Romans 1–6: Natan’s Commentary Notes

This blog posting is lengthy and contains a lot of spiritual meat. Sorry for the major download all at once. This is actually a small fraction of my commentary notes on Romans chapters one through six. I actually have 74 pages of notes on this section of Scripture alone.

During the work week, due to my heavy work schedule, I have little time for ministry, and barely time for my own personal devotions. Since the major ice storm we had back in February, my tree service business has nearly tripled, I have doubled my employees and purchased additional equipment to handle the demand, and we are still majorly backlogged with work. I have been working 10 to 13 hours a day during the week and many hours on Sunday to keep up with it all. Thank Elohim for the Shabbat, or else l, like a mindless fool, I would probably be working then too—literally working myself into an early grave, no doubt! Thank you Yah for the fourth commandment. KEEPING YOUR TORAH-LAWS IS NOT A BURDEN BUT A JOY AND RELIEF! HalleluYah!!!

Sadly, from a few small and petty-minded murmurers and complainers out there among the modern day children of Israel, I am sometimes criticized when I post such a long piece. For those of this childish and ungrateful demeanor I have two things to say: If you don’t like it, switch the channel and go back to eating baby food. And while you’re at it, take a long walk on a short dock! This is not the place for you. Don’t bother to comment. I’ll just delete it!

For the rest of you, YHVH bless and keep you and may he make his face to shine upon you and grant you his glorious shalom! Amein.

Romans 1:1, Paul, a servant. Servant is the Greek word doulos literally meaningto tie or to bind, a bond servant, a slave, a man of servile condition, one who gives himself up to another’s will, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interest.” Of doulos, Strong’s Expanded Concordance says that this word refers to one who was in permanent relation of servitude to another one whose will was completely subject to the will of another… The focus is on the relationship, not on the service. This word also refers to a slave, which was originally the lowest term in the scale of servitude. This word if found 127 in the Testimony of Yeshua and is used numerous times to refer to those whose service is used by Messiah in extending and advancing his cause among men (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the NT). The disciples of Yeshua applied doulos to themselves with regard to their relationship of service to their Messiah (Ro. 1:1; Gal. 1:10; Phil. 1:1; 2 Tim. 2:24; Tit. 1:1; Jas. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:1 and of other ministers of the gospel (Col 4:12; 2 Tim 2:24; Jude 1:1) and of all who obey Elohim’s commands who are his true worshippers (e.g. Lk 2:29; Rev 2:20; 7:3; 9:2, 5; 22:3, 6). Do you view yourself as a servant-slave of Yeshua your Master, who purchased or redeemed you with his precious blood from the death penalty hanging over you brought on by your sins?

Romans 1:5, Grace…for obedience.

What Is the Full Definition of the Word Grace?

If one were to ask most Christians what is the meaning of the word grace, they would say something like “free and unmerited pardon.” While this is not an incorrect answer, it is only half of the answer. The other half of the answer will take the typical Christian into spiritual territory where they may not want to do.

Grace is the Greek word charis. The word grace has several subcomponent meanings. It is the removal by Elohim from the individual of guilt caused by sin—the wiping clean of the slate containing a man’s past sins. It is a divine and unmerited favor or pardon of Elohim toward sinful man. 

Grace also indicates favor on the part of the giver (Elohim) and thankfulness on the part of the recipient (man) and is to be distinguished from mercy which is the pardoning or removal of the penalty or consequences of sin. 

Grace removes guilt, mercy removes misery. But grace is also the divine influence or enablement upon the heart of man (see Strong’s Expanded Concordance). But grace is not only unmerited divine favor, but is also the divine enablement or empowerment to walk righteously before Elohim. It is “the merciful kindness by which Elohim, exerting his holy influence upon our souls, turns men to the Messiah, keeps, strengthens, increases them in faith, knowledge affection, and kindles them the ability to exercise righteous virtues (see 2 Cor 1:12; 4:15; 6:1; 12:9; 2 Thess 1:12; Acts 11:23; 13:43; 18:27; Rom 6:14; Gal 5:4; Col 3:16; 1 Cor 15:10) according to Thayer’s Greek -English Lexicon of the NT

So in summary, we see that grace is not only the unmerited divine favor that wipes away our past sins, but the divine empowerment or enablementto obey Elohim by walking in a state of righteousness and virtue, so that one does not sin (i.e. not transgress the Torah-laws of Elohim; see 1 John 3:4) thus incurring upon oneself the penalty for or wages of sin (i.e. death) and hence the need, once a gain, for unmerited divine favor or pardon.

Romans 1:6, Called of Yeshua the Messiah.

When It Comes to Salvation, Who Invites Whom?

Many Christian evangelists talk of “choosing to follow Jesus” or “inviting Jesus into your heart” or “making a decision to accept Jesus.” To often, the emphasis is on the person of their own initiative of calling on or making the choice to follow Yeshua. While this idea may not be totally incorrect, it, sadly, places the emphasis on the wrong person, can feed carnal or humanistic pride, takes the focus off of where it should be placed and is largely an unbiblical message. Let us explain.

