Weak Believers – Strong Trust

Romans Chapter 14

Christians often challenge Messianic Jews as being “weak believers” because they keep G-d’s Festivals, dietary laws and His Shabbat.

The specifics of the passages usually quoted are clearly in a Gentile cultural and religious context, NOT a Jewish one. Christians bring a presupposition “to the table” that the “New Testament” abrogates the Law (Torah) and there is no longer any need to be obedient to G-d’s Torah as “Christians” have been freed from it, conveniently ignoring Scripture to the contrary.
These passages are addressing Gentile behavior and not Jewish behavior. Sha’ul denied before the Jerusalem Council and took a Nazarite vow that He had not taught the abrogation of the Law. These passages address at least four distinct groups of people.
1. Gentiles who want to avoid the appearance of evil by maintaining emotional and physical distance from previous idolatrous practices. It was common that pagan religions set certain days aside, akin to the modern Catholic Church disallowing meat on Fridays. Paul is addressing this type of phenomena. The setting apart and observance of special religious holidays not ordained from G-d such as Christmas and Easter, both Pagan Hellenistic holidays incorporated into the Christian religion.
2. Those gentiles that have picked up certain rabbinical practices that are outside of G-d’s Law.
3. Those Gentiles who have brought faith practices from their former religions into this 4th arm of Judaism (Messianic Judaism). It was not yet separated from Judaism. (See my paper on The Separation of Christianity from Judaism). These practices were often not necessary and sometimes contrary to the Gospel of the Kingdom.
4. And lastly, it could address Messianic Jews who have not yet seen how to apply G-d’s Torah in their new position as Messianic Jews.

Now step by step: “On person considers some days more holy than others.”

This is not addressing the Sabbath because G-d has already in many scriptures stated that the Sabbath is eternal and is that sign that separates His people unto Himself. (Use a concordance and see all the citations-see the following) the Sabbath was given in Genesis to all nations before it was reiterated to Israel.

Verse five falls into the category of “adiaphora” (matters about which the Bible is indifferent or not clear) and Paul states let each be convinced in his own mind. Again, this is not about Shabbat because the Bible is perfectly clear on this point. Where Scripture gives a clear word, personal opinion must give way, therefore it is not about shabbat. Paul is here talking about other man made religious holidays. In Judaism Hanukkah is one. The Festival of lights, which G-d did not command but Yahshua observed it, so Messianic Jews observe it. But many of the rabbinical holidays are not observed. However, Paul is saying that the “strong” should not lord it over the “weak” because the weak has attached a special significance to a particular calendar observance. Of course this does not apply to pagan holidays and observances disguised as Christian in the case of the Christian church. Messianic Jews reject Jewish Law when it is contrary to G-d’s law, and that is where many Christians go astray, not knowing the difference, and that Sha’ul and Yahshua addressed Jewish ritual law in the Scriptures in many cases but never G-d’s Torah.

I could go on but you only addressed Shabbat keeping. Read the following for some History taken from my paper on “Why Messianic Judaism.” It should be read in it’s entirety although I made bold much that is pertinent to the question. Pay attention to number 7 where historian of that day remarked about the observance of Sunday instead of Shabbat as only in Rome and Alexandria bastions of Hellenization and paganization even after the edit of Constantine. Also #11 where Yahshua gives the definition of a true believer.

5. The Ten Commandments are given on two tablets. The second tablet with the last six commandments is the basis of the ethical or social law. The first tablet with the first four Commandments is the basis of the religious law. For almost two thousand years the Institutional Church has been striving to get believers to adhere to the second table. But the first table has been ignored, neglected, turned aside or “done away with.” In Luke 16:17 Yahshua confirms the permanency of the Law: “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the Law to fail. Should we follow any human authority in an attempt to evade Commandment keeping, including the Fourth-the Sabbath? The Dictionary of New Testament Theology discusses this alleged Sabbath-annulling by Yahshua and concludes, “We may conclude then, that though Yahshua broke through the rabbinic tradition (oral law), about the Sabbath, there was no annulling of the observance of the day. Since this question lingered on, The Archbishop of Reggio at the Council of Trent in 1562 set all hesitation aside by openly declaring that tradition stood above Scripture! His words were, “The authority of the Church (legalism) could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scripture, because the Church had changed…the Sabbath into Sunday, not by the command of Christ, but by its own authority,” and Protestants by and large have followed this tradition ever since. This is analogous of Jews relegating God’s Law to a lower status than the oral law, which well-meaning but misguided Christians, so frequently condemn being akin to removing the beam from your own eye before judging the splinter in another. Is there any difference? In Matthew, Yahshua said: “Do not think that I came to destroy (abolish or annul) the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy (abolish or annul) but to fill. For verily I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all come to pass (or be accomplished). Whoever therefore breaks one of these commandments the least, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever does and teaches [them], he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” This word “fill” in v. 17 (Greek pleroo) has different meanings when used figuratively. The New English Bible translates it as “complete”, and so does Canisius Translation. The word pleroo cannot mean “annul” or “abolish” here in v. 17, because firstly, then Yahshua would have contradicted Himself in one and the same verse. Secondly, pleroo is used in Matthew 3:15 and Col. 1:25 where it would be preposterous to suggest a meaning of “annul” or “abolish”. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, like others, suggests: complete, confirm, meeting the full requirements, corroborate, establish, totalize or even fully preach (the best rendering of Col. 1:25). Others have suggested: execute, or live up to, or comply with as the best rendering, especially in Matt 3:15. In Matt. 5:19, the correct rendering of “breaking one of these Commandments the least” (see Interlinear or the Rotherdam Version), clarifies the difficulty created by the ordinary translations and brings it into harmony with all Scripture.

