Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Christian anti-Torah challenges continue....

A Christian pastor challenged with these questions:

“So, what of the commands to sacrifice?” “What of the commands about a woman being unclean during her cycle?” “What about the commands against shaving?”

Well, let’s answer these one at a time.  First: 
“So, what of the commands to sacrifice?”

Here are some basics: It is true that Yeshua was our Final Sin Sacrifice; however, He did not remove the need for some of the other Temple sacrifices (offers of thanksgiving, burnt and guilt offerings, etc.). These sacrifices were stopped after the Second Temple was destroyed, only because YHWH requires a proper Temple for anything sacrificed to Him (Exodus 20:19-26; I Kings 6). That will change with the erection of the Third Temple in Jerusalem!

Revelation 11: 1. And a reed was given to me, like a rod; and the Messenger stood, saying, Arise and measure the temple of Elohim, and the altar, and them that worship inside it. 2. But the court which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not, because it is given to the Gentiles; and they will tread down the Set Apart city forty and two months.

Let's ask ourselves this:
Since all believers are ONE in Messiah (Ephesians 3:5-6), why would there be Gentiles in heaven who have to remain outside the Temple proper?

Scripture tells us that there will be a literal Third Temple ON EARTH because sacrifices will be taking place prior to the second coming and even during the thousand year reign. For this to occur, there must be an altar and some sort of structure - be it a stone temple or a tent similar to Moses' or David's tabernacle. In the Scriptures below, we see that Ezekiel clearly describes a future physical temple (given to him in a vision from YHWH (Ezekiel 40:1-4) because, how else could we explain the fact that Levites and descendents of Aaron will be ministering there?

Ezekiel 40: 45 He said to me, "This room facing south is for the cohanim (priests) in charge of the house; 46 while the room facing north is for the cohanim in charge of the altar; these are the descendants of Tzadok, who are the descendants of Levi designated to approach ADONAI and serve him."

Ezekiel 43: 18 He said to me, "Human being, Adonai ELOHIM says, 'These are the regulations for the altar when the time comes to construct it, offer burnt offerings on it and splash the blood against it: 19 you are to give to the cohanim, who are L'vi'im descended from Tzadok and who approach to serve me,' says Adonai ELOHIM, 'a young bull as a sin offering. 20 You are to take its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar, on the four corners of the ledge and on the molding all the way around; this is how you will purify it and make atonement for it. 21 You are also to take the bull which is the sin offering and have it burned up at the designated place [on the grounds] of the house, outside the sanctuary. 22 On the second day you are to offer a male goat without defect as a sin offering, and they are to purify the altar as they purified it with the bull.

If the above describes a temple in heaven where there is no sun and moon, how could you calculate a "day"? How and why would the altar need purifying? Purifying from what? In heaven everything is pure!

In light of Yeshua being the Sin sacrifice and the Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm110:4, Hebrews 7:17), why bother reverting back to a priesthood based on the descendents of Aaron? Because it's the only way to interpret the verses that describe the Levitical priesthood ministering in the temple described by Ezekiel and Zechariah!

So, please don't discount the sacrifices or confuse them with the one Yeshua made.  YHWH hasn't forgotten about the rest....

The next question was:
“What of the commands about a woman being unclean during her cycle?”

SIGH! God expects us to use common sense. Back then, when that particular command was given, women had no way of keeping clean in her time of nidah. And no one, male or female, in a state of spiritual or physical uncleanness could approach the tabernacle/Temple where YHWH dwells! Today, women can remain "clean" in their cycle. Not to mention, we don’t live in “camps” where we can put women "outside the camp"….People need to start realizing that many of the "613" commands were for the priests of that day and some were only for men; some only for women (i.e., to sleep outside the camp whenever they had their periods - which made sense since in those days women had no way to keep clean during their menstrual cycle); some commands were only for a certain point in time or for a certain situation; and some were "forever" as indicated in the verses that say "do this forever" or "this is to be a permanent regulation".....

The main ones that were meant for everyone were the ones YHWH eventually spoke as the Ten Commandments - which all pointed back to the whole Torah. Yet, many Christians today believe they only have to bother with TWO Commandments (love God and love your neighbor as yourself) without ever connecting the fact that all Torah "hangs" on those two commands!
Matthew 22:36. "Teacher, which Commandment in Torah is the greatest?" 37. And Y'shua said to him, that "You should love Master YHWH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might and with all your mind." 38. This is the first and the greatest Commandment. 39. And the second is like it. That "You should love your neighbor as yourself." 40. On these two commandments hang Torah and the prophets.

Note, Torah HANGS on those two commandments. It doesn't say they REPLACED the Torah! Most Christians don't mind adhering to the Ten Commandments (even though they don't bother to keep even the Fourth Commandment concerning the seventh-day Sabbath) which are part of Torah, as well.