The word called in the Greek is kletos meaning “an invitation to a banquet, invited (by Elohim by the proclamation of the gospel) to obtain eternal life or salvation in the kingdom of Elohim through Messiah Yeshua.”The writers of the Testimony of Yeshua use this and other similar Greek words to express the idea of a calling going forth from YHVH Elohim to call those to salvation. In fact, the idea of YHVH choosing us (and not us him) is a prominent theme (nearly 50 occurrences) in the apostolic writings. The gospel accounts reference Yeshua speaking of a calling at least several times (e.g. Matt 9:13; 20:16; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32). Luke in the book of Acts speaks of a divine calling of believers to Yeshua (Acts 2:39) and to believers into the ministry (Acts 13:2; 16:10) as does the Paul in nearly 30 places in his epistles (e.g. Rom 1:7; 8:28; 1 Cor 1:1, 9, 24, 26; 7:15, 17, 20, 24; Gal 1:6, 15; Eph 1:18; 2 Thess 2:12; 2 Tim 1:9). Likewise, Peter makes reference to YHVH callingpeople into his kingdom (1 Pet 1:15; 2:9, 21; 5:10; 2 Pet 1:10) as does Jude (Jude 1:1) and John (Rev 17:14; 19:9). 

This same idea is carried forth in the words chosen, election and elect—words which occur in the Testimony of Yeshua another 46 times. These words derive from the Greek words ekloge and eklectos meaning “picked or called out ones(called out of the world for a place in the kingdom of Elohim).”

The idea we wish to express is that Scripture amply demonstrates that our calling to Elohium is a divine calling or election (choosing) with which man has little or nothing to do. All one can do is yield to or resist the calling of YHVH. 

Yeshua said that many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 20:16; 22:14) indicating that not everyone responds to the divine call of YHVH. 

The choice to accept or reject YHVH’s call is that of the individual. Yeshua specifically states that he chooses men, they do not choose him (John 15:16). 

The modern Christian approach to evangelism where the emphasis is laid on the potential Christian’s “choosing Jesus” does not line up with Scripture. On the contrary, YHVH chooses us, often through the preaching of the gospel, and all we can do is to answer his call or not (Rom 10:13–14). 

Again, the emphasis in Scripture is on YHVH calling out to humans and giving them the opportunity to answer. Yeshua chose his disciples, they did not choose him. In fact, try to find any references in all of Scripture where humans have reached out to YHVH. There are few if any examples of this. In nearly every instance it is YHVH reaching out, calling and choosing humans. 

In the several Greek words examined above, there are nearly one hundred examples in the Testimony of Yeshua alone of YHVH’s calling or inviting humans into his kingdom through the door of Yeshua the Messiah. And this does not include the first two-thirds of the Bible! 

Humans in their prideful pursuit of self-glory want to believe that somehow they were responsible for seeking and finding YHVH, and that they were responsible for their salvation. In reality, YHVH was seeking each of us when we were spiritually lost and dead in our sins; we simply responded to his call. 

YHVH is sovereign and receives all the glory for the work he has graciously done in our lives, and no person has room to boast about anything!

Thus says YHVH: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am YHVH, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says YHVH. (Jer 9:23–24)

Romans 1:19, Known of Elohim is manifest in them. 

The Female Side of Elohim? 

What characteristics of Elohim are “manifest in them,” that is, in both men and women (Rom 1:19)? This phrase coupled with verse 20 seems to be telling us something profound about the Godhead; that is, something in man helps us to understand invisible attributes of Elohim. On the other hand, to not understand this leads carnal, godless humans into a downward spiral of sin resulting in sexual perversions such as homosexuality.

What could Paul, the author, be suggesting here? What attributes in humans are clearly seen that would help us to understand more about the nature of Elohim such that man is without excuse to walk in the unrighteousness mentioned in verse 18? 

Starting verse 20, Paul then goes on a rant that eventually leads him to decry the sin of homosexuality. What is clearly evident in the makeup of humans that should be undeniable evidence against the sin of homosexuality such that it is inexcusable for humans to engage in this sin (verse 20)? In fact, their denial of this obvious truth is so blatant that Elohim is justified in bringing his wrathful judgment against people who reject this evidence and turn to this sexual sin anyway (vv. 18, 27, 32). 

This obvious and overlooked evidence is that humans are male and female and that Elohim specially created them anatomically to have sexual relations with each other for procreative purposes. This obviously cannot occur in same sex relationships. 

This points to the fact that Elohim is male and female, as Scripture states in Genesis 1:27 and 5:2. 

