© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance January 2010
© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance January 2010
Christians often times write to me using the book of Galatians out of context in an attempt to prove that the Towrah (Mosaic Law) is no longer meant to be obeyed. Because they don’t have an accurate historical understanding of this letter, they assume that Sha’uwl (Paul) was preaching against circumcision and the Law of our creator. But most do not realize that there are at least 17 different applications for the word “law” in the Greek Textus Receptus. Sometimes Sha’uwl is speaking about Mosaic Law, but in some cases he is talking about Roman Civil Law. And yet at other times, he is referring to the Rabbinic Law of Judaism. And then there are the laws of nature such as “the law of sin and death.” With so many different Greek words being used to define only one English word (Law) it is no wonder that so many people have misunderstood Sha’uwl’s Letters. However, even without knowing about those 17 different applications or contexts for the word “law,” anyone who studies the entire counsel of scripture would have to completely ignore our Messiah’s words in order to arrive at such a conclusion. Unfortunately, there are some who discredit Sha’uwl (Paul) as a legitimate Apostle because they actually believe that his words are in complete contradiction to our Messiah’s words. But in Matthew 5:17-19, YaHuW’shuwa told us that not even one punctuation mark of the Towrah (Mosaic Law) is done away with.
If Christians claim to follow the Messiah, then why do they ignore his words, and assume that Sha’uwl (Paul) was also ignoring his words? I don’t know about you, but if I thought for one minute that Sha’uwl (Paul) was deviating from the words of our Messiah,I would have to go by what our Messiah said instead of Sha’uwl (Paul). But the fact of the matter is, Sha’uwl (Paul) was not deviating from our Messiah’s words at all. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Keefa (Peter) told us in 2nd Keefa (Peter) 3:15 that many of Sha’uwls (Paul’s) letters are difficult to understand and those who are unlearned would take his words and twist them out of context to their own destruction. And so let’s make sure that we are not guilty of doing this, by getting a better understanding of Sha’uwl’s (Paul’s) letter to the Galatians.
1 O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes YaHuW’shuwa Messiah has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received you the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
*Note: the first thing that you will notice is that the Apostle Sha’uwl aka “Paul” is drawing a contrast between “obeying the truth” verses “not obeying the truth.” The first five books transcribed by Moses are called “Torah” (instructions) and they are “written with the finger of Elohiym (God).” The Towrah is the loving instructions that YaHuWaH has given to his sheep as a boundary or a “fence” in order to protect us from being deceived by wolves (Satan) and ultimately being devoured. YaHuW’shuwa told us that “the truth shall make you free,” hence knowing and studying Towrah does not put us in bondage (contrary to popular belief). The Towrah is accurately called “The Book of Truth”:
Tehellim (Psalm) 119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy Towrah (law) is the truth.
Mal’akiy (Malachi) 2:6 The Towrah (law) of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
You will also notice that Sha’uwl (Paul) was teaching the Galatians to OBEY THE TRUTH (which comes from Towrah) and hearing the Torah in order to obtain faith (faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Elohiym---Romans 10:17). He was making a HUGE CONTRAST between “hearing the truth (Towrah) and obeying it” versus merely going through the motions of doing mindless works without hearing the truth of Towrah and obeying it!
Now, let’s continue with Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?
*Note: The Galatians had begun by having the Holy Spirit circumcise their heart and they had the Towrah (Law of Moses) written in their hearts as a “sign” of the New Covenant, and now they were reverting back to some man-made religion that relegated righteousness by some legalistic works of going through the motions without being motivated by faith.
In this letter that the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) wrote to the Galatians, he was addressing this sect of Judaism that was not even accepted by the Jewish Sanhedrin of his day. This sect was called “Works of the Law” and they relegated righteousness to doing certain “works” instead of having faith in YaHuWaH.
The foolish Galatians were doing what would be the equivalent of something that goes like this in the Modern Day Christian Church:
You are a brand new believer and you start visiting my church and we tell you this:
“...even though you have the Holy Spirit, you cannot be one of us or join our congregation unless you are baptized in our baptismal and it has to be done by one of our Pastors, and you have to wear our white robes. Once you do this, then in our book you are saved and we can accept you into our fellowship.”
The Galatians were trying to relegate righteousness by doing “works” of the Law (according to their false interpretation) when that was never the way of righteousness even under the Old Covenant. It was always by faith that one was counted as righteous. Obeying the commandments is something we do after we are betrothed to him, not something we do as the pre-requisite to becoming betrothed.
It would be like a husband asking his to marry him simply because he loves her, not because she can cook all of his favorite things and serve him the way that he wants to be served. But once this woman is married, if he asks her to celebrate their anniversary by going out to dinner with him, she would not say to him “this sounds like legalism to me....are you going to divorce me if I don’t celebrate this feast with you?”