6. In the year 321 the Roman Emperor Constantine whose family had been sun-worshippers and as he himself said of the sun-deity: “Unconquered Sun, my companion,” also confessed Christianity. This edict declared that Sunday was to be the rest day and was commanded in honor of the sun, and not in honor of the Messiah. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible emphasizes the motive of Constantine for legislating Sunday as a day of rest stresses the general importance of the sun god by the Empire. From the fourth century on there was an increasing assimilation of Yahshua to the sun-god (as the Sun of Righteousness), the Christos Helios ( Eusebius [early Church father] Life of Constantine 1.4.18; and the notable mosaic of Christos Helio recently discovered in the tomb of the Julii under the Vatican. This theme of “Christ-the-True-Sun,” had already been proclaimed by Clement of Alexandria (another Church father ca. 150-215) as well Origen who followed in the footsteps of Clement, his teacher, proclaimed the Savior to be “The Sun” (Genesin Homilia 1,5 and 1,8 identified the Messiah with the sun). There are too many of these church fathers claimed by both Catholic and Protestant institutions to enumerate here.

7. In 336 and 364 the Council of Laodicea’s directive instructed Christians not to Judaize by resting on the Sabbath. It was apparently obeyed by Rome and Alexandria the two centers infiltrated by and mixed with pagan religions. Two contemporary historians namely Sozomen in the year 440 and Socrates in the year 439 both recorded observations regarding this remarkable situation. Socrates wrote, “Although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries of the Sabbath (Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown) of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient traditions, have ceased to do this (Socrates Ecclesiastical History, 5, 22, as recorded in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers). Sozomen confirms this, “The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, such a custom is never observed at Rome or Alexandria” (Same reference as above). As the influence and power of the Roman Church grew supported by civil and political power, Sabbath-keeping dwindled until there was hardly a remnant left, scattered and persecuted.

8. Constantine’s religious polity characterized itself in a striking manner by this establishment of Dies-Solis (Sun-day) as a mutual feast-day for the heathen and Christians in the year 321 which excluded them from the Jewish believers and separated them from the Messianic faith of Yahshua. In Exodus we read: “Therefore, because they wanted to be excluded from the Covenant people (Israel), they rejected the sign of the eternal Covenant: the Sabbath. Elohim emphatically declared this to be the sign of the eternal covenant between him and His people. If believers, Jews and Gentiles, are adopted into Israel through trust in Yahshua, then we must keep this sign. YHVH said His Covenant is eternal, forever and the Sabbath is a sign of that eternal Covenant. The Covenants, Laws, the Worship, the Promises from YHVH were given only to Israel (Rom. 9.4 NIV), and since He only made His Covenant with no other people than Israel we are obliged to keep this sign. In the Good News Bible this verse even says of Israel, “They are Elohim’s people…they have the True Worship…” So, when the church rejected the Covenant Law that Elohim had made with His people, Israel -the Ten Words- Elohim gave them up to worship the hosts of heaven, just as He had done previously (Acts 7:42).

9. New Testament is found nowhere in scripture. This is a mistranslation in the Latin Vulgate. The renewed or refreshed Covenant NT (the Hebrew work chawdawsh is derived from the verb chawdash, which means “renew”{see any Hebrew Lexicon} and the Greek equivalent kainos, is best rendered as “fresh” or “renewed”, hence renewed or refreshed Covenant {Testament}see Strong’s concordance-root word) is given only to the House of Israel and Judah, (Heb. 8:8). Most professing Christians don’t know this and are greatly surprised by this revelation. Any convert from the Gentiles has to be grafted into Israel if he wishes to be a “partaker of the root of the fatness of the olive tree,” (Rom. 11:17). This is why Jews do not have to give up their Jewishness when they become believers; they are still Jews of the tribe of Judah of the nation of Israel. There is no such thing as a “completed Jew,” it would be more correct to call a Gentile or Jew who believes a “completed Israelite.”

