In yesterday’s post, I cited Acts 21, but was off by one chapter. Acts 20:7 was the verse I had in mind. In THAT verse, we read,
“And at the beginning of the week, when we assembled to break bread, Pavlos declared to them, and because he was going to leave the next day, he prolonged his speech until midnight.”
And from that ONE verse, many people ‘think’ the early, Jewish believers met on ‘sun-day’ morning to ‘have church’. Why? Because later translators ADDED a word to the English texts, to support the already imposed false doctrine [teaching] that our early JEWISH believers turned away from the Sabbath, despised it, and chose a new day on which to worship G-d.
While I am very passionate for Shabbat, because of the great BLESSING it was to my family IMMEDIATELY when we started observing it, in spite of the fact that for all our lives, my wife and I were taught it was a BURDEN, this post is not about Shabbat. It is about the infectious virus that is plaguing the world. LIES. They are SO EASY to believe, when EVERYONE is doing it.
Perhaps my wrong citation yesterday was because this week’s portion of scheduled reading from the Brit Khadasha [NT] is in Ma’asei HaShlikhim, “Acts” 21. In that portion, There are SO MANY TRUE FACTS [I realize that is redundant] that readers today, including highly educated ‘theologians’ and ‘scholars’, IGNORE. And worse, they PERPETUATE the LIES that these passages overturn! As I read the readings this morning, these things worked on my nerve, because theologians of yore now remind me of the FB and other social media ‘fact checkers’ who simply want THEIR ‘interpretation’ of the ‘facts’ to be received as ‘truth’, apart from scrutiny, and at all costs. Especially the high cost of the death of honesty. And they willingly LIE in order to achieve their objective. In the case of the theologians, that objective may simply be to maintain the religious status quo, whereas today’s ‘opinion imposers’ masquerading as guardians of ‘facts’ have the objective of establishing a new status quo.
But, it is not the originators of the lies that bother me. Liars lie. It is what they do. And they are very good at it at times. It is the mob that follows the liars blindly into their lies that greatly disappoints me today. My wife and I love stories of justice, where the truth comes out, and the oppressed eventually win. We are enjoying such a story last night, and while we were watching the intrigue, where people from every side in the convoluted story were lying and deceiving, vying for control, I realized how very naive and trusting I am at times. But, back to what frustrates me most about these types of ‘lies’: those who BELIEVE them! Do you realize how many Germans ‘believed’ in the ‘goodness’ of Hitler, including German Jews who would NOT leave, like a very small number of their kinsmen who ‘saw through’ it all did when the drumbeat of Jewish persecution started? There are so many people today who do not even believe the holocaust happened, in spite of mountains of evidence to the contrary.
I could go on. But, I want to get to the matter at hand. The LIES that people today believe in spite of MOUNTAINS of evidence to the contrary. As I read this morning, the sensation surfaced when I got to this passage:
20And when they heard it, they glorified Elohim and said to Pavlos, “Our brother, see how many thousands there are in Y’hudah who are believers, and they are all zealous for the Torah: 21but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Yehudim who are among the Goyim to forsake the Torah of Moshe, stating that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to follow after the customs of the Torah. 22Now, therefore, they have heard that you have come here. 23Do, therefore, what we tell you. We have four men who have vowed to purify themselves; 24take them and go purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; then everyone will know that what has been said against you is a lie, and that you yourself uphold the Torah and obey it. 25As for the believers amongst the Goyim, we have written that they should abstain from the things sacrificed to idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood.” 26Then Pavlos took the men and on the next day he was purified with them, and he entered into the Heikhal, informing them how to complete the days of purification until the gift of every one of them was offered.
The first lie that people today believe that is overturned in this passage in the bold above. The lie today is that the Jewish believers in Messiah in the first century TURNED AWAY From the Torah, the same Torah that is the foundation of the Word of G-d, the WORD that manifested in Yeshua. For nearly 1800 years the lie has gone out that the Jewish believers simply abandoned their faith AND their customs, throwing away their whole ‘religion’ to follow Yeshua down a non-Jewish path bereft of any obedience to the commands of G-d. Whereas, our text tells us that there were MANY THOUSANDS of JEWS who TRUSTED in Yeshua AND were ‘zealous for the Torah’.
