The scriptures were written by Jewish writers in a Hebrew cultural setting over thousands of years. The importance of the scriptures to the writers of the “New Testament” is often overlooked because of the belief that they were writing new scriptures to replace the old. Modern readers interpret what is written according to a Greek cultural perspective instead of a Hebrew one. This is important because there is a major difference in the two perspectives.
There are many difficult verses considered “Christian” in the New Testament. The belief that Paul was a Christian teaching a new religion has caused the “church” to ignore the very foundation of authority which Paul, and all of the New Testament writers, would have based all of their writing on. Torah.
There are many difficult verses considered proof texts for a religious worldview that did not exist for hundreds of years after Yeshua walked the earth. We will break them down and discuss them.
Consideration of Colossians 2:14-16
Colossians 2:14 From Nestle Aland 28 Manuscript
ἐξαλείψας τὸ καθ’ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν ὃ ἦν ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν, καὶ αὐτὸ ἦρκεν ἐκ τοῦ μέσου προσηλώσας αὐτὸ τῷ σταυρῷ
Wiped clean, the, againstaccording toafter, us, legal handwritten debtdeposit certificate, the, decree, thatwhich, has beenexists, contrary, to us, and, it, lifted up, from, midst, of the place it was, nailed, themit, the, cross
What is the certificate of debt against us? What debt do we owe? And Why?
1 John 3:4
Πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν καὶ τὴν ἀνομίαν ποιεῖ, καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία.
All, which, practiceperform, the, sin, also, the, transgression of the law, practices, also, which, sin, iswill be, the, transgression of the law
The key word in this verse is Anomia. When the Greek word nomos is used in The NT, it is almost always with the law of God in mind or the law of the Jews. (the written and or oral torah)
Nomos means law and anomos means without law or to break law. Think about the english terms moral and amoral. Morals are agreed upon ethical standards or principals, amoral is a lack of adherence to a set of standards or principals.
Amoral is not to be confused with immoral. An Immoral person is someone who recognizes a standard or principal but breaks it anyways. An amoral person does not recognizie the set standard or principal as valid or as binding upon them. Nomos and anomos work in much the same way. Anomos can mean breaking the law but is usually intentional or without regard to the law or refusing to recognize the law as binding. It is an act of Rebellion or intentional act against a recognized set of laws.
1 Peter 2
He himself bore our SINS in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
(Isa. 53:4-6, 11)
In Genesis, Gods torah (instruction) was don't eat from the tree. The act of eating was disobedience and disobedience was the act of sin, thus sin entered the world.
“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since _through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good
Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! _It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure
All humans are accountable to God and by the torah we understand our sin and the reason the sacrifice was needed was to pay the debt we all owe, that being death. Those under the covenant recognize the Torah and choose to live by God’s authority. The nations do not recognize God and his authority, thus they are anomos in the sense of not recognizing the Torah as applicable to them, but they are under the penalty of death none the less. If we were not all accountable to God then death would not be an issue.
Here is a parable of sorts to go along with the answers to our questions
Let's say I commit a crime and I am Sentenced to jail for 7 years and given fines, court costs, and restitution to pay later. The fines are a certificate of debt. I owe that debt under the law.
While I am in jail a friend comes and pays the fine so once released I am free and clear with time served and the fines are paid so no more debt either.
The debt was paid and I am no longer held liable under the law but that doesn't mean the rules went away, I just wasn't the one to pay the fine. I no longer owe a debt, it was paid. I am free to carry on living unless of course I break the law again, then I go back to jail.
The law defines what is or isn't legal and what happens when someone transgresses it. I had to pay the fines and went to jail because the laws were in place and I broke one of them.
A second possibility:
Lets say the governor gave me a pardon after serving only 2 years. Does the governor throw the law out that had me convicted or does he commute my sentence under the law? The law is still valid, but I have been forgiven and am now free from the penalty.
A consideration of verses Col 2:15-16
“He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.”
V.15 (Nestle Aland 28)
ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας ἐδειγμάτισεν ἐν παρρησίᾳ, θριαμβεύσας αὐτοὺς ἐν αὐτῷ
Strip away from self, the, rulers, and, the, crown of power, display, by, publiclyconfidently, celebrateparade, them, in this waythrough, ithimself/
The opening verb Apekdyomai (“having disarmed the powers”) comes from two Greek words literally meaning “to strip away from.” According to this passage (verses 13-15), Yeshua stripped away the power of rulers and authorities in a publicly observable way. They were put to shame and in the Hebrew world, that means public shame, something that can be seen. As a result this makes it very unlikely Paul meant invisible spirit forces. How would anyone know that they had been shamed?
