Saturday, August 13, 2022

Time to Change...

Dear Saints,

I am going to end my publication of my old Parables website. You can get the same thing at the new location: The reason I am doing this now is that FeedBurner, which is owned by Google, is no longer sending out the newsletters. If you haven’t switched over to the new one you will think that I am no longer sending out blogs, but I am. The new blog even has a place to sign up to receive the blog by email. I will say again, if you have not done this yet, please do so now. You will also need to check your Spam folder in your email program to make sure your new registration hasn’t been placed in there.

I would also encourage you to read the blog titled “Kristin’s Visit” if you have not received it yet.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,

Joseph Herrin

Heart4God Website:    

Parables Blog:    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Kristin's Visit

My daughter Kristin has come for a visit. She arrived this past Saturday (the 6th) and will be leaving the 29th of August to go back to Poland for her 5th year. She has been keeping herself busy. She has been going on walks with me each morning. She has mowed the yard, and she has told me she plans to wash and paint the top of the bus while she is here. She has gone out to supper one time so far with George and I. The only time she is going to be gone is the 17th-19th, where she has a wedding where she is the maid of honor up in Pennsylvania. Then she will be back to conclude her time here in Georgia.

I do have a few things that I have saved for her during the past year. Some stove tools that got knocked down to the floor behind the fridge, a light that I needed hooked up over my jigsaw puzzle table (she has already done this), a new rolling base to go on a chair that I sit in constantly, and some other things I cannot think of right now. It is good to have a child you can rely on to do these sort of things when a person gets older.

I am also very thankful for those who give to me out of their tithes and offerings. It makes it where Kristin does not have to give up her missionary work to care for her father. I know that I do not say it very much, but like Paul let me take the time to say it here.

II Corinthians 9:6-11
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

"He has dispersed abroad, 
He has given to the poor; 
His righteousness endures forever." 

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

Finally, my blogs have been a little messed up of late. I have found that one of my blogs has been not sending updates for about a week. It required that I renew my funding of the website and the mail program to insure that this not happen. This is the website I am trying to get everybody switched to, so please forgive the oversight.

May you all be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,

Joseph Herrin


Parables Blog:    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Friday, August 5, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Conclusion


It is not possible in a single book to answer every question, or objection, raised by those who have adopted the belief that the Law continues in its authority over the lives of those who are Christians. If I included the proofs I have presented to the saints from  every correspondence I have had on this topic over the years, this book would run to hundreds of pages. My intent has not been to answer every spurious argument, no matter how sincere, but rather to lay a foundation for understanding the purpose and limitations of the Law.

I find the testimony of the Bible to be consistent. The Law was given for a determined period of time until Christ should come. It was not made for the righteous, but rather for men who were slaves to sin. It contained only a shadow of the righteousness of God, pointing forward to the substance which would be realized in His Son. The saints in Christ have died to the Law that they might be joined to Another. The Law’s role as guide to men has given way to a much fuller revelation of the will of God as men and women are directed by the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

Despite, having declared these things with patience and clarity, utilizing a vast array of Scriptures as evidence, there will no doubt remain some questions. It is difficult for the mind of man to adjust itself to a new paradigm. Moving from a life ruled by the Law to life in the Spirit constitutes a profound alteration of a person’s life. Even those who are able to embrace the truth may find it difficult to break free of the habits formed while under the rule of the Law.

I am reminded of a brother in Christ many years ago who gave up smoking after becoming a believer. He testified that he would find his body acting as if it still smoked for a significant time after he had quit. He shared that after eating a meal, or when fishing, he would at times find his hand fumbling in his pocket as if to retrieve a cigarette, though the cigarettes were no longer there.

A sister in Christ wrote to me yesterday after having read this teaching series. She expressed difficulty adjusting to the truth that those who walk by the  Spirit are no longer bound to keep the shadows of the Law of Moses. Although, as previously shared, the majority of commandments cannot be fulfilled today, for they were written for a specific people with a unique form of government, some still have difficulty grasping that the Law’s jurisdiction ends at Christ.

Are you, as a saint in Christ, bound to keep the dietary laws set forth by Moses? No you are not. You are, however, to be led of the Spirit in knowing what to eat. Are you bound to observe the weekly Sabbath, or the feast days? No, you are not. They were given as shadows to teach spiritual truth.

Colossians 2:16-17
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

No doubt, many who are perceiving the truth shared in this book, will find it difficult to begin walking in that truth. If laying down cigarettes is difficult, laying down the Law is far more so. I listened to a man testify of having been raised in a denomination that forbid the use of musical instruments during worship. Years later, having left that church and recognizing their position on musical instruments to be error, he still felt uneasy whenever he experienced a time of worship and musical instruments were used.

This reaction is similar to a person who has burned their hand repeatedly on a hot stove. Even when they are given proofs that the stove is no longer hot, they still will only with the greatest caution reach out their hand to touch it.

The body of Christ in its early days was made up of many who had been raised in Judaism. The Law was deeply ingrained in them. It was a wrenching thing to adjust to life without it. Although the Spirit was far more capable in revealing the will of God, and empowering  people to live righteously, it was very difficult for many to let go of the old schoolmaster. Some never did.

Although the apostles taught that Christians are free from the Law, they also cautioned men and women to not violate their conscience. If a man felt condemned in eating, or was convicted that he should observe a specific day, then he should follow his conscience. Whatever could not be done in faith, was to that man sin.

Romans 14:1-5, 14-23
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind... I know and am convinced by the Lord Yahshua that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean... All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense... Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

To those whose conscience is troubled at eating things the Law declared to be unclean, I say “Do not eat such things.” At the same time, do not condemn your brothers and sisters who have freedom. You who have the liberty in Christ to eat all things, do not despise the one whose conscience will not permit him to do so. Let love be the motive behind our words and actions.

If you are led to observe the weekly Sabbath as a day of rest, I do not condemn you. At the same time, I urge you to not confuse the observance of the shadow with the fulfillment of its substance. As one born of God you are called to cease from your own labors seven days a week. Additionally, you should not condemn those who do not observe the weekly Sabbath. Paul says to the saints, “Let no one judge you” in these things.

The goal of this writing is not to promote lawlessness. No Christian is given carte blanche to do whatever his soul desires. All are to be led of the Spirit. It has been my purpose to lead the saints to a Spirit-led life. Christ declared that we are to be perfect. The Law makes nothing perfect. Only the Spirit of God has this power.

Jude 24
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you perfect before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy...

If you have been born again of the Spirit of Christ, you have received an exceedingly precious treasure. The Spirit within you has the capacity to transform the most wicked and vile into spiritual men and women who walk in righteousness. Every dark area of your life can be made light. Every enemy in the land of your flesh can be subdued. Every stronghold can be pulled down. Every giant in your life can be slain.

Moses’ ministry ended in the wilderness. He was not permitted to cross the Jordan. It was Joshua (Yahshua) who led the people into their inheritance. We must leave Moses behind that we might follow our Savior in to take possession of the land. The kingdom of God is within you. Though you come to Christ when sin has reached its fulness in your life (as it had in the land of Canaan), Christ is able to subdue every enemy and transform your body into a land of righteousness and peace.

