As a child I was taught not to engage in conversation with anyone that believes differently concerning religion. This carried through to my adulthood where I would dread anyone that came door to door pedaling religion for fear of having to engage with them. I suppose the fear comes from being weak in faith and that somehow one could easily become persuaded into a “cult”.
1 Timothy 6:3–5 (LEB)
3 If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not devote himself to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, 4 he is conceited, understanding nothing, but having a morbid interest concerning controversies and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, slanders, evil suspicions, 5 constant wrangling by people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who consider godliness to be a means of gain.
The people that hold to the belief that Paul is the only person from whom those coming from the gentiles are to receive their doctrine, should be able to clearly see that he is telling us in his letter to Timothy to devote ourselves to the words of Yeshua the Messiah and teaching that is in accordance with godliness. Yeshua taught the scriptures and that is the only place to find teaching in accordance with godliness, so by this statement the theory that we are only to listen to Paul is negated by Paul himself. He also told us to have nothing to do with people teaching any other gospel.
Galatians 1:6–10 (LEB)
6 I am astonished that you are turning away so quickly from the one who called you by the grace of Christ to a different gospel, 7 not that there is a different gospel, except there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim a gospel to you contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let him be accursed! 9 As we said before, and now I say again, if anyone is proclaiming a gospel to you contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed! 10 For am I now making an appeal to people or to God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.
In the letter to the Galatians, Paul is accusing the people of turning away from the one who called them, the Creator, by the grace given through Messiah Yeshua. He says we should not listen to anyone who proclaims a different gospel, and there is not another gospel, only distortions of the gospel of the Messiah. There is only one gospel, and not one for Jews and one for non-Jews or “gentiles” as some sects of dispensationalism theology teach. He also says to be a slave of the Messiah, not of people; therefore, we should only be concerned with what Messiah Yeshua thinks of us.
I am now likely considered to be someone who is preaching another gospel by many Christians because I speak continually against the gospel of dispensationalism theology in my blog posts. I only do so because I was captivated by this false doctrine in my life without understanding this was the doctrine I was being taught. Now I want other people confused by this doctrine to understand it is a new way to read the scriptures and a bad interpretation. It is not the gospel Paul was teaching. If I came to the door of my former self, that old me would be hiding behind a closed curtain hoping the new me would think no one was home. It was to my former self that the letter to the Galatians applied. The Galatians were starting to return to the traditions of men forsaking the commandments of God, which Yeshua taught against. Peter also wrote a letter to the Galatians.
1 Peter 1:1–2 (LEB)
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen who are residing temporarily in the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Peter was talking to the dispersion, the lost sheep of the house of Israel. These were the ones that were cut off for sin, the prodigal son, who was lost among those in the nations with their idolatry. Through the seeding of the nations it enabled the whole world to be saved through “the sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ”. Jesus Christ is just a Greek variation of the name Messiah Yeshua.
If one does not understand the covenant at Mount Horeb, Peter’s intro, “for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ‘ may be hard to understand. The covenant at Mount Horeb was ratified between Israel and Yahuah, Creator of everything, with the blood of bulls being sprinkled on them. This eternal covenant was renewed, or made new, with the sprinkling of Messiah’s blood in the heavenly tabernacle. I believe this is the significance of the bread and wine of communion. By drinking the wine and eating the bread we are agreeing to the covenant. The covenant was not the law, it was an agreement to do what God said (obedience) and He would do what He said. In the new covenant, God’s laws are written on our hearts instead of stone tablets. This is done through the work of the holy Spirit.
Hebrews 9:18–28 (LEB)
18 Therefore not even the first covenant was ratified without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, 20 saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded for you.”
21 And likewise he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the utensils of service with the blood. 22 Indeed, nearly everything is purified with blood according to the law, and apart from the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23 Therefore it was necessary for the sketches of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves to be purified with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf, 25 and not in order that he can offer himself many times, as the high priest enters into the sanctuary year by year with blood not his own, 26 since it would have been necessary for him to suffer many times from the foundation of the world, but now he has appeared once at the end of the ages for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this, judgment, 28 thus also Christ, having been offered once in order to bear the sins of many, will appear for the second time without reference to sin to those who eagerly await him for salvation.
Peter was reminding people of all of this just in the opening line of his letter. The people he wrote to were obviously familiar with these concepts, where today we generally are not taught this in most Christian churches. Peter also tells the people in Galatia to be holy, meaning set apart or different then the rest of the world.
1 Peter 1:13–21 (LEB)
13 Therefore, when you have prepared your minds for action by being self-controlled, put your hope completely in the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former desires you used to conform to in your ignorance, 15 but as the one who called you is holy, you yourselves be holy in all your conduct, 16 for it is written, “You will be holy, because I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves with fear during the time of your temporary residence, 18 because you know that you were redeemed from your futile way of life inherited from your ancestors not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb 20 who was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has been revealed in these last times for you 21 who through him are believing in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Peter is telling the Galatians, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former desires you used to conform to in your ignorance”, then quoting the Torah about being holy. What is he telling the Galatians to be obedient to if not the commandments of God? Is this a different gospel than Paul was preaching? I hope not, because if it is, we may as well abandon the whole thing and play video games. Is Peter speaking to Jews only and Paul speaking to gentiles? That would be two gospels and Paul claimed there was only one gospel, and one people of God through Messiah. First, let’s look at the references Peter was quoting. “Be Holy for I am Holy”, is the way Peter was telling the Galatians to live. One reference is that of the ten commandments.