The authorities were put to open public shame, a very Jewish concept considering the honor shame society they lived in. They were also disarmed. What was taken from them?
My thought is that it was the threat of death! They no longer had the threat of death. The cross was the ultimate symbol of power and authority for Rome over its captives, a tangible threat of death. If a man does not fear to die because he is assured that the King Messiah has granted him eternal life, is there any ruler or authority on earth that can compel his obedience or threaten him in a meaningful way? (Luke 12:4) (Heb. 13:6)
When Yeshua removed the consequence of sin, he stripped every earthly power of its ultimate threat. The triumph is His victory over the one thing that holds all unredeemed men captive. Death.
Many interpret this to mean sin, the NIV even adds words in English which support this and other doctrines. What is the object of the Greek verb “thriambeuo” (translated “to triumph over”)? Does this verse claim that Yeshua’s victory is over sin? Or is it death?
16 Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει καὶ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νεομηνίας ἢ σαββάτων
No, therefore, onecertain, your, call into questiondecide for you, with/about, that which is food, and, about, drink(ing), or, about, regarding, holy feast, or, new moon (Rosh Chodesh), or, Shabbat (the sabbath)
The construction is important. The first word Μὴ is a Greek word for the conditional no. This is not ou, a word that also means no but is without conditions. Μὴ would be used in a sentence like “I might not make it to work.” Ou would be used in “I will not break the commandment.” So, Paul is telling his readers not to let something happen as a matter of their present circumstances. In other words, do not let the circumstances of your situation cause you to be judged.
Paul is speaking to Jews and gentile followers of Yeshua in a pagan city. Those around them doing the judging would be pagans not other Jews or gentile believers. It is also very likely that many of those doing the judging would have been former acquaintances or friends of gentiles who accepted Yeshua. I was not raised religious, so when I changed my way of life I experienced this very thing, in fact I experience it now amongst other believers who seem as if they would rather see me a sinner than as one who serves God according to the very same way mentioned here by Paul.
Without consideration of the cultural setting and context beyond the letters we are doing what the legalist did only sort of backwards. Sticking to the letter without regard to the “rest of the story.” This is later Christian theology being read back into the text.
Everything that Paul lists here is a part of Torah obedience. What you eat and drink, what festivals you celebrate, what calendar you follow (the Jewish calendar is lunar, not solar) and keeping Sabbath are all found in God’s instruction book of life. Paul tells his readers in this pagan city, “Don’t let anyone you know stand in judgment over you with regard to keeping these instructions.” A point of consideration that is always overlooked: Food to Jews was not the same as food to gentiles. An example, most in India do not consider cows as food, but in America beef is what’s for dinner. We do not eat dogs, or horses but in some cultures they do. Edibility does not determine eligibility for the menu. Specifically a Jew recognized only what God said was FOOD. (Lev. 11:2, Deut. 14:4)
Put simply a Jew views pig like we might view pig slop. It might be edible, but it is not food for us to eat. The point is, when Paul speaks of food he means food to him, not food to us in America or any other person any other place outside of Israel.
This is certainly not the modern Christian perspective but it would have been the perspective two thousand years ago. Christianity DID NOT YET EXIST, and Paul, Peter, etc. we’re not preaching a new way of life, or some new message that would have been hard for Jews or gentiles to accept or do. Paul was a Jew and never gave up his Jewishness nor his practices as a Jew so why would he tell everyone else to do so? I guess he was a Pharisee and many of them did not act in accordance with what they taught. Is this Paul? Unlikely.
3 days and 3 nights in the tomb and the appointed times of prophecy
Keep in mind there are various ways of understanding this issue all over the web. We have taken the time to consider the scriptures as well as the historical and cultural setting in our determination.
