"Not Subject to the Law of God?"

Part 5. The Confusing Christian view of the Believer's Relationship to Torah

Christianity teaches that Paul is saying that now that we can have "faith in Jesus" we're no longer under "the Law," therefore it's done away with. This is a very confusing theology as Christianity itself recognizes that some parts of "the Law" remain.

Consider these four examples:

Example #1

We are to keep the 10 Commandments. However keeping the Sabbath (as God established it from Friday evening to Saturday evening) is also in the 10 Commandments yet isn't kept. Christianity claims that this was "changed" by God.

As Christian author James Montgomery Boice states:

"First, the Sabbath was a uniquely Jewish institution and was neither given to nor fully observed by any other race or nation either ancient or modern. This is not true of the other commandments; they are generally paralleled in other ancient law codes. Sabbatarians generally appeal to Genesis 2:2-3 (referred to in the fourth commandment) as showing the contrary ... Strictly speaking however, those verses do not say that God instituted the Sabbath at the time of creation; indeed there are other verses which seem to teach that he did it later. Two such verses are Nehemiah 9:13-14 ... Those verses link the giving of the law concerning the Sabbath to Mt. Sinai and imply that the Sabbath was now known or observed before that time. Another important passage is in Exodus ... (Ex. 31:12-17). Those verses portray the Sabbath as a covenant sign between God and Israel; that is important, for it is repeated twice. It is hard to see, therefore, how observance of the Sabbath can legitimately be said to be applied to other nations. On the contrary, it was observed of the Sabbath that was to distinguish Israel from the nations, much as circumcision set them apart. But what about Sunday? Sunday is another day established by God, but for the church rather than for Israel and with quite different characteristics. The Sabbath was a time of rest and inactivity. In fact, failure to rest had strict penalties attached to it. By contrast, the Christian Sunday is a day of joy, activity and expectation ... The fact that Sunday was established and the Sabbath abolished is seen in the worship of the early church." (21)

Unfortunately, Boice's "proof" is replete with inaccuracies and falsehoods:

  1. Regarding the Sabbath "only being given to the Jewish people" -- What institutions or commandments did God give to any other nation BUT Israel? None. Every commandment he gave was given to Israel to set them apart as His people to be a light to the world for God (Isaiah 49:5-6, Luke 2:32). The fact that other nations may have incorporated parts of what are in the Torah into their own law codes, (and ignored others), is not any kind of "proof" that the Sabbath is only for the Jews. (God did not instruct these nations to put things into their law codes.) God set one people apart for Himself to bring His revelation (Torah) to the world. He also said that His Law was the same for the Jew and the Gentile living within this "set apart" people (Leviticus 24:22). In fact, in Exodus 12:48-49, He speaks of one Law for Jew and Gentile -- and this is before Mount Sinai. In Isaiah 56, He speaks of the Torah being for Gentiles.
  2. God Himself directly links the Sabbath of the ten Commandments to His work at the time of creation. He clearly says that it was blessed for that reason (Exodus 20:11).
  3. Nehemiah's reference in no way "implies" any such thing. The Hebrews were following the Sabbath before Mount Sinai, as seen in Exodus 16:25-26 and is written about in Jewish literature.
  4. Regarding the author's questioning how this, "can legitimately be said to be applied to other nations" -- once again, the point is missed that the Torah is God's revelation to the world, not some set of exclusively Jewish laws. God makes it clear that Gentiles would one day come into the faith that He established with Israel. The Gentiles were never to have some new faith apart from Israel (Isaiah 54:1-3). Paul reiterates this in Ephesians 2:10-12 where he says Gentile believers are now no longer strangers to the covenant and ordinances of Israel -- and this includes the Sabbath.
  5. Scripture and the facts of history prove that the idea that God "changed" Sabbath to Sunday is not true. Attempts made to show that this is "in the Bible," involve out-of-context mistranslation of a few Scripture verses. (22)
  6. The Sabbath was and is far more than just a "rest day." The statement that "failing to rest" brought strict penalties is inaccurate. Sabbath was/is a day of study, prayer and devotion focused on the coming "Sabbath" we would enter into one day with the Messiah. (23) There is much written in Jewish literature that also links the sabbath to a coming wedding, such as one verse in the Talmud that says, "Let us come and go out to welcome the Sabbath bride." (24)
  7. The fact that Sabbath was abolished for Sunday is not a sign that "God commanded it." Rather it is a sign that the original Torah-based community and its faith had been pushed aside and that Gentile anti-Semites had taken over and perverted the Word of the God of Israel. This subject is dealt with further on in this document.

