Sunday, 20 August 2017

What is a Judaizer?

What is one?

Usually when Paul wrote his letter to the various churches, he would begin with the positives and praise the congregations for their faith and commend them in many areas but would later move on to deal with the issues the churches were having, whether it be disorderly worship, moral laxity and tells the congregations to press on in holiness, remaining faith to Jesus no matter what. However with the letter to the Galatians, Paul does not begin on a positive note after giving his peace and greeting and immediately asks them, Why have you abandoned the Gospel so quickly?

See Galatians 1:6-10

"6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Individuals, specifically the Judaizers had come in and mislead the Galatians. Where did they come from?

Let us read Galatians 2:11-16
"11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[f] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified."

These men were Jewish believers who followed Paul everywhere. There are various views as to what it means when they are called men from James, whether they were sent by him or left Jerusalem without his knowledge. There are various commentaries that mention who they may have been, differing in some ways:
http://biblehub.com/galatians/2-12.htm

I also recommend the following papers and judge for yourself:
http://www.billheroman.com/2011/10/certain-men-from-jamesjudea.html
https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/18847/what-role-did-james-have-in-pauls-conflict-with-peter (Warning, there is an individual who accuses Paul of lying about Peter, a very serious charge. His name was).
http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/in-sync-with-the-gospel

The message however is absolutely clear, these were men who were subverting the Gospel that Paul had given and he had to correct Peter in public for shrinking back from the Gentiles because of these men, who were claiming that a Gentile had to be saved by keeping the Mosaic Law, a controversy that had already been addressed in the book of Acts.

We have an idea of what the Judaizers are. They are not the following:

  • An anti-semitic slur for individuals
  • Jews who practice Torah apart from Jesus Christ.
  • Jews who practice Torah for the glory of Jesus but don't force Gentiles under the Mosaic Law
What they were in Paul's day were Jewish believers who tried to force Gentiles to keep the Mosaic Law to be saved, despite the fact that the Acts 15 council settled the issue of Gentiles keeping the Law and what laws they were actually bound to.
I have written other papers on which laws apply to Christians and which do not so feel free to check some of those out:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/observance-of-torah-demanded-of-gentiles.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/observance-of-torah-demanded-of.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/observance-of-torah-demanded-of_7.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/what-does-acts-15-teach-does-it-teach.html

Read my response to 119 Ministries on the book of Acts also:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/what-does-acts-15-teach-does-it-teach.html

There is nothing insulting about the term Judaizer in and of itself, it is not an insult to all Jews period, it's a term used by Christians (and even Messianic Jews like Michael L Brown I might add) used to describe individuals putting Christians under the Mosaic covenant, when the New Testament writings record that this isn't the case.

Answering Judaism.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Is money spiritually vile? A response to Kerubbar Sekho

There are some unusual beliefs that I have come across in the past or even some downright horrific beliefs. I have recently come across rank exegesis of scripture pertaining to money. The individual in question had claimed in the post that money is spiritually vile.

""MONEY" FROM ALL CURRENCIES IS SPIRITUALLY VILE BEFORE GOD

GOING TO WORSHIP YOUR GOD with some money in your pockets or hands as tithe does not show respect to God the creator of the universe. Tithe was equivalent to the tax paid to governments. Tax is given to a ruler or government as a way to recognize the supremacy of that ruler or government. The ruler or the government of the land receive taxes from the subjects who are submissive and obedient in that government's own currency. God used to receive the tithe or the tenth of all that a submissive worshiper possessed such as crops, seeds, fruits, trees, birds and animals because they were all his money or wealth-Leviticus 27:30-32.
God did not command the Israelites to convert their wealth into money so that they would bring coins and bank notes as his tithe. This mistake was introduced by HYPOCRITES.

Matthew 22:15-21,
"...Whose image and inscription is this?...Render therefore to Caesar things which are Caesar's, and to God things which are God's..."

When people today carry their national coins and bank notes to church for tithe they are indeed confirming the supremacy of their governments over their churches rather than God. In other ways, such churches worship their governments rather than God. It's ridiculous to believe that you worship God when in your temple's storeroom there are stocks of government money. It was not so in Israel. The storeroom inside the temple were filled up with seeds, fruits and foods which people brought in as tithe- Nehemiah 10:38.

Jesus drove out those who were selling and buying things in the temple of God and turned over the tables on which money was exchanged and whipped the sellers- Matthew 21:12, a clear indication of how vile money is in God's sight. This was the only incident that Jesus had to beat some people.

The love of money is the ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL- 1 Timothy 6:10.

The best tithe that you should give God now is your body- Romans 12:1, not your money."

Let's examine these points.

First, money existed long before Israel had come into existence, it was used and still is used to give to others in exchange for goods or service. Was there tax? Yes of course.

Now of course tithing itself was a tax that did involve more than just money but regardless, while I don't believe in tithing but actually believe in giving which I have written on in another article:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/are-christians-required-to-tithe.html

But putting that aside, Where in the scripture is it forbidden to give government currency to God? Where is God offended if you give him money that has let's say because of my country, Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill on it? It would never cross anyone's mind that using a coin or bank note with a leader's head on it is worshiping the leaders or pledging allegiance of the church to the state and offending God by it. Where is this evidence?

Jesus threw out the money changers because they were profiteering in the temple which was inappropriate to do. It had nothing to do with usage of government currency in and of itself.

As for Jesus demanding to see the denarius, he did that to answer a question from individuals that tried to catch him out and trip him up. To which Jesus responded, give to Caesar what is Caesars and give to God what is God's.

"Matthew 22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away."
God is not offended by someone using currency of a given country as a gift to him, it wasn't something introduced by hypocrites.

Furthermore, the passage in the Bible that addresses the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Judging by the individuals usage, he misunderstands the passage, which is not saying money itself is the root of all evil, it's the love of money, not money in and of itself.

Let's go to 1 Timothy 6:3-10

"3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

Money when used incorrectly (which is very easy to do), can be destructive if covetousness overtakes us and we are not content with what we have? It's ingratitude and greed that covetousness cultivates within us. Money when used correctly and given correctly can be an incredible asset to the cause of Christ. It's the LOVE of money again, that is the root of all evil, not money in and of itself.

As for Romans 12:1, it doesn't say your body is a tithe:
"12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

There is no denying that our body is a living sacrifice to God, but it's never called a tithe in anyway, so to say that your body is your tithe is completely erroneous.

To go further into the passage.

"3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

Giving is to be done generously, if you are lead to give, which should be out of gratitude. Whether you hand your crops and yes even bank notes, God is pleased but only if you are living right with him.

Give your cash to him if he so leads you, not in terms of tithing, but in terms of giving to him generously.

Answering Judaism.