Moreover, this suggests the obvious fact that the Godhead is not a three-male configuration as the mainstream church teaches in the sacred cow doctrine of the trinity. Rather, the Bible clearly reveals that the Godhead is comprised of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. As we have discussed elsewhere, the Father is obviously the male component of Elohim, and the Son (Yeshua) is the “offspring” or “only begotten one.” That leaves the Holy Spirit as the female component of the Godhead. 

Elsewhere, Paul calls marriage and the family “a great mystery” (Eph 5:32), and he relates the family structure (husband, wife and children) to the spiritual relationship between Yeshua the Messiah and his church. Though not a direct reference to the nature of the godhead, it seems obvious that Paul is making some oblique allusions to this in this passage of Scripture (Eph 5:22–33).

Romans 2:1, Judgment. 

Hypocritical Judgment Versus Righteous Judgment

In Romans 2:1, Paul seems to be taking a dim view of individuals judging one another, yet elsewhere he says, “He which is spiritual judge all things, yet he himself is judged of no man”(1 Cor 2:15),and, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (1 Cor. 6:2 ). Elsewhere he says, “I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” (1 Cor 6:5).Paul encourages believers to judge in other instances as well (see 1 Cor 10:15; 14:29). So in one place, Paul instructs the saints not to judge others, and elsewhere he instructs them to do so. What is going on here? Is Paul confused?

Paul is not the only person that seems confused—at least to the Bible student who has a cursory understanding of the Scriptures. In Matthew 7:1 Yeshua said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Yet in John 7:24 Yeshua seemingly contradicts himself by saying, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”Is the Bible contradictory, or is there a time to judge and a time not to judge? If so what are the criteria? In reality, it is unlikely that Yeshua and Paul are confused on this issue. More likely, we are the ones who are confused because of our lack of understanding on what they are telling us. Let us explain what we mean by this. 

In the context of the scriptures listed above, there are two kinds of judgment: hypocritical judgment and righteous judgment. These two are antithetical. In Romans 2:1 and Matthew 7:1 the authors are condemning those who judge others, but who are guilty of the same sins themselves. In other words, they do not “practice what they preach.” 

Yeshua illustrates his point regarding hypocritical judgment when he asks, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matt 7:2).Yeshua says that such individuals will be judged according to how they have judged others (ibid.). Paul echoes this same truth when he declares, “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of Elohim?”(Rom 2:3). 

At the same time, we see from the scriptures listed above that neither Yeshua, nor Paul is against righteous judgment, that is, non-hypocritical judgment. In fact, Yeshua, later on in Matthew chapter seven, goes on to encourage proper judgment. Moreover, he shows his disciples how to judge false prophets whom he calls, “wolves in sheep’s clothing”  (Matt 7:15–19). In fact, Matthew chapter seven contains Yeshua’s instructions to his righteous, Torah-obeying disciples on how to properly judge a person by their fruits. The type of fruit that the tree produces determines the type of tree that it is (Matt 7:15–20). If an apple tree has apples, it is not judgmental to call it an apple tree. This should be obvious!

What is more, in Matthew 7:21-23, Yeshua further illustrates his point by showing his followers how to judge between true (Christian) converts and false ones. The ability to do miraculous signs, to exorcise demons and to make prophetic utterances are not proof of the true followers of Yeshua. Torah obedience is, however. In fact, Yeshua goes on to say that those who are Torahless (i.e. “workers of iniquity”) are fools who are like a man who builds his house upon a foundation of sand instead of solid rock of YHVH Torah-Word or Truth (Matt 7:24–27). Torahless sand-builders are in no position to render righteous judgements since sin (i.e. Torahlessness, see 1 John 3:4) obscures one’s spiritual perspective and prevents them from properly discerning between good and evil, truth and error, sin and righteousness. In fact, because of such a person’s ignorance of or irreverence for Elohim’s Torah-Word or their skewed view thereof, they may be practicing a sin that the Torah forbids, while incorrectly judging someone who is actually obeying the Torah. This would be an example of hypocritical judgment—something that Yeshua takes a dim view of in Matthew 7:21–23. In fact, he tells these individuals who refer to him as “Lord” to “depart from me you workers of lawlessness [i.e. Torahlessness], I never knew you.”

Likewise, Paul denounces hypocritical judgment in Romans 2:1, yet encourages righteous judgment on the part of the saints in Corinth as we noted above. It was expected that these believers, because of their relationship with Yeshua and their solid foundational grounding in the Word or Truth of Elohim, would be in a position not only to render righteous judgment within the congregation of believers but also in the world to come (1 Cor 6:2). 

Moreover, Yeshua said that the Torah-obedient saints of YHVH will be the “greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:19). These individuals will most likely be the kings and priests co-ruling with Yeshua in his millennial kingdom as prophesied in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). A major function of a biblical king or a priest was to judge righteously those over whom they exercise kingly and priestly responsibilities.

