Law in the New Testament

Law in the New Testament

an article by Joel Allen

There seems to be a huge misconception with what the New Testament has to say about LAW or more correctly said, Torah. What about the Apostles and early believers in the Messiah? Did they follow the Torah? Yes! They were Jewish apostles (sent ones) that were obedient to the Torah or the instructions of God. They did not see the Law or Torah as burdensome or bondage but a way of life that was pleasing before the Lord.

Let’s take a look at some New Testament (Brit Chadasha) references to the Law or Torah:

Mat 5:17 KJV – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Mat 5:18 KJV – For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Mat 5:19 KJV – Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Yeshua states in Matt. 5:17/ Luke 16:17 that He did not come to “destroy or abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill.” Many erroneous teachings state that the word “fulfill” means to end or abolish in the sense of it not being needed anymore. Fulfill does not mean to destroy or abolish as it would contradict what the Messiah already said that He didn’t come to do. The word fulfill in the Greek, PLEROO means, “to fill up full of meaning or to render perfect.” In fact, the Greek word for destroy that is used in this passage, KATALUO, translates as meaning “to dissolve or disunite what was already put together.” This shows us the great error of dividing our modern day understanding of the Bible into an “Old Testament and New Testament” way of thinking. What the Messiah came to do was recorded by men and their accounts or Gospels were compiled into the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The rest were letters and accounts written by early Apostles recording the activities and struggles of the early assemblies. Somehow the modern day understanding of the Bible has led many into thinking that the Messiah came to do a “New Thing” and that these Gospel accounts and letters somehow became the sole basis of doctrine and the origination of faith. Messiah makes it very clear that He was not going to bring disunity, separate or do some “new thing” but rather bring unity, perfect and fill up the Torah and the Prophets full of meaning.

Mat 5:17 KJV – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Mat 5:18 KJV – For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Mat 5:19 KJV – Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Law inthe New Testament Let me ask you a question. Go outside and look up in the sky, is there clouds, stars, sun and moon? Is there dirt and grass on the ground and trees and plants and animals? If you answered yes then it would be safe to say that the Torah has not been done away with either. “Till heaven and earth pass,” Yeshua stated. This is solid evidence that the Torah and all of its details (jots and tittles) are still in effect and significant in the new covenant believer’s life. Let’s look at some more examples in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament).

Stephen was a Messianic Jewish Martyr recorded in the book of Acts. Stephen was a faithful servant of YHVH and performed many miracles as a result of his obedience and strong devotion to Him. A group of the Pharisees who did not believe in Yeshua the Messiah wanted to silence Stephen and his message so they brought up FALSE accusations against Stephen to the Sanhedrin council who according to this false testimony ordered his death sentence by stoning. You need to take careful note as what this FALSE accusation was to truly get a picture as to what Stephen believed and taught.

Acts 6:12-14 And they (the Pharisees) stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place (the temple), and the law (Torah): For we have heard him say, that this Yeshua of Nazareth shall destroy this place (the temple), and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us (Torah).

Now can we assume that anyone that teaches today that Yeshua of Nazareth came to destroy the temple and temple service and to do away with the Law and customs of Moses are indeed FALSE witnesses and according to the Torah and the writer of Hebrews in chapter 10 and verse 28, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:” These are very scary accusations and one should feel fearful to tread on such doctrine. Teaching and making doctrines that say that the Torah is legalism and bondage is no different than the FALSE reports of the FALSE witnesses. These teachers, pastors, priests, rabbis today that teach such nonsense are indeed false witnesses and false teachers and we have to be ready to defend our faith just as Stephen had done, as he was being stoned to death for standing on his faith which included the testimony of Yeshua and keeping the commandments of God. This will also be the last generation spoken of in HIT’GALUT (Revelation).

Rev 12:17 KJV – And the dragon (HaSatan) was wroth with the woman (Eve), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (the Bride of Messiah), which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Yeshua Messiah.

Peter also wrote of these false teachers and false prophets that they would lead people to deny Yeshua and to go away from the “way of truth,” which we learned earlier is Torah (Psalm 119:142).

2Pe 2:1-2 KJV – But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them (Yeshua), and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth (Torah) shall be evil spoken of.

The Apostle Paul was by his own admission a Hebrew among Hebrews and studied under the great Torah scholar and teacher Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). In a letter to the believers in Philippi, Paul boasts of his background and lineage but to emphasize the point that it means nothing without faith in the Messiah.

Phil 3:5- Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Paul was not ashamed of being a Pharisee or teacher of the Torah. He was in fact Zealous for the Law and in His writings confirmed this very devotion to keeping and living the Torah.

Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Yeshua, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

Romans 2:17-18 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Romans 7:25 I thank God through Yeshua the Messiah. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God;

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Romans 10:4 For Messiah is the end (Greek word TELOS which means the aim or purpose) of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

law in the new testamentThis is just to mention a few examples of Paul’s writings that advocated the Torah even after the work of the Messiah. Many false teachers today say that Paul advocated the Torah being abolished through the atonement of Yeshua Messiah but it is abundantly clear that he emphatically supported the Torah and customs of Moses while adhering to his faith in Yeshua as the Lamb of God. There were other “New Testament believers” that kept the commandments of God while having the testimony of Yeshua. Let’s just take a look at a few examples:

Acts 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

Acts 22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,

Act 18:24-25,28 KJV – And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, [and] mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Yeshua was Messiah.

