Messianic Judaism 15 Galatians 2

       We’ve already seen how in Galatians 2, Paul explains that the apostles and himself were keeping none of the law – indeed, the only injunction placed on him as a Shliach (apostle) was to give to charity (vs. 10).

11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. Galatians 2:11-13 (KJV)

Now, again, here’s a valid argument for Biblical separation. What we politely ignore at first, eventually we approve, then finally practice.

The Judaizers, who claimed one needed to keep the law, had influenced Peter, and other Jews began keeping the Torah again, to the point even Barnabas was once again! Now again, I want to make mention that Messianics universally seem to despise and avoid Galatians. Several have attempted to claim they alone have the key to Galatians, and the key to understanding it is _______ (fill in the blanks).

Alas, none of them seem to agree what the key is. Avi Ben Mordecai is on record claiming the key is three separate things:

  • Jews who were forcing Gentiles to convert
  • The “Two house” Judah and Ephraim theory (really?)
  • and… there’s two different Torah’s being discussed.

Well, which theory are you going with? He originally derived the first theory from another website, then moved to the Judah Ephraim nonsense until he finally figured out how truly schizophrenic and cultish it was (I’m assuming), and then finally addressed the Oral Torah-Written Torah issue. None of the explanations cover all of the available facts.

Because for reasons I discussed yesterday, there’s a lot of things missing from Galatians if it’s a “Written Torah-Oral Torah” argument.

For the Gentile with no familiarity to the argument, when an Orthodox Jew refers to the Torah, they’re not just talking about the Pentateuch, but also about the Mishnah and Gemara (Together called the Talmud), as well as Rashi’s Commentary and the RaMBaM’s commentary, Guide for the Perplexed, and other writings… but mostly those. And there’s a lot of Sephardi Jewish snobbery that we should always prefer the Sephardi version of writings, and not the Ashkenazi, but that’s a whole different series of articles, which I’m not getting into ever. We’ll just say that I had the Kitzer Shulchan Aruch, and never consulted the Sephardi versions.

So we differentiate between the Torah Ktav (written torah, the Bible) and the Torah Sheba’al Peh (Oral Torah). The point is, if one practices their Judaism according to the interpretation of the Rabbis, that’s practicing the Oral Torah.

Avi Ben Mordecai is now claiming that he book of Galatians has been a locked book for 2,000 years, and the key to unlocking it was to see that it was preaching against practicing the Oral Torah, and not the written one.

Everyone caught up? Okay, good. It’s a pathetic theory, because the text of Galatians in its most basic sense strongly suggests it is preaching against the keeping of ANY law, written or oral!

If Paul left the Oral Torah, but kept the written one, again I ask – why is there nothing about it in his epistles? Surely he would have had something to say on the subject of the Sabbath, and what constitutes work! Where’s the admonition not to carry things to the synagogue or church on the Sabbath? That’s a breaking of the law. Paul does not hesitate at all to rebuke Christians for breaking other commandments, and name names! Where’s the “It has come to my ears that Demas is carrying a burden on the Sabbath…. are you not fearful of the Living God?” verses?

Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: (39) And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: (40) That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. (41) I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.

Okay, how is this done? Is this a blue hem? Is one of the fringes blue? Is it hanging loose with the rest? Is the blue fringe longer? is it wrapped around the others? How many times? Is there an elaborate bow? The Messianics assume the 7, 8, 11 and 13 windings are the correct way to do it – but is that Rabbinical Judaism, or something always done by Israel? There’s no mention of it in the Bible.

So, where’s the passages in the New Testament explaining it? If Avi Ben Mordecai is right (this time, as he would have been wrong the first two times), and Galatians is about the Oral Torah, and Messianic Jews and Gentiles alike are REQUIRED to keep the Torah… then where is “Rav Sh’aul”‘s commentary on how to do this??? We know the Lord Jesus Christ spoke strongly against the Oral Torah. So… if Jews kept the Law, along with Messianics forced to keep it as well…. where’s the Messianic Talmud, as written by Paul, and Peter and James? Where’s John’s dissenting opinions? Where is the discussion tabled for authoritative rulings from the Lord when He returns???

Well, apparently – there isn’t one! That leaves us with an impossibility – we’re commanded by the Lord to avoid the Oral Torah, and yet we have no Oral Torah from the Apostles. So… how do we keep the Torah?

No problem, says the Messianic. We’ll form a Beit Din, a quorum to decide matters of Messianic Jewish Law. That’s just transferring the objection – why didn’t the Apostles take care of it? Don’t tell me they intended Christians to keep it, but decided to wait 2,000 years because they knew a bunch of Christians far off in the future would take care of it! That’s not fair to the millions of Christians who lived and died for 1900 centuries, and because the Apostles never wote it down were all condemned to Hell! You’re telling me Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyon, and millions of others all went to Hell, because nobody wrote down the Messianic halakhah (Jewish Law and interpretation) on how to make tsitsit (ritual fringe)?

Okay, all this aside, who puts together this Beit Din? According to Rabbinic sources, a Beit Din must be some of the most knowledgeable Rabbis one can find. The Messianics have a problem, in that most of their Rabbis have no Yeshiva training. No problem, the same Gentile who started the Beit Din also started a Yeshiva.

But wait… it requires a Jew to start or be on the Beit Din. Well, now that the Gentiles are ingrafted, they should be part of it.

I’m not going to argue with that! They finally said something that made sense! The entire Beit Din thing is fallacious, and based upon flawed reasoning and cultish doctrine… but yes, if such a thing were required by the New testament, it should be run… mostly by Gentiles!

That would REALLY infuriate the Orthodox and Chassids! And… yes, it does. They pretend to mock and laugh, but indeed it makes them angry. “How DARE you involve the Gentiles!”

So, in reality, the Gentiles who are pretending to be Jewish in the Messianic movement are doing it a disservice. If you’re a Gentile, be a Gentile! There’s nothing WRONG with it!

Instead, we’re confronted with a Galatians that sounds, if you’re taking it literally, as if it’s saying “you shouldn’t keep the Law”. That’s sure what it sounds like it’s saying to ME. It’s sure what it sounds like it’s saying to David Cloud, and Marc Monte, and D. A. Waite, and Matthew Henry, and Adam Clarke, and “Fightin'” Frank Norris, and 20 million other Christians!

I’ve checked my assumptions with my Pastor, and he agrees with me! Nyah!

more on this tomorrow.