HELL IS REAL, AND ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE, THERE ARE 23 SINS THAT WILL SEND PEOPLE THERE AND KEEP THEM OUT OF GOD’S KINGDOM.    The idea that one can go forward to the altar, say the sinner’s prayer, and then go out and live any way one wants to, and still go to heaven, and not to hell, when they die is NOT scriptural.  It is a DECEPTION of the Enemy.  The Bible says that “…without holiness, no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).  Consequently, then, “without holiness, no man [or woman] shall” go to heaven, since in heaven, we will “see the Lord.”  Therefore, we must not only ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins, and be our Lord and Savior, but we must live holy, sanctified lives, if we are one day to inherit the Kingdom of God.


A “sin” is defined in the Bible as disobeying any of God’s commandments given to Moses during the Exodus, found in the first five books of the Bible.  Contrary to what many Christians have been erroneously taught, the New Testament does not contradict the Old Testament, nor does it “do away with it” or annul its teachings, but it builds upon, develops, and further elaborates what God has said in the Old Testament.  Doing away with the Old Testament is like yanking out the foundation and framework of a house and still expecting it to stand.  It just doesn’t work.


According to the writings of the Apostle Paul, if anyone practices one or more of the following 23 sins, then they “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (i.e., go to heaven).  This is because true repentance is more than telling God we are sorry for our sins.  It also involves turning away from our sins, and beginning to walk in obedience to God.  If you “repent,” but then continue to practice one or more of these sins, then you have not truly repented, according to Scripture.


The 23 sins are found in I Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-20, and Ephesians 5:5.  In all three of these passages, Paul writes that those who practice the sins listed in these three passages “will not inherit the kingdom of God,” and in Ephesians 5:5, he writes, that they will not have “any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”  And it should be noted that these three letters – I Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians – are letters written to Christian congregations, not to unsaved masses.  Paul is, then, warning these Christians that if they continue to practice these sins they “will not inherit” God’s Kingdom.

So what are these 23 sins?  I have divided them up into the following four areas: physical sins (sexual sins, physical addictions), spiritual sins, mental/emotional sins, and social sins.  The categories are not divinely inspired, they are just the best way I saw to group these sins together.

At the end of the list in I Corinthians 6, Paul says, “…and the like,” which means that this list of 23 does not include all the sins that will keep you out of the kingdom of God, but they are the ones that Paul specifically listed.


It is not my intent here to bring judgment against anyone.  Instead, it is my intent to warn anyone involved in these sinful activities that you need to stop what you are doing, and to repent of these sins before it is too late.  Merely going to church, paying tithes, and going to church functions will not save you, so that you go to heaven, if you are still involved in doing one or more of the following sins.  Please take this warning seriously.


Sexual Sins.

  • ADULTERY (“cheating” or “having an affair”).  Adultery is defined as having an intimate relationship with someone other than your spouse.
  • EFFEMINATE (or CATAMITE).  An Effeminate or Catamite is defined as a boy or youth who is in sexual relationship with a man.
  • FORNICATIONFornication is a general term for any form of sex outside of the marriage bond, that includes sex between an unmarried man and a woman (called “hooking up”); adultery (sex with someone other than one’s spouse), beastiality (sex with animals) or incest (sex with one’s family members).
  • HOMOSEXUALITYHomosexuality is defined as sexual relations with someone else of the same sex or gender.
  • WHOREMONGERSWhoremongers is defined as either one who frequently consorts with or has sex with prostitutes (“a John”) or one who sells a prostitute (“a pimp”). 
  • UNCLEANNESSUncleanness is defined as “moral lewdness” or physical impurity, and could include sex with a woman during her menses (Leviticus 18:19; Ezekiel 18:6).

Physical Addictions:

  • LASCIVIOUSNESS.  Lasciviousness is defined as any uncontrolled indulgences of physical pleasures; this can include any physical addictions (food, sex, drugs, etc.).
  • DRUNKENNESSDrunkenness is defined as being intoxicated with some substance, usually alcohol or drugs.
  • FORNICATIONFornication comes from the Greek word porneia, and it’s the source for the English words “porn” and “pornography.”  Porn and pornography are not innocent pictures, but they are a form of sex that begins as mental/emotional images and fantasies that will harm the image and expectation of one sex with another, and if over-indulged, it can make one dependent on it in order to sexually perform.


  • IDOLATRYIdolatry is defined as a servant of, or worshipper of, an image, a false god, or anything other than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  • WITCHCRAFTWitchcraft is defined as sorcery, witchcraft, or magic (literally or figuratively).


  • COVETOUSNESSCovetousness is defined as desiring something that does not belong to you; dishonest gain, avarice or greed.
  • EMULATIONSEmulations is defined as  the stirring up of jealousy, envy, or malice in others, because of what we are, or have, or profess.
  • ENVYEnvy is defined as a feeling of discontented or resentful or ill-will longing aroused by someone else’s possession, qualities, or luck.
  • HATREDHatred is defined as a “heart” sin, and any hateful thought or act of hostility is an act of murder in God’s eyes for which justice will be demanded, possibly not in this life but at the judgment.
  • VARIANCEVariance is defined as the acts of anger that result in quarrels, strife, discord, or contention.  Variance often results in division, sects, divorce, and even church splits.
  • WRATHWrath is defined as an emotional outburst that’s violent and fierce, but short-lived.  It occurs stops as suddenly as it flared up.


  • EXTORTIONExtortion is defined as the practice of excessively grasping or obtaining something through force or threats, such as money, valuables, or property.
  • HERESIESHeresies is defined as opinions held by individuals or groups that ran divergent from clear biblical teachings that resulted in divisions, schisms, and factions.
  • LIARSLiars is defined as a spurious witness, a bearer of an untrue testimony, a false witness.
  • MURDERSMurders is defined as the criminal, or at least an intentional, act if taking another’s life, i.e., homicide.
  • REVELLINGSRevelling is defined as people going wild without any moral restraint, such as in “wild celebrations or partying,” “rioting,” “orgies,” etc.
  • SEDITIONSSedition is defined as a forced or superficial commotion caused by a group of people, that rise up in opposition to law or the administration of justice, with the intent of overthrowing that authority, and resulting in disturbing the general peace of the area, land, or country. 
  • STRIFEStrife is defined as conflicts, arguments, quarrels, hatred between people.intrigue, faction, contention, contentiousness, strife
  • THEFTTheft is defined as stealing or taking something from someone without their permission.


God’s salvation is not just about who we are spiritually, but His salvation is for every area of our lives: Physically, mentally/emotionally, spiritually and socially.  The problem with Christianity is that it has restricted “salvation” to a “spiritual salvation,” rather than one that entails every area of our lives.  Another issue is that it is misleading people into believing that as long as you went down to the altar and said the sinner’s prayer that you are now set to go to heaven, even though you are involved in one or more of these above listed sins.  Please be advised, that this is not the case.  The Apostle Paul is clear that those who indulge or practice these sins “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

The time of Christ’s return and His judgment is quickly approaching.  Please repent, ask Him to be your Lord and Savior, and ask Him to help you stop these sins and change your life.  He will do it if you ask Him.


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WHAT IS “THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM”?  Mention the word “Gospel,” and most Christians will tell you that it is about Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, so that when we die, we can go to heaven.  Many people are surprised when I tell them that there’s more to the “Gospel” than this.  Much of the “Gospel of the Kingdom” is actually found in the Old Testament Scriptures, a part of the Bible that many Christians do not study or thinks that it applies to their life.  As a result, most Christians do not have a comprehensive view of what the Gospel message really fully entails or the relationship of the cross to the KINGDOM‘s previous teachings.

The fact is that the KINGDOM message was first uttered to Abraham (Galatians 3:8-9; Genesis 12:3), and God began building with him, and it culminated with the life and teachings of Jesus in the New Testament.  The cross opened the way to the KINGDOM that God had been building from Abraham until Jesus, and beginning with Jesus and His disciples, the invitation of God to become a citizen of His KINGDOM has been going forth from person to person.


The problem with the traditional Christian message is that we have divided the Bible in two separate parts, ignoring for the most part the first 60% of the Bible (the “Old Testament”) and solely focusing on the second 40% (the “New Testament”).  That’s like ignoring the first 60% of a film, and focusing solely on what happens in the last 40%.  There’s no way we can fully understand the film, if we ignore 60% of it.  And likewise, our paradigm (our overall “picture”) we use to understand the Bible is flawed.  It’s like trying to figure out a puzzle when you’ve only got 40% of the cover picture.  We need the full picture – not just part of it!

And because the full picture is not being taught within most churches, we believe that all of the Bible has to do with RELIGION, but it doesn’t.  Instead, it is about God, from Genesis 1:1, working to establish His KINGDOM down here on earth.  God’s ultimate goal is not taking humanity into heaven, but to bring Himself and His Kingdom down here on earth.  Just read the last two chapters of Revelation to check this out.

I mean just think,  Jesus did not go through being whipped, beaten, spit on, tortured with a crown of thorns, and then crucified, dying the worst death possibly known to humanity, so He could establish a world RELIGION.  NO!  Instead, Jesus came to the earth to teach us about the KINGDOM (Luke 4:43), and then He went through this gruesome death to open the way, so all people, both Jews and non-Jews alike, could come and be part of His KINGDOM, NOT PART OF A RELIGION.

Our message, our lives, and all that we do to communicate the message of Jesus should be KINGDOM-ORIENTED AND FOCUSED, but most of the time, that’s not the case.  For example, in all the years growing up, I NEVER heard the term KINGDOM, unless we were talking about missions, and then, very rarely.  As disciples today, We need to learn how to be KINGDOM people – NOT religious people.


Theologians and researchers say that the phrases used by Jesus, “the kingdom of heaven” and “the kingdom of God” are not used anywhere in the Old Testament.  Jews say that the phrase “kingdom of heaven” was first coined by the Pharisees during the Intertestamental period.  However, their meaning for this phrase is much more RELIGIOUS in orientation, and it is used to mean, to live one’s life in submission to the teachings of the Torah.  And by Torah, they mean the following:

  • THE WRITTEN TORAH (the first five books of our Bible);
  • THE ORAL TORAH (called the Mishnah);

In addition to these, the word Torah would have also included a whole range of interpretations, forms of interpretation and levels of interpretation.  And by adding their own teachings, practices, and interpretations, they were transforming the KINGDOM of God from what it was in the Old Testament to what they wanted it to be, A RELIGION.


