By Wes Myhre
Speaking about the importance of YHWH/Yeshau’s law, I have been asked on several occasions if I believe animal sacrifices are still pertinent for salvation. My answer, “No, they are not. And the sacrifices were never intended for permanent salvation. My salvation as well as everyone’s past, present, and future comes from Yeshua’s death on the cross and shedding of His blood.” However, with that being said sacrifices have not stopped; there is a pause in them right now, because the temple does not exist, and it is where the sacrifices are required to be performed. To substantiate this claim using scripture, we know in the millennial reign of Yeshua there will be sacrificing in the temple. You can read more about this by going to “Will there be animal sacrifices during the millennial kingdom?”
And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord God; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon. Ezekiel 43:18
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. Isaiah 56:7
I wanted to clear up some misconceptions on where I stood on animal sacrifices, which can be very confusing. I hope this helps as it is important to understand for this next discussion.
Not long ago, I listened to a familiar song about Yeshua’s grace, and how it was sufficient for the woman at the well. The underlying tone of this musical piece pertained to the supposed friction between grace and law, which at best is a strawman argument, but I digress for now. I somewhat remembered this story of the woman at the well as I have heard it several times throughout the years as the focal point of many sermons refuting YHWH/Yeshua’s law/instructions; however, I had to have my wife refresh my memory.
And this is precisely where I want to begin our discussion. We have come to believe that the Talmud and Torah are one and the same, interchangeable terms, if you will. This is not true, and to know the clear differences, bible students need to complete a concise study of the Tanakh, Old Testament. The confusion in this case would become crystal clear and fall away if one had an understanding of YHWH/Yeshua’s law/instructions.
Being an advocate of searching the Word, let us look at the story of “The Woman at the Well” as described in John 4.
6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband.
Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?
28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. John 4:6-30
Pertaining to this event at the well I have heard several people make the following assertion:
“(1) Jews weren’t supposed to speak to Samaritans. (2) Men weren’t permitted to address women without their husbands present. And (3) rabbis had no business speaking to shady ladies such as this one. Jesus was willing to toss out the rules, but our woman at the well wasn’t. “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman,” she reminded him. “How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9).
“She focused on the law; Jesus focused on grace.” (Higgs).
What we find is this assumption “She focused on the law and Jesus focused on grace;” however, a closer examination of YHWH/Yeshua’s Torah will reveal the three rules listed above were manmade traditions and not those given by YHWH/Yeshua. Certainly, these were edicts handed down verbally. No one is arguing that, but were these specific laws given by YHWH? No, they will not be found in the Torah, but are of oral Talmudic origin. To have a more in depth look at this story please go to “Reconsidering the Samaritan Woman” by Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg and Lisa Loden (Lizorkin-Eyzenberg).
However, these three fence laws listed may in fact have come from a practical base; however, they are not of YHWH and therefore cannot be considered as YHWH/Yeshua’s laws. But nonetheless, they were traditions of men, and we know how Yeshua felt about the traditions and rudiments of men.
6 He (Yeshua) answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Mark 7:6-9
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 2 Thessalonians 3:6
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1 Peter 1:18
I must stress these rudiments and traditions of men must not be confused with the Torah, law or instructions of YHWH/Yeshua. If YHWH/Yeshua’s law/instructions are followed then there is no issue, but as soon as man determines a need to tweak the Torah instructions then they become after man and not of YHWH. A very simple example is where we have new believers begin reading the Bible. Most learned Christians believe the new believer should start in John; however, since YHWH’s Word begins at Genesis, then that is where a new believer should start reading. (I talk more on that in the blog titled begin at the beginning,) We need to move our traditions out of the way of YHWH/Yeshua.
Let us look at the story of “The Woman Found in Adultery” as recorded in John 8 as opposed to the woman at the well, which we just did.
1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:1-12
So first of all we need to know the foundational bases of the law which the scribes and Pharisees refer, and this is found in Leviticus 20.
10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:10
These laws and penalties were never intended to be doled out by mob rule or from a citizen’s own actions. YHWH/Yeshua’s enacted a system with which to enforce His laws, instructions, and ordinances. We see to this throughout the Tanakh, but let us start from the Israelites exodus out of Egypt to focus in on this system. At this point in time we find that a hearing was to be held after the lodging of a complaint by the victim concerning a perpetrator of a transgression or alleged transgression.
Both, the petitioner and defendant, were brought in front of Moses; later when attending these hearings they would stand if in front of officails, who Moses had appointed; and even later on in front of priests, judges and kings. A method of trying cases had been put into place, by virtue of the duties of Moses and those he appointed as well as having a need for witnesses. We can look at the advice Jethro offered Moses.
19 Hearken now unto my (Jethro, father-in-law to Moses) voice, I will give thee (Moses) counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. Exodus 18:19-22 (Emphasis added.)
