspheme simply means to say the Name Yahweh. Paul was a promising, young Pharisee, and Pharisees were strong believers in Halacha.]

While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are You, my Master?’ And our Master said, ‘I am Y’shua whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to Elohim, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to Elohim, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. So, having obtained help from Elohim, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Messiah was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

(Acts 26: 2-23)

It couldn’t be any clearer.  Paul’s message was straight from the Tanach.  This is precisely what he said:

“I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place.”

We must completely ignore Paul’s personal testimony to conclude that he added anything to Scripture.  He went out of his way to say that he didn’t.

The truth is what it is.  My job is to tell it.  If you think that I’ve gone too far, search your Bible and you will see that I haven’t.

What did the Messiah say?

Looking at what the Messiah said is a good place to start.  His Sermon on the Mount is the most succinct presentation in the New Testament about the primacy of Yahweh’s word, the Tanach, and the foolishness of subordinating it to anything including Halacha.  It’s presented in Matthew chapters 5 through 7.

For example, in Matthew 5: 17-20, the Messiah explained His mission:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets [the Tanach]; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands [the Tanach] will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law [Halacha], you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

As you can see, the Messiah made it clear that He came to fulfill “the Law and the Prophets” (the Tanach).  He said that they are still in effect and that they will be in effect until “heaven and earth disappear”.  That hasn’t happened yet.

Then He differentiated between Yahweh’s Law (the Tanach) and Halacha two times:

  1. “Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven….” The Pharisees set aside Yahweh’s commands and taught people to obey Halacha instead.
  2. “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (Halacha), you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The righteousness of the Pharisees was based on strict obedience to Halacha.

The Pharisees and other teachers of Halacha did not understand the true meaning of Yahweh’s word.  They did not comprehend the extent to which Yahweh expects us to apply His logic in our daily lives.  Thus, they created a form of righteousness (Halacha), enforced it as law, and substituted it for Yahweh’s word, the Tanach.

The Messiah went on to explain how all-encompassing Yahweh’s word is.  For example, take a look at Matthew 5: 21-22:

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca’ [you good-for-nothing], is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

As you can see, the Messiah said that Yahweh’s command “do not murder” extends to anger, because anger is one step removed from the act of murder.  In other words, Yahweh looks at our hearts and judges our thoughts, attitudes, and intentions, not just our physical acts.

Since all of us have been angry, we are guilty of breaking Yahweh’s Law.  Thus, all of us need a Redeemer and Savior.  The Messiah came to pay the price for our sins.  He accomplished that with His death, burial, and resurrection.  He is our Redeemer and Savior.

The Messiah Distinguishes between Yahweh’s Law and Halacha

In John chapter 8, the Messiah addressed the distinction between Yahweh’s Law and Halacha specifically.  Let’s take a look.

The Messiah was on the Temple Mount engaging in a discussion with a group of people who believed in Him, but many religious leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes) were there as well. They didn’t believe in Him.

The scribes and Pharisees confronted the Messiah by bringing a woman to Him who was “caught in adultery, in the very act”.  They said,

“Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” (John 8: 5)

The Messiah’s response is well-known, but not well-understood:

“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8: 7)

Obviously, she was guilty according to Yahweh’s Law.  If she was caught in “the very act” of adultery, so was the man. He was guilty, too, but they didn’t bring him to the Messiah.  Why not?  The Law applies equally to men and women.

The scribes and Pharisees were testing the Messiah to see if He would violate the Law or suggest that violating the Law was of no consequence.  His response stopped them dead in their tracks.

He didn’t deny their claim about the Law, but He pointed to their chicanery by telling them that the first person to throw a stone at her should be sinless.

All of them were guilty, and they knew it.  They just walked away.  When they were gone, He turned to the woman and said,

“I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8: 11)

He forgave her and told her to repent.  That’s what “sin no more” means.

The crowd didn’t disperse. The Messiah addressed these remarks to those who remained:

“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8: 12)

That’s one of the Messiah’s “I Am” statements.  The Name Yahweh derives from the Hebrew verb hayah.  It means “to exist”.  By using the definition of the Name, He was claiming to be Yahweh.

Most Bible translations say “I Am”, but “I Exist” is more accurate.  That’s a minor point for purposes of this discussion.

The Messiah made the same point again in verse 18:

“I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.” (John 8: 18)

The miracles He performed were testimony from the Father.  No one could do what He did unless there was Divine intervention.  The fact that the Messiah performed miracles is well-documented in the New Testament and in the Talmud.

Large crowds flocked to the Messiah for healing.  Most of the people who were with Him that day on the Temple Mount wanted to receive healing or to watch someone get healed, but the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes were looking for an opportunity to condemn Him.

The Messiah gave the religious leaders (His adversaries) some ammunition in verse 24:

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8: 24)

Clearly, the Messiah was saying that if they didn’t believe He is Yahweh they would die in their sins.  He did not say the Name Yahweh.  Instead, He used the definition of the Name.  The reason for this is simple.  At that time according to Halacha, only religious Jews were allowed to say the Name and only on special occasions.  If ordinary people said “Yahweh”, it was considered blasphemy and the penalty was death.

The Messiah’s religious adversaries got the message:

So they [the religious leaders] were saying to Him, “Who are You?” The Messiah said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? (John 8: 25)

When they asked Him “Who are You?”, they were trying to trick Him again.  They wanted Him to say “Yahweh” so they could accuse Him of blasphemy and kill Him.  Eventually, they would accomplish their mission (see Matthew 26: 65), but not that day.