Although Jesus did use these phrases “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God,” I do not believe He used them to mean the same thing.  I believe that He wanted to take people back to the Scriptures, back to a KINGDOM understanding of things, rather than a RELIGIOUS understanding of things, being taught by the Scribes and Pharisees of His day.


You see, just like the sages, Pharisees, and later rabbis, who were adding their own teachings and practices to the Bible to transform it into a RELIGION, so we find Christianity doing the exact same thing in late 2nd century and onward, including in the church today,  Christians have also approached and understood God’s KINGDOM as a RELIGION.  They both have done the same thing, and both perspectives are wrong.  Why?  Because it is clearly evident in the Old Testament and even in the New Testament that God does not want His Kingdom viewed as a RELIGION, but as a KINGDOM.

But why is this important?  What does it matter how we view the KINGDOM?  Because what we don’t stop to realize is that a KINGDOM is controlled by the KING (God), but a RELIGION is controlled by people.  And this is why people want a RELIGION, so that they can maintain control over their lives and what they choose to do.


In I Chronicles 28:5, David is speaking and telling the people who God has chosen to be the next King:

And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons,) He has chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD over Israel. [Emphasis Mine]

In this verse, the phrase translated as “THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD,” is in Hebrew malkhuth Y’HWAH.  The context for this is POLITICAL, since David is explaining that God has chosen Solomon, his son, to be the next king over the nation of Israel.  But by the first century, the covenant name of God was no longer being used, and synonyms were being used in its place, one of which was “heaven” and another one “God.”  So “the KINGDOM OF THE LORD” (Heb. malkhut Y’HWAH) became “the KINGDOM of heaven” (Heb. malkhut hashamayim) or “the KINGDOM of God.”  (Y’HWAH is what is written in the Hebrew text of the Bible, and is translated as “The LORD” in our English Bibles.)

This is important because there’s a law when it comes to proper biblical interpretation, called “The Law of First Mention.”  This law states that wherever a word, concept or phrase FIRST appears in Scripture, this establishes the basic, foundational meaning of the word, concept or phrase.  Later biblical passages may build on and further develop this meaning, but they cannot contradict or override it.

Consequently, the basic, foundational meaning of “THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD“, “The KINGDOM of heaven” or “the KINGDOM of God” as used in the Scriptures and by Jesus must be understood within the context of a political KINGDOM.  This is true, not only of this specific phrase, but it is also true in reference to God’s KINGDOM in general.


From the very beginning, God’s KINGDOM has been made up of both JEWS and NON-JEWS.   When Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, a “mixed multitude” of people went with them.

And a mixed multitude went up also with them;… (Exodus 12:38)

This “mixed multitude” was comprised of people from different non-Jewish nations who had joined themselves to Israel, and this mixed group of Jews and non-Jews were called “Israel” by God.  “Israel” is the name God has given to His KINGDOM, which is comprised of those people He has redeemed from the Jewish people AND from those people God has saved from the other nations of the world.  And what was it that God has told this nation of Jew and non-Jews?

Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant. then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And you shall be unto Me a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS AND A HOLY NATION.  (Exodus 19:5-6; Emphasis Mine)

Moses was to speak these words to “the children of Israel,” but who were the “children of Israel” at Sinai?  They were a mixed nation, comprised of the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob AND the “mixed multitude” that had come out with them. Therefore, it should be obvious, then, that God’s Law (Torah) was not given just to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai, as Christians have erroneously taught and continue to teach, but to a nation of people made up of both Jews and non-Jews together.


In fact, before getting to Mt. Sinai, the first general reference to God’s KINGDOM in the Bible is in the song of Moses.  In the first three verses, Moses proclaims:

I will sing unto Y’HWAH, for He has triumphed gloriously: the horse and the rider has He thrown into the sea. 
Y’HWAH is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him a habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.  Y’HWAH is a man of war: Y’HWAH is His name. 
Pharaoh’s chariots and his host He cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the sea.  The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.  (Exodus 15:1-5)

Y’HWAH is the covenant name of God there in the Hebrew text that’s usually translated as “the LORD.”  The context here is clearly God’s triumph over the military might of the Egyptian army.  At the time, Egypt had the strongest military might in the world.    Moses then continues on for another twelve verses praising Y’HWAH God, for His victory over the Egyptians.  He culminates his song with the first reference to the Kingship of God in the Bible:

Y’HWAH yimloch l’olam v’ed (“Y’HWAH reigns forever and ever”).
(Exodus 15:18)

The context here is clearly a military victory of God’s KINGDOM over another political power, the kingdom of Egypt.  Nor is this the only place where we see God’s KINGDOM triumphant over the military might of another nation.  We see God’s victories over and over again, not only under Moses but Joshua as well.


In the book of Judges, we see a dark time in Israel’s distant past.  Why?  They turned their back on God and His KINGDOM.  The Bible says that “they did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25).  They ignored the kingship of God, so He allowed them to be conquered time and time again, and it wasn’t until they cried out to Him, that He would raise up a “savior,” “a deliverer,” or “a judge” to rescue them from their oppression and to rule over them.  But as soon as that judge died, the cycle would then repeat.


Ultimately, Israel did not want to be “God’s own special people,” ruled over exclusively by Him anymore, but they wanted to be like the other nations around them.  They wanted to have a human king, a human government, as opposed to the government of God.  And when Samuel complained about their rejection of him as “judge,” God responded,

Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but THEY HAVE REJECTED ME, that I should not reign over them.
(I Samuel 8:7; Emphasis Mine)

And this was the beginning of Israel’s downfall in the Hebrew Scriptures (“Old Testament”).  After Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, assumes the throne, four generations later, Israel splits into two Kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom of Israel (also called Ephraim) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

Both KINGDOMS fell into idolatry and gross sins before Y’HWAH.  The prophet Hosea was sent to warn the Northern Kingdom to warn them of God’s punishment, if they did not change.  God gives the names of Hosea’s children as an illustration of His coming judgment against them:

  • Jezreel – “I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel” (Hosea 1:4).
  • Lo-ruhamah – “for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away” (Hosea 1:6).
  • Lo-ammi – “for you are not My people, and I will not be your God” (Hosea 1:9).

Ultimately, as God promised through Hosea, Amos, and others, after their 19 rebellious kings, God’s gives the the Northern Kingdom of Israel “a bill of divorcement” (Jeremiah 3:8), and it is taken captive by Assyria in 722 B.C., and they are removed from the land and dispersed throughout the Assyrian empire.  In addition, in Amos 9, God promised them that He would “sift” them “among all nations” (Amos 9:9), and the prophet Hosea also told them that they would be “swallowed up among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure” (Hosea 8:8).

Then in 586 B.C., after 20 kings, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was taken captive by the kingdom of Babylon.  The city of Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed, and many of its people were taken into captivity into Babylon.  Although God divorced the Northern Kingdom, He did not do so to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  And it is while they are in Babylon, that those who came from the Southern Kingdom were first called “Jews,” a shortened form of “Judeans.”


The promise of the New Covenant (translated as “New Testament”) was made with these two kingdoms of Israel.  This is easily seen in Jeremiah 31:31-34, the prophecy concerning the New Covenant:

Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL and with THE HOUSE OF JUDAH. (Jeremiah 31:31)

Notice to whom God is making this covenant: It is with “the House of Israel” and “the House of Judah.”  These are the two kingdoms of Israel.  This covenant is NOT made with the world, as I’ve heard Christians erroneously teach.  To even teach this is to completely ignore Scripture.  God then goes on:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they broke, although I was a husband unto them, says the LORD.

God says there will be a difference between the covenant of Sinai and this new covenant that He’s about to make.  The difference though is primarily one of location, rather than in content.

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, says the LORD, I will put My Law (Heb. Torah) in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.

The New Covenant, unlike the Sinai covenant, will not be written on tablets of stone [i.e., be an outside motivator], but it will be written on our inward parts and heart [i.e.,  it will be an inner motivator].  In essence, the new covenant will make God’s Law (Torah) a “want-to,” instead of a “have to.”

As we read the New Testament, we see that there’s been some additions made to the covenant, but it did not do away with the covenant.  Why?  Because a covenant CANNOT be destroyed, done away with, annulled, suspended, or not kept.  For God to completely to do away with the Old Covenant, and to begin “A NEW PROGRAM” as Christians teach would make God a sinner, nor different than any human being on this planet.  In which case, the human race would be damned to Hell with no chance of redemption.

But it’s important that we note that the New Covenant is not being made with the world, but with the same two kingdoms we have seen since the Kingdom of Israel split: the Northern Kingdom of Israel/Ephraim AND the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  And it is with these same two kingdoms that God is promising to bring back into fellowship with Him and with one another.  But some may say, “But didn’t God divorce the Northern Kingdom?”  Yes, He did, but 135 years AFTER He divorced the Northern Kingdom, He promised through the writings of Ezekiel to reach back into the earth IN THE LAST DAYS and to bring the descendants of the Northern Kingdom back to Himself.

In another passage of Ezekiel, we see more of God’s prophesy about this future restoration:

Say unto them, Thus says the LORD God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim [the Northern Kingdom], and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah [the Southern Kingdom], and make them one stick [one kingdom], and they shall be one in Mine hand. (Ezekiel 37:19)

The prophecies all add up to God bringing the two kingdoms back together again, and making them one nation again under one King, Messiah.  This reunited Kingdom will be a utopian kingdom:  there will be universal peace, prosperity, blessings, long life and no sickness, no diseases, no hunger, no starvation, etc.  All the things that plague our world today will no longer exist in this KINGDOM.  The “Good News” [or Gospel] that Jesus and His early disciples proclaimed was that the time had come for this process of reuniting these two KINGDOMS had arrived!

