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How Apostle Paul distorted biblical view of Torah observance and righteousness

December 14, 2015

pauloftarsusPaul vigorously fought the Jewish belief that observing the Torah’s ritual and ethical laws made one righteous in God’s eyes. If that were true, he reasoned, people could achieve righteousness through their own efforts: It would mean that there was no purpose to the crucifixion, and “Christ would have died in vain” (Galatians 2:21 ).

Paul believed, as did the Jews, that God had given mankind the Torah. However, unlike the Jews, he maintained that people could only be saved if they followed the Torah’s laws perfectly. Since it is impossible to do so, and since God will damn people for any violations whatsoever, the Torah’s many laws must be seen as a curse, not a blessing. To be saved, mankind must be redeemed from the Law, a redemption which can only come through belief in Jesus (see Galatians 3:10, 21-22; and Romans 3:28).

Judaism rejected virtually every element in Paul’s reasoning process. While it advocated complete observance of the Torah, it also recognized that people inevitably would sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Well before Jesus and Paul, it had worked out an extensive process for repentance (known in Hebrew as teshuva). Unfortunately, Paul’s claim that God damns people for violating any Torah law has helped lead many people in the Western world to believe that the God of the Hebrew Bible is a harsh, vengeful figure. (Paul, Jewish Literacy by Joseph Telushkin)

25 Comments leave one →
  1. remi4321 permalink
    December 14, 2015 12:04 pm

    Hi, this is not related to that post, but wanted to ask a question…

    Yesterday, I was talking with my wife about Genesis 49:10.

    The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.

    It’s frustrating, how can someone have a proper discussion. As far as I understand, the “sceptre” departed from David when they went in captivity. In the time of the Maccabees, the Levites were ruling over Israel. Now Christians say that the sceptre has not left, using commentaries on the bible

    Anyway, during the time of Herod, there was also no ruler in the house of David. Nevertheless, all Christians site will tell you that the sceptre did not depart from David until Jesus.

    Usually, Christians would say that Jews don’t have any more genealogies, and it was all burnt in the time of the Jewish Temple. I heard that the temple was never used to keep genealogies.

    If you arrive and said that the line was not cut until Jesus, then they will say that it needs to be Jesus. But in the other hand, if you say that the line was cut before Jesus, they will say “G-d’s not lying, so what does it mean?”

    I know, that Jesus was never a law giver or never ruled over Israel, but did not want to use that argument there…

    Do you have any historical explanation for this verse?


  2. December 14, 2015 12:19 pm

    “As far as I understand, the “sceptre” departed from David when they went in captivity.”

    That’s not how it works. Judah at the time when the prophecy itself was given didn’t even have the “scepter” himself – he wasn’t a king over anything, but somehow Judah had the “scepter” that will not depart. How can this be explained? Clearly, this was about the future and about the status of Judah as the source of rulers forever. Even if there’s interruption between reigning kings, it doesn’t make a difference as long as the eligible Davidic line continues. The kingship will be restored when the “tent of David” is rebuilt, as the prophecy says:

    “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter– I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins– and will rebuild it as it used to be” (Amos 9:11)

    So, the scepter never left – it’s just “dormant” until the exile is completely over and the Israelite kingdom is restored with Davidic ruller at the helm. Only the tent has fallen down, until restoration.

  3. December 14, 2015 1:08 pm

    Thanks Gene, but what about the genealogy. Is there still people that know their exact line? Usually, Christians say that the genealogy was kept in the temple. I don’t think it was true, do we have anything that proves or disproves it?

  4. remi4321 permalink
    December 14, 2015 1:13 pm

    Also, why did chabad say :

    The scepter shall not depart from Judah: from David and thereafter. These (who bear the scepter after the termination of the kingdom) are the exilarchs (princes) in Babylon, who ruled over the people with a scepter, [and] who were appointed by royal mandate. — [From Sanh. 5a]

    Anyway, can whe know when the exilarchs stop to exit and when nobody form the line of David was ruling. If, for example the descendent of David stopped having any authority in the time of the Maccabees, you can definitely prove that the Christian interpretation of Genesis 49:10 does not fit, because the sceptre would not have been there before Jesus.

