Law of Moses – Yahweh’s Teachings
Part V – Clean and Unclean
What Did Noah Eat?
Ge 1:29 God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
This is the food given to Adam in the garden before the fall.
Ge 9:3 Every moving thing (remes) that liveth (chay) shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
It appears Yahweh adds animal meat to man’s diet after the flood, whether it was given before this is not mentioned. The words “all things” are not in the Hebrew, only implied, meaning Yahweh has now given man “both” meat and herbs.
Ge 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
Noah knew the difference between clean and unclean even before the flood, as well as which animals were which. Yahweh would then have realized when He spoke to him in 9:3 that Noah was well aware of what was clean and what was an abomination.
Let’s look at Gen 9:3 and Lev 11:41, two verses which are creepingly similar.
Ge 9:3 Every moving thing (remes) that liveth (chay) shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
#7431 ~ remes – KJV – creeping thing 15, moving thing 1, that creepeth 1; total 17. Definition: creeping things, moving things, creeping organism.
#2416 ~ chay – KJV – live 197, life 144, beast 76, alive 31, creature 15, running 7, living thing 6, raw 6, misc 19; total 501. Definition: living, alive.
Le 11:41 Every creeping thing (sherets) that creepeth (sharats) upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.
#8318 ~ sherets is from #8317 ~ sharats – KJV – creep 6, bring forth abundantly 5, move 1, breed abundantly 1, increase abundantly 1; total 14. Definition: to teem, swarm, multiply.
The strange difference seems to be, Noah was given “every moving (creeping) thing that liveth,” whereas Moses was forbidden “every creeping (moving) thing that creepeth.” Both Hebrew words can mean “moving” or “creeping.” The difference could be that “liveth” indicates animals on 4 legs that run (since it’s translated running 7 times) and “creepeth” specifies creepy, crawly things that multiply abundantly. Taking Gen 9:3 to mean we can eat anything that moves is like taking Lev 11:41 and saying everything that moves is forbidden; since remes is translated “moving thing” only once and “creeping thing” 15 times and sherets is translated in Gen 1:20 as “moving creature.”
If Gen 9:3 reads, “Every ‘clean’ moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you,” it would not be open to dispute, but since we know Noah was aware of what was clean and unclean, even before the flood, the word “clean” is not included but is understood to be. Yahweh knew Noah wasn’t going to think “every moving thing” included rats, hornets, worms and jellyfish because Noah had obviously been told earlier what was acceptable and what was not.
Even if Noah was permitted to eat anything, and since we know Moses wasn’t, and the law of Moses stands between our day and Noah, then the instructions given to Noah have no bearing on us anyway.
Act 10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.14 But Peter said, Not so, Master; for I have never eaten any thing that is common (koinos) or unclean (akathartos). 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
To understand this passage it helps to know the difference between “common” and “unclean.”
#2839 ~ koinos – KJV-common 7, unclean 3, defiled 1, unholy 1; total 12. Definition: common i.e. ordinary, belonging to generality; by the Jews, unhallowed, profane, Levitically unclean.
#169 ~ akathartos – KJV – unclean 28, foul 2; total 30. Definition: in a ceremonial sense: that which must be abstained from according to the Levitical law, in a moral sense: unclean in thought and life.
A lamb would be thought of as common by the Jews if it was sacrificed to idols or was touched by Gentiles, but would not be considered unclean unless it was somehow blemished or died of itself. The Jews looked upon anything from the heathen as common, despite no OT scriptures to back this up, and Paul tells us “there is nothing common of itself” (Ro 14:14).
Yahweh’s answer to Peter is, what I have cleansed don’t call common. He didn’t say He made unclean things clean. The OT never says the Gentiles are unclean or common, in fact Yahweh tells them: “The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself” (Le 19:34). But look what Peter says, “It is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation” (28). This might be unlawful in the eyes of the Pharisees but not Yahweh’s. Look at Ex 12:48; 1Ki 8:41-43 and Is 56:3-7, as well as Ruth and Jonah, and read how Yahweh considered the foreigner. Remember Yahshua’s dealings with sinners and how he was condemned for it by the Jews. It’s obvious Peter has yet to have this prejudice knocked out of his head and you wonder if he ever did after reading Gal 2:12 where he is still looking at Gentiles as common.