Let as many as would be perfect lay aside the shadows and begin to follow the Spirit of Christ who goes before them. He will lead you into battle. If you will walk in faith and obedience, He has promised you the victory. No enemy in your land will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.

Moses was not permitted to lead the people of God into battle with their enemies. Even when battle was engaged with Amalek prior to crossing the Jordan, it was Joshua who led the people in battle. The Law has no power to subdue the sin in man’s flesh. Christ Yahshua has conquered both sin and death. If you will follow Him, He will lead you to victory over all the enemies in your flesh.

In this book, I have laid a foundation for discerning the role of the Law. If you have further questions, I encourage you to seek the One who has all wisdom. You have no need for any man to teach you. The anointing teaches you all things. If you lack wisdom, ask of God. Believe He will give you the wisdom and understanding you seek and it will be given to you.

Test all things. Examine all things carefully. It is needful that the saints become proficient at rightly dividing the word of God for themselves. The children of Israel begged Moses to speak to God for them. They wanted someone else to tell them what God was speaking. It is not to be the same for those in Christ. The sons of God have access directly to the Father. They need not even petition Christ to disclose the Father’s will to them.

John 16:23-28
"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you... In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.

You are able to go boldly before the throne of grace. Entrance to the presence of the Father has been gained for all who are in Christ. Take advantage of this entrance. Seek Him. Walk by the Spirit. Those who do so are well pleasing in His sight.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website:    

Parables Blog:    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 20

Walk By the Spirit

Over the course of many years, as I have taught on this subject, one common concern I have heard expressed is that if Christians are not taught to keep the Law they will end up justifying unrighteous and selfish actions while saying the Spirit of Christ is the source of their direction. There is good reason to be concerned. Indeed, I have heard saints justify all manner of selfish desires, including adultery, as they proclaimed the Holy Spirit was guiding them.

Such failures are serious, however, the Law offers no more of a safeguard against spiritual deception and willful sin than does the voice of the Spirit. When Christ came to this earth to fulfill His ministry, the people of God were intently focused upon the Law. The entire society centered around the teaching of the Law of Moses. The High Priest, the Levites, the Scribes and Pharisees, and legions of Lawyers were all engaged in making the requirements of the Law known to the people.

We know the hypocrisy of those who professed devotion to Yahweh and allegiance to the Law of Moses. Christ stated:

Matthew 23:27-28
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and LAWLESSNESS.”

There has rarely been a people with a greater focus upon the Law than the generation to which Christ appeared. Yet Christ judged them to be lawless. Rather than fulfilling the law of love by taking care of the weak and needy, they were robbing widows and neglecting orphans. Through their traditions and interpretations of the Law they made the neglect of aging parents seem like a righteous act. Christ condemned them for justifying divorce through the decree of Moses when a wife had not committed adultery.

Such unrighteous actions are a manifestation of lawlessness. When men and women violate the will of God while defending their actions with the Law of God, they are lawless. In the same way, when men and women violate the will of God while claiming to have the approval and leading of the Holy Spirit, they too are lawless and will receive the penalty of their error.

For Christians who commit such deceptive or disobedient actions, the problem is not that the Spirit is unreliable, or inadequate, as a guide to know the will of the Father. There is no need to abandon a Spirit-led life, nor cause to return to the Law. Those whose hearts are set on obtaining their own desire will justify their actions in either case. Some do so willfully, others out of a lack of carefulness, or through ignorance.

In the latter case, the point of failure is in not rightly dividing between soul and spirit. Most Christians have not exercised themselves to develop the ability to divide between soul and spirit. The reasons for this neglect are two-fold. On the one hand, a great many Christians have never been taught that resident within their being is a voice that renders judgments regarding good and evil. This voice does not originate with Yahweh. It is the byproduct of Adam eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When faced with a decision, multitudes of Christians look inside themselves to discern what is the good path, and what is the evil path. They believe they have heard from God, not realizing that they have only consulted with their soul.

(What occurred when man ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden is discussed in detail in the book Sabbath. For a more thorough explanation of this matter, and how man gained an independent ability to determine right and wrong, I recommend this book.)

Secondly, the natural, soulish man desires to be in charge of his own life. Being led of the Spirit will always lead to a crucifixion of the flesh, and a death to the soul’s desires. Many avoid inquiring of the Spirit to know the Father’s will, for they do not want to die to self, or experience suffering.

Nevertheless, there is a small number, a mere remnant among the body of Christ, who are desirous of being found pleasing to the Father despite the cost to self. The path the Father presents to them that they might become perfect is to take up their cross daily and follow Christ. They can only follow Christ by emulating His own manner of Spirit-directed living.

Step by step the Father has been bringing forth His desire to have sons in His image and likeness. At the appointed time He sent forth His firstborn Son, born of a virgin, that He might disclose to the world that which is well pleasing in His sight. Immediately after Yahshua was baptized by John at the Jordan River, a voice from heaven was heard declaring, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” From that moment forward, anyone who wanted to know what was pleasing to the Father needed only to observe the Son.

Yahweh is not satisfied to have only one pleasing Son. He desires to have myriads of them.

Romans 8:29
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It stands to reason that these sons must be Spirit led, for this was always the example of Christ.

Luke 4:1
Then Yahshua, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit...

We observe in this the natural pattern of the Spirit descending upon Christ, and His subsequently being led about by the same Spirit. This pattern is duplicated in the life of the Christian. Those who have received the Spirit are to be led by the Spirit.

Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

As noted previously, those who received the Law through Moses were referred to as “the children of Israel.” As children, they were placed under a schoolmaster, a tutor, and a guardian until the time appointed by the Father. That time arrived 2,000 years ago when Yahshua was “born of a woman, born under the Law.” He came to lead men and women out of the immaturity of childhood into the maturity of sons. To accomplish this Yahshua sent forth His Spirit to indwell His disciples.

Those who have experienced Spirit birth are truly new creatures in Christ. They have passed beyond being “living souls” to become spiritual men and women. Spiritual men and women have capabilities that are absent in those who have not been born again. They have been granted spiritual sight and hearing.

John 3:3
Yahshua answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Christ is a spiritual man. Paul testified that as the “last Adam” Christ was “a life-giving spirit.” Yahshua could see the kingdom of His Father. He was able to observe what His Father was doing, and so too can all those who are born of the Spirit.

John 5:20
"For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing...”

John 16:13
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own initiative; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

What a vast improvement from the former method in which God guided His people! Rather than having a shadow of His will revealed through commandments written on stone, the sons of God have the Spirit of God dwelling in them.

II Corinthians 4:7
We have this treasure in earthen vessels...

Yahweh is now able to speak freely to mankind, and man can clearly discern the thoughts, will, and desire of their Creator and Father.

