Apostolic Christianity: The Halacha of Jesus

Halacha - this Hebrew word means "the guidelines" for living a godly lifestyle - for us it is how to live "The Way" of the Jesus-taught lifestyle. Bookmark this blog and learn what He taught His Apostles - Learn about the Jesus-taught Way of Godly living as the Apostles taught others - the true Christianity learned directly from living with Jesus. This is His Halacha - the rules for living holy and understanding the Word of God.

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Kenneth E. Lamb has written for first-tier information organizations of excellence such as the New York Times, the Miami Herald, the St. Petersburg Times, and the Jewish Information Network. His research, studies, and articles have appeared in 127 countries.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Americans United just don't "get it" - still

Posted in response to the comments made on the article “Thou shalt drop it already” in the Washington Post on June 1, 2006:

J. Crozier on Jesus and Church/State separation: Jesus' comments were not to separate religion (church is a misapplied word) and the state.

Judaism throughout Early and Middle Judaism (Third to Fourth Century CE - depending on whom you ask, and then back in time) is a theocratic system. The king is to operate under Scriptural guidelines. The Tanakh is replete with injunctions against the king disregarding the Torah.

A Herodian (akin to today's Americans United for Separation of Church and State-types; see Mark 12:13 for the specific reference to the individual's sect) asked Jesus a question to undermine His Pharisaic doctrine (Jesus was a puritan, not a revolutionary). Jesus answered that you give back to the Roman occupiers their own coins. The answer reinforced the theocratic model by confirming the Halacha to remain separate from the ungodly by expelling their money from your possessions, while remaining true to God by continuing to make Temple sacrifices.

The people who heard the answer at the time got it; today's Americans United-types don't.
Moving on to the conversation about America and Christianity, anyone who continues to believe America up to the 19-teens and twenties is anything but a Christian-oriented nation is living in self-imposed ignorance.

It is impossible to read the writings and speeches of America's civic and business leaders and not read relentless citations of the intervention of Jesus, God's Word, Scripture, and Christianity in America's history and fate.

Perhaps most recognizable in history was the duel between positions taken to either defend or attack slavery by using the Christian Bible as the moral justification for the position taken.
In a less volatile, secularized instance (such as it is for the time-period involved), you could also include the messages sent between the mayors of New York and San Francisco with the nation's first transcontinental telegraph transmission as an example of the openness displayed by elected officials to citing Christianity as the spiritual force behind America's progress. I suggest referring to the Washington Post or the New York Times published the next day for the text.

When you read their transmissions, those things if said today would send the Americans United-types into cardiac arrest. It's unbelievable to them their rendition of American history is so far from the truth.

I could make a near endless list, so don't take the mere citation of only one or two here as the complete list available - that would merely put you into the self-imposed ignorance group.
The above referenced Americans United-types come up with a sentence or two from Jefferson, toss in the word Deist, and try to create a history of America as some secular state threatened with hijack by Christianity.

That is pure foolishness, and an insult to the intelligence of anyone who reads the actual speeches and letters written at the time. Anything said about God, even through the administration of FDR, when said today, evokes the mindless hysteria we continuously see from those types.

Their hysteria comes from their own disconnected fantasies about America's past, combined with senseless Biblical interpretations and their deluded interpretation of America's present religious convictions.

Kenneth E. Lamb

Blog index: http://www.blogger.com/profile/14444338

Web: http://www.kennethelamb.com

Monday, April 17, 2006

Who are the Angels?

"Then they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but having entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass that while they were in a quandary concerning this, behold, two men stood by them in apparel that flashed like lightning. And they having become fear-stricken and bowing their faces to the ground, they said to them, Why are you seeking the One who is living among those who are dead?"

(Wuest's Expanded Translation, Luke 24:2 - 5)

By Kenneth E. Lamb

Browser version: http://www.kennethelamb.com/rt/an/an0212.htm

Of all the messages delivered to humanity by the angels, this one delivered on Easter morning stands as the crux of Christianity. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:32, "If the dead do not rise, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!'"