Verse 17 tells us Peter was left pondering what the vision meant when the men from Cornelius arrived at his gate. Did it mean all animals are now made clean through Yahshua, or is Yahweh telling the Jews He is bringing in all peoples through the door that is Messiah? Yahweh said, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common (RSV).” It’s apparent Yahshua’s blood covers humans, not animals and this is what Peter eventually realized was the message of the vision.
Ac 10:28 Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 34 Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Okay, now Peter understands the vision was about peoples not animals or food. He had considered Gentiles not only common but unclean as well. This was the Jewish mindset, that only they were called and acceptable to Yahweh, despite what we have read to the contrary in the OT. This would explain Peter’s words “God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Yahweh never said Gentiles were “unclean” and only tells Peter not to call them “common.” It appears this vision had demonstrated to Peter that the Jews, including himself, have been wrong for centuries now to falsely label anyone “unclean” and now, through Yahshua, Yahweh is saying they are not even to be classed as “common.”
Yahweh used clean and unclean animals as a metaphor to reveal, as an example to Peter, that Gentiles also were being cleansed through Yahshua’s blood. The Jews couldn’t fairly be compared to clean animals for they were just as unclean as Gentiles and also in need of cleansing. Many people leap to conclusions and turn this symbolism Yahweh uses into an opportunity to declare the clean and unclean food laws obsolete, despite it never being mentioned.
Nothing “Unclean?” of Itself
Ro 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Master Yahshua, that there is nothing unclean (koinos) of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean (koinos), to him it is unclean (koinos).
It is understood from the OT that pigs are unclean in and of themselves but here Yahshua has convinced Paul that even pigs are not “koinos” of themselves. Long before the KJV was translated Christianity had deemed the law to be done away with and no longer valid, so it is not hard to see that the translators were ignorant, or we should say blinded, to the difference between “common” and “unclean.” It is still remarkable however that the Greek word “koinos,” (see definition above) in all the times it’s translated in the NT, only in this one verse is it rendered “unclean,” instead of the correct “common.” Paul is saying nothing is “common” of itself, he is not saying nothing is “unclean” of itself.
Abstain from Meats
1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified (hagiazo) by the word of God and prayer.
#37 ~ hagiazo – KJV – sanctify 26, hallow 2, be holy 1; total 29. Definition: to separate from profane things and dedicate to God.
Paul tells us a group of sinners in the future will be urging believers not to marry or eat meat. He says they will have departed “from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron”(1-2). Do we know anybody like this? Does this sound like the people today who support keeping the law? “Commanding to abstain from meats.” What meats Paul? “Meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” Did God create dogs or horses to be received with thanksgiving for to eat? How do we know which meats are indicated? Verse 5 tells us those meats that are “sanctified (hagiazo) by the word of God.” Horses, dogs, rats and pigs are not sanctified by the word of God, only clean animals are.
All Things are Lawful Unto Me?
1Co 6:12 All things [are] lawful (exesti) unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power (exousiazo) of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them.
#1832 ~ exesti – KJV – be lawful 29, may 2, let 1; total 32. Definition: It is lawful, it is right (through the figurative idea of being out in public). Vine’s Dictionary: an impersonal verb, signifying it is permitted, it is lawful, or thou mayest.
This verse has nothing to do with the Law of Moses! The word translated “lawful” is existi and can mean “permitted” (see examples).
Ac 2:29 Men and brethren, let (exesti) me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David.
Ac 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest (exesti).
Ac 21:37 As Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May (exesti) I speak unto thee?
The first “are” is not in the original Greek. Does this change the meaning? All things permitted to me, but not all things are profitable. All things permitted to me, but I will not be mastered by anything. “Be brought under the power,” these five words are translated from the one Greek word exousiazo (#1850), it is from the Greek word exesti, (see above). Paul is doing a little play on words here: All things in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any of them. One of these things is fornication (verses 15-16), he will not relinquish the power he has over his body to a harlot (see in 1Co 7:4 how exousiazo (power) of your body is given to your spouse). We, as believers, should control this power not our behaviour and deeds controlling us. “They themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2Pe 2:19, also Jn 8:34, Ro 6:12 & 16).
