Has the Torah been “done away with”? — Hebrews 8 explained

What human deigns to have the hubris and audacity to break the immutable laws of YHVH Elohim, the Creator of the Universe, and then to call it righteousness?????

I just received this comment from a Christian minister who is well known in certain circles and who, over the decades, has done commendable work in opposing wickedness and promoting righteousness in America.

You’re a good advocate for your own perspective, and have provided a great historical outline on the rise of Hellenic thinking in the church. I’ll use some of this in my debates with Roman Catholics. BUT this is not (as you laudably acknowledge) objective scholarship on the question of keeping the Torah. You have entirely avoided Hebrews as a source, which is arguably the most relevant to this topic of all the Epistles.  Your thesis is directly challenged by Hebrews 8, for example.  In my view, keeping the law voluntarily is a matter of personal liberty, and some people benefit from maximum structure in their lives, and for all believers there is great benefit from knowing and being influenced by the Torah.  But leading people back under the Mosaic law as an obligation IS Judaizing — a term that (as used today) defines a concept with much broader Scriptural support than you admit.  

Here is my initial response to to Scott’s comment:

Well hello Scott! Welcome to my blog. I followed your and Lon’s ministry for years when you lived in Oregon, and even met you once decades ago when your office was located in my hometown, and I have appreciated your bold stand in your fight against abortion and the homosexual agenda.

With regard to my article to which you make reference, no, I didn’t cover Hebrews 8 in this particular piece. As a writer, you well know that it’s not possible to cover every facet of every topic including all of the relevant Scriptures on any biblical subject in one article, otherwise the article would be a long book and not an article. I cover Hebrews, Galatians, Romans and everything other scriptural passage in the Bible on the subject of the Torah in many of the 500 some videos on my You Tube channel, some 100 articles on our website and some 2000 articles on this blog.

Moreover, what you call Judaizing I call righteous obedience to the immutable commandments of YHVH Elohim. Judaizing is a term, as you know, that goes back to a Greek word in the NT. However, the early church fathers grossly misunderstood the writings of Paul (largely thanks to the influence of Marcion the heretic who was an anti-Jewish Torah-hater), even as Peter admits in his second epistle was occurring in his day. For Paul, Judaizing WAS NOT obedience to the Torah, or else all of Paul’s pro-Torah statements are nonsensical and contradictory. No, rather for Paul, Judaising was saying that obedience to Torah was mandatory as a requirement for salvation. This was the main thesis of the book of Galatians and the subject of the first Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. However, once saved according to the whole council of Scripture, one is duty bound to follow the Torah, which tells us how, as Paul states in Romans 13, how to fulfill the Torah, and as Yeshua states in the Gospels, how to love Elohim and our neighbor. Following the Torah is simply the fruit of the Spirit, while disobedience to it is the works of the flesh as Paul outlines in Galatians five. You see, Scott, you, to your credit, already follow much of YHVH’s Torah law. You don’t steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, covet, worship idols and so on. Where most people have a problem is with the Sabbath, biblical feasts and biblical dietary laws. These last three were the first biblical commands the ante-Nicene church fathers jettisoned because they were “too Jewish,” and the church has followed their errant ways ever since. If obeying YHVH’s Torah is Judaizing as you say, then so is not stealing, lying, coveting, murdering, etc. It’s simple logic. As James indicates, the YHVH’s Torah-laws all stand and fall together (Jas 2:10). As John states in chapter three of his first epistle, the Torah defines what sin is. So how can not sinning be a bad thing? Beyond this, to take a pick and choose approach to Torah-obedience is to follow the lie of the serpent at the tree of knowledge and to question Elohim as to what he has told us to do and to determine for ourselves what aspects of Elohim’s Word are valid and relevant for us or not. This, as Francis Schaeffer defines it, is the basis for the modern concept of secular humanism.

With regard to Hebrews chapter eight, I have addressed this chapter in my other writings, and I will do so again for your benefit on my blog right now. I invite you to go to it where you will find my response to your kind protestation.

Blessings and thank you for you comments. It has allowed me the occasion to deal with issues that keep needing to be addressed due to the misunderstandings of Scripture in mainstream, traditional Christianity.


From Natan Lawrence’s commentary on the Bible

Hebrews 8:6, Better covenant … better promises. (See Heb 9:11–15.) In the Greek, the word better is kreitton meaning “more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous, more excellent.” The Renewed Covenant is a better covenant for the reasons discussed in the notes in verse eight. In 2 Cor 3:7 calls it “the ministry of the Spirit” and refers to it as “more glorious” than the former covenant. The Renewed Covenant comes with Yeshua’s promise that from within our heart the Set-Apart Spirit will empower and lead us into all truth. Moreover, under the Renewed Covenant, the promise of salvation resulting in eternal life in the kingdom of Elohim is spelled out more clearly. The Renewed Covenant also carries with it relief from the penalty of the law, which is death, for those who put their faith in Yeshua’s atoning and substitutionary death (see notes at 2 Cor 3:7). Through the Spirit and blood of Yeshua, one’s sin conscience is now cleansed in that the guilt from sin is removed (Heb 9:14). Also, as discussed in the verse eight notes, the covenant (or contract) is the actual agreement between two parties. The terms and conditions of a covenant (or contract) are something else. Torah was the terms and conditions of YHVH’s agreement between himself and his people. When the author here uses phrase like “better covenant,” this in no way implies that the Torah has been abrogated. If this were true, then this flies in the face of what is said elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua to the contrary (e.g. Matt 5:17–19; Acts 21:24; 24:14; 25:8; Rom 3:31; 7:14; 1 John 2: 3–6; 3:4; Rev 12:17; 14:17; 22:14).

Hebrews 8:8, Finding fault with them. What was the fault of the first covenant? The Torah-law of Elohim, or the people who failed to abide by the terms of the covenant, i.e, the Torah? The next verse gives us the answer: “because they continued not in my covenant…” The Israelites were at fault.

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The Works of the Law Vs. the Works of Faith Explained

James 2:20–24, Faith without works is dead. James is referring here to the works of faith, not the works of the law. No man can live a good enough life to be saved by his Torah-obedience or the works of the law (Rom 3:20, 28; Gal 2:16; 3:11). 

At the same time, faith in Elohim is more than just mental ascent—“a knowing in your heart.” It has to be backed up by action (and we’re not talking about the works of the law). For example, when Elohim told Abraham to leave Babylon or to sacrifice Isaac, he obeyed by leaving that country and moving to Canaan. 

Moreover, many were healed in Yeshua’s ministry because they had faith in the Master and backed that faith up with corresponding action, which was the evidence of their faith. This faith-action continuum had nothing to do with Torah-obedience per se, but had everything to do with “putting your money where your mouth is” by backing up your faith or belief with action. 

It is this kind of faith that James is talking about here, and this in no wise contradicts the teachings of Paul who said that no man is justified by the works of the law. When Paul declares in Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Elohim, not of works…,” he was correct and not opposed to James. What’s more, Paul goes on to say in verse 10, “For we are [Elohim’s] workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works…that we should walk in them.” These good works (i.e. obedience to the Torah) are the fruits, evidence or proof of our salvation and are the works that back up our faith. 

So, in summary, the Bible teaches that we need the faith (a heart that believes and wants to obey Elohim) to lead us to salvation, as well as the works of faith after we have received Elohim’

 

On Blessings, Curses and Divine Judgment

Leviticus 26:1–46, Blessings and Curses Based on Obedience to YHVH’s Torah-Word

The corollary to this passage is Deuteronomy chapter 28. These judgments come upon a people who have forgotten their Elohim because they have been blessed materially and in their self-sufficiency have forgotten who is the source of their blessings. The Torah continually stresses that blessings are contingent upon obedience to YHVH. Similarly, Yeshua reveals that rewards in his everlasting kingdom are also contingent on obedience to his Torah-laws. The greater the obedience, the greater the reward (Matt 5:17).These principles are universal, yet how we tend to forget the cycles of history that repeat themselves over and over again like the unstoppable turning of giant millstone grinding into powder those who refuse to learn the lessons from the past. Each generation proudly asserts it’s exceptionalism and that, somehow, it’s immune to YHVH’s inexorable and immutable principles of divine judgment. Only in the perfect hindsight of history can we see the fallacy of this assumption. Ancient Israel failed to learn these lessons as have subsequent people who claimed to follow the Bible.