A wife who loves her husband would never say that to him. It would never be a question of her doing it to stay married to him. It would be something she would want to do because she loves him and she loves to please him. But Christians are always relegating obedience to the commandments to this type of rationale: “is keeping this commandment a salvation issue?”
If a wife persisted in rebelling against her husband and she never wanted to please him, and she never wanted to celebrate their anniversary when he asked her to, wouldn’t that lead to the breakdown of the marriage?
So instead of asking “will you divorce me if I don’t do this?” or “is this a salvation issue”? Why not ask (if you love your husband), “what dress do you want me to wear to this feast? And “what perfume do want me to wear?”
You see, true love does not have an agenda (will I go to Hell if I don’t do this? Or will he divorce me if I don’t do this?).
True love never even asks those questions. True love is only interested in pleasing the beloved husband not “what’s in it for me?”
Do you see the difference? Christians are so busy relegating the commandments to this type of thinking “is this a Heaven or Hell issue”? That they are the ones displaying true legalism!
True “legalism” is always looking for loopholes and asking “what is the bare minimum that is required of me, without losing my free ticket to Heaven?”
The foolish Galatians had an agenda and it was a political one. There was a cult in those days that were called “Works of the Law” and they were trying to impose a man-made interpretation of the Law on new converts as a “pre-requisite” to being saved, and thus they were making circumcision in the flesh that pre-requisite. But that was NEVER the pre-requisite to salvation even under the 1st Covenant. You see, Abraham received circumcision in his flesh as an outward “sign” that he had entered into Covenant with YaHuWaH already!
So what was the Apostle Paul actually talking about when he referred to the works of the law? When we see this term used only six times by the in the book of Romans & Galatians, one would automatically assume that he is talking about “workings of the Law of Moses” but in fact this is not what he is talking about at all. A document found at the same time that the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 reveals that the “Works of the Law” was actually the name of a sect of Judaism which deviated from the Law of Moses, and hence conferred righteousness upon people by doing “certain rituals” (according to men’s false interpretations) rather than obeying the Law of Moses because of faith in Messiah. Below are all of the references where this term is used:
Romans 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the Towrah (law). For they stumbled at that stumblingstone.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Towrah (law), but by the faith of YaHuW’shuwa Messiah, even we have believed in YaHuW’shuwa Messiah, that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah, and not by the works of the Towrah (law): for by the works of the Towrah (law) shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 3:2-10 This only would I learn of you, Received you the Spirit by the works of the Towrah (law), or by the hearing of faith?.....He therefore that ministers to you the Spirit, and works miracles among you, does he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?......For as many as are of the works of the Towrah (law) are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
What does Paul mean when he says this? “.....for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the Towrah (law) to do them....”
Debariym (Deuteronomy) 27:26 Cursed be he that confirms not all the words of this Towrah (law) to do them. And all the people shall say, Awmane.
In Deuteronomy 28, we are given a list of blessings and curses for either obeying the command-ments or not obeying the commandments. Since none of us are able to obey the commandments with our unregenerate nature (old sinful nature), we must receive a new “born again” nature by the Holy Spirit in order to be able to obey the Towrah (law). Now, under the Renewed Covenant, when we miss the mark, we have the blood atonement of our Messiah that cleanses us and gives as a clean slate so that we are then able to “continue in all things which are written in the Towrah”! As we are learning and growing from “faith to faith, from glory to glory,” the Holy Spirit is educating us gradually in the precepts of the Towrah. It may take a life-time to learn how to obey it all, but YaHuWaH sees our heart and he knows those who are striving to be obedient and those who are looking for loopholes out of obedience!
The Cult Called Works of the Law Found With the Dead Sea Scrolls
To read more about this Gnostic Essene Sect of Judaism that enforced a non-Mosiac Law form of circumcision, click on this link: http://ccg.org/english/s/p104.html.
The term Paul used in his epistles is ergoon nomou, (in the Romanised Greek), meaning the works of the law. That translates a Hebrew term, we have found now from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The term is Miqsat Ma’ase Ha’Towrah, or MMT, the translation of which, by Strugnell and Qimron, is “Some of the Precepts of Towrah.” It is found nowhere in rabbinic Judaism. It did not become normative and the understanding was hence lost.
