Error Of The Lawless
by Christine Egbert
Over the past three decades, I have heard many believers say, “Jesus fulfilled the Law so that I don’t have to.” If they meant they don’t have to keep the law to be saved, they’d be right. Keeping the law is not what saves us. We are saved by grace through faith in Yeshua, and not of works. But sadly, far too many believers mean far more than that. Why? They’ve been taught that God doesn’t require Christians to keep what they call Old Testament LAW, the Torah.
The TORAH, they’ve been taught, is a curse. It’s been done away with. Those attempting to keep it have fallen from God’s grace. But that is NOT what Scripture teaches!
They have forgotten, or have chosen to ignore, the biblical definition of SIN! 1st John 3:4 defines sin as “a violation of God’s Torah.” Yeshua warned us in Matthew 7:22-23, that that not everyone who calls Him Lord (Master) will enter the Kingdom, only those who DO the will of His Father. To the others, He will declare, “Depart from Me! I never knew you!”
This same scenario is expressed by the Apostle John. Let’s read it: 1Jn 2:2-6) “And He Himself is the propitiation relating to our sins, and not relating to ours only, but also relating to all the world. 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 God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”
From the above passage we see that God’s WORD refers also to His Commandments. If God’s WORD is eternal so is His Torah! And salvation by GRACE through FAITH does NOT negate the Father’s righteous expectation of OBEDIENCE!
After Yeshua told the woman caught in adultery that he did not condemn her, He instructed her to, “Go and SIN no more!”
Heb 10:26 declares, “…if we keep on sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (27) but only a terrifying expectation of judgment and a fury of fire about to devour the enemies of God.”
What does Scripture teach? It instructs us “not to grow weary in our souls or lose heart in struggling against sin!” (Heb 12:4)
Yeshua’s brother James instructs us “to confess our sins, one to another, and pray for one another, so that we may be healed. For the effective prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” (James 5:15-16)
WHO ARE THE RIGHTEOUS?
Who are the righteous according to Scripture? 1st John 3:7 tells us: “Children, let no one mislead you! The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Yeshua is righteous.”
Peter tells us in 1st Peter 3:12, that “the eyes of Adonai are on the righteous and His ears open to their prayer, but the face of Adonai is against those who do evil.”
Once we are saved by grace through faith, God expects us to obey Him. Romans 8: 3-4 explains that God sent His Son as a SIN offering, to condemn sin in the flesh. WHY? So that we, who walk in His Spirit, can fulfill the righteous requirements of the Torah.
Deuteronomy 5:10 declares: “God shows mercy to thousands, who love Him and who keep His commandments.”
God in the flesh, Yeshua, repeated this divine expectation in John 14:15, when He said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
Then in Matthew 5:18, Yeshua assured those listening that “not one jot or one tittle would pass from the Torah until Heaven and earth had passed away.”
Heaven and earth are still here, so we can rest assured that as it says in Psalms 111:7-8, “God’s judgments and commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever.”
Many great men of the Christian faith, men like D.L. Moody understood this fact. Moody once said, “God, being a perfect God, had to give a perfect Law, and the Law was given not to save men, but to measure them.”
And John Wesley once said, “Before I preach love, mercy, and grace, I must preach sin, Law, and judgement.” According to Dr. Ron Moseley, in his book, “Yeshua, A Guide To The Real Jesus And The Original Church, John Wesley advised a friend, “Preach 90% Law and 10% grace!”
In the 4th century, the anti-Semitic Roman Catholic Church taught that the Torah (God’s instructions) were nailed to the cross. This was done to distance themselves from everything they saw as Jewish and to establish their own laws. Since the Reformation the “error of the Lawless” has been passed down to Rome’s Protestant stepchildren.
We keep God’s instructions not to be saved but because we are saved. Obedience is not the enemy of “GRACE.” Yeshua warned us that those who relax even the least of God’s commandments and who teach others to do it will be “least” in the Kingdom, and that those who “keep” and “teach others to keep” God’s Commandments will be great.
How can we know that the “love of God” has been perfected in us? We can know it when “we keep God’s Commandments.” We can’t claim to believe God’s Word then reject God’s Torah. His Torah is His Word! Yeshua is the WORD (the TORAH) of God made flesh. That is why James said that “the implanted word can save your soul.”
James 1:21 “…in meekness receive the implanted Word which is able to save your souls.” Make no mistake, that implanted WORD is Yeshua.
From where, then, does this man-made Church doctrine that claims God’s Torah has been done away with come?
It comes from misunderstanding many of Paul’s writings. Peter warned us that “the untaught pervert Paul’s sometimes hard to understand writings to their own destruction.” That’s why Peter warned us “not to be led astray by the error of the lawless.”
(2Pe 3:15-17) “ … speaking in them concerning these things, in which are some things hard to under-stand, which the unlearned and unsettled pervert, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. Then beloved, knowing beforehand, watch lest being led astray by the error of the lawless, you fall from your own steadfastness.”
