FOOTSTEPS OF THE APOSTLES
DID YOU KNOW that, if followers of the Messiah were no longer required to keep the commands in the Torah, the apostles appeared to be unaware of that change?
Consider the following Scriptures:
Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that YHVH is good; blessed is the man seeking refuge in Him.”
1 Peter 2:1-3, “Then laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil words, as newborn babes desire the pure soul-nourishing milk, that you may grow by it; if indeed you tasted that YHVH is good . . .”
Isaiah 28:9-10, “To whom shall He teach knowledge? And to whom shall He explain the message? Those weaned from milk, those moving from breasts? For precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line; line on line; here a little, there a little.”
1 Corinthians 3:1-2, “And, brothers, I was not able to speak to you as to spiritual ones, but as to fleshly ones, as to babes in Messiah. I gave you milk to drink, and not food, for you were not then able, for neither are you yet able now. For you are yet fleshly.”
1 Peter 1:21-25, “. . .the ones believing in Elohim through Him (Y’hoshua). He (YHVH) raising Him (Y’hoshua) from the dead, and giving glory to Him so that your faith and hope may be in YHVH. Having purified your souls in the obedience of the truth
through the Spirit to unpretended brotherly love, love one another fervently out of a pure heart, having been generated, not by corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the living Word of YHVH, and remaining forever. Because all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of men as the flower of grass; the grass was dried, and its flower fell out, but the Word of YHVH remains forever. And this is the Word as gospel to you.”
Isaiah 40:5-8, “And the glory of YHVH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together, for the mouth of YHVH has spoken. A voice said, ‘Cry!’ And he said, ‘What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all its grace as the flower of the field! The grass withers, the flower fades because the Spirit of YHVH blows on it. Surely the people is grass. The grass withers; the flower fades; but the Word of our Elohim shall rise forever”’
John 17:6, “I revealed Your name to the men whom You gave to Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me; and they have kept Your Word.”
John 17:17, “Sanctify them (set them apart) in Your Truth; Your Word is Truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15, “Earnestly study to present yourself approved to YHVH, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”
John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Galatians 5:7, “You were running well; who held you back, that you do not obey the truth?”
2 Timothy 3:14-17, “But you keep on in what you learned and were assured of, knowing from whom you learned, and that from a babe you know the Holy Scriptures, those being able to make you wise to salvation through belief in the Messiah Y’hoshua. All Scripture is YHVH-breathed and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, so that the man of YHVH may be perfected, being fully furnished for every good work.”
Deuteronomy 6:24-25, “And YHVH commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear YHVH our Elohim for our good forever, to keep us alive, as today. And it shall be righteousness for us when we take heed to do all this commandment before YHVH our Elohim, as He has commanded us.”
Psalm 119:142, “Your righteousness is forever, and Your Torah is truth.”
Luke 16:17, “But it is easier for the heaven and the earth to pass away than for one point of the Torah to fail.”
Luke 11:27-28, “And it happened in His (Y’hoshua’s) saying these things, lifting up her voice out of the crowd a certain woman said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb having borne You and the breasts which You sucked.’ But He said, ‘No, rather, blessed are those hearing the Word of YHVH, and keeping it.’ ”
When speaking of the Word of YHVH, better understanding comes from knowing these two Hebrew words and their definitions:
Hear = sh’mah = to hear intelligently, with the implication of obedience.
Keep = shamar = to hedge about, as with thorns, i.e. guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.
James 1:22, “But become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Romans 2:13, “For not the hearers of the Torah are just with YHVH, but the doers of the Torah will be justified (declared innocent).”
Luke 16:31, “And he said to him, ‘If they will not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if one from the dead should arise.’ ”
Exodus 19:9, “And YHVH said to Moses, ‘Behold, I come to you in a darkness of clouds, so that the people may hear My speaking with you, and in you they may believe forever. . .’ ”
Luke 24:25-27, “And He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe on all things which the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things, and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning from Moses, and from all the prophets, He explained to them the things about Himself in all the Scriptures.”
Luke 24:44-45, “And He spoke to them, ‘These are the Words which I spoke to you yet being with you, that all the things must be fulfilled having been written in the Law (the Torah) of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms, concerning Me.’ Then He opened up their mind to understand the Scriptures.”
John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures, for you think in them you have everlasting life. And they are the ones witnessing concerning Me.”
John 1:45, “Philip finds Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found (the One) of whom Moses wrote in the Torah and the Prophets, Y’hoshua the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’”
Romans 15:4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our instruction, that through patience and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Acts 6:11-14, “Then they induced men saying, ‘We have heard him (Stephen) speaking blasphemous words against Moses and Elohim!’ And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes. And coming on, they together seized him and led him into the Sanhedrin. And they stood up false witnesses saying, ‘This man does not cease speaking blasphemous words against this holy place and the Torah; for we have heard him saying that this Y’hoshua the Nazarene will destroy this place and will change the customs which Moses delivered over to us.’”
