Part 1 - The Hard Sayings of Paul
Explaining 2 Peter 3:14-17 and "Why the Savior have to die"
2Pe 3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,
2Pe 3:15 and regard the patience of our Master as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
2Pe 3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which aresome things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled (#113 Lawless) men and fall from your own steadfastness,
The apostle Peter tells us that some of the things Paul said are "hard to understand".Not just hard for you and I to understand, but hard for even Peter to understand. And because of these things Paul being hard to understand, those who are 'untaught' or ’unlearned’ in the *Scriptures are twisting them. And for that reason they will be destroyed.
What is it that Paul could have possibly been saying, that was of such a serious nature, that people who were 'untaught' in the scriptures would be DESTROYED for their misunderstanding of?
For many Christians and Messianic Jews today the subject of Yahuweh’s Law is so totally irrelevant they have no interest in even the mention of it, but PLEASE believe me when I say that THIS, the misunderstanding of the things Paul concerning the Heavenly Father’s Law, is EXACTLY the reason so many will hear those dreadful words Judgment Day, "Depart from me I never knew you, you 'workers of Lawlessness'" Matt 7:23.
Contrary to what millions of people are being taught today by their 'ministers,' the Father’s Law, His Perfect Law, Ps 19:7, which includes the Feast Days (Lev 23; Deut 16), the Food Laws (Lev 11; Deut 14) and the 4th Commandment, the Sabbath Day (Ex 20:8-11), has never been done away with or changed. Those things are all to be obeyed today, as much as possible, as they were the day Yahuweh (the L-RD) gave them to Moses on Mt Sinai.
And this, the Father’s Law, the Torah, is the very thing that people were misunderstanding about Paul's writings, and consequently, according to the apostle Peter, they will be 'destroyed' for that misunderstanding.
Turn to Acts 21, and lets take a look at the reason Peter made the statement he did concerning Paul being hard to understand.
In Acts 21:17-20, when Paul arrived in Jerusalem, the Apostle James, who was the head of the congregation in Jerusalem at that time, immediately took Paul aside and explained to him about the 'thousands' (footnote, Lit. 'ten thousands') of believing Jews who were all 'zealous' for the Law, who were misunderstanding Paul in some of the things he said concerning the Law.
They, the thousands of believing Jews, 'thought' Paul was saying that the law has been done away with, that it did not have to be obeyed any longer. Which, of course, was NOT what Paul was saying. So James, the head of the Jerusalem congregation at that time, wanted Paul to prove to these Jews that they were misunderstanding him, and that he, Paul, also 'walked orderly, obeying the Law."
Please consider the following carefully:
Act 21:17-24 After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which Yahuweh had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
And when they heard it they began glorifying Yahuweh; and they said to him, ""You see, brother, how many thousands (Lit: 'ten thousands' ) there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are living among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. ""What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. ""Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; andall will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.
Did you notice that "there was nothing" to the things they 'thought' Paul was saying, about 'forsaking Moses'. The fact was that he, Paul, "...also walked orderly, keeping the Law" just as those thousands of 'believing' Jews were doing.
This misunderstanding of the things Paul said concerning the Law, IS the very reason Peter said what he did about some of the things Paul said, "being hard to understand." Paul of course followed and obeyed the Law, and commanded all who would hear him to do the same (Rom 2:6,11-13). We'll discuss this fact in much more detail in Parts 2-4, but for now with that in mind, lets go back and take a look at what Peter said about these 'ministers' who are misleading people concerning Paul's writings. In 2 Pet 3:14 After Peter admonishes us to be diligent, that we might be "found by Him…spotless and blameless…", he goes on to warn us of the "lawless" ministers" who through their deception will cause many to fall from their own steadfastness.