But today's New Age movement is perverting the message -- and the role -- of angels. Desperately seeking "heavenly" approval for their self-centered morality, angels have become the focus of New Age worship. They are characterized as always approving, always protecting, never judging.

Feminist theologians have turned them into a pathway to rationalizing the "She God" they call Sophia, replacing 6,000 years of masculine characterization with their intellectualized fantasy of goddess worship.

For example, a quick search of the Yahoo! World Wide Web data base reveals dozens of angel-related sites such as An Angel a Day, featuring stories, quotes and poems; for a central web site, there is the Angel Ring which averages nearly 1,000 visitors a month; and Gabriel, Guardian of Winter, the most blatant angel-worship web site, offers visitors the opportunity to hyperlink to Seasonal Alignment & Rhythm for "more information how to align to the energy shifts of the seasons."

But the real winner in the race for web hits is Angels on the Net (www.netangel.com) whose counter shows nearly 26,000 visitors each month. When the page opens, stereo music and the opportunity to hear the voice of an angel greets visitors with each page they select at the site.

Don't kid yourself into thinking this is for flakes. Angels on the Net boasts advertisements from the United American Bank of Central Florida, First Heritage Mortgage Corporation, Southeast Recycling Corp., and American Dental Plan, to name just 4 of more than a couple dozen businesses spending their marketing dollars to reach the "angel" audience.

What is the theme of these sites? Consider as an example this lead-in from Angel Guidance, which purports to put you in touch with your "guardian" angel:

"Do you believe in angels? Do you believe in miracles from God? How would you feel if you knew you could have daily communication with your guardian angel? My name is Fran Lenzo and I am blessed by the presence of my Guardian Angel John, who has been communicating with me ever since the day he gave me a message from our Divine Father in 1994. Please join us on our angelic journey to learn more about the joy of having an "angel in-house." Thank You and God Bless."

But for sheer pop penetration, nothing seems to surpass Betty Eadie's Embraced By the Light. It spent more than 66 weeks on the New York Times' Best Seller list, retailing over 2-million copies. Its success so shook the publishing world that Bantam Books reportedly paid an astronomical $1.5-million for the paperback rights. Despite being filled with Gnosticism, Mormonism, and New Age theology, many who identify themselves as Christians devoured the book's message.

What is the truth about angels? Are you telling the world what God has revealed about His heavenly creatures on the basis of Scriptural authority? Or are you also falling prey to the Satanic lies that make angels warm and fuzzy companions who are always ready to bail us out of our troubles without ever rendering any moral judgments? Only the Bible can measure where you stand.

The most concise reference on the subject is found in Doctrines of the Bible, edited by the Reverends J.L. Hall and David Bernard (Word Aflame Press, Hazelwood, MO, 1993). The book's article on angels by scholar, pastor, missionary and church leader Ralph V. Reynolds runs the gamut from their characteristics to their ministry, and then explains what the Bible reveals about the fallen angels.

In one paragraph alone, the Rev. Reynolds debunks the bulk of New Age, pseudo-Christian cults and feminist lies, setting us straight in our thinking about angels: "Angels are spirits; thus they are immaterial and incorporeal (Hebrews 1:7). They are invisible but have the power to manifest themselves in human form in order to be seen by people. They are not the spirits of the departed, nor are they glorified human beings. They are nonhuman spirit beings with individual personalities."

According to the thinking of first century Judaism that was the apostles' world, the angels are the "us" God refers to in Gen. 1:26. This story from The Midrash Says by Rabbi Moshe Weissman (Benei Yakov Publications, New York, 1980), the Midrash being the oral exegesis of the Torah dating from about 100 years before Jesus and put into written form beginning in the second Christian century, powerfully presents the concept:

"Moses wrote down the Torah according to HaShem's (Hebrew for "The Name") dictation. When HaShem told him to record the passuk (passage) "Let us make man," Moses objected. "Master of the Universe," he asked, "why do You give apikorsim (heretics) an opportunity to err and deduce from this plural form that there was more than one God who created man?"

"Write as I told you!," HaShem answered him. "If someone wishes to err, let him err."

