Concerning the “contradictions” of the apostle Paul

In the following article, I would like to discuss the writings of the Apostle Paul (Rav Saul) regarding the law from a Jewish perspective. We will get an overview of the role of the law in the times of Grace, after the sacrifice of Yahushua HaMashiah, concerning Jews and non-Jews, mainly through the epistle to the Romans. It is important to bring the matter back to original thought, since the letter is addressed to the Hellenized Jewish and non-Jewish congregation living in Rome and written by a Jewish man who believed in Yahushua, but never denied his identity. All that Paul wrote was inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit of Elohim.

It is important to state that for Jews living in Rome at the time, the law differed from the laws initially disclosed by Moses for two reasons:

On the one hand, the original Commandments were not yet completely separated and purified from the added human Pharisaical laws, and on the other hand, the original Laws contained in the Torah were also interpreted and applied according to the Pharisaical way of thinking they’ve learned from their birth. This pharisaic way of thinking happens at the intellectual level rather than coming from the heart.

In the letter to the Romans, Paul does not absolutely go against the Commandments of Elohim, but:

he opposes the Pahrisaic laws that the Jews added to the original Law of Elohim

IN ADDITION

he is working on the restoration of the Commandments of Elhohim which the Roman spirit of Hellenism had already begun to twist and mix with paganism.

Keeping these additional laws according to the letter led to self-righteousness, which Yahushua fought against. This self-righteousness attributes an effect of self-salvation to the observance of the law in itself. This way of thinking pushes to the background the personal relationship with Elohim, the one which stems from faith and love coming from within. Being a Pharisee of course does not imply being faithful to all the commandments, but rather placing the observance of them before the need to directly listening to the voice of the Lord. Someone is a Pharisee because he does not keep the law by faith, to honor Elohim whom he loves, but because he expects rewards from him in a kind of spiritual business relationship.

Paul fought against these additional laws, which do not come from faith, which are not kept because we do it with joy, not under compulsion, but because we love Elohim. When experiencing a restored relationship with Yahuwah, man feels more free than ever, for the Law is there to protect his life and restore the order in his relationship with Elohim and with his neighbour. Paul struggles against the spirit of law-keeping through coercion, through fear of a rebuking god. Paul wants to restore the living Law that flows from our inner faith and love for Elohim.

Moreover, Paul fought so that the law would not be in the first place in people’s mind. From the Sacrifice on the cross, the order has changed and had been inverted. The law is no longer our pedagogue until the Messiah, but all the contrary: the Ruach of the Meshiach teaches us the Law from the moment we are born again in Him. We first meet Yahushua, then He reveals who He is by showing how He fulfills the Commandments and the Prophecies that are the Word of Elohim, those that bacame Flesh in Yahushua.

Thus history shifts and it is no longer the Law that teaches us the Messiah, but the Messiah who teaches us the Law after having obtained Grace.

Paul also struggles with older brothers who tried to teach decrees that are not yet concerning spiritually newborn disciples. He who has just come out of the water and been born again does not need Moses YET! The 7 Laws of Noah, the rudimentary and universal basic rules received after the Flood for all Humankind, are more than enough for them and for the moment. Moses is already a heavier food and the child still needs milk. With this, Paul did not nullify or destroy Moses neighter the Commandments received through him, but Paul is putting everything at its right place. Although it is not expressed, it is still clear that he considers that the commandments of Moses are naturally still valid, but that everyone should deal with what is appropriate for their age.

Paul worked to restore these distortions, because the apostolic work is above all a work of Reformation.

This is how the essence of Yahushua HaMashiah can be understood. What does it mean that He fulfills the Law? When I place myself under the domination of the Messiah and I am reborn in Yahushua by immersion in water and then by the baptism of fire, then I no longer live, but He lives in me. At this moment, He does not exempt me from the Law, but on the contrary He applies it and puts it into force. I keep the law because it is no longer written on tablets of stone, but is engraved on the flesh of my heart through the baptism of fire and the dwelling in me of the Ruach HaKodesh.