  5. December 14, 2015 1:23 pm

    Remi, yes, there were exilarchs (Davidic descendants) in Babylon and in Jerusalem during the Christian Roman times. At some points, they no longer had the authority – the Gentile rulers saw to that. Today there are Jews who can still trace Davidic descent, just as there are people who do this for Cohen and Levite descent.

    There’s even a website that collects information on various modern families in the Davidic Dynasty:

    This is to illustrate the point the Davidic Dynasty has not been “lost”. Regardless, it’s believed that prophecy would be restored in Israel before the Davidic prince can take his throne.

  6. remi4321 permalink
    December 14, 2015 1:27 pm

    the Gentile rulers saw to that.?

    When was that, in the time of Herod? If so, Jesus was not there yet, so it would destroy their theory…

  7. December 14, 2015 1:35 pm

    “When was that, in the time of Herod? If so, Jesus was not there yet, so it would destroy their theory…”

    Remi, no, we are talking until 1800’s there were still Davidic exilarchs around ruling some Jewish communities around the world!

  8. December 14, 2015 1:44 pm

    But exilarchs were not kings with “scepters” – their authority was only such as given to them by Gentile authorities. They had no sovereignty. So, if we are going by that measure, then long before Jesus there were no Davidic kings with scepters around – the kings ceased. So, if the interruption removed Judah’s scepter then Jesus couldn’t have gotten it later either. And if the pre-Jesus interruption didn’t remove it, why would the continuation of the interruption after-Jesus remove it from a future real Davidic king?

  9. December 14, 2015 1:45 pm

    Ho wow, thanks Gene, that explains a lot :)

  10. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 14, 2015 3:20 pm

    The reason the Christians rest on that passage so much is that even if you go by what Davidic Dynasty’s experts have to say about people’s descent from David, it appears as though its hard to definitively prove the legitimacy of any of the genealogies that we do posses on either Jewish or Christian side.

    If you look at rabbinic genealogies, and the Christian ones too, they all either have skipped generations in them, emendations in different manuscripts, or aren’t strictly halachically relevant to the question, etc.

    For example, many many descendants we know of today are related to David only through a maternal ancestor, (just like Jesus supposedly had,) not through the biblically required male line.

    The Christians will then use that information as “evidence” that Jesus’ would be genealogy can’t be dismissed for the same reasons that the rabbis don’t dismiss rabbinic genealogies.

    Christians don’t like Hosea 3:4 or Malachi 3:3 very much due to the fact that the genealogical difficulties for both Levites and the Davidic rulers were somewhat predicted to happen to Israel during the exile. To me this argument is just ultimately a rabbit hole discussion and it ultimately doesn’t help Jews or Christian cases. There is a reason after all that Maimonides says we won’t definitely know who the messiah is until he comes and finishes the job. Ramban said much the same thing.

  11. December 14, 2015 3:30 pm

    “There is a reason after all that Maimonides says we won’t definitely know who the messiah is until he comes and finishes the job. Ramban said much the same thing.”

    Either way we don’t know for sure today because genealogical records that Jews once kept and updated have been lost AND have not been scrupulously tracked for a long time now. Even priestly and Levitical descent transmitted by family traditions through generations are only such today on interim basis – all of them will have to be tested via Urim and Thummim and/or prophecy if those people are to serve in the actual Temple (vs only being called up for honors in a synagogue today). Same will be for the Davidic king.