2 Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled (#113 Lawless) men and fall from your own steadfastness, (NASV)The word 'unprincipled,' translated as 'wicked' in the KJV Bible, is defined as “Lawless” (#113 in the Strong’s Concordance). Peter is warning us here not to follow after so-called ministers who do not obey the heavenly Father's Law, and who are teaching others that they do not have to obey it either (2 Cor 11:13-15). And these 'ministers' are using things Paul said that are "hard to understand" in promoting this demonic teaching of Lawlessness (2 Pet 3:14-16). Of course I’m not saying your minister evil it'd very possible he's being mislead also. But it’s up to us to embrace the truth when it’s presented to us. To thank Yahuweh for opening our eyes up to things we might not have seen previously, before it is to late. Years ago, I was debating a Christian minister on a radio show as to whether we had to obey the heavenly Father's Law or not. Of course I was showing from the scriptures that the Law was NOT done away with, and that the Almighty expected His children to obey it. The 'minister' was saying that we didn't have to obey it. At one point during the program he made the comment that what I was saying was of the devil. I was taken back by that to say the least. So I asked him, "I'm telling people that they should obey the Almighty's commandments, his Law, and you're telling them they don't have to obey it. Which one of us is clearing doing the work of the devil?" Friend you ask yourself that question, "is it the devil telling you to obey the heavenly Father's Commandments?" Of course not, Satan takes great satisfaction in knowing that multitudes will die in their sins, because they've "misunderstood" some of the things Paul said concerning the Law.
Rom 7:13 Therefore did that which is good the Law become a cause of death for me? Yahuweh forbid! Rather it was sin (1 John 3:4), in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
The Messiah died to do away with "sin", not to do away with His Father's Law.
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law (Rom 2:11-13)
Let's summarize what has been said here thus far by Peter in 2 Pet 3:13-17.
verses 13-15, Peter tells us that since we're eagerly awaiting the new heaven and the new earth, we should be found by Him "spotless and blameless". Just as our beloved brother Paul tells us in all of his letters. As amazingly as it may seem to some, Paul does exactly that. He tells us over and over again in his letters to be found ‘spotless and blameless’ at the appearing of our Master and Savior, Yahoshua.
(here are but a few of the times we're admonished by Paul and others to be found "spotless and blameless," without sin, practicing sin that is, at the appearing of our Master Yahoshua the Messiah: 1 Cor 1:8; Eph 1:4; Eph 5:27; Col 1:22; Phil 1:10; 1 Thes 5:23; 2 Tim 2:19; Phil 2:15; Phil 3:6; Luk 1:6; Rev 14:5)
verse 16. And many people through their lack of understanding in the Scriptures, meaning the Tanak* (so-called Old Testament), are twisting some of the things Paul said that are hard to understand, concerning the Law, and because of their misunderstanding they will be destroyed.
(it will become very obvious in this series of articles that the things Paul said that were hard to understand, were absolutely things concerning the Law.)
verse 17, being made aware of this, we have to be on guard against false ministers, Lawless men, who are preaching against the Almighty's Law, telling people they don't have to obey it (Gen 3:4).
You see just as the 'thousands' of believing Jews who 'misunderstood' Paul in thinking he was telling people to forsake Yahuweh's Law, something of course Paul never did, many Christians today who are 'untaught' in the scriptures, 'twist' or 'distort' the things Paul said concerning Yahuweh's Law, in an attempt to say that the Law no longer has to be obeyed.
The difference between these Jews who incorrectly thought Paul was saying the Law didn’t have to be obeyed and the millions of Christians today that are mislead into thinking Paul said the Law doesn't have to be obeyed, is the difference between "salvation and destruction" as Peter tells us (2 Pet 3:16) The Jews in Act 21 who although they 'misunderstood' Paul in thinking he was speaking against the Law, never quit obeying the Law.
The Christians and so many of the Messianic Jews on the other hand are 'misunderstanding' Paul in thinking he said the Law does not have to be obeyed and they "don't obey it". Therefore they've never turned from their sins, and on Judgment Day they'll hear the words of the Savior,
"Depart from me I never knew you, you workers of 'Lawlessness'" Matt 7:23.
In this series of articles it will be shown that Yahuweh's Law was never done away with, contrary to that which many people today believe.