In the case of America, and Great Britain before her (and other formerly European Christian nations as well), there was in times past a national consciousness of core biblical values and, to one degree or another, a general public acknowledgement, acceptance of and respect for the Elohim of the Bible. However, as a nation becomes blessed, it reaches an apogee of prominence, power and wealth where it becomes rich and increased with goods and no longer needs Elohim—or so it thinks. It become fat and forgets the source of its wealth and falls into a state of self-sufficiency leading to spiritual blindness in that it fails to recognize its true spiritual state (recall YHVH’s warning to a lukewarm church in Rev 3:14–22). This can happen to individuals, churches and to whole societies.

Because YHVH loves his people and wants to walk among them, to be their Elohim and to bless them (Lev 26:12), when they disobey him and walk in ways that are harmful to their well-being, like any loving parent, he is forced to discipline them. Again and again he sends them his prophets and watchmen to warn them that they’re on a path of self-destruction. But because of pride, they refuse to humble themselves and repent (Lev 26:40–41). It’s the same old story over and over again. Human pride insists that “judgments can’t happen to us because we’re so special.” “All things will continue as they have from the beginning and no evil shall befall us” a self-assured society and individual retorts in mocking and scoffing tones to all those who would hold them accountable for their errant ways (2 Pet 3:3–7). If only the great people, nations and empires that have already trodden this well-worn path and are now in the dust bin of history could speak from their graves and this generation had heart ears to hear!

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The Bible advocates “slavery” but NOT in the way you think

Leviticus 25:42, Slaves. The Hebrew word slaves or bondmen is ebed meaning “slave, servant, man-servant, worshiper (of Elohim), servant (of Elohim, e.g. Levite, priest or prophet).” Ebed derives from the basic Hebrew root word and verb, abad, meaning “to work or serve.” The word abab refers to service that can be directed toward people, things or Elohim. In biblical usage, if directed toward things, abad can refer to tilling the earth, dressing a vineyard, working flax or constructing a city. When abad is used in reference to serving YHVH it can refer to Levitical and priestly service. In Hebraic thought, such service is considered joyous, not bondage. This same service can be directed toward pagan deities as well. When used in reference to serving another man, abad transforms into the noun ebed meaning “slave or servant.” As discussed below and as pointed out by The TWOT, the concept of Hebrew slavery isn’t akin to the modern concept of slavery where the slave possesses no basic human rights. This was not the case in ancient Israel. The Hebrew slave, on the other hand, occupied a position of status involving rights and trust. The Torah required this to be case as this and other Torah passages demonstrate.

Leviticus 25:45, You may buy. This passage advocates “slavery” among the Israelites. Yet, this is not the slavery the American Negroes, for example, experienced prior to the Civil War. It must be remembered that slavery was rife in the ancient world (as it still is, illegally, today in many countries). Often slaves, however, were able to own homes and livestock and to maintain families as was the case with the Israelites in Egypt and the Jews in Babylon. In this case, these slaves were more like servants or feudal serfs. For example, in Israel, the Gibeonites became the slaves of Israel, but they continued to dwell in their own cities, and enjoy Israel’s military protection (Josh 9). Also, it must be remembered that when Israel conquered an opponents’ land or army, they often inherited slaves from those countries or slaves from other countries the conquered country itself had enslaved. What were the Israelites to do with these people who had been dispossessed of their lands? Send them back to countries that no longer existed, or to which they were no longer welcome? Send them back into heathen situations? Instead, YHVH allowed Israel to bring these captured people into Israel where they could live among a Torah-obedient people who worshipped the God of Israel, YHVH Elohim, where they would be taught to love Elohim totally and their neighbors as themselves. In time, these slaves would be assimilated into the tribes of Israel through intermarriage and become part of Israel and thus be elevated in their social status. In this sense, slavery was a means of evangelizing those who found themselves in the lowest echelons of the ancient world. It was ostensibly a way to bring them into the ways of the Torah thereby elevating them spiritually and socially from their previous enslaved heathen condition.

Leviticus 25:55, Are my servants [or slave.] Here YHVH declares that “the children of Israel are my slaves [or servants, Heb. ebed], whom I have taken out of the land of Egypt—I am YHVH, your Elohim.” Here YHVH states dogmatically that he brought or redeemed the Israelites out of slavery to Egypt so that they could become his slaves. Does this trouble you? Being a slave of YHVH didn’t seem to trouble the apostles of Yeshua who referred to themselves many times as YHVH’s bondservants or slaves (e.g. Rom 1:1; Tit 1:1; Jas 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1; Jude 1:1; Rev 1:1). Perhaps their view of slavery is different than ours. Did they not see two categories of slavery and that all humans fall into one or the other category: slavery to the world, flesh and the devil that leads to death as compared to “slavery” to the Word and the Spirit of YHVH that leads to life? There is no escape. One is either a slave to the law of sin and death or to the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua (Rom 8:1–2). Those who have been redeemed by the blood of Yeshua have become Yeshua’s purchased possession as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20:

What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Set-Apart Spirit which is in you, which you have of Elohim, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify Elohim in your body, and in your spirit, which are Elohim’s.