I Corinthians 2:12
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

The overall effect of a Spirit-led life is that it causes a man or woman to focus upon the Spirit of Christ within them. They are made aware of their union with God through Christ. They are encouraged to abide in Christ, drawing freely from the life of the vine into which they have been grafted. No longer do they need to ascend to heaven to find God, or descend into the abyss to find the Word of God. God, and His Word, are in their very hearts, and in their mouths.

Romans 10:6-8
Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.'

Christ, the Living Word of God now dwells in the hearts of His saints. Men no longer need to look to tablets of stone to find the word of God. A far greater revelation of the Word of God now resides in their hearts. Do you believe this to be true? Do you perceive these things in your own life? If you are unsure, then you should test yourself, to see if you have become a partaker of the life of Christ.

II Corinthians 13:5
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Yahshua Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?

Those who have been born again will receive the witness within that they are sons of God, and He is their Father.

Romans 8:15-16
You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God...

Do you have this witness? Do you know God as your Father? Do you perceive the Spirit of Christ dwelling in your heart? Are you hearing His voice and being led by His Spirit? Being led of the Spirit is the normal and expected experience of all those who have been born spiritually.

Confession of a set of beliefs, or doctrines, does not make one a Christian. A man must be born again. They must become a partaker of the life of Christ.

Romans 8:9
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

It is necessary for every man and woman to settle this matter for themselves. Perhaps you were baptized in a church and declared to be a Christian by virtue of this act. Maybe you said a sinner’s prayer, and a minister assured you that you were now “saved.” Do not permit another to be the judge of whether you are a partaker of the life of Christ. If you are, you will know it. The Spirit inside will bear witness to the fact.

What should you do if you perceive that you do not have the Spirit? Ask for it, believing that God will grant it to you. God knows that it is impossible for any man to live a single day pleasing to Him apart from receiving His Spirit. He will not withhold that which a man must have, if it is sought with determination and faith.

Luke 11:9-13
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

The words rendered as “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” in this passage are written in a verb tense that indicates ongoing, persistent action. It is aptly expressed as “keep on asking,” “keep on seeking,” “keep on knocking.” If you were famished, would you cease asking for something to eat before you received what you needed? Those who come to God must believe He will give them what they need, and they must persist in asking until they receive it.

Some want some proof that they have been born again. The most common evidence that the Church focuses upon today is whether a person is able to speak in tongues. The apostle Paul never had such evidence in mind when he said, “test yourself to see whether you are in the faith.” Satan can mimic the gifts of the Spirit. There are such things as “lying signs and wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:9).

If you have been born of the Spirit, the Spirit within will bear witness of the fact. You will know that God is your Father. You will have your eyes and ears opened to perceive the kingdom of God.

It is not a bad thing to wrestle with this issue until it is settled. Even as a butterfly must struggle to emerge from the cocoon, and a chick must struggle to break free of its shell, a man or woman may find themselves struggling as they transition from carnal beings to spiritual. Those who have not settled the issue of whether they truly are partakers of the Spirit of Christ will either walk in deception, thinking they are spiritual men and women when they are not, or they will lack the confidence needed to walk by the Spirit.

Once this issue is resolved, and a man perceives the Spirit of Christ within his being, he has gained entrance into a Spirit-led life. Satan has cheated multitudes out of their spiritual heritage. He comes to kill, steal and destroy. Through lies and deception, Satan has robbed many Christians, persuading them that they must continue to remain under the custodian of the Law. He would direct their attention outward to know the will of God, that he might divert their attention away from the riches of the life of Christ inside their members.

If you are a partaker of the Spirit of Christ, WALK BY THE SPIRIT. Settle for nothing less.

Heart4God Website:    

Parables Blog:    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Monday, August 1, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 19

Understanding Difficult Scriptures

Many saints who have adopted the view that the Law continues as the guardian and tutor to the saints today arrive at this view due to a misapprehension of various Scriptures. Although their conviction may be sincere, error will always result in undesirable consequences.

If you have patiently considered all the preceding material in this teaching series, you have had presented to you the truth that the Law was not made for spiritual men and women. The testimony of the apostles of Christ found in the Scriptures is that those who are in Christ have died to the Law in order to be joined to another. The Law with its shadows, its weakness, and its inability to make any man perfect, has been replaced by that which is substantial, powerful and able to present men perfect.

What then, are we to make of various Scriptures that are often cited by men to advocate the continuance of the Law? Many of these Scriptures come from the life of Christ. They are His own words.

It must be understood precisely where the Law was ended. The Law still retained its authority when Christ was born.

Galatians 4:4
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law...

The covenant of the Law continued throughout the years of Christ’s ministry. The Son of God declared that He came to fulfill the Law.

Matthew 5:17-20
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Many saints do a cursory reading of this passage from Matthew’s gospel and conclude that Christ said the Law will remain as long as the heavens and earth exist. This is not what He said. Yahshua declared that the Law would not pass away “till all is fulfilled.” Immediately before this He declared that He came to fulfill the Law.

The saint must answer the question, “Did Yahshua accomplish what He said He came to do? Did He fulfill the Law?” The testimony of the Scriptures is a resounding “Yes!”

Matthew 3:13-15
Then Yahshua came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" But Yahshua answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him.

Luke 24:44
Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."

The Son of God not only fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah, but He satisfied all the righteous requirements of the Law.

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Yahshua did what the Father sent Him to do. He fulfilled the Law. The Law could not pass away until all was fulfilled. The Law ended as the Son of God hung on the cross. It ended much as it began, with darkness, and terror, and the rocks being split.

Exodus 19:16-19
Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because Yahweh descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.

Matthew 27:50-54
And Yahshua cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split..., So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Yahshua, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

The ministry of the Law was terrifying to the soul of man from its beginning until the very end. The Law was a minister of condemnation and death. Its beginning terrified all who observed it, as did its ending.

Who could observe the judgment of the Law upon the Son of God and not be shaken to their depths? The Law did not slay Christ for His sins, but for the sins of mankind. Those who observed the crucifixion witnessed the Law’s righteous judgment on man. We should all stand with trembling to understand that it should have been us on the cross. Yahshua accepted the full judgment of the Law on our behalf, and with this judgment the Law ended.

Galatians 2:19-20
For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ...

As long as the Adamic man lived, the Law had jurisdiction over him. The covenant could only be ended by death. Those who are in Christ have died. When He was crucified, they were crucified. When Yahshua died, they died. When the Messiah rose again to newness of life, so too did all who are partakers of His life.

Romans 6:3-8
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Yahshua were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him...

For Christ, the Law ended when He died. For the Christian, the Law ends the moment they become a partaker of the life of Christ. It is with this understanding that all the words of Christ must be discerned. The Son of God’s life serves as the transition point from Law to Grace; from legal prohibition to liberty; from a written code to life in the Spirit. On the cross the Law’s claim over mankind was satisfied.

Colossians 2:13-14
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Before the eyes of the Father stand the charges of the Law. With the blood of His Son it is stamped “Paid in Full.” The Law condemned man and caused enmity to exist between God and man. Christ removed the enmity, thereby opening the door for man to become a partaker of the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of Christ residing in man that makes known the will of Christ in the heart of the believer. Those who are Christ’s are called to heed every instruction Christ discloses to them.