Rabbi Weissman then notes, "HaShem indicated that misconstruing Torah does not stem from intellectual misconception, heresy is rooted in faulty character. HaShem stated, 'If someone wishes to err, let him err,' since a man whose wish and desire is to misinterpret Torah will forever find a pretext to do so, if not the phrase, 'Let us make man,' then another."

Interestingly, early Christianity did not see the visit of three men to Abraham before the destruction of Sodom as that of three angels; they believed instead that God Himself appeared to the Patriarch accompanied by two angels.

It was the Jewish commentator Rabbenu Sh'lomo Yarchi, known by his acronym Rashi, who began the three angels story around AD 1000, in order to preserve rabbinic Judaism's denial that God could become flesh and dwell with humanity. So-called mainstream Christianity bought into Rashi's anti-Christian apologetics designed to stop Jewish conversions and now teaches this anti-Christianism as its doctrine.

According to Alfred Edersheim's The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Judaism, as expressed by the unequaled Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo Judaeus, believed in "two Angels which accompanied God (the Divine Word) when on his way to destroy the cities on the plain" at the very time Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem.

And we know from the writing of Eusebius Pamphilus, whose Ecclesiastical History written in the fourth century preserves a snapshot of early church life, that this interpretation of Genesis still existed 400 years later: "The Lord God, therefore, appeared as a common man to Abraham, whilst sitting at the oak of Mamre. And he, immediately falling down, although he plainly saw a man with his eyes, nevertheless worshipped him as God, and entreated him as Lord."

This partially explains why so many first century Jews could easily believe Jesus is God manifested in flesh -- the concept was already an accepted part of their theology -- and would remain so for the next thousand years!

Altogether, angels recorded in Scripture make 104 appearances to humanity, although Hebrews 13:2 opens the door to believing there are other unrecorded interactions. In every case when gender is noted, they are male, garmented in white or other dazzling clothing. We only know the names of four: Gabriel, Michael, Lucifer, and Abaddon. We also know when they exercised their free-will; one-third sinned, choosing Lucifer over God. Their fate is the same as sinful humanity's: eternal torment in the Lake of Fire.

The most grievous lie perpetrated on today's culture is angel worship. It takes the form of prayer to angels for deliverance and making them, instead of God, the creators of moral standards.

The ability to fall into angel worship twice caused the apostle John to fall in Heaven itself according to the Book of Revelation. In each case, he, and we through his revelation, are reminded angels are fellow servants and to "worship God!"

The second half of society's angel relationship -- the desire for "angel approval" of our lifestyle -- reflects the moral relativism that is America today. Because the theology of angel worship is a lie, the "Anything Goes!" morality characterizing the worldly lifestyle fits right in with angels who only comfort and never confront.

But we know angels will be the greatest confrontational force ever unleashed on humanity; just as they announced the birth and everlasting life of our Savior, so too they will announce his return.

They will pour the bowls of affliction on humanity John bitingly describes in Revelation, and one will receive the honor of chaining Lucifer and casting him into the Second Death.

But for the saved living in truth, angels will be our eternal partners worshipping Jesus. We will sing praises together and share the streets of the New Jerusalem, and see what John saw in Revelation 15: 2 - 4:

"And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

"They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!

"Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested."

Why will we share this great vision? Because we heeded the message of the angels: We did not seek death, but instead looked for the living One.
- 30 -

All Scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version of the Bible.

Originally published at: http://www.kennethelamb.com/rt/an/an0212pfv.htm

Republished at: http://thehalachaofjesus.blogspot.com/

Complete index of Mr. Lamb’s blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/14444338

Friday, April 07, 2006

Jesus teaches Trinitarianism is a lie

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"

Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one . . .’”

So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God."

But after that no one dared question Him.
(Mark 12:28-34, NKJV)

Jesus confirms the Nature of God
One of the vilest denials of Biblical Truth is saying Jesus never spelled out the exact Nature of God. The truth is Jesus confirmed God is One person.

This means the Trinitarian interpretation of God’s Nature, saying that God is made up of three persons, is unbiblical and therefore, ungodly.