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their Elohim. Ezekiel 11:19-20

But now, let’s look at the verses about the laws in Romans:

1. What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of Elohim. Romans 3:1-2

From this part, the word Oracle is immediately highlighted as the Word of Elohim which was entrusted to the people of Israel. When we talk about the 10 commandments, these are the 10 fundamental laws which have 613 or rather 700 further extensions and which can all be summed up in the 2 Great Commandments of Love (Love of Elohim and Neighbour). The Word is one of the synonyms for the law, but as a whole it covers the entire Old Testament including all the Prophecies, a very important and significant part of which are the Commandments. This is also how John begins the story of the coming of Yahushua HaMashiah:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1…14

John immediately begins by describing the very essence of Yahushua. He himself was the Word, in other words, he was the Law. What else could the Word have meant but the word of Elohim, which He gave to his people on Mount Sinai. What was this declared word if not the law and the prophets? The prophets who were sent to pronounce judgments because of the transgression of the Law and whose main work was to restore the Commandments by announcing the wrath coming upon them due to its transgression.

2. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in Elohim‘s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3:20

How can we know what sin is except by the law? And how does grace work if we are unable to recognize sin? How does one know that one needs Grace if we do not recognize the state of sin in which we were born? The Law teaches this to us, so that we can recognize our need for the Messiah! Is Grace then possible without the Law? Not at all, because if I cancel the law, Grace becomes automatically useless too!

Here, also, Paul’s word is addressed primarily to the Jews who were looking for their justification by the simple observance of the law, and not to people of other nations who did not care about the law, because they did not yet know it. The Law must be promulgated to the Nations in due time so that they will understand what the work of redemption is. The Jews on their side must be freed from the additional laws and from the original laws which have been distorted by assimilation.

3. It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of Elohim, in whom he believed—the Elohim who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Romans 4:13-18

Where law is abolished, anarchy reigns. Is that why so many people reject the Commandments in order to wash their hands like Pilate and say we have nothing to do with them? Is that why Paul wrote these lines? I do not think so. Here, too, the emphasis is on the need to know the law, because from this flows the recognition of sin, which implies the need for and acceptance of the redemptive work of the Messiah. Without law there is no judgment, without judgment there would be no need for mercy!

Those who are descendants of Abraham by the Spirit— the Body of Messiah—must demonstrate his obedience and faith. Abraham was obedient, so He was also righteous. Why was he righteous? Because he observed the laws known until then. Why did he keep them? Not out of constraint, with the expectation of good, but out of gratitude, with joy, because he loved Elohim with all his heart. The Messiah already lived in him, even before His coming into the visible world. All the law was already alive in him when Yahuwah had not yet given them to Moses.

4. Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of the Messiah, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for Elohim. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. Romans 7:1-13

In this passage, keeping and knowing the Law is quite clear, but henceforth it is not us, but the Spirit of the Messiah living in us who manages its functionning. Elohim made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of Elohim. 2Corinthians 5:21

Again, we can read from Paul that in order to expose sin, the Law that became flesh, Yahushua became sin, so that Grace could take effect. Does this mean that Elohim declared His Son guilty? Certainly not, but his great grace is shown in this: that he placed upon the only one who has always been innocent all the consequences, the judgment we all deserve according to the Law.

Law/Sin/Judgment/Mercy are all unseparable concepts since the fall of Adam and Eve.

5. We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. Romans 7:15-21

Paul opposes here two kinds of laws. The laws of Elohim, and the anti-law (the laws of the antichrist), which comes from our carnal desires. Moreover, here Paul is not talking about his actual personal state of mind, but he speaks as an universal human beeing to make people not yet born again or still weak in their faith, to make them understand the porcess of sin in the world. The Law, the Messiah, the Ruach HaKodesh was living and ruling in Paul. He was free from sin and did not struggle with anything from the moment he was born again.

6. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Yahushua HaMashiah, because through Yahushua HaMashiah the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, Elohim did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to Elohim; it does not submit to Elohim’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please Elohim. Romans 8:1-8

Only the law of Elohim can protect us against the law of sin. But because of the flesh, Man is unable to keep them on his own. This is why it is necessary that they be engraved no longer on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh, immediately in the hearts of men, so that they can act instinctively according to the law. This is what it means to be born again in the Messiah. Even if I commit a sin, I recognize it immediately without anyone telling me or looking for the exact article in the scriptures, because the Holy Spirit who lives in me immediately points it out to me, holds me back and judges me so that I realize that I have something to settle. This is how Sanctification works. Without an inner connection to the Messiah and without being born again, the Law itself leads to self-righteousness and remains vain. However, when I find myself under the reign of the Messiah, the Law comes to life within me and I begin to apply it instinctively and without any difficulty or feeling of constraint. My old man is no longer there to try to stop me, to make me love sin rather than holiness. This is what the following verses are about:

7. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Yahushua HaMashiah our Lord. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Yahushua HaMashiah were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as the Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 5:20-6:4

It is difficult to understand with human thought what happened through the sacrifice of the Lamb. In the Jewish congregation of the time, Paul often used the following formulas: “What shall we say then…” then he continues: “…far from it-by no means…“. From the moment of Messiah’s ascension to the throne, orders come into effect that are easily misinterpreted even by Jews. “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law, etc.” This often repeated turn also leads to the conclusion that there is certainly a change, but that there is still no essential change, but rather that something old and imperfect has become perfect and fulfilled. The law does not save, but the law that became flesh does indeed save. It is difficult even for an initiated person to understand the highest thoughts and works of Elohim, and the enemy takes maximum advantage of this human weakness: “What is the Law for, look, even Paul speaks against it …”. Again Satan takes biblical verses out of context in order to distort the truth based on partial truths.

On the other hand, he cancels in a very sneaky way the order of the laws concerning the purity and the sacrifices of the Temple explaining that even the Jews of today no longer respect them since there is no more Temple, so what is expected of us Christians?

8. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 2Thessalonians 2:3

Each law, in addition to its physical content, also has a spiritual meaning. The laws concerning sacrifices are just as valid as the others. However, the Lamb of Elohim after having shed his Blood once and for all, our sacrifices are carried over to another level and the animals are replaced by other goods which belong to us. Such is the dedication of our own lives, our families, our work, all that is ours. It is no longer the goats, lambs or other animals that we sacrifice, because this type of physical sacrifice has been made once and for all by Yahushua. But according to the pattern of this unique sacrifice, what kind of sacrifices are we able to make in spirit so that our visible lives are in harmony with the Messiah who dwells in us?

Today’s Jews no longer sacrifice animals either! Why ? Because the Temple in Jerusalem is destroyed. There is no sacrifice until the third is built. But this third Temple has existed for a long time, and it is none other than the Body of Messiah, which was built in three days. This Temple is no longer made of stone, nor of any visible physical matter, but of the Spirit. Therefore, the sacrifice must also take place at the level of the Spirit. These long written laws provide the answer to how everything should works. There is only one High Priest, Yahushua, and all of us are born again in Him are His Levites serving in the Temple. Thus all the laws concerning the Cohens and the Levites are valid concerning Yahushua and us, his disciples.

The ‘do not touch the dead’ type of law, for example, doesn’t mean that I can’t even bury my parents if they die, because I can’t touch the dead, but it does mean that I have to stand away from these spirits and from the people who carry them. Let us not be in communion with them, lest they contaminate us. But let’s be close to them so that we can preach to them the One that can bring them Life. Let us also stay away from dead actions that do not move us forward.

Another question is which laws apply only to the Jewish people and which apply to all people. Here I would like to deal only with the validity of the Law as a whole and in the context of the Time of Mercy. The rest could possibly be the subject of another lesson.

9. Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from Elohim. Romans 2:25-29

A recurring theme, who is to be considered as Jewish? Is there a spiritual Israel, and why keep our Jewish identity if we believe and are already in the Messiah? There is no difference between Greek and Jew? In short, let us not confuse the standard used in the judgment of each person regardless of their origins with the earthly task and call that Elohim gave to the different peoples and which do indeed differ from each other. A pagan who has become a member of the People of Elohim, who is reborn in the Messiah, can indeed be a great judgment for the Jew who has strayed from Elohim by the testimony of his life, as to how the relationship with Yahuwah must be lived.

Such a born-again non-Jew will thus be considered more circumcised than a rebellious Jew who is only circumcised under his underpants.

This purely physical form of circumcision is vain in itself. But this does not imply that anyone non-jewish suddently becomes a real and genuine Jew.

No one should deprive the Israelites of the promises, roles and tasks that Elohim has given us for a long time so that we accomplish it in the visible world. Because some tasks fall to us and no one else is capable of fulfilling them.

10. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Yahushua HaMashiah. Galatians 3:28

In the blind liberal-leftist world in which we live today, where people who dare to assert that there is even a noticeable difference between a man and a woman will soon be thrown into prison, it is more and more difficult for Christians, who are increasingly linked to the World, to understand that there is indeed a difference not only between men and women, but also between Jews and Greeks. Elohim loves us equally and no difference in His love and judgment will be made once we are in the Messiah. However, our callings remain different and distinct from each other although we have to do it together just like a married couple: precisely as a man and a woman should do together.