Making judgments is an everyday occurrence for most humans, and little thought is given to it. Continually we pass judgments and make decisions about people. We choose with whom to associate based on our moral and spiritual beliefs and convictions. Regularly, we have to choose between right and wrong, good people and bad, facts and fiction. Most likely a righteous, Bible-obedient person will not fraternize with a known thief, liar or deviant or believe a lie. So making judgments is not a bad thing. However, one must make certain that one is not guilty of that for which they condemn others, and that one lives according to the standards of biblical righteousness that they demand of others in order not to be classified as a hypocritical judge.

Romans 3:7, As we are slanderously reported…let us do evil, that good may come. “Evil” in Hebraic thought is simply another way of saying, “violating YHVH’s Torah-law.” There were those of Paul’s day who were perverting his message of salvation by grace through faith by turning it into a Torahless message. They were slanderously claiming that he was teaching against the Torah. Sadly, this same lie is taught universally in mainstream Christianity to this day. 

In the book of Acts, we find much evidence of Paul being slandered again over the same issue as well (Acts 21:27–28). This time, it resulted in his arrest by the Romans and his defense against these false accusation (of him teaching against the Torah) in two courts of law where he confesses that he “believes all thing which are written in the Torah and the Prophets”(Acts 24:14) and “neither against the Torah-law of the Jews…have I offended anything at all”(Acts 25:8). Paul made these statements in Acts about the year A.D. 58 prior to his trip to Rome while the book of Romans had been written about two years earlier in A.D. 56. 

Ironically, the very false accusation against which Paul had to so vigorously defend himself was the same accusation leveled against Stephen by his accusers in Acts 6:13. Paul was the one ultimately responsible for the death of Stephen (Acts 7:58). This slanderous report­—that both Paul and Stephen were speaking against and changed the Torah—is the very lie that mainstream Christianity teaches today under the guise of the theological term dispensationalism, where it is taught that the Jews were “under the law” , that the law was “done away and nailed to cross” and that Christians are now “under grace” and the “law of Moses” is of little or no relevance to believers today.

Not only did Paul NOT teach against the Torah, but he was defending it against the Jews’ perverted or caricaturized view of Torah by which they had largely nullified the Torah through their religious traditions. (See Yeshua’s comments about this in Mark 15, Matthew 7 and 23.) The same thing can be said of modern Christian teachers who assert a similar anti-Torah bias.

Romans 3:25, Sins that are past. This verse clearly states that only our past sins are remitted, not our future ones. Indeed, Yeshua’s atoning work at the cross was sufficient to cover all the sins of the world be they past, present or future, yet that provision cannot be applied to our sin until we have committed it, confessed it and repented of it (1 John 1:9). 

It is a common fallacy among many libertine Christians that once one has “come to Jesus” and “asked for forgiveness” and “asked Jesus to come into one’s heart” one is now saved and ”under grace” and nothing can change that status regardless of how much one sins subsequently. Yet in this verse we see that only our past sins are forgiven, and only sins which are confessed are forgiven (1 John 1:9). 

Elsewhere, Scripture informs us that the unrighteous or Torah-law breakers will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 6:9) unless they repent and cease sinning (1 Cor 6:11). Moreover, Revelation 22:14-15 states, “Blessed are they the do his Torah-commandments that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into [New Jerusalem]” , but then goes on to state all manner of sinner that will be outside of the walls of the New Jerusalem (Kingdom of Elohim).

Romans 3:31, We establish the Torah. 

Paul the Pro-Torah Apostle 

Paul the apostle strongly upheld and defended the validity of the Torah as defining the path of righteous for the redeemed believer in numerous places in his writings (Rom 3:31; 7:7, 12, 14; 13:8–10; 1 Cor 7:19; 9:21; Gal 3:10; 6:2; 2 Tim 6:14; Tit 2:14). What’s more, he even claimed to follow the Torah himself (Acts 21:24; 24:1425:8; 28:17; 1 Cor 9:21).

Not only that, Paul claimed that he himself was NOT without the Torah of Elohim, but that he was actually “under the Torah toward Christ” (1 Cor 9:21). Yes, Paul was “under the Torah.” That’s what the Bible says! He wasn’t under the Torah by trying to earn his salvation through his good works. Neither was he under the penalty of the Torah that occurs when we sin by violating the Torah. Yeshua had washed his sins away and taken that penalty upon himself when he died at the cross. Rather, Paul was following the Torah through faith in Messiah, and through the power of the Holy Spirit living in him. The hard and stoney heart of rebellion against the laws of Elohim had been cut away and he had been given a new heart to wholly love and obey YHVH.

To claim that Paul teaches the abrogation of the Torah-law given to Moses and the Israelites by YHVH Elohim is setting the Word of Elohim in opposition to itself and replacing the truth of the Bible with men’s traditions. This is sin, rebellion and secular humanism in its rawest form and is nothing more than a perpetuation of the lie of the serpent (the devil) when he questioned the Word of Elohim at the tree of knowledge in the garden and he asked man the question, “Hath Elohim indeed said…?” (Gen 3:1). Ever since then, rebellious man has been trying to do an end-run around the Torah-Word of Elohim. Paul describes this mentality to a tee in Romans 8:7–8,

Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim: for it is not subject to the law of Elohim, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please Elohim.