Our passage comes from the Gospel of Mark, written by John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey but got homesick and returned to Jerusalem.

When he volunteered to go on the second journey, Paul objected and had a falling out with Barnabas over the issue. Paul went on with Silas; John Mark went with Barnabas to Cyprus. Eventually, however, Paul and John Mark reconciled.

Peter’s teachings; Mark’s gospel
Mark’s gospel doesn’t tell us who wrote it. According to the Nelson Bible Dictionary, Papias (A.D. 60-130), a bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor (Turkey), said, “Mark, an interpreter of Peter,” wrote it. Mark was Peter’s secretary in Rome taking accurate sermon notes.

The church historian Eusebius (about A.D. 300) confirms this. It makes sense. The gospel reads like an eyewitness report, consistent with Peter’s experiences.

Mark was present when the Temple rulers arrested Jesus; he was the young man who fled naked (Mark 14:51-52). Since Mark wrote the gospel with Peter in Rome, we can date it to about A.D. 60, the first gospel written.

Mark targets Gentiles, specifically Romans. He translates Aramaic and Hebrew phrases, transliterates familiar Latin expressions into Greek, and casts Romans in a neutral or favorable light. Its emphasis on suffering suggests he wrote it to encourage Roman Christians persecuted by Nero.

It lives today to encourage us. Mark writes what Peter taught.

This study focuses on Jesus’ conversation with a teacher of the law, referred to in the King James Version as a scribe. The scribes were Pharisees and the accepted authorities on questions concerning God’s Law (Torah – Genesis through Deuteronomy) and applying it to life (Halacha - “The Way” to live life in compliance with God’s Law).

The “powerful” confront Jesus in the Temple
The conversation between the two occurs when Jesus is in Jerusalem for the fourth of 5 times the week of His crucifixion. He enraged the High Priest the day before by overturning the Temple court tables the High Priest rented out to moneychangers and merchants selling religious items.

The High Priest’s anger had little to do with preserving the Temple’s holiness. The Roman occupiers let the High Priest make money by renting spaces for a slice of the revenue. Jesus was bad for business; He was cutting into the High Priest’s profits.

When Jesus arrived in the Temple courts the next day, priests (Sadducees), religious teachers (scribes), powerful family and tribal heads (elders), and politicians (Herodians) confronted Him.

Their goal was to humiliate Him in front of everybody and stop Him from teaching Halacha (“The Way” of life) to the people. They asked Him religious questions they couldn’t answer, and didn’t think He could answer either.

He impresses one of the religious teachers with His answers fending off a direct assault on His authority, followed by a trick question about paying taxes to Caesar, and a third asking about the resurrection.

Is God one “person,” or three?
This sets the stage for Jesus to tell us how many “persons” are in the entity we call God. You need to know the truth because it directly affects your salvation. You need to know whom you worship and who hears your prayers.

First, some background on how the idea that there are three persons called a trinity making up God originated.

Beginning about A.D. 325, religious leaders taught followers to split God up into 3 parts, or “persons.” This doctrine is Trinitarianism, from which we get the word Trinity. It rejects the Bible’s teaching that the same One God, and only One God, appears to humanity as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

According to their teaching, each of those three is a separate and distinct person, exactly the same way you and I are separate and distinct individuals. Trinitarians say these “persons” are independent beings acting in agreement with one another in all they do.

They teach you will see three “gods” in Heaven.

All churches that officially teach this theory about God’s composition, regardless of the church’s name or how the individual pastor tries to soften or bend these teachings are Trinitarian.

No matter how much they claim in their church and literature they teach first-century Christianity, they don’t.

Did any Apostle ever believe what Trinitarians teach? Did Jesus ever teach what they teach?

The Bible proves it: When asked the most important commandment of all, Jesus recited Deuteronomy 6:4.

After telling the religious teacher “the LORD our God is One,” the religious teacher tells Jesus He is telling the truth. Of course, Jesus knows it is the truth; He is God, and so He is talking about Himself.

But the religious leader doesn’t know that yet about Jesus.

Regardless, here is the central thought about this conversation: It is impossible for God to lie, and it is impossible for God to allow someone to remain believing a lie after conversing with that person.