The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand [“has arrived”]; repent, and believe the GOSPEL.  (Mark 1:15, Emphasis Mine)

Then beginning in the book of Acts, we see a dual message being proclaimed:  the gospel of the Kingdom AND Jesus Christ.  For example,

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, they were baptized, both men and women.  (Acts 8:12)

I was shocked the first time I noted this dual message.  We see it again at the end of the book of Acts, in regard to the ministry of Paul:

And Paul lived two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in to him, preaching THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and teaching those things which concern THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.  (Acts 28:30-31)

According to this, Paul PREACHED THE KINGDOM OF GOD and TAUGHT JESUS CHRIST.  In the Christian church, we PREACH CHRIST and more or less ignore the concept of the Kingdom.  Am I the only one who recognizes something very wrong with this picture, or does anyone else?


Just as a “mixed multitude” was part of the people of Israel in the Exodus, and we see other non-Jews join the Jewish people – Rahab, Ruth, Doeg – and others, so in the New Testament, non-Jews are also invited to become a part of God’s people and His Kingdom.  Just as God called Abraham, while he was an uncircumcised gentile [non-Jew], and entered into covenant with him, still being uncircumcised, so Abraham becomes the father of all uncircumcised gentiles who believe.  And likewise, just as Abraham was then circumcised, he also became the father of all those who are circumcised as well.  So then, Abraham then becomes the father of us all. the circumcised and the uncircumcised.

The KINGDOM preached by Jesus, His disciples, and even Paul is the RESTORED AND REUNITED KINGDOM OF MESSIAH prophesied and promised throughout the writings of the Old Testament.  If we do not study the Old Testament, then Christians do not understand the KINGDOM that is being talked about in the writings of the New Testament.  These are NOT Two Separate Kingdoms; they are the SAME KINGDOM.  It is a KINGDOM comprised of three central groups:

  • JEWS [those from the Southern Kingdom],
  • RETURNING ISRAELITES [from the Northern Kingdom], and
  • GENTILES [those of us from the nations of the world].

These three groups are the ones who make up God’s KINGDOM. This RESTORED, REUNITED KINGDOM could also be called REDEEMED ISRAEL.  Just as Israel during the Exodus, and much of its history, was comprised of both Jews and non-Jews, so is REDEEMED ISRAEL.  So what Christians call “the Church Age” is actually God continuing to reach out into the nations and returning to Himself those He has called from these three groups.  God has not changed His program.  He is still working on establishing His KINGDOM here on earth.  Again, the cross made this restoration possible, as I will soon explain.


Because Paul was ministering out in the Roman empire, and not in the land of Israel, he did not want people to think that their relationship to Messiah (Christ) in God’s KINGDOM was to be like their relationship to Caesar in the Roman Empire.  One could be a Roman citizen without having to be in a personal relationship with Caesar; however, to be a citizen in God’s KINGDOM, an intimate relationship with the KING was absolutely required.  Consequently, to not confuse the issue, Paul used other words that were meant to be synonyms for this RESTORED, REUNITED KINGDOM OF MESSIAH (CHRIST).

In addition, these synonyms were necessary to avoid the monotony of saying “redeemed Israel” and “unredeemed Israel,” “redeemed Israel,” “unredeemed Israel.”

EKKLESIA (the word we translate as “church”).  Originally, in the Greek and Roman culture, the word Ekklesia was a POLITICAL TERM, NOT A RELIGIOUS ONE.  It was an alternative name for the Roman Senate, as well as groups of full citizens who would meet for a particular reason.  We would call meetings like this, “a town meeting.”  Christianity took this POLITICAL term and turned it into a RELIGIOUS one.

THE BODY OF MESSIAH.  The word “Messiah” is predominantly used in the Old Testament in reference to the KING of Israel, an obvious POLITICAL use, but it is first used of Aaron, the High Priest, an obvious RELIGIOUS usage.  So it is both, RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL, but Christianity tends to focus more on the RELIGIOUS meaning than the POLITICAL one.  So obviously, if you are part of “THE BODY OF MESSIAH [CHRIST],” then you are part of His KINGDOM.

ONE NEW MAN.  The RESTORED, REUNITED KINGDOM OF MESSIAH [CHRIST] is also referred to as the ONE NEW MAN in Ephesians 2:15.  This section is really interesting to examine.  In the prophets, God divorced the Northern Kingdom because of their disobedience to God’s Laws.

In verse 15, it states that Jesus abolished in His flesh “the accusation against us.”  What does the prosecuting attorney use to try and prove someone guilty of a crime?  The Law.  So by “abolishing in His flesh the laws” that were being used to condemn the Northern Kingdom, the Southern Kingdom and us GENTILES, through His death on the cross and resurrection, He was able to provide the means by which God could once again RESTORE and REUNITE these TWO KINGDOMS into what Paul calls ONE NEW MAN.

Now when crimes have been punished, does that mean that we do away with the law in the United States?  Of course not.  It is just these broken violations of the law are no longer brought up.  In the same way, when Jesus died on the cross, His death did not do away with God’s law, but only those broken violations of His law are no longer brought up.

IN CHRIST.  This is another favorite synonym for Paul.  Again, if one is “IN CHRIST,” then one is “IN THE KINGDOM,” since Christ [Messiah] is the Anointed KING of the KINGDOM.


Therefore, in our churches today, the one message I do not hear about is the RESTORED REUNITED KINGDOM prophesied and promised throughout the Old Testament.  Is this missing message why we erroneously think God’s program has changed, instead of realizing He is still working on the SAME PROGRAM?  For example, if we were discipling people to become KINGDOM PEOPLE, instead of people for our own religious denominations, we would focus our teaching and training by answering such questions as the following:

  • What is a “KINGDOM“?
  • When did God’s KINGDOM begin?  What is it like?  What comprises the KINGDOM?  What is not in the KINGDOM?
  • How does one become a KINGDOM citizen?  What are the benefits to that citizenry?
  • What is God’s expectation as to how we, as God’s “KINGDOM PEOPLE,” are to live?
  • What is God’s Constitution, laws, statutes, and judgments?  How do we apply them in our current world situation?
  • When KINGDOM LAW contradicts U.S. Law, which one do we follow?
  • How will the coming KINGDOM be similar and/or different than the KINGDOM of David or Solomon?

These are just a few questions to consider.  Now I do need to point out that our KINGDOM does have RELIGIOUS aspects to it.  For example,

  • our King is God, and He is an eternal Spirit being who exists outside of time, space, and matter.
  • We cannot just pick up the phone and call God, or text Him.  Prayer is the way we communicate with Him.
  • Our KINGDOM’S homeland is not located on this planet or, in fact, in this physical universe.  However, that does not mean it is any less real.  It does exist in a parallel dimension, usually referred to as the “spiritual realm.”  Although unlike Patrick Swayze, in the movie Ghost, it does physically exist, you cannot put your hand through things.  People who have been there, either in dreams, visions, or come back after they’ve died, have all described things they could see, hear, taste, smell, and touch or feel.  It is a physical place by all measures of our senses, although better in every physical way imaginable.


Unlike American Presidents, who change every 4-8 years, God has not given up His throne.  He maintains His place of Kingship in HEAVEN, while His Son, Jesus Christ, will rule and reign over His KINGDOM here on earth.  And if you do not have a relationship with Jesus, you will not be allowed into God’s KINGDOM.  Why would any government allow people in who have no intention of obeying the government or its laws?  That would only be asking for trouble.

QUESTION:  Are you in an ongoing relationship with the Lord and King, Jesus Christ?  Do you have a KINGDOM on god, the Bible and life, or do you still believe all of this is simply about a RELIGION.  You can begin the process of changing your perspective by simply praying from your heart something like this:

Dear Lord Jesus,
I am tired of living a RELIGION, and I want to really experience what you intended me to live, as a citizen within Your KINGDOM.  Please, Lord, let this be a beginning point for me to learn to look at Your word as a KINGDOM MANUAL, rather than as a “religious book.”  Open my eyes and heart to Your KINGDOM.  Open my eyes and heart to what it means to live Your KINGDOM in my daily life.  Guide me by Your Spirit, and teach me Your Constitution, laws, statutes and judgments.   As my KING, Lord, You have complete and total control and rule over every aspect of my life.   I’m not holding anything back.  It is all Yours from this day forward.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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“COME FORWARD TODAY AND RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR!”  For most people, this was the moment when we went forward in church to confess our sins and to give our lives to the Lord.  Usually, the pastor would explain what we were about to do, and then he would have us repeat a prayer after him.  After completing this prayer, he would say that each of us have now been saved.  He might even quote Romans 10: 9-10,

That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Most Pastors would say that “You are now saved and are a child of God.”  Although I would most certainly congratulate you for your decision to give your life to the Lord, but I would differ in that I would say that you have now taken YOUR FIRST STEP on the journey of salvation with the Lord.


Rather than salvation being a one-time event, it is a triune process, which comes from God, a Triune Spirit.  In Exodus 3, Moses asks God His name, and in His response, He gives Moses the name YHWH.  This name is derived from the verb “to be” (Heb. hayah), and it’s repeated 6,000 times in the Scriptures.  In fact, in the book of Revelation, it is translated into Greek and English by the three tenses of the verb:

…which is, and which was, and which is to come;…” (Revelation 1:4, 8)
…which was, and is, and is to come… (Revelation 4:8)
…which art, and wast, and art to come… (Revelation 11:17)
…which art, and wast, and shall be… (Revelation 16:5)

In all five verses, the covenant name of God is translated out into Greek by these three verb tenses: past, present, and future.  God exists outside of time, space, and matter, and as a result, He can see the past, present, and future all at the same time, and so He is always the Great “I AM.” But just as His name translates into three tenses, “I WAS, I AM, and I SHALL BE,”so does His salvation that flows out to those call upon Him, for as the Bible teaches, “for whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13).

So just as God Himself is a Triune Being, so salvation, which comes from God, is likewise Triune in its nature.    The three stages of salvation are the following:


And all three stages comprise the one life-long process, whose overall purpose is to transform each of us from being a broken “slave of sin” into a son or daughter of God that’s been conformed into the image and likeness of Christ.