Anyone who claims that Paul came to unhinge Torah-obedience from the walk of the redeemed believer has sadly bought into the unbiblical and anti-Semetic theological lies and traditions of the church system, which are nothing more than traditions of men by which the word of Elohim has been made of none effect. This seems to be a recurring spiritual disease of religious institutionalism, for Yeshua accused the religious elite of his day of the same thing (Matthew 15:3–9 and Mark 7:7–9).

The religious folks of Yeshua’s day didn’t like his stinging rebukes in this regard any more than they do today. They first murdered him with their mouths, and then they murdered him physically instead of repenting of their sinful (Torahless,. 1 John 3:4) ways. To be sure, murder with the mouth goes on today against those who stand for truth (see John 16:2).

At the present time, YHVH is calling his people out of spiritual and religious Babylonism (Rev 18:4), which contains a mixture of sublime Bible truth and toxic demonic doctrines of demons going back to the serpent in the garden. YHVH is preparing for Yeshua his Son a bride whose robes will be without the spot of sin (Torahless, 1 John 3:4), and who will be those who keep the commandments of Elohim and have the faith or testimony of Yeshua (Rev 12:17; 14:12). They are in love with Yeshua and they demonstrate this by keeping his Torah-commandments (John 14:15).

Romans 4:2, Justified by works.  

Justified By Works Explained

Works-based justification produces self-pride and diminishes YHVH in mans’ eyes by giving man a self-exalted and self-sufficient view of himself, which places man and his efforts as the cause of his salvation, and not the grace of YHVH. Works-based justification is humanism and causes man to glory in himself, not YHVH, and to attempt to impress other men instead humbly, yet confidently, relying on YHVH’s grace.

Do Paul and James conflict when the former teaches that one is not justified by works, while the latter says the opposite (Jas 2:17–26)? Not at all. Both are true depending on the perspective from which one is viewing the question. Let’s explain.

Where many people miss it is viewing scriptural ideas through a Western mindset instead of from a Hebraic vantage point, which is that of the biblical authors. In Western thought, we tend to look at things from a linear perspective—like viewing points on a time line. We say and thinks things like this: I got saved, justified, sanctified, etc., etc. at such and such point in time in the past. While this may be true, Hebraic thought views things more as a process that involves events that have occurred, are occurring and will occur in the future. For example, the Bible teaches that you were saved (at the time you “came to Yeshua”), you are being saved (e.g. work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Phil 2:12), and you will be saved (in the ultimate sense when you receive your glorified body at the second coming resurrection and are adopted into the family of Elohim as a literal child of Elohim). The same is true of justification. When one understands this, the seeming conflict between Paul and James resolves itself. 

Paul was speaking about justification at the time of initial salvation or conversion, while James is talking about the on-going process of justification via the production of good works (i.e. loving Yeshua by keeping his commandments, John 14:15). That’s the part of working out your salvation with fear and trembling that Paul admits to in Phil 2:12. 

Peter discusses this same concept when he talks about making your calling and election sure so that you don’t fall spiritually along the way en route to the kingdom of heaven and the redemption and glorification of your physical bodies into eternal life before Elohim (2 Pet 1:10).

I believe that the justification that James is talking about is nothing more than what Paul expresses in the famous Ephesians 2:8–9 passage, but with the addition of verse ten, which many people overlook. Please note the highlighted portion of verse ten (below), which is the justification by works part of the equation, which is nothing more than the process of, if you will, “staying saved” once we’ve received our initial salvation. The Bible expresses this concept in many ways: enduring to the end, overcoming, walking on the straight and narrow path, staying close to Yeshua and abiding in him, loving him and keeping his commandments, producing the fruits of the Spirit, working out your salvation, making your calling and election sure, and so on.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of Elohim: Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua unto good works, which Elohim hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8–10, emphasis added)

In the preceding discussion, I’ve just presented a brief lesson in biblical Hebraic thought versus Greco-Roman Western thought.

Romans 4:17–18, Father of many nations. Abraham set the example as the model of faith to follow. As he trusted YHVH and it was counted to him for righteousness, so the multitude of nations which would proceed from him would likewise come to a relationship with YHVH through faith.

This is yet to be fulfilled in its fullest sense. Some see that the emergence of the twelve tribes of Israel were a fulfillment of this promise. If this were the case, this belief can hardly be reconciled with the prophetic prediction of Moses in Deuteronomy 1:11 just before his death that the descendants of Abraham would become one thousand times more than they were then. If their were 2.5 million Israelites at the time of Moses, this would eventually translate into 2.5 billion Israelites. Even if Moses were using poetic hyperbole here, he certainly had in his long term view more than the several million Israelites in existence in his day, and probably more than the 12 to 15 million Jews who are alive on earth today who, in a sense, are one nation or ethnic people-group, not the many nations Elohim promised Abraham that his descendents would become.