That means only one thing; Jesus left the religious leader believing that the Jewish concept of One God is, in fact, the truth. If the trinity really did exist, Jesus could not walk away from him and leave a lie in his heart. If the trinity is true, Jesus must tell the truth to the religious leader.

But Jesus did not describe a trinity as the true nature of God. Jesus reinforced the religious leader's already held belief in One God, as the Jews understood Him to exist. By walking away from the religious leader at this point, Jesus leaves him believing the truth about the nature of God; God is One, as He revealed Himself to the Jews in the She’ma Yisrael.

Jesus is directly teaching there is One God, as understood by the Jews in Jerusalem in the first century CE. By doing this, Jesus is tossing the Trinitarian concept of God into the trashcan of beliefs about God.

Anyone who teaches you that God exists as three persons is calling Jesus a liar. Whom do you believe, the human who calls Jesus a liar; a human who presents a confused explanation of what constitutes God, who tells you that what came straight from the mouth of Jesus is not the truth?

Or do believe Jesus Himself, who tells you God is One?

It’s always been God’s teaching that He is One
Since the time of Moses to this very day, every Jew, including Jesus during His time on Earth, repeats Deuteronomy 6:4 (called She’ma Yisrael – “Hear, O Israel!”). Jesus taught it is the most basic belief about God.

In His manifestation as pure spiritual Being in the Old Testament, He commanded all Jews to repeat it when arising and before going to sleep.

It’s required; repeating the She’ma Yisrael is not optional.

Because God’s Word never changes, it’s just as true for us in the New Testament Church as it was for Jesus.

So, when Jesus said, “the LORD our God is One,” what did it mean to the religious teacher?

When one Jewish religious teacher tells another Jewish religious teacher God is One, they understand each other to mean:

1 We always write about or discuss God in the singular. He is the only absolute reality, since all else is dependent on Him. There is no Creator and power but Him.

2 God’s essence is One, although we can perceive Him through various attributes. Think of light through a prism. It is simultaneously one, and yet made up of various wavelengths from red to violet. God appears in several manifestations – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - but He is still only One in being, like the single ray of light.

3 He is One unconfined by space or time. He is everywhere, always, without past, present or future.

4 He is the Sole God. He has no “partners” ruling in Heaven with Him.

These points, especially the last, are where Jesus and today’s Trinitarian churches part company. You can see for yourself that He taught the religious leader God, revealed in Deuteronomy 6:4, is One, not three.

Trinitarians don’t believe, and don’t teach, what Jesus taught. There is no way around it – to teach anything in direct contradiction to what Jesus taught is to call Jesus a liar.

It is impossible therefore, to accept any explanation for the true nature of God except that He is One, not three.

Why? Because Jesus said, it is the truth. He is God manifested in flesh. He cannot lie.

If you follow “The Way” taught by Jesus, then you reject the trinity. You accept the Halacha taught by Jesus: God is One.

Anyone who tries to lead you into believing the trinity is the truth is leading you into believing a lie.

Why does it matter?
Why is this vital to your salvation? Because now you know that you worship God in “The Way” that He truly exists.

When you pray, you know to whom you are praying. You are praying to One God, not three persons.

Trinitarians can’t honestly tell you who hears your prayers. Is it their idea of “the Father,” or is it “the Son,” or is it “the Holy Ghost?”

Remember, they teach that all three are independent beings, separate from one another, they are all “God.” This means there are three gods – do you honestly believe in your heart there are three gods in Heaven?

They are telling you to forget what Jesus taught, they are telling you Jesus allowed the religious leader to believe a lie. In fact, they are telling you God lied to everyone in the Bible about Himself.

Whose report will you believe; God or the humans?

When you call out to God, which of the three are you addressing? Since each is an independent person, should you pray to all three persons – and if you don’t, are you failing to talk to all that constitutes God as the Trinitarians teach He exists?

And because each of the three has a different “role” in the universe according to the Trinitarians, are you supposed to pray to one in particular in some circumstances, but to another if the situation is different?