Many, because of the fact that they're 'untaught ' in the Scriptures, twist some things Paul said in an attempt to say that obedience to the Law is no longer necessary for Salvation. In these articles we're going to take a look at some of the 'Hard Sayings' of Paul. Such sayings as:
1) In what sense are believers today, "...not under the Law but under grace" (Rom 6:14)
2) How are we 'free from the Law?'
3) Why is it that "...no man will be justified by the works of the Law..." (Gal 2:16), /p>
These questions and other will be addressed in this series of articles on the Hard Sayings of Paul. But allow me to first point out a few basic and yet often times overlooked things concerning the Law.
Why did the Savior have to suffer and die?
In an attempt to better understand the things Paul said concerning the Law, it is important for us to understand the reason the Messiah had to die.
First of all it has to be understood that there is only "one" Law, and One Lawgiver, not two (James 4:12; John 7:17). It's the same law for Israel and the stranger that joins themselves to Israel (Num 15:16,29; Rom 2:25-26).
Why do we join ourselves to Israel? Because to Israel "according to the flesh" belongs everything, "…the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the temple service and the promises." (Rom 9:1-4).
If a gentile, a non-Israelite, wants to gain access to those 'promises' they have to be "grafted into the natural olive tree" (Rom 11:11-26) which is Israel. And it's through the blood of Israel's number one citizen, Yahoshua the Messiah, that we join the "commonwealth of Israel" (Eph 2:11-13) It's only Israel and those that join themselves to it that will be saved.
According to the Torah, the Law, if someone sinned ‘unintentionally,’ that is not realizing it at the time, that person could offer up a sacrifice and he or she would be forgiven. (Leviticus 4; Numbers 15).
But if someone committed a sin intentionally, that is knowing what they were doing was against the Torah, such as violating the Sabbath Day, cursing father or mother, blaspheming the Name, or not observing the Feast days, etc. that person would be cut off from being among Yahuweh’s people Israel. That person was completely and utterly cut off.
Num 15:29 'You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them.
Num 15:30 'But the person who does anything defiantly (intentionally), whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming Yahuweh; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.
Num 15:31 'Because he has despised the word of Yahuweh and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be on him.'"
To sin willfully meant a person was completely cut off from being among Yahuweh's people, and there wasn’t anything in the Law that could change that. Never are we told to offer a sacrifice that could atone for thoe sins unto death that were committed ‘intentionally.’ The penalty was "death". Since the Law completely and utterly condemned us for the sin or sins that one might have committed, what hope could one have? Paul gives us the answer to that question over and over again throughout his epistles. Quoting Habakkuk 2:4, Paul tells us that the 'just, or righteous, shall live by faith." (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38).
In other words when we realize that according to the Law there isn’t anyway we could do to be reconciled back to the Heavenly Father, we have no choie other then to'live by faith' (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:7). Trusting that the heavenly Father would make a way in which we could be reconciled back to him. And of course he made that way, by sending his only begotten Son, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, into a wicked and corrupt world to die in order to justify us from the sins that we could not be justified from under the Law. (Act 13:39; Rom 8:3)
Act 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified for by the law….
You see the Father had two choices in ridding mankind of sin.
1) He could have did away with His Law, thus doing away with sin. For where there is no Law there is no transgression of the Law. As the Apostle Paul tells us in Rom 4:15,
2) The Father could send His only begotten Son, the first born of all creation, into the world to die on our behalf. To be cruelly mocked, spit upon, tortured and left hanging naked on the tree as an atonement for our sins, to die in our place.
The Father chose the latter. He chose to watch His Son die a torturous death, rather then doing away with his perfect, holy, righteous and good Law. (Psa 19:7; Rom 7:12). The Messiah had to suffer and die, because the Torah, the Law, was to important to do away with.
It wasn't the Law that the Savior died to do away with, it was for sin, yours and mine.
Rom 7:13 Was then that which is good (the Law) made death unto me? Yahuweh forbid. But rather it was sin…
The reason the Savior came into the world to suffer and die was to put an end to the works of the devil, 'sin' (1 John 3:8-9; Matt 1:21, Rom 8:3), NOT to do away with his heavenly Father’s Law. Sin is a violation of the Law, the same law that so many preachers today, preachers that Peter warned us about, are telling their ’flock’ they no longer have to obey (2 Pet 3:17).