The next LIE that most EVERYONE in the christian community today STILL believes is that Sha’ul, whom they call Paul because they THINK Yeshua changed his name, which is also a lie, [perhaps I’ll explain why that is a lie in a post script below?] turned away from ALL JEWISH TEACHINGS because he was called to be the Shali’akh to the gentiles. THAT IS A BIG FAT LIE. And that very lie is contested in our text!:
“but they [The Jewish believers who are ALL zealous for the Torah] have been informed about you that you teach all the Yehudim who are among the Goyim to forsake the Torah of Moshe, stating that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to follow after the customs of the Torah.”
What I LOVE about this passage is that in this case the Z’kenim, the ELDERS, did NOT believe the lie! They had NO REASON not to follow the mob and believe the lie! Wisdom seems to be what prevented them from believing the lie! Love for Sha’ul? Perhaps. But, they didn’t know him real well, but they could ‘see’ the work of G-d, hear his testimony and true confession, and observe the presence of Messiah in his life. They needed nothing more NOT to believe the LIE that was spoken against him. What is not so obvious here is that it was other ‘leaders’/’elders’ that were foisting the LIE on the people! It wasn’t satanists! Or democrats [maybe they were 😉 ]. But today, MANY THOUSANDS, no MILLIONS, believe the LIE that Sha’ul STOPPED observing Torah and taught others to do the same!
The impact of yesterday’s citation follows. Sha’ul, in the previous chapter, stayed in Troas for seven days. At the beginning of the next week, we learn that on that ‘day’, the day they assembled TO BREAK BREAD, which is what Havdalah is in the Jewish CUSTOM of closing out Shabbat, we see that Sha’ul was going to leave Troas the next day, ‘sun-day’. This is customary! Jewish people did not go on long journeys starting on Shabbat!
In our text this week, however, we see further that Sha’ul not only kept the Torah, but even went into the Temple TO MAKE A SACRIFICE! Oy! A believer in Yeshua, who trusts in the blood of Messiah, went into the Temple OF THE JEWS [G-d’s Temple] to make a BLOOD SACRIFICE? Sacrilege! Blasphemy! The reason the modern Messianic community is reading this portion this week is because our Torah portion for the week is called “Naso”, from BaMidbar [Numbers], where the details of a Nazarite vow are given to us.
The following is the very tricky passage that the four men in Acts 21 had to adhere to when the time of their vow was over. These four men mentioned above had each become a Nazir, and chosen a period of time to be just as consecrated before G-d as the Kohen Gadol was. Note one thing. THESE WERE BRETHREN! These four men TRUSTED IN MESSIAH. They were JEWISH. KEEPING TORAH. And Sha’ul joined them in the last days of their vow, and since he was TRAINED in the Torah and in the Temple practices, HE guided them in HOW to complete the final days and rites of their vow, because the rules were complex:
13And this is the instruction of the Nazir, when the days of his consecration are fulfilled: he shall bring it unto the door of the Ohel Mo’ed; 14and he shall present his offering unto יהוה , one he-lamb of the first year without blemish for an Olah, and one ewe-lamb of the first year without blemish for a Khatat, and one ram without blemish for Sh’lamim, 15and a basket of Matzot, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and their Minkhah, and their Nesekh. 16And the kohen shall bring them before יהוה , and shall offer his Khatat, and his Olah. 17And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of Sh’lamim unto יהוה , with the basket of Matzot; the kohen shall offer also the Minkhah thereof, and the Nesekh thereof. 18And the Nazir shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the Ohel Mo’ed, and shall take the hair of his consecrated head, and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of Sh’lamim. 19And the kohen shall take the shoulder of the ram when it is sodden, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazir, after he has shaven his consecrated head. 20And the kohen shall wave them for a Tenufah before יהוה ; this is kodesh for the kohen, together with the breast of waving and the thigh of heaving; and after that the Nazir may drink wine. 21This is the instruction of the Nazir who vows, and of his offering unto יהוה for his Nazir, beside that for which his means suffice; according to his vow which he vows, so he must do after the instruction of his Nazir’.”