These two verses are a refutation of the two sayings of the Gnostics, “All things permitted me”, and “Meat for the belly, and the belly for meat,” basically the Gnostic version of, ‘if it feels good, do it” (Messianic Jew, Dr. David H. Stern). Paul was literally rebuking this line of thinking, however, by turning his words on their head once again the translators make Paul say the opposite of his meaning. It is ludicrous to even think Paul believes everything is lawful to him, which would suggest everything is lawful for us as well. Paul goes on in the next few verses to admonish all to keep their bodies holy, and strongly rebukes such Gnostic rubbish that we see proliferating in today’s society. This is an indication of how feeble the anti-law argument is when they have to grasp onto verses such as this.
Nothing We Eat Can Harm Us?
Mt 15:17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Yahshua taught that we are judged from the heart not from what we do and he condemned those who thought otherwise. He said, “whatsoever entereth in at the mouth,” he didn’t say anything that enters your mouth is fine. Would poison go into your mouth and pass out of you without harming you? See how he concluded his message, “These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” If anyone looks at this passage to mean everything is permissible to eat they’ve missed his message by a long shot. After all, if that were the case, what were the apostles doing restricting certain foods in Acts 15:20.
Hygiene and Disease
In the law of Moses we find commandments dealing with hygiene and disease that are often overlooked and in our modern times considered irrelevant.
Nu 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.
Nu 19:16 Whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
Deut 23:12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee.
For those interested in Yahweh’s law it’s important you read the next two articles.
Kingdom Island Medical Center
Keep in mind that man’s medical knowledge was virtually abysmal until the beginning of the 20th century. The existence of germs was unknown until around A.D. 1890. Yet the first five books of the Bible known as Torah, or the Law, recorded by Moses approximately 1491-1451 B.C., reveal surprisingly advanced medical and scientific knowledge about hygiene and sanitation.
There is a tendency for people to think that whatever the laws are in the Bible, it is designed to restrict us from our freedom to enjoy life. Yet when we look at some of the laws in the Bible given by Moses to the Jews, they are meant to protect them from the fatal harm of disease. If the Jews followed the laws, they were protected even though they did not know the entire mechanism behind the laws as we do nowadays.
Take a look at this advanced medical knowledge and instructions written 3500 years ago. Unless what was written by Moses was inspired by God, it is impossible to come up with these instructions without the knowledge of germs and medicine.
An article in the Encyclopedia Britannica documents that Dr. Semmelweis, a doctor in Vienna in 1845, realized a 15-30% of the mothers giving birth in the hospital ended up dying. At that time, the existence of microscopic infectious germs was unknown and unsuspected. However, Dr. Semmelweis insisted that the doctors under his supervision wash their hands prior to examining patients. Immediately, the mortality rate fell to less than 2%.
Until this century most doctors who did choose to wash their hands did so in a bowl of water, which allow the germs to remain on their hands. However, Moses instructed the Israelites to wash in “running water” back in 1500 B.C. How did Moses gain such a foresight?
The laws of Numbers and Leviticus reveals an advanced system for the control of infectious disease. The Bible commands that the priests act as medical control officers, examining sick individuals and taking action to protect them and the community. Even after a man recovered, the individual was subject to strict medical isolation to ascertain he was truly healed.
Europe and Asia have been periodically engulfed by epidemics of leprosy and plague in the medieval period, especially between A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1400. More than 60 million people (1/3 of the population of Europe in the 14th century) are estimated to have died by the Black Death (bubonic plague). Renowned doctors of the time were unable to respond adequately due to the lack of knowledge. They were reduced to offer advice such as “Stop eating pepper or garlic.” In the midst of fear and panic, several church leaders in Vienna began to search the Bible and discovered Leviticus 13:46. People began to follow the ancient biblical laws of sanitation and disease control that the epidemic was broken.
Until this century, all previous societies, except for the Israelites who followed God’s medication laws regarding quarantine, kept infected patients in their homes – even after death, exposing family members and others to deadly disease. “The laws against leprosy in Leviticus 13 may be regarded as the first model of a sanitary legislation.” (Arturo Castiglione, A History of Medicine, p.71)
Hygiene and Sanitation
One respect in which Jewish medicine was better than that of contemporary peoples was the remarkable sanitary code of the Israelites in Moses’ time (e.g. Le. 15). A. Rendle Short gives an excellent short account of this (The Bible and Modern Medicine, pp. 37-46). Although generally referred to as a code, the details are, in fact, scattered throughout the Pentateuch (Gen.–Deut.).