Jesus never taught anything even remotely resembling what the Trinitarians teach. When you call on Jesus’ Name, you are calling on God in every way He has revealed Himself to humanity, as He expanded His reach to the Gentiles.

We baptize in the Name of Jesus because Jesus commanded the Apostles to baptize others in His Name.

Jesus Christ: One-God Preacher; we teach God is One because that is the only way the Bible says Jesus taught it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Jews, the Gentiles, and the Noahchide Laws

But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses." Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
(Acts 15:5-6, NKJV)

The Christian world was in crisis.

It had been nearly 20 years since Jesus was crucified and 10 since the first Gentile received the Holy Ghost at Caesara and was baptized in Jesus’ Name.

God was fulfilling his promise that Amos pronounced, and James repeated in Acts 15:16-17, “After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things.”

While the Church rejoiced at another fulfilled prophecy, conflict raged between Christian Pharisees.

Some thought baptized Gentiles left their Gentile identity buried beneath the water along with their sins; now full-fledged Jews, they must keep all 613 commandments (in Hebrew, mitzvahs) found in the first five books of the Bible known as the Torah.

Other Pharisees, including the apostle Paul, said in effect, “No;” the 613 mitzvahs apply only to the Jews, a different set of mitzvahs apply to the Gentiles.

Authority to settle the dispute rested with apostles and elders in Jerusalem. Only God could give them the answer: “What is the Law for Gentile Believers?”

We know what the Holy Spirit told them.

Speaking through James in Acts 15:19-20, “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.”

Why did the Apostles and elders of the church immediately accept one set of laws for Jews and another for Gentiles? Is there any other Scripture that proves they clearly meant to define each group differently?

And if so, what are those laws and how do they affect us as Gentile Believers?

Since the beginning of time, Judaism has asserted it is a “universal “ religion, that is, it’s theological concepts of right and wrong are applicable to believers and non-believers alike.

To cite every verse that explicitly says God will judge all humanity -- and not just those who make themselves acceptable to Him -- by the standards of His revealed Word would take nearly a complete reproduction of the Bible.

But Judaism also asserts there is a difference between Gentile and Jew. Beyond their status as bondservants to the Lord, this difference is spelled out by the concept that Jews have 613 commandments to follow; the Gentiles have 7.

These 7 are called “The Noahchide (no-ah-khide) Laws.”

How can we say that the Apostles taught that Jews should keep one set of laws, and Gentiles another? We look to God’s Word -- of course!

Step back in time; it is now 30 years after the crucifixion. Paul reenters Jerusalem where the elders tell him he has to destroy false rumors that he is teaching against the Mosaic Law.

Turning to Acts 21:20-21, they first tell Paul, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.”

Note that the tens of thousands of Jewish Believers in Jerusalem have not turned away from the law, but are zealous for it!

Since it has been at least 3 decades since Pentecost, we must conclude Apostolic teaching is that the Law is still valid for Jews -- why else would the Jewish Believers be “zealous” for it? It’s tough to argue those “zealous for the law” have been taught to reject it!

But the Jewish non-Christians say of Paul, “that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.”

The Jerusalem elders need to set the city straight about what Paul teaches. They devise a plan to publicly show the world their doctrine.

In Acts 21:23-24 they instruct Paul, “Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads . . .”

Why? So “. . . that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.”

Just like other Jews, Paul is expected to -- and does -- keep the Mosaic Law.

And not just keep it, but practice it publicly. We know he did everything the Jerusalem elders instructed him to do, in accordance with the Mosaic Law.

But Paul’s public practice of Mosaic Law causes all sorts of problems for those who teach the Law died at Calvary. He’s publicly practicing a doctrine they say Paul says no longer exists! If they are right, then Paul is an incredible hypocrite.

But Paul is not a hypocrite.

It is the Trinitarians who are missing the mark. Just as they don’t understand the true nature of God, they don’t understand the Noahchide Laws for Gentiles.

The Noahchide Laws lead the elders to say in Acts 21:25 the Gentiles are exempt from the Mosaic Law: "But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing . . .”

