When conversations arise concerning the changes that my family and I have made, specifically our observance of the 7th day Sabbath, dietary changes, and Biblical holidays, people will say, "But Paul...", and then they will proceed to bring up those few verses which appear to support their beliefs.
While I completely respect and glean much from Paul's letters, I do find it frustrating at times when his writings are elevated above the only Scriptures that Paul himself knew, lived by, and taught. The Scriptures that he and the other writers of the New Testament used were what is known in Hebrew as the Tanakh, which consisted of:
Torah- the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
Nevi'im - the Hebrew word for Prophets (think Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc)
Ketuvim - the Hebrew for "writings" (think Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, etc)
That's it! Jesus also quoted, taught, and lived solely according to the Tanakh! In Matthew 22:29, Jesus (I prefer to say Yeshua) said, "You go astray, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." He did not tell this group of people whom He was addressing that they needed to wait around until the Apostle Paul could explain things to them. So when Paul is interjected into conversations regarding the living out of my faith, I can't help but wonder why Paul is thought to be THE authoritative source on which to base my belief system, especially when what he is purported to have taught goes completely against what the Scriptures contain!
For instance, when I share why my family and I now observe the 7th day as the Sabbath, and I point to verses like Exodus 20:8-11:
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
people will reply with, "Yes, but PAUL said that we can choose any day to be our sabbath."
My response to the "But Paul..." argument is, "But Jesus..."
While I could share and compare Paul's letters to the Torah/Tanakh as well as the recorded words of Jesus Himself, I won't do that here and now. I will, however, encourage you, dear reader, to go back and read the Messiah's words (red letters in most New Testament copies) and line them up against your current belief system. If they do not match - I encourage you to change. Live like Jesus lived!
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to *fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
And Matthew 23:1-3:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."
*"fulfill" in Greek is pleroo, which means:
- to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full
- to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally
- I abound, I am liberally supplied
- to render full, i.e. to complete
- to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim
- to consummate: a number
- to make complete in every particular, to render perfect
- to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking)
- to carry into effect, bring to realisation, realise
- of matters of duty: to perform, execute
- of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish
- to fulfil, i.e. to cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment
It does NOT mean abolish, destroy, bring to an end. Another verse where the word "fulfill" is used can be found in John 15:11.
Many times the written word can come across the wrong way - I hope and pray that mine never do. However, if this post (or any other post of mine) seems to come across as harsh or snarky, please know that my intent is never to condemn anyone! Please watch my latest Youtube video, where I talk about this same topic, and hopefully you can get a better sense of my heart.