However, miqsat does not mean simply some. When used in MMT it does not refer to some random laws. An understanding can be gleaned from its use in the Talmud. Thus Martin Abegg considers (Paul, Works of the Law and MMT, Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov.-Dec. 1994, pp. 52 ff), that we might translate the word as some important or pertinent. Strugnell and Qimron translate the phrase ma’ase ha towrah as “precepts of Towrah.” Lawrence Schiffman suggests legal rulings of Torah (from Abegg ibid). Perhaps that is more generally translated as the specifics of the law. But its use in the Greek has been translated as ergoon nomou. This term was used in the Septuagint to translate the term ma’ase ha torah. The term ergoon nomou is the term used by Paul and which is translated into English as “the works of the law.” It is becoming obvious that Paul was actually talking about a view of the law which the Qumran Sect held, and which became current in non-rabbinical Judaism in the first century and did not become part of Talmudic tradition and translation.
The Cult called “Works of the Law” is no different than the Roman Catholic Church today with the Ecumenical Movement. They have successfully seduced even the Evangelicals to come under their legalistic umbrella by having them keep all of the ordinances of the Papacy (i.e. “Sunday is the new Sabbath” lie, Christ-Mass, Easter etc). And in doing this, they are drawing people away from the true Biblical Messiah.
In conclusion, we can easily tell the difference between the Foolish Virgins (Galatians) and the True Bride:
Foolish Galatians ask “what’s in it for me”?
A true bride, a wise virgin will ask “what’s in it for him?”
Understanding Circumcision Laws
The Towrah always stated that a Gentile (stranger to the Covenant) did not have to be circumcised in order to come into fellowship with Israelites and to hear the Law of Moses in the outer court of the Temple. It is only when that Gentile decided that he wanted to “join” and become an Israelite that he had to become circumcised in his flesh. But this was not in order to become saved. Salvation was always by Grace through Faith even under the Old Covenant. A huge error that is taught in Christianity is that during the Old Testament (dispensation of Law) that YaHuWaH justified people by keeping the Law. They believe that in the New Testament (the dispensation of Grace) people are now saved by grace through faith in the death of Messiah. NOT TRUE!!! There has never been anyone who was justified before YaHuWaH by the works of the Law (see Romans 4:1-8 Hebrews 11, Genesis 15:6, Psalms 32:1-2, Acts 13:39-39, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:9, Titus 3:5). Towrah teaches (as does the New Testament) that one is given righteousness by faith and then they are given rewards according to their obedience.
YaHuWaH was always after circumcision of the heart even under the Old Covenant:
Debariym (Deuteronomy) 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
YirmeYaHuW (Jeremiah) 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to YHWH, and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of YaHuW’dah (Judah) and inhabitants of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem): lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
But since we are still made of flesh and blood, YaHuWaH has to give us physical tangible things to do outwardly (such as water baptism) in order to illustrate things to us in the Spirit. This was the reason for physical circumcision as well as the health benefits that were practical for the well-being of both the men and the women.
Paul was preaching in Galatians against “putting the cart before the horse.” The sect of the Circumcision were making circumcision in the flesh the pre-requisite for salvation because they wanted to be able to charge money for the surgery and for the “temple tax” in order to be allowed into the Sanctuary of the Temple.
Abraham entered into Covenant with YaHuWaH long before he was circumcised in his flesh. He was circumcised AFTER HE WAS SAVED as a SIGN OF THE COVENANT. Likewise, I was saved before I was ever water baptized. One year later I was water baptized as a “sign” that I was already saved. Never-the-less we are commanded to be water baptized (not as a means to being saved) but as a sign that we are already saved.
Nothing has changed in the New Testament (contrary to popular belief) except for the fact that Messiah provided a permanent sacrifice for sins and there is no need for animal sacrifices. But you see, animal blood never did take away sin even under the Old Covenant. Animal sacrifices were always done to point to Messiah who is “the Lamb Slain from the foundations of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
Circumcision was never the pre-requisite to salvation, and the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) was simply reiterating to the Galatians what the Towrah has always stated all along! But many Christians assume that Paul was making changes to the Old Covenant Laws of YaHuWaH. The Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) never did any such thing! Paul had no authority as a mere human being to change any of the commandments of YaHuWaH.
In Exodus 12, many of the Strangers in Egypt wanted to join the Israelites and they wanted to follow them out of Egypt. YaHuWaH commanded that these strangers who “sojourn with an Israelite” had to become circumcised in the flesh in order to show a sign of being separated from Egypt. This was a “sign” outwardly that they were leaving behind pagan ways. When the foreskin is cut away it is symbolic of having one’s fleshly carnal nature removed. Hence, nothing has changed to this day. Circumcision is still not and never was the means by which one is saved. The Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) was not preaching against being circumcised either. This is evident by reading Acts 21. In this account, Sha’uwl (Paul) was showing the Jews that he was definitely not against circumcising baby boys on the 8th day. He was merely stating that adult Gentile men who had not been circumcised as an infant did not need to be circumcised in their flesh as a means to being saved. However, if a Gentile male wanted to join Yisra’el and be able to participate in the Passover Lamb sacrifice in the temple, he had to become circumcised in his flesh as well as in his heart. During the Millennial Kingdom of Messiah here on earth, no uncircumcised Gentile (in flesh or in heart) will be allowed in the sanctuary of YaHuWaH:
Yechezqel (Ezekiel) 44:7 In that you have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when you offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
Yechezqel (Ezekiel) 44:9 Thus says YHWH Elohiym; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Yisra’el.