Thus we can conclude the rules for Jews and Gentiles are different, “that they” -- the Gentiles -- “should observe no such thing” -- the Mosaic Law Paul is observing in the rites of cleansing before entering the Temple.

Taken from the Noahchide Laws, Luke repeats in Acts 21 from Acts 15 concerning Gentiles, “. . . except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.”

Unlike the explicitly stated Ten Commandments, the Noahchide Laws were deduced from the Torah, specifically from Genesis, hundreds of years before the time of Jesus. They were an accepted part of Jewish theology by the first century CE.

Judaism saw the world in terms of B’nai Israel, the Children of Israel, obligated to follow the 613 commandments, and B’nai Noah, the Children of Noah, or the Gentiles, obligated to follow the Noahchide Laws.

The Laws, followed with a short Scriptural reference, prohibit:

1) Idolatry: Idolatry is more than bowing to graven images; it is trusting anything other than God for salvation. In Genesis 11, the Tower of Babel shows what happens when we make ourselves “god” and try to ascend to heaven on our own.

2) Blasphemy: Incorrectly thought of as heresy, it is in fact the misuse of God’s name. Genesis 4:26 shows us, “Then men began to call on the name of the LORD.” They did so correctly in prayer, worship, and supplication; other uses are blasphemy.

3) Sexual Immorality: Genesis 2:24 defines marriage. Only the joining of man and woman into “one flesh” with God’s blessing is allowed. Any other physical union is a perversion of God’s plan.

4) Theft: In Genesis 3, the “crime” Adam and Eve committed when eating of the tree was not only disobedience, but theft. They stole God’s property that He hadn’t given them.

5) Eating Blood: Genesis 9:3-4, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”

6) Homicide: Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God he made man.”

Unlike the other negative prohibitions, this is a positive instruction:

7) To set up courts of justice to enforce the laws: From Genesis 9:5, “Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man.”

How can the Noahchide Laws strengthen our witness against ungodly living?

Mockers and scoffers often try to rationalize homosexuality, adultery, and fornication by asking if we Gentile Christians are expected to also keep the rest of the Levitical Code, for example laws about the mixing of fibers in the cloth we wear.

This demonstrates their ignorance, not our incorrectness, in proclaiming sexual immorality in these areas. Gentiles, under the Noahchide Laws, were never expected to be concerned with the fibers in cloth. The proclamation of the Jerusalem elders proves it.

The scoffers’ argument is intellectual darkness. In fact, once this differentiation is understood, it explains many things about Christianity.

It explains why Peter understood the lowering of the cloth to represent that Gentiles were now acceptable to God for salvation through Jesus; it had nothing to do with food. Under the Noahchide Laws, Gentiles were from the beginning of time exempt from keeping kosher.

It explains why Paul, as a missionary to the Gentiles, could teach they had no need to keep the 613 commandments the Jews had to keep; as an educated Pharisee, he understood the Noahchide Laws exempted the Gentiles from those commandments.

It explains why we keep ourselves holy, but as Gentiles, not as Jews.

Today, the Noahchide Laws are fast becoming the focus of study for scholars seeking to understand the Bible from its first century origins. Orthodox Jews have blessed the Noahchide Movement, teaching the Torah applies to Jews and Gentiles alike.

The Noahchide Laws are accepted as valid by anyone who goes back to first century Jerusalem.

For Trinitarians, the Noahchide Laws are more nails in the coffin of their false theology.

Jews will never accept the idea that “the LORD is One” really means three. They won’t accept it today, and they would not have accepted it 2,000 years ago when, in Jerusalem alone, there were tens of thousands of Jewish Believers “zealous for the law.”

The Trinitarian concept of the nature of God, and the Law, are both invalid.

But for Apostolic Christianity, the Noahchide Laws prove that our belief that “Acts is Alive” is now more justified than ever before. The One-God view is totally compatible with Judaism; the concept that Gentiles were never expected to keep the 613 commandments given the Jews is also compatible with Judaism.

This shows again that it is Apostolic Christian theology that correctly defines the Bible.

In this end time, Apostolic Christianity is proving itself the bridge between Gentiles and Jews.