Leviticus 19:1–4 (LEB)
19 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the community of the Israelites, and say to them, ‘You must be holy, because I, Yahweh your God, am holy. 3 Each of you must revere your mother and your father, and you must keep my Sabbaths; I am Yahweh your God. 4 You must not turn to idols, and you must not make for yourselves gods of cast metal; I am Yahweh your God.
Staying holy is also not being like the nations who eat everything when the one who created all things says, “these are not food for you”.
Leviticus 20:24–26 (LEB)
24 So I said to you, “You yourselves shall take possession of their land, and I myself shall give it to you to possess it—a land flowing with milk and honey”; I am Yahweh your God, who has set you apart from the nations. 25 And you shall distinguish between the clean and the unclean animal and between the unclean and the clean bird; and you shall not defile yourselves with the animal or with the bird or with anything that moves along the ground that I have set apart for you as unclean. 26 And you shall be holy for me, because I, Yahweh, am holy, and I have singled you out from the nations to be mine.
The problem with the people in Galatia, in part, was that they were returning to their former pagan ways. They followed the signs in the heavens, the fairies and mythological traditions. The Galatians descended from the Celts which some believe were from the Chaldeans. Christianity follows some of the pagan traditions handed down from the Celts. The following is from the World History Encyclopedia.
Galatia was a region in north-central Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) settled by the Celtic Gauls c. 278-277 BCE. The name comes from the Greek for “Gaul” which was repeated by Latin writers as Galli. The Celts were offered the region by the king of neighboring Bithynia, Nicomedes I (r. 278-255 BCE) and established themselves in three provinces made up of four cantons (wards) comprised of city-states (known as oppidum) governed, respectively, by the three tribes which made up the initial group: the Tectosages, Trocmil, and Tolistogogii.
Another issue in Galatia was that a certain sect of Jews, called the circumcision party, were teaching that a person had to be circumcised to be saved. Paul said these people were not even following the law themselves. I can relate to that. People telling me I had to do this or that to be saved and they were not even doing it themselves behind closed doors. Luke 11:46 (LEB), So he said, “Woe to you also, legal experts, because you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers!“ Yeshua did not teach the laws of Judaism, He taught the laws of God. If one studies the laws of first century Judaism, when Paul speaks about the law, it is much easier to understand what he is talking about.
Galatians 6:11–16 (LEB)
11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 As many as are wanting to make a good showing in the flesh, these are attempting to compel you to be circumcised, only so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised observe the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised in order that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But as for me, may it never be that I boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And all those who follow this rule, peace and mercy be on them and on the Israel of God.
The book of Acts records a letter sent to the people of the nations coming into the faith and reinforces this idea that they should be taught in accordance with the way Yeshua taught holiness. That was through the words of God given through Moses and Israel.
Acts 15:19–21 (LEB)
19 Therefore I conclude we should not cause difficulty for those from among the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but we should write a letter to them to abstain from the pollution of idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood. 21 For Moses has those who proclaim him in every city from ancient generations, because he is read aloud in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
I recently read that these items the gentile converts were to start with were from the same list that any non-Jew would have to adhere to in order to enter the courts of the temple. It all makes perfect sense because we are talking about the same God. The Father of Yeshua is the same God that gave the rules of holiness, dictated the functions of the temple and sent His Spirit to guide and convict the followers of Galatia. The Spirit of grace convicts us of sin which is defined by breaking God’s laws. It is very simple.
1 John 3:4–8 (LEB)
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that that one was revealed in order that he might take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 Everyone who resides in him does not sin. Everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you: the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as that one is righteous. 8 The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this reason the Son of God was revealed: in order to destroy the works of the devil.
How can anyone say they love God yet hate His laws and commands? How can anyone say they love Jesus (Yeshua), God’s word made flesh, and hate God’s word or Torah? Those serving the one and true God cannot make up their own gods. That is what the rest of the world does.
Psalm 1:1–6 (LEB)
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the advice of the wicked; nor does he stand in the way of sinners; nor does he sit in the assembly of mockers. 2 Instead, in the law of Yahweh is his delight, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 And so, he is like a tree planted by streams of water that gives its fruit in its season; its leaf also does not wither. Therefore all that he does prospers. 4 Not so the wicked. Instead, they are like the chaff that the wind scatters. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
The Psalmist is writing about God’s laws. The Hebrew word in this Psalm for “law” is Torah. The word “Torah” comes from the verb “Yorah” which means to teach or shoot like an archer. It is the straight way, mark or bull’s eye.
Luke 13:22–28 (LEB)
22 And he was going throughout towns and villages, teaching and making his journey toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, are there only a few who are saved?” And he said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able to, 25 when once the master of the house has gotten up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ And he will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from!’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets!’ 27 And he will reply, saying to you, ‘I do not know where you are from! Go away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown outside!
I believe wholeheartedly that I used to listen to that distorted gospel that Paul warned about. It did not come from some stranger knocking at my door with a different gospel. It came from the very place I was hoping to find the truth. It came from gods that I made up thinking it was the one true God. It is not hard following the instructions of the Creator, it is men that make it hard. Yeshua came to teach Torah the way it was intended and sprinkled his blood so we can follow his teaching. I certainly do not want to be in that place where I can see Isaac, Abraham and all the prophets, yet not be able to be with them, cast aside as an evil doer for not loving the ways of God. This picture of the narrow door and people shut outside gnashing their teeth should at least cause people to continually seek God and study his word. Messiah warned us. Don’t be deceived.
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