This is the system of justice put into place by YHWH/Yeshua as we see in Romans 13.
1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. Romans 13:1-5
So, these are examples of YHWH’s system of justice, which cannot be denied; furthermore, we find more on the hearings.
Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Numbers 35:30 (Emphasis added.)
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Deuteronomy 19:15 (Emphasis added.)
So, we see from these few verses the Israelites had a system of justice which needed to be followed, and an in depth study of the Tanakh will flesh out other verses for you and clarify this system of justice in fine detail. Furthermore, by YHWH/Yeshua’s design, the witnesses were to be the first to cast stones if in fact the defendant was found guilty, but sometimes they were exonerated as in the case of the woman caught in adultery.
The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you. Deuteronomy 17:7 (Emphasis added.)
So, returning to our story of the adulterous woman, Yeshua stated, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” None cast a stone; in fact after Yeshua wrote in the sand with His finger, the scribes and Pharisees, who brought the woman, left.
We see inconsistencies pertaining to the actions of the scribes and Pharisees, but none to the actions of Yeshua. He followed His law/instructions. He did not discard them.
Who would be the judge in this case? Who, but Yeshua would be the ultimate judge.
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: John 5:22
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. Acts 10:42
Therefore, the woman was brought before a lawful judge and court where jurisdiction has been established.
Now then, let us break this down. Some of the scribes and Pharisees brought the woman to Yeshau so He could judge her, and they stated she was caught in the very act of adultery. First and foremost, what we need to notice is who is not there, the male component of this adulterous relationship. They did not bring him, but it is required of the law. And she was caught in the very act so he would be there.
It can be argued the other issue could possibly be those men who brought her could have all been in said adulterous relationship with her, due to Yeshua’s statement, “He that is without sin among you….” It is possible the witnesses did not want to talk or stay due to the fact their testimony would be self-incriminating, causing them to face judgment and stoning as well, but that is just speculation.
We do know for a fact that when Yeshua asked for witnesses to be the first to stone her, none came forward. With no witnesses Yeshua, as judge, could not find this woman guilty and put her to death because He would be going against His own law.
At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. Deuteronomy 17:6
At this point, Yeshua had only one choice which was to exonerate the woman. Thus Yeshua stated, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
None testified against the woman, and neither was she stoned by the scribes and Pharisees. This did not occur due to Yeshua ridding the world of the Torah, but she was freed because of Yeshua’s obedience to the His law/instructions, a.k.a. the Torah, His law. Yeshua obeyed His law to a tee.
We really fail to see the big picture in this story, and that being YHWH/Yeshua’s law was given because of His grace. The mere fact that any of the scribes, Pharisees, or the woman could even stand in the presence of Yeshua is a testament to His grace. It is both, grace and His law/ instructions, which allowed any of them to live.
We have so twisted what the Torah is and what it means, because of the traditions and rudiments of men, that we cannot even see how Yeshua followed His own instructions in this story. This account of the adulterous woman has been so perverted that many contemporary pastors and teachers use it to teach Yeshau terminated our obedience to His Torah, law/instructions.
Let us look at another example of where the Tanakh has been twisted, that of eating pork as outlined in 1 Timothy 4.
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:3-5 (Emphasis added.)
These five verses are often used in the defense of eating pork, scrimp, lobster, rabbit and other Torah prohibited consumption of flesh as well as to condemn those espousing the need to cease in the practice of eating these unclean animals and sea creatures. First and foremost, we need to understand there is quite a bit of unpacking to do here, but for now let us just focus on the food aspect.
For starters let us first look at the word “thanksgiving.”
Strong’s defines εὐχαριστία eucharistía, yoo-khar-is-tee’-ah; from G2170; as “gratitude; actively, grateful language (to God, as an act of worship):—thankfulness, (giving of) thanks(-giving)” (Eurcharistaia).
Did YWHH create and have the Israelites eat unclean animals, and Did He teach them to give thanksgiving to unclean flesh? Or did they eat only clean food? Was unclean flesh even considered meat?
Let us move onto the meaning of meats from the Greek as defined by Strong’s, βρῶμα brōma, bro’-mah; “from the base of G977; food (literally or figuratively), especially (ceremonially) articles allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law:—meat, victuals” (Broma).
Also, let us look at how Strong’s defines sanctified, ἁγιάζω hagiázō, hag-ee-ad’-zo;” from G40; to make holy, i.e. (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate:—hallow, be holy, sanctify” (Hagiazo).
Now then let us ruminate and chew on the verses from 1 Timothy 4, “3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
So looking here at the passage, we can restate it as the Holman Christian Bible writes it:
1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:3-5 HCSB
I could not agree more. Let us re-examine verse 4.
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.
