Defending The Faith!

Defending the Faith (Hebrew Roots)

by Christine Egbert

Have you ever fumbled a golden opportunity to explain why you have returned to the old paths, why you are contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints? Do you ever wish you’d expressed yourself more articulately? I have. And that’s why I love to write. There’s no taking back extemporaneous speech. There is no delete button for the spoken word. No editing. You can’t pause in mid sentence to go look up a verse to prove your point. Propelled by a flood of emotion, our words enter the atmosphere, and too often we’re left wishing we’d expressed ourselves more articulately.

Well, practice, they say, makes perfect.

So let’s practice (me here, then you at home) defending our faith by playing a little verbal volleyball (in writing). Then it might sound something like this the next time one of our well-intentioned Christian friends demands to know why we celebrate Passover…

What? You mean to tell me that you’re keeping the Jewish Feasts?”

Jewish Feasts? God calls them His feasts. My Bible calls them the Feasts of the LORD. Read Leviticus 23:2 God says we’re to proclaim them, to call them Holy Convocations.”

Oh, but that’s Old Testament stuff…”

Second Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, that it’s profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. And when Paul wrote those words to Timothy, there was no New Testament.”

Yea, but the Law’s been done away with.”

Not according to Yeshua…you know…Jesus!”

What are you talking about?”

Read Matthew 5: 17-20. Yeshua makes it perfectly clear. Until heaven and earth pass away not one jot or tittle will pass away from the TORAH, until all is fulfilled.”

Fulfilled! Exactly! And it all has been fulfilled. Just ask my pastor.”

No it hasn’t! What about all the end-time prophesy?”

Oh . . . well, I hadn’t thought about that.”

Besides, Yeshua, Jesus, came right out and said that whoever breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches others to break them—like you’re doing now by suggesting I shouldn’t keep Passover—will be least in the kingdom.”

Jesus said that?”

It’s right there in Matthew 5:19. Check it out for yourself. And verse 5:20 says that whoever keeps and teaches others to keep the commandments will be great. That’s me, teaching you…”

Yeah, well, what about what the apostle Paul taught?”

The apostle Paul, right. He’s the one Peter said was sometimes hard to understand.”

He did not!”

Did too! Peter also said that the untaught and unstable would twist what Paul writes to their own destruction.”

Destruction? Say . . . just what are you getting at?”

Just that you better be careful and not twist what Paul said, or you too will be led astray by the error of the lawless.”

Now I know that you’re making this stuff up. “

You think so? Well, go read II Timothy 3:16 & 17, and then tell me that.”

You need to talk to my pastor.”

Yeah, maybe I should. If your pastor is teaching as doctrine the commandments of men, then somebody better talk to him.”

Hey, my pastor loves Jesus! And so do I.”

Great! Then you should start keeping His Appointed Times too. You know, the Sabbath and all the Feast Days.”

Feast Days? Are you nuts? They were for Israel. We’re in the New Covenant!”

Duah…and just who do you think the New Covenant was made with?”

Christians, of course!”

Not according to the Bible. According to Scripture the New Covenant was made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.”

It was not! It’s for us Gentiles.”

You better go read Jeremiah 31:31 and Hebrews 8:8. The New Covenant was made with both Houses of Israel. You won’t find a single verse in the Bible that says God ever made a covenant with Gentiles.”

Then just were do we Gentiles come in? And that includes you! I’ve known you since the third grade, and you’re not Jewish! You’re just going through some kind of weird, I don’t know, identity crisis or something.”

Well, finally you got something right—partially right anyway. I’m not Jewish, not from the House of Judah. But I am Israel. I’m part of the commonwealth, and that means I’m no longer a Gentile. If I were a Gentile, I couldn’t very well be in a covenant made only with the two Houses, now could I? Go read Ephesians 2:11-13.”

You mean you’re not going to quote it like you’ve been quoting everything else?”