John 5:46-47, “For if you were believing Moses, you would then believe Me; for that one wrote concerning Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My Words?”
Psalm 118:8, “It is better to trust in YHVH than to trust in man.”
1 John 3:21-24, “Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence with YHVH. And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments, and we do the things pleasing before Him. And this is His commandment, that we should believe in the name of His Son, Y’hoshua (YHVH is Deliverer) the Messiah, and love one another, even as He (YHVH) gave command to us. And the one keeping His commandments abides in Him (YHVH), and He (YHVH) in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He gave to us.”
Acts 5:29-32, “But answering Peter and the apostles said, ‘It is right to obey YHVH rather than man. The Elohim of our fathers raised up Y’hoshua, whom you seized, hanging (Him) on a tree. This One YHVH has exalted a Ruler and Savior to His right, to give to Israel repentance and remission of sins. And we are His witnesses of these things, and also the Holy (Set-apart) Spirit, whom YHVH gave to those obeying Him.’”
Acts 2:1-4, “And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost (Shavuot), they were all with one mind in the same place. And suddenly a sound came out of the heaven, as being borne along by a violent wind! And it filled all the house where they were sitting. And tongues as of fire appeared to them, being distributed, and it sat on each one of them. And they were all filled of the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave to them to speak.”
What if the apostles had chosen to be elsewhere that day? What if they thought the Torah had been abrogated? What if they had decided to substitute other feasts for the appointed times of YHVH? They would have missed receiving the Spirit, wouldn’t they?
The apostles were obedient; and, in their obedience, they received the Spirit. But what if you have not made the decision to be obedient to the Word of YHVH? Then, Messiah says you are one of the lawless ones.
• If you go to church on Sunday instead of keeping the seventh day, the Sabbath of YHVH, which He set apart and blessed, then you are performing a lawless act.
• If you celebrate Christmas and Easter, or ”Resurrection Day,” instead of the appointed times of YHVH, you are committing lawless acts.
• If you eat flesh that YHVH calls unclean, this too is a lawless act.
In Matthew 10:33, the Messiah says that, “ . . . whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny him before My Father in Heaven.” This verse appears to have no bearing upon our discussion about lawless acts, until you check the definition in Strong’s Concordance. There you will find that the very first definition is contradict.
Most assuredly, the word does mean to deny, but it also means to contradict. In this context, let’s look at Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I came to annul the Law (the Torah) or the Prophets; I did not come to annul, but to fulfill. Truly I say to you, ‘Until the heaven and the earth should pass away, in no way shall one iota of one point pass away from the Torah until all things should occur.’ ”
This passage has been twisted to mean that the Torah has been abrogated, which is untrue. Look at the words once more:
• Aren’t heaven and earth still here? And they are, so the Torah is still in effect according to the Messiah’s words.
• Luke 24:44-45, quoted on the preceding page, says that the Messiah came to fulfill the prophesies in the Torah, the Prophets and the Psalms about Himself. He did not – and could not – fulfill the commandments given for us to obey, for we have the right to exercise our free will. The commandments test whether or not we will do things according to the instructions given to Moses, or whether we will choose to follow the ways of the world. It is a matter of trust. If we trust YHVH, we will do what He said. If we do not trust Him, we will not do what He said.
• It would be extremely difficult to find anyone who believes that all prophecy has been fulfilled. However, for those who might believe that there is nothing more to be fulfilled, it would mean that the Messiah has come and the adversary has been bound. On the other hand, if that is untrue – and of course it is -- then the Torah is still in effect to this very day, according to the words of the Messiah.
Therefore, if anyone tells you that the Torah is no longer valid for today, they are contradicting the Messiah!
“. . . YHVH is light, and no darkness is in Him, none! If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and we walk in darkness, we lie and are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of His Son Y’hoshua the Messiah cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7
Proverbs 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp, and the Torah a light . . ."
The Messiah walked in the Way of YHVH and kept perfectly His instructions for having life, the Torah. Step by step, He showed the Way to the apostles and to us. “And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commands. The (one) saying, ‘I have known Him, and not keeping His commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that one. But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of YHVH has been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him. The (one) claiming to rest in Him ought so to walk himself as that (One) walked.” 1 John 2:3-6
The call from YHVH is still the same today as it was in the beginning, there on the mountain, where He gave His Word to Moses: “I call Heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, that you may live, you and your seed, to love YHVH your Elohim, to listen to His voice, and to cleave to Him
. . .” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
If you reject His call to obedience, your fate will be the same as the man in this parable who had no wedding garment: “And the king coming in to look over those reclining (at the wedding feast) he saw a man there not having been dressed in a wedding garment. ‘Friend, how did you come in here, not having a wedding garment?’ But he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Binding his feet and hands, take him away and throw (him) out into the outer darkness.’ There shall be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. For many are called, but few chosen (deemed worthy).” Matthew 22:11-14
“Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but the (ones) who do the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many works of power?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, those working lawlessness!’ ” Matthew 7:21-23
Remember: Sin = transgression of the Torah (1 John 3:4) = lawlessness.