  12. Michael W Cuber permalink
    January 29, 2016 1:50 pm

    G-d had given the Israelites ample warning through the Prophets, that Israel was in desperate need of a Redeemer, Daniel 7: 13-14, and Isaiah 59: 20-21 show this well “‘And a Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who return from transgression in Jacob,’ declares the Lord.
    ‘And as for Me this is My covenant with them,’says the Lord: ‘My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offsprings offspring, says the Lord, ‘from now and forever.'”
    The Christian religious authority (Rome) took the” Word” (Law / Torah) out of Christianity over a period of time, much like Orthodox Judaism took Messiah out of Tanach. You ridicule what you have been kept from understanding by the Sages, much as Christianity has been kept from Torah by Rome.
    Yeshua was aware of this when in Matt 5: 17 He states “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets…”
    In Revelation 14: 12 “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God, and their faith in Jesus.”
    What you think are contradictions in Paul’s behavior, is Paul descerning Rabbinic Tradition from Actual Torah. This is seen several times in the New Testament and is the reason for Yeshua’s warning in Matt 23: 2 “The scribes and Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses; therefore do all that they tell you (Torah), do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds (Rabbinic Tradition); for they say things and do not do them.”
    Don’t let someone else tell you what to believe when you have the Tanach that G-d gave you!

    Yom Nifla


  13. January 29, 2016 2:04 pm

    ” much like Orthodox Judaism took Messiah out of Tanach”

    Michael, what on earth are you talking about?! Jewish expectation of the Messiah is part of Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith. If anything, it’s the Torah-observant (a.k.a. Orthodox) Judaism that put Messiah INTO the TaNaCh (which actually has precious little to say about the man), through rabbinic interpretation and elaboration.

    What Judaism rejected, however, is the complete Christian reinterpretation and perversion of the original Jewish messiah concept, especially the idolatry that came with deification of a dead man.

  14. Michael W Cuber permalink
    January 29, 2016 4:39 pm

    Read Daniel Ch 7 Gene for yourself. The Son of Man is given Dominion, and Kingdom, and Glory by The Ancient of Days. This is Messiah who the Rabbi’s have kept from our people; this is our Tanach and Meshiach is all thru it!


  15. remi4321 permalink
    January 29, 2016 5:03 pm

    Are the beasts literal beasts Michael? So why should the ben adam (mortal) be a literal person? The son of man are the saints of the most hight, AKA Israel as per the interpretation given by the angel.

    I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.

  16. Michael W Cuber permalink
    January 29, 2016 5:43 pm

    Remi4321, how did we Pierce Him in Zechariah 12: 10 if these events are not both Heavenly and figurative in prophesy symbolism, and literal as witnessed by our recorded history, such as the succession of events in Daniel 7, 8 and 9.
    Messiah fulfilled the 69 week prophesy, and we are still arguing over “the dead man” 2000 years later!
    Zechariah 12 implies a second manifestation of Messiah.

  17. remi4321 permalink
    January 29, 2016 5:52 pm

    Let us check the previous verse of Zec 12:

    In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

    When did that happen? It talks about war against Jerusalm… It has not happened yet Michael and, consequently, the next verse either.

    And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

    Please not that the HIM and ME are different people.

    And as per the reference of Megiddo, it must be a war and that person that will die, will die in that war. It has nothing to do with Jesus.

    And as per Daniel 70 weeks, you may check proper interpretation if you want. The only thing I can add is the fact that if you count properly with 365 days (not 360) you won’t arrive at the proper date of Jesus crucifixion. So, make you research if you really want to know the truth.

    Click to access Daniel%209%20Chronology.pdf

  18. Michael W Cuber permalink
    January 29, 2016 8:18 pm

    360 days or 365, in the course of the weeks you have to add the extra days in regardless, and as to the actual date of the return from Bablyon it is a rough guesstimate today by scholars.
    Your “look on Me” vs “Him whom they pierced is future and past tense. It implies a second coming!
    Glad to see your coming around.

    Shabot Shalom!


  19. January 31, 2016 12:13 am

    Then we shall talk about it when he comes back…. But for now Jesus never fulfilled this prophecy. It is as non-sense as saying my grand-pa was the messiah. He will fulfill it when he comes back. And again, Messianic are good to take bible verses totally out of context. If you would happen to read your Bible to find the truth, you would. But you are too busy trying to prove Jesus and proving yourself it is Okay to worship a man. Zecheriah in Context does not talk about Jesus. It actually has nothing to do with the Crucifiction.