This bridge is “The Way” that will bring about God’s promise in Jeremiah 3:17, that in the end time, “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.”

- 30 -

Kenneth E. Lamb authored the monthly World News article for The Pentecostal Herald. In addition, he also wrote for the New York Times, the Miami Herald, and the Jewish Information Network among other publications of excellence.

He currently hosts the weekly news-interview show Sunday Morning with Kenneth E. Lamb, co-produced by the Pensacola News Journal and NewsTalk 1370 WCOA. His writing is published as a columnist for the Pensacola News Journal and its niche publication, the Pensacola Business Journal.

He attends First Pentecostal Church in Pensacola, FL: Senior Pastor, the Rev. Paul H. Welch; Pastor, the Rev. Brian Kinsey.

All Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission; all rights reserved.

© Kenneth E. Lamb

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Left click here to go to Mr. Lamb’s personal web site Home Page

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Glat Kosher - why Hecht's Bookstore is always your first call!

I don’t usually plug a business, but this time I’m going to make an exception. I’m going to order two mezuzahs for my home and office, two hamsas for the same, and some other items along those lines.

Stay with me for a minute, and you’ll see where this is heading. Whether you are Jewish or Gentile you need this information. I’m going to tell you where I go to get those types of things, and why you should make this business your first call whenever you are shopping for such items.

I’m an Apostolic Pentecostal. I’m not going to go into a theological discussion or explanation about it at this point; I offer that up to say that as a Gentile and student of Classical Judaism, I’m always looking for authentic Jewish resources.

Back beginning in 1993, when I started working for the Jewish Information Network, based in NYC, Cantor Beck, president of the JIN, introduced me to Rabbi Shalom Hecht, owner of Hecht’s Bookstore, and the C & S Skullcap Company, at 1265 Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn.

As the only Gentile to work for the JIN, (it is a conserva-dox oriented organization focused on Jewish education and stopping assimilation), in addition to being a researcher and author, I was the Shabbat Goy. Call your rabbi, or a rabbi, for the details about that. At any rate, let’s just say it is fun getting to talk to the best and the brightest at The Yeshiva University, the Israeli government, at Jewish organizations, scholars, rabbis, and civic leaders – among a host of other categories and people.

Back to Hecht’s. If you want anything Judaica, anything in reference works, anything for your shul – or for your church, or whatever it is that you call your place where you worship the god of your understanding, anything in clothing, anything for gifts, items for the home or business . . . you get the drift, anything Jewish – and you want to know it is pure orthodox, glat kosher . . . you want to go to this web site: http://www.gotjudaica.com/.

Make sure you bookmark it (Firefox, Netscape, Opera - or share it to your favorites so you won’t go crazy in the future trying to remember where to find this treasure trove web site!

If you go to the customer service link, you will get their store phone number, and street address. You will talk to one of four people – the elder Rabbi Hecht who founded the business in 1961, his wife Joan, her sister Harriet, or Rabbi Hecht’s son – the younger Rabbi Shea Hecht.

OK, we’re talking family business here. We’re talking about incredible service, outrageous levels of knowledge, and again, more authentic and kosher than anywhere else on the planet.

Bottom Line: Anything you want, the Hechts can get for you. They ship worldwide. It will be 100% kosher – beyond any doubt whatsoever.

Here are two final notes for credibility’s sake:

First, NO, I don’t have any business interest in Hecht’s, or their affiliates, or anything else associated with them, and I don’t get any money for click-throughs to their site. I’m writing this 100% straight up as a journalist – using the rules a person my age imbued within, as opposed to the corrupt set of so-called ethics practiced by the glamour queens of today’s media-entertainment industry. I put all that in knowing the incredible cynicism of today’s bloggers and their readers – which is unfortunately more often than not very well justified.

Second, and much more important, when the New York City Board of Rabbis commissioned the menorah for the 9/11 site, they commissioned the younger Rabbi Hecht to design it, build it, and place it. What does that tell you about them?

OK, so use a little moxie, and schlep on over to their web site, or give them a call directly. Without any doubt whatsoever, you will be very, very pleased.