This process also includes conversion, justification, and adoption; consequently, sometimes these other names are used rather than “NEW BIRTH.”  However, I like this one because it emphasizes that something NEW is being BIRTHED in and through this experiential process.

In John 3, Jesus enters into a discussion with a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus, who comes to Jesus by night, and tells Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that You do, except God be with Him.”  Jesus then responds to Him by saying,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

But Nicodemus is confused by this.  He asks, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4)  But in response to this question, Jesus repeats what He had said in verse 3, but He elaborates further on what He meant by being “born again.”  To show this, I’m going to put the two verses side by side.

JOHN 3:3

JOHN 3:5

Verily, Verily, I say unto you, Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

So what Jesus has done in a very Jewish way is to define being “BORN AGAIN” as being “BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT.”  Jesus here is not defining “BORN AGAIN” as simply being “BORN OF THE SPIRIT” as I’ve heard numerous times from ministers, believing that “being BORN OF WATER” was only a reference to physical birth.  In Jewish thinking, there’s an intricate connection between the water and the Spirit, which many Christians do not realize.


To be “BORN AGAIN,” it is imperative that we understand that this can only happen when we sincerely come to Christ, confess our sins, and ask Him to come into our hearts and lives to be our Savior, Lord, and King.   Our salvation is only made possible because of His shed blood and death on the cross, and His bodily resurrection.  Although we tend to put more focus on His death on the cross, Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15 that without His resurrection our faith would be in vain:

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.  Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  (I Corinthians 15:13-20)

Consequently, Christ’s resurrection is extremely important to our salvation, and not just the His sacrificial death on the cross.   But being “BORN AGAIN” is a process, and not an event.  For example, Jesus taught His disciples prior to His ascension:

Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned. (Mark 16:15-16)

As we can see, the process of the NEW BIRTH occurs in two steps: “(1) Believe and (2) is baptized shall be saved.”  So obviously, if you are not willing to do the first step, “believe,” then you are not going to end this process by doing the second step, being “baptized.”

Then in the book of Acts, we see two more people teaching the same thing and re-affirming this two step process for the NEW BIRTH.  First of all, Peter, in his initial sermon on the day of Pentecost:

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?  Then Peter said to them, “REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” (Acts 2:37-38)

What did Peter say? “REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED.”  The word “Repent” here involves BELIEVING the message of the gospel and accepting Jesus as their Lord, Savior and Messiah (or King), and then “BE BAPTIZED.”  The same two basic parts of the process as we see from Jesus in Mark 16:16.  Then the next person we see teach this same two parts is Paul, when describing his own conversion in Acts 22.

And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which lived there, came to me, and stood, and said to me, “Brother Saul, receive your sight.”  And the same hour I looked up on him.  And he said, “The God of our fathers has chosen you, that you should know His will, and see that Just One, and should hear the voice of His mouth.  For you shall be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.  And now why are you waiting?  ARISE, AND BE BAPTIZED, and WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:12-16)

Paul here is recounting for the crowds what happened to him during his conversion (or NEW BIRTH) experience, and notice what Paul says that Ananias told him to do,

Arise, and BE BAPTIZED, AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16)

By “calling on the name of the Lord,” “BELIEVING” is an assumed intricate part of this.  But in addition, Ananias told him to be “BAPTIZED, AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS.” Consequently, there are at least three witnesses here that teach the same thing, “Repent (or Believe) and Be Baptized, and you shall be saved”: Jesus, Peter, and Ananias through Paul.  There are also 10 examples in the book of Acts that demonstrate this two-part process as well.   For example, all the following were baptized after they believed,

The 3,000 people saved on Pentecost (Acts 2:41) The Apostle Paul (Acts 9:18) The Philippian Jailer and his household (Acts 16:33)
The Samaritans (Acts 8:12) The Roman Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:47-48) Crispus, the chief ruler of the Synagogue (Acts 18:8)
Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:13) Lydia (Acts 16:15) The Ephesian believers (Acts 19:3-5)
The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:28-40)  

So with three people, including Jesus Himself, teaching the same thing and 10 examples of this being done throughout the book of Acts, why is it that most Christians do not believe that water baptism has any part in the salvation process?

Another example we can see of water being a part of birth is in the natural birth process.  The process of physical conception and birth presents us with a picture of what it means to be “BORN AGAIN.”  Throughout the Old Testament, there are numerous passages where water is used in the process of rebirth.  For example, the first picture of this in the Bible is in the account of Noah and the Flood.  The earth was full of sin and violence, and God told Noah that He was going to flood the whole earth; that is, He was going to fully immerse the planet under water (“baptize it”).

But to preserve Noah and his family, as well as the land animals, He had Noah build the ark.  The ark is a picture of Christ, and just as those who were in the ark were saved,  so those who are in Christ will likewise be saved.  However, when God brought the world up out of the waters, the world was “clean” once more, and the sin was gone.  So there in this account, we have the combination of both salvation (pictured by the ark) and water baptism (pictured by the flood).  Those who made it through the flood (by being in the ark/Christ) are saved.

There are many other such pictures in the Bible as well, like Israel crossing the Red Sea.  To save their first born, they had put the Passover Lamb’s blood on the doorposts and lintel, demonstrating their faith in God.  So as we are saved from our Egypt’s of sin, so we too must rely on THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB and our FAITH IN GOD, but notice that Israel was not out of Egypt (a symbol of sin) UNTIL they CROSSED THE SEA.

It was only when they came out on the other side that the people were saved from the Egyptians.  If they had put the blood on the doorpost and lintel, but had not left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, they would not have been saved from their slavery in Egypt.  They would have remained slaves.  Their coming out of Egypt happened as a PROCESS, not just a ONE-TIME EVENT.

In like manner, physical conception and birth are also two ends of the same process, and of course,  conception is when new life begins within the womb of a woman, which can be compared to us asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins and be the Lord of our life, because it is at this moment that the conception of our spirit happens, and we experience that new life within us.  To demonstrate this further, there’s an interesting verse in I John; it says,

Whosoever is born of God does not [continue to] commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot [continue to] sin, because he is born of God.  (I John 3:9)

There’s two things to point out about this verse.  (1) The verbs “commit” and “sin” are both present participles, which mean they refer to “repeated or continuous action,” which is why I put “continue to” in brackets. But (2) the word “seed” in this verse is the English translation of the Greek word sperma.  It is from this word that we get the English word “sperm.”  In this verse, the Holy Spirit is being pictured as “the sperm of God.”  God’s “sperm,” of course, is not physical, but spiritual, since it alludes to His Spirit.  However, interestingly, this image of God having “sperm” (although spiritual in nature) does most definitely identify God in a very masculine way (contrary to the many feminists and those in the LGBT camp who are now trying to say that God should be referred to with neutral, genderless pronouns).

God’s Spirit (His “sperm”) comes into us when we accept Jesus as the Lord of our life, and a new spiritual life begins to exist.  However, just as our physical conception results in a physical birth, where we are born into this life out of the water of the womb, so our spiritual conception results in a spiritual birth, where we are born into the kingdom of God out of water, a picture of the womb.   This picture of being “BORN AGAIN” should have been quite familiar to Nicodemus, but it wasn’t, which is why Jesus is surprised when Nicodemus doesn’t understand what He’s saying.


In Jesus’ day, people were not “baptized” or “immersed” in water like Christians do today, where one person lays another person down into the water.  Instead, each person immerses themselves.  The other person is there just to make sure that the process is done correctly.

The person being immersed, steps into the water until it is waist deep, and then crouches down into a fetal position.  The water must cover them completely.  It is then that the water takes on the image of a womb, and the person in the water is in the same fetal position they would’ve been in the womb.  Then the person stands up straight out of the water, representing their “new birth,” or “new life,” i.e., they are now “born again.”

When looking at the baptism of Jesus, by John the Baptist, you will note that John did not lift Jesus up out of the water; instead, it says,

And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water:… (Matthew 3:16)

And it was when He came up out of the water that the Holy Spirit came down and lit on Him as a dove.  In essence, He was “born of water and of the Spirit,” and if Jesus was “born of the water and of the Spirit,” shouldn’t we do likewise as His disciples today?  In Judaism, there were many reasons why Jews would immerse in water:

  • To indicate a change in status, such as a person was “unclean” and they now have become “clean” (whether ritually, or in their health, or spiritually).  For example, after the completion of their monthly cycle, women would immerse, so that their relations with their husbands could resume.  One also indicated a change in status when they began a new phase in their life, began a new career, or they wanted to develop a more intimate relationship with God.
  • To initiate one’s priestly office.  A priest had to wait until they were 30 years old, according to the Scriptures, before they could initiate their priestly office (Numbers 4).
  • For completing the process of conversion.

These are not all the reasons, but a few examples.  Jesus, though, was baptized in water, not for conversion or for the forgiveness of His sins, since He was sinless, but because He needed to indicate a change of status (He was changing from being a carpenter to being a rabbi), and He also needed to initiate His High Priestly office.  So in truth, when He came up out of the water, He was, in fact, “BORN AGAIN,” because a carpenter went down into the water, but He came up out of the water a rabbi and High Priest.  And so as His disciples, we too need to be “BORN AGAIN OUT OF THE WATER” just as He was.

But we must remember, it is not enough to be “BORN OF WATER,” we must also be “BORN OF THE SPIRIT.”  BOTH ARE NECESSARY.  Many times when I discuss this, people ask me about the thief on the cross.  However, the thief on the cross is the only man in the New Testament who was saved without being baptized in water afterwards.  He should be seen as the exception, not the rule.  Obviously, the Romans were not going to take the man down, allow John, who was standing right there, to baptize him, and then give the guy back to the Romans, so they could nail him back up on the cross.

It is important that we remember that the NEW BIRTH is a PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT.  The thief on the cross had begun the process, but obviously, he was not able to complete the first stage of the salvation process, but he went as far as he could.  But throughout the book of Acts, there are 10 accounts of people being saved, as I said earlier, and every one of them was baptized right afterwards.  There’s not one single exception to this in all the book of Acts, whether the person was a Jew or a non-Jew.  Consequently, we should be defining this first stage of the NEW BIRTH based on what is TYPICAL – what we find in the majority of cases in the Bible – NOT THE EXCEPTION.  This, in fact, is the rule when coming up with a definition.  In any definition, you my note the exceptions and rare occurrences, but you always base the meaning on what is TYPICAL, on what you find in the majority of cases.