According to Jewish rabbinic tradition (Genesis Rabbah 49:8), Judah (i.e. the Jews) is considered to be all the twelve tribes rolled into one nation. If this is so, again, how is YHVH’s promise to Abraham that his descendents would be many nations being fulfilled unless there is yet a future fulfillment? 

We know from passages in the Testimony of Yeshua Scriptures that not only does Yeshua himself testify that in the kingdom of Elohim the tribes of Israel twelve distinct nations (Matt 19:28), but we learn that they will each have their own gate by which they will enter into the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:12). So we cannot consider the Jews who derive primarily from the tribe of Judah (see The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash commentary on Deut 32:26) to be the sum total of all Israel, nor can we consider them to be a single nation comprised of many nations and be true to the prophecies of Scripture.

Furthermore, the Jewish religion currently has no vehicle even to bring in large numbers of people from the nations to fulfil this prophecy. They are not nor have ever been actively evangelizing the world. Only the Christians have been doing this. So largely through the vehicle of Christian evangelism will this prophecy be ultimately fulfilled.

Romans 5:20,Grace might reign through righteousness. 

The Grace of Yeshua and the Torah

But what are the spiritual mechanics or dynamics by which the Messiah leads people through the Spirit of Elohim in the ways of Torah? To fully understand how Yeshua interacts with his people through his Holy Spirit, we must comprehend the concept of grace beyond what is commonly taught in Christianity.

The Greek word charis is found 156 times in the New Testament is commonly translated as grace in most cases. Its primary definition is “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech.” A second definition is “good will, loving-kindness, favour.” Perhaps the definition with most believers in Yeshua are most familiar is “of the merciful kindness by which God” or “YHVH’s free and unmerited pardon or forgiveness that we receive at the time we turn away from our sins and turn to Yeshua as Redeemer, which removes from us the guilt sin and the wages of our sin, which is death.” However, there is another lesser known aspect of grace that needs to be brought into our discussion pertaining to Torah-observance upon which I will now elucidate.

Grace is alsothe divine power to overcome sin (Rom 5:20). Grace is the power to do good works and charitable deeds (2 Cor 8:1; 9:8). Grace a divine impartation that leads to the destruction of sin (Rom 6:14). Since one biblical definition for sin is “the transgression of the Torah” (1 John 3:4), we can logically conclude that if grace leads to the destruction of sin, which is the violation of the Torah, then conversely grace facilitates our ability to obey YHVH’s Torah commands! This is an important concept to understand. Grace is not only free and unmerited pardon for the past sins we committed before our redemption (Rom 3:25), but it is YHVH’s supernatural gift of spiritual empowerment to overcome the tendency to sin. That is, it is the power to obey Torah, for sin is the violation of the Torah (1 John 3:4). This truth is not commonly taught in Christianity, yet here it is in the pages of the Scriptures!

We see the continuing power of YHVH’s divine gift of his grace in the believer’s life when Paul declares that grace is more powerful than sin!

But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Yeshua the Messiah our Master. (Rom 5:20b–21)

We see here that grace is an active force that reigns in us to bring us to the righteousness of Yeshua and which then leads us to eternal life. What is the biblical definition of righteousness? In its simplest terms, it is Torah-obedience (Ps 119:172). Furthermore, grace as an active power from Elohim helps us in our time of need (Heb 4:16). Finally, grace helps us to “serve Elohim acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb 12:28). How do we serve Elohim? By hearing and doing his word, and by loving him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and by loving our neighbor as ourself, which is the essence of Torah (Deut 6:4; Lev 19:18 cp. Mark 12:29–31; John 14:15).

Romans 6:14–15, Not under the law…under grace. 

Law and Grace—”Under the Law” Explained

Are the concepts of law and grace opposed to each other or, rather, are they two sides of the same coin? What does the phrase “under the law” really mean? Paul uses this phrase in a particular sense the meaning of which is only clear when understood contextually with what he is saying before and afterwards. Often, sadly, naive and uninformed people cherry picks this phrase out of the larger context of Paul’s writings and then hurl it accusatively at anyone who adheres to YHVH’s Torah commands. When Paul uses the phrase “not under the law” is actually declaring that the saint is no longer “under the law”? Let’s see…

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace.…What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? Elohim forbid!

Here Paul is saying that sin (i.e. Torahlessness) shall not have dominion over those who have faith in Yeshua and who have died to their old sinful nature as pictured by the baptism ritual (Rom 6:1–10). The Bible is clear: the wages or sting of sin is death (Rom 6:23; 1 Cor 15:56), for sin is the violation of the Torah (1 John 3:4), and those who are spiritually alive to Elohim through Yeshua (Rom 6:11) not only have had their sins forgiven, but they’re not continuing in habitual sin (1 John 3:4–9). They are walking under YHVH’s merciful grace, so that if they sin (i.e. violate the Torah), they can repent and receive his grace (1 John 1:9) instead of death. This is why Paul can say that the redeemed believer is no longer under the (penalty of) the Torah, but is under grace (Rom 6:14).