To begin I want to determine what 3 days and 3 nights meant to first-century Jews and thus what it meant to Yeshua. The way Jews refer to a day or days, or a year or years is not always specific, in fact, it is hardly ever exact. For example, if a king is said to have served for seven years, this is a round number representing a period of about 7 years but certainly not to the day. When Paul went up to Damascus for 3 years, he very well could have been there for 1 year and six months in our reckoning. How? He may have started his count in the last month of the year, then counted the entire next year, and then stayed only 5 months into the next year. Each period was counted as a year but is only actually 1.6 years. The same works for days. I could say I spent 3 days on the road but I may have started driving Monday at 9 p.m. and drove all day Tuesday and returned home Wednesday at 5 p.m. Technically I was only on the road about 2 days and not 72 whole hours but I would say it was three days.
I believe Yeshua was specific when he alluded to Jonah and the prophecy of being in the belly of the fish 3 days and 3 nights. There are two reasons for this. One, this is in line with the appointed times. Two, this is in line with God's accounting in Genesis of what a Day is.
Jonah 1:17, Matt.12:40
“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Yeshua alludes to there being 12 hours in a day. (John 11:9) The Roman day was 12 hours and began at sunrise. The Jewish day began at sunset and ended at sunset and depending on the time of year there may be more or less hours in a day. Yeshua mentioning 12 was typical of the average amount of sunlight during a day depending on the season. The hours were relative. The day always had 12 hours and the night 12 hours. It was the hours themselves that would be shorter or longer to fit into the day. Not really an issue when you dont have a clock controlling your every moment. Ancient Jewish writings always refer to relative hours. The Romans were similar in their reckoning as well.
Genesis should ultimately be our consideration and was likely Yeshua’s basis. “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” Each new day had an evening and a morning, or a sunset and a sunrise. One could argue that this is only about 12 hours? I believe each day includes both darkness and light, both 12 hour periods (roughly) based on the Moedim, a.k.a. Appointed feast times which call each day, for example Passover and then Matza, sunset to sunset. For us, perhaps not for God, but for us, it is approximately 24 hours. Otherwise the timing of events wouldn’t work at all.
So scripturally 1 day is approximately 24 hours. 12 hours in a day and 12 in a night, but this is relative because the sunset determines when it starts and finished not hands on a clock. God's clock is the master clock.
When was Yeshua slain and then placed in the tomb? On a Friday? How long was he really in the tomb? tradition is Friday to Sunday but that is not 3 days and 3 nights. If Yeshua wasn't being specific and speaking idiomatically then it fits, but we believe he was being specific as shown in the way to reckon time scripturally and now we will look at God’s Moedim and how Yeshua has fulfilled them perfectly thus far. (Leviticus 23:4-5)
Yeshua was hung up and died on Passover and is called our Passover. (Matt. 18:39, John 19:14-16, 42) (1 Cor. 5:7)
The gospel accounts make it difficult to ascertain the time because they all seem to call the feast by a different name and put the last supper at a different time than the Passover celebration, at least they seem to. In the first century, and today, the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread and first fruits have all become known as 1 feast. It is at times called Passover, or it might be called the feast of unleavened bread, or just the feast. A couple of examples are found in Luke 2:41 where the whole week is called by one name, Passover.
In Luke 22:1 it says it was the day of unleavened bread on which the Passover was to be sacrificed. Unless you know that the lamb was sacrificed and prepared on passover and eaten at night beginning on the 1st day of unleavened bread you won't understand all the different references and seemingly contradictory issues.
John is the one that tends not to confuse it as much. John 19:14 calls the day Yeshua was crucified the day of the preparation of the passover, but in 18:39 he had said it was the Passover. The preparation of the Passover is the passover day, because it is not eaten until the first day of unleavened bread. Yeshua was placed in the tomb before the sun set. When the sun set is when the feast would have been started. Exodus 12:5-20 helps to understand where this originated and why God declared it to be this way.
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
Without the foundation of Exodus and Leviticus, what happened in the gospels is very difficult to understand in our modern English translations.
Leviticus 23:6, 10-11
The significance of not a bone of his shall be broken seems to also relate to the lamb being without spot and blemish. Yeshua was that lamb as we know. He was the perfect sacrifice. His body was to go into the grave just before the beginning of the feast of matza. There was no leaven in the bread just as there was no sin in the Messiah. (1 Cor. 5:6-8) The feast of Passover and Matza are linked together and Paul alludes to this in his writing about Yeshua as the Passover. First fruits is also lumped into the week of Passover and not separated as a day of its own like it was originally. This one is easy to miss and not as easy to grasp, but the sheaf of the first fruits waved before the Lord is important.