Does this mean YHWH is endorsing cannibalism? Man is a creature of YHWH. Right away we should recognize Rav Sha’ul is writing about a specific type of animal, clean. But if that is not enough, let us move on.
We no longer use the same definition of food as used when this verse was written. For example, we know that horse dung does not fit the standard we have for food in our contemporary age. Yes, I know this is somewhat crude and crass, but nonetheless, you need to understand unclean animals, during the time when 1Timothy 4 was penned, were looked upon the same way in which we see horse dung today. Unclean animal flesh was not considered food, meat; only today do we consider unclean animals flesh as food. So interpreting this verse from the contemporary word meaning skews its meaning. We are looking at it from the wrong direction. We need to decipher its’ meaning by coming from the other direction using the definition of meat during the time when Rav Sha’ul wrote the verse. Remember, everything spoken by the disciples had to line up with the Tanakh, as we see from the writings about the Bereans.
For those logically mined people in our audience, if we say all squares, defined as four equal sides with 90 degree angles, are rectangles, defined as opposite sides are equal with 90 degree angles, then we are saying a truthful statement. However, if we say all rectangles are squares, then we are not being truthful. You see squares are a subset of rectangles not the other way around. For example, a rectangle measuring 8 inches by 10 inches is not a square, so not all rectangles are squares.
In Rav Sha’ul’s day unclean animals were never considered meat or food. They were prohibited to be consumed by the Torah. So the way in which we look at something, how we categorize it, or define it matters. Therefore, in the case of the meat/food talked about here, we cannot and must not use our definition from today: we have to know what it was then and use that definition.
Furthermore, YHWH/Yeshua knew we would get this confused, so He made sure to accentuate what was being talked about by confirming that the meat/food needed to be sanctified by the “Word of God.” Again, what was the “Word of God” being used during the time period in which Rav Sha’ul lived and wrote? It was the Tanakh. (See blog entry Scripture in the Brit Chadashah.)
So how does the Tanakh or Old Testament define meat? We find it in Torah and more specifically in the book of Leviticus chapter 11. (Please read the whole chapter, because I will be presenting just part.)
1And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. 4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. 5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. 6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. 7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. 8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. 10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: 11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Leviticus 11:1-11. (Emphasis added.)
This sums up clean animals are to be used as food. It is the twisting of scripture which throws us off and causes confussion. Peter warned us about this when he wrote about those who are ignorant of the Tanakh and who use Paul’s (Rav Sha’ul) writings to support a view point.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:14-18 (Emphasis added.)
Do not forget what scripture that Peter references, it is the Tanakh, not to be confused with the Talmud, which is manmade traditions. Those of us who do not have in depth understanding of the Tanakh, Old Testament, will be confused about what is being said in Rav Sha’ul’s letters. We will be led away in error of the wicked. Therefore, we need to educate ourselves on what the Tanakh says. That is why it is important to have new Christians read it first, so they have a firm understanding, foundation of things discussed in the New Testament.
What we need to know is in the Bible, and the whole from Genesis to Revelation still applies to us, today. There is no doubt we need to learn, ruminate, and trust on these things, but we also need to move through the bible from the beginning to the end, understand where the characters of the bible were coming from, and to view it from the appropriate angle. There is so much to be gained by doing this, but first we must lay down all our traditions and rudiments even that of believing the King James Bible was translated under the inspiration of YHWH. Believe me setting aside, your beliefs and years of teachings, is so difficult, and it does not happen overnight. It is a process which can only happen through the leading of YHWH/Yeshua. We have to rely on His strength, and our faith will still be tested. Yet, we must. It is biblical.
Through John, YHWH/Yeshua told us to test the spirits.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
And He also told us,
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
Test everything and see if it meets the criteria of YHWH/Yeshua. Again, this takes faith, and remember faith comes by the “hearing of the Word.”
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
- “Will there be animal sacrifices during the millennial kingdom?” gotquetions.org. http://www.gotquestions.org/millennial-sacrifices.html. 13 September 2016.
- Higgs,Liz Curtis. “The Woman at the Well: Thirsty for Truth.” http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2008/july/woman-at-well.html. 12 September 2016.
- Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Eli Dr. and Lisa Loden. “Reconsidering the Samaritan Woman.” http://jewishstudies.eteacherbiblical.com/john-4-reconsidering-the-samaritan-woman/. 13 Septemer 2016.
- “eucharistía (G2170)” The Blue Letter Bible Online, The Blue Letter Bible, n.d. Thur. 12 Sept. 2016.
- “brōma (G1033)” The Blue Letter Bible Online, The Blue Letter Bible, n.d. Thur. 12 Sept. 2016.
- “Hagiazo (G37)” The Blue Letter Bible Online, The Blue Letter Bible, n.d. Thur. 12 Sept. 2016.