He gave them more ammunition in verse 28:

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He….” (John 8: 28)

The Messiah was referring to His crucifixion.  He said that they would discover His true identity after they killed Him.

The Messiah’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection were foretold in the Tanach.  Those things had to happen for our forgiveness.  As Isaiah said, the penalty for our sins fell upon Him:

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53: 5)

Pay close attention to John 8: 30-31, because the Scriptures are His central point:

As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So the Messiah was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8: 30-31)

He addressed that remark to people who “believed Him”.  In other words, they believed what He told them, and He told them that He is Yahweh.  Then, He said that they should “continue in My word” because it’s the truth.

“My word” refers to the Tanach.  In other words, He was talking about Yahweh’s Law, not Halacha, and He wasn’t adding anything to Scripture.  He certainly wasn’t talking about the New Testament because it didn’t exist at that time.

The Messiah said that Halacha is evil.  I’m not exaggerating.  See John 8: 44:

“You [the religious leaders] are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.”

By referring to the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes as sons of the devil, the Messiah made clear where Halacha came from.  In Matthew 15: 5, He asked them a question:

“And why do you break the command of Elohim [in the Tanach] for the sake of your tradition [Halacha]? (Matthew 15: 3)

The answer is simple.  They broke Yahweh’s Law because they were following the teachings of the devil.  Satan inspired them to believe that their traditions (Halacha) were more important than the Scriptures.  In effect, their teaching rendered Yahweh’s word null and void.  From Yahweh’s perspective, that is a sin of the highest magnitude.

Controversy Abounds

At the beginning of this editorial, I said that Paul gets a bad rap.  I meant it.  Telling believers the truth about the New Testament can generate a lot of controversy.  The reason is simple.  Most believers, even those who are opening up to the truth, still hold onto vestiges of the past in much the same way that believers who should know better hold onto Christmas and Easter even though they are Satanic in origin because they have fond childhood memories of those rituals.

Paul never intended for us to believe that Yahweh’s Law was “nailed to the cross”.  It’s alive and well.  Our sins, not the Law, were nailed to the cross because our Redeemer and Savior paid the price for our transgressions.

Thankfully, Yahweh took care of that Himself.  He’s the only One who could do it and He did it, but His Law is still in effect.

As I said, controversy abounds.  It extends far beyond the New Testament.

For example, a few years ago, I was explaining the importance of Yahweh’s Name to a church group in Texas.  I told them that Yahweh’s Name has been edited out of their Bibles, even the King James Version of the Bible.  Since Yahweh’s Name appears almost 7,000 times in the Old Testament alone, there are at least that many errors in the Bibles they use.

That’s a verifiable, factual statement.  Even so, the preacher of the church told me later that many people in his congregation turned me off when I said that there are errors in the King James Version of the Bible because they believe that it’s the only truly inspired version of the Bible and that it’s error free.

As a community of believers, we resist the truth because we have a hard time letting go of erroneous things that we have been taught.  That has to change.

We Have a Problem and It’s not what Most People Think it Is

It started out as a dispute exclusively among Jews about the primacy of Yahweh’s word, the Tanach. The Messiah, His disciples, and the Nazarenes rejected Halacha.  None of them attempted to create a new religion.

Since Halacha diverges from Yahweh’s word, for all practical purposes, it amounts to the creation of a new religion.

In his letters, Paul presented what the Tanach says about the Messiah.  He never attempted to create a new religion.

In the 300s A.D., Constantine transformed Christianity into a new religion.  He and those who followed him misused and abused Paul’s letters to help in that regard.

The Protestant Reformation didn’t go far enough in distancing Protestant churches from the Catholic Church.  That problem remains to this day.

At the end of the day, true Christianity is not a religion.  It’s Judaic.  That’s what Paul was talking about when he said,

“For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?” (Romans 11: 24)

We are still fighting over the primacy of Yahweh’s word.  There should be no doubt about where we will end up when Yahweh weighs in on the matter.

Believers should think long and hard before taking sides against Yahweh.

A Final Problem and it’s a Big One

The very idea that Jewish people must convert to Christianity to be saved is ridiculous.  As I have pointed out already, true Christianity isn’t a separate and distinct religion.  It’s Judaic.  All Jewish people need to do is turn to Yahweh, have faith in Him, and obey Him. That’s what Abraham did.  It’s in the Tanach, not Halacha.  That’s what Paul was saying.

It’s not easy for Jewish people to abandon Halacha.  Rabbis have been teaching hatred of the Messiah, Yahweh, for 2,000 years, and they have done it well.  It’s deeply embedded in Halacha.  In effect, rabbis have created a religion around Halacha, and they are very proud of it.  Halacha is their Golden Calf.

Jewish people who understand what that means should take it seriously.



“If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7: 14)

Change that Yahweh calls “good” begins in the hearts of believers—people who are recognizable because they are different.

We are different because we belong to Him and are called by His Name.  We are Yahweh’s people, His followers.


His Name is Yahweh, the website, is a companion of the book His Name is Yahweh.

To download His Name is Yahweh: Revised Edition for free in PDF format, click on the title below:

His Name is Yahweh has been downloaded and shared in congregations all over the world. Please take advantage of this opportunity to read and share essential information about Yahweh.

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To purchase His Name is Yahweh: Revised Edition in paperback or in eBook, click here.

To see videos that explain the importance of Yahweh’s Name, click here.






“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17: 22-24)

See “His Name is Yahweh”.

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