10. There are many other proofs of paganization within Christianity, but I will only give one more to make my point why I feel God has called me to return to the faith of Yahshua and the Messianic faith of the early believers. “Easter” found in Acts 12:4 of the King James Version is a mistranslation of the Greek Pascha. All other translations have subsequently rendered it correctly as “Passover.” A noted Christian commentator, Barnes Notes comments on this mistranslation in the single occurrence of the word “Easter” in the King James Version, as follows: “There was never a more absurd or unhappy translation than this.” Not only is the name “Easter” incorrect, but the time of the feast. You would not keep your birthday on the same day each year but would keep it according to the date of the calendar. Constantine’s church instituted “Easter Sunday.” The controversy between the paganized western Church and the Near East believers was finally settled at the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 where it was decided Easter was to be kept on Sun-day and on the same Sunday throughout the world and that “none should follow the blindness of the Jews.” Polycarp, the disciple to the Apostle John, had learned from the Apostle himself that the 14th of Abib was the Scriptural day of the year, which had been legislated by God Himself to determine the onset of Passover, which our Savior Yahshua kept the night before he was betrayed. Polycarp, Polycrates, Apollinarius and others contended for the correct calculation of Passover to be reckoned from the 14th of Abib (Nissan). With Constantine taking the lead, the Church decided to reject the Scriptural way of determining the date and in favor Easter Sun-day, according to the day of the week thus further separating the church from its Judaic beginning. Easter also has a pre-Christian origin which is the festival in honor of Eostra the Teutonic dawn-goddess, also known as Eos, the Greek dawn-goddess, and as Usha of Ushas, the Hindu dawn-goddess (look in any Oxford English Dictionary). This Eostre was also known to be the spring goddess and the goddess of fertility (hence the tradition of the fertility symbols of eggs and bunnies). It is another form of sun-worship, another variant of the dawn-deity, Eostre, also called Eastre. Eostra or Ostara (Jan de Vries, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, I; pp 356-359-Jacob Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, pp. 288-291; The Oxford English Dictionary; G. Jobes, Dictionary of Mythology and Folklore and Symbols, under “Ushas”, “Eos”, and “Easter”, J.G.R. Forlong, Encyclopedia of Religions, under “Ushas”, “Eros,” and “Easter.”) Most probably this Eostre, dawn-deity/fertility deity is the same as Astarte recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures as Ashtaroth and Ashtoreth who was also known as the “queen of heaven.” We should be warned for we read in Mark 7:7, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” replacing God’s times and festivals with the traditions of man.

11. There is a great deal more evidence of paganism inculcated into institutionalized religion for which God warns us to be separated, but there is not enough time or space to address all the evidence in this paper. Let it be said if we are to be True Believers we must divest ourselves of all pagan influences and strive to observe and obey the Word of God as revealed in the Bible and by Yahshua Himself. Salvation comes through trust in Yahshua’s finished work as ordained by God, but the mark of a True Worshipper is as Yahshua Himself revealed in the Seven-Fold Message of Revelation. Yahshua defines what True Worship is in 7 places-the number of spiritual perfection. We learn that True Worship rests on two fundamental principles, and the True Worshipper has to comply with these requirements: To guard the commands of God( vuvh) and to believe in Yahshua (gauvh)! We read this in Rev. 12:17, Rev. 14:12, and also in Rev. 15:2-3 where the over comers are described as those who sing the song of Moshe (The Law) and the song of the Lamb, Yahshua. Now for the other four witnesses: “Word,” “Command,” and “Teaching” are very often synonyms, or interchangeable. See for yourself in Ps 119: 142, 151, 160. compare also Ps. 119:105 with Prov. 6:23, and read Prov. 13:13 as well. This leads us to the other four witnesses to what a True Worshipper is as found in Rev. 1:2, Rev. 1:9, Rev. 6:9, and Rev. 20:4
Yahshua further revealed in this book written for us the following:
In Rev 1: 2 (NASB) “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.
4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place– unless you repent.”

Rev 3: 15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot.
16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

Rev 18: 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her(the apostate church), my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues;”

Rev 21: 6 And He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
7 He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Rev 22: 12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Baruch Hashem – Blessed be His name!