Do you live your life, make choices, do or don’t do things, say or don’t say things every day with the realty that your are a slave to YHVH? Is Yeshua truly your Lord and Master? It is easy to make the claims that he is, but living out the reality is a totally different things!

 

Was Paul still “under” the sacrificial system?

Acts 21:23–27, Vow. When Paul offered a sacrifice, is this proof that the sacrificial system is still in force today, even after the death of Yeshua the Messiah on the cross? Some people say yes despite what the writer of Hebrew’s lengthy discussion about how Yeshua’s death replaced the sacrificial and Levitical systems (Heb chapters 8–11; 10:10). 

The rituals that Paul and his fellow Israelites did in Acts 21 actually fits the description of one who is coming out of a Nazirite vow (see Num 6:1–21). This was a sin offering and was the only way that the Torah allows one who has taken a Nazirite vow legally to terminate his vow to Elohim. A sacrifice was to be made at the door of the tabernacle (later the temple) by a priest. 

Today, one can’t technically do a Nazarite vow, since there is no way legally to come out of it unless, of course, one stays a Nazirite until he dies. This is because there is no tabernacle or temple, and there is no Aaronic priest who is available to make the sacrifice. However, in Paul’s day, the priesthood still existed, and the temple still stood. 

The sacrifice for coming out of a Nazarite vow is the only example of a disciple of Yeshua performing any sacrifice after Yeshua’s resurrection. Therefore, this sacrifice was a special exception for believers doing a sacrifice, else how could one legally come out of a Nazarite vow?

Why would Paul involve himself in a sin-sacrifice in Acts 21:24 after the death of Yeshua? We mustn’t read too much into the text. It is true that coming out of a Nazarite vow involved a sin offering. However, Acts doesn’t say that Paul was coming out of his own Nazarite vow. What the text says is that he was acting as a wealthy patron—an act of charity—for four individuals who, presumably were unable to afford the costs of paying for the necessary sacrifices to exit a Nazarite vow. 

Admittedly, this is a perplexing passage. None of the Bible commentaries I examined on this text could give an adequate explanation as to why Paul would involve himself in this particular ceremony to prove to the Jerusalem mob that he was Torah-observant. The Acts text just doesn’t give us enough background information on the subject. One thing seems certain though. Paul was not making a sin offering for himself. His paying for the sacrifices of the Nazarites seems to have been a public relations gesture to appease those in the Jewish mob who were slandering him. It is a logical overreach and reading into the text to take Paul’s act of charity as him making a doctrinal statement favoring the continued validity of the sacrificial system after the death Yeshua, especially in light of what the other apostolic writers had to say about Yeshua’s fulfilling that system by his death. Certainly, the writer of Hebrews makes this point abundantly clear.

Acts 21:25, Observe no such thing. The phrase “that they should observe no such thing, except” is a dubious one and is not found in all the oldest and reliable Greek NT manuscripts. I suspect this is an example where the KJV got it wrong. My NKJV has a footnote attached to this phrase saying that it’s not found in the Alexandrian family of NT texts. Furthermore, it’s not in the Aramaic Peshitta. Therefore, I suspect that this phrase was a scribal addition and was not in the original autographs, especially since it is inconsistent with the rest of the Scriptures including the writings of Paul.

 

The Bible on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Leviticus 19:19, Livestock breed with another kind…sow your field with mixed seed.

What does the Torah have to say about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or foods? This verse addresses the issue. The type of genetic modification of plants and animals that we’re concerned about is that of forcing the DNA of one species into that of another. In reality, it’s a form of man-induced macro-evolution where one species takes on the characteristics of another species. Micro-evolution is a natural phenomenon that occurs between like plant and animal species (e.g. diverse kinds of cats, apples, palm trees, etc.).This can occur naturally (called adaptation) and through the human-induced processes of hybridization. This isn’t a bad thing, in most cases. However, there are no examples of macro-evolution in the creation despite evolutionists’ best efforts to prove otherwise. Evolutionists have failed to find the missing links between monkeys and men, or lizards and birds, or slime and amphibians—at least not until genetic engineering came along. Now through genetic engineering they can create the missing link. This is not only an affront to the Creator, and goes contrary to the Bible, but it’s the opening of a Pandora’s box of all sorts of unintended evil consequences where man is playing God, while not knowing what the consequences will be.