2Tim 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

2 Timothy 3:8 is in a letter from Paul to his student in the faith, Timothy, warning him of what to expect in the last days. He likens those that live in the last days as to Jannes and Jambres so that he could understand and get a clear picture as to what Paul is talking about. They “withstood Moses” Shaul states in his epistle and they resist the truth (Torah). Jannes and Jambres historically were looked at as the magicians of Egypt that conjured up similar tricks to defy the signs of YHVH before Pharoah (Exodus 7:10-12). According to the Jewish traditions in the Targums, Jannes and Jambres supposedly left Egypt with the Israelites in the Exodus and very likely perished along the way in the wilderness as tares among the wheat. Now according to Paul those that resist the truth (Torah/Psalm 119:142) have corrupt minds and are reprobate concerning the faith. Clearly he is not advocating the rejection of Torah and even goes as far as warning Timothy to stay clear of those that fall into this mold. Paul goes on in his epistle to Timothy to further warn him of such tares among the wheat:

2Tim 3:13-17 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures (the Tanakh), which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yeshua. All scripture (the Tanakh) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect (spiritually mature), throughly furnished unto all good works.

We cannot hope to attain spiritual maturity, build sound doctrine or hope to bring correction to a lost and dying world without a balanced walk with our God. For some, the Torah was taught as far back as you could remember and the message of the Messiah offered a completed picture. For others, like myself, we have stumbled through snippets of scripture and half-truths trying to see the whole picture and desperate to find our roots. The Door is open. The Way has never been clearer. According to Paul, Timothy grew up reading and knowing the scriptures making him “wise unto salvation.” The New Testament did not exist yet so the scriptures that Paul is referring to is the Tanakh or Old Testament consisting of the Torah and the Prophets. Tanakh is a Jewish acronym which stands for:

T= Torah / The five books of Moses

N= Neviim/ The books of the Prophets

K= Ketuvim/ The other writings (Proverbs, Chronicles, Ecclesiastes, etc.)

It is through the scriptures (Tanakh) that the disciples were able to confirm that Yeshua was indeed the promised Messiah.

Jhn 1:45 KJV – Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Yeshua himself used the Tanakh after He arose from the dead when the two men were walking to Emmaus, troubled at the death of the one they thought was a great prophet. He did not reveal Himself directly to them as the Messiah but instead opened up their understanding with the Torah and the Prophets, making them wise unto salvation.

Luk 24:25,27 KJV – …O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken…And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

The fascinating thing is that the two men already announced to Yeshua that they knew the Messiah had died and that they saw the tomb empty and knew of the reports of angels present at the tomb and that the Messiah was to be risen on the third day. For many new covenant brethren that is the entirety of the “gospel.” But Yeshua called them fools and slow of heart and used the Tanakh to add a richness and fullness to the gospel that they had received. It is through His teaching (Messianic Teaching) of the Tanakh that made them wise unto salvation and the fiery law burned in them as they listened to Yeshua.

Luk 24:31-32 KJV – Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the scriptures (Tanakh) to us?”

These two men ran back to Jerusalem and announced to the 11 Disciples what they just experienced and Yeshua shows up in the midst of them and does the same thing to them.

Luk 24:44-45 KJV – Then He said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the scriptures (Tanakh).”

You can see here very clearly the breakdown of Torah, Prophets and other writings.

It is very clear both in the words of Yeshua and the teachings of Paul that the New Testament or Brit Chadasha does not teach against the observance of Torah but reaffirms the understanding of the Patriarchs and Prophets that the Torah was and is life giving instruction from the Father. This instruction pointed to the Messiah and that is how the Disciples knew Him and how the Apostles preached the Gospel to Jerusalem and the nations. It is through the Jewish Tanakh (Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim) that doctrine, instruction and correction and be attained according to Paul, a Torah observant Jew.

Just When Exactly Am I Saved? And What Does That Have to do With a Grill?

an article by Joel Allen

A question I get asked a lot as a Messianic Teacher is “when am I saved as a believer?” Growing up in a major denominational Christian Church I was always taught that I was saved when I asked Jesus in my heart. For me, that was an altar call back when I was eight years old. I don’t remember exactly what the Preacher said that tugged on my heart that Sunday above all others but it was something that I remember as a key moment in my walk with the Lord even some 31 years later. My grandmother, who was a pillar of faith in my life and a devout Baptist, gave me my first Bible. I remember the smell of that black covered King James Bible and when I cracked open the first page I could read that this Bible was given directly to me. My very own Bible.

It wasn’t until I was about 30 years old that my wife and I began to study the Hebrew Roots of the Christian Faith. We began observing the seventh day Sabbath and gradually began keeping the Holy Feasts we read about in Leviticus 23. Up until this point I thought I was saved. I felt like I was saved but a lot of Messianic teachers started to challenge this notion by saying that we aren’t really truly saved until we are in the kingdom. This caused a panic in my soul as I wrestled with this most crucial doctrine. When are we saved?

After becoming a Pastor I still wrestled with this issue. Over several years of study and asking for wisdom from the Lord finally I believe the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. After teaching on this subject to my own congregation a couple years ago I have received enough questions by email and through conversations with messianic believers so confused, as I was about this issue, that I am putting this teaching in an article. Although this will not serve as an exhaustive study on the subject I hope to draw enough connections to help rid a little bit of the confusion.