Yeshua was raised on firstfruits. Paul alludes to this in 1 Cor. 15:20-23, calling Yeshua the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. The feast of firstfruits is about the firstfruits of the new harvest season. The resurrection of the dead is like a harvest, with Yeshua being the first fruits of that harvest. The day of firstfruits was the day after the Sabbath, which is the first day of the week and the day which the sheaf of firstfruits is waved. The key to understanding this as relating to Yeshua being resurrected on firstfruits and being what Paul was alluding to is in Levitcus 23:15-16.
This tells us that from the day you waved the sheaf, the first day of the week, from that day they were to count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. This was Shavuot A.k.a. Pentacost. This is the key key that halps understand Matza and firstfruits. Passover was easy, but those two are a bit more difficult to glean until it connects with Pentecost. What happened at Pentecost? The coming of the holy spirit. Another fulfillment by Yeshua on a Moedim. Yeshua was on earth 40 days before he ascended into heaven. (Acts 1:3-9) The disciples waited another 10 days then for the feast in Jerusalem.
They came to the tomb on the first day of the week ealry in the morning. (Mark 16:1-2) Yeshua had already risen. After 3 days and 3 nights. Lets count backward. Sunday a.m. back to sunset the night before. This would have been the actual beginning of the first day, Saturday night for us. The Sabbath was ending. Yeshua could have been raised anytime between this point and just before sunset roughly 12 hours later. No matter what time it was, it would have been on first fruits, the first day of the week. Let's just assume God did not resurrect Yeshua on the Sabbath but let him rest. Saturday sunset back to Friday sunset, (1 day) Friday sunset back to Thursday sunset, (2 days) Thursday sunset back to Wednesday sunset, (3 days and nights) Yeshua is killed on Wednesday afternoon and taken down that evening just before sunset, which began the first day of Matza. From what I could gather looking at a lunar date calendar, that would put his death in 34 A.d. But who knows.
Fun chart for for a visual aide
All of that being said, God is a God of patterns. All of the new testament writings are based on connections, patterns, shadows, and fulfillments of the old testament. (Col. 2:16-17) (Heb. 8:1-5) It is the foundation for everything, all of the necessary instructions God wanted us to have in order to understand him and our world. He has shown us many things through signs and wonders in the luminaries which he placed there for that purpose. (Gen. 1:14)
I will go one step further and talk about the next feast to be fulfilled. The feast of trumpets.
It is called a day of remembrence. The significance of a day of remembrance and a day of the blowing of the shofar is highlighted in prophecy. Yom Teruah means, “day of the sounding of the shofar." This holy day is also known as the day “when no one knows the day or the hour." Sound familiar? This is the only holy day that occurs on the first day of the month. The first of the month is determined by the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon in the sky. The day of the new moon was never known, although every month there are only one or two days of darkness prior to the appearing of the new moon.
(Will there not be darkness before the day of the lord?)
Traditionally the moon was to be sighted by two witnesses. Depending on the weather it could be very difficult to determine the first day. No man knows the day or the hour of Yeshua’s return. We also never know the day or hour of Yom Teruah, not until the physical sighting of the moon, especially in our modern day when no one in the church cares about the holy days and Israel no longer keeps the scriptural way of determining the actual holy days, instead they have kept a set calendar since it was developed by Rabbi Hillel II in the 4th century.
Brain on overload yet?
The blowing of the shofar was done on many occasions for various reasons. For this occasion it is an appointed time given by God and we are to be obedient to him in joy. Modern tradition teaches this is a day of mourning or of Judgment but according to Leviticus 23:23-24 and the accounting of Nehemiah 8:9-12 this is not true. Two major events in scripture are associated with the sounding of the shofar, specifically the last trumpet blast. The return of Yeshua and the resurrection of the dead. Both events seem to coincide with one another.
(1 Cor. 15:52) “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed."
(1 Thess. 4:15) “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first."
(Matt. 24:30-31) “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
There are two more Moedim to go but I will quit here. If you want to continue and read my rant about the day of atonement then you can find it on my website at the E-Word Study bible archives page on Yom Kippur. The easiest way to find the archives if you don’t have a link (the page is hidden) is to type “archives” into the search bar at the top of the page.
I will give a hint for the final feast, the feast of tabernacles. This one needs little speculation because we know how and when it will be fulfilled. Just Read Zachariah chapter 14. It’s all right there.