Now in part 2 of this series, we will examine “Sanctification,” and then in part 3, the final part of this series, we will examine “Glorification.”


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DID CHRIST BRING THE LAW TO AN END?  This all depends on what “law” you are talking about.  If you are referring to the “law of sin and death,” then the answer is “yes,” but if you mean “the law of God,” then the answer is “yes” and “no.”  I would argue that the following did come to an end with Christ:

  • The time when we did not have Christ as our goal and model of what a Torah-observant man looked like has come to an end.
  • The time when the law was an outside motivator to obedience to God has come to an end.
  • The time when we did not have the Holy Spirit empowering us to live out the commandments of God has come to an end.
  • The time when God was still waiting to fulfill His promise to Abraham when He walked between the pieces has come to an end.
  • The time when we did not have an Advocate, Mediator, and High Priest in heaven to intercede and pray for us to help us walk out the commandments of God has come to an end.

But has the Law (Heb. Torah) of God been abolished, destroyed, annulled or done away with and is no longer relevant to our lives as believers?  Then the answer is a definite “NO!”  What most Christians do not understand is that God’s relationship with His people was not based on the covenant that God made with Israel at Mt. Sinai, so what would be the point of abolishing or destroying it?  Did God throw out His plan and program that He had going in the Old Testament to start a whole new program with Christ?  No, He didn’t.  Those who believe this only demonstrate how much of the Old Testament they really do not understand.


So let’s go back and begin to unravel this mystery about how to view Romans 10:4.  To do this, we need to examine the original passage on which this misunderstanding is based.

For I bear them [Israel] record that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.  (Romans 10:2-4)

I didn’t just want to look at the one verse in question, but I wanted you to see it in context.


The issue here is not about the commandments themselves, but on whose standard of righteousness are we using when we keep them?  Are we using God’s standard of righteousness or are we following the standard created by Israel, or more specifically, the Pharisees?  The problem with traditional Christianity’s interpretation of Sha’ul Paulus’ (Paul’s) writings is that they take him and his writings out of their historical, cultural, and religious contexts, and as a result, they misinterpret what he has to say, particularly when it comes to the law.


The problem in correctly understanding Romans 10:4 is how most people understand the word “end” today.  You see most people today understand the word “end” to mean one thing, but the word “end” in 1611 and in the Greek has a different meaning in mind.  As a college English instructor for 25 years, I can tell you that the meaning of words do not remain static or stay the same.  As the culture changes, so does the meaning and use of words.  For example, when I was growing up, “Aids” were people who helped out in the principal’s office, but now when you say that word, the first thing that comes to mind is a horrible disease.  Another example is the word “computer.”  Prior to WWII, a “computer” was a person who was hired to do mathematical computations, but after WWII, a computer became a machine, like we know it today.  It was during WWII when the machine “computer” was created to do what the human “computer” did but at a faster and more accurate rate.

Likewise, the primary meaning of the word “end” has also changed in the past 400 years.  In this verse, the word “end” is the English translation of the Greek word telos (Strong’s #5056), which means “to set out for a definite point or goal, or properly the point aimed at as a limit, result, purpose.”  However, this word does not mean “to terminate” here. The word “end” is still used to mean a “goal” or “point aimed at,” when we say, “What end did you have in mind?” meaning “what’s your goal or what are you aiming to achieve?”  And it is in this sense that the word “end” is to be understood.   Finally, this understanding of the word “end” is also supported by The Apologetics Study Bible, which points out in its footnote for this verse that the word “end” also means “goal” (1695).


But the real test is to place this meaning back into the text and see if it makes sense.

For I bear them [Israel] record that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the goal of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.  (Romans 10:2-4)

What is the destination point, the target that God’s law is aiming to achieve within our lives, its goal?  Sha’ul Paulus’ (Paul’s) response is “Christ.”  He is the living embodiment and example of the Law [Torah].  In other words, if we could take all the commandments of the Law and use them to formulate a man, who would it be?  Christ.  This understanding of this verse fits with what follows in this passage.


In the next section of verses, Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) goes on to describe two types of righteousness, both of which deal with God’s law.

For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, “That the man which does those things shall live by them.” (Romans 10:5)

In this verse, I have placed the quote in bold print.  Paul is quoting here a line that is found in five different verses: Leviticus 18:5; Nehemiah 9:29; Ezekiel 20: 11, 13, 21.  In all five cases, the phrase is used to contrast God’s expectation that people live their lives guided by His commandments.  However, in each case, that was not what they were doing.  This is the meaning of this line in its original context.

After making this statement, Paul then begins to make the argument that the standard of righteousness that the Jews are using in their obedience to the law [Torah] is man-made and, therefore, like the above quote, it does not satisfy God’s expectation.  But the standard that is of faith is when we walk out our love for God by obeying His Word, including His commandments, with Jesus [Yeshua] as our goal and destination point.  And to prove his point, Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 30:12-14.  But to show you the context of the Deuteronomy passage, here are verses 10-11:

If you shall hearken unto the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law [Torah], and if you turn unto the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul.  For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not hidden [or too difficult  for/from] you, neither is it far off.

Clearly here, the context of this passage is the Torah, the commandments of God.  It is at this point that Deuteronomy 30:12-14 begin.

Deuteronomy 30:12

Romans 10:6

It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven” (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

In comparing these two verses, we can see that Paul is taking what Moses writes about the Torah and he is applying it to Jesus.  Why?  Is Paul suggesting that Jesus has replaced the Torah?  No, instead, according to archaeologists and the remains of the homes in Israel that belonged to believers, the earliest term for Jesus [Yeshua] is HaTorah, “The Living Torah,” that Jesus [Yeshua] was the living embodiment and expression of all that the Torah was and represented.  So what was true of the Written Torah was likewise true of the Living Torah.

Deuteronomy 30:13 Romans 10:7
Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Or, who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

In this comparison, we see an apparent difference between these two passages.  However, as seen from Romans 6, Paul identifies the water (or seas) with death, so for him to interpret Romans 10:7 in this way is consistent with his pattern of interpretation.  But again, we can see that he is applying what Moses writes about the Torah to the person of Christ [Messiah].

Deuteronomy 30:14 Romans 10:8
But the word is very nigh unto you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it. But what says it?  The word is nigh you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

But it is here that Moses explains why the words of the Torah are not “hidden” or “are not too difficult” for the people to obey.  It is because the words are “nigh them, in their mouth, and in their heart.”  This is why, I believe, most Christians say they cannot obey the Torah, because the Torah is not “in their hearts” and it is not “in their mouth.”  Why the two places?  Because as Jesus [Yeshua] taught, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45).   When Torah comes out of our mouth, Moses is saying, then it is in the “abundance of their heart.”  The problem is that most Christians don’t read and study the Torah, so then how could it come out of their mouth, and therefore, how could they possibly keep it?

Notice that the Torah that is “in their hearts and in their mouth” and that has Jesus [Yeshua] as its goal and target “is the word of faith,” Paul writes, “which we preach.”  You see, when the Jews are describing “the righteousness which is of the law [the written and oral Torah],” it misses the purpose and plan of God because the Pharisees (and later rabbis] would take the interpretation of the Scriptures in the direct opposite direction than what God originally intended; however, with Christ [Messiah[ as the goal and destination point of the Torah, then with that view in mind, then believers could obey the commandments in a way that God had originally intended, rather than what was being taught by some of the Pharisees at the time.  [Some had some good ideas and interpretations, but not all of them.]


So just as God’s written Torah [the first five books of the Bible] becomes a reality to us when it is in our hearts and in our mouth, and then, we are able to do it, Paul applies this same concept to the Lord Jesus Christ [Heb. Adon Yeshua HaMoshiakh].  So how do we make Jesus [Yeshua] a reality in our lives?  The same way we make Torah a reality in our lives: Him being in our hearts and in our mouth.

That if you shall confess with YOUR MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shall believe IN YOUR HEART that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with THE HEART man believes unto righteousness; and with THE MOUTH confession is made unto salvation.  (Romans 10:9-10; Emphasis Mine)

Notice that according to these two verses, if all you do is “believe in your heart” that God has raised Jesus [Yeshua] from the dead,” you have righteousness, but not salvation.  It is only when we combine the belief of Christ’s [Messiah’s] resurrection with our confession from our mouth that we are saved.  And in the combination of these two elements, we begin our life-long walk of salvation with God, a walk that is not complete until we come into His Presence, either at His coming or at death.

May Christ [Messiah], the Living Torah, and the Written Torah of God both comprise the abundance of our hearts and the confession of our mouths to the glory of God, Amen.


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HOW WAS THE WORD TORAH USED DIFFERENTLY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THAN IT WAS USED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?  As we discussed in part 2 of this series, the Hebrew word Torah was used to refer to the first five books of the Bible.  However, when we come to the New Testament, the word Torah has a wider, more diverse usage than what we see in the Old Testament since there were new institutions (Sanhedrin, synagogue}, groups (Pharisees, sadducees, Essenes, Zealots), teachings (midrashim), traditions (Oral Torah or Mishnah) and customs that did not exist at all during the time period of the Old Testament.


In the New Testament, the word Torah has a wider spectrum of use.  For example, Jesus [Yeshua] uses it to refer to the five books of Moses, and Paul [Sha’ul Paulus] also uses it to refer to the five books of Moses, but also uses to a prophecy in the book of Isaiah ( ).


In order to begin to understand Sha’ul Paulus’ (Paul’s) view of the Torah, we first must understand the Pharisaic view of it since he repeatedly claims to be “a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.”  Their view of the Torah involves so much more than our Christian concept of the same word.  We read the word “Torah,” and we think about the first five books of the Bible, the Pharisees (and later Rabbinical Jews) read the word Torah, and at its most basic, they think about the following chart:

Written Torah Halakhah P’shat
Oral Torah Aggadah Remez

And there’s been much more added to the Rabbinical concept of Torah than what existed during the 2nd Temple period of the New Testament.  In order for you to have a basic understanding of what was in Sha’ul Paulus’ (Paul’s) mind as a Pharisee when he used the word Torah, I want to go through now and briefly explain the various terms within this chart.


