The New Covenant writings are the historical record of Yeshua’s ministry and teachings, as well as a narrative of the travels (and travails) of some of the Apostles. The majority of the New Covenant is made up of the Epistles (letters) written by Shaul (Paul) to the congregations of Messianic/Believing Gentiles that he founded throughout Asia.
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These letters have been used to form much of the doctrine of modern, or Constantinian Christianity, and are considered, by many Christian denominations, to be more important than God’s instructions in the Torah.
I liken it to Judaism and the Talmud: the Orthodox and Hasidic sects of Judaism will often go to the Talmud for spiritual guidance before they go to the Torah; in fact, the rabbinic doctrine in the Talmud is called Halacha- the Way to Walk. Most Jews live more in accordance with opinions from the great Rabbis written in the Talmud than they do to the instructions God gave us in the Torah.
The same thing has happened with the letters Shaul wrote, except for one major difference: the Talmud tells us how to live in accordance with the Torah, whereas each letter from Shaul addressed only specific problems within the congregation he wrote to. His references within his letters to the Mosaic Law were never intended to tell people they were no longer necessary or valid for Gentile Believers, but to explain that they are not the path to salvation (anti-legalism) but the result of a faithful desire to please the Lord.
The instructions Shaul gave to his congregations was supposed to be used as a weapon, loaded with bullets from the Torah to shoot down and kill the wrongful teachings and ideas that were infiltrating his congregations, such as Gnosticism, Legalism, incorrect understanding of the Kashrut instructions, and internal dissension caused by individual political agendas.
What happened was that the early “church” leaders took Shaul’s weapon, reloaded it with bullets of wrongful teachings and used it to murder the Torah!
We must read the letters from Shaul as what they were designed to be: not instructions establishing religious doctrine but condemnation for incorrect worship and personal relationships. These letters were addressing problems within the congregation, and instead of seeing them for what they are, Christianity has turned them inside-out and made them appear to be doctrinal commandments. That is why instead of doing what Shaul meant them to do, which was to help his Gentile Believers live in accordance to God’s instructions properly, they have been misused in order to deny the necessity of following the Torah.
It doesn’t help that it is very hard to understand much of what Shaul wrote because he used what I call “Jewish logic.” Jewish logic is how we Jews argue- we never tell you what something is until we first tell you everything that it isn’t. If you read Shaul’s letters carefully, parsing the sentences and separating thought by thought, you will see that he starts his discussion with the negative aspects (the “Anti” side) of the Torah, then he comes back to show how the things he just said might be true, aren’t. This form of argument, as well as implied cultural and religious meanings which Jews would understand but the Gentiles couldn’t, is why it has been easy for Christian leadership to twist the intent of Shaul’s letters.
If you don’t believe me, just read the postings within Christian or Messianic discussion groups or talk to Gentiles who DO want to follow the Torah, and I will bet you dollars-to-donuts that the vast majority of passages they use to prove their doctrinal beliefs will be from the Epistles of Shaul! They won’t pull from where he quoted, the Torah, but they will use his letters as justification for what they say. When you talk to most any Christian about the Bible, they will quote exclusively from the New Covenant because most Christian teachings won’t even include the Tanakh.
When I do an Internet search for something I know is in the Torah, the majority of the “hits” I get are from the New Covenant, where the writer is quoting from the Torah but I won’t see the original passage from the Torah.
Going forward, if you have been able to see the truth in the letters Shaul wrote, that truth being confirmation of the Torah and not condemnation of it, then please help others (compassionately and with love) to see this truth, as well. And, if you are saying to yourself that what I have been saying here is a bunch of hooey, I would ask you to test my statements and read Galatians, or Romans, or any other Epistle and look specifically for the method of argument I said Shaul uses. If you are able to read these with an open mind and not-prejudging the outcome, I believe God will open your eyes to what I and many others believe is the true meaning of those letters.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!