Because we are under grace and we have been spared by Elohim’s mercy from the penalty for sinning (i.e. violating the Torah), which is death, does this mean that we can continue in sin (i.e. continue violating the Torah, Rom 6:15)? Certainly not! Paul strongly affirms this in verse fifteen. Elohim’s grace doesn’t give us a license to sin (i.e. to violate the Torah, 1 John 3:4). If a saint sins, he must repent of his sin and not continue in his sin (1 John 1:9), so that the mercy and grace of Elohim will cover his transgression.

Paul then goes to say (in Rom 6:16–23) that since we are no longer slaves to sin because of our relationship with Elohim through Yeshua, we now have become slaves to righteousness (i.e. Torah obedience, see Ps 119:172 where righteousness is defined as Torah-obedience). The Torah not only defines what sin is, but also shows us how not to sin. It is the grace of Elohim that not only gives us grace or unmerited pardon for violating the Torah (i.e. sin), but the same grace divinely enables us to live in obedience to the Torah, so that we will not come under the (penalty of) the Torah through sinfulness. This is why Paul can go on to declare that the Torah is holy, and the commandment holy, just and good (Rom 7:12). It reveals to us the path of righteousness and how not to sin by showing us how to love Elohim and our neighbor.


17 thoughts on “Romans 1–6: Natan’s Commentary Notes

  1. Natan, you’ve expressed exactly what’s happening in our lives as well; from the workload to all the way off the dock! The book of Romans has kicked my proverbial butt and I for one will chew on, relish, test and swallow what you have gleaned and sacrificially penned for our growth and maturity. THANK YOU and YAH bless and keep your family.

  2. The Female Side of Elohim? You are making emphatic statements about this subject, when it is your personal theory. I would suggest caution here. The Godhead as three distinct individuals and one being female is not stated Biblically. If something is even implied in your opinion, it is still your opinion, not fact. Please state this accordingly.

    • I appreciate your concerns, but I would ask you to consider the following: It is not my opinion when I say that Scripture emphatically states that Elohim is both male and female. However the traditional church emphatically states that he is exclusively male as per the doctrine of the trinity. So who is right and who is wrong? Whose opinion carries more weight? What Scripture clearly states, or what men have read into Scripture to mean? Sacred cows are hard to let go of, aren’t they, especially when they are believed by the majority, even though they may only be man-made and unbiblical traditions. Personally, I don’t care what the majority thinks, only what the Word of Elohim declares both explicitly and implicitly. Why do I say implicitly? Simply for this reason: Not every truth of Scripture is spelled out explicitly or didactically in black and white to satisfy our Greco-Western step logic mindset. Many biblical truths are laid out in pieces—here a little and there a little (called block logic)—and it is up to us to explore, discover and put the pieces together (following the basic laws of biblical interpretation, of course). This can be challenging and threatening for many people, since it places them outside the comfort zones of their belief structures. But then the reader has to ask himself or herself, am I a truth seeker or simply a regurgitator of the traditions of men by which the Word of Elohim is made of none effect?

      I would also add that in Jewish mystical thought, the concept of the female nature of the Godhead has not been missed as it has in Christianity. As I’m sure the reader knows, in Hebrew, Elohim is a uni-plural spiritual word and entity. As such, in Jewish mystical thought, the Godhead/Elohim is comprised of male and female personages, along with a son. So I am not pulling this idea out of whole cloth or out of the top of my hat and expressing my conjecturings only as is suggested.

      I encourage the readers to read and study things things out more broadly outside of the box labeled Traditional Christian Thought. Are we so parochial in our view as to think the the infinite Creator of the universe exists only inside of this tiny box???

  3. I can assure you that I am not considered to be in the majority! If the Kabbalah is the mystical source of thought which you consider a valid source of Truth, that would be flawed.Outside sources from the Bible can be used to confirm the Bible, by not for setting doctrine. For the record, I do not believe in the trinity, nor the three persons in one, nor that YHVH’s Spirit is a separate individual. YHVH is Spirit. It is His makeup. 1 Corinthians 15:44. We are made in His likeness as physical, natural bodies. YHVH is Spirit, not of this world. John 4:24. As you said, we should study out of the traditional box but lets be cautious in that process

    • First, I am always reticent to discuss the nature of the Godhead, since it’s a sticky wicket, so to speak. None of us has a handle on or can wrap our brains around this subject and hope to understand it. Moreover, when it comes to the Godhead, multiple truths can be all true at the same time, which on the human level, seem to be contradictory. For example, Elohim can be one and three all at the same time or at different times in eternity. Elohim can be whatever he wants to be whenever he wants because he is Spirit. We need to extricate ourselves from the limited labeled and polarized boxes of our finite human mindsets. At best, our understanding of Elohim are but snapshots of his vastness.

