I am just back from 3 days in the hospital for back surgery, and am not allowed to shower until this afternoon, so I am not doing a video today because I look really scrubby.
If you ask me, one of the most misunderstood things in the New Covenant are the Epistles Shaul (Paul) wrote to the congregations he had formed throughout Asia.
The early Gentile leaders of Believers in Yeshua, after all the Apostles had died, so misused and misinterpreted these letters that they formed a totally different form of worship than the one Yeshua lived.
I want to share my understanding of Shaul’s ministry and how he used two of the drashim (parables) from Yeshua’s teachings to be able to bring pagans into a righteous lifestyle.
First off, we need to remember that the Gentiles were practicing the Roman religion, which was a hedonistic, drunkard, and sexually perverse lifestyle. In other words, it was a lot of fun, and to ask someone to give that up, all at once, would only result in most of those who were initially interested apostatizing.
This is what the parable of the Sower of the Seed tells us- some will hear the word and accept it, but the weeds will grow around the young growth and choke it. Shaul knew this and that is why he never forced a total conversion to Judaism (which was the religion they would be learning as they followed Yeshua’s teachings). In fact, that is why he was so angry with the Believing Jews in Galatia, who were undermining his work there by forcing the neophyte, Gentile Believers to undergo B’rit Milah (circumcision) in order to be saved.
Shaul also knew the parable of the enemy who sewed tares in the field of wheat. The tares were not recognizable as tares until they had grown so much that they were now interlaced with the wheat, and the owner of the field said to let them grow because tearing them out would also tear out the wheat. He said they would be separated at the harvest.
Shaul was following that idea, but instead of bad seed in a good field, he was planting good seed in a bad field, and hoped that by not making it so obvious (by requiring total conversion to Torah obedience), the good seed would grow in the tares and when the harvest came (Judgement Day), the good seed would be separated and survive.
The Elders in Jerusalem confirmed and supported this program of ministry in their letter (Acts 15) to these new Gentile Believers because they said all the new Believers had to do, NOW, was obey those 4 commands (three about not eating unclean food, and no more fornicating). What most Christians never were taught (and people never read the Bible to verify what they are told) was that James also said these new Believers will eventually learn what the Torah says at Shabbat services.
In other words, let them start slowly and adjust at their own pace to this paradigm shift in lifestyle, or we will lose them to the “weeds” of their past life.
So, Shaul went throughout Asia, telling both Jews and Gentiles about Messiah Yeshua, but he did not require the Gentiles to convert to Judaism. He required the basics- love God and love each other, which Yeshua said were the two most important commandments in the Torah.
For the record: modern Christian teaching says these are the only commandments Christians have to obey, which is wrong. Yeshua never said these were the only commandments, just that they are the most important.
Can you see now how Shaul, using the parables of seeds being sewn in the field, designed a program for missionary work that used the wisdom of those drashim to create a gradual integration from a pagan lifestyle to a righteous one?
And this is why Christianity has gone so far off course from what Yeshua taught- they just didn’t get it, and decided since they don’t have to become Jews overnight, they can change what they want to. They started with the 4th Commandment, changing the Shabbat, then rejected the Holy Days in Leviticus 23, ignored the requirements for food in Leviticus 11, and by the Third Century had created a totally man-made religion that has nothing whatsoever to do with God’s word or Yeshua’s teachings, other than to love one another.
And I can tell you this, for certain: loving one another isn’t enough.
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That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!