  20. Michael W Cuber permalink
    January 31, 2016 6:52 pm

    Remi 4321, now we are down to personal attack and appeal to emotion. I don’t have a website, and I don’t go out of my way, and poke fun of Chabad at their website. I will argue out of scripture and historical record.
    I do so for the benefit of those searching these sites that are trying to find truth, which is something that needs to be between them and their creator; it wouldn’t mean anything for someone to just take my word for something, even if it were a good arguement!
    What I’m trying to say, is that I’m challenging you because, your site seems constructed to draw such attention. This should not be construed to imply that I don’t have complete faith in Yeshua HaMeshaich. If He didn’t come once already, I don’t see Him coming a third time to fulfill Zechariah to your satisfaction.
    Truth rises to the surface, and just like the arguement, it is born forth by light of scripture, record of historical evidence, and the demeanor of the debators.
    I don’t presume to present anything that will change your mind, but thank you for your response, and allowing my challenges.
    Toda Raba
    Michael W Cuber

  21. remi4321 permalink
    January 31, 2016 11:19 pm

    Sorry Michael, I am not the owner of the website, but only post comments her. If you want, you can check for yourself the bible verses you put out in context… It should not hard to do. Maybe Gene, the owner of this website would like to add something that would be more appropriate…

  22. January 31, 2016 11:25 pm

    Gene, I hopefully am not taking over your blog. Sorry for that…

  23. February 3, 2016 11:22 am

    Michael W Cuber (I thought I posted part of this comment before, but I don’t see it at all, so here we go again), do you realize that “son of man” is the Hebrew term for human being, and that Ezekiel was called a son of man throughout the book of Ezekiel? You use the term like it is referring to your idol; as if it is a title designated to some idea of a man-god.

    Perhaps learning Hebrew and having a basis in Torah and halakha is in order for you. Otherwise, it will be very hard for you to realize how far off you are. Someone who doesn’t understand Hebrew and doesn’t have a clue about all the details and context of the Tanakh from those who know, in other words from the Jewish oral tradition, won’t have much of a clue as to what they’re talking about. You know, we ARE the people who wrote these books, to whom the Torah was delivered solely, and the keepers of this whole covenant for thousands of years. We kind of have a big clue about all of this.

    I’ve debunked tons of verses supposedly confirming the false claims about Yeshu in a recent email dialogue with someone. I’ll have to take a look at your claimed verses and teach you a bit about them. I think I may actually post the entire conversation I had with this person on my blog (linked in my name). My own teacher, who learned from Rav Kaduri and Rav Yisrael Ber Odesser, was impressed with my responses and said his father who sometimes had such interactions would have also been very impressed. His father עה”ש memorized many Torah sources at a young age, as was the norm among Jews in his native Yemen, and could quote almost anything and explain to you what it meant.

    I’m nowhere near either of their levels, I’m a total beginner, but even I who can at least speak, read, and learn Torah in Hebrew, can easily set you people straight. I once believed like you, when I didn’t know any Torah but thought I did, as you think now. When I learned more Torah, even in English at the time, and opened myself up to the truth and no longer tried to read the Tanakh through Jesus-lenses, the truth seeped in and got the best of me. I abandoned the idol I was warned to believe in above anything else. It is a hard shell to break, but you have to break the mental conditioning and the lies to get to the truth.

  24. February 5, 2016 3:48 am

    Then what would you say about Peter, who with one swipe of the pen declared that followers of Jesus are the chosen race / holy priesthood / holy nation / THE people of God; and who declared all foods permissible (which– I assume- -also made all ritual laws defunct- since he is the rock upon which the church was to be built)?

    1 Peter 2:9: “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD;”

  25. February 5, 2016 12:40 pm

    “Then what would you say about Peter”

    Leonard, I would have a lot to say about Peter too, but modern scholars are almost unanimous in their opinion that Peter, the actual guy who supposedly hung out with Jesus, didn’t write anything we see today in the NT. The NT letters attributed to Peter appear to have come from the pens of later Paulinists.

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