Okay, I will! It says before I accepted Yeshua I was an alien from the Commonwealth of Israel and a stranger from the covenants. Translation: now that I have accepted the Messiah, I’m part of the Commonwealth. I’m a partaker of the covenants. And it does say covenants, my friend! It’s plural! The new builds on the old, it doesn’t replace it. Besides, the only difference between the two is where they are etched.”

Etched?”

Where they are written . . . the New Covenant is written on our hearts, not on stone.”

He takes away our heart of stone and given us a heart of flesh!”

Bingo! Give the man a prize! He finally gets it!”

Not so fast, smarty! Explain that verse about Christ being an end to the Law.”

Awe, come on, that’s way too easy.”

Yeah, well go on, I’m listening.”

The word translated “end” is the Greek word “telos.” It means the point aimed at or the goal. The Messiah is the goal of the law, not the end of the law. If it meant end of the law that would contradict what Yeshua said about not coming to destroy the law. Besides, why would Yeshua tell us to keep his commandments if they were going to get nailed to the cross? That makes about as much sense as claiming Yeshua did away with the law by fulfilling it.”

But my pastor–”

If fulfill meant do away with, Yeshua might as well have said, ‘Don’t think I came to abolish the law, I came to abolish the law! Now how stupid would that be? And don’t buy that baloney that Yeshua meant we should keep His laws, as if His were different from His father’s. Yeshua said, over and over, that He came only to speak His father’s words and do His father’s will. He even pointed out once that His doctrine was His father’s.”

I know, but–”

Look, who are you going to believe? Your pastor or God’s word?”

But it sounds like you’re saying salvation comes through keeping the law.”

I haven’t said one itty bitty word about earning salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith. It always has been, and it always will be. But faith without works, the Bible says, is dead.”

That’s what’s so confusing.”

No it’s not! Remember what James said? ‘Even the demons believe and tremble.’ What the demons don’t do, my friend, is obey! Yeshua was talking to those who believed in him, when he said, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’”

Yes, but–”

Many will come to him one day saying they did miracles in his name and cast out demons, but He’s going to tell them that he never knew them. Why? Because they were lawless! Go read Matthew 7:23. And if your translation says iniquity rather than lawlessness, you better look up the Greek. The word is anomia. It means without LAW: TORAH. First John 3:4 says that everyone who practices sin practices lawlessness for sin is lawlessness.”

I hear what you’re saying, only–”

Only what? Whose law do you suppose John was referring to?”

God’s law.”

Bingo! Yahweh’s TORAH, the law He gave Moses. Only it’s written on our hearts now. And Yeshua said it would not pass away until heaven and earth passed away, the law that Psalms 19:7 calls perfect, and don’t forget Revelation 22:14! ‘Blessed are those who keep his commandments for they will have a right to the tree of life.’”

Okay! Okay! I get it! It’s just that Paul–”

Is hard to understand, I know, and frequently taken out of context by those who don’t know the Law, who don’t read the front of the book. Listen, if Paul actually taught all the false doctrines he’s been accused of, he’d be one big, fat, ugly contradiction!”

Contradiction? What do you mean?”

Well, Paul also said that he believed everything written in the Law and Prophets—Acts 24:14. And he said we don’t make the law void through faith. On the contrary, Paul said in Romans 3:1 that we establish it, and in Romans 8:4, he said that believers who walk in the Spirit will fulfill the righteous requirements of the law.”

He did say that, didn’t he?”

Paul called the law holy, just, and true in Romans 7:12. So when he wrote that he believed all things written in the law, I have to take Paul at his word. And when Jeremiah wrote in chapter 16:19 that in the day of affliction Gentiles would come from the ends of the earth crying, ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies,’ well, I have to believe that, too! Look, it boils down to this: Either Paul was very confused or he’s the most maligned apostle in Scripture.”

Humm . . . I’m beginning to see what you mean.”

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And that, my dear readers, is how such conversations should go. But this sort of exchange takes practice. We must study to show ourselves approved, workmen who need not be ashamed, who can rightly divide the word of truth. Then, as in the humorously-flippant dialogue I created for this article, you too can be ready, always, to give an answer. Now go and practice a similar exchange, and have fun with it as I did. Remember, practice makes perfect.