John 14:21-24
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" Yahshua answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.”

John 15:10-12
"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you."

Some have erred in correlating Christ’s commandments with the commands of Moses. Similarly, some have misconstrued John’s words, believing him to be speaking of the Law of Moses in the following passage:

I John 5:2-3
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

John has elsewhere spoken of Christ’s commandments.

I John 2:3-5
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.

The commands of Christ that John refers to are the same as the commands of God mentioned later on in the same epistle. Christ also testified that His commands are one and the same with the Father’s commands.

John 14:24
He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.

What are the words and commandments of Christ?

John 13:34-35
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Christ delivered to His disciples the perfect law of liberty, the law of love. Against such things there is no Law. Furthermore, Christ reveals His desire for His disciples through the Spirit who was sent to indwell them. Whatever the Spirit reveals to be the will of Christ for our lives becomes the commandment of Yahshua to us. As the saints of God walk in the Spirit they will find themselves keeping the commandments of Christ.

Remember what we have previously learned. When Christ appeared as the High Priest of a new covenant, there was necessarily a change of the Law (Hebrews 7:12). Yahshua’s commandments are not the commandments of Moses. Yahshua has delivered a new commandment. For the saints in Christ, the will of God is revealed through a new and living way.

I Corinthians 2:12
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God...

John 16:14
He (the Holy Spirit) will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

I John 4:13
By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

By sending forth the Spirit of His Father to dwell in the hearts of man, Christ irrevocably changed the manner in which men would relate to God.

Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Galatians 5:16
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:25
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

People of God, although these Scriptures are familiar to the saints, few comprehend what a radical change they imply. Man had never been a dwelling place for the Spirit of God until Christ sent forth His Spirit. Beginning at the first Pentecost of the body of Christ, the saints have had the Word of God abiding within them.

Seeing that the Spirit was sent to displace the Law in its role of making known the will of the Father, what did Paul mean when he wrote the following:

Romans 3:31
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

This is a passage that many cite when they advocate a continuance of the Law. In this book we have looked at dozens of statements from the apostle Paul. These declarations plainly proclaim that the Law has no jurisdiction over those who are in Christ that we have died to the Law, that the Law was “until Christ.” Therefore, Paul’s words here cannot be interpreted to mean just the opposite. Yahweh is not a God of confusion.

Paul declares that the Law is not made void by faith. Christ said He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Faith recognizes that the Law had to be fulfilled. Faith declares that it was fulfilled in Christ. Faith furthermore instructs us that we were in Christ, and through our union with Him we have also fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law. Finally, faith tells us that when Christ died, we died, setting us free from the Law that we might walk in newness of the Spirit.

Paul did not invalidate the Law. He did, however, reveal its proper place and application.

I Timothy 1:8-9
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless...

Praise God, our faith informs us that we are righteous.

II Corinthians 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Philippians 3:8-9
That I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith...

Believing these things to be true, those who perceive themselves to be righteous before God are not under the Law. These ones are empowered and directed by the Spirit. It truly is a new day for those who are a new creation in Christ.

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Friday, July 29, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 18

Toward a Perfect Man

Both Christ and His apostles stated that the goal of their labor was to present men perfect before Yahweh. The time had arrived for man to move past childhood into maturity.

Matthew 5:48
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Colossians 1:28
[Christ] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Yahshua.

Hebrews 7:18-19
For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect...

In pursuit of this goal, a new, far more capable, instrument needed to be employed. The Law could make no man perfect. At its best, it contained only a shadow of the righteousness of God and His plan for mankind. The Law needed to be replaced by that which was perfect, and which had the power to present man perfect.

Christ appeared at a time when the people of God had experienced only an imperfect revelation of the Father. They had never seen God in the flesh. They had only the shadow of the Law, and it was subject to misinterpretation. When Christ appeared, mankind had revealed before them for the first time a perfect representation of God.

Hebrews 1:3
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

The Law did not contain “the exact representation of [God’s] nature.” Neither did the Law contain the power to make men perfect. The Law was weak. It was necessary for Yahweh to replace the Law with that which was perfect and powerful, for the time had come for men to progress past childhood to perfection.

Romans 7:4
Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

God the Father was looking for the mature fruit of sons in His own image and likeness. The Law could not produce this fruit. Therefore, at the precise moment ordained by God, mankind was joined to the One who could make men perfect.

Christ, in His person, is the perfect image of the Father. Because Yahshua is an “an exact representation of [God’s] nature,” He is able to show the Father’s nature fully, and perfectly to man. When Christ sent forth His Spirit to indwell man, the power to become perfect was given to men. The Spirit of Christ residing in man provides the power to accomplish God’s purpose.

Romans 8:11
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Yahshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Yahweh’s purpose is to have mature, perfected sons. His instrument to produce these sons is the Spirit of Christ. That which was weak and a mere shadow, has been replaced by that which is powerful and an exact representation of God’s nature.

In their infancy, the people of God were given a tutor and schoolmaster to guide them. The tutor was not capable of making men perfect. It could only guard men during their infancy until the time came to deliver them into the hands of the One who could make them perfect.

Galatians 4:4-5
But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

“The adoption as sons” is a reference to being judged as mature, having the character of the Father formed in the child. When the Father’s character is observed to be replicated in the child, the child is adopted. He rises from the rank of a child under tutors, to a son who is given authority and liberty.

Paul is declaring that “when the fulness of the time came,” for mature sons of Yahweh to be manifested, He sent forth His Son. Yahshua was “born of a woman, born under the Law” which signifies that He is the transitional point. He arose among those who were children, but He progressed onto maturity that He might lead others to this same maturity. Christ had to learn obedience and be perfected as a son (Hebrews 5:8). He grew up among a people who were disobedient and forever stuck in adolescence. Yahshua was the first to receive the commendation from Yahweh that He was a well pleasing son.

Matthew 3:17
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Throughout the course of His ministry on earth Yahshua never did any work, or spoke any word, of His own initiative. He was a perfect Son, with a perfect heart. He was always observing the Father and doing precisely what He saw the Father doing.

John 5:19-20
Then Yahshua answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does...”

If mankind is to also walk perfectly before the Father, he must have the same guide that Yahshua had. The Law cannot reveal to us what the Father’s will is for every action and word, but the Spirit can. It was the Spirit of God that guided Christ, and all who would be perfect must be guided by the same Spirit.

From the moment of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, we read that He was led of the Spirit.

Luke 4:1
Then Yahshua, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit...

Luke 4:14
Then Yahshua returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee...

The Spirit both guided and empowered Christ, and He is given to perform the same functions for all those who are “in Christ.”

John 16:7-13
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you... I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth...

In these words, Yahshua discloses that the Spirit will perform the role of communicator and guide. Although Christ disclosed many things to His disciples during His ministry years, there was much they were not yet prepared to receive. The Spirit to be sent would disclose to them every thought of God at the appropriate time. Rather than having the Law as their guide, with priests, scribes and legions of lawyers as its administrators, Christ’s disciples would be taught directly by God through the Spirit.