But wait, Yeshua is our final sacrifice! HOW can these men, these Jewish believers in Messiah, go into that dirty Jewish temple and offer a BLOOD SACRIFICE, they must be being LEGALISTIC and under the ‘weight of the Torah’!!!! LIE! They were NOT trusting in the Khatat [sin offering] they brought for SALVATION. They took a vow of their OWN FREE WILL in order to be ‘purified’ before G-d. They followed the instructions of Torah in order to complete the vow, because IT IS FITTING TO DO, it is what G-d TOLD them to do. And “Paul”, this Jew-turned-gentile Pharisee Rabbi TOOK THE VOW WITH THEM and walked them through the final rites. After he’d been preaching Yeshua for YEARS!
There are SO MANY lies about the Bible, that the Bible says are lies, that MOST people still believe TODAY. “The Sabbath doesn’t matter”; “Jesus is my Sabbath”; “There were giants in the promised land”, “Paul abrogated the Torah”, “Jesus broke the Sabbath, so we can”, and on and on. “Jesus changed his name to Paul”. Let’s just go over that last one. The ONLY thing the SCRIPTURES say about why the text first calls him Sha’ul [Saul] and THEN calls him Pavlos [Paul], is: “WHO WAS ALSO CALLED PAVLOS”. NOWHERE does the writing say that Yeshua changed his name! What is TRUE, what is FACT, is that unlike some of the other “Shlikhim”, Sha’ul was born in a ROMAN city, OUTSIDE the land of Israel. Because he lived in a Roman city that spoke GREEK, his parents ‘also called him’ Pavlos/Paul, so that he would fit in a bit. Our Jewish people today, here in America, STILL DO THIS! Today, a Jewish boy receives his English name on his birth certificate, and at his Brit Milah [circumcision] eight days later receives his HEBREW name. Might that be one reason Yeshua chose Sha’ul to be the ‘sent one’ to the nations? He understood both Jewish and Greek CULTURE, AND both languages of those two dichotomous cultures.
This brings me to the NEXT lie that is overturned in this chapter!
“The apostles and all Jews in Israel in the first century spoke GREEK.”
35And when Pavlos reached the stairs, the soldiers carried him because of the violence of the people, 36for a great many people followed after, crying out and saying, “Away with him!” 37And as Pavlos was about to be led into headquarters, he said to the chief captain, “May I speak to you?” The captain said, “Can you speak Greek? 38Are you not that one from Mitzrayim who some time ago created disturbances and led out into the desert four thousand malefactors?” 39But Pavlos said, “I am a Y’hudi of Tarsus in Cilicia, born a citizen of a well-known city; I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40And when he had given him permission, Pavlos stood on the stairs and beckoned with his hand to them. And when they were quiet he spoke to them in the Hebrew language and said to them:
Oy! He’s in Jerusalem. He’s arrested and tried in the Temple! The captain of the Roman army spoke Greek. [Israel was in the eastern side of the Roman empire, and many of the centurions assigned there spoke Greek and NOT latin.] The captain seems to be SURPRISED that Sha’ul spoke greek! At the least, he had to ASK this Jew if he spoke greek! Sha’ul did! Why? NOT because it was the lingua franca, but because HE GREW UP IN A GREEK-SPEAKING CITY until he came of age and moved to Jerusalem to study Torah under a famous Jew named Gamli’el. Notice how Sha’ul addressed the JEWS: IN HEBREW! Which means that the Hebrew language was the lingua franca of Israel, and NOT the other way around. THAT is a LIE. To what end? To make the Bible a gentile book, rob it of everything Jewish, and support years and years of religious deceit and trickery, namely, that the scriptures of the sent ones were ALL written in Greek originally. Lie. And that they turned away from all things Jewish, not the least of which is the Shabbat of יהוה that even Yeshua observed.
The people who accused Sha’ul of abrogating Torah took a tiny sliver of truth, that Trophemus was with him, and accused Sha’ul of bringing a gentile in the Jewish Temple, which would have been a violation of Torah. That one little piece of ‘evidence’ is all MOST people needed in order to believe a LIE. Thank G-d for the elders who followed Torah and trusted in Yeshua.
The whole world gets 10 Pinnochios from me. We live among a pack of liars, and a mob that will believe anything.