Okay so to start this out we have to define some terms that are used in the New Testament centered around the subject of salvation. I am sorry of you think these are “churchy terms” but they are what we read in the New Testament so for the sake of this study please bare with me. I promise it will all work out. If not I will give a full refund for this article ( LOL ). Kidding aside let’s get started!

The first term we have to define is Justification. This is a big word but at its essence is quite simple. To be justified according to the Bible is to be in God’s sight as “just as if I never sinned.” You are in full right standing with God as if you never sinned or committed any transgression at all. I kind of view this as a chalkboard full of marks against you wiped clean. This is an event and not a process. It occurs the moment you put your full trust in Yeshua as your Lord and Savior, casting all of your sins upon the work of the cross and dedicating your life to please the Father. This is a gift, accomplished solely through the blood of Yeshua as He exchanges your righteousness, which is as filthy rags in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6), with His righteousness. How can we see this in the Old Testament? We can see this clearly through the life and ministry of Joseph, a stark example of the Messiah in the Torah. Pharaoh viewed the Hebrews as abominations as they were shepherds (Gen. 46:34). They would never have favor or audience with the Pharaoh because they were unclean and detestable. However, through Joseph (who was a Hebrew also but hidden) Jacob and his sons were given favor and high estate with the Pharaoh and best of the Land. Without Joseph who saved Egypt The Sons of Jacob had no chance. In like manner, the savior of the world, Yeshua, was slain for the sins of the world so that we who were dead in our trespasses could be accepted as sons and daughters of the kingdom. Yeshua is our Joseph to the Father. Without His righteousness we have no standing with the Father. We are detestable and unclean. Now let’s look at what the New Testament says about Justification:

Romans 5:17-18 “17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Yeshua Messiah.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.”

Notice in this passage that Paul likens our justification as a free gift. This is not earned as much as Joseph’s mercy toward his brethren was not earned. It is this event in someone’s life that the Bible describes as being saved or justified, not of works lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

Romans 3:23-24,26,27-28 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua: 26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Yeshua. 27 Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

It is clear through the writings of Paul that the Law does not justify us but has a unique purpose in the life of the believer. Justification is starting your class with a 100% grade average. You are setup for victory and blessing. It is by grace and grace alone. It is a gift, the Bible tells us, and a gift you can’t earn or pay for but only receive. So how does one receive the justification and forgiveness of sins that is described here? I don’t think it is an exact formula but a turning of your heart and mind by fully abandoning yourself to the Lord and His mercy towards you. Here is a wonderful outline of how this should happen:

[Rom 10:9-13 KJV] 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Yeshua, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

No flaming hoops to jump through or 13 steps just crying out to the Lord. It is meant to be easy and not burdensome. From the drunk on the bar stool to the philosophy professor it is the same gift to be received. It is a free gift to us but it came at a terrible price. Religious men have tried to add conditions and disclaimers to this gift making it very heavy and cumbersome. Like the sect of the Pharisees that went behind Paul who preached a free gift of salvation message and many gentiles responded, but then were told that they weren’t saved yet until they were circumcised by the custom of Moses. Paul was outraged!

Galatians 1:6 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel…”

We read in Acts 15 just what this “elite” group of Jews were preaching:

Acts 15:1 “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

This brings me to the second term we have to define which is the term, Sanctification. This is the part that I feel Christianity by in large stumbles over because of a lack of understanding that God does want those that are saved or justified to walk in holiness. There is an understanding to some degree, for instance if a drug addict became justified by repenting their sins and committing their life to the Lord, then the church leadership would certainly disciple that person to continue walking in salvation. But when it comes to keeping the instructions of the Lord as revealed through the Torah, we are generally told in many Christian denominations that keeping commandments are not necessary anymore. Sanctification is not an event but a process. This process begins once you have been justified and not before. What is the Torah example of this? We can clearly see that Israel was saved and delivered from Egyptian bondage, which is our old sinful nature, and this was only through God’s mercy and grace. Israel did not earn this but through the love of God He heard their cries for freedom and set them free. Then Israel is taken to a mountain where they are given instructions for righteous living, also known as the Torah. Over and over again as God is revealing His instructions He tells them that He is the God who sanctifies them:

[Exo 31:13 ESV] 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you.

[Lev 20:8 ESV] 8 Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

[Lev 22:32 ESV] 32 And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you,

We also see this in the ministry of Yeshua when He sets the adulterous woman free. He is the only one that could have pronounced a death sentence on that woman but he chose mercy. He forgave her (justified) and then He tells her to “go thy way and sin no more” (John 8:11), which is the process of sanctification. Let’s look at some of the letters of the Apostles to see some more examples of this concept:

[1Th 5:23 ESV] 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua Messiah.

How do you keep your spirit, soul and body blameless before the Lord? If justification is all there is then why does the New Testament speak of keeping and guarding that salvation? Many criticize those that keep a kosher diet as being legalistic and not a matter of salvation. I agree that it is not a matter of justification but I strongly believe that it is a matter of your sanctification as we keep our “bodies” blameless as much as we can before His return.