I John 2:27
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

In this role of communicator of the mind of God, the Spirit and the Law are seen in parallel roles. Indeed, what was seen in type and shadow in Moses and the Law is fulfilled in antitype and substance in Christ and the Spirit. Consider the following parallels.

During the ministry of Moses, when the Israelites wanted to know the mind of Yahweh, they would come and inquire of Moses.

Exodus 18:15-16
And Moses said to his father-in-law, "The people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws."

This same Moses, could not remain forever with the people in this role. Yahweh had Moses ascend Mount Sinai to meet with Him. Moses brought the Law down the mountain, leaving it with the people to serve as their instructor and guide for the next 1,500 years.

A parallel fulfillment is observed in the life of Christ. When Yahshua walked the earth, His disciples looked to Him much as the Israelites looked to Moses. Christ’s disciples approached Him that He might declare to them the mind of God and serve as their instructor.

Matthew 13:36
Then Yahshua sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."

Matthew 15:15
Then Peter answered and said to Him, "Explain this parable to us."

Mark 4:10
But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.

Christ also could not remain with His disciples in this role forever. It was better that He go away. So, even as Moses ascended the mountain and brought back the Law, Christ ascended to the Father and sent back the Spirit.

We have already seen the parallels and contrasts between these two events. When Moses brought back the Law 3,000 men died. When the Spirit was received on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 men were saved. In every way, the Spirit which has been given to indwell man is superior to the Law that Moses brought down from the mountain. The former work points to the latter which is far more substantial, able to make men perfect.

The Spirit of Christ goes far beyond instruction. The Spirit does more than serving as the voice of God to the saints. He is the source of all power. By virtue of the Spirit of Christ residing in man, the power that is needed to obey the Father and live a life as a pleasing son is finally realized.

Luke 24:49
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us...

People of God, it was necessary that the Law be instituted for a time until that perfect Tutor and Helper should come. We must be released from the former to be joined to the latter. The teacher and guide of man’s childhood must give way to the One who can present all men perfect in Christ.

The Law was given to restrain men who were slaves to sin and to point them to their Redeemer and Savior. Those who have been born of the Spirit of Christ are no longer slaves to sin. They were formerly dead spiritually, but in Christ they have been made alive. It is inappropriate for a spiritual man to be ruled by the tutor to the carnal man. The spiritual man needs a Helper that can bring him to perfection. The Law makes nothing perfect.

Having begun your life as a son of God by the Spirit, it is folly to believe that a return to a Law of fleshly ordinances will make one perfect.

Galatians 3:3
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

Hebrews 9:9-10
For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies - physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.
[New Living Translation]

The King James Bible calls the physical regulations of the Law “carnal ordinances.” The New King James and New American Standard describe them as “fleshly ordinances.” It is these regulations of the Law that Paul is referring to when he asks, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Paul declares that these fleshly ordinances were in effect, only “until a better system could be established.”

The King James speaks of these carnal ordinances being in effect until the “time of reformation.” The Darby Bible describes this time as “the time of setting things right.” The Douay-Rheims Bible similarly describes this occasion as “the time of correction.”

When Christ came, He set things right between God and man. He removed the enmity that existed between them, “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us...,having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Christ brought “re-formation” to man by giving him a new heart and a new spirit. Men who experience the spirit birth truly become “new creatures” in Christ. Thus, the period of man’s probation under the Law is brought to a close, and a new era of life in the Spirit is initiated.

Although every member of Christ’s flock has the ability to hear His voice, and John has testified that the anointing (the Holy Spirit) teaches them all things, Yahshua has given ministers to the flock to help shepherd them.

Ephesians 4:11-14
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ...

If the ministers are not equipping and edifying the saints, leading them “to a perfect man,” then they are not fulfilling their calling. Ministers who are leading people back to the Law are unwittingly leading them away from the Spirit who alone can make them perfect. A minister should emphasize the need of every saint to hear the voice of God themselves. He must impress upon those who are partakers of the Spirit their daily need to be surrendered to the direction of the Spirit in all their actions and words.

Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

The tragic effect of embracing the Law as one’s guide and instructor to know what the Father would have men to do, is that the saints fail to seek the mind of the Spirit. Believing the mind of God can be ascertained in the Law, they see no need to look for it elsewhere. Those who look to the Law as their guide will remain in perpetual childhood. If we would be perfect, we must walk as Christ walked.

Matthew 19:21
Yahshua said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

There is no other path to perfection as a son of God than to be led and empowered by the Spirit of Christ. The saints must accept no substitute for the Spirit led life. Moses and the Law could make no man perfect. Being led by one’s soul will not lead to the Father’s will. Only a Spirit led life can bring the saint to the fulness of the stature that belongs to Christ.

All who would be perfect must lay aside the Law and be joined to another, even to He who was raised from the dead.

Romans 7:6
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 17

When God Changed the Menu

The question often arises as to whether Christians are to observe the shadows of the Old Covenant. Should Christians keep the feasts of Yahweh? Should they rest on the Sabbath day? Is it the Father’s will for those in Christ to eat only those foods the Law of Moses declared to be clean? In this post, I want to look specifically at the dietary regulations contained in the Law of Moses.

There are entire denominations, such as Seventh Day Adventists, and The Worldwide Church of God, who proclaim that the dietary laws of the Old Testament are still in effect. Those who are Torah Observant make the dietary laws a key part of their instructions to the saints. What did Christ’s apostles’ teach? Is the body of Christ still subject to the dietary regulations found in the Law?

For those who have understood and received the things written thus far in this series, the answer should be obvious. The Law of Moses has no jurisdiction over those who are in Christ. By virtue of union with Christ, believers have died to the Law that they might be joined to another. There is a new priesthood, a new law, a new manner of living in the Spirit. “Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” Shadows have given way to substance.

Colossians 2:16-17
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

As we look at the entire counsel of Christ’s apostles, we find that observing the shadows relating to food, feast days, new moons, and Sabbaths is not required. On the other hand, observance of the shadows is not forbidden, or condemned. The counsel of the apostles is that every man should strive to maintain a pure conscience before God. All Christians should seek to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Christians have varying degrees of knowledge of the mind and ways of God. One whose knowledge is mature may realize that nothing is unclean in itself, and all things can be eaten with thanksgiving. One who does not have this knowledge, believes he can only eat that which Moses permitted.

There are those who argue that since God is eternal, and He changes not, that His laws do not change. On the surface, this sounds reasonable. However, it does not stand up under scrutiny. The Bible is filled with examples of the unchanging God changing the manner in which He relates to men. Yahweh has frequently altered His instructions to mankind. We saw this in a previous chapter where we looked at Christ’s oft repeated phrase, “You have heard..., but I say...”