And if anyone still misinterprets this sentence of Paul, I invite such a person, if he is a man, to get women’s clothes and a wig, to put them on, to apply rouge to lips, then to go to church next Sunday to attend worship dressed like that. Especially if it is the pastor or other minister. In this case let him also try to imitate a woman’s voice and preach to his disciples in this way. Then, when he returns home after his brothers stared at him in dismay, let him write his impressions and experience in the comments section at the bottom of this page. And after that, let him especially go and think about when and how he will again take up and teach anything that comes from the pen of the apostle Paul.

I recommend this particularly to all those people who, out of hatred or even love of the Jew, identify themselves so much with us that they end up declaring themselves Jewish in mind, heart or whatever else. The apostle Peter warns against the arbitrary use of his companion’s hardly understandable words, as this can have serious consequences. It is better to live such a humiliating experience of transvestite in the middle of the assembly than to have one day to render an account before Yahuwah for the nonsense that one could have said while referring to Paul.

The Jewish people are not rejected. He continues to serve as an example to other peoples, even if he is not yet in the Messiah.

Before a prophecy happens to anyone, it will first be fulfilled in the visible world on the Jewish people, as a kind of prototype, as the main test. (The Soa is an example of this). This is what it means to be a chosen or a prophetic people, chosen and set apart by Elohim for eternity for a different and special task. This also applies to the messianic age even when the great part of the people persists in not recognizing the Messiah in Yahushua.

The law of circumcision also applies only to Jews, including those who are in the Messiah, since one must continue to wear the physical and visible sign of the old Covenant while having circumcision of the heart in addition as a sign of Grace, of the same Covenant that had been revived.

However, our circumcision in Messiah can only be like that of Theophilus, so that we can serve our people. The sign of the perfect and final Covenant is through Water and Fire. Our physical circumcision only serves to open the doors to the traditional members of our people so that we can bring the Gospel back to them.

This task is ours alone and is eternal. But if we become unfaithful to Elohim, then a non-Jew circumcised in heart can humiliate a circumcised in flesh by being more righteous than him. At the final count, in our judgment, however, we will enjoy no advantage because of our Jewishness. In fact, we’ll be in a worse situation than the others having always been the eldest compared to them. The more we have been entrusted with, the more we will be held to account. This is why no one should be jealous! In spirit, one can be a descendant of Abraham by faith, like the people of Elohim by the Messiah, but spiritual Israel does not exist.

Israel and Judah, are the first wife of Elohim and the eldest. They are not to be mixed up with its younger sister: Ephraim which is the next Bride of Elohim.

Learn more about the nature of the election of the Israelite people in: Chosen People : What does that really mean ?

11. In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one Elohim. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed Elohim, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called Elohim’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:17-26

What kind of actions is James talking about here? Where can the works come from? Of our human will, of well-intentioned humanism, of our desire to please? When Abraham believed and acted accordingly, did he not obey the word of Elohim and his Commandments which he had known up to that time? (Since Abraham lived before Moses, he could not have known all of the revealed Law, yet there were laws he knew even in his uncircumcised state centuries before Moses.) Works are nothing but the observance of the Law, their acceptance and obedience. How could I act if I don’t know the law? Without the law, there are no possible good actions.

Faith without deeds is dead. That is to say that faith is dead without the law, and grace is meaningless without it!

Anyone who thinks it is possible to act well outside the Will, Word and Law of Elohim is mistaken!

In conclusion, I would like to end this teaching not with the words of Paul, but from our Lord Yahushua HaMashiah himself:

12. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:18-20

As I have written before in another teaching, Paul spoke in many ways, because he was speaking to very different people in terms of state and spiritual maturity. In Yahushua’s day no one had yet been born in the Spirit, for the Ruach HaKodesh had not yet been sent to fill the disciples at least not so widely.

And if we don’t understand Paul, let’s stick to Yahushua’s words. Let us always and mainly base ourselves on what Yahushua says, because Paul is not the messiah. However, through Paul, the Messiah spoke in a way that many do not/cannot/ or even do not want to understand since the are not willing to grow. Above all, Paul must not become a cornerstone over whom many stumble to their own ruin, as the apostle Peter said concerning his colleague who is sometimes so hard to understand. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

Additional Writings: The Essence of the Law, Commandments in Yahushua HaMashiah?, Paul and the Law 1

zeev shlomo / richard sipos / 21.04.2021

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