The ancient biblical writings are amazingly prescient on this issue when the Torah forbids the mixing of dissimilar species (such as seeds and animal species), which were separated in the creation by Elohim, and which he established to reproduce after their own kind.

The Creator simply commands men not to mix diverse kinds (species) without giving the reasons. We are to assume that he knows best whether we understand the technical reasons or not.

Since the recent emergence of the science of genetic engineering and the negative consequences of some aspects of it, perhaps the Creator’s prohibitions against mixing dissimilar species now makes more sense.

Here are the scriptural prohibitions:

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. (Lev 19:19)

Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. (Deut 22:9)

Here are some excerpts from some Bible commentaries on Leviticus 19:19 pertaining to this subject:

These practices might have been considered as altering the original constitution of God in creation; and this is the view which the Jews, and also Josephus and Philo, take of the subject. (The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on Lev 19:19)

God in the beginning made the cattle after their kind (Gen 1:25), and we must acquiesce in the order of nature God hath established, believing that is best and sufficient, and not covet monsters. Add thou not unto his works, lest he reprove thee; for it is the excellency of the work of God that nothing can, without making it worse, be either put to it or taken from it, Eccl 3:14. As what God has joined we must not separate, so what he has separated we must not join. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Lev 19:19)

By these laws the observance of the natural order and separation of things is made a duty binding on the Israelites…as a divine ordinance founded in the creation itself (Gen 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25). All symbolic, mystical, moral, and utilitarian reasons that have been supposed to lie at the foundation of these commands, are foreign to the spirit of the law. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the OT on Lev 19:19).

God created the world with certain distinct species, and His wisdom decreed that these species remain intact and unadulterated. For man to take it upon himself to alter the order of Creation suggest a lack of faith in God’s plan. Moreover, each species on earth is directed by a Heavenly force, so that the earthly species represents profound spiritual forces. To tamper with them is to cause harm that earth-bound man cannot fathom. (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash on Lev 19:19)

…God’s Creation should be permitted to function according to the laws of nature that He instituted, without tampering by man. It should be noted that these laws of mixture are limited to specific matters [i.e. cross-mixing of species], and do not limit the infinite number of alloys or combinations that are so much a part of modern life. To the contrary, man is duty bound to improve the world and, in a sense, “complete” the work of the Creation. (The ArtScroll Tanach Series Levticus Commentary on Lev 19:19)

With regard to GMO foods, there is also the issue of what is biblically kosher or not. If foods are genetically altered, who knows if what one thinks he is eating actually is totally that. Within the milk you’re drinking or the steak that you’re eating, for example, there may be genes from an unkosher animal. 

 

Does Acts 15 Permit Christians to Ignore the Torah-laws of Elohim?

Really?????????

Acts 15:1, Custom of Moses. My best understanding with regard to the “custom” or “manner” of Moses as mentioned in Acts 15:1 this: The principle of circumcision both of the flesh and the heart is from the Father and speaks to the need of humans to be heart circumcised of which physical circumcision of males (who are the spiritual heads of their homes, thus representing what needs to occur to the whole family both male and female) is but a symbol of a higher, spiritual and more important reality, namely, that of spiritual circumcision. So the overall principle comes from the Father. How it was specifically implemented and applied in daily life, or the exact details of how the law was walked out, was sometimes specific to the era in which humans are living. This is a fundamental distinction between the basic, eternal and over-arching principles of the Elohim’s Torah-law compared to “the law of Moses.” The principles of the former are for all time and for all people, while the latter are the specifics of how those principles are applied in the daily lives of a particular people at a particular time. Some of these specific laws may or may not apply to us today. For example, how many of us now use an ox for work or transpiration? We don’t, but the principle of the ox in the ditch still apply, even though most of us have never even seen an ox much less own or use one. The eternal principles of the Torah, like the ox in the ditch scenario, never change, but exactly how these principles are applied may vary from one generation and culture to another. This concept is very different than what the Christian church teaches about the law of Moses, which they say was “fulfilled” by Yeshua, which they take to mean was “done away with” or abrogated, so that we no longer have to do it. This concept, of course, is fundamentally flawed and illogical and is patently absurd. If it were true, then it would be now permissible to murder, lie, have sex with animals, not have to tithe to your church, etc., etc.