The arguments for the continuance of the dietary laws appeal to the natural man’s sense of justice, but they are not supported by Scriptures. If the argument were true that God’s instructions (Torah) to man do not change, for He Himself does not change, then we must find corroborating evidence of this declaration in the Bible. What then, are we to make of the fact that Yahweh has repeatedly changed His instructions to man regarding what He can eat, and He is prophesied to do it again during the Millennial reign of Christ?

Let us examine the Biblical evidence. When God first created Adam and Eve, He gave them only fruits and vegetables and the produce of the earth for their food.

Genesis 1:29
And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”

Even the animals ate a vegan diet. There were no carnivores when the earth was fashioned.

Genesis 1:30
Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so.

Are these instructions Yahweh delivered to the first man and woman identical to those given to Moses? Absolutely not! Moses permitted men to eat animal flesh. Animal flesh was prohibited to Adam and Eve. We see then that God’s Torah (instruction) does change.

The first menu God gave to man lasted for approximately 1,700 years. From Adam unto Noah man had only plants to eat. After the flood Yahweh declared that man could eat meat.

Genesis 9:1-5
So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth... Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

We see that Noah and his descendants were permitted to eat “every moving thing that lives.” If a pig moved it could be eaten. Crabs and shrimp moved, so they could be eaten. “Every moving thing...” was the only criteria listed in Yahweh’s instruction to Noah. The ONLY prohibition was against eating blood, for the life (literally “soul”) of the animal is in the blood.

Noah understood that certain animals were considered clean, and some unclean, for he had made a distinction among them when bringing them on the ark. Of every clean animal, he took them by sevens onto the ark, a male with his female. Of every unclean animal he took by twos onto the ark.

After the flood subsided, we read that Noah offered to Yahweh a sacrifice of every clean animal that had been brought onto the ark. However, Yahweh made no distinction between clean and unclean when telling Noah what he could eat. Rather, the instruction is “If it moves, it can be eaten.”

This dietary instruction was in force from Noah to Moses, a span of approximately 800 years. For 430 years of this span, the descendants of Abraham were under the Noahide laws, for the Mosaic Law had not been given. Abraham’s descendants were permitted to eat pigs, and shellfish, and everything that moved on the earth. There was no prohibition given to them regarding these things UNTIL the Law was delivered to Moses. The Law came 430 years after Yahweh made a covenant of promise to Abraham, and 2,500 years after Adam.

Paul declared, “where there is no law there is no transgression.” Seeing that there was no law against eating certain types of meat UNTIL the Mosaic Law was given, those who ate unclean animals did not transgress.

Those who argue that “God changeth not,” therefore the laws He gives to men do not change, are failing to rightly divide the word of God. Do you perceive that prior to the flood it was a transgression of the will of God for a man to eat animal flesh? After the flood he could do so and not transgress. From Noah until Moses, man could eat anything that moved. A man could eat a hog from hoof to snout, including the fat. The only thing forbidden was the blood. There was no transgression.
Why is it so incredible then to conceive that the instructions (Torah) Yahweh gave to Moses were also for a limited duration? Yahweh intended for the Law of Moses to be in force UNTIL the promised Seed should come.

Galatians 3:19
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

There was a period of 1,500 years from Moses to Christ (the Seed of God). During this time the people of God had many prohibitions relating to food. No longer could God’s people eat anything that moved. Now, they were limited to those land creatures that had a split hoof and chewed the cud. Pertaining to that which dwelt in the sea, the rivers and lakes, it was no longer everything that moved, but that which had fins and scales. Even the birds and the insects were divided into what could be eaten, and what could not.

Beyond these restrictions, there were further limits placed on man’s consumption. Under the Mosaic Law man could not eat fat, not even fat found on animals declared to be clean. The fat and the blood were to be offered to Yahweh. It was forbidden to boil a kid in its mother’s milk. During the week of Passover, no leaven could be used in cooking.

The regulations found in the Law all serve as parables. In each one some spiritual truth is being foreshadowed. Time does not permit me to write of what these dietary regulations signified.
When Christ came, the time of mankind’s probation, being guarded and ruled by the Law of Moses, ended. Consequently, the instruction God gave to mankind regarding what was to be eaten changed.

Acts 15:28-29
For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Once more man could eat all that moved, but the ancient prohibition against eating blood remained. When an animal is strangled, the blood remains in the meat. The instruction to abstain “from blood” and “from things strangled,” are the only recorded instructions relating to food for those who are in Christ.

It did not seem “good to the Holy Spirit” “to lay upon” those turning to Christ from among the Gentiles all the “burden” of the Law. Of the myriad of dietary regulations in the Law, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit” to burden these new creatures in Christ only with the dietary prohibition to abstain from eating blood. The apostles and leaders of the Jewish believers in Messiah, met in Jerusalem to consider the specific question of whether new Gentile converts should be instructed to keep the Law of Moses. Peter summed up the conclusion of the elders with these words:

Acts 15:10
Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

The yoke Peter spoke of was a yoke of slavery. The Law treated men as slaves. God seeing that man was a slave to sin, treated him like a slave by placing him under the Law. Those who are in Christ are free from bondage to sin. Therefore, Yahweh treats them as free men. The new creation man is given liberty.

Galatians 5:1-2
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

The elders and apostles carefully considered this matter and concluded that, of the 613 laws delivered to Moses, only three needed to be passed on to the Gentile Christians (I am combining the two dealing with blood.) No instructions regarding fins and scales, cloven hoofs and chewing cuds were placed upon the Gentile’s necks. They were taught to walk by the Spirit. An excessive list of carnal ordinances would take their eyes away from the Spirit of Christ as their guide.

We see then that from Adam to Noah man ate only a diet of plant matter. From Noah to Moses, man ate plant matter and anything that moved. From Moses to Christ, the people of God ate that which the Law declared to be clean. From Christ until today, the people of God are instructed to not eat blood, but have no other law of prohibition.

The words of the elders and apostles are not Yahweh’s final instruction regarding diet. It will change again. The Scriptures declare that during the Millennial reign of Christ those animals that are carnivores will become herbivores.

Isaiah 11:6-7
"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

These words of the prophet Isaiah describe a return to the conditions of Eden. In Eden the animals were given every green herb for food. Man also was given every green herb, and every fruit tree, from which to eat. This will be the condition of the earth once more.

Can you imagine the arguments of the Torah devotee who makes it into the Millennial period? “What do you mean I can’t kill that cow and cook its flesh? Moses said I could do so. Why can’t I wring that chicken’s neck? Don’t you know the Law doesn’t change.” Although such a hypothetical argument appears silly, it demonstrates the error of those who suppose that the Law is an eternal ordinance. Every work of God has a time and season allotted to it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...

As we look back at the history of Yahweh’s dealings with man, we see that great changes occurred during the life of Noah. Further great alterations occurred during the life of Moses. Yet, the greatest change of all in the way Yahweh relates to man occurred during the earthly life of His Son. Seeing that Yahweh’s instructions to mankind were altered with Noah and Moses, it is no stretch to conceive of them changing once more with Christ.