In spite of Peter’s clear warning, those who have been brainwashed by this 4thcentury Catholic doctrine, turn Peter’s warning on its head when they claim that those who do their best to keep God’s commandments have fallen from grace.
Obedience Is Not Legalism!
To avoid the error of the lawless we must not confuse “obedience” with “legalism.” Obedience, God says, is better than sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22) There are literally hundreds, upon hundreds, of perfectly clear passages in Scripture that instruct believers to keep God’s law, while there are only a couple-dozen of Paul‘s hard to understand passages that the untaught wrest to their own destruction, promoting the error of the lawless.
The so-called Old Testament is the “plumb-line” of the New. Or as Brad Scott says, “the New Testament isn’t new, only true.”
Circumcision of the heart and loving one’s neighbor as one’s self were establish first in the TORAH! The New Testament does NOT replace or negate the so-called “Old Testament.”
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.” (2nd Timothy 3:16)
The New Testament did not exist when Paul wrote those words to Timothy! Paul did not write that “All doctrines established by men in Church Councils are to be taken as Scripture. ”
Road To Emmaus
After the resurrection, on the road to Emmaus, (Luke 24:25-27) Yeshua quoted from Moses and the prophets to explain why He had to suffer and die. The prophets all wrote about Yeshua, the living Word, for Yeshua is the living older Testament, which makes up 70% of God’s written Word. The Father’s Torah is Yeshua’s Torah. Yeshua came only to do His Father’s will, and Yeshua is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
What Is The Curse Of The Law?
Paul never called the Torah a curse. Paul said the Torah is spiritual, good, and just! Paul’s phrase, “curse of the law” refers to Deuteronomy 30:19. It refers to the curse of death that comes when one breaks the Torah. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing! Therefore choose life. . . ” God’s TORAH brings BLESSINGS to those who keep it!
Yeshua Paid The Penalty
Yeshua took the death penalty on our behalf for breaking His Torah. Every charge against us–our rap sheet in modern lingo–was nailed to the cross, not Yah’s Torah! This demonic doctrine, preached first by the Roman Catholic Church, laid the groundwork for the RCC to declare, and they did, that whatever they bound on earth was now bound in heaven. It gave them the right to change God’s LAWS, to change His weekly Sabbath and outlaw all of His Feast Days.
The New Covenant
Many claim that in the new covenant believers need only to abstain from the four things mentioned in Acts 15:20–pollutions of idols, fornication, things strangled, and blood. If that were the case, and it’s not, they would have a license to murder, lie, steal, and not pay tithes. And no one in their right mind believes that. One must read the very next verse, verse 21: “For Moses of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”
Allow me to paraphrase: Some Pharisees (those taught by the House of Shemai, not the House of Hilel) claimed that Gentile believers must convert to Judaism and get circumcised BEFORE they could be saved. The Mishnah contains the historical documentation to prove this. There were many significant differences taught by the House of Shemai and the House of Hilell, that regarded “halacha” (how one should walk out their faith). This is known as the Oral Law.
Paul, a student of Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel, did not agree with most of Shemai’s halacha. He railed against it, causing those who are unaware of this historical first-century Jewish dispute to take Paul’s writing out of context, assuming he taught against keeping God’s written Torah.
Now, back to Acts 15. Yeshua’s disciples knew that God had already saved these new Gentile believers by grace through faith. But because they were fresh out of Paganism, the elders came up with a plan. They instructed these new believers to abstain from idols, fornication, eating strangled animals, and (eating) blood. These four practices were an integral part of Pagan worship. They knew that doing these four things would cause these new believers to be cut off. So James and the elders instructed them to STOP these four practices immediately. The next verse shows that the elders knew that the new believers would go to synagogue every Sabbath and, over time, learn all the rest of God’s instructions.
Can We Eat Anything In the New Covenant?
Another scripture so often quoted to prove that God’s dietary laws have been done away with is 1st Timothy 4:4–For every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving. Standing alone, out of context, one might assume that God–Who never changes and knows the end from the beginning—suddenly changed his mind about what is and is not food, and now His people can eat anything they want: snakes, jelly fish, roaches, rats, vultures, and swine. Only that is NOT what the scripture is saying. Let’s back up a few verses and get the context of this passage. (1Timothy 4:1-5)
“But the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, cleaving to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons, in lying speakers in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience, forbidding to marry, saying to abstain from foods which God created for partaking with thanksgiving by believers and those who know the truth. Because every creature of God [which God created to be food as per Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14] is good, and nothing to be thrust away, if it is received with thanksgiving, for it [those creatures God says are to be food for man] has been sanctified by the word of God [Lev 11& Deu 14] and prayer.
According to Timothy, the passage above is talking about those who depart from the faith. Rest assured, the faith of which Timothy is speaking is the faith that was handed down to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Those departing from that faith will cleave to teachings of demons. These demonic teachings forbid marriage, which Yahweh never forbid, but actually instituted. It’s the Roman Catholic Church that forbids marriage for their clergy.
These demons teach men to abstain from things God created to be food for man. (Lev 11:3, Deu 14:4) God’s TORAH is TRUTH! (Psalms 119:142) Timothy goes on to say that every creature of God is good, but please notice the qualifier “it must be sanctified by God’s Word.” God never sanctified (set apart) swine as food for man. Eating swine throughout Scripture is called an abomination. (Leviticus 11:7-8) “And the swine, though he divide the hoof and be cloven-footed, yet he chews not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh you shall not eat..”
Isaiah 65:2-4 says this: “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way not good, after their own thoughts, a people who continually provoke Me to My face, who sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense on the bricks, who sit among the graves and lodge in the towers, who eat swine’s flesh and the broth of unclean things in their pots…”
Timothy was not declaring that Yah’s dietary laws are done away with. He was warning believers to be weary of “Gnostic teaching” which teaches men to abstain from food (including those animals God created to be food).
What about Peter’s Vision?
Before I point out the verse that explains the meaning of Peter’s vision, allow me to ask a question. If Yeshua had already overturned His Father’s dietary laws in Mark 7, as many claim, then why didn’t Peter already know about it? If that were the case, Yeshua certainly would have told him, since they had shared so many meals together. Yet years after Yeshua’s resurrection, Peter declared in Acts 10:14 that he had never eaten anything unclean. The answer, of course, is that Yeshua never declared His Father’s dietary law to be done away with, not in Mark 7 or anywhere else. Mark 7 was about “hand washing” (an oral tradition of the Pharisees), and Peter’s vision had to do with the oral tradition of the Pharisees to abstain from fellowship with Gentiles. Neither of these passages had anything to do with changing God’s dietary instructions. Yeshua never declared that unclean animals are now clean.
Disregarding God’s admonition to never add to or take away from His word, translators inserted their own wish-fulfilling assumption when they added the words, “Thus Jesus declared all foods clean.” That is why those words are always found either in italics or in parentheses.
In Mark 7: 15, the Messiah stated that it is what comes out of a man (from his heart) that defiles him (not eating bread with unwashed hands). In verse 19, quoting from the Literal Translation, it says: “because it does not enter into his heart but into the belly, and it goes out into the waste-bowl, purging all the foods.”
Now the Greek word kath-ar-id’-zo can mean either cleans or purge. But based on the context of “going out of the body into the toilet,” the correct choice could only be PURGE! What goes into the toilet is not purified. It is purged!
Now to their credit the original KJV version translated kath-ar-id’zo correctly as purge. But in the New KJV, among several other modern translations, kath-ar-id’zo is translated as cleansing. But even though the words “Jesus declared all foods clean” were inserted by translators hoping to show that God’s dietary laws were nullified, those translators were technically correct. For only God can declare what food is, and eating “food” (bread, in this case) with ceremonially unwashed hands will not defile us.
Our Creator knows the end from the beginning, and He never changes. From the beginning, He determined, once and for all, in Leviticus 11 & Deuteronomy 14, what is and is not food. Peter’s vision nullified adherence to an oral law (not God’s Torah), established by Pharisees, not by YHVH.
THE PURPOSE OF PETER’S VISION
The reason for Peter’s vision can be found in Acts 10:28.
“Then he said to them, ‘You know how “unlawful” it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’”
Acts uses the term unlawful, but it is not referring to God’s written TORAH! Nowhere in the written TORAH are Israelites forbidden to associate with Gentiles–quite the contrary. God only commands those in covenant not to “worship Him the way Gentiles worship their pagan gods.” The writer of Acts is referring to those laws that Yeshua called the “traditions of men.”
Unfortunately, those who do not study the Old Testament foolishly assume that God is reversing one of His own laws! We must study the entirety of Scripture, both testaments, if we are to “rightly divide God’s word.”
Justified by Faith or Works?
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
Verses About Keeping God’s Commandments
1st John 3:22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
1st John 5:2 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
1st John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.”
2Jn_1:6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
Rev_12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah.
Rev_14:12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Yeshua.
Rev_22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
Rom_2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
Rom_3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
1st John 3:4, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”
Romans 6:15, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!”
Romans 7:12 “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.”
Romans 7:14 “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
Romans 7:16 “If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.”
Romans 7:22 “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.”
Romans 8:4 says, “…that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
IN THE MILLENNIUM
Here is a prophesy from Isaiah regarding that future time when Yeshua returns to Jerusalem to set up His Kingdom.
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the YHVH’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountain, and shall be exalted above the hills. And ALL Nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YHVH, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the TORAH, and the word of YHVH from Jerusalem.