The Pharisees, as well as Rabbinical Jews today, believes that God gave to Moses two Torahs on Mt. Sinai:

  • The Written Torah, which constitute the first five books of the Bible, AND
  • The Oral Torah, which is comprised of teachings of the Pharisees and the ancient sages, explanations for how to do the things taught in the written Torah, and customs that developed among the Jewish people as well.

This Oral Torah was later collected and written down in 200 A.D. by Judah the Prince, and is now called the Mishnah.  I have an English copy of the Mishnah, and it is 1,137 pages in length.  In fact, the first teaching in Tractate Avoth, the oldest Tractate in the Mishnah, dating back to at least 200 years before Christ, is the teaching –

Moses received Torah at Sinai and handed it down to Joshua, Joshua to the elders, and elders to prophets, and prophets handed it on down to the men of the great assembly.  They said three things: Be prudent in judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence for the Torah.  (Tractate Avoth 1:1)

Consequently, this phrase “Raise up many disciples” was carved into the doorway of the Great Synagogue about 200 years before the time of Christ, and was the heartbeat of every rabbi.  And it was this same rabbinic heartbeat, “to raise up many disciples,” that was handed down by Jesus (Heb. Yeshua) to His disciples, in what Christianity calls “the Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20).

In the Oral Torah, there are a total of 6 divisions that are divided up into a total of 63 Tractates.  The 6 divisions are the following:

  • Zeraim (“seeds”) — this section deals with agricultural laws.
  • Mo’edim (“feasts” or “appointed times”) — this section deals with the Sabbath and the other feasts.
  • Nashim (“Women”) — this section deals with marriage, divorce, and contracts.
  • Nezikim (“Damages”) — this section deals with tort laws and other financial laws.
  • Kodashim (“Holy Things”) — this section deals with sacrifices and the Temple.
  • Toharot (“Purities”) — this section deals with laws of ritual purity and impurity.

Therefore, as a Pharisee, Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) would’ve had the entire Old Testament, the Mishnah, and Pharisaic interpretations and applications of both memorized.  So that when he thought of the word “Torah,” it would’ve included much more than just the first five books of the Bible.

Therefore, what we as Christians need to understand about Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) being a Pharisee is that one was not born a Pharisee, but one became a Pharisee because of what one believed and practiced.  So when Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) said, “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee,” he was not only identifying himself as a Pharisee, but he was also identifying and reaffirming his own belief system and practices, as well as saying that he was continuing in the Pharisaic beliefs and practices held by his father, and perhaps even his grandfather before him.


In addition to the two types of Torahs, the Pharisees (and Rabbinic Jews today) also believe that Torah included two forms of interpretation: Halakhah and Aggadah.

HALAKHAH: lit. “the way of walking,” or how we interpret and apply the commandments of God to our day-to-day life.  When a Jew talks about “Jewish Law,” he is talking about Halakhah — not Torah.  One’s view and understanding of the Torah is demonstrated by one’s halakhah, or how one interprets and applies it.   And each group during the 2nd Temple period of the 1st century, A.D., had their own halakhah, or interpretations and applications of the Torah.

For example, when two Jews were discussing halakhah, if person A thought that person B had misinterpreted or misapplied the Scriptures, he would say, “You are destroying the law!”  However, if person A thought person B had correctly interpreted and applied the Scriptures, he would say, “You have fulfilled the law!”

Understanding this, Matthew 5:17 takes on a whole new meaning:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law [to weaken or annul them by incorrectly interpreting and applying them], or the prophets: I am not come to destroy [to misinterpret and misapply them], but to fulfill [to correctly interpret and apply them].

As further proof this is the correct understanding of this verse, in just 4 verses after saying this, Jesus [Yeshua] begins to teach saying, “You have heard…but I say unto you.”  In these teachings, He is not correcting or changing Scripture, as I’ve heard Christian ministers erroneously teach, but interpretations and applications that were being taught by different groups.  When Jesus [Yeshua] referred to the Scriptures, He said, “It is written…” or “Haven’t you read….” But here, He says, “You have heard…” referring again, not to the Scriptures, but to popular misinterpretations and misapplications of the Torah.

AGGADAH:  These are teachings, including rabbinic teachings, that’s not considered halakhah (or legally binding), consisting of stories, parables, legends, history, and witticism.  Although aggadah is not legally binding, they are held in high esteem concerning one’s insight into the Scriptures and piety.

Although Jesus [Yeshua] did not spend a lot of time with Halakhah,  He was clearly a Master of Aggadah (spec., the telling of parables).  On the other hand, Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) spent much more time with halakhah in his writings than He did with aggadah.


Not only are there two types and two forms of Torah, but there are also four levels of Torah.  The first letter from each of these four levels are put together to formulate the acrostic PaRDeS, which means “garden” or “orchard.”  It is taught that how much one gains from the study of the Torah depends on the amount of work one puts into it, just like how much “fruit” you gain from a “garden” or “orchard” depends on how much work you invest into it.  These four levels are the following:

P’SHAT.  The plain, simple grammatical meaning of the text.  It is at this level that the study of the Scriptures begin.  Also at this level, it was considered as one was studying the “breadth” of the Scriptures, and it was likened to one entering into the city of Jerusalem.

REMEZ.  There’s something in the text that seems to hint at or allude to a deeper truth, such as a word, phrase, image, etc.  At this level, it was considered as one was studying the “length” of the Scriptures.  The purpose of studying the use of remez within the Scriptures is to enlarge and strengthen one’s understanding of the Scriptures and one’s knowledge of God.  And studying the Scriptures at this level was likened to gaining access to the Temple Mount.

Not only was Jesus [Yeshua] a Master of Aggadah, but He was also a Master of Remez.  He was constantly alluding or hinting or pointing people back to the Old Testamental Scriptures.  For example, the title He most used for Himself “the Son of man” is itself a remez, alluding back to Daniel’s prophecy of the “Son of man” in Daniel 7:13-14, as well as the discussions of the “Son of man” in the Apocryphal Book of Enoch, a book not found in our Bibles, but quoted in Jude 1:14-15.

DERUSH.  Also called “Midrash”.  lit. “investigation,” it is “to seek,” “to search,” “to explore” the concepts and teachings within the Scriptures.  It is the non-literal, homilectic (sermon) interpretation of Scripture (the moralistic meaning).

This level of understanding is based on a detailed level of analysis involving certain rules of logic.  It implies a level of understanding that’s arrived at only after delving beyond the literal wording of the text.  And at this level, it is said that one is searching the “depth” of the Scriptures.  Therefore, the purpose of studying at this level is “to seek out and search the deep and profound mysteries” found within the Bible.

SODH.  A “mystery” or the “hidden” or “secret” meaning of the text.  At this final level, it is said that one is searching the “height” of the Scriptures, and its purpose is to “cross over, lift up, and elevate to the sky the hidden, secret, or foundational meaning of the text.”  There are those who compare this level of interpretation to “being the most privileged among the privileged and entering into the Holy of Holies, the place of God’s manifested Presence.”

 In his writings, Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) said that the church was “a mystery,” or in other wise, one’s understanding of it comes only through a sodh-level interpretation of the Scriptures.

Although these four levels allow one to mine more material from the Scripture, it should be remembered that the three deeper levels – Remez, D’rush, and Sodh – are to further develop and expound upon the p’shat (or plain, simple grammatical) meaning of the Scriptures, but they cannot contradict the plain simple meaning of the text.

So when we consider the terms, “breadth,” “length,” “depth” and “height,” it should remind us of Sha’ul Paulus‘ (Paul’s) statement in Ephesians 3:17-19,

So that Christ [Messiah] may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend the breadth [p’shat] and length [remez] and height [sodh] and depth [derush], and to know the love of Christ [Messiah] which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

As we can see, there was a lot more to the Pharisaic view of the Torah than what most people think about in the church when the word “law” is used or thought about.  One of the biggest reasons why we do not realize the differences between Paul’s view and our own is that we tend to view Paul as someone like us, a “Christian” from our denominational backward, who believes things that we do.  However, I am hoping that through this study, we are beginning to see that this is not the case.

Jesus did not reveal Himself to Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) and transform him, and then throw away all of his previous preparation and training as a Pharisee.  Instead, the Lord made use of it.  For example, I was a college English instructor for 25 years, but two years ago, God called me to be a missionary.  Did God just throw away my 25 years of academic preparation and experience?  No, everyday He uses it to help me dig into the Scriptures, to mine out the treasures within its pages, and to share that information with others.  In much the same way, God did not just throw away the preparation and training of the Apostle Paul.  God used his Pharisaic background and training in the teaching and development of these beginning congregations, and in the writing of half of our New Testament.

Sha’ul Paulus‘ (Paul’s) faith in Jesus [Yeshua], the Risen Lord, Savior, and Messiah, did not remove him from 2nd Temple Pharisaic Judaism; instead, it gave his faith even deeper meaning, purpose and significance.  In truth, in and through the Messiah Jesus [Yeshua], God is keeping His promise spoken of by the prophet Isaiah:

The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law [Torah], and make it honorable.  (Isaiah 42:21)


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WHEN WE OPEN THE PAGES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, DID THE ORTHODOX JEWS THEN HAVE THE SAME CONCEPT OF THE TORAH AS THEY DID IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?  No, they didn’t.  The concept of the Torah [usually trans. “law” in English Bibles] was much more complex and expansive than what we see in the Old Testament.  The Old Testament concept of the Torah centered only around the first five books of our Bible, but in the New Testament that was not the case.  Why?  Because it included institutions [i.e., Sanhedrin], groups [Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots], teachings [i.e., midrashim], oral traditions [the Oral Torah] and customs that simply did not exist in the Old Testament.


This is the problem in studying the New Testament before the Old Testament.  Christians read and study the New Testament with all these institutions, groups, teachings, oral traditions and customs and views of the Torah, and then when they study the Old Testament, they impose all of these things and views into its writings  The problem with this is that all these things and views did not exist then.