While I have your attention turned to the Millennial period, let me share the following. The saints should not suppose that they can hasten on toward a more perfect and Edenic state by adopting a vegetarian diet now. Christ walked perfectly before the Father while on the earth, and He ate meat. Numerous times it is recorded that He ate fish, as well as feeding it to His disciples. He is even recorded as having eaten fish twice after His resurrection.

Those who choose to eat vegetables only are not prohibited from doing so, but their food choices are no more righteous than those of the man who chooses to eat meat. Christ declared that it is not what enters man’s mouth that defiles him. It is what comes out of man’s mouth that defiles.

Mark 7:18-23
And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" Thus He declared all foods clean. And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."

Yahweh’s focus has always been upon creating a clean heart (soul) in man. Foods do not defile the soul of man. They affect only the body. The Law’s regulations pertaining to food were not given with the thought of making the man righteous. They were given as types and shadows of spiritual truth. Through His Son, God made clean that which was formerly unclean.

Acts 10:9-16
The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything unholy or unclean." And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call unholy." This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

I realize this experience of Peter’s served as a message to declare that the Gentiles had been declared clean by God. Yet, other Scriptures reveal that foods that were unclean under the Law were made clean as well. The apostle Paul declares this to be so in several letters to different groups of people.

I Timothy 4:3-5
Men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Speaking specifically of foods, (see verse 13) Paul declares the following:

Romans 14:14-15
I know and am convinced by the Lord Yahshua that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

I Corinthians 8:8
But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. 

In these last words of Paul, we find an echo of the verse we looked at in the previous post. “Neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision availeth anything, but a new creation.” We are neither the worse if we do not eat (circumcision, keeping the Law), nor the better if we do eat (uncircumcision, free from the Law). As Yahshua declared, what enters the mouth does not defile the man. On the other hand, eating “holy” foods does not make the man righteous.

This chapter would not be complete unless I spoke of the role of the Spirit as it pertains to diet. If man is freed from the Law, but fails to come under the rule of the Spirit of Christ, he is lawless. The fact that God has given only the prohibition against eating blood to those who are in Christ, does not imply that man is to be self-directed in what he eats.

The very beginning of Christ’s ministry began with His Father, through the indwelling Spirit, giving His Son instructions relating to food consumption. The Father told His Son that He was to fast from all food for forty days. If Christ were led of the Law of Moses, He could have argued that Moses permitted a man to eat food daily. As long as clean foods were chosen, there was no necessity for Him to fast. Christ was not led by the Law, but by the Spirit. His Father revealed His will to be that Christ fast for forty days, so obedience required submission to this revelation.

As sons of God, we too will find the Father giving us specific instructions regarding our diet. Sometimes He will lead us to fast. Other times He will direct us to avoid certain foods, or add certain foods to our diet. Some years ago when I was very much overweight, the Father instructed me to cut out the fats and sugars from my diet. The Law of Moses says nothing regarding sugar, but the Spirit is able to speak to us specifically, guiding each individual perfectly.

The Father has disciplined me much in the area of eating, for I had appetites that were unrestrained most of my life. I know that my Father has an interest in what I eat. He has an opinion in the matter, and I do well to seek to know His thoughts and to abide by them.

Just because the saint has no written code today to instruct him in what to eat, does not imply that Yahweh has no instruction to give in the matter. Our instruction comes from a different channel. We are instructed by the Spirit who was given to indwell us. The following principle is given to the body of Christ.

I Corinthians 10:31
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

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Monday, July 25, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 16

A New Creation

The apostle Paul devoted most of his letter to the church in Galatia to correcting and refuting the error of those who were teaching that Christians must keep the Law of Moses. Toward the end of the book, as Paul was summarizing what had been written, he made a statement that goes to the heart of what is truly important.

Galatians 6:15
For in Christ Yahshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

Paul says that neither keeping the Law (circumcision), or not keeping the Law (uncircumcision), avails anything. That is to say, neither Law-keeping, or freedom from the Law, can bring any man to that perfect and mature state that the Father desires for His sons. Being under the Law will not bring you to conformity to Christ. Freedom from the Law will not either. Becoming a new creation will. Man must be born again.

One night a ruler of the Jews came to visit Yahshua. This man’s name was Nicodemus. He was well versed in the Law, being an instructor of all that Moses had written. For 1,500 years the Israelites had been under the tutelage of the Law. It served as their guardian and school-master. Yet, the Jews, like all men, had hard hearts. The main message of the Law had not been perceived, or received. The message of the Law is that man, apart from Christ, is spiritually dead. The natural man cannot please God. Man must receive a new heart and spirit. He must be born again.

When Christ met with Nicodemus that night, He went straight to the heart of what mattered most.

John 3:1-3
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Yahshua by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Yahshua answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

For many years, the abruptness of Christ’s answer has grabbed my attention. There is no chit chat. There is no response to the comments of Nicodemus. It is as if Christ begins an entirely new conversation, for He understands that Nicodemus is a blind leader of blind men. He will never find the answers he needs on his own. Christ must take Nicodemus by the hand and lead him to the truth.

John 3:4-8
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Yahshua answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Nicodemus struggled to comprehend what the Messiah was declaring to him. 1,500 years of the Law’s instruction had not led God’s people to a knowledge of the truth. It was very difficult for this man, in one brief moment, to hear spiritual truth spoken and grasp it.

John 3:9-13
Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" Yahshua answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”

Nicodemus was no less intelligent than other men. His failure to comprehend the truth Christ presented to him was caused by his spiritual condition. Spiritually, Nicodemus was dead. Therefore, the words of Christ, which were spirit and life, sounded like foolishness to his ears.

I Corinthians 2:12-14
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

In these words, the apostle describes an important difference between men who have been born of the Spirit and those who have not. A spiritual man is able to receive the thoughts of God. What the Spirit speaks to a spiritual man is comprehensible. The same message is nonsense to one who has not been born again. Nicodemus’ problem was that he was a natural man.

Although the Law had served as Yahweh’s appointed school-master and instructor to the Jews for 1,500 years, its lessons were not learned. The reason is disclosed in the following Scripture.

Romans 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Over the course of fifteen centuries the Law had acted as tutor to the people of God. As mentioned previously, Torah means “instruction.” The Law was continually presenting its lessons. Some of the lessons, such as those contained in the feast days, were repeated every year. Other lessons, such as that contained in the shadow of the Sabbath, were repeated every week. Some lessons were given on a daily basis.

Despite the continual, repetitive presence of all this instruction, the people of God were not perceiving the lessons contained in the Law. They did not understood that the Passover celebrated annually was pointing them toward the Lamb of God who would be slain for the sins of the world. They did not perceive that Pentecost, which was celebrated fifty days later, was forecasting that day when the Spirit would be given to indwell man, setting the Instruction of God on man’s hearts. They did not comprehend the profound lesson contained in the weekly Sabbath; that Yahweh longed for men to cease from their own works in the same way that He rested from His. This rest was not to be one day a week, but an every day cessation from works of personal initiative that man might live instead to always do the will of the Father.