[Phil 2:12-13, 15-16 ESV] 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. … 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Here in this passage from Philippians we read about being blameless again in connection with obedience and holding fast to the word of life, God’s instructions. In so doing, you will stand without blemish in the midst of a crooked generation as lights to the world. If you are doing what everyone else is doing you are not a light or shining forth the good works God has called us to do. Have you ever wondered why Paul says to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling? If justification was the only thing that mattered then why fear? Why work anything out at all. Aren’t we living in grace and therefore we don’t have to follow the commands of God?

[Jde 1:4 KJV] 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Yeshua Messiah.

Some versions of Jude 1:4 state that some people, believers mind you, are turning the grace of God into a “license to sin.” So the Sabbath doesn’t matter anymore and our diet doesn’t matter because we live in grace, right? He is the Lord that sanctifies you! With what?

[Jhn 17:17 KJV] 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

[Psa 119:142 KJV] 142 Thy righteousness [is] an everlasting righteousness, and thy law [is] the truth.

[Eph 5:26 KJV] 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Just as we read in the Torah that through the commands God sanctifies Israel, guess what, that same standard is what He sanctifies His body of believers today! He sanctifies us through the Word and the Spirit, which you will never see working separately. The Word and the Spirit always work together as a dynamic duo, just like Faith and Works!

[Jas 2:14, 17-18, 20, 22, 26 ESV] 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? … 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. … 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? … 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; … 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

[Eph 6:17 ESV] 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

The life of a believer is constantly balancing the Spirit and the Word as well as Faith and Works, in their lives. You need both not one or the other. I see a dangerous pattern emerging among my New Covenant brethren. I see those that are heavily resting on works denying the event of justification in the life of believers because they might not keep all of the 613 commands of Torah. Furthermore, they teach that these believers are actually not believers at all and will be cast in the lake of fire one day. For those brethren I would remind you of Matthew 5:19:

[Mat 5:19 ESV] 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Notice our Messiah did not say that they would be burning in a lake of fire but simply considered least in the Kingdom, BUT they will be there. Why? Because they are Justified by the blood of the Messiah through Faith and not of works. Maybe they didn’t get very far in the sanctification part but who are we to judge that! Do you have hatred in your heart? Have you ever lied even a little white lie? Have you stole anything regardless of value? Have you lusted in your heart for anyone, because Yeshua said that if you lust in your heart you commit adultery. According to the Bible liars, thieves, and adulterous will not be let in the Kingdom! Be careful because in the same measure we judge, we will be judged. In other words, if you are harshly judging others you will be judged harshly as well. I don’t know about you but I need MERCY! Perhaps this is where the Bible talks about that there will be many who are first that will become last and last that will become first, simply because of the haughtiness and merciless judgments we make on our fellow brethren. For those that have been justified but don’t think much about sanctification, my warning to you is to not make it a license to sin. Our goal in life isn’t to make it in the Kingdom by a thread but to become like Yeshua. Don’t you want to be considered “great in the kingdom?” Do you realize that you can suffer loss in the Kingdom and miss out on great rewards and being close to the very One that created all things?

[1Co 3:10-15 ESV] 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw– 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

[Luk 12:47-48 ESV] 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Now the last term to be defined is Glorification. This is also an event that takes place when we, as believers are finally in the Kingdom with Yeshua in our glorified bodies. This is the fulfillment, the very summit of a believer’s journey. This is when there will be no more sickness, no more death, and no more sin (Rev. 7, 21). This is the day that Paul so desperately was longing for speaking of our current sinful state in comparison to what we will become one day:

[Rom 7:24 ESV] 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

[Rom 8:23 ESV] 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

[1Co 15:50-54 KJV] 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

The Apostle John wrote of the same thing:

[1Jo 3:2-3 KJV] 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

In the book of Romans we can also see the connection with first event of Justification and the ultimate event of glorification, the finished product:

[Rom 8:16-17, 29-30 KJV] 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Messiah; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. … 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Now what does any of this have to do with a grill? Okay so let’s put all of this together in an easy to understand parable. Yeshua liked to teach in parables, so here I go giving it a shot. Justification is like going to the store and being handed a brand new grill. Is was more than you could afford but someone else paid for that grill and gave it to you, free of charge. You are so blessed and grateful for your new grill. You sing and giggle all the way home and share your grill with your whole family, explaining how it was a gift. You once did not have a grill but now you have one! Your neighbor had one that you could smell cooking all summer long and you wished and wished you could have a grill like your neighbor and finally it was here! Now, not only do you have a new grill but your whole family get’s to benefit from your new awesome grill. Time goes by and you are still excited about your grill but as you smell your neighbor’s grill cooking you notice that yours does not give off that same aroma. You think you got cheated or maybe you were given the wrong denomination or oops I meant brand. You walk over to your neighbor’s house and ask him where he got his grill. You realize he got it at the same place as you, so you ask what brand it was, and sure enough it was the same brand. So why was his grill smelling so good and producing yummy delicious steaks and yours was not? Your neighbor asks you if you had put your grill together yet? You say no, it is still in the box. Your neighbor chuckles and says you have to put it together in order to use it, silly. You feel stupid and a little betrayed by the store for not telling you about putting it together. Your neighbor goes on by saying that it is really simple, all you have to do is open up the box and read the instructions, the rest will make sense once you start the process. So you are super excited again and you rip open the box that was collecting dust in the garage and you start to follow the instructions for the first time! Wow, everything starts to make sense and the grill is closer to being ready to fire up a sizzling steak than ever before! You can almost taste it! Finally, after a long process of getting the grill and putting it all together with the instructions you grab a delicious steak and cook it to perfection. What a sweet smelling aroma and what a rewarding finish!