1 John 3:4; Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
The Savior warned us:
Matt 7:21-23; Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me you who practice LAWLESSNESS (iniquity).'
Will you be among those ‘many’?
The ones that ‘will not’ inherit the kingdom are the ones who practice, Lawlessness. Which will include all those who through their misunderstanding of the things Paul said concerning the Law, refuse to obey the Law.
And those that will inherit the Kingdom are those that "do the will of the Father," which is to obey his Law.
I realize that many today mistakenly think that when the Savior died he did away with the Law. If that were true, which of course it is not, but if it was, answerv this question, what was the “will of the Father” when the Messiah made the statement he made in Matt 7:21-23? Clearly, Messiah is talking about the Torah, Yahuweh’s perfect will in our lives.
The Apostle John, in Book of Revelation, describes perfectly those who will inherit the kingdom.
Rev 14:12, Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of Yahuweh and hold to their faith in Yahoshua, the Messiah.
Friend, it's true that most people blindly follow whatever it is their ministers tell them, but the fact is that if your minister is preaching that the Law has been done away with, whether through ignorance or deliberately, he will find himself, and those that would follow him, in the Lake of Fire someday soon, after they hear the words of the Messiah, "depart from me you workers of Lawlessness" Matt 7:23.
For the Messiah tells us that if the "blind lead the blind, they'll both fall into the pit" (Mat 15:14). Ignorance “is not” an excuse for disobedience.
Today, with bibles so readily available, if someone doesn’t know what it says it’s only because they never took the time to look. And they obviously are not seeking Elohim with all their hearts (Deut 4:27-29).
It may be that your minister has sincerely been deceived over the years in believing the Almighty’s Law no longer has to be obeyed. Show him that which is being said here, before it is to late, it may be he’ll thank you for making him aware of it.
My sincere prayer is that something you’ll read in this article and/or the following articles, will help you come to see that the Father did not change His mind concerning his Law (Mal 3:6). The Savior had to die because of “sin” the times we, you and I, violated that Law.
This ends Part 1 of the "Hard Sayings of Paul".
In the Hard Sayings of Paul Part 2 we'll take a look at some of the things Paul said that even Peter considered "hard to understand", such as:
In the Hard Sayings of Paul Part 3 we'll discuss:
The "New" Covenant/Testament and the Law.
All the prophets, apostles, and the Messiah Himself came to tell the people to return to the Law.
And "Is it Possible to Obey the Law?
The word “Tanak” is an acronym taken from the letters TNK.
The ‘T‘ stands for ‘Torah,’ the first 5 books of the Bible. Also known as the Law.
The ‘N’ stands for ‘Nevieim’ the books of the Prophets, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jerimiah, etc…
And the ’K’ stands for ‘Ketuvim’ or the ‘Writings,’ such as Chronicles, Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, etc.
The Messiah spoke of the Tanak in Luke 24:44.
In the days of the Messiah and apostles the ‘only’ scriptures that were available to them was the Tanak, or what is commonly called the Old Testament today.
For none of the letters of the apostles, the gospels or epistles were, nor would they be, written until decades after the resurrection. John’s gospel for instance, most scholars believe it was written in 98 A.D., almost 70 years after the resurrection. Mark‘s gospel was written in 65 A.D., and Mathew and Luke’s gospels, in 67 and 68 A.D., respectively.
It’s recorded that Eusebius was commissioned by Emperor Constantine, in 325 A.D. to put together 50 copies of the writing of the apostles into book form. But whether he ever did it or not is unknown.
The ‘Canon‘ as we have it today, the books from Matthew to Revelation, as far as we know from history, were first compiled into the book form we have today in 364 A.D. by Athanasius, a Bishop of Alexandria.
It’s importance to realize that the “New” Testament as we have it today did not exist, not one letter, until decades after the resurrection. Whenever the apostles went into the Synagogues and opened the ‘Scriptures’ is was “always” the Tanak they were preaching and teaching from. I’ll discuss the “New Testament” more in length in Part 3,