Tragically, many Christians continue to look at the Law as a body of ordinances that are to be understood in a strictly literal sense. They do not perceive the “spirit” present in these instructions. Like the Jews before them under the tutelage of the Law, they are “ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7). Until the spiritual substance of the Law is understood and applied in a person’s life, the saint will not make any progress toward maturity in Christ.

Hebrews 10:1
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never... make perfect those who draw near.

Nicodemus had been focused upon the Law to a greater degree than most, for he was a teacher of the Law. Yet, he did not perceive its lessons. Nicodemus thought it would profit a man to be circumcised. He did not see that what was truly needed was for man to become a new creation. The natural man must become a spiritual man. Those who are of the earth, earthy, must become heavenly creatures. Man needed a new heart, a new spirit. He had been born once, but he needed to be born a second time.

Many Christians have the mistaken concept that their identity as a member of the body of Christ is determined in a similar way as those who became Jews under the Old Covenant. They believe that if they accept a certain body of teaching, and if they bring their conduct in alignment with the rules of this belief system, then they are a Christian. Depending upon what denomination, or body of teaching a person embraces, some will find themselves keeping the Law (circumcision), while others do not (uncircumcision). Neither position makes one a child of God. Something else is required.

Romans 8:9
But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

This is what is truly important. Have you been born of the Spirit? Are you a partaker of the Spirit of Christ? Do you hear the voice of the Father and understand what He is speaking to you? Have you received a new heart that longs to do that which is pleasing to Yahweh? Has God placed His Spirit, His own divine nature, within you? These are the things that avail much!

Nicodemus, like many men before and since, believed that devotion to the Law would satisfy the Father. He did not understand that the sons Yahweh sought were those who had His nature. Many men believe they are born with the nature of God. They believe if they simply apply themselves to good works that they can produce something God will find acceptable. This was the error of the Jews.
It is an error as old as Cain.

Cain brought to Yahweh an offering from the fruit of the ground. This is symbolic of man bringing forth an offering to God from his flesh nature. Man’s flesh was formed of the dust of the earth. I am convinced that the offering Cain brought to Yahweh was magnificent to behold. It would put the best produce of a farmer’s market to shame. Yahweh had no regard for Cain’s offering, not because it was inferior as some suppose, being a half-hearted offering to the Father, but because of what it represented.

The very best that the natural man can produce is of no value in God’s sight. This is what provoked Cain. He had labored to bring to God an offering that was the very best he could produce. Cain was persuaded that the offering was worthy of God, that it should elicit Yahweh’s praise and approval. When God showed no regard for it, Cain was angry.

Many men and women today look at the Law as a means to offer to God an offering acceptable unto Him. They believe if they manifest a devotion to it, making their lives align with it as far as they are able, even going to great lengths and sacrifice, then surely God will look upon what they are offering with satisfaction and praise. The truth is, Yahweh has no regard for what they offer to Him, for it is an offering that arises from the flesh of man. It is man giving something he has produced through the sweat of his own labor to God.

Men react violently, and with great anger, when they are told that their very best efforts are despised by God. Nevertheless, the testimony of God is that only what His Spirit accomplishes is satisfying.

John 6:63
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.

From the body of Christ’s beginning, there have been men who begin in the Spirit, but then turn back again to the Law as a means to offer to Yahweh an acceptable sacrifice. Having begun in faith, they turn again to vain works of the flesh.

Galatians 3:1-4
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Yahshua Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain - if indeed it was in vain?

Perhaps you are sensing that something very profound is being spoken in these words, but you are having a difficult time grasping what it is and how to apply it to your life. This would be an excellent time to practice the counsel of James.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

What Paul is declaring is not natural wisdom, but spiritual. It can only be comprehended through the exercise of spiritual senses. Even as Christ opened the eyes of blind men, and unstopped the hearing of the deaf, so too is He able to give spiritual sight and hearing to the people of God. I understand that my teaching is a vain thing if not attended by the quickening presence of the Spirit. May Yahweh grant sight and hearing to His people!

Consider the questions poised by the apostle Paul. “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” How does a man become a partaker of Yahweh’s divine nature through the indwelling Spirit? We cannot work ourselves into divinity. We must hear the message that Christ has reconciled God and man through His atoning sacrifice, and that He has sent forth His Spirit to indwell man. If we believe these things, then we will by faith petition the Father that He might give us His Spirit to indwell us.

Luke 11:9-13
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

This is how we receive the Spirit. We ask for it, believing our Father will give us His Spirit. Our Father knows we cannot live one day pleasing to Him apart from being born spiritually. If natural men will give their sons what they need for life, how much more will our heavenly Father do so?

Paul then asks, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Becoming perfect men, spiritual men, is the Father’s desire for us. This process toward spiritual perfection is begun when we receive that incorruptible seed of the Father. We cannot work for it. We cannot produce incorruptible seed on our own. We must simply believe that the Father desires to impart this seed to us, ask Him for it, and receive it.

Having done so, what folly it is to think that our progress toward spiritual maturity will be accomplished by any other method than the one by which we began. Even as we believed that God would give us His Spirit, we must now believe that He will daily give us all things we need to walk in godliness.

II Peter 1:3
His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness...

We must see ourselves as partakers of the divine nature, and believe that we can live a victorious life as a spiritual creation in the midst of a dark and sinful world. This overcoming life is lived out in the Spirit. We have our communion daily with the Father by the Spirit. We hear His voice, and believe that He has given us the power to obey all He asks of us.

To turn back to the Law as our instructor and guide is to turn away from the Spirit. The Law was the instructor of men who were spiritually dead. The Law too was dead. It was written on stone, not flesh. It had no ability to impart life. The Spirit is life.

II Corinthians 3:6
[It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive.
[Amplified Bible]

If we will set our focus upon the Spirit, listening to His voice, we will find ourselves led into the perfect will of God. Satan knows this to be true, and has waged unceasing warfare upon the saints. He has convinced multitudes that God no longer speaks to man. Such a conclusion is inconceivable to those who know the Father. What Father would cease speaking to His sons the moment they receive His Spirit? If Yahweh spoke to natural men in abundance in the days prior to the Spirit being given, it is unthinkable to believe that He will not speak to those who have received His Spirit.

I Corinthians 2:12-14
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

People often argue that the Law was Spirit breathed, so it must apply to them. People of God, the Law truly was Spirit breathed, but it was made for the unrighteous. The Law was not made for the righteous.

It is like a man who argues that he should take his wife’s medical prescriptions because they both go to the same doctor and he has found the doctor’s counsel to be sound. Will the man take the medicine prescribed for his wife’s menopause and be benefitted? Do you not perceive that the Spirit can speak something that is true, and apply it to a certain group, but it was never intended for another? The Law was made for the unrighteous, not the righteous. The Law is Spirit breathed, but if you are a spiritual man it was never prescribed for you!

What has Yahweh prescribed for the spiritual man? He has prescribed a life led of the Spirit!

Galatians 5:25
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

This is the prescribed course of living for the spiritual man. The natural man was led of the Law, but the spiritual man is led by the Spirit.

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063