“. . . For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers transforming themselves into apostles of Messiah. And did not Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light? (It is) not a great thing, then, if also his ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
If a teacher teaches anything other than what is written in this Book, he is teaching traditions of men – not Scripture: “. . .and in vain (folly) they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Mark 7:7
In Mark 7:9, the Messiah is speaking to the scribes and the Pharisees about their traditions, but don’t these same words apply to those who celebrate the “Christianized” pagan festivals of Christmas and Easter instead of learning about and doing the appointed times commanded by YHVH? Just listen: “And He said to them, ‘All too well you reject the commandment of YHVH, that you may keep your tradition?’ ”
Is it not plain that you cannot mix the traditions of men with the things of YHVH and still be acceptable to Him? Did the Messiah die and take away our sins, just so we could keep doing them?
Before you try to answer these questions, please read the following words from Paul:
“So, then brothers, stand firm and strongly hold the teachings you were taught, whether by word or by our letter.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15
• The word translated teachings is #3862, which means transmission, i.e. (concretely) a precept; specifically the Jewish traditionary law (the traditions established by YHVH).
In other words, Paul was teaching the Torah to those who did not know the Torah and telling them to stand firm and hold tightly to all the statutes, ordinances and commands that he had been explaining to them, whether in person or by letter!
Additionally, in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, he said, “So that if anyone is in Messiah, (that one) is a new creation, the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. And all things are from YHVH, the (One) having reconciled us to Himself through Y’hoshua the Messiah, and having given to us the ministry of reconciliation, as YHVH was in Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not charging (imputing) their deviations to them, and having put the Word of reconciliation in us. Then on behalf of Messiah, we are ambassadors, as YHVH is exhorting through us, we beseech on behalf of Messiah, ‘Be reconciled to YHVH.’ For He made the (One) who knew no sin, (to be) sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of YHVH in Him.”?
We cannot be reconciled to a righteous Elohim holding tightly to our baggage of lawlessness, for we are to come out of the world – not try to bring it with us!
We can accept YHVH, and what He did for us through the Messiah Y’hoshua, or we can reject Him; and, in rejecting Him, we also will be rejecting the Messiah.
This is not a game! It is a life and death decision. Will you repent and turn back in obedience to YHVH, and be reconciled to Him in righteousness? Or will you shun obedience in favor of those particular traditions that you love?
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also (imitate) Messiah.”
If you do not take Paul’s words to heart, then consider this parable: “And one said to Him, Master, are the ones being saved few?’ But He said to them, ‘Labor to enter in through the narrow gate, for I say to you that many will seek to enter in and will not have strength. From the time the Master of the house shall have risen up, and He shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ”Lord, Lord, open to us.” And answering, He will say to you, ‘I do not know you, from where you are. Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ And He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, from where you are. Stand back from Me all workers of unrighteousness!’ ” Luke 13:23-27
Can you see the contradiction in the statement that is so often made by Christians, that they believe both the Torah and the New Testament – every word – and yet have made absolutely no commitment whatsoever to do what it says?
If this describes your thoughts and actions, please consider this Scripture: “Do not be deceived, YHVH is not mocked. For whatever a man may sow, that he also will reap.” Galatians 6:7
This is what will happen to the people in Luke 13:23-27 and Matthew 7:21-23. They really think they are true believers in the Messiah; but, in truth, they do not know Him, nor He them. They had been following an altered messiah, one they had fashioned after their own desires – one with whom they felt comfortable.
The true Messiah will not accept the things we do for Him that are right in our own eyes. He wants us to be obedient, learning and following the Word that He followed. When we do that, we will continually wash away the spots and blemishes. “Little children, let no one deceive you; the one practicing righteousness is righteous, even as that One is righteous.” 1 John 3:7
However, we all understand that no one is perfect. If there were such a one, he would be a second messiah! But something we can do is to continually study and learn the Word; and, by putting it into practice, we will be following in the footsteps of the Messiah and the apostles. As long as one has breath in his body, it is never too late to repent, seek forgiveness, and turn back in obedience to the Word of YHVH.
“But I will look toward this one, to the humble, and to the contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word.” Isaiah 66:2
One last thought from Paul: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but how much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is YHVH who works in you both to will and to do for (His) good pleasure.”
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May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.