You see the grill represents your salvation through justification. You didn’t earn the grill, it was originally given to you as a gift. All you had to do is receive it! Then you realized that you needed to open up the box, which is the Word of God, and follow the instructions, which is the Torah. Without the instructions you still have a grill but it isn’t a pleasing aroma to the Father, like your neighbor’s grill which is in full use. Our lives are attractive to people when we are doing God’s Word. It draws people to us just like the smell of a steak cooking on the grill. This is the sanctification process. There are so many believers that have a grill and it is collecting dust in a box. So many believers don’t own a Bible let alone open it up and actually do what it says. This is unprofitable for you and your family as none can benefit from a grill in a box. Finally, the steak is cooked to perfection. This is a picture of glorification. This is when we do what we are made to do. One day we will be there in the Kingdom but the more we dig into the instructions and follow His ways now we will actually act and produce fruit as though we are already in the Kingdom. Kind of like Phineas who was given the covenant of peace before it is actually fulfilled in the kingdom to come (Num. 25:12).

Justification is an event (I was saved) = FAITH

Sanctification is a process (I am being saved) = WORKS

Glorification is the final product (I will be saved)= Faith is established

I am that I am- Asher HaYah Va HoVeh Va Yavoh

Who was and is and is to come

I am the Lord who sanctifies you…

In conclusion, please if you haven’t gotten a grill please take the time to pray to the Father to forgive you your sins and to accept Yeshua as your Lord and Savior. Receive your free gift of salvation today! If you have already done this then please go get your grill box (Bible) and open it up and follow the instructions so that you, your family, your friends, and neighbors will benefit from your living sacrifice, a sweet smelling aroma unto the throne of God. If you have been studying the instructions for a while please be like the good neighbor who gently points people with your lifestyle and stop telling believers they don’t have a grill but inspire them to open the box and read the instructions. Who knows you might be invited to their next cookout and taste the rewards of discipleship. May God richly bless you with His Shalom.

Conviction or Commandment Part 2

an article by Joel Allen

[Mar 7:5-9 KJV]5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for]doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Sometimes traditions can be beautiful and hold great significance and purpose to the believer but they are and NEVER will be commandment. Some traditions can be hurtful and even bring confusion such as those that are obviously Pagan and hold symbolic meaning to other gods. Christianizing or trying to take Pagan holidays and make them holy commanded observances is wrong. At best I believe that taking holidays like Christmas and Easter and making them about Jesus is no different than changing the lyrics to an old rock song to sing to God. Can some people find purpose and meaning in doing that sort of thing? Yes. I believe so. Many come to Christmas Eve services and Easter Sunday services and genuinely give their hearts to the Lord. That, however, does not make it God’s best for His covenant people. Just like that converted rock song that you used to sing about sex and drugs even though the lyrics may have been changed, it carries with it old memories and connections to things that are best left in the past. Some people feel very strongly convicted about keeping Christmas and Easter but remember that these are not God’s commandments. You can find even greater significance and purpose in God’s commanded feasts like Passover and Tabernacles. Unfortunately, these feasts are forgotten by most and replaced with Christian traditional holidays that are not commanded by YHVH. Now this is not an article about feasts so let’s forge on…

The question you have to ask yourself is what are the commandments of God and what do they say? Remember that the commandments of God are not grievous or burdensome:

[1Jo 5:3 KJV]3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

The moment we begin to add to the commandments and mixing in our personal convictions these commandments can become burdensome and a problem for people. The Torah was always meant to be simple so that the wood cutter and the theologian could both understand and keep His commandments. God made His Laws simple but some religious men have added and turned it into something quite different, making it frustrating for someone to try to walk this path.

[Deu 30:11-14 NLT]11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ 14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

For many in our western culture we are not taught the commandments of YHVH. Many actually believe that church doctrine and things created by the Catholic church are commandments from God Himself and they are surprised when they realize that they are not. Just like Deuteronomy 30 God’s commandments are meant to be simple so you should not have to go to a priest, pastor or rabbi to know what they are (I am not saying that these teachers are bad either). You simply open your bible and read it for yourself. Do your own research. Question everything. Set all tradition and conviction aside for a moment and just read God’s Word for what it plainly says. I had to do this when my wife and I started to question what the Sabbath day was all about. My head was full of convictions and traditions as I had grown up in the Christian church and that Sunday morning perspective was all that I had. Every time I would read a passage of scripture about the Sabbath day and it was very plain and simple yet my head argued against it with traditions of men. Which would prevail?

Sometimes convictions and personal judgments need to be made? There are times that the written word of God just doesn’t have a black and white answer to. In these cases I believe that through prayer and discernment you may find direction through the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things. Paul several times in his ministry had to make these judgments such as in 1 Corinthians:

[1Co 7:25 KJV]25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

Paul clearly stated that there wasn’t a black and white commandment from God so he gave his personal judgment on the matter, citing his relationship with the Lord as his foundation he rested on. Even in the days of Moses when the man was gathering sticks on the Sabbath day the people did not know what to do so they held the man and waited for God to speak a judgment in that moment:

[Num 15:32-34 ESV]32 While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him.

I believe that we should strive to keep God’s commandments as often and in as much reverence as we can. I also believe that YHVH gives us freedom within that obedience lifestyle to make judgments, and add personal convictions and traditions as long as it does not replace or negate His laws and ways. Some may say that tradition is adding to the commandments of God which is forbidden in the Torah. Is that really what it says?

[Deu 4:2 ESV]2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.

If we hold a strict interpretation to this then what is adding to God’s Word? Anything beyond the Torah or maybe anything beyond Deuteronomy 4? What about the rest of the Old Testament like Psalms and the Prophets? Is that adding to the Word? What about the New Testament? It’s interesting that the same warning shows up in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation:

[Rev 22:18-19 ESV]18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

So what does adding to the Word mean? I personally believe that it is when we teach convictions or traditions as commandments. The moment we say that we are breaking God’s commandments by breaking the tradition of the church or elders then we are adding to the commandment. It seems like a subtle difference but the implications are very severe. For instance, if we get bent out of shape because someone doesn’t light candles on the Sabbath day and say the traditional blessings and we begin to chastise that person as if they are breaking a commandment we are in fact adding to God’s commandments. Why can’t we just be excited that that person is trying to keep and honor the Sabbath day? This is when the commandments get heavy. This is when they get confusing and impossible to keep. Let’s keep tradition as tradition and commandment as commandment. Let’ s remember that we are to prefer one another not pressure one another. That is the job of the Holy Spirit.

Conviction or Commandment Part 1

An article by Joel Allen

One of the biggest subjects I deal with as a Pastor is over the confusion of conviction or commandment. What do I mean by that you may ask? Well there are times that certain people feel really strongly about certain things, even things concerning faith and their interpretation of the Bible. For example; Someone may feel strongly that television should not be allowed in the home, due to rank commercials and shows that could portray violence, bad language, or sexual material. However another person may feel strongly that television is ok as long as safeguards are put in place to limit the exposure to the afore mentioned things. Who is right? Which of these people mentioned are breaking commandments of God? Is there a scripture in the Bible that states, “thou shalt not watch TV?” How do we make judgments about what we allow in our homes? Is this a conviction or a commandment of God?

Situations like these fall into a category I like to call convictions. There is nothing wrong with convictions. I have strong convictions for myself and my household as well. We as a family do not listen to secular or worldly music and in fact we only listen to Christian or Messianic Worship songs. Some other families we know do not have televisions in their home. Some do not allow internet access. Other common convictions I have encountered are:

  • How to keep the Sabbath day holy- Some people light candles and say blessings to open the Shabbat but some do not.
  • How to keep Feast Days- Aside from what the Bible plainly says about them, every family has different traditions and special things they like to do.
  • How to pray- Again besides some guidelines seen in the Bible we have no commandment as to how to pray only that we should pray.
  • How to worship God- We have some examples of worship and guidelines in the Bible but people worship God in different ways. Some like to dance, some play instruments, and yet there are so many ways to show your worship to God.
  • The use of doctors & medicine- Some people are on medications while others feel using doctors and medications are not the best course of action.
  • Being involved in politics & government- Some believe strongly that politics & government involvement is evil and we should not get involved while others feel just as strongly that it is our duty as believers to be active and vote and strive to better our communities.
  • Being involved in the military- Again strong feelings on both sides of the fence.

Whose right and whose wrong? Which opinion will God stand by? Well the fact of the matter is that it is these things that we fight about the most. The problem comes when one family has a strong conviction about something but another family may not and so a fight ensues throwing scriptures back and forth trying to sway the other family to their point of view. Sometimes good friends separate as a result of not agreeing about convictions. Should this be? If we can’t find the commandment in black and white should we be fighting and breaking off relationships? For instance is it really that important how you keep the Sabbath day holy or that you are actually trying to guard and cherish it?

Now that being said, commandment is commandment. Period. Keeping the Sabbath day holy and not profaning it, is not a conviction but a commandment. Commandment is something that we have to stand by no matter what. It is concrete and without compromise but convictions can change and that’s okay. I have had strong convictions about certain things and after a few years those convictions didn’t matter as much. Sin is the breaking of God’s commandments not breaking your personal convictions.

[1Jo 3:4 KJV] 4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Our convictions may be good and beneficial to us but they are not the definition for sin so why do we treat people as though they are sinning when they don’t agree with your conviction? Our diet is another area of contention as there are convictions galore about what is kosher and what is not. Some people spend more time reading labels than reading God’s word; more time worrying about physical diet than spiritual welfare. Should we eat organic non-GMO foods only? What about the person who can’t afford organic non-GMO foods? Even though it may be a healthier choice doesn’t make it commandment! So all of the disgusted looks to make that less fortunate person who can’t afford that healthy choice leave that person feeling dirty and almost like they are displeasing God. Remember a dispute that Yeshua and His disciples had with the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands. This was a strong conviction by them that they were passionate about but they crossed the line when they accused Yeshua and His disciples as sinning. This was crossing the line making their conviction into God’s commandments.