History shows that Sunday worship replacing the Sabbath is a tradition of man, specifically the early Roman church. This was a key subject at the Council of Trent, held in northeast Italy (1545 to 1563). The papal representative, the Archbishop of Reggio, silenced the "scripture only" arguments of Martin Luther and the Protestant "reformers" when he correctly stated:

"The Protestants claim to stand upon the written word only; they profess to hold the Scriptures alone as the standard of faith. They justify their revolt by the plea that the Church has apostatized from the written word and follows tradition. Now the Protestant's claim that they stand upon the written word alone is not true. Their profession of holding the Scriptures alone as the standard of faith is false. Proof ... The written word explicitly enjoins the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. They do not observe the seventh day, but reject it. If they truly hold the Scriptures alone as the standard, they would be observing the seventh day as it is enjoined in the Scripture throughout. Yet they not only reject the observance of the Sabbath as enjoined in the written word, but they have adopted, and do practice, the observance of Sunday, for which they have only the tradition of the (Catholic) Church. Consequently, the claim of Scripture alone as the standard fails and the doctrine of 'Scripture and tradition as essential' is fully established, the Protestants themselves being Judges." (25)

God Himself says what the relationship of the Gentile who comes to true faith is to the Sabbath and all the Torah:

"Blessed is the man that does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say, 'The Lord will surely exclude me from His people.' And let not any eunuch complain, 'I am only a dry tree.' For this is what the Lord says: 'To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant -- to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve Him, to love the name of the Lord to worship Him, and who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant -- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." (Isaiah 56:2-7)

Even Christian books teach that the context of the above is the millennium. According to Isaiah, what gentiles get God's blessings in His Millennial Temple? Those who who follow His Torah. The book of Revelation confirms this:

Revelation 22:14a -- "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."

Example #2

What if a man loves and cares for his wife but occasionally goes out for a meaningless sexual fling? Christianity (correctly) says that is adultery. But what if that man says with all sincerity, that his definition of adultery is, "not loving your wife and giving your affections to another." He also insists that is not the case with him as his escapades are pure physical acts, without any "love" or even "lust," and have no effect on his love for his wife.

As another example, what if a man is having an affair, and says "I'm doing it out of love, as all that matters is love, we only have to follow the 'law of love.' I still love my wife. I'm capable of loving more than one person."

How do you show either of these men what God's definition of the sin of adultery is, without turning to the Torah?

You can't. Which raises the question, "If you can't alter God's precise definition of adultery, how can you alter His precise definition of the Sabbath?"

Example #3

Christianity condemns homosexuality. That sin is not mentioned in the 10 Commandments, but elsewhere in "the Law." Perhaps then, homosexuality is still wrong because the New Testament "verifies" it? If specific "New Testament citation" is the criteria to determine what parts of the Law we follow, can you marry your sister? Christianity says that would be sin. Is that mentioned in the New Testament? No. Can you call it sin without saying, "because it's in the Torah?" No. This would apply to other sins not "specifically" mentioned in the "New Testament."

More and more of late, books supporting homosexuality, when discussing "Christian condemnation" are using this argument against Christianity, stating that if we are not under the "old Law" anymore, homosexual relationships, if done "in love," are not sin. It is the Christian position against Torah that has given a foothold to this argument. This was warned about in the book of Jude.

Example #4

What about all of God's serious prohibitions about not mixing pagan traditions with true faith and worship? God not only commands His people not to worship pagan deities, He also told them not to import any of the methods of worship they used, such as putting up trees (Deut. 16:21-22, also condemned in Jeremiah 10:1-5). You'll have a hard time explaining away the origins of Christmas and the Christmas tree (the Asheroth pole) and also Easter, along with the doing away with God's appointed times (His feasts). History shows Christmas and Easter are pagan practices that were brought into the Christian church.

Paul did not change any of these commandments. He himself kept Torah and spoke in favor of it in many places, such as: Acts 16:1-3; 18:18; 20:6,16; 21:17-26; 24:17-18; 25:8; 27:9; 28:17; Romans 3:31; 7:12; 1Cor. 5:6-8; 11:17-34; 16:8.


Part 1 - The Christian View of "the Law"
Part 2 - The Hebrew View of the Law/Torah and Salvation
Part 3 - What does the "New Testament" Teach About the Torah and Salvation?
Part 4 - Christianity's Difficulty with "the Law"
Part 5 - The Confusing Christian view of the Believer's Relationship to Torah
Part 6 - How Did the Christian View of the Torah Originate?
Part 7 - Historical Reality Concerning What Yeshua and His Followers Believed
Part 8 - Clarifying the Believer's Relationship to Torah
Part 9 - Is This All Really That Big a Deal?
Part 10 - Concluding Thoughts & Footnotes