Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Conflicting Advice in the Bible


When I became a born again believer in Yeshua, there was an enormous amount of information in the Bible that I did not understand. Since I came from a Catholic background, complete with a Catholic education that stretched from second grade through high school, I had somewhat of an advantage because I had a minimal concept of God. Yet, still, I didn't know much. I voraciously read the Bible and began a long journey of discovery that continues to this day.

Along the way I had questions that no one seemed to be able to answer. One problem had to do with Christian liberty. From the many pastors that I heard speak on this issue, I gleaned that basically no rules existed definitively, except perhaps the Ten Commandments. "You only have to love God and your neighbor!" they said. But something deep inside of me was not satisfied with this answer. According to Paul, Christian liberty did exist, but how could Yeshua's death and resurrection void all the laws? And why did God, then, in the first place, insist on the obedience to those laws, when one day He would make them void?

Obviously, these well regarded, Bible believing teachers had worked out how this all made sense. They would even respond that the laws weren't made void by Yeshua's death and resurrection, they were fulfilled! But in essence their definition of fulfilled made the laws void, they just couldn't seem to see the issue from my perspective.

Then one day, I met a Messianic believer who began to explain her understanding of the law. It wasn't done away with, we are still obligated to follow the Torah, just as Yeshua did. Christian liberty only exists when considering the traditions and man-made rules that Judaism and Christianity have a penchant for creating. The "lightbulb" turned on in my mind. What she said made perfect sense. Other questions and problems fell into place. I also began to follow Yeshua as a Messianic.

Finally, as I began to reread the New Testament in light of my new understanding, I came to see that the Torah is the foundation of the entire Bible, and if the Torah is the foundation, any apparent conflicting advice given in the Bible must be compared to the Torah's instructions. Paul cannot trump the Torah! If something appears to contradict the Torah that Paul wrote, there must be some further explanation, because, if he truly wrote anything contradictory to the Torah, his writing should never have been allowed in Scripture. Even Yeshua cannot trump the Torah! If Yeshua spoke or taught against the Torah, He was a false prophet. And then nothing that God ever said would be trustworthy again. We would have to worry that the way of salvation might change in the future.

So, in reading the Bible, and in trying to understand what it is that God requires from mankind, the New Testament can clarify and give further understanding to us, but the foundation and the final word remains with the Torah.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)
1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV)
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

1 comment:

  1. Somewhere along the way, I missed this one. While I do not study the Torah, I have to agree that there can be no conflicts when it comes to the word of God. Once I understood this principle, studying, reading, and even interpreting the word of God has been done with greater understanding and much more clarity. And even though we speak of two different books, our approach is very similar. For me, this is an affirmation to stay the course and keep the faith. Thanks for sharing.