The Jews, as a nation, might not have survived their time in the wilderness, or the many other vicissitudes through which they passed, without their sanitary ‘code’. It deals with public hygiene, water supply, sewage disposal, inspection and selection of food, and control of infectious disease. The most interesting thing about it is that it implies a knowledge which in the circumstances of the Exodus and the wilderness wanderings they could scarcely have discovered for themselves, e.g. the prohibition, as food, of pigs and of animals which had died natural deaths, the burial or burning of excreta, etc., and the contagious nature of some diseases.
Burning of excreta (Ex. 29:14) was a particularly wise practice for a wandering people, since there was no time for dung to do good as manure. The spread of disease was thus effectively prevented. The origin of the word ‘quarantine’ is the Jewish use of the period of 40 days of segregation from patients with certain diseases (Le. 13:45) adopted by the Italians in the 14th century because of the relative immunity of Jews from certain plagues.
In a number of respects the biblical outlook on the sick, and health in general, has a bearing on modern medical practice, and is perhaps more up-to-date than is generally realized. (New Bible Dictionary, pp. 464 – D. H. Trapnell, Westminster Hospital, London)
Christianity has pounded into our heads that the law is a burden, a yoke and a curse, without a single scriptural verse to support such deception. Instead the Bible speaks of the law only in glowing terms. For we read that the law is:
Righteous ~ De 4:8
True ~ Ne 9:13
Good ~ Ne 9:13, Ro 7:12, 1Ti 1:8
Perfect ~ Ps 19:7
Pure ~ Ps 19:8
Desirable ~ Ps 19:10
Sweet ~ Ps 19:10
A warning ~ Ps 19:11
A blessing ~ Deut 11:27, Rev 22:14
Right ~ Ne 9:13, Ps 19:8
Holy ~ Ro 7:12
Just ~ Ro 7:12
Spiritual ~ Ro 7:14
Delightful ~ Ro 7:22
Despite all the biblical evidence to the contrary we are told today it was a good thing Yahshua did when he took that repressive weight off our backs and set us free to stand on our own. If we ignore man for the moment and believe how the Bible describes the law, the question is, why would Yahweh take away from Christians the blessing, guidance and protection He gave the Israelites through the law? Would the Christian world in the middle ages have suffered the widespread diseases and overall poor health they did if they had followed a few of the basic principles of the law? Israel was told to dispose of their excrement outside the camp whereas European towns had open sewers running down every street. In many cities and towns Jews had their own district or ghetto and were protected to a certain degree from the plagues that swept throughout the land. However, this was not altogether a good thing. The Christians, seeing the plague was not as devastating on the Jews as it was on them, through hatred and frustration, often turned on the Jewish population as a scapegoat, blaming them for the plague.
These are an Abomination!
De 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto Yahweh thy God, and Yahweh hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. 3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
Le 11:44 For I am Yahweh your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Le 20:25 Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable (shaqats) by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.
#8262 ~ shaqats – KJV – abomination 2, abominable 2, abhor 1, utterly 1, detest 1, total 7. Definition: to detest, make abominable, count filthy, make detestable.
With such crystal clear commandments how is it possible to lay them aside based on such questionable verses we have looked at?
2Co 6:17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says Yahweh. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you” (from Isa 52:11).
Paul quotes the OT as if he thinks it still applies.
Paul Confronts Peter
Gal 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
What was Peter blamed with? This is the key.
12a For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles.
Was he to blame for eating with the Gentiles? But read what Peter said.
Ac 10:28a Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;
Is this what Paul is blaming Peter with? Let’s finish reading Act 10:28.
28b But God hath shewed me (Peter) that I should not call any man common or unclean.
“But” – the word that turns things around, now Peter knows he was wrong all along, as were and are the Jews, Gentiles are not common by command of Yahweh but made common by the bias of the uppity Jews. If Peter had followed the example of Yahshua he would have known this, for the Pharisees accused the Messiah of associating with sinners. So eating with a sinner or Gentile is not against the law. Let’s get back to Galatians.
12b But when they (the Jews from James) were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
So Paul is charging Peter with withdrawing from eating with the Gentiles and going over to eat with the Jews. This paints a picture of a divided assembly, with the majority of Jews off to one side eating and the bulk of the Gentiles eating in another area. We can suppose Paul had this to contend with everywhere he went and what a disappointment to find the apostle Yahshua gave the keys of the kingdom to undoing all the work he had put into this assembly.
13 And the other Jews dissembled (sunupokrinomai) likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation (hupokrisis).
13 (NKJV) And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
Following the leader is what most of us do best, whether right or wrong. In the KJV hupokrisis (#5272) is translated hypocrisy five times and only in this single instance is it translated dissimulation. Hypocrisy indeed is what it was, Peter saying one thing in Acts and doing another here.
14a But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel.
This is a clear testament to our weak flesh, everything Peter went through in Acts 10 and 11, from the vision, to Cornelius’ conversion, to facing down the Jews afterwards, it is amazing to find Peter crumbling here in Antioch because of a few men sent from James. They “walked not uprightly” because, in a very true sense they were implying the Gentile Christians were not clean, and being Jews they had been taught (not by Yahweh) not to associate with them. With this act Peter was proclaiming the Gentiles to be still without hope, still “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” and if we read Ep. 2:12-22 we find Peter was saying Yahshua was a failure.
14b I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
“After the manner of Gentiles,” all five words being translated from one Greek word, #1483 ethnikos, this is the only time it is used in the entire Bible. It is an adverb meaning heathenish, heathen like or in heathen fashion. “As do the Jews,” these four words are also taken from one Greek word, #2452 ioudaikos, it as well is only found here in all the scriptures. It’s an adverb meaning Jewishly or Jewish like. “To live as do the Jews,” is likewise only used here and all six words are translated from the one Greek word ioudaizo #2450, a verb (not an adverb like the first two) meaning to Judaise or be Jewish. Paul’s question then to Peter is, you, being a Jew, live heathenishly, and not Jewishly, why forcefully Judaise the Gentiles.
Does this single question of Paul’s tell us Peter was living the life of a pagan and the converted pagans were required by the apostles to be Jewish? If we take Paul’s question out of this context it could be understood that way. Most of Christianity would have us believe the first part about Peter living like the Gentiles is interpreted correctly but the second part about the Gentiles following Jewish customs, oh no, that can’t be right. Can we conceivably believe Peter worshiped idols, ate swine and completely turned away from keeping the law and then abruptly falls back into his Jewish habits when James’ men arrive? Then what did Paul mean, after all he lived as did Peter? What aspect of Peter’s heathen life was Paul referring to?
Let’s see what we have. Paul is writing to the Galatians and tells of a time when he was in Antioch, where he and Barnabas worked for many months, when Peter arrived. Everything was fine until some Jews associated with James show up. Peter then began to avoid the Gentile members during mealtime because he feared the disapproval, whether real or imagined, of those from James. The Jews had created through their own man-made ordinances what Paul calls in Ep. 2:14 “the middle wall of partition,” forbidding them from eating with Gentiles. This was still a part of the Jewish custom, certainly not given by Yahweh or Moses but added because of Jewish arrogance and appropriately ignored by Yahshua, which he was criticized for. If all Christians, including the Jews, had for years now thrown out the law of Moses, why were they still fretting over a minor point of the law such as this? This clearly demonstrate that the Jewish believers had to still be keeping the entire law for such a minor point, that had already be settled in the Jerusalem meeting (Acts 15), to still be causing such a fuss. Why would Peter keep this part of the Jewish law if he believed the law had ended? Why would he keep this minuscule fragment and ignore the major commandments such as the Sabbath, the Holy Days or the clean food laws?
Paul points out to Peter that he is a Jew yet he lives “ethnikos,” in Gentile fashion, not “ioudaikos,” Jewishly. Do we take from this that Peter does everything heathenish and absolutely nothing Jewishly, or only acts different from the Jews in regards to the subject matter. Peter was outside the boundaries of Israel, in a foreign country, living among the Gentiles. Peter differed from most Jews in that he ate, associated and worshiped with heathens. In the eyes of the scribes and Pharisees Peter was a Jew but lived as a heathen. Remember, Paul’s charge was hypocrisy, Peter was saying the Gentiles were acceptable but acting as though they were still filth and Yahshua had not cleansed them.
Paul adds, if this is the case why force the Gentiles to “ioudaizo,” Judaise. This verb is an action word, it describes what actions the Gentiles were taking. In 14b the verb to describe Peter’s actions was zao, livest or living, whereas the Gentiles were forced to Judaise, live Jewish.
#2450 ~ ioudaizo – KJV – to live as do the Jews 1; total 1; Definition: to adopt Jewish customs and rites, imitate the Jews, Judaise, one who observes the ritual law of the Jews.
Paul is asking Peter, why make the Gentiles keep the law if you in turn treat them like filthy Gentile sinners. Paul lived the same as Peter, eating with the Gentiles and so looked on by Jews as heathenish. He would also be teaching the Gentiles to Judaise (Ac 15:20-21; Ro 2:26; 1Co 11:2; 2Th 2:15; Heb 5:12), but the big difference is that Paul considered them grafted in, citizens of the commonwealth of Israel (Ep 2:12 & 19) and ended this epistle by calling them the “Israel of God” (6:16). If you are a citizen of Britain you obey the law of Britain, if a citizen of Israel you obey the law of Israel.
15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles.
You and I Peter are Jews from birth and not descended from sinful Gentiles.
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Yahshua Messiah, even we have believed in Yahshua Messiah, that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Here now Paul gives his lifelong theme. The Gentiles are justified by Yahshua, everyone who has ever lived must be justified by Yahshua, “even we” he says, even you and I Peter must believe in Yahshua to be justified. The law didn’t justify Moses, or Daniel, or John the Baptist, only Yahshua could do that. Yahshua justifies everyone equally, the Gentiles who put their trust in Messiah are just as righteous and clean as the Jews, and so why do you not treat them so?
To understand this passage it is important to always keep in mind what the subject is all about. Paul uses this confrontation with Peter to introduce the main thrust of his entire epistle, which is not to abandon your trust in Yahshua for justification and fall back and try to become righteous by works, whether by the law or otherwise.
The Sabbath Rest of Hebrews
What is the “rest” spoken of in Hebrews chapters three and four? Is it the rest we find in Messiah when we believe on his name? Could it be the rest given through the Holy Spirit after being baptized? Some would even say it is the New Testament Sabbath, or Lord’s Day, thought to be observed after the resurrection. Since this passage has been so misconstrued, which has lead to many erroneous interpretations, let’s take a long hard look at just what it does say.
He. 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.
This is a quote from Ps 95:11; go read Ps 95:6-11. The promised land was a “type” of rest, rest from slavery in Egypt and rest from their wanderings in the desert.
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Messiah, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Be careful you don’t slip into unbelief, so exhort each other everyday lest any should sin. We will receive this rest only if we hold what we have “steadfast unto the end.”
15 While it is said, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation” (Ps 95:7-8). 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Very few entered the promised land; the remainder “fell in the wilderness …because of unbelief.” These unbelievers not only failed to enter the promised land rest, which is symbolic of the ultimate eternal rest, but they won’t partake of this eternal rest either. Take note of the quote from Psalms.
He. 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
Again we are cautioned, for we also might fall short of entering into this eternal rest. Remember this is yet future, meaning we have not as yet enter or received this rest.
2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
In the Old Testament they were told the gospel message but did not receive faith in order to believe.
3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, “As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
The KJV really muddles up this verse. “We ‘do enter into rest,’” in verse 1 he said the rest is still a promise but here he seems to say we are already into the rest. What gives? “Do” is not in the original Greek but is added, “enter” is from the Greek word eiserchomai, often translated enter, go, come. But here it is in the “emphatic futuristic present middle indicative” form (Robertson), meaning, “will enter” or at least should simply be “enter into” or “come into” or even “go into.” Believers will enter into eternal rest.
Then he quotes Ps 95:11 again, but even though the KJV got it correct in He 3:11, just 10 verses ago, they put in, “if they shall enter into my rest” instead of “they shall NOT enter into my rest.” The KJV repeats this mistake again in verse 5, all other major translations, including even the NKJV, correct this error.
Verse 3 is simply saying, believers will enter into this rest and unbelievers will not.
4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
Verse 3-5 says, those unbelievers aren’t going to enter His rest even though the work of creation is complete (however Yahweh still works according to Jn 5:17 & 14:10). He rested the 7th day from the work of creation but unbelievers won’t have rest, but we who have believed will enter into rest.
6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
The promise remains (it’s not yet realized, still future) and those with faith will enter in.
7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
In David’s day, after so long a time had passed since Moses and Joshua, the promised land rest had been realized, yet another day, another rest was still future. Joshua had not given them the ultimate rest for we read in He. 11:16 how the OT saints desired “A better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
9 There remaineth therefore a rest (sabbatismos) to the people of God.
#4520 ~ sabbatismos [from #4521 sabbath]. – KJV – rest 1, total 1. Definition: a keeping Sabbath;
Take a look at how other versions translate this correctly.
DV There remains then a sabbatism to the people of God.
DNT Therefore remains a keeping of a sabbath for the people of the God.
ESV So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,
RSV So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God;
WB It follows that there still remains a sabbath rest for the people of God.
ASV There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.
NIV There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;
NASB There remaineth therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
Most of the versions admit that there is still a Sabbath for us today. The DNT stays truest to the definitions of the Greek words with, “Therefore remains a keeping of a sabbath for the people of the God.” Despite the fact most Christian churches do not obey the Sabbath commandment it is still there in the NT written in black and white.
10 For he that is entered into his rest (katapausis), he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
# 2663 ~ katapausis – KJV – rest 9; total 9. Definition: a putting to rest, calming of the winds, a resting place.
There still is “sabbatismos,” a keeping of the Sabbath, and those that rest on the Sabbath do as God did after creation. So the weekly Sabbath and the promised land rest have been partaken of, still they are only symbolic of yet another rest which is also promised as we see in the next verse.
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
“Let us labour,” yet once more the author points to the future, we have to continue to strive for this final rest, meaning we have not received it yet. If we don’t continue to labour to acquire this rest and capture it, we could fall, as did the unbelievers in the wilderness.
Mt. 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (anapauo, same as Rev. 14:13).
Let’s assume for the moment that Mt. 11:28 is not eternal rest but the rest of the Holy Spirit given through Messiah, and if so it could be classified as a 3rd type of rest. Then the saints being written to here in Hebrews could be said to have the rest of the Sabbath (1st), the rest of the promised land (2nd), and the rest of the Holy Spirit (3rd). But they are told they must continue to work toward still a final 4th rest we find spoken of in Re 14:13, “Blessed are the dead which die in Yahweh from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest (anapauo) from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
#373 ~ anapauo – KJV – rest 4, refresh 4, take rest 2, give rest 1, take ease 1; total 12. Definition: to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength, to give rest, refresh.
So we see the spirit filled believers in the 1st century assembly, who lived in the promised land and kept the Sabbath, still were told to strive for that final, ultimate, eternal rest given at the resurrection. John, in Revelation, gave a description of this glorious rest.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Rev. 7:16 and 21:4).
Law of Moses Replaced by the Law of Yahshua?
Many people convince themselves Yahshua instituted a new code of law with his teachings and instructions, especially what they see in Matthew chapters 5-7. What they call ‘the Law of Christ’ he calls ‘my sayings’ (Mt 6:24). However, if you don’t heed his sayings the penalty won’t be punishment on Judgement Day as it is with the law of Moses, he only will consider you a foolish man for rejecting such sound advise (6:24-26).
Let’s examine Matthew chapters 5-7 and see if Yahshua ushered in a new code of conduct that replaces the law of Moses. Look at the following, are they commandments or wise sayings? Both, because they come from someone who has authority over us. But do they replace the commandments of Yahweh? No, they enhance and help explain some of them.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay
Resist not evil
Give to him that asketh thee
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you
When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, pray to thy Father which is in secret
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven
Ye cannot serve God and mammon
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink
Judge not, that ye be not judged
First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly
Neither cast ye your pearls before swine
All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law
Enter ye in at the strait gate
Beware of false prophets
Did Yahshua issue new commandments? Look at this commandment from Yahshua.
Mt 8:18 When Yahshua saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
Did this commandment replace any commandments from Yahweh? No more than the above wise sayings did.
Always remember who actually was responsible for Yahshua’s words.
Deut 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put MY WORDS in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto MY WORDS which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Jn 8:28 Then said Yahshua unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
Yahshua was a messenger bringing the words of Yahweh to Israel and the world, not bringing new laws.
613 or Less
The Jews count 613 commandments in the law of Moses, 365 don’ts and 248 dos. Many, however, are redundant, for they are in both the dos and don’ts, such as Lev 22:21 where one commandment is, you don’t offer a blemished animal and another is you do offer an unblemished animal. Also De 24:19 is similar in that you don’t return to the field for a forgotten sheaf and you do leave a forgotten sheaf for the poor. So the number 613 the Jews claim as the official number of commandments is a bit misleading, also considering each commandment does not apply to everyone.
The law is found spread throughout the 2nd, 3th, 4th and 5th books of the Bible, often times repeated in Deuteronomy what was stated in one of the other books, or vice-versa. Each individual should read over and study the teachings Yahweh gave to Israel and determine for themselves, through prayer, what commandments apply to them and which ones don’t. And most don’t, unless you’re a priest and both a man and a woman, living in Israel, before Messiah, within the confines of the camp.