The cult called “WORKS OF THE LAW” were making circumcision in the flesh the pre-requisite to salvation, when it never was the pre-requisite in the Torah. Paul was merely stating that Gentiles (strangers to the covenant) do not have to be circumcised first in order to be saved. Now, once they are saved, they can choose to be circumcised for medical reasons and also to be able to go into the Sanctuary of the Temple. But that was their choice and it did not change whether or not they were saved.
In Acts 15, the Jerusalem Council was not making up brand new laws. These laws always existed in the Torah. The Jerusalem Council was making a ruling regarding “Gentiles” (those who were seekers of the faith). A seeker was someone who could be saved, yet he did not become fully grafted in as an Yisra’elite until he kept Passover and accepted the Covenant in Messiah’s blood. In order to partake of the Passover sacrifice in the Sanctuary in the Temple he had to be circumcised in his flesh. An uncircumcised man who is a believer and circumcised in his heart may partake of a Passover Memorial without being circumcised in his flesh because the Passover Memorial Seder Meal, is not the actual sacrifice in the Temple in Jerusalem.
But if he wants to participate in the actual sacrifice of the Lamb in the Temple and eat that sacrificial lamb in remembrance of what Messiah did, he has to be circumcised in his flesh as well as in his heart according to Ezekiel 44. One can be saved without circumcision in the flesh. But in order to be allowed in the sanctuary they must be circumcised in the flesh as well as in the heart.
Circumcision is Recommended Even if it is not for Salvation
Cervical Cancer in Female Partners of Uncircumcised Men
In the USA there are 12,000 new cases and 4,000 deaths from cervical cancer each year [Centers, 2006]. Treatment of each case costs $20,000 to $40,000 (American Cancer Society figures). This works out at a total of $24 to $48 million. Then there is the social cost and devastation to individuals and families.
A number of studies have documented higher rates of cervical cancer in women who have had one or more male sexual partners who were uncircumcised. Whereas the earlier studies were somewhat equivocal the evidence from a large international study published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, to be discussed later, provided overwhelming evidence of the link between lack of male circumcision and cervical cancer in the female sexual partner.
Medical Benefits of Circumcision
23 February 2007
African Trial Shows “Circumcision Can Save A Lot Of Lives” by Kate Melville
A circumcision trial conducted in Kenya, led by University of Illinois at Chicago professor of epidemiology Robert Bailey, has provided strong evidence that circumcision can indeed prevent HIV infection. In fact, the evidence was so strong that the study's independent data safety monitoring committee ordered the trial be stopped, so that the uncircumcised participants could undergo the procedure. The trial involved 2,784 HIV negative, uncircumcised men between 18 and 24 years old in Kisumu, Kenya; where an estimated 26 percent of uncircumcised men are HIV positive by the age of 25. Half the men were randomly assigned to circumcision and half the men remained uncircumcised for two years. The majority of the men in the study were Luo, an ethnic group that does not traditionally practice circumcision. Published in The Lancet, the results show that 47 of the 1,391 uncircumcised men contracted HIV, compared to 22 of the 1,393 circumcised men. “Our study shows that circumcised men had 53 percent fewer HIV infections than uncircumcised men,” said Bailey. “We now have very concrete evidence that a relatively simple surgical procedure can have a very large impact on HIV.” Adverse events related to the surgery were few, according to Bailey. He said in 1.7 percent of the surgeries there were minor complications - usually bleeding or a mild infection. There were no severe adverse events. But Bailey sounded a note of caution, warning that circumcised men may feel they are protected from becoming HIV infected and may be more likely to engage in risky behavior. “Circumcision is by no means a natural condom,” he said, adding that circumcision will be most effective if it is integrated with other prevention and reproductive health services. Estimates suggest that millions of new HIV infections, tens of thousands of deaths, and several million dollars could be saved if male circumcision became routine in sub-Saharan Africa. “This is really the first good news we’ve had in quite a long time. If we can reduce the risk of infection by such a substantial amount then we can save a lot of lives,” said Bailey. “People are getting infected at a rate of approximately 5,000 persons per day. We cannot treat our way out of this epidemic. Prevention of new infections is crucial.” Source: University of Illinois at Chicago More Information at: