Category Archives: Torah

WEAK AND BEGGARLY RUDIMENTS

The new Messianic Age has dawned in Jesus, therefore calendrical rituals and other Levitical regulations belong to the old and now obsolete order.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul chided Christians for their desire “to return to bondage under the weak and beggarly rudiments” of the world, including calendrical observations. Since believers now live in the era of fulfillment, resorting to outmoded rituals is inappropriate and constitutes regression to a state of slavery.

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FULFILLMENT – LAW AND PROPHETS

In Jesus, “all the promises of God are Yea and Amen,” and the “Law and Prophets” find their fulfillmentMatthew 5:17-21.

Fulfillment and Kingdom are prominent themes in Matthew’s gospel. With the arrival of the Messiah, the season of fulfillment began, and all things anticipated in the “Law and Prophets” were coming to fruition. But what were the implications for the Mosaic Law? Fortunately, Jesus provided us with a direct answer to that question.

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WHO HAS BEWITCHED YOU?

The receipt of the Spirit while in an uncircumcised state is irrefutable proof that Gentile Christians are accepted by God AS GENTILESGalatians 3:1-4.

In Galatians, Paul addressed a growing danger. Certain “men from Jerusalem” claimed that Gentiles must keep the deeds of the Mosaic Law to “complete” their faith, or at least, some of them. They were “compelling Gentiles to Judaize” by adopting circumcision, calendrical observances, and possibly, the dietary restrictions from Leviticus.

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JURISDICTION OF THE LAW

According to Galatians, the jurisdiction of the Torah reached its termination point with the arrival of Jesus – The “seed” of Abraham.

In responding to claims that Gentiles must be circumcised, Paul appealed first to the common experience of the Spirit received by the Galatians.  Did they receive the gift in response to a “hearing of faith” or “from the works of the Law?”  Having begun in the Spirit, why did they now seek “to complete” their faith on the basis of “flesh,” in this case, by submitting to circumcision?

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SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE LAW

To pursue a Torah-observant lifestyle is to re-erect the old social barriers – Galatians 3:26-4:7.

The final paragraph of the third chapter of Galatians is pivotal to Paul’s larger argument, for it stresses the oneness of the people of God established by Jesus. In this new order, the old social divisions are inappropriate, especially now that the promised “seed of Abraham” has arrived. To now return to the regulations of the Law would erect the old social barriers.

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FOOD AND CALENDARS

Paul argued for tolerance within the church on food regulations and the observation of holy days – The “shadows” have found their fulfillment in Jesus.

The law of Moses specified what foods the people of God could eat by distinguishing between the “clean” and the “unclean,” with the consumption of the latter being forbidden. A comprehensive description of the dietary regulations given to Israel is found in the eleventh chapter of the book of Leviticus.

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