Let’s look at some of the commandments, with a viewpoint from the law’s many facets that guide, protect and bless us.
De 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto Yahweh thy God.
Le 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am Yahweh.
Here are two commandments that are never mentioned in the New Testament. Since we are told the law has been abolished it would seem what was once an abomination in Yahweh’s eyes He can now look on with approval. Men wearing women’s undergarments and dresses would no longer be repugnant to Him. Branding or making carvings and tattoos on your body He would now not find detestable. Since these commandments are not mentioned in the NT is it now ok to do this things or are they some of the commandments opponents of the law claim are impossible for us in our day to obey because of our modern social environment? Would we be charged with trying to impose Old Testament values on our twenty-first century culture? Maybe our answer should be, “I’d rather please Yahweh then have the approval of men.”
As we can see in the next two examples they also are not included in the so called Law of Christ but are enforced throughout Christendom (up to about 1975 anyway) as if the law was still valid.
Le 18:23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion (RSV & NIV – perversion).
There are actually two commandments in this verse (as there are in many others), men shall not lie with animals to defile themselves and women shall not stand before an animal to be defiled.
Le 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Le 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.
Homosexuality is an abomination and is forbidden.
The following are examples of commandments I don’t thing you are going to have to worry about. As I have said before some commandments only apply to a select group, time, or place, whereas others apply everyday to everybody, such as De 6:5 and Lev 19:18.
Ex 23:31 I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. 32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Israel was commanded not to make a covenant with the seven nations of Canaan they were to overthrow.
Le 10:9 (To Aaron) Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
The priests were not to be intoxicated or even to take a drink before serving in the temple.
Lev 21:21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of Yahweh made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
The priests were to be without blemish when serving in the temple.
Ex 20:25 If thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.
An altar was not acceptable which was made of stones broken by man’s tools.
Even though these commandments would not apply to us today, at the time they demonstrated Yahweh’s requirement of vigilance, dedication and purity. Yet they still have overlying principles for us today, for Ex 23:31 can be seen in Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” (2Co 6:14).
Here now are a few commandments that would apply to us today if the circumstances warranted.
De 20:19 When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man’s life) to employ them in the siege
They were not to destroy fruit trees in time of siege.
Lev. 25:35-37 If thy brother be waxen poor… take thou no usury of him, or increase… Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.
Not to lend at interest or take advantage of the less fortunate.
De 22:6-7 If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way… thou shalt not take the dam with the young: But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.
Saving the environment by not wiping out the entire bird’s nest (mother and young).
De 22:8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement (low wall or fence) for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.
Safety first, even if it cost a little more.
Next is a commandment that will apply to only a select few people today, at least in our country.
De 25:4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
Not preventing a beast from eating the produce while working. Paul, in his defence of his apostleship and his right to partake as did the others, used this commandment, just as if he thought it was still valid, to demonstrate that Yahweh cared for the animals in the time of Moses and also in Paul’s day.
1Co 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
If Yahweh still cares for the animals today would he expect us to obey or ignore this commandment? Obey it for sure, because, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Pr 12:10).
The two big ones!
De 6:5 Thou shalt love Yahweh thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Le 19:18 Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am Yahweh.
These are two examples of commandments that apply everyday, everywhere to everyone without exception, for all time. Take note that they are also examples of commandments that cannot be obeyed by the letter but only by the spirit. Any Israelite who diligently kept every commandment by the letter would fail to keep the law if his heart was not circumcised (De 30:6) and the law was not written on his heart (De 6:6, Isa 51:7), otherwise he could not love Yahweh or his neighbour as himself.
OT = Old Testament
NT = New Testament
ASV = American Standard Version
BBE = Bible in Basic English
CEB = Common English Bible
CEV = Contemporary English Version
DNT = Diaglot NT
DV = Darby Version
ED = Emphatic Diaglott
ESV = English Standard Version
GW = God’s Word
JB = Jerusalem Bible
KJV or AV = King James Version
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
NKJV = New King James Version
NLT = New Living Translation
PNT = Philips New Testament
RSV = Revised Standard Version
RV = Revised Version
SNB = Sacred Name Bible
TNIV = Today’s New International Version
WB = Webster’s Bible
WEY = Weymouth New Testament