Man has always liked to "pick and choose" when it comes to God's Word, but it's time to realize that seventh-day Sabbath command, along with His seven Biblical feasts were NEVER abolished - on the cross, or anywhere else! There were parts of Torah that God said would endure FOREVER - and the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Biblical Feasts are among them....

2 Timothy 3:16. All Scripture that was written by the Spirit is profitable for instruction and for decisive refutation, and for correction, and for deep extensive learning in righteousness; 17. that the man of Elohim may become perfect and complete for every good work.

The next question was:
“What about the commands against shaving?”

AENT author Andrew Gabriel Roth responds:

There are a few issues to look at here. First and foremost, we have the main argument that ALLOWS men to shave:

Genesis 41:14 - Shows context: So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When HE had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

Now, who is writing this narrative other than Moshe? Notice there is no rebuke for Joseph ("he") shaving. There is no indication that he was forced to either. I have read some very shoddy scholarship that suggested the Egyptians did not allow beards, but this is totally WRONG from evidence in their writings and on their tomb walls. Joseph would not have been required to shave against his will to meet pharaoh!

As for Vayikra, look at this:

Leviticus 21: 5 "'Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies. 6 They must be holy to their Elohim and must not profane the name of their Elohim. Because they present the offerings made to YHWH by fire, the food of their Elohim, they are to be holy. 7 "'They must not marry women defiled by prostitution or divorced from their husbands, because priests are holy to their Elohim 8 Regard them as holy, because they offer up the food of your Elohim.

This instruction applies to cohenim (priests); not all of Israel, and Joseph was not a cohen. There are many requirements in Torah that apply to small groups only - such as the Nazirite vow and not to the rest of the nation. Other shaving rules apply to matters of cleanliness, against skin disease, when ending a period of uncleanness, and so on. Here is the clarifying passage in Devarim:

Deuteronomy 14: 1 You are the children of YHWH your Elohim. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, 2 for you are a people holy to YHWH your Elohim. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, YHWH has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

See, this is NOT a prohibition against just shaving. This is a prohibition against shaving as part of a tatooing procedure for a pagan death ritual.

Now let's look at Leviticus 19:26-29:

26 "'Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. "'Do not practice divination or sorcery. 27 "'Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. 28 "'Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am YHWH. 29 "'Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.

See, the way the Hebrew reads, the WAW conjunction ("and") means BOTH conditions must be true and there is a conjunction between 27 and 28. So the commandment really is don't cut your beard WHILE doing this for the dead.

Let's see it again:

Deuteronomy 14: 1 You are the children of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, 2 for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

See, this is the clearer reading, and it actually also interprets the Leviticus one.
When you put this together with Devarim 14, it becomes clear that the shaving and the pagan ritual are a continual process together. The Hebrew reads to most scholars as linking the two, not separate and unrelated prohibitions.

In fact, the Jewish Publication Society 1917 and 1955 readings of this verse affirm that understanding, talking about "do not shave....EVEN as you...WHILE you...". In any case, this is my understanding, that a NON LEVITE member of Israel can shave. There are also medical exemptions that require shaving as well. I would rather though stand on what I began with, that if Moshe had a problem with shaving he would have mentioned it in connection with Joseph.

It is clear that everyone who is a KOHENIM must have a beard. For other "leaders" it is kind of optional but there is a traditional trending to beards.  But for 99.9 percent of men, Torah is actually neutral on the matter. The two key parts to understanding this are that Moses himself says that Joseph shaved before Pharaoh and doesn't criticize it. Joseph, I must emphasize, was NOT forced to shave or pressure to shave.

Egyptian culture had no problem with either slaves or nobility appearing before pharaohs with beards. We have tomb walls that prove that much and pharaohs themselves both were clean shaven and had beards, fake beards, and wigs. So if Joseph had no pressure to shave, and Moses himself doesn't criticize Joseph for shaving (quite the opposite) it is only logical to conclude that non-kohenim could keep their facial hair any way they wanted to or want to. I myself am clean shaven.

On the other hand, the commandment to not mar the corners of the beard is grossly misinterpreted. This becomes a SYAG or "fence" that basically says to play it safe it is NEVER problematic to have a beard, UNLESS you are completing a Nazirite vow or in some cases of skin infection or even in the case of mourning.

But, if someone disagrees with me, and thinks there is a general prohibition against cutting the CORNERS of the beard, then by that definition, a man can NOT have a goatee....


  1. Wonderful, Carmen! Love your responses to these questions.

    For some of us, these things are not an issue; it just all makes sense without even really thinking about it. However, for those who are still in 'Christendom', it can be quite disconcerting and your erudite responses are bang on. Perfect to keep on hand for future reference.


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