In fact, looking at the New Testament world, its lifestyles and concept of the Torah and believing that it was the same as the Old Testament’s is like looking at the United States today, its lifestyles and concepts of law, and saying that it is the same as the Puritan’s of Colonial America. Obviously, a massive amount of change has happened in the United States since the time of Colonial America in a little over 400 years, and a massive amount of change had happened in Israel in a little over 400 years as well (the time period between the Old and New Testaments).  And these changes also included Jewish concepts and views of the Torah.


In the Old Testament world, the concept of Torah was much simpler, less complex.  In the Hebrew language, the word Torah does not mean “law,” as it is translated in our English Bibles, but it meant “Instruction, Teaching, Guidance, or Directives.”  The word, Torah, in its usual sense of the word, was used to refer to the first five books of the Bible, which God began to give to Moses on Mt. Sinai, and then His revelations to Moses continued until they came to time when they were to enter into the Promised Land.

The Hebrew term Torah is derived from the Hebrew word yara, which means “to cast, to throw, to shoot something straight.”  For example, the word yara is used when someone is casting a spear on a straight course, so that it hits the target or the mark.  Is Torah the target or the mark?  No, it is the “instructions” or “teaching” we need so that we can hit the mark.  So if the Torah is not the mark, then what is “the mark”?  It is a long, healthy satisfying and fulfilling life; that is the mark at its most basic level of meaning. And it is only in having an intimate relationship with God and in living in obedience to God’s word that this type of life is really possible, and the Torah is God’s instruction manual on we can come into that type of life.


If the Hebrew word Torah means “Instruction, Teaching, Guidance and Directives,” the question must be asked, why then do our English Bibles translate the word Torah as “law”?   In the 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament, there was a non-Jewish group known as the Gnostics.  Its basic theology was that each person was a god, but people were ignorant of this, so with the right teachers to teach them, they could come to this correct knowledge of truth, and thereby experience their own salvation. This belief was derived from Hinduism, but the Gnostics built on this Hindu idea by going around and gathering other “teachings” to add to their fundamental Hindu ideas.  This eclectic religion was seen as a threat to early 2nd Temple Judaism, and later to Christianity.

With the Greek conquest under Alexander the Great, many Jews left to find work outside the land of Israel, and over time, they began speaking Koine Greek, rather than Hebrew.  So as a result, a Greek translation for Greek-speaking Jews, was needed.  So according to tradition, about 250 years before the time of Christ, Ptolemy II, king of Ptolemaic Egypt (283-246 B.C.E.) who promoted the Museum and Library at Alexandria, requested Jewish scholars and interpreters from Jerusalem to be sent to Alexandria, Egypt, to translate the Torah into Koine Greek.  The resultant translation, known as “The Translation of the Seventy,” thereby its abbreviation LXX, became known as the Septuagint.

When translating the Torah into Greek, though, the scholars did not want the Gnostics to make use of the Torah in their teachings, so to protect the Torah, the scholars did not translate the word Torah by the Greek word didaskalia (Strong’s #1319; “teaching”), but they chose the word nomos (“law”) instead, since there were laws and commandments in the Torah.  Again, they did this, not to hide the meaning of the Torah, but to protect it from misuse and abuse by Gnostics and other such groups.  Of course, the use of the Greek word nomos or “law” in English is problematic since it has such a negative connotation in our language, as opposed to the Hebrew word Torah, referring to the  “instructions, teachings, or guidance” that God gave to Moses to give to God’s people, Israel.


The Gnostics were not only a threat to Judaism, as I said, but they were a threat to the early Christians as well.  The Apostle John spent many of his writings opposing the Gnostic influence on Christians.  For example, the Gospel of John, I John, and II John were written, at least in part, to help new believers understand the truth of the Gospel, as opposed to the “false gospel” being proclaimed by the “false teachers” of the Gnostics and others.   However, in spite of John’s efforts, the Gnostics did end up mixing their teachings with Christianity in the 4th centuries, A.D.  This is seen in such works as “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene,” “The Gospel of Judas,” and “The Gospel of Thomas,” as well as other Gnostic writings.  These “false gospels” were not written by these disciples, since they are dated back to the 4th century, A.D., but were written by Gnostics who ascribed their name to them.  These Gnostic writings were used in the writing of the novel The Da Vinci Code (2003), and then used in the movie that was released by the same title in 2006.


Now when we look at the Torah throughout the writings of the Old Testament, it is seen as something POSITIVE — NOT NEGATIVE.  For example, the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, was written to praise God for the Torah, its teachings and commandments.  For example,

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law [Torah] of the LORD.  Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with their whole heart.  They also do no iniquity. (Psalm 119:1-3)

The psalmist here says that we are “blessed” when we “walk in the [Torah] of the LORD.”  He then goes on to say later in the psalm,

Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.  Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law [Torah]; yes, I shall observe it with my whole heart.  Make me to go in the path of Your commandments; for therein do I delight. (Psalm 119:33-35)

So shall I keep Your law [Torah] continually forever and ever.  And I will WALK IN LIBERTY; for I seek Your precepts.  I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.  And I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I have loved. (Psalm 119:44-47; Emphasis Mine)

The psalmist here desires to study, understand, and keep the Torah of the LORD “forever and ever.”  In fact, in seeking to understand and keep it, the psalmist writes, that it results in us walking “IN LIBERTY” or “FREEDOM,” and not in “legalism” or “bondage” as Christians have been taught to falsely associate with the Torah.  He then says,

O how I love Your law [Torah]!  It is my meditation all the day.  You through Your commandments has made me wiser than My enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Your testimonies are my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts.  I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Your way.  (Psalm 119:97-101)

“O how I love Your Torah!”  Due to centuries of erroneous interpretations and teachings, this mindset is hard for many Christians to understand.  In fact, I have heard several Christians argue that the term Torah here does not refer to the five books of Moses, but to all of Scripture.  However, if we look at the terms used here throughout the Psalm, it is obvious that the writer is referring to the Torah of Moses, not to Scripture in general.  The writer uses the words Torah, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, and judgments interchangeable throughout the psalm.  These terms are not used for all of Scripture, but for the teachings and commandments given by God to Moses.  And what does God also say about His Torah?

Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep Your righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:105-106)

Is the Torah of God “a lamp unto [our] feet, and a light unto [our] path?  Do we proclaim our love and commitment to study, meditate and follow the ways of Torah?  Do we proclaim that we “WALK IN LIBERTY” because we seek to keep God’s Torah?  This, in fact, as I said, the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what we hear being proclaimed by most churches today.  Instead of this, we hear churches proclaiming the Torah as “legalism,” “bondage,” and “death.”  Are we really talking about the same Torah or two different ones?

I will say, as we will see, based on New Testament usage, the word Torah can be applied to the whole Old Testament, but even though it acquires that wider usage, it still does not mean we can ignore the original meaning and usage of the word as it is used here in this psalm and in other places in the Old Testament.


But the Torah is more than God’s teachings and commandments, there are also deeper revelations, truths and realities contained within its writings as well.  To a certain extent we can see some of them in the English translation of the Bible, but I’ve discovered that there are more that are there within the Hebrew.  For example, in Psalm 119, the Psalmist also writes,

Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law (Heb. Torah).  (Psalm 119:18)

The Hebrew word translated “wonderful things” is pala, and it means, “extraordinary, astonishing, miraculous, and wonderful.”  I’ve discovered in my own research that there are things, pictures, and descriptions in the Hebrew that isn’t part of our English translations.  Indeed, there are “wonderful things” there, and so we need to pray and ask God to “open [our] eyes” and “to reveal” these “wonderful things” to each of us.  For a quick example, let’s look at Genesis 1:1 in our English Bibles:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Here is the same verse in the original Hebrew:

בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ.

Hebrew, like many of the ancient world languages, is read from right to left, rather than left to right like English (and other more modern languages).  If we read this verse from right to left, we read “Bereshith bara ‘elohim ‘eth hashamayim v‘eth ha-eretz.”  What is important to note is the 4th and 6th words from the right.  The word ‘eth is comprised of two Hebrew letters: the Alef and the Tahv, or the FIRST LETTER and the LAST LETTER of the Hebrew alphabet.  In Greek, these same two letters would be the ALPHA and the OMEGA.  In the book of Revelation, Jesus reveals Himself to His disciple John, and He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:8).  In Hebrew, then, Jesus is the eth, He’s the Alef and the Tahv, there in Genesis 1:1.  And of course, this interpretation lines up with the following passage:

In the beginning was THE WORD, and THE WORD was with God, and THE WORD was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.  (King James Version, John 1:1-3)

 In [the] beginning was THE WORD, and THE WORD was with God, and God was THE WORD.  He was in [the] beginning with God.  All things THROUGH HIM came into being, and without Him came into being not even one [thing] which has come into being.  (Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, John 1:1-3; Emphasis Mine)

The second passage is a literal translation from the Greek text.  But notice in the King James, it is translated as “All things were made BY HIM,” and the Greek Interlinear, it says, “All thing THROUGH HIM came into being.”  The Greek word that’s used there means both “through” and “by,” but I believe that the word “through” is the better choice, because when we see Jesus [Yeshua] as the ‘eth, the Alef and the Tahv, then we literally have to read or move THROUGH [Him] in order for “the heavens” and then again for “the earth” to be created.  Indeed, as it is written, “without Him came into being not even one [thing] which has come into being.”

Consequently, Jesus as THE WORD, the Alef and the Tahv, the full expression of the Torah, He is there in the beginning with God, creating all things in the heavens and in the earth.  Consequently, what we see written in John’s Gospel was not completely new original material from God, but knowing and understanding the Hebrew text, John is explaining the revelation of Jesus [Yeshua], who He is and alluding to the fact that we can find Him right there in the very first line of the Torah, Genesis 1:1, as well as throughout the rest of the Torah and the entire Scriptures.


And yet on an even deeper level, each letter in the original Hebrew, called Paleo-Hebrew, was a picture-form language, much like the Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Chinese, or Japanese.   And each picture had its own associated meanings.  For example, the word picture for Alef is an ox’s head, and it means “strength” or “leader” (being the first letter).  The second letter, Beyt, was the picture of a tent, and means “house.”  So when we put the first two letters together, it forms the word ‘Av, or “father,” who is the “strength and leader of the house.”