      Second, I do not view Kabbalah as a source of major truth. It is a manure pile with a gem of truth here and there. Frankly, I don’t have time to sort through the dung of its humanistic and occult thought to pick out the gems. Everyday, we have to sort through manure piles to pick out the truth and we think nothing of it: such as information/propaganda that comes from the mass media, from government, from our educational institutions, etc. We’re constantly separating wheat from chaff, eating the fish and spitting out the bones. Why should I be frightened of studying extra-biblical secular sources for bits of truth that corroborates Scripture when YHVH has given me spiritual discernment and I have the template of his Word against which to compare all things to determine if it is truth or not? I know little or nothing about Jewish mysticism except that the Sephirotic Tree representing the Godhead has Father, Mother and Son on it. This seems to confirm my understanding of the Scriptures with regard to the nature of the Godhead. You can accept or reject it. That’s fine. I don’t care. We can agree to disagree agreeably. That’s all. Blessings to you and yours.

  4. I am a grandfather, a father, a son and I have a spirit and yet I am one!

    B’resheet 1:27 So God created humankind in His own image; in the image of God he created him : Male and Female He created them.
    Blessings, John

    • Yes, you have many different roles. You could add employee, neighbor, cousin, etc. but you are not androgynous and Adam was not either.

      • To know Elohim, we have to be better than Koresh (Cyrus)
        Yeshe’yahu 45:5
        The single plurality of Elohim is Creator (male) and Carer (female).
        The house of Elohim is both Beit (male) and Veit (female).
        The open hand of Elohim is both Kaf (male) and Khaf (female).
        The mouth of Elohim speaking words is both Pey (Ben Kol) and Fey (Bat Kol).
        The harvest of first fruits is Abib and or Aviv, a single plurality within our salvation which indicates both men and women.
        Its not enough to be just called by Elohim, we must also know Him if we wish to be chosen.
        Shalom, John

  5. If the nature of Elohim is male and female, why are their no other females in His realm? Why are their no female angels? Michael for example is masculine, Rev. 12:7. It is interesting that in the Pantheon of gods, you do see male and female gods. In fact all pagan religions have many gods some male, some female. Is this the model you want to follow? Yeshua never referred to the Father as she. The term Father alone should be clear. The Spirit also was never given a female designation. If anything it was male. Where are you Scripture references on the female designation?

    There is much confusion in these last times on gender, transgender, bisexual, and so on. Apparently, it is now seeping into YHVH’s people. We are not to reflect the world. We are to be Light, not darkness.

    You know, there are dozens and dozens of scriptures that indicate the world is a flat plain in a firmament dome, and none that state the female nature of YHVH emphatically. Yet, If I said I believe the Earth is flat, you would probably think I was ridiculous.

    Finally, not sure about the Cyrus reference, unless you are comparing those who do not accept the androgynous view of YHVH to a pagan king.

    • Steve,
      Please explain to me B’resheet 2:23 The man-person said ” At last! this is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She is to be called Woman, Because She Was Taken Out Of Man.”
      And then if you can, please explain to me where you think the spirit of woman that inhabits this planet came from, if not from Elohim.
      Shalom, John

      • Thanks for asking. As to the so called spirit of woman, 1 Corinthians 2:11 states their is a spirit in man. The word for man means human, male or female. This is not the Spirit of YHVH. The spirit of man gives him intellect, conscience and so on. The concept of a “spirit of woman” does no exist Biblically. In Genesis 2:23 Adam had just completed naming the animals. He saw male and female creatures and it was clear he was alone. Yes, the concept of male and female was first completed in the animal kingdom. When the female was presented to him, he understood she came from him and was like him and Adam named her woman. A female version of himself. She was made female primarily for the purpose of procreation.

        Adam and Eve are created in the image of YHVH, however it must be understood that Adam was created in YHVH’s image, Eve was created in Adams image. 1 Corinthians 11: 7 – 11

    • I refuse to acquiesces to human reasoning in trying to understand the nature of the Godhead. You can believe whatever you want about it, but I refuse to keep wrangling over this subject. I see what I see and refuse to limit Elohim to my puny, pea brain reasoning. All I know is that Elohim referred to himself as I AM THAT I AM or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE. He can be and is whatever he wants to be whenever and to whomever he wants to be to suit is sovereign purposes the understanding of which is beyond any human ken. I refuse to use my feeble mind to create a god in my own image, which is idolatry. Therefore, I leave the lid on my so-called “God-box” open. You can do what you want with your “God box.” I really have nothing more to say on this subject and will take no further comments on it. Please respect.

  6. One very last thing. The Physical is of Creation. The Spirit is Eternal and can only be given. And You can’t give what you don’t Have. All Good Things Come From Above.
    Blessings, Johns

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