The law of Moses or the customs of Moses (which were also from Elohim) was the Torah put into a written or codified form like a national constitution that could then be referred to as a legal guide for governing a physical nation. That is the fundamental technical distinction, as I understand it, between the Torah and the law of Moses. The over-arching principles of the Torah are in no way nullified or abrogated by the law of Moses, since they really are one and the same, and Scripture uses the terms interchangeably, since one doesn’t contradict the other. However, the law of Moses is the application of those principles to the nation of Israel, which existed thousands of years ago in the Middle East and was basically an agrarian society with a tabernacle and priesthood, and was before the cross. Many of these conditions no longer exist for us today (as the Epistle to the Hebrews) points out, so how some of these eternal principles of the Torah are applied may not be the same for us today as they were in ancient times. For example, we can no longer stone people for willfully breaking the Sabbath, committing adultery or homosexuality, or being a witch, even though the Torah dictates the death penalty for these sins. That doesn’t mean that such people won’t die. The wages of sin is still death, and YHVH will ultimately pronounce a death penalty upon all unrepentant sinners (i.e. the lake of fire) at the white throne judgment. We humans just don’t carry out the death penalty upon offenders here and now as occurred under the law of Moses.

The “custom of Moses” with regard to circumcision is based on Exodus 12:48, where the law required that all males to be circumcised before being allowed to partake of Passover. In other words, be part of Israel, one had to become circumcised and observe the Passover and all Israel was required to do so (Exod 12:47). Foreigners were forbidden from keeping the Passover (Exod 12:43) until they were circumcised. From this, the Pharisees of the first century got the idea that circumcision is a prerequisite for salvation. In opposition to this false concept, Paul points out in Romans chapter four that Abraham was justified by faith, not by the rite of circumcision. After all, Abraham come into a relationship with YHVH 24 years before being circumcised. Therefore, the custom of circumcision as a prerequisite for inclusion within the nation of Israel was merely a physical requirement to be part of a physical nation. It is, however, not a requirement to be part of the spiritual nation of redeemed Israel or, as Paul calls it, the Israel of God (or Elohim, Gal 6:16), of which the saints are a part. Circumcision wasn’t a requirement for Abraham to be saved, and it isn’t a requirement for us to be saved either, again, as Paul points out in Romans chapter four. The custom of Moses requiring Israelite men to be circumcised was necessary in order to protect the sanctity and integrity of the physical nation of Israel from foreign and pagan influences and was not prior to or subsequent to the physical nation of Israel intended to be a prerequisite for eternal salvation as Paul, again, makes clear in Romans chapter four.

Acts 15:10, Yoke on the neck. Many Christian commentators teach that Peter is making a reference to the Torah when he speaks of a yoke being put around the neck of the people of Israel meaning that Torah-observance was an impossibility. Yet, Moses told the Israelites that Torah-obedience wasn’t impossible (Deut 30:11–14), and that it would be a source of life to them (v. 19), and would be a source of wisdom and understanding for them, thus eliciting the curiosity of the surrounding nations (Deut 4:6–8). Were Moses and Peter at odds with each other thus violating the unity of Elohim’s Word (John 10:35)? Or was Peter referring to something else other than the Torah-law of Moses? At issue in the Acts 15 Jerusalem council was whether circumcision was a prerequisite for salvation (Acts 15:1). True, the Law of Moses required all male children to be circumcised on the eighth day (Lev 12:2–3), and all males to be circumcised in order for one to partake of Passover (Exod 12:43–49). This later requirement may be construed to mean that circumcision is a prerequisite for salvation, and evidently some of the Pharisees of that day held to this belief. However, in the Testimony of Yeshua, neither Yeshua nor the apostolic writers make salvation dependent on the rite of physical circumcision. This position is correct, since Abraham come into a spiritual relationship with YHVH some 24 years before he was circumcised, as Paul states in Romans chapter four. The emphasis in the Testimony of Yeshua, rather, is placed on circumcision of the heart, which is the higher spiritual principle—even as it was in Moses’ day (Deut 10:16; 30:6)—to which physical circumcision pointed. 

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