So what do we get when we put the word pictures together for the word Torah?  We discover that the meaning of Torah is “the cross-nailed man revealed.” This, of course, lines up with what Jesus [Heb. Yeshua] teaches in John 5:46-47,

For had you believed Moses, you would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me.  But if you believe not his writings, how shall you believe My words?

Just as the Gospels in the New Testament teach us about the life and teachings of Jesus [Yeshua], the five books of Moses, the Torah, likewise has as its purpose to provide us with a written revelation of Jesus Christ [Heb. Yeshua HaMoshiach], “the cross-nailed man revealed.” But the problem in much of Christianity is that the majority of people’s eyes are blinded when they read the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, because when they read it, they don’t see Jesus [Yeshua].  Instead, they only see a list of do’s and don’ts, but not Jesus [Yeshua].  We need to pray and ask God to remove the veil from our eyes, so that we may see Jesus [Heb. Yeshua] in every part of His Word — not just in the New Testament.


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WHAT IS THE TORAHIn order for us to move on in our study of Paul and his writings, we need to understand the concept of the Torah, and how it is seen and understood in the Old Testament, and how that view began to change during Ezra’s time, so that by the time of the New Testament, the view of the Torah, particularly by the Pharisees, had greatly expanded.  The problem we have in the church is that we are still following the Old Testamental model, when looking at the writings of Paul, instead of realizing Paul’s view as a Pharisee on the Torah was deeper and much more expansive than traditional Christianity’s.


When I was fifteen, there was a well-known Christian TV evangelist that I enjoyed watching; however, on one of his broadcasts, he started talking about what a blessing it was to be freed from the bondage and legalism of the law, and as soon as he said this, there was a check in my spirit by the Holy Spirit that what I had just heard was wrong.  I did not understand at the time why it was wrong, but I knew in my spirit that it was.  Now after doing years and years of research and study, and visiting numerous synagogues, and prayerfully pouring over the Scriptures, I now understand why the Holy Spirit was telling me that what I had heard was wrong.


First of all, the Torah (usually translated as “law”) is used in the Old Testament to refer to the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.


And it is the basic foundation and framework of Scripture.There isn’t anything in the Bible that doesn’t ultimately finds its root or beginning seed within its pages, including the church.  For example, did you know that the book of Psalms is broken down into 5 books, corresponding to each of the 5 books of Moses?  Book 1 of the psalms (Psalm 1 – 41) corresponds in theme to the book of Genesis; Book 2 of the psalms (Psalm 42 – 72) corresponds in theme to the book of Exodus, etc.  Also, did you know that the message and teachings of the Torah are the central foundation and framework of what is taught by the Old Testament Prophets.  Consequently, if we remove the Torah from the Old Testament, we end up removing much of its heart, mind and organs, leaving very little teaching of any real value.  This is so much the case that in Isaiah 8 where the word “disciples” first appears in the Bible, we are instructed to “Bind up the testimony, seal the law [Heb. Torah] among My disciples” (Isaiah 8:16).  And then just four verses later, God says,

To the law [Heb. Torah] and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.  (Isaiah 8:20)


According to Jesus [Heb. Yeshua] in the Gospel of John, the Torah is the basis and foundation of His ministry and teaching.

For had you believed Moses, you would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me.  But if you believe not His writings, how shall you believe My words? (John 5:46-47)


What most Christians don’t realize is that the Torah is the background and foundation of not only the ministry and teachings of Jesus [Yeshua], but also of His early disciples and the Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) Himself.   Consequently, to really gain a thorough idea of what is being discussed in the Bible, one needs to have at least a working knowledge of the Torah handed down by God to Moses.


What we in the church don’t realize is that the Torah is meant for everyone, not just for the Jewish people.  When we hear or read about the Exodus, we view that as only the Jewish people coming out of their slavery in Egypt, but that is not true.  According to the Bible, there was also a “mixed multitude” (non-Jews) who came out of Egypt with the Jewish people:

And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, and six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.  And a MIXED MULTITUDE went up also them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.  (Exodus 12:37-38)

And it was this combination of people (Jews and Non-Jews) that God led from Egypt and brought to Mt. Sinai.  And this mixture of people, God called “Israel.”  Nor did God give the Torah to only those people who were there at Mt. Sinai:

Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God AND WITH THOSE WHO ARE NOT WITH US HERE TODAY.  (Deuteronomy 30:14-15)

The Torah then was given to His people, Jews and non-Jews, not only those who were there standing there at Mt. Sinai, but also all Jews and non-Jews since then at well.  This, in fact, lines up with a teaching from the Jewish Midrash that I like:

The Torah was given in public for all to see, in the open.  For if it had been given in the Land of Israel, Israel would have said to the nations of the world, you have no share in it;   

Therefore, the Torah was given in the wilderness, in public, for all to see, in the open, and everyone who wishes to receive it, let them come and receive it. 

God does not impose His Torah and commandments on us, but each one of us must spiritually go to Mt. Sinai in our own lives to experience the revelation of God and to receive the Torah for ourselves.


Not only are we instructed by God to “seal [His] Torah [“law”] among [His] disciples,” but if someone is not teaching us in according “to this word,” then God says, “there is no light in them,” and we are to disregard their teaching.  This actually corresponds to what is taught in the Torah itself.  We are taught two tests for any prophet (or religious leader):

  • If the prophet or dreamer of dreams gives you a sign or a wonder, and it comes true, but that prophet or dreamer attempts TO DRAW YOU AWAY FROM FOLLOWING THE TORAH, you are to ignore that person’s teachings.  You are, instead, to follow the commandments of God.  Why?  Because we are told, “the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4; Emphasis Mine]
  • If the prophet tells you that something is going to happen at a particular time, and it does not happen, then that prophet is a False Prophet, and we are to ignore that person’s teachings. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

The very first test that God gives us regarding a prophet or a “dreamer of dreams” is the question: “Are they teaching you to follow the Torah or drawing you away from it?”  Those who take you away from it, God says, are not from Him.  And, of course, this lines up with His admonition in Isaiah 8.



So what about Sha’ul Paulus (Paul)?  Most Christians would view him as violating Test #1; however, he isn’t.  The problem is not his writings, but traditional Christian interpretation of his writings.  Christianity has continued to misinterpret Paul because they have continued to ignore his own confession of faith: “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.”  And because they have failed to acknowledge him as a continuing Pharisee, they have failed to look at his writings through the teachings of the Pharisees.

For example, in both Romans and, more specifically, Galatians, Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) is trying to explain some complex Pharisaic (now Rabbinic) concepts and ideas.  For example, the Hebrew concept of Zachuth (Imputed righteousness and Imputed Sin) or the Yetzer Hara (lit. “the evil imagination” or “the evil impulse”).  For example, Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) refers to the “evil impulse” as “the old man,” “sin,” “sin nature,” or “the flesh.”  There are times when it is evident that he is finding it difficult to get these ideas across due to the limitations of the Koine Greek language.


Some other terms that are not interested by many Christians are the differences between Torah, its various forms and levels of interpretation (will discuss further on), and “the works of the law,” which really refer to certain Jews misusing and abusing the Torah for a purpose it was never intended by God to do — to maintain a wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles.   So does “works of the law” refer to the commandments in the Old Testament?  No, it doesn’t.   What about the phrase “under the law”?  Is he’s talking about adhering to the Old Testament commandments?  No he’s not.  And when he says, “we’re not under law, but under grace,” is he saying we’re not under the law of God, but under grace?  No, he’s not.  Over and over again, the church has traditionally misinterpreted and misunderstood Paul because they have continued to interpret him from a Christian, Greco-Roman point of view, which has consistently been their mistake.


Did you know that the Bible was written over a time span of 1500 years, by 40 different writers who lived on 3 different continents?  And did you know that all but one of these writers viewed the Torah (“law”) positively.  Only one seemingly doesn’t – Paul.  Even Jesus viewed the Law (Torah) as something positive, but only Paul seemingly does not.  Think about this.  Is it likely that all of the biblical writers and speakers, including Jesus Himself, got it wrong about the Torah, but Paul got it right, OR is it more likely that the church has just traditionally misunderstood Paul?


For example, let me give you a verse to examine:

But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. (Matthew 24:20)

In this chapter, Jesus is teaching His disciples about His return and the signs of His coming.  In verse fifteen of this chapter, He talks about them seeing the “Abomination of Desolation” being set up in the Temple, and when they see this, they are to run to the mountains.  Now there are Christians who see this event as happening in 70 A.D., when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, and then there are others Christians who believe this event will happen during the Tribulation period.  But in either case, this event would be AFTER THE CROSS.

So tell me, if the Torah [“law”] ended at the cross, including the Sabbath and the biblical feasts, as Christianity teaches, and as a result, we are not to follow its teachings anymore, then why is Jesus Himself telling His own disciples to pray that their flight would not be on a Sabbath?  If Christians are right and the Torah ended at the cross, then what difference does it make?  The fact that Jesus is warning His disciples to pray that an event that will happen at least 40 years later, if not during our near future, does not happen ON A SABBATH, only demonstrates one of many reasons why there’s a major problem with how traditional Christianity  understands and interprets the New Testament teachings regarding the Torah [“law”].


There is so much more to the Torah, God’s Instructions and commandments, than just a list of do’s and don’ts.  The fact is that the Torah did not end at the cross, nor was the reason for Jesus’ death to bring an end to the Torah or the Temple sacrificial system.  Jesus died to deal with the sin issue in our lives, but as Christianity separated itself from its Jewish roots and time continued to progress, the misunderstanding of Paul’s writings regarding the Torah (“God’s law”) continued to build and build.  Until today, they refer to the Holy Words of God given to Moses on Mt. Sinai as “legalism” and “bondage.”

Jesus is coming back real soon to a holy people “without spot or wrinkle.”  We need to wake up to the erroneous views and beliefs of those of the past, and begin again to walk in the holiness God has called all His people to walk in, as a “Kingdom of Priests and as a Holy nation” (Exodus 19:6; I Peter 2:9).


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