[Mar 7:5-9 KJV] 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Let me make this very clear! I am not saying that tradition or even personal convictions are bad or evil. The problem comes when people, like the Scribes and Pharisees, begin treating their own traditions and convictions as “thus sayeth the Lord.” And worse yet you reject your fellow brother over this conviction while breaking the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. By this you are holding onto your conviction (even if it is a good habit or beneficial to you) while breaking God’s commandments. In Mark 7 the Greek word used for tradition is παράδοσις paradosis and this word is also used in Colossians 2:8

[Col 2:8 KJV] 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Not only did Yeshua spend a large portion of His ministry disputing people over convictions but the Apostle Paul (Shaul) also spent a large part of his ministry as well. In Romans 14 we read about a dispute between groups of people fighting about whether it was God’s will for us to eat only vegetables or meat as well. It’s funny how this chapter is used quite often to say that Paul advocated the eating of any kinds of meats including that which the Bible commands as unclean. This is not an argument about eating clean or unclean meats but about vegetarian diets versus eating clean meats. This was a struggle over convictions and not commandments. Paul also addresses conviction issues over special holidays or days revered over another. Clearly, as we can see throughout the entirety of the scripture that Paul is not advocating that it doesn’t matter what day the Sabbath is. He is addressing convictions about other national holidays or cultural holidays. For instance in the United States we celebrate the 4th of July as Independence Day while others may not celebrate. Since it is only a national holiday it is not commandment to keep or not to keep. Israel has many days that fit this description and although we are grafted in to the commonwealth of Israel we are not obligated by God to celebrate special days like Yom Hashoah or Tu B’shevat, or the fast days mentioned in Zechariah 7:5-6.
• The fast of the fourth month- remembering the destruction of the wall in Jerusalem
• The fast of the fifth month- remembering the burning of the great temple in Jerusalem
• The fast of the seventh month- remembering the killing of Gedaliah that sent them into exile into the nations
• The fast of the tenth month- remembering the siege of Jerusalem

If you feel you want to celebrate these days, GREAT! But don’t make others feel like they are less holy or somehow breaking God’s commandments if they don’t share your enthusiasm. Listen to Paul’s arguments and frustration:

I am convinced that the reason YHVH made the Biblical Feasts shadows is that there is only an outline in a shadow and no detail. Think about it, have you ever seen details in a shadow? So we can’t judge one another as to the details but that we stay in that shadow outline. I believe this is what Paul the Apostle was getting at in Colossians:

[Col 2:16-17 KJV] 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

One thing is for sure though, we should be in the shadow of the Messiah. We should walk just as He walked by keeping the Sabbath day, the Feasts of the Lord, and keeping the Biblical diet. We also must remember that Yeshua is the substance and the details. In Him we breath and move and have our being. He is the Lord of the Sabbath . A large portion of His ministry on Earth was defending what He was doing on the Sabbath day and why He did not honor certain customs or convictions that the religious elite followed during that time. We have the same issues today and it consumes a large portion of the ministry time and effort. Ok I am going to have to close this article today so next week look out for the Part 2 of Conviction or Commandment. May YHVH’s wisdom guide you through these difficult subjects.

The Spirit of Adoption

 The Spirit of Adoption

Romans 8:14-17 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

In the letter to the believers in Rome, Shaul (Paul) explains the work of the Holy Spirit in confirming who you are in the Messiah. There were apparently Gentiles and those of the lost sheep of Israel among the Jewish believers that questioned whether they were a part of YHVH’s family or not. Shaul wanted to calm their fears and encourage them that there is a way that they could know without a shadow of a doubt that they were considered the Sons of God. It required walking in the Spirit and walking in the Truth / Law or Torah of God. How do we know this?

Starting with verse one in Romans chapter eight Shaul lays down the understanding that there are two natures or two opposing laws that are either drawing people toward the Messiah or away from him. Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Messiah Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

  1. The Law of Sin and Death- This is described as the Flesh or to be carnally minded.
  2. The Law of the Spirit- This is the Law of YHVH or Torah written on our hearts. It is also referred to as the Law of God, walking in the Spirit or being in the Spirit.

Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life (Torah written on our hearts) in Messiah Yeshua hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Romans 8:3 “For the law (of sin and death) being powerless, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin (the law of sin and death) in the flesh:”

Romans 8:4 “That the righteousness of the law (Torah/Law of the Spirit) might be fulfilled (come to maturity or fullness) in us, who walk not after the flesh (the law of sin and death), but after the Spirit (Torah/Law of the Spirit).”

Romans 8:5 “For they that are after the flesh (the law of sin and death) do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit (Torah/Law of the Spirit).”

Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded (lawlessness) is death; but to be spiritually minded (living Torah) is life and peace.”

Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind (lawlessness) is enmity (war/rebelliousness) against God: for it is not subject to the law of God (Torah/Law of the Spirit), neither indeed can be.”

Now having laid this foundational truth, Shaul explains that they were adopted by YHVH into His family and therefore they need not worry about living in slavery and fear because of their lawless deeds of the past. The chain of sinful or lawless living (1 John 3:4) that produces death has been broken because of the Spirit of Adoption.

Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage (sin and death) again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

What is this Spirit of Adoption? When a child is adopted by a father the adoptive parents go through legal channels to get the child “legally adopted” or the act of becoming a true member of the adoptive parents’ family. When the child is received into the family they receive all of the love and benefits of the natural born children but they also are expected to keep the “rules of the house” as well. For example; if they had a bedtime curfew of 11:00pm with their other family and the new adoptive family had a bedtime curfew of 9:00pm then does that adopted child keep the old curfew or will they be expected to follow the new curfew along with the natural born children? Of course, the adopted child would have to keep all of the rules of their new household or they would be considered a rebellious child and punished. It is also notable that the natural parents of the child would have to release their rights to have custody or legal ownership over the child before the adoptive parents could even claim the child legally as their own. Yeshua the Messiah came in sinful flesh and put to death this enmity toward the Father that all flesh has by nature because of the sin of Adam. Through his sacrifice the legal ownership of the Law of sin and death (our former Father) has been broken so that our NEW Father can legally adopt us into His family (the Commonwealth of Israel).

Ephesians 2:11-12 “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (12) That at that time ye were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Gentiles were, by Shaul’s admission, strangers and aliens to the covenants and promises of YHVH. These are those that are under the Law of sin and death and without the Spirit of adoption who will not be a part of the “household of God” unless they repent and turn toward the Messiah and live under his rules of the house.

Ephesians 2:18-19 “For through him we both have access by one Spirit (the Spirit of adoption) unto the Father. (19) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners (under the law of sin and death), but fellow citizens with the saints (commonwealth of Israel), and of the household of God;”

It is very shocking to hear New Covenant believers in the Messiah today that they are a part of his family BUT they do not regard his people (Israel) or the “rules of the household” (Torah/ Law of YHVH). There were examples for us even in the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) where those of other nations (Gentiles) were coming into the faith of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. YHVH made it very clear that these sojourners and strangers were to be treated and subject to the same laws that they were living by. He did not have a separate law for the stranger or a separate set of expectations. Read for yourself:

Exodus 12:49One law shall be to him that is homeborn (Israel), and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you (Gentiles/ Goyim/nations).”

Leviticus 24:22 “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger (Gentiles/ Goyim/nations), as for one of your own country (Israel): for I am YHVH your Elohim (God/authority).”

Numbers 15:16One law and one manner shall be for you (Israel), and for the stranger that sojourneth with you (Gentiles/ Goyim/nations).”

It is very clear that YHVH wants a united house with one Father, one king, one house, one people, living under one law. You do not want to be a disobedient son/child who has rejected the loving instructions of a father presuming that your end will still be blessed and secured by the Father. This is a false presumption that will cause great anguish and loss in the Kingdom of our Messiah for those that rebel against the “rules of the household of God.”

Matt. 7:22-23 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (lawlessness).” They professed to be His children but His instructions or laws were not kept and the judgment that He gives is that of a father who brings his wayward son to the gates of the elders and pronounces that his child is rebellious.

Deut. 21:18-21 “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father (Torah), or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: (19) Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; (20) And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. (21) And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones (tablets of stone/Torah), that he die: so shalt thou put (burn or consume with fire) evil away (burn or consume with fire) from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” This is the same language used by the Messiah when speaking of the rebellious children that claim to have been a part of His household, eating and drinking with Him. The passage in Deuteronomy calls the rebellious son a glutton and a drunk, but the parallel passage of Matthew 7:22-23 speaks of it as eating and drinking…

Luke 13:26-27 “Then shall ye begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. (27) But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity (lawlessness/rebellious children).”

Shaul speaks of adoption and being grafted in describing the same process and uses these analogies to describe the relationship between Unbelieving Israel, Believing Israel and Gentiles (those of other nations) coming into the faith.

Romans 11:16 “For if the first fruit (Messiah) be holy, the lump is also holy (Believing Israel): and if the root (Believing Israel) be holy, so are the branches (Believing Gentiles).”

Romans 11:17 “And if some of the branches be broken off (Unbelieving Israel), and thou, being a wild olive tree (Believing Gentiles), wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root (Believing Israel) and fatness (Messiah) of the olive tree;”

It is shocking to me when I hear that New Covenant believers and those that claim to be believers in the Messiah will agree that they are adopted but they refuse to submit to the rules of the household of God. The real interesting fact is that the only real evidence you have as to whether you are adopted or not is the Law. It is the Law that shows that you are “legally adopted” and nothing else. If you are adopted in the United States the only thing that shows that you belong to a different family is a legal document stating that you are now part of a new family. Isn’t that exciting?! Instead of fighting against the Torah/Law New Covenant believers should be celebrating the Torah because it is the legal document that says you are adopted into the family of God. We can see this taking place with Jacob when he adopts Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph and an Egyptian mother (not legal in the State of Israel today as being “Jewish”). You can clearly see that they are not only adopted into Jacob’s (Israel’s) family but they are treated or looked at as Ruben and Simeon! Ruben and Simeon were the first born! So what Jacob is declaring is that this adoption makes the adopted sons equal to the natural born sons. It is not replacement theology or replacing the natural born sons because we read about their blessings later on and that they are shamed but still part of the family.

[Gen 48:5 KJV]5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, [are] mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

You could take a blood test but it wouldn’t show if you were a part of your new family. An adopted son will not have the same DNA however that is not the deciding factor in the court of law…only the legal document that says you are adopted matters! Gentiles and those lost tribes of Israel may not be able to take a blood test to prove their lineage. You must hold onto the Torah written on our hearts which is the Spirit of adoption. That is the only evidence we have as to the validity of our adoption into the family of God.

[Gal 4:4-7 KJV]4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

[2Ti 2:19 KJV]19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity(lawlessness).